Monday Morning News
Hands-on experience from Six Colors with the new MacBook Pros tells us about the Touch Bar, the bigger trackpad, and the second generation of keys which use Apple’s butterfly keyboard mechanism. The keyboard in particular will be the biggest sticking point for potential owners: if you liked the keyboard on the MacBook, then there’s a good chance you’ll like this one as well. Ars Technica’s hands-on report says there’s a minor improvement to key travel, but apart from that it’s mostly the same.
Ars Technica also has a more in-depth look at a few key features of the new MacBook Pro. They break down the differences between the Touch Bar and Touch Bar-less 13-inch models, and share details on similarities between both models. Their confirmation of an Apple-designed SoC in the ARM-based T1 which powers Touch ID and may also protect the camera from malware hijacking has interesting implications for future Macs.
Developers have been putting work into the Touch Bar for a long time now, and that includes companies like Microsoft. Their blog on adding Touch Bar support to Office for Mac shows you a preview of what buttons will be available, including the ability to format text in Word, perform frequently-used functions in Excel, or manipulate graphical objects in Powerpoint.
Six Colors tells us about the perpendicular philosophies of Apple and Microsoft. Microsoft’s current strategy appears to involve wowing customers with products like the Surface Studio, which is both a traditional desktop PC and a touch-enabled dream for creators. Apple, on the other hand, very clearly wants to keep its touch products separate from its desktops and laptops.
According to The Verge, both Apple and Microsoft are realising that computers aren’t bought in the same quantities as they used to be, thanks to the rise of tablets and smartphones. So both companies are chasing profits on smaller volumes, which brings us to why the new MacBook Pros are so expensive. Note that they’re not just expensive in Australian dollars, but they’re also expensive for US and UK-based folks, which is saying something.
Michael Tsai’s problem with the new MacBook Pro is that they’re not true pro notebooks (whatever that means). He says that although there was nothing particularly wrong with what Apple announced last Friday, none of the features are compelling enough to make them a must-have, and Apple’s priorities of thinness and lightness don’t line up with his own.
An Apple support article details the ways you can connect devices to your late 2016 MacBook Pro using Thunderbolt 3. Two things are interesting here: that Apple are marketing the USB-C ports as Thunderbolt 3 (as opposed to USB-C), and that Apple’s official names for the new MacBook pros are unwieldy as “MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)”.
Because don’t get me wrong, it’s great that there’s now a port that can plug into basically any peripheral you want. But as it stands right now, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 are a total nightmare. Supporting a bunch of different devices means a whole lot of different protocols, and even cables aren’t all made the same.
Stephen Hackett says Apple sells many notebooks. Not counting CTO models or colour variations, there’s 11 different models to choose from.