MacBook Pro 2016 review: The love/hate future of laptops

For the last two weeks I've been working full-time on the new MacBook Pro 2016. For the first week, it was the 13-inch model without Touch Bar and Touch ID. For the second week, it was the 13-inch model with Touch Bar and Touch ID. This weekend, it was the 15-inch Model, also with Touch Bar and Touch ID. That covers the range of Apple's most recent update to their professional laptop line — an update 18-months in the making.

In that time the MacBook has been reimagined, macOS has been renamed, and the iPad has gone Pro. So, how does the MacBook Pro respond? By going even faster, thinner, lighter, and brighter. No surprise there: It's almost Apple's battle cry at this point.

Cinematic color gamut, unified ports, ludicrously fast storage, and that new Touch Bar — a capacitive multitouch strip that provides for dynamic controls — define the company's vision for the future of the MacBook Pro. But memory and graphics constraints, the lack of legacy ports, and an ultra-flat keyboard threaten the needs of some of Apple's traditional pro customers right now.

It all makes for yet another controversial update to the MacBook Pro, one that has some saying "Finally!" and others, "Seriously?!"

So, which is it?

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12-inch MacBook Video Review

Rather watch than read? Give us 6 minutes and we'll give you the 2016 MacBook Pro.

For people who want:

  • An incredibly portable pro laptop
  • Blisteringly fast storage
  • The latest ports
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Strong, sleek unibody design.

Not for people who want:

  • High end graphics.
  • Large amounts of RAM.
  • Legacy ports.
  • Touch screen.
  • Low, low pricing.

In brief

Every few years Apple flips the table on MacBooks, going thinner and lighter in design and more cutting edge in display, input technologies, storage, and ports. Often at the expense of traditional processing and graphics power, memory, and price. The 2016 MacBook Pro is no exception. If anything, it's an acceleration.

The high density Retina display now supports wide color, higher brightness, and better contrast. It's got SSD so fast you might just mistake it for RAM. The ports, 2 or 4 depending on the model you choose, are the new, unified Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C and are faster and more flexible than ever. It's got a more expansive Force Touch trackpad and the option for an all-new Touch Bar input strip and new-to-Mac Touch ID fingerprint identity sensor. The potential unlocked by all of it is enormous.

MacBook Pro setup

MacBook Pro setup (Image credit: iMore)

But they've got graphics that, while they can run dual 5K displays at the high end, can't run VR or the highest end games. They've got a 16 GB memory limit that, while mitigated by compression and SSD speed, won't prove enough for the most demanding professionals. They've got Touch Bar and Touch ID but not a touch screen, and there's no option for anything but Apple's incredibly flat, incredibly divisive new keyboard. And they're priced at a significant premium.

What this means to you will depend entirely on your personal preferences and professional requirements. For some, the new MacBook Pro will be absolute, heart-crushing deal breakers. For others, like me, they'll be absolutely terrific and once again deliver on the future, right now, today.

Either way, unless you loved the new MacBook Pro at first sight, I strongly encourage you to try before you buy, and when you buy, push them as hard as you need to, as fast as you can, so you can see if they meet your real-world needs.

I suspect, for the vast majority of people, they will. And better than expected.

MacBook Pro Lineup

The new MacBook Pro comes in three models: 13-inch, 13-inch with Touch Bar and Touch ID, and 15-inch with Touch Bar and Touch ID. They all come in packaging that's very similar to previous years as well. It's what's inside, though, that's different. Instead of the trusty MagSafe adapter and classic power brick, there's now a USB-C cable and a USB-C power brick.

The USB-C cable is identical to the one that comes with the 12-inch MacBook. The brick is nearly identical as well, but pushes even more power. It's also similar to what's available separately for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, though that one requires a Lightning to USB-C cable instead. So, when it comes to high power, Apple seems to be standardizing on USB-C.

The new charging setup has some advantages. Notably, if your cable frays or otherwise fails, all you have to do is get another cable, which is much, much cheaper than a new MagSafe all-in-one cable and brick. It's also easier and more flexible to pack.

On the downside, there's no bundled extension cord, which is disappointing in a premium product like MacBook Pro, and no more fold-out wrappers on the brick, which made for clean cable storage. There's also no easily detachable magnet on the end. In other words, no MagSafe.

I can handle wrapping the cord — I've been doing it with iOS devices for years — but I miss the extension cord, the wrappers, and the magnetic ending. Hopefully, Apple can bring the best of MagSafe to the USB-C cable and brick eventually.

Otherwise, I like that we're moving toward universality in charging. And so does my gear bag.

MacBook Pro Design

The first thing you notice about the new MacBook Pro is how dense it feels. Sure, it's lighter and smaller — MacBook Air-level lighter and smaller. That means you can carry it around longer without wrenching your shoulder or breaking your back, and it'll fit more easily into your bag or onto your tray table. But that aluminum it's carved out of feels stronger as well. There's a rigidity to it that I really appreciate when picking it up and moving it around. Unibody MacBooks have proven their durability over time and, if anything, the new MacBook Pro feels like the most durable to date.

MacBook Pro

MacBook Pro (Image credit: Rene Ritchie/iMore)

MacBook Pro is also available in silver and space gray now. Not gold or rose gold like MacBook, nor jet black like the new iPhones. The space gray of MacBook Pro matches the space gray of MacBook and the iPhone 6 series, so it's lighter than Apple Watch and much lighter than the (matte) black iPhone 7.

Still, you can go darker now if you want to.

The result is something that looks and feels even more like a slab than previous generations. At least until you open it. Then it looks pure MacBook Pro. Even if it doesn't sound it.

That's right, the classic chime no longer greets you on startup. It's gone now, a concession to the new auto-boot feature that makes powering up functionally indistinguishable from waking up. In other words, it no longer matters if your Mac was off or just asleep, you open it and you log in, and it's terrific.

No more staring at a blank screen for a few seconds, fumbling with a power button trying to figure out what state it's in, or worrying the chime will go off in a meeting — lift and you're good to go.

Despite the thinness of the new display, Apple did manage to cram in a 720p FaceTime camera. It's a stark improvement over the anemic 420p camera in the MacBook. I'd still prefer 1080p on a MacBook Pro — even if it takes a camera bump to do it.

What Apple didn't manage to cram in is their signature glowing logo. Like MacBook — and iPhone and iPad before it — you now get a polished stainless steel logo embedded in the center of the casing instead. It looks good but I'll miss the light.

As much as it's all business on the back, there's a brand new party going on up front…

MacBook Pro Display

Apple has gone all-in on wide color. You can shoot it with iPhone 7, you can display it on the 9.7-inch iPad Pro and the latest iMacs, you can manage it across macOS and iOS, and now you can see it on the new MacBook Pro as well.

I've been using DCI-P3 — the cinematic wide color standard Apple's adopted — on the iMac for almost a year now so I didn't think I'd be impressed by it anymore. But it's different on a laptop. Where the iMac envelopes you in an almost super-reality, the MacBook Pro draws you in. The transition from old, sRGB display to P3 feels the same, though: It's like a layer of dullness was wiped away to reveal eye-popping greens and reds. And once you see it, you never want to go back.

Think of it like HDR for your screen. Last summer, Dolby showed me scenes from The Force Awakens and The Revenant in 4K sRGB and in 1080p HDR. 1080p HDR kicked 4K's ass. Put both together, which is essentially what you get sitting at normal distance from a MacBook Pro display, and zo-ma-gawd.

The 13-inch model is 2560 x 1600 at 227 pixels per inch (ppi). The 15-inch is 2880 x 1800 at 220 ppi. Here's what the difference in pixel count looks like:

MacBook Pro 13-inch vs 15-inch comparison

MacBook Pro 13-inch vs 15-inch comparison (Image credit: iMore)

They use display technologies similar to, but even more advanced than, the ones found in the 12-inch MacBook. It makes them both significantly brighter and offers much better contrast. That translates into more vivid whites and deeper blacks, but also makes it easier to work in brightly lit rooms, and more enjoyable to watch movies or game in the dark.

I've only had to go back to my old MacBook Pro a couple of times over the last couple weeks — I've been too lazy to move my work VPN over — and when I do, the difference is noticeable. I can still work on it without problem, but it's just not as enjoyable anymore.

About the only thing the MacBook Pro screen still can't do is register touch input. macOS isn't a touch-based operating system and Apple's prototyped and disliked multitouch on Macs. So, they're expanding touch in a different way and on a different plane.

MacBook Pro Touch Bar

Apple's new experiment — and that's exactly what it is until time and adoption proves it otherwise — is called Touch Bar. It's available on both the higher-end 13-inch MacBook Pro and all 15-inch models. Paired with Touch ID, it's like a long, thin iOS device embedded right above your keyboard lending you all the security and multitouch responsiveness you've grown to love on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch, but fully integrated into the Mac.

Macbook Pro Touch ID

Macbook Pro Touch ID (Image credit: iMore)

The Touch Bar starts off mimicking the escape key and system and media controls of the standard keyboard, but then it changes and adapts to what you're doing. Touch and hold a control and you might get a slider or you might reveal additional options — or classic ones.

It's like a dynamically curated set of shortcuts and tools, matching the functionality offered by each app. Safari shows you tab options, so you can switch between them or add a new one without leaving the keyboard. Mail suggests sorting options, iTunes gives you music controls.

And the list goes on and on. Apple has integrated Touch Bar into every app that ships with macOS, and developers have begun integrating into Mac App Store apps as well.

Final Cut Pro X is a great example of surfacing controls and shortcuts that otherwise require memorization or multiple interactions to achieve, including clip cutting and timeline scrubbing.

And... I have mixed feelings about it. The human brain isn't great at context shifting. It's why it can still feel awkward to reach up and start tapping an iPad Pro when you've been typing on the Smart Keyboard. And the Touch Bar suffers from some of the same here — it's not always natural to look down at the keyboard.

That's why I started off thinking things like predictive word suggestions would be useless for me, especially when I type faster than I even notice the suggestions. Then I remembered English is a terrible language with words and spellings no person should be expected to remember. And when I struggled to remember a word or spelling, I noticed they were right there, suggested for me on the Touch Bar.

It's not perfect. If my spelling is off by too much, it can't predict what I want, and sometimes I have to guess enough right before the suggestion comes up that I could figure out the rest on my own, but it learns from the words I choose and seems to get better over time. And each spell check or Google detour it saves me is appreciated.

