I'm sat at an Apple event in Berlin and there's not many people here, which says something about what people feel about Macs vs iPhones, or something. In a week when IBM became one of Apple's biggest clients and Microsoft announced more interesting products. It feels like there is growing disappointment and boredom in what Apple is offering.
I recently started a new job and have a work computer budget waiting for me and am wondering what to spend it on. I have been a loyal Mac user since 1997 and the past months have made be wonder if it's time to switch to Windows or Linux, this makes me sad, but the company feels like it's not looking outside enough. 😢
We begin with the usual opening self-congratulations. Recapping things we already know. The iPhone 7, iOS 10, and updates for Apple TV. These include running Twitter on Apple TV, wow, talk about two companies in need of a future getting together. And I say that as a keen user of both, so what do I know.
Speaking of Twitter, my entire feed at this point is saying, "Get to the point".
Announced was a new unified app called 'TV', that merges all your video content into place, this is actually a nice idea, but a dumb name. The announcements hinted at 'editors', now what does that mean? To me it looks a bit like AndroidTV, which personally I think is a great platform, but with little developed for it.
And finally the Mac.
We begin with a flashback to 25 years and the first Powerbook, ahh, memories. Then listing all the ground breaking features Apple have added to their laptops.
We got what we predicted and this context relevant tap bar looks nice actually, but as always it will depend how developers use it. There's a larger trackpad, continuing the newer butterfly keyboard design. Apple wants to replace the forced mapping of the old function keys to a much more modern design. It's a small retina strip, has touch ID built it and actually advances the principle of keyboard input always being the fastest input possible. This potentially redefines time honoured keyboard shortcuts, even better, if you can map your own functions to keys, this could be a time saver. You can customise the shortcuts you want to appear, much like the software toolbars, they even wobble when you try to change them.
Adobe took the stage to show that Photoshop (at least) is already taking advantage of the new touch bar. Showing how you can use your two hands together to manipulate images. Designers on Twitter were mentioning that very few designers (and pro users generally) use the trackpad, so how will this fit together in a real studio?
Apple mentioned other applications that are also ready for the touch bar including Sketch, Microsoft Office, and others.
I'm not sure how many users will truly use 'two hands' on the keyboard, but in theory this could make Siri more useful.
The processor is mostly the same as what's in my 2013 model, which is odd, as Apple claim it's faster. It includes 4 thunderbolt 3 ports, which in theory are powerful and flexible, but I will need dongles for older devices running more normal USB ports.
There's also a stripped down version of the Macbook Pro with two thunderbolt 3 ports designed to fill the place of the Macbook Air. This time with retina display, which may be more compelling. There are four models (one is the current Macbook Pro) available at typical pricing ranges for Apple laptops.
Will I buy one?
I honestly don't know. The new touch bar is interesting, but realistically how much will I use it when I'm sat at my desk with an external screen, keyboard, and mouse. The specs bump is small, my current machine runs OK (still), and if I feel like a change, some of the new Windows machines look compelling, and bar figuring out switching issues, I'm still undecided and will be investigating further than the Apple field for a few weeks yet.