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back to article Apple set to drop 17in MacBook Pro, says watcher

Apple's 17in MacBook Pro will be phased out in 2012, one analyst has predicted, in favour of an Air-style refresh of the line that excludes the company's largest notebook. While discussing Apple's computing strategy for the year, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed the laptop no longer has a role in the Air-themed line-up. Sales …

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Gold badge

They'd be better getting rid of the iMac and creating a nice dock for their laptops to quickly dock into a setup with monitor and mouse. Currently you can just connect two cables, power and thunderbolt, but connecting none would be better.

Of course the ugly dock connectors are obviously why they've never done it before.

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Anonymous Coward

They had the Duo Dock about 15 years ago

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerBook_Duo

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One change needed

Thunderbolt, headphone and power sockets on the same side. That'd do the trick.

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Silver badge

All in one cable

and whatever happened to the 'superduper cable' idea on the G4 Cube- one cable between Cube and monitor with: Monitor power, video signal and USB to be daisy chained to keyboard and mouse?

When you hear someone cursing computers for 'that bloody snake's nest' behind their desk (with the inference that they would pay good money to be rid of it) you can't help but think Apple were on to something.

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Re: Well

As noted above: There is no power in Thunderbolt.

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Facepalm

Re: One change needed

"Thunderbolt, headphone and power sockets on the same side. That'd do the trick."

*looks her at 2011 15" Macbook in confusion* Um... you mean like we have now?

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Thumb Down

Fail!

Got that confused with my 2010 air...

Sorry.

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Anonymous Coward

WRONG! Using a dock is inherently an ugly setup, it doesn't even work ergonomically THAT is why Apple haven't done it.

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I'd have thought dumping the 13' macbook pro was more sensible; as they seem to have duplication in that factor size and the prices and performance are very close (unless you max out the 13" pro).

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Yes

The 17" is used by a lot of professional designers on the move. It going would remove a crucial traditional apple market.

And seriously, why remove it? Other manufacturers make that size work just fine.

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You don't dump your bestselling product.

The 13 inch Macbook Pro is far and away Apple's bestselling laptop, so they won't get rid of it. It's a very nice machine, but I am not quite sure why it is their bestselling laptop, given that the 13 inch Air has the same graphics, an only somewhat slower CPU (1.7GHz rather than 2.4GHz, but substituting an SSD for a Hard drive makes up for a lot of this), a higher resolution screen, is much lighter and more portable, and costs only slightly more for the base configuration. (If you order the 13 inch Pro with a 128Gb SSD like the Air does, it actually costs more).

Although, given how many times I hear people in Apple stores ask "Why does that one only have a 128Gb Hard Drive, when that one has 500Gb?" perhaps I do. Non-technical customers seem to have "How big as the hard drive?" as one of their key questions, along with "How many megahertz does it have?", so perhaps that is why they buy the Pro over the Air. They seem to have no interest at all in screen resolution, though, which I find a bit baffling. (I have the 13 inch Air, myself).

There actually is going to be a bigger technical difference between the next Air and the next 13 inch Pro, however. Unlike the 15 and 17 inch Macbook Pros, the present 13 inch only has a dual core CPU, due to the power and heat envelope for the present enclosure requiring a CPU with a thermal design point of no more than 35W. Quad core CPUS with a 35W TDP don't exist for Sandy Bridge, but they do for Ivy Bridge, so the next 13 inch Macbook Pro will be Quad Core (at least in some configurations), whereas the next 13 inch Air will still be dual core.

The next 13 inch Macbook Pro may well lack an Optical Drive and may well be thinner than the present model, but it will still be a separate model from the Macbook Air.

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Re: Yes

Retaining it just isn't very hard, either. Take the existing model. Design a motherboard for the new Ivy Bridge CPUs and some new more state of the art discrete graphics. Sell it. That's about it. The professional designers who like it can keep buying it, even if Apple is neglecting the model a bit.

