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MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro (opinions)

127110 Views 101 Replies Latest reply: Mar 10, 2012 6:19 AM by pkpkpk RSS
  • pkpkpk Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 24, 2012 8:20 AM (in response to Jeremy Thompson1)

    Hi

     

    Very impressed with this topic and the generous time given by the contributors.

     

    Where do I start??

     

    I have used a PC most of my business life which is about 30 years. I have a computer science degree and used to program quite a bit back in my youth :-) Pretty much most languages. I dont do this for a lving now but still love IT and want to spend my spare time going back and programming again (boring I know).

     

    I have an iPad and iPhone and have found it difficult to make the transition to Apple as I know PCs back to front.

     

    So I found a palatable solution. To write apps for iPhones and iPads which will allow me to start using an Apple and at the same time get back into programming.

     

    I travel quite a bit so portability is important. I will most likely be devloping software out of hotel rooms. :-)

     

    So I am trying to decide whether MBA or MBP would be better for me from a devleopment point of view.

     

    I would appreicate any advice you can give me.

     

    Thanks

    Peter

  • MikeK5117 Level 2 Level 2 (160 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 24, 2012 8:54 AM (in response to pkpkpk)

    Sounds like you have made a good decision if you enjoy coding and want to learn the guts of OS X. Similar to my own situation where I used to be a Visual Studio programmer and have taken up Objective C for a hobby and maybe make some money on the side someday down the road.

     

    I have been 100% mac for about 8 years now and always used MBP's and most recently had moved up to the 17" behemoths, mostly because the stuff I do benefits from lots of screen real estate.  I would suggest that your programming may fall into the same catagory, especially when traveling and an external monitor is not an option. I just bought a 13" MBA and while I love it for day to day activities, opening Xcode and having the assorted side-bars active etc does get kind of tight. However, I have not really done any real coding on it yet so I may just be anticipating something that is just in my head.

     

    You also might want to wait, the MBP's and MBA's are likely due for a refresh and who knows what the next generation may offer in terms of portability, for sure thay won't be any less portable than those we have now.

  • pkpkpk Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Feb 24, 2012 9:03 AM (in response to MikeK5117)

    MIke

     

    Great advice thanks. I suppose a part of me wants the MBA (I have a lovely ultralite sony) but remebering back from my coding days, screen size certinly helps when developing applications.

     

    Do Apple release Macs at the same time as iPhones and iPads, that is summer release this year? Or will it be next year?

     

    Thanks

    Peter

  • MikeK5117 Level 2 Level 2 (160 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 24, 2012 11:30 AM (in response to pkpkpk)

    We are not permitted to speculate here in these forums but with Ivy Bridge due out this summer it is a pretty safe bet that there will be new Macs using these chips. With Apple you never know until the day, even when they send out the press invitations it doesn't say why, just when and where.

  • j_bm Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 24, 2012 12:32 PM (in response to pkpkpk)

    Peter,

     

    Have to agree with Mike 100%. Also, if you have developed on a PC using something like VS you will be in heaven on a Mac. There is some basic setup work that you'll have to do but then your environment will be well beyond anything you have ever setup on a PC. I write code for work and also on the side (I'm a junkie, what can I tell you???) and use an MBA. When I can (at home) I connect to the 27" LED display and... WOW; couple that with other OSX capabilities such as desktops and you will only be regretting you didn't do this sooner!

     

    Also, as Mike says, if you can wait a few months the MBA is due for a refresh soon. I am waiting for that one before I get my next one. The ony area of the MBA I would like improved is RAM. If I had 8GB on the MBA I'd be able to run my VMs better (Parallels runs Win7 better than win7 machines do!!!!) while also playing with images and even video (which I don't do much of). I also have an MBP which is great but bulkier and slower without the SSD. There is nothing on the MBP (other than RAM) that isn't better on the MBA, IMO.

     

    Good luck to you and remember, once you go Mac you don't go Back!!!!

    JB

  • pkpkpk Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 24, 2012 1:13 PM (in response to Jeremy Thompson1)

    Thanks Mike and JB.

     

    Great advice. I think I will wait and see if a new MBA appears. I have to tell you it is somewhat scary and exciting to have finally made the decision to try the MAC. I look forward to the experience!.

     

    Peter

  • Captain Apollo Level 1 Level 1 (25 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 26, 2012 7:55 AM (in response to Mini-Mac)

    You've had a lot of Apple laptops. I owned the following:

     

    1. PowerBook 100

    2. PowerBook 140

    3. PowerBook 520c (wish I still had it!)

    4. PowerBook 5300c (abysmal and an embarassment to Apple)

    5. PowerBook 2300

    6. PowerBook 2400

    7. PowerBook G3 (bronze keyboard)

    8. PowerBook G4 (titanium)

    9. PowerBook G4 (17")

    10. MacBook (black)

    11. MacBook Pro 15 (unibody)

    12. MacBook Air 11

     

    There might be one or two I've forgotten.

     

    A bit off topic, but I think Apple should revive the PowerBook brand. Now that iOS and OS X are merging into the same thing, the "MacBook" branding is kind of out of date. PowerBook is a classic name and rolls off the tongue so much better anyway. The next generation of laptops with Ivy Bridge and Mountain Lion should be called PowerBook.

