It’s the “Now Complete” part that cinches it.
Today Apple released its new line of MacBooks. These new 13″ screen computers round out their laptop line and replace the iBook, previously the consumer end of their laptop spectrum. They look good and the distinction between the consumer-end and pro-end of their laptop line has certainly been further blurred as the feature differences between the MacBook and MacBook Pro dwindles.
I still own a PowerBook 12″. It’s a tiny anodized aluminum number that packs everything, including a DVD burner into an amazingly unobtrusive package. The aluminum is not only durable, it’s just plain sexy; without being showy. This isn’t just fashion, either–it matters. I can open up my laptop almost anywhere and its compact size and simple exterior make it little more irritating than a PDA or cellphone (which is not to say that it’s appropriate everywhere.)
The new ‘Books are glossy polycarbonate in black or white. Neither of which is as cool as aluminum or as understated. The new MacBook’s are bigger too. Sure they have glossy new widescreens which are surely quite a bit better than my 12″. Of course they have new microprocessors that are significantly faster and built in cameras for teleconferencing. They have IR remote controls to control slide shows, music and DVDs from across the room.
Except Apple missed the point about the 12″. The most important specification about the old 12″ isn’t its power or its screen; it’s the small size. Well, that’s not true, because there are smaller and lighter laptops out there. Actually, it’s the size combined with its everything included design. I find it silly that people with ultralight computers lug around large chargers, extra batteries and DVD drives, all separate from their computer. What’s the point? If you bring these things anyway, all you’ve really done is made your laptop more challenging to travel with.
Apple’s tagline for the new computers sends a clear message to followers like me: the 12″ format is dead. Buy a MacBook or MacBook pro. Too bad. I’ll never be able to upgrade my 12″ aluminum. The 15″ format is also an amazingly thin, do everything computer but it’s a bit large to carry around the world; I hope Apple makes a capable PDA some day.