My fear is that Apple is adopting Apple policies of the past, designing, building, and selling beautiful machines that are a little more style and a little less substance. There’s much to like about the diminutive MacBook, but Apple seems to have run out of modern parts, and dipped into the 1999 bin to meet production requirements.
Here’s what you get with the new MacBook. Lighter than light and thinner than thin. It’s the thinnest and lightest Mac ever, flattened down to barely 13mm high and two pounds. Add a keyboard case to an iPad Air and it weighs about the same as a MacBook.
To get all that thin and light to work Apple had to rethink the notebook. Rethink. Not reinvent.
For example, the keyboard is completely new because the old keyboards had flaws and were too thick. The new Force Touch trackpad is pressure sensitive but without the click of the old trackpad. Ports? Who needs ports? Gone are the MagSafe power port, the Thunderbolt port, even standard USB ports were kicked to the curb because collectively they’re old fashioned and just too weighty for such a light and enlightened device.
Instead, Apple is ditching technology of the past and moving forward with USB-C, a new version of USB which incorporates power, USB connectivity, video connectivity, and who knows what else, into a very small reversible connector and cable. Think Lightning, but USB. With the new MacBook Apple is saying goodbye to 2014 and nodding toward the future.
Or, nodding off.
Sure, there’s the beautiful 12-inch LED IPS Retina display with 2304-by-1440 pixels. If only that were as good as Windows PC notebooks that just hit the market. Going backwards, Apple added the Intel Core M CPU instead of the previous dual core i5 CPU which packs more power, but also uses more power. RAM starts at 8GB and storage begins with 256GB of PCIe SSD. That’s modern, but merely incremental, and certainly not a reinvention of the notebook.
Also built-in is 802-11 ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 for speed and battery sipping. MacBook 2015 comes with stereo speakers and dual microphones, and as if to pay homage to the 20th century, a headphone minijack.
What about a 1080p iSight camera? Surely Apple upped the ante and moved forward toward the future. Nope. Instead, Apple went back to the 20th century with a 480p FaceTime camera. What’s with that?
MacBook comes in multiple colors, too– silver, space gray, and gold. And it’s priced between the MacBook Air line and the MacBook Pro line. An 11-inch MacBook Air with similar RAM and SSD storage, but without a Retina display, but using the faster Intel Core i5 CPU, is priced only $100 less. Of course, to get all your connected devices to connect to MacBook you’ll need adapters at $79 each.
Visually, the MacBook is beautiful to behold but still suffers from humongous over-sized bezels, circa the original iPad, and gone is the glowing Apple logo on the back of the screen, replaced by a black Apple logo. The nits for me are obvious. Only one USB-C port (add anything else beyond power and you need adaptors), the somewhat anemic Intel Core M CPU, the low resolution FaceTime camera, and roughly the same battery life, means Apple takes an even eight steps into the future, then takes four steps backwards.