The internet has been ablaze with criticism ever since Apple revealed that they are bringing back the original Macbook (not Macbook Pro, just Macbook). The original Macbooks came wrapped in white polycarbonate, and were discontinued in 2011 due to the fact that no one really wanted anything else besides a Macbook Pro. With this new incarnation, Apple is once again bending all the rules in order to mold the laptop market in its own image. Although the Macbook IS impressive in many ways, it’s not completely without faults; in fact, those who want to join Apple on the bleeding edge of innovation cool will have to make a few compromises.
Before we get into the controversial aspects of this laptop that everyone is talking about, let’s get one thing clear: the design is gorgeous. By this point, it’s no surprise that Apple has made something absolutely beautiful, yet it’s hard not to appreciate the masterful design as you hold it in your hands – it’s really no bigger than a magazine, and at 2.04 pounds it feels like holding an iPad. The screen is 12 inches, and has a stunning 2,304 x 1,440 pixel resolution; it’s still amazing that Apple can squeeze such a high resolution retina display into such thin space. Two new features that had people talking are the keyboard and trackpad: they keyboard now comes with something Apple refers to as ‘butterfly keys’, a new tech which allows the keys to be extremely responsive while having almost no travel. This takes some getting used to, as most of us are used to feeling a good bit of a click as we type away – the good news is that the keys themselves are larger than usual. The new track pad incorporates something called ‘Force Touch’, which allows for ‘right-clicking’ by simply pressing down harder on the actual pad. The tech is setup to re-create the actual feeling of a click, and works quite well. Another wonder of Apple’s design is the new layered battery cells, which allow for up 11 hours of medium use.
On the downside, there are some definite limitations that come with such a tiny frame that even Apple couldn’t avert. First off, the processor is rather weak – it’s an Intel Core M Series – and isn’t good for anything other than casual web-browsing, video watching and text editing. Second, there is only port; although it is a USB-C port, which allows for multiple USB formats to be used, there isn’t even a second port for charging, meaning that if you want to charge, use a mouse and a flash drive you had better purchase the $79 USB-C multi-adapter that Apple ‘conveniently’ offers you at checkout – it feels like a bit of a rip off, besides the inconvenience of surely having to carry an adaptor around. These two limitations are definitely going to turn off a lot of people from the initial $1,299 price tag – in many ways this is just a glorified iPad.
So whether or not you should buy this new Macbook is just a matter of usability – are you willing to drop $1,299 for a web-surfing laptop? Most people will likely steer clear, where as the Apple die-hards will feel the privilege of being some of the only few to walk around with the slimmest and shiniest Apple laptop to date. Here’s to hoping that Apple will add a few more ports and give the processor some actual juice next time around, so that we can all feel good about digging deep into our pockets for the new Macbook.
(IT Consulting Denver)