Apple’s Next MacBook Air: How Slim Is Too Slim?

Apple’s known for its minimalism, but the company’s next MacBook might take that to a new extreme.

According to Apple-centric blog 9to5Mac, the next MacBook Air will strip out all ports except for a headphone jack and a small USB Type-C port. That’s right: no standard USB port or SD card slot, no MagSafe charger slot. The device will reportedly boast a 12-inch screen, a redesigned keyboard that squeezes the keys even more tightly together, and speaker-holes that double as air vents.

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If these rumors come to fruition, it wouldn’t be the first time that Apple killed functionality in the name of making a device thinner and lighter, or because it thought an “essential” piece of technology was outdated. Way back in 1998, the company eliminated floppy-disk drives from the original iMac, which caused a bit of an uproar at the time. Over the past few years, optical disk drives have steadily disappeared from the MacBook lineup, irritating those who use DVDs and CDs.

But eliminating the slots along the side of the machine would take things to a whole new level. “I can definitely see getting rid of classic USB—it’s old and thick. Thunderbolt, sort of,” John Gruber wrote on his popular Daring Fireball blog. “But MagSafe? When Apple announced MagSafe back in 2006, I knew they were solving a real problem, not an imaginary marketing problem.” Eliminate MagSafe in favor of USB Type-C, he continued, and tripping over the power cord is liable to bring a laptop crashing to the floor.

If 9to5Mac proves correct, this laptop could ship in mid-2015, at which point the world will see whether this rumor about the total lack of ports is correct. Apple could indeed be trying to lead the charge into the future again—but how much minimalism is too much?

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One Response to “Apple’s Next MacBook Air: How Slim Is Too Slim?”

  1. I’ve had several laptops over the years. I can appreciate that they can have a variety of design goals for different models. My first one had an internal CD-ROM drive at the expense of making the floppy drive be an external that plugged into the parallel port….made things awkward when I need the floppy and printer at the same time.

    As for this MacBook, it might be hard to use the thing in presentations. I mean, when I was in college, all classrooms were equipped with projectors and all you had was a video cable to plug into your laptop, and as a student I frequently had to do reports to my classmates.

    When I graduated, I had an interview at one firm where I was brought into a conference room, I was asked several questions where I had to write code in C++ for the answer, and I had to write that code on an Apple laptop which was connected to a projector.

    Are USB flash drives available with a USB type C connector? It seems to me this is just asking for more adapters just dangling off of the laptop(notebook) for the sake of shaving another fraction off of the ‘thickness’ of the thing.