Oh No, The New MacBook Pro is Stupid, and so is the Touch Bar.
I’m that guy you know who loves the 12-inch MacBook. It’s an exceptional “thin-and-light” laptop, perfect for someone who wants the flexibility of a full computer in a small form factor. Apple created this market sector with the MacBook Air, and in its wake Chromebooks and thin PC’s have tried to mimic it.
Expensive though it is, the MacBook is a stellar combination of power, display quality, and long battery life. It’s my daily portable driver. Chromebooks are not powerful enough for me and thin PC’s are either bulkier/less well-built, or just didn’t impress me with their style.
The MacBook didn’t really fit into the existing product line of Apple laptops. People wondered why it wasn’t just called an Air. I always expected that the MacBook was actually the start of a new line of laptops.
My hunch was right: the new MacBook Pro is very much inspired by the 12-inch MacBook.
Unfortunately it is stupid and I don’t know who it is for.
I’m not talking completely out of my ass here. I spent a bunch of time messing around with the non touch-bar 13-inch model at my local Best Buy.
My first impression: it’s a bigger MacBook. The force touch trackpad is huuuuuuge. Stupidly big. And also, it doesn’t click as satisfyingly as the one on the 12-incher. I even dove into the settings to make sure silent click wasn’t turned on. Maybe a glitch with the demo unit? Maybe.
Everyone hated it when the MacBook had only one USB-C port. The MacBook Pro has two/four ports. My friend Daven laid out an excellent argument for why this is dumb right over here EDIT: Or at least, he had 2 years ago before that site went away. I’ve removed the broken link.
Basically, Pro users don’t want to travel light: they want to do all the things. Sometimes portably, and sometimes on their desk.
The MacBook Pro used to be a great all-in-one computer solution. It had all the ports you needed. It had enough power to replace your desktop. It had great battery life for on-the-go use. It had a great screen.
MagSafe is gone. Dumb. It doesn’t have a touch screen in an era where basically every PC has a touchscreen. Ridiculous. I could forgive this on the MacBook, where size/thickness was a main concern, but here the computer is big enough that I don’t understand it at all. The components inside are okay…but the “Apple Tax” is slightly higher than normal. There’s no cool new tiny motherboard like in the MacBook. They used the butterfly keyswitches,which I actually like…but full-size mechanical switches seem like a better fit for a “Pro” machine.
And then there’s the touch bar. Holy crap. Why?
Why must we have this?
It’s a tiny touch screen that replaces the function keys. It…looks cool? It has a lot of functions on it that were already covered by the keyboard and trackpad/mouse. The emoji keyboard looks fun, but I’d rather just type those on my phone.
The touch bar seems like a solution in search of a problem.
Apple talks a big game about putting this bar right under your fingers, so you don’t have to lift them off the keyboard. This is so crazy! Keys are tactile. I can use a keyboard without looking at it. I am right now in fact. To use the touch bar, I have to look at it. It’s a slippery glass screen thing with no feedback at all.
This does not speed up my workflow. A touch screen on a laptop is a natural fit because I’m already looking at the screen when I’m working. Reaching up to press it is not an inconvenience.
I really don’t understand the thinking with the touch bar at all.
I think Apple completely missed the point with the MacBook Pro. Instead of making something that would draw people away from higher-end PC’s, and serve as a worthy successor to the MacBook Pro 2015…they just made a bigger MacBook. They added a couple more USB-C ports. They slightly beefed up the specs. They added a silly little screen to the top of the keyboard. And they called it good.
Naysayers will tell me that not every Apple revolution is understood at first, and that the touch bar will catch on.
I don’t think so.
Looking down at a tiny screen just so I can tell where my fingers are touching it is not more intuitive or faster in any way. Even if it looks cool.