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Hate the new MacBook Pro? Apple explains away all your complaints

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Senior Apple executive Phil Schiller has spoken out about some of the sticky issues plaguing the company’s new MacBook Pro.

Few people at Apple have their fingers in as many pies as Phil Schiller, Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing. He works across all verticals in the company, so he’s perfectly placed to explain away all of the perceived problems with Apple’s new MacBook Pro models, which launched last week.

In an interview with the Independent, Schiller spoke (relatively) candidly about the MacBook Pro – and other products too. So here’s Schillers take on six different controversial topics surrounding Apple’s MacBook ecosystem.

1. On the MacBook Pro’s missing SD card slot

A healthy chunk of the recent MacBook Pro controversy relates to the absence of an SD card slot. It’s an important port for many users, including the creative types that Apple has traditionally held so near. But Schiller reckons the slot is “cumbersome” and largely unnecessary in 2016:

“Because of a couple of things. One, it’s a bit of a cumbersome slot. You’ve got this thing sticking halfway out. Then there are very fine and fast USB card readers, and then you can use CompactFlash as well as SD. So we could never really resolve this – we picked SD because more consumer cameras have SD but you can only pick one. So, that was a bit of a trade-off. And then more and more cameras are starting to build wireless transfer into the camera. That’s proving very useful. So we think there’s a path forward where you can use a physical adaptor if you want, or do wireless transfer."

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2. On touchscreen laptops

While other notebook makers have moved towards touchscreen, Apple has stayed resolutely clear of any display-fingering tech – on the MacBook, anyway. According to Schiller, that’s simply because it’s not natural to operate a laptop by touching the display.

“If you made the Mac a touchscreen, you’d have to figure out how to make it a good experience with your finger on a touchscreen. Trust me, we’ve looked at that – it’s a bad experience. It’s not as good or as intuitive as with a mouse and trackpad."

3. On the MacBook Pro’s audio jack

Earlier this year, Apple baffled almost everyone with its decision to abandon the 3.5mm audio port on the iPhone 7. But the new MacBook Pro launch revealed that Apple hasn’t given up on the headphone jack entirely. Why the disparity? Here’s Schiller’s two cents:

“These are pro machines. If it was just about headphones then it doesn’t need to be there; we believe that wireless is a great solution for headphones. But many users have setups with studio monitors, amps, and other pro audio gear that do not have wireless solutions and need the 3.5mm jack.”

Related: Best Laptops 2016

4. On merging iOS and MacOS

Microsoft famously used Windows 10 to merge desktop and mobile, albeit with middling success. Ever since, speculators have questioned whether Apple would follow suit by combining the iPhone’s iOS and the MacBook’s MacOS. But Schiller says there’s no chance of that happening any time soon:

“We’re steadfast in our belief that there are fundamentally two different products to make for customers and they’re both important. There’s iPhone and iPad, which are single pieces of glass, they’re direct-manipulation, multi-touch and tend towards full-screen applications. And that’s that experience. And we want to make those the best in that direction anyone can imagine. We have a long road ahead of us on that.”

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“Then there’s the Mac experience, dominated by our notebooks and that’s about indirect manipulation and cursors and menus. We want to make this the best experience we can dream of in this direction.”

“Here’s one example of how they should remain distinct: the Mac from the very first has had a menu bar fixed at the top. It’s core to the identity and the experience you get. But iOS doesn’t have a menu at the top. It never will. The thought of pointing at a menu at the top of an iPhone feels wrong."

5. On the lack of ‘Hey Siri’ on Mac

With the arrival of the new MacBook Pro, so took were we graced with a desktop version of Siri. But unlike Microsoft’s Cortana or Siri on the Apple iPhone, you can’t shout ‘Hey Siri’ to summon her on the MacBook Pro. Why? It’s all about electronics and power, so says Schiller:

“That has more to do with system electronics and low power capabilities. You would want to be able to say ‘Hey Siri’ from across the room even when your Mac is asleep, so if you still have to go across the room to wake the Mac, then what’s the point? You need to build system-wide electronics that are in the right standby state, listening for that catchphrase and that’s not built into the electronics of Mac today."

6. On whiny ex-MacBook Pro fans

As you can tell, there’s plenty of stuff that Apple dissidents have found to complain about. Schiller accepts this as a truth, but says he still thinks the MacBook Pro is a great product:

“There has certainly been a lot of passionate dialogue and debate about the new MacBook Pro! Many things have impressed people about it, and some have caused some controversy. I hope everyone gets a chance to try it for themselves and see how great the MacBook Pro is. It is a really big step forward and an example of how much we continue to invest in the Mac. We love the Mac and are as committed to it, in both desktops and notebooks, as we ever have been.”

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7. On MacBook Pro sales so far

And despite all the criticism, it appears that the MacBook Pro is selling well, at least according to Schiller:

“We are proud to tell you that so far our online store has had more orders for the new MacBook Pro than any other pro notebook before. So there are certainly a lot of people as excited as we are about it."

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Watch: New MacBook Pro 2016

What do you think of the Schiller interview? Let us know in the comments.

Octavian

November 2, 2016, 9:06 pm

I'd like to see how many of the sales are for the "new" MBP and how many are for the 13" without the touch bar.

