Shopping for 15" MacBook Pro: Buy now, or wait?
May 21, 2007 10:11 AM   Subscribe

Shopping for 15" MacBook Pro: Buy now, or wait?

Good news: My employer wants to buy me a fully loaded MacBook Pro. I'm looking at the 15" version, as I travel a lot.

The Dilemma: I could go buy one today if I wanted to, but I've been watching Mac Rumors, Gizmodo, etc., and they all report rumors of updates before the upcoming WWDC in June. Rumors mention the Santa Rosa chip, and LED-backlit screens.

I don't care that much about the SR chip, but I'd like the LED-backlit feature. Purportedly brighter, offers longer battery life, and retains its brightness for a longer time. If I was sure I could get my hands on one within a month or so, I'd wait.

So, can anyone offer any insight into these rumors? Should I count on them? If so, how long would it likely be before I actually, physically receive such a machine? I assume it wouldn't ship until a few weeks after it's announced?

Any advice appreciated. Thanks in advance.
posted by mikeand1 to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Eringatang at 10:13 AM on May 21, 2007

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! The current MacBook Pro is getting long in the tooth. According to MacRumors Buyer's Guide, It has been 209 days since the last update, and they usually average 182 days between updates. I'm willing to bet on a release at WWDC. At that point, you can pick up one of the new ones or if you decide you don't need any of the changes, pick up the old model at a discount. I'd say you'd actually have one in hand in early to mid-July.

I'm in the same boat. I need to upgrade my MacBook to a Pro, but I am waiting.
posted by AaRdVarK at 10:21 AM on May 21, 2007

Buy now, if you need it now. Apple's marketing technique is to build-up a constant stream of anticipation, and it's easy to get caught up. Try to be blind to it. It's the only way to keep sane.

Bear in mind that Apple's track record of introducing new technology is crap. They take one or two renditions to get it right, and their first attempts ALWAYS have design flaws (trapped display cables on iBooks, faulty wifi antennas on PowerBooks, overheating first generation MacBooks, and more).

If you bought the first of the LED-backlit MacBooks you'll undoubtedly have problems. How close is your nearest Mac repair centre? I'm serious. Factor this in to your buying decision.

An advantage of waiting, however, is that you can buy for peanuts the current generation in the "Refurb" part of Apple's site. For example, I bought a Core Duo MacBook just after the Core Duo 2 MacBooks were introduced. All the reviews said there was no practical difference in speed, due to a particularly bad choice of Core Duo 2 chip.

I got it for £200 (around $400) less than the current models, and it works a treat. I'm typing on it right now.
posted by humblepigeon at 10:28 AM on May 21, 2007

Response by poster: From the OP: Note that price is irrelevant, since my company is paying for it.

And if it's really going to be mid-July before I get one, I'm going to have a hard time not going out to buy the current MacBook today!

And again, what I'm really interested in is the LED-backlit display. If anyone has information specific to that, it would be most appreciated.

I do have a repair center nearby. Nonetheless, if there is going to be a high chance of problems, I don't want to have to deal with it. So I'd be interested in hearing more opinions about this.
posted by mikeand1 at 10:33 AM on May 21, 2007

Nobody here knows, and if someone here does know, they won't tell you.

Having said that, I'll reverse my precious advice and say if you need it now, go buy it now. The business value you will get out of it over the next month or two will more than pay for it's depreciation if you decide to sell it and pick up the new model when it comes out.
posted by AaRdVarK at 10:52 AM on May 21, 2007

There's no guarantee that led-backlit equals greater battery life. What is the energy profile of the new product? No one knows. If the led display does save power, Apple may just use less batteries to save on laptop weight. Or beef up the processor. The led-backlight is mostly being migrated to for environment reasons, not performance reasons.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:55 AM on May 21, 2007

This is one of the very rare times when Apple has actually confirmed what's coming, computer-wise. LED displays are definitely coming in 2007. The MacBook Pro's more due an upgrade than the iMac (and it would help differentiate it from the MacBook), so I'd expect it to be one of the earliest with LED displays.
posted by bonaldi at 11:02 AM on May 21, 2007

My guess is September or maybe early October, if you care. Also, although the backlit LED is cool in theory, in practice it may be a stinker for the first iteration or two - we don't know yet.

