With all the chatter of Apple working on a larger MacBook Air, there are also some pointers towards a new size of MacBook Pro. Is a 12-inch MacOS laptop desirable? Is there a market? Can it compete with similar Windows laptops? And can Apple fix what went wrong with its last attempt at a smaller MacBook?
With the understanding of “assuming Taniyama-Shimura“, let’s think about why a 12-MacBook Pro is a good idea.
First of all, is marketing. In the same way that Apple’s potential 15-inch MacBook Air fills in the gap between the current Air (13-inch) and the two MacBook Pro laptops (14-inch and 16-inch), a 12-inch MacBook would offer another physical size in the portfolio. Apple is no longer a plucky little upstart that needs to think carefully about the targeting of a single laptop in the wider market, Apple is a company that can and does address all the market.
For all of the benefits of an iPad or iPad Pro with a magic keyboard to act as a smaller laptop, it’s a bit of a kludge. A smaller MacBook is going to be able to take on devices such as Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go range. The market has shown there is a demand, and Apple is not serving it.
Secondly, it addresses the curate’s egg of the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro. This laptop has been updated with the M2 chipset, but if you are looking for power then you are going to look at the larger MacBook Pro laptops which are better suited to deliver. If you are looking for a good all-around laptop, then the MacBook Air is more than capable thanks to running the same M2 chipset… and is slightly cheaper.
At 13-inches the MacBook Pro lacks a selling point… especially as it retains the same design as the older Intel-based Macs. If Apple were to focus on replacing it by making a smaller laptop with the new design language then it has a purpose. Down on power, yes, but leaning heavily into fashion as well as offering Windows customers an alternative in the small laptop market.
Finally, the issues around Apple’s last 12-inch MacBook would be addressed. On that model, launched in 2017, the laptop simply lacked enough power to do anything of note; the webcam, speakers, and microphone left much to be desired; and the thin design relied on the now-shunned butterfly keyboard.
A new 12-inch MacBook would address all these and more… Apple Silicon has proved its worth in the Mac and iPad families, multimedia technology has advanced significantly (with a nod to the work from home movement as well), and Apple has well over a year of feedback on the new design language.
That’s not to say there would be negatives, but it’s clear that there are some great reasons for the geekerati to hope that, as the MacBook Air reaches up for a 15-inch display, l the Pro decides that less is more and heads for a 12-inch display.