There’s all kinds of love for the new MacBook Pro

The superlatives are already rolling in. My expectations for yesterday’s event were muted. I had read rumors about a touch bar, but I didn’t really get it. Until the rollout.

Apple did a superlative job with the MacBook Pro reveal. The Touch Bar itself is a thing of beauty, but Apple prepared well here, bringing a variety of apps to the stage to put the Touch Bar through its paces, to show how this Touch Bar makes possible a brand new way of interacting with your computer. This is so much more than what I expected, so much more than programmable soft keys.

And the reviewers seem to be loving it. Here are a few reviews, each with its own take on the details, from the weight, to the ports, to the trackpad, keyboard and, of course, the Touch Bar.

Deiter Bohn, writing for The Verge:

The new MacBook Pro is here — literally available for preorder today — and I’ve just tried it. The best thing I can say about is simple: everything about it looks and feels so good I almost didn’t believe it.

Rene Ritchie, writing for iMore:

The star of the show was the all-new Touch Bar, though. Think of it as a tiny 2170×60 iPad embedded right where the function keys used to be. Rumor has it it’s OLED, like Apple Watch, but it has a matte finish that feels much like the keyboard keys.

It leverages the same kind of data detectors and data predictors Apple has been building into macOS for years, but uses them to show context-dependent, highly curated, dynamic controls.

Yes, your ESC key is still there. As are your other system functions like volume and brightness. But tuck those away and apps take over. In Photos you can scroll through your thumbnails, quickly access edit controls, even swipe to rotate. In Final Cut Pro you can scrub through your time line. In Safari you can scroll through your windows and open new tabs. In Xcode, even in Terminal — no Apple app went untouched, as far as I could see — there are context aware shortcuts.

And the emoji. You get emoji suggestions, just like iOS, and can access the emoji picker right on the Touch Bar. You can also access Tapback emoji. It makes the new, funner Messages app ridiculously faster.

David Pierce, writing for Wired:

The new Pro, which comes with either a 13- or 15-inch screen, does look like the last model. Which is to say, it still looks like a laptop. But as soon as you open the thing up, crack your knuckles, and put fingers to keys, you won’t be confused anymore. Actually, you’ll figure it out before even that, as soon as you see that massive new trackpad.

But the keys really sell the change. The new Pro has the same keyboard as the super-thin MacBook, though it’s been tweaked a bit from the smaller model, and has a surprisingly satisfying amount of travel, but there’s no doubt your fingers are going to have to get used to a little less clack. Those shallow butterfly keys feel somewhere between the traditional mechanical keyboard and the on-screen keys on your iPhone.

Christina Warren, writing for Gizmodo:

The first thing I did, when presented with the new Macbook Pro, was reach for that dimly lit display just above the keyboard. The new Touch Bar is the most exciting part of the new MacBook Pro. It’s a Retina strip that sits on top of the keyboard (Retina commonly denotes a super high DPI) and is a replacement for the function keys that have existed on laptops for what feels like forever.

In typical Apple fashion, the company is touting this as a “revolutionary way to use your Mac.” Revolutionary is a bold claim, but after spending some time with the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro, I have to admit, it is very, very cool.

And, of course, don’t miss the excellent first blush review of the MacBook Pro and Touch Bar from our own Jim Dalrymple.

Lots to absorb, lots to read, but so far, sounds like Apple has a real winner here.



  • Robert M Brown

    Actual users, not so much. Feedback I’ve seen is about 20-1 against.

    • David Stewart

      Have any of those people used one yet?

      • Robert M Brown

        No, but they’ve seen the prices and have to actually pay for theirs.

        • rattyuk

          Pretty sure they don’t have to shell out the money to try them and it’s a trite argument anyways as you most certainly don’t have the data to support your “feedback”.

          What is the source of the data to support your “20-1 against”? Is this apocryphal or merely a gut feeling?

          • Robert M Brown

            Here’s just one thread with 5,200 comments. Feel free to do all the data mining that you like.

            https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/59plnp/lets_talk_about_those_prices/

            Is trying out a computer going to make it cost less? I don’t understand your point.

          • rattyuk

            Reddit readers are not Apple’s target market.

            Geeks have a large opinion but now much spending power.

            This is all noise.

