MacBook/Air/Pro - your current quality score and buy/wait threshold

In an ideal world, I’d buy a new MacBook / MacBook Air / MacBook Pro. However, as is commonly known, the MacBook lineup is horribly fragmented at the moment. For around the same price, you can get a 2-year old MacBook 12”, a brand new MacBook Air 13”, or a 2-year old MacBook Pro 13”. And the release of the Air which is actually heavier than the MacBook muddied the waters immensely - it feels like Apple weren’t going to release it, released the MacBook 12” as a replacement, then changed their minds. And keyboard woes, need I say more?!

I agree with what appears to be the consensus that the MacBook Air is the laptop for most people, with moves to the MacBook or Pro if one wants to prioritise weight or power respectively.

However, this seems to be the perfect time to wait for Apple to clarify the nature of its lower-end laptop market. For example, for anyone somewhat interested in purchasing an Apple laptop, you could score the quality of the options on a scale from 1 to 10, and then set a threshold above which you buy a laptop. Someone who doesn’t really need a laptop might have a buy or wait threshold of 9, whereas someone desperate might have a threshold of 2.

At the moment, my threshold is 3, and my quality score is 2:

  • I have a job that requires me to work a lot while out and about, away from my desk at home. However, I have back issues. A Macbook 12” would be great for me.
  • However, I just don’t want to risk the keyboard woes, I think ARM MacBooks will be amazing, and I can’t see Apple’s lack of clarity/quality lasting very long. In short, the current range of 12-13” laptops is very un-Apple…

What’s your current quality score and buy/wait threshold (if applicable) for Apple laptops?

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I’ll respond about score and threshold later. Awaiting to see what Apple announces and then pulling the trigger.

Do you think they’ll announce a new MacBook / Air / Pro at the services event next week? Or are you thinking WWDC?

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They released updated iPads yesterday and because of that I don’t think they will release hardware with just spec updates next week. Or other hardware. But who knows. I’m having the same problem as you. I think it’s hard to decide what to do. I would love to mainly use the iPad Pro but it’s not there yet (partly because I find the new Smart Keyboard worse than previous models). So perhaps a MacBook Air, but I’m also thinking that they must be doing something with the 12” MacBook and you can get a 1 or 2 year old MacBook for a nice price. Choices.


If I’m understanding correctly, my quality score is 8-9 and my wait score is 9-10 because I liked a lot of what came out in the last couple years and did a lot of upgrading, so I’m set for awhile. My lowest wait threshold is probably for desktops because we will need a good family computer option soon. I’m hoping for a nice iMac refresh this year; otherwise I may get a mini and a screen, which would also be fine.

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I agree, it seems it would have to be more then just a spec update. Hoping for updating at/during WWDC. Before that I won’t be buying and if for some reason we’re wrong and it’ll just be a spec update I’ll have to do some reevaluation.

I feel lucky in that I prefer working from my desk so primarily use an iMac. But I’ve had a series of notebooks for travel going back to an iBook. That said when my 2012 MacBookPro kicks the bucket I would be hard pressed to buy any of the current Apple notebooks, and the reason for that is the keyboard. If I need to replace it, I’d either find a Retina MacBookPro from 2015 or buy a Lenovo Thinkpad. For the use I give it while traveling I could get away with a decent Windows system.

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You know Apple is failing with laptops if you think you’ll be able to get away with a Windows laptop while travelling.

With the new iPads released, and the now-clear demarcation between mini, non-pro and pro iPads, I sincerely hope that Apple makes a similar call with the MacBooks…

Now days I only use a notebook for travel, personal travel, and only need it for a browser, checking my photos for the day, and playing videos. Before I retired it actually was used for productivity! So considering I hate the new dongle-requiring awful-keyboard designs, a sturdy Windows computer would do just fine. OTOH I shudder to think about replacing my iMac with a Windows desktop.