New MacBooks: will the distinction between Pro and non-Pro models be irrelevant?

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
I love the new MacBook Air and if i had a spare $3,000 burning a hole in my wallet, I would have already bought one. The fact is, I don't. More than that, one computer is probably enough for my needs and since the Air is not quite ideal as an only computer, my choices are confined to the MacBook and MacBook Pro. Since these are both about to get a major redesign which will include an aluminum enclosure, we should soon be able to buy the perfect computer. (But who knows, with a larger capacity SSD and Montevina, the Air may yet make it as a sole-computer option, but since no refresh is due before September - when Intel releases the ULV version of the new Centrino 2, let's focus on the other new MacBook models.)



My guess is that, apart from screen size, the form factors of the new MacBook and MacBook Pros will be similar? I just wonder whether Apple will offer one basic product design type that offers a variety of chip choices and screen sizes. This would enable us to choose between 13", 15" or 17" MBPs each with the option of standard or high-powered processors, GPUs and larger capacity HDD/ SSD hard drives depending on our needs.



An important reason why i hope Apple will consider this is that while most MBP users who want larger screen sizes will also want increased performance, I don't think it is conversely true that people who prefer smaller 13" screen want reduced performance. So I think there is a strong case for a 13" MBP. What makes this debate relevant is that many so-called "road warriors" still have to use their computers in the office, so they tend to choose smaller laptops that can be hooked-up to a monitor. But they want power as well as a small form factor. (BTW is Apple ever going to refresh its antiquated range of cinema screen displays? Nice thin LED ones that do double duty as TVs would be great, thank you!)



I am sure that standard non-power users would equally appreciate cheaper large screen MacBooks. My kids certainly don't need excessive processing power, but they do like to watch movies. (Which is also a reason why an in-built DVD player is a must: we have a ton of DVDs.)



If Apple agrees with my suggestion, we could see a product matrix something like this:



13" model - 2.4 Ghz, 2.6 Ghz and 2.8 Gh,z all with 2-4 Gb of RAM, a choice of 128-500 Gb HDD/ SSD drives



15" model - 2.6 Ghz, 2.8 Ghz and 3.0 Ghz, all with 2-4 Gb RAM, a choice of 128-500 Gb HDD/ SSD drives



17" model - 2.6 Ghz,2.8 Ghz and 3.0 Ghz, all with 2-4 Gb RAM, a choice of 250 Gb - 1TB HDD drives



In each case, the top of the line spec could be called the "Pro" model, so the "Pro" designation becomes a specification based on the processor it carries not the form factor. What do you think? Whatever Apple decides to do from a product marketing standpoint, there is a real need for customers to be able to customize the machines they buy. In either case, the distinction between Pro and non-Pro models could become irrelevant.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post


    I love the new MacBook Air and if i had a spare $3,000 burning a hole in my wallet, I would have already bought one. The fact is, I don't. More than that, one computer is probably enough for my needs and since the Air is not quite ideal as an only computer, my choices are confined to the MacBook and MacBook Pro. Since these are both about to get a major redesign which will include an aluminum enclosure, we should soon be able to buy the perfect computer. (But who knows, with a larger capacity SSD and Montevina, the Air may yet make it as a sole-computer option, but since no refresh is due before September - when Intel releases the ULV version of the new Centrino 2, let's focus on the other new MacBook models.)



    My guess is that apart from screen size the form factors of the new MacBook and MacBook Pros will be quite similar? I just wonder whether Apple will offer one product design that simply offers a variety of chip choices and screen sizes. This would enable us to choose between 13", 15" or 17" MBPs each with the option of standard or high-powered processors, GPUs and larger capacity HDD/ SSD hard drives depending on our needs.



    An important reason why i hope Apple will consider this, is that while most MBP users who want larger screen sizes will also want increased performance, I don't think it is conversely true that people who prefer smaller 13" screen want reduced performance. So I think there is a strong case for a 13" MBP. What makes this debate relevant is that many so-called "road warriors" still have to use their computers in the office, so they hook it up to a monitor. They want ppower and a small form factor. (BTW is Apple ever going to refresh its antiquated range of cinema screen displays? Nice thin LED ones that do double duty as TVs would be great, thank you!)



