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RIP MacBook Pro 17 inch: Why We Won’t Miss You.

Ardjuna Seghers by

RIP MacBook Pro 17 inch

It would appear that Apple’s 17in ‘desktop replacement’ MacBook Pro is dead – long live the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. But why was it killed off and will we miss it?

As you might have noticed, Apple has refreshed its entire laptop line, from the MacBook Air to the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro. The one that’s missing is the 15in Pro’s bigger brother, and it’s likely to remain absent.

Why was it killed off? Most of our digital devices - laptops included - are moving towards ever slimmer models. Along with Sony’s super-slim and light ultraportables, the original Air was one of the pioneers in this regard, and we’re seeing it becoming mainstream thanks to Intel’s Ultrabook movement. RIP MacBook Pro 17 inch

For many, a 15in laptop is the biggest footprint they’re willing to carry around, and this is also still the best-selling laptop size around, with 13-inch laptops hot on its heels. Unless they need the chassis space for powerful components (like in a gaming or workstation laptop), the only reason people usually opt for a 17in laptop is because they want a high-resolution screen – which brings us neatly to our next point.

Arguably, the main reason the 17in MacBook Pro is no longer with us is simply because it’s no longer needed. Now that Apple has finally been able to cram desktop-like specs and class-leading connectivity into its 15in laptops and, more importantly, a crazy resolution into its 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, the main reasons to get a slightly larger laptop are simply not that compelling anymore. After all, why settle for 1,920 x 1,200 pixels when you can have 2,560 x 1,800 of them – and on a machine that’s nearly 1kg lighter to boot?

RIP MacBook Pro 17 inch

So is there anything we will miss about the MacBook Pro 17 inch? Mainly just its potential. A MacBook Pro 17 inch with Retina Display could have added in more of everything that makes the 15in model so great. Better speakers, a numeric keypad, that now missing Gigabit Ethernet port, the option for even better GTX 680M graphics, and maybe even longer battery life. Not to mention that the 2,560 x 1,800 Retina resolution would be just a touch more usable with the extra two inches of screen.

But basically, that’s all wish-fulfillment. The original didn’t have better speakers or an extended keyboard compared to its smaller siblings. Apple still might not have included an Ethernet port on the larger model, and it certainly wouldn’t have gone to the expense of having another custom ‘Retina’ IPS panel made for another laptop when it didn’t have to.

While we think less choice is rarely a good idea from the consumer’s point of view, in this case the death of the MacBook Pro 17 inch actually makes sense. And, unlikely as it might be, there’s nothing to say that Apple won’t re-introduce a larger laptop down the line: a 20 inch MacBook Pro with the Panasonic Quad HD (3,840 x 2,156) IPS display which we already speculated might be used in the 2012 iMac would certainly have its share of fans…

Go to comments

Phil 9

July 2, 2012, 1:33 pm

This article is a disappointing read. How can you seriously say there is no reason for a 17" laptop? There are several reasons for keeping the 17" form factor.
- Improved screen real estate
- Better connectivity
- Better cooling
- Better battery life
- Better CPU

Your argument that with the retina display there is no need for the 17" version simply makes no sense. You CANNOT even hope to practically use the 2560x1800 resolution in a 15" form factor and in fact without using hacks it's no even possible to select that resolution. Apple does not allow it.

This is a disappointing article for Trusted Reviews, you have not researched this contentious issue thoroughly enough.


July 2, 2012, 5:40 pm

@Phil 9:
Thanks for your comment, but did you actually read the article?
I mention most of the points you make:
- Improved screen real estate ["Not to mention that the 2,560 x 1,800 Retina resolution would be just a touch more usable with the extra two inches of screen"]

- Better connectivity ["A MacBook Pro 17 inch with Retina Display could have added in more of everything that makes the 15in model so great [...] that now missing Gigabit Ethernet port"]

- Better cooling ["the option for even better GTX 680M graphics" (due to cooling and space)]

- Better battery life ["and maybe even longer battery life"]

In fact, if you read my review of the MacBook Pro with Retina, [http://www.trustedreviews.com/...], you'll notice that I mention Retina is very usable in native, as we installed Windows to try this out.

Also, Apple give a scaled 1,920 x 1,200 resolution on the Retina MacBook, which is the same resolution the Pro 17in had...

Hope this answers your concerns?


July 4, 2012, 3:09 am

Totally agree Ardjuna, the 17inch Pro will not be missed. Too big, too heavy, too cumbersome. The resolution made text so tiny it was impossible to read text. The 15" was always the ideal size and now with the retina display it's even slimmer and faster and the glossy display has a lot less reflection. I've ordered mine already :-)


July 4, 2012, 3:35 pm

Thanks for the comment Meenaxi, and congrats on your purchase! Please let us know your thoughts on your new MacBook at the bottom of the review:


July 6, 2012, 3:02 pm

17" laptops do not have better battery life..ever..your comments on the CPU and cooling are dated - as IVY bridge mobile processors are very powerful and produce little heat - giving little or no compromise over desktop versions. Fair enough you might get a few extra ports sqeezed in which is a good thing but for the extra £500 you need to spend on a 17" version why not buy a 24" monitor and a usb hub for £150 instead?


December 26, 2012, 2:28 pm

This article is completely stupid, all based on opinion. Most professional want a 17 inch I have three and I will not trade for anything. The only reason apple is getting away from these power machines is because apple has lost interest in the professional market, the are going for the gold the consumer market.