The same for shortcuts. Shortcuts suck. Even Adobe and Apple can't keep them consistent across their ranges of apps. Previously, when I'd blank on a shortcut, I'd go back to the mouse and menu, like an animal. Now I just look at the Touch Bar and the control I want is right there.

Even better are tools like color palettes and timeline scrubbers. The precision and granularity they enable are iPad great, but it all happens without ever blocking the main display with your fingers. It's direct manipulation but in an indirect way, and it's trippy.

It also creates a really interesting new input dynamic where sometimes I have one hand on the Touch Bar and the other on the keyboard, other times one on the Touch Bar and the other on the Force Touch Trackpad, which Apple has now made luxuriously big.

There's no Force Touch in the Touch Bar, which feels like an obvious next step, but there is VoiceOver for accessibility — activate it by triple clicking the power button — and once you get used to where controls spawn, it's easy enough to throw your fingers in the right direction.

Macbook Pro Touch ID (Image credit: iMore)

All that said, it's going to take me a while to get used to. I've only been using it a week and it's still not second nature. Like 3D Touch on iPhone, it's not and can't be required yet, because people need to be able to work on Macs that don't have Touch Bar as well, and that risks some people never getting in the habit of using it.

But also like 3D Touch, if the efficiency and interactions are compelling, and if you invest some time in it, you'll be rewarded.

That makes it a gamble. Touch screens are a known quantity. A year from now, they'll be just exactly the same. A year from now, Touch Bar could be a boom, could be a bust, or could well be somewhere in between. developers are just starting to make their apps compatible with it now. What's already here is intriguing, but it's what'll follow in the weeks and months ahead that'll matter.

MacBook Pro Touch ID

Touch ID, Apple's fingerprint identity sensor, has been a mainstay on iPhone and iPad for years. It takes a high-resolution picture of your fingerprint, converts it to a secure hash, and stores in it on the secure element. On iOS, that's part of an Apple A-series processor. On the Mac, it's part of a special T1 chip. From there, when it matches your fingerprint, it releases a token that the operating system can use to verify your identity.

Touch ID on the MacBook Pro

Touch ID on the MacBook Pro (Image credit: iMore)

Your fingerprints are never revealed to the operating system, never stored in the cloud, and never made available to anyone else, including Apple. Your finger can, however, be forced onto the sensor, which is something to consider when you balance security and convenience.

Registration is the same as on iPhone and iPad, and you can register up to 3 finger prints per user, for a total of 5 fingerprints across alls users. You can — so cool! — use it to quickly switch between users too. Like iPhone and iPad, though, if you reboot, stop using Touch ID, or fail to authenticate with your fingerprint, you'll need to enter your password again to re-activate it.

How does Touch ID work

How does Touch ID work (Image credit: iMore)

The sensor on the MacBook Pro Touch ID system is the same, super-fast second generation version found on iPhone 6s and iPhone 7. And it is super fast. The sensor is on the extreme right of the Touch Bar strip, built into the power button. You can press it and linger your finger to unlock in one move, or press another key, swipe the trackpad, or otherwise wake it up first, then touch the sensor to unlock.

That said, at first I found it to be slower than Auto Unlock, which uses Apple Watch to verify identity. The slowness was because Auto Unlock is automatic while Touch ID requires a finger be placed on the sensor — something it took me a few seconds to remember to do.

Apple does provide an indicator for Touch ID, but it's on the Touch Bar, where I wasn't used to looking, as opposed to under my account picture on the main screen, where I am used to looking and where Apple places all the other indicators. I'd prefect an indicator on both — "Touch ID to unlock" beneath my account picture as well.

Use Touch ID to unlock 1Password on MacBook Pro Touch Bar

Use Touch ID to unlock 1Password on MacBook Pro Touch Bar (Image credit: iMore)

It'd also be great for people who require higher-level security if Apple provided the ability to use Touch ID and password and Apple Watch to authenticate. That would be something you are, something you know, and something you have — the multifactor trifecta.

Apple Pay works great, as well as it does with iPhone-based authentication in macOS Sierra, but without having to fuss with a second device. It also works extremely well with Mac App Store apps, though those are only just beginning to trickle out.

I'd love a way for my Safari passwords to be protected with Touch ID. I don't want just anyone who has access to my Mac to be able to log in and buy things from my online accounts or Apple Pay. But I absolutely want to be able to do that.

MacBook Pro I/O

My previous generation 13-inch MacBook Pro has MagSafe for power, 2x Thunderbolt 2 and 2x USB-A, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, HDMI, and an SD card slot. My previous 13-inch MacBook Air had MagSafe, 1x Thunderbolt 2, 2x USB-A, a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and an SD card slot. The new MacBook Pro 2016 only has Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C — oh, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack, remember those?

The entry level 13-inch MacBook Pro has 2x ports. The high-end 13-inch has 4x ports, though the ones on the right aren't as fast as the ones on the left. All 15-inch MacBook Pro models have 4x ports, and they're all full-speed.

You can charge over any USB-C port. I didn't think that would be a huge difference for me but it is. Previously, I'd run into situations where having MagSafe on only one side meant the cord was slightly too short to reach the table, or got in the way of something. It wasn't often but it was super annoying when it happened. Now, I can simply plug into whichever port is available and I'm go for charge.

Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C all being the same cable and none requiring a specific connector direction is likely liberating. As long as you have compatible accessories, you don't even have to think about which port goes where or which way is up. You plug, it works.

For older cables and devices, though, you'll need adapter dongles. So. Many. Dongles. You can get them for USB-A, HDMI, VGA, Thunderbolt 2 — pretty much anything you need these days, but they're one more thing to carry with you, fuss with, and potential forget or lose when you need it.

For some, especially those who've already gone wireless, it won't matter. For others, it'll be months of one-more-thing-to-pay-for-and-potentially-lose inconvenience.


Dongles (Image credit: Rene Ritchie/iMore)

I've had to briefly use dongles with every MacBook Pro upgrade since… forever… or firewire… or whatever. I"m fine with it. I can always get rid of them when I no longer need them, but I can't retrofit the new screaming fast port into the old super slow port once I'm done with it.

Your mileage, and dongle disdain, may vary. And Apple's keeping the 2015 MacBook Pro around for those who still want the older ports.

While the SD card slot is gone, much to the chagrin of photo and video professionals everywhere, the 3.5 mm headphone jack remains. It's not really meant for headphones — those are also going wireless, or so my iPhone tells me — but for audio pros and live music production. (Enjoy it until that all goes wireless too, friends!)

But my use case isn't everybody's. Even if most people in the mainstream never connect over a cable to anything, MacBook Pro by definition isn't mainstream. It's for people who do connect over cables and to everything.

I understand Apple's desire to simplify, and their almost Alton Brown-esque distaste for unitaskers, but we're still in a period of transition and that means we need to transition.

Just like iPhone 7 contained a 3.5 mm to Lightning adapter, it'd have been nice if Apple included a USB-C to USB-A adapter for everyone with an iPhone or iPad and no out-of-the-box way to connect them, or any other legacy peripheral, to a brand new MacBook Pro.

That aside, the new ports are heavy duty. They can drive one 5K external display or two 4K external displays (though at least one of them will have to supply power, since that requires all your ports!) They can also drive external storage at the state-of-the-art-of-speeds.

MacBook Pro Trackpad and Keyboard

The new MacBook Pro comes with the same Force Touch trackpad as last year, but it's considerably bigger. If you haven't used one before, a Taptic Engine tricks your fingers into believing vibrations are depressions, and so you "click" a solid surface and are misled into feeling like it really clicked. Basically, science is a lie, your fingers are proprioceptive liars, and nothing makes sense anymore. But it works and well.

MacBook Pro keyboard

MacBook Pro keyboard (Image credit: Rene Ritchie/iMore)

The increased size, made possible by not having to worry about physical constraints like hinges and mechanical buttons, is... luxurious. For normal text and office work I don't notice much difference but for creative work like image and video editing, it feels like you can go further, faster than on previous versions. It's not quite as big as the standalone Magic Trackpad, but it's getting closer.

To the right is what it looks like compared to last year's model.

There's no issue with palm rejection as far as I can tell. I typically don't rest my palm on my trackpad while using it, but incidental contact while typing was ignored to the point that, when I deliberately put the edge of my palm down and tried to swipe with it, it barely moved. If I had to guess, multitouch is smart enough to distinguish finger sizes from palm sizes and Apple has learned from iPad to distinguish everything in-between.

The keyboard is a second-generation version of the dome and butterfly design introduced with the 12-inch MacBook. I've used the original for almost 18-months and am fine with it. I can pretty much adjust to any keyboard, including the Smart Keyboard for iPad Pro, within a very short period of time. Your mileage will absolutely vary.

Serenity Caldwell typing on a MacBook Pro

Serenity Caldwell typing on a MacBook Pro (Image credit: Rene Ritchie / iMore)

After a few days of using it, though, I found that I enjoyed typing on it. It was punchy in a way that made me smile. I was fine on the MacBook, but I really like the MacBook Pro. I'm not sure if Apple's tweaks are responsible for that, if it's the slight difference in how all the parts are laid out, or if I've just gotten more and more used to it over time.

People who love clickety-clackety keyboards with tons of travel are going to hate it. People who love scissor-switches and the old MacBook Pro keyboards, likewise. Those who prefer stability and short travel are going to love it.

For me, the old MacBook Pro keyboard now feels kind of loosey-goosey. It's a deeply personal thing, though, and if it isn't the keyboard for you, Apple's giving you no other option.

There is an option, though, if you prefer the old function key row to the new Touch Bar: The entry level MacBook Pro. Get it, and your physical escape key remains yours — for another generation at least.

MacBook Pro Performance

Intel's Skylake architecture powers the new MacBook Pros, including this one. Why Skylake and not Kaby Lake? Intel hasn't yet shipped quad-core versions of Kaby Lake, or Iris Pro versions yet, which is what Apple uses in the MacBook Pro. Even when they do, it will take time to achieve the tight level of integration macOS requires.

The way Apple uses Intel is more of an implementation detail at this point anyway, so long as soon as they can hit acceptable performance and efficiency levels, they go in and the product ships.

MacBook Pro with a cup of coffee and iPhone

MacBook Pro with a cup of coffee and iPhone (Image credit: iMore)

Intel Iris Pro graphics are embedded inside all of them though, this year, every 15-inch model also gets AMD Radeon graphics chips as well.

