Apple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro might be priced more like a desktop than a notebook

Michael Simon for Macworld:

Apple might have just updated its 13- and 15-inch laptops with better processors and a tweak to the much-maligned butterfly keyboard, but there might be a completely new model arriving later this year. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to afford it.

Echoing a previous report by Ming-Chi Kuo, IHS Markit analyst Jeff Lin says that Apple is planning to release a 16-inch MacBook Pro in September, marking the first new size for Apple’s flagship notebook since the 13-inch model was introduced in 2009.

The new Mac will reportedly have an all-new design and occupy a higher tier in Apple’s product matrix. Since the current 15-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,399, the new model’s entry will likely top $3,000, and possibly touch $3,500 depending on the base model’s configuration.

MacDailyNews Take: One: Don’t tell readers what they can or cannot afford. They know what they can afford.

Two: This will be the flagship MacBook and it should be priced accordingly.

Three: Having aspirational, state-of-the-art Macs atop both the desktop and notebook categories is crucial for Apple and for Mac users. It keeps Apple on their game, keeps the innovation engine running, and the high-end features found on top-end units trickle down over time into other Mac models, benefitting all Mac users.

16 Comments

  1. I have been looking at switching to a MacBook Pro from my iMac (plus an LG 5k screen, etc.). I would need at least 16 GB, preferably 32GB of RAM. My concern is that the SSD seems not to be replaceable. I want an SSD, but, if I am going to lay down 4 grand (approximately) for a laptop, I want to know that, if the SSD fails outside of warranty, I could replace it. Part of the value proposition for Mac gear has always been its re-sale value. I often keep my Macs 5 to 7 years and ususally obtain at least half what I paid for them upon resale. The potential resale value would certainly be impacted if the SSD can never be replaced.

    Can a 2019 MacBook Pro 15″ have its SSD replaced?

    1. I couldn’t agree more! I LOVE my 2012 rMBP precisely BECAUSE I was able to replace both the SSD and battery quite easily (plus it came with TONS of ports!). On top of the astronomical price one has to add tons of dongles for home, work & the plane (not to mention risk your keyboard failing). Still, I’m going to have to break down and get a new one eventually (maybe another 3 years?). BTW, they’re going from 15.4″ to 16″ is not THAT big an increase…

  2. Although there will be plenty of consumers who can afford this larger MacBook Pro, there will be far more consumers who can’t. More Apple pricing hate will flood the internet. It better not have any keyboard problems as that would really take the proverbial cake. It’s unlikely boosting the cost of Apple products is a solution to getting more people to buy Apple products. I suppose Apple has its own motives but I doubt I’ll be able to figure them out.

    I’m set with my recent refurbished MacBook Pro purchase and so I don’t care what Apple is going to charge for this coming MacBook Pro. I hope it’s great for those who can afford it and it has nothing to do with me. It seems quite obvious Apple has no interest in growing market share percentage of any of its products. I would just like to see more consumers using Apple products but that’s not going to happen if Apple keeps this price-hiking strategy going strong.

    1. “I suppose Apple has its own motives but I doubt I’ll be able to figure them out.” Absolutely. The marketing and accounting people are in charge. Their primary motivation is to increase average selling price and increase gross margin.

      Unless this projected 16″ MacBook Pro shows up with a minimum of state of the art, bleeding edge technologies in it there is absolutely no justification for the entry price to be $3,000 or more. Even then this is only justifiable if the current 15″ MacBook Pro still exists in the lineup. There are A LOT of lower end professionals (most?) and “prosumers” that cannot make things work with a MacBook or MacBook Air yet will not want to pay $3,000 or more (likely escalating to over $7,000 when maxed out if typical scaling is applied) for a Pro machine.

  3. Well, I remember I paid over $3K for a 17″ PowerBook back in 2005, almost the same for the first Intel 17″ MBP… and NO, I ain’t rich, but if this rumor is true.. I might sell a kidney to buy it. My old 2014 15″ rMBP needs replacement.

  4. So you expect Apple to stop building computers or perhaps you expect Apple to run sales. A 3000 to 3500 dollars laptop that is not 5k and as fast as the iMac pro with 10 cores seems as crazy to me as the dollar less than a $1000 stand. Which apparently means it will happen at that price point but will not be that fast.

