It's all about the $300 touch bar premium... [Analysis on new MBPs]

ThE.MeSsEnGeR

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 26, 2009
660
31
Santiago, Chile
Today has been a pretty rough day for many Apple users out there. So I'll try to be as objective as possible. After hours of reading thread posts and comments here and on other sites, it's obvious that the community is a bit shaken by the decisions made by Apple regarding the new MacBook Pros. Some people are calling it quits for Apple, others are considering it, and there are those that are simply satisfied with the new products.

The new MacBook Pros do have a higher price point than earlier generations. But this was coming eventually to the MacBooks. Think about it, and look at the iPad line-up lately. Apple used to come up with newer generations/hardware updates at the same price points of earlier ones and replace them, thus making older ones cheaper. But in the last few years, Apple has been adding newer generations (i.e. 9.7" iPad Pro) with a premium over a device that's been in the market for over a year (i.e. iPad Air 2), instead of simply replacing it.

Now, this new way of doing things has hit the MacBook line, and it hit hard. But to try and simplify this mess, let's have a general look at the specs and pricing options. We can see that it all comes down to the $300 premium that accompanies the famous/infamous touch bar.

Please note:
I've modified some specs to get the closest resemblance between models to compare prices.
I'm no computer genie, so excuse the basic knowledge of some spec comparisons.


13" MacBook Pro (2015) vs. 13" MacBook Pro (2016):







As we can see here, the new model (w/o touch bar) replaces the old one at the same price point. It features the new butterfly keyboard, bigger trackpad, new color option, slightly better graphics, less CPU power, and exchanges existing ports in favor of TB3 ports (among many improvements under the hoods). In brief, apart from the lowered CPU power, everything about the new version is future driven and updated. At the same price point. Whereas the 13" MacBook with touch bar is $300 extra.

But let's analyze this as if we're upgrading the 2015 model on the check out page.
CPU: 2.7GHz dual-core i5 -> to 2.9GHz quad-core i5. Wouldn't that be a $100 upgrade?
Graphics: Intel Iris 6100 -> to Intel Iris 550. Wouldn't that be a $100 upgrade?
RAM: 8GB 1866GHz -> 8GB 2133MHz. It's an upgrade, but let's say it's not worth $100.
Touch Bar and Touch ID addition: Wouldn't that be a $100 upgrade?
Plus factor the new design and architecture of the whole device.

Looking at it this way, I guess $300 doesn't seem that much any more.

15" MacBook Pro (2015) vs. 15" MacBook Pro (2016):

As for the 15" model, it's a different story because Apple didn't give the users the option to opt-out of the touch bar premium. So I've added only two configurations.





Let's do the same analysis, as if we're upgrading the 2015 model on the check out page.
CPU: 2.5GHz quad-core i7 -> 2.6GHz quad-core i7. Wouldn't that be a $100 upgrade?
Graphics: Intel Iris Pro -> Radeon Pro 450 w/ 2GB. Wouldn't that be at least a $100 upgrade?
RAM: 16GB 1600MHz -> 16GB 2133MHz. It's an upgrade, but let's say it's not worth $100.
Touch Bar and Touch ID addition: Wouldn't that be a $100 upgrade?
Plus factor the new design and architecture of the whole device.

Looking at it this way, I guess $300 doesn't seem that much any more.

Bottom Line/Personal Opinion:

Yes, Apple used to introduce newer models at old models' prices, and now it's adding a premium to newer models while keeping old ones intact. But like I said, look at the iPad line and you'll see what I mean. And I haven't seen that many threads over the iPad Pro with the same hatred and trash talk the MacBook Pro has received in the last 12 hours. (Honestly, regarding most subjects, the negative talk and nagging on these forums lately has become blatant and repetitive).

One more thing I believe Apple should have done was introduce a 15" MacBook Pro model without the touch bar, making it lose the $300 premium like the base model 13" MacBook Pro (2016). I guess they know it would've cannibalized the 15" w/ touch bar sales. So they're simply pushing people towards newer tech. I might add that the 2015 MacBook Pro models are not bad computers at all for those looking to save some money.

Finally, I believe it's an exaggeration that people are looking at the the new MacBooks as the end of Apple. Negative comments were made about the first iPod, the first iPhone, the first iPad, the lightning ports replacing 30-pin ports, or any other drastic change in technology. I guess we as humans, are afraid of change.

