Lap friendlyJanuary 8, 2011
Laptops: they belong in your lap. Laptops are all about convenience. The idea behind a MacBook Pro is that it can sit comfortably in your lap without a problem—except they don’t. Or, at least they didn’t use to.
About that lap…
Here’s the thing: Apple (and other laptop manufacturers) have made laptops with relatively the same style power adapters. They plug into the side of your laptop and stick out like a sore thumb. Despite competitors placing power plugs on the back of laptops, Apple and others have held out.
With an MacBook Pro in your lap, you have two issues: dealing with the cord that sticks out the side and the fact that with the smallest amount of pressure that cord can disconnect. Ah, the power of MagSafe.
But, not any more. Apple has fixed the glitch with the (relatively) new MagSafe power adapter that’s now shipping with all MacBooks.
Less pretty, more functional
Three weeks ago I would have told you I hated this new power adapter. I find them uglier than the previous version and they’re kind of a pain to handle due to how rigid the cord has become. These new cords take more attentiveness and force to plug into your MacBook, much like parallel parking (get it lined up, turn it just right, watch carefully) takes more effort than perpendicular parking (just pull in).
That aside, they’re actually pretty badass, if for only one reason: lap friendliness. This new adapter sits low and tight on the side of your MacBook, meaning no matter how you position it in your lap, it’s not likely to disconnect. That’s an awesome improvement for Apple to make, completely reversing my impression of working on my laptop while on the couch.
Laptops need to be lap friendly—they’re laptops for crying out loud. It’s their function to sit in your lap and help you do awesome shit. Any part of the computer’s design that obstructs that has to go. Apple has a knack for improving things incrementally. Surely other manufacturers have realized this and need to follow their example.
Consider this as food for thought: will we ever be at the point where powering a laptop doesn’t require you to be tethered to an outlet? Apple claims 8 hours of battery life, but for any professional that’s more like 2-3 hours.
Will batteries get to be that powerful, or will we wait until wireless power becomes practical?