Imagining a Better MacBook Pro

The other day, developer Marco Arment published a piece about the previous generation MacBook Pro being the best notebook ever made. The disappointing track that Apple has led the Mac down over the past few years has led to users like us complaining about their changes. Many responded by dreaming up their perfect MacBook Pro and I’d like to add mine to that list. Full disclosure though, I currently use the 12” MacBook “adorable” not a MacBook Pro. My next notebook will surely be the next generation of MacBook Pro so this is very important to me.

The Keyboard

One of, if not the most important component of a notebook is the keyboard. The butterfly keyboard on the current generation of MacBooks is inarguably the thing that users hate the most. I don’t mind it, but the Magic Keyboard that Apple sells separately offers a much more comfortable typing experience. Since that’s the case, why is it not built into their notebooks? We finally experienced what Apple can do if they do not sacrifice functionality to make a device thinner with the iPhone X, so what could they do if they pulled an iPhone X with the MacBook Pro. Apple should return to the body of the 2015 MacBook Pro. In doing so, they could fill it with even more advanced components, including the Magic Keyboard. Also, kill the Touch Bar. It’s time for them to admit that it’s one of those rare Apple flops.

The Display

Just make it a touch screen. Seriously, Apple should take the panels that they use for the 12.9” iPad Pro and use them in a new MacBook Pro. I used to argue constantly about how the Mac shouldn’t have a touch screen, but now that practically every device in the world is touch based it makes the Mac feel less natural to use. People are accustomed to touching displays now and I have seen so many try to touch their Mac’s displays. Without touch, it seems broken to newer users. I don’t think Apple needs to redesign macOS for touch screens, but they should certainly consider making some changes for a touch friendly world.

The Ports

This is going to be the most controversial thing I say here. I don’t care that my MacBook has one USB-C port. The future is wireless and while I certainly understand that there are several users that would prefer or need to have thunderbolt and USB-A ports built into their MacBook Pros, I think the solution is for Apple to make a really great first party USB-C hub at a reasonable price. It could simply become a part of the Mac buying experience. Not everyone needs these older ports and I’d prefer that we, as Mac fans, continue our history of nudging the public technologically forward. So long story short, the solution here isn’t to add aging ports back to brand new notebooks, it’s for Apple to make great first party USB-C accessories. To take it one step further, I couldn’t care less if Apple removed the headphone jack from the MacBook Pro too.

The Design

Now traditionally Apple products have been designed before they’ve been engineered. The design team has always been given a bit more power. I think in this case, they should be given the freedom to experiment, however within the bounds of the previous generation MacBook Pro. I want super smooth curves, like those on the iPhone X. The idea reminds me of the 2010 white plastic MacBook. Make the bezels on the display super thin and increase the size of the display itself to fill up the boundaries. If it’s possible, I want to see glass and stainless steel incorporated into the design as well.

The Ideal MacBook

I wholeheartedly prefer the current 12” MacBook over the current generation MacBook Pro. I love that it’s so tiny and portable. Sure, there are compromises but I don’t see any reason to buy a MacBook Pro over it unless you need a bit more power. And that’s the key issue with the MacBook lineup, no matter which one you buy you have to make compromises. There is no longer a definitive notebook you should buy, that used to be the MacBook Air and before that the 13” MacBook Pro. Apple needs to overhaul the lineup, not just with new MacBook Pros but also redesigned MacBooks that handle power differently. I’d prefer to see an iOS based, ultra thin and light notebook alongside an ultra powerful MacBook Pro. Sounds a bit like iBook and PowerBook doesn’t it :)

Stay tuned for a follow up article about which Mac I think is the best notebook ever made… spoiler alert, I don’t agree with Marco.