The new MacBook: release date, news and features

The thinner, lighter and sharper MacBook is here

MacBook AIr

Update: The new MacBook is finally on sale and we've updated the pricing to include the faster model rumored days before the laptop official release.

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

Apple outgoing MacBook Air 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 display, thinner body and much more.

It has certainly been divisive. While the MacBook has been praised for its slender design, crystal clear display and innovative Force Touch Trackpad, a lot of negative attention has been directed at its single USB Type-C port. That prompted us to ask: is the criticism aimed at the new MacBook fair?

Cut to the chase
What is it? A brand new MacBook even thinner than the Air with a Retina display
When will it release? April 10, 2015
What will it cost? Starts at $1,299 (£1,049, AU$1,799)

Retina MacBook Air release date and cost

We originally hoped that the Retina MacBook Air 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 at long last we finally know the new notebook will be available starting April 10.

Although it feels like the Retina MacBook Air's 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
Thinner and lighter

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 Air, in addition to the Apple Watch. Sources close to the company claimed that the machine would launch in the first quarter of 2015.

Now it seems they were right. The base model MacBook comes equipped with a 12-inch, 2,304 x 1440 resolution display along with a 1.1GHz Intel Core M processor for $1,299 (£1,049, AU$1,799). This standard package also comes with a 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM.

Apple is also selling a 1.2GHz Intel Core M-powered model for $1,599 (£1,299, AU$2,199) that comes packed with a larger 512GB SSD. As expected, the 13-inch MacBook Air is sticking around and it has even been upgraded with a 5th generation Broadwell Processor as well.

Retina MacBook Air design

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.

The new MacBook
Considerbly thinner

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.

The new MacBook
Linear keys

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.

Lastly, as Apple insiders leaked to a website simply called A Tech Website, the gold Retina MacBook Air has been in the works along with ones decked in space grey and aluminium grey that will all be available this coming spring.

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