I know that the current butterfly mechanism is v2, it's slightly improved over the very 1st iteration (which appeared on the original 12" MacBook retina).
Will there be a v3?
I don't think a company that knowingly ships a bad product, then, either dodges responsibility. Or puts the onus on the consumer will actually do anything right by the consumer with this keyboard issue. As if it's the consumers fault for buying a shitty product.
I mean apple sure knows how to take my payment in 15 seconds at the store with my information and email address. But somehow they can't inform me of a recall.
I'm seriously disappointed they do that.
I saw a link to their patent application where they patented a way to protect the current keyboard design from dust and crumbs.
Personally, I got tired of their disregard for software developers issues with hardware, and now my working machine in the new XPS 13 from Dell. I am happy with it.
So what is it with software developers and laptops? The portability? Or rather people just being used to a laptop since they are ubiquitous in college. Even plugged into monitors, laptop keyboards just plain suck.
I have an XPS-13, and it's handy for field use with GNU Radio, but can't fathom doing anything productive on it.
Here are some times when I've benefitted from having a laptop:
- I can grab it and walk into an enclosed meeting room for a video conference.
- A coworker and I can grab a conference room and pair on some task if necessary.
- When on-call, I keep my laptop with me when I go home.
- I can leave early to run an errand, and then work from home in the evening.
I am much more productive using my laptop than my home desktop, for some reason. It's likely that my laptop has all of my shell aliases, editor settings, source code, SSH keys, etc, but the main thing I think is that I don't need to context switch as heavily -- my editor still has the same things open, my shell has the same history, etc, as when I left work.
The ergonomics of a laptop could be better. I used to have a beastly machine with a nice mechanical keyboard, etc. I miss that a bit, but there are substantial benefits to having a laptop.
As a different way of looking at it, as an Electronic Engineer (I hope I got the right acronym), some of the software you run may well require a bit more performance than most software engineers need.
I think a mobile i7, 16GB of fast RAM, and a fast SSD is pretty good for most developers now, particularly when we're not compiling code - we're mostly using scripting languages (at least the type of devs around here) so the development cycle depends more on reloading and parsing files off disk than on intensive compilation and optimisation steps. There are definitely software engineers who need more, but many will do just fine on a laptop, and the portability wins out.
Compared to Electronic Engineering, I remember some of the software that EE students used at the uni I went to required some beefy hardware to run on. It was large complicated software, that I'd put in the same category as 3D modelling suites, or video editing/effects/rendering. It required high performance workstations, and higher performance simulation servers. I can totally see why an Electronic Engineer would prefer a workstation (although I think to call it a "real" workstation would be a little disingenuous, it depends what your engineering is!)
Almost nobody uses their laptop keyboard, however, unless they're using the laptop away from their desk. We all have 2-3 monitors and external keyboards & mice.
I've had to do emergency patches while sitting in a car on a cross-state roadtrip. I've had to ssh in to verify issues in national parks. Sometimes I just like sitting in a coffee shop or a park when I'm writing mindless code.
I run an older macbook, with some semi-heavy docker containers for dev work. It's fine enough for most of my work.
That and I've never seen a portable laptop that can handle a Solidworks multi-hundred part assembly or a 20 layer Altium PCB, except for massive 17" workstations that are ostensibly laptops.
Pair programming can be done through Slack or Skype (highlight the screen when you want to pinpoint something - it's easier than pointing to the monitor)
Although this setup doesn't solve the remote work issue as remote control protocols can be pretty slow or plainly unusable with a slow internet connection.
Yes, the portability, that bit is non-negotiable. Plus, when I'm seated at a desk I can always plug in a good mechanical keyboard and external monitor.
> I have an XPS-13, and it's handy for field use with an SDR, but can't fathom doing anything productive on it.
im just a lowly developer working on the backend of sites running rails. im pretty sure i can code on a toaster if need be. probably highly depends on what kind of architecture youre coding on. i'd wager that game developers need beefy machines.
Few minor irritations - super sensitive touchpad, multi-monitor setup isn't seamless (but works), FN (touch) keys don't all work. Volume keys don't work, but brightness keys do.
