Should Apple abandon the "pro/consumer" distinction in the laptop lineup?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Unspeaked, Dec 5, 2007.

  1. Unspeaked macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

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    #1
    Would it be to their benefit to simply have a line of "laptops" in addition to the consumer iMac and professional MacPro?

    I think the distinction was necessary back in the day when the iBook and PowerBook lines overlapped, with 12" and 14" models in the former and 12", 15" and 17" models in the latter.

    Further, there was a big difference in processor, with the iBook generally having a G3 and the PowerBook a G4, though in its last days, the iBook sported a G4 (I think this had more to do with Apple's inability to get a G5 in the PowerBook, though!).

    With all this talk of a new ultra portable or thinner 13" model being released and cannibalizing current model's sales, it seems to me that the lineup would be much easier for a consumer to understand if it was simply "The Apple Laptop Lineup" and ran from 13" to 17", with the possibility of a smaller machine which wouldn't need to be branded as "pro" or "consumer." The tiers were originally introduced to make things easier but I think it's gotten to the point where it's just more confusing.

    The way there's no overlap between screen sizes at the moment and the pricing structure both reflect this thinking, anyway, so why not just get rid of the labels and have a uniform lineup? Just one big row of laptops on the Apple Store page...
     
  2. Mykbibby macrumors 6502a

    Mykbibby

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  3. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #3
    Too many options would make the line complex... how many consumers want or need FireWire 800? Pros tend to want matte displays as well, for instance.
     
  4. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

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    #4
    MacBook: Consumer product (albeit a very good one).
    Great for email, surfing, web surfing, light video, music and photo editing.

    MacBook Pro: Prosumer/Pro on the go product.
    Dual-link DVI (supports the 30" ACD). On-board graphics card with up to 256MB of VRAM (soon to be 512MB). Great for all the day to stuff, and excels at editing of all multimedia assets.

    The distinction is very real. The labels are useful. Why get rid of them? I love MacBooks, but anybody who thinks that a MacBook comes close to a MacBook Pro for Prosumer applications is fooling themselves.
     
  5. Unspeaked thread starter macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

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    #5
    Well, that's why something like FW800 would only be on the high end models.

    I don't see the trouble or think it would be overly complex to offer the matte/glossy option across the board. There's plenty of people who have lamented not being able to pick up a matte MacBook.

    I'm not picturing something like the Dell online store where ever minor detail can be customized by the consumer, I'm picturing something very similar to the current offering, just without the MacBook/MacBook Pro labels which non-Apple fans I know are always asking what the difference between is, anyway.

    I guess my point is, I don't really see how having one lineup would be more complex than two (or even three, depending on if the ultra portable is released and how it's treated) when you're offerings total less than 6 models.
     
  6. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #6
    I don't think Apple will cannibalize their own markets.

    Though the killing of the education iMac, neglecting the Mini, and losing ground on the low end laptop have got to hurt in the education arena.

    So Apple "might" have something coming on that front, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it hit nearer to this mark than the Pro arena.

    I can see almost see slimmer/lighter portable without a optical drive landing in this arena. But maybe not, though a $200 retail price drop for a slimmed down notebook would help.

    Edit: aka, an eBook 2 with flash memory running OS X instead of PDA based.
     
  7. Unspeaked thread starter macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

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    #7
    Again, I'm not saying they should physically change the machines, I just don't see what advantage the labeling currently gives the lineup that the $1000 price difference doesn't.

    Maybe I'm just giving consumers too much credit, but I think if they walk into an Apple store and see a lineup of laptops against the wall with the low-end at $1099 and the high end at $2799, they realize there's going to be a lot more bells and whistles in the most expensive model without being condescended to...
     
  8. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #8

    Because you've got size and drive differences as well to deal with... why don't you try and come up with a logical line of six models that can bought as stock, and price them? Bet you'll find it damned near-impossible.
     
  9. davidjearly macrumors 68020

    davidjearly

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    #9
    Not true at all IMO. Well not in all cases. The only place the MacBook is let down is with the integrated graphics. Even then, it is more than powerful for any professional photographer.

    Video work? Ok, you might have a point there. However, the MacBook is (just like the iBooks of their time) very capable of doing professional level work in many fields.

    So, I believe that the MacBook does come close to the MBP for many prosumer applications.

    Also, whilst I like the distinction in the current lineup, I don't think there would be a huge issue in combining both the consumer and professional lines together. This would just mean that Apple would have to allow people to choose their specification from a standard range (similar to what they do now, but only with more options).

