David Pierce reviews the new MacBook succinctly and with great understanding of who exactly this device is for, a question often asked by tech journalists and enthusiasts since it was introduced early last year.
"Think about the people with 5-year-old PCs or 5-year-old Macs or, God help them, 5-year-old netbooks. What do they do on their laptops? Not much, really. According to one study, they spend 5.6 hours a day online, just shy of half of it on a laptop. The MacBook can run a browser, so that’s good. A different survey, from 2014, listed the top 20 things people do on their devices. Of them, only number 20 - “Making/shooting videos,” done by just 5 percent of respondents - is too much for this MacBook. Everything else is no problem: check email, shop, surf Facebook, watch videos. Unless you already know you need more power than the MacBook offers, you probably don’t."
Pierce on the MacBook’s one USB-C port:
"It’s forced me out of some outdated habits. There was a time when I thought I desperately needed a CD-ROM drive. Then Apple killed it, and I barely noticed. The same happened with the MacBook. I don’t miss all those ports."
It’s really eye-opening to just how disillusioned people with more capable machines can get when addressing the MacBook. Imagine for a second that you don’t need to do the few things the MacBook can’t. Now look at the device again. Razor-thinness, a Retina display, and a shallow keyboard (whether that’s a pro or con is up to you; I consider it a pro): all in an elegant design that makes the rest of the MacBook lineup look rugged by comparison.
Like I said before, I’m due for a MacBook Pro soon, which I’m excited to replace after almost 4 years with an underpowered MacBook Air. But I can’t help but glance at the MacBook. Pierce calls the new MacBook “the present” after calling it “the future” last year. I think it’s a tad more nuanced than that. To me, it’s still the future for people like me that need their machines to have more RAM, faster processing, and availability of certain ports for heavier tasks like video and graphics editing. (The MacBook can actually do these tasks passably, depending on your definition of passable.) But I think it’s certainly the present for anyone unconstrained by those tasks, which is fortunately most people.
So to them, I say, welcome to the future.