MacBook Overview Updated December 7, 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)

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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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MacBook Stories October 24, 2016

AAPL: 117.65

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Apple’s ‘hello again’ tagline for its special event this Thursday suggests an evolution of the Mac line, not just an iterative update. That’s because the world was introduced to the Macintosh in 1984 with a ‘hello’, then to the iMac in 1998 with a ‘hello (again)’, both key points in the Mac’s history. Now in 2016 it appears to be the MacBook Pro’s turn.

This will hardly be the first MacBook Pro, but we expect a slimmer design with beefed up internals and a new input method: an OLED touch panel above the keyboard that dynamically changes based on context. Apple will likely want to frame the ‘Magic Toolbar‘ (or whatever it calls it) as an important evolution in input methods like the iPod’s Click Wheel, the iPhone’s Multi-Touch, and the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown.

If you ignore the historical importance of ‘hello again’ and just see it as a clever way to say ‘hey, we just had an event last month and we’re back’, one thing is still clear based on what we expect to see at Apple’s event: this is the year to pay attention to new MacBook Pros.

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In case there needed to be any more smoke to the fire, Russian trademark filings reveal that Apple is readying the release of three new Macs running macOS Sierra. The products have apparently passed the Russian registration, labelled as ‘portable personal computer models’ with model identifiers A1706, A1707 and A1708.

This all but confirms Apple plans to launch three new Mac laptops at its media event on Thursday, corroborating a KGI report from over the weekend. These product identifiers likely correspond to two new MacBook Pros and a new ultrathin 13-inch MacBook as a sibling to the 12-inch MacBook

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