MBA cannibalizing MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by KohPhiPhi, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    Hey, MBP-owners!

    Few days ago I started a thread in the MBA section of this forum to know the opinion from MBA-owners. Now I'd like to know the opinions from MBP-owners.

    Here's the topic at hand:

    I've been thinking about how it's perfectly possible that, over the following year or two, the MBA family might totally cannibalize the MBP family, just like the MBP 13" recently cannibalized the Macbook White 13".

    Here are my thoughts:

    1) We've seen how MBA 13" can match MBP 13" component-wise (Sandy Bridge i7, HD 3000, 6-hour battery life, etc), so there's no reason as of why a hypothetical MBA 15" and MBA 17" couldn't match a MBP 15" or 17".

    2) Hard Drives and DVDs are aging technology, and it won't be long until Apples phase them out completely. So, if they remove HD and DVD from a MBP, we get... yup, a MBA: fewer outdated components, lower weight, thinner design, PLUS same performance. So by taking out those outdated components, the MBA gains room enough to pack in just as much "juice" in the shape of RAM, SSD, processor, etc at a much lower weight and thickness than the MBP.

    3) Marketing, development and logistics wise, it's counter-productive for a company to sustain two over-lapping products that cannibalize each other's sales. Let's face it: the MBA 13" is a direct competitor to MBP 13" now that both are equipped with the same processor. Apple already ditched the Macbook White for this reason (it overlapped with MBP 13").

    4) Very few customers crack their MBPs open to manually upgrade them, so upgradability is a tiny factor to consider really.

    So I was wondering: couldn't it be possible (or even beneficial) that Apple could release sometime in the future a MBA 15" and 17", and get rid of the MBP family altogether? or at least unify them in some way? Now that the performance gap between MBP 13" and MBA 13" is basically non-existent, why not merge them? and why not do the same with the 15" and 17"?

    If MBA 13" has been able to match MBP 13"... why couldn't a MBA 15/17 match a MBP 15/17? and if so, why would Apple keep producing, marketing and developing two overlapping product ranges?

    And remember that there's already a precedent: the MBP 13" forced the Macbook White 13" out of the market because... well, let's face it: they were 95% overlapped. So, why can't MBA do the same to MBP?

    I foresee Apple unifying both product ranges into one in a not-so-distant future... Opinions? ​
  2. mdnz macrumors regular

    Apr 14, 2010
    The Netherlands
    The non-lowvoltage CPUs are still a lot faster than their counterparts found in the MBA. And I still don't see any decent dedicated GPUs in laptops of that form factor anytime soon.

    While this might not be a big deal for the average consumer, people who want that little extra portable performance will have to switch to another brand.
  3. MKang25 macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2010
    The 15 and 17" pros have always tended to be for people who needed a portable workstation. For that reason I don't see the Air having a quad core or an integrated graphics card any time soon so I don't see these going away.
  4. Prodo123 macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2010
    So what you're saying is, a tiny 11" ULV dual-core with HD3000 is going to dominate over Quad-core, GPU-equipped, super-machines?
    I don't think so.

    And as an FYI, my MacBook Pro wakes in less than 1 second.
  5. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Oct 14, 2010
    Is the thread you started under the MBA threads not answer your question for you? ... it appears from this thread below the MBA is not :rolleyes:
  6. KohPhiPhi thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    This is not about "answering" any question, since only Apple can answer that. This is about gathering opinions, which is the point of a DISCUSSION forum :rolleyes:
  7. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Oct 14, 2010
    well if the thread in the MB Air section seems to be a "No it will not" ... the same thread in the MB Pro section will be even more of "No it will not."
  8. ratzzo macrumors 6502a


    Apr 20, 2011
    They are two different types of laptops. Not gonna happen (at least not yet). MBPs are much more powerful than the Airs not to mention upgradeable.
  9. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    Those processor in the MBA are more expensive in general since they use ULV. I doubt they could or would do that.

    2) Hard Drives and DVDs are aging technology, and it won't be long until Apples phase them out completely. So, if they remove HD and DVD from a MBP, we get... yup, a MBA: fewer outdated components, lower weight, thinner design, PLUS same performance. So by taking out those outdated components, the MBA gains room enough to pack in just as much "juice" in the shape of RAM, SSD, processor, etc at a much lower weight and thickness than the MBP.
    The main reason the MBA doesn't have an HDD is so they could make the laptop smaller. Everything they actually said about them is mainly advertising. They wouldn't have put an SSD for everything I underlined, they only put it because it was the only option to make it thinner. That said, there are many of us that need storage and upgradability. I can't live with a 64GB SSD and I'm not paying the price of a 512GB SSD. The MBP can also store SSDs, so those that need or want them, they can have them.

