This weekend I read about another line of Mac killer Windows PCs: the HP Spectre 13 and Spectre x360 notebooks. In summary, these are smaller, thinner, lighter, faster.
Does that sound familiar? That’s what the Mac used to be every year or so. Smaller, thinner, lighter, faster. These days, not so much. Hardware awards go to Windows PCs, not to the Mac. That seems like an odd position for a company that makes its money on hardware. Where are the fast Macs?
High Sierra Inside
What caught my eye about these new HP devices, specifically the Spectre 13, was, 1) the price tag; very Mac-like, 2) the latest 8th generation Intel CPUs inside (not so Mac-like), 3) 4k displays (buy an iMac), 4) 11 hours of battery life, and 5) smaller, thinner, lighter, faster (you know, like the Mac used to be).
The Spectre 13 is 10.4mm thin. Compare that to a MacBook which is 35mm thick and weighs two pounds, almost half a pound lighter than the thin and light HP. Go figure. If you like bullet point stats then you’ll like this:
- CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U (dual-core, 4MB cache, up to 3.1GHz with Turbo Boost)
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520
- RAM: 8GB LPDDR3 SDRAM (1,866MHz)
- Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 FHD IPS UWVA BrightView Corning Gorilla Glass WLED-backlit display
- Storage: 256GB SSD (PCIe; NVMe; M.2)
- Ports: 2 x USB-C Thunderbolt 3, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-C, headphone jack
- Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0
- Camera: HP TrueVision HD Webcam
- Weight: 2.45 pounds
- Size: 12.8 x 9.03 x 0.41 inches (W x D x H)
Lots of cool goodies in there that top the entry-level MacBook or MacBook Pro models in every way except weight. Quad Core i7 CPU, full 1080p HD touchscreen display (HP says it’s the world’s thinnest), dual USB-C and Thunderbolt ports, a real HD camera, all wrapped up in a 13-inch package, but with options to double RAM and quadruple SSD storage (for a price).
Not bad, right?
Here’s the question. Where are Intel’s fastest CPUs for Macs? You won’t find them in the entry-level MacBook models for $1,299. Not in the entry-level MacBook Pro models for the same price. In fact, Apple doesn’t even make a 13-inch Mac notebook with a quad core CPU. When it comes to the Mac, Apple seems to lag a year or so behind whatever else comes with Intel Inside.
Public outcry. Or, rather, lack of public outcry. The Mac Pro didn’t get an upgrade until the device fell into disgrace and became a laughingstock because Apple refused to upgrade anything in the trash can cylinder design until nearly four years after it was introduced. Yes, Apple promised a new modular Mac Pro. Maybe next year. Or, the year after. There’s also an iMac Pro coming. Maybe later this year. Or next year. But with more power designed fully to stop the public outcry.
What about Mac notebooks?
80-percent of so of all Macs sold are notebooks and it takes little effort to see Windows 10 notebooks with touchscreen displays that have higher hardware specifications than you’ll find in a Mac. The HP Spectre x360 has a 13-inch 4K display that uses Corning’s Gorilla Glass– priced about the same as a comparable Mac notebook with far less specifications.
Does it seem to you that Apple is resting on its laurels when it comes to hardware these days? Yes, I know one of the Mac’s biggest selling points is macOS High Sierra is not Windows 10, but if there were a simple way to Hackintosh one of those HP models to run macOS I would jump on it in a heartbeat and end up a year or two ahead of the next line of Macs.