Will Apple ever build the 17 (or 16.5) inch MBP? [Merged]

nouveau_redneck

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Original poster
Sep 16, 2017
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I wasn't a Mac user back in the day of the 17 inch MBP, but I do recall seeing a fair amount of them and wanting one pretty badly at the time. I regret not getting one.

Any chance Apple will build the 17 again? I'd buy it.
 

Cashmonee

macrumors 65816
May 27, 2006
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Possibly. There seems to be a movement of manufacturers being able to cram a larger screen into an existing form factor. For example, I believe I have seen at least two 17" laptops that are in essentially a 15" chassis. I could see the next redesign reducing bezel size and increasing screen size similar to what the iPad Pro did this time around. In that scenario, maybe the 13" and 15" become 14" and 16" or something similar.

As far as making a chassis larger than the 15", I cannot see that happening. They may go slightly larger and replace the current 15", but I cannot imagine they will have a 15" at the current chassis size and then a larger 17".
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
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Any chance Apple will build the 17 again? I'd buy it.
Apple stopped selling them due to lacklustre sales and the fact that the 17" didn't have any real advantage over the 15" except resolution (which became irrelevant with the advent with HiDPI screens).

Possibly. There seems to be a movement of manufacturers being able to cram a larger screen into an existing form factor. For example, I believe I have seen at least two 17" laptops that are in essentially a 15" chassis.
Yes, and Apple started it. Their 15" were the size of an average 13" and the current 15" MBP still very comfortably fits into a 13" laptop bag. Of course, other manufacturers have also caught up in the downsizing game.
 

Stephen.R

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didn't have any real advantage over the 15"
Screen size, extra/better expansion/ports. I wouldn’t choose one now, because I mostly use a desktop but having a bit extra screen space made it more usable for me, when I worked from a lot of different places.
 

Falhófnir

macrumors 601
Aug 19, 2017
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Screen size, extra/better expansion/ports. I wouldn’t choose one now, because I mostly use a desktop but having a bit extra screen space made it more usable for me, when I worked from a lot of different places.
Screen size is one thing, but they didn’t leverage the extra size for any extra power or anything, yet it cost a pretty penny more than the nearly identical but for the size 15” version. If it had been priced at ~$100 more for the larger screen size (as Apple did with the 11 and 13 inch Airs) it probably would have been a more popular option. I think if they were to bring it back, it would have to be as an absolute top-end machine (iMac Pro made portable, with a price to match) if it’s not to befall the same fate again. Being the same machine as the 15” but larger and costing at least $500 more probably won’t be a successful formula this time either!
 
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SDColorado

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Sadly, probably not. But I would buy one if they did, particularly if they marketed it as a "workstation" type laptop and used the extra size in the chassis to restore some of the ports back. I just sold my 2011 17" this August and kinda miss it.
 
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leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
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Screen size, extra/better expansion/ports.
I have to say that I never really understood the screen size argument, since the 17" is not that much larger than 15" and with the ability to have full HD-equivalent resolution on the 15", you can fit the same amount of content. I can imagine that some people prefer to have the larger screen when working with higher resolutions but that does diminish the value of the 17" further. As to expansion ports, they became obsolete with thunderbolt. It is no coincidence that 17" was discontinued exactly when Apple released the retina model with TB...
 

GLS

macrumors 6502
Jun 26, 2010
363
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I wasn't a Mac user back in the day of the 17 inch MBP, but I do recall seeing a fair amount of them and wanting one pretty badly at the time. I regret not getting one.

Any chance Apple will build the 17 again? I'd buy it.
Chuckles, no. That ship done passed.

You might check out eBay if you have the itch. I myself picked up one a year ago, a base 2010 model. I had been looking off and on for a few months, but most of what I found looked pretty ragged, and the examples that looked to be in good shape structurally wise were kind of high ($750+) so I kept checking back in occasionally.

One day, I saw a new listing for the one I bought. Buy it now for $400, and in the pics it looked really, really good. The seller had installed High Sierra on it, so I knew at least it had booted, so I took the leap.

Came in a few days later, and I was a bit worried about how the seller had packaged it. Unwrapped all the plastic...and...holy moly, this thing was cherry. The buttons on the keyboard were stiff like a new MacBook used to be, with no wear spots. I fired it up, stuck Coconut on it and.....

.....30 charge cycles on the battery. It had been manufactured in August 2010. I was aghast at this "new" 17" MacBook Pro I was able to score. Stuck a SSD in it, bumped the ram up to 8 GB, and all is well.

