back to article Apple MacBook 2015: Twelve inches of slim and shiny fanboi joy

As Geddy Lee of Rush once sang – “plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose”. When Apple unveiled the MacBook Air back in 2008 we all scoffed and said that Steve Jobs’ slimline progeny was over-priced and underpowered. “It doesn’t even have an Ethernet port”, came the mocking cry (followed by the entire PC industry doing exactly …

Ports

Would it have killed them to put a second port on it?

I'd have one - I like Mac OS and it's perfect for documents & browsing on the train. But it's just a bit too limited.

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Not just ports

The new Macbook also sports a "480p FaceTime camera".

Can you actually buy any other laptop (with a £1000 start price) with just a VGA resolution webcam?

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Gimp

Re: Not just ports

Haven't you seen what fanbois and fangurlz look like. CGA would have been better.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ports

Hi

bit curious, what extra bits due you need to connect to it via usb?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ports

bit curious, what extra bits due you need to connect to it via usb?

Let me see here:

- Tablet

- Headset

- the odd USB stick/storage drive

And you'd want to have the thing running on mains for the sort of things I do. It's one of the reasons I upgraded the old MacBook (yes, an original one) for the Toughbook I have now: I'd have to unplug the headset or tablet when someone handed me a USB stick.

With this, I'd have to forgo those peripherals, run off batteries or pay an extortionate fee for an adaptor. Yet another dongle. Having used laptops that had all interfaces on-board (no dongles required), to having that MacBook that needed dongles for nearly everything (except USB thankfully), to going back to a utilitarian laptop, I'll stick to what I have now.

No thanks. Not at AU$1300. The lack of being able to loose some silly and expensive adaptor more than makes up for the machine's bulk.

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Re: Ports

>Can you actually buy any other laptop (with a £1000 start price) with just a VGA resolution webcam?

How many buyers of this Macbook don't already have an iPhone? If I had to guess, I'd hazard that most Macbook users will already own an iPhone and use its camera instead.

Anyway, who wants to see me in HD? I've only ever seen Tommy Cooper, Charlie Chaplin and Peter Cook in SD, yet their facial expressions came through.

Now, in an ideal world we world have the best and biggest of everything. Unfortunately, engineering is about priorities and compromises.

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Re: Ports

USB stick, camera, mouse, keyboard, phone (handy for charging), monitor

Not all at once generally. That said, I use my laptop to work from home. My company uses a remote desktop approach, so I plug my personal laptop into a biggish monitor and hook up a keyboard and mouse.

Don't forget that without an adapter you can't plug /anything/ into the new Macbook if you're running on mains power.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Ports

Another USB-C port and a micro sd slot and it would be pretty neat.

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Re: Ports

I've had one for a week. It was a replacement for my iPad and for that it is great. I wish it had LTE, but WiFi is almost everywhere. The port is not an issue and the performance is not an issue. I also have a Mac Mini at home, and a 17" Macbook Pro at work set up like a desktop with monitor, mouse and keyboard. Yesterday I worked for 5 hours at a coffee shop and it was fine. The battery lasted the entire time and my working files are in Evernote and in Dropbox so no issue with that.

So far I have not felt limited, and my biggest adjustment was getting used to the keyboard.

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Re: Ports

You can plug your headset into the little port with the picture of the headset near it, or spring for a bluetooth one. You do not need a tablet if you have this. It is basically a tablet replacement. What kind of tablet do you have that has USB ports by the way?

Also, if you can really buy one for AU$1300 you are getting a great deal. In my country it cost US$1300 which is AUD1600.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ports

wow, downvotes for asking a question, the Phantom DV and his/her minions must be out again!!!

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It's all wrong

A low power CPU with a high power screen just doesn't make any sense.

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Meh

Re: It's all wrong

They've got to give it a retina screen or they run the risk of too many people catching on and saying it's a heap of crap. Just compare the specs and prices to the MacBook Airs, there's no reason at all to buy one of these.

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Re: It's all wrong

Nope, it doesn't. Once there have been two or three generations more generations of CPU from Intel and you can get a bit more CPU power into the platform, though, it will be quite nice. The original Macbook Air in 2008 was also ludicrously underpowered, but by 2011 it was quite useful, and it's a pretty mainstream laptop in terms of CPU and GPU power these days. (It had more ports, too). So I might be looking at getting one of these in 2017 or 2018.

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Re: It's all wrong

It is intended to show intent, just as the original Air (no ethernet!!) and the Bondi Blue iMac (no floppy disk drive!!) were in their time - one got another USB socket for MK 2, the other became more sensible looking. In time, it will be given a faster CPU, and the rest of the world will have adopted USB C.

Just think of it as an iPad that is good for emails - for some people that is just fine. Others can buy a Macbook Pro, Alienware or whatever best fits their own personal needs.

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Re: It's all wrong

Until you realize that Apple defines font sizes in pixels so the only way to get system fonts bigger (when your eyes go and you're an old git like me) is to reduce the resolution of the screen. So I've paid a shedload for a retina screen and the first thing I have to do is to knacker it so I can read the system fonts.

