When Apple announced the updated MacBook Pro Earlier this fall, the general refrain was that the company finally got it giving customers what they asked for. But while the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro updates represent the most obvious case in which Apple has admitted (and corrected) the mistakes of the past, the company has actually been on that course for the past several years. And in late 2021, Apple just replaced some of its most problematic designs.
The reviews of the new MacBook Pro are almost consistently positive (aside from the high prices), but it’s still worth summarizing the big change these laptops made from their predecessors. Both new sizes are thicker and noticeably heavier than the models they replace; for a company that has shown an almost fanatical obsession with thin and light design over the past decade, this is a major U-turn. But the older, 4-pound, 15-inch MacBook Pro often struggled to stay cool under heavy processor load, an issue that couldn’t be solved without adding to the laptop’s size and weight. It’s like Apple remembered that it already has the MacBook Air and that the people who buy a Pro are willing to lug around a bit of extra weight for a more capable device.
Devindra Hardawar / Engadget
Apple arguably started moving in this direction with a mid-cycle update a few years ago. In 2019, the company began banning the unreliable and inconvenient butterfly keyboard for a significantly improved scissor switch model. This redesigned keyboard has arrived on the first 16-inch MacBook Pro. Together with the new keyboard, this laptop was a third of a pound heavier and larger in every dimension than its predecessor.
That was the first indication that Apple was ready to correct some of the unfortunate decisions it made with the MacBook Pro range, which brings us to this fall update. Users still had a laundry list of things they wanted to change, and Apple largely delivered. The new models bring back the SD card slot and HDMI port that the company removed in 2016. The MagSafe charging connector, one of Apple’s smartest innovations, also celebrated a comeback. Eventually, Apple replaced the Touch Bar with a standard set of function keys.
Of course, Apple only deserves as much credit for repairing self-inflicted wounds. But it feels like the company has a much clearer idea of what the folks who spend $ 2,000 (or more) on a MacBook Pro actually want. The M1 Pro and M1 Max processors developed by Apple not only offer easy troubleshooting, but also massive increases in performance and longer battery life. Add in a great new display and keyboard, and MacBook Pro buyers have plenty to look forward to. The fact that these computers are thicker and heavier than the ones they replace will hardly matter to most, especially as larger laptops have room for things like extra ports, bigger batteries, and better cooling systems.
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While the MacBook Pro is the obvious example of Apple giving people what they want this year, it’s not the only one. Take off the iPhone 13. The company has released again two standard models and two “Pro” models, just like in 2020. For the most part, these phones were iterative updates to the 12-series – but all four phones have significantly better battery life than their predecessors. Improving longevity is an obvious way to keep customers happy, but it’s still good news that Apple was quick to identify and fix the vulnerability in the iPhone 12 series. Perhaps not by chance, all iPhone 13 models are all slightly heavier than last year. (At 0.30 inches, they are also imperceptibly thicker than 0.29 on the iPhone 12.)
Again, however, there has been a certain amount of priority for Apple lately, favoring battery life over a thin design at all costs. The 2018 iPhone XR was a cheaper and a little less elegant Version of the flagship iPhone XS – but its bigger screen and thicker case left room for a battery that smoked the “superior” XS. So in 2019 Apple made the iPhone 11 Pro bigger than the XS it replaced, but so did it greatly improved battery life. It was especially surprising to see Apple make a bigger iPhone after looking for slimness at all costs for so long, but it was definitely welcome. The company finally seems to be realizing that an incredibly thin device that needs to be charged all the time is not delivering a good user experience.
Another good example is Apple’s significant change of heart all about product repairs. Apple in particular announced plans Selling replacement parts and manuals to customers who want to repair their iPhone themselves is a win for those who felt they could open their iPhone and install a new battery or repair a broken display. Although the Rights-to-Repair groups said Apple could do more in this area, they still hailed it as a huge step forward over the fully closed nature of its products, the vast majority of which were previously beyond user-serviceable. Apple starts with the iPhone but said it will also launch some self-repair tools and parts for M1-based Macs in 2022. The threat of government regulation may have played a huge role in this new initiative, but the end result is still good for consumers.
Apple is even having a little more fun with its products than it has been for a long time. To take the M1-powered iMac, for example. I I wish it had more ports and considering the price, it should have more RAM and storage – but the wide variety of colors Apple chose is just great. I’m dying for these colorways to come to a redesigned MacBook Air (fingers crossed for spring). the three new colors in the HomePod mini range are another great example of how Apple recognized that hardware you place in your home doesn’t have to be just gray or silver.
While the new MacBook Pro is a big step forward for those who need serious performance on the go, Apple still hasn’t given professionals the full desktop-class computers they need. With Apple in the midst of moving to Apple Silicon, the larger iMac and Mac Pro machines are hard to recommend right now. Hopefully, Apple will bring the performance of the M1 Pro and M1 Max into a larger iMac and a new Mac Pro tower to the company’s lineup in 2022. It’s been far too long since we could say that.
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