I’ve already decided that the next-generation MacBook Pro is my next laptop for a variety of reasons. But as I keep fantasizing about the device by looking at the pictures on Apple’s website, I find myself not being able to get over one very odd omission from previous generations of Apple’s professional laptop.
No, I’m not talking about the lack of a SuperDrive or Ethernet; I’m talking about the MacBook Pro branding that has been printed on every MacBook Pro screen since the first-generation model in 2006. If you look at the bottom bezel of the 15-inch Retina display, you won’t find any mention of the model name.
When I first saw an image of the new MacBook Pro on Apple’s website, I thought it was a simple mistake by a careless graphic designer. But then I started to look at the rest of the images – and then I realized that the branding is simply unnoticeable when the computer is in a normal position, where “normal” means “usable.”
The branding is still on the bottom, but really, who looks at the bottom of a Mac? It’s not like much can be done to it if you flip it over, anyway. This is obviously Apple’s first step to something for its notebook line; what’s not obvious is where the path the company is walking on will lead.
My guess is that it has something to do with the lineup. There are currently two separate lines of MacBook Pros: the 13- and 15-inch models that are still using the 2008 unibody design, and the new 15-inch model. There’s also the MacBook Air, which is around the same thickness (depending on which part of the wedge you look at) as the new Pro.
So why – if they’re all so similar – are there five different SKUs under two different names? Couldn’t everyone’s needs be met if Apple consolidated the lines into one MacBook series, complete with 11-, 13-, 15-, and Retina 15-inch displays? I stated before that I didn’t think this was going to happen, but after seeing what Apple did with the new MBP, I think that’s where the Mac notebook lineup is headed.
Then again, the new Pro seems to be the epitome of performance in a svelte package; the Air isn’t. The Air is aimed towards people who need light and efficient computing that can hold its own for the most part. The Pro is aimed towards professionals: quad-core processors, heaps of RAM, a dedicated GPU, and large capacities of flash memory. The combination would probably dilute the meaning of Pro and would eventually make the higher-end 15-inch an unprofitable product.
I can see the Mac notebook lineup going either way. Personally, I don’t care, but I want Apple to continue offering that 15-inch for a while so it can get Intel’s Haswell chips and I can have a fantastic laptop once again.
What are your thoughts on Apple’s branding? It’s a seemingly small omission, but it certainly raises the question about what the company’s planning on doing for the future as far as its separate notebook lines.