Whenever Apple launches a new product, it's a safe bet that it offers noticeable improvements in hardware and/or software. So it came as no surprise when we found the new 13-inch Macbook loaded with them. It comes with many changes, of which the most prominent are the introduction of a new manufacturing process and an innovative new trackpad. But do these add up to making the machine a revolutionary new product? Read on to find out.
The 13-inch Macbooks used to be the overlooked stepchildren in the range of Apple laptops. Since they were aimed at the student/budget entry-level segments, they never seemed to get the innovations seen in higher-end models. But this has now changed; the new 13-incher has shed its dowdy, plasticky finish in favor of a sexy sleek aluminum finish that makes the product look more expensive than it is.
Examine the laptop more closely, and the first question that comes to mind is: was the body cut out of a single block of aluminum? The answer is yes! This is Apple’s new technology, where a laptop and its entire range of components are encased using a new process simply called 'Unibody'. The body is carved from a solid block of aluminum, similar to the plates of an aircraft, or the armor of a tank.
What is the purpose of this? Firstly, it seeks to eliminate the problem that all plastic-based laptops have – very quick wear and tear. The new aluminum body may not totally eliminate wear and tear, but it certainly slows down the process considerably. The body will take a few scratches here and there with rough use, but will certainly look a lot better than a standard laptop even a year later.
Secondly, this new process breathes new life into a hitherto staid segment. The quality of Apple’s products have always been top-notch, even in this segment, but the finish and overall appeal of the range was best described as "yeah, whatever". The new Unibody finish looks stylish and sleek without being gaudy, has made the laptop thinner and slightly lighter. Since it’s a metal frame, there's zero flex anywhere on the body – the hinges are tight and there are no audible squeaks.
Updated 20 May, 2013, 8:22 am IST
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