Apple's MacBook news: The good, the bad and the meh (The 3:59, Ep. 583)
The Daily Charge
Welcome to The 3:59.
I'm Walter Cheng.
I'm Ben Fox Rubin.
I'm Oscar Gonzalez.
Apple unloaded some big Macbook news today.
Oscar, you were on top of it.
What's going on?
So, they upgraded and killed some of their MacBooks.
So the MacBook 12 inch, no longer there.
The MacBook Air that was for 999 or entry level, no longer on Apple's website so they are gone.
But what they did as part of their back school program, now the 1099 MacBook Air, Here it's been updated a little bit with its Retina display and available for 999, 1,000 bucks.
For education, for college students only.
Let's keep that-
We're none of us qualified for this discount, so-
Yes, not anymore.
So effectively, what they've done, I mean, yes, there's the college student discount which I don't think it's actually, that's sort of throwing a bone to folks.
They're giving something to you but they're taking away a lot right effectively increase the entry costs to buying a Mac right now.
It went from the 9 9 9 9 9 MacBook Air to now is 10 99 new MacBook air with Retina right.
to be fair that nine ninety nine MacBook Air.
Starting to look pretty old and pretty miserable.
Especially after they updated the MacBook Air.
And as much as I really wanted to see them keep that price at 999 for the newest MacBook Air, you knew they weren't gonna do that.
And I bought the new one anyway, so.
Yeah I have one and I kinda regret it cuz the keyboard is not great.
Speaking of which, Then the new MacBook Air and the new MacBook Pro's do get the new third gen Mac keyboard.
Which unfortunately the butterfly keyboard right?
Still the butterfly keyboard, but there's supposed to be like a little bit of rubber underneath the keys.
Gives it a little bit of a bounce, mostly protect from, Brain dust
But that's what they did with the second generation one.
The other thing that I think they did that was smart was killing off the 12 inch MacBook because that was a really strange addition into the lineup.
Yeah especially after they already moved in the pro and the air What exactly was the value of the 12-inch Macbook at that point?
Well, I mean, the 2018 Air definitely made the Macbook irrelevant, right?
It was much faster, had the USB-C ports.
It was a little bit slimmer.
It was essentially almost the same size as that 12-inch Macbook, so yeah not a huge surprise that it's dead.
It's killed the iPhone SE too, so it's going back to your whole point about Getting rid of all the-
Getting rid of the budget options.
All the budget options, sorry.
You're so, yeah.
Sorry, if you're on a budget, Apple doesn't care about you that much, sorry.
[LAUGH] Too bad.
All right, so next up, research team set out to figure out which was the best voice assistant when it came to recognizing request for specific brands What did they find out?
What was really interesting about this was that there have been a lot of studies already that have looked into different voices instance.
This one really not only reinforced but showed how strong google assistant is when compared to the other voice assistants so it wasn't even close.
Like if you're asking about different brands like Jet Blue or Chevy Starbucks just any sort of basic questions like what is Chevy or where do I buy Starbucks?
Google Assistant in general was able to answer it was something like 90% of the questions, especially on your smartphone, whereas Alexa Siri and Bixby weren't even close, it was about a 50 percentage point difference.
Well, if you really want to get Voice assistant that's gonna work for any number of questions.
I've seen a lot of this reports and unfortunately a truth is that Google Assistant continues to outpace the competition by a pretty signficant margin.
Now the burning question, if you are in a eco-home, like mine is, is it worth upgrading to?
Google lineup of what systems
Maybe, maybe I know, Alfred, if he was here,
Alfred did that for that very reason.
He saw that the Google Assistant had actually been functioning better and he decided to switch the good news with Alexa.
Is that it works much better with smart home capabilities, and it has a lot more if those smart home partnerships.
So it's not like it's terrible, it's the worst in every possible category.
But you've got to think like Google has been doing search for 20 years, and so it's going to continue re-emphasizing that strength over and over again.
And if you're gonna ask your voice assistant all kinds of random questions What year.
Wen was Abraham Lincoln born and all sorts of other stuff?
Then yeah, you're probably gonna want a Google Assistant.
For more of those stories, check us out on CNET.
I'm Roger Chang.
I'm Ben Fox-Rubin.
I'm Oscar Gonzalez.
Thanks for listening.