If you're really not interested in waiting until even mid-July, I'd say go buy one now.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:56 AM on May 21, 2007

And again, what I'm really interested in is the LED-backlit display. If anyone has information specific to that, it would be most appreciated.

None of us have a crystal ball, so none of us can really help you here. There are no LED-backlit displays available yet, on any line from any manufacturer. It's new and unproven.

You're also not letting us know why you're so interested in LED-backlit displays. Are you interested in better color reproduction? Better battery life? Purer whites and darker blacks? In other words, does it really matter to you?

The main selling-point is improved battery life, as far as I can tell. Nobody is making any other promises above and beyond that.

The MacBook Pro displays are already very bright. Yes, the LED displays won't go dimmer as time goes on, like current displays, but will you really be keeping your notebook in excess of two years?
posted by humblepigeon at 12:11 PM on May 21, 2007

FWIW, I have a 15" G4 Powerbook that's over four years old now, and I use it quite a bit. I haven't noticed any dimming at all, and I usually have the brightness turned up only about halfway.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 12:28 PM on May 21, 2007

My gut feeling is to wait until after the WWDC but no longer than that. There will always be a better computer with a slightly neater feature set. Don't let that prevent you from investing in something that you'll find immediately useful.
posted by aladfar at 12:36 PM on May 21, 2007

Recent rumors have said that the LED displays might first be introduced in a sub-notebook, and not immediately in the MacBook line. FWIW.
posted by wyzewoman at 12:39 PM on May 21, 2007

Nobody has even mentioned that Leopard is coming out around October. If you buy before then, you'll have to pay for the upgrade.
Thats what I'm waiting on before I buy an apple.
posted by ijoyner at 12:53 PM on May 21, 2007

Nobody has even mentioned that Leopard is coming out around October. If you buy before then, you'll have to pay for the upgrade.
Thats what I'm waiting on before I buy an apple.
posted by ijoyner

October, 5 months away, IF they don't delay it again. I still know people who havn't upgraded to tiger and they're more than happy.

If you need it now, buy it now. There's no reason to wait, there's always something around the corner. There's nothing wrong witih the current OS.
posted by justgary at 12:58 PM on May 21, 2007

(not to mention the upgrade will probably be 120 bucks) 120 bucks in return for using a mac now if you need it. Seems more than worth it to me.
posted by justgary at 12:59 PM on May 21, 2007

I work for an entity that puts in a fair number of orders for custom MacBook Pros (MacBooks Pro?) and other Apple laptops, and has done so for the better part of a decade.

When Apple is preparing to upgrade one of their product lines, inexplicable delays begin to mount in the build time for that particular product line, well before they announce the upgrade. This results in some of the purchasers getting annoyed once they realize that their estimated order fulfillment times are getting bumped back by a week, once a week. (This went on for more than a month a couple of years ago when they were upgrading the iBook.)

I haven't seen any indication of repeatedly delayed orders on either the MacBook or the MacBook Pro, so either Apple has gotten better at stretching its inventory out to the last minute, or it's not going to be upgraded in the next month.
posted by oaf at 1:33 PM on May 21, 2007

I will be going to college in August, and I plan to hold out until July before purchasing the 15" MacBook Pro. I'll use it for some heavy photoediting, so I think the color saturation alone is worth the $$$. If I didn't want to use it for Photoshop, I'd purchase one tomorrow.
posted by theiconoclast31 at 1:39 PM on May 21, 2007

This is why you should buy a computer when you need it rather than play a guessing game with Apple's product announcements.
posted by ardgedee at 3:33 PM on May 21, 2007

I hope you waited...
posted by waxpancake at 5:51 PM on June 7, 2007

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