Losing Touch with Apple: Macbook Pro

Apple held their annual event just a few weeks ago, in which they unveiled their new Touch Bar technology with the new MacBook Pro lineup. Touch Bar is a new feature that Apple felt confident in rolling out near the 2016 Holiday season.

The Touch Bar made of smooth glass is one of the first touchscreens that supports multi-touch functionality brought into a Mac. The Touch Bar replaces the FN keys on the top of the MacBook Pro and is able to make Apple Pay purchases though Safari without the need of an iPhone or Apple Watch.

The new MacBook Pro also features a 67 percent brighter display with 25 percent added colors and claims to be 17 percent thinner than its predecessor.

I have watched almost every Apple event since I was in high school, excited for the next thing Apple would bring out, but that has changed in the last couple of years, especially this year. The Touch Bar is possibly one of the first things Apple has brought to the public that I feel was a useless invention and gimmick that adds no functionality to the Pro.

The Touch Bar is too small and seems to be quite cumbersome for professional work. It’s not necessary to have a strip of touch on the keyboard to do certain tasks, hotkeys are a feature that every computer has and should be used more often if you want to get your work done much quicker and in a much simpler way. Those who know shortcuts don’t need this added feature. I mean, sure this is great for people who are brand new to video or photo editing programs, but it’s a mistake having the new consumer rely on just the Touch Bar and ignore learning shortcuts that will help you in the long-run.

Take into example, After Effects. This program has hundreds of shortcut keys for many different tasks. The keys that select an attribute from a layer is much more than what a Touch Bar could easily display. I’d rather just enter a hotkey that would take me less than a second compared to trying to find where on the Touch Bar this function is at. Just the split second that I would use to change my glance from screen to keyboard to find an option on the Touch Bar can add up for unnecessary refocusing of my attention. I would rather not look at my keyboard 99 percent of the time if I’m working on a video project in After Effects or Premiere Pro. It’s an inefficient feature not just because of the physical movement that is involved, but because of the train of thought that is broken in the process having to look for a specific button.

One of the biggest problems I have with the new MacBook Pro is the placement of the Touch Bar. There seems to be no way to rest your hand and be able to use the Touch Bar while working. You will have to hold your hand over your keyboard and be careful not to let your wrist drop and hit the keys. Try holding your hand(s) over your volume/brightness buttons for a bit and think if you could do that for a long time while working on an important task for an extended period of time.

Plus, why does Apple seem to be so focused on emoji’s this year? I don’t really want to scroll through hundreds of emoji’s on the Touch Bar. That isn’t innovation at all.

This feature would have been okay with me if Apple were to have mixed in other innovations alongside the Touch Bar. But, because it was the ONLY innovation that was introduced to the Apple event after a long wait time, it is really disappointing.

Let’s talk about price now. Exactly, who is Apple trying to direct this new MacBook Pro to? For the people who really need MacOS for iOS development, this is a real downfall for them. The Mac Mini is the next best option, but it’s years old now. The price for the new 13-inch at $1499 is just overpriced and is $200 more for almost the same functions.

$200 for a better processor, $400 for 1TB of space, but $1200 for 2TB of data space? This all seems very excessive for such an upgrade that should only be $100 more. Apple products have are already some of the most expensive products in the industry and it just looks like they are headed towards even more expensive technology.

It’s hard to imagine Steve Jobs allowing some of these things to happen in 2016. Talk about releasing two flagship products months from each other that requires a $25 dongle in order for them to work together. Apart from taking away the ports on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, they have removed the USB 2.0/3.0 hubs, the SD card slot, HDMI, Magsafe and the death of the glowing apple symbol on the back of the Pro. From a time when all products worked in unison, to now where one must purchase extra dongles in order to connect certain cables for specific tasks, I don’t know what is going on with Apple. USB-C, one of the ports to become the best in the future is nice but it just feels like a dongle-filled hell for many users right now. If Apple is just going to go with one USB-C port, try to make it the fastest one possible, please. You can’t even use the new one.

I have seen many students on campus happy with their current MacBook Pros’ and that is fine with me, but honestly I’m worried if they will drop another $1500 or $2000 for a slightly enhanced version of what they have. The MacBook Pro is being priced for professionals but marketed distinctly for the “Prosumer” and college students. I feel Apple has lost touch with their consumer base in the past few years.

In my honest opinion, I would skip out on this year’s MacBook Pro if you want to save yourself $2000 for the holidays. Hopefully Apple will get itself together and come back better next year after they get a much needed reevaluation to their company. It’s really sad to see a company that you once admired and trust completely abandoned what they stood for. The times of “Think Differently” have sadly come to a conclusion.

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