Screenless MacBooks masquerading as Mac Minis are selling like hotcakes in China
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.
More and more people are buying a MacBook Pro without a screen to use as a Mac mini. Not only does it have a trackpad and keyboard, but it also has better speakers, and the main price is particularly affordable. pic.twitter.com/WtxMQk1h8F— DuanRui (@duanrui1205) March 7, 2022