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Open Letter to Tim Cook (petersphilo.org)
210 points by Jerry2 on Oct 30, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 222 comments

Best comment [1] I read a couple of days ago:

>One thing constantly said to founders here is "don't let a vocal minority come in, tell you they love your product, and then turn into bullies that tell you how you should make said product. You never made it for them; they aren't your market. Don't get confused into thinking they are, just because they're loud." I think that about sums up the relationship between Apple and software developers who use their hardware.

Which is good advice for Tim Cook and all of Apple. You don't want to end up making the MBP version of this [2].

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12818193

[2] https://www.geekculture.com/joyoftech/joyarchives/2236.html

For every rule of thumb there are exceptions. In this case, if you lose the professional market, which is more than just developers, also designers, photographers, videographers, architects, scientists, you risk a sort of negative network affect.

In most families and circles people go to the person in the group who knows the most about tech, usually professional user. This person will often recommend products they themselves value and are familiar with. Obviously I can't prove this effect was partly responsible for Apple's come back, but it's certainly true in all the social circles I'm a part of and I think a decent hypothesis.

I don't think anyone is asking for your number two reference. It's more that people simply want their use cases considered. In many cases they are not. You can argue that the key changes are not crucial, and that the USB ports are future looking. But what about the lack of 32gb ram? The lack of new processors? What about the sdcard reader (yes, consumers mostly use phones now and don't need it, but professional cameras are going to be using sdcards for the foreseeable future)?

Exactly. As a developer, what I decide to build depends in part on the market "out there" and in part on what tools I have. When I had an early Mac, I talked my office into using more Macs (despite a corporate "Windows only" directive) by using my own Mac at work (I bought it myself) and building some useful things with it that others wanted to use.

When I switched to Windows, I learned Visual Studio and C# and built several customized tools that coworkers could only use on Windows. I also recommended Windows machines to family and friends, who almost all went with my recommendation.

When OSX came out, I and many other developers switched to it. Finally, a serious OS from Apple. When we did, we pulled lots of families and friends with us, and we made a lot more things (open source installers, for example) available for Mac users.

If Apple succeeds at restricting Macs to people who want lightweight, fashionable, "Apple lifestyle" accessories and need confusing things like folder hierarchies removed from the OS, many of us will move again and take those IT decisions we influence with us.

If I get off the Mac, for example, I will quickly forget how to do things I need to do to provide tech support to Mac-using family and friends, so I'll probably begin recommending Chromebooks to many of them, shifting some of my support away from their individual machines and onto web portals and web apps I build for them on my own servers.

And I went with iPhone because I was a Mac user, and I figured I would get some benefits from using the two together, which I did. If I'm no longer a Mac user, those benefits vanish, and I'll probably switch to an Android phone with an audio plug. (Maybe we developers are just a vocal minority, but we'll probably get pretty vocal to others about why we're leaving Apple if we do.)

Exactly. Those people pushed Altavista early on, then Google. They got people off IE and into Firefox, then Chrome. It'd be risky to ignore them.

I agree. We can't prove it, but recommendations of "it just works" are what I feel has helped drive Apple - especially the Mac, but in the early years, also the iPhone.

Every year they seem to continue to introduce (via neglect/decisions/priorities) more reasons to pause at purchase time. And, recommendation time.

Are professional users really a "vocal minority" of the MacBook Pro?

I'm not a developer. I run an online business and use a MacBook Pro for video recording, editing, and general website admin.

I needed the extra processing power, and the ports. The new model has me apprehensive, though I'll certainly look at it.

What's the target demographic this new MBP is serving, though?

> What's the target demographic this new MBP is serving, though?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately.

I think the new MBPs are, well... not good, considering the price. I really like my 2012 MacBook Air. It's still going strong, although I wish I had went for the 8GB of RAM instead of just 4.

But when I was talking about the new models with my friends and coworkers, a lot of us shared one thought: We don't think it's worth the money, but we can't spend $2000 on a laptop anyway, so whatever.

So we're not the target market.

It seems that people here don't really want one either, so 'Developers who frequent Hacker News' also doesn't seem to be the target...

It seems like maybe it's just 'wealthy people who want a sleek-looking, well made piece of hardware', which it is. Maybe it includes businesses that will provide one to their employees, and will buy the extra dongles and whatnot. There's probably a lot of them in each group. If I had the money, and didn't care that it didn't have the fastest processor, the ability to have a crazy amount of RAM, and would need an extra damn cable just to connect my iPhone, I would love to buy one too.

One thing seems pretty certain, and it's that there is room for a competitor to jump in and make a great laptop for the people who are looking for something different. I really hope someone can make it work.

I really wish I agreed with you. Unfortunately, there's literally nobody who can step in here and make a truly competitive product, since it won't run the same OS.

I mean, I develop for the web, so I could very well switch to Windows or Linux at this point, and after some pain points, I'd probably be back up and running and around 90% as happy as I was before. But that last 10%, where things don't work quite like I want them to, well, that would grate. And over time, I'm probably going to grow to hate that machine.

Plus, what about people who make iOS apps? Or heck, even just develop for the Mac? There's literally no other option than a Mac.

This is a big part of why people are so upset, is because we can't just wait for a competitor to jump in and save us. We've let ourselves become dependant on Apple, and -- like you put it -- we seem not to be the target market anymore. As much our fault as theirs maybe, I'm not one to judge, but it still sucks.

There's also a 10% that works better on Windows than on Macs and you're not currently aware of it. I've switched between Macs and Windows and Linux as my daily driver several times and there's always an annoyance when you switch and everything doesn't work the way you want t. But it goes away quickly, within days. And then the next time you switch you're again annoyed that things don't work the way the new way you're used to. Actually, I've been mostly using Macs for the last 4 years and I still think window management and the Finder are inferior to Windows'.

I agree re: win > macOS on window management but why do you prefer the file explorer? The lack of tab support is a major pain point for me on the windows explorer, that combined with the great file preview support that Finder has makes it much more useful to me.

There may be some features I'm missing though, I only use Win10 for gaming.

Hmm, you're right, Finder has a lot of good things over Explorer, also search is mostly superior. I get annoyed by things like forced hidden system folders, fewer fields available for file sorting (I've been annoyed by being unable to sort images by resolution), how they try to hide the path of files which is especially annoying for search results. I guess it's another of those things where some things are better and some things are worse.

> Plus, what about people who make iOS apps? Or heck, even just develop for the Mac? There's literally no other option than a Mac.

The message from Apple seems to be 'get an iMac'. They seem to prefer their developers to be stationary :/

I'm not sure about the "Business as target market" thing.

In our 12-person company I introduced Macs and now everyone uses one instead of a PC. I'm not sure if businesses would have switched to Macs without some kind of endorsement from a "Hacker"-friend or employee.

If the common perception about Macs withings IT experts will change to "look nice but really not worth their money" I imagine in the long run that could hurt the sales to non-experts too.

You still need people to develop for your platform, and delivering underpowered machines does not help with that.

> What's the target demographic this new MBP is serving, though?

Apple doesn't seem to know or care. I don't know who this MBP is for. Increasingly less people can justify an Apple macOS portable when an iOS device covers their requirements satisfactorily and it doesn't meet the needs of many professionals at all (present and anticipated needs for the machine's useful life).

Apple is behaving as if they're a boutique OEM.

> Apple doesn't seem to know or care.

Oh nonsense! They showed like a dozen ways that the new touch pad alone makes using professional apps easier, faster, and generally better in their keynote. They are clearly thinking specifically of the professional market. Whether they hit their mark or not is up to the market to decide. The new computers are already back-ordered by 4-5 weeks, so clearly someone's ordering them.

>The new computers are already back-ordered by 4-5 weeks, so clearly someone's ordering them.

