Apple Announces the Full-Size 16" Apple Silicon Laptops—with Everything We Wanted

The Touch Bar is gone, Magsafe and HDMI are back—these really are truly fantastic-looking machines.

It's very, very rare that a beloved feature disappears from a piece of technology and then comes back a few years later. Apple hasn't, for instance, added headphones back to iPhones.

However, after a few years, I really don't miss iPhone headphones.

There is a feature I desperately miss, and excitingly, it's back. Today Apple has released the new Macbook Pros, with real function keys, impressive specs, and most importantly, Magsafe.

Magsafe, if you don't remember, is that magnetic port that charges your laptop while also letting you trip on the cable and have it yanked from your computer without damaging the cable or your computer. Or, worse, having you pull the computer onto the ground, breaking it. It's a lifesaver for normal clumsy humans. It disappeared in 2016, and it's back.

Along with it comes the return of a full-size HDMI port, which is great, since any of us who teach or present are always stocking every back with an HDMI adapter, and amazingly the return of the SDXC port for downloading in the field.

They also got rid of the Touch Bar and returned to full-on normal function keys. While the Touch Bar was clearly innovative, it just never took off or became very popular with users, and seeing a normal old keyboard again is so exciting for pro users. Hard keys let us build muscle memories for shortcuts and speed up our life, and we thought they were permanently gone.

It's really refreshing to see so much we missed come back to this laptop.

This is all wrapped around your choice of either the M1 Pro or M1 Max chipset, both of which are very powerful, and wonderfully, both are available in both sizes, 14" or 16". It used to be, to get full power, you always needed to get the bigger Mac laptop, but working with ARM architecture lets Apple give users the ability to have a powerful, smaller laptop. 

It comes with a stunning 21 hours of battery life, and a fast charge that gets it half full in 30 minutes.

One fascinating feature for filmmakers is that the laptop screen is being given the XDR moniker, which was also used for the Apple Pro Display XDR, their $6,000 Pro standalone monitor. This does indicate Apple feels very, very good about its color accuracy.

As filmmakers, we of course care a lot about color accuracy as well, so this is one of the first things we'll be testing. The big issue here is that every software will show images differently, but it's no surprise that the software they are showing for that feature is Resolve. More than once lately we've been impressed by how close the image in the viewer is to our external color grading monitor, and it seems like that push is going to continue.

Some people might be bothered by the arrival of the "notch," or the extension of the screen, around the forward-facing camera, but that isn't going to be that big of a deal. After having it on a phone, you get used to it quickly, and that is generally empty room in the toolbar, so it seems like a smart move for opening up more screen real estate for working while keeping the footprint small.

Considering how powerful the M1 laptops proved to be last year, we're very excited to see what Pro and Max versions of that chipset can deliver.     

You Might Also Like

Your Comment

8 Comments

Apple's are for suckers.

October 19, 2021 at 2:57AM

0
Reply
avatar
Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
1503

It would be great for NoFilmSchool to do a run down of these two new MacBooks/M1 chips and suggest what is really necessary for independent filmmakers and what is overkill. Looking at so many optional add-ons, i'm confused how much power/space/size I really need and if I will have to sell a kidney :s

October 19, 2021 at 8:45AM

0
Reply

MKBHD does a good job of covering this sort of thing. I'd keep an eye out on his YT.

October 25, 2021 at 10:52AM

12
Reply
avatar
Sean Kyte
Creative Director
89

These chips deliver a lot of power with less power, and the MacBook Pro will be a beast of a laptop with excellent battery life plus a new Liquid Retina XDR display. Something taken away is the not-so-popular.

October 19, 2021 at 11:39AM

11
Reply
avatar
Willy Parlor
Director To Survey
159

The few articles I've read so far talk about how the new Macbook Pros perform really well editing high-resolution ProRes and ProResRAW footage. I'd like to see how they handle other forms of RAW like editing Blackmagic RAW in Premiere and Resolve. It's so hard to make the leap from PC with how much Apple insults their customers with their inflated upgrade prices for RAM and hard drives. I still might take it on the chin and get one.

October 19, 2021 at 10:37PM

21
Reply
avatar
Jeremy Evan Taylor
Filmmaker
88

I think it used to be true that the upgrade prices were inflated, but these machines don't use off the shelf RAM or standard SSDs inside. I don't think there's a Windows laptop that can compete with these performance/price, let alone the additional benefits like the battery life and display, slim package, quiet fan, etc. Those little perks made Mac worth it for me over PC even when Apple wasn't as competitive on the performance side.

Oh and if you want the best performance, don't use Premiere. Use Resolve or Final Cut.

October 20, 2021 at 4:12PM

0
Reply
Jeremiah Kuehne
Filmmaker
953

I don't totally disagree when it comes to the battery life, display, slim package, etc. and their RAM upgrades aren't quite as insulting as they used to be. But is ECC buffered RAM really worth twice as much, especially when it is only 2666MHz? And they charge $2,200 to upgrade from a 1tb to an 8tb SSD. Good 8tb SSD's are $750-$1,000 and m.2 SSD's range from $1,000 to $1,450. Apple SSD's have proprietary casing and connectors, but do they have some completely new technology that is so different from other SSD's that they are worth that much? I think if they were as fast as m.2's, they'd say so as that would be a huge selling point. I'm not a computer expert, so I meant those questions literally, not as snarky rhetorical questions.

If I go to Mac, I might make the switch to Final Cut and Resolve. It's just hard after so many years of using the Adobe suite. But I agree, Premiere is an unstable, frustrating program.

October 20, 2021 at 11:50PM

10
Reply
avatar
Jeremy Evan Taylor
Filmmaker
88

So, I can provide a bit of an opinion, as I currently own the 13" MacBook Pro M1 with 16gb of ram and 1TB SSD. While it is certainly faster for video editing in Resolve or Final Cut, I can say that I still just edit in Premiere. I currently have done full, medium length edits (3-7 min) with 4K 10Bit footage from various cameras, R3D files at 4.5k and 6k and 4k Sony 10Bit files in Premiere Pro with zero dropped frames, even at full quality for 4k and no dropped frames at 1/2 quality for R3D and Sony 10bit files. (Sony codec is to blame, it's terrible). Even after applying color correction, I may get a dropped frame here or there about 2 min into an edit but it doesn't continue or lag my machine. Basically, the computer has slowed me down little and is faster than anything I have used before. I'm talking almost no lag time for really anything. Exporting is also as fast, if not faster as my $6k iMac Pro from 2019 with 32g of ram I have at work, all while being on my 16gb ram tiny laptop. Now compare that to the speed of these new M1 Max and Pro and guaranteed lag issues won't exist at all. As for the SSD, why would you need more than 1TB? No sense in wasting money on more space than that. Apps alone won't even take up half of that, or shouldn't at least. It's always best to edit through external SSDs anyways. Hope this information helps.

October 21, 2021 at 12:09PM, Edited October 21, 12:11PM

0
Reply