“The new design of the MacBook Pros is nice, and Apple’s decision to put in nothing but Thunderbolt 3 ports has prompted a fresh wave of dongle talk, but the signature feature of the new MacBook Pros was always going to be the Touch Bar,” Andrew Cunningham writes for Ars Technica. “This little touch-enabled strip represents a bunch of things. It’s a melding of Apple’s traditional Intel-driven software platform and the company’s own homegrown chips and its touch-driven iOS platform. It’s Apple’s answer to the touchscreen, a model that Apple steadfastly resists in its computers…”

“The more I use the Touch Bar, the more I become convinced of its potential utility. Even if you only ever use it to control system settings once you get used to it, I think it’s easier and more convenient to use than the old function buttons,” Cunningham writes. “When I went out of my way to use Apple’s apps, I liked the Touch Bar a lot. It just takes one or two useful buttons—creating a new tab in Safari, looking up a main page in Terminal, changing font sizes or creating checklists in Notes—to make you glad the Touch Bar is there.”

“If you’ve got a MacBook Pro that you bought in 2012 or earlier, and if you’re convinced of the potential utility and novelty of the Touch Bar, these 2016 MacBook Pros were just about worth the wait,” Cunningham writes. “Replace a four- or five-year-old laptop with one of these and you’ll get a great new design, a respectable performance boost, a nice screen, the single most versatile port you can get in any computer, and a new input device that tries to combine the good stuff about PC touchscreens (fast response, malleable button layouts) while avoiding the bad stuff about PC touchscreens (adapting a mouse-and-keyboard driven operating system to finger input, blocking the screen by poking at it with your hand).”

“I like these laptops a lot. I bought one to replace my 2013 MacBook Air, which still performs basically fine but doesn’t have the sharp screen or design chops of the PC laptops that have come out in the last two-or-so years,” Cunningham writes. “But the rest of the Mac lineup — all of the desktops and the more affordable laptops — are still stuck in the past. It feels like Apple might have a comprehensive vision for the future of its computers, but that it’s only ready to show us a small, expensive peek right now. The sooner the Touch Bar and USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 can spread across the entire lineup and end this awkward transitional phase, the better.””

Tons more in the comprehensive full review – recommended, as usual – here.

MacDailyNews Take: These are the world’s best laptops and, as such, are priced like it. With history as our guide, those prices will come down over time and the Touch Bar and versatile Thunderbolt 3 ports will migrate throughout Apple’s Mac lineup.

SEE ALSO:
TIME Magazine reviews Apple’s MacBook Pro: ‘Like test-driving a BMW for the first time’ – November 14, 2016
Forbes’ Moorhead reviews Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro: ‘An incredible laptop’ – November 14, 2016
Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro (non-Touch Bar) is the new MacBook Air and should be judged as such – November 13, 2016
Pro video editor uses Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar: ‘I love it’ – November 11, 2016
Early adopters appreciate the Touch Bar on Apple’s MacBook Pro – November 11, 2016
Why Apple’s new MacBook Pros don’t need 32GB of RAM – November 10, 2016
Apple’s MacBook Pro can easily run a ridiculous number of ‘pro’ apps simultaneously with 16GB RAM – November 5, 2016
Hands on with Apple new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar: Huge trackpad offers great palm rejection – November 2, 2016
Apple does touch right and, as usual, Microsoft does it wrong – October 28, 2016
IBT: Apple’s MacBook Pro Touch Bar is the coolest thing ever; will change the way we use laptops – October 28, 2016
Wired hands on with Apple’s New MacBook Pro: It’s a whole new kind of laptop – October 27, 2016
CNET on the new MacBook Pro: Apple’s amazing strip show reinvents the notebook – October 27, 2016
Hands on with Apple’s new MacBook Pro: Looks and feels so good it’s unreal – October 27, 2016
The debate is over: IBM confirms that Apple Macs are $535 less expensive than Windows PCs – October 20, 2016