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The New Macbook Pros (and Old Apple Problem)

Apple's Macbook Pro 2016By now you may have heard the Apple has announced new iterations of the Macbook Pro laptop line. These new models are causing a bit of a shitstorm for Apple on a number of fronts. The new laptop models include a touchbar, USB-C ports, a thinner design and various updated hardware parts. These changes have also removed important ports and functions under the guise of an “upgrade”. As a current Macbook model user, I have some thoughts about this.

There are some that say “Hey, the Macbook doesn’t need more than 16 GB of RAM”. To that, I simply say that they’re missing the point. Perhaps any particular machine could get by on that much RAM and there would be no issues. Surely the faster and updated CPU, chipset, and RAM itself is good enough also. After all, Apple  makes a great, fast package. The trouble is that specifications of computer are always more than sum-of-parts. If you plan to use this computer for desktop virtualization with something like VirtualBox or VMWare Fusion, each one of your VMs is going to need RAM. My current mid-2015 Macbook has 16 GB of RAM, so how would I justify putting $2,000+ for a non-upgrade here?

The touchbar is another interesting change. My feeling about it is decidedly mixed. I understand where Apple is with regards to touch on these laptops. Unless the device can be tilted 45 degrees or flat, there is no reason to offer touch on the screen. Apple’s been right about avoiding the nonsense of swivel laptop touch. But, again, they can’t just add; something had to go. So we lose the function keys. As a person who uses the function keys often for Windows-based tools (either in a VM or remotely), I don’t expect the touchbar to immediately switch and offer function keys, so now – again – an upgrade becomes a downgrade. My current Macbook (at least) doesn’t stop me from doing this, so how would I justify putting $2,000+ for a non-upgrade here?

Let’s get to the USB-C obsession Apple seems to have. They’re “Pushing the industry forward” by forcing new users into using this (and dongles for every sort of port you need). I get the idea of pushing things forward, but this is absolutely bonkers stupid on Apple’s part. They kill the MagSafe power connector in the process. So, now someone bumps into my power cord and my computer goes flying (It’s happened more times than you think). No matter what connecter you bring into the mix or what “future” you love, a USB-C cable firmly attached to this laptop takes us BACK in time. Back to when we could all look down at shitty PC laptops for not thinking of that. No more, so how would I justify putting $2,000+ for a non-upgrade here?

I won’t go further and mention the insanity of dongles or (as many others have pointed out) that the new Macbook can’t even charge a goddam iPhone 7 out-of-the-box. Apple is selling these things well right now, but I have to imagine reality is going to hit their bottom-line soon and they’ll wake up. This is still a computer I recommend as “the best” for users, but I’ve begun to seriously question this. Oh, and I’m not upgrading that thing. Let’s hope they wake up for future models.