I did contact the seller not long after I picked it up, and asked how was it in such lightly used shape. Turns out it had belonged to an older relative who had passed, and they were simply wanting to sell the person's belongings, and the person hadn't used it in years.
 

Stephen.R

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since the 17" is not that much larger than 15"
15” is the same difference to 13”.

and with the ability to have full HD-equivalent resolution on the 15"
The default 15” screen was 1440x900 - 1680x1050 was an upgrade - the 17” was 1920x1200.


It is no coincidence that 17" was discontinued exactly when Apple released the retina model with TB...
Both early and late (ie two releases) of pre-retina MacBook Pros (including the 17”) had thunderbolt ports.

As to expansion ports, they became obsolete with thunderbolt.
That’s like saying cheese became obsolete because of cheddar.
 

nouveau_redneck

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 16, 2017
551
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Chuckles, no. That ship done passed.

You might check out eBay if you have the itch. I myself picked up one a year ago, a base 2010 model. I had been looking off and on for a few months, but most of what I found looked pretty ragged, and the examples that looked to be in good shape structurally wise were kind of high ($750+) so I kept checking back in occasionally.

One day, I saw a new listing for the one I bought. Buy it now for $400, and in the pics it looked really, really good. The seller had installed High Sierra on it, so I knew at least it had booted, so I took the leap.

Came in a few days later, and I was a bit worried about how the seller had packaged it. Unwrapped all the plastic...and...holy moly, this thing was cherry. The buttons on the keyboard were stiff like a new MacBook used to be, with no wear spots. I fired it up, stuck Coconut on it and.....

.....30 charge cycles on the battery. It had been manufactured in August 2010. I was aghast at this "new" 17" MacBook Pro I was able to score. Stuck a SSD in it, bumped the ram up to 8 GB, and all is well.

I did contact the seller not long after I picked it up, and asked how was it in such lightly used shape. Turns out it had belonged to an older relative who had passed, and they were simply wanting to sell the person's belongings, and the person hadn't used it in years.
That's quite the find. I was looking on eBay and they are all over for 750 - 1000. No thanks. If I came across one like you found, I'd snatch it up too.
 

vertical smile

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Sep 23, 2014
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I have to say that I never really understood the screen size argument, since the 17" is not that much larger than 15" and with the ability to have full HD-equivalent resolution on the 15", you can fit the same amount of content. I can imagine that some people prefer to have the larger screen when working with higher resolutions but that does diminish the value of the 17" further. As to expansion ports, they became obsolete with thunderbolt. It is no coincidence that 17" was discontinued exactly when Apple released the retina model with TB...

I own a 2011 17" MBP, and I used a 15" laptop daily for work.

There is a significant difference between them, especially for productivity.

To me, 15" is a large Laptop screen, and 17" is a small desktop screen. It was only 11 years ago that there were 17" Mac desktops.

The 17" was a good size screen for people that wanted a desktop experience on a Laptop.

That being said, I hate doing any work on a laptop, and much rather do it on large monitors, preferably two of them at least 24", sitting at a desk.
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
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The default 15” screen was 1440x900 - 1680x1050 was an upgrade - the 17” was 1920x1200.
I am talking about retina screen which also has the ability to emulate the 1920x1200 resolution. This took away one of the major advantages of the 17" (of course, the 17" was still slightly more comfortable to use with that res)


That’s like saying cheese became obsolete because of cheddar.
I don't understand it. The only expansion option that 17" had over the 15" was the ExpressCard (PCI-e access for external modules). TB, which is a wrapper over PCI-e, is a direct replacement for ExpressCard and makes it completely obsolete.

I own a 2011 17" MBP, and I used a 15" laptop daily for work.

There is a significant difference between them, especially for productivity.
Did you also have a chance to use the 15" retina in 1920x1200 and compare that to the 17"?
 

vertical smile

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2014
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Did you also have a chance to use the 15" retina in 1920x1200 and compare that to the 17"?
No, I will most likely not buy another Laptop any time soon as I think they suck for productivity.

The only reason I use one now is because it is given to me for work. 95% of the time, it is plugged into a dock that is connected to two monitors. The other 5%, I am mobile and I am moving at a snail's pace.

I have a Dell Precision 7520, which is a really nice laptop, with a gorgeous screen.

