The 12-inch MacBook with Retina display is a marvel of engineering. It packs the power of macOS into a tiny chassis that weighs just two pounds. You can carry it and an iPad before you reach the weight of the 13-inch MacBook Pro.
There are, of course, trade-offs when it comes to such a small machine. The single USB-C port is a show-stopper for many, as is the under-powered — but fanless — Intel CPU.
The fact that compromises are needed to make notebooks thin and light is nothing new. Over the years, Apple has made several bold moves in this direction. Three really stand out.
The Apple world may be talking about the HomePod a lot in the wake of WWDC, but it's not the first time Apple has tried to reinvent home audio.
In 2006 — just a year before the iPhone appeared — a slightly-under-the-weather Steve Jobs introduced the $349 iPod Hi-Fi.
Every once in a while, an Apple device comes along that sticks around for a while without an update.
Jokes about the "current" Mac Pro aside, one such device that comes to mind for me pretty quickly is the iPad 2, introduced back in March 2011. It was finally taken off the market three years later.
While that doesn't seem remarkable today, it was an eternity when it came to iOS devices at the time. The iPad 2 was one of the first devices Apple kept around to fill a lower price point on its product matrix.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves quite yet.
Last month, I took a look at the Clamshell iBook G3, the most colorful notebook Apple ever made.
The Clamshell saw just one speed bump, and was replaced in less than two years. The second-generation iBook introduced the form factor most people think of when they think of the notebook:
Kurt Schlosser, writing for GeekWire:
The Living Computers: Museum + Labs in Seattle is home to some of the most noteworthy machines ever created. But a new exhibit opening this week will showcase what one official at the Paul Allen-founded institution called “the most important computer in history.”
Lāth Carlson, executive director of Living Computers, added to that designation by saying the metal box with a keyboard is “also the most boring to look at.” But for fans of computing and Apple in particular, the Apple I that once sat in founder Steve Jobs’ office is exciting for a whole host of reasons.
The piece states that only about seven Apple I computers remain operable today, and Living Computers' model is one of those seven. Carlson shares, “We’re going to be running Steve Wozniak’s version of BASIC that he wrote on it.”
If you're in the Seattle area, it sounds like a great exhibit to check out.
Close your eyes and picture a Mac laptop. It has a small screen in a case unique among a sea of PC notebooks. It runs without a fan, and has impressive battery life. The trackpad is smooth and the keyboard is responsive.
Now open your eyes. Is this what you had in mind?
Let's talk about the original "Clamshell" iBook.
Over the last 37 years, Apple has shipped 46 different models of standalone display.
The first was the Apple Monitor III, a green phosphor CRT built for use with the ill-fated Apple III.
image via Wikipedia
The Apple Monitor III kicked off a long line of displays, but it's not all that interesting. Let's take a look at some of the standouts in a sea of forgettable beige products.
"The Mac mini is BYODKM," Steve Jobs said, in front of a crowded and slightly confused audience at Macworld 2005.
"Bring your own display, keyboard and mouse," he continued. "We supply the computer, you supply the rest."
The Mac mini was designed to lure switchers to the platform. A new customer could simply unplug their desktop PC and hook a new Mac mini up to their existing peripherals.1
The original machine started at just $499, making the Mac mini the lowest-cost Mac Apple has ever sold.
This year, Apple has exited the external display business and is rumored to be discontinuing its AirPort wireless routers.
These developments have left a bad taste in many users' mouths, but 2016 isn't the first time Apple has shuttered an entire product line.
By my count, there are five major categories of products or devices that Apple has abandoned over the years.