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I returned my 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (jeffgeerling.com)
559 points by geerlingguy 133 days ago | hide | past | web | 466 comments | favorite

If you've got the previous generation of macbook pro and are wondering whether you should upgrade, here's an alternate suggestion:

I took my 2014 retina macbook pro to the Apple Store and got a "topcase replacement" (because my keyboard was beat up with overuse and starting to get flaky). That had the side benefit of giving me a completely new external case, so it looks brand new again. And it includes a brand new battery. And I got a new display for free, because there's a recall on that generation of retina displays for delamination issues.

It feels like I just bought a new laptop at one fifth the price. And the specs on it are still competitive with the 2016 models: 16GB ram, 3ghz core i7. Only the very highest 2016 configuration even beats it, and that by only a little.

> 3ghz core i7

I hope Apple hasn't succeeded in reducing processor comparisons to these two useless tidbits of information...

Based on just "3GHz core i7", a chip could either be painfully out of date or current top of the line.

> Based on just "3GHz core i7", a chip could either be painfully out of date or current top of the line.

This has always bothered me too. I suspect that the ambiguity is intentional on the part of Intel and/or Apple marketing (though I'm not savvy enough to know why exactly).

Linus mentions it in one of his videos. The idea is that Intel doesn't want you worried about the generation, only whether it's i3/i5/i7. I guess this helps them mask over the fact that, year on year, CPUs aren't really getting any faster in single-threaded performance.

How does that makes sense? Isn't it beneficial to Intel that you WANT the latest gen regardless of how little it progressed from the previous gen?

Laptops are much more expensive than CPUs. I'm not likely to buy a whole new laptop just because Intel introduced a new generation.

However, if my laptop is old and slow, and I'm already in the market for a new computer, I can easily be convinced to buy the computer with the "bigger numbers". Buying i7 instead of i5 only a small part of the full price, so why not?

Yes, and they way they do that is by obscuring the performance and hoping you'll assume processor speed is still advancing as quickly as it did in the 90s and early 2000s.

Why is single threaded performance important?

When I think about my daily work - it is very multi-threaded:

* parallel builds

* video running in chrome

* a zillion tabs open

What I really care about is battery life.

Because the UI is single threaded, I think. i.e. the actual drawing of a button press or menu call up.

Because a lot of things still aren't or can't be multi threaded, most notably game engines.

I think I'd argue that game engines are implementing and running multi-threaded engines a heck of a lot these days - to the extent that if a game _is_ heavily using a single core, you'll see complaints.

I would be exceptionally surprised to see any of the higher-budget games running on a single thread. Low-budget indie games less so.

Personally, I've found that a good benchmark for "what is happening in most games" is the lowest common denominator - consoles.

Having said this, you might be arguing that it's hard to split everything out equally in a game - but it's far more likely that threads are created for the stuff that can be - physics calculations, sound, etc. (the stuff that might have, in the past, be split out to dedicated hardware)

The latter, from what I understand most engines are multi threaded only in the sense that multiple threads are running stuff, one thread for sound, one thread for simulation etc, and that the graphics processing (still the bottleneck in most games) is still mostly single threaded, at least until it get's to the GPU.

> CPUs aren't really getting any faster in single-threaded performance.

They are, though slowly. The skylakes are a bit faster than the broadwells are a bit faster than the haswells, etc.

Yeah there's a massive difference between the Haswell i7 (2015) in my workstation at home and the Sandy Bridge i7 (2011) in my workstation at the office.

The old CPU's sharing a name with the new CPU's makes them sound like they're still up-to-date. Which I guess is great for making you feel better about your old device? This seems potentially detrimental to sales though, so I still don't understand the impetus for marketing them like that.

By the same logic, you could complain that VW sells people new Golfs that have nothing to do with the original VW Golf from 1974.

It's an entirely usual thing to maintain marketing names between generations because the marketing name is rather a description of the target audience than of the concrete feature set or technical specs.

Yeah, I still have a Nehalem at work and it's nuts how much slower it is than my Haswell at home (which is getting a little old itself).

Linus Torvalds?

There's some YouTube tech review guy whose name is Linus.

Probably Linus Tech Tips, the YouTuber

Linus Sebastian

No, Linus van Pelt.

Sibling poster stefantalpalaru you appear to be hell banned

No, it's a famous youtuber specializing in hardware news/reviews: https://www.youtube.com/user/LinusTechTips

I wish they'd just start using i73970 or i57600k or whatever, thats what most hardcore users look at anyway

Slight sidetrack: there's no TDP there either.

We know that i7 in this case refers to the laptop class processor because of the article. If taken out of context, then this information is even more useless.

Even at the same generation, a laptop class i7 is roughly on par with a desktop class i3.

For anything above Haswell the only things that matter are core count, frequency and whether it has hyperthreading. There haven't been any notable improvements to per-core perf since Haswell.

I also have the same impression. Looking at various Passmark CPU benchmarks Hardwell has been the last big upgrade (but also only when considering battery usage). Since Haswell I have seen any major must have big improvement. It would be great if Intel will develop a true 4 core i7 processor with TDP like 18-28W... I also have the feeling Intel is getting lazy (since the have the monopoly on mobile desktop CPUs). Especially when comparing speed of innovation to ARM mobile phone processors.

Really? I was under the impression that even across the generations there still isn't much of a speed up.

There's very significant variance in # of cores, cache size, and TDP. The specific GHz number no longer matters as much as all of them combined.


All 13" rMBP are dual core, all 15" rMBP are quad core.

Microarchitecture governs single-thread performance as well. For most users I suspect single-thread performance (oversimplified as: IPC + GHz?) and cache size will be the largest distinguishing performance features. Developers may care about larger core counts for large builds.

I took my MacBook Pro in for a battery replacement and got the same thing. They replaced the keyboard, logic board, and battery all for $300. I was told though that my computer was manufactured in a narrow window of time where the battery and logic board and top plate were all fused together in some way that they had to be replaced together. In other words, depending on when your computer was made your mileage may vary.

I paid for battery replacement on my 2012 MBPr (the first generation) and got the top case replaced free because "they changed the design of the battery and it wouldn't fit in the old top case"

edit: mandatory bitching about people who put Apple on a pedestal - AppleCare only covers the battery up to 1000 cycles. Mine was at 1080 cycles. Time to open the wallet.

Ehh, that's still better than what used to happen when they had removable batteries. Back then it was 300 charge cycles and I constantly had batteries that would give service errors well below that, but because they were over a year old they were out of warranty. I'm glad to hear the 1000 cycle internal batteries are doing much, much better.

So, they replaced recalled components and a battery and charged you $300?

Am I missing something, or did you pay $300 for a battery replacement you may or may not have needed and recall rework you should have received (one would think) for free?

I'm in pretty big 'luck' as well: my screen is starting to show the delamination issue ('staingate') as well. Coupled with that I'm also having excessive coil whine under load (even hearable when I'm chilling in bed downloading a torrent). What I'm wondering is: this is an 'early 2015' model. Its early 2017 now. Do they still have the 2015 model screens and logic boards in stock or will they just give me a free 2016 model?

One great thing is I have Applecare on this one so I won't have to pay a penny for sure..

They may do either, depending on the state of your system. If the system's had a lot of warranty repairs and is still regularly breaking, or it would be very expensive to fix, they'll just replace it. That judgment call'll be made when you go into the store and get it assessed. The more things you complain about, the more likely you are to get the '16 or a refurb '15 new.

This one's already a '15 refurb. We'll see. Shittiest thing is that I don't have an Apple store in my university town or hometown, only APRs, and I can't miss my Macbook for too long (I do AI, so yeah..), so if they want to send it out for repairs for a long time, I'm fucked.

On another note: what I actually meant with my comment is that I'm kind of amazed Apple still has parts for a 2yr (and presumably 3yr according to OP) old laptop, since they usually push their old stock out pretty aggressively. They either must have giant warehouses full or still have the factories churning out old parts??

> I'm kind of amazed Apple still has parts for a 2yr (and presumably 3yr according to OP) old laptop

Much of this is legally required (and as well, they can get a higher price for new devices when the older ones hold their value). If you check the Apple web site you'll see that how far back they will fix your device varies by jurisdiction (country and even state): https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201624

They definitely have such parts. Have had my MBP repaired 2-3+ years in multiple times. Remember apple care is 3 years so that would be a minimum.

I assume largely they stock pile them in advance, be interesting to find out for sure how that works.

I just had the screen on my 2013 fall mbp replaced, via insurance because I dropped it. Didn't realise that they admitted the delamination issue, my MBP was ugly as sin (and convinced a number of friends to buy Dells).

Apple replaced the screen (for delamination issue), logic board (to fix random shutdown issue), and battery (due to its charge renention below a certain threshold) for my late 2013 13inch Macbook Pro, few months back.

Wow I have this problem and didn't realize it was so widespread. I assumed it was my fault!!! Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. Just signed up for an appointment.

How do you request a top case replacement? How much does it cost and how long do they take to do it?

I'm not entirely sure if you can just request a top case replacement, but I just had my battery replaced and the top case replacement was included in it. It took them around 10 days to complete considering it was after Christmas.

I paid €378 last month. It was done in an hour. It was an 2013 MBA. They replaced the battery for free. Don't have Applecare.

I think they are about £200

How do I find out if my rMBP (mid 2014) is covered? I'm having trouble finding info on this recall.

Edit: I think this is it. https://www.apple.com/support/macbookpro-videoissues/

That's the 'DGPUgate' where the 650M would crash or desolder or something. We (also '14 rMBP) can have the protective coating on the screen flake off which looks pretty bad, but mine hasn't yet.

One of the bottom rubber feet has come off on my 2015 Retina MacBook Pro and as far as my research showed, they fix this by replacing the full bottom cover. Has anyone had this done to their MBP?

Yes, it was pretty nice, they covered it even though it was likely my fault and I didn't have coverage for that, only took them an hour or so on a busy day, but they had to order in the part which took a few days, if I recall. A side effect is that I don't have my serial number printed on the case anymore, a tech wrote it on the inside of the case for future techs to find.

Amazon has third parties that sell feet with sticky stuff on it that can work ok. I contacted Apple support and they charged me less than $20 for a kit that included glue and new feet (I couldn't find that kit anywhere for sale publically).

I did the same thing and it was truly like having a new laptop. The following week I dropped my freshly refurbished MBP. So, now I have a new 2016 MBP. :/

I have a 2012 model and did exactly the same thing, but also replaced my internal ssd drive with a 512gb capacity from OWC. The screen and casing were all replaced under the delaminating recall so it only cost me a few hundred dollars for a new battery.

hard to find information about this, so would also like to know.

When did you take your machine in? The recall expired in October 2016? (sadly I just learned of it, even though my late 2013 model had those issues)

I've had two of those on AppleCare due to trackpads sticking slightly. I'm sure they could be made to stick somehow.

Hadn't heard of the recall. I don't have a problem with mine[0], but that worries me.

[0] Mid-2014 rMBP 13"

It'a not a big issue at all. I have moderate delamination issues in the top right of my screen (just on the black bezel) but it's not affecting my ability to use the computer so I've left it as is.

Was this with Applecare? How much did you pay for the topcase replacement?

I bought one when it was announced. I desperately needed to replace my 13', 128G MBA (couldn't change the disk).

My major concern about the touch bar is that it really makes things worse. I second the author opinion.

I use Spotify a lot. Before, on my MBA, I could change the volume or hit play/pause with one key tap, straightforward and easy.

Now I have to hit the tiny expand arrow to display these keys and then hit play/pause etc.

It could get even worse because Spotify added their own touch bar buttons when you use the mac native app. But the dynamic display is different depending on whether the app is the front or in the background. When in the background it becomes a shortcut you have to click to make a different set of keys appear. You get lost very easily, plus it becomes redundant with Apple native play/pause keys... So I'm always confused when I just want to hit pause/play.

From the settings, if I'd like to fall back to the always on standard set of function keys then I lose the dynamic app keys. Which is weird. The OS should be clever enough to expand the function keys when nothing else is available instead of a black unused zone and a tiny shortcut zone on the right.

The esc key (as mentioned in the article) is really hard to reach most of the times because you have to quit the current display (cross) before it becomes available. Why not keep it always on the left ?

It feels like the touch bar hasn't been thought through very much. It needs some more work... The good news is that it's mostly software improvements so let's hope Apple / App developers can fix that quickly.

I had the same issue with Spotify, so I switched the Touch Bar to only showing my customized layout at all times, regardless of which app is backgrounded.

This effectively makes the touch bar a useless feature, but at least I can customize the button mapping and always know the buttons will be where I expect them to be.

I am surprised more people haven't pointed this out. It is actually pretty nice, since I can slam in so many more macro keys to my touch bar for actions than the fn keys allowed me to have. Not saying the laptop is the best (I have many annoyances with it too), but I have been able to customize the touch bar for my workflow pretty well. Especially with BetterTouchTool.

Agree. Touchbar is like a re-incarnation of what function keys were originally, when the only people who used computers were programmers who would be writing their own functions for those keys. Of course they fell to disuse. Now they are having new life breathed in to them.

except 1) esc isn't a function key (right? right...?) 2) the buttons are (as one commenter here pointed out) too easy to hit accidentally and to hard to hit intentionally.

I would prefer if esc was left as a physical button. But pleased with where this is going after using it.

I've done this also. I have found it buggy though. About once a day the volume and brightness section stops responding until I do a restart of the machine. I assume this will be fixed in an upcoming update.

BTW if you have the issue with some of the buttons disappearing, killing the agent has worked for me:


I have had the same issue. Buttons seem to just disappear on the touch bar randomly. If you press on them, they reappear again. Definitely some bugs with it.

As others have noted, you can press and drag on the volume icon to change the volume without two presses.

You can also remove the Siri icon and add a Play/Stop icon to the default icons on the right. Go to System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Customise Control Strip. You can then move your cursor down off the screen onto the Touchbar, drag Siri out of the way, then drag a Play/Stop icon down into the Control Strip.

Then it will always be there even if the control strip is contracted rather than expanded.

I don't like the Touch Bar, but I've grown to hate it less. However it does register unintentional presses regularly. And no, I'm not "using it wrong".

However it does register unintentional presses regularly.

I concur with this. iTunes has on several occasions simply begun playing without me even touching the keyboard.

After a few weeks with the new MacBook the Touchbar is really the only thing I vehemently dislike about it. I especially dislike that it wants to display the Siri icon despite Siri being disabled on the machine.

You can remove the Siri icon. I did that because I was tired of my Mac constantly asking me if I wanted to enable Siri.

Now I just accidently pause or mute my music instead.

I don't have one so I can't confirm, but I think I remember removing the Siri icon while playing with it at the store.

Like this, maybe? http://www.imore.com/how-customize-control-strip-touch-bar-m...

I don't like the Touch Bar, but I've grown to hate it less. However it does register unintentional presses regularly. And no, I'm not "using it wrong".

