Updated MacBooks make Skylake Core M pretty in pink

It's been a little over a year since Apple introduced the ultra-thin MacBook, so that means it's about time for a refresh. For its spiced-up MacBook, Apple retained the overall design from last year's model while upgrading a few key pieces of hardware and adding a new color option.

The big changes in this MacBook are primarily under the hood. The base model is now powered by a Skylake Intel Core m3 processor clocked at 1.1GHz. The higher-priced MacBook offers a 1.2GHz Core m5, and a 1.3GHz Core m7 is also available as an optional upgrade. These dual-core processors have a maximum TDP of 4.5W. Apple claims the Intel HD Graphics 515 IGP in these CPUs is good for up to 25% better graphics performance than last year's chips.

Apple also decided to upgrade the RAM for all models of the MacBook. Now, even the base model ships with 8GB of 1866MHz DDR3 RAM. Last but not least, Apple managed to squeeze in an extra hour of battery life. The company claims that the new MacBook can browse the web on battery for up to ten hours.

Like last year's MacBook, the refreshed version is thin and light. It's only 13.1mm thick and it weighs about two pounds. The display remains a 12" IPS panel with a native resolution of 2304×1400. As before, the only ports on the device are a USB 3.1 Type-C connector and a headphone jack. It's a shame the company didn't upgrade the USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support while it was under the hood.

Like Apple's other new products this year, the MacBook is now available in silver, gold, space gray, and rose gold—or, as the rest of the world calls it, pink. $1300 gets you the Core m3 processor and 256GB of PCIe flash storage. The more expensive $1600 model sports the Core m5 and 512GB of storage. Both options are available now through Apple's online store.

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    • Cuhulin
    • 3 years ago

    Pink is the new black.

    • tfp
    • 3 years ago

    Same strategy as the cell phone manufactures use when they have a product they know will not sell well, more colors!

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 3 years ago

    WOW! This is boring. Apple is being a poor steward of their OSx platform. Their devices are so typically under powered its funny at this point. Why get an under powered mac anything when you can get an overpowered iOS device for a fraction of the cost. Its like they want to shoot themselves in the foot.

      • DancinJack
      • 3 years ago

      huh?

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      Because add in as much storage as the Macbook, the pencil and keyboard to interface with it, and that overpowered iOS device gets awful close to the OSX devices pricing, and then is still missing the IO capability (even if through annoying dongles), wealth of programs, etc.

      Me, I still don’t see where a tablet fits into my life, rather than the other way around where I’d question a laptop over a tablet.

      • Voldenuit
      • 3 years ago

      [quote<]Its like they want to shoot themselves in the foot.[/quote<] Apple controls most of the hardware and software stack on iDevices *and* gets a royalty cut on every piece of software sold through iTunes. Why *wouldn't* they want to sell more iDevices than Macs?

      • TEAMSWITCHER
      • 3 years ago

      No where in the Mac ecosystem will you find an Atom powered device. The same can’t be said for the Windows/PC ecosystem.

    • DancinJack
    • 3 years ago

    UPDATE THE F’ING MAC MINI YOU TURDS!

    • tipoo
    • 3 years ago

    I thought this was definitely going to support USB C R2 with Thunderbolt 3 on it (technically TB carrying USB I guess).

    Staying with the old USB spec is another one of those infuriating “You were so close why didn’t you just ____” with them, lol.

    Anyways, I’m sticking to the 15″ Pro, if the Skylake one has GT4e as a base I’d be tempted. That would probably bring the base graphics close to the M370X in the top end one right now, which I’m not sure if that’s cool or sad lol. Probably a bit of both.

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    $1600 for a pink version of the most expensive mass-market netbook.

    Keyboard is still horrible.
    Screen is still too small for serious use
    The one port is still a nightmare
    There’s still not enough power on offer to justify this over any other mass-market netbook.

      • torquer
      • 3 years ago

      It works amazingly well for a travel laptop. In fact, I’m using it now. Its not for everyone, but if you work somewhere that is agnostic on OS (I do) and you don’t want to carry the crappy 5 lb 14″ HP that is standard issue by your company (I don’t), it makes a great second laptop.

      That said, its an expensive proposition for a secondary laptop and I wish it was faster.

