Thoughts on Apple’s MacBook Pro line changes, plus the new Touch Bar

On Thursday, Apple gave a keynote that largely focused on the Apple TV and MacBook lines. My thoughts on the product announcements are below.

Apple TV

Apple TV’s now including a new TV Guide-like app, simply named “TV.” It’s designed to display what’s available across services, similar to a feature on Roku devices.

The new feature, however, doesn’t work with Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. Not surprising for the latter, as Amazon doesn’t really have an Apple TV app. However, leaving out Netflix seems rather glaring an omission, as Gizmodo noted.

MacBook line upgrades and changes

Apple released some big changes and upgrades to the MacBook line. The Air line of models has been reduced to only one model, the 13″ MacBook Air for $1000. That’s the new entry-level price for Apple laptops. It’s now a bit more expensive to get in on Mac laptops. Also sticking around is the 12″ MacBook model.

The biggest change to the line is the introduction of the “Touch Bar.” It’s a display strip taking the place of the function keys/escape key. The Touch Bar changes buttons/features depending on the program on-screen.

It’s hard to say if those pining for a touchscreen Mac will be satisfied with the Touch Bar. There’s also how well the Touch Bar itself will function as a feature. It’s quite a change for the Mac computer line.

Besides the Touch Bar, the new MacBook Pros’ trackpads are also larger than before. Apple’s also dropped even more ports this time around. While they still have headphone jacks, the Pros are down to only carrying combination Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports. No SD card slot (sorry, photographers?), no HDMI ports (sorry, offices?). The 13″ Pro will offer a version without the Touch Bar.

Odd that Apple didn’t have “courage” to get rid of the headphone jack while they were on a port-purging binge. Either way, there’s going to be quite a few dongles sold just to accommodate the vast majority of existing devices. While Apple’s ditched legacy ports/devices before, I can’t imagine users will be pleased at having to also budget for entirely new devices or dongles/port hubs.

No desktop announcements

Missing from today’s news was any mention of upgrades for Apple’s desktop Mac line. While they aren’t the biggest part of Apple’s business anymore (that’d be the iPhone), some news about the iMac, Mac Mini, and Mac Pro would be nice. Presumably news about those will come at another time?

Conclusion

I’ll want to see the new MacBooks in person, particularly for the Touch Bar.

Do you have any plans or interest in the new MacBooks or Apple TV?

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