I went to buy a MacBook Air and Apple tried to sell me a MacBook Pro

Why would an Apple store salesman try to persuade me not to buy Apple's latest laptop?
Written by Chris Matyszczyk, Contributing Writer

Apparently, it's not as good as the MacBook Pro


Some things stay with you.

One of the very few has been the MacBook Air.

I've used them ever since Steve Jobs took one out of an envelope. I've enthused about them publicly because they've been so simple, effective and reliable.

Still, the Air hasn't changed in any great way for so long that it was reasonable to wonder whether there would ever be a new one.

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Apple finally obliged. I, therefore, had to go to an Apple store to buy one. After all, this one had to be better and, well, this was emotional for me.

I walked straight into a Bay Area Apple store and was accosted by a salesman within seconds.

I explained that I've always used Airs, that I loved them for their graces and that, please sir, I'd like to buy a new one.

"Hmm," said the salesman.

He followed it with the last thing I'd expected: "When people say that, I like to show them the MacBook Pro."

"But, please," my inner voice whimpered. "I just want to buy the new MacBook Air."

He didn't hear it. Instead, he continued: "You see, with the MacBook Pro, you're getting a better computer."

He proceeded to bring up the helpful comparison chart and enthuse about the Pro.

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"It's got a better processor, so it's faster," he said. I was supposed to be impressed with all its GigaHertzes, but this was all mega-hurtful.

I confess my mind switched off as he talked about graphics cards and some other numbers I didn't quite catch. Because I was getting slightly frustrated.

"And all this for just another $100," he said.

And all this when I just asked please could I buy the new MacBook Air.

I found myself flummoxed for a few seconds. Then I asked what seemed like the obvious question: "Is there anything better about the Air?"

"Well, it's got two more hours of battery life and it's lighter," he said. And there, if I hadn't been sold already, I was sold completely.

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Two things that really matter to me are that a laptop be light and that its battery lasts a lot longer than the one in my current Air.

The Pro salesman wasn't done.

"But the Air's not much lighter," he said. "Here, try picking them both up."

I did and I was, of course, already programmed to believe the Air would be lighter. A lot lighter.

I'm not sure I've ever experienced quite such an enthusiastic, passionate attempt to make me buy a different product from the one I wanted.

This wasn't an unpleasant conversation at all. It was merely bizarre. It was as if the MacBook Pro was today's special and it had to be sold or it would go off.

"You clearly want me to buy the Pro," I said. "Why?"

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"I just think it's a better value," he repeated, still not defeated. He said he understood if the Air satisfied my needs, but he left hanging the implication that my needs just weren't the right needs to have.

"You know what?" I said, adding a pause in the hope of building a little tension. "I'd like the Air, please."

His head slumped a little, as if he'd been rejected for a date. He didn't even ask whether I wanted 8GB or 16GB of memory. He assumed the 8 and had to remake the order.

Perhaps, in his mind, we Air users are inferior, primitive types who don't need much memory.

I fear, though, that it's our long memories that keep us buying MacBook Airs. We remember how good they've always been.

I don't know how this Air will compare with the classics I've been using for some time.

But I feel sure about one thing: I'll never buy a MacBook Pro. Just, you know, because.

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