        • Pancake
        • 3 years ago

        Look at Mr Fancy-pants who flies business class. For the rest of us in the back a MacBook is simply too large. A small Air barely fits.

          • Cuhulin
          • 3 years ago

          So fly business class?

      • Ninjitsu
      • 3 years ago

      But it has the fruit logo! Surely that fixes everything!

      • cygnus1
      • 3 years ago

      The ultra small form factor has always had lots of compromises, this is not new. It’s not going to please everyone. I have the 2015 one that I bought on the 7th. I really like it, it performs a lot better than you’d think. I was hesitant about the keyboard, but it’s honestly a lot better than a lot of other, much bigger laptops I’ve used. The one port isn’t much of an issue honestly. When mobile, it’s very seldom I would ever need to plug in more than one device. When sitting at a desk, only plugging in one cable is very nice.

      Mine is, however, going back tomorrow after I back it up tonight and I’ll be ordering the new one if they don’t have it in store. No sense keeping the previous gen one when it’s still inside the 14 day return window.

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        I think the problem is that anything anyone ever hands you to plug in is a USB-A or an HDMI cable.

        Seen about 20 of the new iMacs throught work consultants since they launched. Their owners love them, despite the fact that they turn up to meetings and can’t do anything with them because they didn’t bring their sack full of adapters and dongles.

        Meanwhile our guys in the field are bouncing around with Zenbooks that have nicer keyboards, similar size/weight/spec/build quality and do everything the Macbook does with added USB-A for half the price. Honestly, people don’t even care about the specs for these things, they just want it to work with everything else.

          • NeelyCam
          • 3 years ago

          The Zenbook I tried had an absolutely horrible touchpad. Does that not bother you at all?

          Macbook touchpad is in a completely different league, and the keyboard isn’t that awful.

            • Chrispy_
            • 3 years ago

            I guess different people like different things.

            I personally loathe the glass touchpads from Apple for ergonomics reasons and I think the split of opinion here is about 50/50 for and against. I also find there to be average input lag which is another pet-hate of mine. Don’t get me wrong, there are worse trackpads for input lag than the apple ones, but for me the poor choice of surface texture and lag makes me reach for a mouse every time.

            The Zenbook that is comparable to these is probably the Core M-powered UX305 which has a decent (matte) trackpad and similar levels of input lag. It’s better IMO because of the improved surface texture, and the input lag appears to be caused by the multitouch drivers – outside of Windows there is no input lag at all (yay) but also no multitouch at all (boo).

            • w76
            • 3 years ago

            Maybe we read different enthusiast sites, I thought the vast majority of opinion was always something along the lines of “PC MASTER RACE FOR LIFE, but man, why can’t our touchpads be that nice?”

          • Voldenuit
          • 3 years ago

          [quote<]Seen about 20 of the new iMacs throught work consultants since they launched. Their owners love them, despite the fact that they turn up to meetings and can't do anything with them because they didn't bring their sack full of adapters and dongles. [/quote<] I hope you meant Macbooks, unless those consultants *really* love their AIO desktops. :p

          • End User
          • 3 years ago

          USB sticks are the CDs of our time. With OS X you can create a local network hosted by any Wi-Fi enabled Mac and then easily transfer data via file sharing.

          There are a number of wireless display products available on the market. If the host has not implemented such technology for their guests then they are probably the same people transferring data via USB sticks.

          As someone who does care about the specs of these things I bought a MacBook last year and love it. The attention to detail is fantastic. The ability to charge my MacBook from my Anker USB battery is awesome. The trackpad is to die for and OS X makes the most of it. Well worth the money.

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 3 years ago

          $830:
          [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834232776[/url<]

      • Kretschmer
      • 3 years ago

      I have a friend that loves hers. For people that browse the internet, use facebook, and stream shows and movies, there is more than enough power on offer. I consider the Macbooks a joke for the price, but I’m not an Apple customer. 🙂

      • jensend
      • 3 years ago

      A 12″ screen is plenty large enough for serious use, and people have been using the Thinkpad X series and the like for Serious Business for a long time now.

      The Core M isn’t something you want to run hour-long scientific simulations on, but for normal everyday use, which is well suited to Core M’s turbo, it certainly has large advantages over the Cherry Trail etc processors in netbooks.

