Toshiba is working on a high-PPI competitor to the 13" Retina-equipped MacBook Pro, and the firm appears to have let the cat out of the bag a little early. A press release went out this morning announcing the KIRAbook, a 13" machine with an impressive 2560x1440 display resolution. However, that press release seems to have been removed from Toshiba's site along with the product page for the new notebook. The only official confirmation that remains is a user guide (PDF) with precious few details on the machine. Fortunately, Bing has cached the original release, which was apparently supposed to go out tomorrow, April 18.
The KIRAbook's PixelPure display packs 221 pixels per inch, according to the release, putting it only slightly behind the pixel density of the MacBook Pro's display. The 13" Apple system has a 2560x1600 resolution; both displays have the same number of horizontal pixels, but the Retina boasts more vertical pixels thanks to its taller 16:10 aspect ratio.
While the MacBook lacks a touchscreen, Toshiba says the KIRAbook will be available with or without capacitive sensors built into the display. The option to configure the system without a touchscreen is certainly welcome, and I imagine a lot of folks will take advantage of it. Touchscreens make perfect sense for convertible devices, but we're talking about an ultrabook here.
Yes, the KIRAbook is thin enough to gain entry into Intel's exclusive club. The system measures just 0.7" thick and weighs a scant 2.6 lbs. The AZ91 magnesium alloy used to construct the chassis probably deserves some of the credit for the system's light weight. Toshbia says this material is 100% stronger than aluminum, and the company used honeycomb structures to improve rigidity in key areas. The metal chassis is probably a looker, too. I can't find any pictures online, but here's what the press release has to say:
Products that will carry the KIRA name will be more than a collection of the latest hardware technologies, but a statement of craftsmanship, fit and finish, and features built for the consumer's benefit, not technology's sake.
Translation: the KIRAbook won't be cheap. Prices will range from $1600-2000 when systems go up for pre-order on May 3. You'll have a choice of configurations with Ivy-based Core i5 and i7 processors, and it looks like SSDs and DDR3-1600 RAM will be part of the package. There's no word on discrete graphics options, though. You'll probably be stuck with Ivy Bridge integrated graphics, which will no doubt struggle with games at the native resolution. That said, I'm happy to see another notebook maker venturing into ultra-high-resolution display territory, even if it's with a premium machine that lacks a discrete GPU.