The No-Compromise MacBook Pro

For the past few years, buying a large-screened MacBook Pro has felt like a bit of a compromise.

If you bought one in 2016, right after the Touch Bar was introduced, you suffered usability issues from losing years of muscle memory associated with the F1-F12 shortcut keys. You had to look down at your keyboard to use the Touch Bar, taking your eyes off the screen and breaking whatever flow you had going. No matter how much you thought the Touch Bar was new and innovative (or how much you loved how it brought Touch ID to the Mac), it was kind of a usability nightmare.

But maybe you liked the Touch Bar and could look past it. After all, who’s using an Escape button every day, anyway? Not you, because the reliability of the Butterfly keyboard was something that you also had to contend with. Apple might have said that it allowed for even slimmer keyboards than any previous design, but it also was prone to random failures far more than any other keyboard before, too.

And while the Touch Bar and Butterfly keyboard were the two major problems introduced with the new generation of MacBook Pro, that’s not even touching on the plethora of minor ones that came with the generational gap. I hope you like dongles and don’t trip over your laptop charger!

Thankfully, we’ve been able to put most of those issues past us now. The 16-inch, Intel-based MacBook Pro currently has the best Touch Bar implementation we’ve seen, with a physical Escape key, more separation between it and the number row to prevent unintentional Touch Bar presses, while still keeping Touch ID on the right hand side. Apple has done away with the Butterfly keyboard altogether, reverting to the tried-and-true scissor switch mechanism on the best MacBook Pro of all time.

And with time, dongles aren’t such a big deal as they once were. Losing MagSafe hurts, but when was the last time you tripped over your laptop charger, anyway? If the rumours are true, maybe we’ll see MagSafe on the new MacBook Pro, too, which would be the icing on the proverbial cake.

The only remaining question marks over it are really performance and battery life, both problems solved by Apple Silicon.

I can’t wait for Apple to announce the no-compromise MacBook Pro on Tuesday.

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My two biggest wishes are that the TouchBar is done away with or at least becomes an option (or not having a Touch Bar becomes an option) + MagSafe coming back.

I’d also LOVE if HDMI & the SD card reader come back as well. But could probably live without.

A true non compromise MacBook Pro though at the very least would have a non glued battery and upgradable storage though I guess the ship has saled on that.

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I sincerely hope the Touch Bar stays, I love it

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I don’t really care about the Touch Bars.

Now, a Touch Screen on the other hand…

I hope it’s an option to not have it. I know some people like it but I hate it so much. Not being able to pause/play music, change volume, adjust brightness without looking down is beyond annoying .

I’d be happy if it was optional at the very least, then everyone is happy

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I do like the Touch Bar even though I don’t use it that much. I think it has potential. I disagree with returning to dedicated function keys as if we were back in the 1970s. The vast majority of people regardless of operating system, never use most of the function keys. I’m here at work using a PC, what the heck do I need F6 for, or F10 or F12, …?

Physical Esc key, fine, no arguments from me, but 12 physical keys for F1 to F12? Really, that’s what the world needs in 2021? It’s a retrograde step for keyboards. Why not 6 physical keys and a Touch Bar? The physical keys could be programmable including what is displayed on the key.

What about just having the option to not have the Touch Bar. Plenty of people hate it. I regularly use 10 of the keys on my MacBook Pro - not Fn keys but brightness up and down, backlighting and down, back, play/pause, forwards, mute, volume up and down (+ Eject but thats obviously moot on the new machines). Having to look down to use these features and have them as multiple presses instead of one is IMHO a retrograde step. Plus when I used to use one I was forever bumping the touchbar which was annoying!

Having 6 programable physical keys though could be a good compromise, though personally I’d prefer a complete row of programable keys with displays. Or put a Touch Bar above the Fn row.

I wish something like this was considered

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As feared, the notch is real. And LOL at the 14” price, relatively:
Base 13” MacBook Pro - $1899
Base 14” MacBook Pro - $2999

The 14” MacBook Pro also has 15% less battery life. I think my next purchase is the 2022 MacBook Air. Rumours that it will increase from 13” to 14” as it too will incorporate a notch. I’m sure I’ll complain about it but I’m also sure I’ll come to accept it.

I am a little surprised that a high-end Mac Mini was not announced, maybe the worldwide chip shortage is the reason. So the Intel Mac Mini will continue for another 6-12 months.

So much for the the “apple silicon = lower Mac prices” theory :joy:

I’m very happy with the new MacBook Pro except for the pricing and the bloody notch!

But I’ll make those compromises given MagSafe, HDMI and the SD Card reader came back, it has pro motion and the touch bar has gone bye bye.

These machines look incredible. So glad to see the back of the 2016-2020 era MacBook Pros.

This new machine is legitimately Pro not just in name, with a price tag to match. But I must say, they aren’t significantly more expensive than the 4-port MacBook Pros they replace which were the true Pro MBPs. They are certainly not an order of magnitude more expensive in the way the 2019 Mac Pro is compared to previous Mac Pros.

Great to see HDMI and MagSafe back. CPUs/GPUs look insanely great. More than on external display at last! :tada:

Incredibly happy to see function preferenced over form in a Pro machine. :clap:

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They’ve done great! The MacBook Pro is back!

I thought the notch was just wild rumour, but I like how they’ve done it. Instead of just a larger black bezel we’re getting that little bit more space to work in by shoving the menu bar up there. But it looks like in full screen mode it may as well have the black glass bezel unless there’s an option somewhere to show the menu bar in full screen.

In any case I’m glad to see them go back to their pro roots with this. Very cool.

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the $19 polishing cloth is getting some media attention, lol

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If you spec up the base model 13" MBP to 512GB storage and 16GB RAM it’s much closer at $2,499. I feel like the M1 MBP is a bit of an anomaly and should go away leaving the M1 MBA as the entry-level model at $1,499. (Or if you need the extra storage it’s then ~$1,799 for the base (or $1,849 for the model up with extra cores).

A hell of jump when it doubles to go from the base MBA to the first (new model) MBP.

I do think it’s a bit of a shame they have dropped the touchbar for the Pro models. My wife seems to love hers and if it was an option (even a paid one) would probably choose it again if given the option.

I know there was a lot of hate for it, but other than brightness and volume I can’t say as I ever really used those keys very much anyway making the touch bar somewhat more useful in being able to display more relevant buttons or information.

This MBP feels like they passed the hat around for everyone’s wish list and picked the top items and made something to suit… very un-(recent)Apple like.

The base model 16" would suit my needs if I was in the market and at $3,749 it’s about the same value of money as my $3,099 17" MBP back in 2009. If you convert 2009 dollars to 2021 it’s actually slightly cheaper! even.

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I think it opens the door for them to a) discontinue the 13-inch “Pro in name only” model, which is essentially an Air with a slightly posh-er case, and then b) release a 15-inch MacBook Air. That would sell a boat load. :crossed_fingers: :crossed_fingers: :crossed_fingers:

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If this eventuated, I would need one or two of those Apple cloths to wipe up my drool :laughing:

Wait till they all find out that the cloth is actually AUD $29 [USD $19].

Looks like my next MacBook Pro won’t be a new one. Unfortunate.

I think they should update it with MagSafe, similar design to the Pros, drop the ‘Pro’ and rename it the ‘MacBook’.

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