    If Apple switches processors and somehow is slightly slower than the new Mac Pro and it comes with 128 gigabytes of ram, can do 14 teraflops, 40 gbps Ethernet, a thunderbolt that delivers 240 gbps and can run full out for 17 hours I will be second in line to buy that base model for 3000 dollars. I’ll need to make sure they dumped the butterfly keyboard and brought back the magnetic power supply connection first. Any thing other than that Apple needs to show innovation on how to supply halo this specs at 1500 dollars.

    How do you check 8k resolution on a 6k monitor? Apple should have added another 2000 dollars and built an 8k monitor.

  5. IF the only differentiator is the screen size then MDN is ridiculous and true to form Apple should be chastised. Will need to see what the specs are when it rolls out.

  6. 17-inch G4 Powerbook, cost $3299 and featured a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and a 60GB hard drive. In today’s dollars (39.18% inflation increase) that is $4591. Hmmm… a new 3.6GHz 8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor with 64Gb Ram and 4TB SSD seems like a fair price at $3000-3500 in today’s dollars. I worked at Apple as a manager back when we had the 17″ and certain people with stolen or “altered” credit cards would come in and try and “buy” two or more 17″ers at a time. Mostly for Pro-sumers and biz customers… so that was the target customer. Just didn’t move a ton of them like 13″MBP. Our ratio was 13″ (80%), 15″ (18%) 17″ (2%). It was more of a loss prevention issue and inventory problem carrying that model. Too many sitting on the shelf and not enough turnover before a new model came out. Just make them BTO.

  7. Don’t buy it if you don’t like or don’t want to. Apple won’t mind I’m sure. Listening to this crap, Apple is damned if they don’t and damned if they do. Stop your bitchin’ for Christ’s sake. Jeez

  8. In the mid-2000s through around 2011, Apple appeared to have settled on an effective and competitive strategy. Apple offered a range of laptops with base prices from sub-$1000 to around $1899 (not including upgrade options). The company tended to keep those prices steady from year to year by pushing last year’s model down into the sub-$1000 category and offering the new models at the same price points as the year before. Consumers got more for the same price, or even a bit lower cost considering inflation. Occasionally Apple even cut $100 of the cost of one or more laptop models.

    Apple laptop prices have trended steadily upwards over the past eight years or so. The MacBook Air starts at $1199. The low end MacBook starts at $1299, as does the low end MacBook Pro 13″. While there are no sub-$1000 options, the cost of entry remains within reason for many people, although the RAM and storage on the low end laptops is a bit weak, in my opinion.

    The major disconnect occurs with the MacBook Pro 15″. The base price for the MBP 15″ is $2399. There is no longer a $1799 or $1899 option for someone who might be satisfied with the performance and specs of the MBP 13″, but wants the larger 15″ display. This is a mistake, in my opinion.

    The absence of a Mac minitower is another mistake on Apple’s part, in my opinion. The Mac mini is the only stand-alone (headless) option other than the new (and awesome) Mac Pro, which is specced and priced well above the consumer desktop range. There should be a more modest small tower Mac that provides a reasonable degree of expandability and user upgradeability without the cutting edge specs of the Mac Pro. Apple could even use the same basic chassis as the Mac Pro (economy of scale in production), or a chopped version with reduced height that could be built on the same tooling with software tweaks. The Mac minitower would have fewer expansion slots and RAM slots than the Mac Pro and could share motherboards with the iMac or the MBPs – reasonable performance for a reasonable price.

    Apple was on a quick rise in the mid-to-late 2000s after its switch to Intel processors for the Mac. Its laptops were acknowledged as the fastest Windows laptops available and price comparisons to roughly equivalent Windows computers were favorable. But I am afraid that Apple is slipping back in terms of its affordability and cost-competitiveness.

    1. “But I am afraid that Apple is slipping back in terms of its affordability and cost-competitiveness.”

      Hope you are sitting down.

      Totally agree with your superlative post…

  9. Don’t really understand the title. For any given group of specs the laptop ‘version’ will almost always be more expensive than the desktop. Was the intent to say that this will be one Apple laptop that will break the trend and be priced really low for what you get?

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