Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Apple Loses Top Laptop Rating (laptopmag.com)
85 points by Corrado on April 12, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 59 comments

I've used the new MBP since its release. It's fine. I have no issues with the battery and came to like the keyboard and screen.

The anti-MBP threads in HN is tiring. How many threads have we had on this? How many threads will we have on this filled with the same kind comments?

The current top comment is the same as the top comments in the previous threads. I almost think at this point people post these links and post anti-MBP comments for easy karma.

I'd rather see HN discuss something else at this point. If you don't like the new MBP don't buy it. It's fine for my programming needs. Maybe not yours, but let's discuss something else at this point on HN.

It's not that the new MBP isn't "fine" - it's just that the gap with competitors has closed a lot. People asking me which laptop to buy used always be a very simple answer ("Buy a Macbook"). They were head and shoulders better than anything else. But it's down to mere inches now and the additional drawbacks which I won't go into here since as you rightly say they've been covered ad nauseum - are far more glaring now than they would have been a few years ago.

Yeah, PC laptops have much better touchpads than they used to and even often use better materials than plastic. That while still offering often far better connectivity and repairability and better prices. I'm sure Apple can remain competitive but it may take a more aggressive trajectory and more innovative features than watching this happen and introduce a touch bar for shortcut keys as response.

That's Apples problem. Hopefully Apple gets the message that consumers want actual pro laptops. What I'm suggesting is let's discuss something more important on HN at this point.

Well with respect, you brought it up ...

Then why did you click to come to this discussion thread instead of ignoring it like you doubtlessly do for 90%+ of all topics that come up on HN?

How about this: You don't upvote stories you don't like, and every person has (only) one vote to upvote what they do like to be seen and/or discussed. Incidentally, that's exactly how it already works... If you want to be the one with veto power there also is a way: You can create your own subreddit on reddit.

Consumers don't want actual pro laptops. Hacker News wants actual pro laptops.

The problem is more the "Pro" label, which has become dated and inappropriate, than anything else.

We've come full circle to where like the SoundBlaster Pro, the "Pro" term has become so meaningless you ended up with things like the SoundBlaster Pro Gold.

Just want something that does the work with a minimum of fuss. For a while Apple was the best for that. Now there's plenty of other options. Thanks!

Options aren't a bad thing, and an abundance of options can't be construed as Apple's fault here.

Back when the first Mac Pro launched there wasn't a huge difference between their machine and the theoretical best machine. A quad core Xeon system was pretty good by the standards of the time, and if you needed more horsepower you didn't have many options.

Now you can get a workstation with 36 physical cores if you can afford it. Apple cannot possibly hope to cater to that extreme end of the market, very few vendors even try. Dell only seems to offer dual 8-core workstations, HP offers dual 18-core...if you have $12K sitting around to buy one and the patience to configure the system properly.

As the theoretical high end keeps getting higher and completely detaching from what everyday professionals need, the most demanding of that group will find more and more reasons to complain about Apple's line-up.

Whilst this is all true, the current thread and article are about the laptop Macbook Pro and not the Desktop Mac Pro.

Laptop theoretical maximums haven't changed too much since 2006 when the Macbook Pro was first introduced. I know of many people who have 6 year old Macbook pro's and are still happy with the performance.

To me the real issue is a death by a hundred cuts because:

1. The hardware is not improving at a steady clip; nor is it simply 'the best' in any category

2. OSX hasn't seen enough improvement to continue justifying the Mac premium

3. Other manufactures have caught up as the hardware market stabilised, and Windows is tugging on developer heart strings with its Linux subsystem layer.

If Windows supports Linux in a reasonable performant way, I'd switch immediately. I'm waiting a year to see how the wind blows.

1. Intel's focusing more on power efficiency than they are brute power, especially for notebook chips. They're also struggling with their 10nm process, so everything is in severe disarray. Apart from a few vendors wrangling high-end GPUs into laptops, the rest of the market is pretty much spinning its wheels. Maybe now that AMD's back in the game they'll shake things up and give Intel a reason to knuckle down and make some progress here rather than continue to focus on squeezing money out of the enterprise market.

2. macOS has improved substantially over the last six years even though most of those changes haven't been earth-shattering or visible. HFS+ is finally going away, the scheduler is more battery friendly, API improvements continue that make writing apps easier. It's a mature operating system, though, and like Windows, which basically slapped on a new coat of paint and threw in a new version of DirectX, and decided to get crazy and bundle Linux support, it's hard to make exponential leaps forward. What is macOS crying out for these days?

