This Is Why People Are Hating On The New MacBook This Week
Everyone is upset about the 2011-era processor. But who cares? It's gold.
Apple has a new thing coming out soon and people are already upset. No, not the Watch, though that too is on the way. I'm talking about the new, singularly titled MacBook, Apple's latest and maybe not-so-greatest laptop computer, which is due on store shelves April 10th alongside the Watch. If you weren't one of us who livestreamed Apple's theatrical event last month, perchance you missed the unveiling of this deeply divisive product, notable for being the slimmest notebook Apple's ever made at 13.1 millimeters at its hinge (the heftiest portion), and the lightest (2 lbs.), having a sharp new 12-inch Retina screen (previously relegated to the MacBook Pro, new iMac, and iOS devices), and coming in some swanky new colors (gold and space gray). "The new MacBook is the future of the notebook," said Phil Schiller, an intimidating man with a bulldog stare who happens to be Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, aka, the guy in charge of convincing you to buy Apple stuff.
As it turns out, Schiller's pronouncement may have been exactly opposite reality. Apple's new MacBook is a throwback to the past in at least one major sense: CPU performance (how well the Central Processing Unit, the control center of the computer, handles all the typical computing operations). According to a set of benchmark test results posted and quickly withdrawn by a journalist on the website Geekbench (presumably because it broke a review embargo, however, a Google cache remains), the processor inside the new MacBook (a 1.1 Ghz Intel Core M-5Y31) achieved a high of 2044 for single-core operations, and 4475 for dual-core tasks. As noted by MacRumors, this puts it squarely on par with the second generation 2011 MacBook Air, which Apple stopped selling years ago, and well behind the latest MacBook Airs.
However, as MacRumors is also quick to point out, the addition of a solid-state hard drive and dramatically improved graphics chip should mean that in practice, the new MacBook will actually dramatically outperform its older sibling (also, you can get a faster processor inside for more money).
Nonetheless, commenters are having a heydey with the comparison. Here's a sample response:
This is also not the first controversy to engulf Apple's new MacBook prior to its availability. Back in January, when prolific Apple information leaker Marc Gurman published a detailed, mostly correct breakdown of the new MacBook on 9to5 Mac months before it was official, many readers thought it couldn't possibly be real because the design called for only one port, a single reversible USB type-C connector, which would allow for charging, file transfer, and even display output. Currently, the MacBook Air lineup offers as many as two USB ports, a separate charging port, an SD-card slot, and a Thunderbolt port. There was perhaps some reason to be skeptical Apple would do away with all these, given Apple's affinity for its proprietary MagSafe line of charging cables, but clearly the company believes USB-C is superior or a worthwhile compromise for at least the purposes of this computer.
Yet many people were dismayed with Apple's move to one port on the new MacBook once the company made it official, and some are still struggling to understand the rationale. But the one port thing seems to have a much more defensible grounding—moving toward greater simplicity, like an iPad or iPhone, which don't have any ports except for charging—than releasing a brand new computer for $1,300 that's underpowered even compared to older products going back several years.
Do these seeming compromises spell doom for Apple's new MacBook? We'll find out in a few days, but we all already know the likely answer: hardly. Apple has been prioritizing increased portability of its products at the expense of most other values for years now, and its customers seem to agree. Could the new MacBook technically have had more computing power and remained just as thin and light? Absolutely. But that's not the primarily value Apple is selling, so it ultimately matters little to the product's appeal.
Disclaimer: This article was written on an early-2014 MacBook Air.