Comment: Why the worst thing about the MacBook Pro is good news for everyone
By Zac Hall
October 19, 2021
There’s a lot to love about Apple’s M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro. The return of ports, MagSafe charging, and even ProMotion are worthy upgrades before you even consider the performance gains and boosted battery life. We haven’t had the chance to test drive these notebooks yet, but it’s hard to imagine what could go wrong based on our experience with Apple’s standard M1 Macs.
Based on what we know so far, it’s actually rather difficult to land a joke about these Macs. I would argue that’s an effective test for predicting the overall reception of this generation of MacBook Pro.
Critiques that make viral jokes turn into permanent memes are the same dings that reviewers pick up on and contribute to the reputation of a product. The worst one could throw at the new MacBook Pro so far is that it: • has a notch but no Face ID • doesn’t have cellular • isn’t touchscreen
I admit that a notch on a MacBook does make me at least squirm, but the worst criticism being that the bezels are so thin that a notch exists around the webcam is pretty positive. Cellular should eventually come to MacBooks, but the big touchscreen story on these Macs is that Apple removed the one that received no love.
Compare that to the outgoing generation of MacBook Pros, a single generation of notebook that will be known for numerous keyboard repair programs, propping up an industry of dongle makers, and whatever happened with the Touch Bar.
And here’s where I admit something that’s changing about how I consider community feedback. Until now, I’ve admittedly been quick to dismiss criticism that seems to snowball into a meme until it feels baked in as the truth.
I really liked the look and feel of the butterfly keyboard and thought initial reliability issues were overblown, but switching back to a scissor switch mechanism was absolutely the right call. I judged the utility of the Touch Bar against that of function keys and considered it cool tech, but the best argument for it years later is that it has potential. And I was all aboard the dongle train when I needed to be, but the return of ports is honestly refreshing.
This internal recalibration on my part isn’t just from MacBook Pro course correcting. Critics panned the HomePod for its high price tag, I saw the value in it existing, and Apple killed the product to focus on the smaller version with the same feature set for a third of the cost.
What this tells me is that whether or not I agree with the initial round of criticism doesn’t matter. When the meme becomes the truth, Apple’s best move may be to listen and adapt. Fortunately for this generation of MacBook Pro, the memes aren’t quite as plentiful, which is a win for everyone.