The new Apple MacBook Pro launched yesterday, leaving some analysts saying it was just a "standard update" and they were expecting something "more radical".
The new version of the device is the "thinnest and lightest ever", according to Apple, and comes with up to 16GB of memory, up to 2.3 per cent better graphics performance and a new Touch Bar, which replaces the traditional function keys with a new interface. Prices start from $1,499 (£1,230).
Clive Longbottom (pictured right), founder of analyst Quocirca, said he thinks the features are still too "constrained" for professional use.
"I'm hearing from a lot of people that they still seem to be heavily constrained systems. Maximum memory of 16GB, maximum storage of 1TB internal, things like that. A lot of people were hoping for something more radical from Apple than what came out yesterday," he said.
"People were looking at it and saying 'if we are going to have to pay 20 to 30 per cent premiums for Apple devices, they'd better at least be comparable in power and capabilities [to other PCs]'. So to suddenly find that whereas some laptops can go up to 64GB, the Pro only goes up to 16GB, you are going to find yourself strapped doing multiple multimedia things at once. Competition in the laptop environment is driving pretty good innovation, whereas Apple doesn't have that same kind of competition."
Tony Lock (pictured below left), distinguished analyst at Freeform Dynamics, said that the new laptop is "exactly what you expect", adding that the updates are just "standard", but that it is difficult to be innovative with such mature systems as the MacBook.
"Certainly what they are launching here would be exactly what you expect. Standard updates. It is difficult to innovate with devices that are mature systems. It's a tricky one, especially when you have a product so well accepted by its customer base," he explained.
"It can be counterproductive to innovate too much, as it can put off existing customers. Apple always produces good-quality systems. They always keep pace with developments on the technology side, and it is hard to go beyond that."
With the new updates to the Pro, Apple has also removed some standard features such as USB A ports – the standard USB ports that most devices still use – choosing instead to only include USB C ports, a smaller, more modern port type.
Jonathan Wagstaff, country manager UK for Context, said the new versions are the future of USB technology, but added that it may be a bit too soon as most technology, including some of Apple's products, still use USB A sockets. He also said that the removal of MagSafe, the magnetic charging connector, was a "big disappointment".
"I think the Touch Bar is a really cool feature. I don't know how useful that will be for professionals, though. It is very good for those inclusive 3D capabilities. Not as powerful as the Surface for graphics cards. For me it is a mixed bag," he said.
"They have taken away some features like MagSafe and only have USB C ports which are definitely a negative. [MagSafe] was one of the most innovative concepts Apple had come up with for years and probably saved a lot of Macs from smashing on the floor. I loved that tech and it was very popular with ordinary consumers. I understand it makes it easier to charge with more devices, but it comes at a cost. This was a big disappointment.
"They have been criticised for not bringing any MacBook products to market for a long time; I just question how many of the changes were the need to create something novel rather giving people something better that they actually need. If they are targeting the professional market, taking away USB A is very unhelpful. It depends on what market they are targeting."
"People were hoping for something more radical from Apple"
Apple's product announcement comes a day after Microsoft announced its new Surface Book and Surface Studio products, which Longbottom suggests seem more innovative than Apple's product launches. He added that some of the "Apple faithful" are beginning to wonder if the company is actually producing anything better than Microsoft at present.
"A lot of the Apple faithful are beginning to look and ask if this is really pushing the envelope, being so much better than anything Microsoft can come out with," he explained. "Especially when the new Surface has come out. You always get the complete ivory tower Apple fan boys who will say that no matter what Microsoft comes out with, Windows will never be as good as what Apple can do, and the hardware from Dell, HP etc will always lag.
"But when you look at form factor there is a hell of a lot of laptop and multi-function Windows devices out there. Windows 10 is still getting there but we haven't seen any major improvements in OS X in the past few years and I don't think what they released yesterday is saying 'we have leapfrogged everything that Microsoft is doing at the minute'."
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