All in all, happy with it far. Had to get used to a more keyboard-based workflow rather than touchpad-based -- switching to apps & desktops, moving windows, copy-paste, etc. all now using keyboard.
> but due to the ports issue (which Apple are taking the piss with)
What does "taking the piss with" mean in this context?
If I tried to convince you that London is actually located on Mars, or that Brexit is a good idea, I'd be taking the piss.
Other than the power issues, it's a lovely laptop.
I don't regret buying it at all because I don't really mind shaking out problems with new hardware and I usually keep my laptops for ~6 years, but if it's a big deal, I'd buy a used 5th gen X1. Those work flawlessly.
Unfortunately, turns out they're no longer made with a discrete GPU -- they only have an Intel Iris integrated graphics chip now, no AMD Radeon. The discrete model was discontinued in 2016.
As a result, graphics performance is horrible. It's especially noticeably bad with the scaled Retina mode. I have to use the scaled mode on my external 4K display because otherwise the UI becomes so small the text is unreadable. That's when you realize that Apple's approach to resolution independence is pretty crappy. You'd think they could just run in 1:1 and just render text, buttons and so on a little larger, but that's not possible.
Seems like Apple can't walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. iPhone and Watches is all they care about and they don't put any thought into Macs anymore.
The ironic bit is that old machines are almost as costly as new ones...
I have a v2 butterfly keyboard and I actually do prefer the tactile feel over older MacBooks, but the fact that a single piece of hair/dust has broken my keyboard is really unacceptable and something I definitely would like to see addressed.
edit: I also bought a new MBP 13" and I like it the best. I prefer a 13" form factor, but I primarily got it because it has physical keys instead of the bar.
My secondary machine, a 2014 13'' retina MBP, started having battery problems. Went to an official repair service (Apple does not fix stuff here in Mexico). To replace the battery I would have to replace the whole top panel of the machine (keyboard, trackpad, etc) which costs like $600 USD. Apple would in turn buy the piece removed from my computer and lower what I had to pay to $350 USD.
$350 to replace a battery is still ridiculous, specially considering that it's the first piece to degrade on a laptop.
Since I don't depend much on that laptop I will live with a bad battery as long as I can. In a year or two I will reconsider my options.
I'm conflicted. I actually enjoy the feel of the new keys, with the notable exception of the stunningly user-hostile arrow keys.
But I'm a bit of a slob, and I've gotten key stick a couple times. I have to baby this thing and I'm used to smashing the keys clean off and having it keep working.
Literally, my 2010 era MBP was missing two keys when it retired.
Half-height left and right arrow keys, and a keyboard that can withstand the crumbs of outrageous fortune. That'd do it for me.
It's a great keyboard, or it would be if it didn't have the crazy failure rate, terrible repairability, and awful arrow keys.
So it's actually, just... kinda... fine.
Interestingly enough it also seems to vary between units. The 2017 TBMBP is apparently V3 of Butterfly according to someone who worked at Apple on Reddit, who claims they tried to fix the issue.
The 2016 Retina MacBook (12") that I had was able to handle some serious crumbage and never had issues. I at some point had some real crumbly snacks over it and nothing got inside the keyboard.
Then I got a 2016 MacBook Pro (13", touch bar). Even with lighter use, and trying to keep anything getting into it, I had basically every problem with that keyboard. The only thing that fixed it was a silicone keyboard cover from Amazon, after taking all the keys off and cleaning under them. Then it never broke again because it was effectively sealed.
I wonder if the thinner MacBook has a different keyboard than the Pro (It does, I know that now). I think that might have made a big difference, since the thinner one was definitely less susceptible to pulling stuff into it. Might also have something to do with the airflow from the key going in and out.
On the plus side though, the keyboard covers impact typing a LOT less than they used to because of how thin the keyboard is.
I have the v2 version, and this is my third top case, if it were not for consumer laws here, I would have moved to another laptop.
As far as I'm aware there are no plans to address them, we have to wait until the next Apple event to hear more, hopefully.
