Tuesday, 10 March 2015 06:47

Apple redefines super-thin with new MacBook Featured

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Apple’s new 12-inch, super-thin, fanless Intel Core M powered MacBook is coming 10 April 2015, with Retina display and much more - even silver, space grey and gold colours.

Apple launched new MacBooks today - the long-awaited ultra-portable Retina model, alongside new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models.

It was showcase at Apple’s MUST-SEE keynote event that is now available to watch here

First up is the new 12-inch MacBook with Retina Display including new ‘Force Touch’ trackpad and re-invented keyboard.

Interesingly, Apple is not calling this completely redesigned MacBook a ‘MacBook Air’, but simply MacBook.

It is 920 grams light, and 13.1mm thin at its thickest point - 27% thinner than the MacBook Air.

It has a 12-inch Retina display with 2304x1440 resolution that is brighter and more energy efficient, a new keyboard with bigger keys and a new butterfly mechanism that makes for smoother and more accurate typing, a new ‘Force Touch’ trackpad that lets you press harder on the trackpad to do things like get a preview of a file you’re looking at in Finder, or fast forward through a video, or get pressure sensitivity when creating in a graphics program.

The new MacBook is even available in silver, space grey and the same kind of gold colour you see on iPhones and iPads.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s maestro of marketing said: “Apple has reinvented the notebook with the new MacBook, and at just 920 grams and 13.1 mm, it’s the thinnest and lightest Mac ever.

“Every component of the MacBook reveals a new innovation. From its fanless design, ultra-thin Retina display and full-size keyboard that’s 34 percent thinner, to its all-new Force Touch trackpad, versatile USB-C port and breakthrough terraced battery design, the new MacBook is the future of the notebook.”

Apple’s described of Force Touch is that ‘it brings a new dimension of interactivity to the Mac. The new trackpad features built-in force sensors that allow you to click anywhere and haptic feedback that provides a responsive and uniform feel. You can even customise the feel of the trackpad by changing the amount of pressure needed to register each click. The Force Touch trackpad also enables a new gesture called Force Click, a click followed by a deeper press, for tasks like pulling up the definition of a word, quickly seeing a map or glancing at a preview of a file.’

It’s an all metal case with no plastic parts, no vents, no moving parts, with the Intel Core M processor and Apple says it is ‘the world’s most energy efficient notebook’ promising 9 hours of Wi-Fi browsing and 10 hours watching movies on iTunes.

It also has a ‘breakthrough terraced battery design that is layered in individual sheets that are precisely contoured to fit the MacBook’s sleek, curved enclosure’, which delivers 35% more battery capacity than is possible with traditional rectangular batteries.

Naturally you get 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 and connectivity via AirPlay and AirDrop, but there is a new reversible USB-C port, which is USB 3.1. This means all those rumours of a single port are true, and this port delivers power, HDMI, DisplayPort, USB connectivity and more. Yes, we’ll need adapters which Apple will sell, and third party adapters will be available too, but it makes for the thinnest and lightest portable full-power computer from anyone, ever and is clearly very impressive.

It will see PC OEMs off on another round of copying and trying to outdo Apple which will be interesting to see in itself.

It will begin shipping from Friday 10 April 2015, with a starting price of $1799 for a 1.1GHz dual-core Intel M model with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.4 GHz, 8GB of memory, 256GB of flash storage and Intel HD Graphics 5300, and from $2199 with a 1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.6GHz, 8GB of memory, 512GB of flash storage and Intel HD Graphics 5300.

Higher spec configurations are available, too.

Finally, at least for now, is info on Apple’s updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display upgraded with the all-new Force Touch trackpage, and a new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook air, but this year's update misses out on the all-new Force Touch trackpad - maybe it will come in 2016.

The 13-inch MBA does get two times faster flash storage and Thunderbolt 2, while the 11-inch version has the same speed flash storage but does get the Thunderbolt 2 upgrade.

Phil Schiller said: “Today the popular 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, 11-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Air all received significant upgrades. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has been updated with the latest processors, more powerful graphics, faster flash, longer battery life and the all-new Force Touch trackpad. We’re also bringing the latest processors and graphics, and faster Thunderbolt 2 to the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air, as well as up to two times faster flash to the 13-inch MacBook Air.”

Unlike the new MacBook or Apple Watch, the new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air are available today. MacBook Pro starts at $1799 or $2499 depending on configuration and will go higher if you want even faster specs. 

MacBook Air starts at $1249, $1549 for the 11-inch model, and $1399 or $1699 for the 13-inch model depending on configuration, and again the price will go up for even faster specs.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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