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Apple Engineers Its Own Downfall with the Macbook Pro Keyboard (ifixit.org)
1183 points by andrewke 22 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 897 comments



I am a huge fan of Apple's products and never understood the fuss when the new Pro Keyboard attracted bad press, reading it on my old, robust pre-2015 era Macbook.

Until now. I got the new one at my job three months back. And, here I am, still struggling with and super annoyed with the missed keystrokes (the buttons are so thin/don't press properly), the almost non-existent 'Enter' keys (seriously, who messes with the Enter keys! ), the useless touchbar. I look like a klutz when I have to show code/artefacts to someone because I am always mistyping or closing windows.

Additionally, the touchbar led me to one heart-stopping evening of infinite restarts[1].

I am terribly disappointed that they released such a shoddy product, especially since it's used as a workhorse by thousands of developers world-wide.

1. https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8189417

EDIT: Grammar errors


Same boat.

Against my better judgement, I bought a 2017 MacBook Pro about 6 months ago to make it easier to work with a client.

I sold it this week at a big loss.

Between the terrible keyboard, the useless Touch Bar, and the dongle hell, and general hardware flakiness, this was the worst laptop I've ever owned, Apple or otherwise (and I've owned almost every Apple laptop generation since the PowerBook G3).

Good riddance.


Literally praying that they fix this crap in the next update. My mbp is getting on in years, and if they don't do something I'm going to move to linux for my next machine.


Amen. I'm using a company issued "new" MBP and oh! do I loathe it! Have been repeatedly one click away from buying a Carbon X1 for little more than half what an MBP would cost. Seriously, Apple... don't underestimate the domino effect, my home looks like an Apple Store but once I begin "fiddling around" to make something else work and it eventually does, there's no more incentive to remain inside your Gilded Enclosure


I have a carbon X1 and would have preferred to keep my 2013 macbook air. Then again my X1 is gen 1.

Windows just seems to be garbage with multi-tasking, specifically I miss the gestures.


Maybe this is a market opportunity for somebody to build a laptop with high end components (monitor, keyboard, touchpad) running a super-duper-well-integrated linux.


That sounds very like my Dell XPS 13 (on which, in fairness, I run Windows).

But - I have to say I preferred the hardware on my old Sony Vaio Pro 13. The Dell keyboard is OK but the action isn't great, the battery life isn't great, and I really miss the extra thinness from having a carbon shell instead of aluminium.

The perfect laptop will exist somewhere, eventually...!


I believe you're looking for the XPS13 that comes with Ubuntu.


I've heard that, but I'm skeptical: does Dell maintain the integration, or do they just install Ubuntu on it? If I seem to have a problem with the integration between the installed touchpad, who do I go to? The Ubuntu forums, or Dell support?


They support the integration. Dell support will support it and if something is not working it will be covered by warranty the same way Windows is.


I certainly agree. System76 [1] is probably your best option there. They're attempting to do just that.

1. https://system76.com/laptops


Nice, thanks for the link. That seems really promising! But it sounds like they still need to fix the trackpad (a decently working trackpad has been my main struggle with Linux laptops): https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/08/review-system76s-gal....


Not sure about Linux but the surface book 2 is a really good one.


Maybe a Purism Librem laptop?


Oh yeah, forgot the add-ons. My laptop bag is now like a knapsack - usb converter, hdmi converter and an another for the earphone.


I am in the same boat. Received one at work and can not stand the keyboard. I requested an older model, but they are no longer providing them. It might seem dramatic, but I spend my days typing and I need my keyboard to not get in my way. I have resorted to bringing a USB keyboard into work with me.


I have to know if this story is gaining traction because of the Joe Rogan podcast. Did you see his hour long rant on abandoning Apple because of this yesterday? Or is everyone simultaneously reaching this same conclusion?

He was very much a kool-aid drinker, but also a writer, so the keyboard is apparently a huge deal to him. I've basically never owned an Apple product so I'm just watching this from an outsiders perspective.


People have been complaining about the shallowness and lack of travel of the new keyboard since it came out on the new MacBook, but it's really been an issue once professionals were forced into it on their MacBook Pros.

As far as the fatal design flaw, the earliest occurrence I know of bringing it out into the open is when Casey Johnston wrote about it for The Outline in October of last year: https://theoutline.com/post/2402/the-new-macbook-keyboard-is...

Edit to add: Casey championing this issue is mentioned in the originally linked article.


So this has been going on for some time, I see. It just seemed like a coincidence that he was railing on it for an hour and then I see this today. His shows get like 5 million views, so it seems probable he could steer a conversation.


Do you know which episode this was?


He mentioned it early on in the most recent one with Duncan Trussell #1137


Yeah, it's like the intro to their conversation https://youtu.be/SIwSXODoJuU


I’ve seen new MBP users bring usb keyboards to meetings.

The year of the Linux laptop may soon be upon us. ;-)


Yeah, I switched and am pretty happy.


To be fair, when you're actually in work, do you not find a less cramped keyboard, proper magic mouse (or magic trackpad) and dual monitors make you more productive? I know they do me.


> To be fair, when you're actually in work, do you not find a less cramped keyboard, proper magic mouse (or magic trackpad) and dual monitors make you more productive? I know they do me.

I like Apple's trackpads, but the functions that they enable are merely nice-to-have features. If you spend your day typing, any noticeable drop in keyboard reliability is going to outweigh any other input-device productivity gain. Keyboard reliability is a critical showstopper feature.


Yes. I have all that built into my old MBP, so I put a giant monitor above the laptop screen, and use the laptop keyboard + trackpad.


Same boat here as well. Three of my keys continuously either don't register or register multiple times. Took it in to an Apple store and they fixed one (for a short amount of time) and quoted $800 in repairs (and 5-7 day turnaround) for the other two (to "replace the laptop frame"). Replacing a keyboard (or even just keys) should not be this hard.


Does anyone have any insight into why Apple's QA took a turn for the worse over the past couple years?

Buggy IOS/OS releases and now the hardware issues... I always equated Apple with quality and consistency (along with price), but now I can't really see how the price is justified with the issues they have been having.


They no longer have Steve Jobs Quality Control? He was the type of person to play with something for 5 minutes and say "yeah... no" or to eagerly take something he liked and abuse the hell out of it for 24 hours then come back with a laundry list of improvements.

He was a jerk and he cared deeply about user experience.

In his absence you have what exactly? Tim Cook lacks vision, if you want your mountain moved to Pluto he'll have it there by Tuesday but he'll never stop and ask "why?" Jon Ive ascended from above to bless us with the word "chamfer" while carpenters and machinists world wide rolled their eyes in unison, his focus is purely on aesthetic.


It's more like Steve Jobs was such an uncompromising asshole that he would rather throw a substandard product in the garbage than put out something he considered lesser. He didn't have vision, nothing he "made" was revolutionary at all, and he didn't make anything after the NeXT. Steve Jobs was amazing at two things: getting in on the ground floor (the iphone came out so quickly after the first all touch screen smartphone that no one even remembers the original) and making sure that what they did put out either worked or didn't see the light of day. I remember the early android competitors (notably Motorola's droid) suffering from touchscreens that failed to track accurately (https://www.wired.com/2010/03/touchscreens-smartphones/) compared to the near perfect performance of the iPhone, its the sort of thing that Steve Jobs would have insisted on.


>and making sure that what they did put out either worked or didn't see the light of day

Regardless Job's issues, this was the best and most importand part.

Your toaster should work! If the user has to push the trigger twice (only to have it overcooked) - you should either work on your mistakes and release when you are finished, or throw a it in the garbage.


What was the original?

My memory of the time was seeing a bunch of cool Microsoft Surface demos, thinking "someone is gonna make a killing putting this on a phone", and the iPhone coming out a few months later. I'll go so far as to say that I think it was the first touch screen phone that was actually manufactured and sold.

But I'll be very curious to be proven wrong!


The LG prada phone was 6 months earlier than the iphone demo and was all-touch with a capacitive screen. LG claimed apple ripped off their design, but I think it’s more a case of hardware evolving to the point this became possible and both companies implementing, but LG releasing a less ambitious product sooner.


I see now that we've been talking about "touch screens" in this thread, but I've been thinking of that as meaning the multi-touch screens we're all so familiar with now (and of which the Microsoft Surface was the first demo I saw). It looks like the Prada had a capacitive screen, but not multi-touch. Maybe multi-touch was the thing, which is why the Prada was forgotten? Maybe not, maybe the iPhone just won by marketing and deals with carriers. Beats me.

In any case, I'm quibbling, I didn't know about the Prada before you mentioned it, which makes your point. Thanks for the pointer!


> What was the original?

Here's a wikipedia link for the curious:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LG_Prada


> He didn't have vision, nothing he "made" was revolutionary at all, and he didn't make anything after the NeXT.

Maybe vision is the wrong word. You're right that he wasn't imagining the future most of the time. What he did have was a degree of objectivity and restraint. He wasn't blinded by the "wow" factor of a new technology and could objectively weight it's merits. Where as most tech companies try to cram the latest and greatest technology into their products to have an impressive bullet list to show around, he held back until he felt the technology was ready.


I had a full touch screen, color, icon grid of 3rd party apps, internet enabled, smart phone in 2001.

Samsung SPH-i300

I had multiple web browsers, email, irc client, telnet and ssh clients, and an open marketplace of thousands of 3rd party apps for every oddball purpose, like I had a resistor color decoder, netmask calculator, etc.

2001.

iphone came out in 2007, and had no 3rd party apps.


I'm with popsiclepete. I had a long string of "smart" devices before the iphone and they were, unilaterally, garbage. Even the ones with great hardware(looking at the treo 600 series here especially) had awful software and bad battery life.

I bought the very first color palm pilot and was first-in a lot of tech. All this stuff was really, really clunky to use and just generally bad. I couldn't hand it to someone else and expect them to figure out how to use it without being shown.

