has shifted to a whole new set of Apple-made chips. These MacBooks, and , that sounds like a more advanced version of the graphics-boosted processors in recent iPad Pro models, and promise incredible gains in performance and battery life.
And yet, these MacBooks and Mac Minis don’t look any different. In fact, the design is practically identical to the models that existed before.
Moving to new Apple silicon seems like it’s already opening doors to more advanced machine learning and video and photo processing on Macs. These Macs also run iOS apps, something that hasn’t been done before. But Apple’s future of computing isn’t extending, as yet, into design. Unless, of course, you consider Apple’s other computer of the future:.
The iPad Pro has Face ID. It has a touchscreen. It supports the Apple Pencil. It has its own(sold separately). It has optional cellular. Why wouldn’t the Mac get these extras, too?
I’ve been thinking about the possibilities of what, and , for years. The time has come.
Apple’s still pursuing two separate product pathways between iPad and Mac, but the road between them seems to be getting closer than ever. Here’s what we didn’t get in new Macs, but I’d like to see soon.
A better camera
We’re working remotely more than ever, and my life is lived on endless Zooms. The iPad Pro’s cameras are great, but the front-facing one is set at a weird angle that. MacBooks have perfect camera positioning, but not the best cameras. I haven’t tested the new MacBook camera yet, and maybe new software makes it better, but the hardware is the same. I’d also love a proper Face ID-enabled TrueDepth camera on future MacBooks, with even higher-res capabilities for video streaming so I don’t have to worry about finding a separate webcam.
, but at home I find that Face ID on the iPad Pro logs me into things a lot faster than Touch ID. Putting Face ID on a MacBook (and preferably keeping Touch ID as well, as a second security option) would make things a lot easier.
Moving up to 5G
is an obvious move, especially since so many Windows laptops have optional cellular. I wouldn’t pay up for a 5G laptop, but lots of people would prefer to have the option. And since the new M1 is similar to the chips in phones and tablets (and the handful of Arm-based 5G Windows laptops), it shouldn’t be that hard to do.
Apple already invented a way to, but took MagSafe away from MacBooks years ago. It’s time to bring MagSafe back. Even better, MagSafe could possibly free up one of the USB-C ports for other things if it’s stuck somewhere else on the MacBook body.
A touchscreen and Pencil support
OK, Scott, you’re describing an iPad. And you can always. So what? The Pencil is a fantastic art tool, and touchscreens are a norm on other computers, even budget Chromebooks. Maybe Apple wants to rethink the MacBook design to make it more a folding hybrid at this point, but I think there’s a lot of benefit that touchscreens and Pencil compatibility could offer.
Make an iPad that docks into a keyboard base and converts to a full MacBook. Why not? Now that MacBooks run iOS apps, it only makes sense. (And on the next iPad Pros, for that matter, why not unleash a form of iOS that feels more like MacOS?) That may never happen, or it may take years. But it’s a reminder that, right now, Apple’s first wave of next-gen Macs may not be the best wave.