Analyst: Apple to discontinue flagship 17-inch MacBook Pro

KGI Securities’ “research analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has in the past offered accurate information on Apple’s Mac product roadmap, recently took on a new position with KGI Securities and has published a new report today indicating that Apple may be preparing to drop the 17-inch MacBook Pro from its lineup due to weak sales,” Eric Slivka reports for MacRumors.

“Kuo’s prediction comes as Apple is expected to introduce new notebooks that serve as a hybrid between the current MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models, offering greater power than the Air but greater portability than the Pro,” Slivka reports. “Kuo believes that Apple will elect to drop the 17-inch size as part of this revamp in order to streamline the company’s product offerings.”

Slivka reports, “According to Kuo’s estimates for the first calendar quarter of 2012, Apple sold roughly 3.1 million notebooks, with nearly half of them being the 13-inch MacBook Pro, far and away the company’s best-selling Mac product. But while Kuo predicts sales of nearly 1.5 million units of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, he sees much lower sales of roughly 500,000 15-inch models and only 50,000 17-inch models. Kuo estimates Apple’s first quarter MacBook Air sales at roughly 1.1 million, split nearly equally between 11-inch and 13-inch models.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We used to use 17-inch MacBook Pro units as or desktop/mobile computers. Things have changed dramatically. iPad, for one. For another, MacBook Air. We believe it makes more sense to put iMacs on the desks and, when going mobile, to be as mobile as possible, which is why we use 11-inch MacBook Air units (our favorite Macs – ever) along with our iPads. So, we didn’t purchase 17-inch MacBook Pros last go-round. We assume a lot of Mac users made the same move, significantly affecting sales of Apple’s biggest MacBook Pro.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

52 Comments

    1. I use my 17″ Laptop everyday, everywhere, all the time, for a myriad of mainly business uses and a fair amount of personal use. This will SUCK if they discontinue it!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I need the extra screen space and it’s not an optimal solution to use an iMac at my desk only as I have multiple office and on site needs of my files. CAD drawings, spreadsheets, Project Programs, Accounting, multiple programs open at the same time all day, etc. This really sucks!!!!!

      I have iPad, iPhone, iMac, etc. as well but they don’t cut it for many of the uses I need my 17″ MacBook Pro for all day long, every day, from the crack of dawn until Midnight most days………

      1. I second this sentiment. It would be utterly devastating to me if the 17″ MacBook Pro were discontinued. I am an engineering consultant and the 17″ MacBook Pro is my primary work machine. At my age, I really appreciate the readability of the larger display.

      2. I completely concur with this statement. I have owned two 17″ MBP’s, and will eventually replace my current one with a new – hopefully 17″ – MBP.

        As is said in some “other” situations… size matters.

      3. Absolutely concur. I have owned 17″ MacBook Pro’s since they were first available. Would be completely lost without it. I have a myriad of files and apps that get used all the time. I need the screen real estate AND the portability AND the power. And I don’t want or have the time to shuffle files to and fro (large Photoshop files among them) and keep duplicate systems running. My business owns several iMacs and laptops, as well as iPads and iPhones – but my main work machine is my 17″ MacBook Pro and I’d be lost (and pissed off) without it.

    2. What they should do is really use that extra space for an HDD/SSD combo and more power. Currently, at the same specs as the 15″ model, it made more sense for me to buy a 15″ MBP

  1. I haven’t even seen a 17″ MBP for a while now. The other MBP models are common enough, but it looks like either owners of the 17″ aren’t willing to carry their machines around these days or sales have completely plummeted.

      1. Yes, I imagine ALL of Wall Street is Democrat. Especially the big bankers and the financial crooks who started this mess… (At least in some crazy world where chickens vote for foxes, and Mac users are desperate to see Windows 8)

      2. LOL. Yeah, first they come for your 17″ MBPs, then your savings, and finally your freedom!!! Who will save us from this calamity? Won’t somebody think of the children!!??! 😉

        1. Dems are responsible for all evil. Just the way it is. And the economy sucks, so that would drive down demand for the 17″ MacBook Pro. Nothing funny about it.

  2. A 17″ laptop was only really useful for those people using 1 machine who did spend a lot of time at a desk. Broadly speaking, and forgetting any upgrades you can buy various combinations of a macbook air and an iMac for about the same as a 17″ Macbook Pro. Even for those that can afford it, it just seems that it would be an increasingly niche market.

