Almost a week ago, Apple‘s highly anticipated event became big news in the creative and tech world – but for all the wrong reasons. The new MacBook Pro features a Touch Bar display, high resolution retina display (not massively different) and Touch ID, along with a tummy-tuck, resulting in a lighter device at 17% thinner. So… it’s a new MacBook Air? Not a MacBook Pro?
Apple’s main demographic – creatives – seem to have been forgotten about with this update… it’s as if Apple have entirely ignored all feedback and requirements of the rapidly evolving creative industry. The Touch Bar and Touch ID seem like just another gimmick – that should be left to the iPhones and iPads – and another way to encourage consumers to purchase the next new thing. MacBook Pro has always been the best notebook for creatives and developers, but now that we’re presented with two MacBook Pro’s, what’s the difference other than a touch function bar? WELL it has two less ports, slower memory and a worse GPU. Great.
Apple decided to dive in headfirst with the introduction of USB Type-C ports on the MacBook Pro (which is a good thing, as it will happen eventually), providing four USB Type-C/Thunderbolt connections. Each connection can be used as a power, thunderbolt, USB, display port, HDMI, or VGA port. That’s pretty awesome and innovative but of course you have to buy an adapter for your ‘old’ USB ports and wires. How much will that cost on top the 15-inch costing £2,349?! If I buy a cheaper version on Amazon will it set alight and burn my house down?
There seems to be a strong disconnect between not only Apple’s target market and their needs, but also the rest of Apple’s products. Remember Lightning headphone gate? Well, despite Apple claiming wireless headphones are the future, the new MacBook Pro has a headphone jack. This works vice versa for iPhones as it’s release didn’t come with the right cable for the new MacBook Pro. Need to charge your Lightning mouse? You’ll probably need an adapter for that now too. It feels like switching from VCR to DVD all over again.
Following a hilarious Reddit thread (“It just works” – Apple), users showed what a nightmare the removal all wires and the handful of dongles is, resulting in having to carry around even more wires in the fist place! Don’t forget, you can’t use wire headphones with the iPhone 7 whilst plugged into the new MacBook Pro. By the way, the USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter is £69.00. I wouldn’t even spend that on a pair of shoes.
The vibe I’m getting from the launch is that Apple wanted to release something as quickly as possible (even though it took 4 years…). There seems to be a lot of loose ends and a huge disconnect between product and consumer. Apple’s main success is their involvement in the creative industry from the very beginning. As technology advanced Windows didn’t catch up, missing the boat on a huge demographic, however, the tables seem to be slowly turning… the updated Mac isn’t suitable for the heavy graphics, virtual reality or 3D work, but Windows 10 have just released a huge update called ‘Creative Update‘ that focuses on 3D, gaming, VR and social.
Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella:
We are the company that stands for the builders, the makers, the creators.
I don’t know the last time I laid a finger on a Windows machine, but as a digital designer I’m expecting to see a lot more of Windows in the workplace, unless Apple steps up their game. Microsoft wants Windows 10 to be a home for not only virtual reality, but also augmented reality and holographic computing – this is all hugely on the rise in every aspect of the creative industry, so why did Apple ignore this? Unlike Apple, Microsoft are clearly aware of the average consumer’s budget as not only will the latest version be free to update, they are also teaming up with a number of tech firms to make accessing VR cheaper. It’s as if the new MacBook Pro features were pitched 4 years ago, and they decided to just stay with those ideas despite an enormous technological breakthrough in that short space of time.
There is a huge disassociation between marketing and consumers, particularly when it comes to who needs a MacBook Air and who needs a MacBook Pro. The new MacBook Pro isn’t faster, only thinner. Apple marketing VP Phil Schiller suggested the 13-inch MacBook Pro (without the Touch Bar) was designed for MacBook Air buyers:
We think that a lot of potential MacBook Air customers are going to be very excited by this product, too.
The creative industry doesn’t care for the MacBook Air. I’d probably throw myself off a tall building if I had to do photo-retouching or mobile banner design on a MacBook Air! Whilst the new Microsoft Surface Studio and Surface Book seem pretty niche (the niche being creatives), I still can’t imagine them being as popular as Macs in design and advertising agencies. I could be wrong.
The “you can’t do that on a Mac” ads really pissed me off up until the Apple launch. I found myself yelling “SHUT UP!” every time the annoying animator couple demonstrated their skills on the Surface Studio by Windows:
However, now it’s totally gone in Windows favour as the new Apple update is simply not for artists and graphic designers who use pens or touchscreens to do their work (or anyone who needs more than 16GB of memory).
HEY maybe they’re saving all the special features for creatives for a new iMac next year! Let’s pray.