Apple unveiled the worst laptop of 2022 at WWDC

Apple unveiled the worst laptop of 2022 at WWDC

Oh no. What is this?

At a jam-packed WWDC 2022 today, Apple unveiled the latest versions of iOS, iPadOS, and macOS, alongside hotly-anticipated new Apple silicon and health features. Today’s keynote also saw the arrival of the exhaustively leaked M2-powered MacBook Air, which incorporates the controversial screen notch from the company’s line of 2021 MacBook Pros.

But that wasn’t the most egregious crime against portable computer design committed on-stage in Cupertino today. No, instead, we need to talk about this thing.

Apple Windows laptop render from WWDC 2022

This is the device Apple chose to represent a Windows laptop in demonstrating support for its new Passkeys feature on non-Apple hardware. It’s a design that provokes morbid curiosity for more than a few reasons, in part because it doesn’t appear to match any actual real-world PC notebook. (At least none that we’re aware of — shout out in the comments if it looks familiar to you.)

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Instead, it’s a Frankenstein’s monster of laptop bits time-warped in from the late 2000s and assembled into an intentionally unattractive PC counterpart to Apple’s slick new MacBooks. Even if you assume this is a fairly small laptop, the screen borders are comically humongous in all directions. And that display is bolted to an absolute unit of a base sporting LEDs for charging, wireless connectivity, and HDD activity — presumably from the ancient mechanical drive lurking within. (I can hear the clicks just looking at this render.)

At least this cursed contraption has managed, somehow, to meet the official minimum hardware specifications of Windows 11, thus avoiding the dreaded “System requirements not met” watermark of shame on its desktop.

Nevertheless, Apple’s imaginary Windows laptop is a clunker of a machine that makes for a jarring comparison with Apple’s latest and greatest.

This is nothing new, though. Cupertino has a long history of concocting deliberately terrible-looking renders to showcase its services on rival platforms. Back in 2021, it demoed Facetime working cross-platform through this fever dream of an Android phone, featuring chonky bezels and, inexplicably, a screen cutout. It’s a level of ugliness that defies logic.

Apple-created render of an Android phone that doesn't exist

This handset combines the worst of recent Android design elements into something you might find in a carrier store’s bargain bin circa 2018.

And it turns out, the terrible Windows laptop shown at WWDC has reared its head in years past. In 2015, Apple used what appears to be the same fictional computer to show off Apple Music’s multiplatform chops, paired with a similarly unflattering hypothetical Android phone.

Hypothetical Android phone and Windows laptop in Apple-created render

As long as Apple makes its products and services compatible with Windows and Android, it’ll need to represent the hardware that belongs to those ecosystems. Naturally, it wants to do that in a way that makes them look distinctly unappealing alongside their iPhone or MacBook counterparts — there’s no sense in showcasing the very best your competition has to offer, after all.

But the extremes to which Apple often goes in making these products look aggressively unappealing are impressive to behold — and more than a little comical. Who knows what horrors will emerge at future launch events should the tech giant choose to grace Android or Windows with yet more Apple services.

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