Does them being back-ordered matter much (outside of annoyance to consumers)?

Wouldn't it be more informative to see the absolute numbers of back orders now relative to the numbers for previous releases? For all we (public) know is that the back-ordered demand could be from smaller supply initial supply, not necessarily from record demand.

Are such numbers public knowledge?

The new touch pad looks ridiculous. It looks like novelty they're throwing out to placate the masses they get a real touch screen together behind the scenes.

I have absolutely 0 desire to use a tiny strip of touch above a perfectly good keyboard.

I agree with you. But I think the touch pad is a harbinger of things to come. The eventual goal is probably a touch pad keyboard, one that reconfigures depending on the circumstances. It might even be like the Star Trek NG consoles eventually. I think it might be possible to use the haptic touch on a localized level such that each key press causes a sense of typing feedback.

And the good news is .... you don't have to!

You'll still have to pay for it if you want a 15" macOS laptop though (unless you want to buy old hardware)

The new touchpad got so big it looks impossible to type without touchpad activity.

Isn't the illusion of scarcity and back orders from product launch 101 to encourage higher demand?

Have you tried it out yet? I haven't, but my assumption is that false touch events would be pretty trivial to filter out--especially since there's no longer a mechanical click.

> back-ordered by 4-5 weeks

Lol, they were 4 weeks "back ordered" the minute they went on sale. It's not strange Apple keeps pulling this stunt (after all, they save on production costs by not actually manufacturing anything until orders come in), but it's really baffling how people keep pointing at it as a sign of success. Even the most unpopular car manufacturer will make you wait a month for a car.

I know a few people who preordered the iPhone 7 the minute it was available online. By the morning, it was up to a week (or more depending on the model). It's not an artificial shortage if they really are out. Do you really think a factory can churn out the millions of phones needed in just a few months?

Except the parent commenter meant literally the minute, not later that day. Only the base 13" model was available to ship quickly, the rest were launched with a 4-5 week delay.

I'm certain that's probably because the product was finalized too late to begin production early, not an artificial shortage.

Production of the low-end model was fine though, uh? How convenient! This is exactly the same that happened with the 2012 redesign. I'm sure it's all a coincidence though. Uh-uh.

(btw: "I'm certain that's probably" says it all, really.)

>Apple is behaving as if they're a boutique OEM.

That's how Apple has behaved since day 1, save for the few years when Sculley was at the helm.

> Apple is behaving as if they're a boutique OEM.

Not sure what you mean.

If they made the computer much faster, I imagine it'd get too hot or noisy.

The main failure IMO was that the only real innovation was a touch bar replacing function keys that as far as I can tell no one asked for or wanted.

However, macOS still beats Windows 10 because it's more intuitive and usable and has fewer quirks.

I don't want one of these because of the touchbar, though. It just seems unnecessary, and I wish they would've waited on a more practical innovation that would solve a problem and not remove physical keys and be a distraction and take away from design aesthetics.

MacOS has plenty quirks for me though... I cannot get it to reliably connect to a win10 samba server (my android or boot camp give me no trouble). I should probably blame Google, but the ATF app sucks and gives a lot of problems transferring large or numerous files (ended up using WiFi... I get periodic blue screens (kernel panics) from using Chrome. When finder crashes I can't seem to be able to initiate it without a hard restart... I have had it for 3 years and it's only been one thing after another.

I love some features, but the trouble on a day to day basis is not worth it.

> I cannot get it to reliably connect to a win10 samba server Windows is by far the worst peer when it comes to file shares.

Are you sure it's the Mac? In my experience, things suddenly start working on the network once you remove Windows from the equation.

Other than when I restart the mac it sometimes connects, my android devices connects no issues, and bootcamp/VM do so too without problem, yes it could be windows.

I also used to have very slow transmission speeds between the two devices until I changed the mac to 2.4G (from 5G) (PC is wired)

If they were so much trouble, why did IBM deploy them stating they are 3x less expensive overall including support?


My guess (from experience with using a Macbook at work in a similarly large IT company) is that their corporate Windows image has a huge pile of shit bundled into it for historical reasons that breaks all the time, while the Mac image is relatively frugal.

I can observe a slow tendency that our corporate Mac image piles on more and more junk over time, probably because more people are using Macs than the year before and thus IT allocates more headcount to work on Mac customizations.

> Are professional users really a "vocal minority" of the MacBook Pro?

A lot of professionals have workflows / infrastructure that does not rely on the specs of any individual computer. Past a certain point it's the only practical approach for scaling. I suspect the vocal minority are the users in the upper end of the prosumer range who can't really justify moving to truly pro workflows / infrastructure.

> I suspect the vocal minority are the users in the upper end of the prosumer range who can't really justify moving to truly pro workflows / infrastructure.

Are you suggesting that they are Pro'ing it wrong?! Your comment reeks of no True Scotsman: if a persons workflow is local, then it's not "truly pro". You seem to be forgetting that not all people can be wired into the pro infrastructure all every time they need to do work (travel, connectivity).

> Are you suggesting that they are Pro'ing it wrong?!

If what they're doing works for them it's not wrong but in this case it's not working anymore. Now they have to switch operating systems, software and workflows just because a specific model of laptop wasn't updated at exactly the right time. Switching to PC laptops may be an option for some but they will still have to depend on Intel/AMD and PC OEMs to provide them with an option that perfectly fits their needs. That's only a slightly safer bet. It's not practical for everyone to build out a pro infrastructure for themselves but (especially in the case of developers) it's at least something they need to consider.

"Are professional users really a "vocal minority" of the MacBook Pro?". NO!!! They are the target of this machine. After all it is called Macbook Pro for a reason.

Consumers don't need Macbook Pros, they need at max Macbook Airs. A lot of them can be served by iPad Pros. And the vast majority by iPhones.

So yes, Apple is shooting itself in the foot.

A different way to put your question, is how do the design goals of the MacBook differ from the MacBook Pro?

As far as I can tell, the design goals are the same. The difference is that the Pros are more expensive.

That sounds nice, but it's actually insane in this context. "Don't listen to developers" is fine is you're making some web thing, or an Uber for tubers. If you think you can run a computing platform without support from developers... good luck!

It's fine for Apple to make the current MBP, it fits the needs of many people, I'm sure. Creative and software professionals though, want a truly high-end model to exist, even if it weighs a bit more and is a little thicker. People developing iPhone apps in Swift are hurting because compile times are too slow, and there is no Apple laptop they can buy with high-end CPU.

I get constantly told I'm a unique snowflake and nobody wants the features I want. My response has morphed into one of:

1. I don't bother giving feedback much anymore

2. I invented my own programming language

I keep wanting to invent my own Kindle. Amazon comes out with new version after new version, and they've implemented 0 of my feature suggestions :-(

People are mostly concerned about:

- 16GB max RAM

- Function keys

Personally I am only concerned about the RAM, I don't use the function keys ever and I can remap another key to replace ESC. I would have gladly forked over for a 32GB MBP, instead I just ordered an i7 ThinkPad x220, extra RAM and an SSD to see if I can do my day to day work on it before buying a top spec non-Apple X86 laptop.

It's worth mentioning that because they use Skylake, they have two options for memory: LPDDR3 and DDR4. For lower power consumption, they went with LPDDR3, and the controller only supports up to 16 GB. When Phil Schiller says they can't do 32 GB because of power consumption, he's referring to DDR4 requiring more power.

Interesting tidbit, the x260, which is the current version of what the x220 was, has a limit of... 16 GB memory.

I know. I'd most likely buy a Dell XPS.

You're probably better off with alienware for processing power and hardcore specs, unless you're doing CAD and need the certified drivers/hardware. Workstation model laptops have a huge markup, and gaming models often meet or beat their specs for less.

