Making Sense of the Macbook Pro Controversy
Liam O'Mahony

The Touch Bar is far more versatile than the Lenovo bar; it’s not a row of capacitive buttons with changing, but ultimately fixed functions, but a touchscreen. And Apple’s biggest strength over Windows OEMs is software integration: They have already released an API, and I’m sure third-party support will be great. Comparing it to the Watch and then saying the Watch isn’t essential (which is debatable), so the Touch Bar isn’t either, is a silly argument.

And FWIW, you’re linking to an ArsTechnica piece to prove your point, but half of that article’s criticism is about Lenovo’s less versatile function strip, and the other half is about non-standard keyboard layouts — which doesn’t apply here at all.

Regarding the ports, I’d prefer one USB-A as well. I’d even trade that in for the headphone jack. But I’m using my computers for 4–6 years (in fact, my iMac just turned 6 and has to make it another year), and so I’m all for future-proof ports. The fastest port my iMac has is FW800, so … You can adapt Thunderbolt 3 to USB-A, but not the other way around. I’m much more skeptical of the USB-C only port on the MacBook, just as I was on the USB2 only on the first MacBook Air. And Apple is reducing the dongle prices by about 50%, which should soften the blow.

The only thing where I really do see Apple at fault is the mess that has been their cable standards the past couple of years. I’m all for next-gen, future-proof standards — but we’ve seen them come and go at a rapid rate. When FW800 and miniDisplayport were replaced by Thunderbolt (which in turn was backwards-compatible to miniDisplayport), that was fine for the most part. Except for the minor compatibility issues, and the MBA situation.

Then the new MacBook comes out with only USB-C, but somehow it’s DisplayPort-compatible as well. Now there’s USB-C with Displayport and Thunderbolt? So even though all newer Macs have the same port, the MacBook won’t be compatible with some accessories. That’s a mess! And which accessories will keep Thinderbolt’s Daisy Chaining feature?

Also, like addressed in the article: Apple goes all in on USB-C, which is great … except it doesn’t, since iOS stays with Lightning. I really do like the plug, I also think it’s superior to USB-C (more robust). But MagSafe also had advantages over USB-C, and Apple decided these advantages weren’t enough. There was no competition to Lightning when it was released, but at this point I think they should ditch it for a unified USB-C on all their devices. Would also make the headphones situation easier. Except that should have happened with the introduction of the iPhone 7.