This happens every time Apple introduces a new product or even an expected or overdue upgrade to an existing product line. Initial impressions, often garnered from Apple’s specifications more than actual usage, are invariably negative while Apple struggles to meet demand from actual customers.
This weekend I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with a MacBook Pro and then compared my own initial impressions with online reviews. The results are in line with history. Haters gonna hate. Buyers gonna buy.
Mac Meh vs. Mac Wow!
My experiences with Apple’s products through the years have taught me that anyone can take a position on a new product, good or bad, but that doesn’t make it accurate. A good example is iPhone 7. The hit is simple. It looks like iPhone 6s so it should be obvious that Apple cannot innovate any more, despite the fact that everything in the new iPhone is better than the old iPhone.
David Gewirtz, who makes a living dissing all things Apple because that’s what mainstream trade industry rags do, summed up few days of MacBook Pro experience in a single word. “Meh.” OK, that’s one perspective. Anything in that analysis? On Touch Bar… on speed… on screen… on Touch ID?
It’s just not that useful. Interesting, yes. Productivity enhancing, no. I’m not impressed.
Of course, he doesn’t get paid to be impressed. He gets paid to create controversy even if it means castigating a new feature that is absolutely positively better than what it replaced, and by leaps and bounds. Alright, here’s a new Apple product, already under supply constraint (order now, you might get it before the end of 2016), and The Big Yawn is there are not many apps that support Touch Bar. Yet. Well, duh. Oh, what about Touch ID, Apple’s very cool fingerprint identification sensor?
The Touch ID button on the Touch Bar is nice. Unlocking the machine via a single thumb press is useful.
See? There you go. Already the MacBook Pro– thinner, lighter, much faster– is better than last year’s model. Did the reviewer mention the speed, show any performance benchmark comparisons? Nope. Forget the fact that the old Function key setup was somewhat one dimensional– it worked much the same way all the time; highly limited, a pain to configure– vs. the Touch Bar which is context driven and changes based upon whichever app is front most on the screen.
How is that not worthy of mention? How is that worthy of a ‘meh‘ compared to last year’s MacBook Pro which came with the same Function keys that have been around forever? He complained that you actually have to look at the Touch Bar to use it properly. Unlike Microsoft Surface users who can use the touchscreen with their eyes closed. Amirite?
I don’t hate it. It’s nice enough, I guess. It just doesn’t seem to add anything to my daily work process and, at least as something of a power user, it adds a bit of annoyance to the process of typing.
As something of a power user-wannabe, how can a customizable, context sensitive Function Key bar not add anything to a work process? Oh. Wait. Escape key. It’s still there! This sounds like someone who could diss highly popular, highly secure Apple’s Touch ID.
Unlocking the machine via a single thumb press is useful. I do wish Apple would go all-in on multi factor security and create a mode where you need a password (something you know), a thumb print (something you are) and an Apple Watch (something you have) all at once for real security. But that might have to wait, too.
The problem here is that technology writers have a short memory; usually only hours long. These are the same writers who predicted imminent failure with the Apple retail store, dismissed the iPod as a toy, joked that iPod and iTunes Music Store were DOA because Mac only, that iPhone was overrated and overpriced and needed a hardware keyboard, that iPad was just a big iPhone, and nobody needs an Apple Watch (true that; air, water, food are higher on the list, but that didn’t stop Apple from selling many millions).
We live in an era where facts don’t matter, analysis is replaced by dismissal, and anything actually useful and worthwhile can’t be so because negativity is the only allowed analysis.
By the way, did I mention that the new MacBook Pro models are the absolutely fastest Macs I’ve ever used (including a Mac Pro, which would be faster if only software were tuned to run faster on a dozen cores)?