I don't see a 32GB XPS on their site.

Dell XPS 13" (9350) goes up to 16GB - soldered on, not upgradable.

Dell XPS 15" (9550) goes up to 32GB - upgradable after purchase with 2x memory slots.


Links for the 15" with 32GB:

Dell Australia: http://www.dell.com/au/p/xps-15-9550-laptop/pd?oc=z510896au&...

Dell USA: http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/productdetails/xps-15-9550-la...

I have to had a TrackPoint (so no Dell for me), and I like smaller, 13 inches laptop. From what I have found, 16 GB is the maximum that exists.

Some Dell models do have trackpoints. for example, http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/latitude-e5570-laptop/pd

My number one consern was weight. I've been carrying my MBP for the last 3 years working out of coffee shops and co-working spaces. I'm tired of lugging around 4.5 lbs. Especially when there are 2 lbs 15 inch notebooks. Apple lowered the weight .3 lbs to 4.1, still double the lightest 15 incher.

Not sure how to say this without sounding offensive, but that seems you're very finicky, have some extreme environmental/situational requirements or like you have a medical condition resulting in serious physical weakness.

Your body will naturally fluctuate double that in a day without your knowing.

No offense taken. Basically I'm jealous of people that can get by with Macbook Air or Macbook. I see no reason a Macbook Pro can't be much lighter. I do WebGL and Unity stuff and both the air and macbook just don't cut it so I have to have a reasonable gpu option. I also do lots of cross platform stuff so I run lots of VMs (Windows, Linux, even older versions of OSX) so I need lots of storage and lots of ram.

Given the MacBook Pro has been 4.4 lbs for 4 years and given other companies have managed to make much lighter 15 inch machines it just seemed inevitable that the new MacBook Pros would also be much lighter. Maybe not 2.4 lbs lighter but certainly more then the 0.3 lbs we got. Basically it's not enough to justify upgrading so yea I'm disappointed and given I'll probably have to wait another 2+ years for any hope of getting something lighter from Apple it's certainly on my radar to consider switching.

As for my body, for whatever reason 4.5 lbs on my shoulders or back feels much heavier than 4.5 lbs of fluids in my body. Especially in hot/humid areas like pretty much anywhere in Asia in the summer.

Let me add, if they had announced machines that were significantly lighter don't you think people would be more excited? I can even imagine Apple coming up with some name like "The new Lighter MacBook Pro made with AirSteel(tm). The Macbook Pro's AirSteel case is 1/3 the weight of aluminum and twice as strong!"

I'm quite in shape, and yet I also find it tiring to lug around a laptop to and from work. There's a big difference between carrying a few pounds in body weight, and carrying it concentrated on one shoulder.

(A backpack would probably feel better than a messenger bag, but my local train line is often too crowded to carry a backpack)

>(A backpack would probably feel better than a messenger bag, but my local train line is often too crowded to carry a backpack)

I've commuted on the Central line in London with a backpack and it's fine. The only place where it might get more rammed is Tokyo - where you get shoved onto the train. Just put it on the ground between your legs.

> checks /u/ramchips' user profile

>see's ramchip is in Tokyo

Well, uh. Carry on then.

Real men have huge computers

I honestly don't want to come off like that, but if 2 vs 4 lbs is someone's primary concern then it sounds like a great laptop.

halving the weight is a problem ... it could be solved if they used something other than allu for the body, maybe go for carbon or a hybrid allu/carbon case.

have you ever considered getting an Air and using AWS for power? i might be clueless, thinkpad user here. and i lob a 19cell flatbattery around that weighs at 0.5 kilo itself.

Out of curiosity, what's the lightest 15-incher you refer to? How do they compare in terms of spec? I'm particularly interested in the materials used in construction. Which MBP do you have?

I have a 2014 15" MBP maxed out.

LG makes a 15" 2.1 lbs laptop. The case is made of magnesium alloy. The specs aren't as good as a MBP but that's not really the point. The point is NOT that I want the LG. The point is that it seems possible to make the MBP much lighter.

Examples: An i7 doesn't weigh pounds more than an i5. 32gig of ram does not weight pounds more than 8gig of ram. 2TB SSD does not weigh pounds more than 512GB SSD. I have no idea if a 15" HD-DPI display weighs a lot more than a 15" 1920 display weighs. The LG even has all standard ports 4 USB-A type plugs, HDMI, etc. There was no need to make it thinner and switch to USB-C mini to get the weight down.

So that basically seems to leave battery, second GPU, case, fans, maybe keyboard and display as what's making the MBP stay heavy. I guess I tend to believe the LG with the same specs as the MBP would be at least 1 pound lighter than the current MPB


You can and I do and have for years. This is becoming the most tired criticism around here regarding the new Pros.

Not to mention the Esc and function keys still exist.

Me neither. Thankfully the 13 inch mode doesn't have a toxh strip so the upgrade is clear.

The 13-inch model has only two USB-C ports instead of four.

It is actually less than two USB-C ports. There is no separate power port.

ctrl + [ changed my vi life.

You can be happy to be using a keyboard layout where that is an option. As far as I can see, I cannot type ^[ on a German QWERTZ because [ is AltGr+8. AltGr apparently takes precedence over Ctrl, so Ctrl+AltGr+8 still produces "[".

I think developers aren't as upset about it as they may seem, it's more of a vocal minority within developers as a whole. There have already been threads on github+youtrack for adding touch bar support and features to Atom and IntelliJ, which should alleviate many issues you'd see from the lack of function keys imo.

Right. They don't give a fuck about us so it's hard to continue giving a fuck about them. But the question for them is, will they really be better off in the long term giving the creatives the middle finger?

I am not sure if developers and designers fill a similar function as sneaker heads do for Nike. Those savvy consumers are also influencers and trendsetters who keep the brand strong.

But creative pros are and always have been their market. I can only assume that Apple either knows what we need better than we do, and people are going to eventually really love these, or this really is a stumble.

I've gotta say. I'd use that device (on your [2] link) way more than my phone. Well... I wouldn't use it as a phone, but still.

Not to beat a dead horse but I'm also considering abandoning Apple as I'm due an upgrade now.

I'm still using a MBP from 2010 that I added an SSD and some extra ram too, it's still going strong although showing it's age it has served me very well over the years.

Gluing parts in that used to be user replaceable, models now are 16gb of ram only (can someone explain this one?), thinness for thinness sake, removing standard ports etc. I can live with non-apple hardware but I would much prefer to use MacOS. Considering dual-booting a hackingtosh/linux.

I get the impression they are trying to transition their laptops to life cycles closer to their phones and I won't be coming along for the ride.

> "models now are 16gb of ram only (can someone explain this one?)"

"Apple told me MBP maxes out at 16GB RAM because LPDDR3 limit is 16GB/chip; Apple uses it because of performance/energy ratio."


So basically, it needed to be thin and light ... because, Apple ... which limits the size of the battery. And more RAM would consume more energy, requiring the device to potentially be thicker and heavier to accommodate a larger battery in order to meet their runtime expectations.

If it was all about battery savings, then why not use DDR4? DDR4 is more power efficient [1]

[1] http://www.memcon.com/pdfs/proceedings2013/track2/Designing_...

Your link compares DDR4 against DDR3, but you should be comparing DDR4 against LPDDR3.

Why not LPDDR4 against LPDDR3? LPDDR4 is also more efficient and has better density.

Skylake does not support LPDDR4, nor does Kaby Lake (except with their ultra-low power chips).

I don't think we're going to see 32 GB RAM in the ultrabook category until LPDDR4 is supported by Intel in their mobile-class processors.

Edit: AnandTech suggests that LPDDR3 is 25-30% more power efficient than DDR4. (http://www.anandtech.com/show/6326/additional-details-on-mic...)

