I’m a sucker for a thin and light laptop. I was googley-eyed over the 12-inch MacBook when it was announced back in 2015, and I was heartbroken when it got canned in 2019. Since then, there have been a few rumors that Apple has been working to resurrect the device, but with some version of Apple’s M-series chips. It’d be a match made in heaven since the chip would handle efficiency and performance a lot better than the old Intel Core M series processors. Alas, rumors suggesting whether it’ll happen or not couldn’t be any spottier.
A post on Korean social media site Naver from a recognized Apple leaker suggests Apple hasn’t made up its mind whether to pursue an M-powered 12-inch MacBook. The leaker suggests that the company is working on it, but it can’t quite decide whether to ship it. That fits the vibe of other leaks from Bloomberg and Ming-Chi Kuo: the former reported last year that the laptop would ship at the end of this year or in 2024, while the latter isn’t aware of any such laptop but didn’t cast doubt on its existence.
It’s perhaps the most mysterious device in Apple’s rumored future product line. Other laptops like the unannounced 15-inch MacBook Air seem likely to ship sooner than later, but it’s hard to pin down whether Apple will resurrect the 12-inch model.
If the company needs someone to advocate for the product, I’d be happy to do so. Yes, I realize you can get a 13-inch Air that’s basically the same thing but with a slightly larger display, and the 11-inch iPad Pro is already a great on-the-go productivity machine (plus it has a touchscreen, which the 12-inch MacBook likely would be missing).
Those conflicts might translate to poor sales for the mini MacBook. It would be in an awkward position among the rest of Apple’s MacBooks, and it might be hard for consumers to find the appeal beyond being tiny. But let’s be honest: there’s something charming about the 12-inch MacBook and its form factor. Is it supposed to be a powerhouse? No. Is it as versatile as an iPad Pro with a Magic Keyboard? Absolutely not. But is it the most portable MacBook to ever exist? Yes, yes it is.
And that’s what Apple could lean into: portability. It can fit in just about any bag you can imagine, all while remaining thin and light enough that you forget you’re even carrying it.
If Apple adds a Magic Keyboard deck to the design (replacing the god-awful butterfly switches from years past) and integrates an M2 chip, I can’t see how this laptop could ever get a bad review. Beyond being awkwardly positioned in their lineup, it could probably be an amazing machine.
Until we actually hear something concrete about Apple’s potential plans for a new 12-inch MacBook, I’ll be quietly praying for its revival. Hopefully, it sees the light of day and the market can decide whether it’s interested in something of that caliber.
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