It was almost a full two years between the 2015 and 2016 models of the MacBook Pro were released. For those that anxiously awaited the long arrival of the 2016 version, they were not disappointed. Aside from a retina display, not much had changed in the previous four versions of the MacBook Pro, since the introduction of the i5 and i7 chips which greatly increased speed and performance in the 2011 models.
With the 2016 MacBook Pro, however, Apple has given the notebook a complete overhaul and introduced a number of key features; not the least of which was the much anticipated touch bar. With this iteration of the MacBook Pro, Apple has once again returned the notebook to its professional status as a sleek, slim, compact notebook that is capable of delivering high end desktop performance. Long the favorite of creative professionals, the 2016 notebook – and its multi-function touch bar – unleashes almost limitless performance and creative possibilities.
All this functionality comes at a price, however, with the base model with touch screen starting off at a whopping $1,799 – nearly a 30% increase over the previous year's base model. A lower priced model is available, but even that model starts at $1,499 – still $200 more than the previous year's base model. The stripped down base model is not only lacking in a touch bar, but also offers only two Thunderbolt 3/ USB-C ports, versus the four ports offered on the higher end models. As usual, Apple is ahead of the curve and has released a technology before it is yet fully compatible with a number of peripherals. For the moment, there are any number of adapters available, but compatible tech is on the way.
But for those actually using their MacBook Pro for professional purposes – particularly for people that use their notebooks for media creation – the notebook is well worth it's hefty price tag. Not only does the touch bar offer a wealth of creative performance, but there is also talk that the oversized trackpad may have been designed to work with the Apple Pencil created for the iPad Pro. A forthcoming software upgrade may make this a reality.
The 13″ touch bar models also offer 2.9 GHz dual core processors, with available turbo boost offering up to 2.2 GHz of processing power. More than enough for video editors, game developers, coders and other professionals that need some serious horsepower in their notebooks. All of that in a slim, sleek body that weighs in at a mere 3.02 lbs – a mere .06 lbs more than the legendary MacBook Air.
For those willing to spend the extra $400 for the 15″ base model, they move to a quad-core i7 processor capable of delivering speeds up to 3.5 GHz. The 15″ model also upgrades the graphics package from the Intel Iris 550 of the 13″ models to a performance packed Radeon Pro 450 with 2GB memory. The 15″ model also offers a whopping 16GB of 2133MHz memory compared to the 8GB that come standard on the 13″ model. For more information about the differences in models, click here.
All in all, the MacBook Pro is once again, exactly what it should be – a power-packed notebook for professionals. For those that simply use their notebooks for creating documents, sending emails and surfing the web, this is a great time to get a 2015 model at a killer price or wait another year or two until the price drops on the current tech.