Comparison of Apple MacBook Laptop Models - dummies

By Arnold Reinhold

If you are thinking about switching from a PC to a Mac, consider the Apple laptops. Compact and elegantly designed, they show up more and more at meetings where clunky Windows laptops used to predominate. Quality construction matters more in mobile devices like laptops, and Macs are among the best-built machines out there.

One unique feature of Apple laptops is the Multi-Touch glass trackpad. You can pinch an image to shrink it, for example, or swipe with two fingers to scroll or with four fingers to move windows out of the way so that you can see your desktop.

Apple builds their laptops into sturdy unibody aluminum cases and backlights the keyboards, so you can work during airplane movies, in a darkened presentation room, or in bed at night when someone else is trying to sleep.

All new Apple laptops include a built-in FaceTime video camera. It’s located on the lid, above the display, along with an omnidirectional microphone. Stereo speakers and a headphone jack are also provided. Coupled with easy, high-speed Internet connectivity and iChat and FaceTime communication software, these cameras let you videoconference from just about anywhere.

Speaking of the lid, it’s kept closed by a magnet; you find no mechanical catch to break. That’s not the only magnetic feature of Mac laptops: The power cord is magnetically attached, designed not to pull your laptop off the table if you trip over the cord.

Apple laptops come with a separate power supply that runs on 100–240 volts AC, 50 to 60 Hz, so they can be used anywhere in the world with an adapter or power cord for the wall outlets in the country you’re visiting. Apple power supplies meet U.S. EPA Energy Star requirements, reducing energy waste. An airplane power cord is available as an option.

All Apple laptops come with built-in AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi wireless, supporting the 802.11a, b, g, and n standards and Bluetooth 4.0. So you can use your Apple laptop with any Wi-Fi hotspot and any Bluetooth device.

[Credit: Photo courtesy of Apple, Inc.]
Credit: Photo courtesy of Apple, Inc.
MacBook Air
(11-inch and 13-inch)
MacBook Pro (13-inch)
Screen size (inches diagonal) 11.6


Resolution (pixels) 1336 x 768

1440 x 900

1280 x 800
Backlight LED LED
Finish Glossy Glossy
Weight 2.38 lbs.

2.96 lbs.

4.5 lbs.
1.08 kg

1.35 kg

2.06 kg
Thickness 0.68 in. 0.95 in.
1.7 cm 2.41 cm
CPU Dual-core Dual-core i5
Speed (GHz) 1.6–2.7 2.5–3.1
Maximum RAM 4GB 4GB
Graphics Integrated Integrated
Optical SuperDrive External option Yes
Video Port Thunderbolt Thunderbolt
USB 2.0 ports 2 2
Ethernet port External option Gigabit
FireWire port None 800 Mbps
Card slot None


Wi-Fi 802.11n 802.11n
Bluetooth 4.0 4.0
FaceTime camera Yes Yes
Microphone Yes Yes
Headset jack in/out Yes Yes
Audio line in jack No No
Trackpad Multi-Touch Multi-Touch
Keyboard backlight Yes Yes
Power adapter 45 watts 60 watts