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Why 2016 is such a terrible year for the Mac (macworld.com)
101 points by grzm on Nov 5, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 154 comments

The problem with Apple is that they have solved certain use cases and form factors - and once solved, there is less and less money to be made on fine tuning and iterating on those designs.

For example:

Apple solved the laptop computer with the aluminum, unibody macbook (air ?) with chiclet keys and glass screen/trackpad. That's it. It's over. The laptop computer is solved - and all anyone wanted was a retina macbook air. That's it - that's all we wanted. The same old macbook air with magsafe, multiple USB ports and a graphics port. With retina.

Another example is the Mac Pro (tower) - this is a long-standing form factor in computing that is now solved. There is no doing this better than Apple did it with the last versions (2009 and later) of the mac pro tower. All anybody wanted was a Mac Pro tower with sata3 and usb3 and newer gfx connections. That's it - it was solved.

But we didn't get any of those things, did we ?

Minor iterations of existing designs are not enough for Apple - they have to do new things for economic reasons.

Honestly, as someone who has no interest in an ipad or an iphone or an iwatch and has always worried that focus on those items would cannibalize Mac and OSX ... looking back I wish they had focused even more on the iDevices and just left the Mac products alone - albeit with the little iterations of processor/ram/usb3/sata3/etc.

You're going to need a lot more evidence to support the extraordinary claim that Apple "solved" any of these in a final way. Especially considering every MacBook Pro review I read picks out specific, non-iterative features of competing products that the author wishes Apple considered.

I have all Macs, and I'd be pretty pissed at the universe if the best laptops feasible in this reality were just my current hardware when you take the limit as versions of USB and Thunderbolt tend towards infinity.

"You're going to need a lot more evidence to support the extraordinary claim that Apple "solved" any of these in a final way. Especially considering every MacBook Pro review I read picks out specific, non-iterative features of competing products that the author wishes Apple considered."

I think you're referring to touchscreen/convertible/etc. ?

I don't think those are laptops. They're interesting and exciting and maybe they are even better than laptops. But they are not laptops.

"I have all Macs, and I'd be pretty pissed at the universe if the best laptops feasible in this reality were just my current hardware when you take the limit as versions of USB and Thunderbolt tend towards infinity."

Why ?

I'm happy with hammers just the way they are. Sure, I'd like a superlight, super strong hammer made of unobtanium, but the form factor doesn't need to change.

I think a lot of devs use a mac because they get a UNIX machine without the hassle of installing linux. Now, it feels like the barrier to entry for installing linux is falling and at the same time the mac has stopped evolving. Also, the price seems to have jumped significantly (I live in the UK so part of that is exchange rate)

It's not that installing Linux is a hassle. I just love a lot of the apps I can run on my Mac. OmniFocus, 1Password and DevonThink are two I have running now. I've also got OmniGraffle, Affinity Photo/Designer, Pixelmator and Keynote at least that I use fairly regularly (and I'm sure I'm forgetting some). I do a fair bit that is cross-platform and would work fine on Linux, but there are a lot of Mac-specific apps that are really well designed and a joy to use and I would miss them.

(And, yes, there are open source replacements for all of these that run on Linux. I know, but the UX is not the same!)

> It's not that installing Linux is a hassle. I just love a lot of the apps I can run on my Mac.

I think that's a huge X factor a lot of the latest discussions are missing. People LOVE MacOS apps. They're beautiful. They work well. They're typically fast. They're user friendly. Windows and Linux apps are none of those things. In my experience, Mac users don't mind paying for Mac apps because they tend to be of high quality. Windows and Linux users won't pay for apps unless they absolutely have to because the quality of the available apps varies so much.

> People LOVE MacOS apps

While true, a lot of us can live with less beautiful machines and software especially if the prettier machine makes us break our workflow (ie how to vim without an esc button)

Even if you have an escape key, you shouldn't really be using the physical Escape key for Esc, it's against the philosophy of Vim.

"X factor". 11/10 would pun again.

And here I thought my jokes were wasted on hacker news. :)

1password was a weird one for me, I operate on BSD/Linux and very seldomly my Mac (I use an iPhone though) and I wanted to stick with 1password because it allowed me to access my passwords from my phone.

Luckily they use an open specification for the database they use which has a python module[0] and I've started building my own interfaces[1] to interact with the keychain in much cooler ways.

It's no 1password.app though. :(

[0] https://pypi.python.org/pypi/blimey/0.9.4

[1] https://git.drk.sc/dijit/password-utils

The lack of a native 1Password client is one of the last major pain points I live with day to day in Linux.

Those Python utilities actually look really useful but as far as I can tell, they only interface with the older .agilekeychain version of the 1Password vault. I've been looking for something similar that understands the newer .opvault format but am yet to find anything that just works.

The Windows 1Password client actually works fine under Wine, including its browser integration. But the Windows version is't nearly as nice as the Mac one, and you get the usual Wine sorts of issues.

Biggest one is that the password prompt will pop up and have a blinking text cursor even though it's not actually the active window, just the active window within the Windows layer. Whoops, hope you didn't type your master password anywhere leaky.

> I just love a lot of the apps I can run on my Mac

This is pretty much the reason I haven't switched to linux; it's not that OSX/macOS is particularly incredible, but that 1Password, Alfred and some other apps don't work on linux.

Funny that you mention Alfred and I forgot to. It's so built in to how I do things on my Mac that I forgot all about it!

I also use Dash regularly while I work, often in conjunction with Alfred.

I agree. I've tried using webapps instead (evernote, slack, 1Password) but there are often features missing and the experience is not the same as running the Mac app.

Design tools on Linux are still not good enough. It would be awesome if Affinity released their software for Linux since Adobe is not going to.

Twice I've tried going a year exclusively on Linux. Both times (2009 and 2015) I spent enough time fiddling with things to give up.

Cygwin is pretty good. With sshd and putty you've got a decent setup.

But there are still little things that osx does better. Virtual desktop support finally showed up in Windows about a decade late. But keyboard shortcuts are still a crapshoot.

Text selection and cursor navigation being uniform across everything is nice once it all becomes automatic.

Osx has its own list of problems... But most of them are solvable in a well supported way.

Running Linux desktop full time.. logging in every day is a roll of the dice. The Year of the Linux Desktop(tm) just isn't here yet.

From the pro audio side of things Bitwig is a game changer, I can actually run bitwig and renoise on my asus chromebox running crouton on an sd card and it all runs shockingly well considering I spent less than $200 for this device.

