The 2016 Macbook pro

December 28, 2016

Or: that laptop everyone keeps yelling about.

2016 15-inch Macbook pro 2016 15-inch Macbook pro

Work was shockingly early on the ball, and fewer weeks than I would ever have guessed later we were unpacking our 15-inch Macbook pros with touch bars. My previous work computer was a 2011 Macbook pro of the same size, and the difference is incredible in every single way. Thinner, lighter, more solid, much faster, and an oh-so-awesome retina screen.

It is an awesome (if surprisingly expensive) machine released into a mist of unanswered questions about Apple's ideas and direction. The mist we can keep discussing for years, here I will try and stick to the machine itself.

About that bar …

(Get Touch bar Lemmings on Github.)

The touch bar is not a game changer yet, but I think it is the future. It makes so much sense to give more flexibility to rarely used keys and hard to discover functions. This first version is very well done for what it is, but I have yet to find any super-addictive uses for it.

Touch ID though, that is a different story. I think the touch bar should be on every Apple keyboard as soon as possible, but Touch ID I want everywhere yesterday. I should read up on just how hard or difficult it is to fool the sensor, but for everyday logging into things using a finger on the corner of the keyboard is just too great an experience.

About big laptops

From top to bottom: 12-inch Macbook, 15-inch 2016 Macbook pro, 15-inch 2011 Macbook pro From top to bottom: 12-inch Macbook, 15-inch 2016 Macbook pro, 15-inch 2011 Macbook pro

One thought I keep coming back to is laptop size and power. In a way, this fully loaded 15-inch model is laptop computing at its most ridiculous. Trading away more portability for power than any other model, while still retaining strict limits for power. When I think about it like this, it feels destined to be the top pleaser of nobody in the lineup. If you really do need a lot of power regularly, you will always be wishing for more than this. You will also pay a lot to get this power inside this envelope, and you will keep lugging around the heaviest and bulkiest laptop in Apple's lineup. I can - sort of - see how it was the right choice for work, but I see now way I would end up making this choice strictly for myself. I am that special snowflake in love with the retina Macbook, willing to trade a lot of power for portability and decent battery life. And if I try to imagine a world where I need serious computing power at hand, I immediately start dreaming of Imacs or other desktop options out there.

Ports and plugs

No, the port situation does not bother me either. Work bought a set of adapters meaning we are set to plug in anything we want or need. Had it been my own machine, I would have repeated the waiting game to see what will come out and what I really do need to work efficiently. Right now I have a USB-C to Displayport cable for my monitor and a Satechi USB-C to USB plus HDMI and power adapter. We also have some Startech ethernet adapters, but I wonder if our troubled wifi situation was as much about our computers as the wifi hardware because wifi has felt a lot more stable with my new computer than it did before. The ethernet adapters require a driver installation for some reason, but apart from that weirdness they work really well and so I tend to keep it connected now that it is there.

Is it a wrap?

Snowflake or not, the Macbook pro is a wonderful work machine. From the power to the build quality to the amount of stuff I can fit on screen when set to the highest resolution. It makes me want to work more on the go, and the new keyboard and touch bar make me want to work without an external keyboard so I can really dig into living with the new features.

More like this, more often, please?