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Ask HN: Would You Upgrade to the New MacBook Pro?
29 points by surds on Oct 27, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 97 comments
I have a Mid 2014, 15 inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. I am not motivated to upgrade. Would you? Why?

Yes, my personal machine is a late 2008 Macbook Pro 15". The screen alone on the new one would be an amazing, huge upgrade.

The touch bar looks very cool to me. I think it's a great idea that will get copied (poorly) by other laptop manufacturers in a year or two.

A lot of good ideas look bad at first. Remember the eternal warning of CmdrTaco's iPod review. Not that the touch bar must be good because it's getting panned now... just saying, I'd give it some time. UI changes are always controversial. Quite a lot of people swore in 2007 that they'd never give up a hardware smartphone keyboard. The first Droid with the slide-out keyboard got a lot of praise. Ultimately, though, we can see where the phone market went.

I continue to dislike touch-screen interfaces and would love to have a hardware smartphone keyboard back. For me that has not changed since 2007.

There are actually a few out there, like the Blackberry Priv. Curious: Have you looked at them, and if so, what kept you from getting one?

I have looked for Androids with hardware keyboards. Only the Blackberry Priv. is recent enough. The Priv has other properties that make it a strict no-no, but the keyboard isn't exactly what I'd like either: it's too small.

Whatever happened to landscape slide-out keyboards...

Are there any Android-compatible phones with physical keyboards? I'm also driven to mini-rage a few times a day by "typing" on glass.

The Blackberry Priv, I think.

Oh, thanks -- I'd assumed the Blackberries only ran their own system.

it already is a copy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L-mIqJW1v0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgkB6T6LrhQ

they already went back on it because it wasnt apple quality. apple always waits until its refined, but you cant give them credit for creating the idea.

I didn't intend to give them credit for creating idea, just that I think other manufacturers will copy Apple's implementation in the future.

One reason I think that, is the functionality that vendors are writing for Apple's touch bar. If Adobe and Microsoft create UI elements for the bar on Apple, they could pretty easily port that to a Windows machine with a touch bar.

I agree with most of what you said but I really miss physical keyboards on smartphones and know I'm not alone. I think they went away because they're disproportionately expensive to design and manufacture and they make localization more difficult. Touch screen keyboards just aren't as good, though I don't think slide-out qwerty is the answer either. We need mobile tactile input!

The flaw with this is that on the mobile phone the keyboard and screen are infront of your eyes the whole time -- while on a laptop you don't want to switch between looking at the screen and looking at the keyboard to see wtf the bar suggests for example.

As I mentioned yesterday in a different thread, I have an option to upgrade my system every year at zero cost (sponsored by my company). This year, I'll be sitting it out. The benefits for a developer seem next to none. Thanks but No thanks on the Touch Bar too! Literally all bells and whistles but no major improvements on basic computing functionality.

Personally, I think the Macbook Pro 2012 was a beautiful, functional beast and since then it's been just going downhill.

On a related note, yesterday's Microsoft Launch made me think about upgrading my home rig after a long time! :)

If it is zero cost to you what is the harm? Are you concerned about the environmental damage or something else?

I'm just done with Macs. Seems like I have to fight macOS more and more these days. Games are still mostly over on the Windows side due to the hardware specs.

I'm just done. I want to play my online games while I'm traveling for work. So when this late 2013 15" MacBook Pro falls out of Apple Care next year, I'll probably start looking for a PC.

Linux Mint can run just fine in a VirtualBox VM and handle all of my work needs.

EDIT: And Boot Camp's drivers are pretty crippled. Even worse, I've actually overheated my MacBook Pro several times playing games like Cave Story. Also, I'm not that big of a fan of rebooting back and forth.

I can't tell you how many times I've been playing games on the windows side and got a call from work. Sure it's 3 minutes, but it's time opening up terminals and getting situated. It's changing context from Ctrl-Whatever to Cmd-Whatever. It's just frustrating.

Nope. I have a 2012 13" retina which, after a lot of very heavy use and at least 12 trips around the earth in my backpack, is starting to show its age. It has been a good machine and I'll miss it. But at £1,500 for a replacement, there's no way I can justify that -- especially because I'd also have to by an SD card adapter or a new camera, and a headphone adapter or new headphones. Call it £1,600 to £1,900 in all.

Not worth it when I can get a really nice zenbook for less than half that price and put a good OS distro on it. I'm sure I'll miss MacOS but that had been on a downward trajectory for years anyhow.

Edit: and killing HDMI? Good gods, no. Just no. I use that every day, in multiple locations. If I had to use singles I'd go through one per week. Absolute deal breaker.

