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Apple’s new MacBook Pro delivers innovation -- at a price

Michael deAgonia | Oct. 31, 2016
The line-up unveiled on Thursday shows enormous potential, but Apple fell short of meeting its customers' needs

I'll be honest: I love Apple's hardware presentations. They're more polished and far more interesting than those by other vendors. That made Thursday's Apple event something I looked forward to.

In September, Apple offered up new iPhones, new Watches, iOS 10 and macOS Sierra - leaving room for at least another fall event that would focus less on mobile, more on the desktop. Hopeful Apple users weighed in online, eager to hear about new MacBook Pro laptops, maybe new MacBook Airs, updated iMacs, faster Mac minis, Mac Pro models with 2017 hardware and maybe even a replacement for Thunderbolt monitors. Apple's usual silence only served to hype the hype.

What did we get? MacBook Pros.

And an app.

To be fair, the TV app for Apple TV and iOS devices looks like it's going in an interesting direction as Apple looks to unify in one place the content from across broadcast networks, separate apps and video services. Finding what you want to watch among disparate sources is important if the aim is to rework how we watch TV.

But, disappointingly, it's not shipping until December. In other words, the announcement could have waited until the software was ready.

Which brings us to the main, and only, event: the new MacBook Pros. Aesthetically and technologically, the new laptops are stunning. What's more stunning is that they were the only thing new to Apple's desktop lineup, much of which has gone without updates for years. There was no Mac Pro, no new iMac, or Mac mini. And Apple pointed would-be display buyers to LG hardware.

What happened to the days when Macs were updated all at once, so there was consistency across product lines? You can't even plug in iPhones or the new EarPods with Lightning Connector to the new Macs without an adapter! (Ironically, the only other port on the new notebooks is the 3.5-in. headphone jack.) It shouldn't need to be said, but incremental updates to the Mac line-up would be welcome. It seems that Apple feels more frequent, incremental updates aren't important; that the cost of purchasing older chips (with ever-growing profit margins) help the bottom line more than a sales bump from a refreshed product. That's my theory; have a better one?

But the lack of updated hardware is only one issue. While much of the new MacBook Pro lineup is very, very right, there are a few details that aren't.

What Apple did right

I'm going to focus on the 15-in. MacBook Pro. It's gorgeous, a remarkably lust-worthy design. If you haven't yet, watch this short product video. If you don't agree, then you clearly don't like technology and we're done here. Otherwise, I think we can all agree this notebook is stunning - in a good way.

 

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