Should Apple consider rebranding its notebook lineup?

PatriotInvasion

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Jul 18, 2010
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I think the current lineup of 2 MacBook Airs (11", 13") and 3 MacBook Pros (13", 15", 15"+retina) is great and all, but the naming conventions are dated and confusing for buyers.

I prefer the line up of a few years ago when you had the base-level MacBook (white and black) which was good for just about everybody, the pro-level MacBook Pros, and the ultra-portable MacBook Air.

I think they should either drop the "Pro" naming convention altogether and just call them the MacBook, or introduce another machine for consumers that isn't as powerful as the Pro, or as light and compromising as the Air. Apple is so far removed from the "Pro" scene that they should stop using that as it may make the average consumer feel as if it is more powerful than necessary for their basic needs. Thoughts?
 

rockyroad55

macrumors 601
Jul 14, 2010
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I think they should drop the 13" MBP and rename the MBA line to MacBook. The Pro Line will only include the 15" models. So two lines, MacBook and Pro. No clue about this rumored 13" Retina though.
 

GGJstudios

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May 16, 2008
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This has been discussed ad nauseam in the forum over the years. The "Pro" in MacBook Pro is a marketing term, and in no way indicates a particular set of specifications. Before you can say what a "professional" computer is, you first have to specify what a "professional" is. I know doctors who are mostly computer illiterate. I know landscapers who are highly computer literate and have high demands for hardware/software.

Ford Mustangs aren't really horses.
Facebook isn't really a book.
This isn't really a fruit: 
 

Stetrain

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Feb 6, 2009
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The Air is their current 'entry level' line. I don't think there's a need for another one. It's an ultraportable, but it isn't crazy expensive like it used to be. It doesn't have the DVD drive that the old white Macbook had, but I don't think that's as necessary now as it was back then.

I think in a year or two the lineup will simplify back to the 11" Air, the 13" Air, the 13" Pro, and the 15" Pro. The Pro line will follow the RMBP design.

The Air line is lighter and cheaper. The Pro line has better displays, more performance and is more expensive. Seems pretty simple to me.
 

SlyMac

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Jun 16, 2008
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Like GG said, the "Pro" label is more of a marketing term to simply mean more powerful. It used to make some sense when compared with the white macbook. Now that that is gone, and with the current retina trend, we'll eventually see that go away. Or, at least be reserved for the retina versions.
 

PatriotInvasion

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Jul 18, 2010
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The Air is their current 'entry level' line. I don't think there's a need for another one. It's an ultraportable, but it isn't crazy expensive like it used to be. It doesn't have the DVD drive that the old white Macbook had, but I don't think that's as necessary now as it was back then.

I think in a year or two the lineup will simplify back to the 11" Air, the 13" Air, the 13" Pro, and the 15" Pro. The Pro line will follow the RMBP design.

The Air line is lighter and cheaper. The Pro line has better displays, more performance and is more expensive. Seems pretty simple to me.
I don't agree with this because you are still paying a premium for the ultra-portability of the Air. I mean, $999 for a 1.7GHz Dual Core Processor and an 11" screen?

Right now there is no true entry level MacBook like there used to be with the white and black original MacBooks. Buyers are forced to choose between an ultra-portable that makes many sacrifices to be that way or a "Pro" laptop with quad-core processors that are probably overkill for the vast majority of people who just surf the web and check email. I'd vote for the 13" MacBook Pro to become just the MacBook once again and leave the 15" as the Pro version. That seems much more logical and clean IMHO.:):apple:
 

Capt Underpants

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Jul 23, 2003
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Austin, Texas
I thought they were going to drop the 'Air' name when they replaced the unibody Macbook with the Macbook Air.

It should go back to just being Macbook and Macbook Pro.
 

theuserjohnny

macrumors 6502
Jul 7, 2012
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The Air line is lighter and cheaper. The Pro line has better displays, more performance and is more expensive. Seems pretty simple to me.
Yeah I agree it's pretty simple.

But if you play video games this reminds me of the time that (when at the time) IW tried to drop the "Call of Duty" title from the "Modern Warfare" series to help distinguish it as its own brand.

However, based upon their research they found that the average person would not recognize what Modern Warfare was and that they would not associate it as a Call of Duty game because it lost the branding.

So as history as it IW never dropped the Call of Duty name from the Warfare series just for marking reasons.

Of course the average gamer knows that Warfare is Call of Duty but the average consumer wouldn't.
 

Stetrain

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Feb 6, 2009
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I don't agree with this because you are still paying a premium for the ultra-portability of the Air. I mean, $999 for a 1.7GHz Dual Core Processor and an 11" screen?

Right now there is no true entry level MacBook like there used to be with the white and black original MacBooks. Buyers are forced to choose between an ultra-portable that makes many sacrifices to be that way or a "Pro" laptop with quad-core processors that are probably overkill for the vast majority of people who just surf the web and check email. I'd vote for the 13" MacBook Pro to become just the MacBook once again and leave the 15" as the Pro version. That seems much more logical and clean IMHO.:):apple:
How do the "sacrifices" of the Air make it unsuitable for "the vast majority of people who just surf the web and check email"?

