MacBook (2015–2019)

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MacBook with Retina Display.png
The MacBook (2015 version) in gold with ISO keyboard
DeveloperApple Inc.
Product familyMacBook family
Release date
  • April 10, 2015; 4 years ago (2015-04-10) (original release)
  • June 5, 2017; 2 years ago (2017-06-05) (last release)
Introductory priceUSD $1299, CAD $1549, Euro €1449, GBP £1249
DiscontinuedJuly 9, 2019; 9 days ago (2019-07-09)
Operating systemmacOS
CPUUp to 1.4 GHz Intel Core i7
Related articles

The MacBook (known colloquially as the Retina MacBook or 12-inch MacBook) was a line of Macintosh portable computers introduced in March 2015 by Apple Inc.[1] The MacBook had a similar appearance to the MacBook Air, but was thinner and lighter,[2] and was available in colors called space gray, silver, gold, and rose gold. It offered a high-resolution Retina Display, a Force Touch trackpad, a redesigned keyboard, and only two ports: a headphone jack and a USB 3.1 Type-C port for charging, data transfer and video output.

Compared to the MacBook Air which at the time had 13.3-inch and 11.6-inch screen sizes, the 12-inch MacBook was considered a more premium device due to its inclusion of a Retina Display, more compact form factor, fanless design, and higher storage and memory. However, the processor and graphic performance was inferior to the MacBook Air. Many reviewers also criticized the shallow travel of the redesigned keyboard keys.[3][4][5][6]

On April 19, 2016, Apple updated the MacBook with new sixth-generation Intel Core M processors, Intel HD 515 graphics, faster RAM, longer battery life, faster storage[7] and a new rose gold finish.[8]

On June 5, 2017, Apple again updated the MacBook with Intel Kaby Lake m3, i5, and i7 processors (previously known as m3, m5, and m7). It features the second generation butterfly switches which introduce new symbols for the control and option keys. The MacBook also features faster SSD storage and RAM.[9]

On October 30, 2018, Apple quietly eliminated two MacBook color options (rose gold and original gold) for one, new color option (new gold) to match the MacBook Air's 2018 color scheme. Aside from this, other technical specifications on the 2018 MacBook were not updated.[10][11]

On July 9, 2019 Apple quietly discontinued the MacBook line again as it had been effectively superseded by the lower-price and higher-performance MacBook Air.[12]


A side view of the MacBook

The MacBook was designed with thinness in mind; the aluminum enclosure was 13.1 mm at its thickest point at the hinge end of the computer.[13] The MacBook includes Intel Core M processors (Kaby Lake architecture) which requires no fans or heat pipe, allowing the logic board to be much smaller than the one in the MacBook Air. The storage cannot be upgraded. Despite its small size, the computer features a full-sized keyboard and a large trackpad.

The battery was custom-designed to fill the available space in the small enclosure. It uses a new 39.7 watt-hour lithium-polymer terraced battery cell which was advertised to provide "all day" battery life. It was said to last up to 9 hours for Internet browsing or 10 hours of iTunes movie playback. The battery was improved in the 2016 refresh, with Apple claiming to provide 10 hours for Internet browsing, and 11 hours for iTunes movie playback.[14]

The MacBook did not include any beryllium, BFRs, or PVCs in its construction. The display was made of arsenic-free glass and contains no mercury. It was made of recyclable materials such as aluminum and glass, meets Energy Star 6.1 standards, and was rated EPEAT Gold.

Apple's introduction of a gold MacBook finish had been cited as an example of positioning itself as a luxury-style brand. The choice follows the introduction of the gold iPhone 5S after Apple found that gold was seen as a popular sign of a luxury among Chinese customers.[15] Noting the appeal of Apple introducing gold laptops, IT and science journalist Casey Johnston commented, "I'm marrying one."[16]

Keyboard and trackpad[edit]

The MacBook had a new keyboard design and trackpad. Compared to previous models, the individual keys had a larger surface area. Apple replaced traditional scissor mechanism keys with a new, Apple-designed butterfly mechanism keys, making the keyboard thinner and, as Apple claims, individual keys more stable. However, individual keys, especially shift and space, tend to stick because of the extremely short travel. The keyboard's backlight no longer consisted of a row of LEDs and a light guide panel, but instead used a single LED for each key. The letters on the MacBook's keyboard were set in the San Francisco typeface, whereas previous laptops made by Apple used VAG Rounded.[17]

The 2015 MacBook was the first to introduce the Force Touch trackpad, a solid-state trackpad that measures pressure sensitivity, and replicates a click with haptic feedback. The trackpad was later brought to the Magic Trackpad 2 and the new MacBook Pro. A similar technology (called 3D Touch) is also used in the Apple Watch and some iPhone models.