I am not sure this is it, though. Last time Apple redesigned the chassis of the Macbook Pro, they actually updated the 15 inch model first, and did not update the 17 inch model until a few months later. This was presumably because it was simply easier to get the engineers and manufacturers to update one model at a time. If the same thing is happening now, then maybe a new 15 inch Macbook Pro but not a new 17 inch Macbook Pro is in production now, someone has noticed and told this analyst, and he has concluded that "The 17 inch Macbook Pro is being discontinued", when the story is actually only that the new model is a little late.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yes

Tend to agree, though really it would probably be more correct to say 'updated after' rather than late

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Thumb Up

Re: Yes

Yep, 17" always come out later in the year.

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FAIL

Rubbish

Not going to happen - how do these people still get paid to talk so much s***

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FAIL

Analyst

If I pull entirely made up facts out of my backside, will El Reg clain it is news as well?

I predict the new Macbooks will have rubber keyboards and all storage will be dropped in favour of Sinclair Microdrives.

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Linkbait

I'm sitting here posting this from my 17" MacBook Pro.

The guy's talking out of his arse. I suppose he's also supporting the tablet-style interfaces for everything. And single monitors.

Typical of an ANAList who doesn't do real work.

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Bronze badge

That would make no sense!

The larger factor laptops are popular with design bods and other creative industries as it allows them to have decent screen real-estate whilst having to be mobile (visiting clients etc...).

Eliminating that would be stupidity of the highest order - and would indicate a dumbing down of yet another part of their offering, shifting to the lowest common denominator.

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Bronze badge

Wouldn't surprise me

I dont see many 17s these days, most have lumped for an external monitor on a 15 and unless you're going to do edits in the field you can get away with much less, phones and tablets hook up to monitors and projectors for presentations just fine.

Not saying it wouldn't be a kick in the face to people that absolutely must have a 17, but design and tooling costs are out of proportion to sales and Apple have previous in ditching tech that's not pulling it's weight.

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Silver badge

Re: Wouldn't surprise me - Tooling

I was considering tooling costs being a factor (if this rumour turns out to be true) but there is not the traditional 'tooling costs' with the CNC milling of the Macbook chassis - just a different program. The footprint areas and volumes of the 15" and 17" versions respectively are roughly 905cm2, 2180cm3, and 1050 cm2, 2620 cm3... so it would take roughly 20% longer to machine a 17" chassis than a 15".

(Please correct me on my methodology, I may have missed something).

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Re: Wouldn't surprise me - Tooling

Even if "tooling costs" did matter, there is no obvious reason why Apple would not just retain the existing chassis, put newer electronics inside it, and otherwise keep the design the same. Apple can neglect the line and not spend much money updating it, but people who really want a 17 inch Macbook Pro can keep buying it and won't be pissed off. That's much better than discontinuing it.

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Real sign of needing to do this

Would be if MacBooks Pro were so totally unavailable that they had to kill the 17" line so they can make enough 13" units. But that's not the case. Foxconn are busy, but not that busy.

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Anonymous Coward

I can't see any reason for dropping the 17" version. I always associate Macs with graphic designers (show things off to clients), video producers (ditto), musicians (possibly using Macbook at a distance at same time as musical keyboards etc) - areas where a big screen is an advantage, and the user is probably lugging enough kit around to not notice an extra half-kilo on their laptop.

(written on a 17" Dell)

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Anonymous Coward

Simples. Designers don't want to shlep their 17" monsters around anymore. The 15" is already useful, and the 'new iPad' with Retina makes HD movies look good on a much smaller display.

:-)

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Silver badge

iPad as secondary display

For some users a two monitor setup (15" + 10") would be an acceptable alternative to a 17" display- Photoshop, for example, with a primary 'workspace' and a secondary 'tool / palette' space. This would work, but only for some users.

One would have thought that Apple would find it easier than others to allow a tablet to function as a secondary display for a laptop (or vice versa), what with having control over all hardware and software involved. I can only imagine that the reason they don't implement this is that iPads are already selling very nicely, thank you.

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+1

I don't understand why that wasn't a key feature of iPhones from the start-making it a gateway drug to sell macs.

Next update after Mountain Lion, probably. You can see they're going in that direction from iCloud.

