As we watched the WWDC keynote in anticipation of what may be announced, many had their bets placed on a refresh to the MacBook lineup –and those people were the lucky winners yesterday! While the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro saw a nice array of upgrades that have them sporting better graphics, faster processors, better cameras and a longer-lasting battery, the star of the show was the ‘next generation MacBook Pro’ that Senior VP of Industrial Design, Jony Ive, called “the most beautiful computer that we have ever made.”
Ive has a brilliant design mind, which has had a few of us more than a little concerned about what he’s been up to lately; scared that Cook wasn’t giving him the power and freedom to really stretch his wings. That fear has been put to rest for the moment after watching the pride with which he demonstrated this new laptop, telling us that “there has never been a notebook that is this gorgeous.”
The new fear (or is this feeling closer to excitement?) is over the future of notebooks in a general sense.
The specs really will blow your mind. He said it has a ‘killer display,’ and it does. Retina quality with a remarkable 2880 x 1800 resolution which translates into 220 ppi or 5,184,000 million pixels of graphical happiness. This is 4x the pixel density of previous MacBook Pro displays. For those that have been critical over the glare you can sometimes experience on a MacBook display, this has been reduced by up to 75% in this new model as well… all while making the unit thin (0.71″) and light (4.46 lbs).
Beyond the slim size, light weight and the amazing screen, the next generation MacBook Pro is built with flash storage (up to 768GB worth). That means crazy speeds beyond what we are used to with hard drives without the need for moving parts. The crowning glory however is the boasted 7 hours of battery life with 30 days of standby.
All of these things combine to raise more questions than they answer in a sense: with the gap bridged between the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air, does one eliminate the need for the other? Certainly we can see that the next generation MacBook Pro is currently only available with a 15″ display, but accepting that 13″ and 11″ versions are likely just around the corner, why would anybody choose the MacBook Air after that?
If I am putting all of my chips on the table, I am guessing that one of the next announcements to come from Apple is a merging of the MacBook Air and the iPad. For the iPad, this would mean faster speeds and more storage with a wider array of ports and computing potential. For the MacBook Air this would mean a touch screen with smaller and lighter form factor. Wouldn’t it be interesting if the next Apple-designed ‘case’ for the iPad was actually the MacBook Air (and by this I mean the ability to pop your iPad into a ‘keyboard case’ for notebook use, and disconnect it when that functionality isn’t required)?