Apple’s new 15-inch MacBook Pro: I absolutely love it!

“Having got my maxed-out 15-inch 2016 MacBook Pro set up yesterday, I’ve now been using it for a total of around 12 hours – so I’m calling this one my first real-life usage impressions,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “Impressions of the form factor will obviously vary depending on whether you’re coming from a pre-Retina machine – as I was – or a later one. The new machine is smaller, slimmer and sleeker either way, but the difference is of course much more dramatic from a pre-2012 model. And in my case, I’m also moving from a 17-inch machine to a 15-inch one.”

“The base unit is much thinner, and the lid is almost unbelievably so. It’s also significantly lighter,” Lovejoy writes. “I said before that I think I may be able to switch from two Macs to just one. This one feels portable enough that having a separate MacBook Air now feels like overkill. But for all its slimness, it doesn’t feel remotely flimsy: the build quality feels absolutely rock solid.”

“It’s fantastic having Touch ID on a Mac… Logging-in just by touching the power button is great, and likewise being able to do things like unlock notes by fingerprint – just as you do on iOS devices – feels long overdue,” Lovejoy writes. “The second new toy is, of course, the Touch Bar. Photos really don’t do this justice: it has to be seen, and up close, to really be appreciated. It really looks like printed, backlit symbols rather than a display screen.”

Much more in the full review – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: While we still much prefer the tiny, preciseness of the 12-inch MacBook for our backpacks, the Touch Bar make us want 13-inch MacBook Pro units instead (the 15-inch is too big for us as we’re very used to 11-inch MacBook Air units while on the road). So, how long do we have to wait for Touch Bar-equipped MacBooks, Apple?!

27 Comments

  1. I have some more thoughts on the new Macbook “Pro” too.

    Just yesterday I had to visit an Apple-certified retailer to drop off a Macbook for repair. I had a brief chance while I was there to try out the new 13″ Macbook “Pro” with TouchBar… I’ve written before on my FB timeline a little about whether I would consider one of the new Macbook “Pro”s for audio work. Well, there’s more to the story now…

    IMO there’s almost *nothing* (yep!) to like**** about the new Macbook “Pro”. It might be faster, but, even then, see the Multi-core tab in the link below about how they compare with other existing Apple lines.

    So, yes, no usable-out-of-the-box-ports that I can plug existing USB 2.0 / 3.0 and Firewire audio gear into. I’ve written about that elsewhere. No magsafe either. No ethernet. None of these win any favors with me.

    But, as I strongly suspected, I *thoroughly* dislike the new keyboards on them. (Hard for me to express just how much I dislike it. Ugh!) Now, I use iPads and iPhones too and I have no problem with the fact that the iPad (and iPhone) keyboards have no travel. I expect that on glass screen – but then I don’t type on them for extended periods. But, on a computer keyboard, I expect travel for comfortable use. I use a Microsoft natural keyboard (older model) normally, but even with older Macbooks there is some key travel. On these, you get about 1/16″ (maybe 1/8″) and that’s it. *Terrible* feel for a touch typist (I’m not officially but I’ve been typing for decades and can do it easily with my eyes shut at a decent speed). So, losing point.

    Second. The touchpad is so big that it’s hard to find the correct spot to click in. That’s probably adjustable in the settings, but it had me at “can’t do it with the out-of-the-box settings”. Did not endear me at all. No need for something that big. Waste of space IMO.

    The Touchbar. Is just “not there” as far as a user touch/feel experience is concerned. I fired up a console window (I do a lot of console work on a Macbook – including a lot of editing in vi and other editors (emacs too)), and what you get is what you see there. I have function keys mapped to things sometimes. That’s more work to have to go and put back because they’re not there in the console window by default. ESC is, thankfully, but, you know what, hitting it is a hit and miss experience because there’s zero tactile feedback. So, again, the Touchbar is another *negative* point IMO. Not a good selling point.

    So, all in all, as far as I’m concerned, Apple have lost the storyline with this series of Macbooks. (I can’t call them Pros, they’re not from my perspective.)

    Oh – the screen is nice. That’s about it.

    Bottom line: I do not plan on buying one (*ever* as far as I can see)… Macbooks are lost to me now if they carry on like this. (Surely I can’t be alone in that either?). Apple have missed the mark here badly I think.

