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Here's how Apple's new MacBook stacks up against the PC competition

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Apple's just reinvented the MacBook with a new design that's remarkably light, thin, and short on ports. It's shipping next month for a starting price of $1,299. The MacBook Air isn't going anywhere; it's just been refreshed with updated internals. And consumers who need maximum speed and graphics performance will want to step up to the MacBook Pro with Retina display. (The old non-Retina MacBook Pro is also still hanging around, so Apple's laptop line is growing pretty long with today's announcement.) But right now, all eyes are on the new MacBook, the new keyboard, the new "Force Touch" trackpad, the new USB-C port, and that Retina display.

Apple made some bold choices in what to leave out

Does new equal better? Apple would obviously have you believe so, and the MacBook offers the same storage (up to 512GB) and memory configurations as the Air; it ships standard with 8GB of RAM. And the screen — which has become the MacBook Air's main weakness against PC makers — is finally making the jump to a sharp, pixel-dense panel. By integrating Intel's very latest Core M processors, Apple has managed to construct its first laptop without a fan humming inside. But the company's continued obsession with thinness and portability have led to major cuts this time. The SD slot is gone, so a simple thing like syncing photos from your digital camera will always require a USB cable. (Apple would rather you keep that stuff in the cloud anyway.) And you've now got one USB-C port for everything; that's an adjustment that'll take some getting used to for many people. It's also worth nothing that by the numbers, the 12-inch MacBook's battery life falls slightly short of the larger Air and its bigger battery.

A single USB port will take some getting used to

The new MacBook has been a long time coming. PC manufacturers are making huge strides forward, and there's no better example of that than Dell and its impressive XPS 13. We called it "a look at the future of laptops" in our full review. Well if Dell gave us a look, Apple is speeding full throttle into the future and making bold choices about what should stay and what's disposable in 2015. Dell's machine isn't as thin. It's not fanless (Samsung's already there) — nor does it weigh two pounds. But it'll get you the fantastic, near-borderless screen, an SD slot, two USB ports, and a display output in a package that's plenty sleek in its own right. And there's still a vocal camp that believes Microsoft has chosen the right road with its Surface Pro 3. Apple's new MacBook remains a laptop in every sense; there's no touchscreen that converts it into a 12-inch tablet. (We're still waiting on the iPad Pro, remember.) And again, Microsoft's giving you a bit more flexibility when it comes to plugging stuff into the Surface.

Verge Videos: Hands-on with the Dell XPS 13

Apple's definitely created a marvel of technology with the new MacBook, but in getting there the company pursued aggressive changes to the keyboard, trackpad, and input options. There's no telling how those moves will be received by Mac users and laptop buyers at large. For those not enthused, at least PC options are getting pretty great again. Check out the chart below for a more thorough look at how Apple's new MacBook lines up against competing hardware.

Apple Macbook (2015) Apple MacBook Air (13-inch 2015) Dell XPS 13 (2015) Microsoft Surface Pro 3
12 inches / 2304 x 1440 LCD 13.3 inches / 1440 x 900 LCD 13.3 inches / 1920 x 1080 LCD
3200 x 1800 touchscreen (optional)
12 inches / 2160 x 1440 touchscreen
Intel HD Graphics 5300 Intel HD Graphics 6000 Intel HD Graphics 5500 Intel HD Graphics 4000 / 4200 / 5000
256 / 512 GB PCIe Flash 128GB / 256GB / 512GB PCIe Flash 128GB / 256GB / 512GB SSD 64GB / 128GB / 256GB / 512GB SSD
Intel 1.1GHz Core M
Intel 1.2GHz Core M
Intel 1.6GHz Core i5
Intel 2.2GHZ Core i7
Intel 2.1GHz Core i3-5010U
Intel 2.2GHz Core i5-5200U
Intel 2.4GHz Core i7-5500U
Intel 1.5GHz Core i3-4020Y
Intel 1.9GHz Core i5-4300U
Intel 1.7GHz Core i7-4650U
8GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 4GB or 8GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 4GB or 8GB 1600Mhz DDR3L-RS 4GB or 8GB 1600 MHz LPDDR3
1 USB type C
1 3.5mm headphone
2 USB 3.0
1 Thunderbolt 2
1 SDXC card slot
1 3.5mm headphone
2 USB 3.0
1 mini DisplayPort
1 SDXC card slot
1 3.5mm headphone
1 USB 3.0
1 mini DisplayPort
1 microSDXC card slot
1 3.5mm headphone
39.7Wh batter / 9 hours (quoted) 54Wh battery / 12 hour (quoted) 52Wh battery / 11 hours (quoted) 9 hours (quoted)
2.03 pounds
11.04 in x 7.74 in 0.52 in thick
2.96 pounds
12.8 in x 8.94 in x 0.68 in
2.8 pounds
11.98 in x 7.88 in x 0.6 in
1.76 pounds
11.5 in x 7.53 in x 0.36 in

See all of the Apple "Spring Forward" news right here