The MacBook Steals The Show
Everyone had expectations coming into this past week’s Apple event. We knew details about the Apple Watch would be revealed, including price, release date, etc. Rumors were floating around about HBO NOW, HBO’s 3-month AppleTV exclusive HBO subscription, sans cable company middle man. Lastly, there were rumors floating around in December of a new incredibly thin MacBook Air with a single port and a retina display. Little did we know, this one port wonder would mark the resurgence of the MacBook with the MacBook Air only receiving minor updates and becoming the ‘low end’ of MacBook line.
The Recent History of The MacBook
For quite sometime the MacBook lineup consisted of two models. A standard consumer version, the plastic MacBook, and a high-end professional model, the sleeker, aluminum MacBook Pro. Fast forward a few years and Apple unveils the thin and beautiful executive laptop, the MacBook Air. This created a middle ground between the economical student laptop, the MacBook, and the professional video and photo editing laptop, the pro. The air was also in the pricing middle ground. It was a compelling option for those who wanted something more than the MacBook but not as bulky or powerful as the pro. Well, time went on and the air gained so much traction that the original MacBook was hardly selling, and thus, it was discontinued. Students and professional’s alike preferred the air for it’s light-weight portability and it’s speedy flash storage.
After a few years of having only the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro in their lineup, Apple has reintroduced the MacBook and shifted the lineup we were once so familiar with. Now the MacBook Air is the cheaper, low end model, the MacBook is in the middle, a step up from the air and the pro remains on top. So what does this middle-ground MacBook have to offer?
The New MacBook Specs
Interestingly enough, the new MacBook is more thin than the air. About 25% thinner, to be precise. Personally, I think this creates confusion amongst consumers. The air which is supposed to be the thinnest, is thicker than the MacBook which was the thickest, which is now the thinnest. Did you follow? The new MacBook was able to achieve it’s slender figure because of a new ‘butterfly-mechanism’ keyboard, staggered-space saving batteries, a fan-less design and a new ‘force-touch’ trackpad. Essentially, the keys are thinner, the batteries fill empty space and the track pad is like an Watch screen, sensitive to touch and pressure. The MacBook is also incredibly thin due to a lack of ports.
The new MacBook is advertised as having one port. It really has two. There is a new USB standard, USB-C, which much like thunderbolt, allows for super speedy data in and out, as well as the ability to pass through current and charge the device, all in the same magic port. If you want to charge your MacBook and use a USB drive simultaneously, you’ll have to have an adapter that allows you to daisy-chain or have multiple USB-C device’s plugged in at the same time. Wireless technologies are getting pretty speedy, so I can see how Apple can justify this ‘one-port’ future. Most interactions between an iPhone/iPad and a Mac can take place wirelessly as well. We’ll also be seeing quite a few of these USB-C devices popping up, potentially eliminating the need for an adaptor in the future. The second port is the AUX port for headphones by the way. It would be silly to need an adapter to charge your laptop and use headphones at the same time. Even Apple isn’t that silly… I think.
Intel Core M Inside
Speaking of silly, to power this beautiful 2lb fan-less design, Apple has chosen the Intel Core M processor. This Core M is less powerful than the new Broadwell processors in the air, but it is much more efficient. So efficient, that the fan-less design would not have been possible without the Core M. Unfortunately, however, early reviews for the Core M in the Lenovo Yoga have been underwhelming. The processor automatically clocks down when it gets too warm and the computer starts to drag. Hopefully Apple solved this heat sensitive issue, especially considering the power it takes to drive a retina display.
Yes, the new MacBook borrows the Retina display from the pro lineup. The middle-ground 12” screen has an odd resolution, 2304x1440, but the gorgeously thin retina display it packs leaves little more to be desired. The new MacBook also comes in gold, silver and space gray. Now your entire Apple collection can be matching!
The New MacBook is a dramatic step toward the future of wireless computing. The whole idea is an exciting proposition, but Apple is facing an uphill battle. Personally, much like every Apple product, I would avoid being an early adopter and wait for the second generation. This would allow enough time for USB-C to catch on and for all the wrinkles with the Intel Core M to be smoothed out.
-Shatter Buggy, Denver