So, About Those Inevitable Slim-Bezel MacBooks

21 November 2018

It’s only a matter of time before MacBooks are updated with thinner bezels and the TrueDepth camera system to match Apple’s other product lines. The question is which, if any, of Apple’s previous all-screen transitions the Mac will mimic.

The iPad Pro models each got a different treatment. The 11-inch model was created by making the screen of the 10.5-inch model larger while keeping the same portable body. The new 12.9-inch model, on the other hand, retained the same screen diagonal while getting a dramatically smaller footprint.

When — not if — the MacBook line receives its next major redesign, which of these approaches will Apple take: larger displays or smaller bodies?

Turn your attention to the 12-inch MacBook. Hey there, little guy! For Apple’s most petite notebook, the choice is clear: the chassis cannot get any smaller without serious compromises.

Let’s say Apple wanted to shrink the MacBook’s side bezels, even just a little bit. The problem is that the laptop’s keyboard already extends all the way to the very edges of the body. If Apple made the frame any smaller, the keyboard would go from full-size to… not full-size.

Anyway, though, the side bezels on this one are actually just about the same as those on the newest iPad Pro. If Apple wanted to preserve symmetry among all the borders, it wouldn’t make the bezel any thinner than the one that holds the TrueDepth array.

That brings us to the MacBook’s top bezel, which could stand some shrinking… but to shrink that bezel would be to cut into the real estate currently allotted to the trackpad, which extends to the very bottom edge of the laptop.

The MacBook isn’t getting any smaller than it is now. That leaves the other option: making the screen bigger in the same body size. If Apple were to give the MacBook nine-millimeter side bezels all the way around, as the iPad Pro has, the new screen size would be… Pythagorizing now…

12.99 inches. Almost the size of a traditional 13-inch laptop.

Speaking of 13-inch laptops, let’s move on to the MacBook Pro. This one shouldn’t get any smaller, either — again, the trackpad goes all the way to the edge of the body. If it were to get a bigger screen in its current chassis size, that one would be…

14.11 inches.

And finally, the 15-inch MacBook Pro — which once again shouldn’t get any smaller due to its trackpad — if given an all-screen revamp, would have a display diagonal of…

16.21 inches.

There are some considerations to make for the Pro laptops. The keyboard and trackpad setup could be shifted further toward the hinge. Anyway, these measurements are a good indicator of just how insane the ever-nearer redesign of the MacBook lineup will be.

Apple could go from having 12-, 13-, and 15-inch laptops to having 13-, 14-, and 16-inch laptops. As ever, Uluroo’s guesses are never going to be exactly correct — the actual products will probably fall somewhere in the general ballpark of those measurements.

Whatever the case, the next MacBook redesigns are going to be interesting.