The New Ultra Skinny MacBook: Here's Your Next (Gold!) Apple Laptop

The New Ultra Skinny MacBook: Here's Your Next (Gold!) Apple Laptop

It's about damn time Apple reinvented the MacBook. More than the refreshed MacBook Air we've been hearing rumours about since last year, this new laptop is called simply MacBook. It's so little and tiny that we're practically breathless.

I'll start with the shockingly diminutive specs about size and weight because jeez: It weighs just 920g, and at its thickest point, the new Macbook is just 13.1 mm. For comparison, the 11-inch MacBook Air is 17.3mm.

Display

The New Ultra Skinny MacBook: Here's Your Next (Gold!) Apple Laptop

This ain't no 11-incher though: the new MacBook is has a 12-inch, 2304 x 1440 display. That resolution blows both the old 11-inch and 13-inch Airs away. (They currently sport 1366 x 768 and 1440 x 900 displays respectively.)

Keyboard and trackpad

The New Ultra Skinny MacBook: Here's Your Next (Gold!) Apple Laptop

The width of the new MacBook is basically the width of the minimum usable full-size keyboard Apple could squeeze into that slim aluminium unibody enclosure. To make it fit in an even smaller space, Apple redesigned the butterfly mechanism that gives the keys their clickiness to be slimmer than ever.

Apple didn't stop at the keyboard. The new MacBook has a completely redesigned "Force Touch" trackpad that's responsive to degrees of tactile input, which is powered by the same taptic engine as the Apple Watch. The trackpad isn't hinged at the top like the old trackpads, the whole thing is a button.

Guts

The New Ultra Skinny MacBook: Here's Your Next (Gold!) Apple Laptop

Under the hood, Apple's created an new tiny logic board, that's powered by the energy thrifty Intel Core M processor. It runs cool so that it doesn't need a fan. (That's right it's fanless!) Some users with more demanding needs might find the Core M a little disappointing compared to the top i5 and i7 Macs, but we've been lead to believe by Intel that the Core M chipset is no shabby operator. If you really need more power, the price point of a MacBook Pro ain't too, too far away.

Connectivity

The New Ultra Skinny MacBook: Here's Your Next (Gold!) Apple Laptop

Also, as rumoured, the new MacBook will have incredibly limited physical I/O. It will have just a single USB-C type input that will take the place of USB, power, HDMI, VGA and DisplayPort. That's a pretty ambitious amount of connectivity into a single port. Hopefully you're not trying to do more than one thing at a time. As I'm understanding this technology, this might get complicated?

Apple seems to be gambling hard on people's willingness to adopt Wi-Fi and Bluetooth more universally than they do today. Those technologies don't work as well or reliably (yet) as they need to to replace connectivity to the degree that Apple obviously thinks they should.

"All-Day" battery life

With all the space saved by the logic board and connectivity, Apple filled every possible nook on the new MacBook with loads of high-tech batteries. Apple promises "all-day battery life," which according to the specs page means, up to nine hours of wireless web and up to 10 hours of iTunes movie playback. That gives you a sense, but we'll have to wait and see what real world usage looks like.

I'm glad Apple seemingly didn't skimp on battery though, since battery life is basically the most important spec. A dead gadget is of no use to anyone.

Price and availability

The New Ultra Skinny MacBook: Here's Your Next (Gold!) Apple Laptop

The new MacBook will begin shipping in Australia on Friday, April 10. The basic configuration with 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core M, with Intel HD Graphics, 8GB of memory, and 256GB SSD for $1799 in Australia. A beefier configuration with 1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Core M and 512GB SSD for $2199 in Australia.

Yes, it's available in silver, space grey and gold.

Bottom line

So what do we make of this shiny new golden egg? For starters, there's clearly a load of impressive engineering that went into shrinking down the components to make this computer super tiny. The converse, of course, is that Apple's cut a lot of corners and it's hard to say what the impact will be on usability and performance. Intel Core M is still a new and as yet unproven chipset. Will the slick, efficient new keyboard and trackpad designs hold up under real-world usage, or are they just beautiful ideas that don't blast off. Perhaps the biggest wild card to my mind is the new multi-function USB-C connector. Will it be enough?

If I needed a new laptop today — I actually do need a new laptop — then I'd be pretty psyched to check one if these new MacBooks out, even if it's not exactly the cheap MacBook Air I'd imagined.


Comments

    So wait... Are you saying you can't have both power and USB plugged in at the same time??

      Seems like it. Looking at the available accessories the USB-C to USB adaptor doesn't include a power socket. As useful as a fart in a cyclone.

      No - but Apple has not announced this but bet on a pass through plug. I don't see this aimed an professionals, more the Mums & Dads who already have the classic Air looking to upgrade. My wife only plugs her Air in to charge once a week and she uses it every day. This will be no different, and she also only plugs one of three devices in the USB for all of about 30mins at a time once or twice a month.

      Me on the other hand have permanent USB attached on my desk, hence why i have the 15" rMBP and a Dell M3800 workstation.

        While I respect your position on this, the fact of the matter is that there are a hell of a lot of other users. I have a current gen macbook air for portability...I use it for work...I use it for uni....I use it to plug devices like SLRs/my phone/usb drives in to. Even with the $117 dongle I can't plug in more than one USB device at a time...I really think Apple are pushing the whole 'build it and they'll buy it' mantra.

        I'm guessing there will be some pretty decent docks available for desktop use, so having one USB-C port could be great for portability when all you'll need to do is plug in one cord and have all your peripherals ready to go. Time will tell.

    The USB-C to Display multiport adaptors include a power socket and a stadard USB port. They cost $119, you may as well add that to the base cost. Apple really should just add these into the package.

    Please do a compare between new xps13 and this asap!!!!! I'm a MacBook pro user but felt like it's time to move bak to the windows relm. This however "might" keep me a little longer given it cost the same as the dell??

    This ultra skinny MB is fatter than my 3yr old Samsung Series 9!

      If it's the 13" Series 9, yeah it's 2mm thinner
      It's also 240g heavier, with halff the RAM and hard drive space, with a non-retina display, and (with lack of real-world tests on the new Macbook) 7hr battery (according to a review I googled) vs 10

        not claiming a 3yr old laptop would match the MB, only that 13.1mm can't be claimed as a highlight when most the other makers have thinner...

      They're not anymore according to the samsung website http://www.samsung.com/us/series9-laptop/technical-specification.html were the old ones thinner or something?

    Wait; no more MagSafe?!? I love my current 2012 MacBook Air, but was willing to upgrade some time in the near future. But to part with the simple magnetic click in power charger and return to the days when my cord could be tripped over, and my charger broken? I dont like this future. MagSafe was (is) awesome; why discard it?

    I'm just waiting for a photoshopped picture of a hipster in skinny jeans, an Apple Watch Edition strapped to one wrist and a new MacBook cradled under one arm, riding waterskis whilst jumping a shark to start doing the rounds. Today's announcement just screams it.

    Last edited 10/03/15 10:22 am

      As I understand, most hipsters won't have an iwatch, instead they will have TWO Puls "Smrtwatches" from William. http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2015/02/williams-puls-smartwatch-so-bad-im-actually-kind-of-impressed/

    wow thats a super looking machine.....wonder if it bends.

      Only if you keep in in your pocket and sit on it...

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