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Design flaw behind MacBook Pro’s “stage light” effect (ifixit.org)
401 points by vinhnx on Jan 22, 2019 | hide | past | web | favorite | 377 comments

I really don't understand Apple's obsessions with thinness. Do they really think that a few millimetres off the depth of a laptop is worth sacrificing reliability like this?

I thought the same during the last iPhone keynote where they touted "an extra 30 minutes of battery life" as a major feature: just make it slightly thicker and you could add hours to the battery life.

> I really don't understand Apple's obsessions with thinness.

Steve Jobs once prioritized a thing and found success. Now that Jobs is dead Apple is cargo-culting his past decisions.

See also: hyper-aggressive removal of ports. It made sense in 1998 when we were talking about clearly obsolete things like Apple's nonstandard DIN-8 serial ports and SCSI-1, less so in 2018 when we're talking about performant and ubiquitous standards like USB-A and the headphone jack.

I hadn't thought of it like this before, but the cargo cult metaphor is spot on. It reminds me of when I was studying sculpture and one of the tutors said that there were plenty of people "making things that look like art," but those things weren't true artworks, as if they lacked a soul of some kind. It now feels like Apple are "making things that look like Apple products," but aren't delivering the deep quality which that used to entail.

>> It now feels like Apple are "making things that look like Apple products," but aren't delivering the deep quality which that used to entail.

Oh, wow, you really nailed it right on the head, here.

I still use a 'Pixar lamp/sunflower' iMac G4 for writing, design, and I have a massive collection of cartoon seasons that are nicely formatted for it that I watch on the side.

To look at the iMac G4, with it's stunningly beautiful design, and the insanely stable OS X 10.5.8, and compare it to the God-awful 2017 Touch Bar MacBook Pro that my work gave me, is to truly see a company, that in 15 years, has managed to go from creating one of the most inspiring (and still functional!) machines in computing history, to something that, in 2019, I can't even put a USB key in without a $50+ dongle, and can barely type on.

The 2017 MacBook Pro looks sorta like the 2015 MacBook Pro I have in my home music studio...but, with virtually the same i5 processor, the same 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, and 1.5GB of VRAM, the more-expensive 2017 model lacks: • standard USB ports that don't require adapters • a standard HDMI port • standard thunderbolt ports (of which I have purchased many existing dongles for) • MagSafe (has saved my butt more times than I could describe) • An SSD not soldered to the board (yes, the 2013-2015 models are still removable) • standard SD card port (I do video and photo editing. having one of these on the side is priceless)

To purchase a 2017/18 MacBook Pro to replace my studio laptop would be a significant downgrade in terms of functionality for my workflow. I mean, significant. These devices look almost identical - yet one of them is virtually useless for my needs by design compared to one from years before.

I loathe using my work laptop. I'm using it right now. I complained to my partner about the butterfly keyboard and yesterday I finally made her use it. She uses the 2015 all the time and made about seven mistakes in the first sentence. The lack of haptic feedback on the touch bar is baffling. These are the kinds of things Apple used to have the foresight to address ahead of time. Now we pay more, and get less.

How the mighty fall.

Removal of Magsafe has been the most irksome for me. The one revolutionary feature in those laptops which I don't see anywhere. It has saved me like PP many a times when I would have tripped over if I were using another laptop. Due to this I don't see myself upgrading beyond my 2013 MBP.

> The one revolutionary feature in those laptops which I don't see anywhere.

Apple patented it and refused to license the technology. Hopefully when the patent expires (2025?), we'll see more applications of it.



From the linked Wikipedia article:

>The basic concept of MagSafe is copied from the magnetic power connectors that are part of many deep fryers and Japanese countertop cooking appliances since the early 2000s in order to avoid spilling their dangerously hot contents.[2][3][4] Apple was granted US Patent No. 7311526 on MagSafe ("Magnetic connector for electronic device", issued in 2007) as MagSafe was deemed to be a sufficient improvement due to the connector being symmetrical and reversible, and the fact that magnets within a connector are arranged in opposing polarities for improved coupling strength.

IMO, it's outrageous that improvement was enough for the patent not to have failed on prior art grounds.

I have one of those Japanese countertop cooking appliances. The magnetic connector is symmetrical. It's very obvious that Magsafe ripped off the design.

