Keanu Reeves film based on true Japanese story

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TOKYO (AP) – The director of the Keanu Reeves 3-D film “47 Ronin” says he hopes his adaptation of a true Japanese story becomes a Hollywood blockbuster.

Film director Carl Rinsch, Reeves and co-stars appeared together in front of a Tokyo audience on Monday.

The film is based on an actual historical event during the Edo Period known as “Chushingura.” It involved a lord who was wrongfully put to death and his followers – ronin – who sought revenge.

Rinsch said he took on the film subject and sat down with Keanu Reeves about two years ago. They wondered how they were going to take on a popular Japanese tale and do it justice. Rinsch said they decided to make the story their own, making “it a Hollywood blockbuster and see it through that lens.”

“These themes of revenge, loyalty, perseverance, were things we knew from the very beginning were universal,” said Rinsch, who is making his directorial feature debut with the film.

Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada stars as the main supporting character, Kuranosuke Oishi, a leader of the men. Sanada said that during the filming Reeves became more and more of a samurai, while the character he played became more “wild” in style.

Sanada said Reeves and himself hoped to depict the friendship of two characters, which transcended borders and social positions, in the film.

Reeves said “47 Ronin” is a story where people “share this journey to reclaim their land, their honor, their way. It was very special to me to be part of it.”

Reeves, who grew up attracted to martial arts movies, makes his directorial debut this year with the martial arts action movie “Man of Tai Chi.”

The film “47 Ronin” premiers in Japan on Dec. 6 and opens in U.S. theaters on Dec. 25.

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

This is a most read!!

NATURE

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When you see her, what do you see?
Do you see a girl filled with so much Love thats enough to go round the world?

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Do you see the girl with the wide smile,
So intoxicating?
Do you see a girl who would go all the way to make all happy?
Do you see a girl who would give all she has without a thought of what to gain?
Do you see a girl who would hide her
wounds to make you smile?

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When you see her, what do you see?
Do you just see the pretty face?
Or the beautifully endowed body?
Do you see the fresh firm skin,
She spends a lot to maintain?
Or the well made face,
Red lips,brown eyes with long lashes?
Or do you see the Large heart behind the huge chest?

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When you see her, what do you see?
Do you see a…

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With iPhone 5, Apple Again Raises the Smartphone Bar

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook took the stage Wednesday to unveil an eagerly awaited revamping of the company’s flagship products, including the iPhone, iPod, iTunes—all the way down to its ubiquitous white earphones.

The centerpiece of the event, held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts in San Francisco, was the introduction of the iPhone 5, a sleek new handset that sports a larger screen but a thinner profile and is 20 percent lighter than the previous iPhone 4S. The phone runs Apple’s new iOS 6 mobile operating system and clearly raises the bar in a high-stakes, industrywide competition between Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Samsung (SSNLF), and other tech giants to dominate the most real estate in the expanding world of mobile computing. “It really does feel like a piece of jewelry,” says Tim Bajaran, an analyst at Creative Strategies, of the new phone.

Although it sports a new design to accommodate a wider and longer screen, the iPhone 5 is not a radical departure from Apple’s (AAPL) successful formula. The device still transports its users into Apple’s world of digital media and 700,000 mobile apps. Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing chief, says the phone’s screen was expanded to make it more comfortable to hold in your hand and operate with your thumb. The device is encased in glass and aluminum and, like previous models, comes in two colors, black and white, with a silver back.

Powering the latest iPhone is Apple’s homemade A6 processor, which the company said provides faster computing and graphics performance. The new phone incorporates higher-speed 4G networks, called LTE, of Sprint (S), AT&T (T), and Verizon in the U.S. The phone runs Siri, Apple’s famously temperamental voice recognition assistant, which now has expanded duties, including an ability to pull up information about sports and movies and allow the user to make dinner reservations via OpenTable.

“Apple has never been stronger,” said Tim Cook at the end of the nearly two-hour event, in which a succession of senior Apple executives took the stage, one after another, to preview the updates to their product lines. The differences between Apple products and the competition, he said, “is how well all our products work together.”

