If you know me, you know that I give credit where and when it is due. With Apple, I’m fine with admitting that the company completely owns the tablet market, rules the smartwatch sector, and makes my favorite wireless earbuds (hopefully only until July 21st, though). Their Macbooks are very nice laptops, too, and we use Mac OS for a few things around the Chrome Unboxed office, namely to get videos created, rendered and exported in the most timely manner possible.
Apple makes great stuff, but as a Google fan myself, I’m constantly annoyed by their arrogance and unwillingness to admit their areas of weakness. There’s one particular part of Apple’s business model that has probably been one of the most long-standing aggravations against the company, and that is cost of ownership. No one walks into an Apple Store and expects to get a great deal on a regular basis. Apple’s hardware is nice, but you will absolutely pay for it.
And that’s why I grin a bit when things like this happen. Quite a few tweets went out the other day about the M2 Macbook Pro – the latest in the new lineup of ARM-powered Macbooks – that made my jaw drop. Despite all the power under the hood Apple claims for these in-house chips they are making (which I do love, by the way), there is an absolutely abhorrent limitation on a device that is supposed to be ‘Pro’: there’s only support for a single external monitor.
I get it: there aren’t a ton of users pushing multi-display setups, but I know a few of them right off the top of my head, and they aren’t tech nerds at all. In fact, they don’t really think about the latest tech news at all until it affects them in some way, shape or form, and I wonder what their reactions would be if they went to go replace their slightly-aging Macbook Pro (yes, these people are Macbook users) with the shiny, new M2 model and realized that this powerful laptop could only output to a single display?
Contrast this with a $615 MediaTek ARM-powered Chromebook I’m just finishing my review time with: the Acer Chromebook Spin 513. This is the most powerful ARM-based Chromebook to date, but it would be laughable to compare the SoC in this Chromebook with the powerful new M2 chip from Apple. Yet, this sleek Chromebook can push its own internal QHD display and at least two additional QHD displays as well without breaking a sweat. Without any pretentious commentary or ‘Pro’ branding, this Chromebook is a little powerhouse that I found to be highly productive, powerful, and fun to use.
For some odd reason, Apple has simply regurgitated older hardware and is selling it at a premium because it has their logo around back. Not only does the new M2 Macbook Pro have this display limitation, it also comes with the inclusion of the much-maligned Touch Bar, a paltry port selection (2 USB Type C), and the lack of MagSafe charging. So why does it cost so much? Additionally, it is the only Macbook in the current lineup with the older screen setup that doesn’t yet have the silly-looking notch up top. Love or hate that screen inclusion, it is part of Apple’s current design language and it was simply left out of the mix on this latest Macbook Pro.
As a Chromebook user, I’ve learned to be far less defensive over the years when people blindly hate on Chromebooks and ChromeOS. In many ways, the operating system I use for my work on a daily basis still has a lot to learn from Windows and Mac OS. But in other ways, it is superior. Usually, that superiority shines through with things like quick updates, fast boot times, and beautifully-sandboxed multi-user setups. Today, however, it seems that there are even a few technical hardware benefits to using Chromebooks, too, and it’s just nice to be able to share that with people and remind everyone that the Chromebooks we have these days are far from the ‘just a browser’ devices we had a decade ago. Also, just because a laptop has an apple etched into the lid, that doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for your actual use.