In this article, I’ll tell you exactly why the Macbook Air is becoming the most unnecessary piece of hardware in Apple’s lineup.
Apple first released the Macbook Air in 2008 and claimed by Steve Jobs as the world’s thinnest notebook. It replaced the ‘Macbook’ range of laptops and was a Machine targeting the users who we’re vying for the more powerful MacBook Pro and simply wanted a laptop that could do Basic tasks such as run office apps and do some web browsing. Haters labeled the MacBook Air as “the most expensive Machine to browse twitter on” whilst MacBook Pro users disregarded their little siblings as casual users.
After remaining relevant for many years, the changes in the Apple product line up and hardware progression began to blur the lines of the MacBook Air’s place.
It Lost its Spot in the Lineup
The MacBook line up was very straight forward at the beginning. It was part of Job’s plan to simplify the lineup with Consumer and Pro users as his segregation. As per his famous grid, he was going to make a product which meets the needs of each user type.
If you were a simple “consumer” user that needed a portable Computer that ran Mac OS you would simply purchase the
If you were a “power” user that needed a portable laptop that could run heavier software such as Adobe’s Creative Suite you would go for the more powerful
Over time the Macbook Air received the upgrades that all MacBooks did in the lineup like Retina displays, Solid State Drives and faster connectivity ports making it a good contender against the MacBook Pro. Later versions of the Macbook Air could run resource-heavy software, the hardware itself wasn’t designed for it with less cooling facilities and weaker chipsets but you could still make do.
Today’s price difference between MacBooks.
The pricing of both items also played a significant role. Initially, there was a much larger difference in the price between the Air and the Pro. Now for just USD300 more, you can get the MacBook Pro which is faster, more powerful and will have an increased longevity compared to a MacBook Air. So when you are purchasing a Macbook the option of choosing a Pro over an Air is much easier. To counteract this, Apple is doing what Apple rarely does and is offering a discount on the Air to encourage people to buy it.
Apple is Apple’s Biggest Competitor
The iPod was the most revolutionary piece of technology created by Apple and it changed the world. In 2001 I still remember seeing Steve Jobs on stage exhibiting a box that could store thousands of songs, that fit in his hand. It single-handedly killed the cd industry and changed music distribution and later pushed forth streaming.
Fast forward a few years later and all the features of the iPod are being slowly assimilated into the iPhone. Soon the iPod is considered redundant with the amount of hard drive space that phones come in. A basic level iPhone has more hard drive space than an iPod.
Later Apple changes the game again with the launch of it’s streaming service. Apple Music. This was the final nail to the coffin to the iPod. Why walk around with a device that can store downloaded songs when you’re phone with the help of omnipotent data can stream any song of your choice? In fact, they have replaced iPod from the menu of Apple.com for “Music”
The Rise of the iPad Pro
Apple announced the first generation of the iPad Pro in 2015. It was meant to be a more powerful iPad targeting the professional market (like they did with the Mac Pro). Apple saw a world of illustrators and designers using iPad Pros in their day to day work, but the first generation didn’t catch on. Its hardware wasn’t too powerful and people were still used to computers and drawing tablets. It, however, caught the attention of students who purchased it as an alternative to carrying a laptop around campus and was much easier to read notes in.
The second generation of the iPad Pro was more powerful and introduced the world to a magnetic connectivity port at the back allowing you to strap on a multi-purpose keyboard cover. When I got my hands on one at the Apple store it dawned on me; they’re going to cannibalise their own MacBook Air.
The next generation of the iPad and thereafter keeps drawing closer and closer to defeating the MacBook Air. It has a better display which is a touch screen, the same hard disk space, support for a pen and runs iPad OS which with every update gets very close to operating as a computer OS.
All its apps are optimised to run in harmony with the hardware with a lot of preference to design and illustration apps that pair well with the Apple Pencil, that magnetically attaches (and charges) itself to the top.
The iPad Pro is also the first iPad to support the full Adobe Photoshop software instead of the watered-down version. Note-taking apps such as Microsoft Words, Evernote and Apple Notes has been updated to attract the journalist and student market. The other apps are present too if you still want to watch a video or play a game.
The accessories that come with the iPad Pro also mean that it is a more versatile product for different needs. The Apple Pencil for graphic designers and illustrator and Magic Keyboard for anyone from journalists to students who want the keyboard experience.
Where do we see the MacBook Air in the future? Since professional users are becoming Apple’s primary target they will be catered to with MacBook Pros and Mac Pros and optimised software and hardware. Consumer users won’t be left in the dust, they will be rewarded with an even more portable, yet powerful iPad Pro that will give them the ability to do everything that they want plus more with accessories to fit their needs.
Whether category you fall into the iPad Pro brings better software optimisation, cooler accessories and a computing experience like no other at the same cost as the Macbook Air.
Apple is right: Your next computer isn’t a computer.