MacBook Overview Updated December 20, 2016


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Originally released April 10, 2015 and last refreshed April 19, 2016, the all-new MacBook ($1,299 and up from the Apple Store) is the thinnest and lightest Mac laptop ever made. It’s also the first MacBook to be offered in four color options: classic silver, space gray, gold and rose gold.

Currently offered only with a 12″ screen, it represents the future of Apple laptops. Following a refresh in April 2016, it now includes a 2304×1440 (226ppi) Retina display, 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of SSD storage, coupled with ultra-low-power Intel Core M processors. The base model includes a 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core M chip with an Intel HD Graphics 515 GPU; and upgraded models offer to 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core m5 or 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core m7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz.

With a redesigned chassis that’s only slightly wider than the keyboard, the new MacBook’s 0.14″–0.52″ thickness was achieved in part by dropping all external connectivity ports save for a 3.5mm headphone port and a new reversible USB-C port, which can be used for power, data connectivity, and video output. Most of the MacBook’s connectivity is handled wirelessly with 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4 support. It promises 9-10 hours of battery life depending on how the computer is being used.

A redesigned Force Touch trackpad now can sense multiple levels of pressure rather than just one, using four pressure sensors and a haptic feedback pad to replicate the clickiness of a traditional trackpad. Additionally, the keyboard has been completely redesigned to retain the expected clicks, precision, and travel of conventional keys, while cutting their depth and width to fit the chassis. An ultra-thin top lid has only enough depth for a 640×480 FaceTime camera, a compromise for the smaller size.

Just like the first-generation MacBook Air, the new MacBook is aimed at users whose computing needs don’t demand incredible horsepower, yet benefit from a slim, light chassis with a really nice screen. Though you’ll do better in raw dollar terms and power by buying a comparably priced 13″ Retina MacBook Pro, you’ll have nearly twice the weight to carry around (2.03 pounds versus 3.48 pounds) and a larger footprint to manage. The choice of which is best for your needs will be highly personal.

Current Lineup:

  • MacBook (12-inch, Early 2016)

Related Guides:


MacBook Stories December 20, 2016

AAPL: 116.95

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Bloomberg piece based on interviews with Mac insiders at Apple has revealed how the designs of both the 12-inch MacBook and 2016 MacBook Pro were compromised by marketing decisions winning out over engineering ones.

It was a marketing desire to hit the crucial holiday season that led to a design which compromised battery life in the new MacBook Pro, claimed one source …

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MacBook Stories December 14, 2016

AAPL: 115.19

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Ahead of CES, LG has revealed two new monitors with a couple of features that are bound to attract the attention of prosumers and gamers alike.

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MacBook Stories December 1, 2016

AAPL: 109.49

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While I’m sad to lose MagSafe, one benefit of using USB-C for power is that you can connect just about any external battery-pack to your MacBook or 2016 MacBook Pro if you need a boost to get through the day. An Indiegogo campaign which just got fully-funded has a particularly interesting-looking one which is specifically pitched at Apple’s laptops – starting at $149.

The Line Dock takes the form of an aluminum base unit designed to sit directly underneath your Mac. Available in 12-, 13- and 15-inch sizes to match the dimensions of Apple’s machines, it offers roughly 15 hours of additional battery-life. And for those mourning the loss of ports, it also offers 3 x USB 3.0 sockets alongside HDMI, MiniDisplay Port and an SD card reader …

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MacBook Stories November 22, 2016

AAPL: 111.80

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We already gave you the rundown on requirements for connecting your old DisplayPort and HDMI displays to the new MacBook Pro, and if you need a new monitor now, the best option going forward is probably to go all-in on USB-C. That goes not only for MacBook Pro or 12-inch MacBook users, but also anyone who wants to be future-proofed as Apple moves to Thunderbolt 3 on other devices going forward (most displays have HDMI and/or DisplayPort for your other Macs). 

These are the best 4K and 5K USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 displays available so far:

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MacBook Stories October 28, 2016

AAPL: 113.72

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The flagship feature of the new MacBook Pro is the Touch Bar, an OLED display strip that replaces the physical row of function keys. This adds a dynamic zone to top of the keyboard where apps can display custom buttons, sliders, switches and scrubbers to enhance the MacBook experience while adding a new way to interact with Mac applications beyond text input and mouse pointers.

How does the Touch Bar interface work? What is the resolution of the Touch Bar? What is the Control Strip? What can third-party developers do with the Touch Bar? Read on for all the answers and more …

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MacBook Stories October 25, 2016

AAPL: 118.25

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After seeing the leaks for the upcoming MacBook Pro, many people have wondered how their workflows might be hindered by the removal of the hardware Escape key. While it’s very likely that an Escape key will be able to be mapped to the OLED Magic Toolbar, macOS Sierra contains another handy provision for those of you who still prefer to use a dedicated hardware key.

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