Although it initiated the wave of modern multifaceted smartphones, Apple has inevitably lost some ground in the mobile computing wars. Its iPad dominates the market for tablets, but Apple trails Google’s Android OS in overall market share. This year, says eMarketer, a data research firm, 43 percent of U.S. smartphone users will employ an Android device each month; 33 percent will use an Apple device.

Apple’s uniquely focused approach was on display at the event. Where other manufacturers enumerate the sheer number of features their phones have, Apple exercised restraint, directing attention to a few key features and emphasizing the unique tricks that distinguish the iPhone, such as a new photo feature that allows iPhone users to take a panoramic picture easily with their handset.

Apple also highlighted its legendary design prowess. The demonstration included a video interview with Apple’s chief designer, Jonathan Ive, who discussed some of the practices Apple has either used or invented to create the latest iPhone. Surfaces are finely honed, polished, and assembled with tolerances measured in microns. In this way, Apple looks to rise above the scrum of competing smartphones, positioning itself in a category that has more in common with expensive luxury goods than flimsy-feeling gadgets. “If you hold something like a Samsung Galaxy S III, you can see it right away,” said Bajarin. “They use cheap materials, and they copy.”

Among other announcements, Apple said the new iPhone 5 would integrate Facebook (FB) into its operating system. Users will be able to deliver status updates to their Facebook page using their voice, via Siri, and songs and videos in the iTunes store on the phone will have Facebook’s “like” buttons. Thus users can easily express their media tastes to their friends. Facebook stock was up nearly 7 percent, rising $1.50 to close at $20.93, on Apple’s announcement.

In addition to the iPhone, Apple announced updates to its somewhat musty line of iPod music players, whose introduction in 2001 truly started the company’s renaissance. Most significant were the changes to the iPod Touch, which now features the same 4-inch display found on the iPhone, as well as an anodized-aluminum case that measures 6.1mm thick and weighs just over three ounces. The iPod Touch has quickly established itself as a popular video, music, and gaming device and is free of the complications associated with mobile-phone contracts and providers.

With upgrades to its camera, the iPod Touch also becomes more of a competitor to traditional point-and-shoot cameras, a product category already knocked about by the rise of smartphone photography. The new iPod Touch has a 5-megapixel camera mounted on the rear, an integrated flash, autofocus capabilities, and the same Panorama feature found on the iPhone. Apple is also shipping iPod Touches with a wrist strap that attaches to the device, driving the point home even further that this is a device to be kept by your side for spontaneous events—exactly what point-and-shoot cameras have used as their selling point for years. Apple also updated the iPod Nano, adding Bluetooth, expanding the screen size, and, in a glancing nod to its past, introducing a variety of colors.

Apple even updated its iconic white earphones. The globular and gratuitously named EarPods are more comfortable and don’t create an awkward seal in the ear, the company said. Apple says it spent three years working out the new dimensions. The EarPods also have a unibody design, which will avoid removable inserts that separate from the rest of the earphone assembly.

Apple said that customers can order the iPhone 5 on Sept. 14 and will ship it on Sept. 21. Prices for the new phone, with a contract, start at $199 and remain the same as existing iPhones. The iPhone 4S goes on sale for $99, and the iPhone 4 is now free with a two-year contract.

At the conclusion of the announcement, the Foo Fighters took the stage and performed several of their hits, including My Hero and Walk, songs whose wistful lyrics seemed easily interpretable as an implicit nod to the passing of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs nearly a year ago.

MacDefender: No, Macs are not suddenly susceptible to viruses

MacDefender: No, Macs are not suddenly susceptible to viruses

The tech community is in a frenzy over malicious software called MacDefender that targets Mac users. While this is a new phenomenon, it has nothing to do with the security of Mac OS X. Macs are still not susceptible to viruses.

Ever since Mac OS X was introduced over ten years ago, Mac owners have watched from afar as Windows users have suffered through viruses and spyware. There are always bugs and holes in any kind of software, but Mac OS X has remained free of self-installing viruses for a decade. In light of the recent MacDefender outbreak, many people are declaring the end of Apple’s virus-free reign. The problem with these claims is that Mac OS X’s security has not actually been breached. In fact, users themselves are giving explicit permission for this software to install.

