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MacBook gets a Skylake speed boost, 8GB of memory, longer battery life (techcrunch.com)
165 points by zhuxuefeng1994 on April 19, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 268 comments

I found this statement interesting.

>The new guts are getting you better performance but also better battery life with what Apple says is 10 hours of web browsing or 11 hours of iTunes movie playback.

Movie playback used to be considered the de facto test of the most rigorous power use a computer would go through. Spinning DVDs and hard drives have been replaced with SSD, hardware accelerated decoding of video has replaced maxing out your CPU.

On the other hand, web browsing used to be considered a light use of power. Pull some network content into memory, parse some basic html, etc. Now with javascript EVERYWHERE and the rising complexity of web pages, web browsing has become one of the most taxing things you can do as far as power use is concerned. In fact, on my MacBook Pro now that OS X tells you which processes are using the most power, web browsers like Safari and Chrome are the only thing I ever see show up in "Apps using significant energy"

Indeed, I use Safari because it seems neither Firefox nor Chrome are optimized at all for battery usage. Chrome is a huge power hog.

I wonder if it's the same on the Windows side; has Microsoft optimized IE (or the new browser, whatever it's called) for power usage?

That's why I use Safari as well. The difference in power usage is enormous between Safari and Firefox.

I have Windows on Bootcamp but I don't know if Microsoft breaks down power usage like Apple does. I could compare Firefox to Edge, otherwise.

It's almost purely a function of CPU usage especially if you have an SSD.

I don't think the mac power usage thing takes into account GPU usage but for that you'd probably want to download something third party to check the watt usage itself.

In the early days of SSDs, power draw of an SSD was usually around the same as for a spinning platter. Has this changed?

According to OCZ's marketing material (http://ocz.com/consumer/ssd-guide/ssd-vs-hdd), SSDs use 2-4 watts vs 7 watts for HDDs.

It does in Windows 10

Where in Windows 10?

Sorry. I did not see your comment first. Open the (new) Settings app, then click on Network & Internet and then usage details.

Hell yes. That's why I use the Chrome extension, the great suspender:


It bugs me that nearly all chrome extensions require "Read and change all your data on the websites you visit". No thanks.

That's because Chrome's permission model isn't very granular. If you're doing something that needs to be able to interact with any website (like that tab suspender thing), you get that scary warning, regardless of whether or not it's actually reading or changing data on all websites, because the permission indicates that it can, and there's not a less granular option available to declare.

The other option for extensions is to specify certain sites that they work with (this is the "read and change all data on 'x.com'" permission prompt). That only works for site-specific extensions (like Reddit Enhancement Suite, or Camel Camel Camel).

you can get the source and check it out yourself: https://github.com/deanoemcke/thegreatsuspender

Blame Google for a lack of granularity in their permissions.

Edge is very power efficient on Windows 10, assuming your drivers allow it to do full hardware acceleration. Their rendering stack and JS engine are very competitive.

If I'm traveling I also use Safari but prefer Chrome when doing web dev.

I find Chrome with uBlock origin and Ghostery installed is pretty low power. It seems to run at about 1% of CPU if I don't watch video. Without the extensions it uses way more.

99% of the effort is executing 50 tracking/analytics sites' JS, with most sites also including invisible flash applets somewhere on the page

yeah - I'd forgotten I have flashblock too. That probably helps also.

What is the chance that MS and Apple access certain APIs that others can't?

This either because they are not documented, or because of the amount of special case code that would be required.

None. For one, Safari's rendering engine has been open source from the beginning.

You can compile webkit from scratch, note the similar battery efficiency AND check it's code.

What's it with Apple that brings out the conspiracy theorists in people? (other pet peeves: "they purposefully remove ports to sell more adapters", "they purposefully cripple mobile web apps", etc).

Adding to your list: "they released the newest OS for my old iPhone for free in order to slow it down and make me buy a new iPhone".

It's not limited to Apple, but the pattern is the same: it goes immediately from conjecture to absolute certainty of malicious intent (but they didn't count on the speaker being clever enough to see through the scam). And if disproved, it's just the exception that proves the rule, which the speaker then has to loudly reassert.

We need a new rule: Never ascribe to malice what's adequately explained by others having different priorities than you.

Safari's rendering engine has incorporated closed-source binary blobs with ambiguous licensing that call into undocumented OS X APIs from the very beginning. See http://arstechnica.com/apple/2008/02/finding-a-worm-in-the-a... Used to be that critical functionality like font rendering went through the binary blobs too.

Apple really does do nasty things to drive short term profits while hurting user experience. Why does Apple charge $130 for a $5 LTE antenna on iPads or $100 for a $3 64GB SSD chip on iPhones? Why do they cripple entry level iPhones with only 16GB? Why do they have a long history (recently ameliorated) of selling Macs with far too little RAM to be useful and charging ten times the market price for upgrades?

Just because they aren't guilty here doesn't mean Apple hasn't behaved badly at some point. And when a company prizes short term profits from loyal customers over long term profits and gains of market share, that isn't a conspiracy -- it's a strategy.

>Apple really does do nasty things to drive short term profits while hurting user experience. Why does Apple charge $130 for a $5 LTE antenna on iPads or $100 for a $3 64GB SSD chip on iPhones? Why do they cripple entry level iPhones with only 16GB?

Because market segmentation. It's a concept in sales as old as Adam Smith.

You can do market segmentation without abusing your customers.

When you think about it, either 64GB iPhone is overpriced or the 32GB is underpriced, or both.

Possibly, the people buying the 64GB iPhone for slightly more than they should are actually subsidising the people getting the 32GB for less than otherwise.

> either 64GB iPhone is overpriced or the 32GB is underpriced, or both

The problem is that there isn't a 32GB iPhone 6s, though it would only cost Apple a few pennies per unit to offer one. Instead, it has a 16GB version (too little storage) and then jumps to a 64GB version (which is comparatively overpriced).

Either way, purely in terms of manufacturing costs, it's a choice between "overpriced" and "even more overpriced" -- or, if it makes you feel better, "premium priced" and "even more premium priced". I don't think "subsidising" comes into it.

Well, obviously Apple has to keep driving up short-term profits because having only $200 billion stowed away in cash (mostly overseas, to avoid taxes) is not good enough. If only Apple had $300 billion, or $500 billion, it could really change the world... though I doubt whether paying Foxconn or Pegatron workers a decent basic wage would be part of it ;-)

> None. For one, Safari's rendering engine has been open source from the beginning.

Well, it's not that simple. Safari's Webkit has started as a fork of KHTML, which was already open-source.

Webkit's development has been conducted for circa one year behind closed doors. Then they released it as open source. KHTML dev have been faced with the option of merging a giant patch, throw away a year's worth of work and rebase on webkit or continue on their own.


1) Webkit has not been open source from the start, but from one year later

2) Webkit is open source, it's so because it's a fork of KHTML. A wild fork though, an aggressive, non-cooperative fork. Webkit effectively hijacked and killed KHTML.

3) energy efficiency is not something that only concerns the rendering engine. There is also the javascript engine, the plugins and so on. You're making it a little bit too simple there.

