Anton D. Nagy contributed to this 16-inch MacBook Pro After the Buzz episode post.
This is the 16-inch MacBook Pro and when I bought it last year I thought this would be it. Finally my dream machine. It’s actually the first product that started a very interesting trend. See Apple has always been known for showing consumers what they should want instead of listening to them, and its 15-inch predecessor was, in a word: a mess. From bad keyboards, to display issues, to thermal throttling, it was clear that Apple’s obsession over thin and light was ahead of its time. The solution was to just cave in and make the product larger. To own the title of being a Pro product, function had to follow form and not the other way around.
The problem is that this product was either late or the catalyst Apple needed to prove that it was time to transition. It patched the problem the 15-inch model had, but then notice how it hasn’t been refreshed since 2019.
Transition periods are always complicated, and no company is more notorious for them than Apple. This is the company that pushed the market to adopt the CD-ROM over floppy drives, only to kill the slot early for digital media. USB over Serial Ports, only to kill that for USB-C. It made the headphone jack popular again, only to kill it later over Bluetooth. Yes, it’s a pattern, but even if Apple has been right most of the time, what happens when you’re caught in-between?
Here I was thinking this computer would be it, so I spent an insane amount of money in maxing it out to its full potential. Yes, that amount. And then about two months into living my dream, I realized I made a mistake. A very expensive one.
So, for context, I bought this computer in September of 2020. My 2018 15-inch unit was already coughing at 4K exports, and after the M1 announcement in June, it was clear that this computer wasn’t going to get an Intel refresh. Yes, I know I was a year late, but if you saw the presentation, the numbers were just too good to be true, and Apple has always been notorious for overpromising and under-delivering in its pro products. My logic was to avoid the curse of the early adopter because I couldn’t trust my workflow to an unproven product. I don’t need to remind you how bad the 2012 Retina MacBook Pro or 2016 15-inch touch bar models were.
So everything started fine. Ordered in silver to avoid the scuff marks from space gray, got my dbrand skins to give it this retro look in white, and this MOFT Invisible stand is a godsend. Propping this computer to a higher position has proven to be crucial for less back pain, and also heat dissipation. For the better part of two months, I was in heaven.
I think that what I liked most about this computer was its screen. You’d think that an extra inch in real estate isn’t much, but the near border-to-border design is crazy immersive. Even today this 16-inch Retina Display is best in class for any laptop when it comes to color accuracy and detail, even if it falls behind in contrast as a natural limitation of IPS LCDs. Still, the combination of this panel with these speakers is still crazy. I have yet to hear louder and richer results from any other laptop, in whatever category you’d like to compare it to.
The combination of the skin, plus the stand has helped it remain like new more than a year later, and I also noticed that the added thickness serves an extra purpose. I no longer get that sticky feel after trying to open this laptop when exposed to heat, and I now notice the glass panel is no longer prone to permanent marks from the keyboard. Speaking of the keyboard, it’s back to being great. Sure a bit noisier but the return to these scissor switches has solved all the issues of its predecessor. I still wish we had the option to lose the touch bar, but I’ll admit it doesn’t bother me as much. My hands are mostly concentrated on this massive trackpad which is still best in class, and where its size doesn’t get in the way of your work. If anything I feel that way about the large palm rests, but it comes with the territory if you want a machine this large.
Overall from multi-tasking to video editing, to watching a movie, for the better part of two months, I was in love. My problem is when I had to order the M1 MacBook Pro and Air for review. Theoretically, these two products have never really competed against the larger variant, so I thought this was just your typical laptop review, that I would then edit on my 16-inch model, but then this happened…
This is Part 1 of when I learned I had made a mistake. Yes, two computers that cost a quarter of what this larger computer cost, were almost as good. I mean sure, I could export a video around 2 minutes faster on the 16-inch model, but that was the least of my problems.
See, the 16-inch MacBook Pro falls into the old paradigm of computing, which was that the more you have the better. Larger meant better thermals, more space for larger batteries, more fans for cooling, a discrete GPU. And you guessed it, all that hardware just chews up the battery. The fans of this computer are so aggressive that even if I let it play the screen saver, they will kick in. But again, I say paradigm because at the time we didn’t know any better. We knew fan noise and terrible battery life were par for the course on powerful laptops.
So yeah, cue in the M1, and the paradigm shift. Forget the need for cooling, the fan is there just in case, which as a result means that you can enjoy true all-day battery life. I won’t bore you with all the details, I’ll link to those two separate videos for you to understand where I’m coming from. Point is, those two entry-level computers are just as good in performance, and better in everything other than the fact that this one has more screen real-estate and ports if that’s your jam.
But then we get to Part 2 of when I learned I made a mistake, and it’s that I didn’t think planned obsolescence would reach this computer so quickly. WWDC 2021 already started placing a couple of nails into the coffin of any Intel Mac. If you noticed, MacOS Monterrey already has features that will only come to Apple Silicone. Sure they aren’t consequential, but I’d call it a red flag.
And then there’s the fact that I’ve spent the last few weeks not wanting to use this 16-inch MacBook Pro because I’m already noticing a lot of apps slowing down, and these aren’t even power-hungry apps. The amount of lag in some Microsoft Office apps like OneNote is insane. The sluggish launch of certain basic apps like Chrome is unnerving. The beach balls and dropped frames on Final Cut Pro, regardless of my 64 gigs of RAM just don’t make sense. I’m not saying that developers or even Apple have decided to abandon these apps for Intel Macs, but I can tell you performance has been degrading quickly since the launch of the M1 variants. And sure, it could be perception, given how I’ve been exposed to both computers, but if I’m paying more for an Intel Mac in absolutely every category, I technically should get a better experience! If all the extra specs I bought don’t reflect a better overall experience, then it means this lineup has no reason for being.
To fix some of the lag, I was forced to get creative and look for ways to optimize my machine, regardless of the excess hardware I bought it with. Even the M1 needs some fine-tuning every now and then just to keep it in good shape, and one of my favorite tools to get that done is CleanMyMac X.
To conclude, let’s just say this video felt like a moral responsibility. The 16-inch MacBook Pro was a great solution to a problem two years ago, but for those who think Apple isn’t willing to cannibalize its own products, just remember how the iPhone killed the iPod.
If we’re honest, I struggle to think who this computer is for right now. Even if you were one of those people that prefers a large display, I think buying any M1 with an iPad for Side Car, or even an external monitor would be cheaper than the base model of this 16-inch model. The chips are dated so it’s not for Intel fanatics. Unless you need specific plugins that are still not supported by M1, this product has simply no reason for being.
Bottom line, I can’t recommend you buy it in 2021. If it had massive discounts, then sure, but as it stands right now, I seriously recommend for you to wait for the refresh that’s rumored for the fall. Fun fact, I’m actually editing this video on the M1.
macOS Monterey out today, depending on system and region
The anticipated macOS Monterey update is now rolling out to supported Apple devices. The update may take some time to appear on your machine, but rest assured, it’ll show up sooner or later – it may take a few hours until you see it appear in your updates.
How to check if you have macOS Monterey available for your device?
To see whether you already have the update available for download for your device, you can do the following:
- Go to the top left corner and click on the Apple logo
- Click on About this Mac
- Click on Software Update…
- See if you have a new update.
When will macOS Monterey start rolling out?
Apple unveiled the new macOS Monterey update at its WWDC event, and it recently announced that macOS Monterey would be available from October 25, 2021. Apple released the new macOS update to compatible Apple devices at 10 AM PDT, 1 PM EDT.
Availability and Support
macOS Monterey will support the majority of devices that were able to run macOS Big Sur last year. Unfortunately, this also meant that Apple dropped support for a few devices, such as the MacBook Air and iMac devices that were released back in 2013, 2014, and also the 2015 MacBook.
