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Popular Mac Developer Slams Apple for 'Sad State of Macintosh Hardware' (macrumors.com)
109 points by jordybg 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 143 comments

I think this is a combination of issues:

USB-C's ecosystem was confusing and good products never materialized, or if they did nobody could find them in the sea of junk.

The lack of hardware updates, which seems to have started with the 5-10% performance bumps Intel piddled out in the absence of competition from AMD from 2011-2017. Most of the CPU's and GPU's that could have been used frankly weren't much better than what they'd replace, so from that standpoint, upgrading the hardware was kind of pointless for an extremely minor performance benefit.

The keyboards situation is horrible. Failure prone and loud without much point.

Apple is making a lot of money in the iOS ecosystem. Success hides problems, and it seems like "if it's not broken, don't fix it" was used as an excuse to let the Mac languish.

As someone who did nearly all of Apple's IT-related certs in the mid 00's then watched them slowly decontent and destroy all of their OS X Server and related software almost immediately as iOS was on the rise, I don't see good things coming on the horizon.

If you're on a Mac, try to start using primarily OSS software and. Don't get stuck on a platform that might get abandoned tied to a workflow on software that isn't portable.

The silly thing is that Apple could (and should) invest in the Mac as it was pretty great, and could be great again. I'm not holding my breath.

I think the low profile keyboard + touch bar combo is all about training users for what Apple sees as their new interaction model: a haptic keyboard; use your apple pencil with it, whatever, but when typing, it will give feedback similar to the low profile keyboard. A stepping stone. The touchbar serves to get people used to the idea of an interactive part to the keyboard area, get devs thinking up ways to use it.

My two cents.

What's wrong with USB-C?

It's seen a pretty wide-spread uptake over the last couple years, and you're hard pressed to find a new laptop from any manufacturer that doesn't use it for charging.

It's beginning to look like consolidating a variety of capabilities into one connector was a bad idea. There's no way to differentiate what features are supported on any given USB-C port. USB A was different in that the features were only on the device being attached. USB 1-3 was a bus only. Though even then, there were rarely markings to distinguish between USB 1 and 2 (when that distinction was relevant). And there is no way to know if a given USB hub will provide enough power to your device until you plug it in.

At the root, it seems like Thunderbolt, or Thunderbolt over the USB-C port is more the issue. I've even run into this same problem with Thunderbolt ports on PCs vs. Macs. On a Surface Pro, Thunderbolt is video only, for Ethernet you have to use a USB-attached device. On a Mac, Thunderbolt does both.

This sounds like an absolutely horrifying state of affairs. I did not know what a bullet I dodged by opting for the non-touchbar 2015-Mac that still has those regular old USB-A and HDMI/Mini-DP ports.

> Many Android phones support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge over USB-C, which is different — usually — from the official, better, newer USB-C Power Delivery (PD) standard. Apple products, some Android phones, and the Nintendo Switch use USB-C PD. Quick Charge devices don’t get any benefit — usually — from PD chargers, and vice versa.

... and this is just a small sample.

I returned to Macintosh in 2015 after a 15-year hiatus, buying a late 2013 MBP. Having seen the absolute abortion of a device in the most recent MBP line-up and the glaringly obvious neglect of the platform, I feel like I've swapped one shitty experience (Windows 8 onwards) for another - except on a platform that's twice the cost and far less flexible when it comes to future options.

It won't happen, but in an ideal world, Apple would spin-off a Mac business whose only use to them appears to be as a means for them to burnish their superficial 'creative' brand credentials and as a dev platform for iOS.

> Most of the CPU's and GPU's that could have been used frankly weren't much better than what they'd replace

Agree about CPUs, disagree about GPUs. GPUs have been making very good progress all these years.

E.g. nVidia’s 1080 Ti (2017) is almost twice as fast as the similarly priced 980 Ti (2015). The 780 Ti (2013) is about the same as 980Ti but 680 (2012) is again about 2x slower than 980 Ti.


I've had two MBPs with only USB-C ports, and this is a complete non-issue to me. I have a "microdock" that gives me the ports I want when I want them and otherwise stays put away. Even on my Samsung TabPro, which only has a single USB-C port, it's not really an issue.

> lack of hardware updates

This is a huge issue for me. Apple has kept the pricing high on their notebooks while not improving performance. The only thing they have going for them from my POV these days is build quality and macOS. Others are catching up in build quality, and even Windows 10 supports native Linux well enough that macOS has lost much of its luster.

> keyboards

Meh. I don't really have an opinion on this one. I'm typing on a "new" MBP keyboard right now and it works fine. It's a bit sensitive to sand and other particles, but so far I've not had one actually fail to the point that the issue wasn't resolved with a few hard keypresses and a shot of compressed air.

> try to start using primarily OSS software

This is probably the key to why I'm both dissatisfied with Apple and not as upset as others seem to be about it. I moved to macOS in ~2011 because I wanted a durable laptop, and planned to install ArchLinux on it. I gave macOS a shot and it was "close enough" to Linux that it didn't make sense to deal with all the headaches of dealing with a non-native OS.

> Apple is making a lot of money in the iOS ecosystem

... and as best I can tell, that's where they're innovating too. I sold my personal MBP this spring, bought a 6th-gen iPad, and haven't looked back. It's more than suitable for mobile media consumption, programming (via MOSH to a remote server), and photo processing.

Unless something big changes, my next machine will probably be an iPad Pro in a couple of years. I have no plans at this time to ever buy a laptop for myself again.