Alex Bazloff

December 27, 2012, 2:10 pm

I will badly miss 17" because it is so much better for the photo editing, an occasional movie or any work that needs several opened files i.e. a good screen size. This format is the best of two worlds to me. It replaces my desktop, saves a lot of space and it is portable around the house - just a perfect format. I tried to get back to 15" and the screen just looks too small to me. Other people have other priorities, some even need to carry a laptop to the office, but to me the best option is an iPad for everyday browsing and a 17" for my Photoshop and some other work, like a translation when I need to keep two scripts open side by side.
17" laptops are quite popular, more popular than Mac Pros anyway. The problem is Apple was unable to sourse cheap high pixel 17" screens that could allow them enough profit.


January 8, 2013, 3:57 am

I, for one, will not miss the 17" macbook pro, as I have no intention of giving up the one that I have. I don't personally believe that lighter and smaller is always better. Matter of fact, I get a little fidgety when/if I'm using a smaller, ultra lightweight laptop.

I tried to go with a 15" a couple of times but the screen was just too small and squatty. Everything seemed condensed and just wrong. Those extra 2" really do make a difference and I will have a very difficult time if I am forced into a pipsqueak-y 15"-er. Using 15" or (gasp) 11" is like moving from a 2 bedroom condo to a studio apt.

The truth is, I wish Apple would come out with a 20" macbook pro vs. going smaller. Furthermore, I'd be happy if the case was heavier/sturdier..lead even. My 17" mbp is perfect for movies and everything else. ..and I will pout about it if they opt out of 17" or above in the future.

Size matters.


January 8, 2013, 4:04 am

Alex Bazloff, you are as right as rain!

Jim Dog

January 20, 2013, 7:54 pm

"Trusted Reviews" ? Give me a break! Apple got rid of their nicest laptop for sure. Between this, and the fact that there are no more disk drives in their machines, all I can say is APPLE - WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU THINKING???!!! Time to sell our apple stock!

Panayioti Diacopoulos

March 6, 2013, 9:38 pm

:( I will miss it too.


April 4, 2013, 1:54 pm

A stupid article, written by a stupid dummy. "We" won't miss the 17 inch? What about the people who want a bigger screen? Are you saying they should just be happy with a 15 inch, because that's the size you prefer? It's so basic that it's not even worth arguing about, some people prefer bigger screens, Apple have removed their preferred choice.


April 18, 2013, 7:08 pm

Clearly you're deluded - you struggle to make full use of 1080p at 15 inches! The retina displays are all scaled, google "superscaling retina" for more info, or read this article:



April 23, 2013, 10:03 pm

Ardjuna Seghers what are you thinking the 17 inch macbook pro may not be for you but for the professional market it is a great choice there is better cooling better battery life better cpu and improved screen real-estate and these features are important to the professional market it also makes photo/video editing much easyer the retina display can't replace the 17" form factor this was a very disappointing article for trusted reviews. -krech44


May 2, 2013, 9:25 am

I will miss the 17" macbook pro. I'm having to use a 15" retina screen macbook pro and it's not the same. I love the clarity but the size is too small. Those extra two inches go a long way (no jokes now!)...

Hildegerd Haugen

June 8, 2013, 1:29 am

I think the 17" will come back.


June 27, 2013, 11:43 am

YOU, YOU will not miss it.


June 27, 2013, 11:45 am

15" would be WAY too small to use in a dual display setup. 17" is just barely big enough.
Ever thought why they don't sell 17" monitors? For the same reason.


July 18, 2013, 5:50 am

Dropping the 17inch Macbook Pro is a daft decision on Apple's part. Try showing a room full of clients a detailed architectural scheme on a smaller screen? No matter how good the resolution is, its not good.
I think Apple are going to be loosing pro laptop users to Windows as they are now loosing Pro desktop users in their droves due to Apples lack of interest in supporting high end computing.
Once my desk top is up for renewal, I think I will be going PC as well as the Mac Pro desktop is still yet to make an appearance and my MacBook is now getting on a bit and struggles with current software.


August 18, 2013, 10:39 am

Fuck apple


August 26, 2013, 3:14 pm

Too bad. It sounds like Apple think's the same about the iphone, too. I myself like them bigger.

Awesome lola

August 28, 2013, 6:14 am

haha i have the 17 inch macbook pro i love it..i will never settle for a smaller size..only problem is i can't find a case cover for it :(


September 11, 2013, 8:56 pm

Stupid article. There is no more "Pro" in the current Apple lineup. The 15 inch will never be a true "Pro" like the 17 was. Also, you say "why settle for 1,920 x 1,200 pixels when you can have 2,560 x 1,800 of them" That's really dumb when you consider the 2560x1884 are actually 1440x900 but just doubled so basically you have the old 15 inch resolution with double density but the native screen real estate is gone! Yes, you can use the scaled resolution on the 15 retina but it doesn't perform as well and everything's too small. Oh well, I guess I'm lucky to have purchased one of the last 17 inch bad boys (late 2011) but still hoping for a comeback!


October 4, 2013, 12:45 am

Yeah, maybe for people that don't do actual work on a laptop, they don't need a 17". I do and many people that actually create or write software on a laptop DO need and DO want a 17" MBP. I'd buy a 21" MBP, I need the screen real estate.


October 18, 2013, 4:41 pm

Exactly. As an architect I fully agree. I use my 17inch MBP for exactly that and for doing detailed CAD work and rendering. And I need all the power I can get. Who wants to wreck their eyesight on a 15in (glossy reflective) screen. What happened to Apple's philosophy about being the front runner in innovation? The innovators of this world are the designers and they want a top spec 17in MBP.

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