If these are truly unintentional touches, as in, you were not touching the bar at all and it registered a key press, then you probably have a hardware issue. I just replaced a machine that would self press the touch bar on the right side when putting any sort of pressure (like resting your palms) to the right of the track pad.

I don't have a hardware issue, it's just very easy to brush the touchbar and set off a button when you didn't intentionally press it. If you overshoot one of the keys on the top row slightly you can end up pressing one of the touchbar buttons.

Maybe they should have come up with a way of requiring a press to active buttons on the touchbar.

Agreed! The bar is incredibly sensitive. I run it in customised mode and often when hitting backspace I'll brush against the bar and activate something.

It got so frustrating that I gave up and added loads of whitespace to the far right side of the bar. It looks weird having a big chunk of empty space there, but it has dramatically reduced my accidental activations.

At this point though, almost two months in, I'm just apathetic towards the bar. I tried to get used to the 'app contexts' but it felt too forced for me. So now it's just a function bar with a bad UX. I rebound Caps to escape and got used to it because the touch escape, even with the extended hitbox, feels extremely unpleasant to use.

I'm hoping someone figures out a way to run an app that takes over the bar even when not in focus. I'd quite like, for example, to have a mini version of iStat Menus on it, the currently playing track, or some other cute widget.

I know the above is not how Apple intend the touch bar to be used (as a second screen), but I'd sure find it more useful than what it does now!

I know it's probably not going to solve your issues with the Touch Bar (I seem to be in the minority that love it), but you can change the volume without expanding the the other function keys just by tapping and dragging the volume key. You basically drag left and right and, as long as your start position was over the volume key, you'll get a slider that reacts no matter where your finger is.

Quick tip: if you press and hold on volume or brightness, and start sliding immediately, you can get more immediate feedback. Don't tap then slide; tap and hold and slide at the same time :)

Yes I noticed it and that's great but it doesn't give you audio play/pause shortcut. It doesn't work on the expand arrow for example (that's an idea for Apple !).

I have to make compromises if I want the play/pause control then I'll loose the brightness or volume because the shortcuts are limited to 4 max even if the touch bar is mostly unused black space on the left most of the time.

If that's the case, you can just go into System Preferences and make the expanded view the default.

Yes but then you loose the app dynamic controls and the benefits of having a dynamic touch bar.

Weren't you just complaining that you'd rather not have the touch bar and would rather have the default keys? It sounds like you're looking for a scenario that's not possible. Either you have fully dynamic keys or you have the option to customize the entire row. I don't really see a way you could have both.

You can easily add the play/pause button into the touchbar in the keyboard preferences: http://i.imgur.com/WMizuQD.jpg

I'm curious: You probably found the Touchbar section in System Preferences where you can customize the buttons - can you improve the situation for Spotify there, or not? What do you wish it did / was able to do? (Decent chance of both Apple and Spotify people reading here)

Happy to contribute :

You can't customize the app buttons unless it allows you to which is not the case with Spotify.

1/ display the same touch bar UI when the app is in the front or background otherwise it's confusing.

2/ keep the spotify controls visible when using chrome for example (chrome doesn't have any touch bar controls yet). Right now I have to click the newly added spotify shortcut all the time. Maybe a way to decide which app should be displayed when the space is unused would help (in the OS settings).

I like the song play progress bar, it would be even better with the current and next artist/song names and covers.

BetterTouchTool seems to be coming to the rescue here.


I haven't played with it yet, but it looks like as long as the thing you want to do has a hotkey you can use this to make touchbar button to do it whenever you are in that particular app.

It's pretty great, actually. You can also set it to run AppleScripts, which can call the shell. I have set up buttons in the touch bar for common tasks such as zipping an archive without .DS_Store crud in Finder, and for AirMail I have a button that creates a folder based on the subject line of the open email thread and saves attachments there. I have no idea how the Touch Bar is supposed to be useful by default, but I'm finding it quite nice with some work.

Even if you don't care about the rest of the review, if you're interested in some real-world/empirical evidence about how the Touch Bar model's battery life compares to the Function Key model, please read through the Battery section of this post.

I open sourced the script and methodology I used to run heavy battery use tests: https://github.com/geerlingguy/macbook-pro-battery-test

And I also published the raw results of the third full battery test on each laptop: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/16H6TeKCOZRwzsd5bZJM2...

I'm confused:

  				# Builds completed	Total battery life	Avg. Build time
  2016 Touch Bar - 3.1 GHz i5	49			4:54:00			0:08:45
  2016 Fn key - 2.4 GHz i7	30			3:54:00			0:07:52
  2015 Retina - 3.1 GHz i7	24			3:30:00			0:06:02
suggests that the 2016 model did 19 more builds, and had a battery life of 1 hour longer, suggesting a _better_ battery life...

Looking at the data in his spreadsheet, I think he has the models and build times switched.

You're correct. Sorry about that, I fixed the table!

Ah, that makes so much more sense now!

2016 Touch Bar - 3.1 GHz i5 24 3:30:00 0:08:45 2016 Fn key - 2.4 GHz i7 30 3:54:00 0:07:52 2015 Retina - 3.1 GHz i7 49 4:54:00 0:06:02

Above is straight off of his website. Looks like the OLDER MBP has more builds/more battery, which is what he was saying. Your table looks completely wrong, but I understand that he had some errors on the original site. The comments in the article claim that the above is correct.

My comment was from prior the up date to the site, or the comments, hence the confusion

even consumer reports had enough issues with the battery to make it a "not recommended" machine.

"The MacBook Pro battery life results were highly inconsistent from one trial to the next."[1]

did you see the same?


The results were highly consistent for me (I tested the Touch Bar model 5 times just to be safe). I presume that a lighter test (e.g. only browsing, watching videos, etc.) would probably allow macOS to apply more battery optimizing techniques, which may vary depending on the exact test, WiFi conditions, etc.

For my test, it was full bore, using lots of CPU (all cores), lots of bandwidth, and lots of I/O, with the screen on 100% brightness the entire time.

Using 100% brightness makes the test basically invalid. The backlight is one of the biggest power hogs in the whole machine, and the new Macbook is 65% brighter at maximum. That's helpful for e.g. outdoor use, but for office use the proper setting is 150-200 lux (about 50% brightness on the old machines, 30% brightness on the new ones). Testing the machines at different brightness settings is akin to testing them running different workloads.

I'm less concerned with the regression from 2015 to 2016 models, and more with the fact that the Touch Bar model does so much worse than the Function Key model.

At 100% the test might be invalid but I don't think your percentages are correct. I'm sure it's environment specific but I run my new 2016 Macbook Pro w/ Touchbar at about 60% brightness most of the time. At 30%, in office LED lighting, it's way to dark. At 60% it's still darker than a Monoprice gaming monitor that sits right next to it.

Note that Consumer Reports and Apple apparently had a pow wow and it was discovered that the settings they were using in Safari (to disable all caching) exposed some bug that was causing the fast run-down rates in those tests. (their tests on Chrome were consistent and long lasting)

They are doing a retest this week.

So on the battery front it seems not all is lost.

One important point is that you switched from i5 to i7, which has a fairly significant impact on battery life (in my experience).

Do you have your table labels muddled on the article? It's showing the 2016 with Touch Bar completing the most builds, but your spreadsheet and general disappointment disagrees with that.

Yes, sorry; I fixed the table just now; I had some of the data points switched between the Touch Bar model and the 2015

I switched from 2014 15" to 2016 15" with touch bar. Can't really complain about the battery life. Is it the 13" with battery issues?

This is my last 12 hours. http://c.ekin.io/3o0S3e1j3i36 Have been working on several projects with a VM and PgSQL running at background. This is comparable to my older device.

Yes, it seems to be a much larger problem on the 13" Touch Bar model especially. See the links in the blog post to the iFixit reviews—the battery in the Touch Bar model (which is driving more things and a higher TDP CPU) is actually _smaller_ than the one in the Function Keys model.

Apple should find it extremely disconcerting that developers are seemingly beginning to abandon them en masse. Every day there is something posted here, on Reddit, or Twitter by another developer moving to Linux and not looking back. A oft-used retort is developers are not a priority demographic anymore. Well who does Apple think will write software to run on their real cash cow iOS? Developers are the thin end of a large wedge.

FWIW I switched to Linux on ThinkPad X220 on the day of the MBP announcement. I've added 16GB ram and a SSD. I can't think of any reason to go back.

> Apple should find it extremely disconcerting that developers are seemingly beginning to abandon them en masse.

You are reaching, I don't think there are all that many developers abandoning them. I don't know of a single one personally. I've heard of some vocal critics on the internet, but that's hardly representative of a movement.

This is all anecdotal, so it's impossible to say whether he's "reaching" or not.

Counter-anecdotally: In the small company I work for, every single developer wants a better machine (some of us use 2012-2013 models), but nobody wants the new models, and watched the announcement with disappointment. Everyone is either holding out for something new in 2017, or considering a non-Apple Windows/Linux laptop. More than anything, people want faster, more powerful machines.

Conversely, people also watched the Surface launch and were super impressed. The Surface range overall is underpowered compared to most of the new MacBook configs, of course, and it's Windows, but it seems like Microsoft suddenly understands computer users better than Apple, which is an odd and surprising reversal.

Apple's abandonment of displays was also a source of disappointment. People want sleek, Apple-designed, large "retina"-style screens. The new LG 5K isn't too bad, but the fact that it requires a new, underpowered MBP moved the announcement down to just "meh" on the scale of impressiveness, as opposed to "hey, wow".

Edit: FWIW, I bought the MBP 2016, then returned it after a week, for many of the same reasons in the article. Commented about it here [1].

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13098257

> it seems like Microsoft suddenly understands computer users better than Apple, which is an odd and surprising reversal.

true! i guess you can look at it this way: apple is not a computer company anymore, it's a luxury goods company. microsoft has become a computer company again after years of being an 'enterprise software' company, for lack of a better term.

Ironically 15 minutes before reading this post I boxed up my 15 inch Macbook Pro and shipped it back via UPS. Similar to the OP it was the battery life that did it for me. My older 2011 17" MBP has equal battery life with it's original 5.5 year old battery! I saw the potential of the touch bar once IDEs support it, but it still was annoying that I would hit it by accident while coding.

So I'm sticking with Apple, as I've been using them since the Mac Plus days. But now I'm wondering what to buy? Wait for Apple to hopefully fix this model in a refresh or by a used or refurbished 2015 Retina model.

I've considered switching to Windows/Linux but I don't relish the thought. I don't use Adobe creative apps any more so I could switch.

This is the first time I've returned an Apple product.

I have. Two of my peers are planning their exit strategy. I get it, anecdotal etc. But when this many people are speaking out, there are thousands who aren't who feel the same way. Apple should be concerned IMO.

Correct. Anyone that thinks the dev community is abandoning Apple is delusional. Even with this new iteration, the MBP is still the most versatile solution.

We moved entirely to Android.

Apple has lost the plot and their greed and control issues and outdated product features and lack of innovation make it just a terrible platform to try to get excited about as a developer.

The majority of the 20-something bearded hipsters sitting around the cafe coding away on their MBPs aren't using them because they're the best solution. They're using them because they're fashionable. When the trendsetters start using something else, the herd will follow.

I'm using them because they offer me a unix with a nice ui and more premium software options (sorry guys, I'll take something like pixelmator over something like gimp EVERY DAMN TIME)

And that's exactly why I switched from Linux to OS X many years ago (back then on a PowerMac G3). But the mac platform has taken on such a "consumer" focus (both in hardware and software), and in the meantime Linux has come such a long way, that switching back was a no-brainer.

There are so many assumptions in this that I don't even know where to begin.

If you look at product forums in general you usually will see a lot more complaints than praise, because most people don't write about their positive experiences. I think here on HN these kind of posts get a lot of attention because it is somehow popular to hate on Apple right now, but i believe it's not a major part of the demographic.

I just got my 13" MBP with Touchbar and actually love it. The overall experience is not that different anyway, but i actually really like the keyboard, despite trying it in a store and being not really convinced. I also love the display, compact size/weight and TouchId is pretty cool as well. The thing i find a bit annoying is the touch-ESC button and the Spotify stuff you already mentioned but it's not a major dealbreaker for me.

Likewise i know two other devs who recently got one and they all seem really happy.

In general, it is the best laptop Apple has made yet (sans Touch Bar)—that's why I'm still willing to pay the money for a Function Key model.

But I'm annoyed Apple is forcing users to get the Touch Bar model if they want Touch ID, four TB3 ports, slightly faster RAM, and slightly faster WiFi.

Yeah, but Apple was never about choice and if the Touchbar was optional it would never find meaningful adoption. I still believe Touchbar can be very useful in the future.

I don't consider a handful of outspoken developers who have their own blogs to be "en masse". Every developer that I know still uses a MacBook or MacBook Pro. The new MacBook Pro is a great product. If you don't like it, don't buy it.

Just to add my anecdotal counter-point. (I don't have a blog.)

I know a handful of people who normally upgrade every refresh and are flat out refusing this time. A couple (that aren't locked in by being iOS devs) have picked up other laptops instead.

I disagree with your assessment that it's a "great product." I bought a spec'ed out one myself that I eventually returned.

Not claiming either one of us are the majority but I wanted to add my side and not state it as ultimate fact and certainly not present it argumentum ad populum.

Apple fanboy after reading a handful of negative blog posts about Windows: "Good bye Microsoft. You are losing all your customers to Apple now. Ballmer sucks. Windows 10 sucks. Everything sucks. Apple is going to rule the world."

Apple fanboy after reading a new blog post on how developers with a huge followership give up their MBP, which are ranking in the top of HN every day since the announcement in Oct 2016: "These developers are only a minority. There's definitely no trend here whatsoever. 100%. Trust me. It's based on my opinion."

Are you proposing that the first one is actually correct, or are you agreeing that the second one is?

"If you don't like it, don't buy it" is just about the worst line of argument you could take. It is highly unproductive and instantly ends any hopes of a useful discussion.

"If you don't like Trump, leave the country". "If you don't like the video, don't comment, just ignore it"...And then what? Let's all just shut down threads that crticise anything at all, because, of course, if I don't like it, I can just move on.

It may be a knockout argument, but it is true. Apple doesn't care about mindshare on HN, Apple cares about number of units sold.

> still uses a MacBook or MacBook Pro

This is not synonymous with upgrading their MB/MBP.

This exactly.

My biggest dilemma is not whether or not to upgrade my aging 2012 MacBook Pro Retina with a 2016 model. It's whether or not I should buy the 2015 version while it's still available in some stores.

hyperbole? or do you really not know any developers who don't use a mac? I'm only asking because it is possible that is truly the case.

