Apple's latest-and-greatest Macbook release came with some oohhs and aahhs as the company unveiled another incredible design feat - making what was already a thin laptop even thinner. Known already for their beautiful product designs, the new Macbook did not disappoint.
Despite the incredible thinness and beauty of this computer, there are a few trade-offs that will have some consumers scratching their heads before deciding which route to go. The new Macbook might be impressive, but it isn't going to be a fit for everyone.
One of Apple's latest breakthroughs with the new Macbook is the USB-C port. This port is fairly revolutionary. Not only can it power computer peripherals (printers, CD drives and other standard USB products), but it also acts as the Macbooks power port. The new power adapter has ditched the Apple proprietary Magsafe adapter and gone to USB-C. There are some pros and cons to consider with this new port.
- USB-C is a single port that can replace all others on the computer. No longer is there a need for HDMI, Mini Display or VGA. Adapters are available to convert these formats into USB-C. Eventually all devices are likely to adopt this standard.
- It can plug in both ways, unlike the older USB standard. Top or bottom up, it is both the same.
- It is fast, comparing to USB 3.1 speeds.
- It can send or receive power and is rated up to 100 watts. This is how Apple was able to incorporate the laptop's power adapter into USB-C. Older USB versions were limited in power output, hence you were able to charge an iPhone but not a computer.
- Adapters are going to be required to convert other formats to USB-C. These adapters are not cheap (around $20 at time of writing). This means carrying around adapters at all times in case you need to plug something in.
- It replaced the Magsafe adapter, which has saved hundreds of thousands of laptops worldwide (I am making up that number, but it definitely saved my Macbook on a number of occasions). If someone trips over your USB-C power adapter plugged into your Macbook you can expect the Macbook to get pulled down.
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The Apple Macbook Air was the market leader in portability, until now. The new Macbook is even thinner and lighter, making many people question the future of the "Air" line. If portability is a major concern for you, this is the laptop to look at. Thin, light and the battery is rated for a full day of normal use. This will be perfect for those long plane rides in cramped seats.
Conversely, if you want portability but need USB ports you will have to settle using adapters. Eventually all USB peripherals will likely convert to USB-C, but for the time being you will have a dongle sticking out the side of your beautiful Macbook.
The new Macbook features a fanless processor, which saves space on the inside. The consequence of going ultra-thin, with a high capacity battery and fanless processor is processing power. The entry level version carries an Intel M processor with 1.1 GHz of power and the upgraded version bumps that up to 1.2 GHz.
The processor does carry Intel's new Turbo Boost technology, which essentially overclocks the processor on demand by the operating system. The result is advertised speeds of 2.4 and 2.6 GHz, respectively. For an average user who spends most of their computer time using internet browsers and Microsoft Word, this amount of power will be adequate. For the more advanced user running Adobe Photoshop or other photo and video editing software the processor is going to slow things down.
I believe this feature came with little surprise to Apple fans, as the iPhone and iPod have found success in colors. The new Macbook is available in gold, silver or space gray. Upon launch, the gold version has found a large demand that Apple has found difficulty in keeping up with. For some customers, such as my wife, the gold color itself was the huge selling point. Whether or not the color feature is appealing to you, it does help Apple stand out among its competition. The white Macbooks of the past created a trendy fashion statement, and the uni-body silver versions were quickly adopted. When the iPhone came out in gold many critics thought it was of no significance, until they saw the sales numbers (and then Samsung immediately came out with a gold version of their own Galaxy phone). The bottom line is that, as trivial as the color might be, consumers care and it will influence sales.
Where to go From Here
Regardless of whether or not this is the laptop for you, it should still be admired. Apple went to incredible lengths to design what might be the most beautiful laptop on the market. Although this may not be the right computer for many people, I do believe that it will be in the future. The current Macbook Air is a great value compared to the price tag on this new Macbook, but this is only version one. I expect Apple to take this new design and to continue to improve upon it, finding ways to increase processing power without sacrificing portability and battery life. I also expect peripheral manufactures to incorporate USB-C from here on out, leading to a lesser need for annoying dongles and adapters.
As is the Apple way, this new product is going to set a new standard in the laptop industry and is a sign of where the product line is going. Expect competitors to take note and to find ways to slim down their own products.
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