Why the new MacBook Pro is a better deal than the new MacBook Air

Date: Sat Apr 26 2014 Mac
The sweeping updates of Mac hardware today just fell in our laps, and I'm looking at the options now available, not that I have the funds to make an upgrade.  My two-year old 13" MacBook Pro is fine enough to be good enough for another year or two, thank you very much.  But that didn't stop me from looking in the Apple Store, comparing between the MacBook Pro's and the MacBook Air's.  The advances are terrific, and the addition of USB3 and Thunderbolt could make high powered accessories available to laptops.

First thing I notice is that the 13" MacBook Pro is a better deal than the 13" MacBook Air.  The main selling point of the Air is this spec:  0.11 to 0.68 inch thin, 2.96 pounds.  The MacBook Pro weighs in with this:  0.95 inch thin, 4.5 pounds.  The thinness and light weight is attractive, but gosh the Pro is less than an inch thick and 4.5 lbs is pretty darn light-weight.

Where I say the Pro is the better deal than the Air is when you max the specs to the top, and then compare prices.  The base price for both is the same, $1199.

On the 13" MacBook Air, I would configure it as: 2.0GHz Intel Dual-Core Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.2GHz, 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM, Apple USB SuperDrive.  Leave everything else at default at the moment, and the total price is $1778.  Update to 512MB Flash drive, and the price goes to $2278.

On the 13" MacBook Pro, the base configuration already beats the Air specs, in that all the stuff I configured as accessories come on the stock Pro, and the CPU speed of the Pro is much higher than the Air.  The price?  $1499.  If you want to switch from the default 750GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm, to a 512GB Solid State Drive, the price goes to $2399.

The trade-off between these are -- a) how badly do you need ultra-thin-light?  b) how badly do you want solid state versus traditional disks?  c)  how badly do you need higher CPU speed?

For my purpose, the Pro with the regular disk drive is a better deal than the Air.  This is because it's a higher powered CPU and has more ports.  It would be nice to have a solid state drive, but is that worth $900?

If you've got the bucks it's possible to go over the top with the MacBook Pro and have an amazing machine.  For example the 15" Retina display MacBook Pro, with 2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz, 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM, 768GB Flash Storage, Apple USB SuperDrive costs a measly $3828.

And, yes, that's 16GB of memory in a laptop.

Interesting that there is no longer a 17" MacBook Pro.