The new MacBooks are here, but it’s hard to remember such a mixed response to an Apple Event.
I think it’s safe to say that some people were left a little bit disappointed on Thursday when Apple only really announced one new product. This was just hours after Microsoft unveiled some pretty cool new Surface models, so it's hard to believe that they're not even going to put a new iMac up against the Surface Studio.
Apple again focussed on more philanthropic activities before getting to the products, but it was hard to believe they really cared about their customers, particularly in the UK, when they announced the huge price rises shortly after the event.
I think it’s now a matter of whether you feel the new products are worth it, rather than what they can do for you. If you’re still working this out though, I’ve included my reactions to everything they announced.
The Apple TV
Even after this event, Apple TV just isn’t that essential. First they tried to impress people with the ability to create folders in the TVOS and now it’s Minecraft? I have to admit that I actually thought they were going to introduce an actual Apple TV for a moment, but all that build-up was just leading to a new TV app.
I’m not excited and I can tell you why in just one word, and that’s Amazon.
I really don’t think their efforts to put everything in one place will matter until they provide access to everything. I honestly believe they need Amazon content on their systems and it would surely benefit both parties if they did.
Forget about new hardware as well, and we probably won’t see the app in the UK this year.
The New MacBook Pro
I’d been waiting for this new MacBook Pro for a while and I was all ready to invest in one. Regardless of the price though, I just wasn’t that impressed and everything seemed to focus on the new TouchBar.
I may have been naive, but I expected something a lot closer to the new MacBook they unveiled last year.
They did lose the USB ports though and included versions of the new keyboard and trackpad. It just didn’t get close to the size and I was personally disappointed to see multiple fans included, as that was such a huge feature of the MacBook.
I can’t help thinking that Intel may have let them down by not producing decent enough processors, but they couldn’t have gone into another Christmas period with such an outdated lineup.
As I’ve said, it all seemed to focus on the new TouchBar but they seemed to have overlooked a few important points.
Firstly, a lot of users, like me, use external trackpads and keyboards when they are using their MacBook at a desk. I also brought the new Magic Keyboard and Trackpad they introduced last year, so there’s no way I’m going to think about anything else.
From my perspective, it also seemed to be about shortcuts as well, with no new functionality introduced.
While it’s hard to argue that TouchBar wasn’t impressive, I think it’s hard to justify the pricetag of this new feature. It could also be something you just don’t use that much as well when you’ve stopped showing off.
I have to admit that I was interested in the ‘basic’ model they announced, without the TouchBar and only two ports, but I thought the price they announced for it was ridiculous. It would have been ideal at around the £1200 mark, but I don’t want to compromise anything at almost £1500.
Before I really get into pricing though, I’d like to highlight something significant. I was really surprised when Apple recommended an external display that they had ‘worked with’ LG to produce. I think it’s really significant that they are clearly no longer developing their own and this doesn’t look good for the future of the Mac Pro.
The Price Rises
I have to admit that I hadn’t really taken in the price rises after the last event, but it was impossible to ignore these ones. Just looking at the dollar price of the new MacBooks put me off, but then the pound prices made it all a lot worse.
It didn’t stop there, as Apple added hundreds of pounds to cost of existing products like iMacs and MacBooks.
I was actually stunned that they arrogantly expected customers to spend hundreds of pounds more with them when all the other stores were selling them at the old prices the following day. I found it all outrageous and I haven’t seen any satisfactory explanation for it.
I'm also dissapointed that Macs have now essentially been priced out of the reach of the average consumer.
With the disappearance of the 11-inch MacBook Air and the huge price increase to the standard MacBook, you won’t get any change for a thousand pounds now unless you ‘settle’ for a non-Retina MacBook Air.
Overall, I’m disappointed. While the new hardware was everything I’d expect from Apple, the price rises in the UK were what I’d expect from Steve Jobs, not Tim Cook.
To sum it up, the new MacBooks would have been great at the old prices but even then, you’d have had to figure in the costs of new adaptors for all your USB devices. This is now really just a machine for professionals and that’s a great shame.