You might not have heard about it, but there’s been a huge amount of backlash over the new MacBook Pros that Apple announced in October. Most laptop users greeted the slick new hardware as they have with most computer upgrades, which is to say they took it in stride. But many of the most dedicated and vocal Apple devotees were not so subdued. With the new lineup of MacBook Pros, Apple is, in many ways, going a different route than it has gone in the past. It’s changing what a MacBook Pro is, and many Apple fans are not happy.
To understand their frustration, we have to understand what a MacBook Pro has represented up to this point and compare it to what Apple is offering this year.
In the past, the MacBook Pro has always been a powerful laptop and Apple’s most capable portable computer. It’s always been the premier machine, a step ahead of the more consumer-level MacBook Air and standard MacBook. The word “Pro” in its name signaled its target audience: professional creative people who need powerful machines to do their work. Whether you needed to edit pictures, create videos, record music, write, develop apps, or work on high-end graphics, the Macbook Pro had your back.
The new MacBook Pros don’t quite line up with those ideals for creative professionals in 2016. Here’s where they fall short.
The new line of MacBook Pros includes three separate machines: a 13-inch one, a 13-inch one with a Touch Bar, and a 15-inch one with a Touch Bar. We’ll get into the Touch Bar below, but the new models all come with varying degrees of power and pre-set upgrade options.
The thing is, they run on AMD’s Radeon chips. While the new chipset is an improvement over the previous MacBook Pros, it’s not competitive with the Nvidia chips that power many other pro-level laptops these days. As Colin Cornaby notes on his blog, “While AMD has improved their performance compared to their previous generation, they’ve failed to take the performance crown from Nvidia. Nvidia’s low end professional notebook GPU, the GTX 1060m, is still almost twice as fast as the Radeon 460.”
Then there’s the RAM issue. In all of the new MacBook Pro models, the maximum amount of memory you can upgrade to is 16GB. While that’s certainly enough for your average consumer, it’s not nearly enough for many of the creative types who have relied on Macs in the past.