One Pro’s Look At The New MacBook Pro

Thomas Grove Carter:

On the 27th October Apple unveiled their new line of MacBook Pros. Since then half of what I read online seems to be “Professionals” (those guys), telling me it’s not Pro at all, not Pro enough or not the right kind of Pro. How many of these people have even touched the new devices?

Very few.

I’ve been using the new 15” MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar) for the last week or so for actual work, so here’s my “Professional” opinion.


First off, It’s really fast. I’ve been using the MacBook Pro with the new version of FCP X and cutting 5k ProRes material all week, it’s buttery smooth. No matter what you think the specs say, the fact is the software and hardware are so well integrated it tears strips off “superior spec’d” Windows counterparts in the real world. This has always been true of Macs. If you’re running software with old code which doesn’t utilise the hardware well, you’re not going to get great performance (as pointed out here). I understand people need to use programs from other developers, but at some point they need to play catch up. Otherwise it’s akin to asking for a more powerful engine because you like to buy tire-less wheels for your car. For all the kinds of work I do it’s been excellent.


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Leonard Cohen Dead at 82

Rolling Stone:

Leonard Cohen, the hugely influential singer and songwriter whose work spanned five decades, died at the age of 82. Cohen’s label, Sony Music Canada, confirmed his death on the singer’s Facebook page.

“It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away,” the statement read. “We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries. A memorial will take place in Los Angeles at a later date. The family requests privacy during their time of grief.” A cause of death and exact date of death was not given.

After an epic tour, the singer fell into poor health. But he dug deep and came up with a powerful new album Cohen was the dark eminence among a small pantheon of extremely influential singer-songwriters to emerge in the Sixties and early Seventies. Only Bob Dylan exerted a more profound influence upon his generation, and perhaps only Paul Simon and fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell equaled him as a song poet.

Man, the artists we’ve lost this year 🙁


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A world without the Mac Pro

Marco Arment:

It’s looking increasingly likely that there will never be another Mac Pro. Here’s why that would be a shame.

Pro buyers depend on Apple to make the hardware that satisfies our needs. And we’re flexible. We’ve adapted over the years to new CPU architectures, port changes, capability changes, price increases, and a slower update pace.

The 5K iMac is a truly great computer. It’s the best general-purpose desktop Apple has ever made. It almost replaces the need for the Mac Pro. Many of us can get by with the 5K iMac.

But there are some things that only a Mac Pro can deliver.

Craig Hockenberry has another take on what Apple should do with the Mac Pro:

Licensing just the operating system was a disaster for Apple. Professional customers don’t have the time to build and maintain their own Hackintoshes. Any partnership to build Mac hardware would need to be structured so that it benefits Apple, the partner, and customer alike.

Just like IBM and their clients have benefitted from Lenovo.


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Marco Arment on Designing for the present over the future

The new MacBook Pro is probably great, and most of the initial skepticism probably won’t age well. But I want to pick on one aspect today.

Having four USB-C ports is awesome.

Having only four USB-C ports is going to hurt the versatility requirement of pro gear, because there’s a very real chance that you won’t have the right dongle when you need it.

This is going to happen a lot, because even though USB-C is the future, it’s definitely not the present. We’ve had the standard USB plug (USB-A) in widespread use for 18 years, and it’s going to take a few more years for USB-C to become so ubiquitous that we can get away without USB-A ports most of the time.

A pro laptop released today should definitely have USB-C ports — mostly USB-C ports, even — but it should also have at least one USB-A port.

Including a port that’s still in extremely widespread use isn’t an admission of failure or holding onto the past — it’s making a pragmatic tradeoff for customers’ real-world needs. I worry when Apple falls on the wrong side of decisions like that, because it’s putting form (and profitability) over function.


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Jason Snell, hands on with the new MacBook Pro and Touch Bar

Jason Snell, writing for Six Colors:

My first impression of the Touch Bar is that the “keys” looked… like keys. It didn’t feel like I was looking at a screen, but at an extension of the keyboard. That was an intentional choice on Apple’s part. Unlike the display and the keyboard, the Touch Bar’s brightness is not manually adjustable.