Apple isn't meeting the needs of the ultra-high-end-pro market? Apple doesn't update all its countless products twice a year? Apple doesn't add this or that feature? Then go look for another company that does. Stop agonizing over every single update or refresh. That specific high-end market represents less than 10% of the general market. Apple is evolving, its customers are evolving, and the world is evolving around us.
 

ag29

macrumors 6502
Oct 7, 2014
284
85
For those who want processor and graphics upgrades, then I suppose it's a better value. For me personally, it makes absolutely no difference to have minor processor and graphics updates so for me it really is just spending $300 on the touch bar alone.

I'd be happy if I could just get the touch bar for $100 without any necessary processor or graphics card updates.
 

jjiangweilan

macrumors 6502
Aug 16, 2016
275
96
This Mac generation is totally an overhaul. The analysis of
"
Let's do the same analysis, as if we're upgrading the 2015 model on the check out page.
CPU: 2.5GHz quad-core i7 -> 2.6GHz quad-core i7. Wouldn't that be a $100 upgrade?
Graphics: Intel Iris Pro -> Radeon Pro 450 w/ 2GB. Wouldn't that be at least a $100 upgrade?
RAM: 16GB 1600MHz -> 16GB 2133MHz. It's an upgrade, but let's say it's not worth $100.
Touch Bar and Touch ID addition: Wouldn't that be a $100 upgrade?
Plus factor the new design and architecture of the whole device.

Looking at it this way, I guess $300 doesn't seem that much any more.
"
this part makes a lot of sense.

The problem is not about the price itself, but Apple doesn't offer an "update" to MacBook pro 2015. Apple just forces people to reach a "max out" on their Macs: Force PRO users to use touch bar, Force PRO users to use 2.9 GHz (13").
 
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karen999

macrumors newbie
Sep 12, 2012
6
2
but i though Apple and every other manufacture update product line without hiking the price
 

ThE.MeSsEnGeR

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 26, 2009
660
31
Santiago, Chile
The problem is not about the price itself, but Apple doesn't offer an "update" to MacBook pro 2015. Apple just forces people to reach a "max out" on their Macs: Force PRO users to use touch bar, Force PRO users to use 2.9 GHz (13").
Yeah, I agree on that point. Apple does force people towards newer technology, thus making it more costly for us to keep up. Which is something that somehow bugs me about Apple. This is nothing new. But you can't deny the fact that it also helps pushing the market forward.
 
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Kimcha

macrumors regular
Feb 19, 2012
151
68
That is a reasonable way to look at it, but the fact is that most people would have probably chosen not to upgrade their CPUs and graphics.

Here is another thing to look at: Prices of storage upgrades

(Everything is in Hong Kong Dollars as I am too lazy to look up the US prices, but it should be pretty similar. HK$1,000 is US$129)

Old 256 to 512gb: $2400
New 256 to 512: $1400 (-$1000)

Old Base: 512: $13,888
New Base 512: $15,288 (+$1400)

Old 512 to 1TB: $3900
New 512 to 1TB: $3120 (-$780)

Overall my config (13", 16gb ram, 1tb ssd) is only US$79 more expensive than the same config on the 2015 model before the announcement.

Is US$79 worth it for the new touchbar, lower weight, smaller size? HELL YES.
 

dumastudetto

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2013
3,339
3,993
That's one way to justify it.

But keep in mind, most PC makers refresh their machines with new components at least once a year at the same price. Apple used to be this way too. They'd release Macs with faster processors, more or faster RAM, better graphics and charge about the same price as the previous year model. This is how the PC market has functioned for decades.

If you are going to be happy to pay $300 more each year they refresh the MBP with better components, you'll be paying at least $6,000 for your MBP in a decade. (well you won't, because Ple won't have a Mac business left at that point)
 
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jjiangweilan

macrumors 6502
Aug 16, 2016
275
96
That's one way to justify it.

But keep in mind, most PC makers refresh their machines with new components at least once a year at the same price. Apple used to be this way too. They'd release Macs with faster processors, more or faster RAM, better graphics and charge about the same price as the previous year model. This is how the PC market has functioned for decades.

If you are going to be happy to pay $300 more each year they refresh the MBP with better components, you'll be paying at least $6,000 for your MBP in a decade. (well you won't, because Ple won't have a Mac business left at that point)
But the truth is you have seen many Mac users use their machines for over 5 years. Use your finger to count how many PC users to do so?

And you know you can always sell your old Macs with less price-drop compared to PC.
 

protoxx

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2013
599
360
I find it ironic the premium for the magic ribbon touch bar is almost the same as I paid for a low end windows laptop ($350) with a touch screen.
 
