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MacBook Pro Review - Love and Hate with the Touch Bar

MacBook Pro Review - Love and Hate with the Touch Bar

It's time for our honest appraisal of the MacBook Pro. After almost 5 years using my old MacBook Pro, a first generation retina display, the time had come for an upgrade. I've been chomping at the bit for Apple to announce a new laptop because mine was having a lot of issues. Be it the bevy of dead pixels, battery life of less than 1 hour to the most frustrating of all, ghosting effects on my screen. So finally, at the end of last year, Apple announced the new MacBook Pros with the Touch Bar. Time to hit the savings and purchase one. Before getting to the review, I have to say, Apple products hold a good resale value. After almost 5 years, I was able to trade in my old laptop for 500 dollars at Best Buy. A great deal. Now back to the MacBook Pro Review. I have been using the laptop for almost 4 weeks now. I have done pretty much the same things I did with the previous one. Tasks using tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Sketch, Figma, Sublime Text and Android Studio. This review is based on my personal experience, some people might think differently, but again, everyone has his or her own way of seeing things, this is mine. MacBook Pro Review Industrial Design Let’s start with the easy one, the industrial design. What can I say about this machine, it is simply stunning. The Space Grey color gives it a super sleek look, it’s like the Lamborghini Aventador of the laptops in my mind. In terms of size, it’s not much different than the previous one. It’s definitely thinner and lighter, but putting them together the dimensions are quite similar. The difference is how solid/dense this machine feels. The old one now feels to have a bunch of wasted space internally compared with the new one. It’s like it’s a solid piece with no parts. Try to shake him, you cannot hear a piece moving. I also like the new design of the screen, it’s a detail, but the MacBook Pro logo looks nicer over a black surface. Keyboard and Trackpad There’s a lot of talk about the keyboard, quite a lot of hate too. What can I say? I love it. I love pretty much everything about it. The sound, even though it gets a bit loud; the keys and how short the travel is when you press them. They also feel a bit bigger. My theory is that Apple is slowly transitioning to digital keyboards by making the laptop keys with shorter and shorter travel therein training us to type on flat surfaces. If that is true, it’s working for me and I appreciate it. The trackpad got a redesign as well, they made it really big. But, does size really matter? To be honest with you, in this case, it doesn’t. It’s nice that it’s bigger, but it captures a bunch of involuntary touches, especially when I am typing, like now. I also like to set up the trackpad speed to the max, so I can move the cursor across the screen without much effort. That said, the trackpad feels great without the physical click. It’s like the new iPhone in that it just emulates the click. I know, I know, it’s been on laptops for a long time, but remember I had a 2012 MacBook Pro. Touch Bar To summarize my feelings about the Touch Bar, gimmicky. Apple calls it a touch of genius, I call it a touch of laziness or just stubbornness on not making the screen touchable. Here’s the thing, I don’t want to sound bad but there’s nothing about it that I like. It made my life more difficult. For example, if I want to change the volume, now I need an extra click because I need to expand the volume slider. Same goes for screen brightness. In addition to that, you have to expand the touch bar to access other functions like the apps drawer, the expose and keyboard backlight control. Why? Some apps take advantage of that Touch Bar, but I am so used to those apps that I never noticed anything different. Oh there are the emojis on Messenger, too bad, I am an old and grumpy man that doesn’t use emojis. Also there’s Siri, that is right on top of the Delete key and next to the Touch Id key. That means, I trigger that button by mistake a bit too often. That’s when I get reminded about Siri, which I never used. Again, this is my personal opinion. Maybe I will change my mind about some of these things, but