In my assessment of machines to replace my MacBook Air the MacBook never featured in my thoughts. That’s not because it’s a bad machine, however I decided it wasn’t suitable for my needs because of the compromises it demands. Whilst it isn’t a machine that I could see myself using if you are looking for a machine in the space the MacBook lives, you’ll find its a very competitive device.
When the MacBook was launched, the general consensus was that Apple would kill the MacBook Air and in doing so keep its range slim. That hasn’t happened, primarily because the MacBook and MacBook Air target two very different users and replacing one device with the other or making one behave more like the other just aren’t sensible things to do.
The MacBook exists to provide a machine to customers who want the ultimate in portability and will make sacrifices in almost all other areas to get it. The MacBook has a footprint not much larger than an iPad and weighs not significantly more than an iPad / case / keyboard combination. Yet it can be used to do real work. In that I mean it can run all of the OS X application catalogue, which amounts to an awful lot of functionality outside of what can be achieved by the iPad.
It doesn’t need to be fast, it doesn’t need to have a epic battery life and it certainly doesn’t need a whole host of ports because those buyers who make up its target audience really don’t care about those sorts of things. They want portability, premium build and a great screen all of which the MacBook delivers.
The compromises asked of the MacBook buyer are the keyboard and the lack of a touchscreen. The former would be resolved with familiarity and the latter is something Apple doesn’t appear to want to provide on any desktop class machine.
In all other respects the MacBook is engineered to meet the needs of its audience. I’m just not in that group right now.