2016 Retina Macbook 12"

What's the new 2016 Macbook like? Let's have a look.

Toward the tail end of last year, Apple released the Macbook. A 12" Retina machine with a mobile processor. You can read about my initial thoughts about it here:

2015 12" Retina Macbook

That wasn't really a review, just my first thoughts on the product. So how did I end up liking it?

Well, a lot would be the simple answer. Very portable, runs native apps, battery - I'd say I ended up treating it more like my iPad than my laptops. I.e. Being a bit 'oh, I should probably plug this in at some point' rather than trying to keep my laptops fully charged just in case.

Any frustrations? Well, a few, with the main one being performance. As I touched on in the original article above, if you treat the unit as a super-iPad it's great. Here's the thing though - it runs OSX. All of a sudden I wanted to do more, like run Win 10 now and again, or do the odd bit of video processing while out on my travels. Not a great experience truth be told. Running Windows 10 in Parallels was something I'd do if I had to - I.e. To get access to mail archives, or open/run Visio etc. If I thought I needed to do that during the day, out would come my 15" i7 and straight in to the backpack.

The single port didn't really offer me any problems - but again, you have to remember what the unit is aimed at. I carried a 3 port USB3 hub around 'just in case' and rarely had to get the thing out.

So, with literally no surprise anywhere, Apple update the units to the Skylake processors. The idea of a bit more performance in this form factor made me hop, skip, and jump to the Apple store post haste* to pick up one of the more powerful M5 units (my 2015 unit was the entry level).

*Opened the door to courier with a look of surprise having forgotten I'd ordered it.

What's the difference? Well, a lot of those original frustrations are gone. Running Windows 10 in Parallels is no longer the frustrating sludge-fest it was on the 2015 unit, and I can even process some GoPro footage in the background while carrying on with my Email. There's no way I could have done this on the 2015 unit without longingly thinking about my 15" rMBP.

There's some videos below that show the general performance of the two.

The thing I really find interesting about these units by the way is how much they polarise opinion. You only have to look at the threads over at Macrumors (
here and here for example) to see the gap of opinion:

The comments do seem to focus on price. Lol OMG for *this amount* you could have gotten a 15" rMBP that could run a space station. Well, yes, but then I know when I have my rMBP in my back pack.

You see this idea elsewhere too, in the world of cars for example.

Man A: I'm looking at this three year old model of car x, at 20k.
The Internet: You idiot, you should buy this one brand new at 80k because warranty or something.

It's almost like people expect their own position or compromises to apply to everyone else. What's that about?

For me, as somebody who works from multiple locations, doing things that range from meeting notes to running multiple virtual machines - an iMac would be a ridiculous compromise. Ever tried carrying one of those on the tube….? So, yeah, I get a 15" rMBP for that, and keep my top spec iMac for doing the hard work.

Well….if I'm out and about whether for fun or meetings or whatever, then lugging the rMBP about is also a compromise. This is the space the 12" Macbook fills for me. It's highly portable, battery lasts an age…and I can run pretty much anything I like on it.

If it's not fast, pink, grey, large, small, have enough ports, made by elves etc (insert own preference here), then perhaps it isn't the unit for you. Why people think that your own requirements and compromises should apply to everyone else is a mystery.

The other comments around - LOL OMG IT'S SO EXPENSIVE. Well, nobody is forcing you to buy one. Too expensive, don't buy it.

People, we're an interesting bunch aren't we.

Anyways, the videos.

2015 Macbook

2016 Macbook

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