If the new MBP has no ODD, what happens to Air?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Death-T, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. Death-T macrumors regular


    May 18, 2012
    Savannah, Georgia
    If the new MacBook Pro has no disc drive, then what on earth will happen to the Air? Isn't the Air essentially a sleek, lightweight alternative to the Pro with no ODD? If the rumors are true about the MBP abandoning the ODD while getting a thin redesign, then it seems as though it's basically being turned into the MacBook Air. I may be wrong, but I always presumed the 'Air' was named as such because it was thinner, lighter, and therefore more mobile than Apple's other notebooks. Conversely, I don't think the 'Pro' title will have as much meaning if it's only such things as storage space that make it different to the Air.

    It's also worth noting that the minimum price difference between the two notebooks is only $200. Might Apple discontinue the Air (or Pro) line the way they did the regular 'MacBooks' with their laptops becoming more alike?

    PS: This is not a ODD vs. No ODD debate topic as there are already several of those going on. This is just mere product speculation.
  2. jackc macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2003
    Many people have predicted that the two lines will eventually merge.
  3. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    Nothing. The Pro and Air live on. (albeit ODD-less)

    The "Pro" version of Apple's laptops will most likely continue to have screws on the bottom allowing you to upgrade RAM and storage. Can't do that with the Air. Also, MBPros will always have a more powerful CPU than the Air.

    Is this enough of a difference to keep them separate? And a different price tag? To me it most definitely is.
  4. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    The Pro line will probably be quad-core CPUs, dedicated GPUs, user-upgradeable RAM, user-upgradeable SSD/HDD, better quality (higher gamut) screen with the black glass panel, be a tad thicker (not tapered, for example), and have a few extra ports that aren't on the MBA (firewire, maybe mini-ethernet?, who knows)

    Definitely shooting for a 13in MBP this year assuming it slims down nicely and sports nice user-upgradeable parts. Hopefully it doesn't merge with the 13in MBA. I think there are plenty of things to differentiate the two.
  5. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2008
    There are a lot more differences between the Air and Pro than just the optical drive...
  6. ixodes macrumors 601


    Jan 11, 2012
    Pacific Coast, USA
    Rumor has it that Apple will recall all MBA's, replacing them with iPads at no charge.

    (just kidding:))
  7. octatonic macrumors regular


    Mar 23, 2010
  8. Abazigal macrumors G3


    Jul 18, 2011
    My guess

    11" MBA as we know it
    13" air/pro hybrid
    15" pro (sans ODD)

    All under one unified macbook line. :D
  9. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    From a marketing and logistics point of view, your post would make sense: merging both lines into one unified "Macbook" line, keeping the current MBA 11", MBP 15" and MBP 17" as they are, and simply hybrid'ing the MBA 13" and MBP 13" into one.
  10. bozz2006 macrumors 68030


    Aug 24, 2007
    More arbitrary changes have been made than this. In 2008 when the aluminum unibodies came out, the 13" was called a MacBook. Then, months later, that same computer was rebranded a MacBook Pro.
  11. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
  12. davidg4781 macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    I'm with the staying camp. I think the 15" and maybe 17" will remain Pros, be thicker, and have more powerful CPUs/GPUs.

    Not sure about the 13". I'm guessing those will stay the same way they are now. I'm sure there are a lot, like me, who want something small and portable but with a large enough screen to be usable. Some want power to do some heavy work on it and some want a less expensive Mac to browse the internet and do some basic work on. And I've noticed the games from the MAS, for example, are a lot less taxing on a system than the older games were when I first switched to Macs in 2006. I'm guessing because they're built for Intel/OS X and not PPCs running under Rosetta.
  13. PVisitors, Jun 2, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012

    PVisitors macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    I doubt the 13" Macbook Pro will disappear as it is a huge seller for Apple, can't remember the figures but it was by far and away their most popular laptop. I can see these possibilities:

    1) Low end Pro; Quadcore, user upgradeable.
    High end Pro; Quadcore, dGPU, user upgradeable.

    2) Low end Pro; Dualcore, dGPU, user upgradeable.
    High end Pro; Quadcore, dGPU, user upgradeable.

    3) Or simply more conservative and quad core across both 13" price ranges and no dGPU in either.

    Switch price ranges around so the Macbook Air becomes the £999 (or cheaper) model and the 13" Macbook Pro adopts the Air price of £1100.