>Well, it's not that simple. Safari's Webkit has started as a fork of KHTML, which was already open-source.

I know, I was using Konqueror before it was cool. That's beside the point though.

>1) Webkit has not been open source from the start, but from one year later

Still irrelevant to our discussion.

>2) Webkit is open source, it's so because it's a fork of KHTML. A wild fork though, an aggressive, non-cooperative fork. Webkit effectively hijacked and killed KHTML.

And also a fork so much advanced (even at the first year) from KHTML that might as well have been a totally different project. And I should know, I'm one of the (I presume) few in here using Konqueror and KHTML in KDE 2.0 back in the day (that would be circa 2000-2003), for my, then modest browsing needs. And I know the whole backstory, as I was reading the "dot" then (KDE's news portal).

The thing is, WebKit, the fork, saw far more success than KHTML as an open source project, and became itself one of the largest open source successes. In fact it's so much a not just Apple thing, that code from there also powers Chrome, the most popular browser today (and Opera) and numerous other projects.

And, like with KHTML, Google forked Webkit to create Blink. When you want freedom to shape a project as you please, that's what you do. If you can keep 'em up, forks are nothing to be ashamed of. Some of the most successful projects have been forks (and sometimes, they even merged back after many years, e.g. XEmacs).

But still, this is again all beside the point. You whole comment until here merely repeats: "This Apple is not that benevolent -- they only made WebKit open source because they based it on an open source project". Nobody argued otherwise, and it's now what's under discussion.

>3) energy efficiency is not something that only concerns the rendering engine. There is also the javascript engine, the plugins and so on. You're making it a little bit too simple there.

The javascript engine is also open source.

And you can check battery efficiency without the plugins -- which aren't any secret either.

You've highlighted one of the many advantages to browsing with javascript off by default. I think at this point it should really only be used for must-have cases.

Isn't like 90% of the web broken these days without JS?

Yes, but that's why I use an extension like NoScript. If it's too badly broken I enable domains 1 by 1 till I get enough content, sometimes websites just look odd or behave odd but still give you what you came for. It also helps to have FlashBlock as well, which will stop plenty of flash adverts from loading in the background.

I have flash set to "on request only".

I have a Flash profile in Chrome.

Maybe, but the typical person doesn't browse the entire web, they browse a tiny part of it. Could be the GP visits sites (such as this one) that don't all depend on JS and there's a positive feedback loop for them.

I've permanently whitelisted about 150 domains, and temporarily whitelist domains as I need them. It's not very problematic and pays dividends in general web browsing speed.

Nope. Most of it's just fine, and NoScript makes it easy to temporarily enable for sites you do want to interact with.

Which also raises the question why do these websites not offer versions of their website that at least function enough without all the JS sugarcoating. I miss the early web with simpler designs.

Edit: Fixed poor wording.

Because designing, building, maintaining and supporting multiple versions of a site costs more. Imagine a tech support call when the first thing you need to determine is whether a user is using your full-featured site or your reduced-functionality site, and then explaining to the end user that they're on entirely the wrong site. Id guess that cost/benefit analysis just doesn't justify the effort in most cases.

The main issue is that people expect the modern web to behave more like an application, which generally requires client side code. JS is not the only thing to blame, as some CSS can cause the graphics card to switch from 2D to 3D, causing a vast increase in power consumption.

It would be much better of there was a good way to have the server issue partial updates of the DOM in response to user action without needing JS glue to make it happen.

Web developers can do this now if they don't need to easily react to user input. They can use HTTP multipart messages and slowly stream in HTML as needed. This is also fairly buggy in current browsers as websites stopped using it ever since XMLHttpRequest came out.

raises the question

How is that an advantage? Then you wouldn't be able to USE these javascript-heavy apps.

like voting on hackernews?

voting works with javascript off

Correct. Voting works, but the arrow icon will not update.

No, that's not true. Voting works properly, at least in my experience.

My current config: OS X, Firefox 45.0.2, NoScript

What doesn't work properly is the search at the bottom of the page. For that I switch to Safari (with JS enabled).

I assume the videos available on iTunes are encoded in an H.264 profile that can be decoded entirely on the GPU, so the CPU would indeed be mostly idling during playback.

Yep, you'll also get H.264 served on Safari, while Chrome will get VP9 which isn't hardware decoded and will cause the fans to whirr.

There's a h264ify chrome extension that forces YouTube to serve H.264 to Chrome on OS X so it can be hardware decoded. It significantly reduces battery drain.

Intel Skylake, included in the new MacBook, supports "partial" hardware acceleration for VP9: http://www.anandtech.com/show/9483/intel-skylake-review-6700...

Intel's next generation, Kaby Lake, should have full support. Most new mobile SoCs already support VP9, IIRC.

Thanks for the info about the extension! Trying this out now. Do you know if there is something similar for Netflix?

Why is there no official support? Don't you already pay for the license for the hardware decoder?

You get accelerated H264 in Chrome which you paid for (through Apple), but YouTube prefer to serve vp9 if you can decode it, to save their own licensing fees. MS Edge only reports being able to decode vp9 if you have hardware acceleration for it, for battery life.

Not so much licensing fees as bandwidth - VP9 as a new generation codec (H.265 being a rough equivalent) uses less of Googles bandwidth which probably saves Google a lot of money for a "minor" cost of users power draw :)

> but YouTube prefer to serve vp9 if you can decode it, to save their own licensing fees

There are no licensing fees for distributing free/ad-supported h264.

Ah. Well, YouTube has a paid service and I guess they're fighting the codec monopoly.

The "not invented here" principle strikes again.

Most Apple devices don't have VP9 capable hardware decoders. Even those that could do it (new Intels) do not have such capability enabled or exposed in OS X.

Cool tip! Thank you.

I tried Safari for a while, but there were many annoying quirks, some which may be fixed now (every n new tabs open slowly, safari sync slowing things down, some important-to-me sites not rendering properly, ...)

With Chrome, The Great Suspender[1] seems to work well at reducing background tab CPU.

[1] https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/the-great-suspende...

Interestingly, the thing that drains my battery most is running a VM in virtualbox, even when it's doing nothing.

I'm not really surprised by this, but it would be interesting to see how much Virtualbox hooks into the power-saving functionality on the host machine, and if this can be optimized. I'd have thought that a VM that's pretty much idle would be able to somehow utilize the host computer's power saving methods. Maybe it can, but I haven't enabled it in the VM settings... Any tips?

If you want to prolong battery life with VM, use Parallels or Fusion, not Virtual Box [1]. I suppose VB just does not implement power saving hooks or, perhaps, implementing them brings too much complexity into the software.

[1] http://www.tekrevue.com/2015-vm-benchmarks-parallels-11-vs-f...

KVM on Linux has similar support for efficient idle: if the guest OS inside the VM handles idle sensibly, KVM itself will idle, allowing the host OS to idle.

Or, if you want even longer battery life, use Veertu instead Parallels or Fusion ;)

Is there a benchmark that shows power consumption savings from Veertu in a realistic settings?

