gold Apple MacBook

The end of the road? Image credit: Apple.

MacBook is Dying

Dan Moren at Macworld tells us, “4 Apple products and technologies that are running out of time.” It’s the end of the road for the Touch Bar, Lightning, AirPower and, gulp, the MacBook.

Alas, poor MacBook. You never quite found your niche. Many Apple watchers (yours truly included) thought the MacBook was the second coming of the MacBook Air…

Where does that leave the MacBook? Either it’s in need of a substantial refresh and reframing about its place in the line-up or it’s time to bid it a tearful adieu. My money’s on the latter.

• Related to the potential demise of the MacBook is this article at 9to5Mac which has a partial comparison chart. It adds some insight into the 12-inch MacBook’s current place in the lineup of other 13-inch Apple notebooks. It doesn’t stack up well. Also, I’ve had something to say about the MacBook myself recently.

[The New MacBook Air: Apple Competes With Itself]

In the above article, I wrote:

And what about the Macbook? It almost seems as if Apple has two competing teams, leapfrogging each other. Where will the MacBook go from here? Will it again leapfrog and surpass the MBA? Or will it, now an aging technology, be retired as a failed experiment?

• Turning to the new MacBook Air, Laptop Magazine has the benchmarks.
New MacBook Air Benchmarks Leaked: Here’s How It Stacks Up.” Bottom line:

The [new] MacBook Air earned a score of 4248 on the Geekbench single-core test and 7828 on the multi-core test. That was enough to top the 3335 and 6119 the 2017 MacBook Air notched on single- and multi-core tests last year. However … the base 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar tallied scores of 4504 and 16464, showing much stronger multi-core performance than the Air.

For more on the new MacBook Air, see AppleInsider’s MacBook Air 2018: Hands on, first impressions, and initial benchmarks.

More Debris

11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro with USB-C

New 2018 iPad Pros make everything better. Image credit: Apple.

• In this Jony Ive interview, the Apple Chief Design Officer explains: “how he created the new iPad – and the philosophy behind it”.

If you are making changes that are in the service of making something better, then you don’t need to convince people to fall in love with it again…

“In my experience, if we try very hard to make material improvements, people quickly recognise those and make the sort of connection they had before with the product.

SVP Ive is, as they say, spot on with this. Those users who hate change notwithstanding.

• No update to an OS contains all possible fixes. If you’re using macOS Mojave 10.4.1, here’s an “incomplete summary” of some known bugs from The Eclectic Light Company.

• Apple isn’t done with improving Face ID. Cult of Mac writes: “Face ID could get a big upgrade in 2019.” It includes a juicy tidbit about 2019 iPhones….

The updated Face ID system will allegedly be added to all of Apple’s new iPhones in 2019. Apple will supposedly go with two OLED display iPhones and one LCD display iPhone next year, just like its lineup in 2018.

• Not surprisingly, Android doesn’t adapt well to tablets. Here’s the analysis of why Android tablets have faltered compared to Windows and iOS tablets. “The rise and fall of the Android tablet.

• In contrast, Apple planned far ahead with iOS. Here’s a developer Geoff Hackworth’s analysis of: “How iPad Apps Adapt to the New 11″ and 12.9″ iPads Pro.” Basically: Apple warned developers in advance. Those who listened will have a much easier time evolving their apps.

• We hear much buzz about how Apple’s expensive notebooks are struggling in education, but here’s a great success story about iPad success in higher education. “Massive iPad deployment at OSU paying long-term dividends in higher education.

Following the rollout to over 11,000 iPads to the 2018 freshman class, Ohio State University has started to see the benefits of their ambitious program including improvements in grades, higher campus engagement, and the eventual savings of millions of dollars for students.

• Finally, speaking of education, if you’re a computer science student pondering which language skills employers are looking for, here’s some research. And I, from personal experience, generally agree with the findings. “The computer languages employers want most in Silicon Valley.

I would emphasize that enterprise development differs slightly from mobile app development and favors Java and C++. So if you only learn three languages in college, make them, in order, 1) Python, 2) C++, then 3) Java. With that portfolio, you’re ready to pick up any employer-specific needs, such as Swift, Javascript, HTML/CSS, etc.

Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week followed by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.

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Let’s wait to see where the new Airs actually come in performance before we pronounce MacBook dead. My 2015 MacBook is not that much slower for photo & video editing than my 2011 quad core iMac with i5 and discrete GPU. And that’s a really slow MacBook. The beloved Airs had true i7 performance. The new ones do not. Same class processors as much derided MacBooks. What is telling is that neither MacBook nor non-touchbar MacBook Pro have had updates. Could Apple be waiting to see if newAirs spin is accepted before it cleans out the notebook line? It really… Read more »

Apple is killing the Mac, the platform. Not intentionally, of course. But it is doing so, and seems oblivious to that fact, most likely because the iPhone primarily drives its business model today. If we are lucky, Apple will sell off the Mac at a certain point and the new owner will understand that the Mac does best when it delivers the very best user experience. That means powerful, elegant software that does not get in your way; and hardware that is easily repairable, upgradable, and extendable. You know, everything the Mac is not today. I like to think that… Read more »


Good riddance, I say! This unit had just ONE PORT! (And this was for EVERYTHING, INCLUDING CHARGING!) The “new model” now has (wait for it…) TWO PORTS! STILL way too low to be logical Plus, they dropped the MAGSAFE charge port on the MacBook, another way over the top advantage, that they just HAD to drop! I LIKE the two pound weight. And that’s it. I’d BUY, if it had some logic to the port game… I will add that I have owned several PRO and AIR laptops in the past, and the MacBook AIR (13″) is my drop-dead fave!… Read more »


Happily run my 2015 MacBook with Satechi dock and couple of hundred dollar external monitor away from home. Barely notice the single port. It’s more speed that needs updating.


Perhaps the lower cost MacBook isn’t ready until a springtime release. It debuts in March about 4 years ago and last June of 2017 had an update. I’m holding out hope the 12 will be $999 soon and will be the machine that gets the Apple designed chip in a couple of years.

I have the 2015 version which is perfect in every way, regardless of the keyboard which was improved later on.

At 12″ there’s room for it in the lineup. Thanks!

I doubt it goes to $999 if it does stick around. If anything I see it getting the T2 chips, TouchID, and a base model with 128GB SSD storage with a starting price of $1099


But that would put it uncomfortably close to the Air.

That’s true but I should’ve mentioned that I was assuming the old MBA would get discontinued.


In the MacWorld article about 4 technologies that are soon to die:
I simply do not understand why Apple hasn’t brought out the AirPower mat. Half the accessory companies on the planet make wireless charging stations. The charging standard it just that, a standard. It can’t be that hard. It is inexplicable to me why Apple hasn’t either rolled theirs out or scuttled the project publicly.