That might be so, but the macbook air is the ultrabook series and the mac book pro should be the work horse series.

I have a Dell Precision 5510 that supports up to 32GB of RAM and also has Skylake Mobile Xeon. Alas, it is plagued with tons of issues.

Cost. Margins. Their current price point is already an increase. Not sure what using DDR4 would do to that but presumably newer tech translates to higher costs.

~~Older MBPs were thicker and could support 32GB. So Apple both cut away a little bit thickness for no reason, and then used that as an excuse to drop max RAM support? Something smells odd about that conclusion.~~

EDIT: No 32GB MBP ever existed. My bad.

There was a MBP that supported 32 GB of RAM ?

No if there was I'd still be using it.

They never could support 32GB of RAM AFAIK.

> models now are 16gb of ram only (can someone explain this one?)

Which other laptop were you going to buy that supports more than 16 GB? How much does it cost? What's it size, weight, color depth and battery life?

As far as I know, the new Surface Book also only supports 16 GB of RAM. Or the new Razer Blade. The Razer Blade Pro can have 32GB of RAM, but it is twice as heavy and twice the volume of the 15" MBP.

Lenovo have a bunch of laptops which support 32GB and even 64GB RAM at under $2k like the T460. Then again, some of them don't have great SSDs or displays.


The standard two slot SO-DIMM laptops can support 32 GB now thanks to 8Gbit DDR4. There was also 8Gbit DDR3 that is less common and more expensive, but is supported by Broadwell for example.

The field was even more scarce 4 years ago. At the time, 16gb in a laptop was extremely rare. Apple won a lot of business (including mine) by showing that it was possible. Some people (including me) thought they would have spent some of the following 4 years figuring out how to keep moving up. Unfortunately, it looks like they actually spent that time pushing an MBP into an MBA chassis and adding a touch sensor that other manufacturers were shipping 10 years ago.

> The field was even more scarce 4 years ago

Dell Precision and HP EliteBook W series had more than 16GB well before that; several in the company where I worked had 20 and 24GB. Neither was obscure or exotic, both were aimed at the same professional market and were 'standard issue' for the top-tier in many large companies.

Apr 2011 ... the EliteBook 8540w can accommodate up to 32GB of memory

April 25, 2011 ... The Precision mobile workstations can handle up to 32GB of 1333MHz RAM and 16GB 1600MHz RAM

> Dell Precision and HP EliteBook W

... were (and are) big-ass mobile workstations. MBPr were much lighter and thinner but still super-powerful - there was no competition in that weight/volume segment. Today, with Dell XPS, Razer, Surface and so on (even the Purism Librem is basically the same shape), we have plenty of alternatives in that segment, so there were two options really: move into the Air segment, or raise the bar for performance again. They chose the former, people complaining were expecting the latter.

Yea, it was 4Gbit DDR3 DRAM that made it possible in most laptops. We are now moving to 8Gbit DDR4.

Compare the new rMBP against a Thinkpad P50 that is much cheaper yet 4K, Xeon and upto 64GB.

It's a bit of a hulk being the weight of a 2012 MBP.

If you (or anyone reading) are attached to macOS in any way, getting a maxed out 2015 Macbook Pro might be a decent option. Refurbished might be a cheaper option as well.

Sure, you're paying for "older" hardware, so I can understand being hesitant, but they still hold up fine and will last for a long time.

Note that I don't use virtual machines, games, or video editing software so the 16gb of RAM is more than enough.

> Note that I don't use virtual machines, games, or video editing software so the 16gb of RAM is more than enough.

I don't use games or video editing software, but I have 2 virtualbox machines running, one with Debian and one with Windows 10 for testing purposes, along with always on Docker containers. My 16GB of ram on my mid-2015 near maxed out 15" rMBP with a Dell 27" 4k display hooked up holds up very well.

  >models now are 16gb of ram only
Do you have a use for more than 16gb? Serious question.

I'm often noticing a ton of swapping going on, causing serious system-wide lag, when I have a few dozen Chrome tabs and two VM's running in addition to a few other standard programs which use a lot of memory (Slack).

It's not hard to rub up against 16GB in a standard developer workflow.

Glad to know it's not just me that sees performance and memory issues with Slack...

> a few dozen Chrome tabs

There's your problem.

I agree. Chrome is a big bloat on Windows and OS X/macOS. I find Safari to be quite lean (memory and energy consumption) on OS X/macOS. I miss that Firefox is not keeping up since it's the most flexible browser for my use.

No not really, while Chrome certainly isn't perfect it's usually using less than 10% of my memory. I don't think the objections would go away if it supported 17GB, or even 18GB.

There are legitimate reasons to need that much RAM. What I don't see people doing though, is asking if they are using the correct tool (laptop) for the job (video editing, data processing, compiling, etc).

If your workflow is Mac-oriented, buying a trashcan Mac Pro right now is really expensive for pretty outdated hardware. MBPs are pretty much the only game in town.

If you're doing video editing with FCPX and/or Motion, those dual GPUs in the MacPro help a lot!

Sure, but the hardware's anemic for the price. The MBP is pretty much at the reasonable spot on the price/performance curve.

(I use an MBP as the brain of a multi-camera video studio; I totally get why one would buy a Pro. But I'd pull 100% off of Macs before buying one.)

There is also desktops and servers, both of which may be much better for rendering, running VMs, etc.

There is no serious Mac desktop except for the stunningly overpriced Mac Pro.

There is no serious Mac server, period.

If your in the apple ecosystem then you aren't worried about over priced products.

This is...objectively wrong? The "Apple Tax" hasn't, up until the current generation and maybe (depending on your metrics) the prior one, been a serious thing for a decade. They've consistently released price-competitive systems that come with what's probably the best multi-purpose desktop OS on the planet.

Don't do the middlebrow thing. It never works.

Yes, here is my system right now.


Running multiple VMs

Shit... Just one will start to put strain on the system.

If I'm developing an iOS/Android frontend in osx with Xamarin Studio and an asp.net backend with Visual Studio, then 16gb just won't do.

Not sure about Xamarin studio, but for Xcode, AppCode, PHPStorm anr Virtualbox 16GB still does do.

Workload expands to use all available resources. 640kb etc etc etc...

Multi-threaded builds of C++ codebases that make gratuitous use of template meta programming.

You should offload the build to a compile cluster. Especially if there are multiple developers doing this it will be worth setting it up.

How does one do this for XCode builds? Especially with the sad state of the Mac Mini.

> I get the impression they are trying to transition their laptops to life cycles closer to their phones and I won't be coming along for the ride.

Does that lifecycle mean a refresh every year for the MBP (or gasp, other Macs)??? That would have millions of people screaming with joy if that ever happened. Based on the last few years, it's quite clear that Apple does not believe in spec refreshes or in selling more of the Mac lineup. Apple seems to want to focus only on portables a little bit, followed by all-in-ones (iMac).

Sadly, it seems like Macs have become hobby items for Apple. Something to work on with spare time. I'm very frustrated that the Mac mini has not been updated for more than two years and that it doesn't have user replaceable RAM and HDD.

What are you considering as your next purchase?

Apple built its PC business on the backs of creative professionals because they were among the few groups who thought Macs were worth more than $0.00, thanks to its superior experience with Adobe's creative suite when compared to Windows.

Apple now has a dominant position in the PC market, not because they catered to creative professionals, but because they listened to their initial creative audience and focused on making their computers better.

Apple doesn't focus on the Mac Pro because they want to abandon creatives, it is simply because the Mac Pro doesn't enable any meaningful use-cases not served by the 5k iMac or its notebook line.

Form-factor, screen quality, battery life, weight, speed of I/O, and all the other design goals the author dismisses, are perhaps the most important metrics meaningful for the current generation of laptop buyers, including professionals.

