Sorry, Apple: I won't be getting your new MacBook Pro in 2016

An honest reaction to the new king of Apple laptops

Dear Apple,

I’d like to start on a more positive note, so let’s talk a little about that killer feature. Honestly, the Touch Bar, despite its potential utility, sounds to me a bit like what 3D Touch is to iPhones.

Of course, an OLED bar that shows emojis and is cat-friendly is way, way cooler than some tiny mechanism tucked beneath the iPhone’s surface, but the two may not be too different in terms of usefulness.

Let’s be real here: How often do you think people will use the Touch Bar? I have a pretty good idea what DJs are like — and they probably won’t use that touchscreen as much as you think they will for DJing. The rest of us might pick up the habit for other reasons; however, a lot of that depends on developers getting really creative about it, saving us clicks and making apps more intuitive and easier for normal folks to use.

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2016 MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar

 

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An OLED bar that shows emojis and is cat-friendly is way, way cooler than 3D Touch, but the two may not be too different in terms of usefulness

The value of the Touch Bar could increase over time as developers build on it. But if it’s anything like 3D Touch, which I can live without, it’s almost surely going down as another missed opportunity.

Congrats on engineering a slimmer and lighter MacBook Pro, though. That the Pro is now more compact, or, as some might say, more portable than the 13-inch MacBook Air — the former poster child of really portable laptops — is downright ludicrous. (As a quick aside: You guys are really good at making things smaller — so, please, apply the same magic to the next big iPhone.)

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I’m still on the fence about that butterfly keyboard — I’ll reserve my judgment until I get my fingers on it. I had tried the 12-inch MacBook’s keyboard before; I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. I still prefer the tactile feel, the deeper keystrokes of your older keyboard; I suspect many feel the same way. But I hear the keyboard mechanism has been improved dramatically, so fingers crossed the typing experience should be better this time around.

The new (but not so new) Intel processors are pretty much a given, as is the bump in SSD storage across MacBook tiers. I wouldn’t buy a laptop for today, I’d buy it for three or more years into the future. And in a couple of years, the 2016 MacBook Pro would still be useful for some serious work. So would most other high-end laptops announced this year, I imagine.

That the Pro is now more compact than the 13-inch MacBook Air is downright ludicrous.

Touch ID and the expanded trackpad — now, those are a huge plus. People will love those about the Pro. Maybe almost as much they’ll love the new Space Gray paint job. Does that mean we’ll finally get to see gold and rose gold Pros next year? I hope so. I hope you consider making a shiny black one too, regardless of how impractical and selfish this suggestion seems. Okay… now that I’ve given it some thought, scratch that idea.

But some of your customers wouldn’t like what you had done with the glowing Apple logo. Why get rid of an established symbol of laptop opulence? Was it to make the display fit into the size of a typical 11- or 12-inch notebook? Or was it done to create a brighter and more color-rich display than what was possible on previous MacBooks?

In any case, we’ll get over it, for sure. We’ll also get over you ditching the MagSafe connector, though I imagine it would take Mac nerds longer to recover from the MagSafe’s untimely but expected demise. But whatever. Those miffed over the loss can always purchase an aftermarket accessory like BreakSafe, yes?

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Introducing BreakSafe

You’ve done worse. Curiously enough, the latest iPhone 7 figures indicate that people have already forgiven you for chucking out the beloved headphone jack. I wonder, though, why it was mercilessly left on the Pro. That didn’t strike me as a courageous move. Frankly, the more I think about it, the more I question your commitment and dedication to a truly wireless future.

For the record, I’m one of those guys who argued for the merits of cordless audio. I believe the technology is now mature enough that manufacturers should be turning consumers toward wireless headphones and speaker systems.

And while we’re on the topic of ports that you obviously think are still relevant to your customers, why kill every USB port on the Pro models and replace them with Thunderbolt 3? Um, you do know we’re still in 2016, right?

For starters, not only did you alienate individuals who had their minds made up on switching to the new MacBook, you also annoyed the shit out of existing customers who already own an iPhone and/or iPad. Not even the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were invited to the MacBook party.

You know who did get their collective foot in the proverbial door? Android phones. A whole bunch of them — including the ones Google, your arch-nemesis, made. You can bet those Type-C devices will be laughing their socks off after crashing your party and drinking all your expensive German beer — particularly the cheap handsets that have made the trip from China.

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I didn’t think I’d see the day when outsiders could interact more naturally with a MacBook than your own products, yet here we are. “Welcome to the future,” I hear you exhaling, “where plugging in full-sized USB connectors into your laptop is now a thing of the past.”

Not even the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were invited to the MacBook party. You know who did get their collective foot in the proverbial door? Android phones. A whole bunch of them — including the ones Google, your arch-nemesis, made.

You also really pissed off those guys who use an external monitor that connects via HDMI or DisplayPort. You know, ports that most people still use today. And while I agree that Thunderbolt 3 is the superior connection, there’s no reason to push it down our throats at this point — certainly not while it hasn’t reached the point of mass adoption. Never mind that Thunderbolt displays, as with any new technology that promises faster speeds and other benefits, are expensive as hell.

And what’s the argument for eliminating the SD card slot? To make room for more Thunderbolt ports, on a more expensive MacBook Pro? Puh-lease. Are four ports necessary? Probably not, but you certainly think so.

Where is all this leading? I’ll tell you: The depths of dongle hell. Nobody likes paying for overpriced stuff they never wanted, especially overpriced stuff they will likely lose. Those $25 and $35 USB-C to Lightning cables are going to sell like hot cakes… but for all the wrong reasons.

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You’ll need this cable to connect your iPhone/iPad to the new MacBook Pro.

Ah, but it gets worse. Because not only do we have to spend extra for cables and dongles for one machine, we also have to have them around at all times — at least, until a few years down the line when Thunderbolt connections are more prevalent than they are today. Sure, my laptop bag can hold a few more accessories, but the mess they’ll be making on my workspace might irritate my mental comfort to no end.

At the very least your new MacBook Pro should do more for your customers, not the other way around.

Sincerely,

Guy who thought about getting your new MacBook Pro.

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