New Apple MacBook Pro series released

The wait is finally over: this week, at long last, Apple released its much-anticipated new MacBook Pro. The new line will feature both 13-inch and 15-inch models, available in either space grey or silver. (Sadly, the rumors about the matte black MacBook Pro were just that: rumors.)

There’s a lot to talk about with this new release – both good and, well, perhaps not so good – but let’s focus on the basics.

What’s new?

Many of the pre-release rumors swirling out there on the internet obsessed over a touch bar on the new MacBook Pro models. Those rumors turned out to be true. Like the dodo and the headphone jack, the row of function keys are a thing of the past, replaced by Apple’s new “Touch Bar”. Instead of clunky keys, users will be treated to a mini Retina display that creates a multitouch screen to execute a wide range of commands – and these commands are context-based, which means that the Touch Bar will show function keys that you’ll want to use, depending on the app you’re working in.

For example, Apple demonstrated the new feature in PhotoShop. If you click on a photo the Touch Bar will adapt to show you photo editing tools. Pretty neat – and sure to appeal to Apple’s large customer base of designers.

The new MacBook Pros will also be remarkably sleek and lightweight – the 15-inch model weighs in at a little over four pounds. They’ll come with a larger trackpad, brighter displays and color contrasts, and the most powerful processor in any MacBook to date.

Where’s the memory?

But at what price these new, exciting features?

Some writers have pointed out that the new line, apparently specifically intended for designers, artists, and other professionals, comes with very little RAM and memory space. One Computer World writer noted that the RAM only clocks in at 16GB – and the internal storage for the 15-inch model is only 256GB. You can upgrade to 512GB of internal memory, if you’re willing to shell out another $400 to the already-hefty price tag of $2399 for the 15-inch model. To put that into context for you, your iPhone has 256GB of internal memory – and my old Acer netbook from 2009 had exactly double that amount of memory, at 512GB.

256GB is probably not going to cut it, especially not for memory-intensive usage.  And hundreds of dollars extra for 512GB? You can buy 1 terrabyte of external memory for $60. Has Apple sacrificed too much just to shave a couple ounces off of the MacBook Pro’s weight?

The new MacBook Pro line has also replaced all ports with Thunderbolt 3 ports – and while these new ports are extremely versatile, they’ll also require users to rely on an ever-mounting number of dongles to hook up their externals. Dongles for the new iPhone charger; dongles for the new MacBook Pro. Are these new products sacrificing usability for physical design? Perhaps – but perhaps not: Apple may be continuing its trend of nudging users to adapt new technologies – out of pure necessity.

So while the new MacBook Pro comes with a lot of exciting new features, it leaves much to be desired. How do you feel about the new designs and the new limitations? How do you see yourself solving the problem of lack of storage space? Let us know in the comments!

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