Thursday, October 27, 2016

Apple's Newest Innovations Seem To Be Samsung's Old Gimmicks

As Apple took the stage today to introduce their revamped MacBook Pro lineup, a lineup that hasn't seen any major changes since the introduction of Retina displays back in 2012 and hasn't seen an upgrade since 2015, two things become abundantly clear. Apple has lost sight of what made the MacBook Pro what it was, and they have lost all sight of any true innovation instead relying on gimmicks and minor upgrades to try to drive their products lines!

When updating means leaving your target audience behind!
Apple's MacBook Pro has long been the standard for a great deal of you professional geeks out there. Pretty much anyone who is anyone in video production, commercial graphic design and advertising has at one point in another relied on a MacBook Pro to get things done and rightfully so. They are work-horses through and through! When coupled with Apple-centric design software, there really isn't much that can be accomplished.

Unfortunately though it looks like Apple has forgotten the needs of those professional users that have for years showed the company a great deal of loyalty. Year after year Apple has failed to upgrade the MBP line-up and when they have they have done so (in typically Apple fashion mind you) at the expense of the user and end user usability.

Today's new MacBook Pros are thinner and lighter than any previous model, with the 13-inch model weighing 3lbs and the 15-inch model coming in at 4lbs. The 13-inch model is 14.9mm thick, the 15-inch version a hair larger. In keeping with Apple’s design priorities, Apple has made the decision to remove all of your standard ports that you design professional might need, instead opting Thunderbolt 3 ports, using the latest USB Type-C connector.Unfortunately this means for most of you, you'll now need to carry around an army of dongles to get things done.

Imagine if you will trying to do a presentation at a client's site. They have HDMI, you'll need a dongle for that. No optical drive, means not having the ability to take client optical media or burn a disc to leave...without an external drive. No standard USB means no reading client flash drives without a you can see this is quickly becoming a dongle nightmare!

Touch Bar gimmicks!
Perhaps one of the most talked about features we've seen today is the new “Touch Bar.” Apple has ditched all of the function keys at the top of the keyboard for an OLED strip that will offer users several different options based on what apps you’re running. Apple believes the new Touch Bar will be used as a productivity tool, since users can still easily access the tools and controls they need

If you’re in a music player, for instance, you will see several controls for music selection, volume ect. Switch over to Photoshop, and you could call up a variety of your favorite to use tools. When you’re browsing the web, it shows a search field and navigation buttons. It works in Pages, Keynote, Garageband, Terminal, and XCode. And of course, it makes the perfect home for an emoji keyboard.

The added functionality of the Touch Bar comes with a hefty price tag to the tune of a $300 upgrade! The 13-inch MacPro Pro without the touch bar costs $1,500. The new feature brings that price up to $1,800.

If this all sounds familiar, it is very very similar to the sidebar functions  Samsung introduced with the Galaxy Note Edge a few years ago. Yes a feature that, much like water-resistant phones, many Apple users called a gimmick at the time! Unlike the Edge screen on Samsung's phone the Touch Bar will be all about tools. Apple has already set guidelines prohibiting what the Touch Bar displays. App developers are prohibited from using the bar to display alerts, messages, scrolling content, static content, or anything else that commands the user’s attention or distracts from their work on the main screen.

Apple still demands a premium!
It wasn't all about gimmicks for Apple today. They did offer a complete update to the MacBook Pro lineup, though those updates still leave much to be desired especially given the hefty price tags Apple has attached to the laptops!

For processor, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro has a quad-core sixth-generation (NOT seventh-generation) Intel Core i7 chip and 2,133mHz memory. It has an ATI Radeon Pro graphics card with up to 4GB of RAM. You can get up a 2TB SDD and up to a (paltry by today's standards) 16GB of RAM. The 13-inch model has either sixth-gen Core i5 or i7 processors and Intel Iris Pro graphics. It has the same faster memory as the larger model, but only has 8GB of it.

Pricing starts at $1,499 for a standard, Touch Bar-less, 13-inch model and quickly increases to $1,799  with the Touch Bar and better CPU. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,399 and tops out at $2,799 for a slightly better equipped unit. All three models can be ordered starting today, but only the low-end version is shipping immediately. The Touch Bar models will ship in two to three weeks.

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