In any case, until Veertu support USB devices it is not much use for me.

I just use homebrew and skip the virtualization all together. I only use 2-3% of my battery while riding the train and working for 90 minutes.

What does homebrew have to do with virtualization?

Homebrew is not for replicating a deployment environment in your work machine.

I happen to use Go and a Makefile to build my servers, and my deployment process works on osx and linux, so I end up not having to have to replicate an environment for development.

Even so, Go and a makefile won't account for filesystem differences, databases, services like cron, etc in a deployment environment.

I looked in to Docker on osx, but I am waiting for their latest beta Docker for Mac to come out. I think something like this with a lower learning curve would be more ideal for virtualization. It lowers the feedback loop on experimenting.

I run Postgresql on one of my VPS machines, and I dread having to upgrade it all the time.

You understand why a casual reader, when encountering the statement, "I use 3% of my battery in 90 minutes on my laptop" will raise an eyebrow, right? The extrapolation to total battery life is a little mind boggling.

Movie decoding is substantially offloaded to dedicated hardware circuits in the GPU that can do the job with minimum power. HTML rendering runs on the CPU.

Servo might change this in the distant future :)

> On the other hand, web browsing used to be considered a light use of power

It would make a better test if they reported battery life when web browsing both with and without ad blocking. It'll certainly make a noticeable difference.

I feel like there should be a Law out there somewhere that, given multiple choices, marketing will invariably pick the scenario that results in the largest number.

I heard the sentiment from Conte at Georgia Tech with regards to Amdahl and speedup, but it seems to hold generally whenever any type of numeric performance measure is presented.

You can pretty much guarantee their web browsing wouldn't be very intensive. Probably flicking around some lightweight pages on the Apple site.

I have a rMB from 2015, I easily get 10-13 hours out of it unless using flash of Java. It's a great portable laptop but BADLY needs 16GB of RAM, it would / could just be so much better if you weren't limited to 8GB especially with browsers / websites the way they are these days you chew that up in no time.

I'd be curious to hear how the 10 hour benchmark with Safari compares to using Chrome.

Now with javascript EVERYWHERE and the rising complexity of web pages, web browsing has become one of the most taxing things you can do as far as power use is concerned.

Javascript has become the new Flash!

I feel it also tells a lot on the progress of "mobile" gpus

Go to https://www.shadertoy.com/ and show those smug GPUs who's boss!

gmail especially! in chrome

It is starting to look like the MacBook Air may not get processor/PCIe Flash refresh, and if that's the case, I'm going to be very upset - that laptop is perfect in almost every conceivable way for me. I am very much not interested in the MacBook, despite wanting to like it. The weird keyboard, smaller screen, Mobile/slower Processor, 2 hours less battery life, Just a single port; other than being lighter, zero value and they are charging an extra $300 for it. Note - The Retina screen, despite a lot of A/B testing by me, is not anything I really care about.

I get, and respect, the desire to move everything to USB-C, and I'm willing to take the hit with dongles to help move things forward - but couldn't we do that on the MacBook Air?

I know, everyone will say, "MacBook Pro" - but, once again, I don't care about the Retina, and the MacBook air is a monster of a system, awesome processing power - I'm running 31 Apps right now on my MBair, including two Virtual Machines (one of them Windows), full office suite, Aperture - and it's not even spinning up the fans.

The MacBook released today is a less useful system for me in almost every way than the MacBook Air released three years ago.

I am very much not interested in the MacBook, despite wanting to like it. The weird keyboard, smaller screen, Mobile/slower Processor, 2 hours less battery life, Just a single port; other than being lighter, zero value and they are charging an extra $300 for it.

I moved from a 13" MacBook Air (Core i7, 8GB RAM) to a MacBook 12". I absolutely love it, it's much lighter, the keyboard is great once you get used to this, I prefer retina, and not having fans is great as well. Force touch is a nice gimmick, but I haven't used it much. The Core M CPU is not a problem for me in practice. Since buying the Air I have been doing more and more deep learning and anything without a CUDA GPU won't be practical anyway. So I work on a server with an nVidia Tesla card. For all may daily work and most development, the Core M holds up absolutely fine.

How in the world do you do serious work on a 12" laptop?

Even if I wasn't cursed with sausage-fingered, basketball-palming hands to type with, I'd go stark raving mad having that little screen real-estate.

I switched to a 12" X series ThinkPad 5 years ago, coming from 15"+ laptops.

It's actually great. Instead of trying to fit so much, I just focus on the task at hand. No doubt, in-editor docs/autocomplete help a lot. Plus I stopped doing web work which has been a huge boon overall. Note I started with a 1280x800 but now all screens are 1080p or other 16:9. That ratio is the real killer.

It also provided incentive to get a proper tiling window manager.

I think I'm ruined... I got used to a quad-27" monitor desktop with a full-sized mechanical keyboard and a nice wireless mouse. Going back to a single screen, weird laptop keyboard, and touchpad is excruciating

I live in tmux on my 13" MBAir. For a while, at work, I had a 30" monitor, but I realized that after a few months, I never bothered to plug in my laptop, and, those rare times that I did, I rarely looked at it.

About the only exception was when working with Visio. The large monitor is pretty handy then.

Do you (and the parent commenters) not find it uncomfortable and unhealthy to work crampt over a laptop all the time?

It's certainly not compliant with European health and safety regulations. Here, we have to provide an external keyboard, monitor and mouse for anyone that uses a laptop for more than an hour.

(British regulations, since they're obviously in English, laptops on page 50 http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/l26.htm )

The IBM ThinkPad keyboards are full size so it's fine. Oddly, it's the only laptop keyboard I've used that doesn't give me RSI pain. The neck issue is an issue sometimes, though.

When I'm docked I use a Matias Ergo Pro (almost a great keyboard, but unfortunately the only one of it's form factor) and a 1920x1300 display.


Screen real estate is like coffee. If you're addicted you need it. It can be wonderful in specific situations. But people who never start aren't really at any disadvantage.

At work I use exclusively an 11" MacBook Air.

One terminal, ssh'd into one tmux session. Typically running emacs in two column mode among many other tmux tabs.

I don't get distracted much :)

I connect a large external screen, keyboard and magic trackpad. On the road, 12" works fine for me for doing work. As some others here, I mostly live in tmux.

> the keyboard is great once you get used to this

I tried the keyboard but after a decade of using MacBook chiclet keys, the abbreviated keystroke was frustrating.

Tried for an hour, or for 2 weeks though? There's a difference.

Wouldn't you have to buy one to try it out for two weeks?

Can always rent one, try the one your spouse uses, borrow one from a friend, etc. Even buy and then sell, slightly used, for mostly the same amount of money 2 weeks later.

Heck, can even buy it and then return it for a refund, no questions asked, in some countries.

I definitely could get used to the Macbook, but they need to bring out a 14 inch version in 2017, with the same thin bezels that makes its footprint as large as the a 13 inch MBA. The battery life will go up, space for a bigger keyboard, and there'll be space for a second USB port or even a third. All of that, at the current price (with the current price dropping for the 12 inch by $200), 720p cam and a new and improved 2017 processor, is a really decent package I'd be happy to buy, and good value if you can live with the depth of the keyboard. But right now, no way I'd buy the MB. That should be possible, 2 years after the MB 12', in 2017. Who knows.