    David
    David
     
  10. tMac85 macrumors 65816

    tMac85

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    #10
    i think apple uses this also for $$$$$$


    sure the insides of the pro line are better than just the mac... but i think tacking on a book 'pro' to the end makes that computer seem better than just the 'book' There are a lot of people out there where money is not a problem, and they figure if im getting a mac, i might as well get the best. These people are not going to take advantage of the 'pro' aspects, they are just going to surf the web... thus apple makes a profit based off people wanting a 'pro' vs a 'book' They wont know they difference, but are willing to pay the price.

    The same goes for Walmat- VS Target. Same stuff but its all how its advertised.
    hope that all made sense. i couldnt figure out how to explain what i was thinking.

    (and im not saying that apple is anywhere like the PC world.)
     
  11. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #11

    Aperture and software of its ilk need a powerful video-card, pros working with large-format or 16bit images will also struggle and most photographers worth their salt will not like a glossy display. Recent photographers I've visited also loved their FW800 drives... The word prosumer is a sop.
     
  12. Unspeaked thread starter macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

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    #12
    But doesn't this already happen within the current lineups themselves? Look at the iMac lineup... or even just the MacBook Pro lineup...


    This is exactly right.

    There's plenty of "pros" using MacBooks and probably a few "consumers" using "MacBook Pros."

    It's not like someone walks into a store and unless they edit video or do design they're not allowed to buy a MBP.


    This, sadly, is probably the main reasons we haven't seen something like this.

    Apple likes squeezing the extra profit margin out of someone who could probably get by with a MB but feels compelled to buy the "pro" model instead...
     
  13. zirkle2007 macrumors 6502

    zirkle2007

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    #13
    Umm...isn't Dell doing the same thing with its whole 'XPS' label? Its just the name of the laptop, the same way other companies use numbers mostly to distinguish. Apple is just more classier and uses a name rather than a number. Why does this bother you so much anyways?
     
  14. davidjearly macrumors 68020

    davidjearly

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    #14
    I find Aperture to be fine on the MacBook, although I've never really got used to it. However, I much prefer a combination of Adobe apps (Photoshop + Lightroom). These just fly on a MacBook (with decent amount of memory), and I work with large .psd and .tif files all the time.

    In addition, I find the glossy thing a completely non-issue on a properly calibrated display. I know exactly what to expect from my prints when working on either my aluminium iMac or MacBook.

    I completely agree about the word 'prosumer'. It makes me cringe just to say it, and you'll notice I only done so when referring to the quoted post.

    Again, FW800 is nice but far from a necessity.

    To me, far too many photographers (even at a professional level) are overly-concerned with the hardware they are using and not remotely enough on the pictures they are taking.

    David
     
  15. MrT8064 macrumors 6502a

    MrT8064

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    #15
    I think its fun to have a distinction between the two; it would be cooler if there was a full consumer and pro range:

    Macbook/Pro 11",13",15",17"

    with more and more people using a laptop as a replacement to a desktop, it would seem sensible for apple to provide big, lower specification computers for people who want to surf the web and do email
     
  16. Unspeaked thread starter macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

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    #16
    It's not that it bothers me, just something I was thinking about that I wanted others opinion on - not a big deal!


    Now this makes sense to me!

    If there truly were two lines with a full range of screen sizes and each size had a low end model geared towards consumers and a high end model geared towards pros, then it would make perfect sense (the way I mentioned in my original post about how in the early days, there was a 12" iBook and PowerBook, a 14" iBook and 15" PowerBook, etc).

    As it stands, there's NO overlap, so Apple is basically already doing what I'm suggesting; their labels are completely arbitrary.

    If someone wants to buy a pro machine smaller than 15", guess what? They're buying a MacBook because there's nothing else. If a consumer wants to buy a MacBook that's larger than 13", guess what? They're buying a MacBook Pro (or nothing at all from Apple!) because that's all there is.

    Comsuer/Pro lines make sense when you can walk into a store and say, "I need this, this and this - please show me the low end and high end version and I can decide what I'd want." not when screen size basically dictates the feature set!
     
  17. smooth macrumors 6502

    smooth

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    #17
    I agree that right now screen size dictates what model you want. Had there been a 15" model with more of the mid-level 13" specs for a cheaper price, I would have gotten that just because I'm not necessarily looking for a smaller screen.

    There should just be Macbooks - currently 13", 15" and 17" though after January a 10-11" and/or 19" could be added. The base specs are all pretty similar (though maybe screen resolution may differ - I'm not too knowledgeable in that area). You get a choice of glossy or matte screens and you get choices of covers (white plastic, black matte, aluminum - unless they all go aluminum, but with choices of color).

