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I've seen quite a few different sources that explain the difference between a latte macchiato and a caffe latte. Here is my description to sythesize them.
- The Wikipedia article on espresso claims the difference has to do with when the milk is added calling it, "essentially an inverted cafè latte, with the espresso poured on top of the milk." 
- The Wikipedia article on latte macchiato claims that, "it differs significantly from cafè latte in that only ½ (or less) of an espresso shot is being used." It also agrees with the article stating, "the macchia is the little 'spot' of crèma being left on top of the milk to clearly distinguish that is a latte macchiato and not a caffè latte, where the espresso traditionally has been added before the milk, hence having no 'mark.'"
- The latte macchiato seems to be basically popular in Europe (outside of Italy) especially in Germany. The caffe latte was created in Berkeley, California and is not widely known in Italy.