    I am sure that standard non-power users would equally appreciate cheaper large screen MacBooks. My kids certainly don't need excessive processing power, but they do like to watch movies. (Which is also a reason why an in-built DVD player is a must: we have a ton of DVDs.)



    If Apple agrees with my suggestion, we could see a product matrix something like this:



    13" model - 2.4 Ghz, 2.6 Ghz and 2.8 Gh,z all with 2-4 Gb of RAM, a choice of 128-500 Gb HDD/ SSD drives



    15" model - 2.6 Ghz, 2.8 Ghz and 3.0 Ghz, all with 2-4 Gb RAM, a choice of 128-500 Gb HDD/ SSD drives



    17" model - 2.6 Ghz,2.8 Ghz and 3.0 Ghz, all with 2-4 Gb RAM, a choice of 250 Gb - 1TB HDD drives



    In each case, the top of the line spec could be called the "Pro" model, so the "Pro" designation becomes a specification based on the processor it carries not the form factor. What do you think? Whatever Apple decides to do from a product marketing standpoint, there is a real need for customers to be able to customize the machines they buy. In either case, the distinction between Pro and non-Pro models could become irrelevant.



    apple should have systems under $2000 with real video cards and / or 15" screens.
  • Reply 2 of 24
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    apple should have systems under $2000 with 15" screens.



    There, FTFY.
  • Reply 3 of 24
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tailpipe View Post


    I love the new MacBook Air and if i had a spare $3,000 burning a hole in my wallet, I would have already bought one. The fact is, I don't. More than that, one computer is probably enough for my needs and since the Air is not quite ideal as an only computer, my choices are confined to the MacBook and MacBook Pro. Since these are both about to get a major redesign which will include an aluminum enclosure, we should soon be able to buy the perfect computer. (But who knows, with a larger capacity SSD and Montevina, the Air may yet make it as a sole-computer option, but since no refresh is due before September - when Intel releases the ULV version of the new Centrino 2, let's focus on the other new MacBook models.)



    My guess is that, apart from screen size, the form factors of the new MacBook and MacBook Pros will be similar? I just wonder whether Apple will offer one basic product design type that offers a variety of chip choices and screen sizes. This would enable us to choose between 13", 15" or 17" MBPs each with the option of standard or high-powered processors, GPUs and larger capacity HDD/ SSD hard drives depending on our needs.



    An important reason why i hope Apple will consider this is that while most MBP users who want larger screen sizes will also want increased performance, I don't think it is conversely true that people who prefer smaller 13" screen want reduced performance. So I think there is a strong case for a 13" MBP. What makes this debate relevant is that many so-called "road warriors" still have to use their computers in the office, so they tend to choose smaller laptops that can be hooked-up to a monitor. But they want power as well as a small form factor. (BTW is Apple ever going to refresh its antiquated range of cinema screen displays? Nice thin LED ones that do double duty as TVs would be great, thank you!)



    I am sure that standard non-power users would equally appreciate cheaper large screen MacBooks. My kids certainly don't need excessive processing power, but they do like to watch movies. (Which is also a reason why an in-built DVD player is a must: we have a ton of DVDs.)



    If Apple agrees with my suggestion, we could see a product matrix something like this:



    13" model - 2.4 Ghz, 2.6 Ghz and 2.8 Gh,z all with 2-4 Gb of RAM, a choice of 128-500 Gb HDD/ SSD drives



    15" model - 2.6 Ghz, 2.8 Ghz and 3.0 Ghz, all with 2-4 Gb RAM, a choice of 128-500 Gb HDD/ SSD drives



    17" model - 2.6 Ghz,2.8 Ghz and 3.0 Ghz, all with 2-4 Gb RAM, a choice of 250 Gb - 1TB HDD drives



    In each case, the top of the line spec could be called the "Pro" model, so the "Pro" designation becomes a specification based on the processor it carries not the form factor. What do you think? Whatever Apple decides to do from a product marketing standpoint, there is a real need for customers to be able to customize the machines they buy. In either case, the distinction between Pro and non-Pro models could become irrelevant.



