Apple October 2016 Event Recap

NOTICE AS OF 5/1/2020: This is a revised edition of the Apple October 2016 Event Recap video that we did years ago. For the website, we decided to convert it into an article only, along with adding some tidbits here and there to make it a bit more of an interesting read. Hope you guys enjoy this as we continue to make more content for both our website and YouTube channel. 😉

Introduction

What is up everybody, Sage here, and today we’re going to cover the Apple October 2016 event! As usual, I took notes down as I watched the entire keynote, and boy is there a lot to talk about! However, it’s not going to be as long as the last two events, so it shouldn’t be too boring.

Anyways, without further ado, let’s get going!

But before we get to the product announcements though, I’d like to point out that the event started off with an intro video showing people with disabilities using the iDevices, like iPhone, iPad, and Macs for good use. There was even one using Final Cut Pro X, which got a major update, shortly after the Keynote.

TVApp
Image Credit: Apple Inc.

The TV App

Afterwards, we get onto the first big announcement for the October 2016 event: the Apple TV.

The first thing announced on the TV side is Minecraft coming to the Apple TV (I’m assuming based on the Pocket Edition), and then they also announced a new Apple TV app simply called…TV. You might as well call it “the most generic name ever”.

Basically, the TV app is what you expect: it allows you to watch TV shows and movies from different streaming platforms in one app. It also has a live TV function, along with Siri integration. It’ll also be available on iOS, replacing the old Videos app.

The TV app arrives for iOS and tvOS as part of a future software update in December.

MacBookProTouchBar
Image Credit: Apple Inc.

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Now let’s get into the major topic of this October 2016 event: the Mac. But first, Apple recapped macOS Sierra, which we’ve already covered during WWDC 2016.

2016 marked the 25th anniversary of the first Mac notebooks (not counting the Macintosh Portable, which technically doesn’t count as a notebook, and was a flop), and to kick things off, they, of course, showed a montage video of the evolution of the Mac notebook: The PowerBooks, the iBooks, the MacBook Air, the Retina MacBook Pro, and the 2015 MacBook were all featured. Then came the big reveal: the NEW MacBook Pro.

The new MacBook Pro has, of course, a new design. It is thinner than the previous generation, comes in both 13-inch and 15-inch display sizes, and for the first time in a MacBook Pro, is going to come in two colors: Silver and Space Gray.

The new MacBook Pro also has a Force Touch trackpad, which the previous generation had, except it’s 2x larger. So if you like large trackpads, or if you have a big hand, then this is for you. The system also has a Butterfly keyboard, first introduced in the 2015 MacBook.

After months and months of rumors, the new MacBook Pro includes the Magic Toolbar, now called the Touch Bar: It is a multi-touch Retina display strip, replacing the row of function keys.

The Touch Bar contains the normal system functions, such as volume, brightness, Mission Control, and Siri, as well as the normal set of function keys you can switch to, so if you’re using emulation software to run Windows applications, at least you still have those.

But the most interesting part about the Touch Bar is that it changes to whatever app you use. For example, you could use the Touch Bar with Safari to scroll though the page or open a bookmark, or use it with the Photos app to switch between editing tools. You can also use it with other apps, such as the iWork suite, Messages, Mail, and FaceTime. Every single app included in macOS has support for the Touch Bar. Along with that, comes the addition of Touch ID, which is located on the right of the Touch Bar.

Sage’s Fun Fact: The 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar does not have a physical power button; instead it is embedded into the Touch ID button.

Another thing about the Touch Bar is that you can customize it to whatever suits your needs. You can even keep it at the function key layout if you so desire.

But what about other apps? Touch Bar integration was demonstrated with a new version of Final Cut Pro X, released shortly after the presentation, along with a demonstration of Photoshop, and its Touch Bar integration. Other apps with Touch Bar integration were also featured.

Now let’s talk about specifications:

The new 15-inch MacBook Pro uses a quad-core i7 processor, AMD Radeon Pro graphics with up to 4GB of video RAM, and SSD storage up to 2 TB.

