Hey, did you hear? Apple launched a new MacBook Pro! It’s got touch bars and fancy ports and it’s so pretty and thin.
But despite what Tim Cook might have said on stage, there’s plenty of stuff to get made about. Let’s rage.
- The ports. We need to talk about the ports. Specifically, how there are four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports and no regular USB ports, or SD card reader, or HDMI port. Apple used to be the company for the “professionals,” which used to be where the “Pro” got its name from. There’s lots of things in the new Pro that cater more towards college students than photographers who want to quickly transfer photos, or anyone who wants to transfer anything from one computer to another. USB-C might be the future, but it just means a dongle-filled hell for users right now.
- Since we’ve got started on ports, let’s just keep going. The MagSafe connector used to be great. I once destroyed a Windows laptop by tripping over the power cable, and it was one of the reasons I switched to a MacBook Air (RIP). Don’t get me wrong — I’m happy that Apple is killing one of its many proprietary ports in favour of something standardized. But this is a post fuelled by anger, not logic, and a part of my brain is mad. Also, I have a bunch of laptop chargers that are now useless if anyone’s buying.
- The logo doesn’t light up any more. File this under “petty things you shouldn’t care about,” but the light-up logo has been one of the iconic Macbook features for a decade now. It let you feel superior to the non-illuminated Windows plebs. And now it is gone.
- Speaking of things that are gone: the MacBook Air. It might still be on sale on Apple’s website, but the lack of an update means it is now fundamentally dead. The replacement is a “cheaper” MacBook Pro, which starts at $1,500 and only has two USB-C ports in the same sized body as the more expensive ports. USB-C ports don’t cost much money. This is a fairly blatant middle finger to poor people.
- Let’s also talk about the much-vaunted TouchBar, the replacement for the Fn keys. It looks pretty neat altogether, but I can see one tiny drawback already. The tradeoff for having application-specific shortcuts is losing out on all the shortcuts you’re used to. If you’re in Photoshop and you want to adjust the brightness or volume, it’s going to take a couple more key presses than it used to.
- Then, there’s the specs that we need to talk about. I’m astounded that Apple still doesn’t make a version of the 13-inch Pro with discrete graphics. This is literally a laptop that Apple describes as being for “professionals,” but it will be slow at tasks like Photoshop, some aspects of video editing, and can’t really support multiple hi-res displays. Microsoft managed to fit a discrete GPU into the kinda-thinner Surface Book last year, so Apple’s excuses are starting to look flimsy.
- Also, even the $4,300 15-inch Pro tops out at 16GB of RAM. Enough said.