MacBook question of balance
New Apple laptop sucks because there’s no redemption for its sacrifices
Let’s sum it up: the new MacBook is beautiful and it’s crazy thin. But the price paid for its 13 millimeter thickness is kind of a big one, for all you get is one audio jack and one USB type C port. And the latter is used for everything — plugging your flash drive, connecting mouse and keyboard, rendering your desktop on an external screen and also for charging. In today’s world it brings a lot of inconvenience a challenges for future MacBook users and they surely will have to sacrifice a lot.
A question always present when deciding if to launch a product which will upset a lot of people and make their lives in some ways harder is a simple one: is it really worth it?
Of course, says a popular argument, but MacBook Air was also mocked for its absence of CD-ROM drive and scarcity of usable ports and now this is an ultrabook standard. Apple was visionary and still is, with a new MacBook — just wait a few years and we’ll find ourselves in a world filled with one-port machines, happily connecting everything over the air. That’s the vision that we are all obviously supposed to believe.
I don’t mind if I’ll have USB C on every machine I own, actually, to some extent, that is a dream.
But let’s backup a little and try to remember what was the original MacBook air: a breakthrough. When it was released, by its incredible thinness it caused a major shift in laptop market and really pushed the boundaries. It came at a price with absent optical drive and just a few ways how to connect peripherals, but this sacrifice was perfectly balanced by a fact of having a thing computer, which at the time was unseen and actually pretty convenient.
Now for a something just slightly different: The new MacBook. Yes, it is crazy thin but compared to 2014 Air, the difference is roughly around 4 millimeters. That is not a number that would make a huge difference in your bag and moreover, no one has ever complained that their Air is too thick. That wouldn’t matter if this weren’t the only MacBook-specific innovation, if Apple had some other magic hardware stuff in their magic “amazing new MacBook” hat that would make up for all the downsides. But it hasn’t. So the only reason why should you put up with having only one USB type C port is 4 millimeters.
Yes, there’s a new trackpad and it looks great. The USB Type C is essentially a great idea and 12-inch laptops are somehow disregarded category. But those are not things that couldn’t be pushed with different device in a different form. A new trackpad is now present in MacBook Pro, Surface Pro and Chromebook Pixel both have the new USB port and I’m pretty sure we’ll see a flock of new 12-inch devices in a glimpse of time.
In the end, the only real thing that separates new MacBook from the rest of the world is its thinness. With 13 millimeters its definitely and engineering accomplishment, but if we return to the beginning: is it really worth it? I am not so sure.