Retina MacBook Pro Faces Shipping Delay

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Apple is backtracking over the shipping dates of its new Retina display MacBook Pro

Apple’s newest 15-inch MacBook Pros appear to be already selling out, after the company rolled back its shipping dates.

During its 11 June Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote, Apple executives were expected to offer an answer to the Ultrabook craze, and they didn’t disappoint. After impressive updates to the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, which alone may well have sated the Apple fan base, Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing guru, introduced “the next-generation MacBook Pro,” calling it “the most beautiful computer we have ever made.”

Or, that anyone has.

Gorgeous Device

“There’s never been a notebook this gorgeous,” Schiller added.

The next-generation MacBook out-thins even the MacBook Air, measuring just 0.71-inch thin, and features a Retina display with a resolution of 2880 by 1800 at 220 pixels per inch that’s capable of eliciting gasps from even users of the latest iPad.

Schiller told the crowd that the machines would begin shipping that day. By 12 June, Cnet reported, the shipping time on the Apple Website, for the 15-inch versions, had been changed to “2-3 weeks.” By 13 June, it had been updated to “3-4 weeks.”

Whether demand has simply overwhelmed Apple, or components are in short supply, is unclear. Brian Marshall of the ISI Group told Computerworld in a 14 May report suggesting that Retina displays could be one way for Apple to distinguish itself from the Ultrabook crowd, “I’m not 100 percent sure that the [supply] channel can support that.”

Apple hasn’t yet responded to eWEEK’s request for information.

Piper Jaffray analysts Gene Munster and Douglas Clinton, writing in a 11 June research note, said they believe the next-generation Macbook Pro “is a window into the future of the Macbook lineup. Ultimately, we expect Apple to extend the Retina display across the portable lineup in the next 1-2 years.”

Work Of Art?

The same day, analysts with Canaccord Genuity, noting the next-generation MacBook’s Intel Ivy Bridge processors – a key feature of Ultrabooks – its Secure Digital (SD) slot, High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) port, two Thunderbolt ports, FaceTime HD camera, dual microphones, USB ports on both sides, completely redesigned internals and Nvidia GeForce graphics based on new Kepler architecture, called it an “impressive high-end computer.” They added that they expect these new models “should generate strong sales and continued market-share gains versus Windows PCs.”

Topeka Capital Markets’ Brian White called next-gen MacBooks “a work of art.”

The back-ordered MacBooks are priced at $2,199 (£1,414), for the model running a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz and $2,799 (£1,800)for the model with a 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz. It’s a pricey proposition for a machine that Apple has apparently made impossible to upgrade.

Upon opening up the machine for a look inside, repair site iFixit called it the “least repairable laptop we’ve taken apart,” adding that “Apple has packed all the things we hate into one beautiful little package.”

It gave the next-generation MacBook Pro a repairability score of 1 out 10 – worse even than the 4 out of 10 that the new MacBook Air scored.

“Laptops are expensive,” the iFixit team wrote. “It’s critical that consumers have the option to repair things that go wrong, as well as upgrade their own hardware to keep it relevant as new technologies roll out.”

First, though, they need to be able to get their hands on one.

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