Apple Inc. (AAPL) Angers New MacBook Pro Fans Yet Again

new MacBook Pro - Apple Inc. (AAPL) Angers New MacBook Pro Fans Yet Again

Source: Apple

Has a laptop launch ever generated as much drama as Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) new MacBook Pro?

The laptop with its new Touch Bar and boosted price tag was widely derided when announced, then unexpectedly recorded monster sales numbers. Now the new units are reaching customer hands, there’s an outcry about MacBook Pro upgradability. As in there is none. What you buy is what you get — forever.

New MacBook Pro cannot be upgraded

Source: Apple

Once again, AAPL laptop fans are up in arms.

Ifixit Confirms New MacBook Pro Can’t Be Upgraded

The new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar began to ship to customers this week. This should have been a triumphant moment for Apple. After all the complaining about the direction the company made with its new professional level laptops — from the Touch Bar itself, to the Butterfly keyboard, higher prices and most of all switching to USB-C exclusively and ditching all legacy ports — the new MacBook Pro has been a surprise hit.

Out of nowhere, it booked massive pre-order sales numbers, outselling all competitors by a huge margin.

The 13-inch base model began arriving two weeks ago, and there was mainly positive feedback about its smaller size and zippy performance.

This week, however, the more expensive new MacBook Pro models arrived.

These are the ones aimed at the core MacBook Pro demographic, the professional users. The 15-inch MacBook Pro in particular is the best laptop AAPL offers –and the most expensive, with a $2,399 starting price. The outcry started almost immediately.

IFIXIT published one of the first tear downs of the new laptops and found a big problem with MacBook Pro upgradability. For the first time, AAPL has completely locked out users from upgrading anything in its professional series laptops. The new MacBook Pro not only has the RAM and CPU soldered to the motherboard, the SSD is also soldered. So whatever configuration you order from AAPL is the laptop you are stuck with until you opt to buy a new one.

Apple’s March Toward Eliminating MacBook Pro Upgradability

Apple’s MacBook Pro is well known for its longevity, which is one of the reasons for its popularity. It was not uncommon for professional users to extend the useful lifespan of one beyond five years by upgrading the RAM and replacing the stock storage with the latest and greatest solid state storage.

The reputation is great, but long life makes it hard to make money. Better for profit if they instead buy a new laptop every two or three years. How do you get owners to upgrade more frequently? Apple embarked on a strategy that combined new features with increasingly limited MacBook Pro upgradability.

In 2012, its flagship laptop gained a high-resolution Retina display, but AAPL also incorporated measures introduced with the MacBook Air: a non user-replaceable battery and RAM that was soldered to the motherboard. Apple often explains away the measures as necessary to make its laptops thinner, but that argument doesn’t explain moves like switching to proprietary pentalobe screws in a clear attempt to prevent owners from opening the laptop case.

In 2015 the MacBook Pro got a Force Touch keyboard, but users could still replace the stock SSD with a third-party option. However, with the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, the SSD is now soldered as well.

That means the two primary ways a MacBook Pro owner could traditionally extend the useful life of their laptop — increasing the RAM and adding a bigger, faster SSD — are now gone. If you want a MacBook Pro that’s faster or has more storage capacity in a year or two, you have no choice but to buy a new one.

Reaction and Impact on AAPL

As might be expected, the online reaction to Apple’s move has been universally negative. No one other than Apple (and maybe external drive sellers) sees a win out of this move.

Will the discovery of non-upgradable SSDs put a damper on the new MacBook Pro’s impressive sales? It’s not going to make buyers happy, but most are likely to suck it up and make the purchase anyway. Now that the detail is widely known, AAPL is likely to end up generating even more revenue from sales.

That base model 15-inch MacBook Pro comes with just 256GB of storage. Knowing they can never upgrade the storage, buyers might grit their teeth and opt for more capacity when they order. Doubling it to 512GB boosts the laptop price by $200, but maxing it out with 2TB of storage means shelling out an additional $1,400 to Apple.

However, the ill will Apple has been generating among its core MacBook Pro customers does open a door. A Windows PC manufacturer — Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) comes to mind as being positioned to offer the premium design Apple customers demand — could leverage the situation to make a play that hurts the MacBook Pro in the long term.

As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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