For those who are unaware of the MacDefender issue, many people with Macs have been coming across malicious webpages that trigger a download of unwanted, fake antivirus software. Many times, these webpages fraudulently claim that a security scan has found malware on the user’s Mac. The solution, they say, is to install their software, pay for it with a credit card, and run it to clean out the system. Obviously, this is all a big scam to get money and credit card numbers. The MacDefender program does absolutely nothing but pester people for payment and open adult sites if they don’t comply. While this sounds bad, there’s not much Mac OS X could have done to prevent it from happening.

MacDefender trojan for Mac OS X

Unlike Windows malware and viruses that install themselves with no interaction from the user, this new Mac trojan requires the user to do most of the work. Here’s what must happen for MacDefender to be installed on a Mac:

  1. The user must go to an infected website. Many people have come across these through Google Image searches, so it could happen to anyone.
  2. The infected page runs a script that downloads the MacDefender installer file. Most of the time, this is the end of the line. Nothing has been installed and the Mac has not been infected. Just drag the file to the Trash – no harm, no foul. However, if Safari is set to “Open ‘safe’ files after downloading,” the process moves to stage 3.
  3. When Safari is configured to automatically open downloaded files, the MacDefender file will launch the application installer. Even still at this point, nothing harmful has occurred. If the user wisely realizes this is not a trusted or desired installation, they can quit the installer. Again, the file can then be trashed and the whole thing can be forgotten. On the other hand, if the user chooses to click the buttons to select a destination disk and continue the installation, they move to stage 4.
  4. Mac OS X, as a built-in layer of security, will then ask for an Administrator password. The user must willingly enter this password to complete the installation, otherwise it will fail and MacDefender won’t infect the system. Some new variants of the MacDefender malware don’t require a password if an Administrator account is being used, though. But Apple has always recommended people create Standard user accounts for day-to-day use, which would still require a password. Regardless of the type of account, the user must still manually click through the installer to get to this point.
  5. Assuming the user has completed all of the previous stages and is using an Administrator account and/or has entered their password, the MacDefender trojan will finally be installed. At this point, adult sites and security scare tactics will try to persuade the user to provide their credit card information.

As you can see, the process a user must go through to infect their Mac with MacDefender requires a number of poor decisions. Specifically, decisions where the user explicitly circumvents Mac OS X’s built-in security measures and their own best judgement. This method is called social engineering – manipulating a person (by scaring them into thinking they are infected with a virus) into doing something they don’t want to do (installing malicious software that poses as something else). Social engineered malware differs from the majority of traditional Windows malware, which can install itself without the user doing a thing. MacDefender doesn’t take advantage of a weakness in Mac OS X, but rather a weakness in the user. That’s why Macs continue to be virus-free and third-party security software still isn’t needed for most folks.

Of course, that isn’t to say Apple can’t make some improvements. For one, the “Open ‘safe’ files after downloading” setting in Safari should not exist. It’s highly recommended that every Safari user go to the program’s Preferences menu and uncheck this option right now. Second, Apple should modify Mac OS X setup process to create a Standard user account by default. This is more secure because a password is required for all software installations under a Standard account. Administrator accounts should remain hidden so unknowing users don’t log into them for everyday use. Nonetheless, these are relatively minor gripes. The major issue here is training users so they are better prepared not to fall for social engineering scams.

To sum everything up, this is a human attack, not a computer attack. How can a Mac – or any piece of technology, for that matter – protect users from themselves? Aside from turning Mac OS X into a curated platform like iOS where every piece of software must be approved by Apple through the App Store, there is no way to do this. Users must stay aware of what’s going on and use their best judgement. If you don’t have antivirus software installed and you get a warning that a scan has revealed security issues, don’t believe them. If an installation starts and you don’t know what program it is or why it’s there, quit it. Most importantly, if something is asking for your Mac’s Administrator password and you don’t know why, don’t give it.

11 common myths that keep people from switching to Macs

Although Apple’s Mac computers are selling in record numbers, there is still a ton of misinformation being spread about them. You have to believe Mac sales would skyrocket even more if the average person figured out those myths aren’t so true after all.

