Last night I looked at pictures of the new ThinkPad T431s. While looking at them, I thought to myself, "Hmmmm. How does this laptop look any different from any other high-end PC laptop?" I will be in the market this summer for a new laptop to replace my aging MacBook. I wanted to replace it with a ThinkPad due to the ThinkPad line's reputed reliability and its conservative design. The current ThinkPads, in my opinion, are well designed, and I don't mind the chiclet keys in current-generation ThinkPads such as the ThinkPad T430s and the X230 (although I sympathize with those who prefer traditional-style keys). However, the ThinkPad T431s, in my opinion, doesn't resemble a ThinkPad. Where are the mouse buttons? To me, the design looks like yet-another MacBook Pro clone.
Doesn't Lenovo understand that part of what makes the ThinkPad so desirable is its conservative design, including the keyboard layout? ThinkPads are like HP's calculator line in this regard, which have a similar fan following who likes the calculators' high quality and conservative designs. Older HP calculators from the 1980s and early 1990s such as the 15C, 32S, and 48GX are highly regarded due to their high quality (not to mention their support for RPN input). I have a HP 48S that I bought on eBay six years ago that I like a lot due to its feature set and its quality. However, HP's late-1990s offerings (during the Carly Fiorina era) deviated from the style and quality that were characteristic of HP's older calculators. These offerings were not well-received by HP's customers. HP's older calculators started to sell for very high prices on eBay. Thankfully HP listened to the input of its customers, and HP has recently been making calculators that nearly match the quality of their older models, such as the newer HP 35S and the HP 15c Collector's Edition models. Hopefully Lenovo realizes that they have a special brand with a loyal fan following, and that Lenovo doesn't make the same mistakes that HP made during the Fiorina era.