for now, I think the Touch Bar is dumb. The best thing about it is the Touch Id to turn on and login without password. That is pure genius, but that is not exactly part of the Touch Bar. Performance and Battery life Performance-wise for me it’s great. It is better than my previous MacBook Pro but not by much. It definitely handles apps like Android Studio and Sketch with multiple artworks faster, but it’s not mind-blowing faster. I also feel that in general the computers cannot get that much faster as the tech might have reached a plateau. I have to also say that I don’t use a lot of CPU or GPU intensive software that much. For my needs it’s an excellent machine. The screen is also beautiful, the colors are much improved compared with the 2012 cousin. It’s more saturated and brighter. The contrast is another great improvement in my humble and not so knowledgeable opinion. Resolution-wise, it's the same, still crisply beautiful. Now the battery life. Oh the battery life. This one for me is tricky because my previous laptop would last for less than 1 hour so anything over that is much better. But it’s far from what Apple claims 10 hours, which I think someone could sue them for false advertising. I never got close to that, maybe if I only use Safari with a blank tab with 10% brightness for the screen I might get the result. In short, the battery life is not 10 hours, actually it’s pretty hard to track it for me because it’s extremely unreliable. Sometimes it lasts more, others it feels that it goes down like a % every minute. I believe that’s the reason that they removed the time estimate from the battery indicator. Hopefully, it can be fixed via firmware or software, but, as I said in the beginning, I was used to a terrible battery life. So it’s not a deal breaker for me, especially now that I can charge it from anyone of the 4 USB-C ports available. USB-C ports only I appreciate Apple’s boldness on adopting new technologies and getting rid of old ones. They are not predicting the future, but trying to define it by going there first.Another new feature that generated a lot of controversy, the USB-C only ports. I see a lot of people complaining, but for me, like with the keyboard, I love it. I simply do. I love the idea of one type of port for everything, that’s the future and Apple is betting on it. Too bad that now you need an adapter for the iPhone cable. Thankfully I am a Pixel owner so it works just great with my Android Pixel. How paradoxical, right!? I also have only one adapter, that came with my Pixel phone. It’s an USB-A to USB-C. It works great and serves all my needs. I can connect my Sony RX1 camera, or my old external hard-drive just fine and best of all, I can use my external monitor with just one cable for everything. It cannot get any better than that, unless going all wireless. Conclusion Overall the MacBook Pro 15 with the Touch Bar is a great machine. It’s clearly an evolution from the previous one in terms of industrial design and aesthetics, not so much in performance, but still better and faster. The new features like the keyboard, Touch ID, bigger trackpad and USB-C only are really good for me. I appreciate Apple’s boldness on adopting new technologies and getting rid of old ones. They are not predicting the future, but trying to define it by going there first. It also resonates with my minimalist mind of reducing clutter by simplifying things, like having only one port for everything. Despite the Touch Bar being a hit or miss for me I highly recommend this machine if you have an old MacBook Pro like I did and need an upgrade urgently. If you can wait, I’d wait because Apple is notorious for having bad first generation products, I suffered with my old MacBook Pro, but this time I will be more prepared by acquiring the Apple Care extended warranty. In a nutshell, if you want to have the sexiest laptop you can get, I would get this one in a heartbeat. Perhaps the 13, if you don’t need too much screen real estate. Pros Beautiful Industrial Design; Thinner and lighter than the previous one; Spacegrey color is sleek; Keyboard; USB-C only for everything; Touch Id to unlock Cons Battery life; macOS is getting a bit outdated; Touch Bar is useless for me. It also adds extra clicks for volume or other common tasks; No touch screen Photos

