Why Apple’s 12-inch MacBook is a goner

Harry Marks for Curious Rat:

After watching the [WWDC] keynote on Monday and getting a glimpse into the future of the iPad, I think I have a better understanding as to Apple’s thinking.

I believe the lower-end MacBook line will disappear within 3-5 years.

The company’s deliberate forking of iOS into two separate operating systems – iOS for the iPhone and iPadOS for the iPad – demonstrates the company’s focus on propelling the tablet into a true “real work” machine without being held back by the smaller screen of the iPhone.

The iPad has grown from a fun in-between device for watching movies and playing games into a real, viable option for people looking to shed the PC life.

Most importantly, there’s Apple’s new universal app development initiative, Project Catalyst née Marzipan. A lot of people saw it as a way to bring beloved iPad apps to the Mac more easily, saving developers time, effort, and money by letting them build one app instead of two or three for Apple’s various platforms. But I see Project Catalyst going the other way, as less about bringing iPad apps to the Mac and more about bringing Mac apps to the iPad. As I’ve said before, Scrivener on the iPad, while a terrific app, lacks much of the functionality of its desktop counterpart. That doesn’t have to be the case anymore.

Which brings us back to my initial thesis: the end of the MacBook.

It won’t happen immediately, but I do see it happening sooner rather than later, starting with the 12-inch MacBook… The same goes for the 13-inch “Escape” model Pro (the one without the Touch Bar)… The 15-inch Pro will stick around. A portable machine capable of high-end video, audio, and graphic work will always be in demand, but the days of low-end Apple laptops for students and casual web surfers may be coming to a close.

MacDailyNews Take: There’s much more in the full article which is a recommended read.

So, how long until Apple drops the “iOS” name and goes back to “iPhone OS” or, for consistency sake, keeping with today’s space-free naming scheme, “iPhoneOS?”

What’s a computer? As we’ve been saying for quite some time, the iPad has long been the better choice for what the masses call “computing” (some light word processing, simple spreadsheets, email, web browsing, casual games, etc.). Now, with iPadOS, it’s even better for many more people, those who do a bit more than general computing. After iPhone (and its myriad knockoffs), Apple’s iPad is the personal computer for the masses.

As for mouse support, we understand the sentiment as we all grew up using mouses to control computers, but the finger or pencil on the display is vastly more intuitive and direct than a mouse or trackpad controlling a pointer on a screen.

The answer isn’t to try to make the iPad into a MacBook. The answer is to provide all the tools possible in iOS for developers to make robust apps that can take advantage of the multi-touch paradigm. — MacDailyNews, May 16, 2017

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “S. Mulji” for the heads up.]


  1. Over and over. And over. And over. “Can an iPad replace a desktop or laptop.” No, it cannot. Ever. It’s a stripped down computer with a relatively small screen, stripped down CPU and GPU, and stripped down software. Further, its main input method is imprecise (fingers). No amount of iterative stuff and confusing gestures will resolve the issues.

    If an iPad can replace your laptop or desktop, you never needed those in the first place.

    1. Wow if only you had been around when the horse and cart was in its final years, I am sure you would have convinced me the motor car was but an aberration.

      The real world is not B&W and over time the Tablet will be replacing many of the laptops that are sold, in truth for many it already has. Like the horse and cart the laptop will stay around and maybe always will do as a separate device for some but its a matter of the balance between the two concepts thats in question and I would contend that eventually Laptops and Tablets will pretty much become indistinguishable closing the question all together, just a set of mobile devices with varying capabilities to suit the potential buyer. ‘Never’ is a long time and is only used by the blind or those who know that by the time they are proved wrong no one will remember they ever made the claim anyway. In this case thats probably about a week at most.

      1. I agree I never have understood why they were so unaccepting of the concept that advantages and disadvantages vary depending upon the use case. That is different for different people AND can be different for a person depending on what they are doing. Apple were many years back the first (or one of) who through patents foresaw this simple fact but along the way rejected it for I believe marketing as much as logic not wishing to cannibalise their computer business. Its one of those decisions (probably initiated by Jobs) that no one over the years has had the guts too challenge and due to the fear of admitting in the wider market that they were wrong. The longer it goes on the more difficult it became. Well at least now they seem to be seeing the error of their ways but judging by their efforts to stealthily introduce more flexibility still unwilling to attract the criticism of their original decision.

        If the iPad Pro had been conceived and introduced a little earlier as the device that the standard iPad rightfully doesn’t need to be, then they could simply have sold it as an always planned and natural development because in all honesty it was right that initially they concentrated upon convincing people that they should adopt new ways of thinking in working with a computer and they needed to differentiate it from the appalling early windows touch computers that were sales disasters. Finally the iPad Pro is becoming the all rounder that some need (not all) and its just a shame its a year or two later than it could have been if thinking had been clearer.

  2. MDN you’re high about touch and pencil being more “intuitive”. Sitting at a coffee shop, you have your ipad in a vertical orientation, and are typing away on the keyboard cover. Moving your hand to a vertical surface is tedious and highly in accurate. You need mouse/trackpad support for that use case. Which is a very common use case.

    Thankfully apple added mouse support, so this is now a moot issue.

  3. Good riddance. Overpriced one port netbook was an embarrassment. Even globetrotting CEOs were embarrassed to be seen with such an underpowered Ive fashion accessory.

    Hey Apple, you think you could make a competent $1000 Macbook for students and beginners? Try. Prove to us you don’t live in a gilded donut tower, out of touch with the average family.

  4. It should just be ‘phoneOS’ and ‘padOS’. Kill the ‘i’ from here so we can have ‘ApplePhone’, ‘ApplePad’ and – oh my – ‘AppleMac’ !

  5. If they made the sodding thing with 2 TB2/USBc ports (one one each side), ditching the headphone jack, I know of a many bods (myself included) that would snaffle one up. As it stands – its a lame duck that I have pushed many directors away from (all very happy with their 11″ Airs or 13″ MBP’s).

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