I’m puzzled by the new MacBook

I’ve been reading the reviews of the new 12” MacBook and for the most part the reviewers like the 0.5” thinness, the 2.03 pound weight, longer battery life, the 2304 x 1440 display and the fact that you can get one in gold…eventually (the gold ones are backordered). The things they didn’t like are the keyboard, the haptic-powered Force Touch Trackpad, the slow 1.1GHz processor and the fact that the device only has one USB-C port.

Many reviewers have compared it to a $1300 ChromeBook ($1600 if you want one with 512GB SSD storage and a 1.2GHz CPU).

A lot of people bemoan the disappearance of the MagSafe power port and a number of reviewers said that even though the display is gorgeous, 2304 x 1440 on the 12” display made everything too small so they ended up switching to a lower 1440 x 900 resolution for most applications.

A number of reviewers also pointed out that the Intel Core M 1.1GHz is about as fast as a four-year-old MacBook Air but just about everyone said they could live with that.

They can also live with the keyboard and eventually get used to the Trackpad.

The biggest sticking point is the solitary USB-C port. “It’s the port of the future” a lot of them say. Unfortunately USB-C is not the port of the present so you can tack on another $100 or more for adapter cables if you’re already invested in Apple peripherals.

A number of people pointed out that Apple has a history of ‘obsoleting’ peripherals and forcing users to buy all new gear (or at least buy adapters) if they want to use them on their latest computers. People also pointed out that when Apple decides we don’t need something anymore (like floppy drives) people may call them crazy (or arrogant) but years later people get used to whatever Apple decided was best for everyone.

I got the impression that most of the reviewers liked the new MacBook mainly because it looked cool and a lot of them had to bend over backwards to rationalize the downsides.

I’m not really sure where Apple is going with this device. Do they really want to try and compete with the dozens of $150 ChromeBooks that are out there? Do they honestly believe that people will spend $1150 more for an Apple version simply because it looks cooler? Do they really believe that this device will herald in a new era of light, slim, underpowered, over-priced devices people can easily take with them when they are on the road?


Guy Wright

Guy Wright has been covering the technology space since the days when computers had cranks and networks were steam powered. He has been a writer and editor for more years then he cares to admit.


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