Phil Schiller justifies the compromises of the MacBook Pro

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In an interview with The Independent, Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller looked back at last week’s Apple event and justified some of the decisions behind the new MacBook Pro.

Let’s go through the new information in this interview. Schiller is saying that the MacBook Pro is the fastest selling pro laptop from Apple.

“And 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,” Schiller told The Independent. “So there certainly are a lot of people as excited as we are about it.”

But many people had probably been delaying their purchase in anticipation of the redesign. Apple also framed the 13-inch MacBook Pro as a MacBook Air replacement. Was the MacBook Air a pro laptop or a consumer laptop?

Either way, using the sales argument shows that Schiller wants to tell everyone that the backlash against the MacBook Pro is limited to a vocal minority.

The SD card slot is gone because “there are very fine and fast USB card readers, and then you can use CompactFlash as well as SD.” (I think I haven’t seen a CF card in 10 years.)

A good chunk of the interview is about the Mac platform in general, as well. Schiller wants to be reassuring, saying that the company is committed to updating the Mac lineup regularly and keeping Mac customers happy. And Apple isn’t abandoning macOS in favor of iOS. The two operating systems will co-exist.

While the laptop lineup is in pretty good shape right now, Apple hasn’t said a word about the Mac Pro, Mac Mini or even the iMac, which could use better components. This interview could have been an opportunity to drop some hints about these other computers. But maybe we’ll see an update sooner rather than later.

While the new MacBook Pro looks great, the backlash against Apple has been really strong for the past few days. People have been complaining about the lack of the Escape key, the fact that you have to use dongles for your existing devices as the new MacBook Pro only comes with four Thunderbolt 3 ports, the price, the fact that you can’t upgrade to 32GB of RAM, the lack of a powerful GPU in the 15-inch model, the lack of a MagSafe port and the lack of an SD card slot.

In short, many people thought the MacBook Pro has been designed backwards. From the outside, it looks like Apple started with the overall design of the machine and then tried to make a good laptop based on these constraints. Many extensive Mac users would have loved Apple to start with the best components out there and then design a laptop around these components.

Moreover, it’s hard to realize whether the Touch Bar is going to be useful in actual use — the MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar isn’t in the Apple store yet. Compared to the Surface Studio, having a second display above the keyboard doesn’t seem as intuitive as turning the display into a touch screen.

The MacBook Pro comes with many different compromises. It’s a light and powerful machine. But many hardcore Mac users were waiting for the perfect update. Apple took some risks, and the backlash is real. Let’s see if people get around to liking this new MacBook Pro as it gets cheaper in the coming years and USB-C devices become widespread.