I'll leave the benchmarks to AnandTech — and link to them from here when they're live — but in my week with the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro, though, I didn't seen any lag or stutter. Interface animations, screen draws, and transitions have all been snappy. Likewise with the higher-end 13-inch and 15-inch models.

Memory starts at 8 GB and can be expanded to 16 GB. That's the current limit, though. Apple's using low-power RAM and Intel simply doesn't support that on Skylake. Maybe Kabylake or Coffeelake will... My breath can no longer be held.

To sort-of make up for it, Apple's using macOS' built-in memory compression, but they've also raised the game on their already incredibly impressive SSD speeds — which now come in up to 1 TB for the 13-inch and a whopping (and pricey) 2 TB for the 15-inch. It's so fast it pegged my tests and, if I have forced my Mac to swap in Photoshop or Final Cut Pro X, it's fast enough I've barely noticed.

That may not matter for everyone, but I think most people, even higher-end pros, will be surprised at just how far they can really go with 16 GB on a Mac.

As for battery life, despite the difference in specs, Apple claims the same 10 hours for all the new MacBook Pros. So far that's matched my usage. I was juggling the three at a time to get this review done, though, so that's nothing approaching a normal pattern.

I normally do some things on iPhone, iPad Pro, and iMac as well, so I never spend all day with my MacBook. Still, I charged it to 80% the first week, went to the coffee shop, worked for 4 hours, and it ended up at just under 40% with the non-Touch Bar version. With the 15-inch Touch Bar, I worked for a few hours and, surprisingly, was told I still had 11 hours left (I'm chalking that up to how hard it is to properly predict future usage.)

I work in Final Cut Pro X and not Premiere, though, and use Safari and not Chrome, and I have a feeling that saves me significant burn. Still, editing video and keeping multiple tabs open is harder on the charge than typing text, checking email, and surfing the web. So, a pro machine has to bring it.

I'll keep testing and keep updating over the next few weeks.

MacBook Pro Speakers

My previous generation 13-inch MacBook Pro didn't have speakers on either side of the keyboard. This new one does. Big, bold, glorious speakers. I'm not an audiophile but when I heard Adele pouring out of them during the demo, it sounded great. Likewise right now while I'm playing some iTunes and YouTube.

Apple says they have far more dynamic range and separation than before and I have no reason to doubt them. I just know they're LOUD and they're clear.

First iPad Pro, then iPhone 7, now MacBook Pro — Apple has seriously upped their speaker game this last year and I really appreciate it.

MacBook buyers guide

Trying to decide which MacBook, MacBook Air, 2015 MacBook Pro, or new 2016 MacBook Pro is for you? Check out our ultimate guide to sizes, colors, makes, models, and more!

MacBook Pro Conclusion

Apple has been making computers into appliances for years now. It started with the iMac and, more recently, the MacBook Air and iPad. Step by step, Apple has sealed up everything from the minis to the pros and, in so doing, made them better for the mainstream — at the expense of the the traditional tinkerers, do-it-yourselfers, and bleeding edge pros.

Pokemon Go Snorlax

Pokemon Go Snorlax (Image credit: iMore/ Rene Ritchie)

Steadfastly, resolutely, step-by-step, Apple is moving from the power user to empowering all users, even if that leaves some of the Mac's most loyal, most passionate customers behind.

Look no further than the 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar or Touch ID. Apple slipped it in as a low-end offering for those who've wanted an ultra-portable with more power than the 12-inch MacBook.

Apple made no such concession to the high-end. There's no heavy, hot, and hungry 15-inch with extra RAM, legacy ports, and lower battery life. If they had, some pros wouldn't feel as abandoned as they do now. But that, apparently isn't a MacBook Pro Apple wants to make, at least not right now.

So, they've given some people the Retina Air they've always wanted and others exactly the MacBook Pro they've been waiting for, with an interesting new input method that may — emphasis on the may — make them even more valuable.

As for me, someone who grew up in design and video, who runs BBEdit and Coda, Photos and Photoshop, Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro, who AirDrops from iPhone but still connects to a big ass display on the desk. I'm getting the 13-inch. Maxed out. Space gray. "Finally!"

If you're still saying "seriously?!", though, if you feel left behind, I totally get it. Apple's vision for the future of laptops won't be for everyone — even if they, and I, think it will be for more people than ever before.

Including an entirely new generation of pros.

