With the prolonged spinning beach ball of death on one too many shoots, accompanied by a sound not too dissimilar to a Lear jet at take off when processing images, the writing was on the wall for my 2007 vintage 15 inch MacBook Pro.
I had put off replacing my MacBook Pro for as long as possible, but the time had finally come for a replacement.
But which one to go for?
I defy any geek not to fall in love with the super slim edged Macbook Pro which has more pixels than you can shake a stick at.
The impressive spec, allied with a useful weight saving (2.2kg v 2.56kg) over the rumoured to soon-be-discontinued unibody Macbook Pro, would make it seem to be a no brainer.
So why on earth didn't I buy one?
I instead opted for the, probably soon to be discontinued, MacBook Pro unibody.
Heavier, thicker and not as cool as the retina model.
My choice would at first glance seem to be somewhat left field.
I will try to explain.
The retina screen for all of its technicolored glory, does have one glaring drawback, if you excuse the pun.
When I replaced my MacBook Pro 15 inch model 1.1 with my 2007 model I did not specify the matt screen option.
Something I lived to regret for the whole life of the computer because when I was shooting tethered or using it in sometimes challenging circumstances, such as bright sunny conditions or even near a window, sometimes making it very difficult to see what was on the screen.
I selected the £80 option for a high resolution matt screen and the high gloss reflections are all but banished.
The retina Macbook pro has many connectivity options including USB3 and the super fast Thunderbolt ports too.
The unibody has these too and it also has firewire.
Let's face it, with the advent of thunderbolt, firewire has a limited long term future, and who needs firewire when you can get a firewire adaptor?
The adaptor does after all work quite well, even if you do on occasion, have to moderate your shooting speed when shooting tethered on fast moving shoot.
But let me refer you to Apple's own sales pitch for the thunderbolt-firewire adaptor which they say
'gives you a FireWire 800 port that supplies up to 7W for bus-powered peripherals like hard drives'
But what if your device, like some external hard drives, or even your medium format camera back has firewire connectivity which draws more than 7W's?
Better start looking for the power adaptor or the batteries, as you will not be able to power them from the computer, denying you the flexibility of powering from the laptop.
Perhaps more even importantly, pray to the gods that you do not lose or forget your adaptor when you are on the road on that all important job.
If you are a Hasselblad owner this news maybe of particular interest to you as your camera, even the very latest models, rely solely on firewire, with seemingly no alternative on the near or distant horizon, not a happy situation to be in, better stock up on the adaptors, remember not to shoot too fast or perhaps buy the latest unibody Macbook Pro before they are discontinued.
The retina Macbook Pro has no DVD drive, the unibody Macbook Pro has one.
The DVD superdrive is something I cannot recall using in the past couple of years at least, but it maybe could just be useful, for that software install DVD (you would be surprised how many software manufacturers use these) or for the more unlikely moment of burning a DVD.
But I have something else in mind, SSDs are becoming more affordable all the time, and by the time my warranty has expired drives like the Crucial M500 1TB SSD will be readily available and affordable, fitting snugly in the super drive bay, giving me double the options for storage.
The SSD is the biggest leap in computing performance we have seen for sometime, so needless to say I specified my unibody Macbook Pro with the 256 at extra cost, even though it meant the whole package cost a bit more than the retina model. I did this instead of fitting my own, which would have saved a bit of cash as I did not want to void the warranty.
Buy either Macbook and you will be happy, in my view though the unibody is more suited to the working photographer, the retina with its svelte up to the minute design perhaps more suited for general use, I imagine gaming would be a vivid experience.