The new MacBook: new and fresh or just a rotten Apple? (Face-Off)


Courtesy Apple Inc.

Will the new MacBook be worth it? Our writers face off.

It’s been four years since Apple’s MacBook was replaced by MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.  But it’s back!  Will it be a triumph return or a huge misstep?  Our two tech guys, Joey Kucker and Zach Brehm, face off on this very question.

New and Fresh (Zach):

In typical Apple fashion, the new MacBook’s innovative technologies just might make for the best ultra-portable laptop yet.

The new MacBook is thinner than the already ultra-thin MacBook Air and powerful enough to handle all of a user’s everyday tasks and then some.  In an effort to promote an increasingly wireless world, Cupertino’s latest is engineered with just two ports—a multipurpose USB-C port and 3.5mm audio jack.

The revolutionary USB-C port is paired with fifth-generation Intel Core M processors and redesigned batteries, resulting in a width of just 13.1mm while keeping the 9hr battery life MacBook Pro users are used to.  Much like a tablet, the new MacBook has no moving parts, making it lighter, quieter and more efficient than past laptop designs.

The MacBook’s USB-C super-port supports charging, USB 3.1 data transfer, HDMI, VGA and DisplayPort connections, combining everything a laptop user needs into one small reversible port, much like Apple’s own Lightning connector.  An optional adapter expands the MacBook’s lone USB-C port to a USB-C, USB 3.0 and HDMI port trio, making it possible to connect a display and charger at the same time.

The lack of additional ports has been the new MacBook’s primary criticism, but more ports would certainly upset the MacBook’s ultra-portable design.  The new MacBook is designed to be the perfect ultra-book for the masses, offering everything the average user needs with no superfluous additions.

With the rise in popularity of cloud storage and bluetooth audio there are few reasons these days to need a port at all.  Once wireless charging technologies become mainstream completely wireless laptops will likely hit the market, and the new MacBook is a clear indicator that the industry is headed in that direction.

The MacBook Air and MacBook Pro have stolen the spotlight for much of the original MacBook’s four year absence, but the new MacBooks specs will definitely give the other two models a run for their money.  Competitively priced at $1299 for the 256GB version and $1599 for the slightly more powerful 512GB version, the new MacBook is certainly worth the attention it has received.

One Rotten Apple (Joey):

Now, let me start off by saying that I’m not an Apple hater. In fact, I love Apple; my household has 3 iPads, 4 iPhones, and plenty of other Apple devices as well. I love Apple and I think that, for the most part, their products are leagues ahead of their competition. That being said, I think that the “New MacBook” is the worst Apple product in years.

I get what they’re trying to do with it, I really do; they’re trying to make an entry level laptop that gets users into their Mac ecosystem. By making the laptop thinner and “prettier” they’re trying to get the average person to think that the product is better than the competition. After all, for years cellphones have been going the same route and have achieved success beyond measure. The difference between cellphones and this new MacBook however, is that the phones tend to get faster and more powerful with each iteration, unlike this new laptop which is actually less powerful than the MacBook Air.

For years Apple has divided their MacBook into two types: the Air and the Pro. The Air was their entry level model that was thin, light, and had the right balance of power and accessibility. The Pro was their workhorse and allowed for more advanced projects like photo-editing and more graphics-intensive programs like video games. This new MacBook is supposed to fall right in the middle of these two models, and provide a third option for those on the fence of which MacBook to get. The problem is that it fails in every regard to provide meaningful reasons that it deserves a place in the MacBook line.

It’s claim to fame is that it’s one of the thinnest laptops on the market. While yes, it’s true that it is incredibly thin, it’s also incredibly weak. The new MacBook is actually less powerful than the Air and is also more expensive. That’s right: the new MacBook is less powerful and more expensive than the MacBook Air. Imagine if Apple released the iPhone 7 with less power than the 6 and priced it higher than normal. They would be ridiculed for weeks, and sell a lot less iPhones than normal. The pricing on the new MacBook is silly, and has no right to be as high as it is.

The one redeeming factor of the new MacBook, its force touch touchpad, is great and I can’t deny its usefulness. That being said, it’s also featured on the new MacBook pro models, which are actually very useful laptops.

I just can’t see Apple’s reasoning behind this new MacBook. It’s weaker, more expensive, and has very few exclusive features. It’s common for Apple products to get better in their second iteration; just take the iPad for example. But, if Apple doesn’t do something better with the next MacBook, they may as well kill off the line completely.

Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Face-off” represent the views and opinions of the authors, not the 2014-2015 Periscope staff, CHS Administration, or the CHS student body.