    Okay ... no.
    For $1299 you get 1.7ghz i5, 4GB, 128GB.
    For $1199 you get 2.3ghz i5, 4GB, 320GB.

    Look, it's not just about specs you see on Geekbench.

    Source? This is nonsense.

  10. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    The MBA is not a replacement for the MBP. They are only comparable on levels that they are both Macs, Apple products, computers, etc.

    The two machines are nothing alike, and to answer your question - no, I do not believe that in a year or two (or ever) that the MBA will take over the MBP.

    Upgradeability (expandability...) is not a factor? I say you're either an obvious troll, or you have a very poor biased opinion. Not to mention you are suggesting that a company throws versatility in their offerings out of the window and just offer a thin designed lineup of computers. The sales don't combat each other, in fact they work together to produce more than simply one option would.

    Just another user that doesn't utilize something like an internal optical drive or has no desire for things like expandability and wants a slim design. Joke of a thread, really.
  11. Neverbepeace macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2009
    New York

    I look at it as........with the air...your getting less for more. The only benefit with the air is the form factor....That is basically it.

    The pro 13.3 is $999 at microcenter. BestBuy price matches also (Did it yesterday lol) All depends on your preference at the end of the day.
  12. wegster macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2006
    There seems to be a lot of MBA va MBP threads..
    Today, the Air is a compromise, and so is the MBP 13", but different compromises. The Air gives you less weight and a bit more portability, slightly higher res at the cost of storage, RAM, CPU (assuming same gen and same time release, right now we're comparing a newer Air vs almost refresh time Pro 13"), firewire, GigEthernet, etc.

    The Air *could* within a generation or two converge with the 13" MBP, but to not lose some 13" MBP customers, it would need to increase max RAM at the very least, and ideally keep the replaceable SSD, or at the very least, become cost-competitive and double the sizes offered today. The other issues *could* be resolved with a Thunderbolt breakout chassis - offering USB(3, we hope!), gigethernet, possibly a Frontrow IR sensor and single firewire port). At that point, it's possible the 15" and 17" can converge on the Air or similar form factor, and it's probably likely we'll lose the optibay/optical drive option in the next generation. The question is whether or not Apple will leave a sane path for those that do use the additional ports, if cooling is up to the task (many Pro users for the 15 and 17 *want* or *need* the discrete GPUs). Any one of the 'losses' has the potential to alienate current pro users, some of which have been Apple fans for a long time, and others only once their OS sucked less. :D (Sorry, anything prior to osx leopard or so just didn't cut it for me vs Linux)

    Whether or not Apple 'gets it right' remains to be seen. A next gen Pro that removes optical drive would upset people using Optibay, but overall would likely remain a success. A next gen pro that had a max of 8GB of RAM if it's released in the not too distant future, would probably not turn too many users away, at least until 16GB RAM in a laptop became available in other companies offerings for a few hundred dollars, and then those of us who *need* 8GB would definitely want to move up to 16GB. The other ports remain similar - remove too much without a way to work around it (like a *reasonably priced* TBolt chassis), and it will be back to Linux on a Thinkpad, Asus, etc for me, possibly to a Mac Pro (if they keep it going) for a few others in the desktop replacement crowd, and some pissed off users.

    I expect Apple entirely to push iCloud to 'make up' for any loss of storage, and there are some things that makes sense for, assuming it's reliable and secure - a lot of people won't care if their music collection and videos live on someone else's servers, although with bandwidth caps coming, and somewhat flaky ISP services for a lot of the US, it's not quite the perfection Apple will no doubt market it as....but there's no way I or others will have my company's source code living in 'iCloud,' so there are definite risks in Apple alienating real 'Pro' users for the sake of convenience while broadening their appeal to the casual users.

    With all that said, the Air vs 13" still isn't a direct competitor today for a good number of users, myself included, although either one may be a possibility for some groups of users. Whether or not an Air-styled 15 or 17" is able to be done well enough with the right compromises to be able to both retain the current pro users, while drawing in new potential users - remains to be seen.
  13. broad macrumors member

    Sep 29, 2009
    if apple makes machines with no hard drive and no optical drive they'll sell a lot less applecare, and that will not make them happy.
  14. VeganHipster macrumors regular

    Jun 18, 2011
    A Macbook Pro is for professional users, hence 'pro'. For someone who is a professional, why would they want two usb ports, no ethernet, 64gb of space, and no ODD? Not all software is online yet, some software still comes in a disk.