>A oft-used retort is developers are not a priority demographic anymore

Apple would be foolish to believe this. A lot of the MBP's "sex appeal" is the fact that it is so widely used among developers and creatives. Similar to professional athletes all using one brand of tennis shoe. The effect is that the masses will see it as the top quality product and want to buy it. If everyone shows up at conferences next year with Thinkpads (although I wouldn't count on it) they might start noticing.

Where are the creative professionals loudly declaring that they're leaving Apple over the new MacBook Pro? The graphic designers I know are optimistic about the Touch Bar.

Really? Most of the graphic designers I know are, at best, not deeply offended by the touch bar. I can't say a single one I've talked to was excited about it.

You know what all my graphic designer friends are losing their shit over? The new Microsoft Surface Studio.

The excitement my visual artist and graphic artist friends have for the Studio and Dial should terrify Apple. But Apple seems to have forgotten who their influencers are.

Are you on forums for creative professionals?

A good friend is a videographer who uses everything apple. He's seriously concerned by the lack of ports.

I run an online business, write and make videos. I'm also concerned by the lack of ports and by the lack of a consistent set of keys on the touchbar.

Neither of us are thinking of switching, but we're in "wait and see". I bought a macbook pro for a project last year, and was planning to upgrade when the new model came out. Haven't - the new one doesn't seem compelling.

And people have bought macs and iphones due to my influence. Apple is foolish to ignore the professional demographic.

In fairness, there is much for creative professionals to like about the new MBP, if youtube reviews are to be believed.

On the other hand, Ballmer was perhaps cartoonish but not idiotic when he trampled around the stage yelling "Developers!". Software developers are hugely important, and should be to Apple. It's trite but worth repeating: no one wants to use an operating system. People want to use the software that runs on the operating system.

The thing with apple laptops is that they always combined great specs with great looks, which used to be rare. I've been using thinkpads for a number of years now. They're solid machines with good hardware, but they're ugly. I still am very happy with my t460p. Great screen, great keyboard, top of the line specs (with ram expandable to 32gb!), and compact 14" form factor. But yeah ... ugly.

People who care about how it looks won't be getting thinkpads, but dell's xps 13, or lenovo's yoga line.

Apple should find it extremely disconcerting that developers are seemingly beginning to abandon them en masse.

I'm still entirely sceptical that this is happening. There's been a lot of noise for sure, but I have yet to know a developer directly who has done this, and I don't live in a bubble.

I bought a xps 13 last week instead of the new MacBook. I was kinda worried if it would be any good but it really is beyond expectations. Great touchpad, pretty decent keyboard and a great screen. And for half the price. It makes me consider replacing more of my Apple hardware. I know, I'm just some guy, but I think more will consider or did what I did.

What make and model did you end up with?

I bought the most specced out one I could get here. 16gb ram, 512 ssd and i7 developer edition with the touch screen.

Ordered it with ubuntu, because I hope that helps to have Dell decide to continue making the developer edition. Installed fedora though, which just works without the need for extra drivers.

Got it in silver but applied a matte black skin from dbrand which makes it look pretty awesome.

I'm with you that they should be slightly worried, and I've long disliked MacBooks in favor of commodity+Linux, but surely the market share of iOS will keep developers at the table.

It sucks, but I don't blame manufacturers for pulling back from laptops, the money and market aren't what they used to be. The good news is that it looks like the laptop divisions of most companies are becoming more enamore with "developer" editions and ultra books as developers are increasingly a noteworthy share of the marketplace. Can Apple really be blamed for pulling back a bit from a retrenching market?

> but surely the market share of iOS will keep developers at the table

That market share is partially created by developers using the platform. It stands to reason that Apple's bad decisions will create a new "market share" elsewhere as developers abandon the platform.

Ah, I had the impression a bunch of friends bought Macs when the first iOS SDK came out. If only a Mac Mini at first.

> That market share is partially created by developers using the platform.

And partially created (and probably more so) by having a customer base willing to spend money on apps. Developers will go where the money is.

This is a myth IMO. Where there are users and the means for making payments, there will be enough buyers for apps, for as long as your supply meets their demand.

Unfortunately for app developers, the gold rush for the App Store is long over and these days it is getting harder and harder to get a return on selling your apps. This is not surprising actually, given that most apps are shit. Seriously, in case you haven't noticed, besides a handful of apps that are actually useful and a handful of games that are somewhat fun, all other are shit.

I still remember when VLC was banned from the iTunes App Store, supposedly due to some patents stuff, leaving in place dozens of click-baits shamelessly using VLC's name. I actually bought a video player app in the hope that I'll find a suitable replacement, but you guessed it, it was shit. So then I returned it, after searching on Google for how.

As both an Android and iOS user spending money on both, in my case especially for games due to my son, you begin noticing that Android's free apps are better, Android having an actual open-source ecosystem. Of course, things aren't perfect and for iOS at least I found and bought a decent RSS reader, but then I ended up paying for Newsblur and using it on Android which also counts.

The point I'm trying to make is that: (1) iOS will probably not make your app sell better if your app is shit and if your app is any good, it will sell well on Android too and you'd be a fool to not release it on both and (2) if people buy more apps on iOS, it doesn't necessarily reflect well on iOS.

I dumped Apple years ago. Once it became obvious they were abandoning professional users and focusing on the consumer market, I was done (I'd been using Macs since OS X 10.1 - I switched from Linux for a nicer UNIX experience). Each successive generation of Macbook Pros seems to diverge more and more from what I want in a machine.

Well, ok, I have an iPhone SE (nobody makes a decent small android phone) -- but I'm a regular 'consumer' as far as smartphones go :).

My current laptop is a 14" Dell Latitude running Fedora. It's reasonably portable while still having a decent CPU (quad-core i5, rather than a low-power ultrabook processor). If you avoid the consumer-grade Dells and stick with the Latitudes and Precisions you'll get a solid, durable machine that's actually upgrade-able.

They should. The backlash against the new MacBook Pro is unseen in history for Apple. It is totally not worthy of its current price.

I am thinking about switching to Linux too. I am no iOS developer, and I find their OS upgrade also goes to the same dead end of prioritizing flashy look above usability. After all, why paying a premium only to be ignored and told by believers that my opinion doesn't matter, at all? Time to vote with foot.

"The backlash against the new MacBook Pro is unseen in history for Apple."

Hyperbole? The had similar backlash when; they switched from 68K processors to PowerPC, licenced Mac OS to third parties, un-licenced Mac OS, Dropped OpenDoc, dropped ADB, dropped 30-pin, dropped the floppy drive, dropped the CD/DVD, dropped the headphone jack. Heck, they even got the same when they switched to Intel! It has been ever thus.

> The backlash against the new MacBook Pro is unseen in history for Apple.

Guess you missed the iPhone's lack of Flash support and copy/paste?

Even something as small as removing the matte screen option from MacBook Pros was a major shitstorm.

Apple is used to getting blowback; it is not unusual, and it is sometimes warranted. When it is, later models address the complaints.

I mean, just compare the initial reaction to the very first MacBook Air, to how people feel about that model line now.

It is way too early to know how the new MacBook is going to do. It's way too early to know if the Touch Bar is better UI than function keys.

> It's way too early to know if the Touch Bar is better UI than function keys.

It's not early, most things in UI design are actually very scientific and can predict in advance how fast you can use something. Basically touch bar is harder if not impossible to use without thinking and looking because it breaks consistency and is also slower to use because targets are smaller, i.e. you have to be more careful not to touch other targets, etc.

> most things in UI design are actually very scientific

I cannot say whether Apple have designed and rigorously tested the Touch Bar with UX in mind but they do have a fairly strong reputation for doing such in the past.

Yes, I think they know what they are doing, tried to explain this in another comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13366000

That sounds like the same sort of arguments we heard when the iPhone ditched the physical keyboard. Guess what we don't see on many phones these days?

Except apple use that rationale/excuse for not having touch screens on their laptop...yet the touchbar is basically a worse version in someways as now you have to take your eye off ur screen to find the buttons.

When has Apple used "there's a keyboard" as a rationale for not having touch screens on the laptops? I'd suspect their objection is more "you'd get fingerprints on the glass", but I doubt they've made that public either.

Most users can't touch-type the function keys, so having to look isn't much of a departure for the vast majority of their audience.

You don't use professional software on iphone.

Surely "professional software" is anything that people use in their profession to get paid for? cf the New Yorker covers drawn on iPhones, Gorillaz producing an album (mostly) on an iPad, etc.

I don't? Huh. News to me!

Also the transition to OS X.


In fact I remembered it.

But it is hardly a backlash. The users complained at the time, most of them simply didn't have a iPhone. It is more likely people saying, I won't buy a iPhone because of A/B/C.

While the new MacBook gets complains from its EXISTING user base, who feel that Apple is taking features that are useful to them away and making the product worse.

There is big difference between not giving what your user want and stripping what they are happy with.

> The users complained at the time, most of them simply didn't have a iPhone.

As is the case for the Touch Bar.

As I recall the reaction to removing Flash support was divided at worst. I even recall it as mostly welcomed by developers.

Apple products are immune from criticism. You can be a life long mac owner and buy all the latest releases. But if you have a problem with the 2016 macbook pro well then, "you're just a hater". OK mac community. I'm a hater, I bought max mac products for years, praised these devices for many years, biding my time, waiting for the perfect moment to shit on a new mac release!

> Apple should find it extremely disconcerting that developers are seemingly beginning to abandon them en masse.


Every day there is something not posted here, on Reddit, or Twitter by another developer not moving anywhere.

The comparison is with the absence of "switch" posts in previous years, not with the absence of "non-switch" posts. It can't be denied that a dissatisfied-with-Macs sentiment is growing where none existed before.

It absolutely can be denied that "I'm switching away from Apple" over this sort of stuff is a newly encountered sentiment.

It doesn't mean those that stay are entirely happy with things like Apple neglecting the Mac Pro. They should always have at least one machine that they can point to for people that need a truck rather than a sedan.

"It doesn't mean those that stay are entirely happy with things like Apple neglecting the Mac Pro."

And by the very same token, it doesn't mean they are! Can we keep the fallacies out of this please?

> And by the very same token, it doesn't mean they are!

They are what? Happy Apple doesn't sell high end hardware? I don't get what you are trying to say.

Aren't got autocorrected.

I'll be moving back to MS after my next upgrade. I'm willing to try out the function bar, but the dongle thing is what gets me. That, combined with the new iPhone aux port, doesn't leave me with much confidence in Apple.

Apple defined functionality combined with beauty. Now they are putting beauty before functionality.

Moving BACK to Linux, I think you meant to say.

And as for "not a priority demographic anymore"... Were they ever? I think it was more an accident of being a better Unix. And it still is, so I'm sticking with it.

Can't wait to swap out my 2012 15" MBPr 256GB SSD / 8GB ram brick for a nice 13" with more storage and RAM, dongles be damned. They're a minor inconvenience for being able to use a good OS.

Tbf if I were a iOS developer by trade, I'd get a dedicate machine for that if necessary.

But yeah, developer adoption usually predicts adoption by power users and the remainder of the market share. In a way, non-power users are switching to mobile progressively and using/upgrading/consuming on their PCs less and less.

> I can't think of any reason to go back.

IMO this just means you're somehow a "simple" user ("just" console tools, etc)

Okay, this has been getting more and more common. I've called it out in the past and people have shut me down, but I want to thank you for coming right out and saying it with those exact words. Thank you for proving my point.

"You're not a professional user" has been implied way too damn often lately. It seems that the new MacBook Pro has brought out the worst in our community, where people now need to measure their self-worth based on the hardware specs of other people's work laptops. It started with people saying "The new MacBook Pro is not a professional laptop", with the hidden implication that anyone who uses one is not a professional user. If it's not a professional laptop and I use one, I can't be a professional. Simple as that.

But now with you coming right out and saying "if you don't use the tools I do, you must be a simple user", you've exposed it for what it really is. It's a pissing contest. To be a real professional, you have to use tooling that requires an i7 with 32GB of RAM and software that only runs on my preferred platform. If you don't use my tools and my hardware, you're "simple".

It's not just Apple fans, it's not just Linux fans, it's not just Windows fans. It seems pervasive. If you use macOS in 2017, you're not a professional. If you use Linux in 2017, you're simple. If you use -blank- in 2017 you're -blank-. Because my hardware, my software, my tooling is better. And actually in the Mac world, it's gotten to the point where if you aren't using a 2013 or 2012 MacBook, you're part out of the "out" crowd. The older the better.

Whatever happened to the good old hacker mentality of "if it works, it works"? When the answer to "why" was "why not"? And since when did someone using "just" console tools mean they're a "simple" user?!

Sorry - I meant in the sense that they only use one kind of tools (console based tools which work so well on Linux...).

Many people that complain about Linux commonly want Photoshop, support for games, cad tools like Altium, some specific font rendering, etc...

That is a worrying trend. I could see people down playing others due to something like a continuation of the imposter syndrome. If you can discount someone through your own feelings of inequality then there's no actual problem for anybody with the new hardware.

Huh? How is using the console over the GUI being a simple user? In fact, I could make an argument for the opposite.

I meant that people that complain about Linux commonly want Photoshop, support for games, cad tools like Altium, etc...

I think people have taken your use of the word simple as an insult, but I know what you mean. I've made an effort to avoid using most of the built-in mac apps so I could switch to Linux more easily if I needed to. I use Mail, but would have no problem ditching it.

The ironic thing is how much simpler it would have been for Apple to give people what they actually wanted.

All anyone wanted was a retina macbook air. That's it. Everyone was perfectly happy and just wanted a nicer screen.

All anyone wanted was a mac pro tower with updated SATA and USB speeds and new processors, etc. That's it.

Instead, in both cases, we got silly weird things that nobody wants. I'm never going to buy the non-tower mac pro. Similarly, when the new touchbar macbooks were announced, I ran to the apple store and bought a nice, new max spec 11" air to hold in reserve in my closet.

Now I'm covered on the laptop front for at least five more years and apple has cumulatively lost out on 3-4 laptop and mac pro purchases from me.

Apple has never been about what "everyone" wanted though - their whole shtick has always been "the consumer doesn't know what they want until you show it to them." This attitude worked in the Jobs era because of his product vision but it's hard to sustain when you're continually regressing toward the mean in innovation after a string of outlier hits

But every time they took something away, it felt like they were giving you something in return. (Store your music library in our cloud, let your whole family access all music for $15)

But every time they took something away, it felt like they were giving you something in return for more money.

The MacBook is the "Retina MacBook Air"

All anyone wanted with the MacBook Pro was: better performance, 32GB RAM, better battery life.

It's a pro machine, it's meant to sacrifice some portability for pro features.

Current ads on TV in the UK suggest that the target market for the Macbook Pro is first-year undergrads.

Someone on here said that if you mentally replace "pro" in Applespeak with "deluxe" it starts to make a bit more sense.

> The MacBook is the "Retina MacBook Air"

Unfortunately, no it is not. The processor in those things is pretty crippled, and the lack of ports is beyond ridiculous.