      Here are multi and single threaded passmark scores for some chips in question:
      Pentium N3530- 1929/544
      Core m3-6Y30- 3059/1184
      Core m5-6Y54- 3389/1334
      Core m7-6Y75- 3709/1499

      I doubt I would tolerate the almost-no-travel keyboard well, but there are plenty of folks who don’t mind it so much, and Apple users have been getting acclimated to lower travel for a long time now.

      Besides the cringeworthy price tags, the one decision that’s totally boneheaded is the single type-C port. Simply having two type C (plug in the power and one single thumb drive or peripheral, without having to use docks or splitters) would still be inconvenient but would go a long way towards making that setup less ridiculous. Two type C with MHL/DP/TB alternate modes support plus one type A would be just fine.

      • End User
      • 3 years ago

      I’ve owned a netbook and my 2015 MacBook is no netbook.

      Keyboard is not an issue
      Force touch trackpad is awesome
      Screen is amazing – I use it at its native resolution of 2304×1440
      Rarely use the USB port apart from charging.

      CPU is more than powerful enough for my work as a systems admin but it is nice to see Apple bump the new MacBook up to Skylake.

      • One Sick Puppy
      • 3 years ago

      I agree with the others. There’s no comparison to netbooks in the Apple world. If Apple has done anything well, it’s avoid making entry level laptops that only work well for a couple months. The PC word was once plagued by netbooks and is now being plagued by Celeron and Atom laptops with 32GB of flash storage and 2GB of ram. Just barely useable, if you’re needs are minimalist.

      Compared to these $200 PCs, even the cheapest Apple laptop will outperform them per dollar, per year.

      One thing I gotta give to Apple, their laptops have a much, much longer useable shelf life and much lower maintenance requirements. They are also much more pleasant to use.

      On the other hand, the new MacBooks deserve all the ridicule they get. Dumb design.

        • JustAnEngineer
        • 3 years ago

        Buy a Zenbook. Spend less. Get more.

    • Andrew Lauritzen
    • 3 years ago

    Same keyboard? Passsss….

    • the
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<]As before, the only ports on the device are a USB 3.1 Type-C connector and a headphone jack.[/quote<] Fail. Apple only had to do one thing to do: add a second USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support. What a way to ruin another otherwise good ultra portable and a decent upgrade over the previous generation.

      • TEAMSWITCHER
      • 3 years ago

      Wait two months for Apple’s WWDC and they’ll introduce a ~3lb 13″ MacBook Pro that is the device your looking for. Until then, understand that Apple is creating different products that appeal to different people.

      • brucethemoose
      • 3 years ago

      They gotta save something for the next refresh.

      • Voldenuit
      • 3 years ago

      I have a feeling the Macbook motherboard might have been too small to accommodate an Alpine Ridge controller. [url=https://andrewwhitby.com/2015/03/10/macbook-2015/<]It's certainly small enough[/url<] that it doesn't span the entire width of the laptop, so they need ribbon cables to reach the ports. Not defending Apple's choices here; personally, I think they didn't prioritize the sensible path, but obviously their sales figures speak for themselves.

        • the
        • 3 years ago

        Instead of a separate IC on the motherboard, Intel could have put the Alpine Ridge controller into the same package as the CPU die.

        You are correct about the ribbon cable but that is essentially academic.

    • NTMBK
    • 3 years ago

    Ugleh.

    EDIT: Wait, and it still only has one port? Dumb, dumb, dumb. Copy your competitors and put a second port on the opposite side.

      • End User
      • 3 years ago

      As someone who owns a MacBook I see no reason to add another port. It is a mobile laptop in the age of the cloud. Apart from charging I rarely use the provided Type-C port.

    • Wonders
    • 3 years ago

    Trim() has finished execution with return code 1: On photo #2, a tiny bit of white on the bottom border could not be removed.

    • DPete27
    • 3 years ago

    Why are CoreM CPUs so flippin expensive? The M5-6Y54 costs the same as an i5-6200U.

      • ace24
      • 3 years ago

      Probably just binning? Finding ultra-low power consumption dies is presumably non-trivial.

      Either that or they are just charging what the market will bear, it’s not like Intel has any competition.