I'm mostly reminded of the MBA when it first came out. It was $1800 back then, and that was with some pretty shitty options. e.g. you had a regular HD, if you wanted an SSD it was $1k extra, or $2.8k in total, and you'd only have a 64gb SSD. And if you wanted a CPU upgrade (because the MBA was slower than the regular Macbook), you'd $300 extra, or $3.1k total, and it was still slower btw. And look how far the MBA has come!

I think I'm really going to like the MB, but usually first gen just isn't good value. Today? Well we've got a MBA and MBP at home, no way I'm getting the MB or trading with it. Give it 1-2 generations though and I'm sure that'll change for me.

Yeah, I really like the idea of a fanless laptop that's basically just a battery; but give me a bigger screen, a real keyboard, and more than one single port.

What do you mean by "real keyboard"?

I find the new Macbook with it's 'scissor' keys simply doesn't have enough travel to type comfortably, it's like tapping on a hard surface.

My money is on the retina MacBook Pro getting smaller, and maybe cheaper, such that it will fill the needs currently filled by the Air.

The problem is the retina - zero value for me, sucks battery, makes it more expensive. The MBair was the perfect machine.

This surprises me. I was extremely skeptical of thee whole retina thing before I got a chance to use it. Now I can't see myself ever buying something with less pixel density.

what sold me on retina was the Terminal :). I mean yeah websites and stuff look nice too but the terminal.app is where I live.

Try iTerm 2 (v2.9 or v3beta) and you will change your home :)

I might be in the minority, but there is nothing I prefer about iTerm2 vs terminal.app. In fact, I think text color representation is much more accurate in terminal. And I don't need window-paning / split screening since I do all of that in Emacs anyways.

I've found Terminal to be perfectly adequate. Back in the 10.2 days I had to use X11 and an xterm since the transparency thing was murder on my GPU, but ever since Terminal with very few tweaks has been great.

Considering it's built in, it's light-years ahead of the junk that Windows calls a shell window.

There is nothing "accurate" at all about Terminal's colors. If you take a screenshot of the terminal next to your settings window, you'll find that the colors in the terminal don't match the ones in your preferences at all, particularly if you have a dark terminal background.

iTerm 2 doesn't do this. It's the "accurate" one. If you prefer your colors the way Terminal mangles them, you'll have to set them that way. :)

That's odd since I find iTerm2 much better looking in terms of color representation. Plus TrueColor support in nvim look amazing. BadWolf theme never, nowhere, looked better...

Worse thing (for me) about the retina screen is that it's optimal resolution is 1280x800 (@2x) rather than 1440x900. You can force it to scale to other resolutions, but then the "virtual" pixels no longer map nicely to the retina pixels, with blurry results.

On the new MacBook the optimal resolution is actually 1152x720 but it's set to a scaled 1280x800 by default. Sneaky move by Apple there.

I'm in the same boat as you. I've got an Air, and it's the perfect machine for me. I even prefer it to my more-recent 15'' pro at work -- the retina display will someday be great, but right now tons of websites still don't do retina, and the video card/apps just aren't quite up to pushing that many pixels smoothly (fucking itunes scrolls at like 1FPS on the retina, as on example).

But...you can see where Apple is coming from. Between the increasingly powerful tiny Macbook and the increasingly tiny powerful Pro, it's a small slice of use cases indeed left for the Air, and I see why they're ditching it. Still makes me sad though.

> itunes scrolls at like 1FPS on the retina, as on example

if you want to be even more frustrated by this, try scrolling by clicking and dragging the scrollbar on the side of the window. note that it's buttery smooth.

so it's almost certainly caused by JS scroll event handling, since the iTunes store on OS X is just a big webview.

better, but still not buttery smooth for me.

it's frickin' insane. it's a page of static pictures. it should hit 60fps easily.

no one cares about quality software.

I'm in complete agreement.

It's incredible how much the 'smoothness' of user experience has regressed, on average, across the board. Seeing that kind of unnecessary jank totally drives me up the wall.

Generally, i try not to think about it too much.. because it often feels like I'm part of a tiny minority that thinks this is an absurd state of things.

Slack is a perfect example. I love Slack and use it very heavily. But it's maddening how laggy their "app" (which is just their web interface in a wrapper) often feels. Users should not be frequently experiencing keyboard lag in a chat app!

> they are charging an extra $300 for it.

The MacBook comes with a base configuration of 256GB SSD and 8GiB of RAM. The MacBook Air comes with a 128GB SSD and 4GiB of RAM (Edit: came with. Apparently this year they finally upped them to 8GiB RAM, so the price difference may have widened.). For the MacBook Air 13" and MacBook Pro 13" upgraded to 256GB SSD and 8GiB of RAM, the price is closer IIRC.

(I'd check, but Apple's website is amusingly broken right now.)

The website works again now, so I can finally look up the current prices:

MacBook with 8GiB RAM, 256GB SSD: $1,299 (base model)

MacBook Air 13" with 8GiB RAM, 256GB SSD: $1,199 (upgrade from 8GiB RAM, 128GB SSD $999 model)

MacBook Pro 13" with 8GiB RAM, 256GB SSD: $1,499 (upgrade from 8GiB RAM, 128GB SSD $1,299 model)

So the MacBook is somewhere between MacBook Air and MacBook Pro pricing, $100 pricier than a comparable Air in terms of RAM and SSD, $200 cheaper than the Pro. Interesting.

In their default configurations, the MacBook has an m3, the Air a low-clockrate i5, the Pro a high-clockrate i5. On the other hand, the Air does not have Retina, while the Pro and MacBook do.

Thanks - I've been doing the same thing. Here was my ask back in 2012 when I was waiting for a new laptop from Apple (this is my "Now I will Upgrade" point): 500+ Gigabyte SSD, 16 Gigabyte Memory, 7 Hour Battery, 2880x1800 13" Air w/802.11ac (500 megabit WiFi) - $1200

Back then, I thought that system would land in Spring/Summer 2014. Things have certainly slowed down - at least they got the Battery life in a good place.

So, here is what we are looking at with the MacBook

   2304 x 1440 pixels.  (12" IPS Retina)
   10 Hours Battery
   8 GiB Memory
   512 GB SSD
   802.11 ac
   1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core m7, Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
You can save a bit of money ($150) by going with the 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core m5, Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz - so, base price $1599. (You could save another $300 by dropping down to a 1.1GHZ, and only 256 GB SSD @ $1299, but I drive my system pretty hard on the CPU, and it seems like the Turbo to 2.7 GHz + 512 GB SSD is worth $300)

I'm trying to figure out if I can hold out another year. I kinda want the 13" display. I use this screen for everything, and real-estate is precious, but I don't know if it's a deal killer - particularly as it supports the same scaled resolution as my MBair (1440x900) - and my close up eyesight is awesome. Might have to see what the Terminal looks like in scaled resolution. I'm not a big fan of the mobile processors on this box, but everyone says it's ok. Be interesting to see how VMware holds up with Windows/OpenBSD. 8 GiB/memory, turns out to be fine. Apple isn't increasing it because you really don't need more with OS X on a non pro system - so I'm dropping 16 GiB from my wishlist.

