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The technology behind Apple's ridiculously thin new laptops could change everything

“WooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” outs down the audience down at the image of the manila envelope unfolded on the screen in front of them. It was his 2008, when digital savior Steve Jobs wore his signature his presentation attire of turtlenecks, jeans, and new Balance sneakers to the courtroom at his Moscone Center in San Francisco. was open. Back then, laptops looked mostly like crushed cinder blocks, with thick, bulky frames and donald trump on a golf trip. Jobs had a tradition of deferring important announcements until the end of presentations. This is “another thing” for loyal followers. This year was no exception. “It’s so thin that it even fits in an envelope floating around the office,” Jobs said, pulling his first MacBook Air out of an envelope in Manila like a doctor delivering a baby. Of course, this caused more “oohs”, “ahs”, applause and cheers from the audience who saw the silver laptop, the thinnest computer ever made.

A lot has changed at Apple since that day in 2008. Jobs died and the company became the most valuable company on the planet, with an incomprehensible market valuation surpassing his $2.5 trillion. But some things haven’t changed until a few weeks ago, like the overall design of his MacBook Air, which Jobs showed off 14 years ago. For over a decade, the Air’s design has remained largely unchanged, with a few tweaks here and there. Until last month, when Apple unveiled a completely new design for his MacBook Air running on the company’s new M2 chip.

Shaped and thick like a pad of paper, the laptop comes in four “colors”: Starlight, Space Grey, Silver, and Midnight. (Midnight looks black to me, but an Apple rep claims it’s a bluish-blackish midnight color.) “Gorgeous,” declared CNN. The Verge called it “beautiful”. And CNBC said it was “almost perfect.” I’ve used the new Air and those adjectives are millionaires. But I was wondering: what took so long to change the design?

In recent years, Apple and other high-tech hardware companies have faced challenges. I wanted the latest laptop because it was noticeably thinner and faster than the one I already had. But for quite some time, laptops have been thin and fast enough for most people’s purposes, even though it’s become very expensive to make them any thinner or faster. The limits of physics have made it difficult for even Apple to come up with new, cutting-edge products.

Apple addressed this problem by developing new computer chips called the M1 and M2. According to some executives I’ve spoken to, the chip has been in some form of development since Jobs was alive.

David Paul Morris/Getty Images.

“This is the smallest logic board I’ve ever made from a computer.” Evans Hankey Apple’s vice president of industrial design in a video call last week.

I asked which came first, the new laptop design or the new chip design. Tim Millett “Chips are always inspired by product goals and hardware capabilities,” said Apple’s vice president of platform architecture. The M2 chip is known as a “system-on-a-chip” because he integrates several different computing components in one place, he added. Most importantly, it eliminates the need for fans. Not only does this make the computer bulky, but it sounds like a rocket ship about to take off when it heats up. The M2 chip (and his M1 before it) is smart enough to recognize when it’s overheating and apply a thermal break if necessary.

“We started [the design process] We know we’re going to lose fans, and that’s a huge deal, not only in terms of your experience as a user, but also in terms of how much they take,” Hankey explained.

Today, Apple is the most profitable company on the planet and has regained most of the value it lost in this year’s nauseating stock market riots. But the “ohs” and “ahs” about that product line have quieted down considerably. The last major new product category the company released was the Apple Watch, which dates back to 2015. barack obama was still president. iPads have changed in speed and size, but the latest models aren’t all that different from the originals that came out in 2010. It costs him as much as $54,000, but the company’s computers look and work just like they did years ago. This was a big problem for Apple.

Back in 2011, I broke the news that Apple was exploring the possibility of developing an Apple-branded TV. Viewers use Siri to interact with the device. This is a feature that Jobs told his biographer. Walter Isaacson It was needed to rid the world of the dreaded remote controls of the era. Here’s what I wrote at the time:

It was repeatedly said that Apple would eventually make a TV. “Of course it’s Apple’s guaranteed product,” said one individual. “Steve thinks the industry is completely broken.”

Television never really came to fruition. When I started asking why, one of his Apple employees, who requested anonymity, explained: We don’t want to enter a market where he sells one device to a customer every ten years. I have to buy a new device every year. ”

But for some reason, some people find the latest design evolution to be corny, and others no longer feel the need to upgrade to the next iPhone or iPad. Apple products are becoming like TVs you don’t want to replace every year.

Perhaps the M2 chip and the sleeker shapes it enables will usher in a bold new era of design for Apple. But the company is also trying to force consumers to rethink what makes a device “new,” with a focus on features other than speed and size. , you can get a product that can handle any task.Consumers care less about performance than how good battery life is, how it feels to use the built-in camera, speakers, and microphone. Told. Laura Metz Senior Product Manager at Apple. “That’s what we started talking about, rather than the speed or feed of silicon or chip technology itself.”

Apple is rumored to be working on a number of new product categories that are expected to debut in the near future. According to Bloomberg, the company plans to release a fully self-driving electric vehicle in 2025, which he internally calls “Project Titan,” but the development of this vehicle has been plagued by strategic shifts, executive changes and other issues. is plagued byAccording to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo The company also plans to release a “game-changer” augmented reality and virtual reality headset with “see-through” video that allows you to watch videos and see the real world around you. According to Kuo, the device is “the most complex product Apple has ever designed.”

Last quarter, Apple posted revenue of $83 billion and profit of $19.4 billion. That’s a lot more than any other company on the planet. Sustaining this kind of performance requires upholding our tradition of creating extraordinary new products. If the new MacBook Air is any indication, the M2 chip will be key to delivering on its promise.

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