New Retina MacBook release date, specs and UK pricing: 1.3GHz build to order … – Macworld UK
Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the stage on 9 March at the company’s Spring Forward Apple Watch event to unveil the latest development in its MacBook line-up, simply named the New MacBook to create an all-new notebook line, rather than MacBook Pro or MacBook Air (those got their own, smaller updates). Here, we bring you everything you need to know about the New MacBook 2015, including its release date, UK price, specs and features.
“Apple has reinvented the notebook with the new MacBook, and at just two pounds and 13.1mm, it’s the thinnest and lightest Mac ever,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.
“Every component of the MacBook reveals a new innovation. From its fanless design, ultra-thin Retina display and full-size keyboard that’s 34 percent thinner, to its all-new Force Touch trackpad, versatile USB-C port and breakthrough terraced battery design, the new MacBook is the future of the notebook.”
For our first impressions of the New MacBook, check out our New MacBook 2015 hands-on review. also read our comparison review of the MacBook Air and the MacBook.
Apple also updated the 13in Retina MacBook Pro on 9 March, read our New 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (early 2015) preview. Wondering what happened to the 15in Retina MacBook Pro? Here’s our New 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display release date, specs and UK pricing story.
Updated: Apple is said to be planning to add build to order options when the MacBook goes on sale, this will include a 1.3Ghz processor, as yet this option hasn’t appeared, but the company is said to have issued resellers with pricing information for the upgrade.
New MacBook 2015 release date: When is the new MacBook coming out?
Apple will begin selling the new MacBook from 10 April through Apple Online Store, Apple Retail Store and Apple Authorised Resellers.
New MacBook 2015 price: How much will the new MacBook cost in the UK?
The new MacBook will start at £1,049.
Taking a closer look, you’ll find that the 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core M model with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 2.4GHz, 8GB memory, 256GB of flash storage and Intel HD Graphics 5300 starts at £1,049, while the 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core M model with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 2.6GHz, 8GB memory, 512GB of flash and Intel HD Graphics 5300 starts at £1,299.
Thinking of buying a Mac? Read our Which Mac? Best Mac buyers guide
Wondering which MacBook is best for you? Read: MacBook Air vs MacBook Pro comparison review, 13in Apple laptops compared
New MacBook 2015: Build to order options
Reports claims that after Apple launches the new MacBook it will introduce some build to order options.
There will be a 1.3GHz processor available for both the 256GB model and the 512GB model. According to MacRumours, the upgraded models will retail for $1,549 and $1,749, a $250 or $150 upgrade price depending on the storage available on the model you purchase.
MacRumours claims the 1.3GHz 256GB version will cost $1549, and the 1.3GHz 512GB version will cost $1,749, the site claims the pricing has come from a reseller who was informed of the upgrade by Apple.
We don’t yet have UK prices for these upgrades.
New MacBook 2015: Design
Prior to Apple’s unveiling, it had been predicted that the MacBook Air would come in iPhone-like Gold finish, as well as the usual silver aluminium and Space Grey, and sure enough the all-new MacBook is available in Gold.
It’s the thinnest MacBook ever measures just 13.1mm thick, which makes it 24% thinner than the previous thinnest MacBook, the 11in MacBook Air. It also weighs just 907g. “Can you see it,” Tim Cook joked on stage when he unveiled it. “I can’t even feel it!”
That doesn’t mean it’s the thinnest laptop in the world, though. Lenovo’s Yoga 3 Pro is 12.7mm thick, for example, and the Lenovo LaVie Z HZ550 weighs just 780g.
We’re pleased to see that Apple has managed to reduce the size of the bezels around the edge of the display, too.
The logo on the back of the new MacBook doesn’t glow, which may disappoint some users. Instead it’s more like the logo on the back of the iPad.
New MacBook 2015 specs: Display
The new MacBook 2015 has a stunning 12in Retina display, at a resolution of 2304×1440 pixels. That equates to 226ppi, so is in line with the 13in Retina MacBook Pro’s pixel density of 227ppi.
It’s also the thinnest display ever found on a Mac, at just 0.88mm thin.
New MacBook 2015 features: How does the Force Touch Trackpad work?
The New MacBook 2015 has an all-new trackpad, which Apple calls the Force Touch Trackpad. This means the new trackpad can tell the difference between a tap and a click, and is pressure sensitive so can tell how hard you’re pressing.
The new Force Trackpad has four Force Sensors beneath it that mean you can click anywhere on the trackpad rather than having to click near the bottom like you would on the traditional trackpad.
