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There’s a damn good reason for Apple’s obsession with thinness

A chorus of pundits complains about Apple’s obsession with thinness, every time a new device with a fresh hardware iteration - painstakingly designed to be as thin as possible, is announced.

The complains will be a usual variant of “No, we don’t need our iPhones, iPads and MacBooks to be thinner than they already are. We’d rather have 36 hour battery life and have them the same thickness as they were.”

Except you don’t.

None of these pundits usually take the time to think why is it that Apple is so obsessed with thinness.

The answer is simple. It is Apple’s job to make the iPhone, iPad, MacBook or whatever hardware it is you’re using, disappear.

Disappear so you can focus on the job it’s meant to help you get done.

That’s the breath of fresh air you get the first time you placed a MacBook Air on your lap back in 2008, when you can’t feel like it’s there at all.

That’s the difference in experience between using Windows 10 and macOS.

That’s the difference between using an iPhone with nothing visible on the front other than its screen.

That’s one of the hallmarks of a true “bicycle for our minds”.

Thinness is just one of the ways that Apple can make its devices disappear, so the focus can be on the user and the jobs they are trying to get done, not the device.

P.S. This doesn’t mean that the failure rate on the new MacBook Pros are excusable though.

Yes, Apple should have tested their new design more rigorously and if patent filings are any indication, we should see an improved design in the next hardware iteration that improves reliability. An improved design that should have shipped with the 2016 MacBook Pros.

Let’s just stop taking the easy “pundit” way out and throw thinness under the bus without considering why the obsession was there to begin with.