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MacBook Pro with Touch Bar starts shipping & the reviews are in – here’s what the tech world thinks of Apple’s new computer

The new MacBook Pro was announced last month, and it’s been the source of much tech chatter ever since. It comes with a new Touch Bar, and with any new technology, its usefulness at the start has been questioned. Elsewhere, its bumper price has upset many – the device is a significant chunk more expensive that its previous model. However, Apple’s MacBooks are revered the world over, and much of the criticism has been leveled from professionals that were disappointed not to receive more power.

On the other hand, for regular consumers, the upgrade puts one of the most exciting and creative machines in the hands of everyone. Though the base upgrade without Touch Bar started shipping a few weeks ago, the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar began shipping this week – and the initial reviews are now out. So, is it the best MacBook Apple has ever made? And is it worth the price-tag? Let’s find out.

Wired: This review praises the machine’s fluidity and enhancements, noting that the Touch Bar works surprisingly well. However, it also cautiously advises users that aren’t desperate for a new computer to wait:

“Do you desperately need a new laptop right this second? If not, wait. Run your current (and probably still excellent) machine into the ground, then buy a new one. In a year or two USB-C accessories will be everywhere, developers will have figured out what the Touch Bar is good for, and Apple may even give the Pro spec bump.”

Read the full article on Wired – Review: Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

The Verge focuses on the Touch Bar in its review and muses that Apple will likely never introduce a touch-screen Mac, but that the Touch Bar represents the extent of touch capability that a laptop device needs in Apple’s mind:

“Apple says we’re supposed to think of the Touch Bar as an extension of the keyboard, but in practice, it comes off like any other touchscreen interface. It’s very much not a series of digital buttons — it’s a tiny little sliver of iPad, chopped off and grafted onto the MacBook Pro, with the same potential for complexity.”

The reviewer then concludes that the machine is an excellent piece of kit, but that Apple may have pursued the future too soon – the lack of standard USB ports in favor of USB-C only access causing inevitable frustrations:

“I have little doubt that in a couple years, the technology Apple has been waiting for will arrive and this vision, or something closer to it, will be complete. Apple just released this machine too soon, or was too aggressive in the decisions it made. That future is almost certainly out there. But it’s not in this machine. Not yet.”

Watch the video below for The Verge’s video review:

Read the full review on The Verge – MacBook Pro with Touch Bar Review: A Touch of the Future

Ars Technica addresses the big question on consumer minds. Is the Touch Bar good enough to justify the higher price over the base level MacBook Pro. They note that it’s the first really new thing Apple has added to the MacBook in a long time and it’s certainly got potential.

“When I went out of my way to use Apple’s apps, I liked the Touch Bar a lot. It just takes one or two useful buttons—creating a new tab in Safari, looking up a man page in Terminal, changing font sizes or creating checklists in Notes—to make you glad the Touch Bar is there. However, a typical day for me is spent mostly in Word, Outlook, Slack, Tweetbot, and Chrome. Microsoft is bringing Touch Bar support to Office, but if other app makers don’t start adding in support, a big chunk of that bar is going to end up sitting empty most of the time.”

The reviewer was certainly a fan of these computers, but as above, noted their transitional existence.

“I like these laptops a lot. I bought one to replace my 2013 MacBook Air, which still performs basically fine but doesn’t have the sharp screen or design chops of the PC laptops that have come out in the last two-or-so years. But the rest of the Mac lineup—all of the desktops and the more affordable laptops—are still stuck in the past. It feels like Apple might have a comprehensive vision for the future of its computers, but that it’s only ready to show us a small, expensive peek right now. The sooner the Touch Bar and USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 can spread across the entire lineup and end this awkward transitional phase, the better”

Read the full article on Ars Technica – Review: Touch Bar MacBook Pros give an expensive glimpse at the Mac’s future

Macworld also spends plenty of time with the Touch Bar before moving on: “let’s not forget that there are computers attached to these Touch Bars,” and notes the CPU speed has only improved slightly, though graphics are “much better.” They also touch on the computer’s design:

“The redesigned bodies of both models are thinner and lighter than the MacBook Pros they replace, but there are tradeoffs to achieve these svelter profiles. The low-travel keyboards use Apple’s new butterfly mechanism. This keeps the nicely sized keys from wobbling if you strike them off-center, but I much prefer having more travel, like on the last generation of MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air line. In fact, I’d be willing to carry a thicker laptop to keep that style of keyboard. (It’s a personal preference, of course.)”

In conclusion, the reviewer is a little more positive on whether MacBook Pro fans should upgrade, acknowledging that the 2016 MacBook Pro is a “solid performer.” However, the pricing is hard to swallow.

“Their biggest weakness, across the whole Touch Bar line, is price. The 13-inch model I tested is $1799 without any upgrades, and the 15-inch is $2399. Going to 512GB of storage is $200 extra, and 1TB is $600 extra, which also seems like a lot. (To compare, last year’s 15-inch MacBook Pro with a discrete AMD graphics chip started at $2499, but that included 512GB of storage.)”

Read the full article on Macworld – MacBook Pro with Touch Bar review: The best bits of iOS in a really great Mac