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Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Fantastic bit of kit....really love this bad boy. Hopefully one day Apple will upgrade MacOS to support touch screens.
  • I hear you, I bought an Acer Aspire Switch Alpha 12 and Hackintoshed it, wow. Mac OSX works flawless with touchscreen, very responsive, and looks great on the IPS screen! Now why can't Apple implement that into their products!
  • "Mac OSX works flawless with touchscreen" That I highly doubt. Trying to tap tiny icons with your finger? There's going to be a lot of miss-presses. I doubt you'll continue using it with a touchscreen, it'll get annoying after a while
  • When you use an iPad with a keyboard. Is it that the touchscreen facility stops working?
  • Using an iPad with a physical keyboard makes perfect sense, considering you can't touch-type on a touchscreen keyboard because you can't feel the keys. As I am an avid touch-typer, I still dislike touchscreen keyboards because I'll never ever be able to type as fast as I can on a physical keyboard unless someone makes something that allows you to feel something on the touchscreen where you'd be able to tell where the edges of the keys were without looking. So it makes perfect sense to use an iPad with a physical keyboard, it has no relation to UI elements and is actually more beneficial than using the touchscreen keyboard
  • "Hopefully one day Apple will upgrade MacOS to support touch screens." I've ordered a 15" with 2.7GHz with 2TB SSD and Radeon Pro 460 with 4GB memory. I wouldn't have ordered at all if they had touch screens.
  • Nicely written Rene. I've calmed down a lot from my initial reaction. The main fear for me is still just the keyboard. The rest of the laptop is fine with me though. Maybe just the mag safe connector is sad to see go as well. In my initial shock I just went out and bought a 13" MacBook Air. I wished the new 13" MacBook Pro came out at a bit lower price, then I might of thought about getting that instead. I got the air more for how it still had things I loved like the glowing apple logo, ports, keyboard and mag safe. I guess it will take me a bit longer to see if apple's new keyboards are for me. I've been using their full size USB one for a long time and have enjoyed it. What I'm still left with is confusion. Not knowing where the rest of the products in their Mac line sit. I have Mac mini's at home and love them. I would be sad to see them go away. I heard on one podcast about a vision someone had combining the Mac Pro and Mac mini into its own sort of Mac and Mac Pro line. It sounded like an interesting concept. I've always just been the sort of person who could afford the lower priced apple products. I hope they won't forget customers like us. I was even sad when the Mac mini I got in late 2012 was replaced in 2014 but now I had to pay more to get one with similar specs I got in 2012. My base model was now the middle model. Now with the Air going away and having to pay more for the base 13" MacBook Pro, it feels like the same thing is happening. I know the tech is getting better and more expensive, but I do hope apple will remember to keep those who can't afford the top models in mind. Apple makes great products and it would be sad if they become only available to those who have the most money.
  • Yes, they REALLY need a machine like a headless iMac (more than a mini, less than a Pro, at a reasonable price). Or, just make the mini into a real machine again (a bit better GPU and quad-core). re: MBA... unless you have some specific 'pro' work to do, or really need a stronger GPU, I think you're in pretty good shape. The price difference is hard to justify unless you really need it. A MBA is an incredibly powerful machine for most work. (I'm working on one right now that I replaced my iMac with. Aside from raw CPU/GPU power, it's faster feeling.) But, I want a new MBP for some of the pro work I do, as I think it's finally at a point where it could be my only machine (and then offload some stuff to a 'crunching' computer or the cloud). re: Price - Apple has always been in the higher price range. It was nice to see them enter the more mid-tier market for a while. I think that was good for them to have a model or two within reach of the non-high-end.
  • MBA has a low resolution screen. The specs are beyond bad with those Dual Core CPUs that simply don't hold up well. You shouldn't think of the NOW, you need to think of the TWO YEARS FROM NOW. Most people don't upgrade their PCs on a yearly cycle. These aren't smartphones on a Lease/Upgrade Program. Vast Majority of people are buying them with cash. I'm likely going to go with the Surface Book. Microsoft has a *much* more compelling argument at that price range. Apple isn't really giving anyone a reason to spend that much money other than "it's Apple." macOS is starting to feel quite dated and lacking in innovation, their form factors are stuck in a time shift, and the prices are going up. It almost defies logic. But I will take my money elsewhere. I was looking forward to replacing my Windows Notebook with a MacBook, but these simply aren't worth what they're charging for them - at least, not to me. A lot of "Pro Work" can't be offloaded to a Crunching Computer or the cloud. Apple, Amazon, or Microsoft won't color grade your Indie Film for you, for example. I'm starting to get a bit confused by what the average user on this site actually perceives Pro Work to be. People here are starting to sound like a bunch of casuals users who claim they are professionals because they edited a 30 second UHD/4K clip in iMovie.
  • Thanks for bringing up the screen, as I had forgotten that. I use my laptop like 80% of the time 'docked' at my desk with a monitor. When I'm mobile, I just don't do much graphics work, and reserve that time for writing and email, etc. But, that's a very good point for many others. re: MBA - note, the 13" MBP also has a dual-core CPU, as do new Mac mini, many iMacs, etc. Apple used to put quad-core in about everything but the low end model, but now they put dual-core in even their 'pro' products. Yes, IMO, they are going backwards in many respects. I think it's the marketing dept. and bean-counters running it now. Most people don't know the difference, so if they can shave some costs, and up the prices... more profit (at the expense of UX). I'm not quite ready to go to Windows yet, though. IMO, it's still a less-green pasture over there. I wouldn't say the OS is dated and lacking innovation... it's that they've 'modernized' the UI following silly trends and forgetting about UX principals as old as GUIs. And, then there is the actual quality dive in many of the apps, and even QC problems for the core OS. re: Pro work - It's less (or at least traditionally was) about whether the work was pro or not, and more about a level of machine. A lawyer writing a letter is pro work just as much as an engineer doing structural analysis on an airliner wing. But, 'pro' computers used to be aimed at computing jobs requiring a number of things: 1) more robust/rugged equipment, 2) higher reliability (e.g. ECC RAM, more fault tolerant, or tested storage, better components, etc.) 3) capable of running 24x7 at 100% utilization, 4) higher performance components, especially CPU & GPU. My point was that *some* of that stuff can be now off-loaded, especially in the field of computer animation / rendering, or possibly video encoding, etc. More apps have that ability, and with cloud computing resources being readily available (and low cost), it hardly pays to have a server rack of processing machines, or a ton of extra power at your desk. (For example, I used to let renderings process in the background on a couple of cores while I worked, and all cores when I wasn't working.) So, I get what you're saying. For some things, you need the power right there. I'm not sure what the problem is with the MBP though? It's a pretty capable machine for that, given it's a laptop. It's lacking in GPU, but you can easily add an eGPU now. I'd rather have that than some boat-anchor laptop that sounds like an air-conditioner... but to each their own.
  • I know the MBA has a low res screen, that was fine for me since I'm just typing and its not my main computer. I did a Geekbench test and its in line with my main Mac mini so its not beyond bad. The storage on it alone blows away even the Samsung 850 Pro SSD I have in my mini. Read speeds of around 1,600kbps. It has a i5 and 8GB or ram. PCIe storage. Many ports, ultra light. I've been using Macs for years and even many writers and journalists have been using the MBA 13" and still are. Its not a bad machine. I've had. MBP just a few years back and it was overkill for me. My 2012 Mac mini still is as fast if not faster than when I got it. I did think 2 years from now and beyond. All is fine here. Its not a simple decision to just switch to windows. Not going to happen. My whole life is apple and all my hardware here. I love MacOS. Next year the OS will get a major update in storage technology. We all can make our own choices though and . I'm not a pro so the MBA is truly fine for me and I'm very happy with it.
  • And, maybe the more important point... is that outside of a few 'pro' job-types, there isn't much 'pro' advantage to the MacBook Pro these days. It's more prosumer now than it once was. Steve Jobs used the analogy of trucks, and I heard someone the other day say Apple's now making El Caminos. I thought that was a good analogy. A friend was just showing me earlier today how the SSD in the 15" is not replaceable (soldered right to the mother board). That's crazy for an expensive pro product on a part that WILL go bad. So, I'd not be buying the 15" for that reason (+ I actually want the 13"). But, you're right that unless you really need it, the MBA makes a fine computer for most people. It's WAY faster for getting typical tasks done, in fact, than my iMac from a few years back, due to the SSD.
  • Honestly if you are in the market for a MacBook Pro I'd still consider the 2015 Model. If you get it maxed out with 16GB of RAM and the i7 Processor you are really getting a great machine. Apple had some refurbished on their earlier today at a discounted price and you can get new ones off of eBay for around $1500. Just something to consider as you aren't giving up the ports and still get a pretty good bang for your buck.
  • For sure. That said, I'd really like the TB3 port. I plan on adding an eGPU, and while TB2 gives quite a bit of bandwidth, it would constrain a good GPU for things like 3D animation (it seems OK, from what I've read, for stuff like gaming / video production). I'd probably go with the lowest end 13" MBP w/ Touch Bar, and then max the RAM out. That way I'm saving some money, but also have a pretty capable machine. Since Apple is going more disposable, it's better not to spend too much on the mid-to-best, going for long-term use (which is more what I used to do). For example, a friend just highlighted this morning, that the 15" has the SSD soldered to the mother board. That's going to be one super-expensive repair.
  • The MBA is fine for me. The faster PCIe storage makes up for any other slow things. I've been using Mac Mini's in recent years and they have been plenty quick. I've upgraded them with SSD's and 16GB of ram and when geek benched the MBA it came out even faster than the mini, even though it has a slower processor. The video is two generations beyond my Mini also, so all is good. I just look forward to where apple is going. They've kind of set the lay of the land down now in terms of their laptop vision. I wonder what comes next for things like the iMac, Mac Pro and Mini.
  • Exactly. I just switched from my iMac to my MBA (on route to hopefully going MBP, and consolidating to one machine). While it can't compete in raw CPU/GPU, it feels faster for typical other work. My main fear with the old minis (I'm tempted to get a quad-core while used ones are still plentiful) is how long macOS will support them. Otherwise, I was just chatting in a thread on another site, where a guy bought an eGPU case and is using an nVidia 1070 with his quad-core mini, and it pretty much blows everything else Apple makes out of the water (at least for gaming, in his case). I think Apple's vision is to keep focusing the products on the masses, and let the specialists move to Dell, etc. :( I think that will have bad long-term implications, but they'll kill it in the short-term.
  • You can still get Magsafe in the form of a charging cable with a magnetic clasp in the middle - though I think the current one is not rated for the power draw of the newer 15" MacBook Pro (it was made for the MacBook) - hopefully they update it.
  • Great review, but for now I'm going to pass. I see absolutely no reason to upgrade to this from the 2015 MacBook Pro, and it would almost be taking a step backwards in my opinion. Yes the reduced weight (barely), improved speakers (I could care less about), and touchbar are nice but am I really going to see any massive improvement over a maxed out 2015 model? The other problem I have is the keyboard. I'm just not a fan of the new keyboards apple is offering and I've always found the keyboards on older Mac's just about perfect. These keys are ungodly loud and having less travel (at least for me) is not a good thing. Nice machine, but not really offering anyone with a more recent model a reason to upgrade.
  • I don't see much (if any) advantage over a 2015, aside from TB3, if you don't care about the stuff you listed. None of that is any kind of necessity, or likely to increase productivity. I suppose if you're trying to expand GPU externally, that might be an advantage.
