Apple’s January diet seems extreme – slimmer MacBook, thinner USB port?

7 Jan 2015

Apple is reportedly working on a new concept MacBook that’s thinner and lighter than before – with a Type-C USB port.

9to5 Mac’s Marc Gurman reports that the new 12-inch MacBook Air will be thinner, lighter, flatter and more compact than ever before, with an edge-to-edge keyboard reminiscent of the Steve Jobs-launched 12-inch PowerBook from a decade ago.

The new device will be considerably smaller than the current 13-inch version, narrower and taller than the 11-inch model, with rearranged and tighter keys. It will also, apparently, be cheaper.

Indeed the reduced ports (apparently there will be just one headphone/microphone port and one USB Type C port) follow in Apple’s long line of moves away from wires.

Relatively recent innovations such as Handoff, AirDrop and iCloud Drive all helped to reduce the need of certain wires, with modern cloud capabilities generally begging the question as to why we still use so many wires anyway.

Plenty to consider

Well one answer is to do with security. For this MacBook Air to come to pass, Apple fans (some of the most brand loyal consumers out there) will invariably need to rely ever more on the cloud, which isn’t as secure as many would like.

A way to counteract these fears, should 9to5 Mac’s illustrations prove accurate, would be USB hubs, something many people rely on even with current, ports-a-plenty laptops and MacBooks.

9to5 Mac’s illustrations offer a glimpse at what may come to pass. The top image shows the new concept (left) in comparison to the current MacBook

However there are a few elements to this potential launch that will be key. Type C USBs are by no means universally loved, so jumping on to this bandwagon is a calculated risk. However if reports from CES are to be believed, they are gaining support.

Also, Apple’s products are not known for their low prices, quite the opposite in fact. Were Apple to go down the route of truly competing, on price, with Chromebooks and other Windows-led devices, it would be a marked shift in the company’s business plan.

However considering that HP recently launched their pretty cool looking competitors for Mac Mini’s, adding to other Windows-operated competition, perhaps this is the dawn of a new age for Apple?

Laptop screen image, edited by Silicon Republic, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic