Bozhidar Batsov

October 20, 2021

The MacBook Returns

New is always better my ass, especially when it comes to Apple's computers from recent years! Still, from time to time new is actually better... like this week. I guess by now everyone has heard about the new MacBook Pros that undo a lot of the controversial changes of the previous MBP generation (2016-2020). In no particular order:

  • MagSafe charging is back. You can still charge via a USB-C port as well. Win-win.
  • HDMI is back. I hated the USB-C to HDMI dongles so much, as half the time they didn't work with certain beamers.
  • SD card reader is back. I rarely used it, but I appreciate its presence. Fewer dongles is always better!
  • The dreaded Touch Bar is gone. I think it was the primary reason why I never bought a MBP from the previous generation. That and the crappy keyboard they finally replaced last year.

Feels like 2015, doesn't it? But wait, there's more!

  • Fast-charging over MagSafe. Not a must have for me, but much appreciated regardless.
  • Slimmer bezels. Way way overdue, given how the competition has been moving in recent years.
  • Much better webcam. It was about damn time!
  • Much better displays - slightly bigger, higher res, ProMotion (up to 120Hz). Not that big of a deal for me, but I'll take it gladly.
  • The notch. Oh, well - if this was a perfect laptop our lives would be pretty boring, right? We need/love to rant about something!

I have to admit those are some mighty sweet machines, and that's even without factoring the performance and power efficiency of M1 Pro/Max. Those are actually the first MBPs that I have been genuinely excited about since the first MBP Retina was released way back in 2012. But you know what's the most important thing for me in this story? Apple actually listened to user feedback for once! This rarely (never?) happened in the Steve Jobs era (although, to Steve's credit - I doubt he would have ever shipped something like the previous gen MBPs). Seems we're dealing a very different Apple today, and it seems that all of us, who use their products, have some agency. That makes me feel good.

While, I'm enjoying a lot my time with Windows 10 and my custom built AMD-powered desktop PC, I'll definitely order one of the new Macs (likely the 14 inch model with a mid-range M1 Pro) when they become available here in Bulgaria.  Why so? Well, it definitely seems like the most polished laptop around, and the one that provides the best balance of power and battery life. If Intel or AMD manage to create something truly competitive to M1, I'd be happy to stay in their camp. It's good to have options, but right now I think we have now. The MacBook has returned!