What would you change about the 12-inch MacBook?

Rose Gold MacBook
Rose Gold MacBook (Image credit: iMore)

The newly updated 12-inch MacBook sports a sixth-generation Intel Skylake Core-M processor, better graphics, faster flash storage chips, and an optional rose gold finish. I've already posted my 12-inch MacBook review, but now I want to know what you want to see next?

  • Second USB-C port.
  • Thunderbolt 3 support.
  • Built-in LTE cellular networking.
  • 720p or 1080p FaceTime camera, even if it requires a bump.
  • Return to the traditional arrow key layout.
  • Intel Core i5 or i7 support, even if requires a fan.
  • 14-inch display option.
  • ARM processor, multitouch display, iOS-based operating system.
  • Metallic purple finish option. (What?!)

The current MacBook is obviously opinionated and forward thinking, so why not offer some forward-thinking opinions of our your own? If Apple's product team asked you what they should pack into a future version, what would you tell them?

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Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • I don't own the current one and don't really care for working on iPads, so take these with a grain of salt. 1. Return to the traditional arrow key layout (and on the magic keyboard)
    2. 14-inch display option (loved my 13" air, would love retina version basically)
    3. Second USB-C port (at least be able to charge and plug in something else at the same time without pile of adapters)
    4. Intel Core i5 or i7 support, even if requires a fan.
    5. Thunderbolt 3 support.
    6. Support for one of the wireless docking techs. Never. iOS-based operating system.
  • Not to mention that it needs a better keyboard and trackpad that hinges. These force touch trackpads are horrible.
  • I owned the 12" MacBook for about 6 weeks and returned it for a Windows machine. I liked the form factor and keyboard. Trackpad was just ok. Real killer for me was I just couldn't get used to not having a touchscreen (I came from Windows). Until Macs gets touch support I will never try them again. And until iOS gets better file support and mouse support I won't use an iPad as my productivity machine - I've tried and there are just too many hoops and it is too inefficient. So the iPad for me is relegated to watching videos and playing games (except for the cooking app Paprika in which case it is my cooking "productivity" machine). Only thing I miss from giving up the Mac were having access to my iMessages.
  • No Mac for you! Apple doesn't listen to customer demands, they let Jony run the ship.
  • To each their own. Personally I love the force touch trackpad and the keyboard on this unit more then what was on my 2011 Macbook Pro until I updated. Personally I'm not sure I would update to something that didn't have the force touch trackpad
  • I agree, the force touch trackpad is great. I bought the Magic Trackpad 2 for my iMac. I still prefer a good mouse, but the gestures in OSX make it tolerable and the MT2 is a delight compared to any other trackpad I've used. Sent from the iMore App
  • One of the not insignificant reasons I switched to Apple laptops in the first place was the trackpads, and these just seem like a major step backwards. I might get used to it if I bought one and used it for a while, but I think I am more likely to buy a Lenovo, which have great keyboards and trackpads.
  • I literally just returned a Lenovo Yoga 900 yesterday because the trackpad and keyboard were terrible. Very disappointed. :(
  • Really!? The company I work for now sells primarly Lenovo devices and the trackpad that they have is one of the main reasons why I would never buy one.
  • Moar ports Sent from the iMore App
  • Better camera. It cant be stressed how bad the camera is on this laptop. Unless you're sitting in perfect lighting conditions, everything appears so dark the person at the other end of the Skype conversation can't see ****. The least Apple can do is give manual controls so we can increase the brightness. Skype on Windows can do it, why cant it do it on OS X?
  • The Skype thing is a limitation provided by Apple's sandboxing to keep everything safe, I would guess that most are okay with the trade-off. Honestly I would have updated my current MacBook for the updated one if the front facing camera was better as I do a lot of Skype and ITV calls for my coding business. It can't be stressed enough that this camera just plainly sucks, and has me reaching for my iPad or my MacBook Pro whenever I have calls scheduled.
  • Shouldn't be necessary but use a different vid cam ? Is there a USB-C version yet ? On a side note: I hate Skype. The quality flat out sucks most of the time regardless of what hardware you use
  • Screw the MacBook. Just slap a USB-C port and a Retina screen on the MacBook Air. Sent from the iMore App
  • A firmer screen hinge. Every time I move the MacBook around, the screen wobbles. I checked out a number of MacBooks in the Apple Store, they all have the same issue, IMHO.
