We have been waiting for the Spring Forward event, and looking forward to final details on the Apple Watch. The event has come and gone, and it turns out that another product Apple showed upstaged the Apple Watch. Apple presented the new MacBook, which delivers a 12” retina display in a two pound package that is 25% thinner than the existing MacBook Air. The shine of the new MacBook says more about it than it does the Apple Watch, especially since much of the Apple Watch presentation was shown back in September when the watch was first revealed.
The new MacBook easily stands on its own, as it refines nearly every aspect of Apple’s portable computer line. Apple chose an odd naming structure, but the new MacBook is an evolution of the MacBook Air to provide capable computing, but in an ultra thin package. The obvious addition is the 2304 x 1440 retina display to bring retina to Apple’s ultra light portable line. Then, there’s an all new trackpad complete with Force Touch to let you perform different actions with varying strength of your tap, as well as apply vibration feedback. A full sized keyboard is still included, but now much thinner with a different push-in mechanic as well as an individual backlight to every key. The new MacBook also features a fanless design for quiet operation, while still delivering up to nine hours of battery life.
The new MacBook does have its drawbacks including a single port. That port is the new USB-C standard that supports multiple input types, but only one connection at a time. It would be great to have a port on both sides, and without one, you can’t charge and plug in anything else at the same time. You can buy a $79 hub adapter, but one should really be included for the $1299 price tag. The price is a bit extravagant for the computing technology within, but part of the cost goes to the ultra-thin design with the retina display and an all metal chassis. The Core M Intel chip is a question mark at this point, and it was chosen for it’s size and sipping of energy, but it’s performance isn’t clear, though distinctly less than the chips on the Pro line. The inclusion of the 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD are definitely nice additions for the entry level model.
The new MacBook is more than just a feature list though, it packs a number of new technologies in what is simply a beautifully thin design. It’s a full computer that you can bring with you practically anywhere without weighing you down in the slightest. Apple continues to push the MacBook closer to iPad territory, while maintaining a full desktop computing experience including the full sized keyboard and Force Touch trackpad. The computer may not be for everyone, but it is worth noting that the changes Apple introduced today will likely come to the Pro line next year. The changes won’t be to the same degree, but Apple will continue to refine their computers, so there’s less and less to their physical footprint.
The Apple Watch was meant to be the star of the Spring Forward event with a new potential computing platform. Instead, the new MacBook stole the spotlight with the basis for refinement to Apple’s Mac line for the next five years.