As enumerated earlier, I have numerous questions regarding Mark Gurman’s report that the upcoming next-generation MacBook Air does away with all ports other than two: a USB Type-C and a headphone jack.
But one that I keep thinking about is MagSafe. I can definitely see getting rid of classic USB — it’s old and thick. Thunderbolt, sort of. But MagSafe? When Apple announced MagSafe back in 2006, I knew they were solving a real problem, not an imaginary marketing problem. Tripping over power cables and yanking laptops off tables and onto floors was a real issue. I had an iBook way back when that ultimately died after one such incident too many. If anything, Apple has made MagSafe 2 even easier to pull apart, not harder. Switching to USB Type-C seems like it would take us all the way back to days when tripping over the charging cable would take your laptop along for the ride.
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
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.
Hell of a scoop by Mark Gurman, if true. Numerous interesting changes, most especially the claim that it has just two ports: one for headphones and a lone USB Type-C port that will be used for everything from connecting an external display, power, and connecting peripherals. (I can totally see Apple dropping MagSafe, Thunderbolt, and USB 3 ports — but I don’t get why they would include only one USB Type-C port. Why not two?)
Another detail I like: the full-height keys for left and right arrow. Making those keys half-height never made sense to me.
Update: Conspicuously absent from Gurman’s report: the word “retina”.