A review of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar →

December 13, 2016 |

To say that new MacBook Pros are controversial machines would be the understatement of the year.

On one hand, they’re thinner and lighter, they have better displays, and even a brand-new input interface: the Touch Bar. On the other hand, they’re not any faster than last year’s models, they have worse battery life, and they are significantly more expensive. Sounds like a recipe for Internet disaster.

Of course, in actual use and once the smoke of online reviews clears, these are excellent machines, and largely a meaningful improvement over the previous generation. Can’t help but feel I’ve lived through this before.

Now, I’ve read many reviews of the new MacBook Pros, and watched even more video reviews on YouTube, and the aforelinked one by Josh Ginter is by far my favorite. Not only is it beautifully photographed — as usual — but he does an outstanding job of describing how it is to actually live with one of these machines. I particularly loved this bit:

Within the first week of using the MacBook Pro, I noticed I had been editing more photos than on the iMac. Why? Because I wasn’t as afraid to enter into the “Develop” module on a photo that didn’t pass the “first impression test.” Because I can get in and out of the Develop module so quickly and because I can make edits faster than ever, I take more chances on photos I wouldn’t have had before. As a result, I have more keepers than I originally thought.

So, do the marginal, underwhelming, and even non-existent improvements add up to a poorer experience? Absolutely not. Instead, I’m able to work faster than ever and have more photographs to show off as a result. If you make photographs for a living, photographs are money. Which means this MacBook Pro’s improved storage performance can essentially pay for itself in the long run.

Who cares if the specs are not better than last year’s on paper? At the end of the day, the set of features and compromises in the new MacBook Pros will amount to a better experience for most people. That’s what Apple has always done, and that’s just what these machines do: bring the future here faster in order to make our collective computing experiences better. There will be growing pains along the way, sure, but it’s the only way we’re ever going to get there.

I’m ordering one.