Apple’s new MacBook Pro will be a delight for general consumers, but has the company left behind the niche that propelled it to stardom?
It’s really, really easy to be a naysayer after watching an Apple event. Usually, one can throw around their opinion about the latest iPhone or MacBook, predict imminent doom, and then watch Apple soar off to greater horizons.
I wouldn’t say I’ve ever predicted doom for Apple, but I’ve voiced my frustrations many times – and after watching the company’s October 27th event, I’m left with a major gripe and a legitimate fear for the future. Read: Apple‘s new MacBooks could use changeable E Ink keyboards
Thing is, MacBooks run close to my heart; probably closer than the iPhone, Android, or any other part of the consumer technology organ does. That’s because the 2007 white MacBook is where I got my start. On that machine, I didn’t just write or flip through homework at the latter half of my school career; I taught myself the fundamentals of Photoshop, InDesign, Final Cut, Logic and many other programs which are my bread and butter today.
Thing is, I kind of see myself inseparable from the MacBook; it’s where I launched myself into all things digital, and if I hadn’t, I’d probably not only be without a job, I’d be without a passion.
So, when Apple take to the stage to talk about the future of the Mac, I sit up and listen. And, on October 27th, I didn’t entirely like what I heard.
The thing is, Apple’s new MacBook Pro is probably its best consumer product yet. It’s a great mix of power and portability and includes the Touch Bar which – while not being entirely novel – looks to be a great tactile addition. I’m sure that millions will go ahead and buy it, and will most likely enjoy it.
But – and this is a huge but – I’m left to feel that the creative PC is being done better elsewhere.
Less isn’t always more
There are a few niggles I feel are a glaring indication of this. The first is Apple’s decision to excise MagSafe; undoubtedly one of the coolest features a MacBook can have. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tripped over my MacBook’s charger and have been saved the expense of a new laptop because of it.
Then there’s the destruction of the SD card reader. Sure, I’ll admit it – I have a dongle for that already, but as a journalist on the go I need to be able to rip images of my camera timeously; something I’ve been able to do with a MacBook Pro or Air for years.
Then, lastly, there’s the fact that Apple removed USB Type-A and (the native) Thunderbolt entirely. Now, were I to buy an iPhone 7 and use the new MacBook Pro, I’d have to buy an adapter just to plug the damn handset in. What gives?
Thinner and lighter laptops are the future; I won’t question that. But I’m left to feel Apple reached its zenith with the MacBook Air and have yet to champion a design that is as ruggedly portable and adaptable.
The Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro looks great, and I’m thrilled with the idea of being able to configure specific commands on it relevant to what I’d be working on at any given moment. However, I’m left to feel that this is for the crowd that’ve fallen in love with the iPhone. As a trained video and audio editor, I need precision while i work – and I can tell you that I won’t be using a tactile input to scrub video or trim an audio track. I feel that’s best left to a precision mouse.
The software/hardware synergy
Lastly – and this is my biggest gripe – there’s macOS. Mac OS X was formerly a bastion of creative input, and I’ve said many times that I’d simply be unable to go back to Windows because of that. Yet, after Apple’s disappointing macOS Sierra update – which added scarce new features beyond the rather trivial addition of Siri – I’m reconsidering my position. Sure, you can buy a Mac Pro and benefit from a great product design and top-level hardware, but you’re still relying on a chainsaw that’ll essentially run on fruit juice.
Yet, after Apple’s disappointing macOS Sierra update – which added scarce new features beyond the rather trivial addition of Siri – I’m reconsidering my position. Sure, you can buy a Mac Pro and benefit from a great product design and top-level hardware, but you’re still relying on a chainsaw that’ll essentially run on fruit juice.
For these reasons, I’m left to feel that Apple has entirely ditched the professional market – arguably the arena which pushed its desktop products to stardom – to focus on the general consumer market. As its service industry booms thanks to the success of Apple Music and iCloud, that’s probably a great trajectory for the company – but it’s one that leaves me behind.
A New Hope
Is there hope on the horizon? Having used Apple’s desktop OS and range of computers since 2007, something has indeed caught my eye; Microsoft’s Surface range.
I’ve previously given reasons to watch Microsoft over Apple, and I feel many of those points have now come to fruition. Over the past year, Microsoft have ironed out an OS with over 20 years worth of frustrations, introduced a novel app landscape (which admittedly is still to mature) and is now producing worthwhile, versatile hardware.
Chief among what caught my eye wasn’t just the Surface Studio – something I can see creatives such as architects flocking to in years to come – but the passion with which the company debuted its products. Arguably – if one considers the price, nature, and appeal of Microsoft’s Surface range, the company is appealing to the very demographic where Apple got its start. Read: Apple‘s newest patent reveals how the next iPhone could do away with bezels
Have your say!
Only time will tell if I’m a minority or if voices will join mine in chorus – but I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you feel Apple’s new MacBook Pro is a worthwhile addition to the Mac lineage? Have you been disappointed in any way? Be sure to let me know your opinion in the comments below!