What does "Pro" mean?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by stagmeister, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. stagmeister macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2004
    What exactly does "pro" mean today? I've been thinking about this a lot over the last few months, with the long speculation on what a new Mac Pro would be, and now with the MBP haswell wait.

    I'm not sure that apple's definition of "pro" is what a lot of other people (ie. many of the users here) think that "pro" means. Look at the rMBP and the new Mac Pro. These machines are both for the most part user un-serviceable. You can upgrade the ram on the new Mac Pro but it doesn't have a ton of room for expansion. On the rMBP, only the 15" has the option for 16gb ram or a quad core processor, and even then a dGPU may be going the way of the dodo, just in general when we consider the Mac lineup. For some, "pro" means a 17" screen. Whoops, that's gone.

    The story posted recently with an external GPU connected via thunderbolt may be one path forward here. But essentially, the distinction between the "pro" and "regular" computers are getting smaller and smaller. What makes a "pro" computer "pro"? And a "pro" user a "pro" user?

  2. tgi macrumors 65816


    Aug 29, 2012
    For Apple I would say "Pro" goes hand in hand with top of the line, high end etc.

    Macbook Pro = Most powerful in notebook lineup.

    Mac Pro = Most powerful in desktop lineup.
  3. vpro macrumors 65816


    Jun 8, 2012
    Used to mean what he said above.

    It used to mean that but not any more.

    Pro now just means they can charge you premium but not live up to the premium standard. They have screwed over a lot of Pros by quietly removing the 17" MacBook Pro or what ever they are really doing, perhaps they will bring it back and then the 15" rMB will be less pro. History repeats it self there a lot I noticed. It was a miracle they breathed new life into the Mac Pro, why wouldn't they with their flagship beast the 17" MacBook Pro.

    So that is what Pro means to me. It just means they can charge you more and more, making it look like you are cool.
  4. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Its just a name, nothing much to discuss.

    Personally: as far as moniker 'pro' goes, the rMBP for me is the ultimate mobile workstation to do your professional work with. Its light, mobile, has a great screen with great resolution, excellent expandability - and all that without sacrificing performance. Of course, the demands will vary for different professional tasks, but laptops are in the first place compromises.
  5. racer1441 macrumors 68000

    Jul 3, 2009
    Pro is professional, in any field. Work in a office, run a business, do design, ect allow those are pro.

    Looking to browse the web at home, do email, go to school, that's the regular line.

    My beef has always been the video / audio snobs thinking pro is media professionals only. Is all business's.
  6. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    I've seen a few hookers that fit this description... but they're still called "Pros".

    You guys are too hung up on silly-assed product names. And you take that "hype" way too literally.
  7. Icaras, Jul 31, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013

    Icaras macrumors 603


    Mar 18, 2008
    California, United States
    Here's my two cents on these two points in bold:

    First, I think the idea of a machine being "user-serviceable" is an over exaggeration of what pro users want. I imagine that many pros, in whatever profession or craft they are using their machine for, don't necessarily fit into that computer-savvy image that many people commonly associate them with. Just because these people are working in high tech creative or business fields doesn't necessarily mean they are folks who are comfortable working with hardware or machinery.

    I have a close friend who works with several top shelf Adobe creative suite apps on his Mac. I consider him a "pro" because he has had experience in the field working at a start up social gaming company. And although he is well acquainted with all his software, the opposite holds true for his knowledge of hardware. Before he even had a Mac, he used to always go to a friend of his, who would be tasked with custom building a PC for him to do his work on. Other than installing RAM on his iMac today, which lets face it, is dead easy, had never cared to open up his PC to expand PCI cards, graphics cards, hard drives, or memory. In fact, as long as the machine worked, he never cared too deeply about the specs of his machine. Which you might guess why, he later finally got a Mac.

    Anyway, I think what pros want and care more than a machine being user-serviceable, is hardware reliability, great warranty protection, and speedy, high quality customer service; all of which Apple is well known for. For someone like my friend, something as simple to us like a hard drive failure or a faulty GPU, would probably freak him out. So instead of having to do the research of finding the right components yourself, all you have to do is take in your machine to your local genius bar and have Apple take care of the rest. Of course they'll experience a bit of downtime, but it's a weight off professional's shoulders to have to worry about the hardware side of things within their machines. The less time tinkering with their machines is more time spent on their craft or profession.

