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.
My two cents.
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.
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
Now, I'm in the position of get a worse (in SSD space + other things) machine for more money or get hackintosh
I hope the final product does as well.
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 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)
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.
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 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.]
Still prefer my Ubuntu on Dell setup though.
Btw never managed to get 24 hours out of any MacBookPro?
The current lineup is just so unappealing.
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.
I fear the same is happening with the MacBook line up when compared against the profits from iOS devices.
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.
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.
Cameras? Google is on par if not better with the Pixel.
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.
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.
But you're right, most of what us nerds argue about, the public just isn't aware.
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).
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.
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).
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
It sure is thin! And nice looking! Marchitecture, IMO.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are clearly some vocal critics here, that isn't real evidence though.
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.
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.
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.
Being a developer is not a synonym for UNIX like development.
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.
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.
See how this is anecdotal? Pretty sure if you were to have different use-cases you'd like your MPB a lot less.
> 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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'm hoping that Apple will at some point release a 15" MacBook Pro without Touch Bar.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
which was discussed earlier:
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.
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.
Any similar ultrabook alternative at $950+-?