    Time to look over *real* Macbook *Pro* refurbs again…

    Or maybe, just maybe, hold out and hope for a refresh of the iMacs or trash can Mac Pros. But, really, at the moment, I’m not holding my breath (esp. since Apple are now out of the display market too. What does that bode for the iMacs?)

    (**** from my perspective).

    https://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks

      1. I always turn on touch to click. I can’t stand having to press down. Wish Apple would make touch to click the default. I think it makes it easier to use. I’m running on a 17″ 2009 MacBook Pro and waiting for my new 15″ Pro. Wish I had a 17″ model to choose from Apple! But I already know about the keyboard feel and not a fan of it and not having the ability to upgrade the hd is another failure on Apple part. This soldering stuff has to stop. But all around I think it will be a solid unit!

  2. Got my 13″ non-touchbar model about a month ago … and absolutely LOVE it!

    It’s the first base-model Mac I’ve bought in a long time, and am not disappointed at all. This is a bit surprising, since I’m moving to this new machine from a maxed-out 2012 15″ that has better specs across the board. But in my real-world usage (InDesign, Photoshop, Garageband, iTunes, etc.) I’ve yet to hit anything that feels slower. In fact, when I had to use the 15″ for a couple of hours the other day, it was the one that now felt slow.

    Sure, I had to spend $7 on dongles to attach legacy USB devices. Got over that in about a minute.

    My son has an HP Spectre x360, and was bragging about the “Bang & Olufsen” speakers the other day. We loaded up the same song and I laughed as the MBP absolutely blew the HP out of the water … both for volume and for clarity. There was absolutely no comparison.

    Best laptop I’ve ever owned.

  3. I won’t buy one either because:
    1- Keyboard has the most annoying key clicks ever. Can’t stand the sound.
    2- Magsafe was fantastic and now gone.

    Everything else looks and performs excellent. Well, cool colors would be nice. Tangerine, Lime, Flower Power… you know?

  4. This is a positive review of the new machine contrasted with a pre-2011 17″ macbook. You would see the same level of positivity I imagine from a review of the previous 15″ model. Or even the 2012 15″ model.

    Lots of the reviews have taken this approach, and it’s disingenuous.

    Pointless gimmicks (touch bar) aside, benchmarks show no significant performance improvement over the previous generation. TB3 holds potential for a small number of uses, but those cases would probably be better served by a tb3-equipped desktop system like a mac pro or even an iMac.

    Derek’s points are real and important.

    1. No, Derek’s points, while some are valid, are not important. He’s dismissing the product without having actually used it. I’ll be honest, i was of a similar opinion before I used these new ones as well. I saw no benefit over my 2012 Mbp (I better specify unless someone calls me names again) especially in compute tasks since skylake didn’t seem appreciably faste than my ivy bridge machine. But! And this is a bug but… these new systems are significantly faster, as I mentioned before 3x in exporting uhd video and overall much quicker operator with better memory optimization. His point about the keyboard I agree with if you’ve only used it for a few minutes, but give it a week and it’s quite comfortable. I’ll say agin, fastest laptop I’ve ever used period. Including giant gaming machines. Now while one USB-A port would’ve been nice, I think apple going all in on thunderbolt 3/USB-C is the right move. It’s the same thing they did in 98 on the iMac, and everyone bitched then too, but it was the right move in the long run. In 2 years this won’t even be a problem. But if you need a 39.00 adapter satechi makes one that works pretty well. It seems they’re always damned if they do and damned if they don’t. If they would’ve released a machine with all the old ports, they’re “not innovating”, they do this and people want it the way it was… can’t win.

      1. I do miss MagSafe however. If they would’ve shipped a breakaway USB C charge cable in the box, I think a lot of people wouldn’t be complaining. And griffin charging 39.99 for one is a little bit too much, it then again in a year they’ll probably be half that.

      2. Gently I’d say, I think you are missing the point and being a little quick to dismiss the concern. Not only are the points I observed important *to me* – and I did make that firm caveat *from my perspective* – they are instant decision makers as a result.

        That’s why they’re important points. To me. As a buyer.

