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What the Heck Is Happening at Apple? (cringely.com)
325 points by rfreytag 384 days ago | hide | past | web | 525 comments | favorite



What frustrates me the most is that Apple never admits a mistake.

I'm never going to buy an iPhone without a headphone jack, but reinstating the jack on a future model would be admitting they made a mistake with the iPhone 7.

Likewise, with the new MacBook Pros, they are not going to release an update in a year's time that doesn't sacrifice ports and performance and battery life for size and weight, because doing so would be admitting a mistake. Nor are they going to dramatically cut the prices, such that they are actually affordable for someone, because doing so would be admitting a mistake.


I would be willing to bet that within a decade you HAPPILY buy a phone without a headphone jack, whether that be an Android or iPhone. They're not going backwards because they think they're right, not because they think they're wrong but don't want to admit it.

And the reason they aren't cutting prices is likely because they're more profitable with prices as they are, not because they're afraid of admitting a mistake.


"I would be willing to bet that within a decade you HAPPILY buy a phone without a headphone jack, whether that be an Android or iPhone. They're not going backwards because they think they're right, not because they think they're wrong but don't want to admit it."

I believe that the iphone is by far the best executed mobile phone platform and the best hardware - and has been from day one.

However, I have never purchased or used an iphone because of my stubborn indignation over the lack of plain old USB for charging.

Contrary to all expectation and experience, everyone in the world got together on one little thing - establishing the global standard for USB charging - and the world was actually a very slightly better place. And apple shat all over that, and continues to do so, in order to make (on average) an extra $10 for every iphone sold.

So fuck that and fuck their iphone.


You had me up until the "$10 for every phone sold" bit. Do you seriously believe Apple is happy to willingly sabotage sales of their tens-of-billions cash cow to make a few tens of millions on accessories?

They stuck with 30-pin because it was something their customer base had already bought into, and they didn't want to force a change. They went with Lightning because, let's be honest, micro-USB is shit — every micro-USB device I've owned has had the connector fail within two years. Lightning can handle 12W of power, micro-USB 9W. Lightning is reversible. Lightning has no moving parts on the connector, prone to breaking (or worse) grabbing onto your $700 device with a death grip and bring nigh-unremovable.

It would be great if they switched now to USB-C. They're clearly in the works on that, but didn't want to make a connector change on their phones after only two revs.


In my recollection a micro-USB has never failed. If it has failed it wasn't an issue because I've a heap of them lying around and could just grab another one.

I have had a number of lightning connectors fail on me. They're designed to fail. Pressure-held copper edge-connectors for devices went out with the Commodore 64's user port.

The fact that it is reversible is convenient but hardly worthy of consideration as a feature alongside "ubiquity" "cost" and "durability".

The old iPhone connector had it's limitations but it was established and really quite solid in my experience. Micro USB perhaps has limited features technically, and is ugly, but I don't believe the advantages that Apple presents for lightning outweigh the drawbacks.

As an interface it has a couple of niche use-cases that it fulfils but it is a step backwards in terms of connector design and in fact has a "worse" connector than the two other interfaces it purports to improve upon.

Props to Apple for padding out their profit margin and all that but they can absolutely go and shite if they think I'm going to swallow their "better connector" bullshit.

And they expect me to use it instead of a headphones jack now as well!


Quick Charge 2.0 via microUSB can throw a lot more power down the wire and charges nice and quickly. Plus that same wire can plug into a USB port on anything and charge.

I'm always surprised by folks talking about failing microUSB ports. The microUSB port on my old G2 (HTC Desire Z) still works fine as does the miniUSB port on my G1 (HTC Dream).


> I'm always surprised by folks talking about failing microUSB ports. The microUSB port on my old G2 (HTC Desire Z) still works fine as does the miniUSB port on my G1 (HTC Dream).

I'm always surprised by folks talking about their non-failing micro-USB ports, as if that somehow discounts other people's devices that have failed.


I don't doubt that some fail. But so many who have had them fail make it seem like the ports are absurdly fragile and fail for everyone all the time.


I don't understand the obsession with USB charging. This makes no sense at all to me. How would my life be materially better if my phone charged over USB? My last phone charged over USB and I can't say it felt better.

At this point, you might be tempted to claim that I would be able to use the same cables as other devices. To this, I'll point to the ongoing switch to USB-C and note that's you're buying new cables anyway.

Micro USB was a shitty plug. USB-C is better, but you can actually thank Apple for that, because it's a reaction to the Lightning plug.


Come visit my company gym, we have 20+ perfectly good treadmills that all have outdated iPhone chargers. The best part about micro USB was that it was absolutely ubiquitous. If my phone was dying at a friend's place or at my neighborhood coffee shop chances are I could charge my phone.

My least favorite thing about my 5x is that it's USB-C. I regret upgrading before USB-C became more commonplace.


I don't know how this is an issue for Apple. If those treadmills were micro USB, they'd be trending rapidly toward obsolescence anyway.

I'll note that almost everyone who complains about lightning seems to not be an Apple user. Apple users seem fine with the horror of not sharing cables with Android devices. Apple users are also pretty happy that random hotels and whatnot have docks for their phones.


> I don't know how this is an issue for Apple

Oh, it's absolutely not. Apple makes a killing selling adapters. It's the users who get screwed.


Apple makes hundreds of billions from iPhone sales. They make probably tens of millions from cables.

Suggesting they'd knowingly sabotage #1 for #2 is absurd.


They're making a bet that the sales lost from customers who are willing to switch to Android is less than the profit made from proprietary hardware, and they're probably right.


I think you're going to need a lot more evidence to essentially make the claim that bean-counters have taken over Apple.

Clearly many of these decisions have been popular. I'd even wager that this an unprofitable decision for them, in the short term. This might sound counter to my original assertion that they're sabotaging billions of iPhone revenues for millions of accessory revenues, but it isn't.

There's a third thing they're optimizing for, and I think they're willing to sacrifice both of those revenues for it. USB-C is the "right" thing forward. Bluetooth is the "right" thing forward. They're trying to push the industry towards these things (whether or not it's a good idea is something you can agree or disagree with), and they're willing to sacrifice earnings if they believe make that future come sooner.

Happened with floppy drives, happened with CD drives, and it's happening now with USB-C and the removal of the audio jack. For better or worse, the bean-counters have never been in charge at Apple, and that's been one of their greatest long-term strengths.


I don't know. I bought a lightning cable for my office a week ago for maybe $6. A quick search on Amazon shows an equivalent USB-C cable is actually more if I want to buy from a company with a name I recognize.


What are you talking about? Direct from Apple it's $20, on Amazon both will run you $5-$10. But that's not the point anyways -- I'm still using a micro-usb cable that I bought before Lightning was even released. I've had to spend $0 on proprietary nonsense.

Also, another point: I have a medical device and a Kindle which both charge via micro-USB, meaning I only had to bring one charger when I traveled. Huge benefit.


So don't buy direct from Apple. An AmazonBasics lightning cable is 6.50 right now. The cheapest brand I recognize for USB-C is Anker at 7. So no, USB-C is not meaningfully more expensive but neither are iPhone users getting ripped off unless they choose to.

Apple customers aren't getting "screwed" as you claimed.

If you're still using micro USB, I hate to break the news, but you will absolutely be buying some new cables in the future.


one charger for many devices beats one charger per device. period.

Apple obviously knows this, as they just moved their macbook to USB-C.

now i can charge my android phone with the same cable as my macbook, android is more compatible with the new macbook than the iphone is; thats an embarrassment


> android is more compatible with the new macbook than the iphone is

This is a baseless claim. They happen to use the same connector. iOS has a number of far more meaningful integration points with OS X, including iCloud and Messages.


> iOS has a number of far more meaningful integration points with OS X, including iCloud and Messages.

both of which are atrocious.


Right, and I'm unhappy about it whether I can get a good deal on Amazon or not. You asked why people liked USB so much, that is why.


This chunk of the thread was addressing your comment about how "Apple makes a killing selling adapters. It's the users who get screwed." You being unhappy about Apple using a proprietary connection doesn't mean the cables or adapters are actually pricy.


I inherently have to carry around more cables/adapters/dongles, which cost money. That's why I'm unhappy. I'm paying more for less -- how is that not getting screwed?


Inherently? No. This depends entirely on what other devices you have. Carrying an iPad? Same connector. Carrying a laptop? Sure, that's a different connector, but that's currently the case for virtually every laptop no matter what kind of phone you're carrying.

In your case, you're carrying two other devices that use Micro-USB, which is great for you. Unfortunately you're likely to be facing a choice of replacing all of your devices or carrying two cables regardless the next time you upgrade your phone.


In two years, you're going to be swapping out your micro-USB cables while I'm using a lightning cable I bought before USB-C was even released. What's your point?


