Question Figuring out Apple’s MacBook Lineup

Dec 10, 2010
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0
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#1
I’ve been thinking about getting a MacBook for use away from home, and while I’m familiar with the lineup, I can’t seem to decide which one’s best for me, when I actually have to pick one up.

Here’s my initial thought process: 12-inch MacBook – small screen; 2018 MacBook Air – tablet SoC; 2017 (non-Touch) 13-inch MacBook Pro – potentially unreliable keyboard; 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro – okay, but wow… that thing costs a crap load of money, and I don’t actually need an upper-end model. So what do I do?
It seems like Apple is refusing to offer a ‘normal’, mainstream laptop, and is forcing consumers to either compromise on even basic performance, reliability, or price by spending a lot on something they don’t quite need, just to get what little they do need.

It’s true that the 2017 MBP comes with an extended warranty for the keyboard, but I kind of don’t feel like having to deal with returns, waiting for a replacement, etc. not to mention I plan on using the thing for more than 4 years, which is what the warranty covers. And it’s pretty much the same thing with the new Air – if it offers just barely acceptable performance now, what would happen years down the line? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on doing anything intensive with it, but I do expect smooth performance, fast load times, and being able to multi-task about 5 GB worth of light apps (many tabs, email, text, slides, tables, chat, music & video streaming, basic image editing software, etc.) well.

I can’t phantom why Apple opted to put a tablet SoC in its mainstream laptop offering. They went through the trouble of cherry-picking a custom fanless SoC, upping its TDP, and slapping a fan on it, just to eke out every last drop of performance, when they could’ve just put a conventional 15W SoC. The only practical benefits I can see are 0.25 pounds less weight, and 20% more battery life, which hardly seem worth the compromise given how the similarly-priced 2017 MBP already comes in at 3 pounds and offers 10-hour battery life.

Which brings me to another point – why did they have to make the new Air at all, when the 13-inch non-Touch Pro was already the perfect successor to that laptop? It’s very light, has great battery life, is less expensive and lacks some of the features of the ‘standard’ Pro like the additional fan and, by extension, the more powerful SoC, the Touch Bar, and the brighter, more colorful True Tone display. I honestly don’t get why they branded the 13-inch non-Touch MacBook a ‘Pro’ to begin with. For 2018, they should have just put the less bright sRGB display, the 3-rd gen keyboard and Touch ID, and kept the 7-th gen SoC with Iris graphics in that laptop instead of creating a new Air.

It honestly feels like Apple revived the Air brand just for marketing reasons fueled by misguided fan-hype. And since they apparently felt they had to claim the new Air was more light and air-y, or something, than the old model, they made big compromises elsewhere. It might have been okay if the laptop was actually, and not just technically, lighter than the original, say 2.2 pounds, and if they updated the non-Touch MBP as well, but of course they didn’t. If they were so adamant about the Air brand, why didn’t they call the 12-MacBook an Air? It has the wedge shape and is essentially a successor to the 11.6-inch Air, but whatever. I also just can’t stand the fact Apple offer 128 GB drives as standard on such expensive laptops in 2018/2019… Even if it might be okay for light use, it’s still unacceptable when we know how cheap it is to just use a 256 GB drive.

In any case, any input would be welcome – should I suck up the questionable performance of the 2018 Air, or cross my fingers and hope the keyboard on the 2017 MBP doesn’t fail in the years to come?

P.S. It’s super-tempting to just pick up a 1-st gen 8 / 256 GB Surface Laptop with Iris graphics, which now costs less than the 8 / 128 GB MacBook Air with a 7W tablet SoC, and is just as well-made. The only thing that’s stopping me is that I would really enjoy the integration with my iPhone. I have a powerful desktop PC for everything else.
 
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jpiniero

Diamond Member
Oct 1, 2010
6,292
199
126
#2
The Air I'm guessing was a half-assed temporary replacement for the Macbook since that was designed around Inte'l 10 nm. A 15W processor wouldn't have fit.
 

gdansk

Senior member
Feb 8, 2011
352
1
91
#3
It's rather bizarre line up at the moment. The 12" MacBook, MacBook Air, and 13" MacBook Pro (w/o Touch Bar) are all obsolete dual core based systems. The quad core offerings are all touch bars which interests me about as much as small pox. My thought is that they wanted to discontinue the non-touch bar MacBook Pro but haven't because it sells well. But the CPU choice may have been some volume discount from Intel, it's a strange choice for a laptop with a fan.
 
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jpiniero

Diamond Member
Oct 1, 2010
6,292
199
126
#4
But the CPU choice may have been some volume discount from Intel, it's a strange choice for a laptop with a fan.
IIRC, the fan is not on the processor itself, but on the vent. Like I said, it was needed because the processor is 7W and not 5.2W.
 

docp

Senior member
Jul 4, 2007
204
0
76
#5
The Air I'm guessing was a half-assed temporary replacement for the Macbook since that was designed around Inte'l 10 nm. A 15W processor wouldn't have fit.
problem is intel is not delivering chips as per commitment.and as we know apple doesn't use off the shelf chips from intel.
their development cycle would improve when their own chip come to MacBook.till then they are at mercy of intel.
 


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