Now is a bad time to buy a 15-inch MacBook Pro

Now is a bad time to buy a 15-inch MacBook Pro

Summary: Apple's next MacBook Pro is coming, and joining it will be a slew of MacBook Air-esque changes.


If you were considering buying a 15-inch MacBook Pro within the next few weeks, you may want to hold off because its almost upgrade season.

Gizmodo has a pretty good write up on what we can expect from the next version of the Pro, and much of it is pretty obvious: A solid state drive, an absent optical drive, and a flashy display all seem to be fairly certain features, but what really excites me is this: A 15-inch MacBook Air would finally bridge in the MacBook line the gap between the fully functional and the highly portable.

Right now, if you wanted to buy a MacBook, you'd have a five choices: the 13-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch Pro models, or a choice between the 11-and 13-inch versions of the Air. For those regularly on the go, the 17-inch Pro makes zero sense, so that gets eliminated as a possibility almost immediately. Same thing goes on the opposite end for the 11-inch version of the Air, which has always struck me as being a bit too small to be useful on its own.

That leaves you with the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro and the 13-inch Air. The 13-inch Pro isn't awful, but nearly all of what it does is done more effectively by the 13-inch Air, so we will eliminate that as a possibility as well.

This is where we find the sweet spot for a 15-inch MacBook Air, right where the high-end Air meets the low-end 15-inch Pro. The device would be ideal for those who want the portability of the Air but aren't willing to sacrifice the screen real estate of the 15-inch Pro.

Sounds good, but what's the timeline? Decide recently changed its verdict on the MacBook Pro from a "Buy" to a "Wait", which is pretty good advice. The current 15-inch MacBook Pro was released in October 2011, making it five months old. With that in mind, a Spring announcement seems like a pretty sure bet.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I'm not sure Apple is ready to kill the MacBook Pro line, yet.

    And what you're describing is certainly that. A 15" MacBook Air is [b]not[/b] a MacBook Pro.
  • Please, a matte screen option.

    My biggest gripe with the MBPs is the default ugly glossy screen. You have to pay quite a bit to get a non-glossy screen.
    • They charge what you'll pay

      They charge about 30% more because they can. If people didn't pay that price they'd change it. They make a huge profit. But that's also why they are so successful. They have a good solid product.
      A Gray
  • 11" MacBook Air not too small

    After looking at the 11" and 13" versions of the MacBook Air, I chose the 11". Even though it is small, it has a great display, a good keyboard, and it weighs almost nothing. When comparing it side by side with the 13" model, the 13" seems like a behemoth. And you can do anything on the 11" you can do on the 13". The only real advantage is the SD card slot on the 13", but I can't say I have missed it.
  • Answers and Questions; always

    Kraterz: what is wrong with the anti-glare screen

    Richardo: are you saying that if you are on the go pretty much full-time the 17" is the way to go and that you do not expect it to become an Air-head :-) too?

    My wife and I are on the go full-time; I am about to jump from the PC world to a 17" MBP for me and an 11" MBA for her (she refuses the 13").
  • 13" Air and Pro not the same

    The 13" Air and Pro are not the same. Even if you added the SSD drive to the Pro, you still have the option to increase the memory in the pro as opposed to being limited to 4gb (or worse 2 gb standard in the 2010 model).
    Also, the screen resolutions are different with the Air getting a better screen.

    If you could up the memory in the Air, I might consider a new one as a replacement, but based on the difficulty I have, my next machine will probably be either a MBP or a Windows Ultrabook.
  • Um, what?!?

    "right where the high-end Air meets the low-end 15-inch Pro."

    WTH are you talking about?!? The Air is the low end, a replacement of the MacBook line. The Pro series is the high end, which is reflected in both capability and price. As is often the case, your pieces betray a fundamental lack of foundational understanding about the platforms about which you write.

      where this post states "right where the high-end Air meets the low-end 15-inch Pro", he is comparing the most advanced and most expensive macbook air to the base model 15-inch macbook pro, not the nature of the laptop! please think carefully about what you say, what the post says makes complete sense, your comment does not. Also, might i add, the Macbook Air is not a replacement for the macbook, apple saw a decline in demand for the macbook after the advancement of the pro and air and decided to close production of the notebook. The macbook air and macbook have completely different concepts, previous macbook users were able to advance on to the macbook pro and air rather than to use the macbook which is how the macbook found the end of the road. I would advise you to refer back to the apple website and have a detailed look into the background of the product, please, to save yourself of any future embarrassment.
  • If they're dropping the Optical drive...

    Then this is indeed the time to buy one (or two), just to keep the Optical drive. The MacBook Pro is a tool for content creation, not just consumption.
    Jumpin Jack Flash
  • Thanks for the tip-off!

    I totally agree; I would like to have an Air, but need the 15" screen for the software I support to be truly usable. Was considering the 15" MB Pro, but will now hold off in case a 15" MB Air is released.