That and several System76 notebooks and the Dell XPS one are fairly high quality. They might not meet the Macbook standard, but a lot of that is just bragging rights at the end of the day anyway.

You really don't even need to install Ubuntu anymore. Other distros, yeah, but you also know your hardware is fully supported at least.

I'm hearing mixed reports on System76, issue with hw compatibility with the pre-installed OSes and the hardware itself just being a rebrand of other machines

I saw a bunch of horror stories on Reddit. I'm definitely off the Mac train currently, so I hope I find an alternative.

I'm in the same ship - I have a nice several year old MBP but unless apple come up with something compelling my next machine will be something else running Linux.

That all said, I think apple are up to more than is immediately apparent. They're spending huge amounts on r&d. From the frankly incremental improvements seen on their existing hardware line over the last several years the majority is going somewhere unseen. We saw patents for hmd/ar related tech a few years back.

I wouldn't be surprised if they do something nobody currently expects and move aggressively into the hmd/ar space.

I live in the UK so part of that is exchange rate

UK Macbook Pros are the cheapest in Europe dollarwise, so that can't be true.

It's a huge difference. As someone who's lived in the UK before: paying ~£1500 for a computer is a lot. A good software engineer salary in London is ~£60k a year, with only really good salaries going significantly beyond that (I've heard of quants and super senior people making ~£100k, but that's the exception not the norm.) That means that, if you live in the Bay Area and make a reasonable $120k, you are basically paying double for your Mac in London.

I recall at some point, some software prices (like the full Adobe suite) were so inflated in the UK that it was cheaper to fly to New York, spend a couple days there, and buy the licenses there, than it did to buy them in the UK.

We (as in, us living in the Bay Area and the US in general) live in a bubble where the iPhone is barely more expensive than other phones and Macs, while expensive, are still comfortably within our reach because our salaries are way above average.

This isn't really a mac problem though. Brexit sank the pound. Others will start correcting their prices too (if they haven't already)

Actually, Apple products were always almost a 1:1 USD to GBP translation, which doesn't really make sense. If anything, I'm surprised that Apple hasn't increased their prices to match the depreciation of the sterling.

Being the cheapest dollarwise doesn't conflict with prices having jumped recently (in local currency) due to the movement in exchange rates (price changes tend to be abrupt with Apple products because they rarely change the price of a product until the next generation is released).

One thing the article seems to miss is that the Mac Pro wasn't well received when it was released either, so lack of updates isn't an issue. Everything I used to do with those machines is now happily running elsewhere, so an update would be irrelevant.

The same thing could happen with the MBP if enough people are as frustrated as I am.

I suspect the 2013 Mac Pro was sort of an experiment by Apple to test out the market for high end desktops. The radical redesign reflects where they think desktops are heading or at least where they see the market for Apple desktops heading. I think each design choice makes sense if you look at it from that perspective.

- Limited internal expansion / high speed external bus : In a future world where every computer has USB-C and/or ThunderBolt ports external expansion is going to be the obvious choice for most people. Very few individuals/companies use desktops exclusively so interoperability between laptops & desktops is another factor here. This is also true of internal storage. Fast internal storage + NAS/SAN are clearly the right direction to go here.

- Less CPU / more GPU : You can scale many highly parallel / CPU intensive tasks in the cloud or on a rack of your own servers better than you can buying the latest and greatest Mac Pro every few years. GPU processing is harder to scale outside of the box sitting on your desk. This doesn't meet everyone's needs today but we're talking about the future here. In 5-10 years are people going to be replacing their desktops often for more processing power? Some but probably not enough to make a high end desktop Mac a sustainable product for Apple.

- High base price : This is the real test. Anyone can say they want a high end Mac desktop but how many people are actually going to buy a $3k+ desktop? How often will they replace it? The price probably reflects the minimum amount of profitability Apple wants to continue making Mac Pros. Now it has sat on the shelf for 3 years. Are people still buying it? Like it or not that's a factor Apple has to consider. Can they sell old stock or do they have to update this thing every 6 months for it to be a viable product?

So if this was indeed an experiment we can only speculate about the results. Either the Mac Pro (in it's current form) is not a viable product for Apple or they're going back to the drawing board based on their experience with the 2013 model.

> how many people are actually going to buy a $3k+ desktop?

A high-end workstation is going to cost a lot more than that, particularly with Tesla or Xeon Phi coprocessors included. A single 7120A will set you back $4,841 and change.

The point being that the Mac Pro doesn't really satisfy, or target, the workstation crowd any longer.

I bought a Mac Pro in 2013 (the entry level model) and have been using it reliably for about 3 years.

With two 27 inch lcds, and a thunderbolt external drive, it's been solid development machine. I can also boot an external windows drive to play PC games, with ok performance on the last gen of games. The form factor is great for traveling (I can stuff it in a suitcase and take it anywhere).

Last few weeks it's been kernel panicking a couple times a day (when under heavy stress). And it'd be nice to have upgraded GPU to play the latest batch of PC games (and VR).

I'm pretty disappointed Apple has made zero updates to this model in over 1000 days. Given how much use I'd gotten out of this machine, it's hard to say it's been a mistake purchasing it. But there's also not really much I can do to upgrade it since external GPUs don't really work with Thunderbolt 2.

My guess is the Mac Pro line gets quietly discontinued by next year. 15 yrs ago I bought a G4 Cube, some lessons I never learn.

The existence of USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 means that the Mac Pro, as it is right now, might not be very necessary.

Processors and RAM are important, of course, if you're doing intensive work, but things like GPUs could be attached separately via Thunderbolt 3. I could see AMD creating a pro-level FirePro external TB3 "card", a box like an external hard drive that you just plug in via TB3 and off you go.

Apparently only one of the FirePro GPUs on the Mac Pro is hooked up in such a way as to contribute towards graphics performance, with the other being solely for compute; an external box designed specifically to hold a FirePro chip and associated hardware (VRAM, VMU, etc) could be styled, cooled, and shaped differently, and could provide a simple add-on for people who want parallel computation.

In other words, we could use TB3 to add on FirePro computation the way we use USB to add on hard drives.

With that kind of philosophy, the Mac Pro could be cheaper and easier to build, more expandable and not less, and appeal to more people. If I could order what was effectively a Mac Mini but with 32 GB of RAM and a Xeon or high-end desktop i7, I would buy ten of them tomorrow, and for people who want to do things like hardware-accelerated computation or transcoding they could buy add-ons that would do that work for them.

> Last few weeks it's been kernel panicking a couple times a day (when under heavy stress).