  • I tried the display model 13" (with Touch Bar) in the Apple Store today morning. Sorry, not buying. Even if they included the dongles in the box and gave me the more powerful CPU upgrade option for free, the awful keyboard would still totally kill it for me. Yes, it's better than the one in the 12" MacBook, but that's like saying a bad romance movie is "still a better love story than Twilight". Granted, I use my current last-gen rMBP closed and plugged into an external monitor 99% of the time, but looking at the prices of the new line-up, it'd just be more sensible to opt for a 5K iMac instead. For now, I'll just wait it out and continue using my current rig.
  • Hey, just curious (if you know). Since, you use your MBP closed most of the time, do you do long-term heavy work on it (CPU/GPU)? What has been your experience? I've shortened the life of early-late 2000s MBPs by doing that, and if I get another, I don't want to go there again. They use way less power now, but are also in smaller cases. The primary problems I had were GPU (which might not be an issue with integrated), and fans getting noisy and then failing. I don't run them hard all the time, but when I do, it might be for longer time periods (1-2 days). And, I'll be off-loading more and more of that kind of stuff to external hardware and cloud as well. But, curious. :)
  • My "heavy" work mostly involves image and vector editing, so it's fair to say the loads are spaced out. Not constant loads like you would get with compiling (CPU) or 3D rendering (GPU). I do compile every now and then, but it's more for small open source projects and isn't my day job. I've had the MBP since late 2013, and it hasn't skipped a beat so far. Obviously now that I've jinxed it I expect the thing to die tomorrow. Thanks for that. =P Frankly speaking, I wouldn't put any laptop through a 1-2 day period of constant heavy concurrent load. Heck, I wouldn't put most consumer targeted desktops (meaning anything without a Xeon) under those stresses.
  • Heh... no doubt! Sorry in advance. :) And, thanks. I don't do as much necessary 'heavy' work as I used to do, but hope to again (I run Folding@home when I have extra cores.). I still do a lot of video crunching, but that's more like hours at a time, than days. But, I would like to get a feel for how current MBPs compare to past MBPs for that kind of thing (i.e.: heat dissipation w/o damage, especially running closed). My main heavy work used to be 3D rendering, but that's relatively easy to off-load to the cloud or an internal crunching machine these days. So, while curious, I guess I could avoid that if need-be.
  • Chromebook ftw....Windows desktop for the heavy lifting Sent from the iMore App
  • Uh no to the Chromebook.
  • Good assessment of the “Pros” and Cons of the new design. But that is the problem with the new MacBook Pro: there are too many cons. Most Apple products are usually better than their predecessors in almost every way (“the greatest xxx that Apple have ever made"). However, there just seems to be too many downsides with this model. The need for dongles; lack of MagSafe; thin keyboard; limited RAM; and old CPUs are all off-putting. Having said that I am sure that it will be a fantastic bit of kit for the majority of people, and it looks like it is selling well (although I expect that is partly because of the pent-up demand). The Touch Bar has potential; the screen is lovely; and the super-fast storage should make far more difference to most real-world tasks than having the latest processor. Also the 13” looks great (the 15” looks a bit thin to me). But I was expecting so much more after such a long wait. Maybe it will be more appealing in a year or so, when USB-C is more common, and they are using the latest CPUs with (hopefully) 32Gb capability. But at the moment there are too many compromises for me. Plus it’s bloody expensive!
  • Can't fault them on the CPU's. That's intel's problem. I'd also take USB-C charging over magsafe. That all said, I'd rather wait as the previous MBP is simply the better buy for now. Although in this case, it's the one i own which I'd do all over again if I needed one now if that makes any
  • I agree that the CPUs and RAM limitation are Intel’s problem, but I miss the days when Apple got the latest CPUs before everyone else. I understand the technical reasons, but it feels wrong for Apple’s latest laptop to contain last year’s microarchitecture. However they did have control over the ports and, given the CPU limitations, should not have added to the complaints by being dictatorial about USB-C. If they had kept the MagSafe and at least one USB-A port alongside a few USB-C ports then they would have had more happy customers. The fact that you need a dongle to charge an iPhone 7 from a MacBook Pro is frankly ridiculous. I still think it’s a good laptop and it will probably be a great laptop in a year or so. Although I probably still won’t be able to afford it!
  • The iPhone 7 should have come with a USB-C cable in preparation for these new Macs, however I don't think a next generation MacBook Pro should contain last generation ports. A USB-A port on a late 2016 MacBook is just silly.
  • A USB-A port on a new laptop is not at all silly given that the vast majority of devices still use it, including the latest iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad etc. It may seem out of date in a few years time, but in the meantime the pragmatic thing to do was to include at least one of them. On the 15” in particular there are 4 ports, so it’s not a space issue and I’m sure that the majority of users would have preferred 3 USB-C and 1 USB-A port. And even in 3 or 4 years time there will undoubtedly be plenty of USB-A peripherals still around. I doubt that many users will ever be wishing they had a 4th USB-C port, especially as Thunderbolt allows daisy chaining. And the few power users that might want such a setup have probably been alienated by the RAM limitations. Apple are deliberately making things difficult for their customers, and completely ignoring their whole “it just works” philosophy. I’m sure they are doing it because they think that the ends justify the means, but that is rarely a good reason.
  • When the floppy drive was removed on the Mac, a lot of people still used it, same with the optical drive. Was it the right move to remove these things? Yes, because it pushed consumers and other companies forward to use something better. The main reason for putting only USB-C on the new Mac is to force manufacturers to start making USB-C devices. If Apple had still provided 1 USB-A port, manufacturers would know that they don't need to spend extra money to get USB-C devices out and would continue to just use USB-A, we don't want that. This is exactly the end justifying the means, and the end isn't that far away. It's not just Apple starting to use USB-C, some new smartphones and Windows laptops are using it too, I think in a year's time we'll see a lot of people using USB-C with USB-C accessories, and in 3-4 years time there will be hardly any USB-A peripherals round, except in businesses where using Windows XP is still acceptable.
  • The floppy and optical drives were a very different proposition for two reasons. Firstly they were physically much bigger so the saving in space could be used to the user’s benefit (rather than to benefit Apple’s view of the future and their sales of dongles). And secondly there was no halfway house: you either had the drive or you didn’t. That isn’t the case here where you can keep one USB-A port whilst still encouraging the industry to move forward (rather than dictatorially forcing it to move forward at the expense of hassle and extra cost for users). I think there will still be plenty of USB-A devices in 3 or 4 years time. My newest iPad is over 4 years old, so if I replaced it now then I am likely to still have a USB-A device in 4 years time. Likewise for people buying brand new iPhones and Apple Watches for most of 2017. It is crazy for Apple to take all the USB-A sockets off their laptops whilst they are still selling devices that use that port for charging. If they all used USB-C then I could understand the decision even if I didn't agree with it. However when all the Apple devices that you are likely to want to charge from your laptop still use USB-A, and will do for some time, then not including such a port on the laptop is ridiculous. Glad we agree on the processors though! :-)
  • I imagine future Apple devices, iPhones etc will come with a USB-C cable, why the iPhone 7 didn't is pretty confusing, but then again it's also confusing why the new MacBook Pro has a headphone jack, and also confusing as to why the iPhone has a Lightning port and not a USB-C port. Apple's definitely made some mistakes, that will hopefully be rectified in the future
  • No it isn’t Intels problem at all.
    I can ’t understand how Apple love to take all the accolades for a fast machine but when something is lacking it’s someone elses problem.
    Apple make their own processors. They could put them in the units. The problem of slow processors is owned by Apple. Look at the A10 processor, suddenly it’s Apple that make the fast, not the fab or anything else but Apple and their control of software and hardware right? If I can’t run the 100 in 9 seconds it’s not down to Nike giving me the wrong spikes. It’s ME not being fast enough, the spikes are there to complement me.
  • There is a big difference at being the best at implementing ARM’s processor designs for small devices and going up against Intel in the laptop business. Apple have made amazing progress with the A Series SoCs, but that class of processor is not yet ready for use in top of the range laptops. Maybe in the MacBook sometime soon, but probably not for many years in the MacBook Pro. I think you are being incredibly unfair to Apple’s chip design team, who have done a phenomenal job in a short space of time.
  • +1
  • the biggest problem is that apple does not looking for new customers and that is the younger generation. they need a laptop for school. most students will buy a chrombook and they are fine with it. iMessage was cool two years ago and now they use snapchat. people will step outside the apple ecosystem and get what they can afford and works for them. i am using a MacBook air which was 900$ and works for me. Is the MacBook really a PRO? with a graphic chip? i believe for regular use yes it is a good laptop but for that price? **** no! i believe apple is not interested in the mac line up anymore is all about iOS
  • Same here (re: MacBook Air currently), but it's as good as any Mac I've every had, aside from raw CPU/GPU power. But, I agree that Apple isn't focused on Pro and pro-apps any longer. They are chasing consumers. That's a mistake, IMO. They need to do BOTH. But, pie charts and daft leaders... what can I say? The biggest problem with Mac, though, isn't the hardware (or lack of), it's the OS and software. Apple has been just destroying the UI/UX on the software and pro-app front. THAT was the magic (and productivity gain) that got Apple where they are (combined with great hardware). Once that drops too far, it won't matter how nice the hardware is (or what it is).
  • Exactly, and why I'm reevaluating replacing Windows (and likely to start moving back in that direction). Seems like Microsoft is picking up where Apple dropped off.
  • Yes. I've been a Mac evangelist/advocate now for nearly 30 years. There was always such a productivity gain from using Macs, that even though I spent a lot of my professional time (IS/IT) using Windows and Unix, I always used Macs when possible and recommended them at many companies (when I did consulting). It's sad to see that changing, right at the moment that Apple could actually move into those markets (because of iOS success). I'm just not quite there on Windows yet. I was impressed with Win 10, as it was the smoothest install and setup I've ever experience for Windows, by a wide margin. But, the UI is still kind of unintuitive, and the mess seems to be lurking not too far below the surface. Also, it seems to have turned into a spyware machine, though I'm sure that can be disabled if one puts in the effort (I just haven't cared yet, as I just use it for testing purposes).
  • Chasing consumers can work in some areas. But not for a premium company whose core users championed their brand. You have to build things that excite these creatives or the ones who in turn build the cool apps. Or at the very least, give them a nod with an upper tier product. It doesn't have to make a required return. The return is making your most vocal, loyal users happy which trickles down. This is something Palm couldn't seem to understand either. That smartphone slab just never came to be.
  • Exactly. But, I honestly don't think the current leadership gets this, or thinks that far down the line. They seem to be looking at pie-charts (iOS... that big slice) and spreadsheets to make their decisions. That seems almost unbelievable to say (and I didn't believe it for a while either), but they demonstrate it over and over again each year.
  • They seem to be. And it's good to see others, even mac fans, start to get a bit tired of the "us" vs "them" mentality Apple has had going for awhile. The new iPhone rumors for next year sound great so far. Often, things can seem questionable until later as Apple usually is thinking a year or two ahead. Perhaps there's a direction they're going with MPB. But consistency with USB-C I hope is one (iOS devices). And an answer to that touch screen stuff. If Apple isn't going MacOS with it, then I hope they're trying to get iOS to be the answer. An iOS touchpad in future macs? Plug and play at the iMac with an iPad? Better Apple Pencil, etc. A MacBook with built in wacom like iOS pad would be pretty cool. From their comments, I'd think it would be limited to just that though and not much more. Not full blown iOS. Wouldn't mind seeing a graphics amplifier that could be used with USB-C for mac.
