A MacBook Air redesign has been a long time coming, but today Apple delivered. No longer "Air," the new notebook is simply called "the new MacBook," and to say it looks like a big step forward for the product line is an understatement.
The new laptop is lighter and thinner than the existing MacBook Air, with a display that's more in line with the Retina MacBook Pro. The new model's 12-in display splits the difference between the previous 11-in and 13-in options, and includes a sharp 2,304 x 1,440 resolution (that's 226 pixels per inch).
The new MacBook weighs a mere 2 lbs (0.91 kg) and measures 13.1 mm (0.52 inch) at its thickest point (it still has a tapered design, rather than a 100 percent uniform thickness level).
Apple's trackpads have long been the best in the business, but the company rethought the trackpad with the new MacBook. It's still made of glass, but instead of the traditional see-saw hinge for clicks, it now uses the "Force Touch" tech seen in the Apple Watch, along with haptic feedback. Apple is also integrating Force Touch clicks into OS X (force-clicking on a name in Safari, for example, will bring up a Wikipedia entry).
The new MacBook is completely fanless, and has a 67 percent smaller logic board. One of the more fascinating tech features is its single port. Located on the back left edge of the notebook, the lone port is good for power, USB (the new reversible USB-C type), DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA (update: you'll need an $80 adapter for the port to work with either HDMI or VGA, so it isn't as compatible as Apple made it sound). Certainly this port consolidation is playing no small part in the device's thin build.
Apple estimates up to 9 hours web browsing for the new notebook, a little off the estimated pace for the previous 13-in MacBook Airs, and in line with the most recent 13-in Retina MacBook Pros.
The new MacBook ships on April 10, and starts at US$1,299 for 256 GB storage and 8 GB RAM. Like the iPad and iPhone, it ships in silver, space gray and gold color options. The previous-generation MacBook Airs and Retina MacBook Pros are sticking around as well, shipping today with some minor updates.