Apple Finally Kills the "MacBook" And Function Keys on Laptops

In a minor refresh of their laptop line, Apple has gotten rid of the last non-touchbar MacBook you could still buy.

Apple just simplified their laptop range not only by refreshing the 13" MacBook Pro with a spec bump and touchbar but by dropping the plain old "MacBook" entirely.   

While mid-cycle spec bumps are always appreciated (unlike the 6 years they went without so much as a processor bump in the 2013 Mac Pro), this particular refresh is interesting since it's the first time in a long time that the lightest option of anything is going away. Usually every year the "lightest" item you could buy is lighter than the year before, but the current lightness winner, the MacBook Air, is heavier than the plain MacBook.

The "MacBook," without "Air" or "Pro" in its name, has always been a weird beast. The lightest machine on offer from Apple, it was always more of a proof of concept than a big hit, and its price left it in an awkward position.

For $100 more you could get a 13" Macbook Pro which isn't by any means heavy, and for only $1099 you could get the entry level MacBook Air, which had more power and only weighed a very tiny amount more. With the iPad Pro increasingly getting very powerful and coming for it's territory, it just didn't have an argument to support it, and now it's gone.  

Of course, our recommendation for filmmakers still remains the 15" MacBook Pro. If you are a writer it doesn't matter, but anyone who might do editing and color work (including directors and editors, but also DPs and even colorists) want the extra graphics power offered by the 15" model. For filmmakers, there isn't a huge argument for the 13" MacBook Pro, since it's single integrated graphics card really doesn't support "pro" workflows.

There was one temptation for the 13", however, that is now gone. If you hate the Touchbar, the 13" MacBook Pro offered function keys...but not anymore. While we still think the touchbar is useless, for the short term we've accepted it as being part of the ecosystem and will just have to deal with it. Stickers still work as an imperfect solution to keep your eyes on the screen and not on the keyboard.

In our dream world, the current "Pro" models will be the "MacBook" models next year, with the "Airs" underneath them and a true pro device, with a bigger graphics card, SD card slot, and wider spacing on the T3 slots (and more of them!).  Maybe that would happen, though we're not holding our breath.

Check out more at the Apple site    

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Your Comment


the MacBook air does not have touch bar, and still has the function keys

July 12, 2019 at 1:17PM, Edited July 12, 1:17PM

Rishab Rao Tiruvaloor Viavoori
Director/Director of Photography

I'll never understand why people still stick to Apple after they routinely demonstrate their lack of consideration for what people really want/need. Oh, and their price point.

July 15, 2019 at 7:07AM


You are correct. Apple is not a tech company. It is a psychology company. The more familiar one is with fallacies and hypnosis techniques, the less likely one is to purchase apple products.

July 15, 2019 at 8:33AM, Edited July 15, 8:33AM


"In our dream world, the current "Pro" models will be the "MacBook" models next year, with the "Airs" underneath them and a true pro device, with a bigger graphics card, SD card slot, and wider spacing on the T3 slots (and more of them!)."

Yeah...those spec.s would be great, right? It's called a laptop PC.
A PC gaming laptop at anywhere near the same price would trounce a MacBook Pro on every tech spec and be a lot more functional, let alone an actual Pro PC laptop. You don't go and buy clothing from Prada and expect it be good for "work" but still there is the decades dead illusion that Apple cares about creative professionals. They don't. It's a Luxury Lifestyle Brand, from A - Z.

Their latest workstation? An absurd glamor piece that will make its way onto plenty of movie sets as dressing, but won't be actually be used by real editors and creatives. At least, not the ones who aren't already independently wealthy.

July 16, 2019 at 9:33AM

Douglas Bowker
Animation, Video, Motion-Graphics