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New MacBook - Recreational Use Only?

6 years ago from , Product Designer, Galvanize

The new MacBook… MacBook. No -Pro, no -Air. An “incredible” fusion of the Air and the Pro.

But is it enough for the design professional?

• 12” screen. • 8GB memory, max. • Up to 1.3GHz dual-core processor. • No fans.

Yes it’s sexy. Yes it’s light as hell. But does it have enough horsepower? Compared with the 15” MacBook Pro, up to 16GB memory, up to 2.8GHz quad-core processor – can it compete? Or like my coworker said, is the new MacBook for recreational use only?

47 comments

  • Jason FullerJason Fuller, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    I think the hint is in the name.

    The MacBook Pro is for professional use, design, code e.c.t.

    The MacBook could easily do presentations and show off work to clients but I fear it wont have enough power for heavy intense use. I agree with you that it seems to be aimed at people who use MacBooks for recreational use or to blog e.c.t.

    That said I think some features of the new MacBook will move over to the MacBook Pro for example the new haptic feedback touchpad with its pressure sensing and I can also see the new butterfly keyboard coming over as well.

    The MacBook is defiantly the future of laptops, think of it as the original MacBook Air which had no disk drive & no spinning hard drive. People at the time went crazy but look at the MacBook Pro today and you'll see it also has lost those elements over time as the way we use devices changes.

    8 points
  • Jordan TannerJordan Tanner, 6 years ago

    The iPhone 6 has a faster processor...

    7 points
    • Bill Columbia, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

      Do you have benchmarks, or are you just going off the clock speed? (Not that I disagree - it will def not be a work horse) :P

      2 points
  • Jordan KoscheiJordan Koschei, 6 years ago

    It's a consumption device, not a production device.

    5 points
    • Sean O'GradySean O'Grady, 6 years ago

      What a ridiculously overused statement. It's lost it's meaning at this stage.

      1 point
    • Vladimir GorshkovVladimir Gorshkov, 6 years ago

      No. The definition of these two words have lost their meaning. When have ever, moms and dads were in the business of "production?" It's mostly consumption these days.

      0 points
  • Ian GoodeIan Goode, 6 years ago

    Definitely not for the design professional. I've a Macbook Air and that just about keeps up.

    4 points
  • Ricardo MachadoRicardo Machado, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    Doing some consulting work for a company, they provided this machine:

    • MacBook Air (13-inch, Early 2014) • 1,4 GHz Intel Core i5 • 4 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 • Intel HD Graphics 5000 1536 MB

    Coming from a iMac, i'm amazed with the speed, it doesn't disappoint me at all. No lag. No over processing-RAM-Stuff.

    I spend my day with Sketch, designing Websites (with a lot of images), Mobile Apps, Dashboards etc.... No problem.

    Im considering selling my iMac and get these new Macbooks.

    3 points
  • Matthew SaforrianMatthew Saforrian, 6 years ago

    Is this enough for the design professional? Maybe, depends on where you're at and what you're doing. Design professional is a big category.

    Do you know what's a bigger category? Consumers and typical office (knowledge) workers. This is perfect for the person who carries their laptop with them wherever they go and does light office work (email, word, spreadsheets, etc).

    I think it's funny how a lot of comments are about how this is for recreational use. The truth is, there's a HUGE market between recreational use and 'Pro' users who are editing video.

    And this hits that market. They're going to sell a ton of these.

    3 points
    • Phil Smith, 6 years ago

      Fair point. There are gobs of professionals that can use this for their daily work.

      In Designer News, amongst design professionals, I of course am curious about how it pertains to us. :)

      3 points
      • Matthew SaforrianMatthew Saforrian, 6 years ago

        Absolutely! In my dream world, I would have one of these for travel, play, etc and a retina iMac for designing and gaming.

        That being said, I really wish they would add a discrete GPU to lower end MBPs. $2600 for a GT 750 is kind of silly.

        Anyhow, my only point was to call out designers that seemed to not be empathizing. When it comes to creating products, being able to envision who will use something and how they will use it is a valuable skill.

        0 points
    • Joshua Dance, 6 years ago

      I agree they are going to sell a ton of these. For every hard core video editor there are 10 creators who open Photoshop or Sketch once in a while, tweak code, and write lots of words. Then innovative features will come to the Macbook Pro soon.