As Mac users, it’s frustrating to listen to mistruths and unfair prejudices about our computers of choice. Unfortunately, attempting to set the record straight only gives people more reason to call us crazy. At some point we’ve all fought the myths and been accused of being blind cultish followers of Steve Jobs, right? No matter how much we try to debunk outdated anti-Mac talking points, some just never go away.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “Oh, Macs are nice but I could never get one.” Naturally, when I’ve asked why that is, the same set of excuses come up. The realization I’ve come to over time is that the general public is simply uneducated about the benefits and limitations of Apple’s computers. They develop assumptions based on what they’ve heard in casual conversation from friends & family, mainstream publications, and the super-geek down the street who builds his own gaming rigs. Gathering information from a variety of sources is good, but figuring out who is uninformed or biased is just as important.

Before we get into debunking the common myths surrounding Macs, let me just clarify this article is targeted to the Average Joe who buys a Windows computer for home, school, and casual business use from Dell, HP, or Acer every 3-7 years. Technology enthusiasts and folks who like to tinker with their machines – especially Linux users – are never going to find the plug-and-play nature of Macs appealing. For just about everyone else, though, Macs are a viable and attractive option for their next computer.

Myth #1: Macs aren’t compatible with Microsoft Office

People who work from home or have kids in school need Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It’s a sad truth, but still a truth nonetheless. Another truth is that Macs can indeed run these programs. Microsoft makes a Mac version of Office that is fully compatible with its Windows counterpart. It doesn’t matter what kind of computer they’re created on, Office files will open on both Macs and Windows-based PCs.

Myth #2: There isn’t a lot of software for Macs

When I first switched to a Mac I was amazed at how much software was available for it. First, all Macs come pre-loaded with way more quality applications than any Windows computer. Programs like Mail, Address Book, iCal, Safari, iChat, iTunes, QuickTime, Preview, TextEdit, Time Machine, the entire iLife suite, and many more are usable right out of the box. The amount of software available from third party developers isn’t lacking either. A good portion of it is actually free, and most of the paid ones are reasonably priced. Bottom line: If a consumer application exists for Windows, there is either a Mac version or a comparable Mac alternative.

Myth #3: Macs won’t play nice with my network & other Windows PCs

Not only are Macs compatible with nearly any type of network out there, it’s extremely easy to connect them too. The internet will work just fine, as will file sharing between the Mac and Windows computers. That’s right, the Mac can see shared files on a Windows machine and a Windows machine can see shared files on a Mac. What else is there to say?

Myth #4: Macs are more expensive because you’re just paying for the brand name

The high starting price of Apple’s computers scares the pants off the average consumer who sees an eMachine at Walmart for $399. Heck, even the $699 Compaq at Best Buy seems like nothing compared to the $999 entry level MacBook or $1199 MacBook Pro. The problem with merely comparing sticker prices, though, is that the true value of each machine is not considered. In other words, you get what you pay for. Macs are built out of more durable materials, they’re more energy efficient, they tend to have higher quality components, and the software is far and away better than what Windows offers. Mac OS X is the reason to buy a Mac. The hardware is great too, but it’s the software that offers the real value. Lower long-term maintenance costs don’t hurt either. For more information about Mac pricing and why the “Apple tax” doesn’t exist, check out “Are Macs really worth it? Selling points for choosing Mac vs. PC

Myth #5: Macs are only more secure because they don’t have any market share

Zero viruses (that is, self-replicating and spreading viruses) have affected Mac OS X in the wild since its introduction a decade ago. This is hard for naysayers to grasp, but it is a fact – not a single virus. Windows, on the other hand, has been hit with hundreds of thousands of viruses. Many believe this is because Mac OS X doesn’t run on 90% of the world’s computers like Windows. If that is the case, how do viruses exist for versions of Linux which have even smaller market share than Macs? How were viruses introduced specifically for Windows 7 when it was still in limited beta testing? Nobody can claim Macs are 100% immune to all security threats, but “security via obscurity” is – for lack of a better term – hogwash. The Mac operating system was built on a more stable and reliable core, which gave it more security from the start. In the end, less popular platforms have been compromised in the past while Mac OS X is still virus-free.

