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Screenless MacBooks masquerading as Mac Minis are selling like hotcakes in China

A fully-functional MacBook with an external screen attached (image via DuanRui on Twitter)
A fully-functional MacBook with an external screen attached (image via DuanRui on Twitter)
The Chinese used laptop market has an interesting new fad going on. MacBooks with their screen removed entirely are being sold as standalone computing devices, complete with keyboard/touchpad functionality. Depending on the make/model, it can be bought for as little as RMB 799 (US$127).

An Apple patent from earlier envisioned a future MacBook that would fit within a keyboard. Strictly speaking, the concept isn't new and has been tried in many computers of the yesteryears. However, some enterprising Chinese resellers have taken the idea to an entirely new level. Twitter leaker @DuanRui reports that Chinese audiences are increasingly looking towards a screenless MacBooks as their goto computing devices.

Essentially, the MacBook's screen is stripped off entirely, leaving just the keyboard (and the peripherals underneath). This contraption is then sold as-is at a discount. They are often cheaper than used MacBooks, making them more attractive to budget-minded customers. It is a win-win situation as one gets the computing power of a MacBook for cheap. The reseller gets to sell the screen separately, and most importantly, a perfectly functional laptop is saved from the landfill.

It is better than the Mac Mini in some use cases because of the keyboard and touchpad. The lack of a webcam can be addressed by an external soluition. There is very little tweaking required, as MacBooks have no qualms running without displays, and iFixit has an excellent guide on how to go about it. On the Chinese marketplaces such as Taobao, an early 2015 MacBook without a screen can go for as low as RMB 799 (US$127). Some newer and better-specced models can be had for around US$400. 

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 03 > Screenless MacBooks masquerading as Mac Minis are selling like hotcakes in China
Anil Ganti, 2022-03- 7 (Update: 2022-03- 7)