Also, styluses were terrible except for corner-case inputs. The fact that there's essentially only one mainstream brand making a main-line phone with them goes to show this was true.

I agree it was a flub the iphone didn't launch with apps, but i honestly think people needed a year to get used to the interface concept and a lot of complete garbage would have come out of people trying to get first mover on the market(and it DID, even a year later, absolute shovelware)

People really shouldn't be romanticizing pocketpc, or even palmOS. The first truly good mobile OS palm put out was WebOS, and it took microsoft until windows mobile 7... both after the iphone.


I also was a "power user" with some Nokia/Symbian bullshit that had "thousands of apps" and it was absolute garbage compared to my first iPhone. For a normal person.

Let's stop romanticizing the cell phone market pre-Apple/Android - there's a reason the rest of them folded and effectively died or went into obscurity within a few years.


You forget to mention that it was utter garbage in comparison.


It was also 6 years old when the iPhone came out. Most 6 year old devices are utter garbage compared to their contemporaries.


Steve Jobs was responsible for the original Macintosh, the device that constantly over-heated and had the same repairability problems then as these Mac Book Pros.

I know Jobs is Silicon Valley Jesus, but he did not walk on water.


I am still confounded how people continue to say that Tim Cook has no vision, as if he's simply some sort of bean counter with green shades who just lucked into become the CEO of one of the world's largest companies.

Tim Cook's vision is much larger than computers if you haven't been paying attention. Look, from what I can observe, ever smaller devices, lifestyle devices, the focus on privacy, their take on the cloud; Apple is looking to position itself to exist intimately in our lives. The only way to get there is to have the same level of trust that you do with family or even a lawyer. \\


And yet Apple is eroding trust by pushing buggy software and poor quality hardware. Maybe his focus is just elsewhere but Apple is who they are today because of an attention to their products that other companies lack.

Maybe he's trying to position Apple as a privacy minded trustworthy company when it comes to your data but he's ignoring or entrusting the crown jewels to someone else while he does it. If people stop buying Apple products because they're unreliable and support sucks then it won't matter.


What's the vision exactly? The focus on privacy? What exactly are they doing about that? Their "take on the cloud" is what? 'Do it badly'?

> Apple is looking to position itself to exist intimately in our lives. The only way to get there is to have the same level of trust that you do with family or even a lawyer.

Bleh. That is just awful marketing speak. Why would anyone trust them to "existing intimately" in 'their life' if they can't even reliably produce reliable computers (regularly)?

My iPhone 5 (ha) is fine, but I'm hanging onto it for as long as I can because I expect to be disappointed by upgrading.

People express that Tim Cook has no vision because he's failed to deliver like Steve Jobs did (in a way they care about).


None of that is new since Jobs died.


What's wrong with chamfer?


Absolutely nothing! I just don't care for Jon Ives, he's pretentious and likes to demonstrate his superiority by using domain specific terms in casual conversation to impress the layman. When the iPhone 4<?> came out Jon Ives would talk about how exquisite the matte chamfered aluminum edges were as if it was an engineering miracle and he single-handedly invented the chamfer mill.

Don't get me wrong, I think his passion is wonderful and I enjoy listening to him talk about physical design in much the same way I enjoyed watching the movie Helvetica. But he's still a pretentious twat and my impression is that he doesn't care about design beyond it superficially meeting his immediate needs. Similar to how an artist might build an installation for an exhibition with no concern for it surviving beyond that, I don't think Jon Ives designs products with longevity in mind.


When Jony Ive became more important than (the now defunct) Steve Jobs, form rose over functionality.


> (the now defunct) Steve Jobs

That's one way to refer to a dead guy.


This is my new favorite euphemism for death. "Deceased" just sounds boring. "Defunct" has a certain weight to it.


How about "obsolete"? "Deprecated"? "No longer supported on this hardware"?


Nah, those all imply that he's still alive but prone to malfunction at any time.



Try having a QA department keep up with bugs when the culture changes to move fast and break things


You can explain Apple’s problems with a much simpler albeit banal reason: its sheer size. It has grown massive.

They took over the old Sun campus in Sunnyvale while the UFO was under construction, and shortly thereafter the word was that those teams would be remaining there long term as the HQ was already overbooked. Apple also bought up a lot of space in San Jose a couple of years ago.

Apple pioneered small and fast teams of veterans. But it doesn’t scale well to this size. It’s a challenge to effectively coordinate hundreds (thousands?) of teams building various integrated hardware, software, and service components.


Nothing screams "Apple" as much as a perfectly designed, elegent beautiful, device (campus) that is underpowered and unsatisfactory on launch day, requiring a bunch of external attachments to make it useful outside of the demo use case.


Each one of these concerns is making me clutch to my early Macbook Air. I'm terrified to upgrade. In fact, a colleague recently purchased a Macbook Pro and I steered them clear of the touchbar.


The 11 inches MBA is the best laptop for me. If they just upgrade the processor to the latest gen, and the screen to retina I'd upgrade to that in a heart beat.


I like those too and just bought a second one (2015 model) for the girlfriend. It seems a shame that they stopped making them. I guess maybe it was too much competition for the more expensive, usb2-less Macbook.


Clinging to my 11" MBA (2014) as well. 4-core, perfect size, indestructible. Totally agree that if they would make any modest improvements just to keep it current (proc, mem, wifi, etc.) I would refresh every year or two. I don't want the newer MacBooks with half the processor, no magsafe, and bad keyboard.


2-core, 4-thread

If they updated the screeen on the 11” it would be perfect. The 12” Retina screen is such a huge improvement over the 1366x768 screen


The (later) MacBook Air keyboard has similar problems (to the ones described in the article). My previous MBA had keys that stopped working after a year. And you cannot easily replace the keys without breaking them. :(


I used to be an Apple fanboy when they were the only option in town for a usable UNIX laptop. Which, quite honestly, hasn't been the cause for a long time.

I love my Dell XPS Dev. Edition (9350). All stock intel hardware, everything works (except the track-pad touch detection, can be flaky sometimes) and Manjaro Linux absolutely flies on it.

The build quality of the laptop is outstanding. The only thing that I'm not in love with is the webcam placement, but not a deal-breaker.

It cost me $999 2 years ago and feels as snappy as my 2015 top-of-the-line Macbook Pro that I use at work.

I'm not saying it's better than the Apple/OS X combo in every way, but it's a great overall machine and Linux doesn't suck on laptops anymore. There's no need to put up with Apple selling you 2016 hardware at 2018 prices and an OS that isn't that special anymore.


In addition to all of these valid complaints, it's also loud!


So true. Earlier in meetings we can go about silently browsing or replying to emails. But now the keyboard is so loud that we have to apologize to the speaker!


Or the alternative, paying attention.


You’re making the bold assumption that there is anything being said that is worth paying attention to.


Then decline the meeting. Unless you're a very junior developer or a brand new employee (and probably don't have the necessary experience or context, respectively, to determine whether or not you need to pay attention) you probably have the right to decline meeting invites.


It's not like anyone might want to take notes or something.


> Earlier in meetings we can go about silently browsing or replying to emails.

The complaint was not about taking notes, it was about being unable to ignore the speaker and reply to emails during a meeting.


If the meeting was worthwhile, we wouldn't feel the need to check emails during said meeting ;)


My point stands, just decline the meeting.


"just decline the meeting"

Not always possible for... political reasons.


It's louder than their past keyboards but it's not loud. Compare it to a mechanical keyboard.


LOL - yes, I suppose it could be louder. But when’s the last time you saw somebody using a mechanical keyboard in a business meeting?


Even at desks in the office, I'm not a fan of people bringing in super clacky mechanical keyboards. I have my mechanical keyboards at home and they are great, but I'm not going to subject my coworkers to that amount of noise. If people want to use a mechanical keyboard at work, they really should do everything they can to silence the clackiness.


There's one self-centered hipster in every office.


Compared to a typewriter, it's even quieter


I have the same issue with missed keystrokes. I estimate at least 5% of what I type has to be fixed.


Apple products are overrated. Their selling point is security and ease of use but we all know you that a computer cannot protect you from breaches. As for ease of use, most devices nowadays are pretty intuitive.

Why would anyone buy a low performance laptop for thousands of dollars, additional dongles and external keyboards when you can get a lightweight MSI laptop that's far superior in every single way for so much less?


*Return key


Earlier this year, I returned my brand new MacBook Pro and asked for my old 2016 MacBook Pro back. I'm a touch typist and I just don't get enough feedback from the new keyboard to be sure I pressed a key. It actually slowed down my typing. And the lack of and ESC and function keys means that I just can't develop on it anymore. I'm still happily using my 2.5 year-old MacBook Pro.


I like machines that are built to take a beating.

My penultimate laptop was an HP Mini 101; I only replaced it on a whim, and still use it from time to time. The keys have been worn to be smooth, concave and most are missing the printed text. When I last opened it up to add an SSD a suprising amount of sand came pouring out; having been taken to many beaches, tossed in bags, and generally used outdoors it had accumulated a huge amount of extra material.

I now use a Thinkpad X140e; it's got a rubberized shock-protected shell and a reinforced body. The keys are in a similar state, the body is cracked and taped together from wear, and it's fallen down several flights of stairs and fallen from great heights. (Thanks, kids!) Too many liquids have spilled on it.

The combined cost of both these machines and the replacement batteries, new RAM, larger disks that I've added to them is less than that of any mac; and they've taken a hell of a beating.

Running Linux, of course.


> Running Linux, of course.

I wish more people would. That's the best way to get any issues fixed, whether by filing bug reports, writing up a workaround on a wiki or Stackoverflow to help others, or fixing the bug.

It's important for us to own our own tools, and keep the right to do with them as we wish. We expect this for our servers, but ignore it for laptops and desktops. If developers continue like this, then users will be corralled further into walled gardens of pay-only or data-leaking software.