This used to happen to me as well(late August/early September). When it was under medium/heavy load it would freeze up occasionally and eventually kernel panic. I completely wiped the drive and reinstalled macOS which completely resolved the problem. I just chalked it up to a weird system file being corrupted.

> I can also boot an external windows drive

I didn't know this was possible. Does this work only on the Mac Pro?

Works on all Macs (tried on MacBook Air and Pro), the problem is convincing Windows to install on the external drive. If you have a Windows Pro license you could use Windows to Go and install it on an external drive.

It's not too hard with Windows 10 to do the Windows To Go process manually in UEFI mode. I've had pretty good luck with online guides.

The Mac Pro was well enough received by some, at the time. It really excels if you need beefy AMD GPUs (from a few years ago) and want something compact and quiet and good looking on your desk. The problem is that while it has pretty good performance in general, there are crucial bottlenecks for a number of different potential customers which make some other product a better fit.

For folks like software developers or anyone else who is bottlenecked by single-threaded CPU performance, the Mac Pro is no faster than a machine like an iMac, and not necessarily even much faster than a current laptop.

For folks like photo/graphics/video pros who care about the best large high-resolution display, previous-gen Thunderbolt connectors/protocols and external display hardware weren’t quite ready until the past year. Apple could hack around the problems with the iMac because everything was internal, but the problems hadn’t quite been solved for a desktop tower.

For folks needing beefy GPU performance, the market is segregated between those needing workstation class GPUs and ECC memory, etc., many of whom are running CUDA software that will only run on nvidia chips (oops), and those who want to play video games or similar, and would rather cut costs with consumer-grade hardware.

For folks worried about future-proofing a big purchase, there was a lot of uncertainty about ongoing product support and upgradeability.

And of course for anyone trying to cut costs, there are a variety of cheaper Windows PC towers optimized to particular use cases.


Ultimately, for many customers (say, university computer labs, software developers, photographers, graphic designers, even pro audio and video people), an iMac makes a better desktop machine than the current form of the Mac Pro, whereas for the folks who need absolute max performance, it makes more sense to run their work on some server cluster or something. Pro creative software that used to run primarily on desktop workstations doesn’t necessarily need them anymore in the same way. Video game players who make up much of the PC tower market are happy to stick with Windows.

It’s not that easy to find a cohesive market of folks who really need a super-expandable mid-to-high-end Mac desktop tower, and sell a specific bundle of features to them.

If they release a new Mac Pro within the next year or so, with the same concept/chassis as the first one but upgraded internals, it might become a reasonable fit for some of those customers, or they might have been chased away by now, it’s hard to say.

This bit from the OP also rings true:

> In this case, Apple’s timing appears to have been bad. There’s no way to know for sure, but it seems like Apple decided to dance to its own rhythm, skip an Intel chip generation, and then wait for the good stuff, only to get bitten by slippage in Intel’s schedule. If that’s what happened, it’s hard to blame it on Intel. After all, it was Apple’s gamble.

I think if there had been a couple of additional Mac Pro hardware updates since the original release people would be substantially less pessimistic about it now.

To stay relevant I think they would have to support a dual-cpu configuration, and offer Tesla and Xeon Phi cards as options. High end RAM and disk setups would still be difficult to support in the current form factor though.

I'd love to see someone start building modular, rackable, workstations resembling the Cray CX1. Unfortunately Apple is moving away from scientific workloads in general.

I think Apple has definitely over-optimized the MacBook Pro for thinness and lightness. Those are both nice qualities for a Pro product but they should not be weighted so heavily that they give up important features like MagSafe and limit hardware specs in impactful ways (like the 16GB of RAM limitation.)

I've seen commentators (Gruber) make the false claim that Apple COULDN'T deliver a MacBook Pro with good battery life and more than 16GB of RAM because Intel doesn't make it possible. That's horse apples. It would just have to be a thicker product with more battery capacity.

I love Apple and I love my rMBP and my iMac. But I'm actually hoping that this new MacBook Pro fails miserably so that Apple pulls back and refocuses on making true pro products. As a professional who has used Macs exclusively for my livelihood I have absolutely no reason to upgrade from my 4 year old rMBP to a new one. It brings nothing to the table that helps me do my job.

Thin & light had nothing to do with Magsafe. That's all USB-C, which in its spec offers power delivery. Either they'd have two types of power delivery (USB-C and Magsafe), or one. Not hard to see why they went with one.

Both MBPs lost half a pound (16% on 13", 11% on 15"). That's not enough thermal room to both fit a faster intel processor and requisite battery increase, and same for AMD graphics on the 15". Granted, that IS enough to go from 16GB to 32GB max RAM, but Apple probably felt faster disk IO (3.1GB/s) would compensate for all but the most demanding workloads. Since a tiny % of users need 32GB, and LPDDR4 is probably going to deliver that when Intel gets around to adding it, they chose to slightly slim down the next chassis as they always have, and in a year or two it'll work itself out. Totally reasonable way to optimize a multi-year product launch.

Honestly I think people are blowing out of proportion what's possible here. Intel is slow to add important features (like LPDDR4), and USB-C is a temporarily annoying transition. Given the typical constraints Apple has always tried to follow (battery life, thermals, build quality, margins), this release says tons more about what Intel can ship than what Apple can.

> that they give up important features like MagSafe

Snapnator - It's not the same thing, but at least something


I would like to provide a counterpoint. I think in a laptop thinness and lightness is one of the most important factors to me as a pro user, otherwise I'd get an iMac. People who buy a macbook are not trying to get a desktop replacement. The whole point of a laptop is portability.

Their breaking online preorder sales records indicate that they've made the right choice.

> I think in a laptop thinness and lightness is one of the most important factors to me as a pro user, otherwise I'd get an iMac

What? I have an iMac and a rMBP. Just because the rMBP has to be portable doesn't mean it has to prioritize thinness and lightness over functionality.

> Their breaking online preorder sales records indicate that they've made the right choice.

Not really. It's an industry trick that Apple and others use. They control how many units are available at launch, and then the next time they launch a product they make slightly more products available and they say "Oh hey look we broke our previous launch record!" What a shocker!

Yes the fact that demand beats supply is an indicator that the market wants this product, but that's because many people are overdue for an upgrade. There has been a lot of outcry about the problems with this product.

The real indicator will be if it continues to sell over the next year or if sales drop after initial launch demand.

I honestly don't expect sales to be that bad because the reality is the majority of people who buy MBPs are not professionals. It's not truly a product focused on Pros, it's just Apple's upmarket laptop.

