Macbook Air 2013: A new Vision from Apple

One of the hottest topics doing the rounds in Macbook Air gossipland at the moment is the eye question. And yes that is ‘eye’, not ‘I’. We’re talking retina here. And to paraphrase a certain play: to retina, or not to retina, that is the question.


I’m talking about Apple’s widely predicted June re-launch of the Air. Like all rumours related to planet Apple, it opened the floodgates on all sorts of speculation, mostly over the addition of a Retina screen which would push the Air up there on a level with the more expensive Macbook Pro models.

Going back to basics, remember what a Retina screen is. It’s Apple’s trademarked ‘so clear the eye can’t see the pixels’ LCD display. Try it now. Look at any image on this screen. Can you detect pixellation from the so-called normal distance of 12 inches (a lot closer if you’re on a small device) If not, then it’s passed a very rough version of the retinal test.

Since Retinal display requires higher processing power, up until now it’s been reserved for the more powerful Macbook Pro range. But the expected inclusion of Intel’s fourth-generation ‘Haswell’ processor in a new Macbook Air would seem to pave the way for the Retinal display to make its way down the Apple hierarchy

There is no doubt about it. This would be a good thing, especially for anyone who loves to use their Macbook Air for video, photo editing, or gaming; areas where once you’ve seen the crystal clarity of image you get from the Pro, the current Air looks fuzzy by comparison. 

As with many of these things, it’s going to come down to a question of price. Can Apple accommodate Retina display without pushing up the cost beyond what makes the Air – for so long the benchmark of style – such a hit with its loyal fans? If so, then they should definitely go for it. Otherwise they risk making the Macbook Air feel like a poor relation when it deserves so much more.