And the problem is that Mojave start to cut some macs, like mine, and as iOS developer I can't ignore Apple.

Now, I'm in the position of get a worse (in SSD space + other things) machine for more money or get hackintosh

You might find this somewhat comforting - Mojave beta is already running on Hackintosh.

I hope the final product does as well.

[0] https://www.reddit.com/r/hackintosh/comments/8olkq1/macos_10...

Mid-2012 MBP with SSD, retina, and 16gb here.

I've got an HDMI port, SD card reader, two USB ports, two thunderbolt ports, magsafe power, and a proper, reliable keyboard.

I despair at the current crop of mac hardware. If this machine dies on me before some decent mac hardware arrives, I'm not sure what i'll do - but it definitely won't involve buying a new macbook with the touchbar, stupid keyboards, and no ports.

I've used 2 new touchbar Mac for work since early 2017. When it came time to replace my ancient personal 2011 MBP I ended up just spending the $2000 for the "new" 2015-era MBPs that Apple still sells. While it's a bummer to spend that kind of money for a 3 year old spec machine, I still prefer it over my work machine with that dreadful low profile keyboard and useless touch strip. If things don't improve come next upgrade cycle I think I'm going to just find something that runs Ubuntu reasonably well.

The Thinkpad T-series is much cheaper than Mac with better specs and support. Put a Linux distro on it and it's a great computer for programming. I paid $1,900 for my current laptop (T-460) with 24 GB of RAM, 11+ hours of battery life, matte screen (low glare), and a 4-year, next-day, at-home repair plan where they will drive to my home to fix any problems the next day, including accidents. That price included tax and shipping. I had considered buying a Mac, but in hindsight I'm very relieved that I didn't.

exactly. switched to a Lenovo Carbon X1 when my 2009 MBP died on me.

Same camp. One of my thunderbolt ports just died, and the screen itself is glitching more and more frequently. I'm praying that it hangs in there long enough for Apple to produce a machine I actually want to upgrade to, and that feels like an upgrade without compromise. If it dies before that happens I'll be reluctantly shopping for non-Mac hardware.

I switched from Windows to Mac in autumn-2013. I really hope that either Apple get their act together or that Microsoft ecosystem finally get the simple things such as hibernate and trackpads working properly before this machine gives up the ghost.

> hibernate and trackpads working properly

I haven't had any problem with hibernation on Windows laptops - quite the contrary: MacBooks don't have a visible "I am powered on" indicator once closed, which means that if e.g. some Chrome tab or whatever random crap keeps the system awake I only notice it when arriving at work, pulling the MacBook out of the bag and having a superheated mess with empty battery in my hand.

The trackpads on the other hand... haven't seen any Windows trackpad manufacturer that combines:

- decent size (=2015-era MBP)

- decent materials (=the metal/glass combo that Apple uses, instead of black plastic that grows INCREDIBLY nasty looking after 2 years)

- decent functionality (reliable gesture recognition without having to worry at buy time if the included touchpad is Synaptics, Elantech or Alps, or a knock-off)

- decent placement (=at surface level like a MBP, not 2+mm recessed which invites dirt to accumulate)

- can tolerate wet/oily fingers (yes, I admit, I am one of those typical nerds eating pizza while working)

In the last few years I've had top of the line Dell and Lenovo laptops, neither got hibernate right. Both had a 15-20% chance of being empty in the morning.

Touchpads are a joke. They're either tiny or they constantly register phantom movements (random cursor jumps). I wouldn't be surprised if that's something which Apple solve in software to be honest; if it was in hardware you'd expect other brands to have caught up already.

> if it was in hardware you'd expect other brands to have caught up already

I think it's possible that Apple leverages knowledge from the iDevices lineup there. After all Apple has had a massive headstart in capacitive multi-touch sensoring... and a boatload of patents to match.

I used to have the hibernate issue with my previous retina Macbook Pro. Haven't had any such issues since I upgraded to the touchbar one. Never had any trackpad issues.

Having upgraded from the non-touch bar MacBook Pro (unwillingly, I might add, the old one died and it's a work machine so the replacement wasn't chosen by me), I'm surprised how disgruntled people are with it. While I'm not a fan of the touchbar either, everything else is for me either a micro-annoyance - for example, the need for a couple of adapters which most of the time I don't need anyway, or a total non-issue: keyboard works totally fine, I actually prefer the larger keys, and the USB-C charger is so much better for me - I had gone through countless of the magsafe ones due to the cable breaking where it connects with the charger, the design of this ones resolves that issue, plus I can replace the cable itself if necessary (say if my cat chews it up, which also happened in the past). Also, there are third-party power adapters that are cheaper, car adapters that actually work for it now, I can charge it from a battery pack etc. Really, for me USB-C charging easily makes up for all the other downsides. That, and auto-sleep/hibernate finally working flawlessly.

rMBP mid 2012 here, i am totally agree with you. Unless they have made a Macbook Pro with OLED or Micro LED display, 10nm+ CPU (preferably 7nm) and 32GB+ RAM options, THERE IS NO NEED TO UPDATE THIS 6 YEAR OLD LAPTOP! Apple...

Yep. And no 32GB because they just had to make it 1mm thinner.

Technically, that was because of battery life, not thickness. The limits on that particular Intel chipset are 16GB LPDDR3 or 32GB non-low power DDR4, and Apple chose to use the LPDDR3.

I have a basic 32GB DDR4 laptop* which was contemporary to the touchbar MBP, and while I'm very happy with the running battery life, the suspended battery life isn't as long as I would prefer (usually doesn't last 24 hours). I suspect that's because of the RAM. However, the MBP has a larger battery than mine, so I don't think it would have been that big of a problem.

