Monday, March 7, 2011

Why You Don't Need A New MacBook Pro

The latest refresh to the MacBook Pro line has Mac users in a frenzy. While the refresh did not cover any of the external wishes people had (tapered edges, matte on the 13" screen, USB 3.0), it did come through when it comes to raw processing power. The second generation of Intel Core processors are impressive. Sandy Bridge is no joke. In processing power alone, the i5 in the 2011 13" MacBook Pro is faster than my 2010 2.66GHz i7. But do most of us truly need that much processing power? No.

I hate the term prosumer. It makes you almost believe that there are more than two types of users. There isn't. There is the professional user and there is the consumer. Professionals require different needs than the average consumer. Is it narrow thinking to believe there is no middle ground? Maybe. But when was the last time you saw a person buy a Mac Pro at the Apple Store? Professionals tend to not purchase their gear in the same stores that tweens use iMac's to ChatRoulette. The term Pro in MacBook Pro is to fool consumers into thinking they are going to get more out of a computer than they would if they just stuck to a MacBook or MacBook Air. The Air gets a bad rep for being "underpowered" and for "casual" users only due to its Core 2 Duo processor or 4GB max. RAM. The thing is; that is all that most need. It does not take a quad-core processor to update your status on Facebook.

Apple realizes that it must keep up with advances to please the spec. chasers. These people will blindly update their Macs every refresh so they can say they have the latest gear. This is exactly why the photography hardware business is booming. There will always be that faction that will pay the price to be cutting edge. Most Mac users do not fall into this category. While you may think you need professional level gear, you do not. Those who need the pro level gear either have it already or know they need it. There are very few cases where a professional will say to themselves, "Man, I really need that quad-core for this". Sure, video professionals need that power but I bet you they are not using a MacBook Pro for all that processing. Mac Pro's tend to fill that pivotal roll. Buying professional level gear does not make you a professional unless you are using it with an end-goal in mind.

I'm not trying to discourage anyone from spending their hard-earned money on anything. I'm simply stating that what you think you need is not a good enough reason to spend more money that you need to on a Mac. I wish I would have used this thinking when I purchased my MacBook Pro last year. If I would have,  I'd be a happy owner of a MacBook Air. Instead I am a closet spec. chaser trying to sell my mid-2010 MacBook Pro on Craigslist.