I’ll bet you didn’t know this, but Apple has been lying to you all along about the MacBook Pro. You see, according to a certain blogger that shall not be identified here, it’s not really a “Pro” machine. Besides, using the word “Pro” is just an old fashioned cliche, and maybe Apple should stop identifying its most expensive laptop that way.
Why? Well, because Apple has allegedly given up building a notebook for serious professionals. This leaves the Late 2016 MacBook Pro as, I suppose, an overpriced niche computer. Or at least that’s one person’s opinion. But as the old saying goes, that blogger is not entitled to his own facts.
So the MacBook Pro’s shortcomings are treated by repeating the usual complaints, ignoring Apple’s reasoning, or just plain ignoring facts.
What about the lack of support for more than 16GB RAM? Now no previous Apple notebook supports more than 16GB, but some PC portables offer 32GB. Why was Apple left behind anyway? Well, according to VP Philip Schiller, if Apple used a memory controller — not standard issue on the Intel Skylake chips — to double memory, it would seriously reduce battery life. It’s a tradeoff, and if you want all-day battery life, there have to be compromises.
It’s a little factoid that our ill-informed headline seeking blogger seems to overlook.
Apple is also dinged for not providing support for Intel’s Kaby Lake chips, not realizing that the quad-core mobile processors don’t appear to be shipping yet. Besides, the performance differences will, typical of recent Intel releases, not be very significant. Apple is late enough getting a MacBook Pro refresh out the door, so what sense would it make to wait even longer hoping for Intel to deliver the goods?
What about the Touch Bar?
So we’re told that it’s not something that businesses will care about. He cites the presentation at Apple’s media event where a DJ app with Touch Bar support was demonstrated. So therefore it’s not a serious work tool.
Only the blogger seems to have a poor memory, since a representative from Adobe was also present to show how this nifty tool worked with Photoshop to easily support more sophisticated photo processing workflows. Sure, Apple without doubt worked with Adobe to build in that support, which will arrive in an update later this year, but so what? What about the promised support for the Touch Bar in Microsoft Office for the Mac?
If anything, that serves as a message to developers that they should be using the new Xcode API to build in support for Touch Bar in their apps too. Why would any large software publisher invest the time in supporting a feature available in only one notebook model if they didn’t see a future in it?
Indeed, I very much suspect Apple will release a new Magic Keyboard with the Touch Bar.
Now this won’t come cheap. This mythical Magic Keyboard 2 will probably sell for $199 at the start, although that price will come down over time. It’s also possible a future MacBook will offer Touch Bar too. If Apple can expand Touch Bar to most Macs within the year, that would justify a developer’s investment in supporting this feature. Apple always has a long-range plan with new hardware or new features, even if it’s not altogether obvious at the beginning of the process.
Don’t forget that the Late 2016 MacBook Pro also contains two processors (Apple/ARM and Intel) and two operating systems. The Touch Bar is driven by an OS that’s derived from watchOS. That sort of capability may be expanded to include more system or hardware functions in the future, making it even more difficult for Windows PCs to keep up. How can anyone match what Apple can do with its own custom processors and operating systems?
Also ignored by that blogger is the fact that the 15-inch MacBook Pro can drive two external 5K displays. How many Intel notebooks do that anyway? What’s more, Apple worked with one of its long-time manufacturing partners, LG, to develop a new line of 4K and 5K displays. They include full support for Apple’s new Thunderbolt 3 connection ports, and the wider color gamut spreading across Apple’s mobile and desktop gear. Obviously, extra displays are tools required by professional users, and so is improved color.
Otherwise, why bother?
Listen, I’ve done my research on the MacBook Pro. I do not have one, and might not buy one for a while — probably not till the price comes down — but the specs, preliminary performance ratings, and the unique hardware features are clearly designed to appeal to business users. It would nice if they were cheaper, and maybe the decision to cut the prices for USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 adapters and those LG displays will help. Indeed, if you buy the LG 5K display at the discount price, $974, you’ll save enough money to essentially make up for the MacBook Pro’s price increase.
In any case, the blogger in question, or the site’s headline writer, are going to generate plenty of traffic from a sensational headline, and knowledgeable people will be filing the comments sections at the site that correct all the misstatements and omissions. That’s how it goes for many Apple critics who have no respect whatever for facts and logic.