USB-C on MacBook

To achieve its thin chassis[citation needed], the MacBook only had a single, multi-purpose USB-C, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack. The port supports transmission speeds of up to 5 Gbit/s, and can be used for charging, output and input of data, and output of video and audio. Apple markets an adapter that can provide a full-size USB connector, and a "Digital AV Multiport Adapter" with a charging pass-through, full-size USB port, and HDMI output.[18] Although Thunderbolt 3 technology uses USB-C connectors, the MacBook's USB-C port does not support Thunderbolt.[19] Thunderbolt devices, such as storage media and the Apple Thunderbolt Display, are not compatible with the MacBook. Shortly after the MacBook’s introduction, various companies began announcing cables and adapters for the USB-C port.[20]


Reception for the new MacBook had generally been mixed. Critics praised the design and overall quality of the product, with some regarding it as a potential successor to the MacBook Air, as the Air had an aging design and low resolution screen. However, Apple continued to offer the MacBook Air while selling the MacBook at considerably higher price. However, several described the MacBook as a limited first-generation proof-of-concept design for early adopters, and recommended against buying the MacBook until it reached greater maturity, and its price dropped sufficiently for mainstream adoption. [21][22][23][24][25][26] The slow performance of the Intel Core M processor was regarded as the new MacBook's main deficiency, relative to the cheaper and faster MacBook Air and Pro.[27] Among the other criticisms of the new MacBook are the lack of various popular ports, particularly USB Type-A ports, and that it only contains a single port which limits data transfer and overall convenience without the use of an adapter.[28]

The keyboard received considerable criticism as being poor for long-term use: developer Marco Arment described the laptop's build and small size as "absolutely amazing, revolutionary, and mind-blowing… until you need to use the keyboard for something."[29] He also criticised the trackpad as worse than on previous MacBooks, and said that he would be returning the model he had bought.[30]

A report by AppleInsider had claimed that the updated butterfly keyboard fails twice as often as previous models, often due to particles stuck beneath the keys.[31] Repairs for stuck keys have been estimated to cost more than $700.[32] In May 2018, two class action lawsuits were filed against Apple regarding the keyboard issue with one alleging a "constant threat of nonresponsive keys and accompanying keyboard failure" and accusing Apple of not alerting consumers to the issue.[33][34] In June 2018, Apple announced a Service Program to "service eligible MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards, free of charge".[35]

Technical specifications[edit]

Model Early 2015 [36] Early 2016 [37] Mid 2017 [38]
Release date April 10, 2015 [1] April 19, 2016 [8] June 6, 2017[39]
Model identifier MacBook8,1 MacBook9,1 MacBook10,1
Model Number A1534
Display LED-backlit widescreen glossy, Retina Display
12" Retina, 2304 × 1440 (16:10), 226 ppi, with millions of colors (supported scaled resolutions: 1440 × 900, 1280 × 800, 1024 × 640)
Video camera iSight (480p)
Processor 1.1 GHz (M-5Y31) dual-core Intel Core M Broadwell processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.4 GHz) with 4 MB L3 cache1
1.2 GHz (M-5Y51) dual-core Intel Core M Broadwell processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.6 GHz) with 4 MB L3 cache1

Configurable 1.3 GHz (M-5Y71) dual-core Intel Core M Broadwell processor (Turbo Boost up to 2.9 GHz) with 4 MB L3 cache1[11]