    That would be my way of distinguishing the line, excluding the aesthetics of it being slim, but not tapered like the Air. I think #1 is most likely if they can think of a way to resolve cooling issues, the Vaio 13" manages it with the same thinness, cpu performance and battery life, so I can't see why Apple couldn't especially with the removal of the ODD.
  14. Laco macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2008
    I completely agree that the 13 inch air and pro will be merged that is why I suspect that Apple has been waiting to update the Pros. My GUESS, is that they were waiting until the Macbook Air suitable IVY bridge processors were released (happened a few days ago) so they would update the entire line at once while eliminating the 13 inch pros, replacing them with the updated Airs. A lot of people here do not like predictions like the idea of the 13 inch Pro and Air merging but it will happen, perhaps not in the next update but it will happen.
  15. auero macrumors 65816

    Sep 15, 2006
    I don't see the two lines merging nor do I think they'll interfere with each other. I don't think of the MBA as a pro machine for heavy lifting. The MBA doesn't have a dedicated GPU and even if it did, it wouldn't be as powerful as the MBP (at least I'd hope). There is also the limitation on RAM plus the fact that the MBA uses dual core processors versus the MBP quad core in the higher spec machines.

    The 13" model is similar to the air but some people require more connection ports, more hard drive space and can't be bothered with external drives.

    Anything is possible though with the industry shifting to the dependency of cloud storage.
  16. PVisitors, Jun 2, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012

    PVisitors macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    Since when did Apple ever have just 1 range of laptops? Haven't they always had two? They only faced a problem when it became saturated with 3 lines, but that has now been rectified.

    There is no way they will discontinue the 13" which is their best selling laptop by /significant/ margin.

    I think people underestimate how important it is for people to have an ethernet port. A lot of 13" Macbook Pro buyers are students, especially during this period, I can't talk for US universities but in the UK the vast majority of halls/dorms still use wired connections.

    The 13 Pro is a perfect machine to use as a sort of desktop replacement. It's user upgradeability, ports, larger hard drive, better CPU and cheaper price make it more appealing. The average consumer sees the Pro as getting more performance and a more complete machine at a cheaper price
  17. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    They could offer two disk drives, maybe even three. Maybe offer one of those MacBook Air blade drives will two additional standard 2.5" bays.

    Many possibilities.
  18. Laco macrumors 6502

    Apr 23, 2008

    1. If they drop the 13 Pro - they would still have the 13 inch Air.

    2. I go to university in the UK my university is completely wireless. Having said that, Apple would love to drop the ethernet port forcing users to buy a usb adapter, more profit for them. They already do that, requiring users to purchase the display adapters for external monitors.

    3. As for upgradability, it is in Apple's interest to not make things upgradable. The profit margins that they are making on upgrades, especially RAM, is remarkable. They realized that they can charge a lot because most of their users do not know or are unable to upgrade things themselves.
  19. jgc macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2012
    Disagreed. I think that the vast majority (90-95%+) of the 13" MacBook Pro market would migrate to either the 13" Air or the 15" Pro if the 13" Pro was discontinued. Apple fans are faithful and the alternatives are there.

    In Canada, my experience is that ethernet ports in dorms, halls, and any other building at university are supported due to legacy. They exist only because they were implemented in the buildings before wireless was big. Some buildings at my university are actually discontinuing existing ethernet support since nobody uses it. If it's really that important, people will buy adapters.

    A 13" Pro isn't a desktop replacement. It's a very good laptop, no doubt, but it's intended to be a portable, powerful device. Not a desktop replacement. Anyone who needs true performance would upgrade to a 15" or 17" MBP or have a desktop in addition. The 13" Pro fills a good spot in the market but I think it's easily replaceable by the 13" Air/15" MBP.

    That's my opinion I guess. I'm on the fence whether or not it will actually disappear however. I truly believe the 13" Pro could disappear with no real impact to Apple, but I'm not sure whether or not they will. They have other options available however it would still be tough to cut the device. I guess we'll see soon enough.
  20. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 26, 2011
    My primary concern is that the 13" MBP will get the same display as the MBA.

    If that happens I'll be buying a previous-generation MBP...
  21. PVisitors macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    I know it's anecdotal but the vast majority of people I have spoken to, or are looking to get a Macbook Pro are put off simply because of the Air's lack of features. Sure it has a better screen and weighs less. But consumers want that extra 'power' of a better CPU and hard drive. Lets not forget the average non tech person looking at a Mac will look at price and specs. The Macbook Pro is at the £999 sweet spot compared to the £1100 Air and in relation to specs, people still get fooled by clockspeed wars and GBs over the writespeed of a SSD. It can't be denied you get a more 'complete' machine with the Macbook Pro, for at a lower cost too.

    There is a clear market for a 13" Macbook Pro, it's simply nonsensical for Apple to lose this segment and just suddenly go guns blazing for the ultrabook market. If Apple are going to merge the 13" Pro and Air line, then the price needs to drop significantly because of the increasing threat from Windows ultrabooks this year.

    I just find it ridiculously naive to suggest that everybody in the 13" pro market would be willing to suddenly jump ship towards the 13" Air. I mean, if this is the case why do people still buy the 13" Pro? And not just still buy, buy them to such an extent the Pro is something 3x the sales of the 13" Air. It doesn't add up. Price is a huge factor. In the case of "buy a 15" instead then", lose portability and pay £500 because wants to needlessly drop having two 13" laptops, which for as long as I have been following Apple has always been the case.

