Answering Reader Email: MacBook Pros and Airs

I try to make an effort to answer all email that comes in (I will never get a response to everything though) and this email from Tyler Guidry stands out as one that I thought my response was best shared with all my readers. Here’s Tyler’s email:

You did a great write up on the MPA 13 end of last year and was wondering what if anything would get you to move back to a MBP.

I have been nursing a MBP 13 (Mid 2009) and holding out since last summer waiting for MBP line to refresh. I really had to restrain myself especially after the MPA review you did. I had been holding out for 1440 res on the new MBP 13 and was severely disappointed. Seriously, the 11.6 MPA has higher resolution than the 13 MBP.

Any thoughts on why the 13 MBP did not get bumped resolution? And does the 13 MPA still feel like a solid primary machine 120 days in?

There are only two ways that I would move back to a MacBook Pro:

  1. My computing changes in such a way that I would need more processing power.
  2. The MacBook Pros become lighter weight enough that the gap between the Air and Pro is much closer.

Honestly though, I will probably always stay with a MacBook Air and instead choose a desktop (Mac Pro) to stay at home if I ever truly needed more processing power. I just don’t ever want to have to lug around all the weight that comes with a MacBook Pro.

Which brings me to Tyler’s last question — 120 days in I think the MacBook Air maybe the best Mac that I have ever owned, even better than the fabled 12” Powerbook G4. The size, weight, and performance are all just perfect for me. Don’t even get me started on the awesome battery life.

The 13” MacBook Pro

I too was surprised that the 13” Pro didn’t get a resolution bump to make it on par with what the Air has — makes very little sense. I honestly think that this might be the beginning of the end for the 13” MacBook Pro line.

If you believe that the Air line truly is the roadmap that Apple will follow then you believe the following:

  1. All portables are getting thinner.
  2. Optical discs are dead.
  3. SSD or bust.
  4. Battery life, lots of battery life.

So if you take the current 13” MacBook Pro, remove the superdrive, grab an SSD, jam more battery in, and make the entire package smaller — you basically end up with a faster version of the 13” Air.

Or look at it this way: once the Pro line ditches optical drives, what will be the difference between the 13” Air and the 13” Pro? Not much. I wouldn’t think Apple would keep two different notebooks that are essentially the same (price, and performance being the main differences). I just don’t see Apple trying to sell the Air line and the Pro line with the differences being computing speed. One will have to die, so will it be the 13” Air or 13” Pro? Doesn’t matter, they will be the same at that point.

Originally posted for members on: February 28, 2011
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