1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core m3-6Y30 Skylake processor (cTDP Up mode, Turbo Boost up to 2.2 GHz) with 4MB L3 cache
1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Core m5-6Y54 Skylake processor (cTDP Up mode, Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz) with 4MB L3 cache
Configurable 1.3 GHz dual-core Intel Core m7-6Y75 Skylake processor (cTDP Up mode, Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz) with 4 MB L3 cache
1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Core m3-7Y32 Kaby Lake processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.0GHz) with 4MB L3 cache

1.3 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5-7Y54 Kaby Lake processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz) with 4MB L3 cache
Configurable 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7-7Y75 Kaby Lake processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz) with 4 MB L3 cache

System bus N/A 4 GT/s OPI (Max. Theoretical Bandwidth 4 GB/s)[40]
Memory 8 GB 1600 MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM 8 GB 1866 MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM 8 GB 1866 MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM

Configurable to 16 GB of RAM at time of purchase only

Graphics Intel HD Graphics 5300 with LPDDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory Intel HD Graphics 515 with LPDDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory Intel HD Graphics 615 with LPDDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory
Flash storage 256 GB or 512 GB NVMe/PCIe 2.0 x4, 5.0 GT/s [41] 256 GB or 512 GB NVMe/PCIe 3.0 x2, 8.0 GT/s [41] 256 GB or 512 GB NVMe
WiFi Integrated 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 & 5 GHz, up to 1.3 Gbit/s)
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0 Bluetooth 4.2
Peripheral connections USB 3.1 generation 1 over USB-C, up to 5 Gbit/s (for power, converts to USB Type-A, and video out via separate adapter)
Headphone audio jack (supports iPhone headset with remote and microphone)
Video out USB-C DisplayPort 1.2 Alternate Mode

(maximum resolutions 4096x2304 at 48 Hz over HDMI 1.4b, and 3840x2160 at 60 Hz over DisplayPort and HDMI 1.4b[42])

USB-C DisplayPort 1.2 Alternate Mode

(maximum resolutions 4096x2304 at 60 Hz over HDMI 2.0, and 3840x2160 at 60 Hz over DisplayPort[43])

Power 29 Watt USB 3.1 Type-C power adapter, 39.7 Wh battery 29 Watt USB 3.1 Type-C power adapter, 41.4 Wh battery
Weight 2.03 pounds (0.92 kg)
Dimensions 11.04 inches (28.04 cm) wide × 7.74 inches (19.66 cm) deep × 0.14 inches (0.36 cm) to 0.52 inches (1.32 cm) high
Colors Space Gray, Silver, Gold Space Gray, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold; in 2018, Rose Gold and Gold (original) were replaced with a new Gold
Keyboard Butterfly mechanism Second-generation butterfly mechanism

1 Apple states the processor specifications as "1.1 GHz, turbo boost 2.4 GHz ", "1.2 GHz, turbo boost 2.6 GHz", and "Configurable 1.3 GHz, turbo boost 2.9 GHz", but there are no Intel Core M processors that correspond to these specific specifications that have been publicly announced. It can be inferred that Apple adapts the newest Core M models launched in Q4'14, which support Configurable TDP. The Core M-5Y31 runs at a base frequency of 900 MHz, M-5Y51 at 1.1 GHz and M-5Y71 at 1.2 GHz, the clock speeds of which seem to have been raised up to 1.1 GHz, 1.2 GHz and 1.3 GHz, respectively. All of three models match the Max Turbo Frequency specification given by both Apple and Intel.

Timeline of the MacBook family

iMac ProiPad ProApple WatchiPadiPhoneMacBook Pro#Fourth generationMacBook Pro#Fourth generationMacBook Pro#Fourth generationMacBook Pro#Third generation (Retina)MacBook Pro#Third generation (Retina)MacBook Pro#Second generation (unibody)MacBook Pro#Second generation (unibody)MacBook Pro#Second generation (unibody)MacBook#Unibody aluminum modelMacBook Pro#First generationMacBook Pro#First generationMacBook#Unibody polycarbonate modelMacBook#Original polycarbonate modelMacBook AirMacBook AirMacBook (2015–2019)MacBook AirMacBook Air

