A gold MacBook with just ONE USB port? Apple, you're DRUNK

The ego has landed: (No) power (socket) to the people!

Comment Steve Jobs would confide that LSD was a formative influence on his life, one that distinguished him from his less-adventurous peers in the tech industry.

Jobs is gone, but I wonder if someone left some Pounds Shillings and Pence lying around the Cupertino campus?

You may not have noticed, but the world's richest company* announced two things yesterday.

Apple didn't just announce a pointless and expensive watch. It also announced a pointless and expensive laptop. The new MacBook is a cripplingly underpowered machine with just one port. For everything. Including power.

For a company with two pinnacles of design and engineering in its current range – the MacBook Pro and 13-inch Air are strong contenders for the finest personal computers ever made – this seems a puzzling, backward step. The new MacBook, like the Apple Watch, seems like more evidence that this vastly rich company is just doing things for the sake of it.

So what's wrong with doing things for the sake of it?

I've often argued that even if you don't like or want an Apple product, it's a good thing for the market, and you'll benefit indirectly. The iPhone falls into this category. I really wanted to see it succeed, because it was obvious that the incumbents had badly let us down.

The big equipment vendors (particularly Nokia) and their handful of big customers had become very cosy. Data wasn't bundled with device contracts, and was expensive. The devices had got dumber and dumber, more complicated and more unreliable. It needed somebody from outside the industry to change this. Apple raised the bar for design and user expectations, and we all benefited.

Apple did something similar, but less dramatic, with laptop design. It began to make them insanely thin. They were far more expensive than they needed to be, and more fragile than competitors' machines. But Apple design again drove up quality in the market, and raised user expectations.

Jobs was clearly proud of this; amongst the patents on which he is personally named is a design for bonding the display to the frame, to produce an extremely thin housing. Before this caught on, the LED display on a bog standard Dell or HP laptop would resemble a slightly-flattened tortoise shell.

That design was something Wintel didn't try too hard to do, as there was no incentive to take risks in a business that was all about cutting costs. Those of us who lugged 10lb Toshibas around in the 1990s can forget how much more convenient laptops have become. All thanks to design and clever engineering.

And as a non-Apple user you could relax, for this kind of risk was being borne by others, not you. This wasn't British Leyland, or Impossible.com, or the Government's Digi-Shambles (GDS): Apple's experiments are being paid for using someone else's money.

Next page: Because we can

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