For months, the internet was abuzz with two similar, and somewhat contradictory, Apple rumors. Depending on whom you believed, the famously secretive company was working on either a 12-inch “iPad Pro” or a Retina display MacBook Air. To date, neither of these products has materialized, but there’s reason to believe that both rumors were actually pointing toward the new 12-inch MacBook. The laptop, which goes on sale tomorrow, is in many ways a traditional notebook, with an Intel processor, OS X and a unibody aluminum enclosure similar to what you’ll find on the MacBook Air and Pro. At the same time, it takes some cues from the iPad, including space gray and gold color options, and a slim, fanless design that makes room for just one miniature USB port. With the lid shut, it looks at once like a tablet with a keyboard attached, as well as the two-pound computer that it actually is.
It’s the future of laptops, at least as Apple sees it, but it’s also not without compromises: To build a machine this compact, the company had to reimagine everything from the keyboard to the trackpad to the components inside. And yes, the port selection, too. All that in the name of building the thinnest and lightest MacBook ever, not to mention the smallest one with a Retina display. In many ways, it’s aimed at the same person the original Air was: a loyal Mac user who wants the most portable laptop that money can buy. But are you that person? And even if you are, is it worth the $1,299 asking price?