Apple Mirror - Touchscreen Mirror Functional Concept

Apple Mirror - Touchscreen Mirror Functional Concept

We love concepts and ideas over at Abduzeedo, we are even more intrigued when it’s actually functioning and live for the World to see. Let’s take a look at this amazing work from Rafael Dymek who has multiple roles as a Marketing guy, Designer and Web Developer currently based in New York, NY. He created a fully functioning smart touchscreen mirror based on Apple’s iOS 10 and it’s looking great! I would see this concept really working well in the bathroom for example while you’re prepping yourself for the beginning of the day. It is literally something you’ll see in a movie set in the future and how things like this concept comes to live to make your life a little more productive and even sweeter! Created a fully functioning smart touchscreen mirror based on Apple’s iOS 10. Design includes the time and date in the upper right hand corner and weather in the top left. All apps can be moved around and placed anywhere on the mirror. After 45 seconds of inactivity the mirror goes to sleep (appears as any ordinary mirror), simply tap anywhere to wake back up and resume use. Some useful things you can do with this mirror: Request an Uber, watch Netflix, read the news, control smart thermostat / light bulbs, control Sonos speaker system and more. Watch the Video     More Information:

My Week with the Apple Watch

My Week with the Apple Watch

I had the chance to try the new Apple Watch for about a week now and I would like to share my experience with you on Abduzeedo. In this review, I'll share with you my UX experience, and also some of its features. Model I was using: 38mm Space Gray Aluminum Case with Black Band Sport More Info:… Context: To put you in a situation, I am a full-time Dad and also working as a Design Lead. On the whole range of available notifications, I wanted to only receive my texts, Facebook messages, emails and phone calls. User Experience: It's always exciting to try a new "technology" which you know the developers have spent months and months to build and test. At first glance, the interface is very familiar to Apple products, it's really easy to navigate through all the apps. What I liked is the fact that you can "customize" your Apple Watch preferences and create a new interface that reflects your tastes through an app on your iPhone (iPhone 6Plus). I'm sure it was a great challenge to Apple to create an effective interface and especially on a smaller surface. Everything is simple and direct, I think the Apple Watch has a lot of UX movement involved for my use but we adapt pretty quickly. Via Via Via After a week, I noticed that Apple Watch was useful for: • Answering the phone on the road • Answering my texts with the help of Siri, which works well in English and French • Keep a close attention on my "Activity" • Taking pictures with the "timer" I will say that the Apple Watch is great for our small and quick needs during the course of our day but anything that went beyond that, I found myself going back to my iPhone in hand to respond to emails and to do stuff that will be impossible on the Apple Watch. We are still in the first generation of this technology and knowing Apple, we will witness several improvements in the near future. Links More info about the Apple Watch:

Logo Design: Apples

The Logo Design series is up and running. We're thinking ahead and we want to find new ways to sort these listings. Last week we had the second part of the post on logos with mushrooms, but I wish I didn't have found the inspiration for today's post: apples. :(

Logo Design: Strawberries and Apples

The Logo Design series is up and running! We're thinking ahead and we want to find new ways to sort these listings. Last week we had a post on logos with pears and grapes... today it's all about logos with strawberries and apples! As usual, we'll search for logos in these galleries: Logopond, Logo Faves, Logo Moose, Logo from Dreams, Logo Gala, WS Logos, The Logo Mix and Wolda. We hope you all enjoy our selection! Cheers. ;) Strawberries Apples

Design History: Dieter Rams - Less But Better

Pablo Picasso once said "Good Artists Copy Great Artists Steal" then Steve Jobs mention that in one interview long ago. We all know that Apple products are the best out there, there's no doubt about it, and the main reason about that is because they have the best design. Jonhathan Ive, the chief industrial designer at Apple is a fantastic designer but it's always good to know what and who inspired him to come up with the Apple product designs. We might think that they are pretty unique and new but when we look at Dieter Rams the Pablo Picasso's quote makes even more sense. About Dieter Rams (Wikipedia) Dieter Rams (born May 20, 1932 in Wiesbaden, Hesse) is a German industrial designer closely associated with the consumer products company Braun and the Functionalist school of industrial design. Rams studied architecture at the Werkkunstschule Wiesbaden as well as learning carpentry from 1943 to 1957. After working for the architect Otto Apel between 1953 and 1955 he joined the electronic devices manufacturer Braun where he became chief of design in 1961, a position he kept until 1995. Rams once explained his design approach in the phrase "Weniger, aber besser" which freely translates as "Less, but better". Rams and his staff designed many memorable products for Braun including the famous SK-4 record player and the high-quality 'D'-series (D45, D46) of 35 mm film slide projectors. He is also known for designing the 606 Universal Shelving System by Vitsœ in 1960. Rams' ten principles to "good design" is innovative makes a product useful is aesthetic makes a product understandable is unobtrusive is honest is long-lasting is thorough down to the last detail is environmentally friendly is as little design as possible Video About Dieter Rams Works Further reading DIETER RAMS: Less But Better Seperated At Birth? Dieter Rams and Apple’s Ive “The man behind Apple’s design magic” Dieter Rams - Design Museum Dieter Rams: “Less, but better.” Designboom - dieter rams

