Apple's newest MacBook Pros are ambitious for a handful of reasons, but not all of those are going to be universally agreed-upon as being "good". We covered the new MBP's graphics solutions last week, equating them to Pintos when others are stocking Porsches. Some launches have hits and misses, but this latest one from Apple seems to have an unusual number of misses. Let's not get into the lack of Type-A USB ports or the removal of popular hardware keys (eg: F1 - F12, Esc).
Regardless of what you think of Apple's design decisions, there's one man who will defend them against all odds. That'd be Jony Ive, and his defensiveness would be justified: he likely had a major hand in those design decisions. That includes the Touch Bar, one of the latest MacBook Pro's most talked about features.
In a recent interview, Ive covers a lot about the new MacBook Pro design, while also continuing to dismiss some features users might be craving for. That includes touchscreen displays. Simply put, don't ever expect Macs to come with one, because Ive is adamant that Apple has evaluated their use up and down, and has never seen a reason to pursue them.
That could be part of Apple's desire to "Think Different", something Ive says isn't that difficult. "Doing something that's different is actually relatively easy and relatively fast, and that's tempting." We hope he's not referring to simply removing certain features that people expect, though it would be hard to disagree about that being "easy".
In defense of the new Touch Bar, Ive said, in effect, that while a regular keyboard serves a great purpose, it's simply made better with the Touch Bar. "You really notice or become aware [of] something’s value when you switch back to a more traditional keyboard." Time will tell how much that proves true, but it does have the potential to become one of those features that non-Mac fans crave.
One interesting quote relates to how both the iPhone and Mac series are designed. "I feel very strongly that you cannot separate form from material, from the process that forms the material. Those have to be developed incredibly coherently and together," says Ive. It's hard to disagree with that thinking, but it's also hard to ignore the fact that the iPhone 7 isn't designed to complement the new MacBook Pros that well, requiring an entirely separate cable/adapter to connect to each other. For this to happen in an ecosystem that Apple has full control over is downright unfortunate.
It's clear that the new MacBook Pros are not right for everyone, but they're still destined to perform quite well in the marketplace. It's only a matter of time before we see how they fly off the shelves in relation to previous years' models.