Rann Xeroxx

November 2, 2016, 11:31 pm

Wow, Apple use to have the devices people drooled over. Now, meh and boring compared to devices like the Surface Studio or HP Specter 360.

James

November 3, 2016, 4:40 am

"many users have setups with studio monitors, amps, and other pro audio gear that do not have wireless solutions and need the 3.5mm jack.”. I don't think so, most audio people have Firewire/USB/Thunderbolt interfaces with XLR or TRS connections to connect those devices.

Menorca Man

November 3, 2016, 6:33 am

“Because of a couple of things. One, it’s a bit of a cumbersome slot. You’ve got this thing sticking halfway out. Then there are very fine and fast USB card readers, ......."

So, a USB card reader sticking out of a USB socket is less cumbersome than a SD card in a SD card slot? Anyway, has he not heard of push to eject flush card slots? I smell bullshit!!!

trusharp

November 3, 2016, 9:09 am

I was contemplating upgrading my 2012 Mbp but straight away it feels like a step back. As a photographer barely if any of the high end cameras have the wireless transfer speeds or reliability of a sd card slot. This isn't a working professionals tool anymore but rather just another form over function overpriced apple rip off.

NotOverlyConvinced

November 3, 2016, 9:09 am

Apple, where the customer is never right... another couple to add to the list of, a finger is all you need and you do not need a stylus, 4" is the biggest screen you need, less than 10" is too small for a tablet, think there was something about multitasking being unnecessary .

I get infuriated by Android and Windows devices. But will never turn to Apple (as beautiful and well designed/built/integrated as they are) because frankly, i don't like being told what i need/want.

I have always been wary of committing to an ecosystem that dictates what you want and can have as eventually the one that throws things against the wall and sees what sticks (android/windows) will get their act together and better them.

Ken

November 3, 2016, 2:51 pm

Then buy a converter.... it's really not that complicated. As a professional photographer myself I have never used the SD card slot because most professional cameras now use CF cards which would need a card reader anyway... The only thing that you can honestly complain about which actually has no work around is the fact that we can only put up 16 gigs of ram. Even at that this laptop will be lightning fast anyway....

reggjoo

November 3, 2016, 3:23 pm

Rather buy a laptop, that doesn't need a converter, out the box. The sdcard card slot, could have been designed to go in flush, with the edge of the laptop(it's been done for years, with so many other laptops). Apple shows no love for their following , just adapt, is their thinking. If you want to do something, that needs compatibility, this one isn't for you, and it's a wonder they kept the jack, instead of telling you to buy one of their accessories.

justcurious1

November 3, 2016, 10:44 pm

Schiller is always good at delivering the BS but I think Apple has totally lost the thread here. Under powered, over priced. Adding insult to injury, they don't include the extended power cable with the charger. Cheap, f-ing bastards. Really. $19 extra you're going to charge people? The SD slot was great. Used it constantly with my pro video and DSLR. Great for on the road. USB 3 is a standard for a while still. Not having a dedicated GPU across all 'PRO' laptops is BS. Check out the Razor laptop? How did they manage to pack in so much more for less? Aluminium body, GTX 1060 GPU for crying out loud. $2799. The Macbook Pro is not pro by any stretch of the imagination.

trusharp

November 4, 2016, 12:06 pm

Err, I use a Nikon D750 and a Pentax 645z, neither one of those use a CF card and I don't think anyone considers them amateur bodies. Also, correct me if i'm wrong but isn't the SD card standard progressing quicker than CF? i thought Cfast was the next step after CF.

Greg Seely

November 5, 2016, 12:23 am

I have enjoyed all my Macbook Pros, but my current one will be my last one. I couldn’t care less that the new one is a tiny amount thinner and a tad heavier. Big deal. At a certain point, it just doesn’t matter. The things I loved most about my Macbooks were the keyboard and the Magsafe charging port. Both of those are gone. Apple knew that a huge number of people hated the new butterfly keyboard, but they are so arrogant that they put it on the new Macbook Pro anyway. That in itself is enough to drive me away. Apple has taken the position that people carry their Macs around in cases, so it’s no big deal to lug a bunch of dongles around. Well, it is to me. Schiller states that an SD card is cumbersome -- and carrying around a crapload of dongles isn't?? What kind of doubletalk is that? It was bad enough not having an Ethernet port, but this is over the top. I’ve seen posts elsewhere from people complaining about the keyboard, but saying they are sure they’ll eventually adapt to it. It boggles my mind how Apple can do no wrong in the minds of some people and how they continue to buy Apple products no matter what. But even the “fanboys”will eventually get fed up. Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy once, and averted it by bringing back Steve Jobs. They won’t be able to do that this time.

toboev

November 6, 2016, 5:37 pm

When it comes to innovation there are two schools, throwing against the wall vs intelligently predicting what people will want. The only real difference is in the post-rationalisation of successes. Proponents of the former are more honest, the latter is favoured by people who don't understand they just got lucky.

scottfree

November 7, 2016, 6:23 am

what idiots are buying this BS??? Im done with Apple, I cant believe they are this dumb... shitty specs, dongles everywhere, and Ipad needs mac OS, Right now Ipads are for kids.

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