        I decided as a result of this experience that I would most likely never purchase one of these Macbooks. I’d already pretty much decided that from an abstract professional purchase standpoint as a professional user considering the lack of ports as well as the lack of expandability, but these are additional, personal interaction decisions. From just reading the *specs* I was pretty convinced that I would find the keyboard unusable for me (for me <—-) and, as expected, on trying it, it was exactly that. I suppose I could say I was repulsed by it.

        So, as I say, that leads to an important decision, based on relevant information (relevant and important to me) – like: I tried it out and was so put off I would never purchase one. That's important to Apple too (as small a drop in a bucket as my individual purchase is), since I elect not to purchase one as a result of trying one and my money goes somewhere else – likely into the refurb market where Apple doesn't see new revenue from it.

        I don't care very much about innovation either. I do care about ongoing performance and usability.

        Shure have done pretty well for 50 years with the SM58. Of course, they've produced other mics too, but the SM58 is still one of if not the most popular mics ever, and, you know what, they keep selling it!

        If Apple had put out a refreshed 17" Macbook Pro with an updated CPU / graphics, but with ports, the ability to upgrade and a usable keyboard, I'd probably be first in line to buy one when the cash flow permitted. That's important because I'd be making a new purchase of a Macbook.

        1. I understand all of your points and your perspective, what I was trying to say is that I shared that same opinion until I used it for longer than a few minutes in the store. After trying them on display I had the same opinion about the keyboard, but once using it I was not only pleastly surpirsed, but I actually like it. I’m just as fast at typing, and the key travel doesn’t bother me anymore. Seriously, the machine is fantastic, and I would say put aside preconceived notions and use it for a week (you can always return it). Also owc just released their new thunderbolt 3 dock with 11 ports on it, everything including FireWire 800 (SD, mini dp, Ethernet, USB, spdif, etc…) which solves all of the problems with connected peripherals. I’m just saying give it a chance, I was shocked with the performance, and continue to be. Open minds are a good thing

        2. Well, based on the forum feedback it appears that what is important *to you* is not necessarily of great import to others.

          To me, what came across in your post is that you went in with a highly negative attitude and mindset and, after a brief period of time with a demo unit, departed with the same attitude and mindset. No surprise there.

          I will judge the new MBP for myself, thank you.

          1. That is correct. But others’ experience is also likewise not the deciding factor for me. It’s a two-way street. 🙂

            The attitude was not negative, rather, the *assessment* based on specifications led to a priori concerns. My mindset was open, since I did in fact try it, not negative, but after the immediate exposure I departed with my negative *assessment* (not attitude) confirmed. As an engineer, I can assess something from specifications, and in practice that often (usually, and hopefully even! 🙂 ) turns out to be matched by reality. In this case it is so.

            Your appraisal is that I was being negative. I disagree. I was there. I was not at all. I was in fact being open-minded, and objective in terms of my observation *as ten experienced* but with a priori assessements in place, and confirmed.

            You are at perfect liberty to judge the new Macbook for yourself. 🙂 Nobody is asking you to share my opinion. I’m certainly not. I stated it clearly as my opinion based on my assessment and experience.

            1. And we’re both saying to you is that of your mind was truly open, you’d actually try it for longer than a few minutes in the store. Assessing something on specs or from a few minutes of exposure is not the same as putting aside your pre conceived notions. There are many tech professionals, specially those who do reviews of products, who go into a review with a preconceived bias or negative attitude and somehow always fail to change their opinion after inadequate use or attempts to adapt to a new paradigm. Or trying to use something the “old” way they know, rather than learn and try the new way, which may be unfamiliar. Neither one of us are going accept your assessment due to lack of time, as I said try it for a week and if you don’t like it, return it. But myself, and everyone I know who’s done the same thing has not kept the machine, but been very impressed with its performance. If your mind were actually open, you’d do that instead of assuming you can “assess” something in a few seconds because you’re and engineer. That’s incredibly smug and closed minded of you. Look at Woz, he’s an engineer and even if he doesn’t like something at first, he tries it for extended periods to see if it’s worth his time… maybe take his approach.

            2. I think you are still missing the point. 🙂

              I’ve been using computers for the past 36 years. I know what I like and what I don’t like. What works for me and what doesn’t *at present*. I’m very open to new things however, or I wouldn’t have stayed in this field for that long. I was open to trying the new keyboard. I was immediately able to tell it would not work for me.

