The Arrival: 2015 12″ MacBook Unboxing & Initial Impressions

Impulsiveness took over today as I walked into an Apple store to see if, by chance, any MacBooks were in stock.  I’d placed my order at a different location a couple of weeks ago, and I was quickly becoming impatient.  To my surprise this Apple store had plenty of 12″ MacBooks on-hand, in all configurations.  The associate told me that no one seems to know that they have them, so they’ve only sold a few in the last couple of weeks.  I cancelled my online order and walked out of the Apple store with a space grey, 512gb 12″ Retina MacBook.

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If you’ve ever purchased an Apple laptop, then you know the experience of unboxing one.  Their packaging is top notch, with a simple, white box with small, uncluttered lettering on the back describing which version you’ve purchased.  There is a power adapter and usb-c charging cable in the box, and then some relatively useless paperwork.  The first thing you’ll notice about the new MacBook is that it is a truly gorgeous piece of technology.  Unreasonably small and compact, this laptop looks even better in person.  You get the all-to-familiar Apple cold aluminum touch on your skin, which I always love.  After admiring the beauty of the machine for a minutes I unwrapped the MacBook and booted her up for the first time!

Performance Disappointing…At First

The first few hours of operation were a bit of a disappointment.  I knew with the Core M processor that this was no workhorse the way the MacBook Pro was.  But I was getting frustrated quickly with the rMB.  No matter what I tried to do I would get the spinning beachball and the computer continued to get held up on, what seemed like, simple tasks.  When trying to open an app the icon would bounce on the dock continuously for a few seconds before loading up.  Switching between apps had a very noticeable delay (i.e. lag) and I immediately began to question my choice of purchase.

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However, a few hours passed and the computer really seemed to speed up.  I’m not sure if the poor performance was from the initial boot-up and the programs were indexing, but I saw a complete 180-degree turn.  This computer now seems to fly through the everyday tasks.  Opening apps still takes noticeably longer than the MacBook Pro, but I wouldn’t consider it a detrimental time that ruins enjoyment of use.  The 8gb of RAM and SSD really help with the snappy performance.  When viewing webpages or using Microsoft Office, everything is just as smooth as it is on the MacBook’s older siblings.

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The Keyboard

Easily one of the most polarizing aspects of the New MacBook continues to be the redesigned keyboard.  Here is a quick overview of what has changed.  The truth is, that you do need to take some time to get used to the larger, flatter keys, with their reduced travel.  But you quickly get acclimated to the design and typing has been a joy so far (albeit a unique one).  I seem to be more accurate than on the MacBook Pro that I used.  But I have noticed a slight drop in speed.  Yes it’s different.  But overall, I like it. I’ve typed this entire 800 word post with no issues (if that means anything to you).

  

OMG The Speaker

Put simply, this speaker is amazing!  Easily one of the best laptop speakers I’ve ever heard.  The volume is loud, yet does not get raspy.  What’s more amazing is how rich the sound is.  I’ll admit that I’m no audiophile.  But I do appreciate the quality of these speakers.

Only Time Will Tell

My initial impressions have been very positive.  The performance is better than I had anticipated (after the initial setup), and there really is a lot to like about this machine.  One concern that has recently come up has nothing to do with the hardware itself.  Just this week Apple held their World Wide Developers Conference where they showed off builds of their new operating systems.  I’m excited to see how OSX El Capitan (love the name!) performs on the rMP, but I was more excited to see the improvement to iOS9 for the iPad.  With the implementation of true multitasking on the iPad Air 2 and newer, the cost of the 12″ MacBook might become more questionable again.  Especially if the long-rumored iPad Pro makes a debut later this year.  I just have to wonder if the great improvements in iOS will cannibalize MacBook sales.  Only time will tell…

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Thank you for following my adventure in MacBooks and please leave a comment if there is anything specific you would like me to discuss.  I will have some more in-depth impressions in the weeks to come.  In the meantime, keep an eye out for my experience in an SSD replacement on my Mac Mini.

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