What are the chances that Apple will release a 12-inch MacBook Pro in the next few months?
February 1, 2007 11:25 AM   Subscribe

What are the chances that Apple will release a 12-inch MacBook Pro in the next few months?

I would love a super-tiny Mac laptop, and though a 12" Powerbook would fit my needs, I'm not so hot on the idea of buying another non-Intel Mac, since I plan to get a few more years out of my G5 tower. The rumors I'm finding via Google are all either conflicting, outdated, or both, so I'm looking for someone with a better impression of the Apple-rumor zeitgeist to tell me if I should wait or just buy a 13" MacBook (which is less attractive to me, as it's bulkier and has less ports.)
posted by tweebiscuit to Computers & Internet (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
To make my question more specific: Assuming that I would be happy to delay purchasing a laptop for up to six months, is the wait worthwhile or should I quit holding my breath and just buy a different model now? (I don't care about whatever performance upgrades will have come about by that time -- form factor is all I'm interested in.)
posted by tweebiscuit at 11:27 AM on February 1, 2007


Rumors aside, that is a gap in the lineup and they like to announce new machines to keep the sales machine running. It seems quite likely a 12" Intel MacBook Pro will show up soon. This is just me taking an ill informed guess, so don't take what I say as gospel. Is there any drawback to waiting six months or do you just have new laptop fever (which I get every 2 years)?
posted by chairface at 11:33 AM on February 1, 2007


Here you go.

Updated fairly regularly and has a good track record.
posted by tkolar at 11:36 AM on February 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you can wait 6 months, then wait. You should buy a computer when you need one, and no sooner. I can't imagine they won't fill the current hole in their line-up.
posted by chunking express at 11:37 AM on February 1, 2007


Ehh, basically it would be "not having a laptop", but I'm the sort who likes to have a desktop as a workhorse and keep the laptop purely for portability's sake, so I'm allergic to bulky laptops -- if I just had plain old laptop fever I'd just get a 17" MacBook Pro, but I'm committed to being able to, you know, use my lap.
posted by tweebiscuit at 11:40 AM on February 1, 2007


You probably already know this but, if you can stand to wait, wait. Even if a 12" isn't introduced, the models that are available today will either get speedbumps or drop in price by then.

If your need for a laptop is fairly trivial, what about getting a cheap old g3 ibook? You should be able to find a nice example for $200-$300 now.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:50 AM on February 1, 2007


There's also a hole in the lineup where the Newton used to be. I get the impression that the 12" sold considerably less than the 15" and 17" models, and the downsizing of the MacBook in comparison to the iBook fills, in Apple's eyes, what little gap was left.

Another data point: http://macpredict.com/events/12-inch-MacBook-Pro
posted by trevyn at 12:02 PM on February 1, 2007


I don't think so, I still see the 12 " PBs all over the place; it was no Newton. I used to have one, and they're much smaller than the MacBook, as are a bunch of PC notebooks. I know one person who resold her 1-month old MacBook and bought a Dell for that reason, among others. In any case there's no predicting what Apple will do in this or anything else by assuming they'll be reasonable (though it's amusing someone made a site to collect people's guesses).
posted by Doctor Barnett at 12:16 PM on February 1, 2007


Rumors aside, that is a gap in the lineup and they like to announce new machines to keep the sales machine running. It seems quite likely a 12" Intel MacBook Pro will show up soon.

But people have been saying this since the MacBook was introduced last May. Apple have made it pretty clear that the MacBook is meant to replace the 12 inch PB, both by retiring it on the same day the MacBook was introduced, and by adding lots of previously pro-only features to the MacBook.

My current reading of the rumour mill is that no one has any information on this either way. Yeah there's a gap in the lineup, but Apple seem happy with that, as the 12 inch was never a strong seller.
posted by cillit bang at 12:35 PM on February 1, 2007


If you want/need a laptop now, buy it now. Figure out whether a 12" Powerbook or 13" Macbook would better meet your needs, and go with that. From what you describe, the 12" Powerbook sounds like a better match (though I know it's frustrating not to get the latest and greatest).

If, in six months, Apple introduces a 12" MBP, sell your incumbent laptop—you'll probably get back a large fraction of the original price—and buy the new one. You can look at the extra amount you spend on the old machine as taking a gamble that Apple will not introduce a 12" MBP and losing. Or as the cost of renting a computer for six months.

Or save your money, keep the old laptop, and buy a fancy new desktop.
posted by adamrice at 12:46 PM on February 1, 2007


As has been stated by others, the MacBook was designed to replace the 12" PowerBook. It's unlikely (but not impossible) that Apple would introduce a new design whose main difference is a slightly smaller monitor.

