Apple Inc. has announced the refreshed MacBook line-up for the year. This announcement comes right on cue, because the Cupertino-based company always updates at least one product like that falls under the MacBook umbrella in the first half of the calendar year—and this time, it is the 12-inch MacBook. Here is everything you should know about what is new and what has changed, a year after the 12-inch MacBook was first introduced.

New Processors: More power

The latest MacBook gets the newest Intel Core M processors, including the 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core m3, the 1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Core m5 and the 1.3 GHz dual-core Intel Core m7 processors. Performance will be further improved by the new Intel HD Graphics 515, which will be up to 25% faster than the graphics in last year’s MacBook. Apple has also added faster PCIe-based flash storage, which will reduce app load times and improve multi-tasking performance. The other benefit of these new processors would be the enhanced battery life, which could now touch the “all-day" mark.

RAM: All about the fundamentals

Apple has made 8GB RAM standard across all variants of this MacBook, irrespective of whether you pick the Core m3, Core m5 or the Core m7 processor option.

Design: Gorgeous, and then some

Last year, when the 12-inch MacBook was unveiled, it was surely a head turner, thanks to the super slick design and the all-aluminium unibody chassis. The new model retains a similar design, but also gets the new rose gold colour option, also seen on the latest generation of iPhones and iPads. The other colour options are gold, silver and space grey. And there has been no change in terms of the thickness—it is 13.1mm at its thickest point, and weighs less than 1kg.

What hasn’t changed

The updated MacBook retains the 12-inch Retina display as last year’s version, and also still includes a single USB Type-C port, for charging and connecting external accessories such as storage and displays. The latter may still remain the stumbling block for a lot of users, who would perhaps like to leave an external storage drive connected at all times and not have to interchange it with the power cord when the MacBook battery needs to be charged.

Pricing

The updated MacBook will be available with a 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core m3 processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB of flash storage for 1,06,900, and the 1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Core m5 variant with 8GB RAM and 512GB of flash storage will be priced at 1,29,900.

Should you buy one?

When this svelte MacBook was unveiled last year amidst all the adulation about the design, there were still some perceived shortcomings. The updated processors will take care of the performance aspect, which may have seemed a tad underpowered last year. Making 8GB RAM standard will also help performance, and so will the faster internal storage. The newer graphics will still not make you a gamer, but will help with video application performance across all usage scenarios.

However, this announcement does leave some potential buyers in a bit of a conundrum. It is expected that Apple will unveil the new line-up of the MacBook Pro machines in June—and the question is where the 12-inch MacBook would fit into the equation then. If you are looking for ultimate portability, this could just be the machine to splurge on right now. But, if you are looking at a small screen (read 13-inch screen sizes at least) laptop but something that has more power, or an out-and-out desktop replacement, the MacBook Pro 2016 line-up might be worth waiting for.

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