Apple’s new MacBook Pro’s

Unveiled today, Lighter, thinner and faster.

Pros:

Faster, Lighter, Thinner, much better display in every way and interesting new Touch Bar, Touch ID, faster ports, larger trackpad, much faster storage.

Cons:

Price, removal of SD support annoys many, no way to connect the iPhone 7 straight out of the box ( you can get a cable which will work ) or the lightning headphones either, no HDMI which will be annoying for a portable computer, no MagSafe port.

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At an event today, the new MacBook Pro range was revealed. It has been 25 years since the first PowerBook, and the new MacBook Pro’s continue this premium laptop tradition.

touchbar_layout_total_2x.pngThe Touch Bar is a 2170×60 pixel, multi touch display. Replacing the function-keys, it can be used by specific apps and be customised within apps themselves too. It incorporates a System button, (for commands like Escape, Done or Cancel) Control Strip for functions such as Siri, Volume and other system level commands, and the App region – this is where developers will have the most fun, and users should find the most useful implementations too.

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Touch ID is now built into the MacBook Pro’s, and they support Apple Pay directly rather than requiring an Apple Watch or iPhone as an authenticator.

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Touch ID will be useful for shared computers too, as you can quickly switch users with just a touch on the ID sensor. More interesting for those who are concerned with security and protection from snooping, the new T1 chip incorporates a Secure Enclave – a function previously mainly used on iOS devices. This should assist encryption and anti theft, physical or data wise.

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This is the first MacBook display that supports Wider Colour Gamut; like the 5K iMac, 9.7” iPad Pro and the new iPhone 7, the colour range is extended and will be able to display the photos you have taken on the new iPhone properly, and display professional grade colour ranges for photographers and video editing.

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The 4 new ports are 3GBps capable, USB-C connectors; they are extremely flexible and will allow you to power 5K monitors, and charge through just one single port. Many people are unhappy that Apple has removed the MagSafe port, a favourite for the past decade, and has prevented many a smashed laptop. Others unhappy about the lack of “normal” USB ports, no HDMI either. These can all be connected to with adaptors but the whining has begun on many tech sites; if Apple included a few in the box it would help, a “breakout” style with Thunderbolt, USB, Lightning, SD and HDMI would be a dream – expect their sales to increase quite a lot in the next few months!

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I know many professional photographers, and their main complaint is with the lack of SD card support – there are other ways to connect cameras to the MacBook Pro but out in the field they do not want to be using a lot of dongles. SD card readers are often slow, though an enterprising camera or other company could rush a 3GBps capable adaptor for SD to USB-C and they would sell like hot cakes. At least one of the professional cameramen that I know personally has gone out and bought a loaded 2016 MacBook Pro, they had the budget to afford the new October model but they really need the SD reader built in for their workflow. Others who have CF and non SD card cameras may not feel as “betrayed” as some of the commenters and photographers I have spoken with.

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The main complaint I have seen so far is about the price, in the U.K. Especially people are shocked. This is partly as the Great British Pound to United States Dollar exchange rate is plummeting, and over night, many other models jumped a hundred pounds or more.

I myself would love the 13” MacBook Pro to replace my ageing MacBook Air 13”, but it will take a bit of saving to hit the price point of over $4000 Australian Dollars. A “fully loaded” 15” MacBook Pro will cost close to $6500 here. Though when I compare spec-for-spec the new MacBook Pro 13” is about “twice as good” in every measure as the MacBook Air 13” I currently own, and it cost about 1/2 that price if I remember correctly.

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I really want to see the new Space Gray model in person as it is hard to judge how dark it is by photos alone. A surprise that there are no Gold or Rose Gold’s available though many theorise that this is the Pro range, and that Professional users will not want such colours. Another thing I need to test is the new keyboard, it is a second generation “butterfly mechanism” design similar to the new MacBook.

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The Trackpad is massive, about twice the size of the previous 15” models, many expected that they would support the Apple Pencil. They do not, I will need to try them for myself as soon as possible too. The speakers are far louder, push more air volume and have a much higher dynamic range than the previous models – which are quite loud already. The bass response is apparently much better too.

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