5 ways Apple can make next-gen MacBooks better than ever

“The next Apple product launch is locked in for Sept. 12. New iPhones and Apple Watches are a near certainty — convincing photos of both have been leaked — and a new iPad Pro with a big Face ID redesign seems likely too,” Dan Ackerman writes for CNET. “With all of that, will Apple even have time to showcase the new MacBook laptops and desktops that are rumored to be waiting in the wings, too? Or will the company follow-up with a smaller Mac event in October, as it sometimes does — or maybe even just opt for a “no stage event” release, as it did with the recent MacBook Pro updates?”

“We don’t know,” Ackerman writes. “But looking at the Mac lineup, the high-end is in pretty good shape, and it’s the laptops for the rest of us that need serious attention.”

“The once-mighty $999 MacBook Air was the go-to laptop on college campuses and coffee shops for years, but today it lacks a truly modern screen and processor. Macs have never been budget laptops, but that doesn’t mean Apple can’t show the rest of us a little love,” Ackerman writes. “To that end — whether these updates come on Sept. 12 or later — here’s my five-point plan for making the MacBook mainstream again.”

• Bring the latest keyboard fix to everyone
• Get flexible on ports
• Banish low-res screens (and giant bezels)
• Embrace the $999 consumer
• Take the plunge on touch

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: MacBooks with touchscreens are highly unlikely to happen.

Apple’s way make sense: Touch onscreen only when there is no other primary input available.

Apple just posted record quarterly Mac sales. No touchscreens required.

What you really have to see is anyone under the age of 12, largely untainted by previous computing paradigms, using an iPad. That is the future, not trying to turn Macs into iPads.

That said, as we’ve asked many times over the past few years: Who’s in the market for a 12.9-inch device that’s an OS X-powered MacBook when docked with its keyboard base and an iOS-powered iPad Pro when undocked? That sure would save space in the backpack!MacDailyNews, November 7, 2017

As we wrote back in January 2017: Here’s an idea: Apple could sell iPad Pros as they do now, and for those wanting a “Mac,” Apple could sell them the macOS-powered display-less keyboard/trackpad/cpu/RAM/SSD/battery base unit. Attach your iPad for the display and off you go, you Mac-headed truck driver! Plus, you get to use the iPad’s battery, too, extending battery life to provide a truly all-day battery for portable Mac users. Detach the display and you get your iOS-powered iPad back, same as always.

Too outside the box? We’d love to be able to take our 12-inch iPad Pro, mate it with this theoretical Mac base unit, and turn it into a portable Mac. Right now, we carry 12-inch iPad Pros and MacBooks in our backpacks. Guess what’s redundant? Right, the displays. We don’t need to carry two screens on the road. The iPad Pro’s screen would do just fine, thanks.

Buy the Mac base on its own (for those who already have 12.9-inch iPad Pros) or buy it as part of a package (get a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro at a nice discount when you buy it with the Mac base). Imagine if Apple had unveiled this headless MacBook that you use with your iPad at their iPad event last fall. How many more 12-inch iPad Pro sales would such a product have generated? Enough to return iPad to unit sales growth, we bet. And, how many more Macs would have been sold, too?

Illustration from Apple's hybrid Mac-iPad patent application
Illustration from Apple’s hybrid Mac-iPad patent application


  1. Agree with the five point plan. “But looking at the Mac lineup, the high-end is in pretty good shape”

    The top of the line Mac Pro is five years old, thermal and other problems so certainly not in good shape. Going for a preview if they are not ready to release just yet …

  2. • Bring the latest keyboard fix to everyone (AGREE, or bring back a better keyboard)
    • Get flexible on ports (NO! The world will move to predominantly USB Type-C ports in the next year or two. Apple is just a little ahead of the rest. Just bring back the dedicated power port with Magsafe. I don’t want to give up a useful port just to power my laptop.)
    • Banish low-res screens (and giant bezels) (AGREE)
    • Embrace the $999 consumer (AGREE)
    • Take the plunge on touch (NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT.)

    • For the Pro line of laptops STOP obsessing about thing and light. It is the reason why the newest MacBook Pros do not have the top of the line GPU. The power and thermal envelope won’t support it because of the obsession with thin and light.
    • Stop sealing everything in. While it will never be possible to upgrade the GPU or similar components in a MacBook Pro, make it easy to upgrade RAM or the SSD.
    • STOP with the stupid “Thunderbolt Port” naming (in any form). It is a USB Type-C port. Several of the possible variants of that port support Thunderbolt 3. Call it what it is. Be honest with people. Don’t try to claim it is some “Special Thunderbolt Port”.

  3. “Too outside the box? We’d love to be able to take our 12-inch iPad Pro, mate it with this theoretical Mac base unit, and turn it into a portable Mac. Right now, we carry 12-inch iPad Pros and MacBooks in our backpacks. Guess what’s redundant?”

    I was opposed to gorilla arm potential on touchscreen portable laptops. Having read the MDN take above, this is a great combination that would certainly work …

  4. Apple can add a touch screen, but I would not use it. Touch screens can get mighty filthy. $999 Macbook? Of course! That is hardly a budget laptop, but it’s hard to convince many people to get a mack when the out the door cost is well over $1000. Yes, they have the quality and support, but often the buyers don’t have the money. I would aim lower in price – $799 max.

Reader Feedback

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