Touchpad- The new MacBook also has a redesigned touchpad, which will take some getting used to for anyone who's grown accustomed to the current Apple design. The new touchpad uses the "Force Touch" feature that's built into the Watch. It's hard to describe, but basically it feels as if the touchpad has two levels of click depth. In function, it's similar to a right-click. Using Force Touch on an address, for example, will pop up a map for you showing that address. It can also show your previews of files on your desktop. It's a little strange, but certainly has possibilities if you can get over it. With Star Wars VII coming out later this year, it’s also incredibly cool to say, “I just did a Force Touch.”
Display- At long last, there's a retina display on a MacBook Air-style laptop, and it's everything you wanted it to be. Retina displays are one of those things you never know you needed until you have it. (I still think the best analogy is that it's like getting a new glasses prescription.) There's not much to say here, apart from the fact that it feels a bit overdue for Apple to offer retina on its lightweight laptop line. Still, it's a welcome feature.
Weight- This is, by far, the distinguishing feature of the laptop, and is actually almost unbelievable. The laptop weighs two pounds, and is 25 percent thinner than the Air. It really does feel like picking up almost nothing, though it somehow manages not to feel terribly fragile either. You could easily throw it into a carry-on -- or accidentally throw it out in a pile of magazines.
The USB-C port - This, to me, is the main downfall of the new MacBook. It essentially only has one port, which handles power, data transfer and display. (It also has a headphone jack on the other side, but this is the only port that really matters, right?) Apple promises 9 hours of battery life while Web-browsing and 10 hours of iTunes playback, but the point remains that you have to give up your port when you need to charge.
As I type now, I've got two things plugged into my laptop, and at least two more devices that I'd plug in if I had the ports. If I used a portable mouse? That's it, I'm done. For people who use a lot of peripherals -- musicians, for example -- that's a major drawback. It makes the design very clean, but may be a little too form-over-function for many, especially business travelers who may need multiple accessories for presentations. And, from a super-grumpy note, it also means more adapters to buy to keep my old devices working with a new computer.
Power and price - You can argue that the laptop is a little underpowered for its starting $1299 price tag, even as an heir to the MacBook Air. ($1599 gets you a faster processor and more storage.) Judging by its specs, this is not a computer for intensive use -- gaming, for example, or video editing -- and in fact it doesn't even have fans so it will probably run a little hot. (That's not an uncommon complaint for Mac laptops in general.) But if you just want a Mac laptop that's portable and convenient -- and that will get you looks of envy -- this seems like a good candidate. It's also a type of laptop that will be interesting to watch evolve over the next few years.