MacBook Pro October 2016

October 2016 MacBook Pro

The new MacBook Pro announced yesterday is a bad upgrade. I’m sure it’s a fine computer on its own. But if a creative professional asked you, “Should I upgrade right now?” The answer is an easy no.

Apple had a diverse offering when both the Air and the Pro were being regularly updated. The Air wasn’t cheap but it was affordable and a remarkable experiment in how thin and light something could get. The Pro was a premium take on the more traditional laptop, with tons of connectivity, paired with Apple’s build quality and taste.

Somewhere along the way, they decided to only build variations of the MacBook Air. The Pro had to slim down and every existing feature had to adapt to being thinner and lighter (or be removed outright).

Apple have invested a lot into making things thinner and lighter. Designing their own chips and custom circuit boards, pioneering standards like Thunderbolt and USB-C, and all the insane materials science and hardware engineering. But I worry that they’ve invested too much in this image of themselves as the thin and light company. At a certain point, I don’t need my bicycle to be any thinner or lighter, I want safety or versatility or accessibility.

For a creative professional considering this new MacBook Pro, they would need to go to their desk and count up the peripherals they had and estimate how many dongles they’d need (both at their desk and when they travel). They’d need to check their budget to account for the higher price points. And after that headache, they’d need to take a look at the Windows ecosystem and think hard about whether there’s a better compromise there.

If this were a new MacBook Air, this new laptop could wear that name proudly; it’s a sports car version of a MacBook Air. But the only thing a Pro customer can see is a set of uncomfortable compromises.

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