The best alternatives to Apple’s disastrous MacBooks

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Macbook alternatives: The Surface Book comes with a 100%-working keyboard.
Unlike MacBooks, the Surface Book comes with a 100%-working keyboard.
Photo: Clint Patterson/Unsplash

Apple’s current line of MacBooks is probably its worst laptop lineup in years. The keyboards are so broken that even the newest MacBook Air is covered under Apple’s keyboard repair program. There are too few ports, and too much heat. And if you want to upgrade any internal parts? You’ll have to buy a new MacBook. But what are the best MacBook alternatives?

If you want to ditch the MacBook, you will find plenty of options. However, none of them offer one essential element: macOS. Switching to another operating system is like moving house and having to leave everything but your clothes behind. But there are workarounds even for that. Let’s check out the best alternatives to the MacBook in 2019.

Today in Apple history: PowerBook 100 series is a smash hit

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The entry-level PowerBook 100 fueled a laptop revolution.
The entry-level PowerBook 100 fueled a laptop revolution.
Photo: Danamania/Wikipedia CC

October 21: Today in Apple history: Apple launches PowerBook 100 series, one of the most important laptops in Apple history October 21, 1991: Apple launches its PowerBook 100 series. The lightweight laptops quickly become one of the most important tech gadgets of all time.

These devices almost single-handedly turned notebook computers into a mainstream technology. Apple’s subsequent success in this category — whether it’s the current MacBooks or even the rise of mobile devices like the iPhone — owes a huge debt to the PowerBook 100 series.

2019 MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro: Which is right for you?

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MacBook on desk
Look at all those ports!
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Apple’s current laptop lineup is the simplest it’s been in a while. It consists of the 13-inch MacBook Air, and two sizes of MacBook Pro, which are almost identical apart from size.

If you want a 15-inch Apple notebook, then the choice is easy. But if you want a 13-incher, which should you pick? That’s what we’ll look at today, pitching the 13-inch MacBook Air against the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Apple overtakes Asus to become fourth largest notebook maker

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13 inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
Notebook sales increased more than expected last year.
Photo: Apple

Global notebook shipments increased more than expected last year, and part of it came down to Apple’s strong MacBook growth.

According to a new report from market research firm TrendForce, Apple recorded a 9.6 percent market share in global notebook shipments, up from 8.3 percent the previous year. As a result, Apple overtook Asus to become the fourth largest notebook maker by shipments, compared to the fifth largest in 2016.

Book Block lets you design your own custom notebooks

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Custom design your own notebooks with Book Block.
Custom design your own notebooks with Book Block.
Photo: Mustard Design Agency

There are so many ways technology helps us record information. Yet, the analog notebook hangs in there. Paired with a pen, nothing commits information to memory quite like sketching or jotting thoughts and observations by hand on nice paper.

A London design agency, understanding how personal notebooks inspire creativity, has created a platform called Book Block for creatives to design their own notebooks.

iPhone 6 is so good it’s even eating into notebook sales

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The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are ten weeks away.
Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

When you sell 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices in your first weekend on sale, it doesn’t just disrupt other smartphone companies, but notebook manufacturers as well.

According to a new report from Digitimes, notebook sales took a massive hit in August due to customers waiting on Apple’s new handsets. Since sales of the iPhone 6 family devices will most likely continue through the fourth quarter, many notebook vendors are reducing their orders from manufacturers to avoid unsold inventory piling up.

Gadget Watch: Staying home with robots

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Who needs to go out outside this week? Not us: We have headphones, a home-monitoring video camera, a robot to clean the floors and a keyboard that sleeps on your desk, all ready to play with your iDevices. Determined to leave the house? Take the GoPro PowerPole with you and then offload the footage to a new wireless, battery-powered hard drive from Western Digital.

Who needs to go out outside this week? Not us: We have headphones, a home-monitoring video camera, a robot to clean the floors and a keyboard that sleeps on your desk, all ready to play with your iDevices. Determined to leave the house? Take the GoPro PowerPole with you and then offload the footage to a new wireless, battery-powered hard drive from Western Digital.


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Gadget Watch: Cameras, cameras and even more frikkin’ cameras

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Cameras, cameras, cameras. German photographic trade show Photokina is just around the corner, and the big names are outing their latest models before the news pipes get completely clogged with the tangled hair and soap scum of new releases. So this week we have a bunch of cool new cameras and accessories, including a GoPro harness for your pooch, along with the usual mix of gadgets designed to make you want to part with your cash.

Cameras, cameras, cameras. German photographic trade show Photokina is just around the corner, and the big names are outing their latest models before the news pipes get completely clogged with the tangled hair and soap scum of new releases. So this week we have a bunch of cool new cameras and accessories, including a GoPro harness for your pooch, along with the usual mix of gadgets designed to make you want to part with your cash.


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Evernote Business Notebook will thrill rich kindergartners

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It's worth buying this book just for the pattern embossed on the cover. Photos Charlie Sorrel -- Cult of Mac
It's worth buying this book just for the pattern embossed on the cover. Photos: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

What’s the difference between a businessperson and a regular person? According to Evernote, a businessperson has secrets, whereas a regular person is happy to share everything. This somewhat cynical take is a pretty good model of the world, and it is embodied in the Evernote Business Notebook, a “collabo” with Moleskine that lets you snap/scan a photo of your pages into Evernote, and selectively share the result.

Let’s take a look.

Maybe tablets were better than desktops all along

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wpid-Photo-24-Sep-2012-1439.jpg

With Apple’s mobile and desktop platforms growing closer in iOS 8 and Yosemite, I started wondering: Is the laptop inherently better for computing than a tablet, or does it just seem that way because we’re so used to the folding form factor?

Could it be that, if the iPad had launched before the Mac and we’d spent the last 30 years using touchscreens, we would balk at using keyboards, mice and dumb screens to do our computing work? Or, in my time-reversed world, if Apple unveiled the Mac in 2010, would we all cling to our iPads and claim Cupertino was nuts for foisting OS X upon us?