TL;DR: If you own the previous version of the MacBook Pro, you should probably not upgrade to apple’s MacBook Pro 2016.
Today Apple released new MacBooks. I have to pause here for a moment of silence, that’s how shocked I am after watching the event.
Let’s start by listing all the things that went wrong:
- No MagSafe: You now have to buy a $35 Griffin cable that implements a USB-C to MagSafe mechanism if you (or your wife, or kids) sometimes trip the power cable and you don’t want your super expensive (and easily denting) laptop to end up on the floor.
- The GPU has two problems when you try to do 4K gaming (you do have a Retina display after all):
- VRAM maxes out at 4GB and you have to add $100 to jump from those standard 2GB to 4GB. This is horrible for gamers / pro 3D users.
- It’s an AMD GPU which with only 4GB VRAM isn’t as fast as an nVidia GPU with similar VRAM because of how the AMD driver manages memory. We’re paying so much for a laptop, yet we get this inferior AMD GPU.
- The maximum system RAM is 16GB. If this laptop is for Pro users, it needs to support 32GB of RAM or at least 24GB. I want to run multiple virtual machines to simulate complex systems, 16GB simply isn’t enough.
- They dropped the card reader which is really annoying for photographers who now have to carry yet another device.
- Performance is only marginally better. It’s been 500+ days since this laptop’s last iteration, and all you get is a barely 2x speed increase.
- No HDMI port: Gone are the days of simply hooking up your laptop to a projector. We’ve barely gotten used to switching from VGA to HDMI, and now that’s gone too. Yet another dongle business uses need to lug around for presentations. And your previous Thunderbolt -> VGA or Thunderbolt -> Ethernet dongles are now obsolete.
Here’s what I really wanted and hoped would happen:
- Latest CPU technology
- Latest and fastest nVidia GPU + at least 8GB NVRAM
- Don’t bloody touch the MagSafe adapter you twats!
- Better materials for the Unibody that won’t dent/bend/scratch!
So yeah, If you really want the beloved MagSafe functionality back, you’ll have to shell out those extra $35.
And you want to do gaming, you say? Well, f*ck you – Go buy a gaming PC Laptop like Alienware or Razer. They have nVidia chips, and you can actually set your games to the highest quality and get decent FPS. But if you own a Mac, you’re probably not serious about gaming anyway.
My god, it’s full of USB-C!
Apple even had a slide showing all the stuff you can plug into a USB-C port, but what they neglected to say is how expensive all those dongles are, and how much they will add to the bottom line of an already super expensive laptop. It’s literally all USB-C ports and one audio jack.
They kill the Audio jack on the iPhone 7, but it’s still there on the MacBook. You can’t take your new Lightning earpods and plug them into your new MacBook. You need to buy a new USB-C to Lightning dongle (not bundled with your laptop nor with your iPhone 7).
Of course, as witnessed with the iPhone 7 which stupidly has no standard headphone jack (and is a big F*ck you to consumers around the planet), Apple simply wants us to all switch to Wireless Headphones (and hopefully to their new wireless ear pods).
But how much is it, really?
TL;DR: It’s bloody expensive!
Let’s say you want to leverage a Thunderbolt 2 device? You need this Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbold 2 adapter which will set you back $49.
You need just regular USB you say? to hook up one of your many old storage devices? You need this Thunderbolt 3 to USB adapter which will set you back $19.
How about simply charging your wireless mouse, or wireless keyboard, or your iPhone 5/6/7? You need this USB-C to Lightning cable which will set you back $25!
You want to connect to an HDMI device? You’ll need this USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter which will set you back $69!
Or maybe it’s a VGA device you need to hook up? You’ll need this USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter which will also set you back $69.
If you owned the previous version of the MacBook Pro you may have a bunch of devices that rely on those (now obsolete) port types. All together, you’ll have to shell out $231 before tax for all the dongles above.
It doesn’t end there. I sometimes need to connect to an ethernet network, and I need this Belkin USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter which costs $34.95. So for me the total cost of adapters would be $266 before tax. And of course it’s a bunch of adapters that I need to carry around, which adds more weight to my already heavy bag.
Wait: Is it really all bad?
Well, it’s a bit faster. But not that much faster if you own the previous version of the MacBook Pro. If you do own the previous version, my recommendation is to wait for the next model, or wait for a refresh that offers faster CPU and GPU.
The other stuff is “nice” but simply not enough; The previous retina display was already bright enough and sharp enough for even the most demanding graphic designers. The previous SSD storage was fast enough as well. And finally, no audiophile really listened to music with the MBP’s internal speakers.
That sweet Touch Bar though…?
Yah, The Touch Bar is kinda cool, but how much does it really help a laptop user? I don’t think it helps you much, overall, and I think a lot of people will come to realize it’s mostly a gimmick. Our standard mode of operation with a computer is to look at the screen while typing. This is what I’m doing literally right now. I don’t want to have to look down at yet another screen.
Touch Bar vs. Accessibility…? O_o
The problem: Apple opens up the event with a touching video about accessibility, and then in the same event they proceed to unveil the Touch Bar which requires you to see what you’re doing. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose entirely?
And what about those of us that elevate our laptops on a stand and use a wireless keyboard to prevent back pain? Is Apple going to unveil a wireless keyboard with a Touch Bar? Remains to be seen.