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.
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.
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.)
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?
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.
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.
Apple's fastest growing product category. pic.twitter.com/d1sel4N5Yc
— Drew Breunig (@dbreunig) October 28, 2016
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.
Guy who thought about getting your new MacBook Pro.
OPPO drops the F9, Motorola copy-pastes: Weekend Rewind
Why innovate when you can recreate, right?
Here are this week’s top stories on GadgetMatch.
1. OPPO F9 (water)drops!
We were getting teasers of this phone two weeks ago and now it’s finally here! The OPPO F9 is official and it comes with a notch that the company is essentially calling a “waterdrop.” That aside, it’s looking like a lean, mean, midrange machine with its 6GB RAM and 64GB of storage, an AI-enhanced 16MP main shooter with a secondary 2MP depth sensor for portraits, and a 3500 mAh battery.
Our hands-on and unboxing is up on YouTube so make sure you watch it!
Notches and gradients are all the rage in 2019, so we guess it makes sense that Motorola opted to fuse both the iPhone X and the Huawei P20 Pro. The result is the Motorola P30 because Moto probably couldn’t be bothered to think of another name. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 636 chip with 6GB memory. It will come in both a 64GB and a 128GB variant. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery they say. Moto must really want to butter up Apple and Huawei.
Xiaomi’s been cooking something but since this is the Internet and tech leaks are totally a thing, we already know what it is. Coming our way officially next week is the Pocophone F1. A leaked video pretty much already told us a lot of what we want to know: 5.99-inch display, Snapdragon 845, and 6GB of memory.
We’ll have our own video on this soon so definitely stay tuned for it.
Google is being generous in handing out pies. Android Go, a less data-hungry version of the mobile operating system, will also get Android Pie. The Go edition of the newest Android OS only needs half the storage space and can run fluidly, even with just a gigabyte of memory.
Not ready for the responsibility of raising a child? There’s an app for that! The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved Natural Cycles. It’s the very first app to be marketed as a method of contraception. It determines whether a woman is fertile or not then advises which days you should “abstain” or “use protection.”
However, the FDA warns that “no form of contraception works perfectly, so an unplanned pregnancy could still result from correct usage of this device.”
Weekend Rewind is our roundup of top news and features you might have missed for the week. We know the world of technology can be overwhelming and not everyone has the time to get up to speed with everything — and that includes us. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the rewind.
7 best affordable flagship smartphones of 2018
Best specs, lower prices
Putting the words “affordable” and “flagship” seems like an oxymoron at first, but manufacturers have reached a point wherein this magical combination is actually possible.
Yes, affordable flagships are a thing now, and they’re taking away some of the premium segment’s long-standing thunder. Why wouldn’t you want the best specs and features in a cheaper package?
This year has been kind to us with all the affordable flagships launched thus far. Here are the best ones to date:
Let’s begin with the brand that started it all. Originally called the “flagship killer,” the OnePlus line is synonymous with high-end power without the extravagant pricing. The OnePlus 6 is the latest entry, and it’s an absolute stunner from its gorgeous display to the fluid Android interface.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
This is the one time Xiaomi likes to go a little more premium, and we support it a hundred percent. The Mi Mix 2S combines a ceramic body with a massive, notch-free display and incredible hardware for the price. Each generation improves on the predecessor — this is no exception.
Fortnite on Android, Meteor Garden: Now Playing
OPPO and Vivo phones contribute to class divide on Meteor Garden
This month has been nothing short of crazy for us at GadgetMatch, what with leaks and teasers of upcoming devices, back-to-back smartphone launches, and Android Pie’s release. Here are some of the things that have kept us sane the last few weeks!
Games to play
Fortnite on Android
Chay: You read that right. The highly successful battle royale game is finally coming to Android. At Samsung Unpacked, Epic Games announced that Galaxy devices will get exclusive early access to the game through the Game Launcher app. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes available in even more devices, and if we’re being honest, we can’t wait to see more memes (and dances!) as more people get to play it.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 on Android
Rodneil: If you’re itching for a Spider-Man game to help tide you over until the release of Marvel’s Spider-Man for the PS4, then this mobile game released back in 2014 should tide you over. It looks good, the controls are simple, and the game also gives you the satisfaction of swinging around New York City as you please.
Movies to see
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Marvin: It’s tough to believe, but Mission: Impossible is on its sixth installment, and the latest may be the most death-defying one yet. Tom Cruise is once again Ethan Hunt, an agent who needs to track down a terrorist group before they blow the world up. His stunts are jaw-dropping to say the least, and the twists are surprising enough to keep your eyes glued to the screen. My advice: Watch this in a cinema with great seats — it’s a long ride!
TV shows to binge watch
Kevin: Having been released back in 2016 and now waiting on its third season, Kim’s Convenience is a Canadian TV sitcom that focuses on a Korean family that runs a convenience store in Toronto. The show centers on everyday happenings and mishaps of the family. It presents characters who fit, and at the same time, break certain stereotypes while injecting a hint of moral in different (mostly funny) ways.