            I was around when the original iMac launched. People were wining when the ADB ports went and no serial or parallel ports. “We’ll have to buy dongles” they whined. Meanwhile Apple single-handledly resurrected the moribund USB format that had a year or so languishing in the PC market without gaining any traction.

            Here’s a question… What product launch caused Apple’s share price to plummet 10%?

            Surprisingly it was the switch from PowerPC to Intel. Remind me again how that worked out?

        • rick gregory

          1) I have one. 2) Complaints about the price are not complaints about the device.

          3) I’m fine with the price even though I wish it were less. In the long run, $300 difference is $100/year of life for me (I replace my hardware every 3 years). That’s 27 cents/day. Can’t freak out about that.

          4) Reddit people love to bitch.

    • DanielSw

      Yet another price-whining dilettante .

      • Robert M Brown

        Yeah, who needs users who have to think twice about dropping $2500 on a new laptop that’s not much, if any, better than their old one. Price increases for everyone! Drive out the peasants!

        • Sigivald

          So, uh, they’re not ready for a new laptop?

        • rattyuk

          You sound like the sort of person that would have no intention of buying any way. Those that want or need one are figuring out how to raise the money.

          • Robert M Brown

            Unfortunately, Apple has chosen to no longer make the sort of computer I want to buy, but since I’m not talking about my personal buying choices I don’t see how that matters here. I’ve actually been trying to talk people into not immediately jumping from the Mac platform, but rather waiting to see what happens over the next year or two.

            I find your comment interesting though. You’re obviously saying that that real users buy whatever Apple is selling, whatever the price, and anyone who would stoop so low as to actually consider the value proposition of an object before buying it is some sort of inferior being. I’m curious: Do you mean socially, morally, or intellectually inferior, or all three?

          • rattyuk

            You are projecting your personal buying choices onto the rest of the world of purchasers. Honestly most people don’t need a computer these days, iPads do most anything most people were conned into buying a computer for back in the old Windows days.

            People who actually do work on computers need computers and seriously Apple has done something here which is ergonomic and practical and for most who earn money from using computers they can justify the expense as it is amortized fairly quickly.

            Now to the personal attack.

            As I have said above, most people don’t actually need a computer, an iPad will suit them fine. Heavens if they just want to watch videos and do a little browsing and a small amount of email a white label tablet will probably do fine. People who have money to spend on a computer because that’s the source of their income will go for the Apple solution, because they can afford it and justify the expense.

            Nobody is being forced to buy anything. The people I know are willing to part with the money because it will allow them to continue earning money.

          • Robert M Brown

            “You are projecting your personal buying choices onto the rest of the world of purchasers”

            No, actually, just the opposite of that. I’m seeing what other people are saying and reporting that, even though I don’t completely agree with them.

            You’re right, no one has to buy a computer, and Apple is certainly not obligated to sell a computer that people want to buy. But is it really also impermissible to notice?

          • rattyuk

            If this product is such a failure then why are the delivery dates extending?

            Anyway it’s all moot. We’ll know in 3 months if it is a failure or a success.

            Moaning about Apple’s decisions is, from long experience, a mostly futile experience.

          • Mo

            Relying on a Reddit comment thread for anecdotal computer-buying data sounds a bit like using a Youtube comment thread to learn about public policy.

        • DanielSw

          Yet another whiner! Ever think of just making more money? Guess not.

    • GFYantiapplezealots

      Yawn

  • tylernol

    it’s an interesting feature that will get better as more apps adopt it, yet it does not compel me to update my 3 year old macbook pro quite yet, the hw performance improvement is not much. I was disappointed to not see updates to the iMac or Mac Pro.

  • DanielSw

    My only reservation is only 16GB RAM. Otherwise, I really want one! Being able to drive two 5K displays with another USB-C for a disk array is quite intriguing.

    • Mo

      I’d be very interested to hear the answer to that question.

    • David Stewart

      Integrated graphics generally do share system RAM, so you’d get a GB or two more to play with with the discrete GPU. I would also imagine Apple is relying on their faster SSDs to make virtual memory much more performant.

    • rattyuk

      Apparently the current chips cannot address more of the low power DDR4 RAM. Intel won’t have a fix for this – A replacement processor – before 2018. Sorry.