[* = Clevo N240BU, same as the newest System76 Lemur. i7-7500U, iGPU, opted for m.2 only, 4-cell removable battery, slim 14" 1080p, real HDMI/ethernet/USB-A&C/headphone/SD ports.]

I'll be honest, I haven't bothered with suspend/hibernate in years, because it is so broken on every Windows machine I've ever tried. In these days of SSDs and OS's that boot up in five seconds, I just turn off my machine whenever I put it away not on AC power.

No big Windows fan but IIRC suspend/resume has mostly worked just as well on all my recent Windows laptops as on my old Macbook Pro and they both easily beats ny current Ubuntu setup.

Still prefer my Ubuntu on Dell setup though.

True, but I was taking a short cut :-) With the old "thick" MBP chassis (which was plenty thin for me), they could put in DDR4 and still have enough battery life.

Btw never managed to get 24 hours out of any MacBookPro?

Similar camp here. My 2012 MBA has been a lovely ultrabook but now that it's showing its age and I'm looking to replace it this year, I've decided to move away from the OSX ecosystem and am currently waiting for the next Surface pro to launch.

The current lineup is just so unappealing.

Don't forget they cut battery capacity from 99/75 Wh (15/13") down to 76/50 Wh to save less than 3 mm thickness

It got me thinking that the 2012 line of Apple products is the last one which was actually good. Since then it was constant decline in engineering quality and increase in price. I'm sure that Steve Jobs issued a memo before his departure telling everybody what to do in the next 5 years. After a couple of years, Apple is gradually losing their mojo, again.


The most dangerous thing here is that the public is increasingly getting the message and idea that Apple's mac hardware is decomposing.

They really need to make this a priority. I fear that the success of the iPhone is blinding them to the importance of the mac. And you can tell because they're kicking ass when it comes to iOS devices. They're so far ahead in certain areas, it's not even funny.

This is reminding me of the Steve Ballmer years at MS. The financials looked GREAT, even though the company completely stagnated when it came to technology (with some exceptions like the Developer Division).

Similarly, the Mac division's strong imbalance now of choosing form over function (the designers have taken over the asylum, removing ports, making keyboards thinner that nobody asked for), is going to continue hurting them until they change course drastically.

Hopefully we see it soon. Meanwhile, I am clinging on to my MacBook Pro from 2015, still the best MacBook Pro I've owned.

Remember when Apple killed their server devision? It wasn't because it wasn't profitable - because it was. They killed it because it wasn't profitable enough to be anything other than a rounding error on their accounts.

I fear the same is happening with the MacBook line up when compared against the profits from iOS devices.

I don't know. The Mac still represents a 10% of revenue for Apple, and I'm sure most of that comes from laptops.

revenue is not profit though...

> They're so far ahead in certain areas, it's not even funny.

Honestly asking, not trying to throw punches; what are they ahead with? From everything I've seen/read/heard it's all software, and the hardware itself has stagnated or is behind by a few months/years of other vendors.

Processors. Their processors are at least a couple generations ahead of the state of the art samsung devices, at least with benchmarks.

Their hardware/software integration results in browser performance (safari) that is years ahead of chrome/android on ARM hardware.

The benchmarks are out there.

Again, the hardware/software integration allows them to reach performance metrics faster than the others. This goes for their image processors and also their general CPUs for browsing.

In fact, their iPads are now faster than some of their Intel laptops.

Not sure where exactly they're "so far ahead".

Cameras? Google is on par if not better with the Pixel. Screens? Samsung.

The only area where I could conceivably say Apple is destroying the competition is the A11 chip.

As an overall package though, I'd say the other major players (Samsung, Google) are on par with Apple for phones.

Yes I was actually mainly talking about their processors (and other silicon), and the additional performance gains you get from tight hardware/software integration.

> The most dangerous thing here is that the public is increasingly getting the message and idea that Apple's mac hardware is decomposing.

Not sure "the public" is very aware of any of the stuff going on (or more accurately, not going on) with Macs at Apple.

I don't think the general public reads or hears any Apple news outside of what the main stream media reports. Most of the complaints about the touchbar, keyboard, etc. don't trickle up to the MSM. The MSM is more interested in reporting about iPhone news than Macs.

I do think the keyboard issue is leaking into the mainstream actually, thanks to class action lawsuits, etc.

But you're right, most of what us nerds argue about, the public just isn't aware.

> And you can tell because they're kicking ass when it comes to iOS devices. They're so far ahead in certain areas, it's not even funny.

I'm not convinced of that. I bought an iPhone for the first time a few months ago and returned it after a few days because iOS felt like a backwards step. I've no fanbois allegiance one way or the other, but Android felt a lot more polished, usable and intuitive. Even the hardware was a backwards step for me (albeit at a more advanced price).

As an iPhone user I agree. I often look at how feature packed while cheap Android devices are. The only thing that keeps me from switching is Google and that I don't have the time to bother with alternative ROMs anymore.

I'm probably in the extreme minority here, but I actually think iOS lately feels too complex. There are still features it's missing that I'd like, but I often long for the simpler days of earlier iOS versions. Too many different overlapping interfaces (e.g. lock screen vs. Notification Center), types of notifications, interaction models (tap vs. 3D Touch vs. hold), and overloaded basic apps (e.g., apps inside of Messages.app)—they all make me feel like iOS is just getting too complex, at least on my iPhone.

