Apple's 12" MacBook is all-new: Retina, fanless, full-sized keyboard, 1x USB-C port for everything

By Julio Franco
Mar 9, 2015
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  1. Apple surprised today by revealing a lot more than just Apple Watch details. A long-rumored new MacBook was part of that surprise, bringing a reinvented MacBook that is thinner, more portable and certainly more minimalistic than the popular MacBook Air.

    The all-new MacBook sports a 12-inch Retina display (2304x1440) with edge to edge glass and thinner bezels. Going from the pictures, it doesn't seem like those bezels are as thin as on the new Dell XPS 13 but still make for a more svelte design that Apple claims is 24% thinner than the MacBook Air at 13.1mm and weighing in at 2 pounds.

    As it's often the case, Apple highlighted its success selling products, saying that while the PC market overall is stagnant, Mac sales grew 20% last year. While mentioning that portability is core in products like iPhone and iPad, the new MacBook is as closest as the company has got to the same philosophy on a full fledged PC. And it shows: the new MacBook will be available in gold, silver and gray, drawing a parallel with its other consumer-friendly iDevices.

    The redesigned MacBook is all-metal unibody, sporting a full sized keyboard and new trackpad technology. The keyboard has received a new typing mechanism that allows for the thin design, while decreasing wobbling. The trackpad is also new, with haptic feedback and force sensors, adding a new 'force click' option, so a deep press in the trackpad allows for different options depending on the software interface, much like a right-click does.

    Drawing another parallel to how iPads are built, the new MacBook is all battery inside. The logic board is tiny, even when compared to the 11" MacBook Air's, it's 67% smaller. Apple claims 9-hour battery life when web browsing, and up to 10 hours of movie playback on iTunes.

    As for tech specs, there will be two models of the new MacBook when it goes on sale next April 10. Both models share the same 12" Retina screen and are fanless. For $1299, you get a 1.1GHz dual-core Intel M processor, Intel HD 5300 graphics, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. For $1599, you get essentially the same machine, but with a slightly faster 1.2GHz Core M CPU and a 512GB SSD. Actual performance for the MacBook remains to be seen, and reminds me when the original Air was launched and it came a bit underpowered, but was the most portable machine you could get regardless. 

    As rumored, USB-C is the only port in the system. The reversible USB port will be used to power the new MacBook as well as provide connectivity for DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA, assumingly with required adapters depending on your needs.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar TS Evangelist Posts: 6,477   +965

    I am not sure what to think of this... only 1 port, 9 hours of battery life, and a $1300 price tag? Apple's obsession with thinness is kind of annoying at this point. The force touch trackpad and retina display are a step in the right direction though.
    Arris likes this.
  3. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Addict Posts: 269   +138

    How does apple get away with selling a 1.2gz processor for 1,600 bucks? It's gotta be the SSD that makes up for the crap processor or something. What am I missing?
  4. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,729   +1,093

    So using this computer as a replacement for your desktop at work isn't feasible if you want to keep it plugged in while at your desk and use an external monitor?

    No big deal I guess... my creativity is best sitting on a roof at dusk wearing purple pants anyway. :)
    Jad Chaar, SalaSSin and VitalyT like this.
  5. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,111   +1,377

    No ports is no go for me, I use most of ports on my Macbook Pro, daily.

    2304x1440 - what an ugly resolution, Apple, always trying to nick a few and then some...

    Looking forward to the new Macbook Pro announcement this year, though painfully (sighing).
    Jad Chaar likes this.
  6. OneSpeed

    OneSpeed TS Addict Posts: 245   +69

    I think she's wearing white and gold.
  7. RustyTech

    RustyTech TS Guru Posts: 818   +385's blue and black!! duuhh :p
  8. Actually that is one of the gems of the intel line. It is not a 1.2 ghz chip that turbos to 3.6 or something, it is a 3.6 chip that sleeps down to 1.2 ghz.

    That plus retina, plus fast ssd. Cant really beat it with a windows machine with the same feature set. But, if you want a cheaper machine, you can always getting.
  9. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,372   +2,164

    If you have time to people watch in a Starbucks anytime soon, take note of how many patrons use MBAs exclusively as really expensive word processors.
    Arris likes this.
  10. Can't beat it? I guess you haven't used a Surface Pro 3 or a Dell XPS 13...
    Arris likes this.
  11. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar TS Evangelist Posts: 6,477   +965

    The turbo boost is higher. Plus keep in mind: it is fanless.
  12. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Addict Posts: 269   +138

    My cell phone is fan less and has a 2.3 ghz processor.
  13. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Maniac Posts: 523   +141

    If you judge computers on specs, just stop.
    AnilD and Arris like this.
  14. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Maniac Posts: 523   +141

    guess your phone if more powerful then a lot of desktops then. /s
    Arris likes this.
  15. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Addict Posts: 269   +138

    That's what I said, what am I missing? Because the specs suck. What's the missing mojo here? I suspect there is no mojo. It's a gimped device for a premium price. Or, par for the course with Apple.
  16. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Maniac Posts: 523   +141

    I think I phrased in a way that didn't say clearly what I intended. I mean "If you are judging computer speed on specs alone, stop, because you doing it wrong."

