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Should I Buy a 2011 MacBook Pro Now in August, or should I wait for the MacBook Pro 2012?

This is something I’ve been thinking about, as my current MacBook Pro is a 2.4GHz 2008 model, with a wonkey keyboard that needs to have the delete key fixed as it’s not dead yet but rather loose and to get it fixed looks like it may be more trouble than the MacBook is worth.

 

I can still use the MacBook Pro for facebook and web surfing, but for getting some work done where my typing skills are probably the reason for the MacBook Pro’s early keyboard failure, there’s a new MacBook Pro in my future as my current fix has been to just use the MacBook Pro as a desktop replacement and change my work habits some. This means I can’t compute from starbucks but this also saves me from my coffee habit too so perhaps this is a good thing as having a broken keyboard on my MacBook Pro actually saves me money over time. Those $5 lattes add up.

Buying a new MacBook Pro in August

The argument for buying a new MacBook Pro  now would be that I need to have a fast portable notebook from Apple that works and allows for all the portability features a fully functional MacBook Pro would  offer  - like a functional keyboard.  The fact that the new MacBook Pro would offer faster processors, more ram capacity and just overall a nicer computing experience than my current apple notebook should end the argument right then and there.

I can trade in my MacBook Pro or sell it on craiglist or eBay  to offset the cost of the new one.  Someone more patient or technically inclined may be able to fix my keyboard easily and I could use the money from my old MacBook Pro to help pay for the new 2011 MacBook Pro.

Assuming what I end up selling my old MacBook Pro for I may be able to realize a cheap MacBook Pro for about  half  price if I got lucky selling or trading my current notebook and using the funds realized from the sale towards the new Apple MacBook Pro with a fully functioning keyboard.

Wait for the 2012 MacBook Pro

If I can struggle along for a few more months, there’s a very good chance to see a new 2012 MacBook Pro in the new year and it’s my gues the 2012 MacBook Pro release date could be about the same time of the 2011 models were released, which is usually about January or February. These professional Mac notebooks usually see new releases happen in early winter. We only have about 4 months left once back to school starts and since  I’ve been OK with this notebook so far  I bet I can struggle along for the remainder of 2011 with this Mac notebook I already own.

It’s my guess the new 2012 MacBook Pros are going to see a redesign, and not just a speed bump or more RAM. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one model(the 13 inch?)  is more like a MacBook Air Pro rather than just a MacBook Pro. The optical drive is pretty much dead to me now and  thanks to streaming  video and software downloads online I don’t really see much need for it any more.

RAM and  solid state drive prices keep dropping so I bet by the new year we’ll see a MacBook Pro with a solid  state drive replacing the more traditional drives.  Like most things when buying a new computer, the longer you wait when it comes to technology  the more you seem to get in features in speed for the same money.

Take the new MacBook Air models just released: They are the same cost as the 2010 models but now include much faster processors as well as backlit keyboards too. A nice feature I didn’t think I’d need until I stared to use it. It’s nice to see the keys on your keyboard (and have them work, too)

Buy a 2011 MacBook Air instead

is the macbook air the best deal on a mac notebook?

The argument  for buying a new MacBook Air instead is that I could buy a newly released Apple notebook now, instead of waiting for  the 2012 MacBook Pros to be released. The MacBook Air  is a small, lightweight notebook from Apple with a much faster computer processor inside, a smoking fast solid state drive and the portability and weight I’ve never seen in an Apple notebook to date.

I might even be tempted to try the 11 inch MacBook Air and then hook it up to an external display when I need more screen real estate than the small 11 incher offers. This may be the way I end up going because  as as much as my ego would like to think otherwise, I don’t need the ‘Pro’ in the MacBook Pro.  The MacBook Air’s battery life, light weight and faster solid state drive far outweighs slugging around a cd drive I don’t need or use rarely.