Instead, the Touch Bar’s brightness varies based on lighting conditions, using the light sensor. I wasn’t able to try and trick it or confuse it, but the entire time I was using it—in a dark room and in a much more brightly lit one—it seemed to match the keyboard well. This is not a bright, glowing screen above a dark keyboard—it’s an extension of the keyboard.


The trackpad on the 13-inch model is more than half again as big as on its predecessor, and on the 15-inch model it’s doubled in size. As Phil Schiller said on stage Thursday, Apple can make the Trackpad bigger now that it’s a Magic Trackpad rather than an older hinged model because even at large sizes the entire surface is clickable.


The trackpads are large enough that Apple has had to build in more palm-rejection intelligence, because when you’re typing on these things, you’re going to inevitably slide your palms across them. In my experience writing this article on a 13-inch MacBook Pro, the palm rejection worked well—I never felt that I had to change my typing approach just to avoid weird mouse movements.

There’s lots more interesting tidbits in Jason’s review, but I wanted to highlight the parts that were of most interest to me.


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Jim Dalrymple on the 13-inch MacBook Pro (and the location of the escape key)

Jim Dalrymple:

We might as well talk about the Touch Bar first. Going into the keynote, I wasn’t sure how I felt about the Touch Bar. However, having used it a bit, I like it a lot more than I thought I would.

Touch Bar is more contextual than just changing for apps—it can change for the different things you do inside of the app as well. This makes the Touch Bar infinitely more useful because you’ll be able to do things in each app and with each task.

The Touch Bar is smart too. For instance, if you want to turn the volume down, you can tap on the volume button and then touch on the slider to control the volume level. Pretty simple. But you can do it even quicker—you can tap and hold on the volume button and just scrub left or right to control the volume level. The volume slider still appears and moves when you scrub your finger, but it’s much quicker to just tap and hold.

You can scrub through a lot of things including, songs, video, pictures, and I’m sure many other things in Apple’s built-in apps.

The types of things you can get in the Touch Bar seems to be very wide ranging. Emojis, buttons, sliders, scrollers, pictures, timelines, and the list goes on.

Since the Touch Bar is configurable, exactly how people use it will become a personal choice. It’s impossible for me to say how much use I’ll get out of it with the limited time I had yesterday, but I can see using it a lot, especially with music.

The Touch Bar has an ambient light sensor built-in so it’s always at a comfortable brightness for the conditions you’re working in. When the computer is not in use, the bar will dim after 60 seconds and then go dark after about 75 seconds. Touching the keyboard will wake it up instantly.

The Touch Bar is designed to be seen at a normal working angle when sitting at the computer. In other words, you don’t need to be looking straight down at the computer to see it properly.

There are a lot of details in the Touch Bar that exemplify Apple’s attention to detail. This is exactly what we expect from the company.


The last major feature is the display. This is Apple’s first MacBook that features the use of a wide color gamut. They’ve used it in the iPhone 7 and iPad Pro, but it’s important that Apple also used it in the MacBook Pro—this is the computer that photographers and film people will be using, so it should be there.

The display is 30 percent more power efficient than the previous generation and it’s also brighter and has a higher contrast ratio.

The touchpad also features a virtual escape key for those who are panicking over Apple removing it.

The escape key appears on the trackpad just as it appears on the bottom of the screen with the iPad Pro and a smart keyboard cover. Not entirely the end of the world.

It also has a headphone jack.


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Apple delays AirPod rollout, don’t expect them in October

“The early response to AirPods has been incredible. We don’t believe in shipping a product before it’s ready, and we need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers,”

From what I’ve heard from AirPod users, they work great with only some minor issues that are typical for most bluetooth ear buds, but I can understand Apple wanting to iron out as many bugs as possible before shipping


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Images of New MacBook Pro With Magic Toolbar Leaked in macOS Sierra 10.12.1


macOS Sierra 10.12.1, released yesterday, includes hidden Apple Pay images that depict the brand new MacBook Pro with an OLED touch panel that’s set to be announced by Apple on Thursday, October 27.

In addition to confirming that such a product is in the works, the images give us our first full look at the redesigned MacBook Pro ahead of its launch. An OLED touch panel is located on top of the keyboard, where the function keys would normally be placed, and it very clearly supports Touch ID, as it is seen used with Apple Pay.


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