Is the MacBook Pro more future-proof than other models?

In my quest to find out what Mac I should buy next I have been considering things like portability and performance. I have not taken into account costs because I like to keep my laptops for three-four years so the total cost of the machine naturally spreads over time.

Lately I’ve been thinking about future-proofing my next purchase. As an exercise I went back to the day I purchased my MacBook Pro 15″ and checked what other laptops Apple was selling back then.

To go back in time I used the fantastic Web Archive that allows you to see the content of many well known websites on a specific day.

I purchased my MacBook Pro on 08/02/2008 and according to the Web Archive of that day, the Apple site was like this.

Three Mac laptops were on the market in February 2008:

White MacBook

  • 13.3″ glossy display
  • Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 2.0GHz or 2.2GHz
  • Up to 4GB memory

MacBook Air

  • 13.3″ glossy display
  • Intel Core 2 Duo processor
  • 1.6GHz or 1.8GHz
  • 2GB memory

MacBook Pro

  • 15“ or 17” matte or glossy display
  • Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 2.2GHz, 2.4GHz or 2.6GHz
  • Up to 4GB memory

I have checked the system requirements for OS X Mountain Lion and two out of those three laptops will not be compatible anymore.

Of the three Mac laptops available when I bought my MacBook Pro, only the Pro model is still supported with Mountain Lion:

Model Supported in Lion? Supported in Mountain Lion?
White MacBook Y N
MacBook Air Y N
MacBook Pro Y Y

It’s true that I am an exception. People generally change laptops more frequently than 3–4 years but I find changing laptops an unnecessary hassle if the machine allows you to be productive.

On my current laptop I still manage to run virtual machines with Windows 2008 Server without too many problems. The reasons I am going to replace it are:

  • I get the infamous beach balls of death a little bit too often.
  • After four years the Mac looks a bit beat up.
  • I generally like to keep up to date with Apple technology.

Anyway, I think that the table shows an interesting fact that somehow I believed to be true without any research. A MacBook Pro seem to retain a longer supportability over time compared to the other models not to mention the possibility to upgrade the RAM or other components.

Even so, four years is considered by Apple a very long time. My model for example cannot use AirDrop in OS X Lion and as described in other posts my Mac struggles quite a lot with Lion on it. I can’t imagine what it could be like with Mountain Lion.

I’ll finish this post quoting a [forum’s reader](once you rock a 2.2 pound MBA–11 around town I can guarantee that you will not be interested in a MBP. And if you buy a MBP you will spend 3 years wondering if you should have bought a MBA. Now that’s future-proofing) commenting on future-proofing your Mac purchase:

Once you rock a 2.2 pound MBA–11 around town I can guarantee that you will not be interested in a MBP. And if you buy a MBP you will spend 3 years wondering if you should have bought a MBA. Now that’s future-proofing.

If you’re interested in this topic you can also read How long will my Mac last for? for an in-depth analysis.

2 thoughts on “Is the MacBook Pro more future-proof than other models?”

  1. Yes, but by selecting now an MB Air you are making again a choice similar to that back in Feb 2008. It will be again portability versus supportability and it always comes down to every user’s specific needs. Emotional ones included ;)

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