    Yeah, Apple can be the new Dell.
  • Reply 4 of 24
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    Unfortunately, they already are.
  • Reply 5 of 24
    futurepastnowfuturepastnow Posts: 1,772member
    The different models have been, and will continue to be, distinguished by screen size, processor speed, graphics options, and price. Anyone who thinks a little aluminum makes them a "Pro" is a fool.
  • Reply 6 of 24
    bclapperbclapper Posts: 237member
    It's a nice idea that a lot of people would want but I don't see it happening.



    Having an entry level laptop like the MB enhances the demarcation between the ranges and improves the image and perceived value of the MBP.

    Separating it with increased real estate (with Glossy or Matte), dedicated graphics and faster chips (currently up to 2.5 & 2.6GHz as a BTO) provides tangible gains for the Prosumers.



    How many people buy a MBP when their needs warrant just a capable MB because they desire the Pro model? If the entry level looked the same, it'd be harder to justify the 'dealer extras'



    Saying that, I'd like a 15" Back MacBook with a dedicated GPU
  • Reply 7 of 24
    bclapperbclapper Posts: 237member
    Edit: Sorry, double post.



    Mods: please delete
  • Reply 8 of 24
    mjteixmjteix Posts: 563member
    I don't think those will even be the speeds chosen by Apple for the "Centrino 2" based MacBooks.

    It's true that Apple has some kind of history using customized parts, but with the 1066 FSB of the new platform, speeds are gonna be:

    2.26, 2.40, 2.53, 2.66, 2.80, 2.93, 3.06GHz.

    (in bold the expected speeds, leaked weeks/months ago)

    TDPs:

    25W 2.26-2.40-2.53GHz

    35W 2.53-2.80GHz

    45W 3.06GHz and the september quad 2.53GHz



    Given that Apple is not even using 45W parts in the 20" iMac, I don't think we will see a 3.06GHz MBP this year.



    If there is nomore black MB this summer (all going silver aluminium, according to RUMORS), there MAY be room for a 15" Mac Book at that price range. Apple is also offering 4 displays for the 17" MBP and I think that the line-up would be better served with a different breakdown:



    13" MacBook 2.26/2.40GHz 1280*800 glossy integrated graphics $1099-1299

    15" MacBook 2.26/2.40GHz 1440*900 glossy integrated graphics $1399-1599

    15" MacBook Pro 2.53/2.80GHz 1650*1080 glossy/matte dedicated graphics $1999-2499

    17" MacBook Pro 2.53/2.80GHz 1920*1200 glossy/matte dedicated graphics $2299-2799



    I don't think we will see SSD in Apple's notebooks, except as a very expensive option for the MBA, this year. Next year, it may be another story...



    Given the reduced TDP of the 2.26/2.40GHz parts, it would be nice if Apple would use the GM47 chipset for the MB/Mac mini, with it's faster (640 vs 533MHz) GMA X4500HD integrated graphics, but I won't hold my breath.
  • Reply 9 of 24
    backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjteix View Post


    I don't think those will even be the speeds chosen by Apple for the "Centrino 2" based MacBooks.

    It's true that Apple has some kind of history using customized parts, but with the 1066 FSB of the new platform, speeds are gonna be:

    2.26, 2.40, 2.53, 2.66, 2.80, 2.93, 3.06GHz.

    (in bold the expected speeds, leaked weeks/months ago)

    TDPs:

    25W 2.26-2.40-2.53GHz

    35W 2.53-2.80GHz

    45W 3.06GHz and the september quad 2.53GHz



    Given that Apple is not even using 45W parts in the 20" iMac, I don't think we will see a 3.06GHz MBP this year.