I am a professional, and a mobile one at that. The new macbook is hands down the best laptop on the market.

I for one hope Apple doesn't cave to design by vocal committee.

I trust they made their choices of lower memory for better battery performance well. I trust they didn't implement a full touch screen because they tried it and it doesn't work in practice.

People may whine, but I challenge any of them to name a better laptop, and then use it!

My almost six year old MBA 13 is in bad shape with the keyboard worn out and on its 3rd battery. Lots of heavy use. It was a good value.

For two weeks I have been looking at Asus Zen Books, Surface 4 Pro, Dell xps 13 Linux edition, etc.

Yesterday I bought a MacBook, even though it was not really what I was looking for. It does not seem very solid so I set a calendar alert for 11 months to buy Apple Care for it. This will be the first time I have ever bought Apple Care. So, the total cost will be about $1500 to get a laptop that should be good for at least three years.

Performance wise, it is better than I expected. It is very quick using IntelliJ, and reasonable using Haskell + Emacs + Intero. I am getting an adapter Monday for my large monitor.

Except for the high cost, I think I will be happy enough with my new MacBook.

If you know you're going to buy Applecare, why wait 11 months to do so? The coverage starts from the purchase of the computer, not of Applecare.

My local non-official Apple/PC store recommended postponing paying for it. It makes no difference in the length of coverage but you don't pay Apple for the insurance coverage until the end of the free warranty period.

Amex automagically doubles the warranty period for up to a year, even for their 'generic' cards. $249 to cover years 2 and 3 aren't really worth it (by then you've survived the crib death portion of the bathtub failure curve, and the hardware (that is cycle-for-cycle) has depreciated to the point where I don't bother with AppleCare any more.

What is worth paying a bit extra for is Lenovo's on-site warranty servicing, where their techs will come in to your office within a time interval. It's generally accepted that post-IBM Thinkpads are less "I can take an 18 oz claw hammer to it" than the T40 era tanks[1] but I'm hard enough on my hardware where I managed to bend the corner within 3 months of owning my first-gen MBA 13" by hucking into a TSA container in a morning grog to catch a red eye. (I also have the uncanny ability to kill headphones and fray power cords with ease.)

Hackaday's linkbaity[2] article is somewhat helpful (though a bit late since you seem to have made your purchase already).

As someone already mentioned, with Bash-as-a-first-class-citizen in Windows 10, as well as the general stability of the OS (I've got > 3 months of uptime on my well-abused Inspiron i7 that's coming up on 4 years old and it's as responsive/reliable as Windows 7 was), I have no particular desire to return to running OS X as my daily driver.

[1] www.retropcmania.com/2009/11/ibm-thinkpad-t60-review-thinkpad-t60-vs.html The rigor with which some of the TP aficionados have analyzed their hardware amazes me. [2] hackaday.com/2016/10/28/apple-sucks-now-heres-a-thinkpad-buyers-guide/

How are the modern keyboards?

(I got a Dell Latitude last time and will probably buy another one next year. Good for Linux, lots of ports, ok screen, not so expensive and sturdy. But an ugly plastic box that is not so well designed. The touch pad sucks compared to Apple's, etc. The deciding factor was that I need apt and had problems with the package managers before on MacOS.)

You should go to a Microsoft Store and an Apple Store and try a large variety of laptop keyboards. Someone isn’t going to be able to intuit your preferences via text conversation.

Great advice. Also, stores like BestBuy and Walmart often have a wide range of laptops on display to try.

Super interesting is that Mac has become an important development computer in the last 10 years - this was not the case before. But I think the dev community is pretty small in terms of users.

That said - wouldn't photoshop/creative types want more than 16G as well?

One of our designers at work got an iMac with 32G, and immediately maxed it out, bragging "I'll never have enough RAM!" So, yeah.

I think one of the good points made last week is that at this point, you're into workflow management when you hit limits like RAM because, yes, you could run two more VMs on your laptop if you had 32GB instead of 16GB, but you're already running 4, and then you'd run 6 and complain you couldn't run 10. Your base laptop will always have some limit that you'll need to deal with.

The question remaining unanswered for me is how much developers, like creative professionals before them, are influencers that drive secondary sales. I remember people crying doom for Apple when they gave up being the primary education computer with sweet deals for schools and students, because KEY DEMOGRAPHIC KEY INFLUENCE POINT KEY... and yet it didn't appear to hurt them at all. I actually question the whole "influencer" theory of marketing because of it.

As a designer myself, I certainly like that I can add 32GB to my skylake iMac, however I've never felt the strong need to upgrade. Even when I'm dealing with massive Sketch and Photoshop documents, tons of chrome tabs, running a development environment & editing code, etc all simultaneously (and watching activity monitor carefully), it's been my experience that my workflow has been limited primarily by CPU speed and the fact that Sketch and Adobe products need serious performance optimization. Even running nothing at all, Sketch and just about anything from Adobe will chug on simple tasks at random times. Certainly brute forcing it by throwing more resources their way would help (always been my strategy), but that has serious diminishing returns.

Good points about VMs and edu market.

It's much more about simulating a server in a VM, than running 4 VMs. And servers need lots and lots of RAM as the kind of database stuff usually run in them (even for prototyping) is usually memory bound not processor bound.

This is most likely negligence, but I typically have 3-4 VMs open. One is for hotfixes, one for next feature branch, one for secondary project, one for another experiment. It keeps things really clean from a deploy point of view and reduces the cost of context switching greatly. This is VMware stuff running on Windows 7. I'd love to hear more ideas. All 16GB of my random is always in use.

Doesn't have to be development related try editing 4K video with 16GB of ram.

Agreed but that's not necessarily bad on 16GB. After all, you can edit 4k on an ipad pro with 2-4GB ram. Disk IO matters a lot though - newest MBPs do 3.1GB/s so having a bit less RAM is nothing like it used to be before fast SSDs.

No you can't edit a video on an iPad pro at 4K, adding a few clips together isn't editing.

Open Adobe Premiere and After Effects load up a few 4K sources and start editing and talk to me about 2-4GB ram for 4K....

Splicing clips and adding transitions definitely is editing. What you're talking about is differences in workload, which of course have different IO and CPU requirements. The further you get into those complex workloads, the fewer users there are, and the more likely they're going to be sitting at a fixed station with a large monitor where an iMac / MacPro may be a better choice for said workload.

