I’ve been in the market for a new Mac notebook for a couple of years. Over the past 12 years I’ve owned only two Mac notebooks. An original 17-inch Mac PowerBook running a PowerPC CPU, and the original 13-inch aluminum MacBook (not Air or Pro) that still runs OS X Yosemite. The latter has had a facelift; the original hard disk drive swapped out for an SSD (a great way to extend a Mac’s life), and RAM upped to 8GB. It runs Yosemite but it’s not a speedy Mac.
So, I want a new Mac notebook and held out for a year or longer based on rumors of an Intel Broadwell CPU, a Retina display, and, of course, thinner, lighter, faster, etc.
What Apple has delivered is an entirely new Mac notebook model but with somewhat traditional specifications. It’s not an Air or a Pro but is priced between the two. It’s simply MacBook. 2 pounds. 13.1 mm thick. Retina display. Intel’s new Core M CPU. 8GB RAM. 256GB SSD. 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Bluetooth 4.0. Stereo speakers. Dual microphones. Three colors (Silver, Space Gray, Gold; just like iPhone and iPad).
Sounds good, right?
Apple even dropped in an entirely new keyboard, and a trackpad with Force Touch that recognizes how much pressure you apply. The price tag starts at $1,299 which is just slightly above a similarly equipped 11-inch MacBook Air.
Now the problems begin.
To get the MacBook down to the 13.1 mm size, Apple had to get rid of traditional ports. No USB. No Thunderbolt. No MagSafe power connector. All that’s left from the past is the headphone jack. Connectivity is limited to a new reversible USB-C connector which handles everything from power to external display to USB connectivity to HDMI out. Think Lightning but with more capability. But there’s only one USB-C port per MacBook.
Clearly, Apple expects most MacBook owners to be purely wireless users who have a disdain for dongles, wires, and cables, oh my! In what can only be considered an oversight or a smug disdain for customers, Apple’s built-in FaceTime camera is not HD, not 1080p, and not even 21st century. It’s a 480p video camera more at home in the 1990s than 2015.
The new Core M CPU is a power sipper; not particularly powerful, but enough for a thin and light MacBook, and enough to keep battery life at MacBook Air levels.
Here I am with a need and money and Apple disappoints by shortchanging what the company refers to as ‘reinventing the notebook.’ Reinvent? No. It’s a few steps forward at best, but with a step backwards, too. MacBook may be the future of the notebook, but there’s plenty of the past inside, too.
Please upgrade the MacBook’s camera to 1080p HD, add another USB-C connector (there’s enough room), and give it a more powerful CPU with the same battery life (Windows PC makers have already done that).
Then I’m a buyer.