The 12-inch MacBook, while being a polarizing product, has developed a dedicated user base over the past couple of years. With the latest iteration of the device being more than a year old, avid fans of the sleek, ultraportable laptop are eagerly waiting for a 2017 refresh of the machine. While rumors about the upcoming device have been quite scarce as of late, what has been suggested so far by patents and speculations is very encouraging.
One thing that Apple really went for in the 12-inch MacBook is portability. The laptop is extremely thin, just a fraction of the weight and size of the MacBook Air, the Cupertino-based tech giant’s previous champion when it came to portability. Powered by an Intel M-series processor and equipped with a single USB-C port, however, the 12-inch MacBook is a machine that is all about compromise, and compromise its users did.
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If rumors prove true, the 2017 iteration of the 12-inch MacBook would see these compromises reduced significantly. With Intel already releasing the 7th-generation Kaby Lake chips into the market, Apple’s ultraportable laptop would most likely get a significant power boost. Apart from these, a RAM upgrade to 16GB and a more capable GPU are also rumored about the device. The 12-inch MacBook 2017 would most likely be fitted with a good battery as well, according to a TechRadar report.
While these rumors feature necessary improvements to the 12-inch MacBook, a number of speculations from Apple’s patents have also suggested several new features that the 2017 iteration of the ultraportable device would include. Among these, interestingly, is the return of the beloved MagSafe connector, or a variant of which, that will be incorporated with the new 2017 12-inch MacBook.
The feature, which was spotted by tech website Apple World Today, involves a small accessory that fits right into the 12-inch MacBook’s USB-C port. Referred to in the patent as a “Magnetic Adapter,” Apple’s design suggests that the accessory would be designed with a USB-C connector insert and a MagSafe receptacle. Needless to say, the patent has managed to get avid Apple fans extremely excited about the upcoming device.
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The departure of the MagSafe adapter in the 12-inch MacBook and the 2016 MacBook Pro is one of the most unpopular decisions that Apple has implemented in its hardware over the past couple of years. The magnetic charger, introduced back in the Steve Jobs era, allowed the power cord to be disengaged with just a small amount of pressure. This prevented the laptop from falling when someone accidentally trips on the power cable, a problem that now exists with Apple’s current laptop lineup.
While the patent for the MagSafe adaptor in the 2017 12-inch MacBook is undeniably compelling, such an innovation remains in the realm of speculations. Apple files and gets granted numerous patents every year, and only a few of them actually show up in the Cupertino-based tech giant’s devices. Considering the popularity of MagSafe adapters, however, there is a relatively good chance that Apple would roll out the feature in the next iteration of the ultraportable machine.
Apart from the return of the MagSafe connector, Apple is also rumored to introduce a 12-inch MacBook 2017 variant with an embedded SIM card. This would allow the device to access LTE networks, essentially making it fully connected to the internet anywhere there is a 3G or 4G signal. Patents featuring compatibility with the Apple Pencil have also emerged, suggesting that the upcoming 12-inch MacBook’s trackpad would be able to read input from the stylus.
The release date for the 12-inch MacBook 2017 remains unknown, though speculations are high that the device would be launched sometime in the later half of the year. Pricing for the upcoming ultraportable has not been leaked either, though rumors are high that the 12-inch MacBook 2017 would be priced at a similar price range as its direct predecessor.
[Featured Image by Eric Risberg/AP Images]