[flagged]


Please don't comment like this here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


"If those treadmills were micro USB, they'd be trending rapidly toward obsolescence anyway."

Where "trending towards obsolescence" means "has realistically at least three years of non-negligible use for Micro USB", versus "was replaced by its manufacturer just over four years ago" (September 2012).

I'm yet to see gym equipment (a niche example) with Lightning, it's only 30 pin connectors.


Oh, FFS. 30-pin was around for what, 15-odd years? You're blaming them for literally nothing more than "the plug changing" because it just happened to be within the past few years.

If they'd gone with micro-USB, you would have the exact same complaint two or three years from now. That micro-USB devices still have 2 or 3 more years left of ubiquity is just a function of this exact moment in time, and you could have said that three years ago for 30-pin too.


30 pin was introduced in 2003, it was finally replaced with Lightning in 2014 and thereby deprecated from use.

That's a 11 year run.

I bet those treadmills are not even that old yet.


Well, Micro-USB was announced in 2007. So by the time USB-C really takes over, it will have had maybe a 10-year run. So that's no better for compatibility life.


I completely agree with you. Micro-USB has already shown that it is not the best standard moving forward, it is already at it's end as manufacturers are replacing the port on devices with a USB-C port instead.

So let's call it. Micro-USB, 2007 -> 2016 (9 years). It had less of a run than the 30 pin dock connector!

---

I still have USB-B, USB-Mini and USB-Micro, and USB3-Micro-B devices... some were built even after USB-Micro was available, yet they still use USB Mini (which in most cases is a lot more sturdy than Micro). I have a ton of different cables for different devices because there was no real standardization until USB-C very very recently.

Why was the same vocal crowd not out when manufacturers switched from Mini to Micro and everyone had to buy all new cables?

With USB3 there is also a USB3-TypeB connector, which is not even backwards compatible with USB-TypeB...

http://www.datapro.net/techinfo/usb_3_explained.html


Exactly. Could you imagine buying a home if the electrical outlet wasn't standardized? (In the US). Just ask the rest of the world how frustrating it is when every country has their own plug.


Homes tend to have a longer lifespan than phones.


True, but the people living in them don't. People in the US move, and they move a lot.

Please use the downvote button for comments that are not relevant to the discussion, not as the "I disagree" button. We aren't reddit. My point is factual, 26 million Americans move every year. The challenges and hassels would be comparable if we had different plugs for all our appliances and electronics are analogous to the problems we have with different standards for charging ports on our cell phones, just a larger scale.


That's not relevant to the negative impact of custom electrical outlets. New residents don't alleviate the hassle of, say, ungrounded plugs.


As analogies go, try to go for the spirit of the comparison, not the specifics.

Imagine what the market for appliances would look like if we had to accommodate for different outlets. Imagine if your kitchen aid stand mixer you bought for 600 dollars wasn't compatible with the apartment complex you wanted to move into. Or your iron, or your tv, or your charger for your laptop, or your hair dryer.


It's a bad analogy, though. For one, USB isn't very standardized either. There are many USB standards and we're in the midst of a transition from Micro USB to USB-C that will create the exact same compatibility problem for at least a few years as Micro-USB and Lightning. Before Micro-USB we had mini-USB. None of these are even remotely backwards compatible. Meanwhile we've been using the same basic electrical outlet for decades, and it's backwards compatible with the one we used for decades before that.

Also, my oven is actually an entirely different plug from my TV, and my dryer is different still. My lightbulbs connect through a totally different interface that doesn't even look like a plug! I actually seem to be doing okay with that.


You are picking the extremes to show why my analogy isn't good, which is unfair. You don't move your oven with you when you move, and washer/dryer is rare, but 220 volt outlets are standardized in the US as well. If you are moving your washer and dryer with you, and oven, the place you are moving to will have standardized 220v plugs. There is a physical limit on how much electricty certain plugs can handle. The bulk of the consumer and kitchen appliances you take with you use the same plug. Micro-usb is pretty much ubiquitous for the vast majority of non-Iphones. The point is because of Apple continuing to "move us forward" we will never have something to standardize around.


> You are picking the extremes to show why my analogy isn't good, which is unfair.

I'm trying to illustrate why your analogy isn't good. How many phones do you own that are 100 years old? How many of those charge with Micro-USB? How many of them even have connections not designed to be hard-wired?

It's unreasonable to point at electrical standards that took decades to reach and have stood for decades and say "look, standards are great" as if that logic is applicable to phones that will be replaced in a few years that are using standards that have existing for less than a decade (Micro-USB) and only a year (Type-C). In the past two decades there have been over a dozen changes to the USB spec and almost a dozen different physical connectors.

While consistency is great, standardizing on a bad standard too early isn't a good thing. Would USB-C exist if not for Lightning?

> but 220 volt outlets are standardized in the US as well.

Kind of. There are both 3-prong (NEMA-10) and 4-prong (NEMA-14) 220 plugs in wide use. There are actually a whole bunch of "standard" connections in lesser use.

> The point is because of Apple continuing to "move us forward" we will never have something to standardize around.

If the alternative is that we were stuck with Micro-USB for a hundred years, then I'm very happy that Apple "moved us forward".


> How many phones do you own that are 100 years old? How many of those charge with Micro-USB?

Not sure about 100 years old, but I can tell you my past 6 phones have all charged with Micro usb. The Blackberry Storm and the Blackberry Storm 2, a Moto Droid, LG G2, Nexus 4, and my current Samsung phone. I can still use the same charger, both wall and car, I got with my LG, with my current phone.


I feel like you're falling victim to a sort of temporal fallacy here. It just happens that Micro-USB is here right now, and you're looking back at the entire history of Micro-USB. In 2 or 3 years, no one will be selling phones charging with Micro-USB and all the cables you bought will be obsolete for your new phone.

In 3 years, USB-C will dominate the market, but will have only a 3-year history of backwards compatibility. Assuming Apple keeps the lightning connector for that time (and I expect they will; 30-pin had a longer lifespan than Micro-USB), they'll have a 7-year history and a far longer history of backwards compatibility than USB-C.

At some point in the future, Apple might even jump on the USB-C train for their phones. But I think it will be a while, and I don't think Apple is doing the wrong thing by their customers by waiting.


> n 2 or 3 years, no one will be selling phones charging with Micro-USB

> In 3 years, USB-C will dominate the market,

Which is another type of fallacy, but that's besides the point -- why will they change? Because everyone wanted a different charger or because some company decided to be "brave" and "courageous" and change them?


I don't understand your question or why my statement is a fallacy. Look at the market. Android phones are clearly moving toward USB-C.

As for why? My pet theory is because the companies making phones could no longer defend the outdated and annoying Micro-USB in the face of Lightning.


The best approach is to just have USB sockets and let the user supply the cable.


I don't care about USB charging. What I do care about is not having to carry an awful dongle to listen to music. Been there, done that. And, I care about not having to charge my headphones before I listen to music. People might say I should just leave the dongle on my headphones. I lived through that already with an Android phone years ago, and it sucked.


That's a perfectly valid criticism. I think ditching the headphone jack, while having little effect on me personally, isn't a great move. At the same time, Apple has a long history of ditching compatibility early (floppy drive, cd drive, vga, etc) and with generally good effect long term, so I'm not sure that they actually made the wrong decision here.


Except that (as I recall) the floppy drive was completely obsolete when they did that, so almost no one cared. And the CD drive was not very painful either. The story is completely different for the headphone jack. It is not in the least obsolete, and it being missing is a huge pain for a lot of people.

It was a completely bonehead move on Apple's part IMHO. I know they had their reasons for doing it, but I still think it was a big mistake.


My blackberry has micro AND mini usb. I live like a king. A king who doesn't carry a charger but whose phone is kept charged.


> never purchased or used an iphone because of my stubborn indignation over the lack of plain old USB for charging.

I reached that conclusion over the "can't install apps without the manufacturer's permission" thing. I've always been surprised more developers didn't feel the same way.


For what it's worth this was (and is) my red line that prevents me from ever buying an iPhone. That's one person who agrees with you at least!


It's a technical crowd here - you can install apps without using the App Store and it's not particularly difficult either.


Well, I can (or I could on a personal one, as opposed to the work-supplied one I carry). I like being able to install software from outside of an app store without modifying my firmware, worrying about updating my device, losing my warranty, opening up large security holes, etc.

Reaching outside of the walled garden isn't hard, but there are more things to consider compared to installing an apk on Android.


It's an ideological complaint, not a technical one.

Not being able to install apps is a nuisance; not being able to distribute apps for others to install is a deal-breaker, but the main thing is that I'm afraid of our world becoming a place where walled gardens are the typical model for consumer electronics.


Meanwhile, everyone is complaining that Apple just released a laptop that standardizes on USB for all IO and charging.