  • Keir Thomas

    Users out there in the real world are angry, Dave.

    • GFYantiapplezealots

      Nope. Real world users have already placed their order.

      • Mo

        Some have. Others are waiting.

        • rattyuk

          The delivery is now over 4 weeks as opposed to the initial 2-3 weeks originally promised. So someone is definitely buying them. If others are waiting then that’s great news for Apple as it’s not just a bump for the next few weeks.

          • Mo

            Whether for these models, or something as-yet unannounced.

  • marv08

    There is a lot to like (larger trackpad, better keyboard, much better display, much faster SSD, Touch Bar, better battery life, less volume and weight) – in total more than enough for me to finally replace my 2012 15″ Retina MBP. It hold up well, but by now the amount of things that are no longer ‘current’ have added up (slower WiFi, only TB1, smaller color gamut, much slower SSD, old/wobbly keyboard, small non-force trackpad) and an update is in order. The new one is maybe EUR 200 more than my 2012 model was back then and most of that is due to currency fluctuation.

    I would have loved a 32 GB RAM option, but I got myself a Dell XPS 15 for my Hyper-V and MS System Center stuff, and while I hate Windows 10, it gets the job done most of the time.

    Prices are not really up that much – people should consider that all 15″ models do now have discrete graphics, so the comparison is really to the previous top-of-the-line model. Not so sure about the consumer side though… eliminating the 11″ MBA and basically leaving the 13″ MBA out to dry definitely raised the entry price – and I do not see the 12″ MB getting below $1k anytime soon either. If they willingly give up market share they don’t want, that’s ok. But I do not see how this won’t happen.

    • George

      The MacBook Air is what converted me to the Apple ecosystem in the first place, as a student. If they only want to make toys for the rich they are only going to hurt themselves, especially now that other laptops are sucking less.

      • Mo

        But is Windows sucking that much less?

        • A@E

          Actually yes. And then there is ChromeOS for the majority of users that email, surfing and the occasional document typing is all they need.

          • Mo

            I’m hearing differently, but perhaps Microsoft’s engineers are no longer shuffling the names and locations of Windows features and limiting different config settings with each update.

            Chrome OS is certainly out there, but the majority of users who do those tasks certainly aren’t choosing a Web-app-only device for the job.

            Perhaps you meant “the majority of users with my specific use-case.”

          • rick gregory

            But if a Chromebook really works for someone then a MacBook Pro wasn’t ever a machine they should have considered. The 13″ Air at $999 is perfectly reasonable. If someone was wanting a $500 laptop, they never were about to buy a MacBook of any sort.

  • A bit torn. The touch bar is interesting and I think it will generally be useful but it’s not game changing.

    The ports really hurt though and I wonder if Apple is drinking a bit too much of their own Kool aid. If you go and buy this laptop and at the same time buy an iPhone 7 you can’t even plug them in with one another.

    That is buying the two just updated flagship products.

    I can’t help but feel that perhaps doing two USB-C and two USB3 might have been better. For a slower transition. I mean never when we went through these changes in the past was it an all ports changed. You buy this computer and nothing you own can plug into it. Not my card readers, not my external drives. Yikes.

    Also it really disappoints me that MagSafe is gone. That was a feature that just personified everything that made Apple great in the past decade. Now it’s gone for a lesser solution and really no benifit, oh well it is slightly thinner.

    • J.

      If you go and buy this laptop and at the same time buy an iPhone 7 you can’t even plug them in with one another.

      I’ve seen this mentioned a few times this morning, and checked Apple’s website…

      Turns out there IS a USB-C to Lightning cable (http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MK0X2AM/A/usb-c-to-lightning-cable-1-m?fnode=8b&fs=f%3Dcable-usbtypec%26fh%3D4595%252B45c4%252B44c3).

      So, you CAN connect an iPhone 7 to one of the new MBPs.

      • My point was out the box. You should not need to go buy an extra cable to make the two FLAGSHIP products of the company work together. That is bad customer experience, plain and simple

        • rj

          But you don’t need to plug them in to make them work together. I don’t think I’ve plugged my iPhone into my Mac in years.

          • That is just not true. There are plenty of times when you might want to plug your phone into your Mac. For example:

            When you just purchased it, you might want to restore it from an encrypted backup from iTunes in order to have all of your settings including passwords restored.

