When Apple unveiled its new one MacBook Pro 16 inch (2021) and MacBook Pro 14 inch (2021) at his Unleashed event Earlier this week, many viewers noticed that the webcam now had a pronounced notch – and since then, it has proven to be one of the most divisive elements of the Apple MacBook Pro redesign.
As you can see from pictures and videos from Apple, this “notch” surrounds the webcam and dips into the screen of the new MacBooks.
This is noticeable when using applications because part of the menu bar above is covered. Some people wondered how the mouse pointer would behave with the notch – would it “bounce” off of it like it was the edge of the screen, or move behind it? As Apple Insider points this out, the latter happens, with Apple designer Linda Dong confirming that the cursor is moving under the notch.
Still, it seems to be so many people are not convinced of the score – but will they change their minds if they actually try out the new MacBook Pros and will Apple still care whether they like it or not?
Is that such a big problem?
Apple is a company that has built much of its reputation for creating iconic designs that blend form and functionality many people feel the MacBook Pro notch does fail – then it really stands out.
To many critics, the notch appears to be pretty ugly, obscuring the once fairly clean user interface, which means it fails the “form” aspect, and Apple hasn’t really explained why the notch is needed – the “functionality” of the Lower things.
This could be one of the fastest, easiest ways for Apple to respond to people’s complaints. If the company explains why the notch was needed and what the benefits are, a lot of people will likely be happy to live with its presence.
Unlike the iPhone, the new MacBook Pros don’t support Face ID, which you can use to log in by scanning your face. So what is the notch for? At the event, Apple made a big deal about improvements to the webcam, which is now a 1080p camera and offers a vastly improved image over the frankly outdated 720p webcams on previous MacBooks.
It also has a larger sensor, according to Apple, which allows it to get twice the low-light performance of previous MacBook webcams.
Due to the global pandemic, many people are working and learning remotely while being forced to limit visits to friends and family to video calls, so the quality of your webcam has never been more important. In that case, the improvements Apple has made to the webcams in the new MacBook Pros will be very welcome.
Apple hasn’t revealed why the notch is needed, however, and many other laptops have 1080p cameras and thin bezels without the need for one.
Speaking of thin bezels, a big part of the look of the new MacBook Pros is much thinner bezels around the screen. Not only does this make them look more modern, but it also allows Apple to maximize the screen size without increasing the overall size of the laptop. For example, the 16-inch MacBook Pro now has a larger 16.2-inch display, although it is similar in size to the older 16-inch model. Again, if the notch allowed Apple to increase the screen size, it’s a price worth paying.
We actually saw glimpses of how the notch might do this. While the notch overlaps the menu bar, the menu bar itself is now taller (thanks to the reduced margins). This allows the application to take up even more screen space underneath, which leads to more desktop space to work.
Also, it looks like apps (and videos) are in full screen mode, if the menu bar is gone, you probably won’t notice the notch is there, it will be more like you have a slightly thicker screen bezel.
We know that too macOS Monterey, the operating system that will be launched with the new MacBook Pros, will take into account the notch, which is designed to minimize disruptions when using apps.
With that in mind, many people who have complained about the notch may find that trying out the new MacBooks isn’t a big deal, and when they do, the improvements Apple make elsewhere will made to help them overlook them.
Will Apple even care?
While there has been a noisy backlash since the notch was revealed, we can’t see that Apple really cares. This isn’t the first time a controversial design element has been introduced, and over time it has been found that the controversy is ending.
Made the decision to remove the headphone jacks from his iPhones a few years ago. This was received with great anger by fans, but Apple stuck to its guns. Not only does it continue to make iPhones without headphone jacks, people are still buying them in droves, and even competitors like Samsung, who once ridiculed Apple for the decision, have followed suit.
However, there were also times when Apple recognized a design problem and did something about it. Perhaps the best-known example of this is the ‘butterfly’ keyboards that came with older MacBooks. Some people found these keyboards to be prone to malfunction, and after numerous complaints (and even lawsuits), Apple changed the design for modern MacBooks, which now come with a vastly improved keyboard.
Add to that the fact that these new MacBook Pros no longer come with the Touch Bar, a design feature that many people found redundant, and Apple looks like it. So, haters of the notch, don’t despair, it probably won’t get as bad as you feared.