3. Windows is still extremely hostile to developers even with the Linux subsystem. That's a massive improvement over Cygwin, but it's still a veneer on top of what's an extraordinarily ugly OS when it comes to internals. Drive letters, the Registry, entire continents of compatibility junk. If you're not writing games, you probably never write apps for Windows native. It's just not worth it.

Now it's nice that Microsoft is at least trying to give Windows some decent tools, the Linux/GNU suite is vastly better than the feeble garbage that comes with Windows, but it's still the first step in a long road towards being as POSIX friendly as a true Linux or BSD system actually is.

If you're explaining you're loosing.

I agree, especially for development.

If you want to do non-Microsoft development, your main choices are buy a Macbook or buy another laptop and put Linux on it.

Personally I still prefer macOS to any other desktop OS out there by a very long way. It makes my life so much easier and more productive.

It's in this light that WSL is particularly interesting ... it's like Microsoft asked a few people why they liked MacOS and they answered "Unix" ... so they've come up with an answer to that. It may be limited at the moment but it's not hard to see where it's going. Add to that it's an up-to-date version of Linux, vs Apple's ageing BSD fork ...

It is not just Unix.

Although I really love that part of OsX, this is not the only reason why I prefer it to windows.

Last time I tried windows 10, it took me 2 minutes before stumbling on an icon right out of Windows Vista (or at least it really looked disjointed with the rest of the OS).

Install/Uninstall an app on Osx ? Use the same metaphor than for a file and put it in Applications or Trash. Contrast this with the clutter in windows menu ..

OsX is really far from perfect and in fact I feel it regress each year but it is still better than the competition.

Yes it certainly is. But it used to be so much better. Snow Leopard was a high point. I can't really say I like much of what they've done in the last few releases.

Does it strike anybody as strange that an operating system is getting worse over time rather than better?

> Does it strike anybody as strange that an operating system is getting worse over time rather than better?

I somewhat expect it, as we've seen desktop OSes come to be influenced by mobile OSes, or worse, as we've seen desktop OSes modified to also act as mobile OSes.

Trying to combine these two very different types of usage into one product, like we've seen with recent versions of Windows and open source desktop environments (like GNOME 3), results in the worst of both worlds.

Even in the case of macOS, where there's at least some separation, the influence from the mobile side can still harm the desktop experience.

"Worse" is highly subjective. It's gotten cheaper, which I don't mind, it's maintained a reasonable degree of hardware support, like my 2010 iMac still runs current releases just fine, and I've never had any major issues with software after the 32-bit to 64-bit transition where a lot of compiled Ruby extensions were busted.

What do you think they should be doing to make it "better"? Steering an operating system is not easy.

They're rolling out their new filesystem. They're adjusting the way it can schedule things to improve battery life. Things like that may not sound profound but they're important.

Yeah fair enough maybe there are a few interesting things going on in the background ... I am speaking more from a user experience point of view - I got used to things "just working" and I suppose I've been spoiled. Back to reality!

I'm with you there - 10.6.8 was the best Mac OS ever released. I've grown steadily more irritated with it since then, to the point that I'm mostly using Linux these days, for both work and play.

I hear this point all the time, but it's starting to feel like it's just the cool thing to say. Can you quantify this? What do you feel has gotten worse besides "grr some stuff looks iOS-y!"

I never said "grr some stuff looks iOS-y!"

That doesn't even bother me as long as things work properly.

You can accept my unqualified opinion or not as is your wont. The failings of recent releases of MacOS are well documented online if you do a search for them.

Pizza Comet being used as some kind of underground sex ring is "well documented online if you do a search". That phrase is devoid of meaning in this day and age.

Oh come on. That is a terrible argument. I meant of course in respectable web sites not the kind of nutty place that trolls use to derail perfectly valid opinions.

Your reason for giving up on windows is that they used a 5 year old icon?

I'm not a windows fan, but you are hardly being fair.

That's not the only reason I give.

Again, unix based system, good ux, better consistency.

Windows has also crashed a lot under me when I tried it. It was on a bootcamp partition of a mbp, I expect that a surface laptop might have better QA but I am not going to buy out to make sure.

The system also has the despicable habbit of starting updating itself while you are busy doing something else. Several of the people I know (inluding myself) had a gaming session interrupted by a windows update.

I don't know if user complaints about the TouchBar on the MBP will be enough for Apple to abandon it, but I can dream.

If nobody had complained, Apple probably would have waited even longer (or even discontinued) the Mac Pro.

    > The anti-MBP threads in HN is tiring. 
    > How many threads have we had on this?
It's important to me that Apple keep Mac healthy, so I can't get enough.

