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Retina display MacBook is on its way, but could be pricey -- analyst

It could cost Apple £63 more to add a Retina display to the 15in MacBook, but what will this mean for the consumer?

An analyst has said that the rumoured Retina display MacBooks are already in the supply chain, but could cost $100 (£63) more.

NPD DisplaySearch Senior Analyst Richard Shim told CNET that high-resolution displays for 13.3in and 15.4in MacBooks are already available from suppliers.

Retina display is a term coined by Apple itself to describe a screen that has no discernable pixels when looked at with the human eye from an ordinary viewing distance. We've already seen the Retina display come to the iPhone and iPad, and Shim thinks that Apple is bringing the technology to its Macs.

"What's clear is that Apple is pushing it. They're pushing panel makers to come out with higher resolution panels because they've created a market demand for it, starting with their phones, now going to their tablets," said Shim. "Now what we're seeing in the supply chain is that they're going to move that to their notebooks, and it's becoming a premium feature."

However, Shim believes that the demand for Retina displays is going to cost Apple. He thinks that a 15in MacBook Pro's Retina display panel will be almost $100 (£63) more expensive than the current display panel used in current models.

This doesn't necessarily mean that Apple will charge its customers more for the new MacBooks, though. When the Retina display came to the iPhone and iPad, it didn't increase the cost of the devices for consumers. However, CNET points out that the difference in cost for Apple to add Retina display to its iOS devices is much smaller than the MacBook's price difference. It was just $30, (£19) to add the Retina display the new iPad, for example.

Shim believes that the 15in MacBook's resolution will be 2,880 by 1,800 pixels, double that of the current model. The 13.3in will have a 2,560 by 1,600 resolution, says Shim.

Currently, consumers are required to pay an extra £80 for an upgrade to a 1,680 by 1,050 display, which adds 36 per cent more pixels than the regular model.

Shim doesn't mention anything about a 17in MacBook Pro, which brings us back to the speculation that Apple could be planning to discontinue the larger model when it updates its MacBook line-up. The new models could arrive at WWDC in June.


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