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Yebubbleman

macrumors 601
Original poster
May 20, 2010
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This article from Sonny Dickson seems to indicate that we might see the end of the days of three different 13" Mac laptops (Air, two-port 13" MacBook Pro, and four-port 13" MacBook Pro) as the forthcoming Apple Silicon replacement to the current 13" MacBook Pro may replace all three of the current lines.


Thoughts on this?
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(Apologies to the mods, this might be better in the Apple Silicon Macs section.)
 

nicho

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Feb 15, 2008
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(Apologies to the mods, this might be better in the Apple Silicon Macs section.)

It's probably going to get a different reaction here than it would from the ARM perspective.

I don't see it happening. Yes the MBA has a retina display, but it is lower quality. It has 2 ports (and therefore half the thunderbolt bandwidth I think compared to the 4 port model? - since they might have to use a separate thunderbolt controller, this could be significant). It doesn't have a touch bar above the keyboard.

What do those three things mean? Cheaper. Cheaper is good for students etc. If they simplify to one product line they're going to have to hit the $999 price point and scaling that up all the way to $3600 is going to be difficult with only the amount of RAM and SSD size as the differentiators between top-spec and bottom of the line.
 
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Falhófnir

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Aug 19, 2017
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The current lineup is, partially at least, dictated by Intel's product line - Apple Silicon is looking like it's going to be very different, not just Apple versions of Intel offerings, so it makes sense this will be reflected in a changed lineup. I'm glad if we won't need 3 different 13" thin and light versions going forward, maintaining those machines takes up too much engineering effort to the detriment of choice in the lineup.

Ideally, you would just have 3 chassis sizes (say 12", 14", 16") and in each you have the full a la carte menu to equip whatever you want. Choose between the A14M, A14MX or A14MZ chips, anywhere from 8 to 128GB RAM, choose whether you want P3, HDR, ProMotion on your display, however much storage you want. All the options for all 3 sizes... in reality this would be logistically impossible, but I think they should try to implement the idea of detaching size/ specific model from power/ functionality.
 
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nicho

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Feb 15, 2008
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Ideally, you would just have 3 chassis sizes (say 12", 14", 16") and in each you have the full a la carte menu to equip whatever you want. Choose between the A14M, A14MX or A14MZ chips, anywhere from 8 to 128GB RAM, choose whether you want P3, HDR, ProMotion on your display, however much storage you want. All the options for all 3 sizes... in reality this would be logistically impossible, but I think they should try to implement the idea of detaching size/ specific model from power/ functionality.

This sounds suspiciously like the Dell/Alienware sales model...
 
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Falhófnir

macrumors 603
Aug 19, 2017
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This sounds suspiciously like the Dell/Alienware sales model...
While you do get a wider range of configurations within Dell's individual models, Dell still have a vast array of different models you have to choose between and features which you need to choose a specific model to get.

In reality you'd probably have upgrade trees similar to what already exists (or similar to Razer) where you don't have 100% free choice, you need a certain chip to get certain RAM, SSD or display options. A couple of popular configurations would be picked as the stock models.

The difference is the MacBook Air/ Pro branding would go away, all models would just be MacBook as they'd support virtual feature parity (no need to design a different chassis specifically for 7W, 15W, 28W, 45W CPUs).
 
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lambertjohn

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Jun 17, 2012
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The Air will always be around as the budget notebook offering from Apple.
 
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dmccloud

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Sep 7, 2009
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I don't buy Dickson's arguments. Given that the MBA line utilizes lower end versions of both Intel chips and Retina displays than the Pro lineup, there is a clear point of differentiation between the three lines. There is also a difference under the hood between the 2-port and 4-port models of the 13" Pro, because the latter uses a better integrated GPU than the 2-port model. I'd think that if anything, Apple would drop the 2-port Pro and have a lineup that consists of the MBA, 13" Pro with 4 ports, and the 16" Pro. There really hasn't been much differentiation between the MBA and 2-port MBP for a while now, so dropping the Pro when you would still have a 13" Pro option makes a lot more sense than combining three product lines into one.
 
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Erehy Dobon

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Feb 16, 2018
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Unlikely.

Apple favors a MacBook product family line that offers various configurations at various prices, weights, screen sizes, screen quality, etc.

iPad Pro has taken the spot of the discontinued Retina MacBook but there is likely enough demand for Apple to continue offering a lighter, cheaper low-end MacBook.

While Apple no longer reports unit sales, we do know from past history (as well as market research firm estimates) that the MacBook Air is the top selling MacBook product family. Moreover the standard configuration base model is usually the top seller in all of Apple's product lines.

From a supply standpoint, it also makes sense to have a channel for lower-performing binned parts. That helps Apple maintain gross margin targets by improving wafer yields.

Having an underperforming, overpriced entry-level MacBook is a good thing for Apple's bottom line. Shareholders like that approach.

:p
 
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