  • I don't have the screen hinge problem at all. Still as tight as when I first got it. Stays put at any angle.
  • My screen stays put but it defiantly was done with the least amount of resistance to keep the hinge smaller/lighter. If I put a snap on case on my unit the screen will slowly go down because the weight is to much, without the case it works perfect.
  • Second USB-C port, 13.3" version & a 720p webcam would be enough for me
  • Thicker to fit a better webcam and fan so you can have an i5 or i7 (which would need extra thickness for more battery or sacrifice battery life)? Those are wishes of someone who wants Apple to upgrade the Air with a modernized chassis and better display. That'd be fantastic, I agree, not what the MacBook should be though. Second USB-C port and Thunderbolt 3 are a given though. Push the price down a bit maybe...
  • I'm with you, the Air should be the device to add these upgrades to (along with a higher resolution display). Heck! It would be worth a price update as well. I'd certainly pay for it.
  • My thoughts exactly. Sent from the iMore App
  • Assuming we're talking about keeping the MacBook true to its stated and implied reasons to be, and assuming there is a MacBook Pro refresh coming for the "more ports" crowd, my wishes: 1. Please don't change the keyboard. I love this keyboard. Everything else feels squishy now. I love the short throw and the solid feel.
    2. Better battery life. I get 4 hours if I'm lucky (original MacBook, not new one). Given the job of this hardware (extremely portable Mac), battery life is critical. I can't get through a day without needing to plug in or use the Anker battery.
    3. Faster processor. I knew this would be a trade-off when I got it, but more power would be welcome. As it is, it slows in Photos and can choke on Photoshop. But, again, this is meant to be extremely lightweight and portable. If I needed a notebook for Photoshop on a more frequent basis, I'd go with the MBP refresh.
    4. No more ports. For most cases, one is enough. This is a grab 'n' go computer, not one meant to be tethered to peripherals. A cheaper pass-through adapter from Apple with a couple ports and power would be welcome to throw in the bag, but, a year out, third-party companies have that covered now.
    5. A better camera would be welcome, even with a slight bump-out. But it's not a priority for me. I love my MacBook. I considered the new one, but the improvements, while very welcome, aren't enough for the net $700 upgrade cost for me after selling the original. Waiting for the next gen and hoping they don't muck it up with features that aren't necessary.
  • I mostly agree, although I wouldn't mind headphones jack replaced by a second USB-C port (ideally Thunderbolt 3 hybrid). I think most people forget what MacBook is trying to be. As much as I would love an extra port and faster processor, I would prioritize longer battery life (true 10+ hour wireless browsing time, just like on iPad Pro) and lower price ($999 starting price) at the top of the list.
  • Oops I meant to post this on another comment Sent from the iMore App
  • Your probably getting that battery life because either 1 you are on full brightness or 2 you are doing processor intensive task or, most likely, 3 your using chrome or any other browser other than safari which eats battery life more than anything, use safari Sent from the iMore App
  • Better camera. Only main complaint. I love the little thing otherwise. I want it to remain fanless, but the Core M makes the bottom very hot at times. So as a moon shot, ditch Intel and put an A series in it, then port OS X (or macOS) to ARM.
  • If Apple could have ported OSX to ARM and/or put A series in a notebook/desktop they would have already.
    Those geekbench numbers coming from iPads and iPhones are not apples to apples comparisons.
  • Perhaps it's in the works. They switched OSX from PowerPC to Intel, no reason they couldn't do the same for ARM. It would definitely become a MUCH more lightweight OS, which would somewhat defeat the purpose. I don't think people realize the resources OSX takes, and how hard that would be for a mobile device. I really don't see apple taking the Microsoft route and making it "universal" / hardware-scalable. I guess what I really want is more access to closed doors in iOS: networking, VMs, video output, better multitasking, and FILE STORAGE. Then we can talk about putting iOS on a laptop. Sent from the iMore App
  • Disagree. I think by the A10 or A11. we'll see Apple's SOC powering their non-Pro laptops
  • At least one more USB-C port, a better keyboard and Parallels included for free so that I don't have to spend money every other year to be able to run OpenBSD and Linux virtual machines.
