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Does Apple need a more ruggedized version of its MacBooks?

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macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 18, 2002
I've been thinking that Apple needs a ruggedized version of its MacBooks. A line made for more extreme uses. Military grade specs. There are industries and sectors that Apple doesn't do well in because not only are they expensive, the MacBooks aren't as durable. Right now if you drop your MacBook, it dents and bends. The display hinges aren't the best. If you spill something on it, good luck with that repair ($$$$$$). The keyboard, well... that's whole other thread! A MacBook "Extreme" won't be as sleek since the case won't be crafted from metal and it will probably be thicker. But if it drops from a high countertop it will survive unscathed. A pluck proof, spill proof, dust resistant keyboard. Since it will probably be thicker, maybe it'll have even better battery life. It would surely be a boon in education, an area Apple sorely needs to address.

What do you think? Would you buy a MacBook Pro Extreme Edition?


macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
I wish they would fix current MBP to be sturdier now

This is a nice video that describes what goes into a ruggardized PC and if you look at the work, its clear Apple's Premium priced laptop would be so expensive that no one would touch it. Plus MBPs are not used in environments that call for such work, so no demand, high price, would mean (at least to me) a computer that few if any would buy.
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macrumors Core
Oct 14, 2008
What do you think?

Do you think that there is demand for Apple computers in the respective markets? Military uses some rather specialised software, and I doubt that it has been developed for macOS. Not to mention that rugged laptops are extremely niche, I don't think I ever seen one in a wild. This is usually a product that you develop with a very specific client in mind, since a "general-purpose" rugged laptop probably won't find much market.

What do you think? Would you buy a MacBook Pro Extreme Edition?

Not for my own use. Professionally, we might be interested in a rugged laptop that runs macOS for our field workers who often have to work in adverse weather conditions with no access to modern utilities. And they don't need high performance anyway. But such a tool also has to be reasonably priced... we can't blow over $5k on a laptop for a PhD student...
[doublepost=1552672657][/doublepost]Anyway, the probability of Apple developing such a device is all but zero. Just look at financials.

Let's say that they sell 100k such laptops per year (which is a VERY optimistic estimate given how niche the product is) at $5k average, then the revenue from this model is 500 million per year. They Mac revenue was 7500 million last financial quarter alone. It's a drop in the bucket, especially considering that the real sales of the laptop would likely be at least 2 times lower. Not worth spending any R&D on.


macrumors G4
Perspective - Some of the Service Company engineers use ruggedized desktops in the field $40K - $60K is nominal. A basic notebook easily $5K upwards. Personally I just use regular notebooks as TBH it's cheaper to replace one and have a backup than fork out $15K for a Toughbook, even then it wouldn't have the performance I want...

Most ThinkPad's are certified as Mil Spec and are indeed very durable.

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macrumors G3
Feb 22, 2003
New Hampshire, USA
I don't think so although Apple needs to do a much better job with the MacBook Pros it currently sells (i.e. new keyboard design, fix the T2 if they want to use it, better thermal management, etc.).


macrumors 68020
Original poster
Jul 18, 2002
This is thread was inspired by Dave Lee's recent video on the MacBook Pro. I work in education. A few years ago we gave our middle and high school students 11-inch MacBook Airs. They beat the crap out of them. We're about to replace them with Chromebooks. We've reviewed many different models of Chromebooks from many different manufacturers. They are all doing a better job with the ruggedization than Apple ever has. One of the main factors in switching to Chromebooks aside from the cost of the MacBooks is the durability. We've looked at Chromebooks years ago and they were quite flimsy. Not as much any more.
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macrumors 603
Mar 10, 2016
As long as the nuclear missile codes aren’t bothered by some misplaced ‘e’s here and there, what’s the harm in it?


macrumors 604
Nov 3, 2011
SF Bay Area
Mil spec field units are a pain the the rear. They stifle innovations and mean crappy displays that can take a beating but are terrible to use. I would not want to give the gorgeous Retina display for a lower rez one with less brightness that could survive a fall from 2 meters.

Likewise the keyboard on mil spec notebook might be waterproof, dustproof, and step on proof but the keys are hard to press and/or surrounded by plastic
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