You Should Think of the New MacBook As a Tablet

Old vs. new.

Screencap from Apple

Apple just announced a new MacBook, and it takes a classic design-first Apple approach. It has a 12-inch retina screen, an all-metal unibody, comes in three colors, and is only 2 pounds. But it also only has one port for charging, peripherals … everything, and it’s $1,300. OK. Before we start on the whole “this is so dumb, how do you charge it and use a monitor at the same time?” thing, just try thinking of it as a tablet.

The thing about tablets is that some people, myself included, don’t like them. They’re hard to prop up, they’re annoying to type on, and the software that’s designed for them often still feels incomplete. The thing about the new MacBook is that it’s really a tablet—it’s just the lovable laptop version. It’s ultra-light, has what is essentially a tablet processor, puts long battery life first, and has few ports. If you love your tablet, there’s no reason for you to buy it. But if you hate tablets, it’s the exact thing you want.

Of course, with models that are $1,299 and $1,599—for increased hard drive storage and a processor bump—Apple is asking a lot, as always. Those numbers make even the iPad Air 2 look cheap. But this is a real laptop. It can do all the things. (All the nongaming/movie editing things.) You don’t have to get defensive about how you actually really love responding to emails on it, or how it’s so convenient to bring on planes. You can just use it as your computer and not think about it.

In the announcement, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Philip Schiller, said, “This is the vision of the future of the notebook: One of extreme portability.” The idea that tablets and laptops will someday converge is not a new one. So this new MacBook isn’t really a new idea, either. It’s just the next step toward the logical extreme.