Myth #6: Macs are just for graphics and animation professionals

It’s true that graphic designers and other creative people prefer to use Macs, but it’s not because Macs have some magical ability that makes it possible to do that kind of work. After all, Adobe’s Creative Suite is available for Windows too. The reason designers like Macs so much is because they “make sense.” They’re quality machines and Mac OS X is organized in a way that makes it easy and even pleasurable to use. In that kind of environment, users can fully immerse themselves in the work to be done rather than worry about the computer itself. When you think about it, that’s something everybody should want.

Myth #7: Macs don’t right-click because they only have one mouse button

Back in the day, the one-button mouse was indeed a limitation of Macs. Today, however, this is no longer true. Both the Mighty Mouse and the brand new Magic Mouse have touch-sensitive shells that can be configured to click on the left and right sides, among other things. The same thing can be done for Apple’s MacBook trackpads. This approach actually gives users a level of customization that traditional two-button mice cannot offer.

Myth #8: Macs aren’t expandable or upgradable

When you buy a laptop from Dell or HP, just about the only things you can upgrade are the RAM and hard drive. The same components can be upgraded on Apple’s line of MacBooks and iMacs as well. And, no, you do not have to buy special Apple memory or drives – standard brands will work. In most cases, this is as far as the average user would go anyway. People talk a lot about upgradability, but when 3-5 years pass it’s usually a better idea to go for a whole new computer rather than pump a lot of money into an older one. The great thing about Macs is they have excellent resell value to help pay for the new one.

Myth #9: Macs can’t run Windows applications

As long as you have a legal copy of Windows (which can be taken from the PC that your Mac replaced), you can run any Windows program on your Mac. You can use Mac OS X’s free Boot Camp to natively run Windows or use a virtualization program like Parallels ($79), Fusion ($79), or Virtualbox (free) to run Windows within OS X. Consider this: Apple’s computers can run both Mac and Windows software flawlessly, while other PCs are limited to only run Windows software.

Myth #10: A lot of websites don’t work on a Mac

A few years ago, it was common to come across websites that only worked in Internet Explorer. Of course, this was before Firefox, Safari, and other browsers took away significant market share from Microsoft’s offering. As a result, this isn’t much of an issue anymore – either Safari or Firefox will get the job done. If not, Internet Explorer is still available when you run Windows on your Mac.

Myth #11: Macs are different and will be hard to learn

The beauty of Mac OS X is that it’s so much easier to learn and understand than Windows. The main reason is because it’s more intuitive. For people who have never used a computer before, it works just the way they would expect it to. For Windows switchers, it’s going to seem weird at first. It will require unlearning old Windows habits. Constantly saying “That’s not how I’m used to doing this…” is going to sour the exciting Mac experience. The best advice to give anybody who is thinking about switching to a Mac is simply “have an open mind.” In the end, it will all work out.

What are some of the other Mac myths you’ve heard over the years? How do you tell people the truth about Macs to clear up the confusion?  Leave a comment.

Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Retina Display) Review

The Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Retina Display) is the laptop you want if you care about performance, thinness, and the screen. It’s not the vaunted “15-inch MacBook Air” that was rumored prior to 2012’s WWDC—it’s better, thanks to an up-to-date components, super-thin chassis, and impressive battery life. This “next-generation” MacBook Pro hasn’t just caught up to the thin and powerful Windows laptops and ultrabooks on the market; it has surpassed them to become the high-end choice for media professionals, enthusiasts, and general Mac fans alike. As such, the MacBook Pro is our new Editors’ Choice for high-end desktop replacement laptop PCs.

Design and Features
The MacBook Pro 15-inch (Retina Display) carries the same Jony Ive–design DNA as previous systems—it’s all aluminum unibody chassis, glass, and black plastic for the keyboard. In fact, it still looks like a MacBook Pro, which is good news, because the cachet of the Apple ID is part of the reason people go nuts for the company’s products. It even feels similar to previous models in your hand, though it’s noticeably thinner and lighter (4.46 pounds versus 5.6 pounds); if you’ve held a 13-inch MacBook Air, you’re not too far off.

The 15.4-inch screen now looks more seamless, if that’s possible. The bezel around it is black, but unlike on the MacBook Air it’s of a piece with the screen glass. The screen electronics are built into the glass, which helps the laptop’s thin profile. Apple mentioned that the screen is less prone to glare than was the case with previous MacBooks, but the glare is still visible when you’re viewing a black background and if you’re really picky. If you want a matte-finish screen, for now you’ll have to go with the updated MacBook Pro with Ivy Bridge.

