13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina panels in 2m production tips analyst

Screens for Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, the much-rumored high resolution upgrade to the company's entry-level mainstream notebook, are already in production according to analyst whispers. "The supply chain indications are that it's for a MacBook Pro 13.3" NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shin told CNET, rather than for the similarly-sized MacBook Air ultraportable. According to the estimates, meanwhile, Apple looks to be going big for the smaller Retina laptop.

Whereas production of the high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display was comparatively low, in partial response to the notebook's very high starting price, Apple appears to be aiming for the more mainstream market with the new, smaller model. "With 15.4 it's production of a few hundred thousand units" Shin commented, "versus one to two million for the 13.3."

That could see the smaller Retina model escape the supply order backlog that affected the original, larger model. Online orders of the notebook were prolonged to up to four weeks, with Apple surprised by the extent of demand.

Exactly which company is providing the panel is unclear, though both Samsung and LG Display are known to be working with Apple on Retina-branded screen technology, and Shin says Sharp is also involved. The 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro will run at a lower resolution than the 15-inch – 2,560 x 1,600 versus 2,880 x 1,800 – but the more compact screen size will mean the individual pixels are equally as difficult to identify to the human eye.

Benchmarks for the mysterious new MacBook Pro were spotted online in recent months, fueling rumors of an imminent launch. The MacBook Pro 13 with Retina would be cheaper and likely less powerful than the current version, though likely lighter and more portable as well.