The slowest 2012 Macbook Air would run circles around the fastest white Macbook ever made.

I don't think Apple will make a cheap plastic notebook again. If you want something cheaper for casual web and email use they want to sell you an iPad.
 

vladster

macrumors member
Jul 25, 2011
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I think the current lineup of 2 MacBook Airs (11", 13") and 3 MacBook Pros (13", 15", 15"+retina) is great and all, but the naming conventions are dated and confusing for buyers.
IMO, 15" Pro and 15"+retina are as different as Pro is different from the Air.

So, I'd invent some dedicated line for retina equipped macs. Look at this forum - it's heavily cluttered with people discussing retina display, which doesn't let talk of Pro models.
 

PatriotInvasion

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Jul 18, 2010
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How do the "sacrifices" of the Air make it unsuitable for "the vast majority of people who just surf the web and check email"?

The slowest 2012 Macbook Air would run circles around the fastest white Macbook ever made.

I don't think Apple will make a cheap plastic notebook again. If you want something cheaper for casual web and email use they want to sell you an iPad.
Fair points. But there still isn't a basic "MacBook" available like in the past. It's either Air or Pro, and that bugs me a little. I suppose the presence of the iPad has changed the game, but I still think Apple should have a notebook that is neither Air or Pro so the consumer can decide between ultraportable (Air), everyday use (MacBook), or advanced use (Pro). This is how it used to be.

Maybe once the 13" Pro goes retina, they can just drop the Air tag from the Airs and call those the MacBook (as someone suggested above). If you want quad-core and retina displays, you have to go Pro.
 

nuckinfutz

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Jul 3, 2002
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consumers don't get any more confused than when Apple had a Macbook and a Macbook Pro.

They understand that Air is the lightweight model or grasp the concept rather quickly.
 

Mal

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Jan 6, 2002
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Orlando
I like the current MacBook Air and MacBook Pro naming convention. The MacBook without any tag after it just seemed left out before. I think the "classic" design will simply cease to exist eventually, and we'll just have the Air and Pro (with Retina, but no need to label them) lines left as-is.

jW
 

Stetrain

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Feb 6, 2009
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...between ultraportable (Air), everyday use (MacBook)...
I think that today those two are the same thing, or close enough. I don't think that Apple needs to have something called just the "Macbook" from a branding perspective. In fact I think that when they tried to continue that in 2008 with the aluminum Macbook it was actually a bit of a mistake.

They gave it a lower quality screen, no backlit keyboard on the base model, and no Firewire because it was just the "Macbook", even though it shared so much with the Macbook Pro.

Sure the 11" Air isn't for everyone, but the 13" model is $1199. That's the same price as the current 13" Pro, and is less than I paid for my aluminum Macbook.
 

PortableLover

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Apr 14, 2012
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In terms of an entry level laptop, most consumers don't even need an Intel i5 processor, perhaps Apple could introduce i3 machines? It would be cheaper, but as we all know, apple doesn't do cheap..
 

PatriotInvasion

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Jul 18, 2010
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I think that today those two are the same thing, or close enough. I don't think that Apple needs to have something called just the "Macbook" from a branding perspective. In fact I think that when they tried to continue that in 2008 with the aluminum Macbook it was actually a bit of a mistake.

They gave it a lower quality screen, no backlit keyboard on the base model, and no Firewire because it was just the "Macbook", even though it shared so much with the Macbook Pro.

Sure the 11" Air isn't for everyone, but the 13" model is $1199. That's the same price as the current 13" Pro, and is less than I paid for my aluminum Macbook.
Well, if everyday use and ultra-portability are the same thing these days, than I don't see the need for the Air moniker any longer. When it was originally released, the Air name was to distinguish it from the regular MacBook/MBPro lines and to highlight it's super thin, lightweight design. If that is now the norm, I think "Air" is an excessive naming convention and should be dropped. I can see someone interested in a Mac saying I just want a regular Apple notebook...not an Air or a Pro.
 

Stetrain

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Feb 6, 2009
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Well, if everyday use and ultra-portability are the same thing these days, than I don't see the need for the Air moniker any longer. When it was originally released, the Air name was to distinguish it from the regular MacBook/MBPro lines and to highlight it's super thin, lightweight design. If that is now the norm, I think "Air" is an excessive naming convention and should be dropped. I can see someone interested in a Mac saying I just want a regular Apple notebook...not an Air or a Pro.
I don't really see it being a problem. There hasn't been a plain "Mac" desktop in a long time. Before the Macbook name, it was iBook and PowerBook. Consumer and Professional.



 

takeshi74

macrumors 601
Feb 9, 2011
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Apple is so far removed from the "Pro" scene that they should stop using that as it may make the average consumer feel as if it is more powerful than necessary for their basic needs. Thoughts?
If a shopper relies solely on the name of the product then that shopper gets what that shopper deserves.
 

