Apple's new MacBook

A pricey but beautiful addition to the MacBook line

Tags: Apple IncorporatedMacBook
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Apple's new MacBook The new keyboard, it must be said, takes some getting used to
By  Tom Paye Published  June 15, 2015

Ratings Breakdown

Editor's Rating:
  • Performance:
  • Features:
  • Value for money:
  • Overall:
Key Specs

Internal storage: 256 GB flash
Memory: 8GB
Networking: 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Price: AED 5,199 (as tested)
Processor: Dual-core 1.1 GHz Intel Core M

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If it weren't for the Apple Watch, the new MacBook would be one of Cupertino's most controversial new devices in recent memory. Thinner and less powerful than a MacBook Air, but with a starting price higher than a non-Retina MacBook Pro, it sticks out in Apple's notebook line like a suit at a rock concert - it just doesn't seem to fit anywhere.

Before the new MacBook, things were much simpler. If you wanted reasonably portable power and performance, you'd opt for a MacBook Pro. And if you valued portability and lightness over performance, you'd buy the MacBook Air - and you'd save a load of money in the process. The new MacBook, however, is more portable than the Air, with a longer battery life, and has a beautiful Retina display. The problem is it's as expensive as a MacBook Pro, and comes with performance stats that fail to match even the entry-level MacBook Air. Add to that the fact that the new MacBook comes with only one USB-C port, which serves as both a power input and a device connector, and you have a pretty confusing proposition.

Despite the apparent inability to fit neatly into the current MacBook line, however, the new MacBook provides us with a glimpse at how Apple's future notebook portfolio might look. Indeed, it may even set the stage for the future of personal computing. Having lived with the device for a couple of weeks, it isn't a stretch for me to imagine new MacBook-esque clones from Windows OEMs cropping up over the next few years - just as the Ultrabook trend followed the MacBook Air.

But enough of the wider implications of the new MacBook and its place in the market. How does it perform as a notebook today in the real world? Onto the review:

Design and build quality

Apple has always been known for its design chops, but it has really pushed the message that it ‘gets' design over the past year or so. Head designer Jonathan Ive was recently named the company's chief design officer, becoming only the third C-level executive to be currently employed at Apple, alongside Tim Cook, CEO, and Peter Oppenheimer, CFO. Other senior executives make do with the title of senior vice president, illustrating just how much Apple wants to get across that design is at the top of its agenda.

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