How Apple Remade the MacBook Air: “It Has Always Been Provocative”
Despite the redesigned Air’s focus on performance and endurance, perhaps the most important sign of its success is the sense of personality it retained in its transformation. That raised back and tapered playfulness may be gone, but they’re replaced with a few outgoing flourishes of their own, including an alluring new “Midnight” blue color variant that’s particularly beloved by its creators. “So that one was from volcanic Basalt rock,” says Hankey. “Do you know this rock? My father was a geologist.
After taking over the design of Apple products after Jony Ive left the company in 2019, Hankey has been responsible for the look of all its devices since – from iPhones to AirPods. It’s a workload she compares to “drinking from a fire hose,” but even taking into account this vast portfolio of responsibilities, the Air’s redesign was a unique challenge. “It was the first time we had undertaken to create a family of products together,” she says. “We didn’t design the Air in isolation, but we designed it in tandem with the MacBook Pro.”
If you look at the two laptops side by side, their similarities are immediately apparent. Much like the Pro, this new Air has a flatter, more industrial vibe. Its 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display shares the same notch-like cutout in its center for a Full HD webcam, while there’s a surprisingly generous range of ports for users to take advantage of. What makes this laptop an Air? It’s all in the feeling of the thing. Even after all these years, there’s something slightly anarchic about a laptop that weighs just 1.24kg. A computer you can slip into the most compact backpack and continue to manage your life, now well beyond a day’s work. Using one feels a bit like a cheat code for your nine to five, which is probably why prices start at £1,249.
Considering the creators of this latest Air, it was in no danger of losing its rebellious side. While little is known to the public about Hankey before she stepped into her mentor’s shoes, there were a few clues as to what might follow. Most notably, his weathered iPhone appeared in 2016 Designed by Apple in California photo book with Ive commenting on it for Dizzy“Isn’t it cool? She destroys her objects. As for Bergeron? She has been dismantling computers since university, starting with her Mac SE/30 made in 1989. “It’s so funny,” she says. “The hard drive looked like a 20 megabyte thumb drive, so my first upgrade was to take my Mac apart and install a 100 megabyte internal hard drive. It was huge.”
Don’t be fooled by its brand new look, old habits still die hard with this Air.
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