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10 things you didn't knew about the Macbook Pro Retina

posted Aug 21, 2012, 8:37 PM by Marc-Andre Larouche   [ updated Aug 21, 2012, 9:10 PM ]
It's been a while since my last post, I just have collected to much informations on my new devices since I couldn't wait to share it with the world.

Not so long ago Apple shaked the Pro users with the announcement of the new Macbook Pro with retina display. Now mac users can enjoy USB 3, dual thunderbolt and an amazing 2880x1800 retina display, but some critics have pointed out the features Apple has removed on the new version of the Macbook Pro and some people might be tempted to pass on the new laptop and stick with the regular 13 or 15" Macbook Pro. 

I got mine few days ago, and I have recently discovered some hidden features on the new laptop that might compensate for the dropped features!

So without more hesitation here's the 10 things you didn't knew about the Macbook Pro Retina:

Surprise feature Number 1:

It support Apple Headphone microphone

Their's no Audio input port on the new Macbook Pro Retina, but that doesn't mean you have to stick with the built-in microphone. All you need is a pair of iPhone Headphone and you can make a facetime call with privacy.

Surprise feature Number 2:

Their's alternatives to the missing Apple IR Receiver
As you might know Apple has remove the IR receiver on the new Macbook Pro retina. Well this one is less of a big deal since Apple discontinued FrontRow in OS X Lion, but here a good news! Remember when I said you can use the Apple Headset microphone, well you can also use the Volume Up/Down Play/Pause button of the built-in remote control. Ok I admit the headphone have a three feet long cable and at this distance you might just use the keyboard shortcut for that. 

But if that not good enough for you you can also use Apple Remote app for iOS devices, so if you happen to own an iPhone, iPod touch, or an iPad, you can always us that to launch your favourite song or movie on iTunes. It's not an hidden feature, but it does more than the Apple remote now.

Surprise feature Number 3:

Optical Audio-output
One more thing about the Headphone jack, it's optical output too, so if your home sound system doesn't support digital HDMI audio, but Optical, you can buy a special optical cable online and plug your Macbook Pro on. The only downfall is it's Output only. 
PS It's not just for the Macbook Pro and it's not hidden neither, most Mac have the same feature, but it's always good to point it out.


Surprise feature Number 4:

It's Windows 8 Ready
For those of you who's asking the question, yes the new Macbook Pro work with Windows 8 Release Preview. Just use the same drivers as you would on Windows 7. Even the display can output up to 2880x1800 without problems.

Windows 8

Surprise feature Number 5:

You can Upgrade the SSD
Yes, you can actually replace the SSD storage, it's just really really expensive and you should think about that before buying. But in few years, when you'll be tired of your tiny 256 GB of SSD you'll be able to buy an upgrade kit and the instruction to Do-it yourself even if Apple said you wont. (PS I assume  no responsibility for the lost of warranty or damage to your Macbook pro if you decide to do it!)
OWC SSD Upgrade

Check Engaget article for more details. 

Surprise feature Number 6:

You can go beyond the default 5 screen resolutions.

Using SwtchResX on your Macbook Pro will extend the default 5 available resolution to more than 20. 


Surprise feature Number 7:

External BD-RE for sale

You can get an external blu-ray recorder (BD-RE) for less than the Apple external Superdrive. (DVD±RW). It's not a secret neither, but I don't want to spend a 100$ on a Superdrive just because it has Apple brand on it. Blu-Ray recorder are cheap and software like Toast titanium let you burn your favourite movies on a huge 25 GB disc. 
Okay I personally agree with Apple on the fact Blu-Ray was obsolete at arrival, because the Internet is an ever growing beast that is currently destroying every physical medium. That said I like ripping my own blu-ray and keeping my movies DRM free and playable on everything.

Surprise feature Number 8:

You can use up to 4 displays on the new Macbook Pro Retina (No Joke!)

That's right you can connect up to 4 displays (including the retina display) to your Macbook Pro, Apple website says 3, but it's probably because they can't daisy-chain 3 external Thunderbolt display and don't want to confused buyer who might want more display than a NASA flight simulator. But if your okay using 1080p monitors than you can hook up three additional monitors with HDMI, DVI or VGA adapter. 

My personal test include two HDMI (one using the thunderbolt adapter from Belkin) and one using the Thunderbolt to VGA adapter from Apple. If you really crave for a surround multi-displays well you can with this Macbook Pro, thanks Apple.

Surround display

Surprise feature Number 9:

Audio-input (sort of)* *

You really really need an Audio input… Okay well maybe you should consider buying an iRig. The same adapter that turns your iPad in an audio Amplifier can also turn your Macbook Pro headphone jack into an Audio-in port. 

If that's not enough you can always buy a USB\Thunderbolt External audio card. 
iRig adapter
Surprise feature Number 10:

3D Display support (for Bootcamp)*

You can (in theory) hook-up a 3D display compatible with nvidia 3D display (that feature might only work on Windows). I don't have tested the last one, but their's this mysterious option in the nVidia preference panel on Windows 8.

I still believe 3D is a gimmick, but I wanted to report-it. 

 * Untested
** Untested but confirmed