Today marks an incredibly sad day in the computing world. The White MacBook of old is dead. Admittedly, Apple stopped selling it publicly 7 months ago, but Apple kept on selling it through schools as a tool for education, a clear sign that 6 years after its release, it’s still a formidable piece of kit, TiP managing editor Cam still owns one, and he raves about it whenever I mention PCs. However, as Semisonic (one of my favourite bands ever) once wrote, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end”. So, the white MacBook is gone, but is a new MacBook on the horizon?
Well actually, there might be a couple of new kids on the block pretty soon. People who claim to be “familiar with Apple’s roadmap” are suggesting that Apple is hoping to finish 2012 having completely redesigned its MacBook range. Apple’s computer range is growing phenomenally in the face of some pretty worrying market contraction, so now would seem like a sensible time to revamp the Mac.
So what are they planning? Well, driving that awesome growth has been the success of the MacBook Air, which has proved incredibly popular since its release 3 years ago. You only have to look at the fact that companies such as HP and Acer are trying to ignite their own assault on the ultra book market to see that the PC market will soon be dominated by products like the MacBook Air. So this seems like the logical place for Apple to draw inspiration when it comes to pushing their products forward. However I didn’t expect anything this radical. One of the “familiars” put the planned changes quite bluntly saying:
“They’re all going to look like MacBook Airs”.
Sounds drastic, but it makes sense. In a world striving for power and portability, gone are the days of the optical drives and clunky storage. A new world order is at hand, and it includes Solid State drives and a life without disks, operating instead on digitally distributed software. It looks like the 17″ model will be first under the knife, followed by the 15″. Obviously, no changes to the 13″ version, because there already is one of those. The changes are likely to centre around Intel’s new Ivy Bridge Micro-architecture. (For a more detailed look at Ivy Bridge and the rest of the computer market, click here).
These changes may seem fairly low key, but can you imagine a 17″ MacBook Air? It would be mobile computing Nirvana. If the changes rumored do come into substance, It’ll be really interesting to see the market reaction. Until then, all we can do is wait.
So, the MacBook Pro is going to turn into the MacBook Air… I must say I’m a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the Air is a fantastic piece of kit, but I’ve always believed that the two products are very different, and so that having both in the market is very important. To phase out one, which is effectively what Apple might be doing here, could negatively impact Apple’s market share. The Air is great for those who want a lightweight, portable, powerful laptop at a price that isn’t quite the premium of a Pro, so it doesn’t carry all the features. The MacBook Pro is a great professional tool, where a premium price brings you premium gear. On a personal note, I find the Air too small, almost flimsy, obviously it isn’t, so maybe I’m just weird, but the point I’m making is that some people do prefer one over the other, given the choice between an Air and a Pro of equal price and specification, I would take the Pro any day. It might be a little unwise of Apple to take away that choice from people.
What do you think? Is this a positive step for Apple? Are Ultrabooks really going to phase out laptops? Or is there room in the market for both? Let me know below in the comments, or tweet me!