Not everyone is a fanboy!
On Monday, we witnessed yet another set of tech bombs dropped by Apple. The biggest announcements of the event included a new 12″ MacBook, and (while we already knew it was coming) further details of the Apple Watch; and there was also the usual showcase of hefty number representing the tons of money that Apple is making, achievements, innovations, yada yada yada. But keeping only the products in view, there are different opinions on them, and public reception has been quite mixed. Here’s our two cents on how everything has a good, a bad, and an ugly side.
Disclaimer: The thoughts presented in this article are the author’s personal opinion and can potentially conflict with the readers’ opinions. Your mileage may vary.
The New MacBook
First up, a new Apple laptop. The original “MacBook” was discontinued back in 2010. Apple resurrected the name and gave it a new body- perhaps a better body than its siblings. But there’s more (actually less) to it than meets the eye, let’s find out.
A brand new design. There’s no other Mac pretty much like it. It’s thinner than the MacBook Air, and in terms of weight, it puts the MacBook Air’s name to shame by weighing in at only 2 pounds. There’s a unique screen size, i.e. 12 inches, never seen before on a MacBook, and it’s appropriately average sized (pun intended) keeping the 11 inch MacBook Air and 13 inch MacBook Pro in consideration. But the real deal is the retina display that Apple has managed to fit in this machine. And not to forget how Apple has done something different in a while, by offering the MacBook in 3 distinct colours, akin to the iPhone, iPad, and now Apple watch as well- Silver (with the classic Mac look), Space Gray, and Gold. Overall, the design of the MacBook is one of the best factors about it. The technology under the hood also deserves a mention, including the shrunk logic board, the sleek display, and the new battery architecture (promising the same great battery life as other Macs).
It’s a fanless machine. Though this should be a good thing, but modern laptop fans don’t make that much of a noise unless you’re doing some hardcore resource intensive task. But that stands to reason, the fan spins faster to dissipate the heat being generated by the processor and other components and keep the computer running in good shape. A fanless design means there won’t be much resource intensive work on the machine (even if so, the performance would be compromised), and that is determined by the fact that this MacBook houses an Intel Core M processor. This processor is unlike the ‘Core i’ series, since it’s made for mobile devices which need power, mobility, as well as need to stay cool. Ultimately, the performance on this machine isn’t going to match up to the MacBook Air or the MacBook Pro. So there’s the secret behind the slimmer design, and the lack of a fan. Sacrificing the fan ensures a slimmer and sleek design, but performance is a big tradeoff.
Other than this, there’s one more thing that might not concern most people (or maybe it might, who knows), and that’s the missing ‘glowing’ Apple logo at the back. All Apple laptops we’ve seen so far had a translucent Apple logo on the rear of the screen. Illuminated by the light of the display, it gives a nice aesthetic look to the laptop and over time it has become an identity for Macs all over the world. It will be missed. Feels bad not to have a glowing Apple logo behind the new MacBook. And also the lack of a physical-clicking trackpad. Though Apple considers it quite an achievement, having developed a static glass trackpad with ‘taptic’ feedback when you press hard on it, to give the feeling of a real clicking trackpad. But it’s not going to match the real feel. Yes, that’s our speculation, but it would most probably be correct.
We can’t figure out where to start on this one. Let’s take the lack of ports as the ugliest thing that has happened. The MacBook has only one port on the left, a USB-C port. It’s the latest standard in USB ports, and has a lot to offer, like 10Gbps data transfer and support for HDMI, ethernet and other protocols right from the port. But while it’s one of the most technologically advanced things of the day, it’s also one of the rarest, and there aren’t enough (or any) peripherals that make use of it at the moment. There are some dongles available which convert this versatile port into a bunch of useful ports like HDMI, USB type A, thunderbolt, and others. But let’s face this, not everyone would carry a bunch of converters with them, especially when it comes to an ultra portable computer like this MacBook. Apple has always been the first one to do away with potentially useless ports and peripherals on their computers. It started back in the days with the removal of the floppy drive, then they got rid of the optical drive, and now this- no SD card reader, no dedicated charging port, just one versatile port. The efficacy of this would be better experienced once we get our hands on this Mac itself.
Some Apple fans would disagree on this one, but the price of this laptop isn’t really justifiable. $1299 for the new MacBook sounds ludicrous. It’s a comparatively low-end machine when it comes to specs (due to the Intel M processor), and performance won’t be at par with the other Mac portables. Battery is pretty much the same as the 13″ and 11″ MacBook Air (both are relatively cheaper too). Perhaps the Retina display has something to add to this, but a price tag of around $899 would’ve been quite reasonable (we’re being totally generous here).
Apple either enters a market when the competition pretty much doesn’t exist (as with the iPhone), or when the competition is on its peak. It’s the latter case this time, and Apple finally revealed more details on its wearable, aptly named Apple Watch. So we’ve put on our judgement glasses to look deeper into the Apple Watch and notice some good, bad, and ugly things about it.
Once again, the design is probably one of the eye catching things. The hardware, shape, the watchbands, the software design and its UX, everything from a design perspective is very nicely done. The inclusion of the traditional watch jewel is a nice touch. At first glance, it looks like a very polished and well thought product- and indeed it is. Then the features come in. It seems the Apple watch is currently one of the most feature packed smartwatches on the market, and we’ll get to see more once it’s publicly available. The variety of choices is a good factor, there’s an Apple watch for everyone (who can afford one).
Pretty much all smartwatches on the market are cross-platform, they support both iOS and Android. As far as we know, Apple watch is going to be an iPhone companion. So unless you own an iPhone or plan to get one, better invest in some other smartwatch. Other than this, we might consider putting the ‘price’ factor in this category. $349 for a starting price of the Apple Watch Sport is okay, but the way it goes up is ridiculous. By now you might’ve heard that the Apple Watch Edition (Gold version) isn’t worth what Apple demands for it; $10,000 (and goes up till $17,000)! According to some calculations, the cost of gold doesn’t come out to be $10,000 in the Apple Watch Edition. If it’s not gold, what would the customers be paying for, then? Only time will tell.
The battery life. We really expected Apple to do something on this front. Apple has been exceptional at making portable products with lasting batteries, but not sure what happened here. Although smartwatches have to be charged, that’s an established fact. But the metric is, how long before you need to charge it, and Apple doesn’t seem to impress in that regard. As per Apple, it lasts 18 hours on a single charge, which might be okay for some, but it sounds very ‘normal’ coming from Apple, they should’ve innovated and brought something new in terms of battery life. Most of us had high hopes from Apple in the batteries department, and this has left us somewhat disappointed.
While we’ve tried to shed some light on both the latest additions to Apple’s product portfolio, it is totally based on the products’ preview in the event. We’ll get to see more when these products hit the market, and then perhaps some of the things that we didn’t seem to like now might turn out to be good after all. So stay tuned for our hands-on reviews as soon as we get our hands on the new MacBook, and the new Apple Watch on our wrists.