  • I'd say yes on the USB-C, if they hadn't gone Lightening on the iPhone. Now that they made that move, I don't see it switching to USB-C in the near future. That's kind of sad... though I wish they'd just have kept the 3.5mm. (I'll be safe for a while with an SE or 6s.) I don't like the touch-screen laptop thing, unless it were a true dual-purpose device (i.e., screen comes off). I could imagine something like an iPad/laptop where the screen mag-attaches or something, with an Ax processor in the screen. But, touch UI devices and desktop UI devices really are different animals for different uses. Trying to blend them too much (aside from data sharing, and commonality in certain UI aspects, for familiarity) is a UX mistake, IMO. I could see use for some kind of combo, especially with the Apple Pencil, though. I'm just not sure it has to be one device. It's probably going to be better as a laptop and iPad type combo, as each can be better designed for it's purpose, yet used together. Oh, and there already are 3rd party eGPUs. Whether Apple will make one, or go the route like the monitor, we'll have to wait and see. But, it's absolutely doable (and why I'm seriously considering a new MBP as my main machine).
  • It's definitely a UX mistake to try to blend the two. Touch interfaces require bigger icons which means less icons on screen. Google, Microsoft, and Apple all have guidelines for this, not to mention there's no right click on a touchscreen, so then you have to decide where you're going to put those UI elements as well. The only way macOS could work with a touchscreen would be if there was a completely separate UI for it, and that means all applications would need to be updated as well. That's a tremendous amount of work, and I just can't see it happening, nor do I think I want it to happen. The mouse cursor is made for accurate precision, allowing large screen sizes to contain a lot of information/UI elements that's easily accessible, which I think is needed for professionals
  • Touch screen = gimmick, not pro.
  • Not in a laptop or desktop orientation when you have a keyboard/mouse. And, agreed on the Touch Bar, but I think both are gimmicks.
  • Bingo! To pull it off effectively, you'd have to have devices that ran BOTH OSs or at least UI layers. They are two different UX cases (or should be!). Otherwise, you have a much less than optimal interface, and/or a kludge-job. That said, if Apple keeps forgetting all their hard-learned UI/UX standards, and UIs keep getting worse and worse, maybe at some point it won't matter. But, that won't mean it's a good thing or OK, it will just mean UX is dead.
  • I think my main concern would be the keyboard, though I've generally liked the move towards thinner (lower-travel) keys. I think I might still be fastest (or have been faster, when used to) those original Mac Extended II type keyboards, but the new thin ones are nearly as good (again, once used to them), and WAY, WAY more quiet and compact. So, I'm pretty sure I'll be fine with that. I don't use ports that much anymore when mobile, and will use a dock at the desk. That's easier than connecting all those ports separately. But, I hear the folks on all the adapters when they are needed - that's a pain. Maybe someone will come out with (if it doesn't already exist) a super-compact adapter with SD, USB-A, and Ethernet. I bet that would cover *most* needs in one adapter. And, as someone who does some 3D animation/rendering, I hear people on the RAM as well. But, wasn't the previous model max at 16GB too? So, it isn't like they went backwards. And, with SSD being so fast, it's unlikely all but the most heavy users would notice or have an issue. One article I saw, had a security guy trying every app he could think of, with projects open, and he didn't run out (including a couple of VMs). But, for sure, if you are using an app where the more RAM, the more results, more is always better. Anyway, I don't really see what the fuss is over these laptops - EITHER WAY. They are, IMO, certainly as Pro as the previous generation. But, there isn't anything much special about them either. The touch-bar is mildly interesting, but not that big of a deal. I suppose the touch-ID is the biggest thing, if you don't have an iDevice. The biggest attraction for me, is TB3, as eGPU will certainly be a solid reality for these (but, could be done with TB2 as well). It's a nice update and refresh. The worst part, is the price bump.
  • Such a positive review.. surprised (NOT). Anyway, can't wait to get my 15 inch delivered this week but Joanna and other non Apple fanboys got much more balanced reviews if you are on the fence.
  • I think this review is pretty balanced, each to their own I guess
  • The new prices are RIDICULOUSLY WAY TOO HIGH, Overpriced, thanks again Apple.
  • The cost is the price for advancement. Wide Color Gamut displays, Control strip, and wicked and I mean wicked fast SSD (3.1 GBps). The PC industry is at least a year behind these SSDs.
  • "For the last two weeks I've been working full-time on the new MacBook Pro 2016. For the first week, it was the 13-inch model without Touch Bar and Touch ID. For the second week, it was the 13-inch model with Touch Bar and Touch ID. This weekend, it was the 15-inch Model, also with Touch Bar and Touch ID." Isn't this just the dream job? Thanks for your thoughts RENE. I absolutely love the new Macbook Pros. If a device isn't controversial, then i hasn't been released by Apple. Cant wait to test out the new touch bar in the store and maybe, just maybe in my own home :D
  • You can always count on Rene for super in-depth reviews! Glad you enjoyed it :)
  • Cool article, nice it has no touch screen. It would consume dedicated memory and finances. With my current touchscreen laptop I feel I've purchased a laptop for an amount plus a tablet for an extra amount which are integrated together.
  • I appreciate Renee's perspective on this, probably more so than most of the "pros" reviewing this for other publications. It's a no-nonsense look at the hardware and features, with a positive outlook on the future.
  • +1
  • Much of this complaining about only 16GB seems ridiculous because really, it is a laptop. By necessity you are never going to push the kind of performance of a desktop. I'm sure Apple built a laptop that can run their software very well. Developer are going to have to write their software to work with what Apple sells, it's not like they have a choice. Much of the noise about having extra ram to improve performance is more about making up for the slow hardware found in most PCs and lower end Macs. Most PC, even with SSDs, are an order of magnitude slower than what comes in the new Mac. Apple is not selling a piece of hardware on it's own like Lenovo or HP. They are selling a system you pay for when you buy the hardware. It's a different paradigm than the PC space. where the only thing you can choose between machines is on specs. After all, it's not like Lenovo gives you a choice of OS, there's only one realistic option. That isi why Apple is doing so well, developers know what they have to work with, after all, they are using the same hardware to produce the software as the people using it, including he 16GB limit. IF you are about being cheap, Apple has never been your brand. They offer an excellent value, but never a 'bargain'. Most USB dongles are on Amazon for less than 20 bucks. Apple knows that most people who buy the Pro just want a bigger screen and so will subsidize the cost for the people who actually need it. So I see the new Pro as being subsidized by the masses for the benefit of the 'Pros'.
  • There is such a thing called a workstation laptop. They have existed for years. The point of them is to do the same type of tasks as a desktop at high performance levels. The point of a Workstation Laptop isn't to get 8 hour battery life off the charger, but to stand in for a desktop while being exceptionally portable. This means you can take your "work computer" home with you. It's kind of hard to be productive in all environments if you can chat on Slack about what you want to do, but can't actually run the applications because the Laptop doesn't meet the system requirements. Apple is completely ignorant of this market if they actually think users who buy these for "Pro" use (especially in the Media Creation/Editing sense) care all that much about whether or not they're going to get amazing battery life. And that's not to mention the other damning things about these machines, like them skimping on weak Radeon Mobile graphics, instead of going with clearly superior Nvidia offerings. Secondly, any Laptop in the same price class as a MacBook is going to be using the same SSD tech. This has been the case for the past couple of years. Where have you been? Value is not something Apple's computers have ever offered. They have always been terrible "value." The issue is that the value is now at an all time low, to the point that it's becoming hard even for fanboys to justify. The fact that Renee has to constantly put out "excuse" posts for Apple's hardware speaks for itself. Go to Windows Central and see how many of these types of posts you see popping up there for Surface Pro, Surface Book, or Surface Studio. Almost none. The hardware speaks for itself, in the price brackets where they were placed. iPad Pro vs. Surface Pro 4
    MacBook Pro vs. Surface Book
    High End iMacs vs. Surface Book Apple's hardware is starting to look incredibly dated, and their software even more so.
  • A "workstation laptop" as you call it, is a desktop PC shoehorned into a laptop casing. This doesn't just result in terrible battery life, but excess heat (which can lead to overheating among other hardware problems), and a heavy bulky laptop. That's not Apple's definition of a laptop, and it's not my definition either. A Desktop PC is what you want in this scenario, why would you want a laptop that you're going to have to plug into a wall in about an hour? What makes that any difference from a Desktop PC, which you could unplug, move and plug in somewhere else?
  • "instead of going with clearly superior Nvidia offerings." Nvidia only has a card that has that has 4 channels for video. The MacBook Pro need 6 channels because it takes 2 channels to drive 1 5K display. The MacBook Pro needed to drive 2 5K monitors and the MacBook Pro's own screen. That means you need 5 channels and hence a Radeon.
  • There is a famous security guy who did a comprehensive test, by launching (at the same time) nearly every 'pro' type app he could find (with some big projects loaded), including a couple of VMs. He *finally* got it to push into virtual memory, but didn't notice much performance hit. He concluded that aside from a couple of very specific use-cases, 16GB & ultra-fast SSD is plenty. (I'd normally take the time to look for a link, if the guy weren't such a jerk. I've promoted his content a LOT, but he blocked me due to not agreeing w/ my political views recently.)
  • +1
  • Good review! But this statement proves Rene is completely drinking the Kool-Aid: "I've had to briefly use dongles with every MacBook Pro upgrade since… forever… or firewire… or whatever. I"m fine with it. I can always get rid of them when I no longer need them, but I can't retrofit the new screaming fast port into the old super slow port once I'm done with it." Apple has been widely criticized, and rightfully so, for requiring so many dongles, yet Rene is fine with buying expensive dongles and having to carry them everywhere? Only someone in complete denial could really write that. Apple could charge 3 times the price and Rene would find a way to love it. He should just go work for Apple already. He's basically doing it now. He's wants them to like him too much and it clouds his judgement. iMore is a marketing wing of Apple at this point. The new MBP is better in some ways, but Apple's obsession with thin and light has gone too far. We need ports. Just imagine if they made a TV that required a dongle for every connection. People would be rightly outraged.
  • You needed ports and Apple gave you ports. USB-C ones that are capable of doing video, audio, data transfer, charging… Adapters are only temporary, and as Rene rightly said, this has happened in the past and it worked for Apple, helping push technology forward. History repeats itself, and that includes people shouting at the sky every time something happens that has happened in the past several times…
  • Adapters may have been used in the past, but I can't remember a time when Apple seemed so fragmented. We used to have a 30-pin connector and a MagSafe connector. Now we have, MagSafe, MagSafe 2, 30-pin, Lightning, and USB-C. That's just for power. All those connectors are still used by the masses every day. If you buy a new MacBook Pro and an iPhone 7 you can't charge your phone without buying an additional adapter. In addition, you need to sets of headphones. OR, you will need to purchase BT headphones. There is no reason they had to omit every other port. They could have placed the USB-C along side other ports during the transition. None of this would be necessary without Apple's obsession with thin. They could have built a slightly larger body to accommodate additional ports, or a better keyboard, or battery, or whatever. These products are now pursuing design over function. The average consumer may not care, but Pros care. Apple is clearly leaving the pros behind. The latest outcry is very loud and very obvious. The pros will have to go elsewhere.
  • I don't think it's just an obsession with thinness, I can understand why Apple wouldn't want to put outdated ports on a Mac when we're nearly in 2017, technology has to move forward at some point, we can't just sit in the same place forever. Apple did go wrong on not using USB-C for the iPhone instead of Lightning. If they had used USB-C, then new Macs and new iPhones would charge the same way, and could also take the same pair of earphones. So you're right in saying that there is fragmentation at least in terms of the iPhone continuing to use Lightning. MagSafe (1) isn't on any of the new Macs and the 30-pin hasn't been used since the iPhone 4S, so they're not really in the fragmentation list.