  • https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/VirtualBox Was by Sun, now by Oracle. Worked okay for me 5 years ago. Haven't tried recently.
  • Performance is not in the same level as Parallels or VMWare Fusion, sadly.
  • Given that 3.5mm audio jack seems to be on the way out, replace it with a second USB-C port. Thunderbolt 3 support would be nice if it can be combined with USB-C. Anything else? No. Probably not. People needing fans and i7's and more display inches are probably better served with a Pro.
  • IMHO thunderbolt 3 is the only truly unfortunate omission. Inclusion would allow for a single connector plugin for a future apple display that can also act as the breakout box for ports etc. It seems the chip supports it. The other items are all pleasant but may not mesh with the ethos of the product. The terrible camera just seems like cheaping out. Sent from the iMore App
  • A second USB-C port would be ideal, yet still keep 12" MacBook true to its design goals. Thunderbolt for for Pro models only. This MacBook is meant to be predominantly wireless anyway. Fastest wifi available with maximum spatial streams. Sent from the iMore App
  • Cellular. Get cellular stores selling (financing them or offering subsidies). Start focusing on marketing OSX. Provide more integration between Macs and iphone.
  • I like this idea for MacBooks, Airs and Macbook Pro.
  • I use Apple products for work and play. I have the 2015 Retina MacBook model, which replaced an also-2015 MacBook Air 13". I thought I'd love the Retina screen and would be able to live with the shorter battery life. I didn't mind the keyboard--you really do get used to it fairly quickly. But it still didn't fit the bill of what I was looking for. I kept having a nagging feeling that something wasn't right, and I couldn't put my finger on it. Then one day I realized, although I love the Retina MacBook form factor, screen, keyboard, and power (because seriously, if you're not doing studio-level professional video editing, your apps don't need a system with any greater processor mojo than a 2013-era MacBook Air), what I hated was constantly making the transition between OS X and iOS. And that I felt more comfortable in iOS, where it was much easier to manage my notifications, and where all of the apps that I use were just that--apps--not services that still needed me to connect with a browser. (I'm looking at you, Facebook Messenger.) Two months ago I bought an iPad Pro 12.9", Apple Pencil, and Apple Smart Keyboard to see if I could go all in with iOS 9. I figured I'd know quickly if I couldn't. I would have just returned everything within my return window if that had happened to be the case, and gone back to my Retina MacBook. Instead, in the past two months the longest use I've made of my Retina MacBook, was to spend 90 seconds re-ordering my Feedly categories. It just really blew me away how much stress fell away when I didn't have to go back and forth between OS X and iOS anymore, and how much actual work I could get done on my Pro--which for me turned out to be all my professional communications-wonk work. To go back to my Retina MacBook, it would have to have a larger screen without adding significant weight, double its effective battery life (it's tiresome to watch your battery gauge go down in real time), and be a detachable. Which is exactly what I kind of accidentally ended up having with my iPad Pro. At this point, after being such a longtime Mac user (my first Mac was a Performa 6360CD in the mid-90s) who left the fold for a few years and then came right back, I literally feel a sense of guilt towards OS X and my MacBook for never, ever using them anymore. With that in mind, I think Tim Cook was being shockingly open about Apple's intentions when he asked that Guardian reporter why people continue to buy PCs. I don't think Apple has any intention of ever merging iOS and OS X. I think the Retina MacBooks were simply Apple testing the waters to see how much more traction they can get out of OS X laptops before they deprecate OS X entirely, or consign it to a niche OS, and go all in, themselves, on iOS-based machines.
  • I had kind of an opposite experience. For several years I had been drifting towards the iPad as my primary computer. I highly valued the extreme portability of it. But since buying the MacBook when it was released I hardly ever touch my iPad anymore. The MacBook has completely integrated itself into my daily life, anywhere I used to take my iPad to I now take my MacBook.
  • More ports. No reason you need to buy all these adapters just to use the computer. Specs are fine, but one port just doesn't cut it.
