When I posted my opinion piece yesterday, I did so knowing that fans of the old 17-inch MacBook Pro are in a tiny minority. Most people are happy enough with a 15-inch screen when mobile, and most also seem content to use a mix of on-board storage, external drives and the cloud, so I also didn’t expect to see much support for my own preference for 2TB of on-board storage.
I was therefore extremely surprised to check this morning to see that 49% of you agree with me, while only 36% disagree.
Of course, I’m not imagining that’s a representative sample of 9to5Mac readers, let alone the wider population. The type of people who will read a long-ish opinion piece bemoaning the passing of the 17-inch machine and the days of user upgrades will, of course, be heavily biased towards those who share my fondness for these.
You guys also had a lot to contribute to the debate, with over 250 comments at the time of writing. Views expressed were split between those who love the MacBook Pro 17 and/or the upgradeability of the classic machines, and those who felt that times had changed.
Those voting that Apple was on the right path felt that the cloud already provided a ‘good enough’ solution when it came to storing lots of data, and that there was little need these days to upgrade MacBooks. They already remain usable for a long time, and it’s more efficient to simply sell and buy a new one when the time comes for an upgrade. When it comes to screen size, you expressed the view that 15-inches was big enough, and there was already the option to use higher resolutions to fit more onto the screen if desired.
Those who shared my own view felt that there were enough times when you couldn’t rely on a fast net connection that local storage was still the better option for now. While acknowledging that Macs do remain usable for years, you appreciated the flexibility to perform upgrades, either immediately – to save money on Apple’s options – or further down the road, as things like SSD costs fall. For screen size, 17-inch fans see the difference as significant, especially when it comes to photos.
Perhaps my favorite comment – which I think summarized the difference in viewpoint rather well – was Prof. Peabody, who very politely suggested it was because I was old.
You use the MacBook Pro the way ‘older’ users do, or in a use pattern that is itself ‘older’ or from a different time. In other words, your use case is very unique and sort of ‘old-fashioned’ in a way.
This, I think, is the heart of the issue. Back in the days when I first started using computers, only techies bought them, and opening up the case to add components was the norm – and that is still my instinctive view of them now. So yes, I plead guilty to being an old-fashioned geek!
Another way of looking at it would be the battle between the two Steves. Steve Wozniak felt that computers should be open, and that users should be able to add expansion cards to suit their needs; Steve Jobs felt that Apple should have full control of what was in them, and went so far as to specify special bolts to keep users out of the first Macintosh. Steve Jobs won that one, so perhaps the battle was lost a long time ago.
I’m currently in wait-and-see mode. If Apple does go to 14- and 16-inch models, and offers 2TB storage as an upgrade, it will be a done deal for me. If the best it offers is 15-inch and 1TB, I may try to hold out for another year. We’ll see!
Many thanks to all those who took part in what turned out to be a lively discussion.
Concept renders: Martin Hajek