Do you remember Netbooks? What about Ultrabooks? (They might even still use that name.) There’s also “convertibles”. “2-n-1s”. Or a dozen other names — my point being that when manufacturers other than Apple release a radical new hardware type for a computer, they tended to pay some marketing type gobs of money to name that computer class.
Clearly you use this piece of shit only for surfing the web, and since eMachine is taken, let’s go with Netbook. Ta-da.
The thing is, Apple never really played that game. They name the computers, but not the computer class, so with Apple it is just Desktop and Notebook. But the new retina MacBook deserves to be put in its own class, because it is most certainly not like any other notebook Apple — or anyone else for that matter — sells.
A New Computer Class
For the most part I think we can all agree that we would just rather not have new stupid marketing names for classes of computers. But I do think that we need to redefine some computers currently on the market as they are truly something different — with the MacBook is the most obvious example to me.
The MacBook is fundamentally different than all of the traditional computers that Apple sells. From Mac Pro to MacBook Air the MacBook sits completely off to the side. Truthfully the MacBook is closer to an iPad than it is to an iMac.
And so I think we need a new computer class that includes MacBooks and iPads together.
Can’t Touch This
I used to be able to advise people to get a MacBook Pro if they wanted a laptop, or an iMac if they wanted a desktop. It was easy to do that, and with few exceptions perfectly good advice.
Then the MacBook happened.
Now the advice starts with a question: Do you want to touch your screen?
Well, do you?
Because if you want to touch your screen you buy an iPad. If you don’t want to touch your screen you buy a MacBook. Yes, a MacBook. And yes that applies to everyone asking that question, because anyone asking the question of which Mac to get, doesn’t care about performance and they only care about good enough. If you care about performance, then you are asking a more specific question: should I get X, or X with B, or Y with Q?
Forget about “power” or any other bullshit nerds will tell you. None of that matters anymore — again — for most people.
If you want to get a computer that is truly easy to use — then all you need to know is if you want to touch the screen or not.
The MacBook is the everyman computer and the iPad is the same computer, just with a touch screen and no keyboard. It truly is this easy. And it’s great.
A Game of Compromises
Every compromise made in the MacBook has made the computer better, and thus more simple to use for the average computer user.
No ports means there is less confusion about where things go. All you have to say is: are you trying to plug in headphones? If so use the round port on the right side, if not then it is the oval port on the left side. If it won’t fit, then are you sure you need that? Sound like an iPad a little to you?
It also means that users aren’t likely to have a bunch of crazy bullshit hanging out of their ports that could potentially cause even more issues. Reducing ports makes things simpler for the average person — not harder. If you think that it is a worse tradeoff, then congratulations — you are a nerd and not an average computer user.
No ports means that as the “I.T.” person in the family I now have to find a better backup solution for my family than telling them: “plug this hard drive in every week”. It means people are going to find cloud solutions and have more granular back ups — which is good.
They aren’t nerds and they never really did plug in that backup drive like you said they should.
Because they can’t easily plug in a standard hard drive, they will end up with an automatic cloud backup solution that will — in the end — be far better for them. They don’t care about booting off a clone, as they care only about their pictures, resumes, and other small documents.
Force of Simplicity
The MacBook forces the same simplicity that iOS forces. It says: no you can’t do that because that would be stupid, and I don’t want you to do stupid stuff that breaks everything else.
And in that way, it is quite perfect.
So: do you want to touch your screen, or not?