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Apple Inc. (March 9, 2015). "Apple Unveils All-New MacBook" (Press release). San Francisco. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  2. ^ "Apple- MacBook". Apple Inc. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
  3. ^ Hollister, Sean. "New MacBook Review: Stupidly Thin". Gizmodo. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  4. ^ Snell, Jason. "Macbook review". Six Colors. Retrieved October 14, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ Pierce, David. "New Macbook: hands on". Wired. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  6. ^ Pierini, David. "Retina MacBook's 'butterfly' keyboard feels a bit buggy". Cult of Mac. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  7. ^ Cutress, Ian. "Apple Refreshes MacBook with Skylake-based Core M and New Rose Gold Color". AnandTech. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Apple Inc. (April 19, 2016). "Apple Updates MacBook" (Press release). San Francisco. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Apple's 12-inch MacBook gets a new gold color (and ditches its old gold color)". CNET. October 30, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Apple MacBook Specs (All MacBook Technical Specs) @". Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  12. ^ "Apple killed the 12-inch MacBook". Engadget. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  13. ^ "Apple - MacBook". Apple.
  14. ^ "Apple – MacBook – Tech Specs". Apple. April 19, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  15. ^ Chan & Chen. "Cook Says Chinese Tastes Considered in Apple Product Designs". Bloomberg. Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  16. ^ Johnston, Casey. "Twitter post". Twitter. Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  17. ^ Wright, Mic (March 9, 2015). "The new MacBook shows San Francisco is more than just the Apple Watch font". The Next Web. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  18. ^ "6 things to know about the USB-C port in the new MacBook". PC World. IDG. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  19. ^ "About Thunderbolt ports and displays". Apple Inc. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  20. ^ Clover, Juli (March 11, 2015). "Belkin Announces New Line of USB-C Cables, USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter". MacRumors.
  21. ^ Elliott, Melissa. "Concise "New Retina Macbook" Review". Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  22. ^ Etherington, Darrell (April 9, 2015). "2015 MacBook Review". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  23. ^ Cunningham, Andrew (April 9, 2015). "The 2015 MacBook previews a future that's not quite here". Ars Technica. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  24. ^ Wollman, Dana (April 9, 2015). "MacBook review: Apple reinvents the laptop again". Engadget. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  25. ^ Stern, Joanna (April 9, 2015). "Apple MacBook Review: The Laptop of the Future Isn't Ready for the Present". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  26. ^ Pierce, David (April 9, 2015). "Review: Apple MacBook". Wired. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  27. ^ [1]
  28. ^ [2]
  29. ^ Arment, Marco. "Quick impressions of the new stuff in the Apple Store today, which probably aren't useful since everyone can just go see for themselves now". Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  30. ^ Arment, Marco. "Mistake One". Retrieved August 15, 2015.
  31. ^ Wuerthele, Mike (April 30, 2018). "2016 MacBook Pro butterfly keyboards failing twice as frequently as older models". AppleInsider. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  32. ^ Axon, Samuel (May 8, 2018). "Report: Butterfly MacBook Pro keyboards require more frequent, more expensive repairs". Ars Technica. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  33. ^ Moyer, Edward (May 12, 2018). "Apple MacBook keyboard issue prompts lawsuit". CNET. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  34. ^ Heisler, Yoni (May 23, 2018). "Apple hit with another class-action lawsuit over the MacBook Pro keyboard design". Boy Genius Report. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  35. ^ Tibken, Shara (June 22, 2018). "Apple will fix sticky keyboards on some MacBooks, MacBook Pros". CNET. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  36. ^ "MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015) - Technical Specifications". Apple Inc. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  37. ^ "MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2016) - Technical Specifications". Apple Inc. Retrieved November 13, 2016.
  38. ^ "MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Mid 2017) - Technical Specifications". Apple Inc.
  39. ^ "MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, 2017) - Technical Specifications". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  40. ^ Ganesh T S (May 9, 2016). "Choosing the Right SSD for a Skylake-U System". AnandTech. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  41. ^ a b Ryan Smith. "The MacBook's SSD: NVMe". Retrieved April 19, 2016.
  42. ^ "Using 4K displays, 5K displays and Ultra HD TVs with your Mac - Apple Support". June 23, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  43. ^ "Using 4K displays, 5K displays and Ultra HD TVs with your Mac - Apple Support". June 23, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2017.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
MacBook (12-inch)
April 10, 2015
Succeeded by