Apple has really beefed up the CPU, GPU, SSD and RAM in its new 16-inch MacBook Pro that launched yesterday, but the Wi-Fi situation and the iSight camera leave a lot to be desired.
Pore over the tech specs for the new machine as long as you will, but you won’t find any proof of support for the latest Wi-Fi 6 wireless standard or an upgraded webcam experience.
In fact, Apple clearly spells out that the new 16-inch MacBook Pro, which replaces the former 15-inch MacBook Pro in its notebook lineup, is sadly stuck with a poor man’s iSight camera which maxes out at a paltry 720p resolution. By comparison, the latest iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max smartphones can shoot 4K with their front-facing camera.
As for wireless, there’s no support for the new Wi-Fi 6 wireless standard (802.11ax) on this thing — the new MacBook Pro supports the previous-generation 802.11ac Wi‑Fi wireless networking and is IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible, but that’s it when it comes to Wi-Fi.
Ironically, it was the iBook, the company’s colorful clamshell laptop, that helped popularize and take Wi-Fi mainstream by launching a wireless revolution as far back as 1999.
Circling back to the iSight situation, I’m not as surprised as the rest of the Internet commentariat that the latest notebook from Apple, with pricing ranging between $2,399 and $6,099, would ship with an under-specced iSight camera for video conferencing — it simply continues on the trend set by Tim Cook and his former boss and late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
MacBooks have long gotten gotten knocked for having mediocre cameras, but that’s no excuse for sticking with a shitty webcam in 2019. Of course, eagle-eyed readers could note I’ve been banging my head against that particular wall for a while now, complaining about lack of an 1080p iSight camera on the redesigned MacBook Pro three years ago.
As for the Wi-Fi situation, it’s certainly a surprise Apple’s engineers thought dropping Wi-Fi 6 support would be a good idea for a laptop whose target audience includes creative pros who do most of their work on the go. Those types of users typically move massive files around and send large files locally or over the Internet to clients for authorization.
Those customers would surely benefit from Wi-Fi 6 support. Even if the standard isn’t prevalent as of yet, future-proofing Apple’s most important Mac notebook in years with Wi-Fi 6 would have been great, even more so knowing that the latest iPhones feature Wi-Fi 6 support.
But hey, we at least got Bluetooth 5!