Even if MBPs had 32GB, you still will hit CPU & thermal limits which matter a great deal in rendering, and which are far less than an iMac. I imagine you're looking at a pretty limited set of use cases where 32GB freed up a speed bottleneck that the CPU didn't then quickly hit. Even more so factoring in these use cases needing to be mobile.

Also, Premiere / After Effects can most definitely take advantage of the improved disk IO, now that its available. As usual, developers will have to adjust to the platforms they're on. Having graphics performance doubled and disk IO up 66% is not a terrible state of affairs for rendering.

I'm not saying 32GB isn't important but there's a pretty understandable logic as to what fundamental constraints they're dealing with and how those compare to the market.

I think they would as well. If I am buying a machine that I won't be able to upgrade the memory on, I'll very likely buy the maximum amount available. If I were in the market for a new laptop now, I'd buy the 16GB model.

AIUI, Apple made a choice to limit the memory to 16GB based on size and weight, and battery life. They'd need more power if they went with processors that handled 32GB, and that in turn would either diminish battery life or increase size and weight. Apple does have a strong desire for good battery life, size, and weight. That doesn't square with some of their existing or potential customers, but I'm sure they took that into account when they made their choice.

And there were rumors that there are going to be updates coming out next year.[0]

[0]: http://www.macrumors.com/2016/10/31/macbooks-2017-price-cuts...

Note the update that this rumor does not line up with leaked Intel roadmaps, so it sounds doubtful. I also don't know the history of Kuo as a rumor source. I'm leaving this in for informational purposes only.

As an aside, I think SSD has changed this discussion quite a bit over the years as well. While still slower than RAM, SSD is so much faster[1] than HDD. We do always want faster, understandably. That said, swapping isn't nearly as bad as it was.

[1]: Yeah, that's an SI unit, I believe :)

Edited to qualify rumors of the 32GB MacBook Pro.

Yeah, when OSX moved to the BSD kernel developers loved it. *nix OS, pretty GUI and with virtualization and bootcamp you can run windows/linux when you need to. It is/was a universal device unlike any other.

BSD userland. The kernel is a Mach-derived kernel called XNU.

XNU combines a BSD-like kernel (providing POSIXish services) with Mach. The BSD portion of the kernel runs in supervisor mode like the Mach portion.

Oh interesting--I didn't realize that was the case. I guess it is correct to call the kernel BSD in that sense!

If they made 32 gb max, you'd want to get it because it's soldered to mobo. That means even higher price. Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

But at that point you have a best-in-class laptop that can command the higher price. The problem is that the current configuration is expensive and is not really better than the competition in anything but trackpad.

And screen (p3 colour and macOS still handles hidpi better than anything else), and SSD throughput (3.1gbps), and probably a million other tiny things that you forget about cos they aren't as obvious as a number that says 16 vs 32.

For 3200$ in a macbook I get a quad core i7, 16GB of ram, crappy AMD GPU, 256GB at 3.1 GB/s, very good screen and battery, no ports and dongle hell, thermal throttling

For 1500$ I get quad core i7, 32GB of high performance ram, nvidia 960M, 256GB at 3.1 GB/s SSD AND a 1TB HDD, SD card reader, ethernet, USBs and HDMI port, fullsize keyboard, worse screen and worse battery life, proper airflow, anodized black alubody

Thats a model from last year btw.

Honestly, now that Windows has Docker and Ubuntu, I realized that I could combine the iPad Pro with my MacBook by buying a Surface Pro. So that's what I'm doing. I'm selling my MacBook and getting a Surface.

I'll be building a Hackintosh with 64 gb or ram and the latest processors and ssd. There is a strong community for that now and it's apparently more robust than it used to be. Here's a good article by one developer on his experience: https://medium.com/swlh/building-my-1-200-hackintosh-49a1a18...

> My audio doesn’t work

From the article.

Not sure why people still pass this around as if it's positive.

To be clear, his audio jack doesn't work. He gets audio via USB. So no less broken than an iPhone 7.

I approve of this burn.

> Not sure why people still pass this around as if it's positive.

Well, there IS a site out there that lists 100% compatible hardware which includes (yes!) working Audio and other hardware.

It's unavoidable. Most PC motherboards everything is swappable to the Mac equivalent. You can change the wifi daughter card for a compatible model. You can change the video card for a compatible model. You can't change the built in audio chip that's on the motherboard. But you can alleviate it with a superior USB DAC

It probably can be patched with this: https://github.com/toleda/audio_CloverALC

You can also use a USB headset as I do.

Given the state of macOS virtualization with KVM, and how easy it is to find processors/motherboards with VT-d, I don't understand why people bother trying to get it to run on bare metal. Instead of having to choose almost every component super carefully, you just need to be careful about your graphics card and linux support for everything else.

The main strike against it I can think of is the performance hit for nested virtualization if you want to use something like Parallels or Docker inside macOS, but you can virtualize "sideways" without too much more effort in a lot of cases.

Man, 64GB of RAM For $229. I remember buying 8MB for more than that...

64G ought to be enough for anybody.

Someone who knows more about this than me: given the significant negative reaction to the new MacBooks and the state of the mac lineup in general, is Apple likely to release a more suitable lineup in 2017 in response, or will they largely ignore the reaction?

Apple is too arrogant to backtrack. They will just persist and wait for their demographics to adapt. People take so much crap from Apple, this would be no different.

Or they'll wait for the initial hissyfit to die down and see what actual sales are like, because if sales remain good, then they'll correctly reason that the "influencer" demographic's tantrums don't actually matter that much.

But what if they have a high Klout score? How can their tantrums not matter?

Back when they went to the unibody design there was a non-pro MacBook with the same design that was quickly replaced by the white shiny plastic one (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacBook#Unibody_aluminum_model). They have "corrected" stumbles/confusion in the MBP line in the past, I don't see why they wouldn't do it again.

I would be surprised if they didn't bump the procs to the new Intels next year, maybe add a 32Gb option. The look/features won't change for another three to five years.

The 32GB option should come "for free" with the next Intel CPU generation (it's already out, but perhaps too late to make it in these Macs). I doubt Apple gets off on withholding that, it's just a limitation of the Intel chips they're using (correct me if my misunderstanding is wrong).

Only the mobile ones are out for ultraportables, desktop Kaby Lake that would go into a MackBook Pro expected in January 2017 plus another month for manufacturers to catch up.

Pretty sure that only the iMac has desktop-class Intel CPUs, the Macbook Pro has, well, mobile CPUs.

