Recently, both Microsoft and Apple have released updates to their respective brands. Apple most has made substantial upgrades to their MacBooks for the first time since 2012; As Apple is one to do, the release didn’t come without a bit of controversy, but we’ll talk about that in a bit.
Microsoft has in recent years focused on the Microsoft Surface and Surface Pro tablet/laptop fusion devices, but that changed when they released the Microsoft Surface Studio. The first true effort to debase Apple’s standing at the top of the creative production field— Is it going to work?
Well, short answer: No. Long answer: While Microsoft is probably never (within the next decade at the absolute very least) going to usurp Apple’s throne in the industry, any sort of attack on the brand will probably be felt. After they released upgrades of the MacBook and the massive (and growing) disparity between the two brand’s identities, it’s easy to see that Microsoft could become incredibly attractive, very quickly.
Here’s what I mean on a technology level: The new MacBook has increased processing speed and battery efficiency which is a clear step forward. On the higher end models, the new function touch bar adds some futuristic flare and potentially a new look for the MacBook as a whole, but it’s not an earth shattering move.
The earth shattering move (if there really was one) was the decision to remove USB-3 ports from the MacBook and replace them with exclusively USB-C ports—which begs the question, “Who uses USB-C right now?” I’m going to leave that question for others to decide. For now, let’s assume this is a forward-thinking move.
If you want to read about Microsoft’s advancements with the Surface Studio, check out the article I wrote about that. But what makes the Surface Pro and Surface Studio feel very different from anything on the Apple line is the touch-screens; and that’s where the true brand differences start to show.
Apple’s exclusion of touchscreens in 2016 sort of screams to their strategy going forward and their pricing model solidifies that hypothesis. The newly released MacBooks sit comfortably above their predecessor’s in price, with the most advanced among them starting at over$2,000.
At first this seems strange, but if you consider the prospect of Apple trying to leverage the iPad as the sub-Laptop option, it starts to make sense. The iPad is starting to be used by a lot as a portable laptop substitute. For Apple to just go along with that is certainly not a stretch.
But that’s at odds with Microsoft’s strategy. Microsoft has been putting touch-screens in most of their devices, but specifically, the Surface and Surface Pro have been marketed as being an all-around device. In fact, they’ve even put touch-screen in the Surface Studio and have been pushing it as a 21st Century Drafting Table. There’s nothing really in the Apple line that addresses this. That’s not necessarily meant as a criticism, but it shows a growing schism between the two brands, and a totally different design ethic.
Regardless of which brand you’ve felt loyalty to in the past, after these recent developments, you’re being forced more than you’ve ever been in the past to make a decision about how you want to use what you’re buying— not just what brand you prefer.
New MacBooks mark Apple's return to high-end laptops in age of the tablet
Via The Guardian:
After a long period as a mid-market manufacturer, rapid shift signals a reaction to the changing shape of the PC market
Apple released its latest laptops on Thursday, a new range of computers to replace the ageing range of Retina MacBook Pros. They are thinner and lighter than their predecessors, with a new touch bar at the top of the keyboard and a fingerprint sensor replacing the power button.
They are £750 more than the machines they replace were – though their price has also gone up. The larger of the two new MacBook Pros, the 15in with Touch Bar, is the first laptop the company has released with a starting price of more than £2,000 for more than a decade: it begins at an eye-watering £2,349, with build-to-order options taking it well north of £4,000.
Apple’s former cheapest laptop, the £749 MacBook, is also being retired. With the next cheapest going up in price due to post-Brexit currency swings, there is now only one Apple laptop available for less than £1,000: the £949 13in MacBook Pro, an almost two-year-old computer that is likely to never see another update.
It too has been quietly replaced by another top-end machine, 2015’s MacBook: a £1,249 ultralightweight laptop with one port, one headphone jack, a mobile processor and a width of just 13mm.
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(cover photo credit: snap from BGR Media)