So the MacBook Pro 2016 has landed and big changes are revealed. This changes includes the inclusion of Intel Skylake processors (unfortunately not the newer Kaby Lake chips), faster PCIe SSDs, display improvements and wider color gamut. Enormous Force Touch trackpad, smaller form-factor, a new color option of Space Gray, the removal of I/Os in replacement of Four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 combo ports, The Touch Bar replacing the hardware function keys, and the most annoying and notably change Apple has did to this lineup, the prevention of upgrading its hardware.
Spec-wise, the flagship variant, which is the 15″ are available in 2 pre-configured specs:
• 2.6GHZ Core i7 CPU, Radeon Pro 450 GPU and 256GB PCIe SSD
• 2.7GHZ i7 CPU, Radeon Pro 455 GPU and 512GB PCIe SSD
But this can be maxed-out if you want on a build-to-order basis to
• 2.9GHZ i7 CPU, Radeon Pro 460 with 4GB of VRAM and a 2TB PCIe SSD.
All 15″ models, however, are just restricted to 16GB RAM because of some reason which we’ll be tackling later and 4 USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 Ports. Prices start, at 110,000 PHP or $2399.
On the other hand, the 13″ is also available in 2 pre-configured models. Both models come with 2.9GHZ Core i5 CPU and an Iris 550 GPU and they just differ on storage, 256GB and 512GB of PCIe SSD storage, respectively. Both models have 8GB of RAM, however, there’s no option for a discrete GPU. But like before, a maxed-out configuration could give you a 3.3GHZ Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM and 1TB PCIe SSD. All models are the same with Four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports and yet, prices start at 85,000 PHP or $1799.
But silently, Apple also launched a new 13″ MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar, with a 2GHZ i5 CPU, Iris 540 GPU, 256GB PCIe SSD and only TWO USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports.
So back to the question, why the MacBook Pro is not for pros anymore?
We know that the MacBook Pro lineup is intended for Professionals, like me on mocking and destroying some tech stuffs. However, the 2016 models stripped out what we have known as the “Pro-friendly” concepts.
First and probably the most annoying change Apple has ever did my goodness is the preventing of hardware upgrades. Apple deter the capability to upgrade both the RAM and the storage of this crap like their lower-end models by soldering the parts into their logic board, which makes user-servicing of parts, impossible. Pro users intend to buy and replace parts of their own because of their needs, their workloads and other stuff, making the MacBook Pro a great choice back then before but now, I highly doubt it that it will be still a great choice for the pros. Another problem is that when the RAM or the SSD fails (in rare cases), it will be a pain for the user to replace it since they need to go to the Apple Service Centers or if you are in the Philippines, Greenhills.
Another thing that annoys me is the limited amount of I/Os. The 2016 MacBook Pro eliminated all other necessary ports except, the 3.5mm HEADPHONE JACK (finally Apple did a great decision this time around) and replacing them with only FOUR USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 combo ports, requiring you to use their costly “DONGLES” in order to connect other devices, such as HDMI or Thunderbolt displays, SD Cards and so much more, making you to live the #DongleLife. One of them might be occupied for the charging.
Also, its already been years and pro applications have increased their systems and processing power requirements, however, the 2016 MacBook Pro variants, are still restricted to 16GB of RAM. DOES 32GB of RAM or MORE SEEMS OVERKILL FOR APPLE? I have said before that I’ll talk about it here so there we go. Linus from LinusTechTips said in a video that Apple said it limits its RAM configuration to only 16GB because a configuration that exceeds that will eat more power and not seemingly good for a laptop. I confirmed it, and they misproved it by performing some tests on RAM power consumptions and battery operations on different configurations, and it seems that nope, it doesn’t have a huge impact on battery life after all. But why did Apple say that? I mean there are now a bunch of low-power RAM modules out there, to use on their crap toys and stuff, but I don’t know what’s with Apple after all.
And, a non-ground breaking deal but I still hate it, the removal of Apple logo illumination. As you have seen, the 2016 MacBook Pro doesn’t have the Apple logo shining anymore. It is just black, and yeah, like their other products, it loses the trademark of MacBook products in the first place.
Lastly, developers like me are already hating the thing about removal of the escape and the function keys in place of the Touch Bar. Yeah I’ve complemented Apple earlier because they didn’t axed the 3.5mm headphone jack but this time they deserve a bunch of s*** for removing the key that is always used by the developers. I mean, what the f*** is going on Apple? You can locate the Touch Bar on top of these keys but removing them, is yet awful as of this moment. Again, to resolve this, you are going to use an external keyboard just for the key that you always use, for you to be able to utilize both the Touch Bar’s other functions and the function keys at the same time. Take note Apple, developers are one of the biggest customers of yours after all, so you might know what’s the consequence if they can’t do their work properly on their laptops right?
To wrap this up. Like what I’ve said before on my iPhone 7 analysis, Apple seems to know their target market, but this time, I proved myself wrong. The MacBook Pro 2016 is not intended for the Pros anymore, not because of its specs that can be easily beaten by a powerful Windows PCs/Laptops or a powerful Hackintosh but the intention of removing what it is known for doesn’t seem pretty good for the “Professional” market group.
So, is the MacBook Pro 2016 still great? or awful as it seems? The power of Macs are still there and if you are a Mac-dependent (sometimes I call these persons who doesn’t know how to use Windows PCs that term) that are willing to shelve cash for traditional prices for outdated specs and limited I/Os, that requires you to cost another fortune just to connect something, you can still go for it. But, for practical thinkers like me, it doesn’t seem very well. And it’s actually awful. For enthusiasts like me, the 2016 MacBook Pro sucks because you lost the power of being an enthusiast, which is being flexible on your computer.
Anyway, if Apple wants to change my thoughts about their product, they can send me an actual MacBook Pro to sophistically see what is going on around their product (just kidding). I’m going to prefer the lower-end MacBook Pro models right now which preserve the hardware upgrade capability and flexibility on I/Os rather than the latest model axing the enthusiasts’ most loved capabilities. Aside from that, Thunderbolt 3-enabled devices are still expensive like the Dongles and Thunderbolt expansions.
So there you have it guys, my thoughts and analysis of the Apple’s MacBook Pro 2016 is done. Thanks for reading guys!
– Bryan Snow