Category Archives: MacBook

Mini-review: The 2017 MacBook could actually be your everyday laptop

Andrew Cunningham

The MacBook Air has been one of Apple's most popular, most enduring laptop designs, but that wasn't always the case. When the first version of the laptop was released back in 2008, you had to pay too high a price for its thinness and lightness. And I'm not just talking about the literal price of the thing, either, although its $1,799 starting price was steep by any standard.

No, the main problems were that its anemic port selection made it annoying to use with the accessories of the day, while the available processors and hard drives made for a really slow, frustrating computer. It was way thinner and lighter than anything else you could get at the time, but most of the compromises weren't worth it.

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Huawei Matebook X review: The cost of a Windows PC with a MacBook design

Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link)

Huawei has been slowly pushing its way into the PC market. Its first attempt came in the $699 Matebook, a two-in-one device that couldn't stand up to similar devices due to its lackluster performance, bad battery life, and tendency to overheat.

While in the same device family, the new Matebook X is very different from the original Matebook. It's a true Windows ultrabook whose design inspiration borrows heavily from Apple. With its super-thin frame, brushed metal finish, and overall minimalistic construction, the Matebook is challenging Apple's MacBook not only in design, but in performance as well. The Matebook supports up to a Core i7 processor, up to 8GB of RAM, and up to 512GB SSD. But Huawei has to prove that all the power it has packed into the tiny laptop can make the Matebook X a better option than other competing Windows notebooks.

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That new keyboard is the key to Apple’s MacBook update

 There’s a decent chance you missed the MacBook news this week. It was buried amid a flood of news as Apple powered through announcements at the WWDC keynote on Monday. Like the majority of the hardware news at the event, the differences are entirely behind the scenes — and let’s be honest, upgraded Intel processors will never be as exciting to the layperson as a Siri speaker… Read More

Plot twist: the MacBook Air is still alive

 The MacBook Air just won’t die. While Apple introduced a thinner, lighter MacBook Pro last year, people still want a new MacBook Air. The MacBook Pro is roughly as heavy as the 13-inch MacBook Air, but it’s still more expensive. That’s why customers still love the MacBook Air. Instead of killing the MacBook Air altogether, Apple is keeping it around as it still sells fine.… Read More

Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro get routine processor and SSD boost

 Apple gave its MacBook and MacBook Pro lineup a small boost today at WWDC — the machines are getting new Kaby Lake processors and faster solid-state drives across the board. Apple’s 15-inch Pro is getting faster standard graphics, and an upgraded entry-level 13-inch Pro will retail for $1,299, sans Touch Bar, of course. You’ll be able to order all of the upgraded laptops… Read More

Apple gives the MacBook and MacBook Pros a Kaby Lake refresh

Enlarge / The one-ported MacBook. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is usually all about software, but every once in a while it brings some hardware along with it too. Today Apple provided a minor but wide-ranging refresh to its modern MacBooks and MacBook Pros, adding new processors from Intel and making a handful of other tweaks.

The new processors are from Intel’s “Kaby Lake” family, and some of them have been available for the better part of a year. Compared to the outgoing Skylake architecture, Kaby Lake introduces a gently tweaked version of Intel’s 14nm manufacturing process, provides small boosts to CPU clock speeds, and supports native acceleration for decoding and encoding some kinds of 4K video streams.

The 12-inch MacBook, last updated in April of 2016, stands to benefit the most. The low-power Y-series chips the MacBook uses see the biggest performance boost from the Kaby Lake upgrade, and Apple has also added the refined butterfly switch keyboard introduced in the MacBook Pros last year. The keyboards both have the same layout and offer the same amount of key travel, but the newer version of the keyboard has a slightly more satisfying feel. The new MacBook will also get a faster SSD.

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What to expect from Apple’s WWDC 2017 keynote on Monday

Enlarge / The stage at WWDC 2016. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Of the two-to-four product events that Apple holds in a typical year, WWDC is usually the most interesting. Every June, company executives get up in front of the public (and a live audience of loyal developers who paid $1600 a head to get in) and lay out Apple's vision for how all of its major platforms will evolve over the next year.

Apple’s policy of offering all of its operating system updates for free to all supported hardware gives company’s WWDC announcements a much wider reach and bigger impact than any individual hardware launch, and its ability to offer those updates (particularly iOS updates) to everyone makes the WWDC announcements more important than, say, hearing about another Android update that most people won’t see for two years.

As always, we'll run down the current state of rumors ahead of the show tomorrow, telling you what we know about what to expect. News about the software updates is unusually light on the ground, but (atypically for WWDC) it also looks like we’re in for some hardware refreshes and maybe even something entirely new. Let’s dive in.

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Apple could release MacBook updates soon

 According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple is about to release updated MacBook and MacBook Pro models. The company could announce the refresh at its WWDC keynote on June 5. The 12-inch MacBook with a retina display hasn’t been updated in a year. The design still works quite well, so I wouldn’t expect anything more than a specification bump. Maybe Apple is going to add a… Read More

Report: Apple shows it’s taking the Mac seriously with WWDC laptop updates

Enlarge / The 2016 MacBook. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

A new report from Bloomberg indicates that we may get more than just software updates at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference next month. Most notably, both the MacBook Pro and the 12-inch MacBook are supposedly being refreshed with Intel's latest "Kaby Lake" CPUs, which boost clock speeds and include slightly better GPUs that can accelerate the encoding and decoding of some 4K video streams. The 12-inch MacBook was last updated a little over a year ago, while the MacBook Pros were only introduced in October.

Apple could also update the MacBook Air design with new processors, since, despite the design's age and non-Retina display, its position as Apple's cheapest laptop is still helping it sell well. The current Air dates to mid-2015.

The update would be a bit of a burn for anyone who rushed out to buy a new MacBook Pro in October and November after a year and a half without an update. But an update would at least be a sign that Apple is serious about adopting new Intel architectures as they're available. The MacBook Pro's October refresh was awkwardly timed, coming very late in the Skylake architecture's life but a handful of months before new Kaby Lake CPUs suitable for MacBook Pros would be released. A summer release would get Apple back in sync with Intel's calendar for future refreshes.

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