Jason Snell on the rumored 12” MacBook Air →

January 09, 2015 |

Jason Snell:

If Gurman’s reports are accurate, this new model pulls the MacBook Air line away from the MacBook Pro. In fact, it returns the MacBook Air to its roots—as a product full of choices that we consider crazy at first, because they’re out of step with conventional computer design, but that will appeal to a target audience that doesn’t actually care about those de rigueur features.

In other words, would Apple release a laptop with no dedicated power cable, ditch a bunch of traditional ports, and funnel every bit of power and wired connectivity through a connector that it has never before used, all in the name of creating a thinner and lighter laptop? Are you kidding? Of course it would.

If you want something like the current MacBook Air but with a Retina screen, you already have it: it’s called the 13" Retina MacBook Pro.

There used to be a time when the 13” MacBook Air and the 13” MacBook Pro were two clearly differentiated products. However, ever since the 13” Retina MacBook Pro was introduced they’ve been awfully close in terms of size, performance and features, to the point where it doesn’t really make sense to keep them both in the lineup. This would be even more glaring if the Air were to gain a Retina screen, as the rumors seem to indicate.

The natural choice for Apple, as Jason points out, is to return the MacBook Air to its roots as a device that sacrifices a few commonplace features in pursuit of the ultimate portability. That’s what the Air was always supposed to be.

The various iterations of the MacBook Air’s design represented what “thin and light” looked like in 2008 and 2010, but what does “ultimate portability” look like in 2015?

It appears we’re about to find out.