It is the larger screen size of the 17" I like over smaller sized laptop screens. Similar to me liking much larger desktop screen sizes over working on laptops.
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
11,259
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I'm done with this. Saying that 17" had no benefits over the 15" version, and then using later released models to try to argue that point is where I draw the line.
No need to be so dramatic. My entire point was that the 17" MBP has lost most of its relevance when the retina 15" was released in the 2012, leading to its discontinuation in the very same year. That is what I wrote in the post you have quoted in the first place. I was never saying that the 17" had no advantages over the pre-retina 15" MBP.
 

jinnyman

macrumors 6502a
Sep 2, 2011
573
511
Lincolnshire, IL
I don't think so, but I hope so.
4k resolution 17" MBP with 8core 16thread 9th gen mobile chip will rock
[doublepost=1550127771][/doublepost]
No need to be so dramatic. My entire point was that the 17" MBP has lost most of its relevance when the retina 15" was released in the 2012, leading to its discontinuation in the very same year. That is what I wrote in the post you have quoted in the first place. I was never saying that the 17" had no advantages over the pre-retina 15" MBP.
Your conclusion is plainly incorrect. Why you keep comparing previous 17" to current retina 15"? If 17 ever comes out, it's going to be 17" retina which will probably be in higher resolution compared to 15".

Of course, the possbility of Apple coming up with 17" is slim anyway because Apple no longer cares about a personnal computer.
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
11,259
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Your conclusion is plainly incorrect. Why you keep comparing previous 17" to current retina 15"?
Because — in my opinion of course — the 15" retina is what allowed Apple to finally kill the 17" model.

Of course, the possbility of Apple coming up with 17" is slim anyway because Apple no longer cares about a personnal computer.
This is a conjecture I cannot understand. They don't care about desktop replacements, sure, but personal computers? The current MBP is a literal embodiment of a personal computer concept. Fast, usable, compact.

4k resolution 17" MBP with 8core 16thread 9th gen mobile chip will rock
That is the only possibility where I can see them bringing the 17" back — as a larger, more powerful workstation desktop-replacement-class machine. And I hope that this doesn't happen for a variety of reasons (mainly since it will most likely mean that the 15" will get butchered).
 

Stephen.R

macrumors 68030
Nov 2, 2018
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My entire point was that the 17" MBP has lost most of its relevance when the retina 15" was released in the 2012, leading to its discontinuation in the very same year. That is what I wrote in the post you have quoted in the first place. I was never saying that the 17" had no advantages over the pre-retina 15" MBP.
Really? Emphasis is mine.

Apple stopped selling them due to lacklustre sales and the fact that the 17" didn't have any real advantage over the 15" except resolution
 

alex87f

macrumors newbie
Jun 24, 2015
22
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Brussels, Belgium
Yes, and Apple started it. Their 15" were the size of an average 13" and the current 15" MBP still very comfortably fits into a 13" laptop bag. Of course, other manufacturers have also caught up in the downsizing game.
It's really quite a stretch to say apple started this trend. If anything, Dell did with the XPS13 & 15 and Apple caught up.
 

Falhófnir

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Aug 19, 2017
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Really? Emphasis is mine.
They are literally the same computer sans size and I think the 17” has some weird memory slot rather than an SD card slot plus an extra USB. Considering the 17” cost $300 more for this, I’m not surprused a lot of people never bought it over the 15” version. That’s not to say the larger screen that could display more content still at a comfortable size is without use or merit - I’m sure a lot found it extremely useful and still would today. But clearly a lot of people looked at it and didn’t see the value or it would likely still be with us.

Because — in my opinion of course — the 15" retina is what allowed Apple to finally kill the 17" model.

This is a conjecture I cannot understand. They don't care about desktop replacements, sure, but personal computers? The current MBP is a literal embodiment of a personal computer concept. Fast, usable, compact.

That is the only possibility where I can see them bringing the 17" back — as a larger, more powerful workstation desktop-replacement-class machine. And I hope that this doesn't happen for a variety of reasons (mainly since it will most likely mean that the 15" will get butchered).
I agree the 15” retina is why they killed the 17” - not because it was a perfect replacement, but because it was good enough (could display 1680x1050 of content scaled without being too uncomfortable). I also think they would have struggled to push a Retina 4K display on a mobile computer at that time.
 
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leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
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Really? Emphasis is mine.
Is this really how you are planning to assert your intellectual superiority, by quoting parts of sentences outside the discourse context? Besides, where is the inconsistency? In 2011 (which is the time frame I was referring to), the only real advantage of the 17" was the screen resolution (all other parameters being essentially identical, minor details aside), which became less relevant by next year when retina models were introduced (as I also wrote in the same very sentence you quoted but conveniently decided to let that very part out).