  • Why would they make a keyboard with so much less travel unless they were trying to make it thin? And why is the thinness stressed in every single keynote about the new products. At some point, it's too thin. They're going for design over function. Consumers probably don't care, but pros do. Apple is clearly ditching the pros. Not updating the Mac Pro in 3 years is the clearest evidence of that.
  • I would also note that Apple has never abandoned all ports like this. When Thunderbolt came out, they put a TB port along side Firewire and USB. Apple used to make things easier, not harder. We're in fragmented dongle land and it's sad.
  • Fragmented dongle land is only temporary, you'll be glad in a year's time when there's an abundance of USB-C devices/accessories. As for the keyboard, that probably was for thinness, but Apple have obviously tested this with people and they thought it was fine. The keyboard generally seems to have mixed opinions, so to say it's bad or worse, is simply a matter of opinion
  • Can you please stop calling them "legacy ports"!? When 95% of accessories out there (excluding 'dongles' and 'adaptors') don't use USB-C, they aren't 'legacy' ... they are industry standards. Apple is trying to ignore this.
  • No doubt! That's like the 3.5mm jack being 'legacy' baloney.
    While I have no problem with the new MBP, port-wise, I can certainly see the complaint.... and taking issue with such an idiotic response.
    Clearly, there were tradeoffs, and that's the direction they went. Own up to it, but don't make stupid excuses.
  • The 3.5mm jack is legacy. It's still on the new MacBook Pro, but it won't be eventually.
  • It isn't legacy if it is the standard connector for what it does in an industry. And, what is replacing it would have to be superior in some way. (It would be like if Ford brought out a new car with a joystick replacing the steering wheel, and then called the steering wheel 'legacy'. 'Interesting' marketing, but baloney.)
  • What's replacing it, is superior. The 3.5mm jack is an audio-only port, whereas a digital port can offer new things for headphones, one person suggested a thermal sensor, for example. This information could only be picked up by a digital port, not possible with the headphone jack. The fact that you could use USB-C for this is also a benefit, as it means less types of cables.
  • No, what's replacing it has already been there... and most people used the 3.5mm. The D/A has to happen somewhere. Moving it to a cheap adapter just lowered the quality (even if only slightly). Sure, it's possible to make better quality external D/A & amp, but that possibility existed on previous models as well. Plus, there's a whole bunch of equipment already available for the 3.5mm that will now need to be replaced, including accessibility equipment. If they had gone USB-C, then at least there would be the advantage of moving to a newer universal standard (though not an audio one). I think they (Apple) thinks the future is wireless, with the adapter just being an interim move. The problems with this are many, including very possible health concerns.
  • Yes it's already been there, but have you seen hardware manufacturers making headphones for the port? No. People and companies will continue to use outdated ports if they're available, if the floppy drive hadn't been removed people would still put things on floppies, even if a CD drive is available. The same logic applies here. To use the superior port, the old one has to be removed, that's just the way it is. And what in god's name "health concerns" are there with wireless? Are you one of these people that think wireless signals give you cancer?
  • Yes, there have been hardware manufacturers making Lightening headphone amps. But, people will continue to use standard ports, yes, if they aren' t forced to use proprietary ones. No, when the floppy was removed, hardly anyone was using it anymore.... and optical storage was clearly superior (or other USB based devices, easily added). Also, the Internet made it less necessary to have a cheap distribution method, as people started downloading software, drivers, etc. But, given the D/A in an iPhone vs the one in the adapter, it's not superior. Sure, a superior one can be built, at a cost. It's also not as good of a physical connection, for the way people often use headphones (i.e. device in pocket). re: health concerns - We don't know. cf. epigenetics
    What we do know, is that RF has an impact on our cells, but what was previously studied was more direct cell damage, not impact on cell behavior or interaction. It is also very distance dependent (for strength) and this is right in your ear. It's one thing to have one in your ear for short periods of time while taking a call (and safer than holding the phone to your head), but quite another to spend many hours each day. If you don't think there's potentially an issue, then sorry, you're simply not up to speed on modern science.
  • When the floppy drive was removed in terms of the Mac, a lot of people were annoyed about it, there were still a lot of people using it. The good thing is that people can still use their existing devices with the USB-C ports, they just need adapters (for now). As is in the name "adapters", it's for adapting to the new. We can't stay in one place with technology just because people are still using the current ports. As for the health concerns, either way, RF is already pretty much everywhere, having Apple go to doing more things wireless isn't going to make much of a difference with all of the rest of things wireless that are around.
  • re: floppy - I just don't recall anyone I know missing the floppy (aside from some media excitement to grab headlines, or by PC folks). And, as I noted, it was being replaced by superior things/methods. re: RF- it's all (or mostly) about signal strength and distance. If my cell phone is laying on the desk a few feet away, sure, I'm being exposed to RF. Or, my WiFi router/devices are putting out RF. Or, the TV/radio signals. But, that's quite different than sticking a transmitter in your ear. You're going to get far more that way, if you do so, than the stuff we can't (as you pointed out) control (aside from constructing a Faraday cage and living in it). The problem with all the 'RF is safe' stuff is that it is looking at fairly short-term studies, with less exposure, and old understandings of what constitutes cell-damage/impact. We now know (or are just beginning to discover) how genetics really work (i.e.: epigenetics). You don't have to mutate the genes or destroy them, to have an impact. Genes are more like little computers, that take their input in many ways, where the outcome will be different depending on the inputs. tl;dr... is RF safe? We have no clue! So, it would be prudent to be a bit cautious and not just wear/stick the stuff on your bodies for long periods of time, and try to maximize distance when possible.
  • *this isn't in order and not a response to SteveW* I'm 4 months late to the conversation but I've spent those four months using the iPhone 7+, as an avid music listener and industry employee... and I gotta say, I'm glad I didn't base my decision to buy it based on ignorance like this
    The DAC, being external is always going to sound better due to the fact it's not buried amongst radios, SoCs, batteries, and sensors of a ½ dozen measurements! That's a noisy environment and sound is immediately improved by using an external DAC, even a $20 USB Behringer DAC with your MacBook BLOWS the internal headphone Amp's sound quality AWAY!
    Nothing need to 'change' as you eluded to, Apple continues to sell the $9 Lightning to ⅛"/'mini'/3.5mm female headphone jack... accepting any, every and all 'male equipped' "Legacy Equipment"
    ⅛" jack is 60 years old, built to replace its ¼" older sibling.... a hundred year old telecom switching analog jack.
    Like AM/FM tuners and MM Phono pre-amps, the 'headphone jack/amp' built in to today's electronic equipment is an afterthought, and incomparable to the sound quality of ANY external digital to analog conversion (DAC).
    I own a few sets of 'cans' and simply spent the $27, one came with the phone and plugged the 2" dongle into each of my four sets of headphones, set n forget. 'Accessibility equipment' mandating replacement? Any chance of enlightenment?
  • By definition, they are legacy ports. They're not standard anymore as they've been replaced by the upgraded standard which is USB-C. Of course 95% of accessories currently don't use USB-C, it's a new standard, that's why adapters exist until the accessories start moving over to USB-C, which won't be long. Apple aren't trying to ignore this, you are trying to ignore the fact that USB-C is now the standard and that the legacy ports are, well, legacy…
  • Where have you seen that USB-C is any kind of new standard in the audio industry? It's a digital port... audio is analog.
    (Edit: sorry, I thought your comment was part of a thread about the 3.5mm.)
    Yes, going to USB-C is generally good, but an adapter pain for people needing the various individual ports. For example, it's not like Ethernet is going away to be replaced by USB-C.
  • Like I said, adapters are temporary, they're a pain at the moment but they won't be needed for too long. The idea of using the digital port is that it allows digital features on headphones/earphones, in addition to the analog audio, as well as unifying the ports which is the main idea of having USB-C
  • Note... I'm not against all sorts of USB-C audio devices coming out. However, I highly doubt that Apple's move (and a few others following) are going to quickly switch the entire audio industry over from analog to digital connections. Also, it has to get converted somewhere anyway, so IMO, I'd rather often have that done with quality components of the particular device, and then a simple, dumb, wire/speakers to my ears.
  • lol @ "new standard"
  • Just because something is a standard doesn't mean it will last forever, standards have to get updated too, you know? And having an old standard next to a new standard defeats the purpose of standards altogether
  • As 'USB' has been now for 20 years, usb 1.1, 2.0, 3.0, and Thunderbolt's inter-compatibility with USB 3.1/USB C is, and will be 'a standard'
    Irrelevant it's longevity, it's here and it's becoming ubiquitous on new desk and laptops, phones and third parties have been busy keeping up with new USB C thumb drives, USB and Thunderbolt docks...each incorporating several, if not every port of legacy you find yourself missing. It's four months old and I'm seeing USB C and TB3 devices everywhere! There's an entire end display at my local Walmart with USB C drives, adapters and 'dongles'. It's also a very cool incorporation of the technology in the MacBook Pro, able to deliver or accept power, light up a 5K display and daisy chain your NAS, card readers, game controllers, Ethernet while 'backwards' charging of your laptop! One cable, upside down, right side up, it don't matter none;) - a lot less broken cables and their host inputs, typically a much pricier fix
  • So nice looking. Really pleased with the update. Sent from the iMore App
  • You say they're going targeting more of the mainstream with this, but I really don't see it.
    The mainstream Apple consumer has an iPhone with a cord that won't connect to this for charging..
    They have wired headphones. They have standard (not legacy) USB devices and cords.
    The mainstream definitely doesn't have the premium money required to buy into the Apple ecosystem. This is a specialized piece of equipment, targeted at a rather narrow portion of the population (richer, tech savvy people who want the newest, even if its not the greatest)
  • To be fair, I think it's also use-case. My guess is that most Pros use these at their desk, docked, and then also mobile, w/o typically needing the ports. For example, I might carry an USB-C, SD, or Ethernet adapter if I think I might need it, but 95% of my laptop usage (when not docked) isn't using ports anymore.
    (But, as I said above, I get the complaint for those who do.) As for price... if you can afford a $1500-$3000 laptop, an extra $20 for an adapter isn't that big of a deal. It's more the inconvenience of it. On the phone, though, most people I've ever asked do use the 3.5mm jack on a fairly regular basis. But, yes, calling these 'legacy' ports is silly.
  • If there's a newer version of a port which works, then the older version is a legacy ports, so yes, they are legacy ports by definition
  • It's not a newer version of the port though, it's a whole different animal (and a proprietary and non-widely used one, at that). USB -> USB 2 -> USB 3 (makes the previous two legacy) standard audio jack -> odd digital connector which also includes a signal that can be converted to standard audio jack (not legacy)
  • USB-C is not proprietary, Lightning is though. The audio jack should be replaced with USB-C, as explained here: I don't agree with Apple's decision to use Lightning to replace the headphone jack, but I do agree with Apple's decision to get rid of it in order to be replaced
  • Yes, sorry, my example was probably a bit confusing. I mixed the talk between proprietary and legacy. I also don't think Apple should have gone Lightening. But, my point is that 3.5mm isn't legacy, as there is nothing newer/better that's replacing it. USB-C is a whole different thing, with plus/minus, and it doesn't make 3.5mm legacy.
