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On Monday, Apple announced some changes to its Mac lineup. All MacBooks (even the Air) got CPU upgrades, and the starting price of a MacBook Pro (13″, no Touch Bar) went down to US$1299. Which makes the 12-inch model effectively pointless.

A quick spec comparison reveals that the Pro comes with a much better CPU, GPU, screen, camera — the only drawback is the storage space.

If you look at the cheapest MacBook in each category, you end up with this:

  • 13″ Air, $999
  • 12″, $1299
  • 13″ Pro, $1299
  • 13″ Pro with Touch Bar, $1799
  • 15″ Pro with Touch Bar, $1299

Yes, this is correct: a 12″ MacBook costs the same as a 13″ Pro. But is it really true? Let's compare the specs:

Device MacBook (12″) MacBook Pro (13″, no Touch Bar)
CPU Intel Core m3, 1.2 GHz Intel Core i5, 2.3 GHz ★
Memory 8 GB 8 GB
Storage 256 GB ★ 128 GB
Ports 1 USB-C 2 Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ★★
Camera 480p 720p ★
Screen size 12″ 13″ ★
External displays 1×4K 1×5K/2×4K/2×UHD ★
GPU Intel HD Graphics 615 Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 ★
Size (height×width×depth) 0.35–1.31×28.05×19.65 cm 1.49×30.41×21.24 cm
Weight 0.92 kg ★ 1.37 kg
Available in Gold/Rose Gold yes no

For $0 extra, you can get a device with a much better CPU, 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, a (slightly) larger screen, a better front-facing camera, support for larger/more displays. The “price” for this? Only less storage space, 0.45 kg (roughly 1 lb) of weight. And no gold color options.

To me, this screams “don’t buy the 12-inch thing” — you can get much more computer for the same price. And the CPUs in those computers are pretty poor. Last year’s base model is beaten in benchmarks by much older (and cheaper) machines, eg. 2014’s MacBook Air, 11″ base model in single-core benchmarks and upgraded 2015 Airs in multi-core benchmarks.

And even if you don’t care about the CPU, there are also other things, like the better camera, or two ports that support more devices. If you want a computer that lets you stay productive, and want a Mac, don’t even try buying the 12″ MacBook Abomination.

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