That's because magsafe is magical, and they removed all the other ports. I have heard nobody complain about the charging situation on macbooks; GP's point is specifically about cell phones.


> That's because magsafe is magical, and they removed all the other ports.

In fairness, there are two huge new benefits to their new approach:

* You can charge on either the left or the right side. This reduces cable strain.

* If the cable breaks, you can swap it for another (cheap) USB-C cable, without having to buy another power brick.

There's an argument against Magsafe too: laptops are lighter now, so the magnets would have to be weaker to still work reliably, and thus also have more accidental disconnections (this is irritating). I'm not completely sold on this argument, but you can buy third-party USB-C Magsafe-like adaptors if it's really important to you.

For me, who's had several frayed chargers over the years due to cable strain, I really like their new approach.

(Note: there's a legitimate argument against Apple here too... I've heard that the reason Magsafe chargers are so susceptible to fraying is because they don't use PVC, and instead use a more 'environmentally-friendly' plastic, which is much weaker. They could still use more substantial strain relief regardless, but I'd guess they have aesthetic arguments against that, which is a silly reason for something so important. I'm not sure how much truth there is to this however.)


"There's an argument against Magsafe too: laptops are lighter now, so the magnets would have to be weaker to still work reliably, and thus also have more accidental disconnections (this is irritating). I'm not completely sold on this argument, but you can buy third-party USB-C Magsafe-like adaptors if it's really important to you."

Yeah, that is a pretty weak argument :) The MagSafe works not by working (directly) against the strength of the magnet, but by the lever action of the connector eccentrically against the body. You can try this yourself by trying to pull the MagSafe away straight on compared to at a slight angle. Also, existing MagSafe is used with MBA, which are lighter than the new MBP. If that were really a problem, we'd already be seeing it.

I do hope that there are good third-party MagSafe replacements out there. The reviews of the Griffin BreakSafe are mixed. https://www.amazon.com/Griffin-BreakSafe-Breakaway-Chromeboo...

Or maybe Apple will come out with one in the future. I would love to know more about how Apple arrived at the decision to not provide some sort of MagSafe equivalent feature.


Also regarding Magsafe, I'm trying to remember the last time I kicked a cable that would have otherwise sent my laptop flying and… I can't.

I think the difference now is that laptop batteries last a hell of a lot longer than they used to. So many people have a fixed charging location (e.g., a desk) and spend a lot less time in some place with a cable precariously stretched across the room to reach a couch or w/e.

Just a personal theory, maybe not true for others.


"Also regarding Magsafe, I'm trying to remember the last time I kicked a cable that would have otherwise sent my laptop flying and… I can't."

I can't either. A this point it's more the convenience of being able to pick up and go without needing to unplug the machine, and one I'll miss when I eventually get a new machine. That said, it's human nature not to remember things that don't happen.


No kids or pets, clearly.


I don't, but even then you would need to: have kids/pets and work the majority of the day around them while not at a fixed desk. If you work from a fixed desk, the cable is much more likely to be in a location where it won't be pulled. If you charge all day, and only use it intermittently from a sofa, you don't need the cable.

That's a market that exists, sure. Is it a big market? I doubt it.


The number of dads and moms that leave work early to pick up their kids at 3pm who then have to catch up on work in the evening in the family room (on the couch, at the dinner table) with their kids riding the dog around the aforementioned couch or dinner table is huge.


You're missing the part where the laptops last essentially all day. If the laptop's been charging, they're not going to need a cable.


Apple's theory on removing MagSafe is that their laptops now provide enough working time, and charge fast enough, that it is rare that people will need to work while plugged in. This is clearly influenced by their experience with iPhone and iPad. It's also why they felt fine with silly-looking charge orientations for their mouse and pencil.

Is it wrong? We'll see. I think a lot of people work with their laptops plugged in as a matter of habit rather than necessity. That doesn't make it wrong, though.


People haven't complained about it because they grade Apple on a curve.

Apple doesn't use a shitty micro-USB plug? End of the world. Laptop manufacturers use a cornucopia of power plugs that change basically all the time? Crickets.


Nobody's complaining about that, but about the removal of all other options.

And well, many many other problems with that new thing that are entirely unrelated to USB.


Good to know they are following Chromebook's lead.


The lightening connector is so much better than micro-USB that it's really hard to fault them for that. But I imagine even the iPhone will go USB-C in the next iteration.


I can't imagine that happening. They'd piss off all the customers that bought lightning accessories, lose control over the connector, and get what in return?


Apple's long history of port and drive removal demonstrates that pissing off customers is not a prime concern. Lost licensing revenue might bother them though.


They seem happy to do this if they think there is value. I'm not sure what the value of USB-C is on the iPhone. The negatives are pretty obvious. The positive mostly seems to be that they can share cables with Android phones, which I cannot imagine is something execs at Apple care about.

Someone else raised an interesting point about docks. The lightning connection is designed to be strong enough to support a phone in a doc. I'm pretty sure this is not a design consideration for USB-C given how no one seems to care about Android docks.


> I'm not sure what the value of USB-C is on the iPhone.

Ridiculously fast charging, plus the ability to use the same charger for both your laptop and your phone.

Being able to consolidate all the chargers I own is an unbelievably exciting promise. That's only an option for me because I use an Android phone.


> Ridiculously fast charging

How much faster are we talking? I haven't seen any numbers with this claim, nor any justification. There are fast charging systems on the market already with Micro-USB. Qualcomm says their quick-charge solution (used in the new Pixel phones) works with A, Micro, C and others.

https://www.qualcomm.com/products/snapdragon/quick-charge/fa...

> plus the ability to use the same charger for both your laptop and your phone.

I'm not sure that's really all that compelling. It's nice, but I don't think it's nearly as nice as, say, my dock working.


The Pixel doesn't use Qualcomm's proprietary QuickCharge but standard USB Power Delivery. It can negotiate charging at 9V, 2A (18W). Legacy USB can charge 5V, 2.4A (12W), and regular Type C can charge at 3A (15W). Scaling with power, 15W is 25% faster than USB and 18W is 50% faster. The higher voltage is supposed to charge empty batteries faster.

The iPad Pro seems to support quick charging with the Lightning to USB-C cable and MacBook 29W USB PD adapter. And charges about twice as fast (2.5 hr vs 5 hr).


My mistake. I was reading an article that claimed that the Pixel was using Qualcomm's tech.


I don't understand this argument. If I'm using my laptop charger, my phone can't use it at the same time. And if I'm not using my laptop charger, it's probably stowed in my bag, and it's a lot simpler to pull out my phone's charger than it is to pull out my laptop charger. So I'm having trouble imagining a scenario where I'd actually ever plug my phone into my laptop charger.


You can hold your phone upside down connected to the lightning connector -- it's really quite impressive. USB connectors are much more fiddly.

The advantage of USB-C isn't so much in physical connection but the actual capabilities of the interface. Lightning isn't very powerful by comparison.


Holding your phone upside down isn't an interesting test. That's just the holding power of the plug. More interesting and relevant is whether you can hold the phone at an angle, which is what a dock does. This puts a lot of stress on both the connector and the phone's jack. I would expect Micro-USB to fall apart from this abuse. I'd don't know about USB-C but don't have high hopes.


USB Type C seems to be much sturdier than microUSB. The metal sleeve has tighter tolerance and larger area. Can easily hold phone upside down. Should be able to support phone by itself. Problem is more taking more force to remove from dock or cable.


> it's really quite impressive.

It is? I've been charging my Moto G for a few months like that.


Not only that but the fact that people are buying lightning headphones for the current gen.

They are in a shitty place right now. They can't go USB-c without pissing off a good amount of their customers, but they can stick with lightening forever either (it's already starting to show its age WRT transfer speeds and other abilities)


They could upgrade lightning to support USB-3... Lightning doesn't specify the USB protocol.


I assume that's why they haven't already switched but they just releases Macbooks with nothing but USB-C connectors so I imagine the debate must be on internally at Apple.


Compatibility with their new MacBook Pros, which have four USB C adapters and nothing else.


For basically forever, we've had USB devices with two separate types of prong on each end. How is USB-C to Lightning any different?


I think most of the arguments here are from some hypothetical future where every device on the planet has standardized on USB-C except the iPhone.


I disagree, because it doesn't work on anything other than Apple products. I would much rather have micro-USB (or any other widely-adopted standard).


I suspect a lot of people have come to take USB for granted, forgetting about the mess it resolved. (Or, they weren't around at the time)


THIS SO MUCH!! YOURE NOT ALONE!!!

Additionally, Why do I HAVE to use Itunes to sync the phone? I just want to grab a photo off of it.. where's my USB mode?


This doesn't change your overall argument, but Image Capture on the Mac will let you get your pictures without Photos or Itunes. I'm DONE with Photos and had to figure this out. It's not a great app, but it is simple.


