Apple's recently announced 12-inch Retina MacBook has been met with both praise and criticism ahead of its upcoming release on April 10. The new MacBook, positioned at the lower end of Apple's notebook lineup, paves the way for the future with an ultra-thin design, one USB-C port, redesigned keyboard with an all-new butterfly mechanism, Force Touch trackpad, fanless architecture and all-day battery life.
At the same time, the new MacBook has been criticized for having an Intel Core M processor, a system-on-a-chip that Intel typically markets for use in mobile devices. The single USB-C port, which combines power, USB, DisplayPort, HDMI and VGA connections into one, is also an area of concern for some, especially given that costly adapters must be used to connect many external devices and peripherals to the notebook.
Look no further than this parody of an Apple engineer talking about the Retina MacBook on YouTube, where it has amassed over 5 million views since being uploaded in early March. The video pokes fun at the Retina MacBook for, among other reasons, having one port and a 480p front-facing camera. Rest assured, the parody's creator Armando Ferreira is an Apple fan that owns an iPad and a few MacBooks himself.
While waiting for Apple to lift its embargo for large tech publications to publish their in-depth Retina MacBook reviews, we've sifted through the MacRumors forums and highlighted some of the more interesting discussions about the notebook. Read ahead for a roundup of opinions and noteworthy comments about the Retina MacBook, and be sure to join the conversation within the discussion forums.
Forum Discussion Threads
- Who Else Changed Their Mind? "When Apple announced the new MacBook, I was very excited and was seriously planning on getting one April 10th even after I've seen the price tags and specs. However, two days ago it all of a sudden hit me that I should not get the new MacBook. Even though I can afford one. I've started contemplating. I think it's not worth it at all for the price Apple is asking for it."
- 12" MacBook — Disappointment and Hope: A number of users offer their opinions about the pros and cons of the new MacBook, emphasizing how the notebook paves the way for the future but requires making compromises in the present. Apple has a history of heading in bold new directions with past products such as the original iMac, MacBook Air and iPhone, so this is not unchartered water for the world's most valuable company.
- USB-C Accessories: Belkin announced a new line of USB-C cables and USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter for the new MacBook last month, while LaCie announced the first USB-C external hard drive. This discussion thread is a valuable resource that highlights a number of other USB-C accessories from HydraDock, MonoPrice, Google and other accessory makers and vendors.
- Retina MacBook Benchmarked: We posted an early 64-bit Geekbench benchmark of the Retina MacBook that places the notebook in line with the 2011 MacBook Air in terms of CPU performance, and this full Geekbench 3 report offers a more in-depth look at the notebook's single-core and multi-core scores based on integer, floating point and memory performance.
- Performance Difference Between CPUs: A side-by-side comparison of the performance differences between the three Intel processor options available for the Retina MacBook. The discussion thread includes speculation that the entry-level CPU may generate the most heat inside the fanless notebook and contains other interesting information about the trio of processor options. Apple recently confirmed build-to-order pricing for the 1.3GHz processor.
- Retina MacBook vs. Surface 3: Microsoft is marketing its new Surface 3 tablet as a potential laptop replacement, so it naturally has been compared with the Retina MacBook. The discussion touches upon a number of factors, including price point, physical design, processors, operating systems, battery life, multipurpose functionality and more. Realistically, the Surface Pro 3 is the more suitable device for drawing comparisons.
- The Can't List — Reasons Not to Buy Retina MacBook: A forum user shares eighteen different reasons not to buy the Retina MacBook, including a lack of ports, planned obsolescence, the need for multiple adapters, a 480p FaceTime camera, no SD card slot and, in his opinion, the notebook's expensive price tag. Some other users are quick to counter that Apple's new MacBook is not designed for everyone, arguing that refreshed MacBook Airs and Pros are still available.
- Software for Retina MacBook: A forum user shares a list of software that he plans to install on his Retina MacBook when it becomes available, including Matlab, Parallels, OrCAD Schematic Capture and PCB Layout Tools (Windows), Freescale Symphony Studio (Windows), Microsoft Office, Microchip MPLAB (Windows), XCode, Handbrake and Windows 7. Other users list software such as Chrome, Scrivener, Pages, Notability, OneNote, Skype, Moom, Caffeine, Dropbox, OneDrive, Reeder, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, 1Password, VLC and Logic Pro X.
- Who's Buying a Retina MacBook Without Trying It? This popular discussion thread within the forums involves users that plan on purchasing the Retina MacBook without trying it out first at an Apple Store. Many users claim they will be pre-ordering the new MacBook on April 10 and having it shipped to their home under the assurance of Apple's standard 14-day return policy.
- Retina MacBook Cases: A list of cases and accessories for the new MacBook.
Visit our MacBook section within the forums to keep up with the latest discussions.
Top Rated Comments
Instead, Apple releases a dilemma - it's asking people to sacrifice ports and much more cash for a retina display, lower weight, and thinness. Plus, adding insult to injury, Apple has removed an very popular and well regarded feature - magsafe. To say nothing of the lower battery life rating. I don't blame people for being pissed at this dilemma.
Before the choice between MBA and MBP was relatively simple. Now for people with aging MBAs, the choice between rMB and MBA is not only tough, but it's forces a sacrifice: retina or ports - one of those has to go if you want a slim and light mac, can't have both.
One for office one for home...? For an ultraportable? What? What's the point? Oh yeah the point is that it's an ultraportable and can take it anywhere.
As far as the MacBook. I believe this is a scenario where waiting for the second or third generation will make this an excellent product, but it currently is hard to reason the purchase for a lot of people. That said, I'm going to check this thing out in person on Friday and draw a better conclusion. Everyone should probably do that for themselves.
If these are the people buying MacBooks, they could do the same with an iPad. Or even a 2010 MacBook. It's hard to understand because it's an obscene amount of money. Your very argument has validated that this machine is for light computer use only. You get more power, better battery life, and better value from a MacBook Air. You get much more power, more ports, better value, and a Retina display with the Retina MacBook Pro.
It's hard for people to understand because it's a difficult computer to understand. This feels more like an engineering excercise than the future of laptops. The MacBook Air was a vision of the future, albeit it too was insanely overpriced and underpowered when it was first announced. The MacBook just seems ... impractical. Removing Maglock to optimise thinness is to me an example of form over function.
They want a world that contains one single computer model, one single phone, one single car in a single color, one single app for each purpose (and none for purposes they don't personally need).
Any choice or variety beyond that gets them extremely riled up :)
This is exactly right. The Air is and has been a terrific ultraportable with only one serious drawback - a subpar screen. Instead of updating the air with a retina screen or even a 1080 ips screen, which would have made it an almost perfect ultraportable, they introduced a new line with its own flaws while not addressing the glaring flaw of the air line. So two flawed lines when they could've had one excellent one.