The Retina display on Apple's new top-of-the-line MacBook Pro is eye-popping. So is the price, if you want all the fixings.
The 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro -- unveiled by Apple at its Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on Monday -- starts at $2,199. That's the price for the most basic configuration, with a 2.3GHz processor and no upgrades in storage or any accessories. As an experiment in excess, I decided to find out how much money I could hypothetically spend on the new MacBook Pro, if I upgraded every spec, purchased every accessory, and turned down no augmentation, embellishment, or anything, really, that Apple offered me during checkout.
It was a little like the Jim Carrey movie "Yes Man," if "Yes Man" followed a character who couldn't say no to any internal hardware enhancements.
So how much money would you spend on a new Retina MacBook Pro if you upgraded everything and bought every accessory offered to you in the shopping process? Turns out: About $9,000. For a new laptop. You could buy a perfectly lovely two-bedroom house in Stockton, Calif., for that much cash.
Anyway, here's how I got to the $9,000 MacBook from the advertised $2,199 starting price:
First, forget the 2.3 GHz processor; we're going big. Upgrade to the 2.6 GHz processor ($600) for improved performance. Total MacBook price: $2,799.00.
Did we say 2.6 GHz processor? Because there's a faster one available, you know. You don't want a slower Intel chip inside your best-in-class machine, do you? I didn't think so. Let's upgrade to the 2.7 GHz processor ($250) and put our minds at ease. Total price: $3,049.00.
Next, the baseline MacBook Pro comes equipped with 8GB RAM. But wait: You can increase your RAM to 16GB ($200), with the promise of faster performance and the ability "to run more applications at the same time." This is necessary, as I often watch eight Netflix movies at once while also playing World of Warcraft and yelling at strangers on ChatRoulette. Total price: $3,249.00.
Now let's talk storage. The Retina MacBook is stocked with 512GB of storage, which is fine if you only have 125,000 songs in your iTunes library. But what if you have 185,000 songs you need to store? Upgrade to 768GB of flash storage ($500) and don't leave any tune behind. Total price: $3,749.00.
How about peripherals? Apple's USB SuperDrive lets you play and burn CDs and DVDs and connects to your Retina MacBook via USB. It costs $79 and will be totally worth it when you're trying to listen to your old Blues Travelers albums. You can also add on a 27-inch monitor ($999), which seems somewhat counterintuitive if you're paying all this money for a beautiful Retina display, but what the heck -- it's only money, right? Total price: $4,827.00.
Apple's customer service is legendary: Not only are the Apple store Geniuses convenient and helpful, Apple also makes it helpfully convenient to purchase their services the moment you buy your MacBook! You can add three years of AppleCare support -- that includes chatting with technicians over the telephone as well as hardware maintenance -- for $349. You can also append a membership to "One to One" service at the Apple Store, which gives you a year's worth of courses where the Geniuses will teach you how to use your new computer. Add $99. Total price: $5,275.00.
And then we came to the accessories: Throw in a Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet connector ($29.00), a MiniDisplay Port to VGA Adapter ($29.00), a MiniDisplay Port to DVI Adapter ($29.00), a Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI Adapter ($99.00), a Thunderbolt cable ($49.00), an extra MagSafe power adapter ($79.00), and a converter for your old MagSafe adapter to use on your new MacBook ($9.99). Just throw it all in the bag, please! Total price: $5,598.99.
And finally: Here's the part where everything just gets crazy expensive: Add the wireless Time Capsule external hard drive (3 terrabytes) to constantly back-up your MacBook ($499). If that's not enough space, you can also toss in a 12 terrabyte Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt-Connected External Hard Drive ($2,499.00), just in case you are storing an entire movie studio's films on your MacBook. You can bundle in an Apple TV at this point -- Apple introduced full-screen mirroring to your television via Apple TV at the WWDC keynote -- and Apple will give you one for the low price of $99.00, a generous discount of $0 when you spend $8,000 or more on a notebook.
Finally, you are presented with the choice of three Epson printers. Let's just go with the most expensive one ($129.95) because, hey, why not.
Your final price: $8,825.94. That may seem like a lot of money to spend on a laptop that you use to check your email and watch the occasional pornographic video, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel: Shipping is free on orders over $50.
Check out photos (below) from Apple's unveiling of the new MacBook Pro with Retina display.