Originally Posted by Gazoobee
I didn't mean that they were poseurs for disagreeing with my opinion. Everyone is free to do that of course (and often does). :)
I see hundreds of Apple laptops a year in my job, being bought by all kinds of people for all kinds of uses and in my experience, over the long haul, and on average, almost no one buys a 15" or a 17" MacBook Pro, although the 15" is far more popular than the 17". Those that do (again IMO), tend to be show-offs, or concerned with having the "biggest/best" laptop in the room far more than they are concerned with issues connected with actually using the machine.
All the real pros I know are more likely to be using a 13", or maybe a 15" if they need the screen size. I would say the majority of the power users and the majority of users in general have already moved to MacBook Airs. The 17" MacBook Pro is just over the top for almost everyone (only 1.6% of all Mac laptop users have a 17" model by the numbers in the article).
When someone comes into my office with one of these beasts, most of the staff kind of roll their eyes when the person isn't looking as it's usually someone with more money and more pride than they have common sense. It's not nice to hear perhaps, but it's true in my neck of the woods anyway.
Usage depends upon what your job actually is. If all you do with a computer is check email, surf the web, write small Word documents and simple spreadsheets, than a 13" might be good enough and a 15" is more than good enough. In fact, for those people, a Pad might be good enough, especially if you get the external keyboard. What I think we're starting to see when people talk about the post-PC era, is really a split between people who consume content and those who create (serious) content. For many people, a full-fledged computer is overboard, because they don't actually do much with it.
But if you do the kind of work where you have many apps open at the same time, do serious Photoshop or Illustrator work (or their equivalents), writing code where the code is in one window and the page results are in another and especially if doing things like video editing, you need the larger screen. If you want to argue that you can use a small laptop with an external display, fine, but that kind of kills part of the idea of a laptop.
I don't know why everyone thinks this needs to be an either/or situation. Apple needs to support all kinds of users and as I've written before, even if you don't sell a lot of units at the top, what you sell as top-of-the-line is what gives the product line its reputation. And you definitely want to keep your most critical users who want the high-end machines because those tend to be the users with the most influence.
At the office, I actually now work with two large monitors. It's the only way for me to work efficiently when I'm constantly moving between spreadsheets, a Word document, design tools and an older version of an app for which I'm writing the specs for an update.
Some people might "roll their eyes" when I go to events with my camera case that includes four lenses, but it's what I need to get the job done. The same is true for the computer. The other issue is that we're constantly increasing "resolution" on ever smaller screen sizes. This might be fine for a 22-year-old, but for us baby-boomers, our eyes aren't what they used to be and I can't read the equivalent of 4 pt type. So even though I regularly use my 15" pro, I want to see the 17" pro stay in the lineup. The only reason I didn't buy the 17" when I last upgraded was because of the cost.
So if someone walks in with a top-of-the-line 17" and all they do is surf the web, post to Facebook, check email and respond with 2-sentences, then I definitely agree that the "eye-roll" is in order. But if it's someone who does real, complex work with professional-level applications, then the 17" just might be the right tool for the right job. Today we would consider a 17" external monitor to be too small, so why is it too large for a laptop?