January 7, 2015

Apple from an Air
The so called 12″ MacBook Air reveal

9to5Mac is a well-known Apple blog, and they’re great at feeding the rumor mill. Right now, they’re “revealing” the new 12″ MacBook Air. By “reveal” they actually mean that they’ve created artist renditions based on their sources, which isn’t exactly the same thing as revealing, but it matters little. I don’t think that this is the 12″ MacBook Air, it just doesn’t make sense.

First there’s this:

The upcoming 12-inch Air has the fewest amount of ports ever on an Apple computer, as can be seen in the rendition above. On the right side is a standard headphone jack and dual-microphones for input and noise-canceling. On the left side is solely the new USB Type-C port. Yes, Apple is currently planning to ditch standard USB ports, the SD Card slot, and even its Thunderbolt and MagSafe charging standards on this new notebook.

The magnetic MagSafe charging cables are brilliant, they solve a problem, and thus there’s no reason to believe that Apple would scrap them for a new USB port. Of course, that’s assuming they haven’t also managed to make the USB port magnetic.

Scrapping Thunderbolt doesn’t make sense either. There are quite a few peripherals using Thunderbolt, and although the new USB port could come with an adapter, that just isn’t feasible. Perhaps the new charging brick has a Thunderbolt port, as well as additional USB ports (because one is one too few, especially if it can be occupied by the charging cable), and is in fact an impromptu docking station? I doubt this, it’d add clutter to your desk, an unlikely move from Apple. That’s not to say that there won’t be docking stations and such, but those are optional.

The SD card slot is useful, but I can definitely see Apple ditching it for a tighter and lighter machine. It’s not present on the 11″ MacBook Air today either, so that’s not a big leap.

The report claims that the keyboard is altered. I call bullshit on that. Apple will stick to their current layout, more or less, and I doubt they’d accept less space between the keys. A non-clicky touchpad isn’t unlikely though, tapping works well enough.

What is a big leap, however, is the omission of a retina display in the report. There are ultrabooks being shown at CES right now with high resolution displays, so there’s no reason whatsoever that a new Air model wouldn’t feature a retina display. The Intel chips that has, presumably, delayed this switch on the Air product line, are available, and thus a retina Air – which I’ve wanted for quite some time – can become a reality.

I do believe there’s a retina Air in the works, and a lot of sources seem to point to a 12″ device. That makes sense, because the 11″ Air is a bit cramped (not for writing, but for everything else), and the 13″ Air clearly clashes with the 13″ retina MacBook Pro. Thus it makes sense to just make one retina MacBook Air, in 12″, which will work well enough for both current 11″ and 13″ Air users, assuming they cut the screen bezel and thus make it even more portable. Battery life will no doubt be the priority for this device, so don’t expect something overpowered. If you want portable power, buy a MacBook Pro, at least that’s the reasoning I think Apple wants us to have. It’s not entirely hard to fathom, or accept, now is it?

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