Apple announced the release of its new MacBook Pro on Oct. 27 to a mixed reception from the Apple user community at Georgetown.
According to Forbes, Apple’s newest laptop has experienced record sales. The company began shipping the laptops to online customers on Monday. U.S. online shoppers spent more on the MacBook Pro in its first five days of availability than they had on any other laptop in 2016.
The latest model of the MacBook Pro includes updated hardware, a thinner, lighter design with one multi-use, USB-C connection port and the much-anticipated Touch Bar.
The Touch Bar, which will replace the traditional function keys on the 15-inch MacBook, is a slim touchscreen that adapts with features like an emoji selector or volume adjustor to the applications or programs the user has open. Much like recent generations of the iPhone and iPad, the Bar puts fingerprint identification, Siri and an array of emojis at the user’s fingertips.
Other improvements to the device include a 10-hour battery life, a 67 percent brighter display and louder speakers. One of the most noticeable new features is the redesigned shallow keyboard that has much less spring than previous models.
Despite these features, numerous reviews – including one by The Verge – claim the battery life significantly underperforms Apple’s statements.
Some online reviews, including one from TechCrunch, have highlighted Apple’s consolidation of its ports as a negative feature.
The company’s decision to strip the new laptop of HDMI, USB and SD connectivity and to eliminate its MagSafe 2 charging port type strikes a similar tone to the response to its divisive decision to strip the new iPhone 7 of its headphone jack earlier this year.
The cheapest version of the new MacBook Pro model costs $1,499 before tax or shipping, compared to the old model that sells for $1,300. The new MacBook Pro base model has a less powerful processor than more upscale models and also lacks a Touch Bar.
As in past generations, the Pro comes in either a 13” or a 15” model, the latter costing up to $2,799, depending on the features that the computer possesses.
The computer, which BuzzFeed News calls “a perfectly fine laptop for no one in particular,” has received a lukewarm reaction from users at Georgetown and the tech community alike.
Déja Lindsey (COL ’18), an Apple user, said she appreciates Apple’s more portable products like the iPhone and iPad, but that high prices deter her from purchasing Apple’s larger devices.
“For me personally, price is one of the most important things. Originally, when I came to Georgetown I was thinking about getting a MacBook, and MacBooks are already significantly more expensive than PCs,” Lindsey said. “If you’re saying there’s a price increase in this new model then, if anything, that will deter me even more from getting the new model as opposed to a new PC.”
Lindsey, who is majoring in computer science, said she also prefers PC to Apple for programming reasons, citing the decreased freedom and malleability of the MacBook.
“PCs — you can do a lot more with them. You just have a lot more freedom,” Lindsey said. “Whereas Mac products don’t give you a lot of the administrative privileges that you can get on PCs.”
Lindsey expressed further frustration with the limited usability of Macs in programming.
“There are a lot of different programs and applications that you either can’t get on Mac or that are harder to come across,” Lindsey said. In her opinion, programming “is more simplistic with a PC than it is with a Mac.”
Evan Barba, assistant professor of Communication, Culture and Technology, uses a Mac for his day-to-day work and said he appreciates the product for a variety of reasons.
“It has the most applications, better, sort-of mainstream applications, plus the ease of use of the operating system,” Barba said.
Barba said the Touch Bar and the port changes are indicative of the sort of innovation Apple needs to stay ahead of the competition.
“They’re not really doing serious hardware updates anymore. That, I think, is really going to break in the next year or so unless they start making some serious headway,” Barba said.
Halle Hagan (SFS ’18), who describes herself as a loyal Apple user, said that despite any shortcomings that it may possess, she would consider purchasing a new MacBook Pro in the future.
“It’s very typical of Apple to change up the port system and things like that, to make it a little more difficult for conversions between systems in the future. But I’m pretty excited about it,” Hagan said. “The touchscreen model, I think, is great.”
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