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dumastudetto

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2013
3,339
3,993
But the truth is you have seen many Mac users use their machines for over 5 years. Use your finger to count how many PC users to do so?
Microsoft has numbers something like hundreds of millions are still in active use. I have one myself that runs fine purchased in 2009 now with an SSD.

Macs are far from infallible. I had an iMac die on me after 3 and a half years, logic board or GPU, and a fairly common dGPU issue killed a MBP after less than three years.

Again, we can all come up with convenient arguments why Apple should increase prices. I myself have argued it's one way to extend the life of the Mac if they make up for the decline in sales with much bigger profits, you have a business that's worth maintaining.
 

Macalway

macrumors 68030
Aug 7, 2013
2,728
1,131
Wow, thanks for that.

should be a sticky.

Even if the touch bar is buggy, it can update.
 

wiredup72

macrumors regular
Mar 22, 2011
196
40
jeebus christos, another afraid of change post. And I read all the way up to that point. I'm such an idiot sucker.
 

Ma2k5

macrumors 68020
Dec 21, 2012
2,473
2,418
London
Today has been a pretty rough day for many Apple users out there. So I'll try to be as objective as possible. After hours of reading thread posts and comments here and on other sites, it's obvious that the community is a bit shaken by the decisions made by Apple regarding the new MacBook Pros. Some people are calling it quits for Apple, others are considering it, and there are those that are simply satisfied with the new products.

The new MacBook Pros do have a higher price point than earlier generations. But this was coming eventually to the MacBooks. Think about it, and look at the iPad line-up lately. Apple used to come up with newer generations/hardware updates at the same price points of earlier ones and replace them, thus making older ones cheaper. But in the last few years, Apple has been adding newer generations (i.e. 9.7" iPad Pro) with a premium over a device that's been in the market for over a year (i.e. iPad Air 2), instead of simply replacing it.

Now, this new way of doing things has hit the MacBook line, and it hit hard. But to try and simplify this mess, let's have a general look at the specs and pricing options. We can see that it all comes down to the $300 premium that accompanies the famous/infamous touch bar.

Please note:
I've modified some specs to get the closest resemblance between models to compare prices.
I'm no computer genie, so excuse the basic knowledge of some spec comparisons.


13" MacBook Pro (2015) vs. 13" MacBook Pro (2016):







As we can see here, the new model (w/o touch bar) replaces the old one at the same price point. It features the new butterfly keyboard, bigger trackpad, new color option, slightly better graphics, less CPU power, and exchanges existing ports in favor of TB3 ports (among many improvements under the hoods). In brief, apart from the lowered CPU power, everything about the new version is future driven and updated. At the same price point. Whereas the 13" MacBook with touch bar is $300 extra.

But let's analyze this as if we're upgrading the 2015 model on the check out page.
CPU: 2.7GHz dual-core i5 -> to 2.9GHz quad-core i5. Wouldn't that be a $100 upgrade?
Graphics: Intel Iris 6100 -> to Intel Iris 550. Wouldn't that be a $100 upgrade?
RAM: 8GB 1866GHz -> 8GB 2133MHz. It's an upgrade, but let's say it's not worth $100.
Touch Bar and Touch ID addition: Wouldn't that be a $100 upgrade?
Plus factor the new design and architecture of the whole device.

Looking at it this way, I guess $300 doesn't seem that much any more.

15" MacBook Pro (2015) vs. 15" MacBook Pro (2016):

As for the 15" model, it's a different story because Apple didn't give the users the option to opt-out of the touch bar premium. So I've added only two configurations.





Let's do the same analysis, as if we're upgrading the 2015 model on the check out page.
CPU: 2.5GHz quad-core i7 -> 2.6GHz quad-core i7. Wouldn't that be a $100 upgrade?
Graphics: Intel Iris Pro -> Radeon Pro 450 w/ 2GB. Wouldn't that be at least a $100 upgrade?
RAM: 16GB 1600MHz -> 16GB 2133MHz. It's an upgrade, but let's say it's not worth $100.
Touch Bar and Touch ID addition: Wouldn't that be a $100 upgrade?
Plus factor the new design and architecture of the whole device.

Looking at it this way, I guess $300 doesn't seem that much any more.

Bottom Line/Personal Opinion:

Yes, Apple used to introduce newer models at old models' prices, and now it's adding a premium to newer models while keeping old ones intact. But like I said, look at the iPad line and you'll see what I mean. And I haven't seen that many threads over the iPad Pro with the same hatred and trash talk the MacBook Pro has received in the last 12 hours. (Honestly, regarding most subjects, the negative talk and nagging on these forums lately has become blatant and repetitive).