It looks like this may be the end of the line for the MacBook Air (other than a memory bump for the 13" up to 8 GB for the same $999 price) - Given that Retina probably isn't that big a deal, I'm almost considering the 2015 Broadwell MacBook Air just as a holder for my older Laptop. I can go light on the CPU and probably still come out ahead of the MacBook, even with the pre-skylake architecture. Take good care of it for three years (it won't be my daily driver) - and there will still be probably 50% of it's value when I finally upgrade to my "final" system (or at least something I hold onto for six or so years). $1199 MBAir gets me 1.6GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz, 8GiB, 256 GB PCI-e SSD, 12 Hours Battery.

I may just wait for Anandtech/GeekBench to review this gear to see how the Skylake m5 1.2 GHz compares with the Core i5 1.6 GHz before making a decision...

> Given that Retina probably isn't that big a deal,

It is. Trust me. Once you get used to smooth print-like text, nothing else compares.

Thanks - I've been trying to click on the "Buy" button for the last 45 minutes for the MacBook and 13" MacBook Air to get some pricing details. No Luck.

So - pricing may not be that far off then, but, of course, it means that if you want a $999 Mac laptop, you'll need to go with an outdated processor.

FWIW the 13" Air was updated to 8GB RAM standard (non-upgradable). The 11" remains at 4 (upgradable to 8)

As much as I love the Air, it's an absolute shame they won't let it have an IPS screen. This is the single reason I won't buy another Air. The Air has got everything else right and I have no problem with the resolution. But it stinks when everything washes out when I just want to lean back and relax a bit.

Or they could skip the IPS screen and put in an OLED screen, like the latest X1 Carbon.

(Unfortunate that only the X1 Carbon convertible tablet has OLED, not the lighter non-convertible.)

Still only a 480p camera [1] in the year 2016?

Reminds me of this funny video from last year [2].

[1] http://www.apple.com/macbook/specs/

[2] http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=KHZ8ek-6ccc

8GB RAM? When I was buying my Yoga 2 Pro with 8GB RAM I already hesitated, it is a bare minimum these days. Browsers alone can eat it all with ease. Today I wouldn't buy a new laptop without more RAM or at least upgrade options.

I don't understand why everyone keeps banging this drum.

At 4GB, I'd agree with you. But I'm still running my 2009 (!!!!!!!) MBP with 8GB RAM, and it's fine. And no doubt, the new MacBook is a bajillion times faster than my somehow-increasingly-heavier-each-year-brick-of-aluminum MBP and will handle memory pressure like a champ.

And speaking of memory pressure, for it's intended use, even with 30 Chrome tabs, 8GB is fine. Plus, given Apple's track record of device support over the last 7 or 8 years, Apple intends this machine to be usable for at least 3 years.

Just so you don't feel so alone, I am also still running a 2009 mbp with a matte screen. :)

Seriously thinking it may finally be the year I upgrade -- I will miss the matte screen though.

As someone who upgraded my own 13" MacBook Pro to 16GB RAM, I would NEVER recommend 16GB to anyone except those who can justify it.

The extra RAM has some big disadvantages:

1. As I recall, I lost about 40 minutes run time on batteries.

2. It decreases battery sleep time. Prior to the upgrade, I could go for 4 or 5 days in sleep, and still have useful enough battery life. Now it is more like 2 or 3 days.

3. It dramatically increases time to sleep and wake from sleep.

4. It eats valuable SSD space. You need 16GB to sleep. And you swap files will be bigger. You likely need a bigger SSD to support the RAM

5. RAM does cost money up front.

If you do need 16GB, you know it and should be ready for these trade offs. As someone who regularly runs 2 or 3 browsers, Mac and Linux development tools, MS Office, Adobe, Linux and Windows VMs, etc, I am in the class of people who need the extra RAM. Most people do not.

>3. It dramatically increases time to sleep and wake from sleep.

Well, I'll have to call BS on that. It maybe increase it, but hardly "dramatically". In fact time to sleep/wake is fast enough to barely care about it.

And I have 16GB RAM and the older, 2013 era, SSDs. Newer MBP SSDs are 2x-3x the speed of mine.

Plus, since then Apple added memory compression...

Meh, even with a mbp with 16gb of memory, I still want more. I'd like 64 or even 32. I tend to be running enough linux vm's for dev with things like kernel stuff that the more the merrier.

That and I'm a bit heavy on the tab (ab)use.

I can only report on the reality of my own setup. I have a 2011 era 13 inch MacBook Pro with a 500GB Samsung SSD 840 SSD. When I upgraded to 16GB two years ago, I immediately noticed that my wake/sleep times went from a few seconds to more like 30 to 40 seconds.

Now I did do the RAM and SSD upgrades at the same time. I went from 8GB of RAM and a 250GB SSD.

I remember spending some time trying to figure out why wake/sleep times where so hugely increased. I could never pin it down exactly, but I strongly suspect it was related to the RAM increase.

6. OS X has done memory compression since 10.9, which gives you more than 8GB in practice.

Agreed. Last year, I had to have my MacBook's motherboard replaced. During this time, I cloned my system to a MacBook Air with only 4GB RAM. This did severely cramp my working style. I could not run multiple VM's, and things were slower with swapping.

However, I was surprised at how much work I was still able to do. I felt the slowness of the CPU far more than the limited RAM.

I am happy to be back to 16GB except when I look at battery life. And I could adapt to less RAM.

I'm still running 10.8.5 - I run my system very, very hard, typically 20-30 Apps simultaneously with multiple Fusion VMs, and 50+ tabs in the browser, all three browsers, running, Aperture, Full Office suite - and I've never run into an issue with memory. Unless you are running XCode, or Video Editing, or some of the heavy Adobe Suite/SomeOtherSpecializedNicheWorkstationApp - you really don't need more than 8 GiB on OS X (at lease as of 10.8.5).

I'm guessing that SSDs and swapping really changed the game around virtual memory performance on Mac laptops.

Interesting - I had never thought about the Sleep Time impact - but that kind of makes sense. Does OS X still have a hibernate option?

Yes, Mac OS X does have hibernate.

However, "Sleep" on MacBooks is a combination of what people commonly refer to as Sleep and Hibernation

I believe that the current method is to Sleep the system with both keeping the RAM powered AND write RAM to the drive. If there is enough battery, the system will wake fast by using the current RAM, if the battery dies, it recovers from the RAM image stored on drive.

This works well for most people using base configurations. For those of us using the limits of the hardware, it might not give the preferred results. There are various GUI and CLI tools such as SmartSleep to control Sleep and Hibernate based on your preferences and taking into consideration the current battery level.


