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MacBook Review (2016), MacBook Mythology Returns

For Apple, notebooks have always been an important point of innovation and almost a technical demonstration of how to go further. On a Mac desktop you can do almost anything – space is not so limited, cooling is not an issue and weight is not a variable to consider – but when it comes to Macs we take with us outside the home, it gets serious.

Steve Jobs knew perfectly well that computing was going to come out of the desk , and the future of Apple was going to happen without any doubt. Beyond the new devices that the company could launch, designed from scratch as take-away hardware – such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad – there was still plenty of room for innovation in laptops. One of the reasons why the company abandoned PowerPC processors and switched to Intel , was this: the roadmap for portable processors was not assured, and the promise of a PowerBook G5 became a utopia .

MacBook Review (2016), MacBook Mythology Returns
MacBook Review (2016), MacBook Mythology Returns

The history of MacBook has a history of innovation that has powered MacBook Air, and in this model they are more present than ever

Once inside the Intel world, the options were many: from processors designed to be integrated into laptops, to more energy-efficient models. Something that was undoubtedly the basis for taking the next step, to distance laptops even further from the desktop, and with these premises the MacBook Air was born: one of the laptops that started the revolution. With the MacBook we reviewed last year, Apple took another step forward – at a time when MacBook Air became, despite some pessimists, a very popular icon of the company – and that was the MacBook that surprised us a few years ago because of all that it was starting. In this year’s updated model, we’ll talk about how its journey is going.

The key points: more powerful and faster memory

The improvements in this year’s model are not radical, but they are necessary to update the new model and bring it even closer to the public. The first change consists of a new model with the colour that seems to be in fashion: pink gold. It is the only pink Mac that Apple has on the market right now, and a great success if you want to target this product for the non-professional consumer .

The model analyzed in this article is precisely that, a color that surprises when you see it live because it is much more elegant than what we see in the photos. Just like gold, the colour in the aluminium is much more discreet than in the photographs, although the tonality – both of this one, and those of the rest of the range – makes a very good impression and undoubtedly draws attention among the rest of the laptops we are used to. Even the letters “MacBook” printed on the screen are the same colour as the aluminium, and the little apples included with the package will also be the colour we choose for our equipment.

Power was a major improvement over the original model, as the extreme slimming design of this MacBook required some sacrifice. For this new 2016 version, Apple uses the new generation of Intel Core M processors – m3 and m5 – at speeds of 1.1 Ghz and 1.2 Ghz, although we can also have a m7 version at 1.3 Ghz. All three models have – as usual – the Turbo Boost technology of up to 2.2 Ghz, 2.7 Ghz and 3.1 Ghz , in tasks that require additional effort in gross process power.

Apple touches on two key points in this model: more power – which is not revolutionary, but was necessary – and a substantial improvement in RAM memory: the main accelerators of everyday applications

This year’s models are part of the new generation Skylake – which, as Xataka’s colleagues say, is not revolutionary, but has remarkable microarchitecture enhancements – and which, based on theoretical performance, promises up to a 20% performance improvement over the 2015 MacBook. In the current model, the processor improvement has been rounded out with the addition of faster LPDDR3 RAM ( at 1867 MHz ). Both of these enhancements improve a key aspect of day-to-day work with this Mac: more power boost and better management of in-memory applications. Even in the input model, which is also the model discussed in this analysis. You can see my Geekbench results report made to this computer and compare it to the previous year’s model, or any other Mac – or iOS device – that I have tested lately, all the data is available to you. But this MacBook is something else .

Your day-to-day behavior

The MacBooks of recent years had become “little brothers” to the Pro: these new MacBooks are something completely different

Okay. Let’s stop talking about numbers. In front of me I have a device that conveys much more charisma than practically all the laptops I’ve used in my life – with the exception of the mythical aluminium PowerBook, which I still adore – and that’s because Apple wanted to give it a new look: that’s why at first glance it gets confused with an iPad or similar device. “Is that a computer?”, you’ll often hear. In my opinion, MacBooks in recent years have lost much of their original personality by mimicking the Pro as a mere “little brother”. These new models are once again catalysts for a different concept.

Yes, it is. It’s not the most powerful computer in the world, but it doesn’t have to be: we often strive to rate a new machine as excellent just because it’s fast. Is it the fastest and most powerful? Then it should be the best . And that is not only not true but it is far from the concept of devices offered by Apple: do not play a race of speed , but a race of substance. In this case, the MacBook prefers to offer ultra-portability and design with a performance perfect for the daily applications of a conventional user .

The new MacBook is not a Pro . It’s not as powerful for professional tasks like ultra-high resolution video editing or working with applications that rely on raw processor power, no 3D work, and it probably won’t achieve high processing speed on that distributed computing lab project. Taking into account that this laptop is not for professional use, and understanding Apple’s idea with this model, get comfortable.

Designed as a work and exclamation point tool

It’s the most beautiful laptop I’ve seen in the last few years: you can see Apple’s experience with miniaturizing iOS devices

It’s the most beautiful laptop I’ve seen in years. I know I said it, but the beauty doesn’t come down to how extremely thin and comfortable to carry it is, nor to the tremendous Retina screen, the great ForceTouch trackpad or the great set of speakers that sound really good (and here you can really see Apple’s experience with iOS devices and its miniaturization ). The keys, which all you lovers of mechanical keyboards will deeply hate ( are there, aren’t they? ) and which the rest of us not only get used to but also see any other “as miniaturized” – since the keys of this model are bigger and with the new “butterfly” mechanism to stabilize them.

Everything, absolutely everything is designed and thought to make our daily life comfortable, in a spectacular laptop . The processor and RAM improvements have improved the performance of the previous year, and in these two weeks using it daily as the main computer – for absolutely everything – it has surprised me. Lightroom – which I used to process the 16Mpx RAW photos captured for this article – , Photoshop CC 2015, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other parts of the Office 2016 family for Mac: no problem, with any type of file and with several of them open at once.

The battery maintains the numbers to which Apple accustomed us in the first model, about ten hours of autonomy with a single charge . Of course, it is a laptop with zero noise: it has no fans, so you will never hear anything but the music you put on it or your playing on the keyboard. The only USB-C port this year seems to me less of a problem than last year – we already anticipated that – and that’s because every day we live less hung up on cables . I only use a USB-C to USB 3.0 adapter to charge my iPhone or iPad if I need it, or to connect an Ethernet adapter when the WiFi connection is terrible in some places ( almost always hotels, actually ).

Conclusions: a MacBook perfectly embodied in the concept

Análisis MacBook (2015)

The 2016 MacBook is the most perfectly suited to the original concept in years: a product with the power necessary for everyday use , extremely portable and with the technology enhancing the concept of the computer of the future that you can see in front of you. MacBooks have always been the technological forerunners of something bigger, but above all with the goal of ultra-portability : not for nothing were they the first Apple notebook with a WiFi connection, the portable version of the iMac of the time: that computer said many things that we hear again today in this model.

It is therefore a MacBook that is very much in line with the company’s own definition – which I underline again, has no “Pro” in it anywhere – but has what it takes to be a delightful model for those who need OS X wherever they go . I’m going to have a hard time getting back to my old 2011 MacBook Air – which, by the way, comes with an i7 – after trying this little gourmet bite from Apple.

Back to the MacBook: a consumer computer concept with stunning design and the power to perform on a daily basis

We must put much more value on what a device brings us than where we classify it within the specifications podium: if we do so, this MacBook will be the laptop that many were waiting for their day to day , worthy heir to the early mythology of the MacBook of other times that now returns with force. And it doesn’t need any other last name to be a spectacular companion.

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