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What producers and DJs think about the new MacBook Pro

Technology has been evolving over the last half century so quickly we can barely keep up… but we do. Apple Inc has been at the forefront of innovation and technology since the iPod came out in 2001. Since then they’ve rolled out the iPhone, MacBook, Mac, Apple TV and MacBook Pro. In their recent release of the MacBook Pro at the Apple Event in October 2016, Apple introduced a newer, lighter, MacBook Pro, with a bigger track pad, no function keys and one port. The function keys had been replaced with a Touch Pad which looks super cool… but is it super necessary? We asked a few of our favourite Producers and DJ’s what they think of the new MacBook Pro and what it means to them in terms of innovation, and enhancing their creative processes.

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GARVIE (PRODUCER/DJ):

It’s cool to look at more than anything else, I think it’ll have more use on the production side of things more than with performing though. But with that being said I don’t think that it’s enough to convince me to buy a brand new laptop, especially at that price. Whether or not it becomes a game changer depends on software developers and how they make use of the screen so it’ll be interesting to see how that works out.

The rest of the laptop does have some issues which would be a hurdle for many creatives in my opinion, namely the lack of any USB 3.0 ports or an SD card slot. These are things I and many fellow creatives rely on for our workflows to be as efficient as possible.

Things such as file sharing without internet and even connecting my controller to the laptop will now need adapters which I’ll have to pay for in addition to this near £2000 computer which as a starving artist type would just be silly, also I like to not have negative bank balance lol.

I’d say it would make the most sense to either just get a cheaper laptop, a more powerful (and useful) windows laptop with the same money you were doing to spend, or just get last year’s model which will probably be way cheaper if you’re really set on using OSX.

 

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EFF (DJ):

Maybe until I use it, I’d fully understand what’s going on, but for now, I think I’ll still want to use my controller. In my experience, it’s better to have the controls in separate places. There’s much more control over the music. This seems more comfortable to use in a less pressuring environment.

 

KUVIE (PRODUCER):

As an Apple fan, I’m sad to say the ‘innovation’ of one-port-connects-all sucks. I might as well get a windows machine. Because aside the many restrictions that made the MacBook Pro unique, this addition of one port for all connections(and the subtraction on the port + the MagSafe that stopped our chargers from breaking in the port) it limits the number or things you could do, on a basic level. I really think e no need, especially for our terrain. The touchpad is the only positive thing for me. I just hope I don’t break my charger in the port.

 

DJ K3V (DJ):

Nah, i don’t think its innovative. Not really…The hardware they’ve put in will definitely run Serato and Traktor a lot better than MacBooks do right now, but the practicality of the OLED panel lies in how well Serato and Traktor developers can integrate their software with the panel. Plus, touch sensitive equipment can be stress when you hype or you have some rowdy squad tryna make requests.

I do think that at some point DJing software and equipment will become touch-sensitive as a norm, but I look to the likes of Pioneer and Numark to set the pace on that.

 

 

BEATMENACE (PRODUCER):

Connectivity, storage and workflows (with the yet to be implemented possibilities by software developers for apps centered around production, design, animation, music to use the touch bar; with the exception of the latest Final Cut Pro x software by Apple and Adobe Photoshop)
Apple is bent on doing one thing: trying to eliminate ‘bulk’ and ‘clutter’ by creating limited or similar cabled options (which in most cases requires solutions in the form of proprietary cables, external expansion boxes and in some case no cables at all; the latter seems to be the ultimate goal, but one they’re miserably failing at given their track record in generalized innovation across their entire product line the last five or six years
If you won a new iPhone 7 or 7plus… or an older iPhone or almost any DJ interface or controller, and you buy the new MacBook Pro, you’ll need new USB cables or a standard USB to USB C adapter/ connector cable to be able to work. These cables don’t come cheap as the prices eventually add up
I remember buying my first thunderbolt cable for $70! And eventually had to buy more for audio interfaces/ sound card, PCI external chassis units and external hard drives etc… about 8 or 9 in total. Do the math! For cables alone!
And now those cables will soon be redundant until I can get adaptors for those or replace all those entirely!
It is also of importance to note that the single USBc/ thunderbolt 3 hybrid port is capable of charging the MacBook Pro itself (the MagSafe adapter 2 was eliminated) much like the earlier released MacBook
This the port serves as a power supply/ charging port for the notebook itself, as a high speed usb3 port and as a thunderbolt 3 port (which supports daisy-chaining multiple devices)
The cables for the USB 3 and thunderbolt 3 ports will look identical but will be DIFFERENT as thunderbolt uses an entirely different transmission protocol than USB. Thunderbolt 3 is super fast in transmission of data and information can travel both ways and the format (much like the previous iteration of it and FireWire before it) supports daisy chaining of compatible devices with more than one thunderbolt port to each other… (meaning you can connect a monitor or a hard drive to one thunderbolt port, and connect another compatible device to said monitor or drive and so forth and they’ll all ‘appear’ and work seamlessly on your Mac.
These macs aren’t cheap (insert pricing for diff models and specs) and at the barest minimum, a digital artist (designer, DJ, motion graphics artist) will almost always require ample hard drive space to store their digital music files, high res images etc
You pay premium price to get decent storage space… Apple also provides the iCloud storage option for backup and cloud-storage solutions; but what are the implications to creatives in these parts who have to deal with high exchange rates, handling and duty etc to purchase these MacBook pros?.
Can’t afford ample High capacity SSD storage at the time of order (for a computer that’s virtually non-up-gradable as the RAM and drives are soldered to the motherboard) and in this part of the world where ultra fast and reliable internet connection are still very much a luxury for it to be a viable option to store most large capacity digital files.
Oh, and the added costs of having to purchase new, compatible cables or adapters for use with your old peripherals or gear to be able to work.
There was a lot of talk about the new display/ touch bar.
without app developers really utilizing its availability to open possibilities with careful and tactful implementation of it to enhance workflow, it will be nothing but useless eye candy.
Most Dj’s and designers familiar with the adobe creative suites will have dedicated buttons, keyboard commands or soft keys (assignable or programmable via midi etc) to execute complex commands by creating a series of ‘stacked functions’ or ‘macros’… making the need for a dedicated display bar welcome but not exactly important.
How this new feature changes or enhances the workflow of designers and Dj’s etc for better or worse is yet to be felt and will be largely dependent on App developers.
Some early adopters of the new display strip include Final Cut Pro x 10.3 (apple), black magic design’s davinci resolve and to a minor degree Adobe photoshop.
There’s no confirmation of an implementation of this functionality from any audio workstation or Dj app developers as of the time of writing
We wait to see the possibilities.

 

TRAP T’CHALLA (DJ):

Totally not practical for me.

I can spend that amount on a waay better pc

 

Here’s the full video of the Apple Special Event releasing the new MacBook Pro with Touch Pad below. Let us know what you think.

Benewaah is the lead curator and editor at Harmattan Rain. Her love for music is closely rivaled by her love for plantain.

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