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Pint

Re: iPad as secondary display

AirDisplay. Works nicely, although with apps with a bitmap interface (Ableton for example), it's clearly using a lossy compression algo where something like GIF would be compact and ideal. I like it. And obviously use it as a second monitor... For my 17".

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Anonymous Coward

If this is true, which it probably isn't, Apple will drop the 17 inch, wait a while for demand to reach melting point, then make a /new/ 17 incher that costs 50% more.

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jai
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The numbers being the prediction

I also thought this sounded like the usual analyst bunkum, but here's the numbers that influence his report:

But while Kuo predicts sales of nearly 1.5 million units of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, he sees much lower sales of roughly 500,000 15-inch models and only 50,000 17-inch models. ref MacRumors article.

So while, yes, graphic designers and video professionals are probably the core demographic that buy the 17", it doesn't seem like there's very many of them. Apple have got to be making serious profit margin on the 17" to make 50k units earn them more profit than 1.5m 13" MBPs. So now I'm kinda inclined to think this might be true.

Perhaps they're going to ditch it and bring out a 17" MBA. Just think the size of the battery they can fit into a 17" Air enclosure. It'll run for days... and get hot enough to fry an egg on.

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Re: The numbers being the prediction

Apple has been slowly killing off their pro market, so this is no big shock. They still offer the Mac Pro, but haven't updated it in 2.5 years -- an eternity at the high end... still shipping with consumer GPUs from 2010. They're iPad-i-fying the MacOS. Their successful desktop, the iMac, is actually just a laptop for the desktop, and they only come in low-to-mid level models. They're killing off or App-i-fying their pro software, such as Final Cut Pro.

The simple fact is that MacOS is at 18% of Apple's business and falling. It either becomes something on an iPad+ in time, or it goes away entirely. It can't be that interesting to Apple forever. They should really spin it off to another company.

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Re: The numbers being the prediction

Re: Imacs: You can now get i7's @ 3.4ghz. Hardly midrange. Graphics are, however, and unlikely to improve given the form factor does not lend itself to serious GPU hardware.

Re: Mac Pro: So they're last gen Westmere's not Sandy bridges - you're still looking at 12x 2.9ghz Xeon's with DDR3. While not cutting edge, they're not exactly slow. And given the target useage of the Mac Pro's a 5870 is hardly skimping (though i take your point - you should be able to spec a 6xxx or 7xxx at the factory, rather than have to re-BIOS a PC unit). I anticipate a jump straight to Ivy shortly, as Apple are not usually tardy updating the Pro range.

Re: OSX. Gotta agree here - keep IOS touch candy out of OSX please, Ta very much.

Re: Apps: Actually I don't think this makes the slightest difference; if you can attract newbs with simplified features and wizards while retaining the 'pros', go for it, I say.

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Hopefully this clown is wrong

I'm typing this from a 17" MacBook Pro and I'd feel dropping the 17" would be idiotic. if you are crunching serious numbers and working with very large datasets you need the real estate for all of those windows. I need to see multiple windows at the same time, not flipping through tabs. As they cost over $3000 well configured, I can't imagine Apple expecting to boatloads of 17" machines. That does not mean that there is no market for them and abandoning professionals who need such machines does not make sense. The same thing can be said for the Mac Pros, not that many folks need $6000 12-core machines but those that need them, well they really need them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hopefully this clown is wrong

$6000! Mine priced out at $14,000. Love my Dodecacore.

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Anonymous Coward

It was only a matter of time after Steve's passing before Apple started making stupid decisions. I guess that time is here. What's next?

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Happy

The 17 inch model is the flagship and "Halo model

I love my 17 inch MBPro,and I need and want an Express Card slot,DVD/CDBurner-player,Screen Real-Estate,extra ports! This machine has an intended market,it's not for everyone,and 6.6 lbs. isn't heavy for US! Yes, I have Broadband,but Wi-Fi isn't everywhere,and I watch/listen to Discs,I stream,and download digitally! No company expects to sell as many top of the line models,but their worth can't be measured in numbers alone! People aspire to it,and settle for 15" and 13" models,more than the other way around. The tooling has long ago been paid for. Apple would be stupid to kill it or the Mac Pro!

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