    Second, the retina 15" MBP already exceeds the resolution of the 17" MBP, so why keep the 17"? The 15" is smaller and lighter, which I would imagine is better suited for the professional on the go who's always hopping from place to place.
  8. illmatic41 macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2012

    Because mid-tier mobile gfx cards are "pro" according to the "Pros". Heaven forbid these pros can't get real workstations featuring Quadro class cards. Let's face it, the "Pro" in the Macbook line is just marketing jargon. There are plenty of professionals that use igpu notebooks...it just depends on what your trade requires.
  9. Asuriyan macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2013
    It's a name. It used to be PowerMac and PowerBook, but they couldn't use those after dropping PowerPC architecture so they called it "Pro".

    Reading more into it than that is foolish.
  10. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    "Couldn't" in this case meaning "chose not to". Remember that PowerBooks were around before PowerPC!
  11. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    It's a marketing gimmick they hope people will confuse with intended use.
  12. Asuriyan macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2013
    A very valid point.

    I believe IBM has since registered POWER as a trademark. I wonder how that would play out, since all of those products kind of grew up together.
  13. stagmeister thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2004
    Yeah, "Pro" is definitely a marketing term. But it also has real meaning -- it can mean people who "produce" content as well as consume it, or it can mean "professionals". I think that it is often used in a too limiting way -- i.e. graphics and video professionals, who need something very specific as the "pro" apps (Adobe, final cut, etc.) are very demanding and the files they work with are very large, and whose work is often tied to a dGPU. There are other kinds of professionals: iOS developers, statisticians, even "professional" students. Everyone has different needs.

    I think that the so-called "pro" users, who want specific things, e.g. an optical drive, high-DPI display (or a huge screen space e.g. 17"), dGPU, supercomputer-level RAM, are not what Apple is going for in the "pro" market. That's not say that Apple is "screwing" you or anyone in particular over by not releasing exactly what you want. They just see a different market. That's to say, why does one need a supercomputer on the go, constantly? I say "supercomputer" because we are getting to the point now where the laptops and desktops that are available in the market have ungodly amounts of computing power, ram, storage, etc. There just isn't much room for improvement in performance -- or rather, Apple and other companies see other elements where innovation is warranted, e.g. battery life or thinness. There's not much more that Apple can do with thinness. They can keep shaving off millimeters but the order of magnitude stays the same.

    Anyway, I see Apple moving towards a single platform, rather than two (MBA and rMBP). It's not about simplifying the supply chain but a singular vision for mobile computing. They said as much during the last WWDC keynote, where they talked about the Haswell MBA as the direction where everything is going. If you put a retina screen on the Haswell MBA, what's the difference between that and the 13" rMBP? Little or nothing, considering that the high-end configuration of the 13" rMBP still limits you to a dual core CPU & 8GB ram; the rMBP just has a bigger battery due to its design.

    The recent piece on the guy who made the external GPU connected via Thunderbolt, I think, may be where Apple is going (or should go). Why do "professionals" need all the power and storage all the time? I would venture that most "pros" do most of their work in their office, or at home if they have a home office. There are the coffee shop types too, I am definitely one of them. But the real work gets done in the office. So why not have a setup where you have two Apple computers: the MacBook (forget the "air" part) that has real power but also extreme portability, and the docking station that you use in your office that gives even more power and may even be part of a large-screen monitor. (This is not that different, in some ways, to what people wanted 5-8 years ago in the "iPod home" docking station -- you keep your home directory on your iPod and can plug it into any mac you want to work with.) This is my vision for what "pro" users can expect from Apple, based on my definition of "pro" -- not that different from "regular" users.
  14. Ichabod., Jul 31, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013

    Ichabod. macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2012
    I wonder if we will see thunderbolt apple-branded expansion peripherals in the coming year.