The Retina display itself is glorious. The resolution is 2,880 by 1,800, which sounds like a lot, but text is scaled so it doesn’t look too small. Instead of making the letters smaller like on the iPhone 4 or 4S (to see this effect, use one to visit a non-mobile-optomized Website), Apple kept the font sizes consistent with what you’d expect in the real world and just made them smoother. In contrast, text on a MacBook Air looks smooth from your seat, but the individual letters are still jaggy close up. Text on the new MacBook Pro looks smooth from both far away and close up, as if it were laser printed on paper.

The real magic is when you view photos (and high-res video). You can view images straight from your camera and they will look more like printed images than electronic ones. Look at a geometric form, like a picket fence in front of a yellow wall, and the lines look smooth, not jaggy. Likewise, a 1,920-by-1,080 HD video takes up a relatively small portion of the screen at full resolution, leaving the video editor with lots of space for timelines, toolbars, and other interface items. It’s almost like having a dual 20-inch-screen setup in a 15-inch diagonal space. When playing back 1080p video full screen, the improved IPS display exhibits rich colors, deep blacks, and a generally pleasant viewing experience. It really is like having a large-screen HDTV you can rest on your lap.

If there’s any drawback to the Retina display, it’s that all of your existing Mac applications will have to be updated for it (kind of like what happened with the iPhone 4/4S and latest iPad). Apple-sourced apps like Safari, Final Cut Pro, and Aperture look terrific, but non-optimized apps like Google Chrome will show upscaled and jaggy fonts. It’s a problem that’s likely to go away as more developers update their programs, but it’s an annoyance right now.

The power button has moved to the upper right of the keyboard proper, like it is on the MacBook Air. The island-style keyboard has the same feel as the MacBook Air; key travel feels shallower than the previous MacBook Pro. The function keys match those of the MacBook Air, which may be a hang-up for people with older-generation MacBook Pros, particularly ones made before the advent of Mission Control and the Launchpad in Mac OS X Lion. The backlighting is everything we expect from a MacBook, clearly visible in a darkened room. After several straight hours of playing back video during our battery rundown test the bottom of the system was still cool to the touch, demonstrating the new chassis’ cooling capabilties.

There is a full-size HDMI port on the side of the laptop. The new MagSafe 2 port is wider yet shorter than the previous style, so you’ll need an adapter for existing LED Cinema and Apple Thunderbolt Displays, as well as older power adapters. (Newly purchased Thunderbolt Displays will come with the MagSafe 2 adapter.) The USB 3.0 ports aren’t colored blue like they are on some Windows PCs, but because there aren’t any USB 2.0 ports on this MacBook Pro, you won’t need color coding to tell the difference.

Copying a 1.22GB test folder from a USB 3.0 drive took 21 seconds, which is half the time we needed to copy the same folder using a USB 2.0 drive on the previous MacBook Pro. Speedier drives using the Thunderbolt interface are likely to be even faster. Two Thunderbolt ports are a boon for the video editor: You can connect up to 14 devices, seven devices per port. The system can also support at least two Thunderbolt Displays for more screen real estate. An SDXC slot and a headphone audio jack with headset support round out the ports.

One thing you won’t find on the new MacBook Pro is a DVD SuperDrive: The optical drive has been eliminated to benefit the new profile, which is 0.71 inch (18mm) at the thickest point (meeting the spec for 13.3-inch or smaller ultrabooks, and slimmer than the 21mm requirement for 14-inch or larger ultrabooks). The MacBook Pro is the same height as both (11- and 13-inch) MacBook Air models at their thickest points, an impressive feat. The slim profile prevents Apple from using Ethernet and FireWire 800 ports (they simply won’t fit); if you need either, you’ll need to buy adapter cables (at $29 each). Using a Thunderbolt Display is also an option, as it has built-in FireWire 800 and Ethernet. On the plus side, the MacBook Pro includes 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with 2.4GHz and 5GHz support, as well as Bluetooth 4.0, so you’ll be able to connect to almost any hotspot or wireless audio device.