But you’re not actually clicking, you’re really pushing with the Taptic Engine tricking you into thinking that you’re clicking by using haptic feedback (vibrations). It sounds like a click, it feels like a click, but it isn’t a click. Numerous people who’ve spent time with the new Trackpad have said that it messes with your head to begin with, but that’s not a bad thing – it’s just different.
The new version of the 13in MacBook Pro comes with the new Force Trackpad too, and is available to buy now. iFixit has produced a teardown of the new MacBook Pro, including the Trackpad’s Taptic Engine. It might turn out to be slightly different to the one on the new MacBook, but it certainly gives an insight into how the technology works.
There are four coils of wire surrounding a ferromagnetic core, that iFixit suggests are used to create the vibrational feedback by turning different sets of the coils on or off in particular patters to vary the strength and direction of the vibration, and therefore how it feels to your finger. Pretty clever stuff.
If you’re worried about the Force Trackpad you’ll be pleased to hear that you can change the sensitivity options to suit your preference. It’ll take a bit of getting used to, but once you do it will change the way you use your laptop – right-clicking will be a thing of the past.
What’s really cool about the new Trackpad, though, is the new gestures that are made possible by the Force Touch technology. Apple will roll out the functionality to third-party developers to allow all apps to take advantage of the new gestures, but for now it’s limited to Apple’s apps.
During its hands-on demo, Apple showed off how you’ll be able to press harder on the fast-forward button in QuickTime to speed it up. There’s also the new Force Click, which means you can click hard on a word in a web page in Safari to open the dictionary meaning of that word, or the relevant Wikipedia page. Force Clicking on an address will launch the Maps app, too.
We’re excited about the possibilities that the new Force Touch Trackpad opens up, that’s for sure.
New MacBook 2015 features: how is the keyboard different?
In addition to the redesigned, high-tech Trackpad, Apple has rebuilt its keyboard from the ground up. It’s still full-size, but uses a butterfly mechanism rather than the previous scissor mechanism to improve precision and accuracy and allows Apple to make it 40% thinner.
The size of each key is slightly bigger, and the space between each is smaller, which should help improve accuracy one you get used to the strange sensation of typing on a keyboard that almost feels like a touchscreen because the keys move so little when you press them.
Beyond that, the Escape key has been elongated and the function keys are narrower. The arrow keys are different, too.
The new keyboard also has individually lit keys, with an LED underneath each key.
Will my cables and adapters work with the new MacBook? USB Type-C explained
Apple’s new MacBook is the first Mac to sport the new USB Type-C port, and while it’s going to take some serious getting used to, we imagine it’s going to be around for quite a while.
In case you’re wondering, USB Type-A is the USB port you’re used to seeing on laptops, USB Type-B is the microUSB port, and now there’s USB Type-C.
USB Type-C is much more advanced than its predecessors, and it was only a matter of time before Apple began using it on its Macs. It has a power output of 20 volts compared with USB Type-A’s 5 volts, its thinner than USB Type-A (0.83cm by 0.26cm compared with 1.4cm by 0.65cm) so allows Apple to make a thinner MacBook.
It’s also reversible like the Lightning cable so you’ll never try forcing it in upside down.
But what’s really important about USB Type-C is that it’s much more versatile than USB Type-A, so can transfer data, charge devices and be used to charge the MacBook, and hook up to external displays thanks to video-out.
The catch, and the thing that’s concerning potential buyers at the moment, is that you’re going to need adapters, unless you can switch to a wireless way of working using the likes of iCloud, Continuity, AirPlay, AirDrop, AirPrint etc. That’s what Apple is actually aiming for. The company’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing said: “The only intelligent vision for the future of the notebook is one without wires, where you don’t have to plug up cables to connect things.”
According to 9To5Mac, Apple will also be refraining from blocking certain types of accessories, which means you could be able to carry a USB Type-C external battery that could be used to charge up your MacBook when you’re running low on juice.
This sure isn’t the first time Apple has ditched old technology. In 1998 the floppy disk drive was dropped from the iMac, and everyone freaked out. In 2008, Apple ditched the CD drive and the Ethernet port when it introduced the original MacBook Air, and while there are still times when we wish we had one or the other, it’s rare, and we’ve adapted.
That’s what will happen with USB Type-C eventually, even if it seems like a drastic move right now. You won’t be able to connect lots of devices at once (even the adapters only have three ports at a time) and Thunderbolt is gone.
USB-C also means no more MagSafe, the magnetic power connector that, over the years, has saved many MacBooks from being pulled off of desks when people tripped over the power cable. See: Will your new MacBook crash to the groud without MagSafe? (Yes.)
The new MacBook does have one other port, and that’s a 3.5mm headphone jack.
New MacBook 2015 specs: will Apple discontinue Thunderbolt?