  • Make it a millimeter thicker and devote that extra space to vertical keyboard travel.
  • No the keyboard is amazing! Sent from the iMore App
  • 1. Add Thunderbolt 3 port.
    2. LTE
    3. Add 1mm and give the keyboard decent throw
    4. Touchscreen (yes, insane as that sounds)
  • Second USB-C port (to charge and connect something to it without a bunch of adapters)
    Better camera (even though I put tape over the camera and never use it)
    Lower entry price (but keep the ram/ssd sizes the same and not lower it)
    Glowing logo (I like it)
    Metallic blue =) Keyboard is fine, I played with one at BestBuy and liked it better than the one on my rMBP
    Processor is ok for what it is intended for
    No ARM
    No iOS
    No touchscreen
    No purple
  • Lower price, 2 USB C ports, mini display port or HDMI port, HD FFC. Posted from my Nexus 6P
  • I think you'll see this on the updated MacBook Air, mini display port and HDMI ports would increase the thickness of this device, not something that this device is really being marketed for. I would agree on the price point though, I purchased mine on sale at BestBuy for $999 and found that it was almost a perfect price point for me.
  • Nothing! This computer isn't for me. I'm looking for a 15" Pro that's about as thin as a current Air. Sent from the iMore App
  • I think a lot of people are forgetting that this MacBook isn't meant to replace the MacBook Air, and I would be surprised if they didn't update the Air within the next year or two. This device works great for people looking for a full OS X device with about the same portability of an iPad. Things that I would change are as follows, 1) This really needs a better webcam, for those of us that are using the MacBook as a primary device while on the go I don't find it acceptable to be reaching for my iPhone or iPad when I get a Skype call or have an ITV call scheduled because the front facing camera is so poor.
    2) I don't use any dongles besides an occasional USB-C to USB 3.0 port when I need to work with flash drives. Even though I don't use the port besides charging very often at all, when I do only having a single port is annoying since usually I'm trying to charge the device in an airport when I'm trying to put something on or off of my USB drive.
    3) Keep updating the processor regularly when advancements are made by intel, while I don't mind the slower processing speeds improvements are always nice. Those crying for a i5 or i7 option really need to focus more on updating the Air, not having a fan is really nice when traveling so you aren't making to much noise in meeting rooms or while on a plane.
    4) Keep the keyboard and track pad the same, it feels really nice and allows the device to be as thin as possible. I wouldn't worry about making this device any thiner though.
  • Fan noise? Is that even a thing anymore on a decent laptop? Haven't had that issue for a few years now.
  • Beautiful design, but the screen is too small for my eyes. Would greatly appreciate a larger screen option.
  • I'd say a 128GB option starting at $1,099 (or even $999). Given that the 13" Pro starts with this capacity, I'm surprised Apple didn't release this SKU from day 1. They could have avoided a lot of the "overpriced" complaints had they done so. I mean, if they can keep a straight face when they start an iPhone at 16GB, why not start this MacBook at 128GB? Especially since it's designed to be so wireless, users could certainly supplement with cloud storage, and 128GB would be a decent size as a secondary Mac for iMac owners like me. Thunderbolt 3 is cool, but a better Pro feature/differentiator I suppose. The 480p webcam just shouldn't happen on a 2016 machine, but honestly I can't say the image quality on the HD iSight cameras on other Macs and iOS devices are all that impressive anyway so not a deal breaker for the occasional FaceTime call.
  • I really wish the graphics were a little more capable. I have mine plugged into my 4k display and it runs at 30hz. It's not a deal breaker but it would be nice to have 60hz. I have the LG 27" 27ud88 with USB-C and it's great only having to plug in a single cable for power, USB, and DisplayPort. Don't really care about extra ports but if they put another USB-C in the place of the headphone jack that would be fine. I don't use the webcam at all (I use my iPhone for FaceTime calls) but I agree it should be 720p. Performance wise I'm really satisfied. Seems to run everything I want without slowing down, and doesn't get hot like the 2015 MacBook did. I don't edit photos or videos or play games so performance is fine for me. I have the m7 model. Battery life is great. I'm getting 10 hours easy.
