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Apple asks about 12-inch MacBooks in customer survey

While we’re anticipating both a 14- and 16-inch MacBook to emerge later this year, a new survey has led some to wonder if the company is planning on reviving the 12-inch form factor, too.

According to Aaron Zollo and MacRumors, Apple has been sending a survey round to buyers of its discontinued 12-inch MacBook to ask their views about the size, features and what buyers would change about it.

As our review pointed out, the main drawbacks with the laptop was the unreliable Butterfly keyboard – now abandoned – and the distinct lack of ports (it had a single USB-C port and a headphone jack), which has been addressed in more recent laptops.  

Apple often surveys its buyers ahead of product changes, and last year it asked iPhone buyers what happened to their old chargers before removing the in-box power brick from the iPhone 12. Just last week it surveyed iPad mini owners about a strongly rumoured upcoming form factor, too.  

But this isn’t necessarily indicative that Apple is planning on reviving the 12-inch MacBook, and as MacRumors notes, the company has apparently been sending similar surveys about other sizes of laptop to recent buyers too. Nonetheless, it is an interesting development, even if the company is just looking to build a postmortem on why the 12-inch MacBook only enjoyed two refreshes, before being discontinued in 2019.

Apple would likely argue that the gap the 12-inch MacBook once occupied in its product lineup has been filled twice over. Fans of ultra-light laptops now have the 13-inch M1 MacBook Air to buy, while someone who wants something a little smaller could purchase the 11-inch iPad Pro with a smart keyboard. Neither are exactly the same thing, but nor are they distinct enough to necessarily justify the reintroduction of the 12-inch laptop just two years after it was discontinued.

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