PatriotInvasion

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Original poster
Jul 18, 2010
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If a shopper relies solely on the name of the product then that shopper gets what that shopper deserves.
My argument is primarily around the Air and Pro names being unnecessary. There isn't an iPad Pro or an iPhone Pro. There's just the iPhone and the iPad. Apple even went out of their way to drop secondary names with "The new iPad" instead of calling it the iPad 3. They'll likely do the same with the iPhone next month. Nice and clean...

That said, I'm sure Apple has an entire team who's sole mission is to research what product names should be, so what do I know.:rolleyes: Just my opinion that I'd prefer a product called the Apple MacBook again. Just like we have iPad, iPhone, and iMac. Clean, simple names...
 

akdj

macrumors 65816
Mar 10, 2008
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Alaska
I don't agree with this because you are still paying a premium for the ultra-portability of the Air. I mean, $999 for a 1.7GHz Dual Core Processor and an 11" screen?

Right now there is no true entry level MacBook like there used to be with the white and black original MacBooks. Buyers are forced to choose between an ultra-portable that makes many sacrifices to be that way or a "Pro" laptop with quad-core processors that are probably overkill for the vast majority of people who just surf the web and check email. I'd vote for the 13" MacBook Pro to become just the MacBook once again and leave the 15" as the Pro version. That seems much more logical and clean IMHO.:):apple:
Have you see the 'base price' of the new Intel 'Ultra Books'? They start at more than the base Air! HP, Dell, Toshiba, Asus...all of them are $1000, $1049, $1199-- all with 'base line' components. Four GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Intel 4000, et al. I think it's a Samsung I saw that started at over 1500!!! With a 128GB SSD. They're prod of that little bugger....and to date, none of them with their crappy track pads run Windows better than the Airs! :)

I like the little extra 'pro' designation. It's truly only marketing...BUT, that said, Apple is no longer making a cheap feeling, plastic enclosure. All aluminum. How can you not dig that? As well...you can still jump into an Air with far, FAR better hardware than any other MacBook ever made for the same price historically charged for the low end MacBook

I'll agree, the Retina has blurred the lines a bit. However, I look at it right now as a completely separate product. Eventually, all of the laptops...all of Apple's displays on ALL of their devices will be of 'retina' consideration and the moniker can go away. The iPad 3 is the 'new' iPad. Albeit it's definitely best know as the retina iPad...or iPad 3:)

To me...as my wife is an owner of a 2007 MacBook, white, 2.16 GHz proc and 3 (usable) GB of RAM--it's still churning along just fine. It's been handed down to my 7 year old son (he's our only child and exceptionally responsible with his electronics)---I've set it up with a mouse and external monitor and am considering a cheap 120GB SSD...as I stated to say :) To me, good riddance, absolutely good riddance to that plastic design. It was almost a mandatory piece of gear, to buy a cover for it to prevent cracks, scratches and other miscellaneous damage.

The aluminum design is gorgeous, timeless, and with the new design of the retina line---still not even closely approached, aesthetically, by any other manufacturer...bar. None.

..and that darn track pad...it's absolutely...how should I say it?? Magical? Yep, even for a 41 year old guy. 25 years of computing with a mouse have all been thrown out the door. I've got trackpads for all of our iMacs, my MacPro...and our Airs & MBPs as you know...already have them...

...all with the exception of that ol' 2007 MacBook:). While its a decent trackpad. It's now where near as 'magical' as the 'Pro' offerings.

In my opinion, all of Apple's products currently offered are of 'Pro' quality. From the $999 Air or MBP (Best Buy has had them on sale for $80-$130 off for the past 6 months!)....to the Retina 15", even the current MP offerings are bad ass workstations. While still a generation behind, I'd much rather fiddle with my 2010 MP at home vs our Dell Precision (solely now used for Pro Tools and Avid).

Even the $1099 iMac. As pro as it gets if you stop by Any Fry's or Best Buy and check out the 'other guys' AIO offerings

Just my VHO. As always, YMMV!

J
 

AZREOSpecialist

macrumors 68020
Mar 15, 2009
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MacBook
MacBook Air
MAcBook Pro

If that's confusing I don't think Apple is the one at fault.
Not even - the Macbook is long gone. You can't even find it mentioned anywhere in the store. Apple has two laptop lines - MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Soon there will be a Retina variant Air as there is a Retina variant Pro. It all lines up and makes perfect sense. Not confusing at all.
 

PatriotInvasion

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Original poster
Jul 18, 2010
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Not looking for a plastic enclosure again. Just not a notebook that goes out of it's way to be as thin as a toothpick at the expense of power or an overpowered professional notebook. There was an in-between before and should be again is all.
 

terraphantm

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Jun 27, 2009
3,740
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Pennsylvania
Personally I think a "pro" machine should have workstation class parts. Mobile xeons, quadros and/or firegl GPUs. Granted such a machine would be expensive... but other manufacturers are able to offer them. And the non-retina models should be IPS. Or IPS displays should at least be available as a paid option. I know a lot of graphics professionals use these machines, so having decent color accuracy would be valuable to those folk.

Heck, even non-computer savvy professionals could use high quality screens. Great contrast and high resolution would be very useful to doctors for viewing radiological studies.