15-inch Macbook on the way?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited November 2015

Will the Chinese consumer's taste for 15-inch laptops finally persuade Apple to stop torturing its similarly minded, wallet-conscious customers everywhere else? Will this year's 12-inch Macbook be followed by a 15-inch version? This fall? Next year? Any hope for a 15-inch, non-Pro laptop from Apple that's on the thin side and doesn't cost an arm and a leg?

 

Especially interested to hear arguments/rationales based on parts and chips in the pipeline and such.... Personally, I think it'd be great if we got a 15-inch Macbook Air, or a 15-inch Macbook that wasn't quite as thin as the 12-inch so it could accommodate a comfier keyboard, a beefier processor and maybe a few more ports, but I know that's probably wishful thinking indeed...

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    coverto wrote: »
    Will the Chinese consumer's taste for 15-inch laptops finally persuade Apple to stop torturing its similarly minded, wallet-conscious customers everywhere else? Will this year's 12-inch Macbook be followed by a 15-inch version? This fall? Next year? Any hope for a 15-inch, non-Pro laptop from Apple that's on the thin side and doesn't cost an arm and a leg?
    god I hope not.
    Especially interested to hear arguments/rationales based on parts and chips in the pipeline and such.... Personally, I think it'd be great if we got a 15-inch Macbook Air, or a 15-inch Macbook that wasn't quite as thin as the 12-inch so it could accommodate a comfier keyboard, a beefier processor and maybe a few more ports, but I know that's probably wishful thinking indeed...
    The problem here is why would you buy a castrated 15" laptop?
  • Reply 2 of 20

    I think it is highly likely that a new MacBook Pro is in the works. When Apple retires the current model, the new one should have a much slimmer form factor - something approaching the 12" MacBook but without compromising on power. I guess it'll need to be a bit thicker than the 12" MacBook to accommodate a decent Skylake chipset. If it can add a larger screen, say 14", and a 1TB SSD hard drive as standard, then it would be a useful upgrade versus the current MBP. 

     

    Whatever's coming down the pipe, everyone likes the form factor of the MacBook and its retina screen. What people don't like is its lack of computing power. That's clear, so Apple will certainly be working on something that addresses the pent-up demand for something thin and powerful.

  • Reply 3 of 20
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member

    my wallet is ready for a 14 or 15" MacBook Air.

     

    I simply can't afford a MacBook Pro. My current 15" MacBook Pro is getting creaky and has that nVidia gfx bug. All current browsers chug slowly. I am thinking maybe time for new kit. Was thinking sometime next year. Hoping there will be a MBA 14" or at least refurb 15" MBPs will come down in price.

     

    There is a space for such a thing product. I do not think it will cannibalize other models. Just add customers falling kinda 'in between' now. Otherwise I'll wait another year or two, for a refurb MacBook Pro to become affordable. 

  • Reply 4 of 20
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    aquatic wrote: »
    my wallet is ready for a 14 or 15" MacBook Air.
    It could be awhile.
    I simply can't afford a MacBook Pro. My current 15" MacBook Pro is getting creaky and has that nVidia gfx bug. All current browsers chug slowly. I am thinking maybe time for new kit. Was thinking sometime next year. Hoping there will be a MBA 14" or at least refurb 15" MBPs will come down in price.
    I went from a very old and very dead 15" MBP to a new 13" MBP for similar reasons. That is I couldn't justify the cost of the 15" machine. I must say I'm pretty pleased with the 13" MBP. As for costs you need to carefully weigh that against the Air series.

    There is a space for such a thing product. I do not think it will cannibalize other models. Just add customers falling kinda 'in between' now. Otherwise I'll wait another year or two, for a refurb MacBook Pro to become affordable. 
    I'm a big fan of a 12, 14 & 16" line up to the MBP series. This might never happen but hey we can wish. As for the Air I'm not certain where Apple will go with this model. It will probably remain in the line up as Apple 15 watt machine. It is actually very useful for them to maintain product categories based on processor wattage/performance. The Airs are certainly better performers than the Mac Book and the MBP provides a good boost over then Airs.

    Speaking of performance, under El CAPITAN my MBP in general is a massive performance increase over the 2008 MBP I owned before. However from time to time I have wished for more performance mostly in the way of cores for lost of tasks at once. The other thing to realize is that battery performance reflects a rating for things that are easy on the processor. Try compiling a large C++ code base and you can see the battery drain fairly rapidly as the machine compiles. Expect to be tethered to a power supply if you do anything processor intensive.
  • Reply 5 of 20
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,780member

    Dell just introduced their Skylake 15", which includes Thunderbolt 3 (though not USB 3.1), a thin bezel and and hits the magic weight of 4lbs.

     

    This comes after Redmond just went public with a 13" MacBook Pro competitor that also looks pretty good. If this continues for much longer, the next MacBook Pro rev will really look like a "Me Too" update.

