Studio & Touch Bar

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SixColors - Perpendicular Philosophy

Microsoft believes that traditional computer interfaces and modern mobile-device touchscreen interfaces should be melded together, blurring the lines between tablet and PC. This week’s introduction of the Surface Studio—think of an iMac that can be folded down onto your desk and used as a gigantic iPad—is perhaps the most impressive iteration of that belief to date.

Apple, in contrast, believes that touchscreen interfaces are great and computers are great and they’re not the same thing. Apple has steadfastly resisted adding touchscreens to the Mac, and when you ask the company’s executives why, they have been remarkably consistent on this point for the past few years. What defines a computer, they’ll say, is that it’s made up of two perpendicular surfaces.

There’s a vertical display surface, more or less up and down, right in front of you. And there’s a horizontal control surface—a table or desk or the base of a laptop—that you use for input and control. If you want a Mac, that’s what you get. If you want a touch-based device, get an iPad.

I got the opportunity to play with a Surface Studio at a Microsoft Store yesterday - the machine is absolutely incredible. Incredible!

Surface Studio brings a true drafting table model to consumers. My employer is doing a refresh for our artists soon, I’ve already asked that we get at least one for experimentation. I think it will prove popular.

I’m excited to try the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. It’s a marked difference in computing perspective from Microsoft. Apple has created a technology that will prove valuable for both creative professionals and regular consumers.

It’s great to see both innovations from both companies.

One small thought though: $1799 for the base MacBook Pro with Touch Bar hurts. For the average Apple consumer that’s still spendy.

Update 11/1

I got the chance to play with the non-Touch Bar 13” MacBook Pro this afternoon.

The machine is noticeably thinner and lighter than the 2015 product, which is nice - but I’m not sure it was needed. I’m impressed by the keyboard, it’s a noticeable (although minor) improvement over the 12” MacBook Nothing keyboard. I can’t say I was the biggest fan of the 2015 product’s keyboard, but the one on this new machine is decent. Also, the new trackpad is GIGANTIC! No, really it’s huge. Take how big you think it is - now make that 30% larger - that’s how big it is.

I’ve been waffling back and forth for ages about which of the Apple portables to get when I replace my machine next. I think at this point I’m firmly in the Macbook Nothing camp. This isn’t a knock against the new Pro at all, but it has become clear to me that the Macbook Nothing is the more appropriate machine for me.

Update 11/21

Played with a Touch Bar MacBook Pro over the weekend.

Quick Thoughts:

  • The touchbar itself is matte, surprise.
  • Speed is great. It changes views just as fast as you change apps.
  • Swiping on the touchbar to adjust volume/brightness is just fantastic.

I only had 5-10 minutes with it. I’m not totally certain what I think. Touch bar strikes me as something interesting, but not something the new MacBook Pros needed.

Within the stock apps there is great functionality, but we’re obviously going to need 3rd party developers on board as well. Some of the interfaces (like adjusting volume) are fantastic, others are just downright confusing. I found myself getting a couple menus deep, then I’d forget how I got there.

Is it interesting to have right now, sure? Do you need to spend $299 more to get it on the 13” product, no.


Typed on Octopage

Dialogue & Discussion