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro uses either a dual-core i5 or i7 processor (wish it was quad-core, but oh well), Intel Iris integrated graphics, and SSD storage up to 1 TB.

In terms of ports, the new MacBook Pro removes the standard USB Type-A and HDMI ports, instead betting on the USB Type-C port, first introduced in the 2015 MacBook. There are 4 of them in all of the Touch Bar models. (Oh, and of course, there’s a headphone jack.)

Other features of the new MacBook Pro consist of an enhanced Retina Display, an all-new speaker design (which was 2x louder according to Apple), and a new thermal management system. In terms for battery life, the new MacBook Pro can last up to 10 hours on a single charge.

Now let’s talk about the configurations and prices:

The 13-inch non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro is going to start with a 2 GHz dual core i5 with Intel Iris Graphics 540 integrated graphics, 8 GB LPDDR3 RAM, 256 GB SSD, and only 2 USB Type-C ports. Price starts at $1,499 USD, and was made available the same day it was announced.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is going to start with 2.9 GHz dual-core i5 with Intel Iris Graphics 550 integrated graphics, 8 GB LPDDR3 RAM, 256 GB SSD, and 4 USB Type-C ports. It began shipping within a couple weeks, for a starting price of $1,799 USD.

Finally, the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is going to start with a 2.6 GHz quad-core i7, AMD Radeon Pro 450 discrete graphics with 2 GB of onboard video RAM, 16 GB LPDDR3 RAM, 256 GB SSD, and 4 USB Type-C ports. It also began shipping within a couple weeks, for a starting price of $2,399 USD.

Apple also mentioned that the MacBook Air will continued to be offered as a 13-inch model; the 11-inch model however was discontinued.

Conclusion

So that’s pretty much all of what Apple announced during the October 2016 Event. Now, I get to talk about my opinion on this stuff. (I won’t bother covering the Apple TV’s, since it wasn’t the star of the show.)

When I first heard the rumors that they were replacing the function keys with a Touch Bar in the new MacBook Pro, I got a bit skeptical. Sure, experimenting with new technology is great, but as the old saying goes: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The physical function keys were fine; honestly, there was no need to replace it.

As for the Touch Bar itself, it doesn’t really sell me. Yeah, the Touch Bar’s extra features look cool and all, but who’s gonna use it on a daily basis? The pros? Most people will probably use it just for the function keys or the standard Mac key functions, but other than that, it’ll pretty much go unused. Also, what if you have Windows running on a Mac through Boot Camp? You obviously need to install drivers for the Touch Bar before even being able to use it. This is why having a traditional function key layout works better for stuff like this. But at least I do like the fact that it has Touch ID.

Another thing I want to mention is this: Apple, why do you keep making your products thinner every new generation? Do you want to make your products so thin that they’re going to snap off and break easily?

The last thing I want to mention about the new MacBook Pro are the specifications. I know Apple has been infamous for some of their products being a bit more expensive than PCs; for example, take a Dell gaming laptop from 2016, which has a quad-core i5, 8GB of RAM, a 1 TB hard drive, and it costs $799 USD. In some aspects, it might be faster than the new MacBook Pro. (Though to be fair, both systems were meant for different markets.)

The 13-inch model without the Touch Bar is the cheapest one, with a dual-core processor (which in my opinion, is not enough in today’s tech climate), and integrated graphics, which makes playing some games on it a bit of a struggle. Meanwhile, the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar has the quad-core i7 and AMD Radeon discrete graphics, which is the best option IMO, but like I said, you have to deal with the Touch Bar, and it’s pretty expensive at almost $2,500.

But there’s one thing about the specs I have to be honest about: The SSD being standard on every one of the new Mac models is a welcome change. Here’s to hope flash storage becomes cheap enough that it replaces hard drives completely.

So those are my thoughts on the 2016 MacBook Pro’s, concluding this recap. Hope you guys enjoyed this read, and as always I will see you all next time. Peace. 😉

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