Maxed out 2018 15-inch MacBook Pro at $6699 isn't Apple's most expensive laptop ever

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited July 12
The 15-inch MacBook Pro configured to the hilt is a very expensive machine, but it isn't even Apple's most expensive laptop in history.




Apple updated the MacBook Pro line with new processors and more configure-to-order options. Users can now get the 32GB that they have been clamoring for, in conjunction with a 4TB SSD, and a True Tone display.

However, this comes at a cost. With a six-core processor, 32GB of RAM, and the 4TB SSD, the machine hits a lofty $6699 -- and won't ship for a few weeks.

The complaining about that has already started. None of this is new, though: Apple has sold portables for more money, albeit briefly.

Twenty years ago

Apple had a very powerful portable in the PowerBook 3400c. Sporting a 240MHz 603ev processor, Apple advertised the machine as the fastest notebook available -- and they weren't wrong.

In November 1997, the company used the same chassis for the first PowerBook G3, which long-time AppleInsider readers may have called the "Kanga." It wasn't a light machine, hitting 7 pounds 7 ounces. And, this author took one to sea for over two years.

In one swoop, with a faster motherboard and G3 processor, the new machine was twice as fast as the 3400c. It also came with a lofty price tag.

The "Kanga" PowerBook G3 originally sold for $6999 in November 1997, rapidly dropping to $5499 in January, and then $4500 a few weeks before it was discontinued. It had a 800x600 active matrix color display, 32MB of RAM expandable to 160MB with a custom RAM module, a 5GB hard drive, a 20x CD-ROM, a 33.6K modem that shared a port with the 10-base-T ethernet jack, and two battery bays which could be used for expansion modules.

That $6999 at launch in 1997 is roughly equivalent in buying power to over $10,000 in 2018.

The machine was the king of the hill for five months -- and couldn't ever run Mac OS X. In March 1998, it was replaced by the "Wallstreet" PowerBook G3, for much less money.

At what cost portable power?

The complaints about the MacBook Pro have varied "pro" to "pro." Keyboards have been a common complaint, with the lack of a 32GB of RAM option generally second, with the reality that it didn't have the fastest processor ever escalating recently in third.

There is no way to make one machine that will cater to and please everybody, no matter how hard Apple tries.

Regardless, the complaints have already begun about the price of the maxed out 2018 MacBook Pro. Now, as before, in both the iMac and MacBook Pro lines, power comes at a price -- and we're not sure why anybody would expect otherwise.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    plovellplovell Posts: 784member
    The Wallstreet was a much nicer machine too.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 23
    I am more than happy to spend $5k+ on a laptop, especially now that we have 6 cores, 32GB of ram, 4TB ssd's, and eGPU support. However, being 2018, I can't believe that it doesn't have a 4K display. 
    williamlondonharry wildlibertyforallAvieshekwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 23
    I am more than happy to spend $5k+ on a laptop, especially now that we have 6 cores, 32GB of ram, 4TB ssd's, and eGPU support. However, being 2018, I can't believe that it doesn't have a 4K display. 
    A 4K display means absolutely **nothing** on any portable device. 4K is a technology (spec) that is meant to be shown on very large displays, not a computing device. This is an affectation for people to demand/want 4K resolution if what they actually mean are simply more pixels. No one is going to watch a movie in 4K on their laptop and believe it was precisely the same experience as seeing that projected properly on a much wider canvas.

    If anything, one still can't believe that the display isn't more edge-to-edge. This continues to make the entire MacBook line still appear dated.
    racerhomie3williamlondonlibertyforallrazorpitrepressthisviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 23
    CuJoYYCCuJoYYC Posts: 22member
    Two words: Macintosh Portable.

    7 kilos of portable power (because 7 kg sounds so much lighter than 16 lbs), 16 MHz Moto 68000, an active matrix monochrome display, a trackball that actually made it to space on an IBM experiment, and a lead acid battery with which could could (almost) boost your car.

    Street price was ≈CDN$8100 … but it did come with a carrying case, so, you know, there's that. ;-)
    anome
  • Reply 5 of 23
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,560administrator
    CuJoYYC said:
    Two words: Macintosh Portable.

    7 kilos of portable power (because 7 kg sounds so much lighter than 16 lbs), 16 MHz Moto 68000, an active matrix monochrome display, a trackball that actually made it to space on an IBM experiment, and a lead acid battery with which could could (almost) boost your car.

    Street price was ≈CDN$8100 … but it did come with a carrying case, so, you know, there's that. ;-)
    I had considered including that one, but calling it a laptop is charitable.

    It was basically a compact mac with a hinged screen. Awesome machine, but so many problems.
    king editor the grateAvieshekrepressthisnhtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 23
    harry wildharry wild Posts: 539member
    Finally, Apple has caught up with Microsoft Surface Notebook!
    Avieshek
  • Reply 7 of 23
    libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 1,244member

    If anything, one still can't believe that the display isn't more edge-to-edge. This continues to make the entire MacBook line still appear dated.

    THIS!  And why no better than 720P camera and no FaceID?!

    Macs have some whimpy tech features compared to iOS devices.
    Avieshekwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 23
    I could never imagine spending nearly $7,000 on a laptop, and I do a lot of photo & video editing for my work. But I could see for some professionals it could be feasible. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,076member
    Best Apple computer for the price these days (in my opinion)? The iPad Pro with Bluetooth keyboard or keyboard case.
    razorpitrepressthis
  • Reply 10 of 23
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,720member
    I am more than happy to spend $5k+ on a laptop, especially now that we have 6 cores, 32GB of ram, 4TB ssd's, and eGPU support. However, being 2018, I can't believe that it doesn't have a 4K display. 
    A 4K display means absolutely **nothing** on any portable device. 4K is a technology (spec) that is meant to be shown on very large displays, not a computing device. This is an affectation for people to demand/want 4K resolution if what they actually mean are simply more pixels. No one is going to watch a movie in 4K on their laptop and believe it was precisely the same experience as seeing that projected properly on a much wider canvas.

