While most are caught up in their latest, albeit exciting, announcements a couple weeks back which included the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus (which launched last week), the Hermes Apple Watch collection, the iPad Pro, and the reimagined Apple TV, I wanted to take a moment to flash back to the release of their new 12-inch MacBook, which by now has been picked apart by most tech critics. While the initial feedback on the product skewed somewhat negative on the functionality side of things, mostly due to this simplification of the usual ports boiling down into one central USB-C port and scepticism of the ‘all day’ battery life. In my opinion, there’s no denying the new MacBook is truly enchanting, especially when you’re looking at the fashionable gold version. It also comes in a more masculine Space Grey and Silver.
Anyone who’s ever owned an Apple laptop can attest in one way or another that design features aside, they’re absolute workhorses outlasting most other laptops on the market time and time again. But for me, as a product snob and aesthetically originated person, it was really the design of their products that first drew me in. When I bought my first laptop, the now twelve-year-old PowerBook G4, I remember believing, rather prophetically, it could make me into a better writer. And while I’m not exactly writing for the New York Times, I’m happy to report the new MacBook has been improving my life everyday since I began using it.
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
When I first got the beautifully light 2 pound, 13.1mm thin gold MacBook home, I was totally overwhelmed by the lack of ports, which I think is its first and only limitation. As a busy person who strives for agility and productivity in most tasks, I was worried that the USB-C port would prove to slow me down over time. On the other hand, the sleek, slimness of the anodized aluminum unibody had a suave, rather sexy appeal to it that to this day is still hard to deny. So while I would have preferred it to have at least one USB port and perhaps an SD card slot, I now understand they left those out as the USB-C is not only the new industry standard for all notebooks, but it’s also way faster even with an adaptor.
The second feature I noticed right away was the keyboard. A point of contention for some who might be a little too used to a lower push motion found on the MacBook Air, the new MacBook’s sleekness continues with a 40% thinner keyboard with a new butterfly key mechanism designed to promote shorter, quieter, and more precise expressions throughout the entire span of the notebook; it’s also the first fan-less Mac.
Albeit a tad difficult to get used to at first, the decreation of the travel time between keys is shorter than ever before even though the keys are bigger, ultimately breeding higher speed typing once you get comfortable. The keys also feature a more sophisticated backlighting system with individual LEDs under each key reducing the halo affect bleeding out from the edges that can sometimes be distracting.
The wall to wall features on the MacBook continue up from the keyboard onto the 12”-Retina display offering a new level of clarity through a High pixel density. Good news photographers, no matter the brightness of the screen, the widened pixel aperture allows for more light saturation without drawing additional power; fun fact, the MacBook is 30% more power efficient than its competitors.
It also features a new force touch trackpad that’s larger and more sophisticated than ever. They’ve kept the same multi-touch gestures you’re probably used to on older Macs, but also refined the trackpad with four force sensors set off by the level of pressure your fingers deliver. What’s more, the deeper you click, the more information force touch conveys. Force clicking, for instance on a word brings up its definition, likewise on an address to produce a map.
After travelling almost double the amount I had over the past five months for everything from music festivals to fashion weeks to vacations, I’ve really put the MacBook’s new features through the rigors. From attempting to maximize the all day battery life (made possible through a new battery cell design) in the tiniest of airplane seats, to holding it up in line at check in to maximize those last few moments of wifi before boarding, to packing in a fashionable yet compact backpack at a music or film festival, I’ve really seen it perform and out perform without going over weight allowances.
While it still has a few minute improvements to make, whether they be adjustments on the consumer side, the new Macbook really is the perfect travel companion.