      0 points
  • Will BakerWill Baker, 6 years ago

    I've been doing about 50% of my professional work and 100% of my personal work on an 11" MBA with 4GB RAM since mid-2011. Before that, I went through two maxed out 17" MBPs.

    The ONLY things that computers like this can't handle with grace (but can handle) are heavy video and animation. Sorry, but saying you need 16GB to run CS smoothly is just silly.

    3 points
  • Florent AlixFlorent Alix, 6 years ago (edited 6 years ago )

    It's just a new computer. do whatever you want with it. Will it process your 30go HD video in less than 10minutes ? No. Will it be able to launch photoshop and do small graphic work like designing a webpage ? Yes, like the last Macbook Air.

    It is not a productivity station, their MacPro for this. There is multiple customers that does not use a laptop for work.

    Instead, praise the ridiculously small mother board, the clever integration of the battery, the use of a processor with just 5W consumption, the new USB, the bigger keys, the smaller size, or the haptic touchpad. These are the real things that announced Apple and that will change the future of macbook AIR, Pro and iMac

    3 points
  • Crampa ...Crampa ..., 6 years ago

    You could use it if you don't care about productivity.

    3 points
  • Gavin AnthonyGavin Anthony, 6 years ago

    I would say it's for "recreational use". Maybe lighter work like slideshows, presentations, ect. But Adobe Suite/sketch/code compiling seems like it'd be pushing it. With 16gb and a quad core, I almost never have had a spinning ball before. Plus, my fan goes off all the time. So I have idea how a fanless design would work out.

    2 points
  • Thibault MaekelberghThibault Maekelbergh, 6 years ago

    I work in an Apple reseller and think this thing is amazing for anyone who's not a designer / video-editor or in animation.

    This thing opens such a wide new spectrum for the regular computer user who just browses the web, checks mails, listens to music or watches series / movies. Also I think this is a welcome gift for writers.

    Very curious to see how well it will sell in the store but I'm guessing this new MacBook will do pretty good sales-wise.

    1 point
  • Jim SilvermanJim Silverman, 6 years ago

    with those specs, it's essentially a fashion statement. similar to the apple watch edition.

    1 point
  • Antonio PratasAntonio Pratas, 6 years ago

    I guess that the new macbook is for anyone who wants to do light work, text editing, emails, browsing, videos, music, and also want a mac. Which to be honest is what 99% of the people do anyway, so it seems like a good market. Even I rarely design in my air, I haven't worked at home for months.

    1 point
    • Daniel WinterDaniel Winter, 6 years ago

      Or people that have a heavyeweight iMac in the office and just need a sleek device for meetings and workshops where they would sometimes show a design on a retina display. So... IMHO the new Macbook is a win-win.

      0 points
      • Antonio PratasAntonio Pratas, 6 years ago

        yeah, it's a good extra device to have for the less heavy stuff, definitely. Just too bad the price, it's even more expensive than the air, which it doesn't make sense to me.

        0 points
        • Daniel WinterDaniel Winter, 6 years ago

          Well I see the sense. You typically don't need more CPU power than those of the airs. And the Core M does perform pretty good in usual scenarios. The GPU is better, the SSD should be the same, the display is about 1 Million times better (Retina vs non Retina, IPS vs TN).. So the only downside is a slightly less powerful cpu. enough reason to make it more expensive. And just a hint: The Airs start with 4gb ram and 128gb ssd. If you up them to 8gb/256gb they're equally priced.

          0 points
  • Hawke BassignaniHawke Bassignani, 6 years ago

    This exact computer? Probably not for us.

    In a few years, we’ll probably see this computer have halo effects on the MBP (which is more suited to our industry). In the same way that the radical ideas in the MBA went on to influence the rMBP, the Mac Mini, the iMac, and the Mac Pro.

    0 points
  • Bruno MarinhoBruno Marinho, 6 years ago

    Despite the "small screen" I believe is totally possible to do software design in the machine. It shouldn't be comparable with a 15" pro but remember it is very portable and lightweight so it all depends on your needs.

    0 points
  • Spencer HoltawaySpencer Holtaway, 6 years ago

    Recreational use, or being a student, or being a professional that doesn't need crazy processors.

