Falling prices knock Mac pundit in the head

Today’s dime-store speculation is brought to you by Remy Davison at Insanely Great Mac (link via the Apple Blog which really should know better than to lend credence to this) who speculates that falling prices for 17-inch LCDs will cause Apple to discontinue the 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Moreover, as notebook market trend is ‘bigger is better’, the opportunity for Apple to make the MBP exclusively 17″ is there, given the falling prices.

This smells remarkably like the market consisting solely of Remy Davison and a couple of d00dz he talked to. Since when are people rushing out to buy bigger and bigger laptops?

The Macalope was not able to find a break-out of MacBook or PowerBook sales between the 17-inch and the 15-inch models, but he’d be willing to bet his left antler that Apple sells far more 15-inch models than 17-inch.

The point is that Apple would no longer really need a 15.4″ widescreen MBP if a 15″ MacBook eventuates. It would be redundant, much as the 12.1″ PowerBook found relatively few customers in the end, as the much cheaper 12.1″ G4 iBook had virtually an identical feature set.

Please define “15-inch MacBook”.

It’s astounding to the Macalope that Davison gets through this whole spiel without noting a very important difference between the MacBook and the MacBook Pro.

Forgetting even the FireWire 800 port and the ExpressCard slot, the MacBook uses GMA graphics while the MacBook Pro has dedicated graphics memory on Radeon cards. A 15-inch MacBook does not replace a 15-inch MacBook Pro unless you have blurred vision from too much wacky tobaccy. Davison would have a whole slew of professionals lug 17-inch laptops around in order to perform skipless video presentations.

Falling component prices have less to do with product positioning than demand does. If they did, black paint would really be more expensive than white.

  • V-Train:

    Drop the 15″ MBP? Give me a frakking break.

    What moronic speculation.

  • I love my 12″ PowerBook and am holding off buying MBP for the very fact that hey don’t come small enough. Although 15″ isn’t that large the form factor on my PB is extremely portable. If anything I’d like to see Apple put in a 12″ MBP, what stupid unfounded speculation.

  • mrtheplague:

    And then when Apple release a 30″ Macbook they won’t be able to give those Mac Pros away!

  • Ummmm … yeah. I know a few people who lurve the 17″ size laptop but I think they’re far outnumbered by people who don’t want to lug something that huge around. One friend was given a 17″ PowerBook by his employers, and he hated it, much preferring his personal 12″ iBook he could toss into his backpack and actually carry around with him.

    “Falling component prices” aren’t the only thing that determines product features and availability. Hush puppies are dirt cheap, but I don’t foresee Apple including two USB-dongled Hush puppies on each laptop anytime soon.

  • John Muir:

    The 12″ PowerBook hasn’t materialised into a smaller MacBook Pro, in my guess, because:

    1. Apple essentially transitioned to wide screen for all their displays and the old 4:3 12″ format doesn’t fit
    2. The heat issues of Rev.A MacBooks±Pro made them think twice about putting a hot processor and hot GPU in a small form factor

    I mean remember the downclocked graphics that all but the 17″ MacBook Pro has had (until Rev.B so I’ve heard).

    The 12″ PowerBook did sell, far more of them are out there than the 17″ PowerBook from what I can tell. But the dreadfull squeeze Apple suffered with the stalled G4 and immobile G5 did put the squeeze on the 12″ PB/iBook gap and probably caused the aluminium model to suffer in its later years. My own 12″ is the 2003 original, and blew the G3 iBooks of the day away of course.

    So: not only do I disagree with the quoted pundit, but I reckon there’s a chance for smaller Apple notebooks to come out next year. Especially a MacBook sized MacBook Pro, or indeed MacBooks with discrete graphics so long as other solid factors exist to differentiate the (larger) MacBook Pros, hint hint!

    Core 2 seems to have sorted out the heat issues, so I say bring the smaller laptops on!

  • travis:

    Remy should read the conclusion of Harvard Med School CIO on what he’d like to see — a 2 1/2 lb, 12″ MacBook.

    I agree that there are far, far more business users like him, than those who would want 7 lb 17″ MacBooks.

  • Dennis:

    I agree with the Macalope, the 15-inch MBP isn’t going anywhere. That said, it’s really the 17-inch MBP that’s getting the unfair treatment here.

    When traveling (or commuting), the size difference between the 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pros is marginal. I think anyone claiming otherwise probably lacks personal experience with *both* of these machines.

  • John M:

    True, but the difference between the 17 and 12 is positively galactic!

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