MacBook Pro with Retina Display to Cost $1,699: Report

Apple's media event on Tuesday will likely center on the release of the iPad Mini, but the company may also showcase a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

While most of the media speculation around Apple’s Oct. 23 event has centered around the debut of a smaller version of iPad tablet, informally dubbed the iPad Mini, rumors are also circulating that Apple will introduce a 13-inch MacBook Pro notebook featuring the company’s high-definition Retina display. A report from Apple-centric blog 9to5Mac said the notebook would carry a street price of $1,699, with higher-spec models costing $200 to $300 more.

On the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, Apple packed in more than 5 million pixels—a pixel density is so high that the human eye can’t discern individual pixels. It has a 29 percent higher contrast ratio than a standard MacBook Pro display, meaning whites are whiter, blacks are blacker, and images look richer and sharper overall. The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display starts at $2,199, while the MacBook Pro without the display starts at $1,799.

Photos purportedly showing design components of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina leaked online earlier this week on the Chinese site The photos show the battery layout of the notebook and the ports on the left and right sides of the device, as well as shots of 8GB of RAM from Japanese memory chip manufacturer Elpida, the main logic board and internals for the MacBook Pro’s various ports.

Apple’s media event Oct. 23 is likely to focus on the unveiling of the iPad Mini, which would enter an increasingly competitive tablet market. The device will reportedly feature a 7.85-inch screen and a price point starting around $250, putting it in competition with smaller tablets like Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which starts at $159, and the Google Nexus 7 tablet, which starts at $199.

The lion’s share of the tablet market currently belongs to Apple, which according to IT research firm IDC represents 68 percent of all tablets sold. Apple shipped 17 million iPads during the second quarter of 2012, up from 11.8 million units in the prior quarter. While many analysts have concluded the iPad Mini would be a success, it may come at the expense of its big brother. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote in a research note earlier this week that the smaller iPad could cannibalize 1 million regular iPad units in December, a 20 percent rate of cannibalization.

In addition to a smaller, thinner frame, the latest iPad is also likely to feature the Lightning connecting port found on Apple’s iPhone 5 and latest iPods, front and rear-facing cameras, WiFi connectivity, and black and white casing options. One feature the device probably won’t have is the Retina display, however. A survey earlier this year from Pricegrabber found 52 percent of respondents would consider purchasing an iPad Mini for approximately $250 to $300, but 3G wireless network connectivity and a Retina display were among the most-anticipated features.