By now everyone in the Mac community has heard. Several highly reliable and respected sources are reporting that we’re getting all of our prayers answered. The return of MagSafe, more ports, the removal of the TouchBar and a somewhat slight redesign gracing 14” and 16” MacBooks near you later this year.
First, let me clear up the title of this OpEd. We owe Jony Ive an enormous amount of gratitude. He put a dagger in the heart of the beige box. He was also the impetus, with Steve Jobs’ blessing and assistance, for changing ports, removing floppy disks, and ditching optical drives.
He proved that a computer could be stylish and equally as functional. Form could successfully follow function and could be profitable while useful. Kudos. But now it’s time to return to practicality.
Making laptops smaller and thinner required removing features Mac users found indispensable. The largest casualty was I/O.
If today’s leaks are to be believed, we have returned to the initial concept: form does follow function.
I’m not going to go into all the various items that are going to be changed specifically as they’re being flogged on numerous YouTube channels. (Plus I write these pieces for free. Let someone else do the research.)
I wanna focus on how Apple has finally listened to its customer base and how this financially makes sense for the computational behemoth.
The customer base. People have been complaining for years ad nauseam (and rightfully so) about the lack of ports. For Apple, dongles became a lucrative cash cow. So long as they kept striving to make thinner and thinner computers (and we kept sucking them up), the spiral would continue. But inevitably something had to give if we were going to see the return of our beloved, necessary features.
Why do you think there’s still potato cams on most laptops? That’s because to retain the laptop’s svelte form, it was necessary to make the screens so thin that they couldn’t squeeze in the necessary components.
Profitability for Apple. So, if you’re chucking the dongles market, how are you going to make up for that lost revenue? Simple – services. And as you are the biggest enterprise in the solar system, you can spend time waiting for the services market to mature.
For example, we were last to the mobile music player party. But we wound up being the best. Fashionably late with a bang.
If you’ve been following my OpEds for the last few months, you know I was planning to switch to an all iPad lifestyle. Now, however…
The dream could be the fulfilled of what we felt Macs were and why we were unapologetically smug about it.
As a fun side note, with the release of Big Sur, returned the original Mac start-up chime. Felt like you’re comfortable, 10-year-old sweatshirt didn’t it?
So here’s the icing on the cake. The rumor is that to have the miniLED display, the screen is going to have to be thicker. And with that has spawned rumors this could mark the return of the illuminated Apple logo. A second comfy sweatshirt. I’m feeling cozy.
Last year rotted. This year didn’t begin any better. Let’s hope this is something that will bring a smile to our faces and some warmth to our computing hearts.
©2021 Frank Petrie