The new Macbook is like a much grander version of the iPad

  • Rajiv Makhni, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Apr 04, 2015 17:59 IST

It’s about one-third the size of your current USB port (so, really tiny), it’s reversible (insert cable either way), has blazing fast data transfer speeds and can also be used to charge up a device. It’s also the only port on the new Macbook.

And it is the reason Apple and a few other accessory- and dongle-maker companies are going to net about a billion extra dollars.

The future is here

The new Macbook is stunning. Stunning to the point that it’s almost impossible to understand how it even exists: it’s a thin slab of pure metal, so light (900gm) that it’s half the weight of the Macbook Pro Retina, and so thin (13mm) that even the Macbook Air 11 or 13 looks decidedly fat in front of it.

Thin, thinner, thinnest: The new Macbook will make even the Macbook Air feel conscious of its weight.

The screen is 12 inches of LED-backlit Retina heaven with a resolution of 2304x1440 pixels and a 16:10 aspect ratio. In short, the screen sits in an impossibly small metal case with almost no bezel, and is gorgeous.

Even the keyboard has a whole new look as it is 34 per cent thinner than the Air and each key has its own LED underneath. Now add the all-new Force Touch trackpad, which has no clickable buttons at all.

Instead it now has sensors that can sense how hard you are pressing on it. Based on pressure and a new Force Click method, it offers an array of ways to execute stuff.

Battery life is a whopping 10 hours, the speakers are louder and better placed in the front, the processor is the new Intel Core M processor plus 8GB of RAM and a 256GB or 512GB flash drive. From the outside it’s all metal and comes in three colours including the tech world’s latest obsession: gold! This is the most futuristic notebook on the planet – and you shouldn’t be buying it.

The best notebook, but only for a few
Okay, let me temper that statement. Most of us shouldn’t be buying it. The Macbook 2015 is for a very niche user. Let’s just go through what the first buyer experience is going to be like.

You’re going to love the size, portability, weight, screen, how the gold body lights up in the sun and its battery life. Then you’re going to get down to using it. The Intel M processor is not going to be up to the task for any heavy-duty software or tasks.

The keyboard keys have no travel (no keys to depress) and the feel is somewhat like typing on a touchscreen keyboard. The Force Touch trackpad will need you to readjust not only the typical sensory inputs you get from a right-click world but also your entire way of working. And then comes the one single USB C port that is going to blow your mind. And your wallet. And your brains with a shotgun!

This is all you have on it: one single port! To transfer stuff, to charge it, get pictures from your camera on to it, load a Powerpoint presentation, get your songs onto the flash drive, add a movie. One single port!

So, if you are low on battery and using the port to play a presentation off a USB device, you’ll have to choose whether you want to charge it or carry on with your presentation. If you want to transfer some pictures from an SD card, you can’t. If someone gives you a pen drive and asks you to load a file and give it to them, you can’t.

You’ll need to spend between $19 to $79 on add-on adapters just to get that one port to have the functionality that should have already come in a $1,299 machine.

Just the number of add-on accessories sold by Apple and other companies to ensure that you can use the Macbook with all your other doodahs is going to be the next big uptick in profits for all of them.

Speaking of money, the new Macbook comes at a price that is equivalent to the Macbook Pro with its better processor and many ports, and about $400 more than the Macbook Air. And the Apple icon at the back doesn’t even light up! Why Apple, why would you take away that one thing most people buy a Macbook for?

Look at it this way
There is a way to adjust to the new Macbook. Think of it as the world’s best iPad. When was the last time you thought of attaching things to an iPad, transferring pictures through its port, using a thumb drive with it? Almost never.

Just like the iPad, the Macbook comes with one port yet adds things that are singularly frustrating on all tablets. It comes with a built-in cover that protects it, yet doesn’t add any bulk. It comes with a built-in keyboard and trackpad, yet doesn’t need you to connect it via bluetooth. It comes with more built-in storage than an iPad and a bigger screen. The perfect tablet!

The Macbook is the future of notebooks for sure, just not my future as of now. Even though I usually call it cop-out advice – I’ll wait for the second generation of the Macbook, in which they’ll have worked out all the kinks, and figured out that life with a single port is not worth living. Plus I’ve heard they will have a Bappi Lahiri Gold version of it by next year. Count me in for that one.

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3

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