I was thinking about switching to the 12" MacBook instead of the 13" Pro for portability reasons alone, but every time I ran my test suites on it, I realized it would be slower than my 2013 Air with a 1.7 GHz i7 and I gave it up.

> lack of ports is beyond ridiculous

That's not gonna change with Apple hardware anytime soon :(

> The ironic thing is how much simpler it would have been for Apple to give people what they actually wanted.

This is not how Apple works.

Apple decides what users want and builds that.

If they are right, it's a smashing success. If they are wrong, people still buy it and then convince themselves that this is what they actually wanted.

> Apple decides what users want and builds that.

You have a point there, but that decision didn't use to be at random(s/random/internal politics/), the way it seems to be now.

"Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things" - Steve Jobs

I suspect that the touchbar and the applewatch would be 2 of the 1,000 things.

The Apple Watch was born out of Jobs' frustration with the state of data sharing in patient-doctor relationships.

If you think that these are now just ideas that they randomly decided to follow through on you have no idea how many things they throw out.

> The Apple Watch was born out of Jobs' frustration with the state of data sharing in patient-doctor relationships.

I didn't know that, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the watch would be introduced in the state/form it has been, or even that it would see the daylight at all.

But why shouldn't it? It's a popular device, makes Apple users even more conspicuous, and does a few things really well. It's basically the only wrist thingy that measures heart rate accurately, for example. It also includes a pulse oximeter which isn't currently in use. I would say the full story of the Apple Watch is not known to consumers yet, it's still sort of like the iPhone pre-App Store or pre-3G, say. The core elements of its success are there but the transformative potential is not yet realized in its entirety.

> convince themselves that this is what they actually wanted.

Well, they don't have a choice of hardware suppliers, unless they are willing to take the Hackintosh route...

I love my Mac Pros, but have gone back to PCs because I can get better hardware/performance/memory/video etc than Mac Pros x2 for the price of the new jet engine Mac Pro.

I miss the cheese grater towers on the Mac Pros that were really quite nice and the ability to get in there. Back to building PCs now though and still love it, then just have an iMac to compile iOS apps.

Also, Apple is trying to obsolete all these Mac Pro towers as well by not allowing the next os to run on it, not wise. I had to sweat on the last release and just made the list of 4 year old machines that a hardware company is trying to obsolete through os software that adds little value.

Tim Cook really missed the boat with that whole "post-PC" stance for pro users. Apple is post PC apparently but the pro users just went where it wasn't post PC.

Nobody wanted iPhones, they only wanted a tougher Nokia and more Java games...

I love the touch bar and I was really impressed with a form factor and design of the new Mac Pro. I don't find touch bar silly, Apple would not be Apple if they did not try new things and experiment.

I agree, nobody wanted to ditch Flash either in 2010 (1), the reactions then were the same as all the crap you read about Macbooks now. 6 years later, and everyone realises they need to get rid of Flash. I think it's the price you pay for innovation, many people can't handle (the) change.

(1) http://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

Did you read the part of his article where he's constantly fat fingering the wrong keys on the TouchBar? And never finding the ESC key?

The issue of the TouchBar is not that it exists. It's that it replaces a good, well functioning component by something much worse.

Well, I for one disagree. I thought I wouldn't really care about the touchbar, but I love the freaking thing. Then again, I use emacs and not vi most of the time. But even given my rare use of vi (about once a day, perhaps), I've had no problem with hitting escape reliably, and only when I want to.

I think diversity of hardware is good. Not everybody needs the same stuff. When I'm back in the GUI world, the touchbar is fantastically more productive. I can dismiss dialog boxes without moving the cursor. I can navigate to functionality in programs more easily than with pull-down menus.

If somebody has a problem with the new escape key, and still really wants caps-lock or really wants control as their caps-lock, fine.

I'm glad he found something that works better for him. But the current 13" MacBook Pro with touchbar works wonderfully for me, and I'd be so happy to never have to deal with worthless (to me) F keys again. The touchbar restores functionality to keys that in the past had been relegated to volume control only, for me.

So to all the people that dislike the touchbar, that's fine! Buy something else. But please don't begrudge me my increased productivity or enjoyment of it. I remember tons of people being similarly infuriated at the lack of physical keys on the iPhone. In the end, it's a compromise that the world felt was worth it; less tactile feedback for increased screen space and dynamic functionality. For me, and I believe for 99% of programmers, and 99.9% of the population, the touchbar is a better compromise than touchscreen smart phones were.

>nobody wanted to ditch Flash either in 2010

I always hated Flash. Does that mean Apple shouldn't have ditched it because that's what some users were asking for?

I think you can overstate the "faster horses" principle. Apple doesn't have to give users what they specifically ask for, but they do have to solve users' problems. That's what Ford did.

Maybe he's saying people should ditch Apple?


I know a lot of people that hated Flash with a passion since 2006+, and couldn't wait to have a viable alternative. I, like many people I know, consistently ran a Flash blocker.

I ran with one from 2009 until 2014, when I got a Mac and realised that, thankfully, Flash was dead on most sites, and I didn't even need to have it enabled it in my main browser 99% of the time.

> All anyone wanted was a retina macbook air. That's it. Everyone was perfectly happy and just wanted a nicer screen.

The non-touch bar 13" model is exactly that. It weighs the same as an Air and has a smaller footprint, with the same 15W processor for good battery life. Problem is they jacked up the price because Apple.

If Apple were smart about it, they'd make a 17" pro developer edition as their blessed dev machine. Make it thicker, larger trackpad (with support for wacom-style pens), better battery life, lots of RAM, second/third SSD, and a couple other ports in addition to USB-C.

I owned the last 17" MacBook, and I loved it. I was sad when they discontinued it.

However, time away has made me realize that I never want a laptop that large ever again. It's overkill, inconvenient, and sells poorly.

I had (still have) the maxed out 17" MacBook "lapzilla" but loved it for the power and really need a big screen to get real work done (coding/gamedev/data etc). I am now usually surrounded by 3 27" screens, if the laptop is just for demos and meetings probably could be smaller but if I have to work on it for any amount of time it needs to be a big screen.

I would still dig a pro 17" thicker and more powerful MacBook.

If they did edge-to-edge, then you could fit the 17" laptop in a body only a little wider than the current 15" model (most gains would be in thickness).

I actually like my 13" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Speed is fine with my upgraded model and the display is great. Touch ID is very useful too.

I rarely use the touch bar and I still miss direct access to brightness / loudness up and down, but I have also learnt that a barely use function keys anymore. ESC on the Touch Bar is good enough, however, ESC has become less important on Mac OS, Photos.App for example seems not be support ESC at all.

The battery is fine too. I use my MacBook mostly for long meetings, i.e., 5-6 hours, and up to now, there has always been plenty of battery left. That is of course with a rather new battery and for light news (using a text editor, viewing PDFs, some web browsing, distractions like e-mail / instant messaging / social media from time to time.)

The keyboard … well, I don't really like it, but whenever I use my old 13" MacBook Pro (Retina), I don't like the old keyboard either. The real annoyance is the noise resulting from my fast and obviously rather hard touch typing.

I am keeping my MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. On the other hand, I would immediately buy a MacBook Pro without Touch Bar if it came with Touch ID and more ports than the current MacBook Pro without Touch Bar.

PS: How do you call the effect that you are more likely to like expensive products as a kind of self-deception? ;)

> On the other hand, I would immediately buy a MacBook Pro without Touch Bar if it came with Touch ID and more ports than the current MacBook Pro without Touch Bar.

That was my biggest hesitation; I did love Touch ID, and the two extra ports. Living without them after two weeks of having them is proving to be annoying (but liveable).

But one point of my post is that Apple shouldn't make me feel like I can either choose to be slightly robbed (Touch Bar), or suffer from a compromised experience (Function Key).

Then why not just disable the app controls feature of the touchbar and have it expanded always? It's configurable to behave the exact same way as the previous MacBook Pros.

That would be cognitive dissonance. There is dissonance between your action (buying the laptop) and your thoughts (not liking the laptop). You either change your action (return the laptop) or change your thoughts (actually, I think I do like this laptop).

You're right but I was looking for a more specific term or word, and I've just found it! :)

It's called post purchase rationalization, a special form of choice-supportive bias, a form of cognitive dissonance.

That has been shown to be nonsense:


Also, I brought a 2016 MBP and contemplated keeping it despite not liking it because I wanted a Mac OS X development environment. I ended up returning it. There are more choices than the two you stated.

[Edit to add: Though I read the parent comment a number of times, I missed a key line. Leaving my comment for context.]

I've read your parent comment a number of times. Where do they express general dislike for the laptop? They say the keyboard is loud, and that if a non-Touch Bar model were available, they'd buy one, but other than that, I read it as them being happy with it:

I actually like my 13" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.

syrrim was answering my PS questions and not qualifying my comment.

Ah, that's it. Don't know how I missed that as I read yours a number of times to see what I missing, but I very clearly did. Thanks for pointing it out!

I was thinking more generally of irrational escalation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escalation_of_commitment) sometimes called "sunk cost fallacy". The idea that you'll keep at something bad because you're already too invested, you have too much at stake to cut your loss now (common in Poker for instance, when you should fold rather than go down ever lower odds).

Also probably, as so often, a bit of Confirmation Bias here and there. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias)

FWIW, I kinda like the touch bar. I know, I know, I'm not according the the Hacker News groupthink du jour, and am having my own, entirely unapproved opinion. But there it is, I quite like it.

I'll add my $0.02 as well. I didn't buy my MBP because of the touch bar and would actually have bought a 15" MBP without it if it had been available, because it seemed gimmicky and unnecessary.

I've had the laptop a few weeks now and I'm starting to like the touch bar more and more, now that I've adapted to using ctrl-[ instead of ESC in Vim. The touch menu's in most applications are still useless, but there are some exceptions that show that the idea has potential. I like the player controls, both the built-in ones and e.g. Spotify, for skipping, pausing, scrubbing and volume. I also like how I can quickly change colors and styles in e.g. numbers without having to use the trackpad/mouse to use the popover menu that may or may not be open. Say what you want but these are improvements compared to the static row of numbered F-keys.

When it comes to the 2016 MBP HN is the same echo-chamber it's always been. There's a lot to complain about the MBP, primarily the price and battery life issues (which I presume are a software fault considering the high variance for similar workloads, and the fact that I regularly get 8+ hours on mine). How people spin this here as if the thing is completely useless is comical though, as if everyone needs more than 16 GB RAM, and carrying a C-to-A USB dongle around kills you.

Pro OS X users that actually need more RAM and better specs are probably much more affected by the pitiable state of the current Mac Pro. If you really need to push a modern computer to its limits these days, chances are that you're much better off with a desktop system anyway. The fact that the Mac Pro is a much less popular topic to complain about on HN suggests that most of the people complaining do not actually need more power than what the MBP offers but just like to get on the current MBP sucks hype train.

> I didn't buy my MBP because of the touch bar and would actually have bought a 15" MBP without it if it had been available, because it seemed gimmicky and unnecessary.

You can still purchase a legacy MBP from Apple. Scroll down past the touchbar MBPs.

I've considered the 2015 MBP but decided against it. The old MBP cannot drive the LG 5K screen I ordered alongside the MBP to replace my ageing iMac 27. I also like the improved screen, and for future-proofing the improved graphics and the 4 USB-C ports, so I went for the 2016 MBP. Apart from the price I see few disadvantages to the 2016 MBP for my use case, the battery life might be slightly lower but I don't travel a lot, so it's not a big deal. Besides, so far battery life has been just fine for me, at 8+ hours at light load and normal brightness.

Does Ctrl-] work as an ESC replacement for everything, or only for vim?

It's only for vim (ctrl-[ by the way, not ctrl-], but you can map almost any key you want). I don't actually use esc that much in any other applications so for me its not a big deal to use the softkey instead.

I like it too. It'll be the same as with anything thought. You'll have the vocal group (which may be a minority) which is usually the dissatisfied group. There's now been a few of these stories on HN that are all the same, and they feed the people who dislike Apple and simply want to see repetitious negative stories.

I've found it quite funny though to see the "The year of Linux desktop". ;) It's also interesting when people link to stories about Apple from previous product releases with very comparable comments. Nothing much changes, it seems.

Well, there is always a tension between interfaces for newcomers, who don't use the interface that much yet, and power users, who do. First group is only learning to use the thing and doesn't really care how productive they are, but cares how discoverable things are, how easy it is to solve problems not knowing anything about the interface and all that. They cannot really be vocal, because they are not using it and invested nothing into it and are unsure themselves about it. Second group cares about productivity and speed and to not relearn things, they already invested a lot of time in the old ways to become productive. You are supposed to never hurt them and always provide options to keep the old ways, as they are your evangelists and the primary audience who's problems the product tried to solve in the first place. I think some people at Apple do understand that pretty well and the purpose of the touch bar is to simply boost sales a bit by making it more attractive to newcomers. Don't know whether they succeeded at that though.

I'm with you. I love the Touch Bar and, for the life of me, can't see how people are fat-fingering it all the time. Where are you people keeping your hands that you're fat fingering the keys while typing? Are you using the number keys as your home row or something?

For me when I hit number keys, I don't hit them with the tips of my fingers, instead I hit them with the pad, which naturally leads to some finger sticking out past the numbers. 3 and 4 are especially problematic since I hit them almost with the first knuckle of my middle finger).

I also sometimes rest my finger up near the delete key, or a thumb near where the power button (Touch ID) is when reading for long bouts... and in those cases, just a light brush against the Touch Bar led to interactions I didn't consciously initiate.

Just one more to add to the other replies. When I'm developing, the Touch Bar is basically useless, but that doesn't bother me because having to use anything up in the FN "row" is an annoying hand stretch for me.

However, for all the other random apps I use (Keynote, Photos, etc) I LOVE the Touch Bar. Finding the particular operation I need up there without having to go to the menu/toolbar/mouse feels awesome.

Yep - me too. I actually quite like the 13" MBP overall. What really gets me is "reviewers" who complain about having to tap extra buttons to change the volume - I mean, maybe learn how the touch bar works before complaining about it on your site? Sheesh. Or even the play/pause complaint - you know, you can replace that always-available Siri button that you're probably not using with play/pause, and you're good to go.

(Note I'm speaking of reviewers in general, not the OP)

I'm fairly interested to see what people develop for it; I think more discrete notifications (to minimise distraction, not for privacy) could be a pretty interesting use case.

But they took away the Esc key...

IMO the touch bar should have purely replaced Fn keys - running between Esc and a power/touchID combi-button. Cheaper model could then fairly seamlessly have stuck with Fn keys still, and all would have a proper Esc key and power/touchID.

I think the missing ESC is probably the majority of the issues the nay-sayers have.

I bet if they had just moved the ESC key to the tilde and had the Fn key turn it back into the tilde key, people (developers) would have received the touch bar a lot better.

