Apple Is Changing Directions, Prioritizing Function over Form

MacBook Pro 4 Credit: MKBHD
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For the first time in years, Apple seems to be prioritizing function over form in some of its latest devices. The new change in direction may have first been noticed by users on the iPhone 11 lineup. Let’s explain.

All three models of iPhone 11 are actually slightly larger and heavier than their iPhone XS counterparts. But they also feature larger batteries.

As CNBC points out in a new piece, that philosophy has also translated to the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, which Apple dropped today at private press briefings in New York.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is actually about 1mm thicker than the 15-inch model it replaces, but is also ever so slightly larger in all other dimensions. It’s also about 4.3 pounds instead of 4 pounds.

But Apple has made several changes that should boost the practicality and overall function of the MacBook Pro lineup for users.

For one, the device now has a new Magic Keyboard with a scissor-switch mechanism. It’s not as thin or low-travel as the butterfly mechanism, but it should offer a more satisfying tactile response and significantly improved reliability.

While that keyboard will improve the reliability of MacBooks, it could also improve their repairability. Reportedly, the new keyboards will be easier to service — which presumably means that a repair won’t necessitate an entire top case swap like butterfly MacBooks.

As with the iPhone 11 lineup, Apple has also bumped the battery size up on the MacBook Pro to one with a 100Wh capacity. That translates to about a full additional hour of battery life.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro also charges much quicker. It’ll reach full charge in about 2.5 hours, thanks to its new 96W power adapter.

There are also some smaller criticisms or pieces of feedback concerning recent MacBook Pro models that Apple appears to have taken into consideration.

The lack of a physical ESC key on past Touch Bar models has been a chief complaint, especially among coders and programmers. Apple hasn’t gotten rid of the Touch Bar, but it has reintroduced a physical ESC key.

The new MacBook Pro has also returned to the pre-2016 arrow key layout, another small complaint about the old keyboards. And it has introduced other crowd-pleasing features, like slimmer bezels and better speakers.

What all of this suggests is that Apple has begun placing function before form. As CNBC notes, it’s likely significant that this is occurring shortly before long-time design chief Jony Ive is set to depart the tech giant.

And while we don’t expect the company to make all of its devices purely utilitarian going forward, it seems like Apple is striving to strike the right balance.

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