Most of the time it fixes the problem, but (so far) three times I had to take it to the Apple Store and claim Consumer Law because the key mechanism broke.
Out of curiosity, what other laptop would you have moved to? Another apple laptop or something different altogether?
Only goofy issue is that sometimes on AC power the CPU gets stuck at the lowest frequency, but unplugging for a moment fixes it.
Does anyone know why there isn't a Developer Edition on the 15 inch XPS?
My best guess would be that maybe by sometime late next year at the earliest they will have redesigned the keyboard, but it could easily be 2020 or later, or maybe never. It's also possible the next version won't be an improvement, as many learned when the 2012-2015 MacBook Pro was getting long in the tooth, and the 2016-???? replacement arrived to replace it.
In the meantime, you can do what many of us did: upgrade to a three year old 2015 MacBook Pro, it has many useful ports, MagSafe, an escape key, function keys, a working keyboard, etc, it's an improvement in every possible way except that the enclosure is a little bit thicker.
Or you can do what many of my other colleagues are doing and get a Lenovo as they migrate back to Linux/Windows.
- The touchbar is great with sliders for brightness and volume. That's ALL I use it for though, so it is a bit under utilized.
- The esc key might be the only minor issue, but it's mostly the lack of feedback.
- Ports - I love having to unplug only one dongle instead of the 4-5 USD/HDMI/ETC/ETC I always have plugged in every time I need to move away. And plugging them all back in is also a single action. I'd be ok with less ports even.
- Magsafe, I still love it but I haven't even missed it.
- No issues with the keyboard and I haven't used function keys in years anyway.
I think it 'clicked' for me after a few weeks of usage, so I understand people judging it or even returning it after a few days.
I've had so many keys stuck due to dust or some other particle . When I press hard enough I can hear it crack and the key usually works again...I really hate the keyboard :P
It had some pretty powerful macro/gesture functionality. A friend of mine had one and loved it, but wound up having to buy a humidifier to keep it working in the winter.
To the extend that tactile feedback is important for efficient typing, I imagine keyboard design for laptops is a tradeoff between good feel, durability, and making the mechanism as lightweight and shallow as possible. I'm typing this on a recent-model Thinkpad, and the key throw is about 2mm, substantially less than a high-feedback clicky-key type keyboard.
I still grin like an idiot pushing into the pad and telling myself that no, my finger did not go down. It is really magical.
If this can be done behind an eink screen or something similar, with a distinct feel for resting a finger and pushing a button, I believe it can be day and night for laptop keyboards. Alternatively, these eink screens could for sure have ridges for key delimitation.
On the plus side, very easy to clean.
Unlikely. That would require a 180 degree change of direction. Apple has decided that fewer ports in kind and number is what they're going to do, and I don't really see them responding to external feedback (and basically admitting to a mistake). They're too insular. Case in point: there have been loads complaints for half a decade about the current Mac Pro, and all we've seen so far is a souped up iMac and vague promises.
i think usb is one of the only cases where they haven't. and thunderbolt, sort of. apple loves their proprietary stuff though.
There are dongles to buy, but that seems to mostly have to do with such things as Thunderbolt and the ability to piggyback older legacy technologies on newer connectors.
Now if you were talking about the phone, I agree. But I also see the point -- micro USB is a terrible, terrible thing. As long as it's robust I would like to see the next phone ditch Lightning for USB-C, but I am otherwise much happier with Lightning connectors than I have ever been with micro USB.
Serious question, as I am not personally aware of such a thing.
But to answer the question, apple say their plans ahead of time. I'm sure that when they release their next model of laptop it will have a revised keyboard.
Many people report X1 to be great MBP replacement (I have mid 2014 MBP 13" retina - couldn't be happier and 2017 MBP 15" with s*it strip - well keyboard is awful as well as this touch strip) and from using X1 for a week and from input from people @ work those are not that great either. First of all fan noise and it's rpms it's very annoying, screen quality and resolution (after using MBP with retina) is just horrible, touchpad is just rudimentary - works but can be better.
There is no glue on my 2012 model.