Apple Changes Portable Mac Descriptor from “Notebook” to “Laptop”

Originally published at: Apple Changes Portable Mac Descriptor from “Notebook” to “Laptop” - TidBITS

At long last, Apple has given up on the nonsensical “notebook” term and returned to referring to portable Macs as “laptops.” About time.

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Many “Laptops” are hot enough to cause slow burns , perhaps Apple are confident that their new laptops don’t have this problem.


I agree with Ian Eiloart. Apple Silicon processors run so much cooler it’s now safe to put a MacBook on your lap even in summer.

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So if the “Book” in “MacBook” referred to a “notebook” computer, what will they call a Mac “laptop”?

I wonder what term Apple used back when the PowerBook 100/140/170 came out? The Mac Portable was portable but wasn’t much of a laptop.

Googling a few old ads, it appears the Apple-preferred term was “notebook computer”.

It appears that the Mac Portable was just called a “Portable Computer”: Macintosh Portable Ad “Hit The Road Mac” (1989).

Which makes perfect sense to me. It was far too big and heavy for either “notebook” or “laptop” to be applicable. Note how in the ad, it is sitting on a table and is consuming most of its surface area.

So, will the “MacBook” nomenclature be changed to “MacLap” or “LapMac”? :wink:

I was specifically told by AppleCare that Apple did not call them “laptop” computers because they did not support using them on one’s lap.

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Your reasoning certainly makes sense. Can’t argue with that. However, I still prefer the notebook term personally. For one, because the MacBook (like formerly the PowerBook) is called MacBook and not MacTop or MacInYourLap or any other name that makes it sound like a cheap and greasy fast food joint. For another, notebook always seemed to be the more specific term, the term used by Mac aficionados. Laptop IME is the word used mostly by geezers who think it’s an 8-lb PC with a 30-min battery and that the company “Windows” also makes Microsoft Office run on it.

I’ve always found the claim that portable Macs weren’t “supported” for use on the lap to be utterly ludicrous and likely the invention of too-cautious lawyers. Yes, some models over the decades have run pretty hot, but I’ve used absolutely every Mac laptop I’ve owned on my lap regularly. If one got uncomfortably warm during a long session (and I can’t remember the last time that happened), I moved it or put something under it.

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

'A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet': Meaning✔️