              Plus the fact that early in my career I had to deal with RSI (thankfully recovered with early intervention) and figured out early on thererfore what kind of keyboards would best suit long-term use. (I’d argue that that applies more broadly than just me however, which is why the likes of M$ make ergonomic keyboards… 😉 )

              It’s got nothing to do with not being open minded. I work as a consultant; encountering new situations and solving new problems with new (and sometimes awkward) and ill-suited equipment, software and even people 🙂 is a way of life for me and has been for decades, which includes being open minded. It also includes, yes, being able to assess situations quickly and efficiently, and reading specs. is part of that. Nothing to do with pride or smugness but purely and objectively a matter of both skill and learning – a necessary trait for a consultant.

              I’ve also taught IT subjects from primary school, through secondary school, through university and for the past 27 years in adult education in the computer industry. I’m used to dealing with being adaptable and finding and providing solutions for people within the IT field in general – both hardware and software. In the audio industry it’s the same.

              Your judgments about being smug and closed-minded are, I would gently suggest, far-fetched therefore and based on minimal knowledge of who I am as a person and why I’m asserting what I’m asserting.

              I’m talking here about personal comfort for typing and day-to-day use of a machine based on experience of what makes doing the various jobs I do efficient, comfortable and with a smooth workflow – which has everything to do with how I already interact with computers. I know what will work from experience. If that were not the case, then there is no merit in passing on experience – is there… 🙂 I’m not Woz. I interact differently than him. He wasn’t Steve Jobs – and interacted differently than (and disagreed with) him. We’re different. I make assessments the way I do based on a reasoned and deliberate approach. My approach is different than yours or Woz’s – that’s fine. What makes us different in our approach to things keeps it interesting don’t you think? 🙂 I would not want to be Woz nor would have wanted to have been Jobs. I’m me. You’re you. 🙂

              Have a great day doing what you do. I will endeavour to continue to also.

            3. No, I’m not missing the point. That’s a just a long winded way of saying “I like things how they are, I’m not changing my mind regardless of any evidence, and I’m not really going to try something new” or that “I know I don’t like”. Reminds me of my partner who swore he didn’t like Brussels sprouts, he said “every time I’ve eaten them they’re terrible” so I said “you just haven’t had them made correctly” to which he said “doesn’t matter, I won’t like them” and I said “I promise you will, and if not then we know for sure what never to eat out and more for me” long story short I made my Brussels sprouts and bacon recipe and he now likes Brussels sprouts… never be afraid to try something just because you “know y u don’t like it” especially if it’s a different preparation or design

            4. Again – I’m sorry, but gently, you *are* incorrect. The evidence was in front of me in terms of specs and then physical interaction and I am making a decision based on that evidence.

              I was quite prepared to like the keyboard equivalent of brussel sprouts if it turned out that it was tasty. (I happen to love brussel sprouts – one of my favorite vegetables 🙂 ). In this case, it wasn’t at all tasty, and I *did* try it. 😀

              Evidence, specs, use has led to the dislike here. Not feeling. Not prejudging. *Proper* judgment (assessment) based on the facts in front of me, not some biased idea of “I *know*”, (blindly), “I won’t like brussel sprouts”.

              Again, however 🙂 , you are entitled to assess things as you have even if, again, making a wrong judgment about my approach as you have.

              But, really, and sincerely: do have a great weekend! 🙂

            5. No, I’m not… you don’t seem to see the contradiction in what you’re saying. You repeatedly say “I was prepared to like it” while at the other end of the sentence say “but after looking at specs, etc… it’s not right for me” then you say I ‘did’ use it, to which I originally responded to you that using the keyboard for a few minutes in the store is not the same as taking it home for a week, I had a similar opinion AT THE STORE, when it went home, after 7 dats of use, it’s not a problem anymore… my only suggestion was to try it for a week, and if at that point it doesn’t work, take it back… it won’t cost anything and is withing the return period. But as I said before everyone who has done this that I have posed the same challenge to ends up keeping the machine and loving it, myself included. So my Brussels sprouts analogy is exactly correct, on the surface he couldn’t see how it could be good to eat, and while I was preparing them he snuck a few tastes and said now I still don’t like them, but once the dish was fully prepared he now likes them… that’s my point. Do you now see your logical fallacy?