My current Macbook Pro is fine - the new models have slightly more horsepower but I don't feel mine is lacking. If there was a model with more than 16GB of RAM I'd be more tempted, but alas. The lack of ports would actually make it a downgrade for my purposes.

There's just nothing particularly exciting in these new models. There's also nothing wrong with them, but they are getting a little long in the tooth.


I'm surprised I hear so little complaints from enterprise users. As a contractor for large companies - some of which are still on Windows 7 - the lack of standardised ports is an absolute deal breaker. USB drives, VGA / HDMI capable video conferencing etcetera means I have to buy and lug around countless accessories and adapters just so I can use my "thinner and lighter than ever" MacBook which completely defeats the purpose.

The other deal breaker is the 8G ram in the 13" model. Running various VM's just requires more - which I do to accomodate client environments that use Windows 7, for instance.

Besides that I also use the F keys extensively in my work, so the touch bar doesn't mean much for me. I don't want to keep looking down to see what's where.

My next laptop will probably be a Windows one, which actually breaks my heart. I've used Apple since the G5 iMac. I might get a base model for personal use but I'm not sure I see the point.

Unfortunately Windows is not an option (for me) and Desktop Linux in 2016 can still be a huge pain in the ass. I hear good things about the Dell XPS 13" Developer Edition (shipping with Ubuntu), maybe i will give that a try at same point.

So yeah, at the end of the day i probably will still buy the rMBP. There is no alternative at this point. But i am not happy with the direction Apple is going. Cutting ports, selling useless stupid gimmicks for $300 price bump instead of aiming for a better price/value. Not good.

Is weird because this was almost good.

The price is too high, obviously, but even ignoring that:

1- The TouchBar seem useful. BUT, why remove the F-Keys? Consider that is not because space, is obvious exist plenty of it.

2- The touch pad is gigantic, but, Why not make instead the keyboard larger? Is already great, is the keyboard that need love. I even dream about a mechanical version, but not, Apple HATE functional input hardware. let it at the normal size make possible to move TouchBar above it and below the keyboard (Not sure about this..)

3- All new ports good. But removing useful ports BAD. Is a PRO machine.

4- Let it at the same thinness AND increase the battery life. No brainier.

And not let us guess if mac mini, mac pro, imac are alive or not...

--- Also, what is the show about the MAC and tell about TV shows?

I would not for reasons 3 and 4. Can't be carrying USB adapters always just to plug-in the pen-drive, or a printer or for that reason a wired mouse. And without HDMI I lost the ability to connect my monitor at work :(

Nah. Already pretty happy with my Dell XPS 13 running Fedora Linux. I imagine it'll be a couple of years before distros really take advantage of the 3200x1800 screen anyway.

Besides, no one who uses Vim is gonna be happy to see the physical Esc key go away.

> Besides, no one who uses Vim is gonna be happy to see the physical Esc key go away.

What kind of self-respecting Vim user physically reaches up to the top corner of their keyboard constantly?

Even if you have a physical esc key up there you should be hitting ctrl-[ or remaping it onto the capslock. It's wasted motion to constantly pull off home row to hit escape.

Haha, I said the same thing to an emacs buddy who was expressing concerns about vim users, he sounded pissed that real Vim users don't use ESC, or even hjkl keys.

I do for one. I have capslock mapped to Ctrl. Of course, I started in EMACS and got sucked into vim and had already gotten used to the capslock as Ctrl.

I think putting ctrl on the capslock key is the more efficient move, honestly. But Vi was designed for a machine that had esc where your tab is. It's built for efficiency but you lose all of it when you have to physically pull your whole hand up off of the home row.

The Vim wiki has a lot of tips for more efficient mappings[1], but if you don't want to be dependent on your own idiosyncratic config, ctrl-[ is literally the keycode that the physical esc key generates, and it's soooo much easier to hit there's no reason not to retrain your muscle memory to prefer it.

[1] http://vim.wikia.com/wiki/Avoid_the_escape_key

Why choose? When I hold down caps lock, it acts like CTRL. When I hit it once, it acts like ESC.

Got a tool that will do that on os x sierra? I used to us karabiner, but that's hosed by the updated until they can get elements cleaned up.

Have you tried Karabiner-elements[0]? I haven't used OS X the past few years, so I don't know if it actually works, but somebody suggested it on reddit.

[0]: https://github.com/tekezo/Karabiner-Elements

I have, it's not quite there yet ... I've been a fan of Karabiner since I first switched to mac.

People who use Vim usually re-map caps-lock to ESC at a minimum, and possibly other uses. Mine is esc by itself, ctrl with any other key.

I do remap the function bar right now, though. That will take some getting used to.

