Compromises? What compromises?
MacBook is a thing of beauty. Rather daringly, I say that it is a perfect computer. The keyboard, the display, the design. Every part of MacBook is good. Really good.
As a disclosure, I am running the developer preview of OS X El Capitan on this MacBook. In fact, updating to El Capitan was the first thing I did on MacBook. El Capitan introduces a number of system enhancements to assist MacBook’s performance, which I thought I’d need given people’s critique of its performance, especially under OS X Yosemite.
In 2010, Apple introduced iPad. It was labelled as a device in between iPhone and MacBook Air. Fast-forward five years later, Apple introduced MacBook. It is a device in between iPad and MacBook Air. It brings the power of the Mac with the versatility, portability and weight of the iPad. MacBook is, in many ways, a beginning. It is a category of its own.
Journalists and bloggers around the Internet often echo similar sentiments to each other. They don’t like the keyboard. They think the trackpad is weird. They think the performance (granted, in their opinions, the lack of) is years behind this year's other Macs. And don’t get them started on that USB-C port. The one word that is buzzing around reviews of MacBook is ‘compromises’. But what compromises?
The keyboard is bloody fantastic. It feels a lot more responsive and tactile than the keyboard on other Macs of late. It was difficult to type on the damn thing at first. Typos were all over the place. And I was missing keys due to the increased width of each individual key. But that was fleeting. The ‘learning curve’, if you can call it that, lasts around a minute. After this, the larger keys and adjusted keyboard layout become natural. Reviews have got it all wrong. I’m glad that Apple created this keyboard. I’d love to see it standalone, and brought over to other MacBook models. It is not ‘not good’. Damn, this thing is great.
On paper, the specs of this computer are glaringly and obviously bad. The base model has a processor clocked at a rather conservative 1.1 GHz (configurable up to 1.3 GHz). But in practice, they’re just numbers. It happens that most of the tech industry is apparently obsessed with these numbers. Apple use an Intel Core M chip inside MacBook. It is the most exciting chipset that Intel have made in recent years. And it is certainly the most interesting choice Apple have made for MacBook, too.
It's completely fanless. It performs entirely silently, and only gets slightly warm to the touch. I write and code a lot, too. I listen to music, watch movies, browse the web and edit photos, just like anyone else would. I use my Mac a lot throughout the day. Yet apps continuously launch instantly, they never stutter and performance has not suffered once. And battery life is normally around 6 to 7 hours under this usage.
The Intel Core M chip is here to stay. Apple are giving us a lot of hints as to where the future of their product lineup is going, and not just with Macs. Could we see the same power of the Mac inside an iPad? Probably, yeah. I reckon we will see this chip used on higher performance iPads (hey, hey, iPad Pro) in the very near future. And it could spread to other devices, too. Could we see this chip in an iPhone? Quite possibly. It's a really exciting chip and I cannot wait to see what Apple will do with it.
MacBook represents the future of the Mac. It's all about carefully considered hardware choices. But, in all honesty, I struggle to see where the compromises have been made. It's a great standalone computer, and a fantastic compliment to another. Jump in now. The future is great.