MacBook Overview Updated June 28, 2016

MacBook

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.

445 MacBook stories

December 2010 - June 2016

MacBook Stories June 4

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The 2016 MacBook is capable of driving a 4K display at 60 Hz via a single USB-C cable. Such a feat is achievable via an easy-to-apply IOKit patch.

One of the great things about the new Intel hardware inside of the 2016 MacBook is that it’s capable of supporting 4K resolution at 60 Hz. The jump in refresh is a big deal, as anyone who’s tried to put up with running a 30 Hz refresh rate can attest to.

Operating at 30 Hz results in jerky and choppy cursor movement, and in some cases can induce headaches after prolonged use.

Sadly, the MacBook only supports 30 Hz out of the box for 4K resolution. It’s not immediately clear as to why this is, but on its support page, Apple makes it known that 4K resolution is limited to 30 Hz.

The good news is that it is possible to enable 60 Hz at native 4K resolution and 1080p (HiDPI/Retina) resolution on a 2016 MacBook. In fact, I just did so on the LG 27UD88 4K USB-C monitor that I recently reviewed. Watch the step-by-step process in our video tutorial for the details. expand full story

If you’re looking for a 4K display that can be paired with your 12″ MacBook via a single USB-C cable, then your options are fairly limited. It seems that LG is one of the few display makers that has such a monitor available for sale.

LG’s 27UD88-W is a 27″ USB-C-enabled display. Its USB-C port allows MacBook owners to connect a single cable to drive the display, charge the machine, and facilitate data transfer.

As I alluded to in my recent 2016 MacBook post, the 27UD88-W isn’t perfect, but it’s one of the only games in town if you desire a 4K monitor with USB-C connectivity in tow.

If you’re a MacBook owner, should you consider purchasing one? Have a look inside for the details. expand full story

MacBook Stories June 3

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Apple’s WWDC 2016 will be light on new hardware announcements this year, but that will give the company plenty of stage time to show off big new releases on the software side. Siri for Mac, a Siri SDK for developers, an Apple Music and iTunes refresh, Touch ID features, and possibly a first look at new Macs, Apple has a lot of interesting in-development projects it could show off for Macs and OS X 10.12 at WWDC 2016. Below we roundup the rumored features for the next release of Apple’s Mac operating system and explore some of the possible new hardware we might see at the event later this month.

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MacBook Stories May 31

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We can usually get a decent idea of what the insides of an upcoming Mac will look like thanks to announcements from part manufacturers. A report last week detailed some of the changes that Apple has planned for its MacBook Pro refresh in the fourth quarter of this year and now Intel and Samsung have both made announcements that could offer a glimpse into what else Apple will introduce…

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If you own a MacBook and you wish to interface with legacy USB-A connections, you have several options. Apple itself produces a USB-C to USB Adapter, and it’s available for around $19. There’s also no shortage of third-party options available on Amazon and other resellers.

One such option, IXCC’s USB 3.0 to Type-C Convertor Cable, is a cheap and easy way to garner legacy USB device support on USB-C only MacBooks. Have a look at our brief hands-on video to witness the adapter in action. expand full story

MacBook Stories May 27

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As someone coming from a 15″ MacBook Pro with Retina display, adjusting to the smaller form-factor of the 12″ MacBook takes some getting used to. But as brought out in our post highlighting 10 favorite MacBook features, the effort is worth it.

I’ve been using the 2016 MacBook as my primary computer since last week, and I’ve learned a lot about this little machine during my hands-on time. If you’re thinking about purchasing a new MacBook, or if you already own one, consider these tips to get more out of this tiny wonder. expand full story

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