MacBook Pro 2016 shows Apple is increasingly in a no-win situation when it comes to narrow product focus intersecting the widest possible audiences. If they spec bump and spec bump alone, they're no longer innovating. If they make larger changes, they're abandoning the traditional pro market.
Somewhere between a solid block of aluminum and Homer Simpson's MacBook Pro, though, Apple has made something incredibly interesting.
Adam Geitgey, writing on Medium:
But in some ways, the new MacBook Pro is the most techy and expandable laptop Apple has ever made. They are trusting their pro users to wade into murky USB-C waters in search of the holy grail of a universal, open standard for moving data and power between devices.
I'm not here to change your mind about the MacBook Pro. Yes, it's probably too expensive and more RAM is better than less RAM. But everyone posting complaints without actually using a MBP for a few weeks is missing out on all the clever things you can do because it is built on USB-C. Over the past week or two with a new MacBook Pro (15in, 2.9ghz, TouchBar), I've been constantly surprised with how USB-C makes new things possible. It's a kind of a hacker's dream.
I think history — and customers — will look back more favorably on the MacBook Pro than tech Twitter would have many believe. Yes, dongles are a drag, but we've been dealing with them forever. At least with four USB-C / Thunderbolt 3, I can plug in to any of them to charge, and I can plug any dongle into any of them, meaning I can make any port be anything I want.
Just how far in will Apple go with USB-C, though? Neither the Magic accessories nor the Siri Remote charge via USB-C, but by Lightning.
On iPhone and iPad, Apple wasn't patient enough to wait for USB-C. Instead, they drove forward with the similar-though-proprietary Lightning connector and got out a few years ahead.
It's slimmer and Apple doesn't have to wait on standards bodies to debate changes. But it doesn't benefit from the momentum that's turning USB-C's way.
Many people were outraged by the switch from 30-pin to Lightning after just a decade. How many would be outraged by the switch from Lightning to USB-C after only 5 years?