The new Macbook Pro dropped a few weeks ago as the first installments of the fourth generation of Macbook Pro´s. We are going to take an in depth look at Apple´s shiny new devices.
The first thing that comes to mind when you hear about an updated Apple product isn´t normally an updated design, the Pro lineup never really changed that much over the past few years, this isn´t necessary a bad thing but the once so futuristic looking Laptop has grown old, so Apple went out and gave their flagship a new look including a very sexy space grey color.
New rectangular edges give it a more modern look while still keeping the typical rounded footprint. Something that comes with almost every apple press event is the phrase “thinner and lighter”, this product is no exception the 13-inch model comes in at 1.36 kilograms and 14.9 mm thickness while the 15-inch model weights just about 1.8 kilograms and 15.5 mm thickness.
This self-imposed rule of thinner and lighter is pushing new technologies while still trying to improve the performance which is, in my opinion, a very noble course to take. But like the Iphone 7 taught us, new dimensions and ports don´t come without sacrifices. By trying to push USB C as the new standard Apple has dropped the HDMI port the very convenient MagSafe port, as well as the SD card slot and the regular USB A port. This will be a pretty big hit for allot of people considering the commonness of USB devices and SD-cards, luckily many manufactures already have products to fix this issue, including Microsoft with their Display dock for the Lumina 950. But the USB C revolution also has it´s benefits these Thunderbolt 3 ports are capable of 40 GBps wich is double the bandwith of Thunderbolt 2, this allows the Macbook to power up to two 5K Displays at once which are an insane amount of pixels. Oh and they are reversible which is nice.
The Touch Bar
The next big thing is here.
Keyboards on laptops have the same basic layout since forever with the function keys being on top, but this new OLED Touchbar shakes things up by integrating the function keys and adding a ton of versatility, you are now able to get different quick toggles right on your keyboard depending on the program you are currently using. Most people will probably use it as a fancy new way to skip to the next song but heavy Final Cut Pro users will appreciate the added functionality. Integrated in the Touchbar is a fingerprint reader that works in the same way as Apple ID, you will be able to unlock your Mac and use Apple Pay to make purchases online. Overall I think the Touchbar is a good move by apple and with even more integration in Mac OS it will be a standard in future Laptops, the only thing that holds it back is the horrendous prize, the Touchbar on the 13 inch model will set you back 300 dollars.
Trackpad and Keyboard
The new Macbook trackpad is up to 2x times larger than in the previous generation, this wont be as visually appealing but with it being a force touch trackpad you can really make use of the touch gestures of Mac OS and still get a tactile left click on the whole surface, and not just at the bottom.
They also included their second gen butterfly keys which are supposed to have a better tactile feedback and sound.
The new screens have a resolution of 2560 x 1600 which relate to a ppi of 227, these screens are supposed to be the brightest Macbook screens to date, at 500 nits which is a welcome change because the older pro screens always felt a little dim in comparison to the IPhones. Apple claims that these screens now feature P3 color, which supposedly shows 25% more colors. This will be very nice for photo editors and also standard media consumption.
The 2016 Macbook pro is what you would expect from an Apple device, its offers great build quality, design and performance with the added functionality of an OLED Touchbar and a bigger trackpad. But there are also some drawbacks, being locked into the Apple ecosystem isn´t for everyone and you will also have to carry around some dongles and adapters to be able to use your older devices which doens´t sound very compelling. Also not everybody is willing to pay well over a thousand dollars for a laptop which is limited in its compatibility just because a company is trying to cut as many ports as possible.
In the end these Macbooks are as compelling as always but it is really difficult to justify the compromises Apple is making for a product that is targeted at professionals.