You're overestimating the effects of your whining. It's definitely not the reason Apple brought out an update about the Mac Pro; you are never going to buy one anyway. The reason they had an update was that they couldn't deliver the upgrades they need.

It also won't be a reason to abandon the Touch Bar because despite the vocal minority of whiners it is selling like hot cakes and more importantly it's a way Apple can differentiate its laptops from other manufacturers.

Ultimately money talks and bullshit walks.

You might be right. I haven't been following Apple too closely.

At least it isn't another post about Uber's internal politics.

Yup. Some people will latch onto any reason to hate on a successful company that makes a superior product.

At this point the only conclusion I can make is that that are a fair number of employees that work for the competitors of such successful companies that drive the conversation far enough along that they make the front page and get the momentum for active discussion. If it's not employees it's fanboys (and girls) of the competitors. I just discount opinions on such threads entirely and others do the same. That said, it's still entertaining to read.


For over a decade, I've owned almost 10 Apple devices (tablets, laptops, phones).

I've noticed a decline over the past 3+.

Feels like the "move fast and break things" mantra has been adopted. This works for Facebook... but it doesn't for Apple.

Shipping new features seems to take precedent over fixing bugs.

Some of us just want the Apple quality back.

It's really not too much to ask.

> The company's MacBooks are slim, powerful and well-built, but you'll need pile of money and a bagful of dongles. The company's support and warranty options are second to none.


So, the only reason why the MacBook Pro isn't first is the price? It doesn't make any sense.

I bought the Late-2016 MacBook Pro (no touchbar, of course), and it's the best laptop I've ever used by a long shot.

I wasn't happy to have to pay more than I used to (EUR 1490 vs. EUR 1199), but being a developer my machine is important, and with my hourly wage the expense is justified if I can be more productive. Thanks to the improved keyboard, I'm more productive as I can type faster and more enjoyably. I also used to have a MacBook Air, and I _love_ the HiDPI display.

I don't have a bag full of dongles, so I have no idea what that's about. I attach the laptop to an external monitor, so I have 1 adapter that I keep plugged into the HDMI cable. It's got 2 USB3 ports, HDMI, and another USB-C port. I never bring it with me or use it besides for the monitor, though.

I definitely would not want to replace my current laptop with a plastic Lenovo to save $300 (or whatever).

I guess laptopmag.com is trying to ride the MacBook bitching wave one last time to get some visitors.

While you may be happy with not being able to plug in anything except USB-C while away from your desk, many are not. What happens if you go to a friend's house and they give you a flash drive with 20GB of photos to look at? What happens if you go travelling and need to get the pictures off your camera's SD card? What if you get given a flash drive with your client's work on it just before taking a flight?

I don't doubt that for some people the dongle situation isn't a problem, and I'd be happy to accept these limitations from a cheap chromebook or a tablet. But the temerity to put out a laptop with these limitations (never mind the 16GB of RAM limit since 2011) while plastering on a "Pro" label astnoshes me; IMO it really dilutes the brand, and it seems I'm not the only one.

I do have a dongle, but I don't mind and have never had to take it out when I did bring it with me.

As for the "Pro", it just means "Premium". Not "for professional software develoepers".

And if they'd called it the MacBook Premium I'd be happy.

But if you are a professional photographer, video editor, animator, mechanical/civil/chemical engineer, or yes, a software developer, and want a truly "Pro" grade laptop, Apple doesn't make something suitable for you. Instead I'd have to recommend Dell's Professional line, eg the Precision 5520, which can be customised to have Professional things such as a security cable lock, 32GB RAM, an SSD as well as an extra HDD, and the choice between a high-resolution IGZO touch screen and a 1080p matt screen.

It also comes with more than one type of port for maximum compatibility without needing a bag full of dongles or a bulky dock. And frankly, it looks just as good, if not better, than the MacBook.

The dongle comment comes from the new MacBook pro. Which is what these rating were based off of in the first place.

Is this a particularly prestigious publication or something? Otherwise it seems to be some random award.

No, it's not a prestigious publication or special as this article already was on HN previously, and discussions on how it's just meaningless non statically valid ratings from internal staff. Alas, many cling to any chance to sing the old song of Apple is doomed, it can't innovate, x wouldn't have happened if Steve was alive, how people are threatening to switch, etc. But with Apple's uncharacteristic Mac Pro announcement perhaps years of griping can eventually move the needle, so I suppose whatever works for people.

I purchased an MacBook Pro with touchbar to replace my Surface Pro 3. I was tired of 4-5 hour battery life on the Surface. From high school to early career, I always stuck with Apple products until the switch to Surface a years back.