13' ones use U (ultra-low power) processors, while 15' use QH (quad-core with high performance graphics). Same with Dell updating XPS 13 with Kaby Lake last month, but XPS 15 would have to wait till next year.



"Someone who knows more about this than me: given the significant negative reaction to the new MacBooks and the state of the mac lineup in general, is Apple likely to release a more suitable lineup in 2017 in response, or will they largely ignore the reaction?"

My knee-jerk response is that no, they will pay no attention to this and will follow the current course with prejudice.

The world of the expandable, versatile, technically minded mac pro (tower) gave way to the world of the dead-sexy-but-shackled wastebasket mac pro - and I don't see them going back on that.

The one thing that gives me pause, however, is the evolution of the mac mini which changed form factor and became much, much easier to open (your thumbs, vs. weird special prybar tools that were very hard to use) and much, much easier to upgrade, customize and configure.

So their track record is a disappointing one, but it's not a perfect one ...

EDIT: I can't remember the details, but I seem to remember there was also some particular omission in macbook airs that they finally "fixed" ... when it was introduced we were told this omission was on purpose and was better for us, but then later they fixed it ... I just can't remember what it was ... something about the USB ports or ... ?

Based on past performance, Apple will update the iMac and Mac mini at some point next year. New laptop designs usually launch at a crazy premium (the MacBook air and 2015 MacBook were both super expensive at launch and came down in price with each update.) The MacBook Pro will almost certainly do the same.

Whether the trash can Mac Pro gets an update is anyone's guess.

For me, more suitable means more RAM and lower price. I expect both next year because it is what they have done in the past. The port thing is completely overblown. It's a bit of short term pain for a better future.

I will be confused if the next iPhone is not using the usb-c standard though. I feel like that is one thing Jobs would have not let happen. One thing he always seemed crazy about was the ecosystem and all things Apple working together.

It probably won't affect their future launches too much, but I do think they're going to take the feedback to heart.

I imagine they've got the next iMac lined up, and the Mac Pro with Skylake-E / DDR4 and some 14nm AMD chips with HBM2. The iMac today is already a Skylake product, so the things the next one needs for feature-parity are TB3, USB-C, wireless keyboard with touchbar, and a new 14nm graphics chip. Wouldn't be surprised if it also got DDR4 as well. These may come earlier and/or cheaper due to user feedback.

One change I expect that won't be driven much by feedback is price. The thing with releases like the new MBP is they typically command a price premium for a while and are then brought down in price. I'd imagine in a year the 13" MBPs will start at $1299 and 13" touchbar MBPs at $1499, roughly tracking with older prices. As the supply chain ramps up and gets more efficient, the cost of parts will drop. Hitting a target margin is the driving factor in this. Apple really does like new features (like the touch bar) to have broad availability in the lineup as quickly as possible, margins notwithstanding.

Honestly, a lot of the pent up frustration is ultimately the fault of Intel - they didn't dedicate enough R&D on Broadwell to make it a proper next step, they botched the Skylake mobile launch with bad firmware (see: buggy Surface products earlier this year), they didn't include several features important to Apple including LPDDR4 support and DisplayPort 1.3 (necessitating MST Thunderbolt connection for 5k displays) not to mention HEVC encoding, their Core M chips are way overpriced which delays the transition of the MBAir to the Macbook chassis, etc. Not to mention AMD/Nvidia have been stuck on 28nm process for far too long (5 years) due to delays and quality of 20nm process, which necessitated the wait until 14nm parts were ready to do a joint launch with the 15" MBP. It was a confluence of bad timing from third party chip manufacturers.

Also, when Apple launches something, they need them in super high volume. 13" MBPs are the #1 Mac by sales. Many other manufacturers can announce/launch flagship devices distinct from other products in their lineup with the latest chips, but wind up delaying them or just launching in very low volumes. Those manufacturers get the benefit of offering the latest & greatest, without the same level of demand to fulfill, nor level of scrutiny if delayed as would be with an Apple launch.

So unless Apple has some exclusivity with Intel & AMD for new chips, they're necessarily going to be lagging a bit based solely on volume, and have to make up for it with exclusive features (like touchbar) and fit&finish (like new chassis). Apple invests a huge amount in controlling the chip manufacturing process in iDevices including redundancy in the supply chain and (I believe) building different variants on different process nodes in parallel, all in order to push the frontier as far out as possible on capability + volume. But they can't on Mac, which means they're going to be less focused on it. Nothing like owning 100% of success or failure for you to care about it.

There's fair criticisms about USB-C but that's just how Apple does things; maybe they're 6-12mo early on it, but not much further. Same with chassis - they're dedicated to making each generation slightly smaller, and besides easing that constraint wouldn't have changed the current state of intel+amd chips, so they chose slightly lower performance now over larger chassis for years to come. I think they should have started with lower dongle prices; they clearly misread the frustration there.

We'll see what the sales are and how long this storm lasts. MBPs are going to be the driving force in mainstreaming USB-C, at least that problem will go away in a relatively short period of time. Dongles will be a way of life for older devices, but so will drivers not being updated by manufacturers and other annoyances of aging tech.

There are already rumors to that effect:


Looks like that rumor was bogus:

"As pointed out by Ars Technica's Andrew Cunningham and others, Kuo's outline of chip possibilities does not match up with what is known from leaked Intel roadmaps. Intel is not planning MacBook Pro-class chips in the Cannonlake family at all, and Coffee Lake chips aren't arriving until 2018."

Thanks for pointing that out. I hadn't seen the update at the bottom of the article.

Apple has backtracked before, but I don't think they'll backtrack completely. They'll probably put in an SD card slot or a magnetic USB-C for power or something like that.

If the question is "will something better become available in the future" then the answer is always "yes".

Unless they discontinue the product completely, of course. The answer is "no" in that case.

That's what I thought for 2 years before these new MBPs, and yet, here we are.

That's not a foregone conclusion with Apple — whether it's the XServe in 2011, the 17" MacBook Pro in 2012, the expandable Mac Pro in 2013… there's a wall, folks, and it's got writing on it.

I wonder what's the energy cost introduced by having 16 extra GB of RAM. Is that a space issue (more RAM = less space for batteries) or a power consumption?

If I remember correctly it's not the ram that they're going for, but the processor the ram attaches to. The skylake low power mobile cpus all use the low power ram(as one would expect), and for some reason is limited to 16gb on mobile.

So if apple wanted the low power cpu, they had to limit everyone to 16GB.

All of the Skylake i7 mobile CPUs can handle at minimum 32GB and at most 64GB [0]

[0] http://ark.intel.com/products/codename/37572/Skylake#@Mobile

As per the processor data sheet [0] 32GB is only possible with DDR4, not LPDDR3.