HN is outraged when farmers aren't allowed to repair their John Deere tractors, yet the majority choose even more restricted OSs for work and personal use.

(This comment written in Firefox on KDE (Kubuntu) with a 4K screen, all working very nicely.)


And why do you think that a lot of people who are painfully aware of all the issues you mention still refuse to use Linux on a laptop while happily using it on servers?

There is a riduculous repetitiveness about this debate. For me and many others, Linux on a laptop has always been unstable, insecure, hot and noisy. Many specific issues can be fixed if you put in the effort, but on almost every dist-upgrade something essential breaks and you're back to square one.

And the response to these issues has always been a mixture of disbelief, denial, accusations of incompetence and pointers to ridiculously convoluted and brittle workarounds. There are bound to be people on every message board claiming to have run Linux for years if not decades without any of the issues I'm seeing on a daily basis and have been seeing for decades on scores of different laptops.

So where do we stand on this? Will we ever get out of this unproductive loop of claims and counter claims while an oligopoly of corporations builds ever higher walls around more and more restrictive gardens?


> For me and many others, Linux on a laptop has always been unstable, insecure, hot and noisy.

I've successfully converted many people with similar claims over to Linux and here's what I've found; most of them were trying Linux on a subpar, non-standard laptop, (Like an old MacBook or a slow Celeron), to lower their investment if they don't like it, which is fine, but then comparing the experience to their high end MBP running macOS, (try installing macOS to the same set of low-end machines most try to put Linux on, see how that goes). All it took is for them to get good, solid hardware, (like a recent Intel stack, or a Ryzen with a GPU compatible with the AMDGPU driver), and all was good. Not saying that is your case, but it is shockingly common, which is unfair to Linux, I'd say.


I'd agree with that, I run stock ubuntu on a thinkpad t460p. I have only one issue which is that display scaling is not fractional, its in set values which doesn't play well with resolutions above 1080p. Thats a gnome issue though and doesn't stop the screen working perfectly when the resolution is set to 1080p instead of 2550x1440 or whatever it is.


This is trivial to fix actually. Ubuntu 16.04 had "fractional" scaling by default but in reality all it did was between 1x and 2x use 1x with larger fonts. 18.04 lost that with the gnome transition but you can just change the font scaling manually. Less convenient and polished but still there in the tweak tool. Firefox also includes a scaling option in the configs. With those two settings my T460s with the 2560x1440 screen looks great. It does suck that the Gnome transition in the new LTS has been so bad. For all its quirks the Unity on Xorg experience was actually very stable and polished for years now.


This, right here, is an excellent case-in-point illustration of the reason Linux isn't widely used on laptops: even on expensive, high end hardware with excellent Linux support, and the most popular distribution, very basic functionality like screen resolution not only doesn't "just work" out of the box -- getting it to work properly at all requires serendipitously stumbling across a random forum post somewhere that directs you to the needle-in-the-haystack magic config file tweak that makes it work properly.

Can I please just get a Carbon X1 running MacOS?


I'm running linux (manjaro - kde) on my thinkpad T470. It works marvelous, scaling works without issue, adding screens, updating, hibernate/sleep. It all just works.

Currently haven't rebooted my laptop for 45 days, updated in the middle (while still being able to work) and still works wihout issue.

Meanwhile my windows desktop keeps forcing updates/reboots every week interrupting my work. Also interesting to mention: windows always has the fans on of my laptop, on linux only under heavy load.

Bought the laptop especially for the linux support on the thinkpad series, very happy with it.


Googling for the issue would get you the source where I got it from, so it's not as bad as you claim. And up to 16.04 the last few years of Ubuntu LTS releases have been smooth sailing in my experience. In 18.04 they did a transition into GNOME3 as the default and that's still showing the issues that showed up. Unity was actually quite polished and functional.

But let's not blow this out of proportion. It's not like Apple has not had plenty of QA issues with OSX lately. But I agree Linux desktop QA could use some more resources. Unfortunately it seems the Ubuntu desktop/mobile push is mostly over and they're now focusing on server/container where Linux has been great for a long time already. And since volunteers always prefer writing new shiny stuff than spending time doing QA the Linux desktop will probably never be extremely polished. I do find it much better than Windows and comparable or better than OSX in actual functionality for us technical types but your mileage may vary.


Thats interesting to know, thanks for the tip!


FWIW I do the same as suggested and it's great, font scaling set to 1.4 on a 14"@2560x1440 T470P running @2560x1440 looks nice, the only very slight snag is that font scaling doesn't scale the window decorations but a few themes do work (Numix window decorations).


What happens when you plug in a second monitor?


I believe it applies to all screens. I've only been using external screens to project stuff fullscreen so I haven't checked what happens if I use my 1920x1200 screen as a work screen. If it's like in Unity you get the larger fonts but it's still quite usable. Having the font scaling be per-screen would be ideal though.


What’s the battery life like compared to windows? I have the t460p running w10 with the extended battery and I’ve never run out of power in the middle of a workday. It would be painful to give that up, but at the same time I’m interested in running linux as main OS.


This. I've had linux on the desktop since 2002, and unstable, insecure, hot and noisy are the polar opposite of what I've experienced on the whole. Sure, from time to time a tool would experience issues and cause heat from pegging the CPU, or they're would be some vulnerability cause it to be insecure. I'd doubt it's anymore insecure than windows or osx, and I certainly feel like it's more secure.

Unstable? I really only run LTS, though prior to ubuntu I ran debian stable, and I rarely run into anything unstable except for certain glitches which are often graphics related and worked around with different approaches, sometimes resorting to using a different window manager.

How did I do it? I ran business level laptops. Not high-end consumer laptops - those are junk, I mean 3 generations of the Dell D series, 3 generations of the Dell E series, HP Z Books, etc.

I should also point out that mostly kept with distro packages. If I broke down and installed another, I kept it out of /usr and in my homedir or /usr/local to isolate it, or I used a PPA from a trustyworthy source (Just because it's a PPA doesn't mean it's written by a competent person). When things did break, upgrades, etc. I did not blame Linux, I blamed the package that caused it.


This is exactly why Linux isn't more widely used: most business and professional users regard "switching to a different window manager in order to work around repeated graphics glitches" as a dealbreaker-level problem in a tool they use for their work.

It's supposed to be an appliance that gets out of the way and enables higher level work, not a fascinating engineering project. The tool should _just work_, all the time. You shouldn't have to know or care what a window manager even is. That's what MacOS got right.

Now, if only Apple could go back to having the best hardware, too.. :/


I like how you take one particular anecdote and use it as representative; I have had pretty bad graphics glitches on a 2017 MBP at work, unless I disable graphics switching, which kills the battery.

Conclusion: macOS suffers from severe graphics glitches and has terrible battery life. /s


I have personally used Linux on the desktop and the server for many years. I know many other engineers who have also done this, and we've compared notes extensively on the topic. Sadly, this anecdote is not an anomaly, but a fully typical example of the broad experience.

It is, if anything, a rather too mild example of the general class.


FWIW, my Macbook (not my primary machine) cost me 400€ second hand and I spent another 100€ upgrading to 8GB Ram and an SSD drive. It's a ten year old machine which runs like a dream.

I challenge anyone to find a better computing solution for 500€.

You could install Linux on a 500€ laptop but you wouldn't have the keyboard or screen quality of the Macbook, nor would have access to the Apple ecosystem. A lot of programs for Mac are just really well made and nice to use.


> You could install Linux on a 500€ laptop but you wouldn't have the keyboard or screen quality of the Macbook

You're literally posting in a story about terrible Apple keyboards... The whole point to this subthread is about alternatives with better keyboards!


> You could install Linux on a 500€ laptop but you wouldn't have the keyboard or screen quality of the Macbook, nor would have access to the Apple ecosystem.

I used a 2009 MacBook pro for close to 3 years.

The following are my opinions, they are not valid for everyone but for some of us they are very valid:

Keyboard had ctrl in a different spot than every other keyboard I ever spent significant time with. (Disclaimer: some other laptops come configured this way but I remap it in bios if it is my machine.)

Keyboard lacked home, end, page up and page down keys. Instead it had extra arrow keys that non of the two resident apple fans in my office could tell me the idea behind.

Basic things like selecting a word using the keyboard would take one of three key combos depending on which app. I think sometimes it was ctrl-shift-arrow, sometimes alt-shift-arrow and sometimes fn-shift-arrow. Resident mac fan explained it was because of an ongoing transition between quartz and cocoa or something.

The application menus would appear on one screen only, often far away from the application it belonged to.

So, while I wish more people would use Macs (because 1. Lots of people like it. 2. it forces application developers to think cross platform which benefits me as a Linux user, and 3. It also increases competition) I also wish people would understand that Macs are not the best choice for everyone.


>Basic things like selecting a word using the keyboard would take one of three key combos depending on which app. I think sometimes it was ctrl-shift-arrow, sometimes alt-shift-arrow and sometimes fn-shift-arrow.

Whereas all Linux GUI applications follow a completely consistent set of keyboard bindings...


Yes! Exactly! It's the only environment where I can rely on all text entry working with emacs keybindings, though to be fair I have to poke a setting to get that.

Oh wait, you were being sarcastic. Well, at least you were wrong and learned something I guess.

(No seriously, you're wrong here. Linux desktops solved the uniform keybinding problem in a cross-desktop way like a decade ago. You just don't like it because they're different, not because they're inconsistent.)


All text entry works with emacs keybindings on OS X without having to poke at a setting. Or rather, one setting per toolkit:

https://superuser.com/questions/171925/enable-emacs-like-key...

>You just don't like it because they're different, not because they're inconsistent.

I didn't say anything about not liking Linux keybindings. It's a minor issue for me personally.


Sorry, I took your sarcasm to imply that linux desktop keybindings were inconsistent. If that's not what you mean (I mean, reading it again, I'm really pretty sure that's what you meant), then I apologize.


