While some people are impressed by the new Touch Bar and sleek design, there has been a stream of complaints over everything, from the significant price hike to lack of ports.
New MacBook Pro: Praise and Complaints
The new MacBook Pros have won praise for their sleek new design, improved displays and boosted speeds. But those are assumed updates for a computer that had gone 527 days since its last release.
The Touch Bar is the key new feature, but reaction to it has been mixed. It has a definite cool factor, but many of the professional users the new MacBook Pro is aimed at are underwhelmed. Comments like this tweet from MicroSpookyLeaks are piling up online:
“Imagine owning the largest company in the world and spending two years of innovation just to add an emoji bar.”
Apple’s switch to all USB-C ports isn’t going over well with many of those professional users, either. No-one is opposed to having some USB-C ports, but AAPL removed everything else, and that hurts for a laptop in this category. There is no Display port, MicroSD card slot or regular USB ports. Even the MagSafe power port is gone, so plugging in the new MacBook Pro means giving up one of the four ports and loses the quick-release safety feature.
Connecting accessories and peripherals to the new MacBook Pro will likely involve a series of adapters, which adds cost and looks messy.
Adding insult to injury for many in this key demographic, AAPL also hiked prices by several hundred dollars over the outgoing model.
For a good read on the kind of reaction yesterday’s Apple event is evoking from professional users — the core MacBook Pro demographic — check out this post from Trent Lapinski titled: “WTF is Apple Thinking With the New MacBook Pro and Touch Bar?”
Apple TV Gets Jabs, Too
While the new MacBook Pro is taking the brunt of the internet’s ire, AAPL is also seeing heat over its new TV app for the Apple TV.
It’s bad enough that there was no price reduction or 4K model introduced at the event. That leaves the $149+ 1080p Apple TV to take on new rivals like the $69 4K Chromecast Ultra from Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) this holiday season.
However, AAPL spent considerable time showing off the TV app that it described as unifying the TV watching experience, including tracking and giving one-stop access to all the movies and TV shows a user watches.
But … the app doesn’t support the most popular streaming service: Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX). Nor does it support Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) video. Naturally, all the time AAPL spent promoting its value as a central hub is now drawing fire.
Gizmodo proclaimed “Apple’s New TV App Is Worthless Without Netflix and Amazon Video” and based on comments and tweets, a lot of people agree.
If AAPL had quietly released the app and worked on negotiating with Netflix and Amazon to come on board, it would have gone largely unnoticed. But by making such a big deal of it at the Apple event, the company put a big target on the app and the Apple TV. Now it’s paying the price.
A Touch of Genius?
That’s the tagline AAPL uses for the new MacBook Pro, in reference to its new Touch Bar feature. However, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) may be more deserving of the description. The timing of its latest event — one day before Apple’s — combined with the spectacular new Surface Studio PC was a tough act to follow.
The comparisons between the two companies were immediate and their traditional roles from the past several decades seem to be reversing. Headlines like this one — “Microsoft’s New Surfaces Embrace the Future, Apple’s MacBooks Cling to the Past” — were common.
Meanwhile, Microsoft continues to hammer at Apple with direct comparisons to MacBooks on its Surface website. The company is also offering a $650 credit on a new Surface Book or Surface Pro 4 if any MacBook owners want to switch to Windows instead of upgrading to the new MacBook Pro.
Where does AAPL go from here?
Well, next year’s iPhone 8 release is even more important than ever. A resurgent Microsoft is increasingly stealing the innovation spotlight. The 10th anniversary iPhone 8 is Apple’s opportunity to grab it back and wow people. The danger now is that Microsoft might just release a Surface Phone and steal that thunder, too.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.