Periodically someone tosses out a rumor about a Mac ultraportable -- that is, a much smaller and lighter laptop than the current smallest model. So far Apple seems to want to include an optical (CD/DVD) drive, which is a huge technical challenge. Apple did file for two patents in 2005 on possible methods of doing this, but of course that doesn't mean they've been able to get either of them to work.
posted by richsim at 1:08 PM on February 1, 2007


I know one person who resold her 1-month old MacBook and bought a Dell for that reason, among others.

Likewise. I've come close to getting some people to switch from Windows to Mac only to have them drool over some ultra-compact from Sony or somebody and lose them.

Its not just that Apple has a hole compared to their own previous line but also that they have no product to match their competitors - These ultraportables makes me drool and no showing from Apple in that mix.
posted by vacapinta at 1:13 PM on February 1, 2007


Its not just that Apple has a hole compared to their own previous line but also that they have no product to match their competitors

The market for ultra portables, like the market for tablet pcs, is smaller than the more normal size laptops.

I think most of the people lamenting the lack of a 12 inch mbp are ignorant of apple history (too many laptops). Shrinking the mac llneup was one of the first things he did when he returned.

They could release a small mbp down the line. Wouldn't surprise me at all. But only if they see a large market for it. A 'hole' in their lineup isn't going to do it.
posted by justgary at 2:03 PM on February 1, 2007


There are periodic rumors of a MacBook Thin (previously the iBook Thin). AppleInsider seems to think it's coming soon, but you can take that with several heapings of salt.
With Apple switching to Intel and introducing a successor to the Newton after years of rumors, it's getting harder to separate the inside info from the pipe dreams.
Will Apple eventually introduce a thinner notebook? Yes. Will that be tomorrow or 5 years from now? Who knows?
posted by designbot at 2:14 PM on February 1, 2007


None.

Just like the possibility of the mythical xMac to arrive in the next 12 months.

(xMac = a tower that fits between the mini and the pro, designed for the enthusiast market, so they can upgrade their video, sound, HDs, etc frequently and still run OS:X)
posted by SirOmega at 3:03 PM on February 1, 2007


There are periodic rumors of a MacBook Thin (previously the iBook Thin).

FWIW, some have wryly observed that the presence of a rumor on MOSR usually means that the opposite is true, more often than not.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:21 PM on February 1, 2007


Don't forget (if you haven't already) to compare the actual sizes/weights of the 12" PB and the 15" MBP. The MBP is remarkably well made and compact for its screen resolution, not actually that different from the 12".
posted by lorimer at 7:05 PM on February 1, 2007


The market for ultraportables is smaller historically because of the high cost associated with those items, but Apple has been a pro at bringing these component prices down (think nano, iphone) and in their favour people don't mind paying higher prices for Apple products.

I think items such as the ipod, nano and iphone show that Apple is willing and capable of filling those convenience niches, and if this article is to be believed, then they should be announcing a 12 inch ultra portable any day now.

Hey, isn't the new Photoshop coming out of beta soon?
posted by furtive at 8:12 PM on February 1, 2007


lorimer, the two notebooks before my 15" MBP were a Toshiba Portege 4000 and a Thinkpad X31 and they were remarkably smaller and lighter than the MBP, enough in fact that I'll sell you my two month old MBP cheap if they do unleash an ultraportable any time.
posted by furtive at 8:22 PM on February 1, 2007


chances for a 12" MacBook Pro aren't that great, I would think.

Intel's "Santa Rosa" Centrino platform refresh is coming out RSN [May-June], so it might be worth to wait for that.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:27 PM on February 1, 2007


chunking's advice ("You should buy a computer when you need one, and no sooner") is very, very apt. Buy it when you need it. Looking for the next wonderful thing is an excellent way to drive yourself mad with regret or anticipation.

As for what they'll do... The 12" PB was in many ways the jewel of the line. PC folks would see it and drool. It was nearly as small as an ultraportable, had an excellent feature mix, resisted damage and scratching really reall well -- i.e., not only looked great, but stayed looking great.

I tend to be very skeptical about Apple making what I think are the smart product decisions, but I think they'll suck up and do it eventually, just because even hataz thought it was cool. But they will need a cooler chip...

Also, FWIW, I think the "BlackBook" is really the replacement for the 12" PB. It does look cool as hell, for sure; but who wants to pay an extra $250 just for the privilege of getting it in matte black instead of white?
posted by lodurr at 2:04 PM on February 2, 2007


FWIW, the "black tax" is now a mere $50 - if you spec out the white MacBook with the 120GB drive that the black one gets standard, the prices even out.
posted by heeeraldo at 9:11 PM on February 3, 2007


I should mention that I think it's ridiculous and I wouldn't pay extra for black in your position, but I thought I should point that out, is all.
posted by heeeraldo at 9:12 PM on February 3, 2007


Well, I don't know about tweebiscuit, but I'm just shallow enough that the black is worth $50.
posted by lodurr at 1:12 PM on February 5, 2007


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