  • Reply 6 of 20
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    frank777 wrote: »
    Dell just introduced their Skylake 15", which includes Thunderbolt 3 (though not USB 3.1), a thin bezel and and hits the magic weight of 4lbs.
    As such we can expect an Apple update soon.
    This comes after Redmond just went public with a 13" MacBook Pro competitor that also looks pretty good. If this continues for much longer, the next MacBook Pro rev will really look like a "Me Too" update.

    Baloney! If somebody copies your designs the next rev can't possibly be considered a me too design. All it is, is a rev to that was copied.

    That being said USB-C and other technologies will allow Apple to deliver a very compelling upgrade in my opinion, I'm expecting a significant rev to the hardware. The question is this, is all that new technology ready. In that regard I'm not sure because I would have expected more form Dell too.

    Hopefully next week will tell.
  • Reply 7 of 20
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    This is asked every time a refresh is anticipated, yet they haven't broken the pattern thus far. The current 15" rmbp is 4 pounds. If you compare the 13" rmbp to the 13" mb in terms of weight ratios, you'll see that you wouldn't drop much weight there. You might go from 3.96 pounds to around 3.25. The macbook has lower specs than the 13" rmbp, yet it currently starts at the same price. I don't think you would see anything below $1700-1800 if you're lucky compared to $2k today.

     

    15" has always been the most popular size, and it has nothing to do with China. It's the most popular everywhere, yet Apple has maintained the same pricing strategy. This is just wishful thinking at the moment unless you have something to back it up.

  • Reply 8 of 20
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,780member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hmm View Post

     

    The current 15" rmbp is 4 pounds.


     

    Actually, the current 15" is 4.49 pounds.

     

    I've been critical of Apple's obsession with shrinking the iMac's size in the past, but I've also said repeatedly that dropping the half-pound on the 15" would lead to a surge in sales from a lot of pros who currently choose the 13" just for portability.

     

    It sounds a bit silly, but I think 4lbs is really the magic number for 15", and Dell has managed to hit it first. How embarrassing.

  • Reply 9 of 20
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

     

     

    Actually, the current 15" is 4.49 pounds.

     

    I've been critical of Apple's obsession with shrinking the iMac's size in the past, but I've also said repeatedly that dropping the half-pound on the 15" would lead to a surge in sales from a lot of pros who currently choose the 13" just for portability.

     

    It sounds a bit silly, but I think 4lbs is really the magic number for 15", and Dell has managed to hit it first. How embarrassing.


     

    I was going from memory, but it seems you are correct. The 15" is 4.49 pounds. The 13" is 3.46. I thought it was closer to 3. The macbook is very light by comparison at 2.03 pounds. This suggests 2.63 pounds for a 15" macbook give or take. I just used the 13" rmbp to 13" macbook ratio. Note that the 13" macbook starts at $1300 just like the 13" rmbp. I could see Apple drifting back toward $1700-1800 for a starting price on the 15" models, but I don't think that's what the OP meant by affordable. Quite frequently I feel like people project assumptions of a 30% price drop due to a new generation of chips. I think that level of change is unlikely, and even with a moderate drop, you're likely to see things like undesirable base storage configurations.

     

    4 pounds would be nice. I mean I wasn't even bothered by the weight of a 17", but it is noticeable once you go to something lower in weight.

  • Reply 10 of 20
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,780member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hmm View Post

     

     

    I was going from memory, but it seems you are correct. The 15" is 4.49 pounds. The 13" is 3.46. I thought it was closer to 3. The macbook is very light by comparison at 2.03 pounds. This suggests 2.63 pounds for a 15" macbook give or take. I just used the 13" rmbp to 13" macbook ratio. Note that the 13" macbook starts at $1300 just like the 13" rmbp. I could see Apple drifting back toward $1700-1800 for a starting price on the 15" models, but I don't think that's what the OP meant by affordable. Quite frequently I feel like people project assumptions of a 30% price drop due to a new generation of chips. I think that level of change is unlikely, and even with a moderate drop, you're likely to see things like undesirable base storage configurations.

     

    4 pounds would be nice. I mean I wasn't even bothered by the weight of a 17", but it is noticeable once you go to something lower in weight.




    The straight comparison is too low, since we know the new 15" can't drop all the ports the way the MacBook did.

    I'm hoping we get to the 4lb level.

     

    A drop in the starting price would also be cool, since we can't upgrade anything inside anymore.

  • Reply 11 of 20
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post

     



    The straight comparison is too low, since we know the new 15" can't drop all the ports the way the MacBook did.

    I'm hoping we get to the 4lb level.

     

    A drop in the starting price would also be cool, since we can't upgrade anything inside anymore.


    There's no way to tell about ports with Apple. A 15" based around the macbook might drop to 1-2 ports. I can't see less than 2 for some form of connectivity including a display as well as a charger. I hate that limitation, but it becomes a much bigger issue if a battery begins to fail.



    I was considering a best case scenario from the perspective of the purchaser. The 13" model started at the same pricing level. It could come down in price later, but that has yet to be determined. Based on that, I still don't foresee a 15" model coming in beneath $1700 under any circumstances. As I pointed out the popularity of 15" notebooks isn't new.