Game Center Layout Style in Fireworks

This tutorial was inspired on the new Apple Game Center design. Besides to teach you guys how to make all the effects we will use the whole work spent on that to create a cool wallpaper. So check out the resolution of your computer and let's get started! Step 1 Here I create a 1440x990 pixels canvas. After that we can start with a rectangle, fill with #34884B. Also check out the texture we need to apply. Step 2 Now we will create other 2 rectangles. First one fill with #27693F and the last one with #286B3C. Check out the image of each effect and texture applied. Also check out the order of the layers until now. Step 3 Let's start a red rectangle now. We will make some nodes to model this rectangle, so I have a tip, just ungroup the rectangle, you will convert it to a path. With the pen, create the nodes, and also delete some others as I show in the image below. After that use the Subselection Tool "A" to select some points and model the rectangle until you have a draw like the last on the image. Step 4 Now we will apply a dirty style on this path using a texture. Just duplicate the path you've just created, place the texture bellow the path and use this path as a mask on the texture. Also apply an overlay 70% on this mask. Step 5 Now we need to put some light onto this texture. Duplicate again the red path and create an ellipse with light pink color fill. Don't forget to apply a feather on this ellipse. Use this other path you've just duplicated to mask this ellipse. Step 6 Here you will just create a new path inside the our draw. Duplicate again the red path, go to Modify > Alter Path> Inset Path, and use the values I showed on the image. Step 7 The part of the top and the bottom of the badge we will draw using the pen tool and adjusting the nodes with the "A" tool. Also we will write something inside that. Here we have another tip, draw a curve line and select this line and the text. Then go to Text > Attach to Path. Maybe you will need to make some adjusts with the "A" tool until you have exactly the shape you want. Step 8 To draw the bottom and top wood bars, we will use simple rectangles and use the Wood texture on Fireworks. You can adjust the saturation and color of this wood if you want, do it with filters. After that, draw a half height rectangle over the wood with alpha 16%. Step 9 We're close to the end! Fill the layout with new elements, you can follow the PNG file if you need some inspiration! Final Result Also put some round rectangles the the both sides of the layout, like Game Center does, this way you can place your desktop icons over those! Download the Fireworks File Click here to download the Fireworks file used for this tutorial

Sociology of Apple Objects

How did objects come to enter the human collective? Inspired by the research work of Bruno Latour, these graphics were created with the idea to speak about the marketing hidden behind objects the main goal of the serie and the forward on is social life. And having some distance about it, there is some construction of a potential user in products. This work is done by Stephane Massa-Bidal—for more visit

LED Cinema Display in Fireworks

We've been using 2 templates in our Wallpapers of the Week articles: the iPhone and the new Apple Cinema Display 24. The iPhone frame we had already shown you how to create it in Fireworks. Now it's time to make the new Apple's display in only a few steps. Take a look and let me know what you think. STEP 1 Open a new file with the canvas 625 x 625px. Create a rectangle that fit the canvas and fill it with a Radial Gradient with the colors #000 and STEP 2 Let's start creating the monitor. Draw a rectangle (538x360px). Fill with #000 and border 2px #CCC. Add a Inner Shadow with #FFF and the values: 0 - 65% - 2. Also, set a round corner of 10%. STEP 3 To create the support of the display, we need to use the Pen Tool. Draw a shape like the picture, than apply a Linear Gradient. The colors for this gradient and the positions of them are: #494949 - #C7C8CC - #C7C8CC - #FFF - #FFF - #C7C8CC. STEP 4 Now we need to duplicate this support to create a shadow. So after duplicate it, move it a nudge down a little bit; send it to backward and apply a Drop Shadow with the values: 4 - 40% - 4 - 270º. STEP 5 We need to create the canvas of the display. Draw a rectangle inside of the rounded rectangle and fill it with a nice background image, like your own desktop. Here we're using an image from James White, you can download here if you want. STEP 6 To create the reflectin on the display, firstly, we need to duplicate the rounded rectangle and bring it to front. After that convert this rectangle to path (just ungroup!). We must create 2 new dots with the Pen Tool and after that delete other ones. See the picture below for reference. STEP 7 Now just apply a Linear Gradient from #FFF to #FFF. At the bottom of this gradient change the opacity to 0. Also use 40% opacity to the entire path. After that, just move this path 2 pixels left and 2 pixels bottom. Final Result We can put an Apple's logo at the bottom and a very small circle at the top to simulate the camera. Now we have a beautiful vector Apple Cinema Display to play with some backgrounds, wallpapers or website layouts. It's definitely an awesome way to show off your work or present them to clients. Download the Fireworks file Click here to download the Fireworks file.