Doesn't Microsoft's Surface line have a similar power connector?

It’s a bit different but yes it does.

Apple and MS cross-license patents.

> standard thunderbolt ports

This is an unfair characterization. The new MacBook Pros have standard Thunderbolt ports, it just so happens that the new standard has a different shape than what you were used to.

Yup. Been using Macs for what seems like half my life, and I agree that around 2015 was "peak Apple". Sad to see, but at least it's motivating me to transition more fully to Linux, which I should have done long ago but the timing seems right now with stability/maturity.

Bought a Thinkpad (T480s) as a replacement for the (great) 2013 MBA and it's running nicely so far, good quality, small. Dualboot BitLocker WinPro and LUKS Ubuntu could be easier, but gracefully the recipe in the Ubuntu wiki took care of it. Full boot up is slow, but I'm almost always running Linux and the sleep functionality works reliably and is quick. --

The (2017/8?) MBP of my work collegue starts having problems with the keyboard, he can still type atm but it is annoying to think that soon a service visit with all the hassle might be necessary.

did exactly the same, although I’m now thinking of that sexy X1 Yoga. That being said, having to deal with Windows 10 almost (but not quite) takes away the advantage of the superb hardware design - the keyboard alone still makes it a winner for me though.

I've got the X1 Yoga (based on HN recommendations) and I'd really think carefully before getting it.

The Dolby HDR screens have a really bad red/pink tint out of the box (about +10% to +15% shift) and I had to buy a Spyder color colorimeter to fix it. The speakers are really terrible, even for speech-driven content like Duolingo. Using headphones isn't much improvement, the Realtek audio drivers are really bad with clicks whenever audio starts & stops (also happens on the X1 Extreme). [1]

Most notably, the laptop sometimes doesn't charge. The orange charging light would come on, but when I came back the next morning, the battery level hadn't increased. It would only charge while Windows was running. I think it's been fixed in a recent firmware update, but it's been frustrating.

I do love the keyboard and form factor though. I haven't returned it, but often wonder if I should've got a Surface Book or even a Dell instead. Honestly I'd switch back to Apple if I could trust their hardware to be reliable & upgradeable.

[1] https://forums.lenovo.com/t5/ThinkPad-X-Series-Laptops/X1-Ex...

thanks for the write-up! I see, there’s some minor problems with my 480s related to power, it seems that and more got worse. I can’t justify the price and lack of thunderbolt of Surface Book tbh. I’d switch back to Macbooks the moment they’d become reasonable about ports and keyboards again - who knows, maybe it’s going to happen when looking at the new Mac mini.

In any case I find it really annoying how things are going in PC-land. Around 2010 wasn’t just peak Mac, but peak everything it seems to me. Ubuntu 10, Windows 7, macOS 10.6(?), SSDs, fast and reliable I/O, it all came together. Maybe you can count till 2012 with Retina, but I’ve yet to wait for a machine with Hi-DPI that has both reliable hardware (GPU) AND software (i.e. without terrible scaling issues, especially when also connecting external screens).

<slow clap>

I'm guessing you don't have kernal task 2000% CPU problems? Because my 2017 MacBook Pro is 5x the cost of my Chromebook and rarely more functional.

Something seems wrong with your SMC.

Yep. I had his problem, too, and resetting the SMC fixed it immediately.

It's probably a matter of getting used to the new keyboard. You can't expect to switch to another keyboard and instantly type error free. After using a butterfly keyboard for a while, I struggle a lot with the macbook 2015 one. The keys feel super high and I feel like I have to press the keys super hard to register.

Im two years in and I hate the keyboard. I actually didn’t hate it to start with because the bigger keys felt nice and I figured my accuracy would return after I got used to it, but it’s been literally years and I still make constant typos on this thing. I recently started using an external old-Mac-style keyboard and suddenly I can type without mistakes again, it’s honestly bizarre. Muscle memory wouldn’t last this long, there’s something about the newer design that just doesn’t work for me

Yeah I love the keyboard and now I find others (including mechanical) to feel super mushy and unresponsive. I suspect I'm in a very small minority though.

pay more, and get less. - Apple (2015 - Bankruptcy)

Every few years everyone forgets that all the apple products more than a few years old all had their own quality problems.