What made you be done with Photos? Just curious before I move 100GBs of Flickr photos into it.


Yeah but PDFs? Text files? Software? Entire Movies? MP3 Albums?

It's all just data in USB mode!


iPhones speak PTP (the USB camera protocol) as long as the screen is unlocked. You can use any photo app you want.


If you just want a few photos, it's much much easier to Airdrop them, or email them, or add them to dropbox, or message them. There's no need to plug in for that.


Assuming you've got an internet connection available for both of your devices, sure. As an example: I've got a work-supplied iPhone that I use for photos of office activities, sometimes. All the file-sharing sites are blocked on the work network, and I don't have a Mac to deal use an Apple-specific transfer protocol with.

Thankfully, the comment you replied to is moot as well. I plug my phone into my machine, unlock the screen, and pull pictures off it all the time.

Still, when putting music on it, I'm left wishing that I had the option to use something like gtkpod, like I used to use with my iPod, back in the day.


Well, how can you "believe that the iphone is by far the best executed mobile phone platform and the best hardware", and subsequently declare that you hate them for not using a subpar standard when compared to their flawlessly engineered proprietary one?


When it comes to what side of the road we drive on, one side might be marginally better than the other - but the major benefits come from everyone agreeing to use the same side, regardless of what side that is.


Easy, for him the iphone connector is a showstopper - no matter how good the rest of the platform actually is.


What makes Apple's better? Genuine question; I haven't looked into this at all.


Reversibility is the clearest benefit to the end user. Also it's a much more durable connector than most, the cable end is just a flat piece of metal as opposed to having pins and whatnot.


Re: durability, one thing most people don't think about is that modern Lightning docks are effectively just Lightning connectors: https://9to5mac.files.wordpress.com/2015/05/apple-lightning-...

The stress of holding up the entire mass of the connected device (that can be as large as an iPad Pro!) is on the connector; and the stress of being held up by that connector is on the tiny part of the device that grips it. That'd be impossible with a USB connector (even USB-C), on both sides.


I was surprised the Macbook didn't have any Lightning ports to be honest. I figured they would use that for direct device connection.

As it stands if you have a brand new Macbook Pro and iPhone 7 you can't connect the two without an adapter, which is just stupid.


Apple's logic: the Lightning jack only appears on accessories; while the USB-C jack only appears on "computers." There's no Lightning-to-Lightning cable, because it makes no sense to connect one "accessory" to another. All "accessories" come with a Lightning cable, which is USB on the host end for now (because most people don't have computers with USB-C yet!) but will likely be USB-C on the host end in the future (and then you'll need to buy a reverse adapter—female USB-C to male USB—to connect it to old devices. Those will probably be common enough across brands once the USB-C-only accessory market picks up.)

All that being said, it'a interesting to use this logic to deduce what Apple does or doesn't consider an "accessory." The iPhone, iPad, iPod? Accessories. The Apple TV? Computer! The port to plug it into a computer—for XCode provisioning et al—is USB-C! To connect to it right now, you need either a MacBook with its charger cable; or the new MBP, plus an extra C:C cable; or a USB-A male:male cable (rare!) plus Apple's "MacBook USB" (female-USB:male-USB-C) adapter. A male-A:male-C adapter would be great, but nobody has yet made one. The market is very nascent.)


> if you have a brand new Macbook Pro and iPhone 7 you can't connect the two without an adapter

Without a cable, not without an adapter. Very big difference. I can use the same cable to charge my phone from my MacBook's power supply and from the MacBook itself. When I travel, I only take one power supply and two cables. Even if the iPhone and the MacBook used the same connector, I'd still take two cables so I could simultaneously charge them both, so I don't have to carry any extra hardware.

Yes, it would be nice if they could use the same cable, but at least I don't have to take any extra cable or dongle for charging my iPhone (I still need dongles for other things, though).


Except the cable in question is bought separately. Dongle, cable, adapter, whatever you want to call it: It's two products from the same company that has a reputation for an ecosystem that works extremely well with itself, and if I walk out with two boxes, one Macbook and one iPhone, they cannot be connected without a trip back. That's absurd.


The connector also has pretty much phenomenal build quality, compared to every other whatever USB cable shipped with whatever device.


It makes Apple more money and keeps hate between iPhone and Android users because they can't share chargers.


I don't "happily" buy phones now and I doubt most people do. Most phones are this bizarre compromise between the political wills of some corporation (or designer) and the needs of the user.


I very happily bought the Neptune Pine[1] which is a full featured telephone the size of a watch (I removed the watchband and threw it away). Love it.

[1] https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/neptune/neptune-pine-sm...


You've become Derek Zoolander. http://i.imgur.com/eOXfo95.jpg


It's sold with short sleeves.


I love my iPhone 7. It's my favorite computing device that I've ever bought. 100% serious.


What does it for you? Are there any particular features, or is it just the "everythingness" of it?


As a convert who used to be an ardent Android supporter, I've learned a very important lesson after switching. It's not always about the numbers. In fact it's never about the numbers. You can't quantify sheer quality. You can't quantify how something makes you feel. I understand this can be easily retorted by "Well I get that feel from my Samsung Galaxy N, it's totally subjective", but I think that's just being dishonest. I've seen people mention that they're considering switching back to Android after the headphone jack thing, or switching to a PC laptop after the touchbar thing. For me simply touching the surface of ANY premium laptop currently on the market is enough to realize that Apple is light years ahead in terms of how they engineer their devices to feel. Simple things like opening a lid. Using the trackpad. The force touch. How the ringer switch clicks into place. All of it screams "quality". Not like 15% higher quality, but like light years higher quality. It's my experience anyway. It's like -- yes you can take the best mechanical Breitling and ask what does it do that the average Casio ProTrek does not? And there may be not a good answer for that in terms of numbers. But just take both in your hands, and try to objectively say -- which device you intuitively want to interact with more? Which one attracts you with some inexplicable magic? Which one your fingers are craving to touch and understand? Imagine having that feeling every day with a daily device. Imagine having that feeling as the norm. How could you opt in for something less, despite the numbers?


I carry an iPhone issued by my employer and a personal Android phone. You're absolutely correct about the feel of the device itself, smoothness of the software, etc. It's a very pleasant device to use, and I do use it every day, sometimes in situations where I have the choice between the Apple and the LG.

But none of that matters. If I bought a personal iPhone, I'd miss a few things. I like installing software that isn't on the Google store (specifically, F-Droid, Amazon, and Humble Bundle, in my case). I like having a little Linux system on my phone, and being able to remote into it. I like using scp to get files on and off, torrenting on the phone, being able to expand the device's memory when my needs change, and plugging it in like a giant USB key if I'm somewhere that my laptop doesn't get wifi.

Tellingly, I just bought a new Android phone that took some pretty blatant design cues from Apple's hardware. I think the choice mirrors the choice of which device I use in different situations, in a way.

My first preference would be a desktop computer: powerful CPU+GPU, comfortable inputs, very nice outputs (multiple large monitors, a nice speaker system), and enough storage for everything I want, with room to spare. My next would be a laptop; it's not as nice, but it's certainly easier to carry into the living room. Past that, my phone isn't as capable, but it's easier to put in my pocket...so I'm stuck with whichever tools fits my requirements in my current situation.


This hits the nail on the head in terms of how I think about Apple. They've so consistently set a bar that others are not able to hit, that at some level there just isn't any competition at all in some areas. Some of these things are very very important. Like all of the incredible accessibility work that they do. This level of detail of caring goes unappreciated all the time but is felt every day for many many people.


The trackpads are what do it for me. I like using a trackpad for a mouse. It's not that their trackpads are the best, it's that every other trackpad in existence is unusably bad.


> It's not always about the numbers. In fact it's never about the numbers.

I've always found it interesting that the Android/iOS debate seems to go only one way. My handful of Android friends have tried convert with some new feature that does x and y over the years, yet I've never found myself trying to convince them to make the opposite switch. I think your quote sums that up pretty nicely.


Yeah, I get you. It's why I'm sticking with my 2012 Macbook pro and honestly considering getting another Pro if it ever dies, despite all the downgrades they've made.


I feel like every time I see somebody with a new phone they're excited about it and want to show it off. And those that don't have a new phone grumble about how they still have to wait another year before they can upgrade.


Oh don't get me wrong, they're always full of exciting gimmicks that are fun for a month or so. I guess some people get distracted by all that enough to get very excited but if you ask them what they actually use/care about (and they answer honestly) it's all "boring" things like battery life, email, IM etc.


I have almost $1000 invested in over-the-ear Sennheisers and custom fitted in-ear Shures.

I don't think I'm going back to the audiologist to spend more hundreds of dollars a second pair that only works with iPhones and not my Mac or any pro audio equipment. Or depending on any battery device (like wireless headphones) that can't be plugged in while operating. Or having a device in my pocket that I can't plug in to a real PA system to test. Or paying what I currently pay for headphones that are iOS XOR Android.

