We’ve been through the best of times, and the worst of times. I remember the first time you amazed me as I held the iPod Nano in the palm of my hand – goodbye DiscMan. I’ll never forget when you wowed me with the iPhone, and I had to break things off with my old cell – it’s not you old cell, its me. Your ads “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” convinced me that I needed to move away from Windows and PC based computers and try something new, and so, I bought my first laptop which was the white-shelled MacBook. Years later you blew my away by engineering the MacBook Air and sadly I had to call it quits with my MacBook and pick up its slimmer, better looking friend. Time and time again Apple has created something that has made my life easier, and packaged it into a state-of-the-art machine. Apple – I love you, man – but as of late I feel as though you’ve lost your innovative stride.
If you are ever in the market for a new Apple product it is best to check MacRumor’s buyers guide because it shows you when the next model of each of their products are estimated to be released. The last thing you want to do is buy an Apple product only to find out the next day that Apple released an even better version of the same product you just bought. MacRumors is also great for finding out what might be released at the next Apple event. As early as August MacRumors was reporting that close to the end of the year Apple was going to release a new laptop. So I waited patiently until the special October event to see what Apple had in store.
With bated breath I streamed the special October event. My skin tingled and my expectations were high as I watch Mr. Cook give his intro regarding the new MacBooks. This was the 25th anniversary of the launch of the product so I was thinking that this announcement was going to be huge. I thought for sure this MacBook would dress me, make me my meals, and basically do anything I instructed Siri to do. Ok, I didn’t think that, but I did think that the next MacBook would be a step in the revolutionary direction.
When Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing started his slide show presentation to wind me up into a buying frenzy, I could feel my excitement build. “This is it,” I thought, “This will change everything.” However, as the slides progressed, I could feel my enthusiasm fade.
The Design of the New MacBook Pro 15”
The 2015 MacBook Pro 15” model had a thickness of 18.0 mm. The new MacBook Pro 15” has a thickness of 15.5 mm. For those of you doing the common core math at home, that’s a difference of 2.5mm. Want to take a guess on average how tall an ant is? 3.7mm. That’s right, the engineering difference is less than half the height of an ant. Yawn.
In regards to volume, the new MacBook Pro 15” has 20% less volume. Alight – I guess – but what does a slight reduction in height and volume have to do with the overall machine? Are you sitting down? Good because you are about to get blown away. The new MacBook Pro 15” is slightly smaller and a half a pound lighter. My overall reaction to this news? Meh.
Changes Under the Hood
- There is a new force touch trackpad that is two times as large as the previous version. Sounds like a good idea, but some people are complaining that they are hitting the trackpad while typing causing interference. Did anyone ask for a bigger trackpad? I’m not sure and I’m not sure if it really is needed. What I’ve done in order to cover more screen property is turn the curser sensitivity way up so that with small gestures I can cover more of the screen faster. Here’s how to adjust your cursor sensitivity.
- Also there is an updated butterfly keyboard that is suppose to provide better comfort and responsiveness. I haven’t tried any of the butterfly keyboards so I really can’t speak to their pros or cons. Let’s be real, though – it’s a freaking keyboard – how advanced do we need our keyboards?
- Additionally, I should mention that the speaker system has been redesigned to be more dynamic. I normally don’t listen to my music through the speakers within my MacBook, but better sounding speakers when I’m without my Fugoo, is something that I can’t knock. Is it a deal breaker either way? Not really.
- The retina display has improved in a big way though. It’s brighter, 25% more color differentials can be seen, and it has a 67% higher contrast ratio than previous screens. Since the majority of my time is spent looking at the screen, I’m happy that Apple worked on improving it. I’ll be honest though, the retina displays that came before were a huge leap over the non-retina displays. Improving on the retina display might only be slightly noticeable to most customers who are already retina owners.
- The biggest change is the Touch Bar at the top of the keyboard. What’s nice is that it can be customized to meet the needs of whatever software you are running. I’ll admit it, you’ll probably save time in the long run using the Touch Bar, but is it worth the extra $550.00* – personally, I don’t think so.
*2015 MacBook Pro 15” models are currently being sold by authorized sellers for $1,850.00. The new 2016 MacBook Pro 15” base models are going for $2,400.00
The Guts of the 2015 MacBook Pro 15″ vs the New Base Models
As you can see from the comparisons I did below, the new model runs 0.4 GHz faster than last years model; they both have the same amount of memory using 16GB; and each has 256GB of disk space. So in this performance area of the machine, not much of a difference is going to be noticed, if any.
It seems like the biggest changes to the guts of the machine are the graphics, and battery life. I like the fact that the battery lasts one hour longer than the previous model and that the graphics are much, much better.
The most noticeable difference is the lack of ports that the new MacBook Pros provide. The 15″ model gives you four USB-C ports and a headphone jack. By doing so, almost every peripheral device that you want to plug into your MacBook is going to need an adaptor to fit into the USB-C ports. Not even the newest iPhone 7, released earlier this year, can be plugged into the new MacBooks because it came with a regular USB cable. Use an external hard drive, monitor, (you name a device)? It’s going to need an adaptor.
The clunky adaptors hanging off of your beautifully designed, slightly smaller, MacBook Pro isn’t going to be your only problem. The new MacBook Pros no longer use the Mag Safe charging cable. I have a three year old and I can’t tell you how many times he has run by me knocking the charging wire from my MacBook Air. Luckily, the Mag Safe wire popped right out preventing my MacBook Air from becoming a MacBook Broken. Remember how I said you had four USB-C ports? Well, if your charging your new MacBook you have to use one of those four ports since a designated charging port is no longer built-in. If you want more ports you going to have to get more dongles. The last thing I want to be worrying about as I head out the door with my laptop if I got all the dongles I need.
Also gone is the SD card slot. This means the easy means of sliding you SD card into your MacBook to increase storage or review videos and pictures you have taken is no longer an option. At least Apple left the head jack, am I right?
I decided to retire my MacBook Air “13 (2011 model) and give it to my wife because she needed something easy to transport to do web-based work, and so I upgrade to the 2015 MacBook Pro 15″ model. I love the look of the retina screen and the fact that is bigger in size. It’s nice to know that I have pretty much has the same performance specs (minus graphics and battery life) as the 2016 MacBook Pro 15” and it comes with all the ports I need without the dongles. I understand that Apple wanted to make a more compact MacBook Pro, but they sacrificed all of the ports we use, making the transportation process cumbersome by us having to pack a bunch of dongles.
I’d like to see a bit more innovation like a touch screen on my laptop that doesn’t smear, various color options to match my style, a price point that is more affordable, and longer battery life. Just to name a few.
Consume Review Repeat give the new MacBook Pro models a 7 out of 10 dongles.