  • What i warnt Most: 1) Thunderbolt 3 support. (And hopefully a compatible Thunderbolt Display soon to use the MacBook at home with a "hub")
    2) Built-in LTE cellular networking. (Work on the road efficiently without draining your iPhone. Makes total sense, even the larger iPad Pro hast it...)
    3) 720p or 1080p FaceTime camera (not very important but nice to have. No bump though...) Sent from the iMore App
  • Just got one and compared to my 2009 version it is, as Rene likes to say, night and day. With MacBooks it is definitely worth waiting so that the experience feels well worth it at the end. All the different suggestions on here are, for me at least, for a future update sometime around 2020. Sent from the iMore App
  • Make it cheaper!
  • I would ditch the line completely and make the Macbook Air Retina. Apple's product lines are getting too extensive they should pair it down a bit.
  • Nothing that would require the addition of a fan and a change in the form factor or the Retina display.
  • Better battery life; I don't get more than 4 hours max; faster processor and another USB-C or thunderbolt port
  • Probably because your using a browser which isn't safari Sent from the iMore App
  • There's really very little I'd change about it. Maybe replace the headphone jack which is seldom used with a second Type C port, but I rarely use the Type C port aside from charging. The single port has never been a big deal for me but I wouldn't complain about a second port either. Personally, I love the keyboard and wouldn't change it. Thunderbolt 3 would be really nice. Whatever Apple does, do not add any bulk to the computer. It's the form factor that makes it so special. I've noticed that many people are mentioning the camera, I had forgotten that it has one. I've never used it. Not even once. Like I've said many times whenever the topic of the MacBook comes up, this computer is nearly perfect for my needs. It's not the most powerful computer I've ever owned, but it's far and away my favorite.
  • Even though this product is really not for me (mid-2015 15inch rMBP user here and I love it), definitely not #8 where you mentioned an ARM CPU and the "iOSification" of the MacBook! Why is this such a thing all of a sudden? For the life of me I can't comprehend this fascination of, and I hate saying this fictitious word, "iOSifying" Mac computers! Leave the Mac be, leave the iPad be and leave the iPhone be! Make the Mac a better Mac and an iDevice a better one! Tired of this trend. Sure, adding a second USB-C port and/or a Thunderbolt-3 and/or a SD-card reader would definitely appeal to more consumers. Maybe even bumb the processors to an i3 Intel would be good enough, no need for an i5 or i7, that's what MacBook Pros are for, i3 is good enough for a low-powered machine, though it will require a fan for sure which is fine. Just a single port is overkill (in the minimalist-too-impractical sense). Again, this product isn't for me and I wouldn't buy it, but I'm just point out what might make this notebook more appealing to those who might still be on the fence. Again, please just leave the Mac be, no "iOSification" of the Mac. Please. Thank you.
  • Lower price and I would be all over it. Until then I will stick to my rMBP.
  • Umm.... The rMBP is the same price Sent from the iMore App
  • Intel Core 15 and i7
    14" screen option
    iOS/Mac hybrid
    None of them in Pink
  • Needs 16GB of ram A better front facing camera. Current one is frankly embarrassing. 14" option Make that happen and you can sign me up to order! Have the 12" now but it's never been enough of a work machine to let me get rid of my MBP. I only use the MacBook for travel.
  • it's not really the computer for me so at bare minumum i'd add 3 more usb-c ports a thunderbolt port. But really at this point i'd rather have usb 3.0 since it's easier to find those peripherals. I don't see usb-c anything at the moment (mice, keyboards, printers not that i'm looking much). regardless for me the macbook air is the better fit and better computer. I like the keyboard better.
  • Better webcam
    More USB c connection
    SD card support
    More power
  • Make it with a matte screen. I can't stand the glare on any current Apple screen. I currently have a MacBook Air 11" and had the screen transplanted for a high-quality matte panel by TechRestore. Unfortunately, TechRestore no longer offers the matte-transplant service, and Apple currently offers matte either, not even for a surcharge as Apple did in the past. P.S. Why does iMore.com not allow for accent marks on last names of people who comment?
  • 720p or higher camera. I can't see paying near MBP prices to only have a 480p camera.
  • Is it me or do these suggestions sound like the Air? Other than the usb-c connector