Apple Updates New MacBook, But Doesn’t Address Biggest Issues

Posted on April 19, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware with 0

Apple Updates New MacBook, But Doesn't Address Biggest Issues

When Apple first released the new MacBook in 2015, it was all compromises, with underpowered Intel processors, terrible keyboard and trackpad, and only a single USB-C port. Today, Apple updated that MacBook. And it ships with underpowered Intel processors, terrible keyboard and trackpad, and only a single USB-C port.

So what’s new, you ask?

Rose Gold, people. This is Apple, that company that turns the phrase “form over function” into a rolling joke about its inability to do the right thing. Or as Apple’s non-ironic marketing arm says, “Light. Years Ahead.”

Apple is often incorrectly applauded for moving too quickly to new technology. When the first iMac shipped sans floppy disk, for example, USB-based floppy drives became the best-selling accessory for the device. But burdening modern MacBook users with just a single USB-C port is inexcusable, especially when there is plenty of room for two such ports. Heck, they could have four, if they wanted to.

But they don’t. Because Apple is all about making a point. And that point is that its best customers will buy anything it ships, sight unseen, and regardless of their usability.

Why else would Apple ship a portable Mac with a keyboard pitch so tiny you can barely tell you’re typing? Or a trackpad that is held back by a similar lack of physical feedback but provides a “force click” feature that’s as fake as when auto makers pipe pretend engine sounds through a vehicle’s speakers?

I don’t know, I really don’t. I don’t understand how this firm couldn’t fix at least the single USB-C port issue, when that is very clearly the single biggest pain point on a computer that is full of pain points.

I had hoped, even expected, that Apple would replace its MacBook Air lineup with 13- and even 15-inch versions of its new MacBook. And, to be fair, that could still happen, though I’d argue that the Air lineup is so out-of-date at this time that’s a bit embarrassing they weren’t updated first. In the meantime, here’s what really changed with the new MacBook. The new new MacBook, I guess.

6th generation Intel processors. This is, I think, the first time that Apple has shipped a (portable) Mac with Skylake-based processors. But as with the previous generation MacBook, these are middling Intel Core m3, m5, and m7 processors.

Faster flash storage. One of the advantages of Core m over Atom, today, is that this chipset does support very fast flash storage. So the new MacBooks do at least offer an improvement here, even over the previous version, with PCIe-based storage.

More battery. The new MacBook gets a rated 10 hours of battery life, up from 9 last year.

Rose gold. Apple has added a pink option to the MacBook color choices, alongside gold, silver, and space gray.

8 GB is the only RAM option. It comes with 8 GB of non-expandable RAM, and you can’t choose more at build time: 8 GB is it.

The rest is identical: The body itself, the thinness and weight, and its still fanless, with no moving parts as before.

Pricing is typical for Apple: The entry-level Core m3-based MacBook with 256 GB of flash storage costs $1300, and prices fly up to the $2000 range as you upgrade.

I know, I know. I “don’t get” Apple. These products aren’t made for me. Whatever. It just makes no sense for Apple to be this tone-deaf to what its users actually need. Come on. A single additional USB-C port?


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