Later, 8:51 p.m. Central Time: I really get a kick out of these things. Microsoft and Apple are spending billions of dollars on really, really good R&D. In this case, again, Apple comes up with something so innovative it defies imagination. Touchscreen on the Surface was neither innovative nor ergonometrically sensible. Even our two-year-old granddaughter could have come up with the idea of a touchscreen, but not only does it not make sense, but no one likes smudges on their monitor. Again, Apple comes up with something so innovative, it really does defy imagination, the Touch Bar.
Yes, to some degree, it might be a gimmick, but once folks start getting used to it, like so may things with Apple, they will wonder how they ever got along without it.
Today I stopped by the Apple Store to take a look. They were on display. They had three on display that I know of; I think they had six altogether. I talked at length with an Apple employee who I have gotten to know quite well. He is 76 years old, a former IBM employee, and then worked for Verizon, and now works as an Apple associate. He tells me he was once awarded $150,000 for a suggestion he made while working for IBM. He's not a dummy.
About two weeks ago I said to myself: the new MacBook Pro with touch bar is going to be the best selling laptop that Apple has ever sold.
Today after seeing the Macbook Pro with touch bar for the first time, I said to myself: the new MacBook Pro with touch bar is going to be the best selling laptop that Apple has ever sold.
This thing is incredible. Anyone complaining about it over at Macrumors has not actually played with it.
First, and most important: my biggest concern with the new MacBook Pro was the price. No more. It turns out that one can get one for a price that competes with the MacBook Air. If anything, Apple could have priced the lowest model for $100 more. There is a model for everyone's pocketbook. There. Got that out of the way. Apple did their homework. Price points are fine.
Second: if you like smudges on your monitor, buy a Microsoft Surface. If you don't like smudges on your monitor buy a Pro with touch bar. It is ergonomically crazy to have a touch screen on a laptop; Apple cleverly found the solution.
Third: esthetics. The "bar' is not so much a bar as a strip, a long, rectangular key. The "bar" blends in so well with the keyboard that when the associates pointed me to the computer, I thought they had sent me to the wrong area. I did not see the touch bar, it blended in so well with the keyboard.
Fourth: smudges. Again. Incredibly, and even the Apple folks I talked to, don't know how Apple did it, but the touch bar does not smudge. There is some type of coating or physical layer that precludes smudges. It's quite incredible. Or rather, magical.
Fifth: huge trackpad. Some folks thought it too big; that one's palm would always be resting on it. Not even an issue. It seems some folks must be staying up late at night to find something "bad" to say about the new Apple MacBook Pro.
I was there less than ten minutes. In that short period I saw folks walking out with their new MacBook Pro with touch bar.
Apple will be phasing out the MacBook Air. The MacBook Pro 13-inch with/without touch bar is the same size and weighs the same as the MacBook Air but actually has a slightly larger screen. If one is going to buy a new laptop, there is no reason to choose the Air over the Pro. So, the MacBook Air will simply not be refreshed; left to wither away.
This solves a huge problem for Apple. Steve Jobs knew about the problem and tried to prevent it but it was nearly impossible. The problem: too many choices. Folks in marketing know that if a customer has too many choices, they often make no choice and leave the story without a purchase.
Apple currently has four "devices": desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Apple has just announced they are getting out of the monitor business. Since their desktops were their monitors and vice versa, getting out of the monitor business means they will be getting out of the desktop business. Businesses will solve the problem one way, but individuals will solve it another way. Individuals who still want a desktop will buy an LG monitor and connect it to their laptop. If they really, really have to have a traditional desktop keyboard, they will daisy chain it through their laptop, but I think we are well beyond that stage. I work for hours on my MacBook Air and the laptop keyboard is just fine.
So, going forward, Apple will be back to three "devices," making Steve Jobs happy: laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Right now, there is an excess of choices among tablets and smart phones. I think Apple will solve the excess-of-choice problem for tablets, but not so sure about the smart phones. I don't have a smart phone and never plan to use a smart phone so I can't really comment on that.