They are inconsistent between applications/toolkits. I was saying that this is not a big issue for me personally.


You still forget that I mentioned text selection shortcuts. They've been fairly consistent across 20 years of Windows and every major Linux Desktop environment.


Both linux and Windows seems to get basic text selection right, yes.

Of modern desktop os-es, Mac OS X was the only one who has ever consistently surprised me on this.

It might not be a big deal to everyone but for me who

- deal with text day out and day

- and prefer to keep my hands at the keyboard (even when I have a nice trackpad)

small thing like this matters.

Just like details like a good trackpad matters to other people I guess.


The text selection shortcuts are completely consistent on modern OS X, in my experience. At least, I can't find an app where shift+alt+right_arrow doesn't select a word.


I've moved on but between 2009 and 2012 this changed from application to application.


I've also yet to find an instance in macOS where Emacs-style text navigation shortcuts didn't Just Work™ automatically. One of the few things about macOS that I actually like relative to the average Unix/Linux desktop.


they have been for 30 years, NeXTstep and non-NeXTstep MacOS. I think Larry Teslar of Apple (long ago now) was part of that. Also, TextFields in the NeXT and now Apple codebase know various Emacs key bindings by default.


Home, page up and page down is just CMD + left, up or down arrow isn't it?

Selecting a word: double click / tap on it.


> Home, page up and page down is just CMD + left, up or down arrow isn't it?

Back then I think that too depended on the application. I tried everything and googled it.

> Selecting a word: double click / tap on it.

I prefer the keyboard.


>I also wish people would understand that Macs are not the best choice for everyone.

I agree totally. Equally I wish that every Linux user (especially here) stopped hailing the system as a panacea. This whole debate is trite.


I guess you already read that part but for everyone else: yes, lets embrace os diversity.

I'm not against Macs. On fact I say: if possible give Macs to everyone at work who prefers them.

Linux is not perfect. My current Ubuntu has been particularly bad. (But that might be my fault as I got to the current state through unofficial states.)

I even grew an appreciation for Microsoft, partly because they changed a lot and partly because I learned a lot (about ABI stability, large scale software engineering, importance of documentation etc etc)

So lets advertise our OS-es but lets not pretend Mac or Linux is best. Not mentioning Windows here since they haven't annoyed me for a while : )


>Keyboard lacked home, end, page up and page down keys.

Thank you! At my desk at work I plug in an old HP keyboard and map those keys so that they do roughly the equivalent.


> Keyboard lacked home, end

^A, ^E, just like on a terminal or Emacs. ^K deletes to the end of the line.


Learned that.

But it doesn't compose with shift for selection.

I also learned and still use the official workaround for that which is pretty nice often: shift + arrow up/down while on start/end of a line


>But it doesn't compose with shift for selection.

Yes it does. Ctrl+Shift+E selects the text up to the end of the line.


As an interesting note, it doesn't work with MS Office.


Well, that's one problem you wouldn't have on Linux I guess.


On Linux ^A on a terminal (and on Emacs) behaves as God intended it to, but on a GUI it's usually "select all". It's really awful (albeit it kind of compensate for that with the select+middle-click dance).


Did you try converting Windows users? Did you face these problems with them? If not, what did you face?


I'm running linux on all my machines, including a Macbook Air and it works very well. Unstable, insecure, hot and noisy would not be words I would use to describe my setup.

The only noisy machine here is parked in another room and given its size and processing power it is noisy but that goes with the territory. Apple doesn't make anything that is even remotely equivalent.

Which means I can run the same software on all my machines which is another benefit.

And yes, I've been doing this for decades.

As for 'dist-upgrade', I don't normally do that, I go for long term stable releases and upgrade when the hardware gets replaced, which is once every few years.


May I ask what distro you're running? I tried Ubuntu 16.04LTS some time ago, and it didn't seem to get along very well with my mid-2015 MBP.


I was a happy user of Arch+i3wm on MBP 2015.


> There are bound to be people on every message board claiming to have run Linux for years if not decades without any of the issues I'm seeing on a daily basis and have been seeing for decades on scores of different laptops.

Unless you think they are lying, it's an interesting observation. It could just be you are incredibly unlucky (a few samples in the global population will have problems, just like a few will never experience any, even on Windows). It would seem to me the distribution hump is rather on the relatively problem-free area (my mom is on Linux since the early 2000's and never had serious issues - of course, she doesn't use off-distro repos, doesn't compile her own kernel and isn't running either Sid or Rawhide), considering most people who run Linux are tech-savvy enough to get themselves in trouble. I myself had a couple desktops without sound in the late 90's but, since I switched mostly to laptops without any fancy components (such as multiple GPUs, smart-card readers, fingerprint scanners, stereo cameras...) I haven't seen a machine that doesn't run Ubuntu flawlessly.


> There is a riduculous repetitiveness about this debate. For me and many others, Linux on a laptop has always been unstable, insecure, hot and noisy.

> Will we ever get out of this unproductive loop of claims and counter claims...

Sounds like a no.


I really believe that what it will take is an actual business that makes actual money selling a laptop with good hardware and an integrated linux install that they maintain. Instead of getting into a flamefest on the ubuntu message board where you have a completely different set of hardware and drivers than the people you're debating, you file a support ticket that the audio on your IntegratedLinuxLaptop 5 seems to have stopped working, and someone at this company figures out what's wrong and patches the exact right driver or system software to fix it. If that doesn't sound like a viable business, well, that's why this is still a problem.


Hell, the second article on Phoronix at this very moment is "GNOME Will No Longer Crash If Attaching A Monitor While The System Is Suspended", and if you scroll back further, repeated promises that Linux power management is getting better.

OS X and Windows also have broken usability, but at least their users don't run around telling people "it works fine for me! Just make sure you use a LTS distro with 5+ year old packages and without any hardware made since 2005"


> Linux on a laptop has always been unstable, insecure, hot and noisy.

Wait -- insecure? How? You mean full disk encryption? I am typing this from thinkpad with full disk encryption and SELinux enabled Fedora. Sure there are problems with Linux on laptop but even if you don't have SELinux enabled - security has never been an issue (or no worse than Windows and OSX).


What I was specifically referring to there is that Ubuntu's NetworkManager (in combination with Open VPN) had (or still has?) a DNS leak right out of the box for years.


Am I underestimating that or is that are really small thing compared to "press-enter-twice-for-root" on one of the two big commercial OSes?


I think you are underestimating the importance of fixing glaring security bugs ASAP when they become public knowledge instead of denying or ignoring them for years.

Also, a DNS leak is potentially much more dangerous for a minority of people than any locally exploitable bug.


Exactly! Personally I've been running Debian on my laptop for about 3 years now but come on! You can't deny that it is a pain in the ass to use especially if something breaks and the only way to fix it is to sift through many forums online to find the right commands solve even a simple problem.

Also, why is it so painfully slow to copy documents to a thumb drive using Linux as compared to Windows?


This is one of the things I am eagerly waiting to see answered :-) Hopefully someone suggests a better way to do this with a utility or something.


This. I gave up after several rounds of dist-upgrades broke, then fixed, then re-broke things. If you’re making fundamental architectural changes on a regular (monthly) basis, it’s pretty clear you’re not interested in being taken seriously in the business user world.


Stick with LTS releases. Those make no deep changes, and are supported for (with Ubuntu) 5 years.


The problem is that "Linux" is ambiguous. A comment below is agreeing and they use Debian. I've heard of Ubuntu being flakey. I used Fedora and Arch for years with zero issues (this is shocking to people who prefer LTS systems). CentOS is a trainwreck.

Take any OS, twist the wrong knobs, and you're looking forward to a long night.

Mind that the priorities of the user are different. Most people, including programmers, aren't concerned with using all the utilities of Linux land. Programmers have eyes too, and likewise enjoy aesthetics.

For programming, I'd use Linux over MacOS any day of the week, but for music, MacOS is the clear winner.


It boils down to what kind of trade-offs we are willing to make.

I might have been one of those Linux users that didn't have many serious issues for decades. Tried OSX for a while (2013-14), but didn't like how OSX gets in the way, though Mac hardware seemed decent. I would rather put up with an unusable fingerprint reader under Linux (Thinkpad Carbon X1), rather than OSX idiosyncrasies. There are other issues with the current Thinkpad (screen mirroring doesn't work reliably), but that is not a deal breaker for me


> It's important for us to own our own tools, and keep the right to do with them as we wish

At no point in my life have I had any investment in linux, it's not mine. I use windows at work, I develop using .Net-y languages in visual studio.

And I get you're speaking for a different subset of developers on hn. The real ones, who believe fervently in open source etc etc. But you say "us" and I don't think you should be comfortable representing an entire cross section of the internet so blithely.


> The real ones, who believe fervently in open source etc etc

The people who really care about owning their tools, privacy etc. usually care more about the whole principle behind free/libre software, rather than merely open-source. But I think the OP was making a point that it is important for all of us to care about this, not just people who already do, because in the end, it impacts all.


From Game Theory perspective, "not using Linux" is actually the game's equilibrium. Because if you have to choose between a proprietary OS (Windows, macOS) and an FOSS (GNU/Linux, BSD, ...), you'd have to choose the former in order to increase your own utility. If people said they're gonna start using Linux from now on, that wouldn't work, since at least some are willing to "unilaterally deviate" from that decision and use Windows/macOS to gain a boost against others.

If you want people to start using FOSS, you'd have to offer them something they can't have on non-FOSS alternatives.


The offer is there. It's freedom, and most people don't want it.


A 'free' computer that doesn't actually run any of the tools you need is worthless.

Makes a good doorstop, I guess.


Indeed. You are free to modify it to run those tools, or create alternate tools that do run (maybe not so much after Oracle v Google). But ain't nobody got time for that.


This is such a bullshit argument.

I don't want to spend my time making a toaster - I just want toast.