Thank you so much - this is the application that I've been looking for so long. It does everything that I've ever wanted, and, in particularly, with the insomnia plugin, lets me disable sleep (Mail.app craps out if you return from sleep, a bunch of my VPN stuff goes nuts) when you close your lid. This avoids the insanely awkward dance I have to do holding a laptop 2" open and hoping I neither drop it, or accidentally close the lid.

And, as another bonus, I have a "Click to Hibernate" feature that I've been wanting for a long time. My return from hibernation is very fast, and, in theory, the battery loss should be fairly minimal while in a hibernate state.

If you need to prevent your machine from sleeping for a while (like if you've got something running that you really don't want interrupted) there's always caffeinate -t $NUMBER_OF_SECONDS[1]

1: https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/documentation/Darwin...

I haven't experimented with using it to try and keep a machine running with the lid closed, however - that's traditionally considered risky for heat reasons.

There's no need to pay for software to do this. It's just a matter of running a single command as root to change the hibernate mode:


If all you want to do is change the Sleep/Hibernate modes you are correct that the command line will do it for you.

SmartSleep does add a significant trick, it allows you to automatically change the mode based on the current battery level.

If I need the machine to keep running but not sleeping, I just use ctrl+shift+power to lock the screen.

You can turn hibernate off with 'sudo pmset' on OSX. It's one of the first things I do on a new Mac since I find it pointless.

No way, 8 isn't enough if you need to run a VM and everything else.

These are all valid points, if you're running a laptop machine. As someone who runs a desktop machine, 1 through 4 are not an issue for me.

> These are all valid points, if you're running a laptop machine.

Well, yeah. This thread is centered around laptops, after all.

On OS X, with a good flash drive, 8 GiB of ram is perfect. I never recommend average people get more - I've got 31 Apps, the entire office suite (Excel/Word/Power Point), VMware running OpenBSD + Windows XP, and Aperture, chrome with god knows how many tabs (at least 60) - and the system isn't slow in the slightest.

OS X really does work miracles with virtual memory - my 16 GiB Windows 7 machine starts spinning up and swapping if I leave google earth running in it overnight. And next morning - there is always a 60 second pause while everything swaps back in...

Yeah, the 2009 version of Windows really should perform as well as the 2016-update Mac OS X ;-)

I'm running 10.8.5 - so circa 2012 OS X.

Fair point! Only 3 years difference, not 6-7 years ;-)

OS X uses memory compression that compresses browser memory rather well which alleviates at least some pain points of using machines for development.

It's really not. Maybe for you it is, but no, not in general... 4gb is working just fine, yes you can browse, have netflix open, your photos app and some music in the background while you're primarily working on a paper with a few PDFs on a few screens. My gf is on her MBA 4gb, no issues with the above (and she has a LOT more crap open than me, she never closes... at least until I showed her what it does to her cycles and what that means) I' m on a rMBP 8gb, similar experience. Running multiple VMs is not the norm.

As someone who is still on 4GB. No, 8GB is not a bare minimum. Bare minimum for a pleasant day-to-day browsing, movie watching, coding and office style work is an SSD.

On a MBA with 4GB RAM I'm running Chrome with 9 tabs (some are google docs,gmail and incognito), iTerm2, Emacs, a vmware fusion linux VM with 768MB RAM and I don't have any lag or slowness whatsoever, still I can open safari, firefox, microsot rdesktop, sketch and it won't choke a bit. I don't know if this is OS X being very good a managing memory.

Of course, some people get crazy and have like 60-70 tabs open, that's just not my flow.

8GiB RAM sounds like luxury to me with my 4GiB RAM MacBook Air. Which Apple still sells.

Apple finally offers 8GB RAM as standrard with 13 inch Macbook Airs[1] from this year.

[1] http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2016/04/19Apple-Updates-MacB...

Thank goodness for that.

I still run an Air (mid 2011) with 4GB of RAM and 256GB. Still great for browsing, lots and lots of text (Word and FadeIn), lots of Adobe Premiere editing on the go and occasional Photoshop and After Effects. I've been eyeing for a new laptop for quite some time now, but I am not in a hurry. This thing just keeps going and I can't justify new purchase yet.

My Air can survive with 4GiB of RAM, but if I watch YouTube videos in Firefox for long periods of time, the thing starts to use 3GiB+ of swap and I have to quit the browser.

I'm on chrome, absolutely no issues at resolutions up to 1080p. Haven't bothered with higher since screen res isn't. I throw video and AE rendering on the machine when I'm out with it, occasional compile with gcc.. damn thing is great. I would love to see newer generation Air come to light. I'd buy one immediately.

You could always buy an 8gb model. They just bumped the base model to 8gb.

MacBook has always had only one RAM option and came with it: 8gb. No 4gb or 16gb ever. The article is incorrect: they made an orthogonal change to MacBook Air (13" only) in making 8GB standard (which used to be an option).

Browsers are designed to use more ram than they really need.

Apple is annoying the crap out of me with their Macbook line.

I bought a 13" Macbook Air in 2011 that I still use. It was and is an amazing laptop. It's really in a sweet spot for size and power.

For years buyers including me have wanted a retina display and (ideally) the option for 16GB of RAM.

The Macbook is just too much of a compromise. Crappy keyboard. Only one port that's also used for power. Really low power CPU.

Why can't I just get the Macbook's display on a Macbook Air?

I feel for you. I'm typing on my 13" Macbook Air from 2011. Apple wants to banish 5-year-old PCs, so I'm all in to banish my trusted Air. But what's my next option? Pro is too hefty for me and '' is underwhelming, while Air is left behind.

The problem is that your use case (retina + 16GB) is easily satisfied by the 13" rMBP, and the vast majority of Apple's consumer customers will not need more than 8GB of RAM for the next few years. Apple made the design decision to focus on consumer for the Macbook, making 8GB RAM standard across the board. This probably works well as they can optimize the size to fit the exact memory modules required, but leaves a few high-end people like yourself out in the cold.

I guess Apple assumes (probably correctly) that if you really need 16GB of RAM, you can afford an rMBP.

Yup, I use the same machine as my main home system. I have a 15" MBPr (late 2012) as a work machine, but the Air gets all the use. Sadly, with El Cap and modern browsers, it's starting to feel a big long in the tooth. Too many beachballs the past few months....

This really is a neat machine for consumers. I would never buy one, but I'm always really impressed at the size / build quality whenever I see one. The price tag is definitely up there for what it is hardware wise, but I think it's one of a kind build makes it justified. Just not my cup of tea :)

We said the same of the MacBook Air when it first came out of its gimmicky manila envelope on stage. Or, for that matter, when the iMac came out with no floppy drive, and only USB ports!

But, none of us did buy that MacBook Air - it was too expensive at the time. It was later generations that hit the sweet spot.

I knew a couple non technical people who bought and loved the first gen Air. The appeal broadened with later revisions, for sure.

I also know a bunch of developers who bought and love the MacBook. Not sure how they're making do with that single port but apparently it works for some.

Hold on - are you sure we're talking about the first gen Air - that device was more like a concept prototype than anything people actually bought/used. It came with a slow spinning disk by default, and the SSD was hellishly expensive. It was also pretty slow, particularly if you didn't upgrade to SSD. I know some people who did purchase latter generations once the SSDs were within reach.

