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First impressions of the new lines of iMacs, MacBooks and MacBooks Pro with Touch Bar

When Apple announces the date of an event, many of us look forward to some software or hardware news from those that are evident to the eye ? like a new feature, a new design, a new type of sensor, new colors, etc. But what about things that are not so noticeable (visually speaking), so-called internal upgrades such as improvements in the processor, RAM, etc.? Can?t we see this as news, too? Well, I can assure you: yes, we can ? and we should!

I recently had the opportunity to do a Test drive on all new Macs recently launched and, of course, playing with some software that really exploits the use of the Touch Bar intelligently. Perhaps you will read this article and it is difficult to measure the perception I had when using the devices. So I?m going to try to put a benchmark here: I?m a MacBook Pro user with a 13-inch Touch Bar, 3.3GHz Core i7 with 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM. That is, a super-fast machine!

Some of the machines I tested were in the maximum available configuration, so, like my Mac, you can have an idea if I was working on a slower or faster computer. Just by watching the opening keynote of the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2017, you cannot assess what the upgrades represent in practice.

MacBooks

12

When touching the MacBook (the thin one, with a 12-inch screen and a single USB-C port), I was surprised by the evolution of the new processors and the faster SSDs. I got to have such a machine (first generation, as soon as it launched), but I found a Mac a little slow for my work needs when compared to some of the Pro line ? and, as I was used to this more ?professional? performance ?

Still, it was a cool machine for simple everyday things like surfing the internet, reading emails, writing texts, etc. In this new generation, however, the speed has improved a lot! Without a doubt, those who need mobility and do not want to be carrying weight, this is the best choice.

The issue of the lack of USB ports I think is a very particular topic; for me, it was never really missed, so it will vary from case to case. You should put this on the scale when choosing. I don?t like to put genres for Apple computers, but in my mind this is a perfect computer for my girlfriend to put in the bag without practically weighing it, freeing her from carrying a backpack just for that.

MacBooks vs. MacBooks Pro

New 13 and 15 inch MacBooks Pro diagonally opened

An interesting strategy from Apple (in my view, obviously) is that this machine has a starting price of R $ 9,799 (in Brazil; US $ 1,299 abroad), exactly the same price as the entry-level version of the MacBook Pro (without Touch Pub). I will talk a little about my perception of these machines and I will tell you why I think this is a good strategy.

The incoming MacBook Pro performs better than the MacBook, in addition to having more USB-C ports available; on the other hand, he is a little more ?heavy?. With the new generation of processors, it seemed to me that the applications and basic tasks that I tested flowed much faster / naturally. Do you know when you return to an old Mac model for some reason and notice the difference in performance? Yeah. Taking into account that I had a top-of-the-line 2013 MacBook Pro until recently, whoever chooses such a machine with few upgrades will have a computer for at least 6/7 years ? disregarding the surprises to come. virtual reality.

If you need performance and more ports available ? and, on the other hand, you don?t care so much for the Touch Bar and have a slightly heavier computer (0.92kg vs. 1.37kg) -, this is your option.

Taking into account the initial price of these two options, it is up to the user to analyze what else is most essential: mobility or performance. It is worth noting that we are talking about machines for day-to-day use (to browse the internet, send emails, create documents, edit some videos on a not so professional level, mess with photos, anyway ? things even a little beyond the ? beans with rice ?).

So far I?ve talked about things that most of you already ? probably ? knew. But the idea is to reinforce that they are great machines. Taking into account the machine I use daily, I really liked what I saw on these models.

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Final Cut Pro X on MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

However, one thing that made me change my mind ? because maybe I hadn?t used tools that really exploit the functionality yet ? was the Touch Bar.

