Long before it became renowned for its game-changing music player, slick mobile phone and awe-worthy tablet, Apple was simply a good company that made great computers. Although they continue to be a fixture on college campuses and in coffee shops, Mac computer sales make up only 20% of the company’s current revenue. But back in 2006, when IOS-driven devices were nothing more than a line item on Apple’s wish list, the MacBook (along with the iPod) reigned supreme as the company’s most lucrative product.
The MacBook became an instant hit when it was first released on May 16, 2006, replacing the iBook and the PowerBook G4. It became Apple’s first consumer notebook to use Intel processors, which provided lower power consumption, longer battery life and allowed Mac users to run Windows without using a virtual PC. It was responsible for 40% of Apple’s revenue stream that year.
In 2008, the MacBook received an aluminum makeover and was rebranded as the MacBook Pro. The more upscale version of the consumer-focused notebook was available in three sizes (13-, 15-, and 17-inch), and featured illuminated keyboards and higher resolutions. Last October, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the MacBook Pro and the iMac (Apple’s desktop computer option) were the bestselling notebook and desktop in the U.S., growing 23% over the previous year and pushing 60 million Mac users worldwide. Despite its successful five year run, on July 20, 2011, Apple sent the iconic white MacBook packing, discontinuing it to make room for its super-svelte successor, the MacBook Air.
Heralded as a “the world’s thinnest notebook,” the MacBook Air became an instant hit when the original 13-inch model debuted on January 29, 2008, flying off shelves and selling out in stores in New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Its mere three-pound weight and near-paper-thin size made it the best choice for people looking for a lighter, more portable alternative to the hefty MacBook Pro. Today, the latest generation, which comes in an affordable $999 11-inch model, boasts a multi-touch trackpad, enhanced Bluetooth and WiFi technology, a FaceTime HD camera, all-flash storage and “instant-on” technology, providing lightening quick speed and weeks of standby time. The “thinnovation” continued to dominate tech news headlines and shatter records during the 2011 holiday quarter when Apple moved approximately 1.2 million units. Recently, there has been chatter of a new 15-inch addition to the MacBook Air family coming this April.