I did buy and use it. I know other people who bought and used it. Of course the subsequent iterations were better, but the first gen was not unusable.

I used it too. Skype and Youtube was unusable unless it was cold that day.

Overheating was indeed an issue, but I think it didn't affect all the units to the same extent. It was a problem for me, and increasingly so if I remember correctly with later macosx releases, but another machine bought at the same time worked much better.

Expensive!? Only $2.8k with a 64gb SSD, and a processor slower than the regular Macbook :) Could get an extra .2 ghz for $300, too!

I love it as a backup machine when I'm traveling but still need to be able to respond to emergencies. It's light and perfect for this.

It seems like the ultimate lightweight on-the-go machine.

I think its a great fit for traveling too; other than price, I can't see a reason to bring an iPad over something like this.

PSA: If you intend to use it for Linux - don't buy it yet. I have the old generation. There is problem with recognition of the SPI keyboard and trackpad. There are lots of kernel org bugs open for the 8,1 and no solutions as of yesterday.

If you're looking for a similar size and spec laptop for Linux, I've thoroughly been enjoying Ubuntu on the Dell XPS 13 developer edition. It comes with core i5/i7 so it's snappier but also has a fan. And you can charge via USB-C or the included power adapter. http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/xps-13-9350-laptop-ubuntu/...

How's the power management on it? That's always been the weak spot for me with Linux on a laptop.

According to mjg59, not good [1] [2]. I've found the power management pretty bad on Windows myself but then again my 9350 is scheduled for repairs tomorrow (backlight issues and screen "disconnecting")

[1]: https://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/41713.html

[2]: https://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/42156.html

I get pretty good life out of it, probably about 5 hours of moderate to heavy use. I'm going to look for a USB-C power pack capable of 45W at some point for when I need it to go longer.

There's some progress on the keyboard and trackpad, but it's still a WIP:


At least a patch to recognize the WildcatPoint PCH is in 4.6:


Good to know, thanks. If there was full hardware support, this would be a really awesome Linux laptop.

What's up with that URL? skylake-when-it-crumbles-we-will-stand-tall-face-it-all-together-at-skylake

It is a cheeky reference to the theme song to the movie Skyfall by Adele.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyfall_%28song%29

This is shaping up to be a nice machine. Now if only the keyboard travel weren't so shallow...

They're hard to find, but I've finally tracked down a place in Australia (mechkb.com) that will internationally ship me one of these convertible Cherry MX key babies, that supports both Mac and Windows, both bluetooth (pairing with four devices) and USB (for low latency gaming and charging):

Filco Majestouch Convertible 2 review: the quest for a Mac-compatible, wireless, mechanical keyboard: http://johnscullen.com/filco-review/

http://www.keyboardco.com/ sells the Filco Convertible 2 [0] and a few other Filco keyboards - they also ship internationally. Bought from them before, would definitely do it again.

[0] - http://www.keyboardco.com/keyboard/filco-convertible-2-usa-a...

That's a great store, but they were out of stock, and nobody selling them on Amazon would ship to the Netherlands. Maybe they're easier to find in Japan, where they're made. I made sure to lock in my order from Australia where they had one in stock, before blabbing about it on Hacker News. ;)

It seems so sensible, I don't understand why there aren't more convertible keyboards like that! Together with a convertible bluetooth mouse like the Razer Orochi that also supports multiple bluetooth pairings, it's the best of both worlds for low latency USB gaming, charging, and wireless switching like a KVM between Macs, PCs, tablets, phones, GearVR, etc.

I wish there were more convertible devices like that to choose from. The KBTalKing Pro looked wonderful, but never made it to regular production ("factory issues"). http://kbtalkingusa.com/ http://www.keyboardlover.com/kbtalking_review.php

Be careful shopping for convertible devices that actually use Bluetooth and not some proprietary dongle, and that actually use USB for fast low latency data instead of just charging!

Well, I guess we can wait a little longer for the retina MacBook Air :)

> I guess we can wait a little longer for the retina MacBook Air :)

I expect the next major thing to happen to the MBA to be its discontinuation.

I'm wondering if, at some point, they'll ditch the headphone jack for a second USB-C port. But that would require having USB-C headphones, which Apple might not be willing to make.

You know what would be fun? (for some perverse sense of fun)?

If they added a lighting port on Macs too.

Suddenly all kinds of peripherals for iPhone/iPad could be reused with Macs too (with the appropriate driver updates).

I'm fairly sure the reason we don't have a second USB C jack is because it would necessitate a second thunderbolt chipset (as I imagine they would want one on either side of the machine) and that is a problem on several fronts?

Actually it would just mean only supporting wireless bluetooth headphones from now on...

Are Bluetooth headphones practical, though? Does Apple even make any of their own?

Although I use Bluetooth headphones on a phone or tablet, I would be disappointed if I was required to use them on a laptop I'm using all day long.

Normal usage time is about 4 hours on the cheaper units I use, and that's just playback without any microphone use. Maybe longer on more expensive units, while they are new, but I doubt many would get you through a whole work day of continuous activity.

Also, pairing is still fiddly and would probably put off a lot of casual users. (Especially when you have a N-to-N mapping between devices and headphones.)

USB-C could still work if there are enough ports. While it's been great having a common standard for headphones across devices (partly thanks to the original iPhone not requiring a custom dongle), it does start to feel a bit of an anomaly in an era where everything is converging on the new USB standard(s).

You definitely pay for what you get in the battery department. I personally have a pair from Sony claimed to get 20 hours of battery life on a charge. I've never fully tested the claim, but they are more than enough to make it through a couple workdays without charging.

I use an LG Tone headset (I'm a consultant, on the phone almost all day). I usually charge mine once a week or maybe slightly more often. Maybe two or three hours of usage per day. The battery is really good, the quality is pretty good, but like you said, pairing can be a nightmare sometimes. I actually had to reboot my computer yesterday to get the Bluetooth driver to work properly. It's early days for Bluetooth headphones yet, but they're making really good progress.

> Does Apple even make any of their own?

Kinda? Apple owns Beats so http://www.beatsbydre.com/headphones/browse-headphones/wirel...

These are awesome, IMHO: https://usa.denon.com/us/product/portableaudio/noisecancelin...

Too bad they're expensive. Interestingly they're $275 here in .se, but listed as $399 on the US page.

Apple owns Beats, so technically, yes, Apple makes the Beats Solo2 Wireless, the Beats Studio Wireless, and the PowerBeats Wireless. I have a pair of Sony BT headphones and they are fine. Audiophiles will complain because of the compression, but they are great for everyday use for the regular folks.

Certainly not on os x, which can't keep a Bluetooth audio stream going to a device less than a foot away. Apple's wireless implementations, especially Bluetooth, on os x is such shit it might as well not exist. Even keyboards and track pads don't work properly, including the track pad they make which skips. This has been my experience with every single Apple laptop and I can recreate it now with ease. But anything to make my laptop one nano meter thinner, am I right?