    Example: phones nowadays are truly faster then most PC's. /s
  17. Please tell me you're joking.
    You do comprehend that smartphones use tiny ARM cores, and that even the 2.0+ GHz quad-core smartphone processors are still left in the dust by the MUCH larger dual-core x86 processors Intel makes, don't you?
    Any dual-core Ivy Bridge/Haswell/Broadwell CPU runs circles around quad-core smartphone SoCs, let alone the quad-core versions of those Intel chips. We're not in the 90's anymore, you should know by now that higher frequency doesn't necessarily mean higher performance.
    Arris likes this.
  18. callmesissi

    callmesissi TS Rookie

    ... what happened to thunderbolt? didnt apple tell their consumers it was the future?
    Arris likes this.
  19. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 488   +123

    Seems like a downgrade from the Macbook air, but cost more? The Core m won't compare to the i5 and i7 ULV in the current air in performance and apple already claims a 9 and 12 hour batt life on the current air's? So you sacrifice all the ports and performance of the current air for a 4mm thinner device that weighs a few ounces less and has a higher resolution screen(but weaker graphics to power it). By this logic it will be the best selling macbook apple has made yet, it makes no sense but that usually means it will sell well right?
    Arris likes this.
  20. Badvok

    Badvok TS Booster Posts: 115   +47

    It certainly sounds like you are the one who's joking.

    "tiny ARM cores" - WTF? Are you living in the last century? Have you not noticed that phones running ARM architecture processors can run games not just at Full-HD but even at QHD resolutions far better than many similar priced laptops? Now we even have a ARM based console that can play games and stream media in 4K which is beyond the capabilities of even the latest generation of 8 core x86 based consoles.
    callmesissi likes this.
  21. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,587   +278

    Because the CPU is what limits the ability of a device to output 4K /facepalm
    Go compare the texture file sizes for a mobile game that runs at QHD to a PC game. Or the number of polygons used in the models, or even just the complexity of the game environments. Graphics on a tiny little screen might look impressive but mostly are still scaled down for the devices to be able to run them. And its the advancement of the graphics chips in mobiles that are allowing for better looking games than just the steps up in processor frequency. I wonder if there is a comparison somewhere of the GPU power of a desktop gaming card and the graphics chip in the latest mobiles...
    4.6 TFLOPS vs 0.1152 TFLOPS
    72.1 GPixel/s vs 3.6 GPixel/s

    I'll let you guess which one is the adreno 330.
    4837 vs 934
    GeekBench result. This is a cross-platform benchmark that measures the performance of the CPU. (Source: Primate Labs, 2015)
    Look how well the Snapdragon 801 does vs a mere i3...

    Versus an i7 (not even the latest and greatest) -
    14045 vs 934

    Computing devices have been many times more powerful than what is required by the average user for years, and if all you ever do is play some simple games, access FB and read a few web pages the latest smartphones may seem like supercomputers to you.

    As to the Macbook, it will sell to those with money to burn and no real tech sense. Don't understand the need to slim it down more. Makes it less repairable. If you want a slim portable device get a tablet. If you want something to work with get a more normal sized laptop.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
  22. Badvok

    Badvok TS Booster Posts: 115   +47

    Moderator note: Badvok, please take more care when quoting. When members misquote this badly, their posts may be deleted.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2015
  23. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,587   +278

    Cost wasn't a factor until you introduced it in your last post so can't invalidate my comparison with that. Also it wasn't me that was claiming these ARM based processors were more powerful than "even the latest generation of 8 core x86 based consoles" because they can do 4k and consoles can't, again with no cost differential considered. Sure the CPU does affect streaming at 4k as depending on the platform used for delivery/playback GPU acceleration may not be enabled, but in the modern x86 processors its not going to be what limits a system from being able to output 4k! (unless you are using the on-die graphics for gaming I.e. HD4000 or AMD equivalent). But for gaming you just need a fast enough CPU to feed your GPU . Go check some modern PC games benchmarks, the ones here at Techspot usually show 1-2Ghz of CPU speed increases net only a few frames per second improvement. Showing that often the FPS that the machine can put out is GPU limited.

    And x86 consoles are deliberately limited because the GPU's paired with them can't run the games (which again are a world apart from the QHD games of Android) that are produced at 4k resolutions. Not because the CPU is limited and can't handle it.

    To be fair though, we are comparing System On A Chip to a CPU. So when considering smartphone SOCs they probably do dictate the possible resolution output more so than a x86 CPU does.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
  24. Yes, tiny. Just see this image
    You can fit more than five A15 cores inside the area of a single Haswell core. And that is without taking in consideration that the Haswell cores use 22 nm transistors, which makes them more area-efficient than the 28 nm A15, meaning the effective proportion even even higher towards Haswell. And that's one single Haswell core, Intel processors use two or more of those.
    Also, 4K media is not beyond the capabilities of consoles. Even Intel HD graphics can display media at 4K. I don't know where you got that absurd idea from. In fact, both consoles have HDMI 1.4, meaning they can output 4K at up to 30 FPS.
    As for games, yes, my old Sandy Bridge laptop can also run the original Half-Life at QHD. It's very easy to run things at 1080p, 1440p and above when they are graphically simple, like old PC games or current mobile games. You don't actually think that mobile games today use the same level of complexity in geometry, textures, shader effcts and post-processing as today's games like Skyrim, Far Cry, Battlefield and GTA use, do you?
    In the end, nothing will change that fact that you thinking this Macbook is slow because your tiny phone processor runs at 2.3 GHz is one of the most hilarious things to ever be posted on this forum.
    Arris likes this.
  25. CaptainTom

    CaptainTom TS Booster Posts: 153   +61

    If I could ever get something like an APU as strong as a 7850 or more in this form factor and battery life I would pay $2000...As long as it runs Windows...
    Arris likes this.

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