Because this new port is a USB standard, it’s inevitable that there will be a parade of adapters and cables in the not so distant future. I’ve got a speaking gig in a couple months and I’m waiting until it’s closer before deciding which projector adapter I will buy. I’m hoping some third-party will come in with a solution cheaper than Apple’s.
One final comment on the single port is that it takes a significant amount of force to remove the cable from the port. We’ve all lamented the end of MagSafe. I can confirm it truly is dead with the new MacBook because if someone trips over your charging cable while plugged into this new computer, your MacBook will magically and literally be transformed into a MacBook Air.
I’m averaging about 7 hours per charge. I’ve done better and I’ve done worse depending on how hard I’m pushing it but if you need the new MacBook to keep working beyond that, you are going to need to pack your charger.
Interestingly, because it charges through USB, I decided to try a little experiment with my iPhone external charger. In order to do so, I had to order a standard USB male connector to USB type C cable off Amazon. It costs $7. The question in my mind was when I hooked up the iPhone charger, would the laptop recharge the iPhone charger or the iPhone charger recharge the laptop. For this experiment I was using an Anker Astro 3 12800mAh charger. When I plugged it in, the MacBook made the little charging sound and the menubar battery icon showed the familiar lightening bolt icon to indicate my new laptop was receiving a charge.
The laptop certainly doesn’t charge as fast through the Anker battery as it does when I plug it into the wall but it does charge. I found that using the Anker battery, I could add about 5 hours of battery life. In another experiment I ran the laptop battery down to 10% and then plugged in the fully-charged Anker and went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, the Anker battery was bone dry and the laptop had an 85% charge. The ability to carry and use this relatively small battery on days when I may need extra juice is actually pretty handy.
Having used the new trackpad a lot, I’m convinced it is better than the old trackpad. I can tap it anywhere, including near the top, which was difficult with older trackpads because of the increased leverage needed the closer you got to the hinge.
Developers are still figuring out what to do with the force sensitive trackpad and I expect some very interesting user interface improvements based on this technology soon.
Perhaps my best compliment for the new trackpad is how I just don’t think about it at all. It just works. If only I could say that about the keyboard.
This was my biggest concern about this new MacBook and justifiably so. The keyboard is different. The keys are bigger, which I liked. There is less key travel, which I didn’t like. Apple has spent a lot of time talking up the new switches and while they most likely are superior to the old switches, that doesn’t overcome the lack of travel in these keys. I don’t know if there’s ever been a computer with a physical keyboard that had so little travel in the keys. Typing on it is strange, and not in a good way.
If you are used to mashing keys, this keyboard will be difficult for you. It requires more of a light touch. If you try to press through the keys, you’re just going to add strain to your fingers because the keys aren’t going to go any further. On the flip side, if your touch gets too light, you won't sufficiently depress keys and miss letters. You've got to find the sweet spot.
After having use this keyboard nearly exclusively through this test, it’s my opinion that the new keyboard is inferior to the standard chicklet-style keyboard on other currently shipping Macs. I've found that sweet spot and am able to type on it just fine but it still feels foreign to me. While I am still not entirely used to the keyboard, I don't find myself thinking about it as much now either. I’m not going to say it is growing on me but it is not bothering me that much either. If I had to choose between a keyboard with more travel but a non-retina screen or the new MacBook, in my mind it’s not a contest. I’d take the new MacBook. Keyboards can be a very personal thing, especially for touch typists, but in my case the new keyboard is not a deal breaker for this computer.