We have collected a list of devices that are compatible and support macOS Monterey:
- iMac: Late 2015 and later
- iMac Pro: 2017 and Later
- MacBook Air: Early 2015 and later
- MacBook Pro: Early 2015 and later
- Mac Pro: Late 2013 and later
- Mac mini: Late 2014 and later
- MacBook: Early 2016 and later
macOS Monterey Features
macOS Monterey comes with a lot of additional features, and there aren’t many redesigned or any visually noticeable changes. We have made a list of most of the features that are coming in the new OS update, and you can find out more about them on our dedicated macOS Monterey page.
As a summary, here are all of the features that will be available in the new software:
- Universal Control
- Focus and other modes coming to Mac from iOS 15
- FaceTime: New video and audio features
- Live Text
- iCloud+: Hide My Email, Mail Privacy Protection
- New Accessibility Features such as alternative image descriptions, Full Keyboard Access, and Cursor Customization.
Apple showed off the Universal Control feature at its WWDC 2021 event. The new feature allows users to seamlessly use Mac and iPad devices as one device, allowing users to use the Mac’s keyboard and mouse to interact, share and use the iPad without any other accessories. Unfortunately, Universal Control will not be available at this time, but Apple confirmed that it’ll be “coming later this fall,” and we may see it enabled on a future version of macOS Monterey.
14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro will come with a ‘High Power mode’
Apple introduced its 14-inch and 16-inch 2021 MacBook Pro just a few days ago. Even though the new MacBook Pro models come with the controversial design choice with the notch in the display, the new laptops from Apple are equipped with highly efficient M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets. Now, Apple has announced that the new MacBook Pro will be equipped with a “High Power Mode” in macOS Settings that will put the M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets to their highest potential.
Apple is claiming a big performance jump for its MacBook Pro chipsets, and even the early benchmark results show that. Early benchmark results have shown that the new MacBook Pro models have 2 times the CPU performance of the last year’s Pro and 3 times faster than M1. And, now, it has been revealed that the 2021 MacBook Pro will also be shipping with a “High Power Mode” that will put its chips to hard work. However, it will be limited to only 16-inch MacBook Pro models with an M1 Max chip.
Code strings discovered by Steve Moser of MacRumors suggested that the High Power Mode “will optimize performance to better support resource-intensive tasks. This may result in louder fan noise.” The report says that this may not be required during daily work usage, however, it may help the user when rendering larger files or performing graphically intensive tasks.
AppleCare+ costs more for new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops
Apple has announced the latest generation of 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops during its ‘Unleashed’ event on 18 October. The new devices are all about performance and feature Apple’s latest M1 Pro and M1 Max latest chips to power the devices. A new find reveals that Apple has increased some of its AppleCare prices for the new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro devices.
MacRumors noticed that AppleCare+ for the new 16-inch MacBook Pro is now priced at $399, which is $20 more than it cost for the previous generation of the 16-inch model. As for the 14-inch MacBook Pro, AppleCare+ costs $279, a $10 increase over the last generation of 13-inch Intel laptops.
AppleCare+ offers priority service and cheaper repairs, and although it’s expensive, it could save you a lot of money when repairing a display. Apple hasn’t revealed the repair prices for the new 14 and 16-inch MacBook Pro devices, but it’ll likely be published very soon, and the display will likely cost more than for the last generation due to its size. If you purchase AppleCare+ with your new device, you’ll get three years of coverage, along with protection from two incidents of accidental damage every 12 months. If the device has a manufacturing issue, Apple will cover all repair costs and fees.
Apple still offers renewable annual plans for 16-inch machines for $150, or $100 for the 14-inch model, which will continue to be applied to the device until it is canceled. It’s a great way to add more protection, but it comes at a price, and it’s often recommended to pick these after the 3-year coverage has expired.
Did you pre-order either the 14 or 16-inch MacBook Pro laptops? Did you purchase AppleCare+ with your new device? Let us know in the comments below!
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