"Apple doesn't focus on the Mac Pro because they want to abandon creatives, it is simply because the Mac Pro doesn't enable any meaningful use-cases not served by the 5k iMac or its notebook line."

Well said. This thought has been banging around in my head half-formed for the past couple of days. Thanks for expressing it so succinctly. I think this also answers why Apple has made the decision to limit/remove expansion and upgrade options in their hardware.

"Apple built its PC business on the backs of creative professionals because they were among the few groups who thought Macs were worth more than $0.00, thanks to its superior experience with Adobe's creative suite when compared to Windows."

This idea of creatives being the core market for Apple during its early years is often floated. I'm not questioning its veracity, though I'm curious if anyone knows of references that backs this up with numbers or research? Education was a pretty big market early on as well. How do they compare?

> This idea of creatives being the core market for Apple during its early years is often floated. I'm not questioning its veracity, though I'm curious if anyone knows of references that backs this up with numbers or research?

Check out Steve Job's first keynote after returning to Apple in 1997 starting at 18:35. He enumerates the assets the company still has at its disposable to claw its way out of almost imminent bankruptcy. He specifically mentiones creative proffesionals and educators and backs them up with some interesting stats.


Thanks! I pulled out some of the stats:

From 1997 Macworld Expo

- Apple marketshare: 7%

- 80% of all computers used in advertising, graphic design, prepress, printing

- 64% of Internet websites created on Macintosh

- ~ 10-15% Mac sales traced back to people using Adobe Photoshop

- Apple single largest education company in the world

- 60% of all computers in education were Apple

- 64% of computers teachers use were Apple

- Over $2 billion business in education

Also of note: Steve was not wearing a black turtleneck.

So it's pretty clear what segments of the market Apple was dominant in.

The question in my mind is related, but slightly different: what percentage of Apples revenues and profits came from these segments? Were there other markets out there that perhaps Apple wasn't dominant in but still contributed significantly to Apple's overall revenues? That said, I wouldn't be surprised if these two segments were the majority.

> The question in my mind is related, but slightly different: what percentage of Apples revenues and profits came from these segments? Were there other markets out there that perhaps Apple wasn't dominant in but still contributed significantly to Apple's overall revenues? That said, I wouldn't be surprised if these two segments were the majority.

Unfortunately Apple's financial reports don't break things down in detail necessary to answer your question, but because of the power hindsight, we know that Steve gave this keynote when Apple was months away from folding (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/09/19/steve-jobs-apple-almost-...).

If Apple had other significant sources of revenue, he likely would have touted them as prominently as he did educators and creative professionals. Since he didn't, we can conclude with some level confidence that these were the only sources of ongoing significant revenue.

> Apple now has a dominant position in the PC market, not because they catered to creative professionals, but because they listened to their initial creative audience and focused on making their computers better.

How are they at all dominant in the PC market?

PC meaning Personal Computer market, not the Windows/IBM PC.

And how are the dominant in that? They've got about 5% of the market share.

Great and valid point. My counter to that is that despite having only 5% of the market share they take home 45% of the profit. [1]

They also continue to erode the marketshare of the current leaders even as the overall PC market shrinks. [2]

[1] http://fortune.com/2013/04/16/pie-chart-of-the-day-apples-ov...

[2] http://www.siliconbeat.com/2015/10/09/report-apple-widens-sh...

That doesn't make them dominant in any way. That's only a good thing for apple shareholders and bad for their customers.

> That doesn't make them dominant in any way. That's only a good thing for apple shareholders and bad for their customers.

Yes it does. They are the envy of every other device manufacturer, and not just because they make the most money.

The reason why Apple gets more profit than its competitors despite lower market share is because customers are willing to pay high prices for a better computer. How do we know this? When surveyed, users have consistently give Apple top marks in customer satisfaction. They've done it 13 years in a row.


True. Apple makes most if it's money from mobile devices and the app store.

A lot of video shops also used Mac extensively for decades. It seems it wasn't only good marketing, they were alright for this profession.

Saying this lightly, I was a kid in the 90s, but I do remember a lot of ads for large Mac stacks (towers, disks, video cards, etc). Tiny SGIs in a way.

49% in 2007 is a figure cited in the Final Cut Pro Wikipedia article.


Notable films include Benjamin Button and one of the X-Men: Wolverine films.

> video shops

Presumably you mean video editing shops and not blockbusters? Our video shops were green screen terminals on DOS until... well until they ceased existence.

I couldn't say which precisely, maybe only part of the market, maybe some part of the post production pipeline. Surely lots were done on Flame like systems, which AFAIK weren't Mac based.

> Apple now has a dominant position in the PC market

Mmmh... how so? Internationally, Apple has less than 5% market share compared to Windows PC. And that number appears to be destined to drop if the reactions to the new generation are any indication.

From that 5% market share they capture approximately 45% of the profits.


That number is nonsense. If you follow the source, it comes from Dediu, who's a well known Apple apologist, and if you read his own article, there's no substance to it.

I'd love it if we could find actual, objective numbers.

To be honest I don't really know much about Dediu but I did read his article and I didn't get the impression that it lacked substance.

What is wrong with his methodology or assumptions that invalidate the 45% number?

I am honestly curious because I don't want to continue to cite a bad source.

>Apple now has a dominant position in the PC market


Lenovo, Dell, HP, ASUS = 64% marketshare. Apple=7%.


Apple laptops are not dominant, they are a large niche. Microsoft dominates the PC market.

Hello All, i am the OP of: https://petersphilo.org/#post-71

Just wanted to add a couple of things: Pro hardware can exist and has existed at Apple for most of its existence, please look back at the post and comments for evidence..

My point was not that Apple should choose between 'pro' hardware and consumer/boutique hardware, in fact, Apple has a long tradition of keeping both happy..

Maybe Apple really isn't interested in the Mac any more, or even in developers. But who makes the apps, the games, etc..

Why not keep power users, keep their 'street cred' as the 'creative platform' and make a little (a lot, actually) scratch on the side...

Old geezer cries out: Can't we all just get along?

Developers on Mac were always using the same computers as everyone else.

I don't remember having a Mac Classic Pro or a LC Pro and so forth.

Very odd your selective memory. You don't remember the Macintosh IIfx?


Back in those days the Mac was almost nonexistent in Portugal.

There was just one official importer, Interlog, and buying anything Mac related meant traveling to Lisbon.

So the first time I actually programmed on a Mac was in 1994, on Classic and LC models.

The only ones available on the university campus on a single room! I think there were around 10 there.

The remaining ones were located in the IT department, used by the secretaries and a few teachers.

Ah! Boa tarde, então ;)

So you were using education-targeted macs, but there were always pro-level computers from Apple ever since the very early days (Lisa, Apple IIGS, Power Mac G3, G4, G5, etc). It's only once they discontinued the cheese grater Power Mac that things started to get pretty bad for users who need expansion and massive power.

I'm looking forward to seeing what John Gruber over at Daring Fireball will have to say about all this, since his perspective tends to lean heavily toward giving Apple the benefit of the doubt and all I've seen so far is relentless negativity about the new MacBook Pro lineup.

Personally, I'm extremely disappointed - I've been desperately holding off buying a new MacBook Pro to replace the aging mid-2012 non-retina model I'm still using, but what would I really be upgrading for now? I already have 16gb of RAM and a big SSD, sure I don't have a Touch Bar but I don't give a shit about it anyway. The only thing I truly need is a retina screen and for that I could just buy a second-hand MBP for substantially less money, and I wouldn't need to buy a thousand dongles.

Same here. I only wished for 32 GB RAM (would happily pay for 64 GB even with Apple premium, but hey).

I agree with the gist of the letter. Watching "Truth in 24" makes me appreciate Audi so much more.