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Bronze badge

Oh dear - MagSafe gone, and one of my laffs was people falling over and knocking their laptops of a table during meetings (tea/smoke/coffee break). I suppose mac users will do that now as well..

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I think the idea..

..is that you don't actually need to charge it through the day; it has (ballpark) the same "real world" run time as an iPad so I think that Apple's use case is that the only people who will buy this will be light users - web surfing, doc editing, email (no Final Cut, no Photoshop etc) - and so all they will need to do is to charge it overnight and then use it on battery the whole day.

But I agree, not for me (or us, on this site, even if you're not an Apple hater) because it's just too limited. But it wouldn't be for my parents. Or my sister. Or probably even "most" people (as in more than 50% of the population). So long as you don't consider the cost.

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I agree. MagSafe is a work of genius - why get rid of it? Seems like a backward step to me. I love my 5yo MBP but it's definitely showing it's age, despite the upgraded RAM (8GB) and SSD (512GB). But at least I could upgrade it. I'd love a new MacBook, but every year Apple give me less incentive to buy one. More expensive, less power, non-upgradable and now no MagSafe! Fuck Apple. Now I'll have to find a nice ultra book and stick linux mint on it. Bollocks.

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Re: I think the idea..

I could live with just one port.

But that would be one port and a power connector.

Effectively this is a computer with no ports, and has lost the mag-safe power connector which is one of the best things about my MBP.

Sure there is a market for these - people whose use is 100 percent mobile - but that is a pretty small market and they are cutting themselves off from a much bigger one.

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At least USB-C does not lock you in to Apple.

The one annoying thing about Magsafe is that Apple ruthlessly protects it, so if you want another charger there are no discount ones. The good thing about USB-C is that it is not an Apple only standard, so although Apple's adaptors and chargers are expensive, there is nothing stopping you buying cheaper products from other manufacturers. Or at least there won't be once those products start shipping.

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Re: At least USB-C does not lock you in to Apple.

The use/charge patterns of tablets has provided data about the way *some* people will use this Macbook. If my phone is charging and I decide I want to use it, I unplug it, do what I want to do, and then plug it back in again. It is not expected that people will not often use this laptop whilst it is plugged in - indeed, with its battery life, it will be rare that they have to - so the clear benefits of the MagSafe connector would rarely come into play anyway

In the future, more people will use USB-C monitors and port extenders (remember, everyone is moving to this standard). Unlike power bricks, these live on the desk not on the floor, so a tugged cable won't drag the laptop off the desk.

Many people are used to phones and tablets that don't need ports.

[I have an Android phone with microSD and USB OTG - both of which I have only used once. If I got my arse in gear and finally sorted out my home storage system and network, I wouldn't even have plugged my phone into my laptop.]

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Re: I think the idea..

"the only people who will buy this will be light users"

Sheez at £ 1,100+ they'd be pretty well-heeled light users, then.

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Still lovin....

My NP400X4C....It has a 250Gb Samsung Evo 840 now though. The silly 128Gb Sandisk is making a 2Gb, 8 year old Conroe laptop running Mint seem modern.

I work on a laptop, I watch HD content on an HD screen.

Regarding the Magsafe.. Now that was clever.

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Anonymous Coward

Apple MacBook 2015 - want one!

Apple Watch 2015 - don't want one!

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It's an iPad with a keyboard.

Credit where it's due: Apple know their market.

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Re: It's an iPad with a keyboard.

It's a keyboard... with as much feedback as a ZX81's and the left and right cursor keys have been made full size yet the up and down keys are half sized and therefore the cluster of keys as a whole is more difficult to find, at least until muscle memory remembers for you.

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Gimp

Re: It's an iPad with a keyboard.

Now that makes sense. I agree. It is an iPad with a keyboard.

Of course I always thought the "Air" product line was supposed to cover that and the regular "Macbooks" without that designation were for the normal "all-things" notebook/laptop activity and productivity on the go.

Now it's like both are just tablet and netbook replacements sans productivity. To me, this is a formula for confusion, angst, frustration and anger with their fanboys & girls customers.

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Re: It's an iPad with a keyboard.

>It's an iPad with a keyboard. Credit where it's due: Apple know their market.

A good fraction of it, yes. "Yeah, it's like the iPad you're used to with its 8hr battery and high res screen, but it's got a keyboard" is a pretty clear and simple way to communicate this machine's strengths (and compromises) to potential buyers. Some of them might think to themselves: "Well, the only time I pick up my laptop instead of my iPad is when I want to type something, and this thing isn't much heavier, so.... hmmm maybe".

It is only for a good fraction of Apple's market though - they do still make Macbook Pros and Airs.

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JDX
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The 2304x1440 IPS panel [is] more than adequate

That's rather an understatement

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JDX
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RIP Magsafe?

I always thought this was a real touch of genius and remains one of my favourite Mac features. Can't believe they're ditching it.

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Re: RIP Magsafe?

