Apple is actively developing new 12-inch and 13-inch MacBook models for sale at a planned price point of around $700 or less, claims a rumor out of Korea.
My love for the iPad has been steadily growing for many years. The Magic Keyboard finally enabled me to travel and live on the iPad exclusively while traveling without needing to bring a MacBook Pro. This journey for me has been going for 15 years where I used to run a super fast iMac or PowerMac alongside a low-cost MacBook Air which then became running a super fast MacBook Pro nearly 100% tethered to my desk setup and the iPad (air then pro) doing my mobile lifting for 80% of what I needed to do.
Apple Silicon & iPadOS are to blame for my shift in thinking.
The 15” MacBook Air can be had for $1199 in the 512GB configuration with an M2 chip as a Black Friday deal ($999 with 256GB). This has a backlit keyboard, all day batter, trackpad and a full desktop operating system with no sandboxing of iOS.
We now have a rumor of a part-deux of the MacBook Lovely at a starting price of $700 as a fully featured and very thin travel laptop.
I am not a creative type who requires a touch input, nor is there an iPad OS application that can’t do what I already can on MacOS…in fact, Apple Silicon has opened iPad apps up to me on MacOS. I can run Darkroom, MLB.TV and many other iPad apps on my Mac.
My iPad Pro M1 w/ Magic Keyboard will last me another year or two. Replacing it today will cost me $2,049 with the keyboard in a 512GB variant and AppleCare. Alternatively, I can buy a 13” MacBook Air for under $899 and AppleCare is an additional $199 ($149 for iPad Pro).
Why would I pay double for a device whose only advantage is touch input and a cellular connection? The iPad weighs 3 pounds with keyboard and the 13” MacBook Air weighs 2.7 so again. We have a lighter computer with multiple ports, a real OS and it’s half the price.
Why does the iPad need to exist outside of creative pursuits and to be an iPad at that great $329 price point which works great for kids, non-techie folks and education?
Why I’d keep the iPad? I do really like iPad OS for how lightweight it is and it’s a nice experience but I think we’re about to enter a new era for me where there was a very fleeting time, post iMac that I had two MacBooks. I had a 17” MacBook Pro at the office and an 11” MacBook Air for travel. It was awesome to have the best of both works. One was a media power house but could move between home and office and the other was my couch, cafe, airline, conference computer. This was just around when the iPad was picking up steam and yes, I had one of those too but it was purely a reading & video device. Now that we’re going to have an M3 Max chip powered MacBook Pro in a 16” configuration and maybe a $700 low cost MacBook Lovely that you can do most things on except intense creative pursuits, I think the iPad will lose its place in my travel setup and I’ll just go back to having two laptops again.
Honestly, the 13” MacBook Air at $899 is pretty damn close to “I’m selling my iPad and getting an Air” territory.