It’s been some time since I wrote about the product MacBook as the last models were about 2010, but after half a decade of discontinuation, Apple’s announcement changed all that and now if you’re going to buy a new Apple notebook computer in 2015 you have to ask your self – MacBook or MacBook Pro?
The benefits of the 2015 MacBook are more than a few, but the most obvious change for this brand new notebook from Apple is the size and weight of the notebook compared to other notebooks in this class. At just 2lbs in weight, this is the lightest notebook you can buy today from Apple, aside from buying an iPad and using it with an Apple Keyboard, but that’s really a different story compared to the MacBook because the iPad runs on a completely different operating system and as such is not really a fair comparison and some would argue that even with a keyboard the iPad is not a real computer (some would argue differently).
So with the release of the Apple MacBook we have not only lightness compared to the MacBook Pro but also a completely different design that removes almost all the ports. Unlike the MBP, the MacBook Air offers just two ports – one for power via a USB-C connector and a headphone jack. That’s it. This could be considered a pro or con depending on the user but for my needs, which is mostly writing articles just like this one – I don’t need to connect anything to a computer other than perhaps a wireless mouse, but if I really needed to I could buy a bluetooth mouse to use.
I am going to call the lack of ports a pro because with the advent of dropbox and Google Drive and other cloud computing hosts, there’s no real need for external hard drives and usb flash sticks. One thing I might miss would be a SD card reader, but a lot of the higher end and even enthusiasts cameras now include wi-fi, so that’s not even a big deal. And, if you do need to hang some accessories off the 2015 MacBook there are dongles you can buy. that will allow you to work with memory cards and other USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 legacy devices
The keyboard. I have not been able to test the keyboard of the MacBook but I think that after getting used to the new design with the butterfly keys vs the scissor style keyboards that have been around for a decade or more, this should be a better designed keyboard, assuming you can get used to the less travel than traditional keyboards
The new MacBook is rated at up to 9 hours of battery life, which is not as good as the ten hours of life the MacBook Pro is spec’d at but for a small computer that weighs just 2lbs this is really good all day battery performance on this new 2015 Apple notebook.
The MacBook offers a 12 inch retina display, but is a bit deeper (or taller) than the MacBook Pro’s thanks to the 16:10 ratio vs the 16:9 ratio of the MacBook Pro models. You might not think this would be a big deal, but if you’re like me and spend pretty much all your time in a document or web, you will appreciate the deeper display for less scrolling that allows you too keep your hands on the keyboard vs the mouse or trackpad.
The 2015 MacBook Pros have a few advantages over the 2015 MacBook:
Even the smallest MacBook Pro has a 13 inch display vs the 12 inch display on the MacBook, and if you want to go bigger you can even buy a 15 inch MacBook Pro too. Of course, these MacBook Pros are heavier than Apple’s new light netbook, but if you need a bigger display in a portable from the fruit company, then your only options are MacBook Pro models.
The MacBook is not designed to be the fastest Apple notebook you can buy and features a pretty lightweight Intel Core M processor vs the Intel Core i5 and i7 options on the pro. If you do heavy duty stuff with your computer than the Pro is the computer you want to buy.
It’s not much, but the MacBook Pro Battery life is rated at 10 hours vs 9 for the MacBook. It’s not a big difference and in some cases might not matter at all but if you need every bit of portable power you can than the MBP is the notebook from Apple you need for all day portable power.
The MacBook Pros are equipped with the ports we exepect on a professional computer like USB 3.0, HDMI, SD card readers, thunderbolt ports and so on. If you have stuff you want to connect to your MacBook Pro and hate the idea of dongles hanging off your MacBook you need to spring for the Pro version of this computer.
One of the best ideas Apple ever had was the Magsafe connector that disconnected if the cable was pulled. This has saved countless accidents from people tripping over power cables and has saved my bacon on more than one occassion. I hope the omittance of Mag Safe connector on the new MacBook Pro is just a temporary thing.
To summarize, both of these portable Apple computer lines offer different things for different people. If you need the lightest computer from Apple you can possibly get, then the Apple MacBook is for you, assuming you can live with the less ports and power. But if you’re a power user the MacBook Pro is only 3.5lbs, which is still a considerable weight loss compared to older models. If you need speed, a bigger screen size and all the ports you could ask for then the MacBook Pro is the computer to buy.
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