This is not just one of those Apple-bashing pieces, I promise. It’s not Apple’s fault that long ago, they perfected a clamshell laptop that millions the world over have sworn undying allegiance to for well over a decade. I’m sure Steve Jobs is somewhere now, pushing angels to work harder on the Halo Pro Max while standing on what I can only assume he’s successfully branded as iClouds.
All jokes aside, Jobs pushed Apple’s teams to design and create a template that has been successful since the early 2000s. This affirms Job's legacy and his choice for his replacement, Tim Cook. Cook has been the perfect steward, growing Apple thanks to his astute business acumen.
Truly, Tim Cook has built his own legacy, guiding the tech behemoth to new levels of glory, but what has Apple really achieved design-wise during his time? What product has the company put out that is truly innovative? The Apple Pencil? Apple Watch? Laptops existed before the MacBook, oh wait, VR, Apple, um, nope, Apple just recently announced Apple Vision Pro, an expensive developer AR/VR goggles, but Meta’s Quest has been around for over four years since it was originally Oculus. And let's not forget Vive, PicoVR, and the other companies with skin in the game.
MacBooks' outer appearance has stayed the same for over a decade, with the exception of Apple developing its own silicon; if you look up the specs for a 2013 MacBook Pro, it all sounds very familiar. Retina display, 8 or 16GB of RAM, 512GB -1TB hard drive, etc. I will say the 2013 MBP had more ports and an Nvidia discrete GPU. However, design-wise, they look the same as they do today. A little thinner and lighter, but both are undeniably Apple MacBook Pros.
Meanwhile, other makers like Lenovo, MSI, Asus, Acer, Dell, and HP have been taking risks and innovating. Some attempts have not gone well, while others have been fantastic, but one, in particular, stands out.
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is the future
As I wrote in my recent review, the Lenovo Yoga 9i ($1,999) is an exceptional 2-in-1 convertible laptop that seamlessly blends power, versatility, and aesthetics. Lenovo created what I consider to be the perfect productivity laptop. Is designed to cater to the needs of professionals, creative enthusiasts, and workaholic document pushers like myself.
The Yoga 9i packs impressive specs into a sleek and elegant form factor. Although it won’t match the MacBook Pro in pure power or video editing capabilities, it can more than hold its own, and yes, you can edit some short-form videos on it, even in the GPU-hogging DaVinci Resolve. Also, it may not have the MBP’s battery sipping prowess (14+ hours) just yet, but you will get an average workday of 9 hours and 15 mins out of it while using both screens, and you will get over 12 hours of use when using just one display. So, laptops like the Yoga Book 9i are catching up in terms of battery life and surpassing Apple’s MacBooks in form and function.
Having two 2K resolution displays to work on is a game-changing design that allows users to be ultra-productive. Also, even with all its accouterments (Bluetooth keyboard, cover/stand, and Bluetooth Stylus), it still weighs less (2.95 pounds) than the 3.5-pound MacBook Pro 14-inch.
Even typing on the display is fantastic, with some of the best haptics I have experienced. Apple seems to enjoy perfecting tech spearheaded by others. But in the case of the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i, it's like Lenovo perfected what an iPad Pro should aspire to be. The Yoga Book 9i is literally cutting-edge technology. During my recent visit to Lenovo’s campus, I got to see where it was designed, meet the team behind it, and learn all about the materials used and how the decisions were made.
My last statement is also a reason why Lenovo is changing the design game—transparency, openness, and inclusivity. I have never felt that from Apple, even though I am a huge fan of their products. Sure, I crack wise about Tim being the Pope of Cupertino and Craig’s angelic hair or the castled circled walls of the Apple campus being a modern-day Willy Wonka factory, but it’s all in good fun.
However, even to many tech journalists, Cupertino feels closed off and inaccessible. We are forced to hope of one day finding a golden ticket or earning one by writing up the perfect review of their products. That is something the folks at Apple can work on besides taking some design risks, like a dual retina display MacBook. Nope, we got a 15-inch MacBook Air; while yay, that's awesome, it’s not a Yoga Book 9i, and Apple really needs to take a look around and get creative.
Stay in the know with Laptop Mag
Get our in-depth reviews, helpful tips, great deals, and the biggest news stories delivered to your inbox.
Mark has spent 20 years headlining comedy shows around the country and made appearances on ABC, MTV, Comedy Central, Howard Stern, Food Network, and Sirius XM Radio. He has written about every topic imaginable, from dating, family, politics, social issues, and tech. He wrote his first tech articles for the now-defunct Dads On Tech 10 years ago, and his passion for combining humor and tech has grown under the tutelage of the Laptop Mag team. His penchant for tearing things down and rebuilding them did not make Mark popular at home, however, when he got his hands on the legendary Commodore 64, his passion for all things tech deepened. These days, when he is not filming, editing footage, tinkering with cameras and laptops, or on stage, he can be found at his desk snacking, writing about everything tech, new jokes, or scripts he dreams of filming.