My theory on why Apple released the Macbook

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Zen Desk Pro, Aug 26, 2015.

  1. Zen Desk Pro macrumors member

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    #1
    After many months spending time reading over people's complaints about the new Macbook and it's underwhelming specifications, I've been trying to figure out why Apple released this product. Many people argue that there's no market for it: because of the existence of iPads, iPad minis as well as a thin, but moderately strong notebook like the Macbook Air, there'd be no need for this product.


    I think I might know why Apple released it.

    I think they just did it for aesthetic experimentation. I think Jony Ive designed this product with the future in mind. I think he designed the world's thinnest, lightest laptop so that Apple (always being ahead of the curve) could patent the design. In the future, there's no doubt that a product as small as the new Macbook will be able to contain the power of a high end Macbook Pro or even an iMac -- it'll just take a while for other technology to catch up (processors, graphics, batteries, etc.)

    But when that day comes, no one else will be able to stake a claim in the design. Maybe Apple released the notebook to push the absolute limits in terms of design. That way, by the time the tech catches up, they'll be more than prepared for it (plus, now no one can design a product that thin or light because it's most likely heavily patented at this point).
     
  2. Ulenspiegel macrumors 68020

    Ulenspiegel

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    #2

    This never bothered any company out there.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #3
    That would be a foolish use of their money. Release a product as an experiment. They are in the business of making money and they felt that they could make a profit on this product.

    Everyone was expecting a MBA with a retina screen and in a sense that's what they got. What people were not expecting is a fanless single port computer with less battery life then its predecessor. Apple for some reason opted not to call it a MacBook Air which still baffles me.
     
  4. petvas macrumors 601

    petvas

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    #4
    They released the new Macbook because many people wanted an ultra light laptop, more powerful than an iPad but almost as mobile, running OS X. This is what the new MacBook is all about.

    The specs aren't great, but the laptop runs very smooth, at least for normal stuff. If you want to do processor intensive things, then you should look elsewhere. The lack of ports is also a non issue for most people.
    People that need to connect a lot of peripherals all the time, should also look elsewhere. I almost never connect anything and use my Macbook almost as an iPad. This is what the new Macbook is about. A perfect mobile second computer.
     
  5. marmiteturkey macrumors 6502

    marmiteturkey

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    #5
    You're overthinking it. Apple designed a beautiful, effective laptop with compromises that many people are quite willing to make. THere's no ulterior motive here, and the processor (a cutting edge mobile CPU that enables fanless design and decent battery life) is quite up to the requirements of most computer users.

    The rMB is not a white elephant - it's a serious computer that perfectly meets the needs of a sizeable market segment, and Apple released it because there's a market for it that will accept a price premium.
     
  6. Abazigal macrumors 604

    Abazigal

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    #6

    I kinda agree with you there.

    It's just like how Apple has recycled the design of the Macbook Air for almost 5 years already. This shows that Apple absolutely got the design right the first time round, so there wasn't any real need to further change the design. This means that Apple gets to save a bundle in manufacturing and R&D costs because all you need to do subsequently is just focus on improving the innards.

    Same with the Macbook. As time goes by, components will get cheaper and more powerful. Force Touch will gain new functionality from future software updates. More wireless peripherals and accompanying accessories will be released to further complement the Macbook. However, the essence will stay the same. That's what Apple is betting on.
     
  7. boltjames macrumors 68030

    boltjames

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    #7
    I've come to the conclusion that average income people and young students don't understand the purpose of a luxury brand from the perspective of the wealthy. That, and they are susceptible to the bad narratives from sketchy YouTube reviewers and are gullible enough to believe everything that they read. Why they feel the need to regurgitate this stuff as if they're the experts, that I'll never know.

    Apple built the RMB because there is a market for traveling executives who want the ultimate in thin/light notebooks for basic communication and business purposes. This isn't supposed to be used by teen gamers, professional desktop publishers, career videographers, or anyone else who needs a processor to earn a living. What Steve Jobs said about the iPad is true here: It has to be really good at a few important things that other products in its class cannot do well.

    Without question, the RMB is the best notebook for the traveling executive who needs nothing more than email, spreadsheets, word processing, browsing, photo viewing, Skype, Powerpoint, iTunes, Slingbox, Expensify, and the other basic functions necessary when in hotels for two weeks in Hong Kong. They don't need monitors, they don't need keyboards, they don't need external drives, they aren't needing a plethora of ports and don't want the size/weight penalty they bring.

    And I use mine solely for Windows, by the way, I have scores of more purchasing options here than a Mac user. I can assure you that there is no better traveling Windows machine on the planet, I've owned 'em all since 1999.