    Perhaps a DuoDock Pro...

    Edit: I imagine light peak will eliminate the potential bottle necking that can occur with high powered external processing, how exciting. (I hope)
  15. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    It is more expensive than the product without the "pro" suffix.
  16. throAU macrumors 601


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia


    Power user
  17. Queen6 macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2008
    Putting out the fire with gasoline...
    Right on the money "Pro" for Apple is simply a marketing tool, these days if Apple produce a portable that meets your need as a professional, it`s by good luck not design as they are firmly a consumer product now...
  18. jafingi macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2009
    Guys, "Pro" just means that the product is Apple's top-of-the-line product. Not "Pro" as in it's the best computer EVER. It's just to differentiate from the other models. Not "Pro" as in it's the most optimal solution for professionals.

    - Mac Mini (for the mainstream users)
    - iMac (for the more demanding users)
    - Mac Pro (Apple's top of the line)

    - Macbook Air (for the mainstream users)
    - Macbook Pro (Apple's top of the line)
  19. Queen6, Aug 1, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013

    Queen6 macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2008
    Putting out the fire with gasoline...
    Your points are valid, however just have a look at the option available for say a DELL Precision, a HP EliteBook or a ThinkPad W series these are truly "Pro" portable workstations and many OS X based professionals would like this flexibility at point of purchase and beyond: multiple SSD, multiple HD, SSD & HD combinations, RAID, expandable RAM (32Gb), choice of CPU, choice of GPU, Choice of wireless card, choice of display, removable battery, additional batteries, battery expansion, BluRay, and much more.

    Professionals do really need this flexibility, thin & light means little when your hauling 60Kg - 70Kg of gear or more. My needs as an engineer in the field are very different to say a musician or a video artist and here the flexibility of the systems above very much come into play. In comparison Apple clearly produces portables solely for the consumer market, with very few options.

    Only OS X is the holding point for me, equally unless Mavericks truly impresses or Apple actually produces a professional level portable, I will likely switch as business is business and Apple right now is just nice to own. A fully configurable system with a 3 year warrantee including accidental damage is looking far more practical than thin & light albeit at a higher price...
  20. Randy-Marsh macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2013
    Means whatever you want it to mean.

    They could call it the MacBook Fire. Doesn't mean that fire would have to come out of it.

    They called it the MacBook Pro when it first came out as the top of the line model over the normal MacBook and kept the name since. Think Amateur league, pro league.
    What it comes with, how upgradable it is, or any other factors really has nothing to do with it. That's just you interpretation of what you deem the word "pro" to mean, but when it's all said and done... It's just a name.
  21. Virginaustralia macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2013
  22. laurihoefs, Aug 1, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013

    laurihoefs macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2013
    This is what I think.

    Professionals are people who choose a tool suitable for their trade, then get their work done with it. To a professional the products name means very little, it's the tool itself and it's functions that are important and valuable. If the tool fails them somehow, they choose a better one.

    True Professionals™ are people who just whine on forums how butthurt they now are, 'cause of how "un-pro" some of these products have become now that they lack some random feature they might need, or 'cause how all these measly "non-pros" are now purchasing their precious professional products. They seem to worry a lot about this eating away their True Professionals Prestige™ and the value of their laptops as status symbols. A "Pro" laptop on a Starbucks table used to signal something very special to passers by, but gone are the days. Now it's just another tool among tools, almost like another mass produced product. These True Professionals™ are mostly just pretentious snobs

    That's my two cents.
  23. Sammorama macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2013
    Noone really cares whether your computer / camera / golf clubs are 'pro'.

    Its what you can achieve with them.
  24. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Pro = marketing term, nothing more.

    At one point it was a designation for Apple's computer line to differentiate between their consumer models (iBooks) and their more beefier professional model. Now that they have long discontinued the iBook line, its really meaningless.

    It has more power then the MBA but most people can get most of their work done with an MBA. It has a bit more expandability and higher max ram amount but that's about it.
  25. twingo macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2009
    Pro means, that it will be easier for you to convince your wife that you need a new gadget. :D

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