Apple spruces up its one-ported MacBook with Skylake and rose gold

Enlarge / Yes, this is last year's MacBook, but this year's MacBook is mostly different on the inside. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Apple has announced the first major hardware update for the 12-inch Retina MacBook, just over a year after releasing the first version. Apple first tipped its hand in a recent OS X Server update, which indicated that an "Early 2016" MacBook model was coming but revealed nothing else.

You'll find most of the hardware updates on the inside: the laptop has been upgraded with Intel's Skylake Core M processors, which consume roughly the same amount of power but improve CPU and GPU performance. Apple says the laptop's storage should be slightly faster and that it picks up an extra hour of battery life. And a new rose gold finish joins the space gray, silver, and gold options, following in the footsteps of the iPhone 6S, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, Apple Watch, and iPhone SE. Otherwise this laptop looks mostly the same as its predecessor. It has a 12-inch 2304×1440 Retina display and uses a low-travel keyboard and Force Touch trackpad to make the system as thin as possible. The MacBook is 0.14 inches (3.5mm) at its thinnest point and 0.52 inches (13.1mm) at its thickest, and it weighs just over two pounds (0.92kg). The Core M CPUs mean that there's no fan, so like an iPad or iPhone the system will never make noise no matter how hard you're pushing it.

If you were hoping for updated ports on this year's model, you'll be disappointed. The MacBook still uses a single USB Type-C port for everything from charging to data to display output to docking, and Apple hasn't updated the computer with Thunderbolt 3. This is surprising, since Apple has been a big booster of Thunderbolt since its first iteration, and the new version uses the same USB Type-C port. Some PC makers are even offering it in laptops similar to the MacBook in size and weight. We'll have to hope Apple adds it in a future update.

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