The 12-inch MacBook is one of Apple's most polarizing devices the tech giant has ever released. Featuring an Intel M-series processor, a single USB Type-C port and a new keyboard with extremely shallow travel, the 12-inch MacBook was not a machine for everyone. Compared to the MacBook Air, which boasted an Intel Core i-Series processor, a variety of ports and an excellent, classic keyboard, the 12-inch MacBook initially appeared to be Apple's marginally successful experiment.
This year, however, the 12-inch MacBook might be in for some notable upgrades, and with these improvements, the device might finally be able to take a crack at the MacBook Air's loyal fanbase. While official details about the device are scarce, rumors about the upcoming ultrathin notebook are abounding, and they are highly encouraging.
A MacWorld report has stated that the design of the 12-inch MacBook 2017 might very well feature the same frame as the machine's previous two iterations. A new color option might be added to the MacBook 2017 lineup, but design-wise, expectations are high that this year's ultraportables from Apple would feature much of the same look and feel as the device's 2015 and 2016 variants.
The true upgrades to the 12-inch 2017 MacBook would most likely be seen in the machine's internals, such as a new processor, an improved RAM, and even better battery life. Processor-wise, speculations are high that the 2017 MacBook would feature Intel's 7th-generation Kaby Lake processors. While the device is still expected to be equipped with an M-Series chip, the fact that it belongs to the 7th-generation of Intel's processor lineup means that this year's 12-inch MacBook would perform significantly better than its predecessors.
As for the device's memory, rumors are high that the 12-inch 2017 MacBook would be upgraded to 16GB of RAM. Considering that the machine's last two iterations featured 8GB of memory, it seems quite logical for Apple to raise the 2017 MacBook's memory to 16GB this year. Doing so would help improve the device's speed, especially in terms of multitasking and toggling between multiple programs. If any, 16GB of RAM would definitely boost the speed of the device's rather underpowered Intel M-series processor.
Things get a little bit more interesting when rumors of the upcoming machine's features come into play, however. Last year, a leak from Dutch-language tech-themed website TechTastic featured a leak of what appears to be a reference to an ARM-driven MacBook. In the kernel of macOS Sierra, a line pertaining to "ARM HURRICANE" was spotted.
Speculations are also high that the 12-inch MacBook 2017 would feature LTE connectivity. Considering that the device is designed for extreme portability, equipping the ultraportable with some form of cellular connectivity would make the 2017 MacBook more attractive to consumers. After all, very few 12-inch MacBook users are fond of tethering their laptops to their iPhones just to get cellular signal in a place without Wi-Fi.
One thing that has been pretty persistent in the rumor mill, however, is the idea of a Force Touch keyboard. Very little is known about this particular feature, but speculations are high that the 2017 12-inch MacBook might feature a keyboard that follows the same system as the machine's Force Touch trackpad. While this particular rumor is interesting, however, there is a good chance that such a keyboard might be unveiled in later iterations of the 12-inch MacBook. For the 2017 version of the device, it appears safe to assume that this year's MacBook would once more feature the tech giant's butterfly-mechanism keyboard.
Lastly, one thing that has managed to get the approval of numerous Mac fans is the idea that the 12-inch MacBook might actually see a drop in price. This is partly due to the possibility that the MacBook Air, Apple's sub-$1,000 laptop, appears to be heading for retirement. With the departure of the MacBook Air, Apple would need to have a device that would cater to conventional, everyday users. For this demographic, the 12-inch MacBook would be more than perfect.
The release date of the 12-inch 2017 MacBook remains unknown, but speculations are high that the machine would be unveiled during the second half of 2017. This particular release timeline is quite plausible, especially since noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated that the ultraportable laptop would enter production sometime during Q2 2017, likely resulting in a June or July 2017 launch.[Featured Image by Stephen Lam/Getty Images]