    BJ
     
  8. Dwayne82 macrumors member

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    #8
    They had to redesign a new device. The MBA is getting too close to the rMBP, and if they just made a retina-display on the MBA, it would be almost the same device. The rMB is the new MBA. They'll throw one or two updates to the MBA, then the line will disappear like the (non retina) MBP.
     
  9. jazz1 macrumors 65816

    jazz1

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    #9
    Agreed! Remember the G4 Cube? I think it is good that Apple can sometimes bring to the market innovative design in their products. Yes, sometimes there is a compromise on performance, or even total usability. I'm not wowed with the raw performance of my 12" Macbook, but I am wowed by its design every time I pick it up.
     
  10. boltjames macrumors 68030

    boltjames

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    #10
    Wow, this is a miss by a country mile.

    The Macbook Air is an old, tired, outdated, unexciting design. Speaking for myself, it was never under consideration as a purchase because of these factors. The bezel is too big, it's not light enough, and being so old there are tons of them out there on the Craigslist used aftermarket and anyone can get one for peanuts.

    Apple is a luxury brand that makes cutting edge products. That matters to a lot of us, can't be seen in a 5 year old BMW for the same reason.

    BJ
     
  11. Abazigal macrumors 604

    Abazigal

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    #11
    Well, I got one because I loved the design, and in 2012, there really wasn't much of an alternative when you are in the market for an ultraportable laptop.

    I still love the design. It's sleek and it's actually pretty clever how the curved bottom gives the impression that the laptop is floating above the surface (in addition to perpetuating the illusion that it is much thinner than it actually is).

    Just swapped out the internal storage (I got the 64gb model) for a 240gb transcend SSD and I see myself using it for another couple of years. Hopefully, the Macbook will have improved enough to make it a viable upgrade by then.
     
  12. TechZeke macrumors 68020

    TechZeke

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    #12
    Disappear? A MBA, rMB, and rMBP later and the non-retina MacBook Pro is still here. :p
     
  13. petvas macrumors 601

    petvas

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    #13
    This will happen in a period of five years probably. These devices won't disappear from one day to the other.
     
  14. TechZeke, Aug 27, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015

    TechZeke macrumors 68020

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    #14
    We've had the MBA for so long because Apple and Intel ran straight into the Steel wall of the laws of physics.

    The fact that they had to go to a core M to make a MacBook thinner than the Air shows that they hit road block. It would have been impressive if they were able to take the same ULV CPUs in the current MBA and make the new MacBook. Simply making the CPU lower powered is hardly impressive.

    Also, there really isn't much you can do with the design. All Apple did was add color to the new MacBook. The Silver just looks like a thinner MBA with a glass bezel, just as the rMBP looks like a thinner Non-retina MBP. You could argue the lack of a retina display, but the lack of retina display was how the MBA was able to achieve 12 hours of battery life.

    Not light enough? I carry around 15" rMBP in my backpack with me everyday. MBA weighs almost nothing.
     
  15. Dwayne82, Aug 27, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2015

    Dwayne82 macrumors member

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    #15
    Yeah, i meant the MBA will disappear the same way the non-retina MBP did. Apple will stop the update-cycle, throw eventually one screen size and let it several years in the Apple store for those who are bitching around because the new rMB (rMBP) has only one usb port (no DVD-drive).
     
  16. chabig macrumors 68040

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    #16
    OMG I've think you've figured it out! :)
     
  17. boltjames macrumors 68030

    boltjames

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    #17
    A lower powered CPU doesn't matter the target market for the RMB. We aren't using this to crunch millions of cells of data or make two hour HD video. It's for browsing and email and Powerpoint and Skype.

    You think the MBA is very light weight because you're used to it. Compared to my Sony Pro 13 Ultrabook, the RMB is significantly lighter, you'd feel the same way if you owned one.

    The RMB is not a smaller MBA, it's a completely different machine. Loses unnecessary ports to get lighter, has a much thinner keyboard with better feel, loses the ridiculous oversized bezel, and on and on. The MBA will be discontinued in a year or two, you'll be singing the praises of the RMB soon enough.

    BJ
     
  18. Macalway macrumors 68000

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    #18
    It's like trying to rationalize a newborn in the family.

    Just happens ;)
     
  19. mattopotamus macrumors G4

    mattopotamus

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    #19
    There is nothing like this on the market. This light, this high of a resolution screen, this power in this package.
     
  20. KPOM macrumors G5

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    #20
    How do you propose to cool a 15W processor without a fan? The Core M is a very impressive processor. It is essentially the Core i5 (complete with hyperthreading) powered down so that it draws the minimum amount of power to "keep the lights on" and speeds up when necessary. To use a car analogy, think of the MacBook as like the Fiat 500. You aren't going to haul a trailer with it, but it's great for its intended purpose.
     
