Why the new MacBook Air is going to be the MacBook

Because Apple doesn’t do complex. Let me elaborate.

When Steve Jobs took over in the late ’90s, the Apple ecosystem was horribly cluttered with Quadras, Performas and all manner of other beasties. Steve quickly slashed the offerings to a four part matrix: two professional-class machines, two consumer-class machines, desktops and laptops.

So the current ecosystem largely looks like this:

Pro Laptop: MacBook Pro

Pro Desktop: Mac Pro

Consumer Laptop: MacBook

Consumer Desktop: iMac

Now, the ecosystem’s become a bit cluttered again. Most folks (~99% or so) can really do everything with either an iMac or a MacBook. It’s clear that the Mac Pro and the MacBook Pro are essentially niche products. 

In addition, you’ve got the various iOS machines: the iPhone/iPod Touch and the iPad. Most notably, the iPad.

And all by its lonesome…the MacBook Air. It’s heavier than the iPad, but lighter than the MacBook, but more expensive than both. It’s a product orphan, and if there’s anything that Steve hates, it’s product orphans.

Now that the iPad is out, it makes no sense for the MacBook Air to exist in its current iteration. It doesn’t do anything better than either the iPad or the MacBook, and does things rather a bit worse – it processes slower than either, its battery life blows chunks, you get the visual.

So this Wednesday, I fully expect Steve to bin the MacBook Air and instead introduce a fully revamped MacBook which embodies much of the design philosophy of the MacBook Air, without its limitations, at the current price point of $999.

You heard it here first.

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