[0] https://www-ssl.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/core/...

about ~1-1.5 watts under full load.

How about while idle? It seems like you'd still need a fair bit of power to refresh them, but I'd be interested to see the actual numbers.

For comparison the 13" MacBook Pro has a 50wh battery, so apple's 10 hour battery claim depends on the machine averaging 5 watts of power consumption during normal use. Adding 1 watt of consumption would reduce the battery life by 2 hours.

Even if that was the case, why not let users decide for themselves if they wanted 32GB and 8 hours of battery? 8 hours of battery is still pretty awesome.

I think the narrative that Apple presented about not giving the 32GB option because of battery time doesn't make much sense if you consider all the design decisions around these new machines. It makes more sense that Apple thought only a minority of users wanted 32GB and then it backfired.

Something on the order of ~50-100 mW.

I'm confused by the negative reaction. To me, these new laptops seem like the ultimate pro dream machines.

I can understand the frustration with with lack of other Mac updates somewhat, but really, Intel has not been giving much reason to update the cpu for a while now, so it is somewhat justified. Ram speed, and ssd speed, are more important by far now.

What puzzles me more is the lack of Mac mini action. Isn't this an excellent route for Apple to introduce new customers to the Mac? Why don't they make it compelling, and a tiny bit a loss leader? I know Mac revenue is a minor fraction of apple's revenue now, but on the same token, a reduction in asp for macs would be minor overall as well.

My guess: they don't want the cost and hassle of providing apple-grade support to new Mac users.

People are angry that they pretty much took the 2015 Macbook Pro 13" base model and popped $300 on the price, and in the process gimped it compared to its more expensive versions.

not sure I describe the new MacBook or any laptop really as a "pro" machine - Pro to my mind means the sort of use case where you using a workstation class machine with a Hot i7 or Dual Zenon and possibly some of the high end video cards for CUDA etc.

Pro also means having an ESC key I think.

Where I come from, it does!

> A larger danger for Apple, I think, is affordability.

This was is interesting because Apple had previously been reducing the costs and expanding the options available for entry level Macs. This makes me think they will be doing a major revamp of the non-Pro line next year that may include moving them to ARM. Moving the higher volume consumer products to ARM first makes sense for a lot of reasons. I think it's even plausible we could see some type of macOS/ARM compatibility come to the iPad next year. In all the hysteria about the Mac recently everyone has kind of forgotten that the iPad is Apple's biggest problem child right now.

I attached an external ssd on my old 2011 Mac mini and it performs just as faster than my 2015 MacBook Pro. This makes me realize that OS X still runs very fast even on older models and makes me wonder if this is the reason why apple isn't really keen on providing macs with faster cpus or even more ram. So to those of you who asks for more ram or CPU, unless you run very memory / CPU intensive apps, it's most likely you don't require them.

I must disagree. I know exactly how much RAM and CPU time my tasks take. On my Ubuntu machine a build can easily take 20gb of RAM and saturate the CPU for half an hour. If I want to test my software on windows, that means a VM taking another chunk of RAM. I have seen my system consume almost all of 64gb.

I have seen the difference between each generation of i7 and my build times keep going down. For about 5 million LOCs of C/C++ the first takes about half an hour and the 6 gen takes about 3 minutes.

For systems developers this makes the Mac Book Pro a poor choice. But other laptops are almost as good as Desktops until we start needing things like CUDA (or more than 8 cores).

I ageee, also CPUs do not really get much faster over years and I/O is more likely to matter to most applications. Only reason to upgrade just for processor would be for longer battery times, but it is already long enough for 2015mbp.

> CPUs do not really get much faster over years

This is a relatively new development. 15 years ago CPU speeds were increasing like mad.

"For those on the margins, the question will be if staying on Apple products is worth the pain, or if it isn’t."

For me it isn't. I started looking at Clevo laptops already.

They have terrible battery life. My first laptop I purchased in college was a top of the line Alienware. Never again will I do that. If you value portability and battery life at all I would reconsider. If you want power and discrete graphics get a desktop.

What's your point? "If you want power and discrete graphics get a desktop." is true about any notebook. Every notebook - except maybe those built from actual desktop hardware (which is mainly a configuration difference anyway) - will be far less powerful and more noisy than a desktop at the same price point.

Depending on the brand you'll always pay a 2-6 times premium for laptop hardware.

Re. battery life; it obviously depends a lot on the model. Some are quite okay, the gaming ones aren't.

My point is that I've personally experienced the pain of purchasing a "high-performance laptop."

It was incredibly heavy to where you unconsciously start deciding to leave it home because of the discomfort of lugging it around.

The battery life was so poor you have constant anxiety about when it will run out or if you will make it through your two classes.

The performance also ultimately wasn't that great and had terrible thermals.

I was left with a laptop that never left my desk. I would have been better off purchasing a cheap chromebook and a mid-range desktop for the same money. The "performance laptop" is compromise incarnate.

> or if you will make it through your two classes.

Or... you could just bring a charger, and not have to worry?

I've noticed a lot of people complaining about USB-c and having to buy adapters or whatever.

USB-c is a transitory period as we move to a state of being where "crap does anybody have HDMI to DVI" or whatever is non-existent. We're moving away from physical cables and having to buy different connectors or adapters between products.

It's a pain right now, because manufacturers haven't caught up (and might have an interest in never "catching up"), but the move Apple is making in standardizing ports and removing things like the headphone jack (while giving you an extension cord for backwards compatibility) are all moves in the right direction.

> "crap does anybody have HDMI to DVI"

Unfortunately to be replaced with 'crap, does anyone have a USB-C cable that can handle 90W?' or 'is this USB-C cable good enough to handle Thunderbolt? Why isn't my Thunderbolt device connecting' or 'is this USB-C port 3.0 or 3.1?'

Unless we standardise on over-engineered USB-C cables that can handle all possible use-cases ( and thus able to handle 100W even just to connect a mouse ) or introduce some sort of labelling system ( which doesn't move us on from the current cable-zoo ), then there's going to continue to be hair-pulling at the start of Powerpoint presentations in unfamiliar rooms.

Yea but at least a 20W cable would still work if you don't have a 100W one handy. It would just take longer to charge your laptop. Is that really such a big deal? It's better than having a bunch of different ports.

Again, you're just remarking on a temporary transition state. Even if the scenario you described happened, it would still be a far superior alternative to what we have now.