It has been a tough transition to a non-touch screen. I understand the following statement doesn't have a logical foundation...I just hate staring at the touchbar. I don't like that its there, it is never useful. TouchID on a laptop is genius. USB C, I can get use to. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel on that one, but I miss the magsafe connector. I like the bigger trackpad, great! I give the machine a solid 8/10.

I would love if Apple released an iPad Pro + Macbook thing. Perhaps, I can never go back from a device with touch + pen + convertible to tablet device. I am attempting to live in harmony with the touchbar, but something feels just a tad of the mark with the new Pro.

I have a Logitech keyboard for my iPad Pro and love it. I've always purchased a keyboard with my iPads, I couldn't live without one!

Me too would love the iPad pro + Macbook thing. I would bet decent money it's in the pipeline but they are squeezing profit from Macbook lines just because they can. Next up i reckon will be a touchscreen Macbook, which is well needed i reckon. Then what you describe.

Apple made it clear in their roundtable discussion with selected journalists earlier this month that they don't have plans for a mac with a touchscreen.


Been using Apple since I was 10 (First computer was a PowerPC). Have owned most iPhones and all around been an Apple fanboy.

The latest macbook was the last straw, a 40% increase in price is not acceptable. I switched to a Nexus (and loving it). I bought a macbook for Uni (2015 model - The loss of ports and addition of a battery draining touchbar doesn't appeal) but only due to the fact that I needed something that would perform well and last all day. (Gaming laptops only last 2-5hrs).

Unless they unveil some version with ports reinstated and a huge battery (16+ hrs) I don't see myself ever going back.

I have grown to like the USB-C port on my new MacBook. I bought the matching LG ultra-def monitor that acts as a charging station and a hub, providing 3 extra USB-C ports, one of which I just keep a dongle for USB 2.

My only complaint is the high cost.

Depends on your use. The only ports I don't use on my mac are the Mini dvi. I use both USBs daily, HDMI when at friends, and the SD card slot for loading pictures from clients - and don't want to carry adapters around with me. The loss of MagSafe is another big one.

Kinda defeats the purpose having a nice sleek macbook only having to plug something like this into it


Apple has always been early on technology changes like USB-C, in a couple years we'll look back on this like when the iMac dropped the floppy drive. USB-C is obviously better, it's just a matter of time before everything uses it.

Doesn't really matter if it's better. TVs still use HDMI and most likely will for another 10+ yr. They're just reducing the functionality of the laptop.

Apple has been anything but early on USB-C.

How many laptop had only USB-C before the MacBook in early 2015? The spec was only finalized in August 2014.

And then they released new laptops in late 2015 with no USB-C ports. And 2 iterations of phones.

Note that this is ranking the companies for their laptop business as a whole. It doesn't say anything about particular individual laptops made by those companies. It's not clear that these rankings say anything useful to someone whose goal is to choose a laptop to buy.

It is quite possible that company X could handily outrank company Y, but for every segment of the laptop market that they both participate in Y's offering beats X's.

It looks like the main reason Apple is #5 on their ranking is a low score in "value & selection". Apple gets 6 points out of a possible 15. The top 4 get 14, 15, 15, and 14.

For that component of the score, they "[...] awarded points for offering a wide range of laptop types (budget, business, gaming, etc.) and for providing aggressive pricing".

Only Microsoft got a lower "value & selection" score (5). Microsoft also got slammed on innovation because the only new model since the last evaluation was the Surface Book with Performance Base, and that only changed the base. They got nailed on design too for not offering more colors for the Surface book.

Yet they call the Surface Pro 4 still "the best detachable on the market", and the Surface Book Pro with Performance Base "One of the most powerful 13-inch, non-gaming systems currently on the market", and say that Microsoft remains "a clear leader in 2-in-1 innovation".

If Razer can fit a GTX 1060 into a 14-inch chassis, why can't Apple? There's definitely a market of users who barely unplug their laptop while doing serious work/play, but want the option of portability. Getting a gaming/video-editing desktop forces a lifestyle change if I need to take my computer somewhere or relocate. Most places I go, I can usually find a plug if I'm doing serious work. Make a laptop as thick as the 2011 MBP with a real graphics card and the same renowned build quality please. Billions of dollars and no sense; squandered on accessory watches, dongles and pads, which barely qualify as computers for anyone in the power-user user-base and devs.

Competition is good. I have no particular affinity for Apple being "#1" on a list -- I much prefer there being several companies constantly one-upping each other to make more laptops that suit my current and future needs.

One thing I don't understand: why are there no laptop manufacturers apart than Apple putting effort into making a better trackpad?

Great question - this is actually one of the few reasons that I still recommend Macs at this point...

Stock up on the late-2015 MBP ya'll.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact