Late 2016 MacBook Pros (1 Viewer)

Foxbat

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Well, I did it. Since I retrofitted my 2011 MacBook Air with a new battery and a 480 GB mSATA SDD and sent it off to college for my son to use, I have been without a portable computer. I debated getting a iPad Pro and keyboard to use, but I kept coming back to my desire to have a real computer and not a content consumption device. Since Apple was expected to release new Macintoshes in the fall (just not in time for my son to take it with him to school) I figured I'd wait it out.

When the first of the new 2016 MacBook Pro models showed up at the Apple Store I went in and tried it out. I'm viewing this as a MacBook Air replacement and not a MacBook Pro upgrade. I liked the form-factor of the Air and the 13" MacBook Pro sans TouchBar would be a worthy replacement (Retina display, bigger SSD, double the RAM, faster processor, bigger trackpad, Thunderbolt 3/USB 3, all in a smaller package at the same weight) as my Air. The price would be maybe $100-$200 more than I paid for my MacBook Air five years ago.

But, I had to see and play with the TouchBar models to make an informed decision. A few weeks later I did, and as I judged it, it's an interesting UI element but not necessary with this model year. Also, I found the slots on the bottom for increased cooling and sound output un-Applely as the edges are almost painfully sharp. That's one complaint I have with the Microsoft Surface tablets: sharp edges to grab. Finally, I expect Apple to refresh these MacBook Pro models with the next generation of the mobile Intel processors and low-power DDR4 chips that would allow more than 16 GB of RAM.

The TouchID was harder to dismiss. Being able to unlock the Mac with your fingerprint (20+ years for Apple to add this to the Mac, BTW!) is nice, but the ability to use ApplePay on websites that support it is really compelling. But the additional $300 for the TouchBar and TouchID (even though there's a CPU boost as well) and a smaller (?!!??) battery didn't compute. Decision made.

I waited for the Black Friday / Cyber Monday Sales and pulled the trigger when B&H Photo had the new Macs for $100 off, free shipping, and no tax. So here I sit typing away on my new 13" MacBook Pro (which I think should have been called a "MacBook Plus") and I'm sure I've made the right choice. I like the keyboard improvements that Apple made from the 12" MacBook (these keys have a definite "click" to them) and I'm finding I can type faster and more reliably on this from my previous MacBook Air.

Trade-offs are livable. Since I got the entry model, I have only two USB-C connectors, but they are both full-speed Thunderbolt 3 ports (40 Gbps in each direction). That's a lot, especially if you pair it with a TB3 Dock that provides multiple USB 3.0, Ethernet, HDMI 2.0, and audio/optical output ports. I did end up with the Apple HDMI Adapter since it includes a USB-C and USB 3.0 port in addition to the 4K HDMI port. I also ended up with the Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 1/2 dongle so I can make use of my existing TB devices. I skipped the USB-C to USB-A adapter as the HDMI Adapter includes it.

Since I had my Time Machine backups from before I wiped my MacBook Air for my son's use, I was able to restore that to my new MacBook Pro and it's like I haven't missed a beat. This Mac Migration tool is the best part of owning a Mac; we've tried the Windows User Migration tool at work and it misses many user settings and applications when setting up a new machine. I do wish the Migration would allow me to weed out unwanted apps, but you can remove the afterward.

Since this is a new pretty-pretty, shiny-shiny, I don't want it to get all scuffed or scratched. Going to the third-party market, I got a Griffin leather portfolio during Black Friday for $120 off! I also ordered their BreakFast magnetic USB-C charging cable, but it wasn't in the UPS box. E-mail to customer support has been sent. Once I have that, the MagSafe functionality that Apple didn't provide should be restored.

And, in closing, I got my Late 2016 13" MacBook Pro in Space Grey...:)
 
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Foxbat

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Update. I charged my MacBook Pro up the day I unboxed it and let is charge overnight after all the updates had finished. I have been using this on and off for the past few days; Friday night I got on and started surfing and various other stuff around 6:30 and here it is, after 3am Saturday morning and I show another 2:00 hours of estimated battery life left. I'm impressed and surprised!

Update: I hopped on to read some news this morning and 40 minutes later, after watching some videos, I finally got the red battery warning to plug in my Mac soon. 45 minutes left on the battery according to the Battery Icon up on the Menu Bar.

Update to my Updated Update:rolleyes:: Now that I've settled down, the estimate is back up to an hour of time left. Maybe Apple figured out how to incorporate a Zero-Point Module someplace? iFixit must have missed that on their Tear-Down!
 
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Foxbat

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The SSD that Apple put in this generation of MacBook Pros is pretty awesome. (Please realize that we are still getting desktops and notebooks at work that have rotational system volumes so that skews my World View). Here's the Blackmagic Design Disk Speed Test results:
DiskSpeedTest.png

Compared to my 2011 MacBook Air's original SSD, that's 4x for Write and 9x for Read!

The big takeaway I see here is I can use my Blackmagic mini Studio on this device to capture 1080p video from HDMI source and not drop frames. I can't even do that on my 5K Retina iMac unless I spend more money on a TB SSD RAID array. Yeah, I have to use the Thunderbolt 3 to TB 2 dongle to connect it, but it works.

Speaking of Dongles, if you are thinking about making the move, but maybe not until 2017, at least go out a pick up a set of half-price USB-C dongles from Apple. You have until the end of the year before Apple goes back to the original List Price for the dongles.
 
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Foxbat

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Update: Apple has issued a Battery Replacement Program for some 13" Non-Touchbar MacBook Pro notebooks build between October 2016 and October 2017.

I checked the serial number for mine and it is eligible. I hope this fixes the excessive battery usage that I noticed after the first update to Sierra after I got mine. It's currently being backed up so I can send it off to the Apple Store later today.
 

harshness

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It probably isn't reasonable to assume that battery life is a sign that the swelling battery issue afflicts your Macbook as OS updates with Apple occasionally include power consumption issues.

Swelling Macbook batteries has been a thing since 2006 and there are many theories (since Apple hasn't been forthcoming) but most indicated that the computer wouldn't sit flat or there was some other deformation in the casework. It sometimes manifests as the trackpad not being able to travel far enough to click.

The reason that I advocate making sure swelling is a problem is that some have reported that Apple was hesitant to replace the battery more than once.
 

Foxbat

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It is entirely possible that I could have gone another five or six years without a battery issue since mine showed no outward signs of battery swelling, but at that point the exchange program would be over. It is also possible I could have gotten another two years and then had issues, but it could have happened while traveling and then I would be without my MacBook when I needed it. If Apple has identified an component issue that causes swelling in some battery packs this soon after the original launch date, I'll err on the side of caution and get the free exchange done while it's convenient.

The actual process consisted of the Apple Mac Genius connecting their Diagnostics iPad to the USB-C port and pulling data from my MacBook. It was then connected via the Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 dongle and a Thunderbolt 2 to Gigabit Ethernet dongle and onto their internal diagnostic LAN for further tests. In the end, it "passed" the criteria for battery replacement and I left the Apple Store one MacBook Pro lighter. I also almost left the store many hundreds of dollars lighter as I passed the (product) iPhone 8 on the way out...
 
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Foxbat

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The MacBook Pro arrived via FedEx the other day and was 100% charged. It also shows one cycle on the battery pack. I just noticed while typing away today that the keyboard is different than the one I had before. Maybe the part they needed to replace is part of the keyboard assembly? Hmmm...

So far the reported voltage on the battery seems higher than I noted in the past, and the current draw is about half what it was with the original battery. But Apple didn't sneak in a 2017 MacBook Pro, drat, it's still the late 2016 version. ;)
 

Jim S.

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But, for a company that sells its overpriced product on the premise of build quality, you shouldn't need an extended warranty!

I was going to make my next laptop a refurbished Macbook Air because I want to have nothing to do with Windows 10, but after reading that the keyboards aren't even spillproof I think I'll just buy an off-lease Lenovo or Dell pro-grade laptop and put Linux on it.
 

harshness

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But, for a company that sells its overpriced product on the premise of build quality, you shouldn't need an extended warranty!
Apple's claim to fame is more an issue of aesthetics and light weight than quality. Any computer runs a risk if you're sharing drinks with it -- even the ruggedized ones.
I was going to make my next laptop a refurbished Macbook Air because I want to have nothing to do with Windows 10, but after reading that the keyboards aren't even spillproof I think I'll just buy an off-lease Lenovo or Dell pro-grade laptop and put Linux on it.
Ruggedized computers are a whole other class and tend to be rather expensive. None of them are as dainty as a Macbook and some are as heavy as desktops with all of the rubber cladding and extra fans.
 

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