Huge changes ahead for Mac, iPad, Apple TV – and Apple itself

“Although many people expected that Apple’s Spring Forward event would mostly focus on the Apple Watch, more than half of the event — notably, the first part — covered other topics,” Jeremy Horwitz writes for 9to5Mac. “Collectively, there were so many interesting developments that their individual significance was somewhat lost, particularly given that long-awaited Watch pricing news wrapped up the event.”

“Is Apple’s 12-inch MacBook the MacBook Air’s last gasp?” Horwitz writes. “The MacBook is a game-changer for the Mac family. First, consider the implications of its name: it’s thinner and lighter than the Air, but Apple just went with ‘MacBook.’ How much longer can a heavier ‘Air’ — a design Apple hasn’t updated for years — stick around?”

“The [Apple TV] price drop [from $99 to $69] suggests that the next Apple TV is coming, and underscores that it won’t be much more expensive,” Horwitz writes. “The Apple Watch Edition pricing announcement was a pivot point. It will be remembered as the moment when Apple discarded any shame about being a true luxury brand, embracing the reality that it was leaving money on the table for tacky aftermarket gold-platers to capture.”

Much more in the full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yes, it is telling that the “MacBook Air” is now heavier and thicker than the “MacBook.” If those Air models are going to continue, why wasn’t the new one the “Air” and the older “Airs” renamed? That that didn’t happen suggests the 11- and 13-inch Airs are not long for this world – at least as they’re configured and marketed (named) now. And, as always, we continue to hope that Apple is preparing for a big “Apple TV” reveal sooner than later.

14 Comments

  1. I think that the MacBook is a trial balloon. It’s pretty radical technology and allows their customer base that’s probably more comfortable with USB ports, Thunderbolt Ports and MagSafe 1 and MagSafe 2 power supplies to keep using what they are comfortable with while providing something new and different for new customers and new customers that are perhaps a little more daring. Apple can assess how well the new MacBooks are doing and then decide later whether or not to incorporate the more radical stuff into their other lines.

    I’m not a fan of the expensive port replicators for Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt hasn’t caught on but Type C is far more likely to catch on and we should see more reasonably priced dongles and adapters down the road. I really don’t like Apple’s current selection – I’d want something with more ports but there may be power issues with having three USB ports and one or two Thunderbolt ports.

    At the moment, I’m just using the Magsafe 2 port on my MacBook Pro 15 so I get this model. But sometimes I like to plug things in like my TIme Machine external drive which plugs into a USB port.

    USB also means that we don’t need to buy a bunch of Type-C adapters right now. I’m sure that it’s coming but maybe not for a little while. When Android phone manufacturers go to Type C, then we’ll know that it has arrived. It’s possible that Apple might go with Type C in the next generation of the iPhone.

    1. I think dropping the Magsafe is a big mistake, as is just having one port. There’s plenty of room for more plus one or two legacy USB 3.0 ports wouldn’t have hurt.

      Minimalism is great but taken to the extreme means zero. Let’s see what happens on the larger machines and the aftermarket hub scene. I don’t mind a hub or two or a dongle or two, but it seems Apple is inconveniencing its customers just to prove a point.

      1. Why? How do you use a laptop? I move them around. I hate cords preventing that movement. I can see the need for a docking station when at a desk. Apple should have developed that, but otherwise, laptops need to move, be portable, not tied down to peripherals and cables, etc.

        1. I use my laptop as a desktop substitute. It’s a 15″ quad core i7 rMBP with 8.5 TB of external storage, half dedicated to media files and other data and the other half dedicated to backups. I use every port with the exception of the audio I/O and HDMI ports. In a pinch I can hook up my 11″ MBA and connect all but one of my external drives and still get my work done. Trying to use the new MacBook would leave me buried in dongles and with two thunderbolt drives unusable.

  2. “The [Apple TV] price drop [from $99 to $69] suggests that the next Apple TV is coming, and underscores that it won’t be much more expensive,”

    Or it suggests that Google’s Chromcast is a real threat and they lowered the price to meet the competition head on.

    I am not yet convinced that anything is happening in the TV space yet (other than them moving more boxes by lowering the price).

    1. I think with the Apple TV its a bit of both. I think Apple thought that with the present impasse in the industry that others wouldn’t particularly up the game with their products as they have and this is undoubtedly a way to keep selling the Apple TV with present specs that much longer to get through to whatever they have planned to replace or update it to a more compelling device.
      Must admit I said it late last year too but seriously can Apple wait that much longer to upgrade the AppleTV. If the can’t as yet produce what they really want to produce then update what they have to max it out at least.

      As for the Air I agree with the MDN take really, the Airs will either go after the sort of overlap period they themselves enjoyed with the MacBooks when they were launched or/and a new crossover ultra light device will eventually replace them maybe that iOS mythical device many have imagined. But presently they indeed are testing the water to see what the buyer will and will not accept in terms of minimalism and adjust things to accomodate in a year or so.

    2. I agree. The three year old AppleTV still supports 1080p and digital audio out, which is the mainstream of TV. 4K will come in time, but it’s not mainstream now. As such, there is no real need for any new AppleTV hardware right now. The price drop is possible because Apple’s development costs are amortized, they face some competition, and they want to sell as many of these as they can as TV begins to move from a “hobby” to a full-fledged business.

  3. “Is Apple’s 12-inch MacBook the MacBook Air’s last gasp?”

    I hope not. With one port not having thunderbolt compatibility, a high price, a significantly shorter battery life than the 13″MBA and a lobotomized processor, the new MB has a lot of growing up to do before it can replace the MBA.

    Then again, Apple has lobotomized the Mac Mini and made most of the other Macs non-upgradable, so why not?

  4. Why would Apple lower the price of the Apple TV in order to get more out there just to replace the model? That would upset a lot of people. How about an interface upgrade? The Mac has Dashboard with folders. iOS has app folders. How about channel folders?

  5. Convergence is inevitable – iPad and Macbook begin to compete – eventually Apple will have to make the iPad Pro which will still run OS X and be based on Macbook.

  6. @michael

    History repeats itself.

    Think back to 2008, the MacBook Air was a trial balloon.

    Same thing was said then, under powered, lack of ports, lack of storage space……..

  7. Phil Schiller said on stage: “We don’t want to ship air…” refering to free space to be filled with battery.
    Or did he say “We don’t want to ship Air…” ?? 😉

  8. As others have said here, the new MacBook is a pilot test for Apple, to see how a radical new laptop concept will be accepted. The MacBook Air will stick around for a while: it’s more powerful than the MacBook and has better battery life. Then again, my 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina weighs only a tad more than 4 lbs, so there’s not a lot distinguishing all these MacBooks. At some point Apple will need to simplify and rationalize its MacBook series.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.