While the MacBook is by no means the first portable computer by Apple, it is the one that first comes to mind when someone says “Mac.” And believe me or not, it did not always look and feel as it does now.
The first-ever MacBook came to life in 2006. The 13” MacBook and 15” and 17” MacBook Pros were 1” thick and weighed 5.6 pounds. These were the first Apple laptops to feature an Intel Duo Core processor with 1.67GHz and 1.83 GHz options. These were also the first laptops equipped with built-in web cameras. Yes, there was a time when you should carry a webcam along with your laptop, thankfully long gone. The first generation of MacBooks also introduced the MagSafe so that your MacBook doesn’t fall off the surface in case of a pulled cord, back-lit keyboard, and scrolling trackpad.
The second generation was introduced in 2008. This was the year when the first MacBook Air came to being. With 0.76” in the thickest spot, it featured a 13.3” LED-backlit display and was the thinnest laptop of the day. It was built on a 1.6 GHz or 1.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. The MacBook and MacBook Pro this year were not less impressive. Apple presented 2.1 GHz and 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors for the Macbook. The Pro came on 2.6 GHz. What differentiated this generation from the previous was the unibody aluminum construction. All the second generation models had multitouch gesture supporting trackpad.
The third generation in 2012 was when we got to the Retina display. The Retina display gave them richer graphics and thinner bodies for the MacBook Pro 13” and 15” models. The MacBook Air did not have a retina display, was available in 11” and 13”, and was built on Intel Core 15 or Core i7 processors. The Retina MacBook Pro was built on Intel Core i7 quad-core processors up to 2.7 GHz. The non-retina MacBook Pro 13” had Intel Core i5 or Core i7 dual-core 2.9 GHz processors, and the 15” had Intel Core i7 quad-core 2.7 GHz processors.
2015 introduced us to the USB-C charging port, the infamous butterfly keyboard (it seems we’re getting rid of it next year), and the Force Touch trackpad, featuring force sensors.
In 2016 we got pretty much the MacBook we know today. With the new Touch Bar, the Touch ID, an evolved Retina Display, the second generation of the butterfly keyboard, and overall added efficiency, speed, and power, this year’s MacBook Pro settled what we take for a MacBook today.
The next significant change is this year, moving up to the next. The 2020 marked launch of several massive changes in the MacBooks. They started to swap the butterfly keyboard to the new magic keyboard. In fact, they already did that for the MacBook Pro 16” and the Air at least. Apple also introduced that the MacBook Air and the 13” Pro are built on the new, specially designed M1 chips. The M1 promises multiplied speed and efficiency. Apple is also transferring its builds to its own silicone. All this, along with the drastically improved memory capabilities, allows us to expect a new Mac's generation.
So, the evolution of the MacBook is by no means over. Starting last year and expected to reach full unveil now, in 2021, we have the next generation. And we may be sure that it is not going to stop there. We shall see what the future holds when the time comes, but it seems inevitable that the trend to go small and go slim will continue in the foreseeable future.