MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air vs. MacBook: Which one makes the most sense in education?

“There’s been a lot of discussion in the Apple community lately about MacBook Pro vs. MacBook Air vs. MacBook,” Bradley Chambers writes for 9to5Mac. “Each laptop has its pros and cons, but I want to consider which one makes the most sense in education.”

“One of the most significant differences between Apple’s laptop lineup is the ports they include,” Chambers writes. “The MacBook and MacBook Pro rely heavily on USB-C where the MacBook Air still uses the MagSafe power adaptor and USB-A.”

“If I am buying myself a new laptop today, I am probably going with a MacBook Pro. I personally love the Retina screen, and I love the power it provides. If I am buying 100 laptops, however, I just can’t justify the extra expense of the MacBook Pro or MacBook over the MacBook Air,” Chambers writes. “At $849/$1049 (US education pricing), Apple’s MacBook Air is still a great value when deploying in mass.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

New hardware on tap at Apple’s March 27th ‘field trip’ education event? – March 19, 2018
Apple to host education event in Chicago on March 27th – March 16, 2018
Apple’s new 13.3-inch entry-level MacBook Air to feature Retina display, sources say – March 12, 2018
Apple’s MacBook Air: Why won’t it die? – March 7, 2018
An even less expensive MacBook Air makes perfect business sense for Apple – March 5, 2018
Apple’s rumored March 2018 event: Analyst expectations – plus who’d like a 13-inch MacBook Air with Retina display for $899? – March 5, 2018
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple to launch more affordable 13-inch MacBook Air in Q2 – March 5, 2018
Apple’s March 2018 special event rumors: iPads, a new iPhone SE, AirPower, and more – March 1, 2018
What to expect from Apple this spring: iOS 11, iPads, iPhone SE, AirPower, and stereo pairing for HomePods – February 23, 2018



    “If I am buying myself a new laptop today, I am probably going with a MacBook Pro. I personally love the Retina screen, and I love the power it provides. If I am buying 100 laptops, however, I just can’t justify the extra expense of the MacBook Pro or MacBook over the MacBook Air”

    IF I’M USING IT I WANT THE BEST! But my job requires inflicting pain on 100 people so I’LL GO CHEAP!!! My boss will love it. 100 people will suffer.

    1. If he is *buying himself* a new laptop, he prefers the MBP. That is no surprise. And he would be spending his own money, right?

      But, if he needed 100 laptops, or someone was spending taxpayer money on 100 laptops for general education purposes, then the MBA makes perfect sense. Why are you so negative about that logic?

      You seem to be making the assumption that the MBA is cheap in the bad way, and that using one is somehow a painful experience. But I bought an MBA for general home use years ago and everyone loves it. It has gotten more use than every electronic device in the house except the TV and my daughter’s iPhone. People have always been hounding Apple for a less expensive laptop alternative, and Apple has delivered with the MBA. I hope that future generations of the MBA will improve on the value that it already provides.

  2. I recommend what I use: MacBook Air – the last real keyboard.

    I’ve been told the most important part of a car is the seats. Same with the keyboard of a laptop.

  3. There is no one configuration that works for education any more than one model car works for all condo dwellers.

    For early grades, tough cheap plastic designs are ideal. Not as much connectivity options needed.

    Going up to higher grades, you do need to have more processing power and more I/O options. It has to work in labs and field trips with more 3rd party stuff.

    For university students, an engineer may need more than the current MacBook Pro offers. A business student probably wants a big screen for spreadsheets. An arts student may want easy connection to a Wacom or other stuff. an undergrad in general studies might just want a small light ultraportable. Apple needs to make them all, and keep them all fresh and competitively priced. It doesn’t, which is why despite premium pricing and lots of stickers, most students actually don’t use MacBooks. It wouldn’t take much for Apple to fix their screwed up lineup, but pipeline timmy can’t seem to be bothered.

