Everything You Need to Know About Apple’s New MacBook

Source: Apple.com (screenshot of media event)
Source: Apple.com (screenshot of media event)

While the new details about the Apple Watch were the biggest story to come out of the “Spring Forward” media event on Monday, March 9, that wasn’t the only exciting news that Apple shared. The Cupertino-based company also unveiled a new ultrathin 12-inch MacBook. While earlier rumors had suggested the 12-inch notebook would be introduced as a new version of the MacBook Air, Apple highlighted the uniqueness of its latest notebook by simply calling it “the new MacBook.” Here’s a quick rundown of everything that makes the new MacBook so different from any other Mac that Apple has ever made.

Size and weight

The new MacBook is the most compact and lightest notebook ever made by Apple, with a weight of just two pounds and a thickness of only 13.1 millimeters at its widest point. As noted by Apple, this is 24% thinner than the MacBook Air.

The new MacBook is the only notebook in Apple’s line of MacBooks to feature a 12-inch screen. Unlike the current 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models, the new MacBook’s display is Retina quality with a 2304-by-1440 resolution. As noted by SVP of worldwide marketing Philip Schiller during the new MacBook presentation, the device’s Retina display is also the thinnest that Apple has ever made with a panel that is just 0.88 millimeters thick.

New key design

Not surprisingly, Apple had to redesign many of the standard MacBook components in order to achieve the new MacBook’s extreme thinness and lightness. Besides outfitting it with a redesigned keyboard that goes to the very edge of the device, Apple also implemented a new key mechanism.

Instead of using a traditional scissor mechanism, the keys on the new MacBook use an Apple-designed “butterfly” mechanism that allows for a 40% thinner key assembly, but expands the overall surface area of the key by 17%. Apple also created a new backlighting system for the keyboard that is more compact and precise because it uses individual LEDs under each key.

Source: Apple.com
Source: Apple.com

New trackpad design

Apple outfitted the new MacBook with a new pressure-sensitive “Force Touch” trackpad that can detect how hard a user is pressing on it. This enables a new method for users to interact with displayed content. Schiller noted that the Force Touch feature allows a user to fast forward through a video at various speeds depending on how much pressure they apply. Additionally, the Force Touch trackpad mechanism features a Taptic Engine that provides haptic feedback. This feedback tells users when they are engaging the Force Touch input mechanism.

Fan-less design

Thanks to a highly efficient processor, Apple was able to further reduce the thickness of the new MacBook by eliminating the notebook’s fan assembly. It uses a fifth-generation Intel Core M processor that requires just five watts of power and generates very little heat. The logic board was also redesigned to be 67% smaller than the logic board of the 11-inch MacBook Air. Apple packed a terraced battery cell into the additional space to give the device an “all-day” battery life. According to Apple, the new MacBook can handle up to nine hours of web browsing or 10 hours of video playback per charge.

All-in-one port

Finally, Apple minimized the overall size of the new MacBook by eliminating the necessity for multiple ports. The new MacBook features an “all-in-one” USB-C port that handles charging, USB data transfer, and video output. The USB-C port is also one-third the size of a standard USB port.

All of these innovative design elements make Apple’s new MacBook unlike any other notebook that the company has ever made. According to Apple, it will be released on April 10, the same day that the Apple Watch will become available for preordering. The entry-level new MacBook starts at $1,299 and comes with a 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor, 8GB of memory, and 256GB of flash storage. Another model outfitted with a 1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor, 8GB of memory, and 512GB of flash storage, starts at $1,599.

Follow Nathanael on Twitter @ArnoldEtan_WSCS

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