I want to start this by saying two things: one, this is not a preview or impressions embedded because I haven't used a computer (PetaPixel's upcoming coverage is next) and two, I've been an Apple user ever since I was indoctrinated in high school .
I love Apple and even when they don't produce a product I'm 100% happy with, the chances are very high, I'll still buy it. "Why" is that long and complicated and it's a story for another day, but suffice it to say I just love the ecosystem.
But just because I love Apple doesn't mean I think they're immune to criticism. For as long as they seem to be right about the new MacBook Pro, I think there are a few places that could take advantage of an innovation, or in one case de-innovation, to bring it back to the forefront as an unmatched great tool for the creator.
We need a card port
I will freely admit that I was an Apple apologist when the original MacBook Pro came out with Touch Bar and did not include a built-in SD card port. I was making excuses about how it was no big deal, about how to find it easy, if I remember the dongle, it would be second nature. I was sure it didn't matter.
Boy I'm not right.
I am still using that first generation MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and the number of times I was really, really screwed over with not having a built-in SD card port are almost endless. Given the mobile nature of this computer, there are hundreds of times that I just grabbed it and nothing else, stuck it in my backpack and ran the door on some thing only to realize later that I had zero flexibility to do anything until I got back. home and I found my damn mud.
I was in Sedona for a while and I had to ask everyone I went in with if they had a dong, which I could borrow. For a while I was working in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I needed to get copies of files from my second shooter, and instead I had to take all of his memory cards home with me and then send them to them. Another time I was testing the camera in Hawaii and had to borrow a friend because I never forgot to bring my own. I could go on and on with these examples.
Finally, I bought enough of these stupid SD-sacks to store one in each room of my house and one in each backpack and bag with bags I owned. It ended up being the only solution to this problem: Wherever I could be with my computer, I had to have a dongle nearby. I barely exaggerate when I say that I put one in the pocket of every jacket I own, so that it would be impossible for me not to have one.
The point I'm making, and I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir at this point, is that the SD card reader on your laptop is not a luxury or a "nice to have" feature. It's a must, and Apple needs to de-innovate its design and just bring it back to us. There is a lot of room on the computer side and if they care about aesthetics, they could design a way for the port to be covered and smooth. They're really good at that kind of thing.
Touch needs to be revised
There are a couple of people whose opinions I read in the comments section here on PetaPixel and other sites that defend the touch bar as useful when using specific applications. Although no one I've talked to has defended Touch Bar, I'm willing to admit it works for some.
But I don't think working for some is good enough. I think ideally, you would create something that is actually revolutionizing the way we work and progress. Now, writing on my MacBook Pro with Touch Bar in the Pages application, I have several options for formatting this document in my Touch Bar. I can tell you that I've never used Touch Bar to do any of these actions. If I want to thicken, italicize or underline, I know keyboard shortcuts for it. If I want to adjust formatting and alignment, I find it easier to use the sidebar than continue to look up and down my hands on the screen to see if formatting has done what I wanted. In this example, Touch Bar does not enhance the experience – it complicates and acts unnecessarily.
That point about what to look for in my hands is also, in my opinion, the biggest flaw with Touch Bar. Growing up as I learned to write, I dug into my head to avoid looking at my hands when writing or working. I'm sure some of you can remember the keyboard covers that computer teachers put over your keys so you couldn't see which letters you typed. Not looking at the hands, it is now intrigued by the computer experience, so I had to change it only on this computer uncomfortable and wrong.
And, yes, I wish to get my F keys back. There are a few shortcuts in Photoshop that I can't make on this computer.
I don't know what the answer to Touch Bar is. Get rid of it, change it, improve it, do something, but all I know is that in its current state, it doesn't help more than it usually does for many users. Perhaps the answer extends dramatically like the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo. There are those who do not like this implementation, but it is much harder to say that this design adds no experience, and they do not have to sacrifice that superb keyboard.
Apple is approaching
I want to applaud Apple for adding the Escape key back to the latest MacBook Pro. That key is very important and should always be a physical key. I was ecstatic that it also jumped at the raw power of the computer and watching them innovate a better cooling system is also really great.
Most importantly, Apple listened to customer complaints about the keyboard which, as I write in the original, is now a godsend. I have a friend who actually carries around a second wireless keyboard and puts it on top of his MacBook Pro's built-in Touch Bar because he hates the built-in so much. This is just embarrassing from a design standpoint, and I'm so happy that Apple corrects that ship.
We should cheer that Apple is listening to feedback and making appropriate changes. I am sure it is important to tell them that they are doing the right thing and to encourage this kind of response for future products. I just really hope they can do more with these last two features that really need some attention when working on their next iteration of this laptop line.