I remap caps lock to ctrl, since the ctrl key is also necessary for the command line, and the one on a Mac keyboard is in a painfully awkward location.

And remapping your vim shortcuts is great - when you're not constantly logging in to new instances or (don't ask) sharing logins with co-workers.

As I posted in another thread, I think it may actually be fine to have a different "feel" (touch vs physical) for escape, which is a very special key for us vim users (assuming you don't have it remapped).

I keep seeing posts about remapping but I honestly don't get it why users should be forced to hacks and compromises to replace functionality which had no reason to be removed in the first place.

It's not really for a compromise. I think caps is a much more useful button when remapped. For how often it's used, it should be in a more home-row centric location.

We're a generation of devs raised by Macs. I'm wondering if another Mac is really the answer we need.

I see what you did there.

I have a newish iMac 5k and a really old '11 Macbook Air. I'm due for a laptop upgrade but don't see the value. Touch Bar doesnt excite me at all (who wants to look down at their keyboard). Magsafe saves my butt at least once every couple months - thats gone. And while a 2TB SSD sounds great, it's not essential. Especially not for an added $1200. The non-Touch has 16gb of ram available so I might grab that if I'm desperate and/or the Air dies.

>who wants to look down at their keyboard

It's an inch from the bottom of your screen so unless you never use the bottom third of your laptop screen you probably see that part of your keyboard pretty clearly all the time.

If I were in the market for a new one this year, yes.

Why? Touchbar looks useful. Wider gammut screen looks excellent. Apple's touchpad has always been an order of magnitude better than any other one on the market, and I'd love to have one on my MBP itself that was as large as my magic trackpad.

It's a nice upgrade over my current model, but I try to hold myself to a fixed upgrade cycle so I won't be jumping on board immediately.

I am amused by all these comments of upgrading 2-3 year old laptops. I must be from an alternate world since I am using a 4 year old Lenovo carbon and it's awesome. I have no plans on replacing it until it just totally dies.

I'm with you, still use my 2010 Macbook Air for a lot of tasks. Works just dandy.

The "low end" 13" MacBook Pro _with_ F-keys seems like a suitable more powerful MacBook alternative.

The touchbar seems too gimmicky.

I am with you, the low end one looks more appealing to me.

I'm happy with the 2016 12" MacBook. All my 'heavy lifting' is done on servers I can access remotely from my MacBook, iPad Mini (with Zagg Rugged Book keyboard case), or iPhone 6+.

I play games on the PS4, iPad Mini, or iPhone.

So, no need for a new MacBook for a couple of years; and when I get a new one, portability will be the deciding factor.

More excited about the new surface book. Way more functionality imo. Hyper-v makes it a better virtualization platform too

I have a 2012 15" MacBook Pro Retina. Upgrading to the new one doesn't feel like it would be much of an upgrade. My current notebook does everything I need (ST3, web, music).

I think when MacBook Pros have 4K screens, or better yet, OLED screens, I will upgrade. I'm thinking that will be 2018 or 2019.

No, my next computer won't be Mac.

I'll wait till my Macbook dies and then it is Windows time again.

Touch screen & VR here I come!

I'm due for an upgrade here at work, so yes. Probably going to get this <https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/usb-c/owc/usb-c-dock> or something like it so I can plug into everything. That's really what I'm looking forward to: put down the laptop, plug in ONE cord, and everything is there. Thunderbolt was almost that, but TB3/USB-C can also power the laptop itself.

As for the Touch Bar, I believe that it can be good. It will remain to be seen how good it actually will be, but I'm looking forward to it for the time being.

Nope. Very happy with my 2014 Macbook pro (15"). Won't be replacing it until it starts crapping out on me. I love the touch bar, but that's not a feature important for me to upgrade.

I'm really torn. If they had included an option for 32GB of ram I wouldn't have thought twice. If they had kept the MagSafe and the and the SD card reader I probably would have bought it. I have a late-2015 MacBook Pro fully loaded except I only have 512GB SSD. I'd like to get the new version and give my wife a hand-me-down but this isn't innovative. I don't care about the touch bar. It might be incredibly useful but I would use 32GB of ram or the SD reader or the MagSafe charger more often.

My home laptop is the last white Macbook (mid 2009 I think?) and I was really looking forward to this announcement, but unfortunately it was a huge disappointment. Higher price, made even higher because of the adapters you will need to buy to keep your stuff working with USB-C, lack of normal USB, lack of HDMI, lack of magsafe, lack of F-row plus the new Macbook keyboard which personally I hate.

So the way I see it, there are two options:

Go to an Apple store and get the previous model with all specs maxed out or find another decent alternative. Ideas?