    1. It’s a much bigger issue when there are 9000 computers to be bought. I have 35 years on Mac.
      ………………wait for it…………….here it comes.
      I reluctantly supported Chromebooks, they do the job that 95% of actual school system computer users do. Computer classes are almost totally in the Microsoft Word-extremely basic web page production, rarely anything that requires anything more.

      Sorry to say it, Chromebooks are so much cheaper to replace, damage is a big big problem and it impossible to enforce the idea that the student will pay for damage. Not in todays world. You can send all the bills you want, rarely do they get paid.

      It really does pain me to say it.

      1. in addition: the students who do the exotic work are for the most part already doing it on their own MacBooks and MacBook Pros and probably have been since the 6th grade.

      2. Unless you were part of the Mac Development Team in 1983 you can’t “…have 35 years on Mac.” (I started with Mac right after they started shipping and I have “only” 34 years on Mac.)

        Also, anyone teaching people to code up even simple web pages using Microsoft Word should be fired immediately. There are many, many better software platforms to use and some of those better ones are even free or minimal cost — and some of those will even run on your vaunted Chromebooks.

        From these two elements alone, I worry about the children in any school at which you preside over IT issues.

        1. ok you are correct on the math: Mac user since 1988, in fact Illustrator 88 allowed me to build a 19 year very successful screen printing business. It could never have started without one Mac Plus and Illustrator 88.

          I am a teacher in that school system, in fact, I do not teach computers there because it would make no sense for me to do so, given that I hate Microsoft word. They license the Adobe group.

          I didn’t say I like the Chromebooks, I just understand their reasoning. They also use Dell laptops which aren’t too bad. I also know the budget reality when you buy 9000 computers for 14,000 students. We can’t change that budget.

          So maybe you should just worry about your own business. Have a nice day.

  4. I worked as a Tech Support Specialist K-12, I was the prime (loan?) Mac Guy. The elementary schools used iMacs and all had iBook carts. some “Powerbooks” (remember them?). After I retired they went to cheaper Dells and crappy Chromebooks. Unfortunately, price is a much bigger consideration than quality or sanity for these school districts- and This one is pretty well off financially relatively speaking. I’d love to see them bring back Apple into these schools. But it’s gotta be an offer they can’t refuse…

  5. When you have beancounters with short term memory running a company, they refuse to see the value in supporting low margin parts of the market. Apple shot themselves in the foot by abandoning cheap Macs for the kids. It would have been an investment that paid off huge dividends.

    This is the main problem: Timmy thought iOS would prevail against the competition. It isn’t. Chromebooks and Windows PCs are all over schools, and Apple just lost >5 years of students who would have become devoted Mac users. A company as rich as Apple could have given every child in the world a free MacBook Air instead of the hundreds of millions in executive bonuses doled out to the executives.

    If you want to teach kids to code or create new things, the Mac is the infinitely better platform versus iOS. With iOS, Apple acts like the big brother that they parodied in 1984. Look at all the top app sales on iOS: games and creepy social apps. Not creative software, not educational software, not productive software. Apple is happy to cas a quick buck for games, but they refuse to invest in educational hardware at prices that schools can afford. Then they act surprised when longtime Mac users are disappointed in the sad state of the Mac platform – lack of developers, lack of users, lack of a decent app store, lack of current hardware. Cook needs to go.

  6. This entire discussion is based on the sick premise that kids needs to be shoved in front of computer screens all day long. What do you think they’re already doing at home? (TV, smartphone, tablet, computer) Where are the studies that show kids needing to be in front of computers at school? Outside of a computer lab that can serve hundreds of students with several dozen machines, this push for massive computer sales to schools reeks of corporate rapaciousness at the expense of kids, parents and taxpayers.

  7. My nearly 8 year old has a raspberry pi on her desk for now, with access to an iPad mini when we travel. At some point, she’ll most likely inherit my 2015 MacBook Air or I’ll build her a small hackintosh unless we see a better Mac mini. I’ve also been using macs since 1988 and doing Mac support since 1990 though at this point I only do it for family members and a few friends.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.