Apple gave its MacBook and MacBook Pro lineup a small boost today at WWDC — the machines are getting new Kaby Lake processors and faster solid-state drives across the board. Apple’s 15-inch Pro is getting faster standard graphics, and an upgraded entry-level 13-inch Pro will retail for $1,299, sans Touch Bar, of course. You’ll be able to order all of the upgraded laptops online starting today.
I can’t say we were overly surprised that Apple made few changes to its laptop lineup. It was possible that the company could have added an extra USB-C to the MacBooks to make things easier for customers looking to charge their phones while charging their computers, without a dongle — but even that would have been a fairly minor upgrade.
Last year Apple gifted its new product line dual-core Intel M processors, giving customers access to 1.3GHZ with 1866 MHz memory. The company also bumped up graphics specs with an Intel HD Graphics 515, gave the entire line 8GB of RAM and rolled out a new rose gold model. This, like today, made for a fairly routine update — more speed, longer battery life, we know the drill.
I’m probably in the minority of MacBook owners who wasn’t completely put off by its lack of ports. An extra USB-C port would certainly be handy, and I’t be even more handy to see a resolve to the USB-C versus Lightning situation, but I can’t say I’d be excited to give up the extra internal real estate for it.
My wish list for the MacBook is surprisingly short. The butterfly keyboard on the MacBook still gives me issues — while covering events, I’ve had folks complain about keyboard noise, and keys do jam from time to time with frequent use — so it would be nice to see some additional tinkering there in the future. And if RAM was infinitely abundant and cheap it might be cool to see more of that, as well, but these are fairly minor issues with a machine that was designed fresh from the ground up just a few years ago.
Any extra parlor tricks like a touch bar wouldn’t fit with the MacBook’s minimalist ascetic. These laptops are so small that they’re practically fit for a doll house. Adding extra design frills would really just serve to further confuse customers about the differences between Apple’s suite of laptops.
For the Pros, the commitment to the design makes sense. Apple just added its Touch Bar last go-around and, while reviews were mixed, it wouldn’t be realistic to expect the company to part ways with the idea so soon — it’s Apple we’re talking about after all. Hopefully additional functionality on the software side will increase its value proposition into the future.