On the 27th October 2016, Apple unveiled its new version of MacBook Pro. Hands on the MacBook Pro 2016 (with Touch Bar) for a day, here’s my personal opinion. Mac OS X is better than being in the Windows world hands down. It is just better, more intuitive to use for creative needs, much more stable, no time spent with complicated configuration etc.

Performance

I’m an web designer cum blogger, I do cutting videos and editing photos day in and day out. I’ve been using the MacBook Pro with the new version of Final Cut Pro X and cutting 5k ProRes material all week. It’s really fast, and buttery smooth. Mac is always famous with its sleek performance, and it probably thank to its operating system well built to running on the machine architecture. The software and hardware are so well integrated.

The version I’ve been using is powerful enough on the graphics front to power two 5K displays, which is an insane number of pixels. It makes me wonder if I could happily cut on this machine in my edit suit 24/7 as well as out in the field. The answer is probably yes. To have that power on the go and also docked in my suite is great. This machine has made an already nippy piece of editing software faster still.

Which brings me to the ports, (or the dongles, if that’s the way you choose to frame it). I feel the same about this as I did losing DVD, firewire 800 and Ethernet on my 2012 Retina MacBook Pro four years ago. It might be a slight annoyance for six months and then I’ll be in the future again.

Removed of USB port

I already use USB-C Samsung T3 SSD’s as my external drives. These things are super fast and have the footprint of a credit card. The only change here is that I don’t need a USB-A to C cable to use them now, they’ll plug straight in. I’ll probably have a Thunderbolt 3 dock at my desk for expandability but that will ultimately just replace the Thunderbolt/mini-display converters I already need to support legacy displays. The four Thunderbolt 3 ports the MacBook Pro cover such a wide range of use, I really don’t see it as a problem.

The new Touch Bar

In the beginning, I was very skeptical about the addition of the Touch Bar. It looked like the result of an incestuous fling between a keyboard and an iPad mini (with Retina display). But I also felt skeptical about insert tech you use all the time now originally too. Once you begin to use it, you’ll see. Your cold heart will soften.

The first revelation for me was the potential of sliders. Gradual, precise and fast inputs.

For years we’ve had single mouse inputs on a graphical user interface. Over time we’ve added more buttons and scroll wheels, trackpads with gestures. The Touch Bar takes this step further by allowing multiple inputs at the same time and combines well with the trackpad. The more I’ve used it the more I’ve replaced certain keyboard shortcuts. Why would I use dual-hand/multi-finger shortcuts if the button was there in front of me? And it’s contextual. It changes depending on what I’m doing. I’m editing picture; it shows me relevant trimming shortcuts. I’m editing titles; it shows me font, formatting and colour options. All without the need to open other menus. It works, it’s faster and it’s more productive. I believe it’s only a starting point, as developers learn how we all use this thing, it’s going to get better and better. But even the short time that I’ve been using it with Final Cut Pro 10.3, I can already feel it becoming part of my everyday editing process.

 Lost in a lot of this is the Wacom tablet use for designers, animators, architects, artists, illustrators and other creatives. We all still use them for “final products” but the iPad Pro and Pencil are more useful in concepting, storyboards, and collaboration. The MS Surface hurts Wacom’s market, but once users see how limited the Surface/pen is for professional creative work, they won’t be putting their Wacom tablets away anytime soon.
But getting back to the new Macbook Pro. I like it, but still waiting until others who buy it weigh in. Going to be especially interested in how animators and video professionals do with the 16 GB RAM limit. To me, that is the Mac’s biggest issue (and as clunky as Windows is- especially for video- there are laptops that can be fitted with more RAM).

Price:

New MacBook Pro now available in the retail from MYR 8399.00. Cheaper model (without Touch Bar, 256 GB storage) available in MYR 6299.00 .The 2015 MacBook Pro is currently going for RM5,499: that’s a difference of RM800. However, if we look closer, the new MacBook Pro now ships with at least 256GB of SSD storage; that’s double the storage of last year’s base model, not to mention the many new hardware under the hood.

 
RM 6,299.00 RM 7,599.00 RM 8,399.00
2.0GHz Processor Core i5 2.9GHz Processor Core i5 2.9GHz Processor Core i5
None Touch Bar and Fingerprint sensor Touch Bar and Fingerprint sensor
256 GB Storage 256 GB Storage 512 GB Storage
Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz
8GB 1866MHz memory 8GB 2133MHz memory 8GB 2133MHz memory
256GB PCIe-based SSD1 256GB PCIe-based SSD1 512GB PCIe-based SSD1
Intel Iris Graphics 540 Intel Iris Graphics 550 Intel Iris Graphics 550
USB-C Ports x 2 USB-C Ports x 4 USB-C Ports x 4

Pro & Cons

  • Pro
  • Attractive and well-built, thanks to its slimmed-down design
  • Screen (retina) is brighter and more colorful than before
  • faster graphics
  • Thinner and lighter
  • Impressive audio quality
  • Con
  • No memory card (SD) slot, you need to find a external card reader
  • No more MagSafe
  • Rated battery life is shorter
  • Thinner and lighter
  • Impressive audio quality

 

The verdicts

We live in a changed world. Technology moves forwards quickly but in fits and starts. YouTubers deliver amazing 4K videos to millions on a daily basis, while some TV stations barely manage to push out 1080p trash to shrinking audiences. A Pro machine has to cover such a wide spectrum of people and disciplines that is unlikely to ever satisfy all professionals in all things. But this will probably satisfy the vast majority, from the low end to the high.

There’s lots to like about the new MacBook Pro: its slimmed-down design, brighter screen, improved audio, faster graphics and disk speeds. But by doing things like removing full-sized USB ports, the memory card reader and even the Function row, Apple seems to forgotten how many of us actually work. An even better MacBook Pro would be one that doesn’t require users to make drastic changes to their workflow.

The new MacBook Pro is a great tool in my daily works, Professional make use of great tool. For me, I love it and I think most people will do once they put their hands on it.

If you have any question, kindly drop me a comment below. I’ll reply back to you as soon as possible. 🙂