The MacBook? Maybe. The Future, More Likely.
The signal for a design-dictated future has arrived.
I look into a screen saturated with innumerable pixels, forcing my eyes to try focusing on each one individually. I can’t. So instead, I focus on the vibrant world painted out before me. The icons, with their subtle and occasionally dramatic hierarchy. The careful, understated textures of everything from Spotlight to menu bars to note applications. The cold yet soft, silky yet durable aluminum of the uni-body enclosure. Design is god here, and everything else comes after it in importance. Sacrifices are made, compromises created - initially. Yet, in the end, the result is perfection. This world, based on stretches of binary, metal and glass, is parallel to our own. Perhaps a bit ahead of us, but otherwise a close approximation.
Our world is becoming a place governed by design. More specifically, our world is evolving to the point where mediocre, relatively conservative design is no longer the easiest choice, nor is it, or ever was, the best choice.
Therefore, the future is inherently represented in Apple’s new MacBook. How? A slick, svelte, and very much controversial set of design motifs sum up the ultrabook in full, and thus sum up the direction in which our future is waiting. A direction with standards of universal usefulness, wireless connections on all fronts, and inter-connectivity the likes of which no generation has ever experienced.
Just imagine this. The world 5 years ago was full of bulky, bubbly design. Hideous utilitarianism. Android sucked. iOS looked like crap. High resolution on a portable device was just becoming an idea in the everyday consumer’s mind. Batteries were, at best, dying by the end of lunch. Now, we have devices lasting DAYS. Yet they’re thinner than a college bound notepad. Almost as light, too. This is the future, where no one has to ask, “Which charger do you need?” Actually… scratch that. The future is when no one asks that because we won’t need to. (But if we do, everyone uses the ubiquitous connectivity standards of Type C USB, etc.) The future is when the majority of day to day interactions take place wirelessly, when the ability to enjoy technology is unhindered by wires, incapatibility, and poor construction.
Take the 2013 film Her, set in a near future Los Angeles, as a sneak peek of what’s possible. Focusing on the film’s environment rather than the plot, it’s obvious the society is one ruled by simple, beautiful, and fervently effective design. Everything, from the computers to the clothes and the transportation is seemingly well designed. The society is happier, fuller, and more connected as humans once technology became ubiquitous with wonderful design. Contrast this with today, where poorly designed products, virulent “more is better” philosophies, and a mediocre understanding of good design renders society a heaping mess of barely usable and, quite honestly, downright grotesque products and interfaces.
Leaders such as Google’s Android Lollipop and Chrome OS, Apple’s iOS and OS X, and a few brave others are changing this on the software front, while the latter, along with HTC, Motorola, and Kobo, is leading in the realm of hardware design. The new MacBook is the summation of these efforts, and, while not perfect (yet), grants us a glimpse of the beauty, efficiency, and oneness laying right beyond the horizon.
I am SO excited, tbh.