In the world of laptops, the time is measured in AA and BA where the AA stands for After Air and the BA, well, Before Air. Sort of. This is the kind of the impact the MacBook Air had on the whole laptop market. Almost every laptop that came out after Steve Jobs famously took the MacBook Air out of a parcel and held it aloft on his fingers has been compared to it, including Apple’s own MacBook Pro laptops.
The reason is not hard to see. Although, the MacBook Air launched as the world’s thinnest laptop, it was more than mere redesign of a laptop. It changed the definition of a business or travel laptop, by showing that it was possible to make a laptop that was not only great looking but also offered the same performance, battery life, keyboard experience, large touchpad that full sized laptops provided. The laptop industry scrambled to catch up and launched ultrabooks but in a way never succeeded. The only laptop that kind of steals the thunder back from the MacBook Air is the Surface Book, a laptop that Microsoft launched last year.
The MacBook Air was such a great idea that subsequently Apple even followed it in the MacBook Pro range. The MacBook Pro laptops launched after the Air were all slimmer than ever, had more compact frames and overall aimed at bringing the same convenience that the MacBook Air offered.
A best seller
The MacBook Air turned out to be a best seller for Apple. The company was hoping that after the iPhone, the next big thing for it will be iPad. But that is not how it turned out. Instead of iPad, which was billed as the computer of future, people realised that the future machine was the MacBook Air. It became a superhit among consumers. Even now, after all these years and at a time when the MacBook Pro has become as thin and sleek as the Air, the 13-inch MacBook Air is still the top laptop recommendation at Wirecutter, a website famous for its precise and exemplary gadget buying guides.
Then there are the consumers. I use a 13-inch MacBook Air. It is such a delight to use it, and it is so useful and versatile, that it is there in my backpack irrespective of where ever I am. It is inside the backpack when I go to the office everyday and it was there last year in the bag when I travelled to Ladakh for over a week. You get the idea. It’s almost indispensable. Sure, it is like many more laptops out in the market right now. Yet, I wouldn’t use or carry any other laptop like this. But the great battery life of MacBook Air, its low weight, it’s very slim profile… all of that means that I have no qualms in making it a machine that is part of my pack all the time.
Although, the MacBook Air launched as the world’s thinnest laptop, it was more than mere redesign of a laptop. It changed the definition of a business or travel laptop. The other laptop makers scrambled to catch up and launched ultrabooks but in a way never succeeded
This is something not just personal. That is how most of MacBook Air owners use it. In fact, I have never met a MacBook Air who is not happy with it. Even the iPhone has dissatisfied owners. But not the MacBook Air.
Too good to last
The key question then is: if the Air is so good why will Apple kill it? The answer, I think is, it is too good to last. The MacBook Air is the kind of machine that is perfect for consumers. It’s great as a laptop and it is a total value for money at its asking price.
It’s already so good that it is probably killing Apple’s other laptops and Apple’s margins because it sells in crazy numbers. It’s already so good that Apple could have made it perfect by giving it a retina display but the company didn’t because then it would have possibly made the other MacBooks look bad and overpriced. (It already does that, by the way).
So, gradually Apple pushed it into the Oblivion. First to go was the MacBook Air. It was “replaced” by the MacBook, a slick and slim laptop that looks more like an iPad with attached keyboard. But it was overpriced and underpowered. The MacBook is beautiful but it’s not the Air replacement. Then Apple stagnated the Air development. The laptop stopped getting updates. The 13-inch MacBook Air of 2016 is essentially the same that came out in 2013. It has just has a bit of more RAM and may be a slightly faster processor. One thing — a retina display — that MacBook Air users looked forward to never came because a MacBook Air with a retina display will probably kill half of the MacBook Pro market.
Sum of the matter, in the year 2016, even the MacBook Air 13-inch is now dead. It is still out in the market, but in a few months from now the units that are on the sale will be gone and the stock won’t be replenished. Instead, Apple will now focus solely on the MacBook Pro — there are three variants. One of these Pro notebooks — the 13-inch one without the TouchBar — is supposed to be the Air replacement. But sadly, it’s not.
The MacBook Air is irreplaceable. I am sure that the new MacBook Pro laptops are very nice, and a force to reckon with in their own way, but the MacBook Air represented something unique. It was a state-of-the-art laptop sold at very mainstream prices. And it delighted consumers in a way no laptop had earlier done. There was something special about it. And now it is gone.
Also Read: MacBook Air is the best laptop you can buy