The 12-inch MacBook was once the best in thin and light notebooks, but Apple removed this product from the Apple Store in 2019. Interestingly, more than a year after it was removed from the shelves, it has reignited discussions among many users.
All this is due to the M1 chip launched by Apple last year. Its excellent performance in battery life, performance, power consumption, etc. has rekindled hope for many loyal 12-inch MacBook users. After all, the reason for its removal was Generally regarded as insufficient performance.
The M1 chip just makes up for these regrets, even with a fanless design, it can have relatively good performance and battery life.
Restart the 12-inch MacBook?
In our article discussing the delisting of the 12-inch MacBook, some readers commented that if the processor is changed to Apple's self-developed A-series chips, the battery life and performance should be better, and the MacBook will not fall out of the shelves.
As a result, one year later, Apple really came with the self-developed processor M1 chip, and the performance was really good. The Geekbench multi-core running score surpassed the i9-9980HK processor equipped with the 16-inch MacBook Pro, and we also found it in our actual test The performance of the MacBook Pro equipped with the M1 chip in scenes such as video editing and rendering can indeed be close to the top 16-inch MacBook Pro of the 2019 model.
The battery life is also good. In the same video work scenario, the 16-inch MacBook Pro consumes nearly half of the power per piece, while the MacBook Pro equipped with the M1 chip consumes less than 20% of the power. The new MacBook Air is even more powerful. Tonight" slogan for battery life.
This is just the embarrassing point of the 12-inch MacBook. The weight of 920g and the thickness of 1.31 cm at the thickest point make it the lightest and thinnest MacBook series, but it also limits its performance.
Due to the limitation of the compact body, the 12-inch MacBook can only use the Intel Core processor with a power consumption of only 5W at the time. With the addition of a fanless design, a USB-C interface, a butterfly keyboard, etc., the performance is stretched and the heat dissipation is not good. , Is not suitable for creation and entertainment, which is why many people at that time called it just a netbook.
▲Teardown of 12-inch MacBook. Picture from: iFixit
The M1 chip can just solve this problem, and battery life and performance have good performance on MacBook Air.
And from the MacBook Air teardown picture, it can also be found that it is also a fanless design with the M1 chip. The original place where the fan was placed has been replaced with an aluminum extender, indicating that the internal space can also be used more efficiently.
If you compare the disassembly diagrams of the M1 MacBook Air and 12-inch MacBook, you can find that the two products are very similar in internal design. The same battery takes up most of the internal space and is separated from the touchpad area.
▲ Above is the disassembly diagram of M1 version of MacBook Air, and below is the disassembly diagram of MacBook. Picture from: iFixit
Comparing the motherboards of the two computers, you can find that they are all ultra-small motherboards, which are almost catching up with the motherboards on the iPad. This also depends on the architecture design of the M1 chip, which not only has a small chip but also integrated memory.
All of the above indicate that the M1 chip can exert good performance and battery life in a smaller body, and can maintain a fanless design. This hardware comparison has promoted many 12-inch MacBook users to whether it will be resurrected. discussion.
A friend of mine is still using the 12-inch top-of-the-line MacBook. The reason why this product attracts her is the weight of 920g, which is nearly 300 grams lighter than the MacBook Air (1.29kg) currently on sale. The pressure on the back is much less.
In addition, her work is indeed relatively mild. Writing articles and browsing web pages are her main work scenarios. These do not require high performance. There are also a group of ultra-light users like my friends who are looking forward to the new 12 Inch MacBook.
So the feasibility of hardware will prompt Apple to revive it?
The awkward positioning of MacBook
Let's first conclude that Apple is unlikely to restart the 12-inch MacBook product line. This is not just a hardware problem.
Let’s first look at it from a time perspective. The 12-inch MacBook was removed from the Apple Store around mid-2019. It was only more than 1 year since Apple announced the migration to the ARM architecture and the release of MacBook Pro and MacBook Air with M1 chips. time.
The self-developed chip must take more than a year. That is to say, Apple has more or less estimates of the power consumption and performance of the M1 chip when it is removed from the shelves in 2019. It clearly knows that there is a better chip or chooses to give up , It is obviously more than a hardware limitation.
Look at the 12-inch MacBook itself. In order to pursue lightness and thinness, Apple tried a butterfly keyboard on it. Although it is light and thin, it does not feel good. It is called "knock the steel plate" by users. What is more serious is that it has been designed to adjust multiple times. After trying to reduce failures, it did not improve.
So far, Apple has provided a 4-year free keyboard repair program for MacBooks equipped with butterfly keyboards, and it is embarrassing to return to the scissor-foot-designed keyboard at the end of 2019.