There is a difference between quality problems (which all three of my 2011 and 2015 MacBook Pros have never had) and blatant disregard for the consumer by downgrading the product significantly and increasing the price.

The constant attribution of all things Apple during Steve Jobs’ tenure to Jobs personally is itself a form of cargo cult.

Apple prioritized thinness while Jobs was CEO, and Apple continues to prioritize thinness. Jobs is gone but many of the same product executives remain—Cook, Ive, Schiller, etc and many of their deputies. Is it really that surprising that the product goals are also unchanged?

Complaints about thinness are not a new phenomenon—look back at how the first MacBook Air was greeted for an example. (intro’d by Jobs)

While I think you're right that Apple's devotion to thinness even when it becomes problematic isn't a "cargo cult" kind of problem, I think you're underestimating the pull specific executives can have.

My own suspicion -- buttressed with some off-the-record comments with Apple folks -- is that it's actually Jony Ive who prioritizes thinness over all else. Steve Jobs may not have been an engineer or a designer, but he was often an excellent "editor," of the sort who'd look at a design and say "Why do you need this" or "If you add this it'll be a thousand times more useful" or even "You're focusing on the wrong thing, start over." Post-Jobs, the executive who could do that with Ive was Scott Forstall. Post-Forstall, there doesn't seem to be anyone who does that with Ive anymore.

I'm hopeful that the string of highly visible problems with this most recent iteration of MacBooks will, if nothing else, give someone else in the company power to start pushing back. I don't hate my 2017-era MacBook Pro and I haven't had any real problems with it, but the fact that I'm worried about having problems with it in a way that I've rarely been with other Apple hardware is a problem in and of itself.

Interesting, thanks. The executives to push back on hardware product issues these days would probably be Riccio or Schiller, right? (excluding Cook) Certainly seems possible that they don't have as much pull in that conversation as they might want.

I think most of us just don't have enough insight into how Apple develops products to really nail this down (maybe you do; I certainly don't).

Does Jony Ive say "it must be this thin" (holds fingers apart) and then engineering has to go off and remove MagSafe and create a totally new keyboard? Or is engineering already working on new keyboard ideas, and they bring one to the table and say "hey what can we do with this?"

In any case, it's about how the team is operating. Jobs obviously had an impact on that, but where I disagreed with the GP was this idea that thousands of people at Apple just wake up every day and say "dwuhhhhh, what did Steve Jobs do" and then just dumbly do that. Let's give the folks there some credit--which also means holding them accountable for their own decisions.

> is that it's actually Jony Ive who prioritizes thinness over all else.

> * Post-Jobs, the executive who could do that with Ive was Scott Forstall.*

Out of all the top Apple Forum, you are the only one I find who shares the same opinion as I do. So glad I am not alone.

Add to that is software design which Jony now also takes over, It was ( rumoured ) Tim Cook's idea to group the "Design" unit into one. And it was obvious hardware and software design has little in common, and Jony made a complete mess with iOS 7.

I don't know what went wrong. But I miss Scott Forstall. For some reason big companies has a tendency to force their best people out once their previous CEO mentor left their post, Patrick Gelsinger at Intel, Scott Forstall at Apple.

There is also a glossing over of the shitty stuff apple put out when Jobs was around:

G4 Cube (thermal issues)

Water Cooled G5 (they leak after about 5 years)

iPhone 4 (Antenna issues)

The original Air is a little different, because it was a separate product line marketed to people who valued portability above performance, with the MacBook Pro catering to the reverse. Recent iPhones are like if they'd announced the Air and then canceled all their other laptops.

The new MBP is like the Air: a whole bunch of unproven assumptions in a new product category. They should've called it the Macbook Touch and let people decide for themselves if they wanted to give up on ports, keys and magsafe. The 2015 MBP remains an amazing machine.

All the current iPhone models are thicker than the 6s.

I'm not sure it's that simple. The Mac line is still doing very well, especially compared to other PC manufacturers. It appears that Apple mostly views the critique of people like us as outliers or else they would have changed this focus on thinness if they saw it was affecting sales.

I think it really comes down to software -- MacOS -- which is still significantly better for certain kind of work than Windows or even Linux. Until that changes, people are going to continue to tolerate these hardware problems with Apple computers. I'm definitely one of them.

