Adam Geitgey offers an alternative take on Apple's new MacBook Pros, which were poorly-received when announced two weeks ago. Geitgey argues that, thanks to the finally-maturing USB-C ecosystem (and there being multiple USB-C ports), it's a miniature interoperative power-toy that hackers will love. For example, you can charge it with a drugstore power adapter: no more $80 bricks to lug around.
Universal sharing of accessories between devices is a hacker's dream. It's the exact opposite opposite of vendor lock-in. You can just plug anything into anything and it (mostly) works. …
If you get any of the new USB-C compatible monitors (pretty much every vendor has at least one now), you only need to plug one single cable into your MBP: You can then plug all your other devices into your monitor and everything flows over one USB-C to your laptop — power, video, data and even sound. Your monitor is now your docking station and breakout box!…
I/O-wise, the new MacBook Pro is possibly the most open device Apple has ever built. There is literally not a single proprietary port on it. You get four universal high-speed ports that can each draw or supply power, send and receive data and transfer video and audio. It's really pretty neat.
(Odd to think, though, that none of the clever mobile tricks he lists will work with iPhones, beacause iPhones don't use USB-C.)
I finally checked out the new MacBook Pros in person over the weekend. The 13" model with a function row is an almost-perfect laptop; if you don't need a cutting-edge mobile workstation, it has a lot of juice for such a tiny machine. Did anyone else notice that, at 3 pounds, it's same weight as the original MacBook Air? After all the negative reviews I was ready to hate it, but I loved it.
The Touch Bar strikes me as a flashy gimmick, like something Sony would have put on a fancy Vaio before it quit the business.
I also checked out the Surface Book; gorgeous, but the need to be a "tablet too" means it comes with the limitations and subtle look-and-feel oddities of the class. If you're wanting a slim Windows/Ubuntu ultra-portable you can really spec out, the Dell XPS series is where it's at—especially the Signature Editions that Microsoft sells, which have faster CPU options.