Apple Watch wasn’t the only star moment of Monday’s keynote.
Featuring a gorgeous “Retina” display, all-new keyboard, “Force Touch” trackpad, 67% smaller logic board and revolutionary sheet battery technology – that has seen Apple able to pack more cells into the new portable’s super-thin, all-metal and contoured design, Apple’s presser at Yerba Buena on Monday also gave birth to the all-new MacBook.
Featuring an enclosure that at its thickest point is just 13.1mm thin, and weighing in at 2 pounds, Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook with Retina Display boasts ‘all-day battery life,’ while ridding the portable’s individual ports for things like video out and USB – condensing all these standards into one new and universal port that operates on the emerging USB-C standard, and that also doubles as the portable’s charging port.
For this reason, Apple described the announcement as a “reinvention” of the notebook.
“With the new MacBook, we set out to do the impossible: engineer a full-size experience into the lightest and most compact Mac notebook ever.”
That meant “reimagining every element” to make it not only lighter and thinner, but also “better,” Apple says. “The result is more than just a new notebook. It’s the future of the notebook,” the company explains.
One of those reimagined elements is the MacBook’s all-new keyboard, which has seen a complete overhaul.
“We believe that a comfortable, full-size keyboard is essential for a great notebook experience. But to fit one into the elegantly thin new MacBook, we had to completely rethink how a keyboard is engineered and constructed,” Apple says.
To create this new keyboard, Apple says that it redesigned each key and its underlying mechanism — not only making the whole keyboard much thinner, but also to allow for “more comfortable, precise, and responsive” typing that it says “just feels right.”
Alongside changing the keyboard’s illumination to include just one single LED per key – providing a more considered and precise illumination of the keyboard in low light situations, Apple has also invented a new “Butterfly” mechanism to sit underneath the keys of its all-new, redesigned keyboard.
“Traditional keyboards use a scissor mechanism, which tends to wobble around the edges. This creates a lack of precision when you strike anywhere except the center of the key. We needed to reduce key wobbling for a keyboard this thin; otherwise, striking a key off-center could result in the keycap hitting bottom before a keystroke registers.”
Apple claims to have solved the above by designing an “entirely new” butterfly mechanism, which is wider than the scissor mechanism and has “a single assembly made from a stiffer material.” This new mechanism, Apple says, “allow[s] for a more stable, responsive key that takes up less vertical space,” as it cites improvements to stability, uniformity, and control — no matter where you actually end up pressing on the key.
The 12-inch portable also features what Apple is calling a “paper thin” Retina display.
“The 12-inch Retina display on the new MacBook isn’t just picture perfect — it’s also paper thin. In fact, at just 0.88 millimeter, it’s the thinnest Retina display ever on a Mac,” Apple says.
The display is made possible through Apple’s specially-developed “automated manufacturing process” that, the firm says, forms the “impossibly thin” edge-to-edge glass that’s only 0.5 millimeter thick.
As it aimed to make the display as thin as possible, putting less between you and what matters, Apple was as a result also able to reduce the space between display components for a tighter, “more integrated” design.
This will give users of the new portable a final resolution of 2304 × 1440, operating on 16:10 aspect ratio and providing a gorgeous 178° viewing angle, Apple notes.
Force Touch + Taptic Engine
In a surprise move, Apple is also transplanting its “Force Touch” and “Taptic Engine” technologies seen with the Apple Watch, into its brand new MacBook line.
Hidden out of sight, underneath the portable’s glass-covered trackpad – and designed to work seamlessly, SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller showed those in attendance how Apple’s Force Touch trackpad could one day replace the need for ‘right click,’ as the use of different pressured presses on the trackpad’s touch surface would instigate different actions for different situations.
“The new Force Touch trackpad may look like other trackpads on the surface, but underneath it’s unlike anything that’s existed before. Force sensors detect how much pressure you’re applying, and the new Taptic Engine provides a click sensation when you press anywhere on the surface. Now the click that once was a single, mechanical function is just the start of what you can do with Force Touch.
The sensory capabilities of the Force Touch trackpad allow you to tell your MacBook what you want it to do based on subtle differences in the amount of pressure you apply. This makes it possible to perform a variety of different actions in different apps, all on the same surface. And it can respond with haptic feedback you can actually feel, making your MacBook more usable and personal than ever before.”
As for the implementation of Apple’s Taptic Engine:
“The Taptic Engine also provides haptic feedback, so instead of just seeing what’s happening on the screen, you can feel it, too.”
Pricing + Availability
Apple’s 12-inch MacBook with Retina Display will become available to purchase both online, and in-store, starting April 10. The new portable will start at $1,299.
That price gets you Apple’s 12-inch MacBook powered by a 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.4 GHz, 8GB of memory, 256GB of flash storage and Intel HD Graphics 5300.
There will also be a second model available that is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.6GHz, 8GB of memory, 512GB of flash storage and Intel HD Graphics 5300 – starting at $1,599.
You can learn more about the new portable, and explore additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories – at Apple.com.