I took a MacBook Pro model with a 15 ? Touch Bar with the new processors and, looking at it, it was very similar to mine (visually speaking ? only the screen size and the speakers are different). So, I started playing in Photoshop. Clearly the machine?s performance surprises! You practically don?t have time to process filters in images, at least in the basics that I played with, such as changing colors, distorting something in the photo, cropping a part and placing it in another part of the image, working with different layers? conclusion: it makes a good difference to have a dedicated (and improved) graphics card for that.

What surprised me was that I was able to play changing effects in the photos using only the Touch Bar. All the effects and tools appeared in the choice bar, in a very intuitive way. Only then did I realize that what is missing is basically the popularization of the resource, that developers look at it with more affection.

I?m not a designer (so forgive me those who are and have been using the tool for a long time without the Touch Bar); I am a manager of multidisciplinary teams and, in this environment, there are designers. It may sound silly, but I have the perception that professionals who use tablet computers will save a few good seconds when changing tools / effects with the other hand on the Touch Bar ? which in the long run can be an interesting time saver. If you already use this feature, leave your thoughts in the comments!

I can?t imagine using the Touch Bar to choose the words that appear as suggestions while I?m typing ? because in my case, I type without looking at the keyboard ? but to mess with Photoshop, it makes perfect sense!

The point that I was really amazed at was the speed in Final Cut Pro. Editing videos, changing the background color of the sky, moving objects, including text? it all made me feel like I was working on a still photo: any effect that I applied, like changing the color of the sky, was already reflected in the entire video almost instantly.

In Final Cut Pro, the love given to Touch Bar was also high (even because it is Apple?s own software). As with Photoshop, I was able to switch and test effects using just about it. It even has shortcuts to see the before / after and, oddly enough, it is * stupidly * quick to put on and take off all the effects.

iMacs

21.5 and 27

I took the same video and kept moving it on an iMac with a 27 ? 5K screen, which has dedicated graphics cards and processors quad-core. Then I felt that my current MacBook is ?slow?, it is so absurd that it is the speed of processing and rendering of the videos. Applying 3D effects to a video ? it felt like I was working on some simple text editor and changing the font color.

If you are a person who needs connectivity, this machine has a reasonably good number of ports. It has a P2 output, slot for SDXC cards, four USBs 3, two Thunderbolts 3 / USB-C and one Gigabit Ethernet 10/100 / 1000BASE-T (RJ-45 connector). The cool thing is that this Mac supports another 5K or two 4K monitor ? I instantly imagined myself on a TV station editing island!

IMac Connectivity

Some think that just because we are fans of Apple, we do not criticize the company. Anyone who follows all of our articles and our podcast knows that neither I nor anyone on the team fails to criticize when something from Apple is not surprising. But in this case, the improvements in the speed of the machines in general surprised me a lot! And using two tools (Photoshop and Final Cut Pro) that explored the good use of the Touch Bar left even more surprised!

People often question me a lot if it is worth ?paying dearly? on an Apple computer; I usually answer that, depending on what you do, you will have a machine for many years! I sold my 2013 MacBook Pro to a person who, without a doubt, will use it for another six years peacefully. So it is worth investing in a Mac, because in the long run you will notice that you have made a great investment.

Conclusion

The internal upgrades really surprised me. I didn?t really understand the reason for so many machine options and today I see it like this:

  • MacBook Air: Apple entry machine; good, without Retina screen but with more affordable value.
  • MacBook: mobility for being super light and with currently very good performance ? in addition to a very quiet machine.
  • MacBook Pro (without Touch Bar): who needs a little more performance and available USB-C ports ? and doesn?t care what the Touch Bar can offer (I thought it was little, until I saw it actually being used).
  • MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar): use of the computer with a new concept of upper bar, possibility of a major machine upgrade, in addition to the fingerprint reader, which greatly facilitates the day-to-day.
  • iMac: machine for those who need a big screen and a lot of performance ? it is sensational to mess with photos and videos on a giant screen!

Which Apple product didn?t surprise you so much in the presentation and after you used it, came the snap: ?How did I live without it?? Comment!