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Home / News / Lighter, thinner, silenter – the new Apple MacBook looks lovely

Lighter, thinner, silenter – the new Apple MacBook looks lovely

"Reinvention" might be pushing it, but the new MacBook really does look like something special

The 12in Retina MacBook is real, it’s called simple “MacBook”, and it’s a good deal more exciting than we were expecting.

Yes, it’s beautiful, especially in the gold finish shown on-stage during the launch (it’s also available in Space Grey and Silver, of course), and that’s largely due to all-metal chassis and quite breathtaking slimness. This is just 13.1mm thick – 24% thinner than the existing MacBook Air – and it weighs just 2lbs. That’s just 907g.

The Butterfly Effect

The keyboard has had some serious love.

It’s thinner, but full-size. In fact, each key has a 17% larger surface area – the fat-fingered will be delighted. On top of that, Apple has redesigned the actual key-press mechanism. Gone is the Scissor mechanism that sees keys depress slightly wonkily – there’s now a Butterfly mechanism that sees each button depress more uniformly. Apparently they’re 4x more stable than the keys on an existing MacBook, if you insist on putting a figure on these things.

The TouchPad’s had an upgrade, too, in the form of more hinges to it can be clicked anywhere on its surface, as well as a couple of features inherited from the Apple Watch – Taptic feedback and Force Touch, which means the TouchPad responds to different degrees of pressure.

100% fewer fans, a bunch more batteries

100% fewer fans, a bunch more batteries

The first step to getting the 11in MacBook Air’s logic board to fit in the new MacBook’s chassis was to throw away the fan. That’s right, this is the first fanless MacBook. Add in a bunch of other redevelopments and you’ve got a board that’s 67% smaller overall.

That actually leaves a fair bit of space under the keyboard, but it’s slightly awkwardly shaped because of the contours of the computer. So Apple has developed batteries in layers. These "terraced" batteries fill practically every remaining nook and cranny. That’s quite a lot of battery.

And apparently the new MacBook is the most energy efficient notebook in the world. Combine that with all of that battery power and you’ve got "all-day" battery life, 9 hours of web browsing, or 10 hours of iTunes movie playback.

Goodbye to Lightning, hello to USB-C

Goodbye to Lightning, hello to USB-C

There’s just one port on the new MacBook, and it’s really rather amazing. The USB-C port combines DisplayPort, HDMI, VGA, USB and power in one. Now that’s neat.

Best of all, it’s been developed with a load of other manufacturers, so while the new MacBook is the first to get it, it’s a new industry standard that should be widespread in mere months.


Well you’ll have to wait just a little while – the new MacBook isn’t shipping until 10th April.

But in terms of price it doesn’t seem outrageous. The cheaper of the two models is £1050, which gets you a 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core M, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD. £1300 doubles the storage and ups the processor to a 1.2GHz Intel Core M.

Determined to stick with a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air? The former gets the new MacBook’s Force Touch trackpad, while the latter gets a performance boost to fifth-generation Intel Core processors, as well as Thunderbolt 2. These new versions of the exisiting MacBooks are available right now.

Profile image of Tom Parsons Tom Parsons Contributor, Stuff.tv


Tom is a nerd. A gaming nerd, a home cinema nerd, a hi-fi nerd and a car nerd. And a bit of a bike nerd, and phone nerd, and computer nerd. Let's call the whole thing off and just go with all-round nerd. In the past he's been an audio book actor, a games tester, a chocolate salesman and a teacher in Japan. Then he joined What Hi-Fi? as a reviewer back in 2007 and moved to Stuff as Reviews Editor in 2011. After a five-year stint on Stuff he rejoined the What Hi-Fi? team where he currently rules the reviews team with a candy floss fist.

Areas of expertise

All things AV and hi-fi, gaming, cars, craft beer, wine, loading a dishwasher

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