I don't think that's too unreasonable. I only spent a short amount of time with iOS, but I soon gained the impression that it was unintuitive and that there was perhaps an emphasis on superficially clever stuff at the expense of keeping on top of fundamental user expectations and patterns. Things like 3D Touch don't matter to me when the user experience is much more constrained by a philosophy that discourages customisation and convention.

Apple needs to differentiate it’s lines further. The MacBook can be 2 mm thin and light as a feather for those who value those features. However, the MacBook Pro should be a true pro machine with a great keyboard, great screen, necessary ports, and built like a tank. Thinness obsession has gotten a bit far IMHO.

Like someone else said in another comment, the grass is not green on the other side. I tried every windows flagship option out there from Asus convertibles to XPS 15 (still have this) and my experience was not even close to what I had hoped for. From big issues like coil whine on the XPS 15 to little issues like battery randomly dying, it seems like no other manufacturer cares about quality control and human user experience at all.

Ended up getting a 2017 touch-bar 15' pro and could not have been happier. At least with MacBook I do not have to think about the machine getting in my way while I am trying to do something productive.

The keyboard situation is bad but I am sure at one point they are going to have to do a recall or offer free repairs (Apple has done this before, look at the GPU issues).

The touchbar issue is overblown. Once I adjusted my workflows to use touchbar and customized the touchbar for the apps I frequently use I have definitely been a little more productive than my old macbook. People do not like adapting to changes.

USB C is not a problem anymore, since most of my devices are using USB C already I can usually get away with just couple of cables (usb c and lightning) while traveling.

Mobile took precedence during the last decade, but now everyone is starting to realize that tablets and smartphones aren't going to replace regular computers for a large portion of the population.

Get an x1 carbon, install FreeBSD with gnome. Hardware and software blow windows and macOS out of the water. I can’t fathom how people think MacOS has angood desktop is — everything is a struggle with their os.

I have not tried x1 carbon but literally all lenovo laptops I have tried have horrible trackpads (palm rejection issues on linux, weird tracking).

MacOS is a good OS because it has a very human centric UI and it makes me very productive. Virtual Desktops that work flawlessly with trackpad, shortcuts like control command f to switch apps back and forth between fullscreen help me easily focus on task in hand, app quality is miles ahead of windows (scaling issues anyone?) and linux just doesn't have enough software available for anything other than development (video editors, graphics design etc).

The keyboards. The failure rate makes them a risky purchase. You could be just out of warranty and locked out of your machine. This is happening and driving people away. I personally am really going to miss that perfect trackpad as it's not going to be another MacBook Pro for me until this is fixed.

Touch bar as well, the theoretical upsides were few and didn't really pan out. It would have been an interesting and possibly useful addition to function keys (especially at a $300 markup) but it's just awful as replacement.

I concur. Buying my MacBook with touch bar add-on was a decision I regret every day. And every day I miss the old function keys.

In addition, Apple replaced my keyboard (all of sudden, the 'b' key ceased working) and managed to damage the Touch ID part of the bar, replacing which led to replacing the entire logic board. The keyboard has been so bad that I'm expecting it to go again soon, and next time, it won't be in warranty.

Apple, please sort it out. You're still ahead of the pack if you can (a) fix the quality/bugs, and (b) stop making bad and very experimental design decisions.

Laptop wise, the touch bar is useless and the non touch bar model is castrated.

Worse, I like to use my (2012) mbpro in an open balcony. Judging by all the rumors, you can't do that with a 2015+ model because the first grain of dust that the wind brings in will ruin your keyboard and put you on the hook for a $700 top case replacement. No thanks.

Couple that with no expandable desktop available since 2012...

Aren't they on the third iteration of those keyboards now, I wonder if the failure rate is still high.

I guess we will find out when the next revision of laptops comes out, if they really are unreliable then Apple will fix it as it is clearly doing them some reputational damage.

The currently shipping keyboard is the one with the most problems. The earlier keyboards weren't that bad once you got used to them -- they didn't choke on a speck of dust.

I thought it was the 2016 ones with the most issues, and the not the 2017 update?

Discussion of the actual article this piece addresses from 4 days ago (over 300 comments): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17312588

Interestingly for me, the annoyances of the new MacBook have faded into the background (no escape key, worse keyboard). I learned to hit ctrl+[ in vim, and don’t mind the keyboard until a key sticks for a little while.

Meanwhile I can’t imagine going back to the thicker form factor.

I don’t mean to downplay people’s issues, and Apple definitely didn’t do a wonderful job here.

But I do find that my day to day experience is net positive. Humans are very adaptable.

It may be unpopular, but I agree. I held off as long as I could, but finally ended up with a 2017 MBP. It works fine. I like the keyboard feel. It is a bit noisy though, and I worry about failures, but good so far. USB-C means I plug less into the computer than I used to. The dongle situation is a bit overblown. My 2014 MBP already had special cables for mini-display port and a dongle for gigabit ethernet.

I am annoyed that Apple cannot seem to just do simple upgrades though. Not every release has to be some out of this world new design.

I agree with this in principle, but repeated hardware failures are likely to test my patience to its limits.

Since I cannot see myself switching to a combination of by and large inferior hardware and (at least what I consider) inferior OS on other platforms without considerable comprises and pain, I've persevered with the OS bugs. Sadly, hardware failures are too disruptive and costly to put up with in the long run.

I agree and have the same feelings, but there should at least be an option for people who don’t want to prioritize size over performance.

