The MacBook is all about compromise. With more pixels than the Air, its display allows me to be more productive on the move and slinging it into a backpack almost feels like cheating.
While no powerhouse (editing 4K images on it is slightly painful), it handles basic tasks with ease. One year later, Apple has refreshed the MacBook with Intel’s sixth-generation Skylake processors while introducing faster storage, memory and graphics for the same price. The most interesting change is on the outside: a new Rose Gold finish that genuinely makes me consider owning a shiny pink laptop for the first time. Gender stereotypes be damned. But despite its upgrades, the new MacBook is not the MacBook Air replacement that rumors once again predict will arrive this summer – it’s the same unique, dazzling and challenging laptop as the one that launched one year ago. Only faster, and with longer-lasting battery life.
A new processor, coupled with faster internal storage, memory and graphics has brought tangible improvements to the MacBook’s performance. You’ll still have to somehow manage with a single USB-C port, bolting on adapters and connectors to equip your FrankenMac with vital extra limbs.
And if you didn’t get on with its super-shallow keyboard, your fingers will remain as unconvinced as they were before – especially during long typing sessions. The MacBook brings more megahertz, and I’m not talking about clock speed. Since the induction of the Rose Gold-tinted MacBook, macOS Sierra has shaken Apple’s featherlight laptop to its core. Now featured as an automatic download, the operating system introduces Siri to Mac for the first time ever, serving as a competent rival to Microsoft’s Cortana.
Moreover, rumors of the 12-inch MacBook’s successor have already begun to circulate. A patent filed last summer, for instance, suggests there may be an update featuring mobile LTE connectivity in the MacBook’s future.
For Apple’s sake, let’s hope these amendments arrive in time to undermine the PC market’s sales strife. In the meantime, the Cupertino company will (hopefully) win back it audience with a new round of MacBook Pros and Airs.
Big money Mac
Some people expected Apple to discount its refreshed MacBook to sweeten the deal. It didn’t. The entry-level model still costs £1,049 ($1,299 or AUS$1,999), around $50/$73/AUS$99 more than the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. If the cost remains too high for you, then consider picking up last year’s version from Apple’s refurb store. While the 2016 refresh is technically the better machine, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two when undertaking low-level tasks such as surfing the web or typing up documents in Pages. At the time of writing, the entry-level version is on there for £749 (around $1,108 or AUS$1,457) alongside eight other models of varying specs and price.