I thought this snippet from Jason Snell summarizes the new MacBook Pro offering well:

"I don’t quite get the existence of the low-end, non-Touch-Bar-having 13-inch MacBook Pro. On stage, Phil Schiller argued that it was essentially a Retina replacement for the 13-inch MacBook Air, and I can see that. But it’s $500 more and is it really a MacBook Pro? Does the MacBook Pro line need to have this extra product attached at the bottom of it, lacking the most interesting feature of the rest of the line?

"Then again, it’s not really a MacBook either, because it’s heavier and has two Thunderbolt 3 ports rather than the one USB-C port on the MacBook. It’s a tweener product and Apple has apparently decided that it doesn’t want to introduce another new name to its laptop line, so MacBook Pro it is. But it’s weird. Not necessarily bad—it really does fill a niche that’s between the full-on MacBook Pro and the MacBook—but weird nonetheless."


I think this is likely the beginning of a correction in Apple's laptop offerings. MacBook/MacBook Air/MacBook Pro was a departure from the consumer/pro split. Apple was overdue in updating the MacBook Pro and got a bit caught in the power/CPU/memory state of current offerings. For a lot of people the new MacBook Pro will be good. Just not the Pro (some) are looking for. Hopefully we will see a true Pro model next Fall.

Agreed on the price. I was holding out for a retina MBP/MBA around the $1,000 mark. As things stand though, I'll probably add another 4 GB ram to my 2011 MBA and use it for a few more years.

The 15inch MBP has i7 Quad Core processor, Radeon graphics and double the RAM than the default 13inch models. This is not a minor jump in performance. I agree that they do sometimes prioritize size, thickness and beauty over performance but I don't see what else could go into the 15inch MBP that it currently lacks?

The new Macbooks are so close to being great it's annoying. The specs are fine by me and I'm neutral on the Touch Bar, but the price and lack of ports just makes them not worth it. While I'm glad Apple is trying to move the industry to use USB-C for everything, it wouldn't had killed them to include some USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port.

It's going to be at least 3-5 years until the industry uses USB-C and by that point a new series of Macbook Pro will have been released.

This applies to the non-Touch Bar Macbook as well. Price and specs are fine, but why does it only have two USB-C ports?

The lack of USB 3.0 ports I can understand. USB-C is the successor and, while still common, those older USB ports are legacy technology now. But HDMI is still current tech. The latest TVs still all use HDMI and requiring a special cable to hook up my laptop to a TV is a non-starter since the typical use case is hooking up my laptop to a friend's TV using the cable that's already plugged into their TV.

It feels like the removal of the HDMI port is an attempt to get people to buy an AppleTV. On this "pro" model of laptop, they don't want people connecting it to a TV. But, at least for me, this doesn't cover my use case.

> it wouldn't had killed them to include some USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port.

Magsafe, USB Type A, HDMI, and Mini DisplayPort / Thunderbolt 1/2 are all literally too wide to fit within the width of the new laptop’s sides. They would have needed to make the whole laptop noticeably thicker or otherwise differently shaped to fit any of those. The headphone jack barely fits.

> They would have needed to make the whole laptop noticeably thicker

Or, they could have just stayed at the level of thickness Macbook Pros already had.

My current laptop is thinner than the new 13" Macbook Pro (bearly, by just 0.5mm). Way thinner than the 15" Macbook Pro.

Yet it has full sized USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C port, SD slot and an HDMI port.

The only reason those ports don't fit on the new MacBooks, is because the bottom curves up near the edges.

Oh, don't tease! :) What's your current machine?

Nothing special: Acer Aspire S.

And it's far from the only ultrabook around that thickness with those kind of ports. I'm just amused that it has more variety of ports than the Pro machine which costs 3 to 4 times as much. (though, no thunderbolt 3)

But it's not even in the same market as the Macbook Pro, it should be competing with the Macbook. I was kind of hoping to upgrade it to a Macbook Pro when the new model was released.

Presumably a Carbon X1 or similar.

Apple is removing ports for a reason.. Jhonny Ive just revealed a couple days/weeks ago I'm not sure that Apple was headed towards a wireless future.. and that seems to be the reason they're reducing/removing ports.

> I'm glad Apple is trying to move the industry to use USB-C for everything

They make the device itself simple & light, but at the expense of having a ton of octopuses hanging around for whenever you actually need to plug it into anything. They've been doing this for a while, including the Mac Pro.

Yeah, this is basically my opinion too. Luckily I was due for an upgrade last year when the Broadwells came out so Im set for a few years, otherwise this would have been a painful update for me.

I believe is fair for them to raise prices if they need to in order to properly achieve their targets. I'm willing to pay those prices every 3-4years for a better machine where I do 100% of my work. But they need to make them worth the price!

Instead, they removed a lot of useful things used every day by me, added things many won't have a use for (I use my laptop docked most of the time) and still they didn't make them top of the line spec wise (8gb/256gb at 2000$, max only 16gb), while being 500$ for the same BTO options!.

hopefully they would include USB3.1.

Do you mean to say you wish they would include USB-A?

It will be interesting to benchmark the new Razer laptops against these new MacBook Pros. On paper the Razer will seemingly far outperform the MBP, at the same size, at actually cheaper cost. That being said, I'll wait for benchmarks to draw final conclusions.

I wish Razer would ditch the souped up Honda Civic vibe, the internals on the machines look cool. That green logo is terrible.

That's like asking Apple to stop making minimalist aluminum laptops—the gaudy lights and green logo are part of the experience.

The logo is a nontrivial part of why I don't buy Razer gear. I would feel dumb bringing that into a client's office.

> Radeon graphics

That's like saying car has combustion engine.

> I don't see what else could go into the 15inch MBP that it currently lacks?

* Razer Blade[1]: 0.70", 4.30lbs. VR-ready performance. i7, DDR4, PCIe SSD, GTX1060. Starts at $1800.

* Gigabye Aero[2]: 0.78", 4.16lbs. VR-ready performance. i7, DDR4, PCIe SSD, GTX1060. Starts at $1500.

MBP is fine if you don't need performance. It straddles the line between netbook and laptop - which is probably why it does so well. Most people don't need more. However, Apple does not service the market that needs more in any way whatsoever. They probably never will: regardless of where the cost of Apple products comes from, they cannot compete with the bang-for-buck of the above examples (neither support Linux very well).

[1]: http://www.razerzone.com/gaming-systems/razer-blade [2]: http://www.gigabyte.co.za/products/product-page.aspx?pid=613...

An escape key.

(Sorry, it was too easy)

2 more ram slots.

What you're seeing is people who never really liked Apple or its products, but ended up using them anyway because they were clear best-in-class products, and who consistently posted rants and conspiracy theories about Apple and threatened to jump ship at the earliest possible opportunity. And now they have what they see as an opportunity to exit while doing the most damage to a company they hate, by portraying the current hardware lineup as fatally flawed in all sorts of ways.

Time will tell whether an extremely loud but mostly not-rationally-arguing crowd can really have an impact.

When people who use your products because they are best in class stop using them the clear message is they no longer think they are best in class.

Being a fan and using Apple sends very little signal regarding their quality. Being agnostic and using Apple sends a larger signal. Right now the signal seems to be that Apple is no longer making professional class hardware. Fans and status symbol seekers will still want them. People who need to get work done will slowly stop wanting them.

I really do think we're seeing a lot of people who either A) despite furiously posting about how they're "done with Apple" and this was "the last straw", etc. (and doing this at literally every product refresh) are still going to buy iPhones and Macbook laptops, or B) mostly only used a Mac because it was issued to them at work and now are going to demand something different because they think they can make a case against Apple.