As cloud computing matures with the new iCloud and other new similar services from Amazon and the like, I don’t think the need for big hard drives for my use  will be such a big deal and also: over time solid state drives will get bigger and cheaper, just like memory upgrades have. Who would have thought that when my current 2008 MacBook Pro was new that you would be able to buy 8GB of RAM for about $60? It was unthinkable at the time. ‘

Buy a Mac Mini and  an iPad

Mac Mini as my desktop computerAs tempting as the new MacBook Airs are, there’s still other options such as the iPad  and the new 2011 Mac Mini’s to consider too. This is another avenue I could go with as I already have all the Mac peripherals –  I could buy the cheaper Mac Mini for desktop computing use  and buy the iPad 2 for the portable stuff  like email, web browsing and all those funky apps for sale at the App store. The cost for a new Mac Mini and iPad would be pretty close to the price of a new MacBook Air or 13 inch MacBook Pro. One reason I haven’t jumped on the iPad bandwagon as of yet is the fact that  I wonder if I would be able to live with the iPad as a notebook replacement?

I know I can buy iPad accessories and keyboards, but then you may as well buy a MacBook Air that offers a full sized keyboard. The iPad scares me as I need to touch type and the lack of a tactile feel of a real keyboard is an important thing to me. I’ve spent some time with the iPad and it’s fine for sending off 100 words or less in an email but I wonder if I could actually type with one as my one  and only portable computing device?

Which Mac Do I Buy?

Here’s the thing: I don’t need to buy a new Mac today, as much as I’d like to think I do.

I think the answer to this question is to ask yourself: Do you need a new computer today?  Not want – need. It’s easy to get sucked in to the Apple marketing machine and make no mistake I’m their biggest fan (or sucker) , but if you don’t need a new Mac  don’t buy one.

Use the Mac (or PC even) you already own and spend a fraction on new upgrades for your old Mac, as opposed to replacing it. I have lost thousands of dollars spending money on  Apple computers I didn’t really need. I wanted them, sure. But needed, no. If you can swing it the best thing to do is to upgrade the RAM to the maximum on your Apple computer.

You may find that with a RAM upgrade, you don’t even need to buy a new Apple computer and  I just saved you $1000 or more as  a memory upgrade for the Mac you already own is the best Apple deal you can buy. And now with the fact that solid state hard drives are getting cheaper and cheaper with some starting at under $100 today, it’s quite possible for  under $200 to greatly improve the performance of the computer you already own and have paid for. This is the best Apple deal you can find today and is much cheaper than buying a new 2011 computer from Apple.

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7 Responses

  1. Tony says:

    I really recommend you wait for the 2012 Macbook Pro. The redesign would probably blow you away. The macbook air’s update is good, but its not a redesign. Just wait, its only a few more months away

  2. jacobspence says:

    Thanks, Jim for this post. I am in a similar situation – headed back to grad school in September 2011 and “need/want” a new MBP. My wife and I are currently sharing my 2007 version so we would like to get one asap. But it does seem most wise and affordable to go ahead and wait till what, max February 2012? for the new release. UGH it’s so hard to wait…

  3. Martin says:

    Nice article Jim, I’m reading it as I’m in the same situation! My 2007 MBP has already had it’s hard drive die (at the time I was browsing for solid state drives!) so I took the plunge, opened it up and stuck a 128Gb solid state. It was like having a new laptop, amazing speed difference. Now the trackpad is dying on me slowly, seems to be sticking when my hands get too hot (!). So, I’m back to the point of do I replace the trackpad, or buy a new laptop. I’m moving down from a 17 inch to something more portable, maybe with an external display, so now I am stuck between the new Air and waiting for 2012 MBP. Waiting is winning so far but I’m visiting the US in December (I’m in Europe) so the better prices / exchange rates may just make me buy over there….

    Decisions, decisions …. but at least they are nice decisions!

  4. Jose says:

    Hi,
    Is it really possible to upgrade a 2008 2.2GZ MBP to 8 GB?
    Ive checked the link your provided:
    “Who would have thought that when my current 2008 MacBook Pro was new that you would be able to buy 8GB of RAM for about $60? It was unthinkable at the time. ”
    But when I check compatibility it shows that it’s no-good.
    Any clues or tips?
    Thanks
    Jose Lopez Hernandez

  5. Peter says:

    Would they release a new MBP before their new OS X Mountain Lion? It wouldn’t make sense if they did, well only one way it would. Excellent marketing. MBP with OS Lion, then a little later MBP with OS Mountain Lion

  6. Peter says:

    P.S. OS Mountain Lion is set for Summer 2012

  7. this is a test comment

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