  21. Newtons Apple macrumors G5

    Newtons Apple

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    #21
    I agree with the OP and think Apple did it to show how far thin can go. Just because it is thin does not make it better.
     
  22. Nychot macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    So then my gold base rmb will be collector's item in 20 years and will be under glass at MOMO.
     
  23. boltjames macrumors 68030

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    #23
    Yes, it does.

    I've yet to see anyone max out a notebook. Use it so strenuously, push it so hard to its limits that it disappoints. Today's worst notebook are quantum leaps over what were state-of-the-art just a few years ago. Today it's all about form factor. It's all about weight. It's all about height. It's all about a retina display. The rest is just processor speed mumbo-jumbo chest-pumping.

    This conversation is just like the M3 guys vs. the 328i guys over at the BMW forums. 500 horsepower engines to go 20 MPH in school zones. Power that's there for show, actually never used. The RMB is different where it matters most. No one redlines a notebook. It's there for email and browsing, no one uses it for much more.

    BJ
     
  24. xPad macrumors regular

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    #24
    That's your first mistake right there

    Many are wrong. There's zero chance Apple would release a product they thought had no market.

    Nope. They released it because it's a great product.

    The mistake you've made is assuming that if it doesn't fit your needs, then it fits no one's needs. You claim it has underwhelming specs. That may be true to you, but the MacBook is by no means a low end PC. Most people are, at this very moment, happily using a computer with much weaker specs.

    What I don't understand is why people who don't find the MacBook suitable for them seem so bent on going out of their way to either explain why no one should want it, or why it's really just some long term plan on Apple's part and that Apple really isn't serious about the current model.
     
  25. tbirdparis macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Many people realised quite some time ago that pretty much any current computer is barely even mildly stressed by the range of tasks they use a computer for. If you're "into" computers, or you use them for very specific tasks that make you hyper-aware of what specs mean, then it's easy to forget that this is irrelevant and utterly meaningless to many other people. I have many friends (and family members) who don't have the slightest interest in specs - they care about their internet browsing, their emails, their Facebook, their photos, music and movies, their Instagram, their online shopping. They want to be able to Skype, or watch a movie on a plane, write some documents, do their emailing. They want a thing that does all that. So it makes no sense for manufacturers to keep pretending it's the 90s and only prioritise one single metric for what makes a new computer better than the last one they were selling - more speed, more power, more storage, more buttkick. Yep that market still exists and it's not going anywhere. But there's another absolutely valid and big market that doesn't care about getting x amount more giga whatevers in a new computer - they cottoned on a while ago that there's barely a machine you can buy anymore that won't handle what they want to do. So what do those people care about, what might draw them to a new machine? What are actual tangibles that might make them think, hmm, that looks like something I'd like to have? Convenience and ultra portability, pleasant and appealing design with functional ease of use benefits. Eye-catching looks that make them feel happy about their new machine, choices of colours and finishes that make them feel able to make more of a personal connection.

    These are things that are easily sneered at by spec-heads, but that's a very chauvinistic attitude to take. Personally I love the fact that these factors have become more of a big deal in shaping what's out there now, I shudder to think back to the horrible days of ghastly beige towers or worse when it was all a boys-only club. It's about time some style, elegance, ergonomics and yes even elements of fashion have come to the computing world - sure most of these factors won't affect my choice when it comes to a pro machine I'd need for work. But it sure as hell comes into play when I'm picking a device for my personal life. I may have more modest needs in terms of grunt for a personal machine, but that doesn't mean that I want something utilitarian, ugly and cheap just because it's not a powerhouse. Why shouldn't a non-powerhouse machine be innovative in other ways? It's not all about bang for buck, and even if it is, then the bang for buck I've gotten by having a super sleek personal laptop I find myself using all the time all over the place in ways I never did before is more than worthwhile on its own merits. I don't care for one minute that it isn't a portable 4K editing machine or film score writing workstation, but I do care that it's a full desktop OS machine as easy to carry around as an iPad, that it has a fantastic display and unfeasibly good speakers. It's not cheap, but again, I just don't see why price-point should only equate to the amount of computing power you get. It would be a sad thing indeed if the only choice you had for a non-powerhouse, small personal machine meant that there were only cheap netbooks and bottom of the range boxes to choose from. Pairing a low-end (but importantly, good enough for the tasks I listed above) CPU with high-end extremely fast PCI storage and a high-end display would never have happened in this type of machine if manufacturers continued to believe that non-pro machines should just use low grade components across the board. The rMB is a far more interesting mix than the average attempt at a machine for this kind of end-user, and of course it's more expensive as a result. But you get something that's pretty great at what it's intended for. I don't think there's any kind of weird sinister reason at all you need to come up with for why this machine came into being. To me it looks the like the pretty obvious result of some careful thinking about how to fill a niche pretty nicely.
     

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