There are some rumors going around that Apple might be bringing back it’s 12-inch MacBook. This same rumor also says that Apple is planning to use an ARM-based processor instead of its traditional Intel chip. Bloomberg is reporting that by 2021 Apple may try to sell its Mac devices powered by its own-chipset.
The 12-inch MacBook was launched back in 2015 and was advertised as Apple’s slimmest and lightest MacBook at the time. It had a solid display and was made with high quality materials. However it ultimately was a flop and failed to make headway in replacing the MacBook Air.
Reasons For Failure
The original 12-inch Macbook was not perfect the Butterfly keyboard is a well known issue that has haunted Apple for years. Furthermore the Core M processor that it was powered by was a bit underpowered and it only offered a single USB C port which limited its connectivity.
Furthermore it was absurdly overpriced it started at $1,299 at launch for comparison the MacBook Air is priced at around $1,199. The MacBook Air back then was also more powerful, and had better connectivity. If you ever wanted a product that screamed “Apple” the 12-inch Macbook was that.
What made matters worse was that the 13-inch MacBook Pro is ultimately what killed the 12-inch Macbook (as it was discontinued in early 2019).
Concerns About ARM
Apple has the technical means and the cash to design and manufacturer its own chips. That’s not a difficult task for the company as we all know they have been designing their own A-series chips for their phones and tablets for years now.
But designing an ARM-based A-series chip for a laptop proposes some challenges. ARM chips are typically designed for low power usage and aren’t able to handle a heavy workload.
Infact, a large chunk of Chromebooks are now powered by ARM based chips (the more expensive models though are powered by Intel processors). This works because Chromebooks have limited functionality they really only operate within Google Chrome with emulators for Linux and Android apps. ARM based Chromebooks are also substantially less expensive (primarily due to the chip being less expensive) which would be a little odd for Apple since they might devalue their brand too much going this route.
Of course, then there is the technical headache of integrating appssince most are written for x86 architecture (intel chips) meaning apple would need to pressure devs to support this new chipset for virtually no gain.
If Apple is looking to create a more consumer focused device they need to do so in a way that doesn’t dilute the overall brand. I recommend instead of reviving the 12-inch macbook they introduce a new 12.3 inch MacBook Air Model. They can then work to lower the price of the Air to be more on par with the Google Pixelbook (or Pixelbook Go).
If Apple goes ahead and introduces a new entry level “MacBook” they threaten to devalue the MacBook Pro line. Where as the MacBook Air line has always been on the cheaper side and is already seen as the more budget conscious choice.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.