> I bet if they had just moved the ESC key to the tilde

No! Tilde/backtick key, are you kidding?

I use those almost as much in a development setting as Esc!

You cut off the rest of my comment, I said the Fn key turns it back into the Backtick/Tilde key.

Other than "Shell" programmers, I don't think the backtick is really that popular. System and embedded programmer would probably be frustrated without simple access to the tilde for bit flipping, but overall, I think having ESC back make the most number of people happy.

Or just put the touch bar above the fn keys in that blank metal area

Me too. I even like the Keyboard more than the old one, which i thought was impossible having tried it in a store before and not being convinced.

Me too, played with it at an airport shop and it was quite nice.

I love it and wouldn't go back.

Do you think it would be a mistake for Apple to take a step back and put a physical escape key at the left end?

I was extremely pessimistic about the removed escape key but it hasn't been as bad as I envisioned. With that said I would probably rather want a physical one.

The only issue I have with it is the alignment.

  > Price: This is the kicker—you have to pay more for the
  > Touch Bar, even though it provides a worse computing 
  > experience. And you can't get Touch ID, two extra 
  > Thunderbolt ports, or a few other niche niceties without   
  > also taking the baggage that is Touch Bar along for the ride.
This has arguably been the worst part of Apple for many years. There's all sort of little fringe price-cutting measures that push you to the top of the line. They'll routinely kneecap the mid-tier in order to emphasize the top tier. And things ebb and flow, sometimes Apple seems to understand the value of the mac goes far beyond pure profit numbers (it's driving iOS profits, after all), but it really seems that they've taken a strong turn away from that especially in the past year.

You know, Lenovo tried reinventing the keyboard a few years ago with their X1 Carbons by putting on a touch bar with function keys, volume keys, etc. and it was horrible. Trying to do any terminal work was horrible; for example, my insert key was touchbar FN + I or something ridiculous like that.

AFAIK, they didn't reproduce that model. Surprised Apple didn't take note.

Yeah, I remember reading all the comparisons to the Lenovo version, and thinking that surely Apple must've improved from Lenovo's version, or added something more compelling.

But instead, they may have made it worse, if that's possible, because the escape key is indented, just to make the Touch Bar's graphical layout even on both sides. Definitely the worst case of form over function I've encountered with an Apple product.

Even though the Esc key is indented, the empty space on the left still functions as Esc, meaning that the key is quite wide in practice.

Not in my testing—if I touched around the left side without any part of my finger touching esc, it didn't register. And even when it did, the lack of any kind of feedback (Haptic feedback would be so nice here) makes it disconcerting at best.

I actually think this could work better with the apple crowd. Some could be buying their first mac after owning an iphone / ipad and for those people touch does make sense.

The Lenovo crowd on the other hand are old-timers that want real keys that click and thats why the Lenovo touchbar was so hated.

Which, again, means "Pro is now just a marketing label, this is not a pro device."

There are a lot of professions. Coders are over-represented on HN, compared to what are often called "creative professionals", who do graphic design, video production, photography, etc. Quite a lot of those workflows involve using sliders to set values by eye.

The Touch Bar is going to be great for those folks. And the new screen is better as well, displaying a wider gamut of colors than previous Macs.

Because Macs have gotten so popular with developers, it is easy to fool ourselves into thinking that developers are what saved Apple. But it was actually creative professionals who were one of the customer "pillars" that Jobs built off of when he came back. Developers flocking to the Mac is a fairly recent development.

The other giant touch surface on the device works fine for this sort of thing. Even Apples flagship demo of scrolling a FCP timeline with the touchbar is better done using the trackpad which can also zoom in on timelines too and is better positioned for use with modifier keys.

- I work extensively in video/cgi software, it's not just devs annoyed by this device.

Nonsense. For one, "pro" has always been a marketing label. Nothing inherent to the device excludes "normal" users, and not every "pro" user needs the MacBook Pro. I've seen a lot of professionals using iPads (and not the iPad Pro). I know that shatters your worldview, but a laptop marketed as "pro" has never signified that the user was actually a professional, and not using a laptop with "pro" in the name has never signified that the user wasn't a professional.

Your definition of "pro" is not universal. It is not absolute. Anyone who says "the new MacBook Pro is not a pro device!" needs to get over themselves. You're not the arbiter of what can and cannot be considered "pro".

The Pro has always been expensive, which means that if you're just buying a laptop because you want to faff about, then you'll get an Air---it is much lighter on your lap and your budget.

Getting a Pro meant you wanted some kind of 'performance'---perhaps for games because of the separate video card, or a better CPU to run some taxing application.

What I have heard is that if you're a person who lived and breathed Excel, or you're a developer, then you'll likely use the function keys.

Personally? I've never used the function row keys for anything anything raising and lowering the volume of my machine.

Lenono X1 Carbon Gen II. My current labptop and I really like it. I could be better but it is nice to use.

Really hoping this gets canned as a bad idea like the Lenovo one.

But the only time I can remember that Apple canned such a major feature in their hardware was the iPod Shuffle going voice only back to buttons.

Feel this release is way too high profile so we're going to be stuck with this mess.

I love how these articles begin by listing their pro-Apple credentials. We're so tribal that we have to say, guys, guys, I'm not an Apple heathen! I'm a believer! A follower of Jobs! So please do not dismiss my bad news as the mad ravings of a heretic.

That's what makes it all the more painful. Irrational Apple fanatics like burning you at the stake if you can't prove you were more irrational than they at some point in your life.

Let's be fair though – this always happens with any kind of fanboyism. It's nothing unique to Apple.

There are similar trends for many brands, but Apple fans seem to be more extreme than most.

You could just ignore them? A fanatic is just that.

The battery comparison with the 2015 MacBook Pro is not really fair, because he turns the brightness "all the way" up for his benchmark, even though the new models have screens with 500 nits brightness while the 2015 model only has 300 nits.

I'm less concerned with the 2015 -> 2016 battery life regression (general use with auto brightness bears this out as well, so the delta is there, it just might not be as great), and more concerned with the fact that the Function Key Pro gets 10% better battery life.

The thing designers are failing to understand this decade is that touch interfaces suck. Always. They are a compromise, not a feature. This includes touch screens and capacitive buttons, both in vogue for the past decade.

Touch interfaces suck: they are too easy to press accidentally, and too difficult to press on purpose. In college, I actually taped pieces of paper onto my friend's TV with capacitive buttons so we could tell where the fucking buttons were in the dark. If you were off by a half centimeter, you'd turn the TV off instead of changing the volume. I regularly turn on my game consoles by lightly brushing my arm against them because of their awful capacitive buttons. Dumb, dumb dumb.

Touch interfaces provide no benefit over physical buttons except in cases where you cannot have physical buttons. Phones are a good example: physical buttons add too much bulk to the phone or drastically reduce your screen size. You also don't have a defined set of functionality. A touch interface makes sense here.

But on a laptop keyboard? You've already got a ton of keys there! Just add ten more! Instead, they've added the suckiness of a touch interface for no reason, since there was no compromise to make.

Touch interfaces aren't modern, they aren't stylish, and nobody likes them. You use them when you must make a compromise for form factor. Otherwise, stick with physical buttons.

This is even more true in cars, where a touch interface is arguably dangerous. Give me buttons, and I can fiddle while keeping my eyes on the road. Give me a touch screen with heirarchical menus, and I've got to look away from the road in order to do anything at all.

This is so true in my experience with at least 4 different cars with touch screen in the last year. I snicker to myself when they talk about self driving cars because here I am thinking they cant even get a touchscreen right.

I do have touchscreen on a tablet that I think works at B grade overall. In drawing programs nothing beats being able to scale and rotate the "paper" with 2 fingers. I hope while I am still alive they can perfect just that :)


I have a touch-only radio in my car. It's a security hazard. I often have to slow down just to change the radio station, change the mp3 file that's playing or adjust the volume. It's a disaster.

Yep. I have a Mazda and it has a control nob for the screen that sits down by the gear nob (what is that thing called?) And it's awesome. I also.ost bought a different car, but it had touch only and I realized touch is impossible to use while driving.

Seriously. My guess as to the reason Tesla did this was to skimp on manufacturing costs. Now that they are established I wish they'd remove that screen or reduce its size.

I hope they move it to a full windscreen HUD and add dashboard hardware controls.

Wow, that sounds neat

Tesla has buttons for all of the most-used stuff on the steering wheel, plus voice controls. The big screen is great for maps.

A few years ago, I was in the Subaru dealership ready to plunk down a deposit for a brand new 2015 MY Impreza. Then we sat in the cabin and I saw the touch screen. It had a loading bar when the car turned on. Mandatory in all 2015 MY cars. I left and bought a 2011 Mazda3. Oh well.

Thank you!

I should not be looking at screens, I should be able to run my fingers over a physical setup and understand exactly where I am. (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

It's worse than that even. According to https://developer.apple.com/macos/touch-bar/

> "The all-new Touch Bar revolutionizes the keyboard experience by bringing dynamic controls to your fingertips. This Multi-Touch Retina display at the top of the new MacBook Pro keyboard changes depending on what the user does in your app, so you can surface context-specific features and controls."

...except anyone who can type will almost _never_ look at their fingers when typing. And what type of people can type? People that own laptops with names ending in "Pro".

Touchbar doesn't make sense from any perspective

Disclaimer: I have a Macbook Pro with Touchbar. Right now it's connected to a monitor and I'm using an external keyboard...

You're missing an important step in that chain of logical reasoning. What percentage of people who touch type also touch type the function keys? I can use Emacs pretty well in the terminal, but I don't think I could name the function keys even for Safari.

Yes OK but...

Right now Touch Bar plus Safari is offering itself as an alternative to the Safari's own tab-bar showing available tabs as keys which can be pressed - this screenshot shows it - http://assets.hardwarezone.com/img/2016/11/mbp-touchbar3.jpg

Currently, without Touch Bar, it's a small eye movement to Safari's tab-bar to see what else is open then using shortcuts like "Ctrl + Tab" or "Shift + Cmd + [" to jump between tabs.

With Touch Bar the alternative is a long eye movement to the keyboard, scanning the tiny thumbs to figure out what each one represents, then tapping the right one - which probably means taking the left hand off it's normal position on the keyboard, then returning eye back to screen.

Productivity-wise this is similar to the old keyboard vs. mouse discussion ( https://blog.codinghorror.com/revisiting-keyboard-vs-the-mou... ) but it's the Macbook Pro we're talking about. Slowing down to look at the Touch Bar to me this is not a thing a "Pro" is ever going to want to do.

Perhaps Touch Bar has a place on some of the other Macbook product lines, where you're more likely to have people that look at their hands frequently when typing. But IMHO not the Macbook Pro...

I'm on a Windows machine, so maybe it's different, but I definitely touch type on the function keys.

The ones I use daily are F1 for help, F2 for next bookmark, F3 for search, F5 for run, etc...

Volume up and down are Fn+F10 and Fn+F11. Browser if Fn-F1, email is Fn-F2, and so on.

At one point Lenovo had a machine with a touch bar like Apple has now and I believe it was widely panned by users.

I touch typed on Fn keys back in the fullsize desktop keyboard days. IBM and Logitech. Then all keys except ASCII keys started to move around in new and unique ways on all laptops and "multimedia enabled" keyboards.

That's true. I use three different keyboards and can move between them easily now. When I trade in for a new computer, it usually takes me a couple of weeks before I'm back up to speed on the new keyboard. I'll never be as fast on a (small) laptop keyboard because of the missing numeric keypad.

This is a huge difference between Windows and Mac. MacOS doesn't use Fn keys for shortcuts half as much as windows.

When I'm on Windows I touch type Fn keys all the time. Almost never do that on the Mac.

I use the function keys for operations available anywhere (backlight brightness, keyboard brightness, media control). (Isn’t that the default on macOS?)

What you're missing is that the touchbar is right next to the screen. Obviously you're not going to be using the touchbar with an external keyboard, but when you're using the built in keyboard and the built in screen it's perfectly within reach and within sight.

As far as looking at the keys while typing, look at the popularity of backlit keyboard keys. People seem to love them (I don't), and that's because it helps them get oriented.

> Touch interfaces suck: they are too easy to press accidentally, and too difficult to press on purpose.

this a thousand times. also, blue/white leds should die a fiery death. i've taped mine.

   > They are a compromise, not a feature
Touch interface is terrible in almost every regard.

One drawback you didn't mention is that normally with a touch interface hand-distance to screen-distance is a 1-to-1 ratio. If I'm using a 27" display, I don't want to be dragging my hand back and forth a couple feet either way to drag icons.

That's why I think touch screens should be relegated to smaller devices (like the xps 13). I do not want to be using a touch screen to move things on a giant 27' display. I have a trackball for that.

Smaller than a computer monitor... but probably larger than a phone, since at small screen sizes the hit area will be so tiny it will be entirely obscured by your finger. God, I hate touch screens.

I like the notion of using that top row of keys dynamically-- 99.9% of the time, I don't use them, so why not give them something to do-- but I wish they had kept the keys and provided a way to dynamically reassign them, instead of turning it into a touch bar that you have to look at. You already have a giant trackpad for "non-button" actions...

Very true. I had a phone with a physical slide out keyboard up until they didn't make them anymore. Moving to a touch screen keyboard was and is still difficult, and I make typos all the time.

I'm considering switching back to a slider phone with physical keyboard. My main hang-up is that some desktop applications now require you to have a smartphone for some or all functionality (Steam, WhatsApp and iMessage obviously).

[EDIT] slack italic notation to HN italic notation

I've found systems like Swype and flick to be far faster for most of the typing I do on my phone than any old style mini keyboard.

> Touch interfaces provide no benefit over physical buttons

Unless you have something like arthritis.

Mind you, every other accessibility issue I thought of favoured physical buttons to some extent (eyesight, motor control, etc.)

Touch isn't a magic bullet for arthritis. In the middle to later stages your accuracy goes goes, and touch buttons are often smaller and tighter together than physical buttons.

That's why some people who suffer from arthritis have to use a large stylus instead of their hands.

Ah, thanks for that information.

> touch interfaces suck. Always

Not true for everything.

Phones? Touch is brilliant

Tablet? Touch is amazing

Working with children on large all in one's with touch designed software - Works like a charm they don't get mouse and keyboard

Some touch sucks yes but not always

Touch screens are good for some games and things like scrolling a page up and down, but terrible for productivity and text entry. My last phone with a physical keyboard was the last time I felt productive on a mobile device. Instead of creating anything on mobile the platform is about making people into just content consumers.

Even with games, a handheld console with real buttons is superior for gaming in general but the touch screen works better for (and even enables) certain types of games.

I'm not sure if training kids to stare at screens all day a year or two earlier than they otherwise could is a pro or a con.

> I'm not sure if training kids to stare at screens all day a year or two earlier than they otherwise could is a pro or a con.