Also I'd like to see the pool of users who all come with their kit charged fully?!

Hope it's only removed from this model, and they see the error in their ways. I've seen the magsafe prevent a sure KO trip and fall and saving the MBP.

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Re: RIP Magsafe?

Quite. I can't abide Macs or the OS but the one piece of engineering I really admired and envied was the power connector.

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Anonymous Coward

I'll take MacOS any day because it's certified UNIX

Completely missing from the article and discussion is that MacOS is UNIX -- certified UNIX -- and comes with a boatload of extra tools. You can live in a shell or xterm all day.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'll take MacOS any day because it's certified UNIX

We're not complaining about the OS. I'd sooner see it on a more useful machine.

Hell, if Apple released MacOS X for IBM clones, they'd make a killing! There will still be a market who want the "premium" experience of running MacOS X in its native habitat (on Apple hardware) but it would make a real compelling alternative to Windows and Linux.

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Re: I'll take MacOS any day because it's certified UNIX

Yeah but you can tell they are slowly replacing the BSD user land parts whenever they can, launchd for example (but at least it isn't systemd, the name gives it all away). All you have to do is run Freebsd on a Mac to see quite big differences even if you stay only in the CLI on both. MacPorts can bridge the difference enough though I guess.

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Re: I'll take MacOS any day because it's certified UNIX

"Hell, if Apple released MacOS X for IBM clones, they'd make a killing!"

Gosh, yes. If only Apple could find a way to make money.

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Re: I'll take MacOS any day because it's certified UNIX

True, that's why I love my Hackintosh. Go and see Tonymac, and you can do it too!

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Sleek laptop in a bulky bag

The problem with these laptops is that they stop being sleek and portable the moment you realize that they need a pile of accessory gadgets to go with them. If you're taking it to meetings you need an HDMI adaptor and power cable. If you're taking to a hotel you need power and an Ethernet adaptor. A road trip might need a USB-C adaptor, 12 inverter, and a cell modem. Eventually you realize that a bigger laptop would actually be more portable.

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Re: Sleek laptop in a bulky bag

If you genuinely need all that, this isn't for you. Apple's clearly pushing the idea of wireless, so in AppleWorld(TM):

No HDMI cable necessary, as all projectors are AirPlay equipped (or have an AppleTV connected):

No power cable necessary, with all-day runtime

No cell modem necessary, with Personal Hotspot on your iPhone

No Ethernet adapter necessary, because wifi is ubiquitous.

In this world, the MacBook makes complete sense.

PS I travel 3 weeks out of 4 and spend my life in hotels giving seminars. So I would fall in the target demographic for this. I can honestly say I've never missed Ethernet (don't think the Ethernet port on my MBP has ever been used), and I always use Personal Hotspot if I need remote connectivity; but I would need a USB-C to VGA cable. Apart from that, this would be fine for me if I could just remember to keep it charged.

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Re: Sleek laptop in a bulky bag

Zackly!

I want lightness and enough power to do a couple of hours max without plugging it in.

Werk gave me a new MacBook Pro to play with a few months back, but I'd probably still want to buy one of these and take it with me.

All I'll need to take with me is the multiport adaptor (VGA) to plug in hotel projectors, which is what I already do as the VGA adaptor isn't on my MBP as standard.

MagSafe? Not an issue, but then I'm not clumsy and tend to avoid numpties...

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Can it run Crysis?

Well, can it?

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Re: Can it run Crysis?

Probably yes, possibly not very well, definitely not an application you'd buy one of these for.

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To be honest

To be honest, for the kind of duties I see this device being put to I'd rather have an iPad with one of those Bluetooth keyboard cases.

Sure the iPad doesn't run OS X (well it does but that's an argument for another time) and there's no finder, but by using goodreader as a file manager I could get along fine within the remit of what I would expect to do with the new MacBook.

I'm sure the new MacBook has it's market, but even as a long time Apple user I'm not in it.

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For people who dont want a iPad

Yes please, this is perfect if you cant stand a iPad with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. perfect for that little job which you cant do on your phone, just pop Dreamweaver on her and off you go. As for USB C well just look on Amazon or Ebay and find that adapter you want cheaper than Apple. Now who is going to be first to make a MagSafe to USB C.

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Anonymous Coward

That's an awful lot of money for Apple's answer to the Chromebook.

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Anonymous Coward

True

but my gf's old powerbook is sicky bad, and with all the problems she was having with the latest

software on the banks etc, she purchased an apple air.

After a bit of tuition from Aimee the wiz kid, she transitioned from osx tiger to yosemite, with few

problems, dumping her micro$oft office for apple mail and libre office.

A happy bunny so far , so a happy Aimee!!

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Re: True

"Micro$oft"? You do know that it's not 1999 anymore, right? Prince had his party. And Apple make more $ than Microsoft ever managed.

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Re: True

"You do know that it's not 1999 anymore, right?"

Likewise an earlier comment about "IBM clones". I wonder when last IBM made PCs, much less any PC was referred to as a "clone".

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