Return of the MacBook (and new Pro!)


Welcome to another edition of Mac Tips! (Our 103rd issue, to be specific.) This week saw another Apple media event, sharing new information on the highly anticipated Apple Watch, Apple’s new ResearchKit tools for medical studies, and the arrival of HBO Now on Apple TV. We’re not sure whether Apple will be sending us Watches or not, so in the meantime, here’s the latest on the new MacBook and updates to the Retina display model.
You might remember the basic MacBook from back in 2011 when it was discontinued; a fairly heavy, plastic computer with a built-in SuperDrive that was popular with students. The MacBook has always been Apple’s most inexpensive laptop, with a feature set to boot, but over the last several years the MacBook Air has neatly slotted itself into that position and made the MacBook redundant.

Until now! Apple has channeled its innovations in lightweight design to produce an all-new MacBook, with several significant departures from the older style models. To start with, it’s much smaller and lighter; it weighs only 2lb and is only 13.1mm thick, less than half the weight and height of the plastic model. It also splits the difference between Apple’s two smallest notebooks with Apple’s first 12″ retina display.

In order to fit into the 12″ footprint, Apple has also redesigned the keyboard, bringing the keys closer together and reducing their height with a new switch design. The fan has been trimmed out for size considerations, making the machine fully silent thanks to its solid-state storage, and a new “terraced” battery design promises 9-10 hours of use thanks to new power-sipping “Boardwell” processors.

There’s also a new trackpad made thinner and lighter with technology directly from the Apple Watch. The new Force Touch option allows you to make different selections based on the pressure with which you touch it, and a new Taptic engine creates small vibrations to give you feedback instead of a physical click sound.

Probably the biggest surprise however is how Apple has done away with nearly all the ports on the side of the machine. Instead of regular USB, Thunderbolt, HDMI, SD Cards and even power, the MacBook has only a headphone jack and a new USB-C port. This new generation of USB allows the Mac to connect to almost any peripheral through a series of dongles, but the idea is that our mostly wireless world should make most of those plug-ins redundant.

The new MacBook is coming in not just the classic unibody silver design, but also space grey and gold, reminiscent of the current iPhone and iPad options. Pricing starts at $1549 for the base model with 256 GB of storage, available mid-April.

New changes to the MacBook Pro with Retina Display and MacBook Air

The original MacBook is back, but the unibody Retina display model is also getting a refresh. Not only have they taken on the new Force Touch trackpad, but they are also getting new generation processors that deliver slightly more speed with less power draw. MacBook Airs are also getting newer chips, plus new Thunderbolt 2.

Some models have also recieved faster PCIe ports to read and write from their SSDs, though they’re already so fast it might be tough to notice. We should have these new models pretty soon, and we’re selling old ones at a nice discount as well.

As usual, if you have any questions, concerns, comments or suggestions for future newsletters, please hit reply and let us know. Thank you for reading Mac Tips!