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MacBook Pro Diary: First impressions in the metal and glass
While some in the U.S. have been fortunate enough to take delivery of their shiny new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models, those of us in the UK are getting a rather more gradual unveiling. Most Apple Stores don't even have display models yet, and even in the Regent Street store they only had one of each model, tucked away inside a perspex tube running demo loops.My MacBook Pro Diary series is, then, getting a rather more drawn-out ‘first impressions' treatment than usual. But there is an upside to that: there's actually quite a lot to discuss with this new machine, and so far the focus has been very much on the specs. The loss of ports, whether Apple should have waited for Kaby Lake, whether the Touch Bar is a useful innovation or a gimmick … plus the ‘has Apple lost touch with its professional user roots?' debate.Those are all issues worthy of discussion, but I do feel the machine has perhaps missed out a little on the more usual (admittedly superficial) first impressions of its design …One of the sources of controversy has been Apple's obsession with ever-thinner machines, and its willingness to sacrifice battery-life and upgradeable components as the price of that slimmer form-factor. My position in that debate has always been on the side of battery-life and upgradability. However, I have – as I wrote recently – accepted that this battle is lost.And, seeing the machine in real life, I have to say that the upside of Apple's approach is undeniable: it is a very beautiful device. I mean, seriously lovely. I think I've been using Macs for so long that I've been guilty of no longer appreciating the aesthetics – simply taking it for granted that Apple designs lovely looking laptops rather than really seeing the beauty of the designs.But the gradual unveil I'm experiencing – from photos to the real thing in a display case to a hands-on next week – has given me a renewed appreciation for just what a lovely object the new MacBook Pro is. This is a machine with a beefy processor, graphics powerful enough to simultaneously drive four 4K displays and (in my case) a full 2TB of the fastest SSD in the world – and yet it looks almost as sleek as a machine which makes a tonne of compromises in the name of portability, the 12-inch MacBook.Apple has pulled off a Tardis-like trick here: fitting a huge amount of performance into an impressively small casing. So much so that I'm actually wondering whether I'll need to maintain my two-MacBook approach. This machine might just be sufficiently small and light that it can double as my MacBook Air as well as my MacBook Pro.
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