The all-new MacBook
Apple’s revolutionary 12-inch notebook. Plus! New Pro and Air reviewed
Launched by Apple CEO Tim Cook in March, the new MacBook builds upon years of learning about miniaturisation during iPad and iPhone development to deliver the thinnest and lightest MacBook yet. “Can you even see it? Can you even feel it?” joked Cook. But not everyone is happy with the decision to equip the system with just one port (USB-C) to handle power, peripherals and external displays.
“This is the lightest Mac we have ever made”, said Philip Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing. It’s also among the quietest, it has no fan and uses solid-state storage, which means it won’t make a sound in use – unless you ask it to, of course.
The innovative system boasts a 12-inch Retina display, new butterfly keyboard technology and an all-new Force Touch trackpad – all of which feed into extreme portability. The passively cooled system is nearly onethird lighter than the previous most portable Mac notebook, the MacBook Air, but when
you add it up it weighs about the same as an iPad combined with a third-party keyboard. This prompted Tim Bajarin of technology analysis firm Creative Strategies to say, “Because it’s even lighter than a combo of iPad and keyboard, [the MacBook will] be the thing that I’ll be taking with me”. Just like the iPhone 6, the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3, the new MacBook is available in Gold, Silver and Space Grey.
The MacBook uses Intel’s 14-nanometre dualcore Broadwell Core M processors running at 1.1GHz, 1.2GHz or 1.3GHz (the latter being a build-to-order version), which Intel’s are able to Turbo Boost to much higher clock speeds. Apple says it took what it learned from the iPhone to build the smallest and highest-density logic board ever seen on a Mac, claiming a 67% shrink over the 11-inch MacBook Air. The new battery design is also interesting – the
MacBook is so thin that most of its interior is dedicated to batteries. Apple claims the MacBook will run for nine hours between charges while browsing the web, or deliver 10 hours of iTunes movie playback. The company claims typical energy consumption of 10.10kWh per year, and in staying green the new MacBooks are free of many harmful toxins, including beryllium, arsenic and mercury.
Display resolution is 2,304x1,440 pixels (three million), which equates to a pixel density of 226ppi, which is almost identical to the 227ppi density of a MacBook Pro. Despite its high resolution, the screen uses 30% less energy than existing Mac notebook Retina displays, and is just 0.88mm thick. The display provides a 16:10 aspect ratio and a 178° viewing angle.
Not the same as the butterfly-like TrackWrite fold-out keyboard featured on 1995’s IBM ThinkPad 701 laptop (now part of the design collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York), Apple’s new keyboard is based on butterfly switches below the keys rather than the older style of scissor mechanism used on many laptops. The Apple-designed butterfly mechanism is 40% thinner than the traditional scissor mechanism, yet Apple claims it is four times more stable, preventing the key from bottoming-out on such a thin keyboard before the press has registered, and providing greater precision no matter where your finger taps the character. Each key is individually backlit too.
The MacBook’s pixel density is almost identical to the larger MacBook Pro, but its display uses 30% less energy.