Just for the record, I have two Touchbar laptops. One from 2016 and one from 2017. The 2016 one, when I first bought it, had the busted keyboard on day one, right from the Apple Store. I went back and swapped it for another one and that had the same issue but with different keys. The third one worked but it started having issues about a year into use. I had that one repaired and now it's having issues again, not even a year after (the symptoms show once the laptop has heated up a bit). It's comical how atrociously bad these laptops are in the reliability department.

My 2017 one was slightly better, in that it worked when I bought it, but it also started having keyboard issues about a year after. Several of my friends who bought the same laptop around the same time also had to take theirs in for service for keyboard issues.

Your comment is the one that, for me, has broken the proverbial camel's back. I'm a fanboi from all the way back to the 1980's and have never owned a non-Apple machine. I'm typing this on a mid-2012 15" MacBook Pro which has NEVER had a single problem and runs as fast as my iPhone SX Max. I haven't taken it outside my home in years. My 2009 27" iMac died a couple months ago and I miss it, but I have put off replacing it. I've read so much here about the current MacBook Pros and their myriad problems that I'm reluctant to get one when my current machine dies. It just occurred to me that I can solve both my problems (lack of a big screen and inevitable failure of my 2012 MacBook Pro) for a lot less money than it would take to replace either of the above-named machines with their exact descendants. What I'm going to do — either before or after this MacBook Pro dies — is get a 21" iMac. $1099 with plenty of screen, way easier to move around the house than the old 27", and no keyboard issues. Not to mention the couple thousand dollars that stay in my pocket. Thank you.

2012 Macbooks were notorious for hard drive flex cables breaking, which is basically the same issue mentioned in the article, except for hard drive, not display. The difference was, though, that the cable was a separate part, so when it broke, it was a $20 repair.

Absolutely this. I'm typing this on a 2012 MBP and it has had 6 hard drive flex cable replacements by the Apple Store over 3 years, each time requiring a week of downtime. On the last service they replaced the entire motherboard, because they thought it can't possibly the flex cable if they've replaced it six times, but it's already starting to show the symptoms that it might need another replacement soon...

I love my 2012 MBP, but ultimately it's been so unreliable (and I can't stand the new butterfly keyboards) that it pushed me into buying a Windows laptop. I still use the MBP quite regularly when it's working though.

Mid 2012 MBP seems to be really popular. Thing just lasts forever. Especially if you have i7 + 16 GB RAM configuration, then there's still not much reason to buy a MBP right now. $3000 for the privilege to carry around USB dongles, no thank you.

For now I'm getting a Mac Mini instead. Seems like the option with the least amount of risk attached... It has a fast desktop i7, that should last 5+ years, and its not that pricey either.

A lot of people seem to have forgotten that many 2012 retina MacBooks had bad screens. Mine did. Mine also had problems with USB or the bus it's on cutting out, causing the internal keyboard to stop working. Most of my internals were replaced for that one and it still happens occasionally. Overall it's still a good computer which is why I continue to use it.

Apple has had quality issues for much longer than most people realize. It keeps getting worse.

I worked for an Apple repair shop from 2008ish to 2014ish.

The mid 2012 laptop I bought new went through two separate optical drives before I stopped using the drive altogether and put in another hard drive. The laptop also had two bad logicboards from NVidias recall iirc. One board died a month after getting it new, and the other died almost 3 years later.

To this day it is still going strong. I am starting to run into some video ram type issues (I think). I get random lines on any screen (external / internal) and a full reboot "fixes" it. I don't want to replace it, but after all the Apple changes (iOS devices vs "Pro" devices mainly), I just don't think any of their laptops fit my needs for a device anymore.

Like you said though, Apple has always had some hardware type issues like this. I remember HP, Dell and Lenovo all having big issues like that too when I was on the bench.

My 2012 MBP is still pretty great, but newer MacOS releases have put a strain on reliability, for me at least: When plugging in an external display while it's asleep, there's a significant chance it won't wake up without a forced restart.

"Your computer restarted because of a problem", and subsequently having 20 apps open up on login is the bane of my existence on MacOS. Same issue with my work touchbar MBP.