Orange is the New Black (Season 6)
Chay: Is there hope for the inmates of Litchfield? Will there ever be justice? These are always the questions you have after watching an entire season of Orange is the New Black. The longer the series goes on, the more invested you become in these women’s stories. This season, the spotlight is even brighter on my all-time favorite OINTB character: Taystee goes on trial to clear her name and fight the injustice she and fellow inmates have been suffering behind bars.
Kevin: If you’re into Rick and Morty’s tandem and outer space adventures, Final Space might be something you’d want to check out. The story follows a smart-mouthed prisoner who works on a space station, meets a cute alien life form, and immediately becomes friends with it, not knowing that it’s a valuable entity to the menacing Lord Commander. I’m just a few episodes in but it’s been entertaining and funny — something I would expect from Conan O’Brien producing the show.
Meteor Garden (2018)
Rodneil: If you loved the Taiwanese version that first aired in the early 2000s, then I suggest you give the 2018 version a chance. It’s great to see how the setting has been updated to modern times with some of the bullying part of the story happening in social media. There are cool tidbits too about how transactions are mostly made through QR codes and how the phones of the less privileged are OPPO while the elite F4 carry Vivo phones. It’s a nice glimpse to the current state of technology in China. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the cast actually looks like they’re still students versus the already adult-looking cast of the original adaptation.
Mob Psycho 100
Rodneil: I held out for quite a bit before watching this anime but when I found out that season two is already arriving at the start of 2019, I knew I had to binge the 12-episode first season. From the same creator as One-Punch Man, Mob Psycho 100 features Shigeo Kageyama — a young, overpowered psychic who’s trying his best to live life without taking advantage of his psychic ability. If you loved the over-the-top action and the ridiculously overpowered lead in One-Punch Man, there’s plenty for you to enjoy in Mob Psycho 100.
Terrace House: Opening New Doors (Part 3)
Marvin: It’s been a grueling couple of months, but Part 3 of Terrace House: Opening New Doors is finally available on Netflix outside Japan, and it’s certainly worth the wait. The cast gets a near overhaul, and with the new members come much more drama and the awkward first dates we’ve grown to love. But the real highlight of Part 3 are the commentators, who are able to turn any sad moment into a laughing fit for both the viewers and themselves. Part 4 can’t come soon enough!
Music and podcasts to listen to
Honey by Scandal
Rodneil: My fascination for Asian girl groups continues. Scandal has had plenty of their songs appear on several animé, and this album gives you plenty of those types of tracks. My favorites are “platformsyndrome,” “OVER,” “Koisuru Universe,” and “Short Short.”
“Long Gone” and “Lover Boy” by Phum Viphurit
Kevin: Thai-born, but New Zealand-raised, indie artist Phum Viphurit’s “Long Gone” is a mellow tune with just the right soul to make you groove and nod your head to the rhythm. “Lover Boy,” on the other hand, has more funk to its bass lines which is then overlayed with Viphurit’s smooth vocals — almost reminiscent of how John Legend made “P.D.A.” a chill, sexy track.
“Sana” by I Belong To The Zoo
Rodneil: “Sana” is a gut-wrenching Filipino track that tells the story of a romance that has gone stale. While that sounds like a run-of-the-mill heartbreak song, singer Argee Guerrero delivers each line with so much conviction that it’s hard not to imagine yourself in the shoes of the aggrieved party.
Psychobabble with Tyler Oakley and Korey Kuhl
Chay: In their first episode back after an eight-month hiatus, #TeamTylerandKorey discusses the top trends of the year, Bernie Mac, and how hotels are homophobic. Korey also reveals he had a vocal box replacement and was on vocal rest during the hiatus. It’s not clear whether that’s the only reason the podcast was MIA for a while, but it’s possible the Fullscreen shut down, which picked up Psychobabble for a video version in early 2017, is also a culprit. That’s bad news for anyone who paid for a subscription on the streaming service, but good news is all episodes are now available on Spotify, as well.
Cities to visit
Rodneil: Madrid is a beautiful city filled with mid-rise buildings that feature stunning European architecture. For some street entertainment, check out Plaza del Sol at night. If you’re looking for a place to eat, the cochinillo (suckling pig) in Las Cuevas De Luis Candelas, located just right outside Plaza Mayor is to die for. There’s also the restaurant Mr. Frank which seems like a nice date place. Definitely order the Provoleta con chorizo and Presa Ibérica con frutos rojos. The restaurant is located near the Congreso de los Diputados which is a great backdrop for your touristy photo.
Now Playing is the GadgetMatch team’s favorite games, movies, TV shows, and more each month. If you’re curious to know what we’re into at the moment, this is what you should check out. So grab your popcorn, get some drinks, and enjoy what’s now playing!
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