Color me confused. I’m in the need for a new notebook for work. It needs to be fast, light, and capable of running almost anything. That would be a Mac, right? Which one? Apple has three Mac notebook lines.
Gone is the aging MacBook Air, replaced by a modern, updated, and sexy new machine for the masses; an entry-level Mac notebook. What’s the problem? MacBook Air, MacBook, and MacBook Pro are priced within $100 of each other. Confusion reigns.
Few technology gadget makers are better at migration pricing than Apple. The company says 80-percent of all Macs sold are notebooks, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that to have three lines. What is a surprise is where they clash. Head on at the entry-level starting point.
Here’s what I mean.
MacBook Air – the latest and greatest comes with a dual core, 8th genereation i5 Intel Inside, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, a 13-inch Retina display, dual Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, new butterfly keyboard and Touch ID. $1,199. $100 more gets you less. Almost.
MacBook – this aging model has an older dual core, 7th generation m3 Intel Inside, 8GB RAM, but 256GB SSD storage, the older butterfly keyboard, and a 12-inch Retina display. Uh huh. $100 more gets you less, except SSD storage.
MacBook Pro – Apple’s newly updated pro line has multiple tiers with the 13-inch in the middle, the 15-inch at the top, but a lowly entry-level 13-inch model without Touch ID and Touch Bar. $1,299 gets you a dual core, 7th generation i5 Intel Inside, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD storage, and, like the entry-level MacBook Air, dual Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports.
See the problem?
The next Mac notebook up the line is $500 more but that gets you better graphics, double the storage to 256GB SSD, Touch Bar and Touch ID, and four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, plus it’s a quad-core 8th generation i5 Intel Inside. You get more Mac, plus double the cores of the entry-level MacBook Air for $600 more.
Confusion reigns on Apple’s entry-level notebooks. The entry-level MacBook Pro isn’t really a pro machine. $600 more makes it more professional. The aging MacBook is a smaller form factor but has the slowest of all the Intel CPUs that Apple puts into a notebook and the butterfly keyboard much hated by members of the technorati elite politburo.
Wait. It gets worse. Let’s jack up the price tags to the high end on each model.
MacBook Air – double the RAM to 16GB, push SSD storage to 1.5TB, and the price tag hits $2,599.
MacBook – this is the device that should be entry-level and priced at $899. Even pushed to the max it’s a mere $1,949 with an i7 Inside at 16GB RAM with 512GB SSD storage.
MacBook Pro #1 – this is the entry-level model fully tricked out with 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD storage, but a 7th generation Intel Inside, for $2,599; the same as the new MacBook Air. Anemic is the word. Why does this Mac exist?
MacBook Pro #2 – the 13-inch quad-core with an 8th generation Intel Inside can hit $3,699 with 16GB RAM and 2TB SSD storage. Truly, this is a pro level machine.
My plan is to head downtown to Apple’s new Chicago store, corner an associate, and ask about the differences between the three entry-level Mac notebooks because clearly, confusion reigns supreme as to why the old MacBook and entry-level MacBook Pro even exist.