10-15 minutes 3 times a week and a once a month assessment. :)

I don't think his point was "mouse and keyboard is better than touch" but rather "there has to be some mode of interaction that's better than touch". It's not a simple binary choice between M+K and touch.

Thank you! I did the exact same thing on one of my Samsung monitors with the tape. Except if I missed the power button, I'd hit the auto-adjust button by accident, which would cost me another 15-30 minutes. It's irritating.

And cars... turning the heat/ac up or down is a nightmare on touchscreens. Compared with a real, tactile knob with a clear start and finish, I don't ever have to look at them to adjust the climate.

Touchscreens are a cost-saving and "more functionality than there is room for"-enabling device, easy to customize and upgrade. But give me buttons any day.

Ever wonder why there is a physical "silent button" on an iPhone? Because if your phone is ringing in a library, you don't want to dig through menus to turn it off. It's the quickest, no-look solution you can do without even taking your phone out of the pocket.

Touch interfaces are cheaper at scale. They're more durable and cheaper to maintain. It's far easier to manufacture a slew of screens and program the controls on to a Touchscreen than manufacturing actual real hardware controls. Controls also have moving parts which can break. For years having an actual real keyboard was the killer feature of Blackberries and my beloved Palm Prē, but simple economics won out in the end. There's many good things about touchscreens in these terms, but not for user experience or even aesthetics.

Making your laptops out of balsa wood is probably cheaper than metal, but it's still a terrible idea.

That is a facetious and unnecessary remark. I hope you enjoyed your little troll dopamine rush.

I don't think so. Touch interfaces are such miserable UXes that I actively refuse to buy them when they are used unnecessarily, much like I would refuse to buy a laptop made of balsa wood.

I hope you enjoyed your little high-horse dopamine rush.

Thank you for sharing your unqualified opinion in the most abrasive fashion possible.

Oh, I could have been far more abrasive.

I agree. It is sad that blackberry messed up a lot with the priv (overheating, the choice of the SD 808, etc), but the keyboard is really nice.

Touch buttons also suck for the sight-disabled, meaning the range of fully blind up through my grandpa who's getting on in years and can't see like he used to. Physical buttons are an accessibility enabler.

Funnily, this is one of the things that makes me inclined to believe a rumor (that Apple pulled iMac and/or Mac Pro refreshes from the Touchbar MBP event at the very last minute following the strength of the Surface Studio event the day before):

There was a -lot- of filler (25+ mins) before the announcement of the MBP, and a lot of it was lack lustre. Interestingly, several minutes were applauding Apple for its efforts in accessibility...

... only to immediately announce the huge accessibility problem that is the Touch Bar.

they are too easy to press accidentally

The solution is to have user interfaces that are forgiving and don't punish the user for making a mistake.

A solution for an artificially invented problem. Right.

("Have forgiving interfaces" is good advice, but completely orthogonal to "don't make user input interface that sucks")

>The solution is to have user interfaces that are forgiving and don't punish the user for making a mistake.

Meaning ignoring input?

Which in turn would suggest scrapping features to mitigate mistakes.

Which would mean not a professional tool.

I'm not arguing with your statement on its own, but I highly disagree in this context.

In any professional tool I use, I want a 1:1 representation of _EVERYTHING_ I do. The thought of a tool treating me like an idiot (which I am) but correcting me (according to ITS OWN LOGIC) and not letting me learn (which I can) is making me furious to even consider.

Taking this to a logical conclusion, does this mean we would need to press every key on the physical keyboard twice in case we pressed a key by mistake?

It doesn't seem a great thought process or conclusion.

I am sure you would agree that if a user interface doesn't respond correctly first time, it isn't a good user interface. Or if the interface makes it possible to do incorrect things with ease or by accident, it's not a great interface either.

No, the solution is to JUST USE BUTTONS.

People[1] often press the wrong button even when they're physical buttons.

[1] Me.

Ugh, my car has real buttons for changing the stations on the radio, but it's a + type of button. Far too often I hit "up" to change stations up, but no, changing stations up is "right". Pushing the up button changes the genre of stations for the satellite radio. And you'd think I would get used to that, but on the steering wheel controls, the up arrow changes the station up.

Buttons are better than touch, but I still have to fiddle with poorly laid-out buttons.

Or use the same bloody interfaces that have worked for twenty years with the same bloody buttons that have worked for almost a century.

I recently purchased a Dell XPS 15. I was caught between purchasing a Macbook Pro 15 (legacy/non-touchbar, which is still available on their site) and the Dell. You can't upgrade the RAM on the new machines or the old machines now. I wanted a Macbook Pro 15 because of how great they are for development (being all Unix based and what not), but "non-upgradability" is just a no go. I don't mind paying for the extra RAM even, but no dice. Since Windows 10 has the Ubuntu subsystem, my decision is so much easier.

The developer world isn't going to immediately switch en masse to Microsoft or Linux laptops because of this. They're probably just going to hold onto their legacy Macbooks for an extra year or two, and it's likely the used market for pre-2016 Macbooks will be competitive.

But gradually, as the imitators catch up to the Macbook in weight and usability, we will see some migration away from Apple.

I hope and believe Apple's not so dumb as to suffer major attrition among power users and developers. They're a big enough company that they could come out with a "Macbook Classic" that restores some of the lost functionality (function keys at least, maybe non-welded components).

If you examine a pre-2016 MBA or MBP, there seems to be enough real estate above the function keys to squeeze in the touch strip thing as an additional feature rather than a replacement. Why not provide both, and let the users decide?

I wish there were a new Retina MBP with optical disk drive, USB, USB-C, Thunderbolt, and memory card slot. Also, make it easier to upgrade internal components. Is this really so hard? I'd pay extra. Even if the masses are going another direction, there ought to be a power user's version that has it all, and price it accordingly.

There's a certain cachet in being known as the power user's platform of choice and Apple really should try harder to hold onto that.

Never owned a Mac but I have just bought a LG V20 phone which has a second always on screen that looks like the touch bar. On a phone it is actually very useful, for instance having the last five apps you opened readily accessible is excellent, it brings the alt-tab power to your mobile. Also I use the flashlight often and it's just right there. Maybe, probably it's a bad idea on a laptop, but having another screen that apps cannot fight for above the main screen on a smartphone or phablet is great.

The v20 always on screen is right where you're always looking on a phone, unlike MBP touchbar. I'd buy one tomorrow but LG feel Europeans are unworthy of them.

As a data scientist who spends most of my time in the terminal, I do not regret losing function keys. In fact, I find the touchbar to be vastly more useful and easier to operate in most contexts. That being said, I tend to eschew function keys in favor of key sequences.

What do you find yourself using the TB for in your context?

I think the most telling part of the story was that Apple seems to have lost the Good, Better, Best split. Way back in the olden days of Apple you had to really pay attention and work to find out which system would be best for your needs. Then Jobs came along with the 4 quadrants of computers (Personal Portable / Personal Desktop / Professional Portable / Professional Desktop) and suddenly everything was much clearer. Over the seasons that morphed slightly into Good, Better, Best laptop or desktop, but it was still pretty easy to pick your system. Fast forward to today and the Apple ecosystem is a soup of MacBook / Air / Pro / Retina / TouchPad machines that are nearly impossible to tell apart. And that's just the laptop line; forget talking about phones, tablets, and desktops!

I used to be able recommend the perfect device for almost anyone, right off the top of my head, without doing much (any) research at all. Now, I don't think I could recommend anything in the Apple lineup with confidence. This to me is a huge failing and saddens me beyond whatever particular piece of hardware Apple has built lately. :(

I must be the only person that has no issues with their touch MBP other than the price I paid for it. Which was a joke.

If the price were the same as the function key model... I think the Touch Bar would've been a lot more palatable.

It's a variety of issues that caused me to end up disliking the entire machine. I could live with the Touch Bar if battery were better, pricing were similar, etc.

Price in the UK is pretty painful now, but the machine is great. Its not a revolutionary change, but a very welcome improvement.

Programmers are the only professionals in the world who complain about having to pay for quality tools. Can you imagine a dentist, truck driver, or doctor complaining about having to pay $2500 for a machine that would bring her hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next 5 years? Of course not.

I've heard doctors, truck drivers, construction workers and any number of other people complain about the cost of quality tools. For the same reason that people complain about the cost of Apple machines, they don't perceive enough quality difference to justify the price difference.

Are you kidding me? Professionals of any careers always complain about non-optimal tools.

If improvements make them more money/time than they cost, people will buy them without a second thought. As they should ;)

My review of the Mac Book Pro (w touch bar):

I am a developer at Evernote (we are hiring fyi)

1. Touch bar - By far and away this is the most annoying thing ever. IDEs use function keys all the time ... and the touchbar does not know how to display. > defaults write com.apple.touchbar.agent PresentationModeFnModes -dict-add appWithCOntrolStrip 'functionKeys'

> defaults write com.apple.touchbar.agent PresentationModePerApp -dict-add org.eclipse.platform.ide 'functionKeys'

> defaults write com.apple.touchbar.agent PresentationModePerApp -dict-add com.jetbrains.intellij 'functionKeys'

I hate that I get no tactile feedback when trying to use the function keys. I can no longer touch type the function keys.

2. Keyboard - without the full travel I have to constantly readjust my typing pressure between my detached keyboard and the laptop keyboard. Painful on the fingertips.

3. Memory size: 16g! WTF - my 5 year-old 17" MBP has the same amount of memory

4. Performance - here is the kicker. I play a multiplayer game: World of Warships. The performance on the new MBP is WORSE than on my 5 year-old MBP. Mind you the 5 year-old computer does not have a SSD drive and its battery is EOL.

5. No ports - seriously? I can't hook my laptop to any display in a conference room without a dongle. I have to haul the powerbrick around with me. So instead of just the laptop, I have to take a backpack of gear with the various dongles to meetings. Looks very unprofessional. I can't hook my external ethernet RAID drive to it. Nothing.

6. Other missing things: you no longer get an extension cord with the power brick. This means you have to be right on top of the power outlet to use it. Like I can't use the power outlet right behind me at the dining room table.

7. Siri - really. Like the last thing I am going to do is talk to my computer at the office.

Based on my personal experience with the new MBP, I am not spending my personal money to buy a new mac at this time.

I will just keep my older macs functioning as long as possible.

This was surprising succinct with the issues. I'm not going to get one, I thought it was a bit of HN overdo as usual but the 200ms delay is clear a symptom of a bad Apple product from the point of their quality, not the perception of the user.

Why couldn't they just add OLED programmable physical keys -- defaulting to the same layout/feature set as now?

They'd lose the ability to do sliders etc, but they have a huge bloody trackpad they could use for that.

Or make the trackpad a touch-screen itself.

A slim touchbar above the trackpad would have been amazing. All the use cases for a touchbar I can think of are when I'm trackpad mode, not typing mode. Replacing the function keys makes way less sense.

My first indication that the touch bar was probably not gonna be very good was thinking that there is no way that the function keys just happened to be in the ideal spot for a touch surface.

What's the rationale behind offering the 13" pro the option of not getting the touch bar, but not offering that option on the 15"? I want to buy a 15" but I do not want that silly touchbar

The rationale is that they needed something to replace the low-end Air models that they are phasing out of the line-up.

One concern with the Touch Bar, is the low adoption rate among applications in my daily usage. Chromium development has not ramped up, forcing users with Safari if they want the touch bar experience on websites.

And maybe never will Chrome allow for full customization for webapps or extensions. Rendering it useless in many contexts. The Chromium bottleneck also restricts developer tools such as VS Code to adopt touch bar features.

None the less, I find myself looking down the keyboard more often than with the old fn keys, not really improving my workflow. This making me question my purchase.

But as stated earlier, software issues can always be fixed.

[1] https://github.com/electron/electron/issues/7781 [2] https://bugs.chromium.org/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=660126

I love my 2016 Pro. Touchbar takes some getting used to. As far as speed, battery and performance the thing is a beast. Very happy. I have 4 VMs running at all times and many apps and browser windows and I haven't noticed it chug once.

As for touchbar, I don't think it's just a novelty. I think this will only become more apparent as apps start to implement features with it. It's great for media scrubbing, for instance. I have started to adopt pressing the buttons it shows for confirm/cancel and other dialogs.

The escape key no longer being a physical button feels odd to the finger and took some adjustment, no question.

At first I didn't like the volume / brightness adjusters because I wasn't used to them and much preferred the buttons, but the sliders that popup are just as easy to use and I fiddle with them less to find the right level.

The reason i like physical keys is when i am trying to press escape key i find it by touching. Like here is ESC (top left button), here is F1 right to it, etc...

In case of Apple you have to look at your keyboard and press the spot exactly where it is.

I don't have the touch typing issue after a few weeks. Yes it feels different so you will not get it right always at first. Tilde is my new touch reference for where escape is (or I guess it always was).

No issues with the escape. My biggest complaint is that I keep accidentally toggling siri when I hit backspace. I'm just going to move siri over a bit or disable it altogether as I don't even use it.

I had that problem a lot as well. I removed Siri and now I just accidentally mute my machine. That being said, my typing accuracy has improved as I've gotten used to the keyboard, so accidental touches are pretty infrequent now. My girlfriend just received her TB machine and she does it all the time, so I think it is something that improves over time.

"Hey Siri, move over a bit, please!" :)

What's wrong with Enter/Esc for dialogs?

I can't imagine that touch bar keys would be faster than that.

That only works when there are two options and the dialog is configured right.

I considered the 2016 MacBook Pro, but ended up buying a MacBook. I was concerned about the M3 CPU, but it seems good enough running IntelliJ, RubyMine, XCode, etc.

I have a 16 core, 60 GB RAM VPS that I start up for heavy processing, so a less capable laptop, but one with a great screen, works well for me.

OT: My display was flickering last week, black and back until I rebooted. Does anyone had this problem as well? I filmed it and will ask apple what to do.

This generation of MB hardware generally seems to have issues from trivial through severe. I purchased my fiance one of the new Macbooks for school along with one of the USB-C dongles to allow her to connect to an external monitor.

She constantly has flickering issues when it's connected without a reboot after connecting. It seems to be an unacknowledged issues with video and the macbook, which was attempted to be solved via a visit with Apple where the replaced the dongle to no effect.

The machine is fantastic in terms of weight, screen, and layout. I don't really mind the single USB-C and would love to have one, but the hardware issues have made me decided to sit this generation out and wait for what's next.

So, unless I'm missing something, the primary complaint is "I don't like the position of esc on the touch bar". That's not a lot to hang a rant on, but clearly that's all it takes to get to the top of Hacker News these days.

Spoiler: there's no way to find the keys on a touch display, unless you are looking at them. That is the main issue: not that the key is in a weird position, but that the key's position is a mystery unless you take your eyes off the screen. Hello hunt-and-peck.