    1. I’ve been rocking 17″ MBP, since they were introduced to the PowerBook family. I currently have the latest gen, and was hoping for an upgrade this year.

      I carry it all over. I am a mac IT guy and I use it for work, side web design, video editing and music production.

      As long as they make them, I will keep upgrading. I don’t want an underpowered Air. I want power and connectivity. my iPad2 gives me ultra mobility when I want it.

    2. Try again. I am a big guy, 6’4″ 240lbs. a 17″ MBP is perfect, fits nicely on my lap and has a nice weight. I use it at a desk (with 27″ display) and when portable. It sucks to go to a smaller screen once you are used to the 27″ and the 17″ makes it bearable. 15″ would suck.

      1920 X 1200 on 17″
      15″ maxes at: 1680 X 1050

      Extra USB port & express card slot.

      1. Not saying they aren’t good, but enough people are likely to prefer a smaller screen/form factor when mobile and then perhaps also have an iMac or monitor, that I can see why 17″ is becoming small enough of a market to justify scrapping it.

        1. We have iMacs as well for our employees that don’t leave their desk often. The 17″ Macbook Pro is indispensable for the rest of our employees that aren’t desk bound all of the time.

          This would be devastating!!!

  3. I don’t think you see lots of people with 17″ MacBook Pros hanging out in coffee shops, no. Typically they aren’t posers. They are people who actually have work to do. Just my theory.

    When I go to a client location and open that puppy up, running multiple network utilities, as well as UBUNTU and Win 7, its a joy to use. Admittedly it’s heavy, but I keep it in a backpack.

    MDN is right about one thing. My iPad has increasingly taken up a large part of what I used to do with my laptop when mobile. It is my “coffee shop” machine. Web surfing, social media, reading, writing, etc.

    I suspect Apple will plant ivy in the 17″ and it will be the “PRO” machine and the 11/13/15 will be the MacBooks for the rest of ya.

  4. What if I want my “desktop” computer to fit next to my couch? What if I can’t afford the space for an iMac? I still miss the numeric keypad. Arrgh!

  5. If Apple can’t make much money from selling the 17″ MacBook Pro, then chances are it’s going to be dropped from the lineup. Apple can’t afford to spend time and effort for small financial returns. Mainstream consumer is where it’s at. I would have figured Apple had worked out some formula by now that shows where the consumer sales sweet spot is detailing financial outlay vs returns.

    1. Apple’s business model is based on cost per unit sales, not volume sales, so every unit sold generates a profit.

      It’s only when a business model is based on volume sales that you can hit a point of diminishing returns. Low numbers end up, not just being unprofitable, but cost a company money.

      This is what occurs when a business tries to lower their profit margin and make up for it in sales. It can’t actually be done. It’s playing the low-price game and is simply a race to the bottom.

      Unlike other PC makers, Apple doesn’t play that game and when Apple has low sales they don’t lose money… they simply don’t make as much profit.

  6. I was actually thinking of ditching my desktop iMac next go round and purchasing a 17″ MBP. It is mobile enough to move around the house and the occasional short trip. Then an iPad or MacBook Air would be good for when you need real mobility. I hope this rumor is just that.

  7. I had the 17″ MacBook Pro as my only machine (I’m a graphic designer). It was brilliant and when upgrade time came, friends strongly suggested a 15″ as it was more luggable for client meetings, but that I should combine it with an Apple display.

    I took their advice, shelled out the extra and at first thought the screen was too ‘in your face’. I soon got used to, and now rely on the extra space. When I go back to the 17″, I realise how heavy it is and how I have to squint (had the high res display) to see things.

    The 15″ gives you portability, the same power and with the Apple display, greater productivity – especially as you can use the laptop as a secondary monitor. Factor in the costs if you count on the display lasting two laptop generations and if bought at the same time as the laptop, AppleCare covers both for no extra cost.

    It’s been a great solution for me.

  8. This would be a terrible shame. While not many ordinary users may need such a machine, for creative professionals and developers productivity is always proportional to screen size. As with the mac pro, I would hate to see this area that Apple has served so well in the past be discounted.

    Apple, please keep the 17″ macbook pro and mac pro.

  9. My 17′ PB is used everyday. I share client observations right on the screen. Everyone enjoys it. I need the potability and the visual space; period

    Apple is a gifted co. Apple can make mistakes. If the bottom line is always the only decision that makes policy and product, the beancounters have won. Yes, the 17′ may be less profitable. This is not the same as no profit. If the beancounters run the joint, Apple has lost.

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