There’s no doubt that the hardware and software destined for Apple’s first ARM-powered MacBook are impressive technical feats, but all of that will amount to nothing if Tim Cook and his team cannot sell the machine. Luckily, that’s one of Apple’s strengths. Let’s start at the top… what should the new Mac be called?
It’s unlikely Tim Cook’s Apple would ever send something to retail shelves called ‘The Apple MacBook Laptop (A14X Edition) Powered By MacOS On ARM’ (no I’m not looking at you, Redmond…) but it is likely that the team will be thinking carefully about the name for the debutant.
While the geekerati are going to get excited over the presumptively named A14X chip, Apple’s first ARM-based processor for the Mac platform, Apple’s real goal is to make the transition from Intel to ARM as smoothly as possible. The technical details of the new laptop are going to be mentioned in the background – instead benefits of using ARM will be the focus. the ideas of more power, better battery life, thinner design, and a lighter laptop, will be the focus.
ARM is all about benefits to the Mac platform. Apple will not want the general public to worry about app compatibility or any of the headaches that are clear to those following the details of the story.
But there still needs to be something that suggests this is a new approach to the MacBook, something fresh and revolutionary that people should get involuted with.
For me that rules out using ‘MacBook Air’. When it launched ‘AIr’ stood for something as it brought an ultraportable and lightweight laptop to the range. over time the original meaning of the Air has been lost – to the point that Air now means ‘slightly lower specs than the MacBook Pro’, because there’s not a huge amount of physical differences between the 13-inch Pro and the Air. Using MacBook Air for the new ARM-powered MacBook is going to remove any value from the suffix.
It’s probably best to rule out ‘MacBook Pro’, at least for the first ARM machine. While the initial benchmarks for Apple’s ARM-based Developer Transition Kit are strong, nobody is expecting the first ARM-powered MacBook to rival the outright performance of the MacBook Pro. It’s likely to follow in the future, but the new laptop is trading in ‘small and portable’ not ‘grunt and graphics’.
It’s also worth remembering that the existing Intel-powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro machines are not going to suddenly disappear. They will remain on sale, they will stay in circulation many years, and there needs to be a clear line between this generation and the next generation.
Apple has been here before, with a new concept to launch with both the ‘Air’ and ‘Pro’ designations in use. Launched in March 2015, the 12-inch MacBook targeted the premium space between the Air and thePro. It was kept small and light, it had a fan-less design, and it was pushed as a highly portable laptop for day-to-day work. Sounds familiar?
The MacBook Air is too old and has lost its totemic brilliance. The aura of the MacBook Pro is not a comfortable fit with what is currently expected from Apple.
How about ‘MacBook’?