Unmet or Unreachable Expectations

October 29th, 2016

Another Apple event has come and gone, but in an interesting twist a lot people are talking about Microsoft’s Surface Studio, introduced the day before, instead a bunch of updated MacBook Pros with a tiny Touch Bar.  It’s easy to see why, on one hand you have a PC with a pretty unique form factor and a gorgeous 28” display and on the other you have a laptop with a secondary screen replacing a row of keys.  Kudos to Microsoft’s marketing team for their brilliant timing of the event, but even more to their engineering team for capturing our imaginations.

Unfortunately for Apple, the long delay between laptop refreshes and the seeming minor differences (except in price) has really left a bad impression in the eyes of many bloggers and geeks.  It’s an amazing machine if you compare how much power has been packed into an ever decreasing package.  But it does open a lot of questions about future hardware and past decisions.

  1. When will they update their desktops to use Thunderbolt3/USB-C?  Early next year
  2. When will they ship Lightning to USB-C cables with their iOS devices?  They’re available now, but we’ll probably start seeing them in a year or 2.
  3. Will we ever get touched screen displays with macOS? Not likely
  4. Are they going to dump Lighting for a USB-C only solution? Not in the short term, in fact they seem to be doubling down on it.
  5. Why is there a headphone jack? Keep quiet or they’ll take it away.

As USB-C takes over more and more of the world this laptop won’t seem so bad, but until then there while be growing pains, I hope you like dongles for everything.

The most interesting thing right now is how Apple choose to implement the Touch Bar.  It uses a custom ARM chip and a slimmed down version of watchOS with communications over USB to macOS .  There have long been rumors of Apple experimenting with ARM based laptops and this is definitely an interesting take on the concept.  Will we ever see the keyboard replaced with a small iPad or a standalone Touch Bar?  Only time will tell.


More information about the new T1 chip from Wired.