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The new 12-inch MacBook is gorgeous, but a tough sell

OPINION: Are the new Apple MacBook’s compromises worth the gains? Does the Uncharted 4 delay provide Microsoft with the opportunity to dominate the PS4 in 2015? And are we moving towards a Google retail empire? Chris Smith offers his opinion on another action packed week of tech news.

The new MacBook requires too many sacrifices right now
For months I’ve been convinced the new 12-inch MacBook would be my next computer as my 2011 MacBook Air continues its slow demise. Now it’s here? I’m not so sure.

It’s a debate many Apple fans will be having with themselves in the coming months. “It sure is pretty, but do the compromises just seem to outweigh the gains?”

Many columnists have lamented the loss of the MagSafe charging technology, this week, and I’m firmly in that camp. As the clumsiest man in the west, buying a USB Type-C MacBook will effectively ensure it takes an annual vacation at the Apple Store for repair.

The old adage, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ seems doubly applicable here. Apple has pulled the rug on magnetic charging, but I’m just not ready to compute without my MagSafety net.

SEE ALSO: Hands on with the new Apple MacBook

NEw MacBook

The Intel Core M chip enables Apple to ditch the noisy fan and slim down the design, but I’m not sure I can reconcile with the power sacrifices that effectively bring it in line with models from 3-4 years ago at a price of a top spec model.

For all of the advancements; the Retina Display, the positive impact of USB-C (I’m into having the option of an external, portable battery back BTW), the intriguing new Force Touch trackpad and the ‘butterfly’ keyboard, I’m annoyed by the new MacBook. Perhaps I could live with the power limitations or the lack of MagSafe, but it’s asking a lot to live without both. New 11-inch MacBook Air here I come.

Are the changes too much too soon? Or as my colleague Andy Vandervell argued this week, is this Mac for the iPad generation and I’m just being an old fuddy-duddy?

Are you ready for Google to invade the high street?
When Google launched its new online store this week, it struck me: Damn, Google has quite a lot of hardware these days! Between the Nexus devices, Chromebooks, Chromecast, Nexus TV, the Nest and DropCam platforms as well as the non-branded Android Wear watches, Google has enough tech to fill a pretty sizable retail space.

The firm launched a pop-up store within a London Curry’s PC World this week and I think it’s only the beginning. Pretty soon I think we’ll be seeing a Google Store in the vicinity of the big Apple Store locations around the world.

SEE ALSO: Google outs new Chromebook pixel with Type-C USB and better battery life

Google Store

Another smart play by Samsung

Samsung is allowing Brits to go hands-on with the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge from this weekend. Those popping into the Samsung Experience Stores can sample the devices ahead of the April 10 release date.

It’s a no brainer for Samsung, but also a smart move. The HTC One M9 goes on sale on March 31, so it’s a great chance for the company to convince potential shoppers they’re better off waiting a week or two.

Judging by the MWC 2015 feedback, which saw the Galaxy S6 Edge garner the most excitement, I’m excited to see how this translates into sales and whether Samsung has the inventory to keep up with the demand.

SEE ALSO: Galaxy S6 Edge hands on

S6 S6 Edge

Advantage Xbox One as Uncharted 4 release date slips
Sony’s PlayStation 4 console suffered another blow this week with the news Uncharted 4 will be delayed until Spring 2016. That’s another Sony exclusive dropping by the wayside during a crucial period in the new-gen console war. Uncharted is arguably Sony’s most valuable IP exclusive and it’s now more than a full year away.

Following The Order: 1886 debacle, Sony’s line-up of exclusives now looks pretty thin. With Microsoft bringing two giant exclusives later this year in Halo 5 and Rise of the Tomb Raider, the company is well placed to dominate the holiday 2015 period.

SEE ALSO: When will we get all of the great Xbox One and PS4 exclusives?

PS4 controller

Apple dropping fitness trackers is cold but necessary

Apple Stores have done a roaring trade in fitness trackers from Jawbone, FitBit and Nike, but with the impending arrival of the Apple Watch, they’ll all be removed from the shelves. That seems cold doesn’t it?

However, put yourself in Apple’s position: If you had a smartwatch with a heavy emphasis on fitness tracking, would you continue to sell rivals that performed most of the same functionality for a fraction of the price? Probably not. Would you give shoppers the opportunity to see first hand how they can track their fitness equally well without wearing what could turn out to be 2015’s biggest douchebag identifier? Probably not. 

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