One question that has arisen is whether the introduction of USB-C spells the end of Thunderbolt. We don’t think that Apple’s will drop Thunderbolt from it’s Pro Mac line up any time soon, but the standard may well disappear from the consumer level Macs eventually. The reason we think it will remain on the MacBook Pro, Mac Pro and the iMac is Apple’s efforts to convince the industry to adopt it since its introduction in 2011. However, Apple also promoted FireWire to the industry and eventually removed that from it’s Macs.
New MacBook 2015 specs: How to use adaptors with the MacBook
Plugging in a standard USB drive will require an adapter, as will plugging in your iPhone or iPad using Apple’s USB to Lightning cable that came in the box.
Luckily, Apple is selling several USB-C adapters, and those adapters will mean that you can use most of your current cables and accessories with the new MacBook. For Apple’s Multiport Adapters you’re looking at a price of £65, though, so they don’t come cheap.
The standard USB to USB-C adapter costs £15.
Find out more about Apple’s USB-C adapters and adapters from third parties in our USB-C Adapters article.
Eventually, though, we won’t need adapters to use USB-C. LaCie has already announced that it’s making USB-C versions of its Porsche Design Mobile Drive line, and we’re sure they’ll be the first of many new accessories in the pipeline.
New MacBook 2015 specs: How fast is the new MacBook?
Don’t expect the speed you’ll get with the MacBook Pro, but the new MacBook shouldn’t be a complete slouch. Inside, there’s a Intel Core M processor, and while we can’t actually test it until we get the new MacBook back to our labs, variations of that same chip have already been tested and prove to be plenty powerful enough.
The Intel Core M chip is a Broadwell chip that has been designed for use in exactly the kind of machine Apple has made. It can be used in a thin and completely fanless computer, namely the new MacBook but also other rival Windows machines. It’s the first release of Intel’s 14nm technology, and is reportedly so small that it’s only about twice the size of the iPhone 6’s logic board.
Apple has applied miniaturisation techniques that were used in the iPhone and iPad to make the New MacBook’s logic board the most compact logic board ever. In fact, it’s a whopping 67% smaller than the logic board found in the 11in MacBook Air.
Intel has demonstrated the kind of power you can expect from a Core M chip by comparing it with the Intel Core i5-520UM processor that was used in many laptops that were considered quite powerful around four years ago – laptops that are still being used by many today.
Intel claims that the new Core M chip can achieve double the performance of the older chip despites its smaller size, and can reduce power consumption by up to four times meaning longer battery life and/or smaller batteries for a lighter, slimmer design.
3D gaming performance is apparently up to seven times better than Intel’s older chip, and seven times faster at converting HD videos. Find out more about Intel Core M processors in our What is Intel Core M article.
As mentioned above, the New MacBook 2015 has no moving parts, vents or fans. Not only does it help make the MacBook so thin, it also aims to improve efficiency and should make the New MacBook completely silent.
There’s also 8GB of RAM in the new MacBook, and Intel HD Graphics 5300. As for connectivity, the New MacBook has 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.
There is a FaceTime camera on the front of the new MacBook, but this one is only 480p rather than the usual 720p FaceTime HD camera found on other Macs.
New MacBook 2015 specs: What is the MacBook Battery life like?
Apple claims that the new MacBook has all-day battery life thanks to new battery technologies that allow 35% more battery capacity despite the thinner and lighter design. The display is designed to consume 30% less energy with the same brightness.
Apple’s battery life estimates are 9 hours of wireless web browsing and up to 10 hours of iTunes movie playback.
How does the New MacBook Air compare to the MacBook
We had originally thought that the MacBook Air would get a Retina update, but it looks like Apple has decided that the New MacBook should be an all-new line of MacBook models, while the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro line-ups remain.
The MacBook Air didn’t get completely left out of the event, though. It did get an update, albeit one that Apple skipped over after the announcement of the New MacBook.
The new 11in and 13in MacBook Air models now have fifth generation Intel Core processors up to 2.2GHz, and boast Intel Graphics 6000. The 13in model included new, faster flash storage too.
New MacBook Air 2015 release date & UK pricing
The new MacBook Air 2015 is available from today from the Apple Online Store, Apple Retail Store and Apple Authorised Resellers.
11in MacBook Air, 1.6GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB flash storage: £749
11in MacBook Air, 1.6GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 256GB flash storage:£899
13in MacBook Air, 1.6GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB flash storage: £849
13in MacBook Air, 1.6GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 256GB flash storage:£999
On page 2, you’ll find all of the speculation and rumours that we reported on ahead of Apple’s unveiling. Find out how accurate they were.