That's rather odd, since the touch area for the escape key extends all the way to the left edge of the bar, even though that's not visually covered. I wonder if maybe the author just never realized that.

From Gruber's account (Apple sycophant #1), no it doesn't extend all the way to the left edge.

I don't own one, but it was one of the first things I tried when I was able to test a friend's, and it worked exactly as I described.

Hopefully they fixed it in a software update

Did you miss the whole section on "the battery is crap"?

Did you miss the fact that his test wasn't valid? :-)

As pointed out by someone else here, by running the tests with the screen at full brightness, the considerably brighter display of the Touch Bar model will have consumed a meaningful amount of battery.

If you like the screen at full brightness (and/or the previous model wasn't as bright as you like), the test is in no way "invalid".

Perhaps not _comparable_, but this is down to design decisions by Apple. Just like the "sacrifice battery life for form factor" decision.

>> I have been using an 11" MacBook Air as my primary computer since 2011

So I think he's using this thing plugged into an external monitor most of the time? Can anyone actually use an 11" monitor as a primary monitor? If so, what do you do? I only ask because I struggle to work when I'm on the road using my 13" laptop and I can't imagine being able to get much done every day on an 11".

Depends on what you do, but 13" or less means e.g. you won't be able to do vertical split of windows in Xcode. Which is annoying, because at times you have to have two windows open (such as one source and one IB storyboard or XIB, plus the navigators on the left and right hand sides). But this is still workable. I've written 3 or 4 iOS apps entirely on a 13" laptop. If there is an itch to finish and release something, suddenly those limitations aren't anymore.

>> If there is an itch to finish and release something, suddenly those limitations aren't anymore.

Good point :-) Funny how things become less important when there's a push to get it done no matter what!

Change your coding style to 80 chars per line and you can vertical split like a pro

I use a MacBook Pro 13" Retina. With a 1280×800 resolution there is not much space. I turned off LCD font smoothing and set the resolution to a scaled 1680×1050. It is such a joy!

Text on websites and in text editors can be a bit small at times, but changing the font size is quick.

(You can disable LCD font smoothing in System Preferences > General. It requires a redraw in apps to see the difference. Alternatively, just reboot.)

Works for me, I can do that for months. I'm doing mostly coding in Sublime Text (and using Origami Plugin extensively), iTerm and Chrome. It's for me not too small for text related work. It's also good for video watching. What's not good for: Photo editing in my opinion. The experience is much better the bigger the monitor is (and TN display is not great for photo editing in general).

It's not my preference but I think hiding the dock, working in fullscreen, one app at a time and alt+tabbing a lot will make it quite workable.

In fact, thinking about it I imagine it to be a rather uncluttered, focused experience compared to the 27" screen full of windows I'm currently looking at. Which isn't an argument against large screens, but poor window management and lack of focus I guess.

This, mostly.

I have a 27" 4K display at my desk, but I can be just as productive (sometimes more so) on the short 11" screen.

Heck, I just deal with streams of text 90% of my day.

I used an 11" ultrabook with very little difficulty. What did I do? I ran eclipse and developed as normal. Maybe positioned the computer a little closer to me than I would have for a bigger one. Modern pixel densities are such that you can get ample resolution for development work on an 11" device.

I used a Samsung Q30 sold as Dell X1 as primary device for a while about a decade ago. It's 12" and for the time it was great. Fanless, quite fast and light AF. So yeah, 11" is doable. Depends on what you are doing and how.

I've used the 10" Asus Flip to write (and publish) a book with a great deal of scripting on the side. Incidentally, the keyboard is amazing--I prefer it to my Thinkpads.

The smaller screen does force you think in a more modular way.

What I like about my new MBP 15" with touch panel:

1. The size is almost the same as my 2011 mbp 13"

2. Retina screen

3. I actually like the touch bar.

4. No more magsafe! Finally I can get the damn thing to charge reliably!

5. No more annoying illuminated logo on the lid.

6. All usb-c is nice.

What I don't like about it:

1. The keyboard is terrible. The older ones are FAR nicer. The keys get stuck down randomly, then after a few days come unstuck, but even the very feel of the keys is pretty gross.

2. Trackpad isn't as nice as the one on the 2011 mbp. Drag and drop is flaky at best, especially in Finder. Press feedback is simulated, and doesn't feel as nice as an actual button.

3. Not much speed improvement. It's a big improvement for compiles since I went from 2 to 4 cores, but single core performance has hardly budged.

4. Stability is iffy. Many apps just crash when you suspend (including Sublime Text, VLC, Firefox. Even the Firefox crash reporter crashes). I also get system freezes (where everything freezes except the mouse).

So upgrading was nice because of the 4 cores, but I'd probably have been happier with a 2015 model.

> Even after two weeks' use, my pinkie could never find the escape key.

The touch bar accommodates this. The space to the left of the "key", as well as the "key" itself, all triggers ESC. In other words, the escape key has a target much larger than the physical key, about the size of the physical tab key.

That, and in System Preferences -> Keyboard tab -> Modifier Keys button, you can map Caps Lock to Escape. Works great, in my opinion.

I'm happy with mine. I'm plugged in to power, and nice big monitor and an external keyboard 99% of the time and it makes a fine dev machine. Do people really spend a significant amount of time writing code directly on an unplugged laptop? Sounds really painful no matter the model or brand.

I do, but I work from home and need to get out of my apartment from time-to-time. I think there are a lot of people in that boat.

Just to add a data point as a developer - I bought the 15" second-tier tMBP and absolutely love it, but have to agree the Touch Bar, though intriguing, is currently a bit "meh".

But all the strong points he mentions in the article are more than just "nice", they are really amazing. The big ones for me are:

The SSD speed - I scanned all 300 GB of my current usage with DaisyDisk in 8 seconds. 8. Seconds.

The keyboard - this is easily the most satisfying keyboard I have ever had.

I can see why you'd go for the "MacBook Escape", but the 15" model only comes with Touch Bar, so that decided the issue for me. Plus, I think Apple may still have some tricks up their sleeve for the Touch Bar - allowing us to create our own custom touch bar buttons per app which run our own actions would be incredibly useful, I think.

Thanks for mentioning DaisyDisk - I've been looking for something like that, and all the alternatives I've tried are horrible!

More terrible first hand reports about the Touch Bar Pro.

So it seems many power users are saying Touch Bar is useless at best and annoying and interfering at worst. And the battery life is terrible. And you pay more for less. Who is this thing built for?

I really hope Apple fixes this situation in the 2017 update.

These are my personal opinions:

I don't like the touch bar because it forces me to look at my keyboard, which is inefficient and probably unhealthy(moving my neck like that).

I don't like the keyboard because it's too noisy.

I'm disappointed that Apple seemingly ceased to care about the professional user. I'm expecting the top Mac Book Pro to be a machine that's optimized to get work done, the touch bar and the overemphasis on making it thinner and lighter suggest otherwise.

It seems that my next main machine will not be a Mac Book Pro, I will most likely go with a Windows laptop, since Linux still has issues like Wayland vs. Mir.

All different decisions from Apple in last 12 months made me clean up the dust from my ancient linux pc. Reinstalled arch and I am feeling normal again.

I have few Mac / iOS apps to maintain but I use vnc or synergy to do that.

Really, now that apple is only making products for the humans in WALL-E and not developers, we only have one option. That's to stock up on the last good developer MacBooks (up to 2015) and spare motherboards. Once those give out or become too incompatible, load them with linux, or switch to better machines from other companies who still care about developers.

I guess the era of MacBooks being the choice for professionals is over. However, I guess all good things like this have to end sometime.

This is so funny. I just boxed mine up and shipped it via UPS back to apple not 5 minutes ago and was thinking to post something here on hacker news!

I did not like the touch bar for programming. Maybe when my ide supports the touch bar it will be better. But the clincher was the poor battery life.

I've been a mac user since the mac plus days. First time I retuned one.

Same here. Wrote about the experience here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13098257.

tl;dr: Touch bar is in the way, and provides near-zero utility; at best, it's a distracting visual element for touch-typists. Other than that, the new features are not worth the hassle/price. The only feature I really do like is the fingerprint reader.

We get it, honestly. Enough with the dramatic MacBook articles.

There are literally thousands of laptops out there. Buy one.

There's a large captive audience who only wants to run Mac OS "properly", so their only option is to complain loudly and hope Apple listens for the next model.

so... long story short, a guy who repeatedly states that he was used to using his MacBook Air and has used that and it's form factor and utility for five years doesn't like the the new MacBook Pro - which is a differently-styled product targeted at a different audience. Now this is not to say that he doesn't have some (read: several) objectively valid points. (coughbattery-lifecough) but it seems that chunks of his user experience might have been improved by choosing a product marketed as being a little closer to his most recent previous experience.

These machines are unfortunately already obsolete (relative to their premium price) now that Intel Kaby Lake machines are starting to appear. Kaby Lake offers significant battery life improvements over Skylake.

What developer uses an 11" screen? Are you serious?

Free business idea: Notebooks with tiny screens... that come with zooming glasses. :)

> Maybe it would work better as a neat gimmick in the 12" MacBook.

Please no, my 12" Macbook is the best development machine I've ever owned.

I chuckled at your defensive reaction. Apple’s TouchBar has such a bad reputation that people genuinely fear it will spread to their beloved Mac models.

Thanks for this review. The data is enlightening.

I hadn't thought about this until I read this article, but what do you use the FN-key for when there are no function keys?

About the battery issue, couldn't he buy an extra battery? That wouldn't be too cumbersome.

Someone has to make Apple great again.

I wish Apple had figured out a good way to make the MBP touch pad double as a touch screen.

> I nearly lost it when my laptop was under 10% battery remaining after only three hours of use. ... With my older 11" MacBook Air, I was used to 3-4 hour battery life

does not compute

Would love to see the i7 Macbook Air 2013 also in the benchmarks (mainly because this is my laptop too ;) Very interesting review for me.

I still have it... might be able to do a test run.

best part of the whole article what how you named it the "Function Key Pro"

hahaha, gold.

> I use a Mac as my daily driver

What does the author mean by 'daily driver'?

Sorry about that, I try to use idioms that are a little more widespread, but outside of car culture, you might not hear the term that often. It basically means 'the computer I use for day-to-day work' (see this for example: https://www.reddit.com/r/nexus4/comments/2b7pm5/what_does_da...).

It would be opposed to an exotic car or computer I'd use only in certain special circumstances (like the Raspberry Pis I use for testing cluster configurations, at www.pidramble.com).

I really only ever hear the term from the tech press. Those folks might have 5 phones and 3 laptops sitting on their desk at any given time, so the term "daily driver" makes sense to describe the one they actually use. For the rest of us, we just have "a laptop" and "a phone."

"Daily driver" is a common idiom for "the thing I use every day", borrowed from the automotive world where someone who's into cars may drive various vehicles at times for work/personal purposes, but the one they drive on a daily basis -- their "daily driver" -- is consistent.

Using something as a "daily driver" means you use it every day as your primary computer.

The phrase usually means your reliable, but not fancy, car that you drive to work every day. It also implies you have a another nicer car that you only drive for pleasure, or in good weather, etc.

It's a reference to an automobile that one uses for most normal tasks, as opposed to a secondary car that may be a sports car or collectible car that one only takes out for leisure.

Say you had a minivan for taking your kids to their schools and sports practices and picking up groceries, and a Lamborghini for going to da club on Saturday nights...

It's an expression meaning something is used everyday as a primary thing because it's practical to you.

It probably references the idea of having a practical car vs. keeping a sports car or utility vehicle in the garage.

Yep, and this made "My other car is a Porsche" stickers flourish. ;)

A good question would be if the OP would have the guts to put a sticker on the Mac like "My other laptop is a DELL".

You made me laugh :)

I don't understand why people are still going on about this

Because the de facto "best tool" for professional personal computing since at least 5 years now (longer if you include other models) is broken, forcing a bunch of people who hadn't had to think about this stuff for ages to start asking "what next?"

Sure, and that was a great discussion we had like 2 months ago, but every day we get posts about how some no-name person returned their computer because they didn't like it, or some person finds the touch bar is great for them.

This isn't Hacker News, or even news. It's just a reblog of somebody's opinion about something that is already overly discussed. Their opinion is irrelevant. It's just another opinion. It's no different than if any one of us made a silly blog post about how we did or didn't return some product that we did or didn't like.

It's just a waste.

It's not a waste. It is developers reconsidering their investment towards a platform in the light of new facts and their own tolerance levels.

It also means that developers will start using a Linux based OS, which is pleasing to me.

It's pretty funny how much of a non-issue this is outside of a select group of loud people. I know a lot of people that have the new MacBook and love it. The main complaint I hear is the wait time to get one.

There's several obvious reasons:

1. Every time someone brings this up other people say "It's fine." and it really isn't fine.

2. We want Apple to hear that their core customers are unhappy and they should rethink the current course for their hardware.

I love Apple computers but they currently don't provide a serious upgrade option for my 2012 15" rMBP. The 2016 15" is a joke by comparison.

> their core customers are unhappy

I honestly don't think HN posters (nor bloggers) are anywhere near Apple's "core customers" - that's the millions of people who just want something workable from a shop they trust, not a few thousand (being optimistic) forum posters and bloggers.

e.g. After 5 days, it was already crushing the competition and approaching 18 months of Macbook 2015 sales.


I can't even begin to read that graph.

"Indexed revenue" instead of number of units sold? "n=16,754 online shoppers" but the article says "panel of 4.4 million online shoppers"?

Developers are the core customers for MacBook Pros. In volume the Air used to be the top seller, because yes there are more people who just want "a computer" that works and don't care about specs and won't look at battery life, etc. before buying.

But do you know what those people base their purchasing decisions on? The recommendations of the developers and engineers they know who do care about those specs.

I can't tell you how many people have moved over to Apple computers on my recommendations over the years. It's a lot. Right now I have a hard time recommending the 2016 models. If people can get a refurbished 2015 on the cheap I honestly think it's a better choice.

> After 5 days, it was already crushing the competition and approaching 18 months of Macbook 2015 sales.

This statistic is very popular but it's also extremely misleading. Everybody knew the lineup was due for a refresh so 2015 sales were lagging because of that, the higher numbers represent a dam of pent up purchases waiting for upgrades bursting. It's like pointing out that the number of people complaining about the 2016 models is way higher than the people complaining about the 2015 models. Of course it is. That doesn't tell the whole story and is somewhat misleading on its own.

My point is just because initial sales of the 2016 models is high, doesn't mean that it will stay that way. Once they get into people's hands and people find out "Oh the battery life is terrible and I really don't like the TouchBar." those sales may plummet (if that indeed is people's reaction.)

Apple needs to really re-examine. The current 13" and 15" MBP models should be the base "MacBook" models, and they should come out with a serious pro machine and label it as such (which restores MagSafe and has higher battery life.) The TouchBar should just be thrown off a bridge. It's a terrible gimmicky attempt at stuffing a touch screen onto a laptop.

