One Thing That is Good to Procrastinate on Right Now: Getting a New Laptop

Walt Mossberg has a super helpful article in the Wall Street Journal on what is coming for laptops later this year — both Windows and likely Macs — and why you should hold off on buying one now so you can take advantage of these improvements in the late summer or fall:

If you’re thinking of buying a new laptop this spring, my advice is to think again. Unless your laptop is on its last legs and you have to move quickly, there are compelling reasons to wait until at least the summer, and probably the fall, to buy a new machine, especially if you are looking for a Windows PC, but even if you are in the market for a Mac.

That makes this annual spring buyer’s guide a bit different. People always worry that buying tech products today carries a risk of obsolescence. Most of the time, that fear is overblown. But this spring really is a bad time to buy a new laptop, because genuinely big changes are due in the coming months.

Here’s a quick summary of what’s coming.

For Windows Users (if you must!…)

  • Windows 8. Windows 8 is scheduled to be out in the fall and will be a major redesign. It will likely be oriented to tablet-like touchscreen navigation, and many PC makers are “planning convertible Windows 8 models for the holiday shopping season that can act as tablets or regular clamshell laptops.”
  • Touchscreen laptops. Here’s a simpler way to put it: sounds like touchscreen laptops are coming. Current laptops will be able to upgrade to Windows 8, but won’t be able to take advantage of all the features.

For Mac Users

  • Mountain Lion. Mountain Lion will likely be out this summer. Of course, this will run on previous Macs as well (unless Apple does something really strange). But:
  • Redesigned MacBook Pros. As most know, “Apple is overdue for redesigned laptops, especially in its MacBook Pro line.” I think Mossberg is right that “it is a good bet that new, possibly heavily redesigned, models will begin appearing later this year.” I would expect the new MacBook Pros to be closer to MacBook Airs, without sacrificing performance. However, I don’t know if the spring refresh will do this, or if the spring will see another small refresh with the more major redesign coming in the fall. See MacRumors’ buying guide for more.
  • What would be best of all. My wish, though I have little basis for this hope right now: 500 GB solid state drives becoming standard on MacBook Pros. Spinning hard drives should no longer exist. Enough with them. They crash, they are slow, and solid state drives are awesome.

If you do need to get a new laptop this spring, at the end of the article Mossberg gives some helpful guidelines on choosing.

Other Interesting Things (Not From that Article)

  • The iPad Mini. Apparently Apple is considering an iPad mini. My first reaction: this should not exist. If someone wants an iPad mini, they should just get a regular iPad so they have the full experience. Cost should not be taken into consideration when getting iPads.
  • The iPad Mini, part 2. But, my more measured reaction is: I see a place for this given that it will likely be priced between $249 and $250. That’s a big savings over the regular iPad (typically at least $600 if you do it right), and that level of costs savings just might make it a good idea for it to exist.
  • The iPhone 5. It looks like the iPhone 5 will probably be out in the fall.
  • Chris R

    My question is what is the difference between an iPad Mini and an iPhone. I agree with you, Matt. If you’re going to get an iPad don’t fool around and do it right.