The basic 13-inch MacBook Pro Retina has a faster CPU, but it is worth noting that the 13-inch MacBook Air has faster storage (the only Mac that has the new superfast PCIe SSD drive) and more powerful graphics (Intel 5000) in addition to being easier to carry.
It is a more even comparison than it would seem from just looking at the CPU, and it has been said in the press that users should consider the MacBook Air 13" as the new default computer choice. I have used 15" MacBook Pros for many years, but the price/performance ratio of the Airs has climbed so much recently that I think my next laptop is a loaded 13" MacBook Air.
Reason to buy the Macbook Pro (non-retina)
over the Macbook Air:
1. RAM can be upgraded up to 16 gig in Mackbook Pro
(actually purchase RAM from OWC or Newegg as it
it is much cheaper that Appple). The Air, what you get
is what you live with for ever.
2. You will be able to get off the shelf 2.5" HDD or SSD and
easily upgrade the MBP in the future. As, SSD densities
increase and price per gigabyte go down this is a very
attractive option to have. Also, if the drive dies, you can
easily replace it with the afore mentioned off the shelf drives.
Air, SSD is special form factor and is available only through
a very limited number of suppliers.
3. MBP better performance than Air.
4. MBP has internal CD/DVD drive if that is needed. No need to
carry an extra box around.
Reason to get Macbook Air:
Thin, light easy to carry with somewhat of a wow factor (although not
as much as it once was).
what about the resolution differences?
13" pro is 1280*800 and 13" air is 1440*900.
Since you'll be writing code, the higher resolution of the Pro may help you if you plan to have multiple windows or panes of code and you want to be able to spread out document windows and see them side by side. A lot of people prefer the Retina for reading text (like code). But if you think you will do most of your coding in one big window, then you may not need high resolution as much.
So think about your working habits. If you're a "one app fills the whole screen" guy, the Air screen is fine. If you're a multi-window worker like me, you might want the higher Pro resolution.
I like woodmeister50's point that if you want to get a Pro, the non-Retina is nice because it is so flexible and upgradable. That's why I own a non-Retina 15" Pro. But it's heavy. This is the problem...the 13" Pro is not as well specced as the 15" Pro so the 13" Pro is harder to justify against the 13" Air.
between the pro and the new Air, the new AIR is "better" in that it has a SSD, much longer batt. life, Haswell processor, and 802ac, no other MAC has those features,....also its like packing around an IPAD size and weight wise.
SSD over the HD (I have both) is much faster (a lot) startup time and faster read/ write speeds. Also NO MOVING parts or HD crashes (head crash) possible on a SSD ,,,,,,(well, no convention crashes are possible that is, since there are no disks and flying heads)
However your choice is subjective. having both myself, my Pro collects dust,
.....the AIR is just as powerful... and the new AIR is moreso, and starts much quicker due to SSD and so easy to pack around or open and turn on and check things quickly
Unless you plan on gaming, or video editing, get the AIR
As to the graphics, many people with BOTH (myself as well) prefer the AIR monitor better,.... its a bit more contrasty and sharper to look at for longer periods (as against the NON retina Macbook PRO in reference)
I have a similar dilemma. Replacing a 2009 MBP and a 2010 MBA into 1 single device. The MBP was replacement to 2 older Mac laptops. The MBA because I travel the world with work and it is less weight to carry around. However, today there is less of a flne line separating the MBP and MBA than in years past.
Both have 13", both have SSD, both are nearly equal in other asspects if you discount the retina screen.
I went back to the Apple store today to play around with new models of both and it's a toss up. The one advantage to the MBP is the retina display. Plus, come August and certainly by September the MBP will have the Haswell processor which will take less power.
As the MPB and MBA have morphed towards each other I wonder why there are still 2 lines. Other than the 11" MBA which is extremely light to carry or the retina display ... the MBP and MBA seem to edge closer and closer to being the same device.
If you can wait. Follow my lead and wait until this time in August to see if the MBP gets upgraded.
As of now the one thing that leans me towards the MBP is the retina display which is a big thing for movies.