Also this is why FOSS software continually reinvents the wheel, badly. Want some BS program? There are a million of them. Want an actual tool that requires deep talent and domain knowledge? Outside of compilers, if it's FOSS, it is almost certainly garbage.


I think you are imagining the argument you want to see. Your comment is not responsive to what I actually wrote.


What bugs? I haven't had a hardware problem in linux since 2005.

I do have a problem reading visio files though. I have a solution, I tell them to f-off and send me a pdf if they want my views.


>What bugs? I haven't had a hardware problem in linux since 2005.

Come on, we all love open source here, but let's be honest: this statement is false.


I assume GP was referring to his/her own experience, not everybody's.


Unless op is using the same laptop for years, but if you ever try connecting some new device to your machine, your in for some configuring at least with mint/debian. Linux is still worth the prodiuctivity gains, but sometimes you spend hours cursing your luck. For a short list off the top of my head.

Plugging in certain android phones, usb wifi, monitors not detected, monitors being forgotten, grub conflicts after windows updates, graphic cards drivers in messed up after apt upgrade shenanigans.

This stuff happens on all my machines, whether dual boot or pure linux. It really makes you feel helpless when your machine randomly stops working properly.


> Plugging in certain android phones

I don't have them, but then I don't do anything with phones over usb other than charge them

> usb wifi

It's built in (as is 4g, although I now tether on my phone)

> monitors not detected, monitors being forgotten

I've used an external monitor rarely, I don't recall any issues. I've seem people using external monitors on their macs and windows laptops, they often seem to have major problems.

> grub conflicts after windows updates

So a windows bug then. As I don't run windows that's not really a problem.

> graphic cards drivers in messed up after apt upgrade shenanigans

I run an LTS version of ubuntu, went from 8.04 to 12.04 to 16.04 -- took the opportunity to replace my SSD for something a little larger. Next time will be 20.04, but at that stage I think the laptop will really be due for a replacement.


Just get a Vega 64 AMD and see how you fare. Oh and no AMD wattman for you either.

I use Linux, but it does have limitations, especially when it comes to compatible hardware (mostly due to the manufacturer releasing no/bad drivers) and gaming.


> haven't had a hardware problem in linux since 2005

have you heard of GUI?


I've run xubuntu on this thinkpad since 2010, currently 16.04.

I've just rdesktopped into a windows machine to run a cisco ASA tool. Just had to reboot it.

YMMV of course, and the plural of annecdote isn't data, but I find it hard to raise bugs when they don't affect me.


well i consider myself fairly technical and i've been trying various linuxes since 2003 - every single time there were some issues that i can't imagine non-technical person to deal with.

no matter the distro, no matter the desktop environment, no matter the hardware.

graphics drivers, sound system, xorg config, multiple monitors, wifi, you name it.

so excuse me if i take your comment about "no hardware problem since 2005" with a grain of salt.


I've had tons of problems on the occasions I've built a windows machine -- took me 12 hours to get a windows 7 machine running casparcg successfully in 2015.

I guess it's what you know.


I dual boot Linux and Windows.

I wish I could just use Linux, but any program that is likely to need to use my Nvidia graphics card just needs to be on Windows.

I don't want my laptop to be constantly using a hot gpu just for displaying the screen, as I need to have EITHER the gpu or integrated graphics selected for use - swapping requires a restart.

Windows has the capability to swap between the integrated graphics for simple display tasks, and GPU for more intensive tasks.

Linux has bumbleebee but it hasn't been actively developed in years. I know the main cause is Nvidia's attitude but it is still disappointing.


> We expect this for our servers

HPE, it seems, started a policy of requiring licenses to upgrade their BIOSes. :-(


How does hdpi work on kde?


99.9% great. Text looks wonderful, almost everything has hi-resolution icons in the correct size. It's not easy to find things to complain about.

My workflow hasn't really changed since upgrading — I still prefer to focus on one or two windows (often with the "Always on Top ᨑ" button) and just see more code/webpage in that window.

Anyway, I arranged some stuff and took a screenshot: https://imgur.com/a/7FOZkdk

Under KDE's display settings, I have the scale set to 2.0.

Problems:

- Minor UI issues. Some UI elements in Amarok don't quite line up correctly. The loading dialog of LibreOffice is at 50% size. GIMP's toolbox buttons seem small. The default steps of shrinking/enlarging text in Konsole aren't great.

- As far as I know, the HDR capability of the monitor isn't supported in Linux.

- About two years ago when I last tried, mixing resolutions with multiple screens didn't work correctly.

If you use a desktop, and can afford to upgrade all its screens to 4K together, I recommend doing so tomorrow. Investigate further if you'd be mixing resolutions; see if you can borrow one.

Referring to [1], I have a UHD-1 screen, which is much rarer than I thought. Just 1.2% of Steam users. The more-common WQHD screens could be OK without any scaling.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Display_resolution#/media/File...


I bought a new laptop recently. I was very close to paying well over £1k on an XPS 13 with an 8th gen quad core i5, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD.

At some point, I came to my senses and bought a used Thinkpad X230 for just £80. I spent £100 on upgrading the RAM and SSD to match those of the XPS I mentioned (I got a rather lucky deal on the SSD). I'm currently planning on spending approximately another £100 on upgrading the display to a 13.3" 1080p IPS panel (which will require some fairly extensive hardware mods).

So, for about a quarter of what I was going to spend on the XPS, I have a machine with roughly comparable specs (Significantly weaker CPU, admittedly), but a much more rugged design with upgradable and moddable hardware.


I think the XPS 13 series is reasonable priced for what you get and I thing you would not have regretted it if you would have went with that option.

Your changes sound like too much work for a lot of people but its great that you found something fitting your needs at a significantly smaller price point.


That 1k is a week or two of dev work depending on where you live. If you've spent more than a week on procuring that laptop, you haven't actually saved any money.


While I applaud your DIY ethics - theres no warranty if parts fail. It also is more effort than most will go though.


How’s the Linux battery management for laptops? This and driver compatibility are usually my biggest concern. I remember 2/3 windows laptops I used were having trouble sleeping/waking up when lids were shut


I switched from Windows to Linux on my work Dell and battery life is the same.

I go to standby on lid closed and shutdown at the end of the day. Bootup to login takes 20 seconds so I don't bother with hibernate.


The issue for me is that hibernate saves user state (desktop, apps, edit state), reboot doesn't. I expect a desktop session to live months.

IOW: Your solution may not suite all.


Linux has no trouble with hibernate/suspend, at least on my machine. It's just that I prefer to start from a clean state each day and don't want to be bothered with yesterday's clutter.

I also save downloads and small 'run once' experiments to /tmp, so booting the notebook is a good way to clean everything up.


To add another bullet to the reasons for reboot listed in the siblings, I prefer to poweroff in the evening because my disk is encrypted and I don't want the key lingering around in RAM when I don't need it. /me puts on more tinfoil


What's wrong with hibernating and suspending? It's been two months since I last rebooted my Linux laptop, I typically only do it when upgrading the kernel. I agree it would be nice to keep session state after a reboot, but it's a very minor annoyance. Some window managers such as i3, do at least let one persist window configurations.


Nothing, other than that it 1) may not work on all hardware and 2) slightly increases battery drain.

Suspend (to disk) can be slow on some hardware -- moreso than rebooting. Though it preserves state.


Clearing user state is one of the reasons I prefer reboots - it helps keep my desktop clean and tidy. I cannot imagine the mess that would arise if my session lived months. I use shutdown as a shortcut for "close all application I don't use right now"


If that's your preference, great.

But again the point is that presuming goals/preferences, or attributing them to all others (and no, OP didn't do that) scales poorly.

As with most workflow preferences, the details are highly internalised.


Linux 4.17 is apparently a big leap forward for laptop power management. I run it on a desktop, so I can't speak to it directly, but I've heard a number of folks singing its praises.


It depends on the model. For my XPS 15 with the bigger battery I can get up to 10 hours working on Python dev and checking out docs. But only when disabling the discrete Nvidia card, which is relatively straightforward[0] to do after having suffered setting up bumblebee.

0.https://github.com/khllkcm/dotfiles/blob/master/.config/scri...


Glad I'm not the only one having an awesome experience with Linux on the XPS 15 (a 9560 running Fedora in my case). Some of the stuff I've come across on the internet seems to imply that it's impossible to run Linux on this thing and I've had no issues at all!


I was just thinking about this today as I needed to conserve battery power on my xps 15 for an airplane trip. Thanks for reminding me to check out bumblebee.


I think it depends on the model. I run arch on a Thinkpad and the battery life is about what I expect given the battery size. CPU voltage and fan is modulated properly. No lid or sleep issues whatsoever.


It's been great, just stay away from the new Thinkpad X1 Carbon 6th generation, Linux support is poor with lots of things that needs fixing.

But 5th generation had a smooth linux experience, I bet the same goes for most other laptops. I'm hoping 6th gen will be fixed in 6-12 months with newer kernels, etc. But at the moment it's quite broken.


No issues on my X250, everything worked out of the box with Fedora.

Battery life under Linux compared to Windows 10 seems slightly better - I guess it’s because I’m using MATE, so it’s a less resource hungry DE.


Stock Debian Stretch on my Lenovo works very well. Battery time estimation is dead on, suspend is very low power (days). You can set the lid shut behavior through the gnome admin tools.

Check it out!


I have found it to be remarkable over the last few years. I keep coming back to Debian although I've used OpenSuse Tumbleweed in recent times, and some other flavours before that.

With Debian, I've used a very old Dell Latitude (circa 2010, Core2Duo, DDR2, i3wm or XFCE) and newer Dell Inspiron (2017, i5 7th Gen, DDR4, full HD touchscreen display, KDE/XFCE+i3wm) and never had trouble with either sleep/wakeup or with wifi. Touch isn't as great as Windows, so it detects only "left click", not right click, zoom, etc. but I never use touch so it's something I can live with.

