New porting by Juli Clover for MacRumors.com suggests that the 2021 MacBook Pro models might be picking up design language used by iPhone 12.
"The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" with no curves like current models."
Clover is reporting on a new investor note written by Ming-Chi Kuo, who has is finger on the pulse of the Apple hardware supply chain.
I enjoy using my iPhone 12 Pro Max and I love the way the flat sides feel in the hand. I am reminded daily of the classic look and feel of the iPhone 5-series. When I think of a MacBook Pro with flat sides around body and display, I don't think of iPhone 12, iPhone 5, or even iPhone 4. No, as a long time Mac nerd, I harken back to the Mac that could have possibly inspired the flat side design of the iPhone 4, namely, the 2001 Titanium PowerBook G4.
Compared with the black plastic PowerBook G3 released in 2000, the "TiBook" as fans call it, traded in the curves for clean straight lines and a much thinner design. In the Apple press release, Steve Jobs remarked:
“The all new Titanium PowerBook G4 is the most revolutionary portable computer ever created. Its a 'supercomputer to go' in terms of performance, yet it's thinner and sexier than the best subnotebooks.”
Writing for MacWorld back in 2015, Christopher Phin, has a delightful retro comparison of the then current MacBook Air with a PowerBook G4. It's worth taking a look at the photos in his article. They show off what a flat edge MacBook Pro in 2021 might look relative to recent Apple Silicon and Intel-powered MacBook Pro designs.
Packed into TiBook's 1-inch thick body was all the connectivity that a Mac power user would ever want, including Ethernet, USB, FireWire, VGA, and S-Video - all without the need for adapters. Imagine being a MacBook user in 2021 without having to make an expensive trip to Dongle Town.
Could Apple be looking to the 2001 PowerBook G4 as inspiration for a new professional Apple Silicon M1 powered 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro? I hope so.
One of the great things that I really like about the new iPhone 12-series of smartphones from my favorite fruit company is the return of the iPhone 4 and 5-series flat slides. And the return of the flat sides comes the drop in style flat side Apple Leather Cases. Here's my review.
What Works Well
There are many third-party cases for iPhones on the market today. I prefer the first-party cases for a few different reasons. Long time readers of this blog will know that I am a life-long Apple customer and fan. So, for me, many times, if there is a first-party accessory available, that is the one I will get.
With that out of the way, I also prefer first-party accessories for their full support of new features. For the iPhone 12-series, that means the ability to use MagSafe. MagSafe is Apple's new inductive charging solution. Previous iPhone models and cases were compatible with inductive charging. However, with the iPhone 12 leather cases, the charging magnets are integrated with the case. The real benefit of having MagSafe magnets in the iPhone and in the case is that it is easier for the user to align the charging coils. People who receive a lot of vibrate notifications can be assured that the iPhone will stay put on the MagSafe charger - something that was not a guarantee in non-MagSafe inductive chargers.
The case build quality is quite nice too. The iPhone 12 Pro leather cases have a softer touch to them than the Apple leather cases that I used on my iPhone 11 Pro. The edging and seam where the leather meets the soft interior lining mate up well. May Dad thinks that the Apple Leather Cases are slippery. And, in my opinion, new cases are. But once you start carrying them around in backpacks, purses, or jeans pockets, they will wear nicely. With previous versions of the leather case, I found that it took longer to break in the case while wearing dress pants to work every day. Now my iPhone 12 Pro Max mostly sits on my desk or coffee table.
In addition to the feel of the leather, I also appreciate the use of metal volume and power buttons that are built into the case. Pressing the buttons on the case feel satisfying. The button press feels as if there wasn't a case on the iPhone at all. In my opinion, the metal buttons feel much better than the rubbery caps found on the Apple Clear Case or leather lumps that Apple used on the leather cases for the iPhone 5/ 6 /6S series. In comparison, I think that the metal buttons are just easier to press after having lived with other button options.
Some Room for Improvements
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. In Apple's case you are often paying for quality. 1 The Apple's leather cases are made well, but, before you order one, you have to ask yourself if Apple's cases are worth it. The iPhone 12 / 12 Pro / 12 Pro Max Leather Case with MagSafe is $59. That's pretty expensive. If you want to add a Leather Wallet with MagSafe, that will cost you an additional $59. 2. If you are looking for an alternative to Apple's leather cases, Nomad's Rugged Case series look handsome and cost less ($49.95).
I also think it is less than great that there is a plastic ridge that rises up around the camera bump. While this protects the glass camera lens, the iPhone is unstable when being used while laying face up on a flat surface. The wobbling of the case irritates me.
Based on my past use of iPhone leather cases in red and yellow, the corners of these cases will wear and patina quickly. In my experience, more so when riding around in jeans pockets. Darker color Apple cases will do the same thing, but they will be less noticeable.
The last think that perspective buys will want to know is that the bottom edge of the iPhone 12-style leather cases are boxed in. That is to say, that there is a single continuous edge around the entire iPhone 12. The first-party cases for the iPhone X/ XS / 11 Pro all featured an open bottom edge. Some people like an open edge with the speaker and Lightening port completely unobstructed. For iPhone 12, the bottom edge should offer more protection for iPhones that are knocked off tables or otherwise dropped. However, if you use an accessory that has a thick cable connector, like the Lightning to 30-pin connector that is in the 10-year-old car that my kids drive, well, maybe the Apple leather case isn't for you.
A personal gripe that I have with Apple is the product photography that has been used for the leather case. Would it really be a problem to show the case from all sides? As a perspective customer about to spend $59 on a case, I don't want to be left wondering what the button covers and bottom edge look like. I found it completely aggravating that I couldn't see those angles on the product page.
If you want the premium fit and finish of an Apple product, you will probably want an Apple Leather Case with MagSafe. You will enjoy using it. Depending on the other iPhone accessories you may have in your life, or if you don't feel like dropping another $59 or more for accessories on top of the expense of the iPhone itself, you may want to look at the similarly featured less expensive offerings from third-party case makers.