Apple may be right for the millions who only ever use the included headphones, but in a world with compelling iOS alternatives that still have headphone jacks, I'm not throwing away the rest of my equipment or carrying adapters everywhere.


Just plug the adapter into the end of your headphone jack and leave it there. It's a female adapter, so it can just hang off of your existing 3.5mm jack. You make it sound far more annoying than it actually is.


And get one adapter for each set of headphones. And if you then use those headphones with nay other device and unplug the adapter just hope you don't set it somewhere and forget it.

It adds too many unnecessary steps.


Ugh, I lose a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter for my headphones at least once a month. I've bought extra and try to keep one in any device I have with a 1/4" port, and yet still they manage to come out and get lost. It's easy and cheap to order a dozen of those. It's not going to be cheap to order a dozen lightning->analog adapters.


That's completely fair. However that's a corner case for most people. I think the general use case is that people have routines in their day to day and fit these devices into their predictable routines.

Adapters suck for unpredictable situations but those aren't common enough and Apple knows this.


> However that's a corner case for most people.

Using a pair of headphones with multiple devices? At least between phone and laptop? That's not a corner case, even though Apple seems to think so by skipping out on a Lightning port on the Macs after putting out lightning headphones.


I consider the unpredictable case the several to many years it takes to upgrade all the devices between my wife and me. It probably took 3 years to get rid of all the 30 pin devices in our house. I don't see why it will be any better switching away from 1/8".


Exactly. It's a doable workaround, but doesn't make sense when "just buy a Pixel instead" is an option.


You make it sound only slightly less annoying, TBH.


Why do you feed your expensive headphones with the sub-par audio from an iPhone A/D converter (probably listening to lossy compressed MP3 in the first place)?

As long as you do that, the pain of having a (free) dongle attached to it kind of fades in comparison.


Maybe it's convenient to have high quality headphones for high quality listening, but then also be able to use that with other devices?


>willing to bet that within a decade you HAPPILY buy a phone without a headphone jack

Are you saying that because you think there will be a better alternative to the 3.5mm jack a decade from now? What does that have to do with what Apple is doing now?


I figure it's being said (as someone who both agrees with the statement and is irritated at headphone jack removal) be cause the trend has tilted that way. Apple has merely joined other manufacturers in demonstrating that headphone jack users are actually a niche market.

I suppose I realized this when I saw folks at a former employer's manufacturing department all buying $100 BT headphones... because that meant they could set their phone down and not worry about yanking it off the lab bench.


> because that meant they could set their phone down

Now instead they have to worry about:

- charging stations

- how the headphones identify themselves to the computer

- skype and/or Windows arbitrarily refusing to acknowledge them as headphones during calls

- DRM

- more than 20$ on average price increase

- Security and privacy


They took the tradeoff. Mind you, a number of these things Did Not Matter to them -- they weren't pairing them with the computers, just their phones. I said manufacturing -- they had a bunch of old 'beater' desktops that were over five years old for running device programmers and the like.

It would likely have taken me a full workday to get them up to speed on any security/privacy issues.

As for DRM, not only do I think they wouldn't care so long as their music played, but I'm with everyone who sees no difference between a remote DAC and a local one. (Heck, these folks in manufacturing could easily have disassembled the headphones and put in an analog output at the appropriate point, they had the relevant rework skills -- and that would not trip any phone-internal tamper sensors.)


There's already an alternative: USB-C

Apple wasn't the first company to ditch it, or even the second...

http://www.androidcentral.com/moto-z-doesnt-have-headphone-j...


That's not really a better alternative, now is it.

Now your headphones must come with all the electronics required for USB-C and their own seperate DACs. This means they're going to be slightly more expensive without any actual improvement over your 3.5mm headphones. Not to mention all of those threats of DRM and whatnot looming around. So with that in mind, why would I possibly want to make the move to USB-C?


Why are there threats of DRM with the DAC moved to the cable instead of the DAC sitting inside the phone (where arguably it has more control over the DAC than if it is sitting in-line on a cable)?


Because you remove the "analogue hole" in the DRM scheme of the 3.5mm jack.


It forgot to improve on the 3.5mm jack!

But thank god I have a thinner phone, I was really having issues sliding it under doors.


Terrible idea. Your USB-C headphones will become obsolete when the next USB standard inevitably comes out. Meanwhile, 3.5mm will still be kicking.


It had to do with the comment I was replying to.


> I would be willing to bet that within a decade you HAPPILY buy a phone without a headphone jack, whether that be an Android or iPhone.

Is there a site we can legally use to register that bet? I'd be interested in taking it.

I honestly don't think that the headphone jack will ever go away. Wireless audio is like wireless internet, in that it's better than nothing but worse than something with wires and a stable connexion.

I daresay you're correct that Apple think they're right, but … I think they're wrong. The question is, can they remain irrational longer than the rest of the market can be rational? I _think_, given Android's market success, that they ultimately can't: Apple have made too many mistakes in too short a timespan.

But only time will tell.


> Is there a site we can legally use to register that bet? I'd be interested in taking it.

http://longbets.org. Also the site Warren Buffet used to bet that he could beat hedge funds with the S&P 500.


That looks pretty cool, but requires one use one's real name. Any anonymous, legal long-term bet site? Sorry to raise the bar …


I was seriously considering switching to iPhone for my next phone after my S.O. had a terrible experience with Google customer support, but my car doesn't have Bluetooth. I don't plan on getting a new car for at least another 5 years, so if I want to listen to music in my car, iPhone is ruled out.


If it has a 3.5mm input socket, there are many Bluetooth to 3.5mm receivers that would work (like this TaoTronics TT-BA08 I'm using right now).

Obviously if you don't have a 3.5mm jack, that doesn't help.


Why? My car doesn't have Bluetooth and my iPhone 7 works just fine, and charges while listening to music and everything. There are already headphone/charging splitters you can get on amazon made just for the 7 (though I'm still using the same setup as my 6).


You don't have to buy a new car to get a different radio. And if your car has a 3,5mm jacket (here we go! ;-), you could use the Chromecast Audio to cast to the car radio with your new iphone without that 3,5mm jacket.

You need a local wifi network for the CC, so you have to setup a wifi hotspot with your phone. Then you make the connection. The downside is that you cannot use car stereo buttons to skip to the next song. And you probably need double usb-charging for the CC and the phone. That's quite a lot of work to setup each and every drive, but for longer drives it might be a good option.


This still has the issue of not being able to use your car controls to control the music, but:

https://www.amazon.com/Antec-Portable-Bluetooth-Receiver-Hea...

Pair this with your phone, and plug it into power. When your car turns on, it powers on, pairs with your phone, and spits audio out over 3.5mm to the car stereo.

Comes with a 3.5mm male -> 3.5mm male plug for this purpose.


Guess what, I switched, only I bought a 6s instead of a 7. It's not like you could pretend the 6s is a useless slab overnight.


The SE still exists with a headphone jack and it doesn't look like an iPad held up to your head.


If you're going to leave a cable in your car (I'm assuming that's the plan) just leave a lightning to 3.5mm cable.


Which the iPhone 7 handily comes with (and clones are readily available on Amazon although YMMV as to their quality, obvs.)


Maybe longbets? http://longbets.org/

I think they are legal, because the winnings doesn't go to the participants, but to a charity of the winners choosing.


Exactly correct! Long ago I wrote the LongBets software and am still involved in the Long Now, so I'm happy to facilitate registering a bet between people on this topic; just email me.

At this point we've been up for 14 years. If we're good enough for Warren Buffet's million-dollar bet [1], I'd say we can handle this bet too.

[1] http://longbets.org/362/


Any way to use a pseudonym? I'm happy to throw $200 bucks into the pot.


If you can find a counterparty and that's the only way to get the bet done, I'm glad to ask. But the theory of Long Bets is as a registry for accountable predictions. Accountability is tied to identity. So my guess is that they'd say yes for a well-known pseudonym with a body of work, like Lewis Carroll or Voltaire, but would say no for a throwaway name.


>I honestly don't think that the headphone jack will ever go away.

regardless of the claim, you are just setting yourself up for failure when you make unbound claims like that, nothing lasts forever.


I have been using a good pair of bluetooth headphones for over a year and am perfectly happy with them, Audio quality is never an issue with a2dp. Likewise after getting a decent 802.11ac router that provides stable 5GHz Wifi way faster than what my 100Mbps internet connection can provide, I haven't used wired ethernet for ages, apart from wiring my NAS to the router. 10 years is a long time, very sure the Audio Jack will be gone by then or a rarity like Vinyl today.


> Wireless audio is like wireless internet, in that it's better than nothing but worse than something with wires and a stable connexion

It depends on what factors you value. Wired beats wireless for reliability and speed. It gets crushed for convenience, though.

