The MacBook Pro notch is stupid, and it better not start a trend

Apple Macbook Pro
Apple Macbook Pro (Image credit: Apple)

It had been rumored, but did anyone really think even Apple would do it? Oh, they did it all right. The all-new MacBook Pro has a freaking notch.

I'm still laughing. This is the most ridiculous thing I've seen on a laptop since, well, Apple launched the Touch Bar. I've been critical of Apple's design for its laptop and desktops for a while because it felt like the company had gone from truly innovating to just treading water. Enticing its fans with fluff while the rest of the world's PC makers were collectively making real steps forward.

And that still seems to be the case. The Touch Bar was one thing, but the notch is something else. But there's a bigger question, concern, even. And that's the inevitable copying of Apple design by at least some hardware makers that might use Windows. Not only is it ridiculous, but what possible purpose does it even serve?

Especially when Apple itself is hiding it in most of the promo renders on its own webpage.

Notch what we want to see

Macbook Pro 2021

Source: AppleApple's hiding the notch in a lot of its promo images on its own website. Not embarrassed, surely? (Image credit: Source: Apple)

The MacBook Pro doesn't even have Face ID. That's the biggest joke here. Eventually, you'd assume it will and the notch is a pre-emptive decision before making that a reality. But in its first incarnation, it's literally a home for a webcam. And since macOS is all menu bar all the time across the top of the display, you're really making the most of that extra few vertical pixels' worth of space.

Apple analysts would no doubt disagree, but I'm adamant that Apple has made a conscious decision to make the notch a feature. I mean, we're all talking about it so I guess it worked? While it is/was excusable on a smartphone, what possible quality of life increase will it provide?

Does it exist purely to tell other people you have the latest MacBook Pro?

Aside from letting the other MacBook users in Starbucks know you're using the latest model, of course.

The sad part is that the silliness with the notch distracts from some of the actual, serious work Apple has done under the hood with its M1 chips. If you ignore the fact that there are going to be Macs powered by an M1 Max. An M1 Max Mac? Yeesh. The MacBook Pro otherwise just looks like another Apple laptop, and in days past, Windows OEMs would try their best to mimic the MacBook style.

For the love of God, don't.

Windows laptops can do both skinny bezels and facial recognition

Razer Book 13 2020 Review

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

I'm not breaking out the calipers, or even looking too long at spec sheets, because Apple's bezels might well be the skinniest. But we're talking about the smallest of margins that it really doesn't matter.

What should matter to anyone buying a Windows laptop or a new MacBook Pro is that it's just not necessary. If you're going to hide the notch with a dark mode theme anyway, why go through the trouble?

The fact Apple didn't even do Face ID is a pretty big letdown.

The lack of any kind of Face ID is a bit of a letdown though. Obviously, we're used to Windows Hello and being able to log into our machines before we even put the cup of coffee down. But we're not exactly lugging around great lumps of metal and glass with bezels you could land a plane on, are we?

I'm sat typing this on a Razer Book with delightfully thin bezels, a compact form factor, and Windows Hello facial recognition. I could do the same on a similarly designed and equipped Dell XPS 13 or XPS 15. How about the new Surface Pro 8?

The reasons for buying a Mac or a Windows laptop haven't changed with any of today's announcements. The people who really benefit are the existing Mac buyers, and they're probably going to have a blast. But this stupid notch is one trend we really, really don't need anyone copying. We've already got a good thing going on.

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at