      • torquer
      • 3 years ago

      Its not easy to make a decently performing CPU/GPU combo in a 4.5W envelope.

      • blastdoor
      • 3 years ago

      Lack of competition.

        • frogg
        • 3 years ago

        They’d better watch because Core M will be replaced by Apple’s own processor. A9 is almost on par, if not better in the GPU department.

          • blastdoor
          • 3 years ago

          Perhaps. Certainly I’ve made that argument many times and I think it would make sense to do.

          But it would require quite a bit more effort on Apple’s part than what they’ve been showing lately. These days they seem to prefer writing dividend checks to making significant product improvements.

      • NoOne ButMe
      • 3 years ago

      Intel makes the same amount of money and the consumer is forced to upgrade in a few years. So the OEM makes more money. The question is what OEM wouldn’t want that?

      In serious the binning is correct.

    • beck2448
    • 3 years ago

    Apple notebooks have barely improved in 5 years which is an eternity in tech. What is their problem?

      • kalelovil
      • 3 years ago

      Intel.

        • Thresher
        • 3 years ago

        Not sure why you were downvoted because this is the truth.

        Apple doesn’t release new models for the sake of new models. If there is no CPU improvement, they generally do not release a new unit.

          • ronch
          • 3 years ago

          The REAL problem though, is AMD because they’re not putting pressure on Intel to release better chips sooner for Apple. Er, right?

        • blastdoor
        • 3 years ago

        That’s partly true, but not entirely.

        Where is TouchID in a MacBook? Where’s LTE? Where’s a good desktop docking solution?

        Those are just three ideas that dumb little me can think of. Surely the geniuses at Apple can do better.

        Over the years I have been an admirer of Apple and their products, but I am starting to find their product updates to be less admirable. The Mac Pro has become an embarrassment, as is their 27″ display. Great ideas languish due to mediocre implementations and lack of updates. For example, Apple’s Fusion drive approach works really well, but it languishes from lack of improvement and is used very narrowly. Sad.

          • TEAMSWITCHER
          • 3 years ago

          In two months this won’t be a problem anymore. And there is nothing wrong with the Apple MacBook. If Dell, HP, or Lenovo made a device this thin, light, and fan-less, it would suffer the same limitations. Pus the additional limitation of running shi##y Windows 10.

            • blastdoor
            • 3 years ago

            Making a laptop this thin, light, and fanless is no longer a competitive advantage — PC OEMs do offer similar products.

            Perhaps OS X still gives Apple a battery life advantage over Windows-based PCs (that used to be the case, but I don’t know if it still is). And perhaps Apple still has a better trackpad (have the PC guys caught up there yet?). But overall, Apple’s hardware advantages are not what they once were.

            The bottom line from my perspective is that Apple seems to have stopped innovating hardware-wise on the Mac. Every improvement now seems to be due more to Intel than Apple (Core-M, USB3), and stuff that’s due to Intel is stuff that PC OEMs can (and do) implement too.

            Apple *could* be doing more. They *could* offer TouchID with custom silicon to provide the same level of security on Macs as on iDevices. They *could* offer a 5k Display with Thunderbolt 3 as a docking solution for laptops. They *could* offer external fusion drives that could also be part of a docking solution. But they aren’t doing these things. I hate seeing the missed opportunities.

            • NeelyCam
            • 3 years ago

            [quote<](have the PC guys caught up there yet?)[/quote<] No. And in fact, they've gone backwards. Touchpads worked better in Windows 7 than in Windows 8. I don't know about Windows 10, because I try to stay away from it.

            • Voldenuit
            • 3 years ago

            The ones using Microsoft Precision drivers are pretty good, the ones using Synaptics can be hit-or-miss, and the less said about Alps, the better.

            • blastdoor
            • 3 years ago

            Interesting. Well, I’d rather have a good touchpad than a touchscreen. It’s weird that Apple is able to maintain this advantage in touchpad.

            But still — I think Apple is resting on its laurels. They can and should be doing more.

            • TEAMSWITCHER
            • 3 years ago

            As I said…wait two months. Apple is likely prepping redesigned 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros for unveiling at WWDC in June. Design innovations (like terraced batteries and butterfly keyboard switches) used in the 12″ MacBook will be re-purposed to build a line of thin and light professional laptops with great battery life. And who knows what else, Apple is good at keeping its secrets.

