Dec 6, 2016 — by: E. Werner Reschke
Categories: MacBook, Products, Review

2016_macbook-pro

How much are you willing to pay for the best? That is the question that one is immediately confronted with when considering the new MacBook Pro. This top of the line laptop is the new bad boy in Apple’s lineup. That said it comes with a price tag to match its feature set and attitude.

What’s not to like?

The new MacBook Pro’s design is a deep breath of fresh air into Apple’s stale line up of macOS-based computers. The new retina display is beautiful. The new keyboard is a pleasure. The amazingly large force-touch track pad is awesome. The combination of new SSD-memory-processor-graphics is incredibly zippy. And then there is the all new touch bar (more on that in a bit) What’s not to like? The price tag.

I’ve bought several Mac laptops over the years, and usually I end up shelling out anywhere from $1,500-1,800 per model. Sometimes would get the best (i7-processor, max RAM, etc) and other times the mid-range model. But this time just to get 512GB with touch bar starts at $2,000 — without processor or memory upgrades. In my view almost all MacBook Pro models are anywhere from $100-250 overpriced from what we have experienced in the past. Since Apple did nothing to the MacBook Air line, the Pro is really the only model to consider, unless you want to just go with the über mobile MacBook (which is not a bad Mac, but certainly not a powerhouse by any measure).

Step Up To The Touch Bar

My first experience with the MacBook Pro’s new touch bar was a delight. I was expecting it to be raised up more (don’t know why I though that), but it just really works and is a brilliant addition to the MacBook Pro line-up. While the touch bar helps set the MacBook Pro apart, it is so useful expect to find the touch bar appearing on more Macs within the year. The touch bar’s design is great, simple to understand and easy to use. It really adds incredible flexibility to the function key area. It makes the old fashioned function keys look like something designed by and for cavemen. Moreover, the touch bar is Apple’s answer to Microsoft’s surface — touching the screen. Now you can get the tactile idea of touching something that is dynamic without putting a thousand finger print smudges on the monitor.

When I look at where Apple might be headed, I can certainly see Apple someday creating an all “touch bar keyboard” with an advanced version of force touch. This would make it feel like we are pressing keys but make the entire keyboard area flexible to change dynamically from keys to sliders to whatever the software dictates. Apple’s new MacBook Pro keyboard continues to take us further and further away punching down deep and hard when typing to lightly gliding our fingers across keys. A touch bar keyboard with advanced force touch would certainly set Apple far and apart from any other hardware manufacturer but still allowing people to feel comfortable typing as they do today.

Conclusion

Overall the MacBook Pro is a step in the right directions in many areas. It’s only drawback is the price. That said, from early sales figures it appears the higher price tag is not keeping customers away from having the best laptop Apple has ever made.

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2 Comments

  1. james ~ Dec. 8, 2016 @ 11:57 am

    I've vented about this computer in other venues, so I may as well do here. It's adoption of all USB-C all the time is irritating beyond belief. And it's not ready for prime time niggles have me wonder if Ive and Cook half-assed the whole upgrade. The shear uselessness of the device, its lack of connectivity is beyond obnoxious. I own absolutely nothing that uses USB-C. I own firewire 800. I own various USB-B mini and micro devices. I own lightning devices. None of that will work with the new MacPro. Then to kit it out to run what I actually need for my "truck" makes the price unsustainable. The former 3rd band member of T-Gap Carl would totally understand how RAW photography eats up disc space. A lot of my iTunes media would have to somehow find another home as well. The idea of trying to run iTunes off WiFi is not appealing as many WiFi hotspots are just too lame. I can't even get a download of a simple podcast and most times I have to default to my cellular data stream. I'm not particularly happy with iFixit's score of one for the new Pro either. That means that Apple is essentially a monopoly for repair and can gouge their loyal customers for all their worth. Yes these things are selling like hotcakes. But that is mainly because it's been such a long time before a refresh. It's selling on pent-up demand, not on value for money. The sacrifices made for style over functionality are just too much, and many of the "improvements" have no appeal to me. I happen to like my mechanical keyboard and find the idea of a (eventual) software keyboard a minus. The loud, short-stroking, butterfly mechanism of the new Pro holds no appeal to me. As I never used the function keys anyway, the Touchbar is most likely be of no use anyway. All I need is an esc key and the volume controls anything else is pure excess. I'll wait for the update of the iMac, which is probably the replacement for the MacPro I now have. If I need portability I will just use the iPad and be dongle free. #
  2. Kevin ~ Dec. 18, 2016 @ 6:37 am

    Can't square up with the comment about buying decked out Mac laptops in the past for $2k. I have always bought fully decked out MBPs at a cost a bit over $4k. Yes, expensive. To me worth it. To others not. I don't think I'm clever for what I drive or look down on you for what you do. I also own an iPad Pro which I love but would never confuse for a MacBook Pro. Kind of scary but also amusing to read posts from folks so bitter and sure they are it while everyone else is out of step. The difference between us is what makes being a carbon bi-ped so interesting? Don't you think? Merry Christmas! Apple! Get that new $4k Bad Boy Pro I have on order to me early. Okay? #

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