The new MacBook Pro is here! But is it for you?

Luria Petrucci 11.17.2016 3 comments

Reviews are starting to come out for the new Macbook Pro’s with the Touch Bar. Let’s take a look at some pros and cons!

I used to buy every new gadget I could get my hands on. But let me be completely honest here. I don’t anymore. I prefer to spend my money on tech that actually improves my lifestyle… stuff that makes my life better rather than sits on a shelf collecting dust after a month… and help you do the same.

That’s why I haven’t bought the new Macbook Pro with the Touch Bar just yet. Because as awesome as it LOOKS… I’m skeptical. Let me explain.

Yes, the new Macbook Pro is thinner. Faster. Lighter. All around a better computer. Heck…it’s new. It better be!

But when it comes to the touch bar, I was having a real hard time seeing if it would FOR SURE be useful… or just a pretty bar of lights that sits there glowing at me and reminding me daily how much I paid for this thing that I don’t use..

I don’t look at my keypad when I’m typing. I’m looking at the screen. So predictive word suggestions… didn’t really appeal to me because I think I would FORGET to look at them. I don’t use them that often on my phone. Do you?

Shortcuts on the Touch Bar… yeah, that’s closer for me. I dug the idea of it. But then I thought… I’m so used to my keyboard shortcuts. I use them without thinking. But maybe it would help with shortcuts I don’t yet know or have a habit of using yet.

Creative controls. I don’t edit my videos or do Photoshop. Phillip, our editor and producer, uses keyboard shortcuts primarily for editing video, so not sure if he’d find it useful. Paul Dixon, who does all our graphics, says he isn’t sure if he would use it for Photoshop.

And so it’s been going. Around and around in my head. It LOOKS so cool! I WANT to love it. I do love the IDEA of it.

But I just keep thinking… am I going to ACTUALLY use it?

And as I’ve been looking at the reviews, I’m not persuaded. However, Rene Ritchie from iMore has me almost there with his review:

He makes it look seamless and natural to use.

So here’s what I’ve decided. I think it’s all about habits.

Something like this would cause me to create NEW habits. Moving my fingers in a different way. Looking at different places while working. Programming my brain and hands to work together towards a new goal.

And hey… maybe it’s worth doing that. Maybe I’m just being silly. After all, didn’t the iPhone require new habits?

Though to be fair, that felt so damn natural I didn’t FEEL like I was having to create habits.

I’m definitely going to be trying it out, but not sure about buying it until I do.

So… what do YOU think? Are you excited about it? Skeptical like me? Think I’m being an old fart?

Leave a comment below! I’d like to hear.

Let's Geek Out!

Please Login to comment
3 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
3 Comment authors
Liron SegevPhilip ShanePaul Dixon Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Paul Dixon
Geek Wrangler
Paul Dixon

In the future I expect I will end up replacing my current MacBook Pro with one of the new Touch Bar models. I can see why Apple went this route vs adding a touch screen, and I expect the Touch Bar will be a useful addition to the keyboard and trackpad for some tasks.

My biggest issue with the new model is the price – especially here in the UK. The only way I could justify going out and buying one right now, would be if it could be used as my main machine, and to do that I’d also need to buy a decent sized external display to use with it. It would be cheaper to buy a 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display, and that would probably suit my needs better.

Philip Shane
Philip Shane

I just tried it in the Apple store and, wow, I gotta say, like so *many* Apple products, you really have to try it to understand it. Like you, Luria, I figured it looked cool but seemed mostly like a gimmick, especially since I use keyboard shortcuts all the time. And I figured, “why would I want to push a little slider on the keyboard when I can do the exact same thing on the screen with the mouse?”

But, it’s all about the *feel* of it. I really understood for the first time that when they said “it’s a whole new way to interact with your computer” they’re right. Just that simple thing of having your hand touch the actual interface that you’re manipulating makes using it for adjusting something (like color) or scrolling (like a timeline) much more intuitive and I found I was making the adjustments with more feeling than simple intellect. Quite interesting.

I do think the bar is kind of small, and it’s placement at the top of the keyboard isn’t the best spot for it, although I can see that having it be right next to the screen has some benefit, although I imagine in the future seeing touch bars on both sides of the keys (scrolling vertically with either your left or right hand would be easier) and I can imagine the touchpad itself, or the entire keyboard surface (except possibly the mechanical keys) becoming touchable.

Lastly, just a mention of how, as always with Apple, the look, feel and operation of the touchbar is just really nicely done and it’s pleasant and fun to use.

That being said, it does cost $300-$500 more than the non-touchbar models, and for me, I can’t say that it would increase my productivity enough to justify that fee. But I do think it is as interesting as they say it is, and I’m looking forward to future iterations.

Liron Segev
Liron Segev

Those who don’t mind doing keyboards gymnastics bouncing around the keyboard, up to the touch bar and down to the touch pad, will like this. It’s new. It’s cool. It’s expensive = Apple.

However, those who are used to laying their hands on the keyboard, look at the screen, and use a mouse for finer editing will prefer to stick to that method. We are used to where things are and muscle memory simply takes your fingers to the right position. Having a changing interface means you stop, look, make a decision and then click. That’s an interruption to the way we work – not helpful.

We will need to stop looking at the big screen and just focus on the little one.

I suspect that the predictive text will further slow you down as you feel that you NEED to use it vs. just going back and changing the mistyped words when you take a break from typing your thoughts.
On a phone, you have a limited keyboard size and predictive text really does help, however, on a big keyboard, you want to spew the words out before the thought-train leaves the station. Looking down at the smaller screen from the big screen will just be frustrating.