    If there is nomore black MB this summer (all going silver aluminium, according to RUMORS), there MAY be room for a 15" Mac Book at that price range. Apple is also offering 4 displays for the 17" MBP and I think that the line-up would be better served with a different breakdown:



    13" MacBook 2.26/2.40GHz 1280*800 glossy integrated graphics $1099-1299

    15" MacBook 2.26/2.40GHz 1440*900 glossy integrated graphics $1399-1599

    15" MacBook Pro 2.53/2.80GHz 1650*1080 glossy/matte dedicated graphics $1999-2499

    17" MacBook Pro 2.53/2.80GHz 1920*1200 glossy/matte dedicated graphics $2299-2799



    I don't think we will see SSD in Apple's notebooks, except as a very expensive option for the MBA, this year. Next year, it may be another story...



    Given the reduced TDP of the 2.26/2.40GHz parts, it would be nice if Apple would use the GM47 chipset for the MB/Mac mini, with it's faster (640 vs 533MHz) GMA X4500HD integrated graphics, but I won't hold my breath.



    This makes sense.
  • Reply 10 of 24
    pik.pik. Posts: 5member
    thats what we all need.....
  • Reply 11 of 24
    imickimick Posts: 351member
    I would love a 15" MacBook. I almost bought a 15" MBP on Thursday, but it's really more than I want to spend. I don't need the power, but I'd like the larger screen.
  • Reply 12 of 24
    irelandireland Posts: 17,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tailpipe


    My guess is that, apart from screen size, the form factors of the new MacBook and MacBook Pros will be similar? I just wonder whether Apple will offer one basic product design type that offers a variety of chip choices and screen sizes. This would enable us to choose between 13", 15" or 17" MBPs each with the option of standard or high-powered processors, GPUs and larger capacity HDD/ SSD hard drives depending on our needs.



    I wrote an article along these lines here about 5 months ago. My whole points was are Apple going to drop the "Pro" moniker from the MacBooks. I'd love if they did, personally, so you could choose your screen-size and exactly the specs and power you need, i.e. fully customizable.



    I still want them to do that, but I have a gut feeling it's not going to happen for a couple of years now.
  • Reply 13 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjteix View Post


    15" MacBook 2.26/2.40GHz 1440*900 glossy integrated graphics $1399-1599

    15" MacBook Pro 2.53/2.80GHz 1650*1080 glossy/matte dedicated graphics $1999-2499

    17" MacBook Pro 2.53/2.80GHz 1920*1200 glossy/matte dedicated graphics $2299-2799



    for the $1399-1599 system may have a ATI HyperMemory or a nVidia TurboCache card or a low end video card with 64-256 of video ram.



    With a higher end video card with 256-512 in the $1999 and up systems.
  • Reply 14 of 24
    futurepastnowfuturepastnow Posts: 1,772member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post


    for the $1399-1599 system may have a ATI HyperMemory or a nVidia TurboCache card or a low end video card with 64-256 of video ram.



    With a higher end video card with 256-512 in the $1999 and up systems.



    Those Hypermemory and Turbocache cards are incredibly crappy. Better to use an IGP and save power.
  • Reply 15 of 24
    tailpipetailpipe Posts: 345member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mjteix View Post


    I don't think those will even be the speeds chosen by Apple for the "Centrino 2" based MacBooks.

    It's true that Apple has some kind of history using customized parts, but with the 1066 FSB of the new platform, speeds are gonna be:

    2.26, 2.40, 2.53, 2.66, 2.80, 2.93, 3.06GHz.

    (in bold the expected speeds, leaked weeks/months ago)

    TDPs:

    25W 2.26-2.40-2.53GHz

    35W 2.53-2.80GHz

    45W 3.06GHz and the september quad 2.53GHz



    Given that Apple is not even using 45W parts in the 20" iMac, I don't think we will see a 3.06GHz MBP this year.



