Monday, June 17, 2024

Rumored Thinner Apple Devices

Tim Hardwick:

Apple intends to slim down the MacBook Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone, with the new ultra-thin M4 iPad Pro a sign of the company’s new design trajectory, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.


Writing in the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman says that like the iPad Pro, Apple is now focused on delivering the thinnest possible devices across its lineups without compromising on battery life or major new features.


In 2021, Apple significantly redesigned the MacBook Pro, making it thicker and heavier. A major highlight of the redesign was the reintroduction of several ports that were removed in previous iterations in favor of chassis thinness.

The 2021 MacBook Pro was a big step in the right direction, but I think it didn’t go far enough. The spec sheet shows all-day battery life, but when using Xcode with my M1 MacBook Pro, battery is still a concern, even on non-transcontinental flights. And I would trade some thinness to be able to replace the battery (or storage!) without mailing the computer to Apple.

I also don’t want a thinner keyboard. I would rather they add more hardware, such as more USB ports and a cellular modem, than shave off a few more millimeters. Maybe that makes sense for a device like a MacBook Air or watch that’s supposed to be small, but not at the Pro end of the lineup.


Update (2024-06-18): Robin Kunde:

The MBP still doesn’t have enough ports and the keyboard is finally back in a decent place (aside from the crappy key caps). Who’s asking for this?

John Gruber:

Unlike other devices Apple sells, Apple Watch sizes are given not by screen diagonal but by case height. So what Kuo is claiming is that the current “big” size will become the small size and the new big size will be much bigger. I find this very hard to believe.

I hope Kuo is wrong because the current small Apple Watch size is already larger than I’d like. It’s not so much about how it looks but how it feels on a narrow wrist. And this is the one Apple product that I’d want to be thinner, so that it stays out of the way of long sleeves and gloves.

10 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

Sam Rowlands

Ive took a lot of flak over thinness, but I didn't think the bad decisions such as poor thermals were his, after all, he'd designed some of the best and capable Apple products.

Now almost 10 years since Apple's last make everything so thin attempt, here we are again. It's almost as if there's some financial reason for making the devices too thin. Oh, there is.

Maybe they have a new and improved butterfly keyboard? I can't wait!

> when using Xcode with my M1 MacBook Pro, battery is still a concern

The M1 Pro and Max are probably a bit of an outlier since they only have two e-cores. The M3 Pro offers six, which have also gotten more powerful (the e-cores have improved faster in recent years than the p-cores).

OTOH, cites a slightly worse power consumption under load (yet improved battery life), so I wish someone had actually tested this.

+1 for more ports, even a single USB (C) port more would be a great help. Sure, it's noticeably thicker than the Air was. But I'd sooner have my current MBP than go backward on ports, power, or speaker output. Apple should just accept that these are two distinct audiences with different sets of priorities—I'd be down with that.

I still treasure my 2015 MBP. I use it as a Windows box. Still nothing (in the Appleverse) to rival the ergonomics of the keyboard and trackpad.

@Sam I don’t know if it was Ive or not, but the products of the last years before he left show a disdain for basic thermal design principles. The thermal core of the 2013 mac pro is a chunk of painted aluminium with very few fins, no heatpipes, no copper. There’s no other heatsink on the market that looks remotely like it ( for cpus at least) because it doesn’t work. It looks like those VRM or SSD heatsinks on motherboard that prioritise looks over function, but it was supposed to cool a Xeon and 2 high end AMD gpus… that’s several orders of magnitude more cooling than an SSD. The last intel macbook air similarly has a chunk of aluminium on the cpu, and a fan that is not even forcing air through it, it’s completely disconnected. It was thermal design amateur hour.

More ports please. I'd happily swap the MagSafe for a big old USB

If Apple stops making the smaller sized watch, I'll have to look into alternatives. The bigger watch looks terrible on my wrist.

Old Unix Geek

When you have no new ideas... make it thinner!

Yes, I'd like a replaceable battery too, and I don't need my computer so thin that it breaks when I look at it.

@Enrico Strong agreement. Apple's hardware teams need to take remedial thermal engineering.

Every Mac I owned from the G5 to Intel era required fan control software for me. My G5 would overheat while gaming unless I kept the fans at max. My Intel devices get uncomfortably hot while Apple's fan curve lags behind.

Apple hardware is built and tuned for 68F Cupertino offices.

The obsession with thin indicates a lack of direction and user concerns. A design for marketing photography over designing for a market.

I would love replaceable batteries, replaceable storage, and now with CAMM as a standard, even replaceable memory would be cool. Replaceable Wifi anyone… I don't mind systems being module. But at leas Framework is giving it a go in that market.

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