    If anything, one still can't believe that the display isn't more edge-to-edge. This continues to make the entire MacBook line still appear dated.
    Yeah the screen is too small to take advantage of 4K or 5K as in my iMac. Hollywood producers on location might like the idea but really the concept of editing with a 4K or 5K screen is so you can see it as it will display on a home theater, but on a MBP 15 you are not going to be able to properly evaluate a professional 4K video because the screen is just too small.
    razorpitAvieshekwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 23

    If anything, one still can't believe that the display isn't more edge-to-edge. This continues to make the entire MacBook line still appear dated.

    THIS!  And why no better than 720P camera and no FaceID?!

    Macs have some whimpy tech features compared to iOS devices.
    Not sure why anyone would need anything better than a 720p and FaceID on the Mac.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 23
    $3400 seems a bit high for 4TB SSD... Any idea what brand they are using?
    LorenzoC.watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 683member
    Best Apple computer for the price these days (in my opinion)? The iPad Pro with Bluetooth keyboard or keyboard case.
    No - I have that and it's great for surfing and composing e-mails but until iOS gets a feature parity of the apps, a truly functional file manager and can fully function without WiFi I can't consider it a real computer. (Yes, I know you can use an iPad without a wifi connection, but iOS's habit of randomly removing files, e-mails and attachments from RAM so you can't access them unless you connect and re-download them means it is significantly crippled.)
    avon b7watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 23
    anomeanome Posts: 1,149member
    CuJoYYC said:
    Two words: Macintosh Portable.

    7 kilos of portable power (because 7 kg sounds so much lighter than 16 lbs), 16 MHz Moto 68000, an active matrix monochrome display, a trackball that actually made it to space on an IBM experiment, and a lead acid battery with which could could (almost) boost your car.

    Street price was ≈CDN$8100 … but it did come with a carrying case, so, you know, there's that. ;-)
    I had considered including that one, but calling it a laptop is charitable.

    It was basically a compact mac with a hinged screen. Awesome machine, but so many problems.
    Many a reviewer at the time mentioned how you needed thighs of steel to rest it on your lap. Lead acid batteries are so heavy, but one of the writers for The Sydney Morning Herald (I think, but it was definitely not Gareth Powell) did claim to have it working most of the way on a flight to London. No power points in your seat back then, but the tray table managed to hold it at least.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 23
    applelover27applelover27 Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    >There is no way to make one machine that will cater to and please everybody, no matter how hard Apple tries. Maybe having commonplace ports, graphics cards that compete with the desktop, a pro consumer repair policy, a lower apple tax, and function keys or a TouchBar that isn't a gimmick would be a nice start.
    edited July 12
  • Reply 16 of 23
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,609member
    Whatever!!! Don't have problem Apple charging higehr price for all the bells and whistles but Apple should have upgraded base model without torch strip/bar. Looks like Apple have lost it's way in laptop business. Instead of expanding bottom base, apple thinks everyone in high-school and college can afford ridiculously expensive Mabcook Pro, Shame on you, Apple.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    HyperealityHypereality Posts: 32unconfirmed, member
    If you buy the 512Gb model with 32Gb ram it's not that expensive. That's what I'll order. 

    My Macbooks have lasted at least twice as long as any Wintel laptop I ever owned,  so its lifetime cost of ownership that matters to me.  They are definitely worse than they used to be,  I wore off my S and A key after 4 years on the last macBook Pro and its limped a bit for the last year, but I bought it in 2013 and it has not been compelling to buy another till now.  So my $5000 laptop cost me $1000 a year, as I earn my living on it, that seems not particularly expensive. 

    If people just want a laptop and don't need Apple specific software, and lets face it, not many of us do, then there are lots of cheap alternatives.  If I didn't want to write Apple software I would happily buy another brand and put Ubuntu on it. 
      
    But if you want a fast SSD then Apples have high performance, its your choice, but with USB-C and the latest external SSD's for most uses a big SSD isn't required anyway.



     
    edited July 12 watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 23
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 683member
    So I just looked at Apple’s web site - the $6700 price taht’s Being thrown around is a bit mis leading. Yes, that’s with 32GB RAM, but it’s also with a 4 TB SSD and the top of the line 2.9GHz processor. If you get a smaller SSD and the still fast 2.6 GHz processor it can be had for $3200 - less than half.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 1,244member

    If anything, one still can't believe that the display isn't more edge-to-edge. This continues to make the entire MacBook line still appear dated.

    THIS!  And why no better than 720P camera and no FaceID?!

    Macs have some whimpy tech features compared to iOS devices.
    Not sure why anyone would need anything better than a 720p and FaceID on the Mac.
    Right, so a 7 MP FaceTime Camera is only needed for iPhone then?  *rolls eyes*
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 23
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,559member

    If anything, one still can't believe that the display isn't more edge-to-edge. This continues to make the entire MacBook line still appear dated.

    THIS!  And why no better than 720P camera and no FaceID?!

    Macs have some whimpy tech features compared to iOS devices.
    Not sure why anyone would need anything better than a 720p and FaceID on the Mac.
    Right, so a 7 MP FaceTime Camera is only needed for iPhone then?  *rolls eyes*
    I believe FaceTime works at 720p, and that's got to be the primary use of the camera on a Mac.  On an iPhone people also use it to take selfies, so that's an actual photographic use where increased quality is appreciated.  I don't think anyone is taking selfies with a Mac, or using its camera for any high-quality photographic purposes (happy to be corrected if I've overlooked a use case).
    thedarkhalfwatto_cobra
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