The MacBook Pro make us wonder if a wave of laptops with notch is coming as it happened in its day with mobiles
When Apple introduced the iPhone X (how do you say, ‘x’ or ‘ten’?) It did with a controversial design: the notch arrived, that notch at the top that many criticized and that most manufacturers ended up copying.
This component has become the hallmark of the iPhone, and now it has just made its appearance in the new MacBook Pro. Will the same thing happen that happened with mobile phones? Will other laptop manufacturers integrate that notch into their computers?
The reason for the notch is no longer so clear
When the notch appeared on the iPhone X, he did it with a compelling reason: Apple needed to reserve “a little bit” of the front to be able to offer there both the front camera and the sensors that gave access to facial recognition technology Face ID.
However, in MacBook Pro the notch is more a matter of form than of substance: no sensors or Face ID supportSo why that big notch at the top of the gear?
The answer is basically in the effort to reduce frames across the team. The new MacBook Pros make the top and side bezels just 3.5mm. Apple actually bragged about how on top that reduction it was 60% compared to previous models.
The difference is remarkable when one compares last year’s MacBook Pro with the one Apple just introduced. In the image above we have resized the 13.3 “MacBook Pro from 2020 to compare it to the 14.2” MacBook Pro from 2021, but as we say the difference in the frames is remarkable.
The competition doesn’t seem to need something like that
The gain in terms of visible area is certainly remarkable, but it is that the frames of the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air they had been much thicker for years than those of your competitors.
In 2015 Dell already presented its Dell XPS 13 with Infinity Display, for example. That had a terrible consequence on the positioning of her webcam, which they placed in the lower frame. The offered perspective was really bad, but Dell ended up managing to integrate the webcam into the top frame almost three years ago.
The rest of the manufacturers followed this trend, and although some did not completely reduce the upper frame so that the webcam could be in that position, others like Huawei ended up integrating the webcam under a key.
The prospect was horrible again, but video conferencing was not as frequent then as it is now: the damage was not that serious. The current situation and the prominence that teleworking has acquired change things, but in general most manufacturers have managed to reduce frames significantly.
They have also done so without introducing that notch or notch that Apple designers have now integrated. Nor to have the intention of resorting to solutions such as the hole in the screen that has been prevailing among many Android-based mobile manufacturers.
Here Apple seems to hide behind the fact that now those MacBook Pros have a more ambitious webcam: The sensor is larger and is capable of capturing video at 1080p, but it still seems reasonable to think that the upper frame could have “slimmed down”, although not as much as it has, without resorting to the notch.
Here, by the way, a curiosity: Apple never once used the word ‘notch’ when referring to that design element of the MacBook Pros, and they were just talking about how the frames had “surrounded” the camera at the top.
What’s more: if you look at the product page of these computers, you will see that in several (certainly not all) images of the MacBook Pro they try to hide the notch with dark menu bars in that upper part that disguise that effect that the notch already caused in the iPhone X and its successors.
So, will competitors copy that notch that is now a differential feature of MacBook Pro? If they do, it seems that the only reason will be that their equipment is precisely confused with Apple’s – we are looking at you, Xiaomi – but a priori there seem to be no real practical reasons to imitate the Cupertino company as has already happened on mobile phones. There, we already said it, the thing did not make sense if it was done for the wrong reasons.