Incidentally, I installed Linux because the Windows 10 that came preinstalled had some hardware issue and the fan was always on, so I was getting around 1 hour of battery life. Switching to Tumbleweed (Linux 4.x at that time) gave me amazing battery life, around 5-6 hours. And when Debian 9 (kernel 4.x) got released, I quickly moved to it, and still get around 4-5 hours if I'm doing text editing, browsing and little bit of compiling.


In my experience running Linux in two laptops is that it tends to underestimate the battery duration but the battery lasts longer than with the original OS.


I'm using a Lenovo T440s and haven't noticed a significant difference in battery life between Debian and Windows.


I get around 10 hours with my Asus Zenbook UX430U.


My T480S running Pop!_OS is stellar in that department.


> Thinkpad X140e

woop, woop!

the design where the display is _least_ fragile part of the laptop is brilliant: wins over removing extra ounces or millimeters. i wish more laptops were built this way and suspect the only reason they aren't is because it doesn't look as "hi-tech" as some of lenovo's other laptops.


Believe me, I wish I COULD run linux on my main laptop for work. Unfortunately, I write a webapp that is run 50% by mobile Safari users. When a bug happens, I need to be able to plug into Safari's dev tools. Other than that, I often need decent Adobe products to work with images. As much as Gimp and Inkscape have improved over the past 10 - 20 years, they still are obtuse at best. For simply writing code, Vim looks the same pretty much everywhere.


Battery life on linux is awful and if you want the latest version of something you end up raising hell to get everything to work, meanwhile on a mac you just do a brew install.

I'm a software engineer, I used to love to customize my computer and make it different, now I just want it to work and not having to waste hours and hours fixing it.


How can that be, that all you mentioned cost less than a low end macbook, for instance?


Apple. This issue is seriously simple.

Take the previous design, you know the one from late 2012 to 2015.

If you must (sigh), take out the SD card, HDMI, USB A, MagSafe and replace with USB-C. I don't know who suggested this, but whatever.

Don't add in a touch bar. Don't add in an over sized touchpad. Leave the keyboard alone. The layout of the model is amazing.

I purchased a late 2012 in Jan '13. It's been my daily driver for 5 years now, without a single issue and it's an amazing piece of equipment. It allows me to just get on with my work, rather than focusing on the issues with the OS (looking at you Windows 10).

Want to make the product much better? Upgrade:

- the screen to 4k

- the memory to 32GB

- the SSD speed and give me options of 1TB and 2TB.

- the CPU to the latest i7 and more cores the better.

Listen, you can even charge $5k for the privilege. I don't care at this point. My needs for it just working and allowing me to work without the issues of running Windows 10 are the only things that matter to me.

-------

Ok, I understand. We are negotiating here.

- $6k...

- $7k...

- $8k...

- $9k...

- $10k... ?

Sure, I'll pay $10k for a PRO laptop. One that lasts 5+ years. I'm happy to depreciate it over a period of time, because for me. It's not an ACCESSORY. It's a workhorse!

I really hope someone at apple listens. You guys had an awesome laptop. Then you made it crappy.

--------

I'm literally praying to "Lord Jobs" on the other side, that I don't run into any issues for at least another 3 years and Mojave is my last OS it seems. I'm STILL on El Capitan!


I have the 2017 15", and my wishlist is just

* Fix the keyboard's reliability

* Remove the touchbar

* Give us back those last Wh and bump the battery back up to 99 (right under the FAA limit)

* Improve the thermals (if this means making the machine thicker, then sure). In summer (with aircon set to 26 C) I can't plug my laptop in to charge and use Xcode without it overheating and throttling. Same issue affected my old 2012 rMBP so it's not a new issue.


+1 :) I use the exact same machine and I simply don't want to upgrade it with the current options.

I don't even need anything higher resolution (retina is great), honestly. In fact, I don't even need a more performant (or more cores on my) processor (my quad-core i7 works great with everything), or better GPU - all I need is:

- 64GB RAM;

- 2TB SSD;

- better camera.


4K doesn't really make sense, the screen is already 3K at 15", a typical 4K monitor will be 21"- 24" across and 5K would start at 27"


1. Create good product.

2. Gain market share.

3. Gradually make product worse without losing market share.

4. Make product good again with giant price increase.

5. PROFIT!

Apple is stuck on step 3. Either they don't know that step 4 exists, or they think they can squeeze more juice out of step 3, or they don't have the technical ability to do step 4.


At least they have implemented the second part of step 4...


> The layout of the model is amazing.

Compared to what's out now, yeah, it's great. But in absolute terms, it's only moderately functional.


You can get a 15" old chassis MBP with new components: https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/macbook-pro?product=MJLQ2...

What are you waiting for?


Graphics chip :(


Would also like to see a reversion to using Nvidia GPUs as well.


> - the screen to 4k

If they bump it up (which would be a good idea) they'll likely go 3x (4329 x 2700 on the 15") not 4K.

> - the memory to 32GB

That's the one I don't see happening. Much of Apple's tradeoffs are about keeping battery life in the face of design stupidity, dropping LPDDR is very unlikely.

> - the SSD speed and give me options of 1TB and 2TB.

Both options exist (on the 15") and AFAIK Apple has pretty fast SSDs, the main issue with them is that they're soldered not that they're slow.


So many have suggested these things... But Apple prefers to only listen to customers it believes are "right customers."


Stupid Apple - I blame Schiller.

They won’t support 32Gb ram because it might decrease battery life and requires them to reengineer the logic board but they’re totally cool with a fragile ass keyboard GLUED to a battery! Really there’s no way to call this anything other than insanity.

I remember the media used to talk about the ‘halo effect’ - well I’m someone who has Almost every MBP between 2002-2012 and every iPhone until the 7 plus.... right now I doubt they’ll make a real pro laptop and so I’m likely gonna switch to a Dell XPS. /end frustration


Apple (MBP15 late 2013, iMac 27 late 2009) user at home, Dell XPS 15 9550 (2015) user at work here.

While I totally agree with you about the new MBP, please just know that the XPS 15 isn't without it's problems too! It must just be that Windows users are more used to lower quality hardware/software that such things are accepted...

I really like my XPS 15 as it is fast and as compact as a MBP, but:

- Microsoft Surface Bluetooth mouse and keyboard don't work anymore after an idle period of maybe 10 minutes. Have to disable/enable Bluetooth to get it working again. I reverted to RF dongle keyboard and use the Surface Mouse with the included USB cable.

- I had a huge number of BSOD early on. It's still not perfect, but almost fine now.

- The web cam is at the worst possible position. It films your fingers and breast, rather than head!

- The microphone is even worse, no one will hear you talking.

- Headphone with microphone works fine. But after unplugging I don't have any sound anymore. Sleep/wake fixes it...

- I obviously do miss some of the Mac apps like OmniFocus, Pixelmator, xScope and others while working in Windows.


There is a XPS Developer Edition with Linux instead of Microsoft. I'm personally stuck with Win 7. Will never update to Win 10 and OSX does not seem to be a good choice nowadays. That means Linux will make the run the next years, hopefully.


Personally I like to just get the Windows version and load Linux with GRUB as a second boot option. The few times I need to do something on Windows (photo editing, some games) I just reboot.


I end up doing almost the same except that I ditch the Windows install. The hardware selection is much better and, unless you intentionally sabotage yourself, they work every bit as well as laptops that come with factory-supported Linux installs.


I did this once but this won't save you from forced updates keeping your laptop alive (and hot, and at risk of corruption if it happens when you have to fly/drive somewhere and you weren't expecting an update), plus once Windows took issue with the state of the disk I was sharing between it and Linux (NTFS format) and did a chkdsk which deleted most of the files from it. That was the last time I ran any Microsoft code outside of a VM (Or my employer's kit).


As an XPS 15 9560 owner who used to dual boot, I would highly recommend disabling Windows update as certain updates will ruin your Linux partition.

https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2364091


OSX is still a fine choice. I've been using OSX since 2003 and only noticed substantial improvements over time like Spotlight, Airdrop, Facetime, Quicklook, not regressions. I'm really sick of constant doomsaying about OSX and Apple in general.


> Microsoft Surface Bluetooth mouse and keyboard don't work anymore after an idle period of maybe 10 minutes

Go into device manager and disable their power saving settings. I had disconnection issues once or twice a week with my MS Designer Mouse and this fixed it.


Or dear! I tried about everything possible but didn't think it could be related to such a generic setting!

Found this article that shows where it is: https://www.howtogeek.com/189856/ask-htg-how-can-i-keep-my-b...

I searched the web, updated Dell drivers, found some Reddit thread where they explained cryptic settings in the device manager... All of that didn't help. I gave up when I found yet another blog post where a guy even replaces the internal bluetooth kit of his XPS 15!

In the hope that this fixes it once and for all: Thank you so much!


Make sure you return and tell us if it that fixed your issue.

https://xkcd.com/979/


Looks good so far. The Microsoft Surface Precision mouse still works in Bluetooth mode. Now I can definitely recommend this mouse.

Tomorrow I'll test the Microsoft Surface mouse, AKA Microsoft Modern mouse.


Whenever I get a BSOD, I miss working on my older Macbook Pro. I just got BSOD this morning as I was reading this, on a brand-new high-end HP ZBook laptop nonetheless. It's the third time that BSOD had happened since I got it few weeks ago, and it turns out that the culprit was the HP's included bloated software called HP Velocity, which is supposed to improve network performance on laptop.


> - The web cam is at the worst possible position. It films your fingers and breast, rather than head!

As someone who's going bald, this is a feature rather than a bug.

Of course, I'd like 4 cameras on the corners and software that allows me to shift a virtual camera to the center of whatever video conference tool I'm using.

BTW, that would be a brilliant new feature for Apple laptops of the future. That and chroma/motion key built in the camera video processing pipelines or, perhaps, the full set of iPhone image processing options.