Probably, if I can convince accounts that I need it. As a Java developer the extra processor horse power is always nice. I think that the touch bar could be really useful but its one of those that will just work its way into your workflow like expose and gestures.

Theres no way that I'm ever going back to windows as a developer, so its either another mac or back to another *nix based laptop, but its usually poorly optimised for battery life, and theres just simply too much that can go wrong and slow my productivity realistically.

I have 2012 Macbook Pro (non-retina) & I am mostly fine with it. I bought it and the first thing I did was upgrade the RAM to 16 GB. The battery life is getting suckier on it but I I can still live with it. The loss of MagSafe is a big problem for me, it has been a life saver what with 3 young kids running around. I think it would be easier to bump up the performance on my machine by swapping the HDD with an SSD. 2012s were the last generation of MacBook Pros that can still do that.

Already bought one! I have a Retina 13", early 2013 now.

Just excited to try what's new. I had a Macbook (one of the new ones) for work so I'd like to try it in this form factor and with a ton more speed. I got the 13" with 16GB. Should be great!

I always said, spend more on the things you spend a lot of time with. I splurged on my bed and I spend more time on my computer than anything else (probably even my bed) so I should have the top of the line - it's what makes me money anyway.

I have one as well. I'm looking at the Dell XPS or Surface Book since I mostly run linux, and I do not like the new macbook pro.

Yes. I am actually going to upgrade for my home machine (currently using a 2010), and possibly also for my work machine (if/when it's available).

If you have anything recent, it may not be worth it, but the TouchID is very nice - onwards to a password-as-backup-auth future.

Late 2013 MBP, would like something that I can add a Razer Core to for gaming, so yes, I'll get the mid-range 13" one, but I'm going to buy abroad because the UK prices are 10% higher than US/HK/etc.

My current MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Mid 2014) is doing well for me now--no rush to get a new one.

The new macbooks look cool. I'll be happy to get perhaps the next gen, or this one if something untoward happens to my current one.

No. Even if the touch bar turns out to be usable (I spend most of my time in a Linux VM, so the best I can hope for are usable virtual F-keys), it's the lack of ports that kills it for me.

I use a 2014 MBP and, on the move, I routinely use USB sticks, charge my phone, connect to HDMI displays (and the occasional VGA, for which I already have a dongle), and copy photos from SD cards. This means carrying (and not losing) 3-4 extra dongles.

I'm sure this will gradually change, but currently I have no USB-C devices whatsoever, so why would I get a machine with no other ports?

I have the same model you do, with 256GB storage and 16GB memory. I upgraded today as I filled the 256GB storage a lot quicker that I thought I would. Freelance work has been plentiful lately, so I was inclined to splurge. I'm also interested to play with the Touch Bar APIs:


Yeah, but I'm going to need to get a flash drive that has USB a on one side and USB c on the other. However, for the 90% of the time that I use it at my desk, I'll be happy with the graphics perforamnce and can have any function keys I want with an external keyboard. For the 10% where I need adaptors, I'll just suck it up.

It seems that in the long run, all other hardware decisions apple has made were right. We'll see about the headphone jack on the iPhone and the USB c on the new laptop.

Has anyone seen any specs on the charging time for the new MacBook Pro?

There is at least one good reason to - for using a 4k display at 60hz. Very few models can do this IIRC - only the newest one with the Radeon Graphics chip can.

Side note / self promo: I have the newest Macbook pro (with the aforementioned graphics chip), fully loaded which I am looking to get rid of (just dont need it as my job bought me another). Currently retails for $2700 with tax. Will sell for (name your price).

According to Apple's support site (https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206587), the range of computers that support 4K at 60 Hz is a bit bigger:

- MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015)

- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014)

- Mac Pro (Late 2013)

- iMac (27-inch, Late 2013) and later

- MacBook Air (Early 2015)

Good to know! I think I must have been recalling the figures for the latest pro models (2015 or 2016?) rather than all models. So, it only makes sense to get this model if you need the newest model AND 4k support :)

Late 2013 MBPro 15" can do it too.

Any 15" Retina MBPro from late 2013 onwards and Airs from 2015 onwards can do 4k @ 60hz. I'm doing it right now on a late 2013 rMBPro.

No. Not even if I were in the market for an upgrade.

I like physical keys, tyvm, and don't see the touch bar making any significant improvement in my workflow. Vim without a physical escape key sounds like hell.

Even if I did like it, it's always wise to wait for revision 2 of any new Apple hardware. First revisions are known for being overpriced, under-featured, and buggy.

Plus, my next laptop will have 32GB RAM.

That requires remapping (which I can't do on every machine I have access to) and retraining a decade's worth of muscle memory.