In addition, only one USB-C also makes many users helpless. Once users have expansion needs, they must use the USB-C port docking station, and the kind equipped with a charging port, of course, is extremely thin and attractive. But we cannot give up the basic experience.
Another important reason for the MacBook 12-inch drop is product positioning. Open Apple's official website and look at the Mac series product line. From MacBook Air to Mac Pro, product prices and positioning have also risen all the way, forming a smooth gradient arrangement.
The 12-inch MacBook is embarrassing. Although the weight of 920g is very limited, the MacBook Air is not only cheaper than it, but also better in performance and battery life, especially the version equipped with the M1 chip.
In addition to the Mac, the iPad Pro series is also a potential competitor. After the iPadOS update, it not only introduces a desktop browser, but also has a function similar to the desktop "cursor", not to mention the Magic Keyboard with its own trackpad. Accessories.
In contrast, the iPad Pro is heavier than a 12-inch MacBook, but the performance and experience can exceed a lot. After all, the ecology of the iPad Pro mobile terminal can be a lot richer.
When the price of MacBook Air drops to 8,000 yuan, e-commerce platform subsidies can be cheaper. With the price of iPad Pro rising, how to price the 12-inch MacBook is also a problem. It is difficult to establish a reasonable price between the two. Product Positioning.
If you want to resurrect the 12-inch MacBook series and let it stand between the MacBook Air and iPad series, there is a high probability that the product will need to be adjusted, and it is not only as simple as changing an M1 chip, but also has a more unique The product power.
In fact, Apple does this, but the product that realizes this idea will no longer be the MacBook, but the next-generation MacBook Air.
What is more worth looking forward to is the next generation MacBook Air
After changing the ARM architecture, Apple’s reform of the Mac has been in full swing. Thanks to the excellent performance of the M1 chip, the shipment of Macs in the fourth quarter of 2020 has increased by 49.2%, and with Apple’s expansion of the Mac product line With gradual transformation, growth should continue.
There are no obvious changes in the design of the new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air launched in 2020. This set of molds is obviously not enough for the more integrated and smaller M1 chip.
According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Tianfeng International analyst Guo Mingchi, two analysts with a high hit rate, Apple is indeed preparing to adjust the appearance of the MacBook and other product designs. In the previous article, we mentioned this matter.
The new MacBook Pro will reuse the MagSafe magnetic charging port, increase the memory card interface, and cancel the TouchBar touch bar design, while reducing the screen frame, launching new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro products.
And let the light of the fans surprise is that Bloomberg's Mark Gurman another broke the news – about the new MacBook Air.
Like the next-generation MacBook Pro, the next-generation MacBook Air will also use the successor of the M1 chip, and will also change the small screen frame to achieve the similar effect of "13-inch screen in 12-inch body."
Does it smell like a 12-inch MacBook? This is not over yet. The next generation MacBook Air will also be equipped with 2 USB 4 ports and MagSafe magnetic charging ports, which is much stronger.
But the weight is hard to say. There is no clear information to prove how much the weight of the next generation MacBook Air will be reduced. After all, the weight of the 12-inch MacBook 920g is already at the limit.
In addition, the next generation MacBook Air should still be designed with a scissor keyboard, which will have a certain impact on the thickness. It is obviously more difficult to get back to the weight and thickness of the 12-inch MacBook.
Another new feature is the mini-LED screen. In an article published by Ming-Chi Kuo in December 2020, the shipment of mini-LED products exceeded expectations. It is expected that the MacBook Pro with a new shape design will be used this year, and the MacBook Air will be used. Wait until 2022.
And thanks to the cost reduction brought by Apple's self-developed processor, it offset the increased cost of the mini-LED screen lock.
Bloomberg’s forecast also mentions the launch time of the next-generation MacBook Air, which is expected to be at the end of 2021 or early 2022. According to the two people’s previous super-high prediction hit rates for Apple’s products, the credibility is still very high.
It is worth noting that Mark Gurman made it clear in his prediction that the positioning of the next-generation MacBook Air will be significantly higher than that of the M1 chip version MacBook Air currently on sale, and there will be a period of simultaneous sale of the two products.
In other words, the price of the next generation MacBook Air will be higher than the current price of around 8,000 yuan.
In summary, the next-generation MacBook Air and MacBook Pro clearly show the different positioning of the two products through differentiated configurations. The stronger configuration, more comprehensive and more interfaces of MacBook Pro are all paving the way for creativity. It emphasizes productivity more.
The MacBook Air is on the basis of sufficient daily performance and longer battery life, and is further developed to be thin and light.
To say that Apple will not resurrect the 12-inch MacBook, it is better to say that Apple decided to use the MacBook Air as its successor in 2019. After all, Jobs took out the MacBook Air from the kraft paper tape and surprised everyone. Both are the most obvious labels of the MacBook Air series.
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