Apple’s latest MacBook Pro laptops come with the infamous notch, but was it really necessary?
Apple MacBook Pro
Let’s talk about the notch of the Apple MacBook Pro: Was it really necessary?
Rejoice! The MacBook Pro is back. After a long string of horrific updates, Apple has finally made a worthy iteration of the “Pro” label. There is so much that I like here. Two sizes, one incredibly powerful silicon with all configurations available in both sizes, the necessary ports have been restored and the displays have been further improved. A dream machine for jobs, just with an asterisk, or more precisely, a notch.
Other than that, a notch on a laptop seems to be one of the things that ideally shouldn’t exist. However, Apple decided to bring the iconic and infamous notch of the new generation iPhone to the new generation MacBook: was it really necessary, or is it just another Apple thing that doesn’t make sense?
Why does the new MacBook Pro have a notch?
When Apple introduced the notch on the iPhone, it tried to give us enough reasons why it went like this: slimmer bezels, no chin and more secure biometric authentication in the form of Face ID. While the debate will continue until Apple launches its phones, there is at least some need and use for it. With the MacBook Pro, however, Apple doesn’t even seem to have tried to justify it.
Of course, we get the slim bezels. 3.5mm is a respectable number when it comes to bezels, but that’s about it.
Despite the space for the extra sensors needed for 3D face recognition, the MacBook Pro lacks Face ID, the main reason for the notch on iPhones that seems like an obvious omission given the sheer size of the notch. Instead, Apple didn’t try to sell us the camera bag, and that’s probably because it has become one of those Apple things that we all accept.
A Forced Cohesive Design Case
If you’ve seen the camera on a previous MacBook or laptop, you’ll know it doesn’t take up much space. With Apple skipping Face ID here, there aren’t many obvious reasons for such a big hack. Unless, of course, that’s when Apple tries to keep a cohesive design.
The design of the MacBook Pro has been ripped off by many other laptop manufacturers over the years. With the new MacBook Pro, Apple brings elements of the 2015 design. It is remarkably similar to a 2015 MacBook Redux, with a striking resemblance to the previous design. The extra ports are a great return on investment, and the keyboard is a mix of old and new, with full-size function keys replacing the often-styled touch bar. It’s just as amazing as the new iPhones 12 and up, hands down from Apple.
However, it seems that the company wanted an extra touch of identity. The notch, a design feature that advanced users of the Apple ecosystem are already familiar with thanks to the iPhone.
So was the notch necessary on the MacBook Pro?
To me, the notch ruins an amazing screen on paper, although Apple and most potential buyers probably won’t see it that way. While the front camera situation on phones has evolved rapidly in recent years, laptops have had a less flattering ride. We’ve seen implementations like the infamous nose cameras on the Dell XPS 13 and Huawei MateBook series, while some other manufacturers have done so without including a webcam at all.
If it came down to it, Apple might have had no alternative at all without rethinking the display design. One could argue that the notch would be the best implementation here if Apple differentiated this MacBook without making an even more radical choice.
This may be true to some extent, but it seems easy to avoid. The top frame could have been thinner than previous MacBook Pros, but it still remained thick enough to accommodate the camera without a notch. It should have been the Face ID sensors!
There will be growing pains too. MacBook Pro displays have a high pixel density, so it remains to be seen how the notch plays with the menu bar with various text scaling options. like fat, regardless of the setting, just to blend in with the notch, but it’s likely an eyesore in at least some cases.