And I like physical function keys for other purposes too.

No. I do want to upgrade, my current machine (13" MacBook Air with 4GB RAM) but even the top spec'ed 15" I feel would only last a year or two before it starts to feel limited - and I can't justify spending that much if it's not going to last.

I'm thinking either a Dell XPS 15" (when they refresh them with Kaby Lake) or keeping this and getting/building a powerful desktop PC.

I have a desktop as well, but with Windows. It was so much fun building a desktop after many years.

I've got the same 2014 MB Pro. I am also completely uninspired and unmotivated to upgrade. Not to mention how much I've currently got invested in existing magsafe power adapters, displays, and usb peripherals. I'd currently need an hdmi-usb-c adapter, a displayport-usb-c adapter, and either a whole bunch of usb c-a adapters or a usb-c hub with multiple usb-a ports.

No. If I were going to, I would be looking at the 15" and there isn't enough of a performance advantage to do so. On top of that, while the touch bar looks interesting I'm about 85% sure that it is somewhere between completely wasted to useless for most of my workload. I hate looking at the keyboard ....

One other thing ... the lack of a magsafe connector is an issue as well.

32G :(

I'm going to replace my somewhat-aging Air because its 8G isn't really close to what I need, although it's been surprisingly capable.

The touch bar is gimmicky, but I want it--it's more versatile than the keyboard mapping/macro games I play now. I won't use it the way most consumers do, but I'll definitely use it.

Yeah 16 gig is what i have now.. it's starting to become a problem. I'd like 64 better.

what in your workflow demands more than 16G on your local machine? In the case of trying to develop locally with 4+ VMs, why not run those VMs on a generic piece of iron in a closet or datacenter?

Because I don't always work connected.

Probably not. Just focusing on the touchbar, when using the laptop alone I think looking up and down would hurt my neck. When using it with an external monitor I will be using my other keyboard instead.

I do like the fact that it supports up to 5K displays, but I will need to save up to buy the display first. =)

USB-C converters to continue to use existing peripherals would add ~$200 to the price tag, and two MBP chargers would be made obsolete. Hard not to be turned off by that kind of change. Also, I am used to the Fkeys and am not in favor of replacing them with the TouchBar.

I will be upgrading ASAP because my current machine is a Mid 2009 MBP. If it were a 2014 model? I doubt it.

I am anti-motivated by the touch bar and everything-is-USB-type-C, but I've got iOS dev work lined up so I'd better get over it.

No, I'm fine with my Macbook Air (mid 2012, 11-inch, 4 GB RAM).

Main uses:

- Web developement (Usually 4-8 tabs in Chrome + 2 Node servers + 1 MySQL + 2 VSCode windows + iTerm + Sequel Pro. No issues.)

- Twitch, Netflix, Hacker News, Twitter

It depends on if the Secure Enclave processor added to these laptops is being used to materially improve the security of the system. That would actually be a pretty big deal.

I wish the event had spent some time on the isolation between Secure Enclave (connected to Touch Bar) and main operating system.

If your MBP is two years old, why would you upgrade? Macs are supposed to last way longer. I have a 2009 Mac mini, which may be due for an upgrade soon...

MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2012) + (2) 1 GB SSDs + 16 GiB RAM + Banksy decal

Nupe. When they stop selling an upgradable MBP, they've lost me entirely. (Which is now.)

I want to buy new macbook pro 15 retina... But don't know go to the new one with touch bar or take the chance and buy old one with good price ?

I have the same machine you do and I ordered the new machine as soon as I could. Two external 5K displays is a huge unlock for more productivity.

1. Dell XPS Developer edition

2. Zenbook

3. Xiomi mi notebook

4. New 13" MacBook Pro without screen

5. Refurbished 2016 Mac Air

My debate.

Zenbook would be my first choice assuming Linux could run on it.

This is encouraging:


Would still have verify the specific model though.

No, I hope that linux distro will become better, hope for a better touchpad, hope for better fonts. for a better alternative to mac

I've got a 2013 13 inch dual core with 16GB RAM and a 1TB SSD.

I was all ready to upgrade, but it looks like I'm staying put.

The main thing that's holding me back is the smaller battery, everything else seems pretty good to me.

I was waiting (cash in hand!) for a new Macbook Air model, so am disappointed that none materialized.

I'd rather not. 256GB SSD is a pretty unrealistic entry level for actual 'pro' usage.

True that. I am constantly running into RAM and storage space issues. 16 GB RAM barely cuts it nowadays.

Have a 2013 MBA with 4GB ram and 1.8ghz i5. Not upgrading until my startup is profitable ;)

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