Talking tech since 2003

As Rohan pointed out last week, Apple recently discontinued the production and sale of the white MacBook (not “MacBook Pro”, just “MacBook”) notebook computer amidst the official release of OS X Lion and the unveiling of the company’s new hardware offerings.  While some people are critical of this move on Apple’s part, I must say that it really was about time for the MacBook to fade away.  That said, Apple has done quite a bit in terms of hardware in the last few years and the need for the baseline laptop really was small.  With the more mobile-friendly iPad starting at half of the price of the MacBook white and the MacBook Air sitting pretty at the same price point as the now defunct white MacBook prospective buyers have enough options for Apple to no longer need to offer the MacBook.

While that’s fine and dandy, the removal of the MacBook from Apple’s product line leaves one loose string.  The MacBook Pro.  You see, when Apple was still selling the plastic unibody MacBook, the MacBook Pro was a very logical name choice for higher end product.  But with the plastic unibody computers now off the market it really does seem pointless for Apple to have a “Pro” version of a product line that doesn’t have a baseline product.

That said, I realize that Apple still manufactures and sells that MacBook Air.  So I guess Apple could be justified in keeping the “Pro” classification for the popular Macintosh computer.  But in all honesty, I still think that it’s rather silly that Apple would continue to dub the remaining MacBooks as “Pro” even though the reality is that the “Pro” devices aren’t a step up from anything anymore.

From a marketing perspective, on the other hand, I can easily see why Apple would want to use the “Pro” name.  After all, if the company were to remove the professional classification of the device and simply call it the “MacBook”, users would likely perceive that the company was “dumbing down” the product line.  Assuming that Apple wouldn’t reduce the pricing on the devices if they were to drop the suffix, I honestly think that many people would feel as if Apple was offering a lesser product for the same amount of money.  In the long run, I don’t think it would sell.

The possibility that really intrigues me, though, is the concept that Apple may very well have axed the white MacBook in preparation to revamp the line altogether with a new array of lower end hardware offerings.  If you’ll remember, Apple at one point had a 13″ aluminum unibody MacBook that was not a part of the MacBook Pro product line.  A couple of years back, Apple merged the product into the “MacBook Pro” line, leaving only the white unibody notebook to remain in the recently eliminated line.

So will we be seeing new Apple notebooks?  Will the MacBook line become refreshed?  Or should Apple move the “MacBook Pro” devices over and simply call them “MacBooks?”  Perhaps Apple should just leave things as they are.  What do you think?  Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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