Were Apple right to discontinue the 17-inch MacBook Pro?

Continuing the discussion from Have apple negelcted Mac os?:

[quote=“stevegingercat, post:11, topic:60”]
Well - I guess we just got to disagree on that one - I work in the
Graphics vid editing photographics environment and I can you if they made the sort of machine (imagine a dual or triple ssd set up running in raid 0 config? say in a 19 inch laptop format … It would scream!) people would buy it! No one is making that sort of machine you have to build it your self - thats the problem![/quote]

@stevegingercat brings up a point I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while now, which is: were Apple right to discontinue the 17-inch MacBook Pro?

I mean, sure, it was a pretty niche product. While I won’t disagree that many consumers don’t want that a portable laptop of that size, but ask anyone who’s used one before and they’ll say it was a beast of a thing, really just the ultimate portable machine.

I mean, if I had a different set of priorities, say, if it had a commute to and from work each day where I needed my own machine, then the 17-inch would be perfect. I’d lug that monster in, be all productive for hours on end, then lug it back home at the end of the day. It’d would be the no-compromise, all-powerful desktop machine that I never knew I wanted.

I used to have a colleague who had one. I saw him bring it into work one day, and when I asked him about it, he said: “just look at it”. I did, and he was right: it was the ultimate portable computer for those that wanted something with acres of screen real-estate, who didn’t mind lugging it around because of how much they could get done on it.

What do you think?

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You say that now. :wink:

I lugged a 17" High-Res MBP (pre-Unibody) around for a year and a half and by the time I replaced it, I hated the damn thing. The bag required to carry it was embarrassingly huge, it was heavy and the thing was a power hog.

Considering the advent of affordable 27" desktop displays, the ability to carry around a screen that big has lost its lustre; it was a novelty when they first came out. Retiring it was a good thing.

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I think it’s a bit of a shame they discontinued it. Their market was creatives on the move, like photographers or film makers, who need the space for detail and intricate work but don’t have access to a powerpoint. Not sure what these guys use now; I guess they make do with a smaller screen.

Apple aren’t one to do things on a whim though. If they discontinued it they obviously weren’t selling enough of it, or it didn’t fit with their overall direction.

PS. @bennyling, fix your avatar. :wink:

Edit: Ah, sorry @bennyling, its coming up blank here. Must be Safari.


I can’t imagine they sold too many of them. Outrageously expensive, outrageously huge. Technically impressive but we’ve ended up at a point now where you don’t need the enormous chassis to house that level of performance. A regular unibody 15" Pro can happily accommodate top of the range intel CPU’s and enough battery to run them for long periods.

The high DPI screens now mean you don’t physically need 17" to fit a reasonable amount on screen as long as your eye sight is alright which takes away the aircraft carriers last advantage.

They were way too big and looked so ugly with the anti glare option

I don’t think Apple would have discontinued it if it was a strong seller. That’s not to say I personally think they should have gotten rid of it because I’m sure there will always be people pining for that product.
I still remember being disappointed that the last iteration of the PowerBook G4s didn’t include an updated 12-inch model and it was another 3 years before Apple released the aluminium unibody 13-inch MacBook Pro that really got me interested in the smaller form factor again.
With Retina displays on the latest models and the availability of Thunderbolt displays, despite the lack of a 17-inch model, I think Apple has provided a great balance between portability and a serious workhorse.

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That’s my point exactly; the 17-incher was a good machine because it was big — if you were a creative professional out and about who needed that kind of screen real estate, there was no going past the 17" MBP as your laptop of choice.

I feel like the 15" rMBP running at 1920x1200 fits where the 17" used to while being more portable.

It definitely had its use in places, the kind of scenario I’m thinking of is live events, media shoots and the like who now seem to have swapped to 21.5" and in some cases 27" iMacs in road cases.

I could lug a 17" MBP back and forth daily but only because my commute involves no public transport, I’m sure carrying one on and off buses would be pretty annoying then again there are people who carry those small but not so small printers.

Were Apple right to discontinue the 17-inch MacBook Pro? Yes, I don’t see it as impacting a huge user base but in retina form factor I think it could’ve still sold.

I loved my 17", both of them I had over about a 4 year period. But they were so big and heavy it became a real mission carrying them around with everything else in my bag. I ended up either leaving it at home or leaving it at work and using something smaller the majority of the time.

They would have been so much better had they had better resolution on the displays at the time, but they were certainly a powerhouse at the time.