    If there is nomore black MB this summer (all going silver aluminium, according to RUMORS), there MAY be room for a 15" Mac Book at that price range. Apple is also offering 4 displays for the 17" MBP and I think that the line-up would be better served with a different breakdown:



    13" MacBook 2.26/2.40GHz 1280*800 glossy integrated graphics $1099-1299

    15" MacBook 2.26/2.40GHz 1440*900 glossy integrated graphics $1399-1599

    15" MacBook Pro 2.53/2.80GHz 1650*1080 glossy/matte dedicated graphics $1999-2499

    17" MacBook Pro 2.53/2.80GHz 1920*1200 glossy/matte dedicated graphics $2299-2799



    I don't think we will see SSD in Apple's notebooks, except as a very expensive option for the MBA, this year. Next year, it may be another story...



    Given the reduced TDP of the 2.26/2.40GHz parts, it would be nice if Apple would use the GM47 chipset for the MB/Mac mini, with it's faster (640 vs 533MHz) GMA X4500HD integrated graphics, but I won't hold my breath.



    Great post! Thank you. I didn't know what the chip speeds would be and rather relied on an expert like you to provide them, so thank you. Also, adding potential screen resolutions was interesting. If we get 1650 x 1080 on a 15" MBP, that would be sweet.



    Your comments make a lot of sense. I think the line-up you suggest is almost certain to arrive. The question is how will Apple package these offerings to maximize revenues and consumer appeal?
  • Reply 16 of 24
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    Those Hypermemory and Turbocache cards are incredibly crappy. Better to use an IGP and save power.



    but at $1500 a IGP is too much low end at least have a video card with 128-256 of ram and maybe 64-128 in the $1200 - $1400 systems
  • Reply 17 of 24
    kastheadkasthead Posts: 2member
    What's a good guess as to when the new line of MBP's will be available? I'm getting itchy to purchase one in the next month or two, yet should I postpone till September?
  • Reply 18 of 24
    marcusmarcus Posts: 227member
    I am not sure of the MB/MBP distinction becoming blurred, but the fact that Apple has no dedicated graphics in the MB line is imho dreadful, as well as the fact there is no 'lower' 15 Inch laptop...



    13 Inch MBP with a dedicated gfx setup?



    13 Inch MB with a dedicated gx Setup?



    15 Inch MBP with X3100 (or similar)?



    15 Inch MB with X3100 (or similar)?



    Imho, all of the above should be catered for in an Apple Laptop lineup.
  • Reply 19 of 24
    irelandireland Posts: 17,585member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Kasthead View Post


    What's a good guess as to when the new line of MBP's will be available? I'm getting itchy to purchase one in the next month or two, yet should I postpone till September?



    July/August
  • Reply 20 of 24
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FuturePastNow View Post


    Those Hypermemory and Turbocache cards are incredibly crappy. Better to use an IGP and save power.



    Just a week ago, I read a test where integrated graphics from ATi and nVidia on desktop motherboards proved to eat *less* power than those from Intel while delivering better performance. It's not exactly surprising, as Intel doesn't come close to the know-how those companies have in graphics.



    I haven't kept up, but Hypermemory and Turbocache parts used to hold the performance crown in ~$50 stand-alone cards at some point. It's good technology and makes sense at times when all dedicated memory is too expensive. Having 64MB of VRAM with help from HM/TC is a lot better than having no dedicated VRAM at all. Only an app with no VRAM coherency wouldn't receive a big boost from it. Not sure what such an app would be.



    I agree with the general sentiment that graphics should come in clear tiers, for the simple reason that in-between models don't really enable you to do anything different, but still cost more and eat more power. So possible applications should decide the tiers. IMO, the Radeon 2600 Pro in the iMacs is a failure in this regard. The 2400XT does almost the same things, and if you want more, then you want the 8800GS, not an outdated part like the 2600.



    As long as the Macbook costs as much as it does, it *really* should come at least with some dedicated memory (with HM/TC if there's little of it) and cooling that can handle continous 3D acceleration without audible straining. A low end model with no dedicated memory would be fine too.
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