The new 12-Inch MacBook Air rumors don’t make sense

9to5 Mac has an article presenting a new 12″ MacBook Air, with photos and detailed information about what this new laptop will be like,” Kirk McElhearn writes for Kirksville. “According to the website: ‘Sources within Apple, who have used internal prototype versions of the upcoming computer, have provided in-depth details about the machine, and our exclusive artist renditions of the revamped MacBook Air provide the first close look…'”

“Well, I’m going to be a bit skeptical. First, all of the renditions of the MacBook Air in the article are, as they say, ‘exclusive artist renditions.’ And this information is based on sources ‘who have used internal prototypes,'” McElhearn writes. “The most striking information in the article is not so much the size or shape – thinner, with a narrower keyboard – but the number of ports on the side of the computer.”

“I can’t accept that Apple would have a single USB port,” McElhearn writes. “Apple famously ditched floppy drives, back with the first iMac, and optical drives more recently, but a single port on a computer is too regressive. So I’ll call it BS for now.”

Read more in the full article here.

John gruber writes for Daring Fireball, “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?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: MagSafe offers too much utility to ditch. Losing a power cable that detaches when yanked would be a big step backwards. However, on the other hand, the extremely light weight of the latest MacBook Airs sort of negates MagSafe. We’ve had 11-inch MacBook Air (Early 2014) units pulled nearly halfway across a desk before MagSafe detached, saving them from a nasty fall. Plus, if Apple could do away with all ports, you just know they would.

Related articles:
Why Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook Air can abandon almost all ports – January 6, 2015
Apple’s next major Mac revealed: Meet the radically new 12-inch MacBook Air – January 6, 2015

31 Comments

  1. Mac Book Airs could start to play more in the tablet playground without as much need for direct connectivity. Add in innovative stylus control (which I could give a rats ass about personally) and suddenly there’s even less oxygen for the Surface Pro (already gasping for air).

    BTW I am still absolutely loving my 15″ MBP – what a beautifully designed and blazing fast superior piece of computing kit. Bought one for the teen grandson too for Christmas and he’s over the moon, his friends very envious. (Hopefully portable Mac acquisition is infectious.) The granddaughter will get the new Mac Book Air – whenever it actually comes.

    1. This is a controlled leak. It’s done while CES is happening. There’s likely some truth to it as apple shows off this “next gen” computer via media leaks. I can totally believe Apple going portless. They’ll offer a dongle where multiple things can be plugged into it. If u want something more robust, get a MB Pro. This is excellent differentiation.

  2. To me the 9to5 article makes sense as something Apple is actually considering.

    In striving for thinness and simplicity, why not use a single do it all connector, and connect that to an adapter or dock if you need more ports.

    1. If it is true, I wonder if Apple will have the power brick serve as a dock. I can envision tacking an array of ports onto the brick, so that they are there if you need them.

      1. The problem with the power brick as a dock is that it could be really inconvenient to plug into. Many of us have multiple power adapters plugged in behind desks/furniture that are hard to get to.

        Likewise having a pass-through adapter for the port poses problems. The other idea people are coming up with is that the power cable plug would have a port on the back of it that another USB-C cable can plug into. The problem there is that if you want to unplug your power cable and walk your MBA into another room, you’d have to first properly eject whatever devices were attached.

        Even a splitter cable/dock has its own issues, as you’d either always have to use it (which would be inconvenient) or you’d again have to properly eject stuff just to plug in.

        Really having just one more USB-C port makes things much better if there’s not going to be a separate power port.

    2. It strikes me that Apple would more likely engineer a MagSafe connector that would be safer to use with the MacBook Air than drop the potential of its safety which is a big advertising plus. . . and differentiator for their notebook line. . . instead of going with a charging system that connects through a USB-C connector which has the potential to pull the notebook onto the floor, damaging the notebook.

  3. I’ve been thinking about this magsafe connector. What if Apple is doing away with a power connector all together. What is Apple plans to power it and charge it with an induction connector like the upcoming Apple Watch. The power source is a mat that rolls up for transport but is where you rest you new computer to charge and power it.

    That would be so Mac-like.

    1. Don’t know why so many down votes on this. Not sure about the mat idea, but Apple already has inductive charging. Why not use it on more than just the iWatch? It’s already magnetically connected, so it could be made to detach with a similar amount of force as MagSafe. Basically the exact same thing, just without a port.

    1. I’m more puzzled by the use of the Lightning connector. The whole world is going to be USB-C, except for iPhones and iPads. It was one thing when Lightning offered clear advantages to the consumer over Micro and Mini USB, but now it’s just going to be different from everything else.

          1. @Mike, this is absolutely true. There’s really nothing Lightning can do (in terms of signals) that USB-C can’t. The only thing Lightning has over USB-C is chipped authentication, and that has been nothing but a nightmare.

      1. Traditionally, Apple hasn’t been terribly concerned with what “the whole world” is going to do. It is possible that USB-C is superior (difficult to tell because I can only find a lot of hype without too many actual specs), but I would suspect Apple would tend to prefer its own way rather than adapting to someone else’s standard.

        1. That’s great, except Apple does appear to be adopting USB-C, and pretty much will need to do so if it wants to maintain connection compatibility.

          It was one thing when Apple had to have a 30-pin to maintain legacy compatibility via USB and FireWire that began at a time when nobody was doing high-speed on PMP/mobile devices and along those lines when they transitioned when most of the rest of the industry was on Mini or Micro USB which both sucked and even some implementations were semi-custom, but now it’s just different and has far more disadvantages over USB-C.

  4. It’s the size that makes absolutely no sense to me. The 11″ and 13″ MBA’s are already the perfect size in their respective categories. Apple needs a 12″ MBA like they need another hole in their head.

      1. Given the design convergence between the 13″ MBP and the 13″ MBA, that might be Apple’s plan.

        Assuming that the 12″ MBA rumor is true, then Apple will likely try to squeeze the 12″ display into the current 11″ MBA form factor (or smaller) by reducing the bezel thickness and using integrated, laminated display technology.

  5. This doesn’t ring true. I think Apple would go with a MagSafe adapter, a Thunderbolt port and a headphone port. Thunderbolt is smaller and provides more functionality. Apple already sells converters from this to USB, Ethernet, VGA, etc. You could attach this to a Thunderbolt monitor port and let that function as a dock.

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