One more thing I believe Apple should have done was introduce a 15" MacBook Pro model without the touch bar, making it lose the $300 premium like the base model 13" MacBook Pro (2016). I guess they know it would've cannibalized the 15" w/ touch bar sales. So they're simply pushing people towards newer tech. I might add that the 2015 MacBook Pro models are not bad computers at all for those looking to save some money.

Finally, I believe it's an exaggeration that people are looking at the the new MacBooks as the end of Apple. Negative comments were made about the first iPod, the first iPhone, the first iPad, the lightning ports replacing 30-pin ports, or any other drastic change in technology. I guess we as humans, are afraid of change.

Apple isn't meeting the needs of the ultra-high-end-pro market? Apple doesn't update all its countless products twice a year? Apple doesn't add this or that feature? Then go look for another company that does. Stop agonizing over every single update or refresh. That specific high-end market represents less than 10% of the general market. Apple is evolving, its customers are evolving, and the world is evolving around us.
I'll be honest, the only thing that REALLY REALLY bugs me, to the point it has stopped me purchasing the laptops, is a huge 25% reduction of battery capacity on both the 15" and 13" models (99>75 kwh, 75>54kwh). I could swallow everything until that point, battery life was a big bonus for me for macbooks and I was hoping to have an even longer run time to allow me to do somewhat more intensive work for a longer period of time. Now, factoring inskylake efficiency, I'll have around 15-20% less battery life than current models - maybe even less with the touch bar. For the 15" model, it will be a lot less (compared to previous 15" iGPU model). I don't know, in a world where everyone was trying to increase battery life and Apple were a world leader at it, not sure why they would go a step back.

I didn't care about price, I was annoyed at the CPU/GPU choice, but the battery was the deciding factor for me.

Some people are very optimistically naive ("let's wait till benchmarks"), sorry guys, this isn't new battery technology, capacity reduction is capacity reduction, and skylake isn't new and we have seen what kind of benefits we can get from it from various other laptops.
 

Wilson1313

macrumors regular
Nov 29, 2008
101
182
But let's analyze this as if we're upgrading the 2015 model on the check out page.
CPU: 2.7GHz dual-core i5 -> to 2.9GHz quad-core i5. Wouldn't that be a $100 upgrade?
Graphics: Intel Iris 6100 -> to Intel Iris 550. Wouldn't that be a $100 upgrade?
RAM: 8GB 1866GHz -> 8GB 2133MHz. It's an upgrade, but let's say it's not worth $100.
Touch Bar and Touch ID addition: Wouldn't that be a $100 upgrade?
Plus factor the new design and architecture of the whole device.

Looking at it this way, I guess $300 doesn't seem that much any more.
The thing you are forgetting is that hardware updates year over year are normal, and the newer, faster processor/ram/gpu becoming a new "baseline" for the same price. Intel may update the i5 with a higher base clock, ram manufacturers increase the ram clock speed for the same given price. These are not $100 upgrades, this is the technology improving and providing better value to the consumer and don't translate to higher component costs for Apple. The same reason a computers now don't cost $1000s more than they did 5 years ago.

Using this same logic, you could justify a price increase for the 256GB baseline SSD, while ignoring that $ for $ the price of the SSD has gone down. So even though they chopped the price upgrades for the SSDs in the new 2016 machines, the cost basis for these parts has fallen 50+% for higher capacities. Apple is just trying to increase margins in their Mac division while margins for iPhones are falling. The ram, cpu, and graphics all should be standard improvements and don't increase cost on Apple.

Only thing I can justify having the increase for is the touchbar and screen, but at most that should cost $100. You also have to remember while apple sells these older Mac's towards the end of refresh, their margins only increase with each additional product since they can purchase last year's stock for even cheaper.
 

IJBrekke

macrumors 6502
Oct 24, 2009
395
164
Long Beach, CA
One thought: While this analysis is very well executed, it is not fully accounting for the time involved. The last generation Pros have been around since 2012/2013 with minor updates at these price points, meaning Apple's costs on each model have come down significantly since introduction (raising margins). Most manufacturers accept significantly lower margins at the start of a product cycle knowing it will be on the market for several months.