    Each model is fully customizeable to get the specs the buyer wants to get. That said, specifically for Apple Stores but also available online, there is a "Pro Package", where the MacBooks come preloaded somewhere between mid- and high-level customization. This would avoid some buyers having to wait for a custom-built machine, if the "package" has specs to meet their needs/wants. They could walk out of the store with their laptop or ship times online wouldn't be quite as long.

    This would make it entirely possible for someone who wants a 17" laptop to surf the internet, check email and watch movies to get one much cheaper than someone wanting a 13" laptop for serious work.
     
  18. EvryDayImShufln macrumors 65816

    EvryDayImShufln

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    #18
    I'll tell you one thing though. My dad wanted a mac laptop with a 15 inch screen, but didnt need the power of the MBP. Yet he got a macbook pro anyway just for the screen size.

    I think they should have more screen size variation like they used to.
     
  19. MrT8064 macrumors 6502a

    MrT8064

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    #19
    i suppose, if apple can force anyone who wants a large macbook to pay pro price, then it must be more profitable; if they are going on the principle 'once you go mac you never go back' - then people will buy an expencive macbook pro, just because they want more screen!

    what i am trying to say is, for apple they may be far more profitable keeping all big models pro, because many MBP buyers just want them because they have a big screen, and if there was a MacBook with a big screen, then profits would be reduced.

    however, personally i love the idea of full range of all sizes in pro and consumer; i can however see why apple may not want this.

    one step which would be sensible is a small Pro model, this way, apple is only going to make more money, and this is a product that many people will want
     
  20. jnc macrumors 68020

    jnc

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    #20
    Agreed. "Forcing" someone to buy a MacBook when they don't want to buy a 15" Pro isn't a good business model, which is why I think a 13" Pro is on the way. And have done for for 2 years lol. Finally the rumours are agreeing with me!
     
  21. Cloudane macrumors 65816

    Cloudane

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    #21
    Logically, it'd make sense, but let's not forget that Apple's product lineup tends to mould itself to specific markets rather than being "a computer". Hence all the different types of desktop instead of just one configurable tower for instance.

    Even if the differences become more artificial than real, I think the distinction between Pro and Consumer lines is here to stay.
     
  22. MrT8064 macrumors 6502a

    MrT8064

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    #22
    ok, typical scenario that argues against everything i have just said:

    Mike, has used a range of Dells, HPs and Sonys for many years, and is comfortable with a $1200 low performance laptop with a 15" screen, which he uses for web browsing, email, and looking at photographs.

    one day, Mike things to himself 'i'm fed up with windows - i shall get a mac'
    so Mike heads over to an apple store, and has a look around, because his current laptop is his main computer, he doesnt want a small laptop (MacBook)
    so he heads over to the fancy silver boxes that are MacBook Pros, and thinks 'this is the one for me - a 15" screen, and that great Mac operating system'
    Mike then looks at the price ($2000), he suddenly things 'Hang on a minute, for this price, i could have another 15" Sony, and an iPod, a Wii, and a drink of coffee' Mike then walks out of the shop, empty handed...

    he returns 3 years later.

    If apple had a cheap, large laptop, they would get a LOT more switchers!
     
  23. smooth macrumors 6502

    smooth

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    #23
    I agree. I don't pretend to guess what Apple will be announcing in January, but an 13" Pro makes sense. From a business standpoint, one area where PC companies have and edge is that all their models come in various sizes and area very customizable. So along with the above arguement should also go for those who want a 15" MacBook but are forced to buy a 15" MBP for several hundred bucks more.
     
  24. Adokimus macrumors 6502a

    Adokimus

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    #24
    Where are you coming up with this? I haven't heard any rumors to this effect, only speculation (a.k.a. guessing) by macrumors members. The reason I ask is because this would be a big deal, but I don't believe it's in the works.

    -Ado
     
  25. smooth macrumors 6502

    smooth

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    #25
    Yes, I completely agree. I was on the fence with switching because of this very scenario. My wife and I went from a shared desktop to individual laptops. She has a 15" Dell, that is nice but I really wanted to switch to Mac. Stopped by an Apple store and did get the sticker shock and left. Went home, did some research, comparing specs and prices and while the MBP would still be at least $300 more, I thought about my past PC experiences, went back to the Apple store, played with the MB and decided I could live with the smaller screen.

    In general, Mac-buyers are going to be spending more money as a whole and I think potential switchers would be more likely to make the switch if given more options and flexibility to make more decisions regarding their purchase.
     

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