I have been very happy with my 15” MacBook Pro. I bought it in the summer of 2009 with hopes it would last me 4–5 years. This seemed even more likely once I upgraded my boot drive to an SSD.

All was looking good, until earlier this month when I made a big mistake while trying to replace a cooling fan. I called Apple and an Apple repair specialist about fixing the connector I broke, but neither were willing to help. The only solution given was to replace the logic board, which cost just a bit less than a new Macbook Air.

I have a temporary solution in place for the moment, but this unfortunate event has caused me to begin thinking about a new computer. The only problem: I have no idea what to get.

Tried and True

I could, of course, just buy a new 15” MacBook Pro. However, there are two problems with this solution:

  1. There have been reports of the latest MacBook Pros having serious heating and fan-noise issues. Considering this whole problem started with a fan issue, I’d really like to avert this situation altogether.
  2. There have been reports that the next 15” MacBook Pro will match the slimmer design of the MacBook Air. Assuming a similar 33% decrease in weight between the 13” Air and Pro, an Air-styled 15” Macbook Pro would be a welcome respite to my aching shoulders.

When it comes to forecasting when new Macs are coming, I trust the judgement of Marco Arment. His logic is sound: the next MacBooks to come out will likely sport the new Ivy Bridge processor from Intel, which is scheduled for release in late April. I’m not sure how long Apple needs once the processors are released to work them into the MacBook lineup, but let’s assume a couple of months.

It doesn’t make much sense to the geek in me to purchase a computer that may soon be upgraded. And, if we assume the 15” MacBook Pro never gets the Air treatment, I’m not sure I want another bulky, hard to carry notebook.

If, in a couple of months, Apple releases an Air-ified 15” MacBook Pro. Great. I’m in line on day one. But, if they don’t get the Air treatment, what do I do?

The Mighty Air?

I’ve heard from several friends who have MacBook Airs that they have been blown away by their performance. For most of these people, buying an Air was their first experience with an SSD. As we know, moving from an HDD to an SSD is a significant speed upgrade.

I, on the other hand, already have an SSD boot drive. Since the upgrade to an SSD last year, I’ve had the benefit of a great CPU, a fantastic GPU, lots of RAM, and the wonder of an SSD boot drive. So, in my case, buying a 13” MacBook Air would actually be a downgrade.

iMac?

I’ve often thought about getting a top-of-the-line iMac. You can get a specced-out iMac for less than a specced-out 15” MacBook Pro, and you get a whole lot more power, memory, and hard drive space with the iMac. Of course, the major downside to the iMac is lack of mobility.

A quick solution to the mobility problem is to buy a specced-out iMac for work, and maybe an 11 or 13” Macbook Air for mobile use. The cost of this option, unfortunately, is significantly higher than simply purchasing a single computer.

What To Do?

So, I’m at a crossroads. I don’t need to make a decision immediately, and I want to see what Apple has in store over the next few months. But, if they don’t release a MacBook Pro with better performance and design than my current setup, I’m really not sure what I’m going to do.

Of course, if anyone at Apple is reading this and cares to ease my worried heart, I encourage you to do so.

Addendum: Travel

I forgot to mention one major factor that I need to consider for this decision: mobility. I travel a lot. I travel to different cities for weeks at a time. I need to be able to work when I travel, so an iMac+iPad solution isn’t enough for me. With this in mind, it’s possible even a specced-out iMac and lower-end 11” MacBook Air isn’t enough for me.