Apple MacBook Sibling Rivalry: 2016 12-Inch MacBook vs. 2015 12-Inch MacBook


Apple surprised consumers by unexpectedly launching the 2016 model of its 12-inch MacBook on April 19.

The refreshed model packs in several changes when compared to the 2015 model of the 12-inch MacBook, the most notable change being an upgraded processor.

We take a look at how the 2016 12-inch MacBook compares against its sibling 2015 12-inch Macbook.


Both the 2015 and 2016 MacBook models boast a 12-inch Retina display with IPS technology and a resolution of 2,304 x 1,440 pixels, as well as a pixel density of 226 ppi.


The major differentiating factor between the 2016 model of the 12-inch MacBook and the predecessor 2015 12-inch MacBook lies in the processor.

While Apple housed an Intel Core M processor in its 2015 MacBooks, the 2016 MacBooks are fueled by the upgraded Intel Skylake Core M processor. The new processor will offer improved performance but consumes similar power as the older Intel Core M and, therefore, battery life should be the same.

The processors for the 2016 and 2015 models of the 12-inch MacBook are as follows:

2016 MacBook

1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core m3 Skylake processor (Turbo Boost to 2.2GHz)

1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core m5 Skylake processor (Turbo Boost to 2.7GHz)

1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core m7 Skylake processor (Turbo Boost to 3.1GHz)

2015 MacBook

1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor (Turbo Boost to 2.4GHz)

1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor (Turbo Boost to 2.6GHz)

1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor (Turbo Boost to 2.9GHz)


The bump up to the processor is not the only improvement Apple has made in the 12-inch MacBook. The GPU of the 2016 model also gets an upgrade. The 2015 model had an Intel HD 5300 GPU, whereas the 2016 variant has the speedier Intel HD 515.

Apple asserts that the current-gen GPU is "up to 25 percent faster" when compared to the one on the preceding model. Moreover, the snappier GPU does not alter the notebook's battery life.


The weight of both the MacBook models is the same – 2.03 pounds.

RAM Speed

While the RAM option for MacBook users is still limited to 8 GB, Apple has slightly improved its speeds in the 2016 model. The 12-inch MacBook 2016 has 1866MHz LPDDR3 RAM, whereas the 2015 model has 1600MHz LPDDR3 RAM.


The storage options for the MacBook models remain unchanged and is 256 GB PCIe-based onboard flash storage (for the base model) and 512 GB PCIe-based onboard flash storage.

Operating System

The 2015 MacBook came pre-loaded with Mac OS X Yosemite at the time of launch, whereas the 2016 MacBook model will come with the latest Mac OS X El Capitan out of the box.


One of the biggest issues users faced with the 2015 MacBook was the device's battery life. The 2015 model housed a 39.7 watt-hour lithium-polymer battery, whereas the 2016 model has a bigger and more powerful 41.4 watt-hour lithium-polymer battery fueling the device.

The 2015 model per Apple can support up to 9 hours of usage (web browsing), whereas the 2016 model supports 10 hours of web browsing. The iTunes movie playback support also sees an improvement and gets boosted from 10 hours on the 2015 model to 11 hours on the 2016 MacBook.


The 2015 MacBook has three colors Gold, Silver and Space Gray. Apple has introduced the Rose Gold color for the 2016 MacBook model, which will be a new addition to the color options.

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