If Apple had released this newest version of the Pro alongside the old version in 2012/2013 then yes, the upgrades would be worth $300 per model. Apple is pretending, essentially, that technology has not evolved and that no upgrades should be sold for "free" this generation. The additional cost of new technology is being passed to the consumer more so than ever, coming across to most of us as pure greed.
 

protoxx

macrumors 6502a
Oct 10, 2013
599
360
And does that low end laptop offer the same build quality and funcationalities the new MacBooks do?
And does that low end laptop offer the same build quality and funcationalities the new MacBooks do?
You missing the point. Why can a low end laptop include touchscreen, arguably more useful than magic ribbon, for the same as the premium for the magic ribbon.

Seems more defiant than development. Refusing to add touchscreen. Especially since IOS and MAC os are branches of the same code tree. Doubling down against touchscreen just because they didn't do it first.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,803
33,771
Boston
But the truth is you have seen many Mac users use their machines for over 5 years. Use your finger to count how many PC users to do so?
I've seen too many polls here that people tend to use their laptops for only 2 maybe 3 years. The iMac seems to garner more long term usage for some reason
 
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CreativeC

macrumors member
Oct 23, 2016
57
80
This analysis is nothing more than the rationalizations of a person that tries to justify their impulse-buy of the new shiny Apple product.

Like some other user said, improvements in technology do not justify a price jump, otherwise you would be paying 1000 € for an 8 GB USB-C because, well, now it's 10x faster!

Your arguments make no sense what-so-ever.
 
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haydn!

macrumors 65816
Nov 10, 2008
1,020
984
UK
I have to admit. Over the last 24 hours I've contemplated this a lot. The price hike really took me by surprise, as a Brit, I expected some because of the currency problems right now, but then Apple also increased their basic prices which essentially doubled the increases for me. I was ready to order until the event, the hardware is awesome, no real complaints there (I have 2010 uni-body right now) but could I stomach the £800 increase? It's a lot of money!

That said. I've reflected a lot. I paid about £1500 for my current Mac, 6 years ago - this represents great value for money I think. Considering everything that is better in today's models, inflation, and currency drama right now, Apple's prices are probably fair. I think we've just been lucky as they held prices relatively static for most of the last decade and I guess it's just unfortunate the year they choose to re-align things is the year I'm ready to buy.
 

mikeo007

macrumors 65816
Mar 18, 2010
1,373
122
The 13" i5 isn't a quad core, but I still agree with the general premise. There's two extra TB3 ports as well.
 

ultra7k

macrumors 6502
Nov 9, 2012
252
35
Nice analysis. I think another way we can look at this is comparing it to when the MacBook Air first came out. For what it was, it was ridiculously expensive, yet it transitioned into a much cheaper unit a year or two later. Additionally, this isn't a niche product like the Mac Pro since it's pretty mainstream.

While we are paying the premium now for a new interface paradigm, I would think we can probably expect pricing to go down in a couple years.
 
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dukebound85

macrumors P6
Jul 17, 2005
18,191
1,658
5045 feet above sea level
For those who want processor and graphics upgrades, then I suppose it's a better value. For me personally, it makes absolutely no difference to have minor processor and graphics updates so for me it really is just spending $300 on the touch bar alone.

I'd be happy if I could just get the touch bar for $100 without any necessary processor or graphics card updates.
I agree. I would maybe consider processor and whatever upgrades if it meant longer support from apple but honestly, apple will nix the entire product line from OS support, regardless of specs. So like you, the 300 is a premium for just the touch bar.

I don't know why apple thinks that spending 2.5k for a 13in laptop with 512 storage is ok. It really is making me ponder ever having a mac laptop just due to how much more affordable a windows machine is.

If I do get a mac, it may be the mac mini from here on out

Also, how is apple going to support this dynamic touch bar on the desktop? they will need to make a new apple keyboard. This keyboard is something that HAS to be less than 300 and is something I would pair along with a new mbp with no led bar.
[doublepost=1477672373][/doublepost]
I have to admit. Over the last 24 hours I've contemplated this a lot. The price hike really took me by surprise, as a Brit, I expected some because of the currency problems right now, but then Apple also increased their basic prices which essentially doubled the increases for me. I was ready to order until the event, the hardware is awesome, no real complaints there (I have 2010 uni-body right now) but could I stomach the £800 increase? It's a lot of money!

That said. I've reflected a lot. I paid about £1500 for my current Mac, 6 years ago - this represents great value for money I think. Considering everything that is better in today's models, inflation, and currency drama right now, Apple's prices are probably fair. I think we've just been lucky as they held prices relatively static for most of the last decade and I guess it's just unfortunate the year they choose to re-align things is the year I'm ready to buy.
Ugh what inflation? wages have been stagnant too for the last decade!
 
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