New MacBook is neither "Air" nor "Pro," but brings the best of both
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.
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Even though Broadwell is only slightly faster the power savings numbers are pretty impressive.
I don't have a need for my laptop to be only 13.1 mm but the updates are still mostly impressive. With as much as things are being miniaturized I wonder if the Mac Mini will ever transition to a desktop class processor.
I think the "best of both worlds" headline needs a serious re-think. The "best" on the Pro is speed, screen, ports, multi-display prowess, memory, and storage, and the best on the Air is battery life, size, and weight. This lesser new baby borrows a couple of features from it's siblings, but for the rest, which are the majority, it is nowhere near as good.
Less power, fewer ports, no Iris graphics. Very thin and light is useless if it does not perform. I think the quest for thinner and lighter should stop and change to more performance. Seriously, a 1.2 kgs or so laptop is small enough, no?
I wonder what the future with Thunderbolt will be. Will it continue as the high-end/ full-speed port for "pro" macs (MBP, Mac Pro, Mac Mini Server) or will Apple just throw in the towel and switch to USB-C for all of its products.
With the touch screen fetishism, Tim Cook got Apple to produce the phablet iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, after years of Steve Jobs' preference for the standard iPhone screen. If there's enough demand for touch screen, Tim Cook's Apple will produce one.
From Tim Cook's perspective, it's probably just a matter of using the MS world to stoke up demand for touch screen. When demand is high, then and only then, will Apple swoop in with a touch screen laptop/ PC.
I am sure there is a market for the new MB. It sounds like a great travelling companion for most. Power-users will stick to their MBPs, Thinkpads and Latitudes.
I don't understand those of you who whine about it. Do you also whine about cold weather in Antarctica?