Bluetooth audio works perfectly fine on OSX with some Sony BT headphones I recently got - even through a wall at 5+ meters.

Try forcing Apt-X codec; I've found it's consistently more reliable than the default.

>Actually it would just mean only supporting wireless bluetooth headphones from now on...

Why? USB DACs exist. I use one all the time with my apple stuff.

Where do you usually charge bluetooth headphones? On USB ports.

>USB-C headphones, which Apple might not be willing to make.

And I, as part of a seemingly and disappointingly small subset of users, will refuse to ever buy.

Would you refuse to buy headphones that have an integrated amplifier and dac and a USB connector, or would you refuse to buy a dedicated amp/dac with which you could use any headphones?

>Would you refuse to buy headphones that have an integrated amplifier and dac and a USB connector.

If those headphones don't unplug from the amp to allow me to use a 3.5mm stereo jack. Yes.

>or would you refuse to buy a dedicated amp/dac with which you could use any headphones?

I would not refuse that.

I try to avoid buying products which have non-standard connectors that limit connectivity with other devices.

I only buy headphones with a standard 3.5mm stereo jack because I have a ton of different devices and I don't want to limit myself to audio devices which only have a USB port or Bluetooth chip. That's just silly in my eyes.

If the headphones have a stereo jack then my opinion of them might be different, but still dependent on their quality.

We have a few executives that would love one of these systems. But you cannot connect them to any of Apple's displays. Which is sort of insane to me.

I wonder how this performs under XCode.

Currently I lug around a 15" MPBr and I would like something lighter to do development on the train but I wonder about performance.

Has anyone tried to do C++ builds on XCode using one of these machines?

Yeah, pretty horribly. XCode compile times are about 200 - 300% of those on a rMBP 15" for the same project. Those machines are very very very very slow.

Is this with the standard CPU or with that 1.3 GHz max option?

IIRC it was topped out rMBP 15 (mid-2014) vs. topped out MacBook.

I know a few devs using the MacBook. They seem happy with it, surprisingly.

I bought a maxed out 11" Air last summer, because it has a LOT more processing power to offer over the MacBook. Not as nice a screen, but I use it tethered to a monitor when I need a nice screen.

Of all the computers I've ever owned, this one's my favourite. The portability is unbelievable and it's got enough guts to handle Xcode. Your needs may differ from mine but I can't recommend it enough.

I do my development inside a Linux VM running on MacBook 2015 with fastest CPU option. It is not a speed daemon, but various IDE works very OK. The lightness of the notebook is amazing, I never thought I would appreciate it that much.

I do all my C++ / Objective-C development on a 13" mid 2012 MBA, and it works perfectly. If you have to do a complete recompile it takes a bit longer, but overall, for me it's pretty good. I'm now getting this new Macbook. Can't beat portability.

Ok, from these opinions it looks like I need to check this out myself.

Maybe I can try one during the 14 day return period.

Thanks for all the replies!

Get a 13" rMBP. I previously had a 15" and love the 13". It's the best balance between portability and performance.

It seems even with Skylake it still can't power a 4k monitor at 60Hz, oh well, next year maybe :)

I wish Apple would transition all computers to USB C to allow for easier charging. Being able to buy an Anker battery for cents on the dollar vs the three batteries on the market that support magsafe would be a godsend. I love magnets, saved my ass quite a few times, but I want to be able to charge my laptop on the go cheaply.

Considering the number of faulty/dangerous USB-C cables and chargers out there I don't expect to see Apple to do this.

It's not like the magsafe story is all great (http://www.righto.com/2016/03/counterfeit-macbook-charger-te...). They'd just sell their own branded cables.

Now, if they only could bump the MBP to skylake as well...

The chance that it would come with WWDC would actually be a pretty good sign towards significant evolution rather than just internals update: the 13" MBP was added to the lineout at WWDC 2009 (Apple's first sub-15" "pro" laptop since the 12" G4), the rMBP range was unveiled at WWDC 2012 and the new Mac Pro at WWDC 2013.

That makes me worried. RMBP 13" is pretty much perfect (maybe the resolution could be higher), so they can only fuck it up.

Probably they will make it "thinner and lighter", cutting one or two hours of battery life and few hundred megahertz processor speed.

I am waiting for the Macbook Pro. Yes. I believe it will kick ass upgrade compared with 2015 models.

This is the perfect home computer for me. I wouldn't do much work on it – I don't think it supports 2 4K monitors – but it would be great for casual use while not at the office where I don't need a lot of power.

I am really looking forward for an VR headset as a replacement to a laptop for on the go working.

Something like a GalaxyVR with an VR first DesktopEnvironment. That will have a huge 3d floating code editor.

This and a lightweight/wireless keyboard. Could be perfect, and mean less slouching.

Unfortunately smartphones aren't probably high resolution enough, yet.

I'm torn. I don't know if I want a MB or a 12.9" iPad Pro. Most of my "fun" development is done in a cheap GCE instance on the command-line.

Not that I number myself among them, but I'm sure the hackintosh people will be happy if this refresh adds support for things found in skylake NUCs like bluetooth and networking.

I'd be interested in seeing a CPU benchmark between the new MacBook (Skylake) and existing MacBook Pro's (Core i5).

If only they offered Blue Gold...

Shame they didn't drop the 3.5mm jack on the right for a second USB-C port. That is the only flaw for me.

Why don't they just drop in the new gen (6) intel cpus? Or did they?

It's in the title: "Skylake" is the codename for Intel's latest desktop CPU microarchitecture.

Rose gold, finally. This will do wonders to my code

"If you're so clever, you tell us what color it should be."

-- Douglas Adams on the early marketing efforts for the Wheel

A grey, comprised of 25.9% red, 25.9% green and 25.9% blue in RGB, or 0% cyan, 0% magenta, 0% yellow and 74.1% black in CMYK.

It should have a hue angle of 0 degrees, a saturation of 0% and a lightness of 25.9%.

It should be obtained by blending #848484 with #000000 .

Also, seven red lines, all perpendicular to each other, with some in transparent ink, and one shaped like a kitten . . .

Being unable to stand looking at your computer for extended periods of time will probably do wonders for combating code bloat.

Hey, I kinda like it!

I also don't get it. Why don't more tech people run companies? Are we too busy amusing ourselves by making fun of things we don't understand?


What makes you think a “tech person” would be less likely to offer products in a range of colours? ”Tech people” also have æsthetic sensibilities, surely?

The point is that it's a popular color in a very important market. Someone looked at a market then chose the color. The comment to which I was replying was just one of many comments you'll see from tech types. Don't we want to have a better understanding of why decisions are made?

Because "tech people" aren't always the best at judging consumer tastes. I thought the iPad was going to be a failure, because I considered (and consider) the tablet form factor to offer a worse usability/portability tradeoff than laptops.

I'll be the first to admit (and have, on many many occasions!) I have no idea what the average consumer sentiment is. When the original iPod came out I thought it was going to flop (mainly because the internal hard drive platters were prone to failure when jogging.) I stick to B2B/enterprise startups whenever I can for this very reason.

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