At Apple’s “Spring Forward” event held yesterday morning, they took the wraps off a rumoured new MacBook that features edge to edge keyboard and retina screen, only a single USB-C port (besides a headphone jack) for power, display, data, etc.
The new MacBook is thinner and lighter than any Mac yet, and with the edge to edge glass and keyboard, it’s a lot smaller than the older 12” MacBooks. It also comes in gold and space grey, marking the first MacBooks to have colours other than standard aluminium since the end of the white MacBooks.
I thought the name was strange. They brought back the standard MacBook line, even though this is clearly the future of the MacBook Air. The two lines have switched spots, with the Air taking the role of the standard laptop, while the MacBook is now the one that is crazy thin, dependent on wireless tech, and crafted to be the future of the Mac. I don’t think they had much choice, since they’d need to simply re-name all the existed MacBook Airs as MacBooks and that would be a confusing mess.
But, I do find it awkward that this amazing new MacBook comes out of the total heart, soul, and design philosophy of the Air. This is key, since everyone has been saying Apple would never release this rumoured design with only one port, it’s just not enough ports. I knew they would, in my gut, simply because the whole point of the Air was to dive into the future of computers (read: wireless.)
John Gruber said it well on DaringFireball.net
The comparison to the first Air is perfect. There are definitely many people who are ready for this today. But it’s really a statement about the future. Ports are going the way the of optical discs and hard drives.
Apple doesn’t want you to plug in a hub and run crazy wires everywhere. They built the App Store, AirPrint, iCloud, AirPlay, Airdrop, Handoff, iCloud Drive, and an operating system tuned for low-energy use all to allow you to have this computer that runs all day without every being plugged in. I think it’s brilliant, but I do use an iPad as my main machine, and this new MacBook is like the iPad of MacBooks. All day battery means you don’t even need it plugged into power at odd times throughout the day.
Apple already has a ridiculous lead over every other laptop in the business in terms of its trackpad tech. The rest are simply junk and after using Mac trackpads since 2003, it’s clear the rest of the industry is still in the 1990’s when it comes to this part of the device. It’s the single thing I hate the most when attempting to do anything on a Windows laptop (fortunately the times I around friends with Windows and need to touch their junky trackpads is few and far between). Apple really should licence their patents on that stuff to another PC maker sometime (most likely candidate in my eyes – Microsoft, when they build a laptop, which could be sooner than later).
With this new iteration, Apple is adding the Force Touch tech we first glimpsed at the Apple Watch announcement where pressure sensitivity (at least at two levels) is introduced to multi-touch surfaces. This means in this new MacBook line (and the new 13″ MacBook Pro which also got Force Touch) have wider trackpads that alow the distinction for how hard you press. Apple has created a whole host of interactions for a “deep press” but I think if they let people set it as a right-click, that’d get the most instant mileage. Add to that the “Taptic Engine” for haptic feedback on the trackpad, and Apple is ushering in a completely rethought and new interaction experience
This also gives hope to Force Touch coming to the iPhone and iPad and adding a whole new level of interaction to iOS computing as well.
If you’re looking for a new laptop, now that this crazy-thin line has a retina display and new touchpad tech, there’s no other place to look. I’d opt for space grey.
Here’s Apple’s Videos for the new MacBooks:
Here are links to other articles and details on the new MacBooks: