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Definition: MacBook

The MacBook is Apple's third laptop computer family, introduced in 2006. Prior laptops were the PowerBook and iBook. In 2015, new MacBooks featured Apple's Retina Display and higher resolutions, as well as the Force Touch trackpad that senses different pressure levels. By the end of 2016, all MacBooks used solid state drives (SSDs).

MacBook Pro
The MacBook Pro was the first Mac laptop to use Intel CPUs, and the Pro line offers the fastest processors and largest screens (see MacBook Pro). In 2020, Apple replaced the Intel CPU with its own M1 chip (see Apple M1).

The Non-Pro, Non-Air MacBook
The "just plain" MacBook is Apple's entry-level laptop. Debuting in 2007, it was dropped in 2011 only to be resurrected thinner and lighter in 2015 with a USB-C port for both charging and connectivity (see USB Type C).

MacBook Air
Launched in 2008, the Air's touchpad added gesture-based multitouch introduced on the iPhone. In 2018, the Air added a high-res Retina Display, Touch ID and USB-C ports. The Air without the Retina Display screen was the entry-level laptop until 2015. See Macintosh Portable, PowerBook, iBook and Mac computer.


                      SSD     Max
      Screen   M1   Storage   RAM  Weight
        Size  Chip   (GB)     (GB)  (lbs)

 Pro      16"  Max  1024-8192   64   4.8
 Pro      16"  Pro  1024-8192   64   4.7
 Pro      16"  Pro   512-8192   64   4.7

 Pro      14"  Max  1024-8192   64   3.5
 Pro      14"  Pro   512-8192   32   3.5

 Pro TB   13"  M1    256-2048   16   3.0

 Air      13"        256-2048   16   2.8

 MacBook  12"        256-512    16   2.0

  TB = Touch Bar

From PowerBook to MacBook
The processing power in the 2016 MacBook (right) is nearly seven million times greater than the first Mac PowerBook laptop in 1991. (Image courtesy of Apple Inc.)