Apple is the worlds biggest company, they can do better than ‘one size fits all’. Yes, that mantra is also part of their design philosophy, but it needs to be executed intelligently not blindly.

There’s a long but diverse tail of professional use cases, and there’s definitely not a single box that can hold all of them.

Is there any indication that Apple is taking these complaints to heart?

I suspect that the lack of updates may be indicative of Apple switching to an ARM based CPU for their laptops and desktop machine. If this is the case it probably wouldn't make sense for them to invest a lot in designing a new laptop around an Intel processor. It would also explain the delays since they would both need to get to grips with the hardware design AND provide a solution for running software compiled for x86 on ARM.

While they have done this before, the task is much bigger this time as there is considerably more software available for the Mac that would need to work on the new architecture.

Of course, this still raises questions. The first being how long it would take to stabilize the platform again. The second whether Apple will be sufficiently interested in the desktop/laptop market to deliver more consistent and meaningful product updates going forward.

If they are indeed going to ignore the desktop/laptop market the interesting question would be how this would affect the sales of their other products.

My guess is that if they manage to break up with developers, through inaction or otherwise, there is probably going to be a slow decline that nobody gets particularly worried about until it can't be compensated for with cheap sales tricks.

I'm having a deja-vue. 25 years ago Apple was facing a similar decline in product diversity, innovation and novelty. With Steve Jobs gone forever I don't think Apple will survive that one. By a long shot Apple will burn through their cash very fast, with mediocre products and no innovation in the pipeline. And I don't see another innovation genius like Steve Jobs with a determined vision to come around at Apple these days. Good luck with that!

Actually, Apple had too much product diversity and one of the things Jobs did was to simplify the product lineup and make sure that each product counted.

Apple have maintained a relatively simple product lineup when it comes to the computers, the problem is that they no longer know how to make products that deliver where it counts.

(Of course, they do have boneheaded products like the dead end stovepipe Mac Pro, which completely misses the point of what power-hungry users with generous budgets need, but it appears as sort of a tradition to have the odd boneheaded computer to satisfy the egos of designers. Given the past history of Apple I think it is safe to say that high end users have never been a great priority)

25 years ago in 1993, Apple was doing well.

The Macintosh was also doing well, rising from 1.3 million units in 1990 to its all-time high of 4.5 million units in 1995. Macintosh market share peaked at 12% in 1993. It was a boom time for Apple, with the future looking bright.


They can do what MS is doing in the Mobile market... focus on software... They can bring those "great" applications (including iOS development) to Windows/Linux/BSD.

Hear, hear! I type this on a "Late 2013" MacBook Pro that I would have upgraded years ago if the replacements were desirable and they can't even keep those up to date.

I'm on a mid-2012 with a failing battery, some keys don't work unless - shall we say - you push them with conviction, and just a few weeks ago it had a bit of a tumble and the LCD panel is now cracked. I'm debating whether I should buy a 2015 15", or wait for October to see if anything shows up in the next refresh. -_-

The Mid 2015 MBP is decent, it still has an SD card slot, USB3, MagSafe and two TB ports, as well as a real keyboard.

I sadly gave up on the Mac. My next personal device is a Dell XPS.

The platform is great, and I liked the (declining) 3rd party ecosystem, but if the company doesn't give a crap about the platform, why should I?

It's probably too late, but Apple needs to break the industrial design team's stranglehold on the platform. You can only focus on things that the customer doesn't care about for so long. I pulled the plug when my colleague had to spend about $350 on magic dongles for his $2k laptop.

>> I sadly gave up on the Mac. My next personal device is a Dell XPS.

Switching is a mixed bag.

I notice (at least on HN) that there are two types of people on Mac.

People who are highly sensitized to details and those who are not. If you're sensitized to stuff like touch pads, coil whine, etc., you may not find pleasure in switching to a PC, because PC makers don't spend a lot of time on those details.

If, however, you're not sensitized to small details, switching to PC is a pretty painless process.

> If, however, you're not sensitized to small details, switching to PC is a pretty painless process.

There's another category to consider: Those who use mostly open source apps and those who prefer a better user experience. Switching is easy if you're the former. Not so much if you're the latter. The Mac app ecosystem is hands down the best there is. Mac apps are not just easy to use, but pleasant. Windows apps are ugly and often difficult to use. Heaven help you on Linux.

>> The Mac app ecosystem is hands down the best there is.

That is an individualized thing, as different people use different stuff.

There is a lot of great stuff on the Mac. iLife, iWork, Coda, Pixelmator, Transmit and other apps are great on the Mac, but those aren't apps that are necessarily used by everybody.

For the most part, I don't feel like I'm missing out after switching to Windows. I use Affinity products, Sublime Text, DxO Photolab, and they're pretty much the same as on the Mac.

Go to any platform (including MacOS and iOS), and easily 90% of the apps are ugly and difficult to use. The top 10% tend to not have that issue.

I'm 2 months into owning mine and still trying to figure out the right combination of cables to plug into everything I used to plug into my 2010. If I hadn't sunk so much money into it at this point I'd be throwing it against the wall.

I switched back to a Linux workstation, after being "all mac laptop" since 2003 (!). My current Macbook Pro is from 2010 and my professional Macbook pro from 2015. The newest Macbooks with their stupid keyboards and USB-C only are total garbage, IMO. Sad.

I ended up buying a new 2017 15 inch MacBook Pro and it's really been not that bad. Yes, you have to use a USB-A to USB-C dongle here and there but at least for my daily use, it's not been terribly inconvenient. The machine is light and thin and I enjoy it immensely, although I'm a little scared about the keyboard (so far no problems). Touchbar?... meh. Neither like not dislike.

