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What type of "latch" system does the MacBook use?
The short and direct answer to this question is simply "magnetic". The MacBook uses a magnetic "latch", but it is quite a bit different than the also magnetic latch used on previously released Apple notebook systems.
In Apple's marketing copy for the system, the company said:
Opening and closing your MacBook is a snap, thanks to a magnetic latch that catches without a catch. That means no moving parts to snag, jam, or break.
Photo Credit: Apple Computer (Latch Inset)
Many PowerBook, iBook, and MacBook Pro models have a small "hook" (or two) that are magnetically attracted to a "post". To disengage the latch on these systems, you must push a small button. The MacBook, on the other hand, is "sealed" only with magnets, and must be opened by gently pulling up on the display.
In the lid of the machine, there are two metal plates on each end (use your MagSafe connector to verify). When the lid is closed, these attract to what I presume are magnets in the frame and the machine is held very securely shut. It makes for a very slick looking form factor, and the lack of latches and keyholes really tightens up the already sleek design.
It's a simple and elegant design. Only time will tell if it proves to be more durable than the design used in previous models.