The thinner, lighter and sharper MacBook is here.

Apple has gone and announced the Retina Macbook, but skipping out on any prefixes or suffixes, the Cupertino company has named it simply the new MacBook.

As the old saying goes: the best things in life are worth waiting for, and Apple’s long-awaited MacBook has finally be announced and oh, boy is it a doozy. Apple held an event today that was almost entirely expected to focus on the Apple Watch, but the Retina display-equipped MacBook stole the show for computer nerds.

Apple’s outgoing MacBook machines had excellent battery life and portability, but suffer from poor low-resolution TN displays. The new MacBook corrects this issue with an excellent high-resolution 2,304 x 1440 pixel Retina display, thinner body and much more.

[divider]Retina MacBook release date[/divider]

We originally hoped that the Retina MacBook release date would be announced at Apple’s event back in October, which many thought the company would use to show off the new laptop. But finally after a long wait we finally now know the new notebook will be available starting April 10.

Although it feels like the Retina MacBook release date should have come and gone by now, factors such as the delayed availability of Intel’s new Broadwell-series processors means that Apple and other laptop makers have had no choice but to sit tight.

The new MacBook

Many of Apple’s rivals in the Windows arena – including Lenovo, Asus and Dell – have now launched thinner and laptops sporting Intel’s Core M Broadwell CPU – and just like that Apple has followed suit.

Digitimes reported that Apple’s supplier Quanta Computer was looking to bring in an additional 30,000 workers to help with production of the Retina MacBook, in addition to the Apple Watch. Sources close to the company claimed that the machine would launch in April this year.

Now it seems they were right. Along with going with a 1.1GHz Intel Core M processor, the new MacBook will feature a 12-inch, 2,304 x 1440 resolution Retina display. As expected, the 13-inch model will remain and it has even been upgraded with a 5th generation Broadwell Processor.

[divider]Retina MacBook design[/divider]

Apple has succeeded in making MacBook that is both lighter and thinner than the current Air models. The new MacBook measures a 13.1mm thick, a few hairs thinner compared to the 17.3mm thick 11-inch MacBook Air. According to Apple, the new MacBook is 24% thinner and the overall unit only weighs two pounds.

Despite shaving down the laptop’s overall frame, Apple has still managed to fit a full-size keyboard. the new keys also feature a slightly different butterfly switch for more uniform keystrokes. Unlike most laptops that come with keys sitting on top of scissor keys, the iPhone maker argues its redesigned a keyboard offers a better, “much more precise” typing experience. The keyboard also features LEDs that light each key individually.

Apple also spared no expense with a new track pad design that does away with the mechanical element found on current MacBooks. While the track pad no longer clicks, it instead has four sensors on each corner to detect clicks. Beyond simple taps, the buttonless track pad senses pressure, which the company demoed by pressing harder on fast-forward button in QuickTime to make the video advance faster and faster.

Even the ports – or should we say, singular port – on the new MacBook Pro has been overhauled. Gone are the Magsafe charging connector along with every port with the exception of a 3.5mm headphone jack. In their place is a single USB-C connector, otherwise known as USB 3.1 a smaller and reversible data port that supports everything from video output, data transmission to charging the laptop.

Lastly, as Apple insiders leaked to a website simply called ‘A Tech Website,’ the gold Retina MacBook has been in the works, along with ones decked in space grey and aluminium grey.

[divider]Retina MacBook specs[/divider]

The biggest drawback to the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air has been the display, which tops out at a pixel-resolution of 1,366 x 768 on the smaller model and 1,400 x 900 on the latter. The new MacBook corrects this with a 2304 x 1440 resolution. That’s a bit shy of the pixel-resolution of 2,732 x 1,536, but it’s a big step up from the non-Retina MacBook Airs.

The new MacBook

The new MacBook has a dazzling display and improved battery life

According to sources that spoke to Digitimes, Apple is eyeing up a 12-inch Retina MacBook because sales of its 11-inch MacBook Air are suffering due to it featuring a similar screen size to its strongly performing iPad devices. A 12-inch model would provide a clear choice between the two while allowing the company to fade out its smallest (and arguably least popular) notebook over time.

Intel has confirmed that their Core i3, i5 and i7 Broadwell-U chips are scheduled for a spring 2015 launch, which it predicts means early March or April. Those CPUs will be of particular interest to Apple due to their low thermal design power (TDP), which will allow a new Retina MacBook to have a high-resolution display without heavily sapping battery life.

Alternatively, Apple may opt for Intel’s Core-M series Broadwell CPU, which is starting to appear in Ultrabooks including Lenovo’s Yoga 3 Pro. They run at just 4.5 watts, a very low number for a CPU, which may not bring any gains in terms of processing power but would likely help prolong battery life.

However, as MacWorld notes,  the Yoga 3 Pro, which features an Intel Core-M CPU, has suffered from sluggish performance which has been reflected by poor benchmark results. That alone may tempt Apple into holding out for Intel’s potentially more powerful Broadwell-U series chips.

It’s highly likely that the Retina MacBook will ship with OS X Yosemite. The last few versions of OS X, 10.9 Mavericks and 10.10 Yosemite, have been released to consumers in the month of October, so it’s likely that the Retina MacBook will come with Apple’s latest OS if it heads to the shelves in time for summer, or just after.

[divider]Retina MacBook connectivity[/divider]USB Type C

In terms of ports and connectivity options, as Lenovo’s Yoga 3 Pro demonstrated, giving a laptop very thin dimensions can leave little room for ports. Jack March (via 9to5Mac) reckons that the Retina MacBook will feature “a noticeably thinner design” that will force Apple to abandon the traditional USB port in favour of the forthcoming reversible USB Type-C connector, which would require an adapter to connect peripherals – an unfortunate, but perhaps necessary trade off.

For $79 however, a Multiport adapter may be purchased to expand the current connectivity of the new MacBook.

Devices such as the iPhone 5, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, in addition to the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, have all benefitted from the inclusion of Apple’s security-conscious TouchID technology in recent years, which allows users to log into the App Store and pay for services and goods using their fingerprint.

[divider]Touch ID[/divider]

According to Gadget Insiders, Apple may incorporate the technology into a new Retina MacBook, which it reckons could launch in 2015. That report doesn’t reveal its sources, so we’re going to take that one with a healthy pinch of salt.

The claim is backed up by AppleInsider, which cites a report by AppleCorner that predicts the 12-inch Retina MacBook could position a Touch ID sensor above the trackpad. According to the report, which claims to get its information from supply chain sources, Apple may also look to update its Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad to include biometric functionality in a move that would eventually allow users to make Apple Pay payments on the web.

Cut to the chase

What is it? A brand new MacBook even thinner than the current Air with a stunning Retina display.

When will it release? April 10, 2015.

What will it cost? Starts at $1,299 (about £858, AU$1684)

 

 

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