My home wireless is really spotty. I want to run Ethernet to several locations... in order to install more access points.


> Is there a site we can legally use to register that bet? I'd be interested in taking it.

I don't know of any website that let you place a bet like that, but you could probably place it at a bookmakers.


  > Wireless audio is like wireless internet, in
  > that it's better than nothing but worse than
  > something with wires and a stable connexion.
From my perspective, wired internet has effectively gone away. I haven't plugged anything other than a wireless router into a physical ethernet connection in years.


You obviously don't work in any kind of office. Wired Ethernet is still the norm for good reason: having hundreds or thousands of PCs in one building fighting over WiFi spectrum would be incredibly stupid and inefficient and slow.


In a startup now. Worked at a 800 person tech company 4 years ago. All laptops, all wireless (at least on my team -- I'm sure there were people that were plugged in somewhere).

Worked at a much larger tech company 1 year ago. Had a desktop that was plugged in, so there's that. Guess I overstated (though I can't say I actually did plug it in myself). Also had a laptop that I worked on over wireless without problems. There were 5k-10k people in that office.

Still I do almost everything over wireless.


It's getting problematic in the home as well.


> I would be willing to bet that within a decade you HAPPILY buy a phone without a headphone jack,

I bet within a decade we will all happily buy autonomous cars without a steering wheel. This is because in a decade, battery life, software, connectivity and manufacturing experience will provide a large benefit and will be normalized.

I find it extremely difficult to believe that this will provide a 10x better experience. Here is what Apple is doing:

* The Computer is the Hub for all devices

* the cloud is the Hub

* the phone is the Hub

That's fine. Except that if my phone is using bluetooth to be constantly connected to my headphons & iwatch, as well as occasionally my computer; AND it can power my headphones it really dosn't matter if you give me 2x the previous phones battery I am running 4x the amount of devices off it. Apple needed to deliver a phone that lasts >3 days and headphones that aren't a chopped up earbud that can max out at 2 hours.

the iphone 7s will probably be awesome, this is the bridge model as Walt Mossberg put it, and it doesn't seem realistic to even consider buying it.


"I would be willing to bet that within a decade you HAPPILY buy a phone without a headphone jack, whether that be an Android or iPhone"

Sure, absolutely when Rezence” or “PMA,” or whatever the wireless charging standard becomes is ubiquitous. However we don't have that today, no will we have it in 18-24 months, the general duration of a customer's contractual obligation to a carrier and phone model.

And for people that need to type and talk at the same time, sometimes for hours at stretch - for maintenance window or outages or even just long conference calls, not being able to accessboth a headphone jack and a power simultaneously on their phones is a real deal breaker.

I don't think the OP is necessarily pooh-poohing change but rather being pragmatic and practical for the immediate term.


I can believe that the 3.5 jack will be removed, but only to be replaced with more convenient open and not proprietary standard--analog standard. I can live with USB-C, that, btw, already has analog audio implemented, when it de facto becomes industry standard for audio output. Just hope they solve simultaneous charging with headphones plugged. Two USB-Cs may be.

But definitely it is not going to be proprietary lightning digital audio port that requires external DAC and licensing.


Not when the existing jack is 1) a proprietary standard that does not work with any other device 2) A port that doesn't allow one to charge and use audio at the same time.

Something like a USB-C for everything could be doable - but as far as I know, USB-C ports are thicker than 3.5mm jacks.


I have been buying bluetooth earbuds for years. Cables seem so cumbersome in comparison. If only they could sort out latency on video I would be 100℅ sold.


By eliminating the headphone jack didn't they just create another revenue source? My understanding is that they get paid a per unit licensing fee by anyone who creates/sells an adapter. I was under the impression this was the reason they removed the jack.


>I would be willing to bet that within a decade you HAPPILY buy a phone without a headphone jack,

No, sorry. I actually enjoy the music I listen to.


> I would be willing to bet that within a decade you HAPPILY buy a phone without a headphone jack, whether that be an Android or iPhone.

I'll take that bet. A decade, so lets say, we bet for $100,000? Is that Ok with you?


It's an unfair bet as you have (almost) complete control of the outcome.

How about he wins if >50% of smartphones sold in the U.S. in 2026 lack 3.5mm headphone ports.

I'd personally bet $10k against you/OP on this.


No no, don't change the goalposts. The thing that I'm calling the parent on, is the prediction that I will like having no headphone ports. I have no idea what's going to happen with US smartphones sales in 2026, so I won't make a bet on that. I do know that I WILL NOT like not having a headphone port.


Ah, but that's not what their bet was... the bet was that you will happily buy a smartphone without said headphone port -- which I expect will happen because you won't be able to buy one any other way now that it's been demonstrated that it can be eliminated. You might not be happy about that aspect, but still be happy with your new phone as a whole, as you adapt to the lack of any option on that front.


But I won't be happy with my new phone as a whole. You're saying I will, but I won't. You don't know what's inside my mind.


Did you feel the same about floppy drives?


Do you feel anything that's new is an improvement, like present storage technology is over floppy drives? Idiot.


You don't consider wireless noise-cancelling headphones which don't need to be charged to be an improvement to hooking up a century-old cable?


> It's an unfair bet as you have (almost) complete control of the outcome.

That's the other guy's fault, though, because he (foolishly) offered a bet where the taker has "(almost) complete control of the outcome":

>>> I would be willing to bet that within a decade you HAPPILY buy a phone without a headphone jack, whether that be an Android or iPhone.

Might as well call him on it.


That wasn't really the spirit of the offered bet. All this pedantry is taking the fun out of it.

Now I actually do believe the OP will "happily" buy a phone without a headphone port. But not if he has a financial incentive to change his behavior.


> Now I actually do believe the OP will "happily" buy a phone without a headphone port.

Honestly, the OP might resign himself to it, but I'll doubt he'll be happy about it. It's not like headphones are currently connected with obsolete digital interfaces (e.g. RS232). Headphones are, by their very nature, analog, and making their connection digital just makes integration harder.


The headphone industry will look a lot different in ten years.

The wireless standard used by headphones (possibly not BT) will have enough bandwidth to no longer be the bottleneck in wireless audio quality. And more importantly they'll never need to be "charged".

Who's going to miss cables?


> What frustrates me the most is that Apple never admits a mistake.

They have backtracked from decisions made, several times, and admitted to mistakes too. Apple Maps is a good example. MobileMe, the return of buttons to the iPod shuffle, price cut on iPhone... same.

The problem is that what you or I think is a mistake, it might not be one in the eyes of Apple.

A lot of the frustration I see these days can be summed up as "Apple no longer is making a product that I like, therefore it is making products that nobody likes".

Well, maybe. Time will tell. But I think they have a very clear vision about how they want their computers to look and feel (same for iPhones) and they are heading there full-speed. For some customers it will be a deal breaker, for others it might be what they need to jump ship and buy a Mac or upgrade from a Macbook Air to a more profitable Macbook Pro.


What frustrates me the most is that Apple no longer is making a product that I like but no one else is. Every single laptop model in the market lacks at least one feature that's essential to me.


Well, ask yourself what could be the reason.

When you hear about post-PC and how the computer market is changing, THIS is exactly what it means. Traditional computers and laptops are going to become more expensive, sell in less quantities and be very, very focused on some specific needs.

For companies like Apple, Microsoft, Dell, etc... this will translate into much simpler product lines that will update less frequently.


> What frustrates me the most is that Apple never admits a mistake

In corporate politics that would be a suicide. Only Jobs was powerful enough to make mistakes.

Anyway it is shocking what Apple does now. During Jobs Apple removed product features only used by laggards. Now Apple removes the features used even by pragmatists and early adopters[1]. Do you known how many people moved exclusively to wireless headphones and TH3?

Another surprising thing is ignoring the professionals. They are in minority and it is hard to see them on sales charts. But they are opinion leaders.

Many people overpay for Apple products because they want to look as real professionals. Majority don't care which laptop is the thinnest, they use products used by opinion leadres. With current trend, in 5 years Apple brand might be associated with rich bozos buying gold phones. Just look at the Mercedes S vs Tesla Models S sales in last 2 years.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossing_the_Chasm


> Many people overpay for Apple products because they want to look as real professionals.

Just stop right there, OK?

Look back through my comments and you can see I've made this point a few times, but I'll make it again just for you. Mac laptops are sturdy, well made devices. My workstation provided by work is a lenovo W series laptop. I can push the bottom screen bezel and it flexes a full half inch. The plastic above the keyboard flexes also. The trackpad is meh (and TINY!). For the price (which at the time of purchase was not really inexpensive), it is cheap plastic crap.

My rMBP is solid. Feels wonderful to type on. The screen hinge stays put and doesn't shimmy. The keyboard feel solid with no flex. It's worth the price, especially compared to a lot of the junk that's out there today.