I think A is probably true. But I think you may be wrong on the B. Very few companies that I'm aware of forces someone to use a Mac. If you use one it's because you asked for it. If you stop asking for it you'll get something else.

Right, but the point is the specs really haven't changed since 2013... it's a very minor upgrade over the 3 year-old laptops. Would be curious to see what the benchmarks come back as, but I'd guess no more than a 10% improvement for common activities at most.

MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Late 2013)

Model Name: MacBook Pro

Model Identifier: MacBookPro11,3

Processor Name: Intel Core i7

Processor Speed: 2.3 GHz

Number of Processors: 1

Total Number of Cores: 4

L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB

L3 Cache: 6 MB

Memory: 16 GB

Which CPU exactly were you hoping for instead of i7-6920HQ?

Totally new CPU architecture lookup skylake vs the older haswell.

For me it comes down to a simple thing. When you launch 2 of your major products separated by 2 months (iPhone and Macbook Pro) and they can't work together without an adapter because you are using different ports in the iPhone and cannibalising ports in the MacBook Pro, then your company by definition, lacks vision and aim.

We can apologize Apple all we want, we can pretend there is a greater vision going on behind the scenes, but sorry, it just isn't, I can't even use the headphones from my new iPhone to listen music/sound in my new MacBook Pro (not alone connect my iPhone to the MacBook Pro to charge/transfer media with the lightning port) without an adapter.

That's an utter lack of vision, development path, aims of the products. It's literally a mess.

The reason motorcycle companies invest in racing is not just to establish cred, but to actually push the boundaries of technology and innovation that they can then incorporate into their "consumer" models.

A "true Pro grade" computer offers no such advantage - in fact most of the innovation comes from making things smaller and thinner - as soon as you take away the weight/size restriction, sure you can make supercomputers in a box, but it's also pretty darn easy to do so.

And the final point - consumer bike customers usually watch bike racing, and probably dream of being a pro bike racer - few Mac customers could care less about "digital creative professionals" and don't really want to emulate being one of them.

>A "true Pro grade" computer offers no such advantage - in fact most of the innovation comes from making things smaller and thinner - as soon as you take away the weight/size restriction, sure you can make supercomputers in a box, but it's also pretty darn easy to do so.

Except that it's not easy to put supercomputer-level performance in a lightweight box (with decent battery life) that you can slip into your bag.

If Apple really wanted to push the boundaries in that way - getting great performance while still using an impossibly small laptop - there's actually a few directions they could've gone in, namely anything where you push computation into the cloud and then see the results locally. Basically come to market saying "you Windows/Linux schmucks and your tons of local VM's. You don't need that, we'll run your VM's in the cloud, and we'll make it Apple-easy for you to do so." No more local rendering, local building, nothing. The original assets are kept on some Apple cloud, a cache is kept on your machine, and whenever you start an operation, it starts the operation both on the cache and on the Apple cloud, and if the Apple cloud finishes first, then the results are returned to your computer.

Unfortunately, Apple just doesn't care anymore about its professional customers. It started with the EOL for XServe (which could've been transitioned, along with OS X Server, into a private-cloud oriented offering) and it has worked its way down into its end-user offerings.

I think that's unlikely. There are far more economical ways of pushing boundaries of technology than racing. And the technology for racing really only has a very small overlap for the sorts of R&D needed for a market competitive car or motorcycle.

few Mac customers could care less about "digital creative professionals" and don't really want to emulate being one of them.

What do you think most Mac users want?

A next-gen iPhone.

I feel like Tim Cook decided to double down on the "Apple as a luxury brand" business model.

If that's the focus, then it makes sense to emphasize thinness, aesthetics, and raise the price at the same time.

Microsoft on the other hand seem to be working hard on winning developer mindshare again, as they know they can't compete with Apple in the branding space.

I hope the surface book 2 will have a 32gb option.

Alas without the 3-finger drag gesture on the Surfacebook, it's a non-starter for me. It's horrifying to think that even though the hardware supports it, that gesture is patented and cannot be used.

Given the Mac's history in the last few years, and the fact that it only accounts for 12% of Apple's revenue and 8% of shipped units, I see two scenarios:

1) Apple gets out of the Mac business in a few years - Apple is not the kind of company to wait patiently for its product lines to run into the ground. The only reason they really need the Mac is Xcode for all those iOS apps that need to be developed. I wouldn't be surprised to see an Xcode for iCloud, or maybe even some kind of partnership with Microsoft (Visual Studio already lets you build iOS apps, just not in Swift).

2) Apple is working on the Mac's second act (third?), which could only be a switch to ARM. It makes business sense because a lot of the R&D will be united between iOS and Mac - making those A9s and A10s sure isn't cheap. And it explains the lackluster progress from customers' perspective.

My bet is on #1, so all the criticism about the MacBook's ports or RAM is just barking up the wrong tree.

Companies don't just "abandon" $20B/year businesses, and it will sure take a lot more than a "few years" for that to decline to make a comparison to iPhone's inevitable cannibalization of the iPod. Additionally, they see iOS devices and Macs as completely distinct, thus not merging them into one like the Surface attempts. Your theories… are pretty much ludicrous.

> The only reason they really need the Mac is Xcode for all those iOS apps that need to be developed.

This is simply not true. MacOS is at the very least a companion OS that gets more and more tightly integrated with the iOS devices. App handover, now also copy/paste, etc etc. An iPhone without a Mac loses many of its advantages over Android. Let alone that there are no signs Apple is going to abandon the Mac business as you say, the recent MBP announcements being the best proof of it.

On (2) switching to ARM: I personally don't believe in this, because this will break a lot of software and will seriously piss off a lot of people. The switch to Intel was relatively easier back in the day because the Mac user base at the time was laughable and there was a big promise that the Macs will become a lot more powerful. I know about the bitcode and stuff, but the more I think about it, the less I believe Apple is prepared to make the switch for its laptops and desktops. Maybe, just maybe one separate product line like MacBook Air switches to ARM, but then what's the point?

The switch to x86 from PPC turned out to be such a ridiculous win in terms of overall performance and compatibility that the community's initial reaction (omg! Nooooo!) was defused.

Apple also did a good job with Rosetta, which they kept around for quite some time. You'll note that Intel has folks that have done binary translation of ARM in an attempt to grab some mobile market share. The same could be done on the x86 => ARM side.

But it only works if the result is fast enough. We're probably still not that close today, but what odds would you take on 5 years? If most of the software folks are writing on macs is for other Apple ARM-based products, it doesn't sound so crazy to emulate x86 for people doing "server" work.

There's simply no point for Apple to switch desktop CPU architectures unless there's a unavoidably compelling reason to do so. The move to Intel met this high threshold easily.

A modest cost saving doesn't qualify and would be partially swallowed up by R&D costs. Energy/thermal savings might be a reason in theory, but how much of a laptop's energy use goes to the CPU anyway? Apple seems to be doing just fine with Intel's low-TDP parts anyway.

Apple will never abandon the development platform they themselves want. So we get to piggyback on their self-interest...

To be honest that zoolander phone is utterly excellent and if it were a real thing i would buy it in a heartbeat.

If only so i have a phone i can use for phone calls where i don't need to worry about the battery running out, and which i can stuff into any pocket on my body.

I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but if that Zoolander phone were real, the battery on it might not even last a day.

Depends on whether you stuff an entire android OS into it. With only the minimum in user amenities most of it should still be the battery for a drop of hardware.

Have a look at the Long CZ J8. ~$50, 68mm x 23mm x 11mm.

Dang, that is actually pretty nice. Thanks for the mention. :)

Car companies don't sell their race cars.

But they do sell to the public AMG, Motorsport, and TRD versions of their regular car lines even when they are not 'big sellers'.




just as Apple used to have


I don't know how to explain it -- but as an enthusiast, I sorely, sorely miss the S2000 and hope Honda comes out with something similar. It really feels like it lost something without it.

the new type R is probably the closest they'll make

Yes they do. Homogolation rules mean they have to do exactly that.

