Apple launched its incredibly thin and light 12in MacBook back in March during the company's "Spring Forward" event. With just a few months to go until the new MacBook's first birthday, we're starting to wonder about a new new MacBook, which could well be in the works behind the scenes at Apple and could put in an appearance in the near future. Read on for the latest 12in MacBook 2016 release date rumours and feature speculation.

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New MacBook 2016 release date: When is the new 12in MacBook coming out?

As mentioned, the 12in MacBook was unveiled on 9 March 2015 and then became available to buy on 10 April 2015, so it's quite possible that the successor to Apple's thinnest and Lightest Mac is just a few months away. Apple could host another event in March to show off a new MacBook and rumour has it that an iPad Air 3 and an Apple Watch 2 could put in an appearance at the event, too.

Alternatively, Apple might use WWDC 2016 which is expected to take place in June to demonstrate new MacBooks.

We'll update this article with new information about the 12in MacBook as it hits the web, so check back regularly for the latest information.

Thinking of buying a Mac? Read our Which Mac? Best Mac buyers guide.

New MacBook 2016 rumours: What new features will the 12in MacBook have?

The current MacBook is an impressive machine, and it's good-looking too. It's available in familiar Gold, Silver and Space Grey colour options, and it's an incredible 13.1mm thick, which is 24 percent thinner than the MacBook Air.

Plus, it has a Retina display, a Force Touch Trackpad and a new butterfly mechanism beneath the individually lit keys on the super-thin keyboard. You can find out more about the Force Touch Trackpad and how it works here.

In a controversial move, the new MacBook also has just a USB Type-C port and a headphone jack. The USB C port offers power, USB 3.1, DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI and VGA capabilities in one single port, but that also means you'll be likely to require adapters if you want to use more than one of those functions at once. Find out more about Apple's USB-C adapters and adapters from third parties in our USB-C Adapters article.

Right now, the MacBook uses Intel's 14nm Broadwell-Y Core M processor, and it's likely that Apple will use a new Intel Core M processor for the new 2016 model of the MacBook. However, there has been some chatter about the possibility of an A10X processor for the laptop. We think the latter is unlikely, but we certainly can't rule it out.

If our prediction is correct, the new MacBook will have Intel's 14nm Core M chip. However, that could mean a wait until late in 2016 for the new MacBook if Apple wants the newest chips, as Intel's tablet processor map suggests that the Core m5/m7 chips with the 14nm fabrication process are expected in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Read next: 16 tips to improve MacBook battery life

Will the 12in MacBook replace the MacBook Air?

Apple's MacBook Air is now eight years old, so it's quite possible that the MacBook is lining up to replace it in the near future. When the MacBook Air first launched its biggest selling point was its thin and light design, hence the name, but the MacBook now outshines it in those areas so it seems unlikely that the MacBook Air has much of a future ahead of it. Plus, for those looking for ultimate portability there's the new iPad Pro with a 12.9in screen.

There is the question of price, though – the MacBook is much more pricey than its Air sibling, starting at £1,049 compared with the Air's £749 starting price.

Here's why it doesn't matter that the MacBook is expensive, underpowered and only has one port

The last time that there was a Mac laptop that had more advanced specs than a more expensive model was the old MacBooks (white and black, and then eventually aluminium). These were eventually discontinued and the price of the MacBook Air reduced. It seems likely that the same will happen with the new MacBook models replacing the MacBook Air models at a lower price than they are now, at least eventually.

According to trusted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the 12in MacBook is now Apple's best-selling computer, closely followed by the 13in MacBook Pro, which adds further fuel to the rumour that it'll next year replace the MacBook Air thanks to its popularity.

That said, there are plenty of rumours about a new MacBook Air already, including a particularly persistent one that suggests the 11in MacBook Air is about to be ditched in favour of a 15in model to join the 13in. See more MacBook Air rumours here.

New MacBook 2016: Will Apple discontinue Thunderbolt?

One question that has arisen is whether the introduction of USB-C spells the end of Thunderbolt. We don't think that Apple's will drop Thunderbolt from it's Pro Mac line up any time soon, but the standard may well disappear from the consumer level Macs eventually. The reason we think it will remain on the MacBook Pro, Mac Pro and the iMac is Apple's efforts to convince the industry to adopt it since its introduction in 2011. However, Apple also promoted FireWire to the industry and eventually removed that from it's Macs.

New MacBook Air rumours: The new MacBook Air will be solar-powered

Ok, so this is a bit of an out-there rumour, but it really is possible that Apple will one day release a new MacBook with a solar powered display.

In January 2013, Apple was granted a patent that described a method for harnessing sunlight to illuminate a MacBook's display. This patent is actually the seventh solar-related patent Apple has gained in the past two years.

Don’t forget to check back regularly for more MacBook rumours and release date speculation, as we'll be updating this article with all of the new reports and evidence as they emerge.

Read the latest MacBook Air News, Reviews and Features here

Wondering whether to buy a MacBook or a Mac desktop? Find out if you should buy a Mac laptop or Mac desktop here. Also: read our Best Mac to Buy Mac Buyers Guide where we compare every Mac.