I'm typing this on a Lenovo X200 and I don't know what you're on about. This is easily the best laptop I've ever used in terms of durability and sturdiness. Yeah, I can press on that lower bezel and get that flex, but who the hell does that? When I shut the laptop, that bezel is safely tucked away in a very solid case. The thinkpads know where it matters.

The macbook pro I used to use had a big dent in the front after only a year of use, and several scratches and dings. This X200 is over 10 years old and has _no_ signs of wear, and all of the hardware supports Linux _perfectly_ OOTB. It has a far better keyboard, too, plus a fingerprint reader and the famous little thinkpad light. I also used a Thinkpad T420 for a while, which has many of the same benefits and packs more of a punch.

Subconciously I take a professional with a good thinkpad more seriously than one with a Macbook.


> Yeah, I can press on that lower bezel and get that flex, but who the hell does that?

Someone who values quality? It's not like I jab it all the time, but knowing it does it irks me. So glad I wasn't the one who paid for this junk.

> The macbook pro I used to use had a big dent in the front after only a year of use, and several scratches and dings. This X200 is over 10 years old and has _no_ signs of wear,...

So, you've matured and take better care of your things. Good!

> Subconciously I take a professional with a good thinkpad more seriously than one with a Macbook.

That makes absolutely zero sense.


A great example of the reality distortion field. You like Macs and they don't flex, that's great. But they are simply not more durable than a Thinkpad. You're rMBP is unlikely to survive even a single drop, the glossy glass screen would crack. The Magsafe cable has to be thin and light and is prone to failure. The keyboard on the Thinkpad has more travel and is better to type on. Apple make many trade-offs in their designs.


My lenovo would fare far worse in a drop. It's a flimsy, plastic, overweight piece of junk.

Edit: I disagree about the keyboards, kinda. I have here a late 2014 rMBP, a Lenovo W530 and T510. I prefer the mac keyboard. I hate the w530 keyboard, but the t510 keyboard is really nice (it's before lenovo did the redesign).


The MacBook Pro design makes trade-offs that many don't want. Personally, I don't like the thinness obsession, the aluminium, the glossy screen, the keyboard, the glued battery, the port choices. What really scares me, with all the evangelism, is that one day I won't be able to go buy my "oversized plastic junk", because all the PC vendors will be making MacBooks. Apple doesn't need your evangelism, they are the richest corporation in the world. We need a healthy industry with products that make different trade-offs. So please let's recognise the trade-offs and not argue which is better.


I don't disagree that there are trade-offs. My point was, I still feel it's a solid device and weighing the pros/cons, I still bought a rMBP. My issue was the idea that I bought it simply because I want to "appear" as professional. I _am_ a professional (developer) and still chose it because the pros (at the time) outweighed the cons (for me).

This whole meme that people who buy Apple are sheep is getting old.


> but I'll make it again just for you. Mac laptops are sturdy, well made devices

You misunderstood me. I agree that Apple products have the best build quality. But Apple was always something more than a well build luxury product. MacBook Pro was a tool used by professionals to create good things. Without professionals, it is just another luxury product. And ordinary luxury product won't have that high sales.


Which begs the question, why aren't there more manufacturers trying to compete in that space? Apple is successful because they have no competition at the top of the market.


> In corporate politics that would be a suicide. Only Jobs was powerful enough to make mistakes.

To wit: an insignificant change (dropping skeuomorphic UI) was coincident with Scott Forstall being canned.

> Many people overpay for Apple products because they want to look as real professionals. Majority don't care which laptop is the thinnest, they use products used by opinion leadres.

I used to think this way, until I went through 3 PC laptops in 2 years. Macs are worth every penny of the premium Apple commands, and more.

That said, to keep me as a customer they are going to have to do a better job convincing me they aren't planning to discontinue the Mac lineup. And they'll have to offer a more convincing spec bump over my 2014 15" rMBP, which remains borderline-overkill for my needs.


I hope you are not comparing $700 PC laptops to a $2k MBP here, because there are a lot of very rigid and durable PC laptops available.


The problem with this is that dgregd claimed that MBP owners overpaid for their laptop. So in order to contest that claim it's natural to compare a MBP against a cheaper PC laptop to demonstrate the differences. Once you're comparing a $2k PC laptop against a $2k MBP, it's a lot harder to maintain the narrative that the MBP user overpaid.


A $1400 MBP - I bought it on clearance after the 2015 refresh. And I was thinking more of my $900 2011 MBA.

The PCs all failed spontaneously; it's not even like I dropped them or anything. And only one was the hard drive.


Forstall got canned for the Maps fiasco. Which, by the way, Apple did apologize for, in a public letter from Tim Cook.


>I used to think this way, until I went through 3 PC laptops in 2 years. Macs are worth every penny of the premium Apple commands, and more.

Maybe you should stop shopping for cheap, consumer-grade crap and get a real laptop like a Thinkpad or Latitude.


Then we're into the same price category as Apple, for anvil-esque hunks of plastic with tiny trackpads and low-resolution screens.


The Latitudes I get are hunks of magnesium and aluminum, not plastic.

I don't give a shit about trackpads; I use the Trackpoints (which Macs don't have) since they're much easier and faster to use, and a separate mouse most of the time. No touchpad compares to a real mouse, just like a touchscreen keyboard will never compare to a real keyboard.

They're available with high-resolution screens, and even better, they're matte (Macs are not, they're glossy), so I can see them in different lighting situations.

Finally, I get mine at dirt-cheap prices by buying them used, because corporations buy these things in bulk and only keep them for a couple of years before liquidating them. So there's a very healthy used market with machines in excellent, near-new shape because they don't hold their resale value the way Macs do with their cultist followers (and the fact that most people have zero awareness of enterprise laptops). And since computers aren't actually improving technologically any more, a 3-year-old laptop in excellent condition is just as productive and useful as a brand-new one, but at a fraction of the cost.


> No touchpad compares to a real mouse

Depending on your work, I think this is an outdated viewpoint.

Apple sells large, detached trackpads, and they're quite popular amongst people I know (all hardcore programmers):

https://www.apple.com/magic-accessories/

I personally still prefer a mouse when at a desktop, but it can't be denied that Apple's trackpads and their gesture support are incredibly good.


The Thinkpad Helix 2 I'm currently sat at cost me 600 quid earlier this year (and is the 8Gb RAM model so not completely un-comparable to the lower end of the new macbooks)


> Maybe you should stop shopping for cheap, consumer-grade crap and get a real laptop like a Thinkpad or Latitude.

If only that were true. Lenovo products are high priced chunks of thin, flexible plastic.

You're basically comparing 30th floor office space to a freaking warehouse.


Had a latitude 7440 before my Mac. The difference is still significant, sometimes I have to boot it back up and this makes me sad. The touchpad alone is worth upgrading for.


While this sounds nice, I don't think it's correct. If people really bought products because they wanted to use the same thing professionals use, then everyone would be running around with Thinkpads and Latitudes, not Macbooks. And they would have turned their noses up at iPhones and bought Blackberries instead. Apple stuff is just fashion accessories (though for the iPhone, I will grant that it was a quantum leap over the state of the art at the time, but not any more, and this doesn't apply to the situation with notebook computers). They use their marketing to convince rubes that their stuff is the best made, but it's not actual professional gear.

As for Mercedes S vs. Tesla Model S, that seems like an apples-and-oranges comparison there. The Mercedes isn't electric. EVs are fundamentally different vehicles from gas-powered cars, and someone who really wants an EV is not going to even bother looking at gas-powered cars in the same price range. That would be like looking at a really nice microwave oven and then buying a really nice set of stainless-steel cookware instead; sure, they can both be used for cooking, but they're really different approaches to the problem and not normally used for the same thing.


Interesting how I get down-modded to oblivion any time I make a post that challenges the Apple Kool-Aid. Maybe instead of "Hacker News", this place should be renamed "Hipster News" if it's just a congregation place for Apple cultists.


Please keep posting! Hacker News needs people like you. People who "Think Different" and challenge the status quo.


I can think of one instance. After Apple released the 3rd gen iPod Shuffle (gumstick) with no buttons they said at the release of the 4th gen iPod Shuffle event: "But users clearly like the buttons". So then the next gen had buttons just like the 2nd gen.


What about the changes that bluedino talks about?

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12836747

> [The Macbook Air] didn't become popular until they added a second USB port and SD card reader, added a higher resolution screen, fixed the battery life issues, fixed the horribly slow performance, and reduced the price big-time.


They did that while keeping it thin and light though, which is the entire reason for the Macbook Air to exist - or at least, it was, until the even thinner revised Macbook turned up. Which will, I'm pretty sure, gain a second USB C port just as soon as they figure out how to fit it in.