            • Voldenuit
            • 3 years ago

            The edge-swipe gestures in Win8 were pretty klunky. They had a tendency to activate when you didn’t mean to bring up charms/recent apps and an annoying tendency not to register when you did.

            The trackpad on my Yoga 3 Pro (Win 10) seems to work like a normal trackpad except two finger scrolling is more reliable than on Win 7 machines I’ve used. It’s one of those ‘clicky’ pads, which some people hate but seems to work well for me (lenovo has been using them on their smaller Thinkpads since the X220 series, iirc, and they seem to have gotten the design and implentation down pat).

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 3 years ago

      They don’t need to improve.

      • chuckula
      • 3 years ago

      Anorexia.

      • torquer
      • 3 years ago

      Depends on your definition of improvement. They have marched along with new CPUs along with everyone else. They have arguably the fastest standard storage across their lineup. Their displays are still among the best on the pro line but they are not miles apart from Windows laptops like they one were.

      They still have arguably the best keyboards and touchpads. The Pro and Air lineups are stale, though, and in need of a redesign. They are now heavier than they need to be with larger bezels than is currently popular.

      They still make a chuckuload of money on them though.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 3 years ago

        They’re still shipping Haswell in the 15″ MBP line, though. That’s a weird choice, unless they’re just sitting on ancient unshipped models. Broadwell is still found in lots of places, too.

        Not to mention the LOLOLD Mac Pro, still shipping with Ivy Bridge-E.

          • torquer
          • 3 years ago

          True. At least with the MBP line they can use the excuse that they are waiting on dual core high clock speed chips with Iris Pro graphics. Most Windows laptops just go with whatever version of HD graphics.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 3 years ago

            But Apple doesn’t ship dual-core CPUs in the 15″ MBP. The 13″ have Iris graphics with Broadwell CPUs. They’re just completely out of excuses at this point, but if they’re selling systems I guess they have no reason to change. Skylake iGPU should be much faster than Haswell but the CPU isn’t.

        • chuckula
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]They still make a chuckuload of money on them though.[/quote<] I DEMAND THAT APPLE GIVE ME THE CHUCKULOAD OF MONEY!

      • chµck
      • 3 years ago

      They’re powerful enough for web surfing and have good battery life. What more do 95% of the population actually utilize?

      • Hattig
      • 3 years ago

      Intel CPUs have barely improved* in 5 years which is an eternity in tech. 1.1 GHz dual-core, ffs.

      * okay, in battery life they’ve done well, but MacBook battery life has improved a lot in that time.

      Apple’s market share figures are going up, despite this (tbh there’s not a lot of choices, so decision making is made easier!)

      And ffs2 : 1 USB Type C Port (5 gbps). Charge, OR connect.

        • w76
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]Apple's market share figures are going up, despite this (tbh there's not a lot of choices, so decision making is made easier!)[/quote<] I wonder how much of that has to do with the OS, expressing a preference for OSX over Windows 10?

          • blastdoor
          • 3 years ago

          I think that’s part of it, but also the broader issue of having bought into the ecosystem. There are a lot of people with iDevices — it stands to reason that some of them might decide to buy a Mac, just because they like the experience with the iDevice and want to have everything in the same ecosystem.

          But I think Apple is resting on its laurels here, and that is often dangerous.

            • Ninjitsu
            • 3 years ago

            Apple does try and sell the ecosystem, too. It’s annoying but obviously smart from their point of view.

      • xeridea
      • 3 years ago

      They haven’t gotten any faster because they want to make them thinner… I would rather have something normal size and 5x faster, but Apple doesn’t think that would sell.

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      Are you going to say in terms of what, or was that just a drive by?

      They don’t change chassises every other year if that’s what you mean, but still, the Air led the Ultrabook surge, the Retina Pro is still one of the ones to chase (you can argue if something like the XPS 15 has it beat, but it’s still up there).

      Processor updates can be slow, but they do keep up overall.

      So what aspect do you think needs changing? They’re likely doing a Pro redesign soon, maybe with Skylake in June.

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