Review: New MacBook Brings iPad’s Minimalism to Laptop

From the moment I took it out of the box, Apple's new MacBook looked and felt like an iPad. The laptop is Apple's lightest and thinnest yet and borrows many of the iPad's designs, including the lack of a fan. The result is a 2-pound (0.92 kilogram) laptop that feels almost non-existent on my lap. Yet it packs in a lot of power, including a high-resolution display and a sturdier keyboard.

The new MacBook [went] on sale Friday starting at $1,299 in silver, gold or gray (the same choices as the iPad). Its box even resembles the iPad's.

New Keyboard

To make the MacBook as thin as it is -- a half-inch (13.1 millimeters) at the thickest point -- Apple had to redesign the keyboard. Traditional keys need to be tall to properly strike the mechanism that records the keystroke. Otherwise, you'd need to strike at the center, which many people don't do. With the redesign, you can strike shorter keys from the edge. Those shorter keys help keep the laptop thin.

The new keyboard takes getting used to, even after a week of testing. I feel as though I need to press more firmly. But taller, old-style keys on some keyboards have started to feel flimsy by comparison, as though about to come off their springs. The new keyboard does get more comfortable over time -- just don't expect to write a novel on Day One.

Although it's small, the new MacBook retains a full-size keyboard. In fact, that's why the screen is 12 inches -- it matches how much space the keyboard needs. (The screen, incidentally, is stunning -- compared with MacBook Air's lower-resolution screen. The fish in "Finding Nemo" look colorful and sharp.)

New Touchpad

Also contributing to thinness is a new touchpad that Apple calls Force Touch. On earlier MacBooks, the touchpad acts...

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