MacBook Pro: What's in a name?

MacBook Pro: What's in a name?

Summary: Back in July 2005 I suggested that it was time for Apple to retire the name PowerBook in favor something that would depart from its "Power"PC heritage (even though the original PowerBook predates the PowerPC) and move into the 21st century and reflect Apple's commitment to use silicon from Intel...

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TOPICS: Apple
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Back in July 2005 I suggested that it was time for Apple to retire the name PowerBook in favor something that would depart from its "Power"PC heritage (even though the original PowerBook predates the PowerPC) and move into the 21st century and reflect Apple's commitment to use silicon from Intel.

Yesterday's announcement of the MacBook Pro notebook was a surprise to most and it's interesting to see that Apple finally dropped the PowerBook from the product line. It's about time, they've used that term for about 15 years and, frankly it's getting a little long-in-the-tooth. But where to they go from here?

The fact that MacBook has the word "Pro" appended to the end is an indication that a consumer version of the MacBook is coming. It's only common sense that Apple would replace the wildly popular iBook line with a new lower-cost computer targeted at students, children and those that don't want to pony up US$2k for a pro notebook. But what are they going to call it?

This new naming convention has got me thinking. If they call the professional notebook the MacBook Pro, then is the consumer version going to be the MacBook Lite? It could also be the MacBook mini, which would make it a relative of the consumer desktop Mac mini. Another thought was that the consumer model could fall under the consumer desktop, the iMac, and it could be called the iMacBook. Then all the professional machines would be Macs and the consumer machines would be iMacs: Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, iMac and iMacBook.

Either way it's a mouthful.

What's your take the name "MacBook Pro?" Sound off in the TalkBack. 

Topic: Apple

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Talkback

12 comments
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  • I'm a smidgen bothered by the "Pro" part

    The old sneer, of course, is that Macs aren't for "professionals": they come with training wheels and are for artists, chicks, children, and those not butch enough to deal with a user-hostile interface like Real Men do. Calling the Intel-based machine a "Pro" machine to me somehow buys into that: the idea that by surrendering to half of the Wintel Alliance, Macs are somehow now more professional. Or am I just oversensitive like the Mac-using wuss that I am?
    orange_z
    • Don't be silly

      It's called MacBook pro because that particular model is the Pro version of the product line. The consumer version will be called MacBook.

      Geez.
      vdraken
  • Different Approach...

    I would think about this from a different point of view. Apple has
    been extremely successful in migrating the iPod lineup to a
    single product group which essentially blends the consumer/pro
    distinction. If you read between the lines, my belief is that Apple
    will move to a single notebook lineup - the MacBooks. The iBook
    becomes the MacBook, the PowerBook becomes the MacBook
    Pro, and in true Apple fashion - they will release a MacBook Mini
    or Nano that gives you the basics to easily migrate with your
    digital lifestyle. Perhaps they will not make this transition this
    year, but it would seem logical that they would follow a model
    that resonates with the consumer, like the iPod model. Mind
    you, I have absolutely no information to back this up, it is pure
    speculation.
    jpd_123
    • solid speculation

      That is a good argument you have given- Apple would be mad
      not to take the success of the iPod model and adapt it to their
      other hardware pursuits because of course the iPod does and
      will continue to influence sales of their computer based
      products.

      This even applies (although less) to the professional desktops
      and notebooks- these users have a better defined need for a
      Mac but they still use iPods and are influenced by iPod
      marketing. Its a smart move for Apple to consolidate and renew
      its product names and it is entirely justified at this point in their
      history. I just wonder what they will call the intel Power Macs
      when they arrive . . . will they be G6's or is the "G" monkier
      dead?
      Rob Charles
  • Pro

