Co-founder Steve Jobs was roundly criticized for killing off Apple products late in the last century; critics laughed at when Apple Stores debuted, vilified the iPod, and the iPhone? Critics howled for months. Yet, everyone of those products and others went on to become great sales success stories, critics and naysayers be damned.
Closed vs. Open
First, let me say I have a new MacBook Pro packed with an anemic 16GB of Ram, a fast GPU, a quad-core i7 CPU, and 1TB flash storage. And that’s it. The only thing left for me to customize is to add Parallels to run Windows and Linux, which I do. Not many Windows machines can run the world’s top operating systems, but even a diminutive Mac mini can do that.
For the late 2016 MacBook Pro line you cannot upgrade RAM, cannot upgrade graphic card, cannot upgrade SSD storage, and can’t even get to the battery for a replacement (Apple can; for a price). How can Apple call the MacBook Pro a true personal computer when the only thing personal about it is the Desktop wallpaper selection?
Second, this sucker screams fast. It may not be the fastest Mac you can buy, and maybe not the fastest Mac notebook, but whatever Apple is doing between the screen the CPU and the SSD storage is magically fast. Nothing slows it down. I opened up two dozen apps, tools, and utilities before I could get it to swap memory to the SSD, and everything was still fast; no hesitation, no stutter. Like me, those who use it, love it.
That’s where the bi-polar problems set in. Battery life is crazy-assed terrible. Five hours tops; sometimes less. Not 10, like Apple says. Four hours is average, but a bit better after the latest macOS Sierra upgrade fixed plenty of bugs.
The 2016 MacBook Pro can’t be upgraded, seems highly limited (especially Ram, SSD storage, and battery), but it’s smaller, lighter, and faster. Totally bi-polar here, folks. There’s not much that personalizes Mac personal computers these days. Maybe that’s why you can buy from a large selection of cases and stickers. That’s what an Apple personal computer is these days.
Consumer Reports, the once relevant digital rag that doesn’t seem to love much of anything, even the iPhone, used to love the Mac. No more. CR’s Jerry Bellinson:
Battery life is an important attribute for a laptop, and it it represents a significant portion of our overall score. After factoring together our complete test results, Consumer Reports finds that all three MacBook Pro laptops fail to meet our standards for recommended models.
Indeed. Apple, you have a problem. And when Apple has a problem, so do their customers. Yet, this MacBook Pro feels so good, runs so fast, and doesn’t require much to make it go fast because there’s nothing to upgrade. Buy carefully, folks.
What about the Touch Bar and Touch ID? The latter is welcome and long over due and works just like on the iPhone. Touch the button and unlock the Mac. That. Is. Cool. At first, I thought the Touch Bar might be gimmicky and wrote about that but after using it awhile, Apple is on to something. All those Windows users with touchscreen notebooks revert to older habits– meaning, the touchscreen doesn’t get used much. Touch Bar is great because it’s much like having customized Function keys for every app instead of the typical, standard, and unchanged Function keys from yesteryear.
See? Much to love. Plenty to hate. Apple is becoming the king of bi-polar tech gadgets.