I don't know. I understand the new MacBooks are not perfect for everybody but for me it has been more than OK, and I love the huge trackpad. I feel like a lot of the criticism seems excessive or are complaints that could very well be applied to the sad state of the PC industry as a whole.

Needing a dongle "here and there" means that now I need to carry it with me at all times. And that means both USB-A and HDMI dongles. More things I need to worry about to make my 3500EUR machine useful. This is a clear usability regression and the "USB-C" only future doesn't seem to be happening until end of lifetime of this machine.

The keyboard feels bad and my space has started failing. This is also a clear regression with no benefit over previous model.

Touchbar is still useless with pretty much no features over function keys (excluding TouchID on the power button). Pretty much no 3rd party apps use it well and the fact that it can't hold global app shortcuts make it significanly less useful than the previous keys. Another clear regression.

It's not that the new Macs are bad machines, it's that Apple made a few baffling decisions which make the user experience worse over previous models. With pretty much no benefits.

> With pretty much no benefits.

It sure is thin! And nice looking! Marchitecture, IMO.

Excessive complaints? A machine that costs >2000$ that very likely will have a broken keyboard, that is missing the function keys and all the useful ports have been removed. What is excessive in the complaiants made by people that spent a lot of money and would like to have a working machine without having to pray to win the keyboard lottery?

Completely agree. Reliability has plummeted with almost every release since the retina MBP. Crashes are a regular thing and most of the physical "improvements" outside of compactness and weight have been unwanted. The touch bar in particular is just a dead appendage.

But my previous and extensive experiences with Linux and Windows ecosystems tell me that the grass is not greener, so I stay and put up with the problems.

> Crashes are a regular thing and most of the physical "improvements" outside of compactness and weight have been unwanted.

I feel like the 3D touchpad is completely underrated but it really is amazing. It does everything that the mechanical one was doing except better. 2 years after getting it, I still can't believe it is not mechanical.

It's neat when you realize it doesn't actually move, and it is definitely an innovation, but it doesn't really improve the experience in any considerable way. But I'll give you that. It's also less likely to get stuck in any way.

I am a former Mac user who has “come home” to Linux and BSD in recent years.

Between the sad state of the Mac ecosystem (I like both the hardware AND software less today than I did 7 years ago) and the repost about desktop Linux UX this morning, I feel like the F/OSS and Mac communities have missed a golden opportunity.

If I had a time machine and a magic wand, I’d certainly have blessed the GNUStep project to build the desktop many of us wish we had today. Had some hypothetical GNUStep desktop captured the mindshare of the majority of Linux desktops, I could imagine living in a world today in which Mac and Linux software were more or less a recompile away from portability. I could imagine a world in which some developers prefer building Mac software with GNUStep tooling. And I imagine a world in which Apple’s focus, priorities, and missteps weren’t an existential threat to people trying to make their living on the Mac.

I know a lot of people I know have seen this coming and in the past few years have either switched to Windows (creative types) or to Linux (developer types).

It's fascinating to see Apple's fall from grace. They were once considered the go to hardware vendor in nearly every market segment, are now being easily passed by their competitors.

I would be back in the Linux camp if I could find a combination of hardware and software that matches the MBP touchpad experience.

The figures don't show that, Mac sales are continuing to rise whilst the rest of the industry is in decline.

There are clearly some vocal critics here, that isn't real evidence though.

I think rising Mac sales are masking the problems for Apple.

From Apple's perspective, rising sales demonstrates that the criticisms are coming from a tiny discontented minority.

From my perspective, sales may be rising for many reasons, but these criticism don't bode well for the future. All these new Mac users will face the same problems, and that will slow replacement rate.

But they will know what the statistics are for returned faulty hardware. If the reliability rate is as bad as implied then I can't imagine them ignoring it.

No you don’t, no it’s not, no they weren’t, and no they aren’t.

Apple has never had a majority market share in any segment. Ever. There was a time where they were popular in Japan and where they were popular in the creative fields, particularly print, advertising and film because of a few specialized applications (Quark, Final Cut, etc.).

They ended up popular in college campuses post iPod and popular with developers in the 2006/2007 time frame after they switched to x86 because the combination of x86 and Unix made for a pretty developer friendly box.

The new line of hardware has its problems, but that’s always been the case. The current line has a high failure on keyboards, the previous line had a problem with delaminating screens, the line before that thermal problems.

They are selling more today than any other point in history and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

My wife's photo business still prefers (new) Macs for editing work in Photoshop and Lightroom.

Everything is just much less hassle than with Windows, despite the reduced choice in hardware.

Also, there's no risk of Microsoft forcing an breaking update on here during her busy season.

Developer type on Windows.

Being a developer is not a synonym for UNIX like development.

I've been repeating this point over and over but: if you are a software developer AND your target platform is non-Apple Unix -- in other words if you're developing for Web or Android -- there isn't a single reason to choose Mac over a solid PC running Linux. I've used Mac for years before switching to Linux, and two years ago had the chance to revisit Mac as the primary development machine for about 10 months, and my opinion only became stronger.

That doesn't mean that MacOS is not a solid system, and even Apple hardware is quite good -- I've recently bough a 2013 MacMini (the one with an optical drive) as my main home theatre and am quite happy. But as a software developer, I find using the same platform I'm developing for a very important detail.