The Joy of Opening an Apple Package

If the small pleasures are really the ones that count, there's a special one that I had the opportunity to try in its full power last month. After being a PC user for over 15 years, I've bought my first Mac. I gotta confess that I got pretty anxious waiting for the delivery. But after 3 days, it finally arrived at my home, my dream came true. I had heard the things people say about unpacking a Mac, of how much of a powerful experience it might be, and I can say, they were right. First, the distributor box was nothing special, just a cardboard regular one, not fancy or anything. But, as I started to open it, I felt like I was in some sort of Pirate/treasure hunt movie, when they open the treasure chest and that golden glow shines upon their face, and this simply makes you think that all the hard work you had to buy it was really, really worth it. I'm totally serious when I say that the Macbook box is probably one of the most beautiful things that exist. It doesn't have any exotic shape, there's not much details, but its finishing is absolutely stunning. Minimalist, there are only the necessary elements, like a few pictures, some information, and of course, the apple logo. I really felt like I had won the lottery. Actually, the box is such a great piece of design that is almost like you had bought the box, and not what comes inside. In the podcast they discuss the packaging of an iPod (the 1st generation Nano as it happens) which I also own. Where this resonates with me is the fact that I didn’t purchase this product, it was a Christmas gift and as such I didn’t have the purchase experience; my first interaction with the product was to unwrap the box. At this point I’ll skip to the end; the box for my Nano sits proudly on my shelf. I haven’t retained the box for some perfunctory purpose to store the Nano again when I come to move house. I don’t keep it so that I can put the Nano away every night either. I keep it because, in itself, it’s a beautiful little piece of design that is worthy of display. - John Gibbard from Smorgasbord Design During the school year, the boxes for his third-generation iPod, PowerBook G4, Mighty Mouse and OS X Tiger sit at home with his parents. For the time being, he contents himself with a rear-lit Apple Pro Keyboard box dangling from the loft of his dorm room. 'I can't imagine throwing them away," he said. "It's more than a record of a serial number; it's a record of a good event that happened in my life.' - Wired Yet, opening the box it's another great pleasure... getting to see that fantastic piece inside, all yours. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who had this kind of experience. There gotta be much more people who enjoy opening their wish list itens, whether it's a mac or not. Like when we were a child, and we would open our presents under the Christmas tree, just to see that we got what we'd asked for or when you finally got that Pokemon game card you were looking for. Total madness. Wait... madness? THIS, IS, SPARTAAAA! But we would really love to hear from you guys, what packages really made you happy, these days, or when you were kids, like the Nintendo 64 kids. I do remember the joy of getting my Sega Gensis and my Super Nintendo. Happy, happy, joy, joy! Tell us!! We want to know! Cheers! ;)


Nothing like summertime, beaches, girls with bikinis and lots of popsicles. And if you are in Brazil you might have a nicely surprise if you suddenly discover that the popsicle you bought wasn’t exactly what you expected but an iPod. For the 2007/2008 summer, the Kibon decided reshape its traditional promotion of the "Palito Awarded", which has existed for more than twenty years and became the property of the brand. Instead of a "thought, won" with sticks, promotion froze 10 thousand iPods in the exact shape and weight of a picolé. The Bullet, which is developing the idea since March, chatted with Apple to ensure that the devices do not suffer damage, and find a way to adapt the iPod [BB]. Source: translated by google. Well I have eaten lots of those and I haven’t found my iPod yet. I hope I can get one until the end of the summer without breaking my teeth.

