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ExtraBITS for 2 January 2017

We’re kicking off 2017’s ExtraBITS with two distressing links for Mac fans: a critical review of the new MacBook Pro by a professional filmmaker and evidence that the Mac is losing clout inside Apple.

No Film School’s Review of the 2016 MacBook Pro -- Filmmakers are among the most demanding professional Mac users, so their perspective is valuable when evaluating Apple’s professional-grade hardware. Filmmaker Charles Haine reviewed the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar for the No Film School Web site and found it lacking. Compared with a similar 2013 model, he feels that the new 15-inch MacBook Pro offers no significant advantages. He found the Touch Bar clumsy, the keyboard too loud, and the trackpad awkward. Most damning, he found that the much-touted display is not color accurate. While overall performance wasn’t notably different from the previous MacBook Pro model, the new MacBook Pro does offer a significant speed boost to GPU-intensive activities such as rendering RED files in Adobe Premiere and using the DaVinci Resolve non-linear video editor. Note that No Film School chose not to test with Apple’s Final Cut Pro X, saying, “While the 10.3 release is a major upgrade, and FCPX seems to be gaining ground with the pro market that it lost, it’s still just not that common a professional tool anymore.”

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Is the Mac Struggling Inside Apple? -- Over at Bloomberg Technology, Mark Gurman lays out the case that Apple is indeed marginalizing the Mac internally, as we have suggested recently. Gurman cites numerous sources within the company who reveal troubling changes. These days, the Mac hardware team gets less face time with Jony Ive’s design group, and managers have become more likely to float multiple competing ideas, meaning that time spent on losing designs ends up wasted. On the software side, Gurman says that there is no longer a dedicated Mac operating system group, with all engineers on a single team and many of them focusing on iOS first. Even Apple employees are asking if Mac desktops remain strategically important, which prompted a response from Tim Cook that was positive, if vague.

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