> The recommendations of the developers and engineers they know who do care about those specs.

None of the non-technical people I know (and I'll admit that's a small number) who buy Apple kit do not take recommendations from developers and engineers because they're non-technical people - they don't read HN or tech blogs. They look at things like Which? reviews or BBC think pieces or that glossy insert that comes with the Sunday paper.

Or they go into an Apple store where they can touch the machines, use them for browsing the web, get answers to their questions (ok, bit slow at peak times) vs something like a PC World where you can't use the machine or they don't have that particular model in stock despite it being on display or there's no-one around to answer your question or you can't tell which particular constellation of stickers on the laptop means it'll work for you or ...

> Apple needs to [...]

People have been saying this since 2005. They're still here, printing money. shrug

> My point is just because initial sales of the 2016 models is high, doesn't mean that it will stay that way. Once they get into people's hands and people find out "Oh the battery life is terrible and I really don't like the TouchBar." those sales may plummet (if that indeed is people's reaction.)

Also don't forget returns. Which is what I'm going to do with my top spec MBP 15". Oh well.

This is completely anecdotal, but I work with several clients that all just refreshed their entire hardware stock with the new MacBook Pros for a good percentage of their employees (if not for every employee). The only people I've yet to hear complain about the Touch Bar or the computers in general are people on HN and Reddit. Every person I've interacted with that has used it loves the Touch Bar and a not-insignificant population of those people are developers. To say that "core customers are unhappy" is a gross generalization that, to me, doesn't have any basis in reality.

I don't think it's so obvious. Most people seem to be obsessing about the Touch Bar, which really doesn't seem like a deal-breaker to me (caveat: haven't tried it), especially with models available with real keys. If you'd only skim the comments you'd definitely be left with the impression that a bigger than warranted fuss is being made.

However, this is the first time I've been aware that battery life is genuinely crippled. My perception since just after launch was "occasional problem due to Safari bug".

While only the base model 13 is available without a touch bar, I don't consider it to be a deal-breaker at all. At worst for me it is this thing that I have mostly learned not to accidentally hit while typing and occasionally find useful.

On the battery issues: the battery in the new MBP is (I think) up to 30% smaller compared to the previous generation. To balance that, Apple is using displays that consume less power. The problem there is that the CPU still consumes the same amount of power under load. I think most devs have experienced the rapid battery drain that comes from running CPU intensive tasks. Given all of this, the results of his tests don't really surprise me.

Today I'm reading (again) that the only battery issues are a Safari bug (which is bad at release, but presumably easily rectified). Is the CPU not also more efficient, or is the bug in power-saving, so load remains the same?

Well, you can't get a 15" model with real function keys, and the model with real function keys doesn't have as many USB-C ports. Which are the only ports (other than the headphone socket), so quite important.

For Apple the TouchBar model is selling well. So I predict by the end of the year all MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks are TouchBar only. No option for physical function key model. And they will kill MacBook Air

I wonder how much of that is due to crippling the fn key 2016 MBP (only 2 ports[?!?!], different CPU, no 15" model) rather than people actually being willing to pay extra for the touchbar per se.

[EDIT] not that it makes a difference to their revenue immediately, but I wouldn't take touchbar mac purchases as expressions of love of/interest in the touchbar.

It is very interesting/helpful to me as I have held off buying a new MBP for exactly the reasons the author complains about. I suspected there would be issues and I didn't want to be the guinea pig so I appreciate the author taking the time to write and post this.

I can only assume people like to be heard, and repeating the ideas heard in the echo chamber can be very reassuring when everyone agrees with you.

Not in this instance. I know that there were still a lot of unanswered questions, like exactly how badly is battery life affected (not just measured in Wh), and how does real world performance compare (not just Geekbench numbers).

Also, for those making a $2k+ purchasing decision, it pays to do a little research as to what other people who work in similar situations think about the different options.

I read a lot of reviews for MacBooks, Lenovo T4xx series, Dell XPS models, etc. Just like with any other topic, the color of varied opinions helps one arrive at a better understanding.

Complaining about Apple and the MacBook Pro has become a pretty dominant topic on Hacker News from the last few months. I really do think this negativity about the product has become excessive, and it's the first time I've personally been annoyed about something like this on HN in four years of reading the site more or less daily.


Since my comment is abrasive -- much more so than normal for me here on HN -- I figured it was worth it for me to put some more effort into this and provide some evidence. I easily came up with the following list of topics here from the last month:











https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13337727 (note that, while the headline is a bit general, much of the discussion is related to the new MBP)



I just stopped after this point. There were more.

It's almost as if....people are really unhappy and disappointed.

Imagine being on a Muscle Car Enthusiast forum, and Ford released a V8 Mustang that had less horsepower than it's predecessor, and worse handling, but just came with minor stylistic upgrades. The same thing would be happening.

HN is a cesspool of negativity. I can see how different people would be turned away by hate for Yahoo/Twitter doing badly, hate for fb/uber, constant jealousy against startups that had an exit in the past few days (pretending as sanity about valuations), etc.

Thankfully there is a lot of positivity, though you have to look harder for it.

You're right. There seems to be a group of people who really like talking about the new MBP, particularly what a travesty they feel it is.

For the rest of us, it is an equipment choice that might have to make at some point, and the we'll go back to work on our code ;).

Thanks. I even posted on some of these as I was caught up in the discussion, but the discussion is over. There's nothing new to be added right now, and certainly nothing new to be added by some random person's irrelevant opinion.

Well, I guess we'd just have to go back to reposting Aaron Swartz articles.

People love their Macs very much, hence all the venting. All they want is Apple to build them the proverbial faster horse.

Nah, it only shows the amount of frustration over it and fear for the future.

You hate the Touch Bar, even though the MacBook is closed most of the time? Strange.

The 'Touch Bar' is a plainly stopgap measure that only exists because Apple is delaying the painful transition to touch in OS X.

Microsoft underwent that pain early in Windows 8 and the first few not-particularly-good Surface devices, and (with Windows 10 and the SP4) is there now.

I can't really see that there's any signs that they will transition to touch on OS X. It also goes against what they've said publicly: they think mixing touch and mouse interface makes for a compromised interface which is not great for either.

But of course, Apple has a history of saying one thing publicly which contradict their later actions (webapps for the original iPhone vs. native apps)

I'm inclined to believe Apple in that they don't want to copy the MS surface (other than perhaps developing iPad more in that direction). I think it's a good idea to keep the desktop/laptop OS focused on mouse/keyboard interaction, especially since it's a bit awkward and unergonomic to use a touch screen while the laptop is standing.

But they may try to expand on the touch bar concept. Maybe they will replace the whole area below the keyboard with a touch screen as well. Maybe it will be more useful then. Hopefully they won't replace the keyboard. I prefer my laptop with a proper keyboard.

In theory it would be great if the keyboard surface could change between an actual keyboard and a full touch screen. But I don't see how that's physically possible.

> webapps for the original iPhone vs. native apps

From what I've heard, Steve never wanted to do native apps, but he ended up caving to demand.

You can't do touch on laptops because of hand fatigue. It's unnatural.

Fold over the screen.

> The 'Touch Bar' is a plainly stopgap measure that only exists because Apple is delaying the painful transition to touch in OS X.

The transition to touch already happened with iOS. Apple still needs to keep macOS alive for a few legacy use-cases, but the long-term strategy is probably to move the remaining applications over to iOS, instead of converting macOS to iOS.

People keep saying that, as if it means something.

Some huge breakthrough in CPU power and technology aside, including changes to the laws of physics and basic ergonomics, we are not going to be doing desktopy-style work on iOS style devices -- unless they get the ability to drive large 4K+ monitors, connect to multiple peripherals at once, talk to disk drives, etc.

And even that would require hooking them with keyboards, stands etc for comfortable working.

People care for laptops/desktops for all the OTHER work and usage patterns that are not good fit for iOS/iDevice form factors.

> drive large 4K+ monitors

Driving 4K screens from a tablet isn't that far off. It depends what you want to show on them of course, but just outputting 4K isn't that hard.

> connect to multiple peripherals at once

You're not supposed to have peripherals any more. Your touch screen, the cloud, and that's it. If necessary, hardware devices now connect to the cloud directly (while joining a botnet).

> talk to disk drives

You're supposed to buy more iCloud storage and have an infinite throughput connection.

>You're not supposed to have peripherals any more. Your touch screen, the cloud, and that's it. If necessary, hardware devices now connect to the cloud directly (while joining a botnet).

As I wrote, work that people can do with tablets, which fits with the above, they already do. But people care for desktops/laptops for all the other work you can't do without "peripherals", and with just "the cloud and that's it".

If we all just used web apps nobody would have cared for a desktop that much.

Besides, last time I've checked, the speed of light, which provides the lower limit for latency, is not changing anytime soon.

>You're supposed to buy more iCloud storage and have an infinite throughput connection.

A, I get it, it's a mockery of some supposed Apple idea. I don't think they are to that. If anything Google, with the Google office suite, Google run-everything-within-Chrome chromebooks etc is.

Apple is not really about convergence on the iOS -- they get the different uses cases for PC vs tablet-phone form factors and have made several statements to that effect -- they just don't care that much for the former.

> But people care for desktops/laptops for all the other work you can't do without "peripherals", and with just "the cloud and that's it".

I don't disagree. But is that market large enough for Apple to care about? Apple is pretty focused with its product line and it might not make sense for them to continue investing into the desktop market.

Well, let's ensure their mobile offerings don't end that well then. It worked for Microsoft.

You disagreed with me but I think your argument is solid and people are voting you down without much reason.

iOS not only has better touch but (due to tight restrictions on background processing APIs ) way better interactive latency than MacOS, where a rogue process can still mean trying to fire up Activity Monitor. MacOS / NeXTSTEP might have a bunch of bitrot, iOS is newer, smaller and more likely cleaner. A version of xcode that works on iOS and more laptop-like devices could be a sign up OS X being on the way out.

I don't think Apple has given completely up on macOS. They wouldn't do the touchbar if that was the case. It would be wasted effort. They could sell macOS for years just by iteratively updating the hardware specs.

I think they're trying to find a role for macOS that would allow them to innovate there, but I don't they have it figured out. The touchbar is just testing the waters, to see if it can make sense to do a dual approach (they've probably played with replacing the area below the keyboard with a touchscreen as well).

What I'd like to see is something similar to Windows 10's "tablet mode"

An action within the UI to switch to a more iOS feel for use as an iPad style device, and vice-versa to a more Mac style device.

I imagine both macOs and iOs would have to drift more towards each other but that could be a suitable hyprid, and the prospect of actually having a fully functional Mac in my pocket that can be my phone on the go, and be plugged into a monitor later as my workstation is appealing.

It's a stopgap for a painful transition but the transition isn't to touch OS X it's MacBook Pro to iPad Pro.

Make no mistake if the iPad Pro didn't exist the MacBook Pro would have a heck of a lot more in common with the Surface Book.

As Steve famously said, if you don't want a tbMBP, don't buy it. If you buy one and you don't like it, take it back.

Since that is/always has been the working approach, any chance the HN hive-mind could avoid posting EVERY single MBP->other laptop or macOS->*nix article?

OK, sure. What else do you suggest I buy?

When the best available product is no longer available, I don't think the "just don't buy it" approach is really a good response.

(Full disclosure, I think the new MPB looks pretty decent, but for those who don't like it there's often no good alternative now.)

So, I reject the premise of your question & the groupthink, namely that the best product "is no longer available." Just like every other Revision A  product, people are considering the tradeoffs vs whether they still want to be on the platform ("If you don't like the iPhone 4..." ). Cupertino also likely needs to fix some bugs.

Since that's a normal part of life I'd fully agree if this were the first time, but this is the 15th take or so on the tbMBP since it came out. Simply going by my history, people seem to like the XPS 13 Developer edition, machines from System76, the Thinkpad T460, as well as mentioning the Surface Book and/or Studio in every article as incontrovertible proof that Apple is doomed. Full disclaimer that YMMV, as ultimately, buying a machine is a subjective decision that will always have tradeoffs (this stunningly controversial take was flagged last time).

Perhaps, just maybe, people who chime in "I find this article useful" could do the rest of the community who doesn't think Apple is dying on a daily basis a favor and do a search when they're in the market for a new laptop. But now we're just degrading into basic forum etiquette, a tale as old as time...

If you understand that buying a machine is a subjective decision, then you should also realize that you can't reject the premise that the best product is no longer available, because "the best product" is likewise subjective.

A lot of people saw the old MBP as the best out there, and now it's gone, and that upsets them. "Buy something else" is not a good response to that.

The Macbook has been a very popular tool for a long time now. What's new isn't the ability to take it back, it's that people are actually doing it with this generation. I personally find this article useful, as the author actually tried the machine and didn't like it, rather than not buying it.

He says the only thing he wants is a better keyboard and retina display.

So he wants the 12" MacBook which has been out for over a year now... Why did he even buy the new 13" MBP in the first place?

Because the brand new MacBook is still slower than my 3-year-old i7 Air. I'm a developer, and I need speed still, too. If Apple could fit a competent i5 or i7 in the MacBook form factor, I'd be all in.

I switched to the 2nd gen m5 Macbook from the '13 rMBP 13", and would argue the m5 is surprisingly more than capable.

Granted it's not as fast on paper or benchmarks, but it's so capable I am having a hard time trying to justify my next purchase (not enough screen real estate in rarer circumstances: Chrome DevTools alongside the browser window is impossible, OmniGraffle and other apps can feel cramped at times).

The machine did feel a little slower than the i5 when I first started using it but nothing obnoxious.

Context: As a devops guy I regularly build large RPMs, run grunt against a huge codebase, compile packages from source, and all the while with Docker running OpenShift and a bunch of LEMP apps in the background.

Doesn't he explain why the 12" MacBoook doesn't fit him at the start of the article?

Yes, a 1.1GHz Core M is absolutely a comparable processor to his previous i7...

the 12" macbook has the same awful keyboard

Reads to me that,

You did not simply went to an apple store and tried it before you bought it? You could have saved yourself a purchase & return and the internet a review of which there are already uncountable amounts.

Also you write you build enterprise grade products, but you cannot find alternative tools for covering that last 5 percent? Reads a bit strange. You can come up with clever solutions for enterprise stuff, but you can't properly get tools on linux to do what you need to do?

Soldered-in-everything.. vs "I wish Apple made enterprise SSD controllers for my database servers—who needs RAM when disk I/O is so fast?!" make up your mind please.

For him, the kicker was the battery life. How do you test battery life in the Apple store? You're not allowed to unplug the thing. (And even if you could, who's going to spend several hours there to assess the battery life?)

You also speak as if fast SSDs and replaceability are mutually exclusive. They're not—check out the specs of the Samsung 960 Pro: 3.5 GB/s read, 2.1 GB/s write.

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