I have seen and heard lots of discussion of the new Macbook this week, and have been thinking about its appeal and Apple’s strategy a bit along the way. At first I was extremely skeptical of the only-one-port approach, but the more I’ve thought about it, the more sense it makes to me. Why? Market segmentation.
This is a MacBook, not a MacBook Pro. I need more ports than this. But Jaimie? I don’t remember the last time I saw her plug anything into the machine besides its power cord. This is a MacBook for ordinary users, not a machine for power-users. Now, I still think that the loss of MagSafe is a bit sad; it has saved us more than once (especially with young children in the house). But in terms of the needs of ordinary users, a single port that can double as video out or USB input really is perfect.
In the meantime, it lets Apple cleanly differentiate between its MacBook and MacBook Pro lines. If you need the ports for expandability—because you’re a power user—you get a Pro. If you don’t, you get the MacBook. The tradeoffs with CPU make sense here, too: a computer that performs about like a 2012 MacBook Air would not be my favorite for development work. But for the writing work that Jaimie does? Again, the performance levels there are perfectly reasonable. It’ll do everything she needs, and do it well. Throw in the retina screen, and it’ll be really nice for her purposes.
In fact, I fully expect that we’ll end up getting her a 2nd or 3rd generation machine when we need to replace her current (a 2010 white MacBook) sometime in 2016–17.
So: better done than I initially thought, Apple.