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New Retina MacBook 2015: Release Date, Specs, And Price

( [email protected] ) Mar 18, 2015 02:07 AM EDT
Much to the surprise of many Apple fans, the tech company didn't announce a new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air at the March 9th Spring Forward event, but instead announced a stand-alone product that seems to be a combination of the two: the all new 12-inch Retina MacBook.
Apple's Retina MacBook is the thinnest and lightest Mac laptop yet. Photo: Apple

Much to the surprise of many Apple fans, the tech company didn't announce a new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air at the March 9th Spring Forward event, but instead announced a stand-alone product that seems to be a combination of the two: the all new 12-inch Retina MacBook.

But with a release date coming on April 10, many are wondering if they should go ahead and purchase on launch day or see how the general public responds after launch. Let's run down the specifics of the new product to help you make up your mind.

The new MacBook features a 12-inch Retina display with 2304 x 1440 resolution, and measures in at 13.1 mm thick, which is an astounding 24 percent thinner than the current ultra-portable MacBook Air. It's also only two pounds, which makes it lighter than the 2.38-pound 11-inch MacBook Air and the 2.96-pound 13-inch MacBook Air.

The new ForceTouch trackpad has been borrowed from the Apple Watch to allow built-in force sensors to detect the amount of pressure being executed on the trackpad, which opens up a whole new realm of pressure-based gestures.

For example, a new Force Click gesture is represented by a click and a long press. This indicates new controls, such as file previews on the desktop, maps in the Mail app, and more. Adding more pressure while fast forwarding through a video will allow the media to scan forward or backward more quickly.

The rest of the specs include 8 GB of RAM, 256 or 512 GB of flash-based storage, stereo speakers and dual microphones, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, a 480p FaceTime camera, and OS X Yosemite installed.

As for aesthetics, the new MacBook features a full-size, edge-to-edge keyboard that may be its bigger sticking point to date. Several early reviewers are praising the laptop for everything but that keyboard, saying that the "butterfly mechanism" on the thinner keys just takes some getting used to before you expect to let your fingers flow like on an older MacBook.

Three colors are available on the new product to match the current offerings on the iPhone: silver, gold, and space gray. The body is all aluminum, which is certainly an improvement over the last iteration of the MacBook in 2010 that used a white polycarbonate unibody case.

But it's the Intel Core M chip that really has everyone talking. The fanless design of the 1.2 GHz chip allows for silent operation and more efficient use of space. A terraced battery design also allows for more efficiency in the power department, as well as an "all day battery life" with up to nine hours of wireless web browsing, according to Apple.

With the new MacBook being so thing and light, some wonder if this means the end of the MacBook Air line that previously used its own lightweight features as a main selling point.

The new 2015 Retina MacBook will start at $1,299 for the 1.1 GHz dual-core model with 256 GB of storage while the higher end 1.2 GHz model with 512 GB of storage will run you $1,599.