Cover Flow in Flash

I always liked the Cover Flow feature in itunes, you can flip through your music and video collections as if you are flipping through your cds. Then some weeks ago I read this amazing tutorial about how to create a mac style photo flip gallery. They used a flash component called photoFlow and you can find it at Cover Flow is a three-dimensional graphical user interface for visually rummaging through one's digital music libraries via cover artwork. It was created by an independent Macintosh developer, Jonathan del Strother. Some had viewed CoverFlow as a must-have Mac OS X app throughout 2005 and 2006 for its ability to give its user an intuitive, emotional, and efficient way to flip through one's record collections visually. I couldn’t resist and had to try it. The price almost changed my mind, however I was working on a project which needed a photo gallery and this Cover Flow feature would fit like a glove. So I spent the 60 dollars and bought it at I have to say, it’s an excellent component. Very easy to use, it allows you to customize pretty much everything like transparencies, spacings, sizes and etc... Besides, it gives a very beautiful impression. Below I show an example using it. This is alternative content. You can find more gallery scripts and components for a much more affordable price at

Leopard Starburst effect in Photoshop

Here we are, in June, another WWDC with Steve Jobs and lots of cool stuff. This time what impressed me the most was the new Mac OS X, called Leopard. The finder has changed, finally, besides that, some cool features like the cover flow for files, quick view and time machine are great and make me really want to use it. Well, one thing that I loved was those new Mac OS banners, like the space, stars and those dust and flares. Awesome. So I tried to do that in Photoshop, and I have to say, it’s not that difficult, and this is what I want to show here. 1- Create a new document: Fill the background with black; 2 - Create the small stars: Duplicate the layer and add a noise>15%>gaussian>monochromatic. 3 - Adjust the Brightness/Contrast so there won’t be too many stars. 4 - Big Stars: Duplicate the small stars layer and apply a Brightness / Contrast again. 5 - Scale it like three times its size, we want to create bigger stars. 6 - Apply Images>adjustments>Threshold: This will show only a few stars. Apply SCREEN as blending options 7 - Refining the stars: Apply a mask on the layer and with the eraser with like 200px start deleting some parts of the layer. after that the stars won’t be too uniform anymore. 8 - Create some light: Add a new layer and create Clouds. Filters>Render>Clouds. Your background color has to be white and the foreground black or vice-versa. 9 - Apply a Hue/Saturation in the cloud layer and COLOR DODGE as a blending option. 10 - Now apply a Hue/Saturation in the big stars layer. 11 - Create some flares: I did that using some free ps brushes which you can find for free at or Change some presets like Diameter, Spacing and play with that, testing the Shape Dynamics, Scattering, Other Dynamics and etc... Don’t forget to add some glow in the stars through the Layer Styles. 12 - Creating the Starburst Light: Create a Custom Shape, like the one I chose in white, apply a Gaussian Blur and after that a Twirl. Scale it down until it gets a perfect circle. 13 - Create a new Layer: Fill it in black and merge it with the Starburst layer. 14 - Add a Radial Blur to the Starburst and after that change the Hue/Saturation. Colorize it until you get a green color. 15 - Duplicate the first Starburst Light, reduce its size and apply again a Hue/Saturation, this time set a red/orange color to it. 16 - Addin the Text: For the X or Z just apply a simple Bevel and Emboss plus the Contour option. 17 - Create the reflections on the type: Create a mask and fill it with a gradient from white to black. Set SCREEN as blending options. Final Result: Download the Photoshop File Click here to download the Photoshop file used for this tutorial Plus, there are good sites with tutorials showing how to create a galaxy, stars and stuff like that. Bellow some that I used as reference.