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5 things the MacBook needs in the next generation

Susie Ochs | March 13, 2015
Playing with the new MacBook on Monday, I kept having flashbacks to 2008. Remember the first-gen MacBook Air? It captured imaginations the instant Steve Jobs pulled it from a plain manilla envelope on stage.

Playing with the new MacBook on Monday, I kept having flashbacks to 2008. Remember the first-gen MacBook Air? It captured imaginations the instant Steve Jobs pulled it from a plain manilla envelope on stage.

Just like this new MacBook, the original MacBook Air's form-factor was pretty insane for its time. Just like it did with the new MacBook, Apple had to make some pretty big sacrifices to get the Air that small. No Ethernet, no FireWire, and a weird little trap-door you had to flip open to get to the one sad little USB 2.0 port it did have. The keyboard didn't light up, and it didn't have anywhere near enough storage.

But guess what? That was all rectified in the second generation. The 2010 MacBook Air refresh didn't bring back everything we'd lost, but Apple did ditch the trap door, beef up the storage, and re-illuminate the keyboard. And we wound up with almost the same MacBook Air I still enjoy typing on today.

Likewise, I think the new MacBook — shiny gold beauty that it is — will improve significantly in a year or two. Here's what I'd like to see in the second generation. (And I'll skip such obvious gimmes like another USB-C port, faster processor, and lower price.)

Touch ID

Having to type my Apple ID password into iTunes to buy a song or an app on my Mac feels super outdated now that I have Touch ID on my iPhone and iPad.

Adding Touch ID to a laptop would fix that, plus let me unlock the computer itself biometrically. Heck, throw a secure element in there and enable Apple Pay — I'll buy even more stuff online than ever.

Wireless charging

According to Apple, the new MacBook is all about being wireless. "Fully equipped for a wireless world," reads its page on Apple's website, but I have a little niggle with that claim: Where's the wireless charging?

All-day battery life is great, and I tend to believe Apple's claims, since I can already go almost all day on my 2013 Haswell-equipped MacBook Air. But the time has come for at least something with an Apple logo on it to not have to be tethered to charge. Heck, IKEA just announced furniture with integrated Qi wireless charging pads. Jony Ive and his design crew could team up with some furniture designers to make the most beautiful wireless charging station the world has ever seen.

Cellular networking

Speaking of going wireless, Apple specifically mentioned how the new MacBook could get online by easily tethering to your iPhone to use its data connection. Well, not my iPhone. I'm still clinging to my unlimited data plan on AT&T — the company no longer offers unlimited data on new plans, so I've kept the same exact data plan since I got my first iPhone in 2008. The downside is, my plan doesn't support tethering.

 

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