              Also you have a great weekend as well, and I’m glad you like Brussels sprouts.

  5. My 2014 MBP still delivers marvelous performance and has enough of the legacy stuff too to suit my needs in archiving old media hooked up to an LG 3440×1440 Ultrawide. Now all I need is a 2017 re-towerized Mac Pro or Hackintosh. (I see where Hackintoshes are becoming easier to deal with with more compatible hardware and fewer hacks.)

  6. Tried the new MacBook Pro in the Apple store yesterday. What a shockingly disappointing experience. The app that was open on the machine was Photos. The the screen was set too dim but instead of it being a simple tap it was a hunt-and-peck affair on the ridiculously convoluted ‘touch bar’ thing to brighten it up. Yuck. Next up, the keyboard. Oh my freaking goodness, absolutely the most dreadful keyboard I’ve ever put my hands on. The very first thing that happened was my wrist sent the curser off into the top left corner.
    I’ve been using nothing but Macintoshes for the last decade and I hate Windows with a passion, so what am I supposed to do now??
    Very very first time I’ve ever walked into an Apple Store with cash in my pocket and walked out with nothing but a sad feeling.

    Do you know where that money went? I went and bought myself a new camera. I’ll just have to stick with the old trusty MacBook and see what happens. 😔

    1. Go linux…?

      But before, ask yourself if you are not too old, to angry on Apple, to tired to really give it a try and tweak it your way.

      When I received my Jet Black, I put it back in the box and was ready to ship it back. I needed a smartphone, no jewelry.

      I gave it a try, took it out of its box again and took a 1 week testdrive.
      Guess what? It is the best technology in my house so far and I have a lot.

      The taptic engine is a little detail that brings a lot. Like touchID and 3D touch.

      You can’t come on MDN ranting about Apple latest tech on a in Store experience…

      What type of guys comes in a store to buy a computer and ends up buying a camera instead ?!?! Hipsters that still live in mommy’s basement. I starting to get jealous…

      1. Exactly. Just give the thing a week, seriously, and you’ll be amazed at how good it is. Dismissing it out of hand after a couple of minutes or based on no examination of workflow to see how it can work isn’t constructive. Instead of looking for reasons not to, try to look for positives, and if after a week it doesn’t work for you? Return the thing.

  7. I am trying out the base model 13 inch MB Pro (no touchbar). Have been using it for dev work and it has not missed a beat. I plugged in a 27 inch display using HDMI and it is sweet! The only thing I don’t like so far are the sharp edges around the base. It can sometimes be uncomfortable on the hands and wrists. Oh and the price. I also pushed it over the limit playing Sid Meier’s Pirates on highest graphics settings. It crashed and was very hot underneath. That was on battery power. That made me want the 15 inch for the dedicated graphics card, but the price is the inhibitor. I don’t play games much, so it probably isn’t worth sacrificing the lighter weight and compact size (and an extra AUS$1400) for the 15 inch, thats my opinion. I may however upgrade to the 13 inch with touchbar. Those are my findings so far. Hope people find it useful.

    1. Can’t for the life of me understand why anyone that gave you a negative vote. Perhaps we need a better way of identifying who and what actually vote for.

      As such, I gave you 5 stars to help counter reflect your effort.

      Re Heat issue. News to me. I would think that a firmware update would help the problem. In the meantime, a recent post here may help the issue. https://macinfo.us/how-to-prevent-your-macbook-from-overheating

      As for PRICE. It will always be an issue some no matter what it is.

      In your case, perhaps YOU don’t have to sacrifice as much as you think. Let your family and friends pay the difference. As an example, my response to, “What do you want for Christmas”, is ” Apple Gift Cards”.

      And, if necessary, foresaking a few Starbucks can help offset the difference immensely.

      Go for it.

  8. Love to comment on how good the new Macbook Pro is but I’m still waiting for mine here in sunny France. Ordered mine a week ago whilst apparently in stock then got the email that said whoops, out of stock will let you know.

    Done a check another 2-3 weeks for all models apart from the base 13″.

    I got two emails from Apple today, subject ‘Le nouveau MacBook Pro est arrivé.’

    No it has not, 2-3 week lead time, how has that arrived?

    Wonder what the odds are in getting it for Christmas, yours unhopefully….

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