What is dead may never die, as the Ironborn of Game of Thrones are fond of saying. This week, Apple resurrected both the MacBook Air and the Mac mini at its event, proving that death is sometimes only a temporary state of affairs—at least where tech products are concerned.

But just as this week’s Apple event giveth, there’s also the suggestion that it might taketh away; some Apple products and technologies find themselves in limbo after the announcements of the week, meaning that the writing may perhaps be on the wall for them.

Of course, not all of these products and technologies will die immediately—some may linger on for a while yet, and a few of them may not stay dead. (As the Air and mini showed us, sometimes they’re just hibernating.) But Apple has a habit of being brutal when it comes to cutting the dead weight from its lineup, even when it comes to killing those things that it once considered its darlings.

Touch Bar bar none

The MacBook Air has no Touch Bar, but it does have a Touch ID sensor. That’s an interesting move, given that Touch ID was widely acclaimed as the most popular and successful element of the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro line.

While the Touch Bar may not be going away immediately, I honestly believe that it was an evolutionary cul-de-sac for the company’s portable computers. Apple wanted badly to bring touch technology to its Mac line and it wanted to do it without integrating a touchscreen that might bring the line into closer competition with the iPad. But the Touch Bar always seemed like a deliberate half-measure, a gimmick in search of a use case. It was hampered by the lack of any sort of tactility, a challenge in particular on the Mac, where the user is generally interacting with a control surface while looking at a separate display.

13 inch macbook pro with touch barApple

How much life does the Touch Bar have?

Touch ID, by contrast, is a technology that actually solves a number of problems—authentication, payment, third-party app logins—while at the same time being unobtrusive. I wager if you asked most MacBook Pro owners whether they’d swap their computers for a model with just Touch ID, they’d jump at the chance. It certainly doesn’t bode well for the Touch Bar’s future.

This is an ex-MacBook

Alas, poor MacBook. You never quite found your niche. Many Apple watchers (yours truly included) thought the MacBook was the second coming of the MacBook Air: an expensive but slim and lightweight machine that would eventually grow out of its overpriced and underpowered shell and turn into the backbone of the Mac laptop lineup.

macbook air priceApple

With a new MacBook Air, why would anyone consider the 12-inch MacBook?

But with the MacBook Air newly refreshed and boasting many features that the MacBook lacks—two Thunderbolt 3 ports compared to the MacBook’s single USB-C port, Touch ID, a 720p FaceTime camera compared to the MacBook’s 480p model—it’s hard to imagine why anybody would bother ponying up the $100 premium for the 12-inch MacBook, unless shaving off the excess size and weight is the only consideration.





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