> As someone who's going bald, this is a feature rather than a bug.

I don't think filming my neck-rolls and the inside of my nostrils is much of a feature.


My nostrils are hairier than the top of my head.


Update:

- So the bluetooth issue may be fixed with some stupidly hidden Windows setting in the device manager.

- I forgot to mention that 3 of our XPS 9550 had their trackpad (and battery) replaced after the batteries inflated and pushed the trackpad out of the case. Luckily this happened a few weeks before the end of the 2 year warranty.


Technically no, not exactly. It’s intel’s fault. Their damn architectures won’t support DDR4LP - that’s the low power variant - because they’ve become complacent. Also the lack of PCIe lanes forced Apples’s hand on USBc only design, although it’s such a daft choice they should’ve just gone with 2 TB ports and keep the other “legacy” available. But no, they had to brag about dual 4K external monitors to it had to be 4 USBc ports and nothing else.

I’m seriously worried that the platform I’ve been so comfortable with the past 10 years will fall in disrepair because of some ill-advised management that chose to chase some other innovation...

It’s another problem I don’t need


There's a simple solution for the lack of DDR4LP: end the "thinner and lighter" insanity and provide normal DDR4 with a decent battery capacity by making the laptop 2mm thicker and 0.5 pound heavier.


I’d cut Apple some slack on the RAM front because Intel was supposed to ship DDR4LP a couple years ago, after years of being fairly good about hitting targets.

The larger point about recognizing that we’ve plateaued on size & weight benefits is important, though. As long as we need keyboards there’s not much point in taking on all of the other compromises.


Ironically, it was Steve Jobs' pep talk to new executives that went something like: "The difference between a janitor and executive is that VPs are not allowed to have excuses". So trying to share the blame with Intel is just silly.

Every single Apple's competitor delivers laptops with 32+ GB of RAM, and MacBooks are stuck at 16GB and there's no one to blame for it but Apple.


> Every single Apple's competitor delivers laptops with 32+ GB of RAM, and MacBooks are stuck at 16GB and there's no one to blame for it but Apple.

This is only partially correct: those are separate models which are bigger and have worse power and heat characteristics. Every laptop which is similar to Apple's shares the 16GB limit for the same reason; the difference is that Apple has decided not to offer that second tier.


Dell's XPS is comparable in size and performance to the MBP and has 32Gb of RAM available. Does the standard DDR4 they use effect battery life? Possibly, but that's a trade off I and others would take for our $4000 laptops not to grind to a halt when we spin up a few docker containers.


> Apple has decided not to offer that second tier

MacBook Pro, a first-tier plaything. If they do finally release a "second tier", what the hell are they going to call it? MacBook Super Pro?


I'd imagine they'd call it Macbook Pro 17"


> Every single Apple's competitor delivers laptops with 32+ GB of RAM, and MacBooks are stuck at 16GB and there's no one to blame for it but Apple.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surface_Book_2


It's impossible to provide decent battery life in a laptop with normal DDR4, it uses 80% more battery in standby:

https://macdaddy.io/macbook-pro-limited-16gb-ram/


"DDR4 would drastically decrease it from the 30 days of standby time that they get now to less than one week"

Fine, I'll take 32Gb of RAM and a less than a week of standby time thanks.


It’s possible by hibernating faster, which is the strategy lenovo used in my t460p with 32 gb ddr4. The downside is that leaving it with a closed lid for ten minutes makes waking it up a 5 to 10 second affair instead of instant.


Mah, there’s a mobile standard optimized for that use case... not using it because intel can’t get their act together would be asinine. I’d be shocked if there weren’t any Ryzen prototypes running in Cupertino, with daily performance test results CC’d to intel account managers. I’d to just that...


Part of the reason for Apple betting big on Intel was power efficiency. But with Ryzen going to 7nm before Intel makes it to 11nm(?) reliably, I have to think that Ryzen with integrated GPU starts looking damned attractive.


>"Also the lack of PCIe lanes forced Apples’s hand on USBc only design,"

Can you elaborate on this? Is this related to DDR4LP? Is there a connection?


>Also the lack of PCIe lanes

https://ark.intel.com/products/97462/Intel-Core-i7-7920HQ-Pr...

I don't think PCIe lanes and low power ram are directly related, but it is just another sign of Intel attempting to control the market via feature segregation.

The CPU only has 16 PCIe lanes. Which is flat out retarded when 4 of them will be used by NVMe, and 8 (and really 16 should be) can be used by video. This only leaves 4 additional PCIe lanes for any other devices, including USB-C and thunderbolt.

Simply put, if there were any competition in the market, that CPU look much different. Low power ram and 8 more PCIe lanes at least.


I think I read one comment here on HN some time ago about the lack of >16GB RAM on laptops. The reason was that DDR3 maxes out at 16GB and DDR4 which allows much higher amount of RAM lacks the low power requirements while sleeping. So one would pretty much sacrifice sleeping in order to get more RAM.


I've been very happy with my Surface Book, FWIW - as beautiful as it is powerful, though with a price to match. (But there are plenty of good options these days - I've heard good things about the XPS too, though personally I didn't like the feel of the keyboard).


The Apple I want figures out how you put 32GB RAM in a thin laptop while preserving battery life!


They could, in theory, have a "power saving" mode that tries to consolidate as much as it can into as few memory modules as possible (I'm currently using about 39% of memory, the rest being free and cache), virtual addresses would remain untouched and only physical addresses would change after a move and then it'd be possible to power down the memory modules that are not being used (PCIe-attached storage is slower than memory, but fast and power saving don't go together that well)


OSX is already proactively compressing memory in the background, if it deems a process worthy of compression.


Isn't it compressing caches only?


Probably would help if they freed up space and battery life by not having a totally unnecessary second screen taking up the top row of the keyboard.


And replace it with what, function keys? Keys which are thicker than the screen that replaced them and has far more functionality in a smaller footprint?


The Dell XPS 13 has been a solid work machine for me.

Portable, powerful, comes with USB Type A and C ports, Thunderbolt 3 and comes with one of the best keyboards in laptops.


Well, the XPS13 has had its share of keyboard problems too:

https://www.dell.com/community/XPS/XPS-13-9370-Keyboard-Skip...

It took months for a BIOS release to make the keyboard workable.

Now if only they could get the webcam to work..


The XPS 15 is a bit better, I got one from last year for about the same price as my 13


do you run Windows or Linux on it ?


Big fan of the XPS 13. I bought the developer Linux edition first, which had a 1080p (boo!) screen and matte finish (yeah!). It had an issue where the trackpad would just intermittently stop working or the cursor would just zoom around the screen, making it unusable. Dell sent out an engineer THE NEXT DAY TO MY HOUSE with a replacement trackpad. Insane customer support. I ended up swapping it for a Windows version for the same price but with the higher res screen (but gloss) as the HDMI out didn't work on the Linux version. I think this was software rather than hardware.


Ubuntu 18.04 :)


I couldn't agree more. The new MBPs are basically lemons. Mine absolutely is, and is unusable and sent out for repairs after only 1 year (defects include but are definitely not limited to this ultra brittle keyboard). I will definitely not buy another one of these awful machines.

What ever was the point of making this thing razer thin? What bizarre, mythical user did they have in mind that just couldn't stand a few cm of extra 'bulk'? None of this makes any sense, except it being a case of design driven engineering run amok.


I thought the RAM thing would decrease battery life, because it requires a different intel chipset — as shown by the contemporary laptops from other manufacturers with the same CPUs and chipset topping out at 16GB as well?

I could be misremembering, and it frustrates me either way, but I was certain that Intel also held some blame for this?


I think the reason is LPDDR3 which only goes up to 16GB with Intels chipsets, they would need to use Desktop class ram to go above which uses a lot more power.

[1] https://macdaddy.io/macbook-pro-limited-16gb-ram/


You are correct, I bought an Intel NUC with an i7 in it and that had the 16Gb limit. Furthermore, it only had two cores and hyperthreading whereas I was 'used to' i7 having four proper cores and HT.

I wanted to have a desktop that I could leave on without it taking lots of power (CO2 matters) or needing a wind-tunnel grade fan to keep it cool (noise matters). So it had some variant of what Apple used. In my opinion this CPU was a dud, I had to upgrade the BIOS numerous times and it wasn't any quicker than my elderly i5 powered laptop. Plus it wasn't as silent as hoped:

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/products/boards-kits...

Apple used the same RAM limited CPU in 2015:

https://www.apple.com/shop/product/G0QP3LL/A/refurbished-133...

The subsequent products with the useless keyboard were to use iterations of this lemon of a CPU.

My Intel NUC is actually in a drawer unused. I had lost a couple of keys on the elderly i5 laptop, I bought a new backlit keyboard for that on ebay, it came from China in an incredible 3 days and cost ~£50 including shipping. This is the keyboard I am using right now. It actually looks super cool as the laptop was originally all in silver, the replacement keyboard and surround is black and the design looks so good because the mousepad is still silver coloured. It looks like a high end German product due to that colourway combo.


I find it hard to believe that any decent chipset made in the last decade at least cannot support 32gb of ram. I had a reasonably cheap samsung laptop from 2012 that already did. If apple is not doing it, it's not by the lack of choices in the market.


Of course, but it's a tradeoff. These low power low profile Intel CPUs can support more memory, but only DDR4 which is desktop class RAM with more than double the power requirements in use, and four to ten times the power usage in sleep mode.

The logic board would also have the redesigned and bigger for the new chipset, putting pressure on battery space. You see Microsoft making the same choice as Apple with the new Surface laptop.

Fortunately Intel are launching new mobile chips with support for fast, low power LPDDR3E memory over 16GB this year.

https://macdaddy.io/macbook-pro-limited-16gb-ram/


Dell XPS has up to 32GB with the exactly same CPU.


And it won’t be using low power memory modules. That’s the trade off.