    MBA is a toy, and MBP is an actual computer. I certainly hope apple doesn't merge those two lines of computers.
  15. akhbhaat macrumors regular

    Sep 30, 2010
    Like any other benchmark, Geekbench can be very interesting and informative if you know what it's telling you (and what it isn't).

    The problem here is that most people don't understand the numbers they're looking at, or how they were derived. I was just about prepared to write out a fairly lengthy and technical explanation for the Air's resounding performance in short term synthetic tests (e.g. Geekbench) and somewhat less stellar performance in longer/more demanding tests (which seem to be conveniently ignored by the majority of MBA owners), but I suspect the thread starter and whoever else shares his or her opinion wouldn't understand or appreciate it. Consequently, I've decided not to waste my time.
  16. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    Perhaps the funniest thing in this thread are the idiots who think the MBA and the MBP are competitors.

    They're both Apple, either way Apple gets paid. Why would Apple give a damn if the MBA is cutting into the MBP sales?
  17. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Oct 14, 2010
    between both threads you started ... it seems the MBA is not cannibalizing the MBP ... both have their unique users
  18. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
    Yeah I know, different people have different needs.

    I'm just wondering why people would think Apple cares which line of laptop is outselling the other.

    For all the technical knowledge on this forum, there seems to be a lack of common sense.

    If you sell Orange Juice and Lemonade at your Lemonade stand, and assuming you're meeting a profit margin per glass of either drink, would you give a damn which one is favored by the customers?

    Not really, the only thing demand will affect is how much of a certain product you manufacture/supply.
  19. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Oct 14, 2010
    the simple answer to your logic is ... you would need to know how many Oranges vs Lemons you need to buy in order to stock your juice stand.

    I say Apple juice would be your best seller :cool:
  20. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

    Aug 1, 2011
  21. dmccloud macrumors 6502a


    Sep 7, 2009
    Anchorage, AK
    No the MBA will NOT cannibalize sales of the MBP. The Air is designed for lighter usage than the Pro, as evidenced by the lack of an optical drive and reliance on smaller (and more expensive) SSD storage versus a traditional HDD. The limited number of ports on the MBA also limits is usefulness as a desktop replacement. While Thunderbolt may serve to improve its usefulness in a desktop environment, it's far too early to determine to what extent.

    What I expect to see is a 15" MBA at some point, probably with the 2.3GHz i5 in the entry-level 13" MBP, if not it's replacement CPU. But you are not going to see the MacBook Air replace the MacBook Pro in its entirety. The upcoming launch of iCloud will extend the usefullness of the MBA, but only to the extent that you can store stuff in the cloud instead of always keeping it on your machine. But for heavy/high-end graphics and video work, the MacBook Pro will still be the preferred platform.
  22. h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    I think we're just seeing people who never needed the power of the pro get straightened out... And some who do but value portability. Even with the new pros, desktops are still faster, higher res, and cheaper. So why not have a wicked desktop and pretty capable laptop.

    That said there are a fair Amy of people who just need a better screen, DVD drive, space.
  23. Fugue macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2011
    Isn't the 13" MBP the bestselling model out of all Macs?
  24. dsio macrumors regular

    Jun 19, 2011
    We've had this discussion every second day started by a new person each time since the air came out, I'll just post my last response...
    The air and pro are radically different machines for different purposes. The majority of pro owners wouldn't touch an air, especially the ones on this site. Its a fundamental lack of capability, if I have an iPad and a Macbook Pro, I win in the thin fast and portable stakes as well as have the power I need. The middleground is akin to Crossover SUV's, fashionable, but not small enough to be useful in the city, and completely hopeless off-road.
  25. thinkinblue613 macrumors 6502


    Dec 13, 2010
    Planet Earth
    Like many have already said, it really depends on what you're using it for.

    The Macbook Air and Pro have their ups and downs. Yes, they can do the same things here and there BUT the thing that the Pro can offer that the Air can't is upgrades.

    With a MBA, you're pretty much getting that and thats all you get. The Pro, you can upgrade over time or when necessary.

    For me, I am a college student and I was debating whether I should get a Pro or Air. I had many countless nights of staying up late just thinking about it. A huge factor that led me more towards the MBP was money.

    I felt like I got more bang for my buck with a MBP than I would have with the MBA.

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