The latest MacBook Pro really has it all … as long as you get used to it. If this one today contains only a simple webcam, that could change in the future, and open a whole field of possibilities to the Mac. Explanations.
Since its appearance on the iPhone X in 2017, the notch – or notch for close friends – has spilled a lot of digital ink. Unsightly for some, invisible to others, the notch is still a defining element of Apple’s design.
However, it is clear that it seems a bit outdated on our iPhones, at a time when the vast majority of manufacturers of Android smartphones have gone to the punch, much more discreet, when others even manage to hide the front camera under the screen (with varying degrees of success).
The worst part is that it was during the year when Apple finally decided to reduce the size of this notch on its iPhone 13 that the company integrated it into another of its flagship products: the latest MacBook Pro.
A MacBook Pro that ticks all the boxes
A real daydream for professionals working on Macs, Apple’s latest laptop has it all: it offers high-end performance with its M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, incredible battery life, a perfectly reliable keyboard (and without Touch Bar), Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, SD, MagSafe ports, and a new edge-to-edge mini-LED screen… It’s all there. Finally, except for a small strip of pixels.
Attached to the upper border of this screen, right in front of your eyes, throne indeed … a notch. Large, thick, and incorporating the front camera, it is immediately visible to the user. This is the first time that another Apple product that the iPhone has incorporated this characteristic element.
Why this notch? According to Apple, the reason could not be simpler. This allowed it to push the upper border towards the aluminum edge, and thus gain in display surface. In principle, we obviously understand this choice. Except that a question then arises: why is this notch so wide?
On the iPhone, the notch houses many components, necessary for the proper functioning of Face ID, Apple’s facial recognition. We find not only the TrueDepth camera – based on several rooms – as well as the front camera, the speaker, a microphone, a proximity detector and an ambient light sensor. All these beautiful people must be housed somewhere, and that’s why the notch is still very much present on the iPhone in 2021, even if it has been reduced slightly, by 20% – the magic of miniaturization.
But on this MacBook Pro, that’s a whole different story. The notch of Apple’s latest laptop indeed contains only two elements: a 1080p front camera and a light sensor. It seems very light to us to justify the presence of such a visible outgrowth. Moreover, this notch is indeed filled above all … with emptiness.
Other manufacturers have however managed to reduce the borders around the screen of their laptops, without going through the notch. We can cite Huawei, which, with its MateBook D14, had the (false) good idea of integrating its front camera under a button on the function bar, with, unfortunately, a very unflattering viewing angle. The Chinese firm subsequently corrected this problem by integrating its webcam within the upper border of its MateBook 14s.
Same observation on the side of the Dell XPS 13, which offers extra-thin borders and a properly placed webcam, without giving in to the sirens of the notch. So why on earth could a company as powerful as Apple not manage to hide its webcam in the top bezel of the new MacBook Pro, no matter how thin it is? What if, in reality, it was not a technical constraint, but rather a bet on the future?
Alone in front of all
When the iPhone shed its iconic Home button to fully embrace the edge-to-edge screen, it lost part of its identity. This button immediately identified an iPhone in the middle of all the other smartphones. The notch has managed to replace that. With its notch, the iPhone is immediately recognizable among all the others. And it’s ultimately a bit the same on this new MacBook Pro.
With this notch, the MacBook Pro stands out from all other laptops on the market. It could even become an Apple trademark: it wouldn’t be surprising if other Macs ended up incorporating this characteristic element, like the future MacBook Air, or even the iMac, who knows?
But the most interesting is that this notch leaves the field open to Apple to integrate other sensors. Because if the notch of the iPhone had until now been justified by the multitude of sensors that it hides, allowing facial recognition Face ID, that of the MacBook Pro is above all filled with emptiness. For the moment.
A space to fill
With such a large notch, the Cupertino company is surely retaining the possibility of integrating additional elements in the future, when it manages to sufficiently miniaturize its components in thickness (a MacBook screen is much thinner than an iPhone). Therefore, we can legitimately ask this question: what if Apple declined Face ID on Mac?
If Apple had chosen to launch a MacBook Pro with a truly borderless display this year, and then returned the following year with an identical model with a notch, many users would certainly feel like a throwback. By placing a notch today on his MacBook Pro, Apple is preparing for the future.
And after all, Touch ID has arrived on Mac long after it first appeared on iPhone, hasn’t it? What to anticipate the arrival of facial recognition on Mac. And if we push the analysis further, we can certainly imagine that it could go even further than a “simple” facial recognition system.
Ready for the future
On iPhone, Face ID is used above all to unlock your smartphone, enter your passwords without having to type them, or even to animate… Memojis. The iPhone being a very mainstream product, Apple logically offers uses that are just as much.
But on a MacBook Pro, a highly professional machine (especially this new version), Face ID could be taken to another level. With 3D facial recognition and professional software found on Macs, uses are multiplying, far beyond the simple fact of unlocking your computer. Animating Animojis is a bit of a gadget on iPhone, but the experience could go much further on Mac.
We are thinking in particular of professionals in the film industry, who could take advantage of the TrueDepth system to shape 3D models, or even use it to create Motion Capture sequences very easily, simply with a MacBook Pro. And, in the world we are about to enter, with the future metaverse of Facebook and augmented reality fast approaching, the ability to easily and quickly create an avatar of your own person will certainly take time to grow. interest … and perhaps even titillate the general public.
No, the notch is not already a dinosaur in the history of the laptop, as it has become in that of the smartphone. She is (may be) his future.
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