  • I'm a designer, photographer, and sometimes developer who's always used Apple products for my work. Yes, I, and most of those like me, typically do use a MBP docked at a desk. But man do we love peripheral devices (my iMac has to have a USB3 adapter to double the number of ports - and face them to the front because facing the back is stupid - to give an idea of how many ports can be used). I would literally have to spend half a grand on dongles. But really it's not even about the money .. it's the sheer inconvenience. It's knowing that this company is inconveniencing me on purpose that doubles my annoyance with the inconvenience. I'm currently on location waiting for a client with my old MBP and I'm using 2 usb and a thunderbolt port. But what really, really, really gets me .. is the lack of power. MacPro ... sucks. My iMac is basically a giant notebook folded over on its self. The new MBP is using an old processor, will undoubtedly overheat and slow down just like its predecessor when doing arduous tasks. For the first time ever, we are seriously considering moving to PC's to regain power - regain the ability to fix and mod our own machines... I can't replace the HDD? That alone is likely to be a deal killer for me.. and retain the ports. "Legacy" ports.. smh .. really?
  • Yes, I hear you. Some mobile uses will now be inconvenienced by USB-C. (ex: my 3D program uses a security dongle... so I'd need an adapter to use that while mobile). But, I don't typically use a whole lot of devices while mobile, and hopefully USB-C versions of those things will eventually be available. However, with laptops, are the PC ones really that far ahead in terms of power? They certainly are on price in some cases, but I think putting too much power in a laptop is a recipe for disaster. In that regard, I like the new MBPs, with the ability to add fast storage, GPUs, etc externally (eventually, hopefully smoothly... the eGPUs have a way to go!). But, I like that route for a laptop. Regarding desktops though, I agree. My next desktop will probably be a Hackintosh or Windows box, if Apple doesn't start shaping up. And, yes, the non-replaceable SSD in the new MBPs is just lame. I tend to keep and use laptops for many years, especially given how expensive they are. I'd be really ticked off if after 4 or 5 years, I have to do a mother-board replacement because the SSD reached it's use limit. (I think the base 13" MBP still has replaceable SSD, which is what I'll be getting, if I do.)
  • "The mainstream Apple consumer has an iPhone with a cord that won't connect to this for charging." This is a fair complaint, I don't understand why Apple didn't ship the iPhone with a USB-C cable in preparation for these new Macs. "They have wired headphones." I have no idea what this has got to do with anything, but you can still connect your wired headphones to the new MacBook Pro. "They have standard (not legacy) USB devices and cords." Which is why adapters exist, they're only temporary, the shift to USB-C will come soon. Regardless of how you try and word it, by definition those "standard" ports are not standard anymore, they're legacy by definition because they've been replaced by an upgraded standard. "The mainstream definitely doesn't have the premium money required to buy into the Apple ecosystem." This is true, albeit the Apple laptops were expensive before, but the prices now are ridiculous and stop potential buyers who were just about able to afford the old price.
  • Why are all the pictures in this review so grainy? They look like a 3 year old phone took them..
  • I think the touch bar is a great innovation, as is the fingerprint reader as a means of authentication, just waiting for the internet to adapt to it. If we analyze the laptop market in general, the touch bar is certainly a differentiating element and a way forward.
  • My 15" shipped from China today. Excited for the machine overall, though nervous I'm going to hate typing on the keyboard. Fingers crossed!
  • Rene’s MBP comments sounded familiar. Apple is following the same product playbook used to hose their SW products. Rene, the MBP has been iWorked!
    My gig doing marketing sales at a small company also means DIY presentations, graphics reports & web sites. When iWork came out, it was a sweet spot semi-pro features and ease of use. I could do almost everything I needed with it.
    Then what did Apple do? First, iWeb was killed for no good reason. Then in 2013 Apple’s iWork upgrade was actually a downgrade, REMOVING key features for iOS and Web compatibility. Lost features were to be added back later. Sure. The current OSX version STILL misses key features. Each day I boot up iWork 09 and curse the SW managers.
    What about iWork on iOS or Web? OK, but only compatible with OSX on a lowest common denominator way, especially with fonts.
    This year a new feature was added -- collaboration. Recall like many Mac users, I am a one-person department. Wonderful. I will be collaborating with friends for suggestions for an iWork replacement. Can’t wait any longer.
  • Rene’s MBP comments sounded familiar. Apple is following the same playbook used to hose their SW products. Rene, the MBP has been iWorked!
    My gig doing marketing sales at a small company also means DIY presentations, graphics reports & web sites. When iWork came out, it was a sweet spot semi-pro features and ease of use. I could do almost everything I needed with it.
    Then what did Apple do? First, iWeb was killed for no good reason. Then in 2013 Apple’s iWork upgrade was actually a downgrade, REMOVING key features for iOS and Web compatibility. Lost features were to be added back later. Sure. The current OSX version STILL misses key features. Each day I boot up iWork 09 and curse the SW managers.
    What about iWork on iOS or Web? OK, but only compatible with OSX on a lowest common denominator way, especially with fonts.
    This year a new feature was added -- collaboration. Recall like many Mac users, I am a one-person DIY department. Wonderful. I will be collaborating with friends for suggestions for an iWork replacement. Can’t wait any longer.
  • iWeb had its fair share of issues which you can read about on the Wikipedia page. Not to mention websites are becoming more and more dynamic, so it's harder to do these things with a WYSIWYG editor. There are however other WYSIWYG editors out there with far more flexibility and still get updated. As for collaboration that's an incredibly useful feature for me. I used to use Google's online office suite for this and it worked really well. I've not tested Apple's one yet but I'm excited to see how it works
  • I would like one of the touch bar / Touch ID MBPs. Very nice but very expensive unfortunately. Well I guess they are not for people like me. Sent from the iMore App
  • So Rene ? Lachine , Pointe Claire on the Lakeshore road?
    I agree about the new bar... i'm get older & remembering all the short cuts is tougher & it was never my best suit even even back in the day doing 24/7 Photoshop projects Sent from the iMore App
  • One of my friends just brought up a really good point about the 15". The SSD isn't replaceable or upgradable. IMO, that's a HUGE problem for a Pro product that most people keep for like 6 or 7 years. So, you spend like $3k+ and then in a few years, have to spend $1k+ with a mother board replacement?
  • Thanks, good, comprehensive review, as always. I am not going to upgrade at this point since I broke down and purchased the new MacBook earlier this year. 'Course that means I am not one who needs max RAM and performance. I feel for those that are disappointed but I still think the new MacBook Pros will fit for most people and I hope critics give the Touch Bar a try before condemning it outright. I have used touch screen PCs and never got used to taking my hands off the keyboard to select on the screen. At this point, I agree with Apple's approach with the Touch Bar. Hope to try it out soon.
  • "NOT FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT: High end graphics." A Radeon Pro 460 with 4GB memory providing direct support of 2 x external 5K monitors plus the built in display. Well I guess different people have different definitions of High End.
  • Why they did not add the extension cord, I do not get either. Sometimes when in a coffee shop, or other place, the charging cord is not long enough to reach a plug. I have not upgraded since mid 2012, so looking forward to a new MacBook Pro. Extra cables no problem for me. Best to get while on sale. Sent from the iMore App
  • "...It's got SSD so fast you might just mistake it for RAM....They've got a 16 GB memory limit that, while mitigated by compression and SSD speed, won't prove enough for the most demanding professionals...." So rather than guesswork, why not provide some proper benchmarking of paging performance. This SSD architecture is sufficiently proprietary that you can't guess what tricks they may have pulled specifically to speed paging performance.
  • "Touch screens are a known quantity." Great on a tablet, crap on a notebook / PC 'til a get transparent hands.. "A year from now, they'll be just exactly the same: Just as bad on a notebook / PC.
  • Useless
  • To be honest I would personally like to put take on the new MacBook from experience. I can't see how a touch screen on a laptop would work. I think it's a gimmick
  • Rene, you mentioned Logic Pro. That is basically the reason I own a MacBook Pro. I was wondering two things. Have you heard anything about updates for the app to include the touch bar? Have you ever tried Logic on a 12" MacBook? If so, was that as bad as I fear? Thanks. Sent from the iMore App
  • Early next year
  • Thanks Sent from the iMore App
  • Thanks for this great review. I've been using the new MacBook Pro 15" for about a week now and I have to give a shout out to the keyboard. I know that some people don't like it, but I love it so much I look forward to typing. It feels solid, substantial, smooth, and accurate as opposed to the mushy and wobbly feel of last generation. I can type much faster with this keyboard. I've found that I don't have to lift my fingers as high off the keys when moving around and they can glide along the surface of the keyboard with ease. I also don't have to push as hard to get a response - I guess some call that "travel"? I have also heard reviewers say the keyboard has a loud click. When I lift my fingers high off the key and pound on it, it does have a distinctive click, but when my fingers are close to the key it hardly makes a sound. Either way, it doesn't bother me. The clicks are kind of pleasant. Combined with the touch bar, the interface for this MB Pro is a new level of control. The one issue I've had is that I sometimes accidentally activate the escape key when hovering my left hand over the left speaker grill before pushing some of the buttons on the touch bar. Otherwise, I appreciate the care and nuance that went into this forward thinking layout.
  • How superior is the TouchBar version? Which model should I get?
  • I would highly recommend with the touchbar it makes simple tasks much more quicker especially in safari, word ect.
  • Great review Imore, just received my 2016 13inch MacBook Pro with touchbar yesterday and it is beautiful love the new second generation of the butterfly keyboard:)>
  • I'm confused and I have read your review, Rene, twice through
    I understand that you spent a week with each model, the two 13s and the 15" models. But, and I could have missed it... did you mention the specs on the 15" model?
    I'm curious as to your decision to go with the 13" (albeit 'maxed out') - as, like me, I seem to remember that your choice has been the larger (17" when available) of the available options - the 15" your weapon of choice, until now, correct? Or did I dream that up? Lol, I bought the original 2012 15" rMBP (2.7 GHz, 16GB RAM, 768 GB SSD, 650m/Intel 4000) and it's still purring along like the day I bought it... 6 months after purchasing, my LG display was 'ghosting' and quickly replaced by Apple, I ended up w/Samsung on the second and haven't had any other issues or 'slowdowns', 'peeling' of anti glare coating or the 650m issues.
    I was Christmas shopping late December, 2015 @ Best Buy, where sales in the Apple department were incredible, 200 off 13", $300 off 15"/27" iMacs. As well, any working Mac traded in was good for (up to) $200 - and w/a 2007 white MacBook that fired up plugged in (bad battery) - so $500 and another $100 'spend over a thousand' BB Gift Card included, I just asked whether they carried the BTO Cinfig w/2.8GHz/16GB/1TB/AMD 370 & IrisPro models ($3,199 on and the usual retail price) -- oh oh -- he had one, I bought it and couldn't be happier. Same amazing display, plethora of ports. Faster read/write and the force touch trackpad, all amazing updates. I'd been waiting to replace the 2012 w/the 2016 when I made the buy but I'm cool today with that decision. However, the 2012 was passed on to my wife who's rarely using the laptop w/iPad Pro being so capable --- she's got both a project upcoming and she'll be using her MacBook Pro, whether it be the '12 15" or a new TouchBar equipped model.... namely the 13" as Adobe's CC suite resides only on my MacBook Pro, she rarely uses anything taxing other than an occasional, short 1080p FCPX project.
    I've been considering the 13" but it's limit of 8GB RAM is a bit concerning for a $2,000 laptop in 2017 -- but I am very familiar with macOS, memory compression and the speeds of the PCIe SSDs Within if paging is necessary and with her workflow considered... I'm sure 8GB will be fine for some time. I guess I'm just a bit paranoid seeing programs/software/games now requiring 8GB+ of RAM and I'd rather wait out the 2017 'updates', see if the 13's allowed the option for 16GB ...
    ...but the question is still something I'm wondering about; your choice to drop down to the 13" - and whether you're done w/quad core and dGPU, 15" heavier models when you're capable of making due w/the performance now inside the smaller models...