New MacBook: Apple disappoints with 480p FaceTime camera

Apple has updated the 12-inch Retina MacBook with Skylake processors, and even offered a Rose Gold version. But it still comes with a disappointing 480p FaceTime camera.

I’ve been waiting quite a while for Apple to update its sleek 12-inch MacBook, and now an updated version is finally available. Apple has added new Skylake processors, a Rose Gold version, and even managed to squeeze another hour of battery life out of the MacBook.

Benjamin Mayo reports for 9to5Mac:

Apple has today released an update to the 12 inch Retina MacBook line, with new Skylake processors, overall better performance, and a new color: Rose Gold. The new internals have also allowed Apple to grab an extra hour of battery life out of the same sized product.

The MacBook refresh keeps the same thin chassis, the same edge-to-edge keyboard and the same single USB-C port design as the original Retina MacBook, released about a year ago. The new Retina MacBook costs the same as before, starting at $1299.

The new MacBooks include sixth-generation Intel Core M processors, with clock speeds from 1.1 GHz to 1.2 GHz. The new integrated graphics are up to 25% faster than the previous generation. The USB-C port appears identical and does not support Thunderbolt 3 as some rumors had suggested.

The MacBook comes in two configurations. For $1299, you can get a Retina MacBook with a 1.1 GHz processor, 8 GB of memory and 256 GB storage. A more expensive $1599 configuration is also available with a faster processor and 512 GB of flash memory.

More at 9to5Mac

New MacBook, same awful 480p camera

Unfortunately, the new 12-inch MacBook comes with the same crappy 480p FaceTime camera that the old version offered. Yes, for some unknown reason, Apple has kept the same camera while updating much of the rest of the MacBook’s hardware.

The inclusion of the 480p FaceTime camera caught the attention of some folks discussing the new MacBook on the Apple subreddit, here’s a sample of what they had to say about it:

Amanwithoutfear: “It’s like buying a Mercedes with roll-up windows.”

Attempted: “Well that…blows. ”

Medikit: “Must have something to do with the chassis, I think. Perhaps it would need to be redesigned slightly to accomodate a different camera.”

idevelopstuff: “If an iPhone can hold a 12mpx shooter, the MB can have one as well.”

VictoriousRaptor: “That’s not how it works…

The MacBook display case is substantially thinner than the iPhone 6S…it’s thinner than even the iPad Pro 9.7…”

SaneBRZ: “If HP manages to build a laptop which is thinner than this MacBook and still has a 720p webcam, then Apple should be also able to ditch the 480p webcam for something better.”

Shotwithadiamond: “The overall thickness is not the issue. The thickness of the edge of the display is the relevant factor.”

More at Reddit

As you can tell from some of the comments, I’m not the only one disappointed by the inclusion of the 480p FaceTime camera. Others were also looking forward to the inclusion of at least a 720p camera, but it looks like we’ll have to wait longer for that to happen…if it ever does.

I find it somewhat amusing that the tagline Apple uses for the new MacBook is "Light. Years ahead." Given the 480p camera, perhaps it should say "Light. Camera years behind."

new macbook

The new 12-inch MacBook also has the same keyboard

Another thing I’d hoped for was a modified or outright new version of the MacBook’s keyboard. I tried it when I was at the Apple Store and I hated how it felt. There’s not much in the way of key travel and I found it uncomfortable to type on.

However, I acknowledge that some people love it. So perhaps Apple has weighed the numbers of people who like it against those of us who don’t like it, and opted to keep it exactly the same.

I don’t think I’d want to have to use it to type on each day though, I think it would aggravate the tendonitis problems I have in my fingers.

I’ll pass on the new 12-inch MacBook

I’m glad to see that Apple has updated the 12-inch MacBook. For some users it’s going to be an awesome upgrade. But I’ll pass on it because of the 480p FaceTime camera and uncomfortable keyboard. The other upgrades just aren’t enough to get me to buy it.

Your mileage may vary, however, so more power to you if you get the new MacBook. My quibbles aside, it looks like it will be a great upgrade for those who don’t mind the camera and keyboard.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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