But the cars on those competitions are not truly race cars, at least not in the way a normal person would imagine a race car. In fact, homologations rules are in place to prevent true race cars from competing.

F1 and LMP race cars are not sold. Not even FE cars are sold.

In the recent keynote about the MBP refresh with the TouchBar and the professional apps (like Adobe Photoshop and Final Cut Pro) being adapted to it, Apple showed an MBP setup with a couple of 5K LG monitors (which Apple mentioned it worked with LG for) for professional work, along with external RAID storage from Pegasus. The message I got was that MBP is the pro line, which can be "expanded" on the display and storage fronts. Unfortunately, it still leaves RAM and internal storage stuck (pun intended) with whatever came in during the purchase!

At the end of the keynote, I was left with the impression that the Mac Pro is going to be canned in a few months, probably along with the Mac mini - just disappear silently from the store. Even the iMac may get canned in a couple of years, leaving the portable MBP as the sole Mac available. This may be the leading act for introducing an ARM based MBP, thus eliminating the effort to deal with a refresh of other Macs to ARM based chips.

I've expressed my frustration here on this topic before. Apple seems unwilling and incompetent to put in what it takes to show that it still can do and maintain things well.

If you're going to be using the machine professionally and hooking up a couple 5k monitors for doing video or high end photo work, why not connect an external RAID or NAS as well? Are there use cases where one needs to carry around many terabytes of video portably but without access to a 5k monitor?

What is going to happen imho:

Apple is doing and will do a shitload of money anyway.

People will buy Apple stuff anyway because people already are: unless you are an Apple user, you should know how "religious" (I'm being kind here) Apple users are. They have been consciously been buying outdated and overpriced hardware until now, and they have been super proud about this too.

So this is going to last anything from five to ten years at least, still imho.

I have no true idea whether newer apple stuff is so bad or not (besides the idiotic drop of the audio jack on the iPhone). But Apple users have been subject to this Apple-isy for literally decades.

I have a suspicion that now that Apple Macbook Pros are so widespread, complaining about Apple is the new hipsteria.

This is what I feel, reading the news, on a foggy October, almost-November morning.

Meh. With $200B in liquid assets, Apple can do whatever it feels like. If it ever did find itself in the doghouse (unlikely), it could survive there for decades while it figured out how to recapture the mojo.

I don't get the racing analogy. It's not like you can buy a Formula One racing car.

If Apple started making super computers to play chess then the analogy would be valid.

Author says in the comment that F1 is the only competition where you can't buy what is being raced - every other competition requires vehicles that are actually sold.

Besides, you can't buy an F1, but you will buy fast cars from manufacturers based on their F1 results. Ferrari could ship a Jeep tomorrow and people would still buy it thinking it's the fastest Jeep ever.

This is true in name only. NASCAR, despite its name, races cars nobody produces. And you can't buy a MotoGP-spec motorcycle without essentially ordering one custom-built. The same is true for rally car races.

Production car racing is the exception, custom build race car series are the norm.

Even though Touring car and Sports car racing exist, they would be more of an analog to the (hardware manufacturer supplied) overclocking scene, than what is actually required for daily use by professionals, who don't want to sit in cages void of any comfort for endurance races.


Outside HN I really haven't seen posts complaining about the new Apple offerings. So it could be Apple only pissed off a particular type of developers.

Reddit is ablaze. The first comments on Ars were very snarky too.

What subreddits by the way? (I want to have a look)

On /r/apple, keynote megathreads were an angry affair. All subsequent MBP-related threads, even the ones with positive titles, are full of people discussing alternatives. The "preorder" thread has been hastily unpinned.

These are the people who spent a year posting almost-daily "waiting" threads, and who would normally be discussing how to cheat or sell their souls to get the latest gizmo right away. I expect people in /r/pcmasterrace are laughing.

I'm sure that besides what appears in the various media outlets, this being one of them, plenty of people are communicating their dissatisfaction directly to Tim and others in Apple management. But I've come to the conclusion that they don't listen to customers, and they don't really care what we think. So rather than write emails to Tim, I'd like to try and start communicating with Apple's board. Any ideas on how to reach them?

Even if you could reach them, what arguments will you provide them with to even start to consider pushing for a change of plan? As far as they can predict (and they are probably quite knowledgeable about the market) people will buy their laptops and they will make a neat profit. That is, Apple upper management is doing its job — making a profit; having some long term strategic vision.

They are undoubtedly aware of a certain amount of discontent being vented on the internet, and will most likely consider placating it (not addressing it) a process that needs to be looked into to.

If you want to make a difference, vote with your wallet. System76 makes nice laptops, and Dell's XPS line isn't too bad.

Apple inverted the previous Christmas-like feeling of "we have something new for each of you" to a "we've removed something you personally liked" that seems to cover many of us.

I haven't commented yet at all since I think several issues aren't actually as big as people are concerned about them, but overall, I'm frustrated with the situation for computing.

I don't know how Apple works internally, but for me the problem is clearly not Tim Cook, but rather Jony Ive. He seems to be obsessed with some sort of purity that I appreciate in design. However form vs. function is too much of a tension to be bearable within one person. I think Apple lacks folks who weigh in on the functionality side of things. Why? Becasue Ive is magically associated with Jobs, Ive is almost like some medium to get to Jobs, or at least that's how I think some folks perceive him.

In reality Ive seems to be the person who'd rather have a nice TouchBar that spans the whole width of the keyboard instead of keeping just the escape key, which is obviously used much more than the other function keys.

I thought about this a lot and by now I know I'll definitely be okay with it, especially since there's no other non-tactile key near it (meaning my body will know I've hit escape once it touches the flatness that doesn't give in).

Another personal thing for me is the Magsafe. I really liked it not just as a trip-proof charging solution, but also for the way you connect it. It's so effortless, it's fun again and again. It's one of these micro-reinforcements that makes us love products. And again I can see the conflict. The new beauty is that you can dock so many devices and charging with just one single cable. I think that's a pretty great feature.

If there was more functionally thinking folks with power at Apple, they'd probably suggested to keep a Magsafe and allow the MBP to be charged by either that or over the USB-C. But you see how "ugly" even this though is, right?! It's a compromise and so in the end I think the current MacBook Pro is the result of not making any compromise in any of these decisions and that yields the product they showed us.

So part of me hates this chasing of pureness since I see it almost as some neurotic obsession about the visual aesthetics. I guess it would take a lot of self-confidence for a company like Apple to be okay with things that could be easily portrayed as compromises by the press. On the other hand I realize I'm pathetic and I'm not really working on improving any of this, so I thank Apple for pissing us off because it's somehow stimulating as well. (Even if it's just stimulating as in "work harder", so I can buy one of these without thinking too much about it).

I think you're right. If they would have kept MagSafe they could have kept the HDMI port on the other side. But then the MBP wouldn't have been symmetrical. That seems to be the current obsession with Ive. The iPhone 7 is symmetrical as well, even if the new speaker is fake.

k. - Tim Cook

Because remember those popular Mac|Windows commercials from a few years ago? If you want a stodgy get-stuff-done kind of thing then you'll have to talk to some Microsoft nerds sporting antique crap like headphone jacks. Apple only cares about how hip you look, with your brand new airpods and all your disposable income.

As a professional developer, I would have loved to stick with Apple laptops but clearly us pro's aren't one of their target demographics, maybe we never were. (And I don't mean that in a snarky way.)

Metaphorically speaking, sometimes when a girl is nice to us, we think she's more interested in us than she really is. I think Apple was just "being nice" to us in the past and we took it the wrong way.

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