    Actually, MacBook Pro is a continuation of what Apple has been
    doing for some time on the software side of things. They have
    their consumer apps, iLife, iWork and all the respective
    members, and their Pro applications, FinalCut Pro, etc. This
    gives them the chance to separate the hardware line in a similar
    manner. I would, however, be willing to postulate that the line
    of notebooks is going to get smaller than it has in the past. If
    you notice, the MacBook Pro only comes in a 15.4" screen size
    where the PowerBook shipped in 3 sizes from 12" - 17". The
    15" PowerBook was likely the best seller amongst the
    professional crowd, large enough to do most road work but still
    light and easy to transport. There have been rumors of a 13.3"
    iBook or whatever we will call the next generation consumer
    portable. It would make sense for Apple to focus on this one
    consumer notebook in a couple of configurations. There used to
    be a large difference in features such as Airport and Bluetooth
    but in recent models, those feature differences diminished. If
    pressed I would predict a 13.3" iMacBook with a 1.5Ghz Core
    Duo and a combo drive for less than $900 as a base
    configuration.
    deanoa
  • The Pro part of the name is to designate that ...

    this new MacBook Pro replaces the Powerbook. They are also
    putting Mac into the name to designate that this is a Mac
    Notebook. Apple now needs to designate its differences from the
    rest of the horde of Windows notebooks.
    MacGeek2121
  • Mac Book Pro?? What a mistake!!!

    Jason, I thought you were wrong back in July 2005 and I'm SURE
    you're wrong now. You wanted to retire the "PowerBook" brand
    because the name was "tired". Please!! There is no laptop on
    the market with the kind of strong brand identity that
    PowerBook has. PowerBook as a brand worked BEFORE the
    PowerPC and it would work long AFTER. What possible
    advantage can Apple achieve by retiring a strong brand in favor
    of an uncomfortable brand name like Mac Book Pro? Already
    people are abreviating it "MPB" because Mac Book Pro does not,
    by any means, roll easily off the tongue. The whole point of
    branding is to create memorable, positive name recognition in
    the market. I WANT to own a PowerBook. I'm not even sure how
    to SAY Mac Book Pro.

    Apple (and you Jason) have forgotten about the importance of
    branding. Other people haven't. As I type this, I'm looking at a
    banner ad for ThinkPad. I may not be sure who actually makes
    the thing now, but I know ThinkPad and I associate it with the
    thought of a high performance, well built, Windows laptop.

    You don't see Chevrolet retiring the "Corvette" brand because it's
    tired (though it arguably was VERY tired in the early 90's). You
    don't see Coke deciding to change their name to "Cola Drink
    Red". Porsche KNOWS better than to do away with the "911".
    THAT brand has been around since 1963. And believe me, when
    you think Porsche 911, you think "performance sportscar". You
    DON'T think "boy this thing has been around for 43 years,
    maybe I'll buy one of those spiffy new Scions." (To be honest I
    could not, for the life of me remember Scion. It isn't on the
    Toyota site. Had to look it up on KBB).

    PowerBook = the strongest brand in laptop computers.
    Mac Book Pro = a wet-behind-the-ears marketting hack's giant
    mistake.
    Hey Jason... how 'bout changing "PowerPage.com" to
    "MacPagePro.com"?
    lists9
    • Here! Here!

      I agree totally with 'wethackrey' in every aspect. This name change
      is totally counterproductive to the equity that Apple has built with
      the brand of 'PowerBook'. Change for the sake of change is
      thoughtless, if not bordering on reckless -- but it appears to be
      another 'Steve'. Personally, 'MacBook' (Pro or otherwise) just sucks.
      How wussy can one get? Evidently the work of an amateur.
      999ad9
  • its simple

    i think the consumer version of the macbook pro will simply be called macbook.
    IdleWanderlust
  • I've an idea

    "This new naming convention has got me thinking. If they call the
    professional notebook the MacBook Pro, then is the consumer
    version going to be the MacBook Lite?"

    Why not call the consumer version the iBook just as they have
    called the consumer intel desktop version the iMac (neither have
    Power in there name)?:-)
    Richard Flude
  • It's not the name that's important

    Who really gives a rat's whisker about what they call it? "Why didn't they introduce a 17" model?" is the real question.
    emyulick
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