  • MikeK5117 Level 2 Level 2 (160 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 26, 2012 8:32 AM (in response to Captain Apollo)

    That's quite a list of laptops. I would have liked to have kept a couple of the ones I have had in the past like our 12" Powerbook but so hard to justify keeping them when you can get such a good price selling previous-generation Apple hardware. My current 13" MBA with C2D, 2gb ram and 256gb SSD only cost me $50 more than I sold my wife's 1st generation 13" unibody MBP for on local clist. Of course, I don't mind buying end of line deals that I get at our local Apple-authorized reseller so I never pay full retail for the newest and greatest, but they are still great machines.

     

    Peter, if you are still following this thread, that is another great feature of Mac laptops, they retain tremendous resale value.

  • JE13 Level 4 Level 4 (3,920 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 26, 2012 9:48 AM (in response to MikeK5117)

    I, too, have fond memories of my 12" Powerbook. Of the laptops I've owned, it and my first "platium" (i.e. dark blue and white) clamshell were my favorites. Awesome as the 12" was, I doubt we'll see it's like again. The thing with the 12" was that the keyboard was crunched. In fact, I remember my husband, who had large hands, being unable to use my 12" keyboard. The 12" diagonal of the screen owed more to height in those laptops than in width as with the 11" Air. So you had both a narrower (but taller) screen and scrunched-up keyboard.

     

    Given Apple's wise (I think) decision to maintain full-sized keyboards--pretty much the same keyboard--across all laptops, there really is no going back to that different sized keyboard that was the 12". And given the popularity of the Airs, I don't think there's any reason for Apple to stop slimming down. I doubt that we'll see the powerbooks again.

     

    But it was still a sweet ilttle laptop!

  • w7ox Level 4 Level 4 (2,385 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 26, 2012 2:26 PM (in response to Jeremy Thompson1)

    Wow, this thread started 11 months ago, about the time I bought my first 11" MBAir.

     

    My wife now has the 2010 MBAir (loves it!) and I replaced it last week with a new 2011 11" MBAir: Backlit keyboard pretty important to my usage and more speed (about 2x) and storage (256 GB vs. 128 GB) made a huge difference for me (e.g., can now use it to reload videos on my iPad while traveling).  Of course, this means the 2012 MBAirs are just around the corner

     

    My main machine is the maxed out 2011 15" MB Pro (750 GB 7200 RPM HDD, 2.4 GHz quad-core i7, 8 GB RAM).  But except for number crunching or video processing, the MBAir "feels" just as fast.  Added screen real estate of the Pro is handy when dealing with several open windows and it sits more solidly on my lap due to more mass and larger footprint.

     

    Phil

  • pkpkpk Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 26, 2012 11:27 PM (in response to w7ox)

    Yep still following the thread.

     

    Good to know about resale value MIke!

     

    I visited my apple store yesterday which was an amazing experience. They certainly spend loads of time with potential PC users looking to make the move to Apple.

     

    It was extermely diffcult to make a decision between MBA and MBP although having spent time with both (only a couple of hours in the store) I am leaning towards the MBP. Call me old fashion but the ports available and upgrade options make it feel like a better devleopment platform although the SSD in the MBA made it quick.

     

    Does that mnake sense?

     

    Also I undertsand there are new models coming out in the next few months and a new OS I think called mountain lion? which made me think I will wait for the new machines.

     

    At least this gives me a little more time to explore my options.

     

    Its kind of a shame that I cant purchase a one-one subscription without buying a mac first as I could spend some more time in the store getting to know the mac better and helping me resolve my choice. anyway not a big issue.

     

    Peter

  • pkpkpk Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 26, 2012 11:56 PM (in response to w7ox)

    Phil

     

    Interesting point of 15" vs 13" for screen size. I was leaning towards the 13" just for portability. And now that I have experienced desktops I think it is called Im not too sure whether it is worth going for the extra 2". It sounds like you develop so I would appreicate your view on this.

     

    Thanks!

     

    Peter

  • oneadamas Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 29, 2012 11:34 AM (in response to Phoenix Group)

    Yep! It would be wise to wait for Intel's Ivy Bridge cpu. They will, without doubt, be available fairly soon. Besides being faster, these chips should help address those worrisome overheating issues experienced by many users. By the way, Apple's advertisments are outdated because they read, "state-of-the-art Intel processors." The real (or next) "state-of-the-art Intel processors" are getting ready to be shipped. Hold out for them, if you can.

     

    Just a historical observation. Apple is usually the last manufactrurer to add the newest hardware. Still no usb 3 support for example. Yes firewire is great. But Thunderbolt? It really isn't happening most of us because the sheer cost of devices that support it are too expensive.

  • Csound1 Level 7 Level 7 (32,495 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 29, 2012 12:06 PM (in response to oneadamas)

    oneadamas wrote:

     

    Blah

     

    By the way, Apple's advertisments are outdated because they read, "state-of-the-art Intel processors." The real (or next) "state-of-the-art Intel processors" are getting ready to be shipped.

     

    Blah

    The i5 and i7 are currently Intels latest offerings, how are Apple's advertisements outdated, because they don't include processors that you can not buy?

  • JE13 Level 4 Level 4 (3,920 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 29, 2012 1:47 PM (in response to pkpkpk)

    pkpkpk wrote:

     

    Its kind of a shame that I cant purchase a one-one subscription without buying a mac first as I could spend some more time in the store getting to know the mac better and helping me resolve my choice. anyway not a big issue.

    Peter, while you can't get one-on-one you can sit in on the open classes. They're a good starting place, and even I, veteran Apple user that I am, learn new tricks in them. Just check the store's schedule of lectures. 

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