            When you are traveling and might not have access to many outlets you might want to plug it in to your mac in order to charge it.

            I just personally think maybe the proper balance for this laptop was two USB Type-A connectors and two USB-C connectors. If they wanted to be so bold they could have at least made the changes across their entire line of computers, and thrown in a dongle to ease the pain.

  • Sigivald

    So close. Add a touchscreen and I’d be there.

    As is, still a “nope”.

    • GFYantiapplezealots

      Touch screen on a laptop is USELESS!!! Especially when you have a large trackpad with gesture integration like in OSX

  • I was getting ready to pull the tigger on a maxed out 15″ MBP but the price gave me pause. I’m a very long term (1984) Mac user who’s had almost every PowerBook and MacBook Pro Apple has made. I can afford the new price but that’s not the point, it definitely is a “new” price.

    I’m writing this on a 2014 retina MBP that I bought new when it came out.

    2.8 GHz i7, Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB, 16GB memory, 1TB SSD with AppleCare and a few cables and tax: $3100. This was the maxed out model at the time.

    When I build up a current MBP on Apple’s site, the higher end i7 model with the faster GPU and 1TB SSD costs: $3499.

    Granted, the GPU is much faster than what’s on my current computer but the processor is almost the same.

    Add AppleCare: $349 Add Cables: $45 Add Tax: $247.14

    Total: $4139.14

    Maybe I’ve made a mistake somewhere but I don’t think so. Things have definitely changed.

    Then: $3100 Now: $4139

    I’m not about to abandon Apple but the difference in price gave me pause, and I’m not the type of buyer who shops around: I know what I want, I buy direct from Apple almost every time. Is the new Touch Bar and Touch ID and force touch trackpad and faster ports worth that difference in price? Maybe so, I don’t know (yet).

    But, we expect those kinds of improvements each time this computer is updated and the cost has remained about the same for high end models over many years. So, no doubt I’ll be buying one of these but not quite as fast as I’d hoped.

    Again, my pause is not about digging up money, its about getting comfortable with a higher price.

    • rick gregory

      With that machine, I’d wait to upgrade another year, perhaps two. After all, you have a top of the line machine that’s only 2. To me, one of the reasons too by at the top is so that you don’t see an upgrade need for 4-5 years. Save your money for now would be my recommendation.

      • I agree Rick, but, the new machine has some stuff I’d like:

        Faster SSD bus Faster GPU

        I do a lot of RAW processing with Lightroom and I’m starting to run into beachballs. Not terrible, but enough so instead of a three year upgrade I’m considering two.

        When they ship and they’re in the stores I’ll go check them out and see how much faster they are than my current computer.

        Thanks.

        • rick gregory

          I have the entry level MacBook Pro (no touch bar). If there’s a benchmark I can run to help you decide, hit me up.

          • Thanks Rick, I appreciate that.

            I think the best thing for me to do is simply go to a store, once they’re out, with my computer and just mess with them side by side.

            I’m sure the SSD will be faster as it was improved in the last generation but I’m most interested in how fast it will move through a large photo library which is tough to test because something like Lightroom isn’t installed on store demos and there’s little way to see how it grinds through RAW images with Apple’s photos demo.

            But, just using it hands on will give me a general feel of the thing.

            That said, you (and a few others) have had a very good influence on me to cool my jets for a while and maybe skip it.

            I take it you’re liking the new machine?

            Thanks again.

          • rick gregory

            yeah I do like it. I’m coming from a 2013 Air, so… the boost in performance is quite nice.

            One thing to consider – Apple does 14 day no questions returns. If you’re strongly leaning toward upgrading, buy one, set it up, see if it’s the upgrade in performance you want.

          • Right Rick, I know about Apple’s return policy, thanks. I’m pretty sure I’ll get a sense of it when I get my hands on it in a week or two when they ship.

  • Mo

    The top-of-the-line MBP (and its PowerBook predecessors) has always been out of my price range, and mostly inappropriate for my needs. I see them as test beds for features that eventually make their way down the product line.

  • Lucas

    exciting features

  • lolllolsodsk

    just got mine yesterday n I’m loving itttttttttt!!!!!!