I have an early 2013 MBP that I'm going to hang on to as long as I possibly can. It is truly a wonderful machine. I'm long out of warranty and just opted to pay $600 for repairs rather than upgrade. Really hope apple can turn things around before it finally kicks the bucket for good. Pretty amazing and sad how a company can take something so good and completely ruin it. To be fair it probably doesn't help that our culture is so obsessed with constant new-ness in tech, expecting huge advances every single year which puts pressure on companies to come up with shiny new features all the time. If it ain't broke...

I don't get the hate about the MBP. I have the 13-inch 2017 model without the TB and I absolutely LOVE it. It's such a master piece, I simply love it and use it as my daily driver. I also don't have any problems with my keyboard, I only can tell good things about it. The 2 ports suck, but I never was in need of more, I only use the power adapter and the USB C to HDMI/DP cable that goes in my 4K screen and that's it. Havn't used any regular USB devices for years anyways.

The only thing I hate about it is the super slow CPU, but that's only partly because of Apple.

The only thing I hate about it is the super slow CPU, but that's only partly because of Apple.

If apple had upgraded the MBP internals for WWDC, it could have had the i7 8650U by now, instead of the i7 7660U. That's a quad core part compared to a dual core part, which runs up to 50% faster in multi-threaded workloads.

"I don't get the hate because I don't need more ports anyway."

See how this is anecdotal? Pretty sure if you were to have different use-cases you'd like your MPB a lot less.

I don't think it's necessarily reasonable to expect everyone to only communicate some consensus view. I understand my opinion here is only a sample-of-one, but I generally need a collection of individual reports before I can aggregate them.

"sandworm101" commented[0] in the prior discussion that:

> Given Apple's grip on users, they may even see laptops as a competitor to their iPhone business. Time on the macbook is time not on the iPhone.

You can't get very much free / OSS software for your iPhone. You can't get around Apple's 30% cut on paid software.

At least subconsciously, I believe this thinking explains a lot.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17313613

What can't they just take the old non-touch bar 15 inch MBP chassis, put a decent CPU in that and go to 32 GB using regular DDR4? We'd still have decent enough battery life.

That's what I wonder too. There's so much love for the machines of a few years ago with all the ports and the old keyboard. Why not just update that machine?

Recently got my Mac Book Pro nicked by a kid on a moped - mid meeting.

Sadly am not impressed with the touch bar, lack of USB, keyboard failures and the hardware is definitely due an update - or a price drop. There's only so long I'll hold out and wait for an update.

Am currently thinking of getting an iMac - then a chrome book for meetings (so when it get's stolen again it's not too brutal). Anyone else got other recommendations?

Assume windows isn't the blue screen mess I remember of days gone past.

> Am currently thinking of getting an iMac - then a chrome book for meetings

This is exactly what I did. It's a great combo.

The current iMac 5K is amazing value if you consider how much a 5K monitor costs.

I agree with most complaints about the Mac, except for the 5K iMac which IMO is the best Mac ever made.

The MBP is a dead horse at this point, so I took a look at the current iMacs (I'm used to working on a 27 inch display and 5K tempts me; a standalone high quality display isn't much cheaper than going with an iMac).

All stock models still come with HDDs.

I hope someone finds some Enron-level accounting trickery at Apple and the whole thing comes crashing down fast, and some other company can take the role Apple had from early 2000s to early 2010s.

I was excited about the Touch Bar, but it turns out function keys were entirely adequate. Anyone actually using it for more on a regular basis?

Touch ID on the other hand is incredibly useful, although much like the iPhone, it seems inevitable we will see Face ID sometime soon (which critics may point out just means Apple has caught up with Windows Hello).

I was excited to try leveraging it for something useful when playing our computer game (SimAirport) but I basically hit a dead end (or at least an undocumented end) when trying to interface with it from Unity.

Within a month of the purchase I ended up having keyboard issues & returned it; purchased a refurb 2015 instead. It'll be my last Mac laptop (after >10 MBPs lifetime) unless they really get their act together.

I hate it. The only time I use it is to adjust volume or screen brightness, both things I used to be able to do with a single key press.

I remain pretty sure that Apple's Mac line is going ARM. Their own custom, highly performant version.

However, I don't believe this excuses current circumstances.

And a chip swap doesn't address the other, current hardware problems.

I am not a Mac person, so my opinion doesn't carry much weight, on that basis. Nonetheless, having been reading what's going on, I'd say:

If your career depends on Mac, and you can afford it, I'd buy a 2015 MacBook Pro before they're gone. Even if it feels like a "waste of money", weigh that against being without an acceptable machine until Apple gets it together.

I'd also spend for the longer term AppleCare, to try to guarantee having a working machine until same.

If things don't improve, soon, I wonder what the second-hand market for these will end up looking like.

August 15th is the date I am concerned with because that is when the iMac was introduced. That is such an ideal date to release the next upgrade to the iMac line. There have been rumors floating about of a new chassis which would provide separation from the new iMac Pro.

I am still one of those dreamers who would love a headless Mac with some ability to add drives and even swap a video card. however Apple has not even bothered with a new display in ages so I doubt they would have a new headless mac without one.

Still happily using my 2013 iMac 27 780M video, last of the models that is not Retina


I - a web developer - am very content with my 2016 MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar. The only beef I got is that the keyboard gets dusty and spongy over time.

I'm hoping that Apple will at some point release a 15" MacBook Pro without Touch Bar.

For years and years, I've advocated that Apple should just release the OS like Windows. It runs fine on a lot of PC hardware you can buy off the shelf (I've built a few PC's that do just this). And, with the Nvidia drivers that were released a year or two ago, most graphics cards people want to run are available.