None of the examples I gave will be transitory.

A 10W-rated USB-C cable meets spec and power a hub but won't be able to charge a laptop.

A USB-C cable will work for Thunderbolt 3 so long as it is less than metre long and has 'satisfactory' loss. Again it meets spec.

You can connect an on-spec USB-C cable between a laptop and monitor and discover that the monitor doesn't support HDMI in Alternative Mode. Well, actually, you won't discover anything as it just won't work.

Even if all the cables you buy are 100W platinum-plated ypu can still walk into a meeting room to find an on-spec cable that doesn't work for your use-case.

Considering not even Apple makes USB-C accessories I don't buy the idea of advancing the industry.

It makes more sense to me that these machines were never intended to be released in 2017 but something happened and Apple didn't have a choice.

Unless Apple does a complete refresh of their line at the same time, they're going to have a period of time when there is a mismatch between accessories and Macs.

And there's going to be existing accessories and Macs that won't be compatible with those that are currently sold, regardless if Apple refreshes the entire line simultaneously.

That's what adapters and new cables are for. Inconvenient, yes. What would be more reasonable in your eyes? How would you propose handling the transition?

That's precisely my point.

When Apple removed the headphone port from the iPhone it added lightning headphones and an adapter into the box. It also announced the AirPods.

But with these MBPs? Nothing. No new USB-C keyboard or mouse. No adapters included in the box. No USB-C iPhone.

I don't think anybody in its right mind would think the dongle situation is remotely good or that the vast majority of people would not need any dongle.

I also don't buy the idea that Apple is "advancing the industry" given the only thing it has done is removing USB-A ports.

IMO it would have been wiser to keep 1 or 2 "legacy" USB-A ports.

Why would they need to make USB-c accessories (they do though)? Other companies can and do make them. Apple should stick to making forward-thinking machines and software.

Because Apple also manufactures accessories like keyboards and mice.

I don't get this argument. Having 3 USB-C ports and a USB-A port would be the same kind of future proof, just without pissing off the users and making Pro use laptops really really annoying to use in daily life.

Why are you selling the option of having ONLY USB-C or ONLY USB-A as a binary thing?

No need for the USB-A. Just switch to C. You won't need to orient your power cord, and you'll have more throughput

If you maintain the USB-A, users will keep using it instead of switching to the superior alternative and driving progress.

I want a world of one universal connector and/or no wires/cords. USB-C is the start of this future.


I'd find the "Apple is doing this for our own good with a single unified connector standard" position more credible if the new iPhone used USB-C.

> No need for the USB-A. Just switch to C. You won't need to orient your power cord, and you'll have more throughput

Sadly, almost everything is still USB-A. USB sticks, 2FA tokens, mechanical keyboards, mice, and - oh yeah - iPhone charging cables.

Would I like to move to USB-C? Sure. But as a professional, there's going to be some situations where I need that backwards compatibility, if not for me then for some client. There's going to be a really long transition period, because all that USB-A stuff is still 100% functional.

And if you argue that adapters are the solution, then clearly we still need at least 1 port, so why not leave it? Design is supposed to improve usability. Technology is always a compromise, but for many people, thickness wasn't an issue in the first place.

(BTW, magsafe power cords don't need orientating. Kind of a solved problem)

> If you maintain the USB-A, users will keep using it instead of switching to the superior alternative and driving progress.

This argument is backwards. If it's superior, then people will switch. For many use cases, USB-C offers no practical benefit - in other words, it's a solution to a problem that doesn't exist.

Is one USB-A port too much to ask for, for the sake of backwards compatibility and potential emergency use? On the other hand, ironically people (including me) would pay $$$ for a USB-C iPhone. That application of USB-C is clearly superior!

> No need for the USB-A. Just switch to C.

The iPhone 7 ships with a USB-A cable. You can't connect their flagship phone to their flagship laptop. What happened to "it just works"?

My guess would be new intel cpus will be a paid upgrade for another $500 sometime next year. Apple will then abandon macs because they aren't moving ridiculously priced hardware. More likely is that apple is phasing out its pro line in favor of premium consumer macs. Xserve is dead. Mac Pro is on its death bed. MacBook Pro is next. Not to mention they have been slowly killing off their pro software as well. I was actually surprised final cut got an update.

One remaining pro software they need to kill before that is possible: XCode ! A cloud version, optimised for iPad Pro unveiled at an event with a bigger iPad Pro and a few big companies all around singing praise and showing off uber cool plugins, and the Mac is gone

Apple's rumored transition to in-house ARM-based CPUs for their Macbooks couldn't come faster. For such a critical component, relying on a single third party to continue innovating on a timeline which aligns with where you want your products to be is not ideal.

That'll mean a whole new set of softwares. The current software (think photoshop) won't work on ARM processor

You'd have an emulator, same as the 680x0->PPC and PPC->x86 transitions.

I'm not sure how well this would work in practice. The reasons for the previous changes were that performance of the existing line had reached a dead end, and the new line was noticeably better right from the get-go. Not the case for an Intel->ARM switch.

Though - whether this would be a problem in practice, I couldn't say. Most software probably doesn't demand much. GPU-heavy stuff wouldn't be much affected. Emulated Photoshop would probably be terrible, but major vendors would get advance warning, I'm sure, so you'd have ARM-friendly Photoshop as a launch title.

And, better still, AArch64 is little-endian, and I think it handles misaligned data transparently (and if not, Apple could presumably fix that?) - so for 90+% of software, "porting" to this hypothetical future ARM OS X would require little more than a rebuild.

This wouldn't help Boot Camp much, though... I use Boot Camp quite a lot. Windows compatibility played a large part in my decision to buy a Macbook Pro in the first place! But I wonder how common that is?

You can bet Apple would work with select third parties like Adobe to port their software to be ready at launch if they were moving to ARM. They just did with touchbar.

Apple's done two architecture changes already. Both 68k backwards compatibility on PowerPC and Rosetta PPC backwards compatibility on Intel worked well.

> Rosetta PPC backwards compatibility on Intel worked well

Rosetta worked, but I don't know if I'd say it worked well. It was brutally slow to the point of being unusable with some apps on mid/low end Macs.

Don't forget the architecture change from the 6502 to the 68000!

They never provided CPU emulation for that.

Their solution for Mac LC was effectively an Apple IIe shrunk down to a PDS expansion card.

There were some good third party Apple ][ emulators for the Mac!

They've done this transition before (ppc->x86->x64) so they have the experience and tooling.

Don't forget 68k :)

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