Stumax 2

Digital Boogaloo

Touch ID & Unlocking with Apple Watch

These two features may be the unheralded genius attributes of this new Mac. Touch ID is every bit as slick on the Mac as it is on the iPhone, and what I’ve noticed after using it (and Apple Watch unlocking) for a few weeks is that I’m much more likely to pick up and use my Mac because there’s far less friction now between when the Mac is closed or asleep and awake and ready for me to type. There’s no more waiting on the system to wake up and get reset; it’s just ready to work when I am. The Mac feels more like a fancy iPad now because of this responsiveness. #

Keyboard

I kind of like the keyboard. I can see why it’s not right for everyone, but it’s not horrible. It’s a bit clacky for my taste, but I can live with it. You could definitely bang out some satisfyingly angry emails with this keyboard. #

Touch Bar

#

Battery Life

I know this hasn’t been true for everyone, but my battery life has been phenomenal right off the bat. I plugged the Mac in for a day and let it download iCloud and Dropbox files and do whatever else it needed to, and I am already getting way more battery life than I did with my mid-2012 Mac; maybe two to three times as much? As long as I’m not doing anything that hits the processor too hard, I can reliably run it for most of a workday without plugging in. I’m looking forward to seeing how that holds up in the weeks ahead. #

Setup

I decided to start the machine from scratch and only install the things I actually use on the new Mac. I’m a bit of a digital dilettante, and I try lots and lots of software. As you can imagine, a lot of it gets used briefly and then never again. Getting rid of this cruft and only installing things as I need them feels great. #

Dongles

Yeah, you need ‘em, but maybe not as many as you think. I like the feel and flexibility of the USB-C ports, so I don’t have a problem with transitioning to them. I’ve managed to get all the dongles I needed to get me back up and running the way I was with my last Mac without spending much at all. #

Gripes

My one major gripe in this whole process was that the new power adapters are $79 and they don’t come with an extension cable ($19) and they’re useless if you don’t buy a USB-C charging cable (also $19). Which I didn’t know, which necessitated a second trip to the Apple store. Grrrrr. #

Other stuff

  • I was initially having problems moving things with the touchpad. Pressing on an item and dragging didn’t work reliably and I needed to try several times to get it to drag properly. That problem seems to have cleared up, but I’m not sure if it was a system update or me changing my behavior that did it.
  • Several programs were crashing whenever the Mac went to sleep, but the 10.12.3 update seems to have fixed that.

In conclusion

Gripes aside, I just really love this new Mac. It feels solid and self-assured in every way. Moving to this from a 4-year-old Mac, I can definitely appreciate the constant refinement of features over the last few years. I wish the keyboard was a little deeper, but I’m not sure I want to trade that off for the extra thickness. I think the Touch Bar interactions could use some rethinking, but it’s got some real promise. Everything else, though, is beautiful and works like a charm. All things considered, I’ve got no regrets about getting this new Mac. #