The system comes with Mac OS X Lion 10.7.4, so you’ll get all the same iLife apps and familiar Mac OS interface. Systems purchased now will be eligible for a free upgrade to Mac OS X Mountain Lion (Mac OS X 10.8 in all but name) when it is released in a month or so. Mountain Lion will introduce iMessage, Notification Center, Power Nap, AirPlay, and lots of other iOS-like features to the MacBook Pro and other Macs.

Performance
The MacBook Pro’s 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3615QM (Ivy Bridge) processor comes with integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000. The laptop features Kepler-based Nvidia GeForce GT 650M discrete graphics for speedier 3D and media processing when you need it. The system also has 8GB of 1,600MHz DDR3 memory and 256GB of flash storage. All these components work together to make sure the MacBook Pro is fast. Testing in Mac OS X, the results were quick: a score of 6.18 on CineBench R11.5, and times of 1 minute 33 seconds rendering our video in Handbrake and 3:42 completing our test script in Adobe Photoshop CS5. This is similar to the previous Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Late 2011) ($1,799 direct, 4 stars) (which scored 5.08 in Cinebench, 1:30 in Handbrake, and 3:39 in CS5) and significantly better than the Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Late 2011) ($2,199 direct, 4 stars) (which scored 5.07 in Cinebench, 1:53 in Handbrake, and 3:58 in CS5), which isn’t surprising: Remember that the new MacBook Pro, with its Retina Display, needs to push out a lot more pixels than the previous models with their 1,440-by-900-resolution displays. That said, both this and the last-generation MacBook Pro laptops are fast for this category.

Booting the system was quick: It was ready in a few seconds, as opposed to a hard drive–based machine that can take up to a minute to boot. Waking from sleep was instantaneous, and sleep will have positive improvements when Mac OS X Mountain Lion is released. Mountain Lion includes Power Nap, which continues to update your social networks, iCloud, and email over your Wi-Fi network while the system sleeps. We have to wait for Apple to release Boot Camp drivers for its system before we run our other Windows-based benchmark tests for comparison. Stay tuned for those results.

The new MacBook Pro is purported to be able to stay asleep for up to 30 days and not lose your work. When we tested the previous-generation MacBook Air, we found that its sleep claims were accurate, so we don’t doubt them for the MacBook Pro. Apple’s predictions of “up to seven hours” of battery life (on a wireless Web test with the non-replaceable 95Wh lithium-polymer battery) were spot on: We checked the MacBook Pro with our ten-hour video rundown test with the backlight set to 50 percent and Wi-Fi and keyboard backlight both activated, and we managed an impressive 6 hours 53 minutes.

The big problem with trying to compare this MacBook Pro to other systems is that there really isn’t anything else like it in either the Mac or Windows worlds. Its Retina display, two Thunderbolt ports, and thinner construction help the MacBook Pro earn its price premium over the older MacBook Pro with optical drive (which itself is now available with Ivy Bridge). Ultrabook and ultraportable systems like the Samsung Series 9 15-inch (NP900X4B-A02US) ($1,499 list, 4 stars), HP Envy 14 Spectre ($1,399.99 list, 4 stars), and Lenovo IdeaPad U300s ($1,495 list, 4 stars) all do slim with somewhat large screens, thin chassis, and speedy SSDs, but are left in the dust with slower processors, no discrete graphics, and much lower-resolution screens; even with their optional upgrades, they can’t reach the MacBook Pro’s feature set.

Thanks to its Retina display, the new MacBook Pro is also way ahead of the current crop of laptops, and likely to stay there for some time. You need to go with a big, bulky laptop like the latest 17-inch HP Envy 17 (2012) to get a laptop with a 1,920-by-1,080 display . (Speaking of which, the 17-inch MacBook Pro has been discontinued.) The new MacBook Pro has a higher-resolution screen (2,880 by 1,800 versus 1,920 by 1,200), even though it is physically smaller than the 17-inch MacBook Pro; on the other hand, it’s much more portable. Thanks to its new display, flash memory, up-to-date graphics and processor, and ultra-thin construction, the new MacBook Pro 15-inch with Retina display outperforms, outclasses, and outlasts the Samsung Series 7 (NP700Z5A-S03), and roars in (like a Lion) to be our new Editors’ Choice for high-end desktop replacement laptops.