    0 points
  • Vladimir GorshkovVladimir Gorshkov, 6 years ago

    Design professional is not the target audience. MacBook Pro is for professionals.

    0 points
  • Braden HammBraden Hamm, 6 years ago

    I think the latest retina MBP are plenty thin, light and portable, while also providing a lot more power, so I'm going to stick with that.

    It may not be for me, but I think there's definitely a market for it and in a few years, this is what our MBP's could look like.

    0 points
  • Dmitrij PaskevicDmitrij Paskevic, 6 years ago

    My initial thought was that Apple is building a laptop relatively inexpensive, for the masses. Something students and people on the budget can easily afford. Something in line with ChromeBooks even. But MacBook turned out to be a different product that I can't really grasp. What niche does it suppose to fill? If I only care about browsing the web and consume media, I can use a tablet. If I need a somewhat powerful yet very compact laptop, I go with Air (people edit videos on them..). Then there are PROs for the heavy-duty tasks. So yeah, I don't get that.. I would prefer an upgraded Air model with a retina and faster internals. The rest was perfectly fine with it.

    0 points
  • Braylan GrayBraylan Gray, 6 years ago

    Honestly, I don't think a Macbook has ever really been a workhorse in any generation. To me it's always been, "If you want to do some serious work, go for the Pro."

    On another note, I'm more worried about the new Macbook only having 1 port. I feel like Apple is trying to set a precedent for future generations of Macbooks, including it's Pro lineup. I'm not so sure I am ready to sacrifice an abundance of ports for a thinner profile. I think this guy does a good job of explaining the trade-off, among other things.

    0 points
  • Nemanja NenadicNemanja Nenadic, 6 years ago

    This is obviously targeted at average consumers and not professionals. People who was happy with their Macbook Air will jump onto buying new Macbook.

    It's so damn sexy!

    0 points
  • Mitch De CastroMitch De Castro, 6 years ago

    I love the approach to super-mega-ultra portability but it's definitely a pass for me. (I'm planning on upgrading from a low-end MBP 13" to a maxed out MBA 13" for stronger specs & portability.)

    However, I'm curious about the push to 8GB RAM for the Macbook. I wonder if this is foreshadowing a RAM bump for all the other models in the near future...

    0 points
  • Lucas AlmeidaLucas Almeida, 6 years ago

    Dude, that thing will cost R$ 8500 here in Brazil. I really enjoy Apple products, but that's unreachable.

    0 points
    • , 6 years ago

      Lucas, what is the hardware you work on then? And does it meet your needs?

      0 points
      • Lucas AlmeidaLucas Almeida, 6 years ago

        Well, I work at a Macbook Pro with 8gb of ram and a 500mb HD. I bought it 2 years ago for less than half of this one's price. :)

        0 points
    • Pedro Ivo HudsonPedro Ivo Hudson, 6 years ago

      Apple products in general are usually 50% more expensive, because of taxes. So yeah, if mine dies, I'm going back to Windows...

      0 points
  • Michael AleoMichael Aleo, 6 years ago

    Aside from the screen, I'm not sure why anyone gets this over a new Air. They killed the Macbook because it was irrelevant between the Air and Pro. What market gap is this solving? I just can't find it.

    0 points
  • Dmitriy BelyaewDmitriy Belyaew, 6 years ago

    I think that 12" is too small for work; i am working on air 13", but air 11" is useless for me.

    0 points
    • Julian LloydJulian Lloyd, 6 years ago

      The new 12" MacBook has virtually no bezel, so it should actually be the same size screen as your 13".

      0 points
      • Dmitriy BelyaewDmitriy Belyaew, 6 years ago

        i will figure its screen size when new mac arrives to my local apple-store, maybe it would be the same.

        0 points
  • Aidan GilmoreAidan Gilmore, 6 years ago

    I understand what you are saying but, if the new MacBook Air was designed for professionals, it would be called the MacBook Air PRO

    0 points
    • , 6 years ago

      Considering the single screen size, and the intentional new name, I thought this MacBook could be the consolidation of the line.

      2 points
  • Charlie McCullochCharlie McCulloch, 6 years ago

    The Macbook has never been marketed as a machine for designers. Designers are professionals. That's why the other one's called a "pro", and has been for about 15 years. A lot of the cool features from these new MacBooks will surely find their way into the updated pro's.

    0 points