Oh they do admit mistakes.. They just don't say it:

Steve Jobs on why the iPod color doesn't have video said something to the effect of "nobody want to watch video on a tiny screen". a generation or 2 later the iPod (classic style) can play video.

You can totally make do with html/javascript apps on the iPhone. Not long after there is an SDK/app store.

cut and paste on iOS: It took a couple years but here is our version that is world beating.

That round mouse they included with the original iMac didn't last long.

I think a lot of projects were killed (Newton, Pipin, iPod, the motorola phone that used iTunes.) that just didn't work out.

Not to mention 'ping' (social media for iTunes) and the cloud based infrastructure.

I think the problem is Steve really liked the mac, and you could see that during his demos he was a power user and understood the product better.


> nobody needs cut and paste

Said no one, ever, including Apple with the original iPhone.


I checked on it, Apple didn't say it, but it wasn't added as a feature to the device for a couple years.

I edited the comment to reflect that.


Newton is an interesting case. Apple made two big mistakes... They didn't realize how hard handwriting recognition was and they didn't realize how important syncing with a computer was.

I think there's an alternate universe out there where Apple kept the Newton and it evolved into the iPhone.


You're forgetting about the phablet market. Apple insisted that the puny iphones were the prefect size for all people. I bailed for a Note2 and never looked back.


I wish people made more puny phones that work with my small hands. I'm really happy with iPhone SE, but I don't have high hopes that there will be a refresh.


I don't think they ever said copy/paste was unnecessary, although it mostly was in iOS 1.


"Never" is a bit of an overstatement. There was an apology for Apple Maps. I think better way to put it is that Apple doesn't engage in a genuine way with customers. It communicates with favored individuals in the press or chosen customers via email, with the expectation that the email from Tim Cook or Phil Schiller will serve to get the word out.

Compare the number of Google employees making public statements through blogs with the number of Apple employees who do so.

There's very little acknowledgement of public input, as if anything the public had to say about Apple products doesn't matter because Apple knows better.


"Likewise, with the new MacBook Pros, they are not going to release an update in a year's time that doesn't sacrifice ports and performance and battery life for size and weight, because doing so would be admitting a mistake."

I know this has been litigated to death in the original thread, but I think the 4 USB-C ports implicitly admits the MacBook with only a single USB-C port was a mistake. I think obsessing about having specific legacy ports is short sighted, and pushing forward with new connection technologies fits well with Apple's history of innovation. Having ports capable of being every thing from power connector to video display to high speed disk connector to mouse or keyboard port offers great flexibility and will seem like an obvious choice very soon.

I think the claimed battery life still fairs well against similarly spec'd PCs?

Size and weight are super important characteristics for many users. Not sure sacrificing these attributes would appeal to most laptop consumers.

"Nor are they going to dramatically cut the prices, such that they are actually affordable for someone, because doing so would be admitting a mistake."

It's only a mistake if their overall profits would be higher by cutting prices.

Now, the sacrifice I don't understand at all is capping RAM at 16GB. Makes the MacBook Pro seem like a very low end machine compared to the competition, and will almost certainly shorten its useful lifespan, especially for professional user.


> Now, the sacrifice I don't understand at all is capping RAM at 16GB.

Apparently, the lack of a higher capacity RAM was due to the performance/energy ratio.

https://twitter.com/DanFrakes/status/791754757404626944


> Now, the sacrifice I don't understand at all is capping RAM at 16GB.

Totally agreed. The laptop I'm writing this on has 8GB and Firefox happily gobbles most of it. The server I recently built has 16GB which already feels very constrained. My next laptop is going to have 32GB for sure. If Apple don't have a 32GB Macbook Pro my next laptop ain't going to be from Apple.

Oh. And it's fares well, no?


SSD in Macbook Pro is crazy fast. So fast that finally, after many years, we can think about "replacing" RAM with it.

LPDDR3 RAM speed = 17 GB/sec, SSD read - 3 GB/sec. As much as it sounds crazy, i believe, SSD will eventually replace big and inefficient RAM's (which consume 6 W of power for each 16 GB slot)


> Nor are they going to dramatically cut the prices, such that they are actually affordable for someone

For the average developer the MBP amortizes out to somewhere around one day of salary per year, out of the ~251 annual work days, even less if you keep it more than four years. Is there any other industry with lower overhead costs?


That would be fine if the components actually were expensive. Most people would avoid lining the pockets of the executives with their hard earned money if they had a choice.


> Apple never admits a mistake.

Not sure what you call "admission" but they did screw up their Maps application and apologized for it[1].

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2012/sep/28/apple-map...


> What frustrates me the most is that Apple never admits a mistake.

Really? No one remembers the very public apology from Tim Cook about their Maps roll out?

http://www.apple.com/ca/letter-from-tim-cook-on-maps/


That's an apology for poor execution, not a mistake as in making the wrong choice.


It's still an apology. You're adding constraints the OP never had.


Yeah because Google or GM or Sony or Audi all come out regularly and admit their mistakes. Honestly do you really expect any company to do that?

Also as mentioned in the article - Apple charges a premium to, some would say, wisely cash-in on early adopters; over the life of the product its price drops. If you want an affordable Apple product - just like any other company - don't buy the very latest, newest model of any of their stuff.


> Honestly do you really expect any company to do that?

Yes? Many companies do that, especially small to medium businesses.

Multinationals are the only exception.


The prices of the MBP aren't even high historically adjusted for inflation. The always "raise" prices on model redesign, and taper them down on refresh. This reddit post has a pretty illustrative chart, https://m.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/59uyqw/all_13_and_15_m...

Everyone is acting like Apple is extorting people or being unconscionable because they can't have 32 gigs of ram (no one else can at any small laptop size, Intel's chipset is the limitation), or the prices are extreme when they're really just right in line with inflation...


That's not really true. E.g the first Macbook Air had a very small battery and only a single USB port. The third gen released 18 months later had two USB ports, a much larger battery, and an SD card slot.


I don't understand how those things are mistakes. You can easily make up for the missing jacks and ports with dongles. But you could easily argue that it's a mistake to keep those jacks and ports to support a shrinking base of users that still require those jacks an ports. I haven't used the headphone jack on my phone in a very long time, it's a backup if anything, but mostly just a place that collects lint.


The reactions here to recent Apple products remind me of slashdot's infamous - "no wireless, less space than a nomad".

Like the original USB on the iMac (which also caused uproar), USB-C is significantly better than the previous mess of competing standards. The iPhone should have been usb-c too but that's a whole other debate.

Like the original MacBook Air (which was panned for performance), these new computers will be used by many for serious work, they are not fatally flawed or underpowered.

Like serial ports, analogue audio ports have had their day, USB has more than enough bandwidth.

You might disagree with these choices and compromises, but it's simply hubris to imagine HN denizens are in sync with the majority, or even ahead of it, they very rarely are.


"What frustrates me the most is that Apple never admits a mistake."

In a country as lawsuit happy as the USA, would any decent legal departement allow a company to admit a mistake?

And if these machines do not sell, I would expect they will cut prices or price the next version (which, then, may come out fairly soon) lower (it wouldn't surprise me if their roadmap already includes a version with a Skylake CPU and DDR4 memory at the current price point, while keeping the existing models around at lower prices)


I'm trying to recall the Antennagate scenario with the iPhone 4, which forced Apple to hand out bumper cases for free. Did they officially claim responsibility for that design flaw?


Nah man, you're holding your phone wrong.


> What frustrates me the most is that Apple never admits a mistake.

Apple does. At least with Maps fiasco, Tim Cook apologized publicly.


I'm not sure if it's really Apple's fault at this point. Over the summer, two people that I know went out and bought MacBook Airs -- even though its specs are severely outdated for its price. As long as people continue to buy their uninnovative products, Apple will continue to never admit a mistake.


They did once. One of the earlier iPhones boasted about how its smaller screen size was "the perfect screen size" due to the size of your fingers and how you needed to be able to reach both top corners. Obviously they made bigger screens since then and ignored that they ever said those things.


And god dammit they were right back then!


> What frustrates me the most is that Apple never admits a mistake.

Do take a look at this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qr_KxouI8Zs


Sounds to me like Apple needs to get married for a few years. That'll fix its problem right quick.

Give it long enough, and it'll even be admitting to making big mistakes with Windows 10 telemetry data reporting.


They switched to x86 after years of publicly touting the benefits of PPC (all the while working on the switch project in secret). I think you are attributing a corporation too much human-like emotions.


They will change if it hurts their bottom line enough. Only question is how much is "enough".


No escape key on the new Macbook Pro either.


MacBook Escape, which will be the most popular model by far, has all the hardware escape keys any user wants.


What, specifically, are you using your ESC key for? (Not a challenge, just curiosity.)


VIM :)


Ah, we'll... can't you just use ctrl+[ then?

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