Apple surprised many in the tech world during their March 2015 Keynote presentation when they unveiled a new MacBook. Much like the MacBook Air before it, this slender, silent, stylish MacBook reveals an entirely new direction of laptop design for Apple.
The MacBook: function and style
The original MacBook, which replaced the iBook and Powerbook during Apple’s transition from PowerPC processors to Intel processors in 2006, was designed as an entry level laptop for Mac users. Similar in design to the iBook G4, but with style in mind, the first MacBook was built with a striking, polished, polycarbonate and fiberglass shell that appealed to both modern and classic sensibilities. The laptop’s reasonable pricing and stylish design made it an ideal computer for students, which, much like the iBook before it, opened the doors for a whole new generation of laptop users.
With the introduction of the MacBook Air in 2008, the future of laptops was revealed and the polycarbonate MacBook started to look outdated. However, it was the unpopular removal of the Macbook’s beloved Thunderbolt port and the steadily decreasing price of the impeccably designed MacBook Air that effectively lead to the MacBook’s discontinuation in 2011.
The new MacBook: fashion before function
What was revealed at Apple’s March Keynote this week was a stunning revelation in laptop design that suggests a new direction for Apple’s aging laptop lineup. The new MacBook is thinner, lighter and more power-efficient than the MacBook Air. It has a 12 inch retina display, new USB-C port technology, and completely redesigned keyboard and trackpads. However, the Macbook Air is faster, more customizable, more affordable, and includes the latest standards in computer ports, like USB-3, Thunderbolt, and an independent charging port. Only time will tell how consumers will react to the consolidation of these ports in the new MacBook with the single USB-C port or how they will feel about the performance of the underpowered Intel Core M processor built into the tiny logic board. Regardless of their reactions, it appears that Apple bets on winning consumers’ hearts with the new laptop’s sleek and slender design.
Although the new MacBook is priced a little higher than the MacBook Air, the price remains within range of the average consumer. Still, with the specs revealed at the Apple Keynote, this computer is more than capable of handling what the average user can throw at it, which begs the question, “Is the MacBook Air on the way out?” It is difficult to imagine a laptop thinner than the one revealed on March 9th. Sadly, a redesign for the MacBook Air seems unlikely.
With the new MacBook, much like the Apple Watch, we are witnessing Apple firmly placing their brand in the fashion market. Designing a laptop is not easy. Designing an affordable, fashionable, and desirable laptop requires an impeccable design aesthetic and a complete rethinking of all of the features we have become familiar with. Apple’s new MacBook is all of this and more. It represents the dawn of computer fashion.