  • Reply 12 of 20
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    hmm wrote: »
    There's no way to tell about ports with Apple. A 15" based around the macbook might drop to 1-2 ports. I can't see less than 2 for some form of connectivity including a display as well as a charger. I hate that limitation, but it becomes a much bigger issue if a battery begins to fail.
    I really doubt that the port count has a significant impact on the weight of the 15" machine. This mainly due to Apple using all available space inside the enclosure for something. If a number of ports are not available then the space freed up would go to battery or other functionality.

    That being said I really don't think you can have a successful Pro model without several Ports being available. Ports are simply an expectation in that market.

    I was considering a best case scenario from the perspective of the purchaser. The 13" model started at the same pricing level. It could come down in price later, but that has yet to be determined. Based on that, I still don't foresee a 15" model coming in beneath $1700 under any circumstances. As I pointed out the popularity of 15" notebooks isn't new.

    There seems to be a trend though to smaller 13" inch machines. I was left with the impression that the majority of Apples volume is in below 15" laptops. A good part of Apples line up is sub 15" and that wouldn't be the case if that wasn't where the demand was.
  • Reply 13 of 20

    It is becoming increasingly obvious how Apple's notebook line-up will evolve. There will be two ranges as before, with the MacBook line-up likely to replace the MacBook Air and with the MacBook Pro continuing as before:

     

    1. The MacBook Air range will become simply the MacBook line-up once Skylake processors are incorporated. A refreshed 12" retina MacBook with Skylake should be capable of replacing the 11" model once it gets a Skylake chip. This could come in November, although it may be delayed until January if such an upgrade cycle is deemed to be too close to the initial product launch. It seems possible that a new larger retina MacBook may also be introduced to replace the 13" MacBook Air. If this happens, it would utilise the same ultra-slim form factor with a larger display screen. My money is on a 14" display instead of a 13" one to ensure greater differentiation versus the 12" model. I don't think we'll get a 15" MacBook. Both models will be offered with a range of processor choices to suit different user needs and budgets.

     

    2. The MacBook Pro range should also be updated. They may stick with the existing form factors of 13" and 15" while offering more powerful Skylake chips. At some point, we will see a revised form-factor, hopefully with slimmer unibody desigsn plus the new butterfly keyboard, improved displays and USB-C. It could be that the display sizes evolve from 13" and 15" to 14" and 16". The 13" model will continue to have an integrated graphics processor while the 15" model will have a discrete option. There are no signs that a new MacBook Pro model is under development, so a revised design may still be 12-months away. That said, a revised version of the current design, which is simply thinner and lighter could be easily accomplished. 

     

    The market is certainly ready for lighter laptops that offer more power, higher resolution screens and increased battery life. 

  • Reply 14 of 20
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,780member

    Okay, that new iPad has had its day in the sun. Where's my new MacBook Pro? :)

  • Reply 15 of 20
    I love the idea of a 14" MacBook Pro but it must have a quad core i7 as an option. 
  • Reply 16 of 20
    Thanks all for the replies. At this point, having seen all the reports and rumors since my original post, my own gut tells me that the 12-inch MacBook is indeed a template for a new, ultra-thin line to replace the Air, with a 14-inch model in the works for 2016. Unfortunately, I also fear that the MacBook Pro will be the only way to get the presumptive upcoming 16-inch version, so Apple's merciless torture of those who like their screen real estate will continue...
  • Reply 17 of 20
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,780member
    Okay, this is getting ridiculous. HP has now shown their new MacBook-inspired 12".

    Actually, it looks more like a MacBook Air with a Retina Display and TB3/USB-C. Which is all people wanted anyway.
    It shows up in March.

    Hopefully we don't have to wait that long for new MacBook Pros.
  • Reply 18 of 20
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,780member
    I wonder if the Skylake bug has had any serious impact on Apple's shipping schedules.

    If Intel has indeed "recalled the defective processors" it could leave Apple waiting awhile for the millions of processors it needs to launch.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,720member
    frank777 said:
    I wonder if the Skylake bug has had any serious impact on Apple's shipping schedules.

    If Intel has indeed "recalled the defective processors" it could leave Apple waiting awhile for the millions of processors it needs to launch.
    Intel hasn't recalled the processor yet.   The reference in that article is to a previous screw up on Intels part.  

    Given that hat it really sucks that Intel gets a free pass with respect to these bugs.   Imagine if AMD released a processor with such a bug.   This isn't the first time either, many bugs end up glossed over with micro code updates or get completely ignored.   

    As as for Apple it would be interesting to know if they have already seen this bug in their testing.  Apple does have pretty strong quality control but they would never reveal such an issue public ally before a product ships.  In fact I'm pretty sure some Apple machines where delayed in the past waiting for a new processor stepping to fix an issue in an Intel release.  If this is yet another delay in Apples SkyLake plans then I'd have to imagine that they are pretty pissed right about now as I can't imagine them wanting to ship a machine with a processor with known issues.  
  • Reply 20 of 20
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,780member
    "We believe the March quarter will be the most difficult one."

    Yikes. The MacBook Pros really aren't coming anytime soon.
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