Maybe, if their MacBook Pros were just a little bit thicker (say, the thickness of the 2013-2015 models), they'd be able to fit a big enough battery for the extra power draw to not matter too much?


"Considering that a 76 watt-hour battery is used in the 15 inch machines, they could have made the battery 30% bigger to hit the ceiling imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration, and they still wouldn’t have had the same battery life as they do now by using LPDDR memory." [1]

[1] https://macdaddy.io/macbook-pro-limited-16gb-ram/


For what it's worth, the keyboard and trackpad both keep breaking on my XPS 15 :/


My trackpad broke too, because the battery was inflating and pushed it out of the case...

Got a free replacement though.


Did you buy your previous MBPs because they are nice kit, or because of Mac OS X? Are you switching to a Dell, or switching to Windows or Linux?

If your work or personal use can so freely change Operating Systems, then, I guess I consider you lucky.

I can't really do my job from a Windows box without significant pain. I could probably use Linux, but it would add some additional frustration.


I mostly agree with you. But really, who needs +16GB RAM on their laptop?! I think the need for more RAM is correlated with the need for more CPU clock, more powerful graphic card, and a better Motherboard, all of which result in a huge decrease in battery life (which is supposed to be a laptop's main strength over heavy, power-consuming PC).


I need the RAM. Network modeling, network simulation, dev installations of SDN platforms. This is a developer and programmer forum, right?


It's the reason I end up always looking at gaming laptops. I don't really need a GPU at all, it's nice but not needed. However yeah, Cores & RAM that's what I need.


I was about to buy a new MBP this year but held back because I already have 16GB of RAM and want more, actually need more. I often have the problem that my current MBP runs out of memory and when this happends it costs me like 30 to 60 minutes to get back to the point where I was when it ran out of it. So yeah, there are some of us that need more RAM.


> But really, who needs +16GB RAM on their laptop?!

I need it on whatever machine is my development machine. Clojure REPLs are memory intensive. I'm sitting at 7GB in use right now, mostly thanks to Chrome, even without anything major running.

I could probably squeeze under 16GB if I was aggressive about shutting down server applications (e.g. Apache and MySQL) I'm not using at that moment and only starting them up when I need them, but that's just adding more chores to my workflow.

Having more than 16GB of RAM just means I never need to worry about it. It's one less headache to deal with.


As a developer, I need a machine that's powerful enough to develop on; being light and having battery life is a nice-to-have but not essential. If that means I have to buy a bulky gaming laptop rather than a sleek portable one, that's what I'll do. At the moment I can just about manage with 16GB, but it's definitely the limiting factor on my current machine (surface book 2, which is capable of some pretty good gaming).


For me, large datasets used for analytics. I don’t want to use a desktop, I want to do this stuff in a coffee shop, and in my hotel. The difference between in-memory and disk based operations is, understandably, very significant.


As (mostly) a designer, even I'm pushing RAM usage at times. Some GPU wouldn't hurt either.

yet I don't feel like switching away from Mac is a realistic option for me. There are a ton of apps on which I depend. Can't exactly stick them in a docker image.


I would think most developers would like at least 16gb


The reason I'm sticking to the Macbook is that despite these issues they are still way ahead of any competition. I'm running a mid-2014 retina. It is still way better than anything Dell, Lenovo, Asus, etc.. can get me. 4 years later and the battery still get me a solid 5-6 hours despite strong usage.

But here is the following: Apple is really improving. It is just not meeting the expectations of its demanding users (and rightly so since we are paying a premium for Apple hardware).

I remember getting sick of macOS Sierra and decided to rollback to Mavericks. Holly crap, I then just realized how much more polished Sierra is with all its issues. The external screen resolutions were screwed, can no longer answer calls through my mac, notes no longer sync and a dozen other things that I just "assumed".

These advances are probably building technical debt. But also they are what attaching people to the Apple ecosystem.

I get my airpods connected to my iPhone easily and without issues. Then I quickly switch the input to my Mac. Then back to my iPhone. Good luck getting that to work correctly on Windows software and other hardware.


At same boat as you, and just have migrated all my activities to Windows on 64 Gb Core i7 8 gen CPU desktop. It's a real booster for my day to day work.

I love and miss the aesthetics of macOS and Magic Mouse swipes. However let's face it, Apple alone cannot stand the pace. It just cannot compete with hordes of companies from all over the world who do their part of job really really good. Gigabyte, ASUS, Samsung, Intel, Crucial, NVidia, AMD, Dell to name a few plus many other small and big suppliers vs Apple Goliath. Battle result is predetermined by the forces of nature. Apple gonna lose in the long run.


We all lose in the long run. Those companies all existed in 2005, but Apple was streets ahead of them for the average person. Apple pushed the industry forward. Remember what the typical phone was like before the iphone? Or the typical mp3 player before the ipod? Sure, the ipod may have had less space than a Nomad and no wifi, but it was what people actually wanted.

The question is, is apple really going backwards, or is it a case of "I don't like change".

The longer you use something, the more you don't like anything different. Is USB-C really a step back from magsafe? Is removing the function keys really a step back? How about removing 3.5mm jacks from a phone?

I've used /etc/network/interfaces to configure my network for 2 decades. Netplan is thus stupid and terrible. Except if I look at it objectively netplan is better. It deprecates those nice comfy hacks and configs I don't even think about, so of course I don't like it.

My local hifi shop tell me that the bose qc35s jumped off the shelves like hotcakes compared with the 25s, because they were wireless and rechargable. I don't like them because I like 3.5mm. But as the man said:

Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty- five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.


USB-C versus magsafe is indeed a step backwards.

A single port on a mobile device for power OR audio? That port is NOT USB-C?

Trying to sell the market a set of customizable function bar replacement versus a touch screen?


Apple is really going backwards, no doubt in that. It still has a lot of momentum though but it's been mostly downhill since Steve Jobs unfortunate departure.


People wouldn't be so up in arms about MagSafe vs. USB-C if they had a choice, either by both ports being on the laptop or by being able to choose one or the other when the laptop is ordered.

You can classify MacBook users into two groups: people who hook up their laptops to lots of stuff, and people who don't. The people who hook up their laptop to lots of stuff are the kind of people who get to work, hook up their laptop to power + keyboard + mouse + headphones + maybe Ethernet + maybe other peripherals, at a desk where all this stuff is static. For those people, USB-C is a major improvement over MagSafe. The odds that your power cable is going to be tripped over with proper cable management at your desk is vanishingly small and the convenience gained by only plugging in one cable is enormous.

On the other hand you have the people who bring their laptops and power adapters with them to Starbucks or the university library or their co-founder's apartment, and are constantly looking for a power socket. You know, the ones in this thread complaining about the keyboard (because they never use an external keyboard) and won't buy anything else anyway (because they love the trackpad and never use an external mouse). For those people, USB-C is a major regression from MagSafe because even if Apple provided a USB-C dock in the box for free, for them it would be collecting dust in the bottom of a closet somewhere.

But this is typical for Apple, whose corporate ethos seems to consider the notion that allowing the customer to have a choice is a bad thing. Which means that the question isn't whether USB-C is a regression over MagSafe or not, it's whether you belong to Apple's core market segment and fit into Apple's core product strategy, which holds that the word "regression" is simply not part of the vocabulary used in the conversation revolving around Apple's products. Improvements are all doubleplusgood changes, simple as that.


Which means that the question isn't whether USB-C is a regression over MagSafe or not, it's whether you belong to Apple's core market segment and fit into Apple's core product strategy, which holds that the word "regression" is simply not part of the vocabulary used in the conversation revolving around Apple's products

Yes, this.

It's odd though, the apple ecosystem has "always worked" if you stuck with it, where linux and windows have needed various amounts of firtling (customising your workspace, switching etc)

People who plug in perhiphials seem to be against what I understood apple's view to be. I guess they want those of us who just have a laptop and don't connect anything up to be using ipads instead (perhaps that explains their choice to downgrade the keyboard --- you either dock into a fixed workstation with a decent keyboard, or you use a touchscreen. Eventually I wouldn't be surprised if the keyboard is completely removed from apple laptops. And we'll all be shocked. )


I can't really answer at the macro level, but I really don't think this is just a knee jerk reaction to 'change'. Just personally :

* I don't miss the CD rom at all - even at the time. I think that was a totally valid design change

* I love QC35's and BT headphones in general, the convenience is undeniable

* I even like a bunch of soundcloud mumble rap, that's supposed to be anathema to my generation

* All that said, I can't stand the new Apple keyboard, it completely ruins typing, which is sort of a fundamental part of using a computer

I guess I'm saying it's possible to appreciate some change, while not appreciating other would-be innovations. I really have a hard time seeing how this keyboard is in any way a positive change - there isn't really much benefit to having a bad keyboard. It's all negatives, unless saving a literal couple of millimeters in machine thickness is somehow super desirable.


>Is USB-C really a step back from magsafe?

Without a single doubt in my mind.


I never had a MagSafe laptop whacked off a table and I had them since introduction. It has happened at least once a year with my USB-C MacBooks Pro. What a silly own-goal.


> Is USB-C really a step back from magsafe?

For magsafe, yes. But overall, I like the move to USB-C. I plug 1/2 as many things into my computer each time I sit at the desk as I used to. Once these docks come down a bit more in price I'll plug a single wire into my computer at the desk.

> Is removing the function keys really a step back?

Not sure. Right now I'm indifferent.

> How about removing 3.5mm jacks from a phone?

Definitely a tempest in a teapot.

As an aside, the few people I know with 2017 MBPs all like the keyboard. None of us have had issues so I'm sure that makes a difference. Personally, I like the key travel and how quickly I can type on the new keyboard.


In other words, these changes are all great if you pretend your laptop is actually a desktop.


I started to get cramp in my little finger using a magic mouse eventually I switched to an old ps2 ms mouse (the classic that they have just reintroduced) that I had stock piled years ago

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