    Fair enough about it not being a desktop replacement, maybe I am being too student centric, but I am one of the few people on campus who has both a desktop (iMac) and a laptop with me. The rest just use a 13"/15" laptop as their main machine. And in this case the 13" is much more suited to use in this way.

    Edit: In relation to the UK poster, *shrug*. Maybe I was being a bit too presumptuous over claiming most UK universities in dorms don't have wifi enabled yet. But the 5 places I put on my UCAS and around 10-15 I looked in detail, none of them had widespread wifi support in halls (ie. in every single halls).
  22. theluggage, Jun 2, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012

    theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    ...the real issue, though, is that while WiFi or a USB-to-Ethernet dongle are fine for web browsing and email (and are probably faster than your broadband) they are simply no replacement for a gigabit Ethernet port. If you want to access large files over a local network they just don't cut the mustard (1Gbps from Ethernet vs. 300Mbps from Wireless-N with pigs on the wing and tap-dancing mermaids, or 480Mbps from USB 2 downhill with the wind behind it and the gods smiling).

    If Apple want to start pruning things like Firewire and Ethernet from the pro line then they need to look at making affordable Thunderbolt docks (something like the one Belkin has announced but not actually released yet, except in a nice Jonny Ives box and maybe a magsafe thrown in) to restore the connectivity.

    Edit: Personally - I'm not so worried about the ODD - Apart from the rapidly decreasing number of times I need it, I've had several machines in which the ODD has packed up after a year or so (those slot-loaders are particularly crap) and having all those dust-prone but inaccessible moving parts out of the laptop and into an easily replaced external box sounds like a bright idea if it makes the difference between shipping my laptop off for repair and just grabbing a new bargain-bucket external ODD from the local BuyMore. I'd need one, but wouldn't want or need to carry it around most of the time, nor would I need one for every machine I use.
  23. PVisitors, Jun 2, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012

    PVisitors macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    I mean, I can actually understand the argument presented in regards to getting rid of the 13" Pro to merge the line, and forcing people who need ethernet to get an adapter for Apple to try milk money. Or something similar to that.

    But the thing is; will Apple make more money for doing this, or will they make more money having the pure portability ultrabook format in the Air and also a portable more complete machine with more ports (ie. ethernet) and then the solutions I suggested before, mainly a quadcore in all models or a dGPU in the 13"? To me I definitely think the latter. It simply doesn't make sense to me for Apple to sacrifice an area of the market just to try streamline their product lines, which to me are already streamlined as it is.

    Then not to mention the complexity of having the newly merged Macbook line with two slightly different designs for the 11/13" and 15"/17".

    Edit: Found the article. 50% of all Mac sales were 13" Macbook Pro's. It would be a HELL of a risky move to then axe the 13" Pro in favour of the Air.
  24. cmChimera macrumors 68040


    Feb 12, 2010
  25. jgc macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2012
    You're absolutely right. Lots of people I know dislike the air due to lack of ports, which is a valid reason. However Apple seems to be the first to get rid of "legacy" connections. The specs do appear significantly better than they are (however if the Pro shipped with an SSD, that advantage from the Air is gone) and that is important to consumers, no doubt. But I see the price of the Air going down, personally, and rumours agree. Makes it much more viable cost wise.

    I agree. The 13" Pro is an amazing machine and is by far the most popular Mac (laptop, at least). There's a huge market for it. As long as it exists, it will continue to sell extremely well. But what I'm suggesting is that people would be willing, if necessary, to move to a different laptop. But who knows, I could be terribly wrong. And obviously our opinions differ so there's definitely tons more out there who would disagree with me as well. It's hard for me to tell since I don't need the power of the Pro and would prefer a slimmer form factor (although with a slimmer Pro, I could be convinced). I definitely have a bias in that regard.

    I only use a laptop because as a student, it doesn't make sense for me (financially at least) to have a desktop. So yeah I guess I do use it as my only computer. I get your point and I think I'm just being a little to-the-book on the "desktop replacement" term. It definitely is a better option than an Air for students who can only afford one device. I however plan on getting an Air simply because I like the form factor/portability and any complex programs I run are only licensed to my university and probably wouldn't run well on a Pro anyways.

    Well it proves that in your case at least, it is necessary. But I still think that as a minority truly need ethernet, it will likely be gone.

    But who knows. I think that if the 13" Pro was slimmed with a lack of ODD, it's getting Air-like. Put in an SSD instead of an HDD and the differences are starting to fade away. I think that they should slightly lower the Air's price point and toss a quad-core i5 in the Pro (standard) and raise the price. Then the differences would be sufficient. But if they really do slim the 13" Pro, lose the ODD, replace HDDs with SSDs while keeping dual-core processors, the Air and Pro overlap way too much.

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