I came across a tweet from 2012 in my Timehop feed this week where I declared my intent to buy a 15-inch MacBook Air assuming one would exist eventually. The first MacBook Pro with Retina display was introduced earlier that year and had a 25 percent thinner design, but it was still pretty hefty.
My hope has been for a MacBook that prioritizes “thinness” over power to deliver a larger display in a lightweight casing. Bigger MacBooks are heavier MacBooks and 11-, 12-, and 13-inch screens just aren’t ideal for me full-time. With new MacBooks way overdue, I’m still holding out hope for something close to my dream MacBook (and at the current rate it might even be the powerful one).
My favorite MacBook that currently exists is the 12-inch MacBook with Retina display. I was fond of the new machine last year during my initial review, and the second-gen improves on the power and battery life. It’s fine for writing and lightweight photo and video editing. I sold my MacBook earlier this year, however, as I ultimately found the screen real estate just too limiting for comfortable daily use. (The option to show more content makes it more ideal, but the small text it produces is too much of a strain for my eyes.)
I’ve since been working from my Mac mini (it’s a trooper: Late 2012, 2.3GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 1TB external HDD, with Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2) as my desktop solution and relying on my 9.7-inch iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard for occasional mobile work. I figured I’d buy the new MacBook Pro in June or July with Sierra … or August or September … but alas, here we are in October still anticipating new MacBooks any day now.
The good news is that the next MacBook Pro refresh sounds like a major update. Touch ID for log-ins and Apple Pay, a dynamic OLED function row that could address Multi-Touch on the Mac, a thinner design, and new processors.
I still hope the next 15-inch MacBook is thinner (for the sake of being lighter), and now a few other items have joined my wish list.
First of all, I wasn’t totally sold on the need for Touch ID on MacBooks until recent macOS updates. Using the Apple Watch and iPhone for Auto-Unlock and Apple Pay is clever, but nothing beats the Mac being able to handle password-free log-ins and Apple Pay on its own.
Password-protected Notes would also benefit from Touch ID; on iOS you can use your fingerprint to unlock notes, but the Mac requires a passcode. Finally, there’s 1Password. I absolutely love 1Password’s extension on iOS thanks to Touch ID, and this same behavior on the Mac would be terrific.
The OLED touch panel could be gimmicky or prove essential. I don’t think we know enough yet to really decide, but the idea of addressing Multi-Touch on the Mac without reaching across the display itself is interesting.
I really like typing on the Magic Keyboard (it’s not as dramatic as the 12-inch MacBook) so hopefully the next MacBook adopts its style. Larger trackpads are nice too; the 12-inch MacBook trackpad and the Magic Trackpad 2 are really nice for multi-finger gestures.
There’s also color to consider while we’re dreaming. I used the space gray MacBook and really loved a darker color that stood out next to the standard silver. The finish wore off under my thumb prints, however, so hopefully this issue is improved with future coatings. Space gray is old news now too; black is back thanks to the new iPhone 7.
I don’t think a jet black MacBook would be very practical in terms of fingerprints and deflecting scratches, but a matte black finish like the other new iPhone 7 just sounds dreamy. Take my money.
Finally, the usual specs. I didn’t mind USB-C on the 12-inch MacBook but I would expect a MacBook Pro to at least feature two USB-C ports, especially if one replaces MagSafe. Current MacBook Pros feature a 720p FaceTime HD webcam which is way better than the 12-inch MacBook’s 480p version; hopefully Apple bumps this up to at least 1080p next time.
I’d also love to see beefier RAM and SSD options. 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD is currently the max; I don’t need more but having the option could make those configurations cheaper. Processor-wise, I can live on the 12-inch MacBook’s Core M so anything newer than what the current MacBook Pros use would be adequate.
Bottom line is I really hope the next MacBook Pro is noticeably lighter even with a 15-inch display. It just makes sense to me that the larger MacBook would need a slim version to balance to added weight of a larger surface area.
It sounds like I just might get the best of both worlds: power and portability. Fingers (seriously) crossed on this one! My 9to5Mac colleague and co-host Benjamin and I chatted at length about this very topic earlier this summer on episode 79 of the Happy Hour podcast.