Plastic used to be the sexy material of the future. Now, it's the cheap, ugly material of the past.
Just look at the effort Apple Inc. put into getting rid of plastic when designing its new $1,300 MacBook laptops, which went on sale last week. Apple now is machining the upper part of the chassis from a single block of aluminum, shaving it down to perhaps one-tenth of its original mass.
The result is a laptop with the stark elegance of a Modernist skyscraper, all glass and metal. The only things that are still plastic are the keys, the Apple logo on the lid, the bumpers on the bottom and some cladding on the hinge between the bottom and the display.
All that metal looks great, and it feels cool, in both senses of the word, to touch. But is this really what we want out of Apple?