MacBook Overview Updated January 27, 2017

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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 January 27

AAPL: 121.95

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Incase is launching a new laptop backpack this week called ICON Lite ($99, pictured right) that packs MacBooks up to 15-inches, any iPad, and more for under $100. ICON Lite joins Incase’s existing lineup of ICON backpacks that also includes ICON ($199, pictured left) and ICON Slim ($149) to create three sizes at three price points. Check out our hands-on with Incase ICON and the new ICON Lite below:

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MacBook Stories January 23

AAPL: 120.08

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Deciding between desktop Macs and laptop MacBooks can be challenging — you typically get more computer for your money with desktops, but notebooks aren’t anchored down to one location. Managing two Macs is getting easier with features like automatic software updates and iCloud Drive syncing Desktop and Documents folders across machines, but using one Mac is often easier to manage and more affordable.

My own setup has shifted over the years from laptop only to both desktop and laptop to desktop only. I’ve found that I’m most productive and comfortable when using a desktop with a large display and a dedicated mouse and keyboard, but I also benefit from being able to take my work out of the office.

Given the current Mac lineup and my own needs, I’m settling on a MacBook Pro with external display, mouse, and keyboard to balance portability and ergonomics. What’s your ideal setup? Desktops, laptops, or both?

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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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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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