From the Department of Jumping to Conclusions

Tom Warren, writing for The Verge about the purported 12-inch MacBook Air that Mark Gurman reported for 9to5Mac:

This could finally be the inexpensive Apple laptop that so many have been clamoring for — cheap enough to compete with low-end Windows laptops and Chromebooks, but with hopefully fewer compromises.

There are two pieces of technology that Apple would need to get there: USB Type-C and a processor that runs cool enough to help achieve a thin design without a fan.

This whole piece makes no sense to me whatsoever. None. There’s nothing in Gurman’s report about pricing, and I don’t understand why switching to USB Type-C would drastically reduce the price. Eliminating the Thunderbolt and MagSafe ports would allow for some savings — one single port must be cheaper than the five various ports in the current Airs, but it wouldn’t drop the price into Chromebook territory.

Even if the new Air does herald a drop in price, it would be more in character for Apple if that price drop was for the existing Air models, with the new models at current prices, or, if it includes a retina display (Gurman’s report doesn’t say either way), higher prices. I honestly think it’s more likely that this new MacBook Air would have a higher starting price than a lower one, if it has a retina display. If it doesn’t have a retina display, well, then maybe it will have a drastically lower starting price. But Warren doesn’t even mention that. In short, this feels like the same ignorant “Everyone else in the industry competes mostly on price, so Apple should too” punditry we’ve seen for decades.

Earlier in his report, Warren suggests that Gurman’s report is a planted leak from Apple, meant to usurp attention from CES:

Apple appears to be working towards a thinner and totally redesigned MacBook. A curiously timed report from 9to5Mac, just as the Consumer Electronics Show opens today with lots of thin and light Windows laptops, claims Apple’s next notebook will be a 12-inch MacBook Air without full-size USB ports.

First, I don’t think Apple gives two shits about what’s going on at CES this year. I haven’t seen a single announcement that matters. But even if they did, Mark Gurman is probably the last person in the Apple-centric media whom they would give an authorized leak to. Gurman is persona non grata with Apple PR, as his fascinating but in large parts misinformed “exposé” back in August made clear. An authorized leak — to any source — would never contain a detailed description of the device’s appearance, let alone contain enough detail to create realistic renderings. If Gurman’s report is accurate, I’m sure it’s angering, not pleasing, to Apple’s PR and marketing teams.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015