[doublepost=1550140463][/doublepost]
It's really quite a stretch to say apple started this trend. If anything, Dell did with the XPS13 & 15 and Apple caught up.
I am not really sure what you mean by this as first XPS15 was released in 2010 (4 years after the MBP) and was a laptop larger than the original 15" MBP. The first XPS13 was indeed a small ultrabook using ULV CPUs released in 2012 as a competition to the MacBook Air (again, released 4 years earlier). The XPS line history is an interesting one anyway. It started as a high-performance computing line by Dell and that featured some of the most humongous machines they have ever built, like the 20" XPS M2010 monster that weighted over 8kg and had the size of a briefcase. Over the years, Dell has changed it to be the modern compact premium machine we know and love.

What I meant with "Apple starting the trend" is that Apple's laptops have traditionally been quite compact from the very start, with the 15" MBP matching the size of the average 13" at the time and the 13" MacBook (since 13" MBP was introduced much later) being smaller yet. And before the MBP, the PowerBooks were very compact as well which was a reference point for many other makers. And of course, Apple made the Air, which has set the trend in the laptop world for a decade to come. The overall compactness trend we see in the Windows laptop market now only started few years ago and in my opinion, its the success of the MacBook Air that was decisive in establishing that trend.
 
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Falhófnir

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Aug 19, 2017
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To put any doubt to rest here are the tech specs from Apple for the 2011 17 and 15 inch models. There was one 17" stock configuration at $2,499 and two 15" models, a $2,199 variant which was specced exactly the same as the 17" pro, and a cheaper $1,799 model which had lesser specs.

https://support.apple.com/kb/SP621?locale=en_GB
https://support.apple.com/kb/SP620?locale=en_GB

Overall with the 15" having much more pricing flexibility and still being considerably cheaper for the same power, it's not difficult to see why the 17" found itself limited to the niche of people who specifically wanted a larger screen. This is probably what led to it's downfall via lacklustre sales. By the time it came to 2012, with retina being the new flagship feature, they’d have probably needed a retina 4K (1920x1200 @2x) because the 15” retina can already display 1680x1050 adequately (which brings us back to the whole what’s the point of paying so much more for the 17” question).

A bit of an assumption here, but if we take the current 4K iMac as an example, it seems they can’t run it ok even given modern day integrated graphics (I assume even more than cost why the lowest end is non retina). For a desktop with a discrete GPU not really an issue, but at least a bit of an issue for a mobile computer back in 2011, even if it’s a desktop replacement that will be plugged in much of the time.

So to finally bring this back to OP's question, if they do ever make a 17" again, I would really expect it to be a sort of super halo product like the iMac pro. Probably starting at at least $3,999 quite possibly even more than that. All enterprise grade components (hence the cost) which will likely be great for many, but if your planned use is anything other than work related 3D modelling, video, coding, etc (pretty much anything you'd also consider an iMac pro for) it would likely be extremely difficult to justify for anything else.
 
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Ploki

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Jan 21, 2008
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My prognosis:
15" will retain the same form factor but lose the besels, and go to native 1680*1050 @2x resolution.
 

Stephen.R

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Nov 2, 2018
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They are literally the same computer sans size and I think the 17” has some weird memory slot rather than an SD card slot plus an extra USB.
Literally the same except bigger screen, higher resolution, additional USB and an expansion slot that e.g. allows you to add USB3 to the computer.. But sure. "Literally the same".

Maybe you're using that new, ironic definition of 'literally' which really means 'practically'?

quoting parts of sentences outside the discourse context?
I quoted the relevant part of what you'd said.

the only real advantage of the 17" was the screen resolution (all other parameters being essentially identical, minor details aside),
So, you consider increased screen size (so that the increased resolution is still readable), additional USB and an expansion slot that could provide future-proofing upgrades like USB3 or eSATA, could host an SSD, etc "minor details".

Clearly you never used those features if you ever had one. That's fine, not everyone uses all the features of a computer - but I really don't understand how you can claim "it had no advantage". I didn't say lots of people use those features, I didn't say they should have kept them in current models. I said, the 17" had extra features/ports not found on the 15" and to disregard them as "minor details" is frankly being ignorant about what it is being discussed.

Practically nobody had thunderbolt docks back then - people complain now about the number of USB ports a MacBook Pro has - and yet somehow having two additional expansion options - one common, low-speed and one less-common but relatively high speed.
 

Ploki

macrumors 601
Jan 21, 2008
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A bit of an assumption here, but if we take the current 4K iMac as an example, it seems they can’t run it ok even given modern day integrated graphics (I assume even more than cost why the lowest end is non retina). For a desktop with a discrete GPU not really an issue, but at least a bit of an issue for a mobile computer back in 2011, even if it’s a desktop replacement that will be plugged in much of the time.
.
nah, 4K runs fine on UHD630...
 
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