I realize that there's a lot involved with suddenly trying to support an array of hardware. But, maybe release with a set of suggested hardware, and a "no guarantees" sort of license.

I've always enjoyed MacOs, but the hardware has been a joke for some time now. My old G5 Mac Pro was the pinnacle of Mac desktops, imo.

Apple did to that long ago with MacOS 7. It didn't work so well, since they undercut sales of their own hardware. Jobs killed the licensing when he returned to the company.

Today, OS X is good enough that is still gets people to buy their outdated hardware. They'd be crazy to license it and give up that lockin. It's not a good situation, but we're not going to see OS X licensed to other manufacturers anytime soon.

Those clones weren't too bad though. And IIRC, Power Computing did way more to evangelize the Mac platform at the time than Apple did. Their ads were great.

The clones were great. TOO great, they were a superior value to what Apple was selling on the high end, which was why they had to go.

Yes, the OS is great, but at this point the hardware is so unacceptable that they're going to lose all my business. If they split the OS out they'd at least get me to pay for that part.

Different use cases will have different hardware demands. I was a web developer don't give two shits about the hardware. Or at least present hardware is good enough for me.

This is a lot harder problem than it sounds. MacOS on a random piece of hardware would be out of the box a lot like the shitshow that desktop Linux is on a random piece of hardware. 90% of things would work and 10% wouldn't.

This is a matrix test problem of massive proportions and it would be hard for Apple to fund this, especially now that they have anchored the price of MacOS to $0.

Apple did in fact license their OS in the 1990s. Did not work out very well, financially, for them.


Indeed. However: much of the system is now based on FOSS; and given user upgrades have been free since, what, Snow Leopard in 2009?, there’s a case for them open sourcing the OS and saying “derivatives are fine provided no trademarks are used” or something like that.

The Newton didn't work out for them, but the iPhone and iPad did. The current conditions are different than the past.

I don't agree with this. I think Apple is right in that the real value comes from top to bottom integration.

For example, when they can ensure that there's a certain set of bluetooth and wireless chipsets, they can test against those, and have features tied to them. But that becomes increasingly difficult as you diversify hardware.

Except they aren't presenting any "value" right now. Everything is old and overpriced. It's been that way for the last 5 years. Many Mac users have been asking for an upgradable tower like the old G5's forever. We get jack shit.

I know it's a bad business move for Apple to license the OS. But, I'm failing to see a scenario where OEM's don't jump at the chance to make computers the integrate just as tightly as Apple does with their own hardware.

Technically, you can build the Darwin kernel from source, since they have it out there, along with some of their other, basic apps.

The rub for me was you needed to compile the kernel on a Mac to start with.

This was all years ago, and a lot could have changed since.

I'd pay $500 to license MacOS to run perfectly on my XPS13. Instead I have to do it myself with hacks and stuff.

If you want a painless process, you've basically got to go through the compatibility lists and find a laptop that is easily hackintoshed. More often than not, it's not the laptop you have or want to buy.

It would be heartening if someone from Apple at least said they were hearing the complaints. Number one, IMO, being this idiotic keyboard. Then the ports, then the touchbar fiasco. Stagnation is not nearly as big an issue as those issues. As others have said, change in technology in general has stagnated. If I HAD to buy a new laptop today, I might buy a Macbook, but I'd have a hard look at the state of the competition's trackpads first. Then probably go with the older MBAir with the better keyboard....

Ben Thompson at Stratechery may not have been the first to suggest this, but he has made a strong argument that Apple should spinoff the Mac business. Either to a subsidiary or to a 3rd party.

I see a lot of risk and potential downsides, but with each new disaster of MBP released or eternity between updates it becomes more attractive.

The tight integration with the iPhone (phone calls, messages, handoff) might suffer and that would be painful.

My biggest issues is the lack of memory past 16gb in the "pro" line of macbooks.

Right now I'm working on some integration tests with 5-6 different codebases and I have an intellij window for each. Then I have a couple of dozen chrome tabs open, a bunch of terminals and (most importantly for memory) a whole stack of docker containers and virtual machines.

16gb is a major blocker.

If you want a real MacBook Pro, I don't understand why they axed the 17" line. Those machines were beasts. Everyone I know who got one in college is still running them almost a decade later. For really doing work, a full keyboard and screen real-estate is king.

Previous discussion from a few days ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17312588 (331 comments)

Personally I'm in love with my MacBook Air.

Any similar ultrabook alternative at $950+-?

Isn't the bigger issue for Apple that iOS is run by devs on the Mac platform? If devs start moving away from Mac computers, it becomes less likely they will develop for the App Store.

If only we heard from someone inside Apple. Maybe there’s strife in the company? Jony Ive dragging his heels on a design? Some middle manager obstructing progress? Supply line issues?

Well, they fired Scott Forstall a couple of years back. I really think its because a COO is now the CEO and the biggest concern for the Mac line is maximizing profit margin in the supply chain by producing older models or making questionable quality affecting decisions. Operations running your company seems to be worse than Marketing. I miss Product People.

From a business standpoint, it's hard for Apple to justify investing in a product like that contributes a small and diminishing fraction of their revenue.

What a ridiculous statement. It's over 9% of their (giant) business, it would be a Fortune 500 company itself if not part of Apple.

9% is small - and it is shrinking

Why don't you get a decent laptop and put Linux on it?

Because some people care about user experience.

For me, it's mainly because of the Mac ecosystem.

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