For the longest time, Apple hardware had a correlation between device size / weight and device features. For example, best camera on biggest phone only. I was happy to see that this seems to have stopped with iPad Pro and iPhone XS models. Now you choose the device size you want and you get the same feature options.
Unfortunately this is still not the case with MacBook Pro. Only the 15" has the option for powerful discrete GPUs and 32GB RAM. 13" is stuck with the 16GB memory limit and the less powerful integrated GPU.
The smaller and lighter the device, the more places you can take it. I’m certain that if I choose the 4lb 15" MBP, which has the internals I want, I will take it with me less often. Here’s wishing that Apple wakes up and starts providing the same options irrespective of device size.
This year I bought a 15" MacBook Pro, it’s my very first 15" laptop and it is a beast - and this was one of my concerns. Marco Arment was on an episode of MPU a while back and he talked about the 15" laptop weight issue. Essentially what he said is if it’s important to you to have the hardware then you can find other ways to slim down the weight - don’t take the charger if you don’t need to, or get a lighter bag. I took that to heart and have been taking my 15" MacBook Pro lots of places since getting it just before WWDC - in nice light bag
Of course, I don’t put it in my bag “just in case”, but if I’m being honest with myself I rarely did that with my previous Macs, and I don’t even take my work MacBook Adorable with me “just in case” - only if I need my Mac. My 11" iPad is my on the go “just in case” device of choice and iPads have been since the iPad 1.
Unlike with the iPhone Plus, where it seemed like they were just trying to differentiate the two models, I think there’s probably good reason for Apple to limit the discrete GPU and 32gb RAM configuration to the 15" model. Both of these are fairly power hungry features and that’s probably a lot easier to deal with given the 15" model’s larger battery.
Well, some components need more space, for cooling and bigger battery. Btw, the current 15" MBP is already pretty light and a lot smaller compared to my mid-2015 model.
I’d be happy to trade a couple of hours’ battery life for a better specced 13" MBP :-).
Based on their design decisions, Apple seems to have a pretty hard minimum of 10 hours of battery life for their laptops.