Heh I think the iMac is a good move, that's probably what I will do. I definitely am tired of spending ~$2k on a portable that I cannot depend on.

What I'm doing right now is just using my MacBook pro in lid-closed mode with an external monitor and the Apple wireless keyboard/trackpad, so I can avoid those keyboard issues entirely. It's very stupid I need to even do this, but here we are :)

Why not use a Mac Mini for that purpose, and then maybe keep a different MacBook for when you needed to go portable somewhere?

Hackintosh is pretty easy these days, even properly including hardware acceleration and audio support. I have a tower I can use for gaming with Windows and music via Logic Pro X on Mac, I would definitely recommend trying that route. Best price point, most customizable, most flexible

> It appears that Apple mostly views the critique of people like us as outliers or else they would have changed this focus on thinness if they saw it was affecting sales.

Apple seems to have a very insular culture. They seem very resistant to even acknowledging external feedback, let alone changing course based on it.

> I think it really comes down to software -- MacOS -- which is still significantly better for certain kind of work than Windows or even Linux.

That, and the Apple brand still has a lot of premium cachet. The utilitarian fact that MacOS is the most successful desktop UNIX only really matters to developers.

> The Mac line is still doing very well, especially compared to other PC manufacturers.

Apple built up a lot of positive brand credibility over the second Jobs era. That credibility is eroding now, but that kind of erosion takes time to show up in sales figures. All that banked-up credibility can drive sales for a long time until it's completely drawn down. But operating that way is like living off the money in your 401(k) -- it lets you pretend nothing's wrong until the moment the balance hits zero, at which point everything goes wrong all at once.

Techies are more exposed to the details of hardware than normal people are, so Apple should be looking at their complaints as the leading edge of tomorrow's problems rather than as an outlier. Back when Apple couldn't sell computers to save their lives, the techies were the first to notice their products had improved enough to be worth recommending. Now everyone wants to buy their products, but the techies are the first to notice that maybe they shouldn't.

Could you get a cargo cult on the consumer side too?

Like the brand keeps its aura of quality longer than the quality as been maintained? That would just be a phase shift between the reality and perception.

> Like the brand keeps its aura of quality longer than the quality as been maintained? That would just be a phase shift between the reality and perception.

That's a phenomenon that actually exists, and is deliberately exploited by private equity. A stark example is newspapers: there's a company that's aggressively buying them up, and once they acquire one they slash the newsroom staff to drastically cut costs. That results in a much inferior product, but it takes time for their customers to realize and even longer for them to cancel their subscriptions en masse. In the meantime they collect greater profits as they kill the business.

The fact that lots of customers buy a thing does not necessarily mean that thing is presently a good product that serves their needs.

> A stark example is newspapers: there's a company that's aggressively buying them up, and once they acquire one they slash the newsroom staff to drastically cut costs.

That's been the norm for the newspaper business since at least the 1970s. The current company you are probably thinking of doing that is Digital First Media, which has mostly been getting attention for it's unsolicited bid for Gannett, a company that was well know for doing the same thing during the 1970s-1990s (and was recently considered a threat for doing that again with it's—ultimately abandoned—bid to take over Tribune Publishing.)

Yeah, sure, it's called Fanboy-ism. It is rampant on iMore and Reddit.

What are you talking about, apple is definitely not in the lead sales volume wise. They are typically 4th or 5th. They are still 7-10 percent just like they were ten and twenty years ago.

Did I ever say they were leading in unit sales? Please don’t twist my words.

Apple of all companies has never been about mass volume, but instead higher revenue and profit per unit. It’s the same with iPhone compared to Android.

I’d much rather own a company with 1000 units sold at 10mil revenue over 100,000 units with the same revenue.


Your comment said that they are doing very well compared to other PC vendors. Plain and simple they are not. They exist.

HP is doing very well compared to mfgs named after a fruit. That is accurate.

Don't know why you're downvoted; Dell, HP and Lenovo all individually outsell Apple laptops. They spread their sales over many more models though so Apple wins on the most-sold-SKU metric.

I picked on Apple. That is against HN guidelines.

I'll double down though. The Dell developer editions are far superior than any MacBook

I think that's exactly it. They don't know what to do without Steve. So the company runs off of memories of him, which aren't enough.

I think it's a fragile position, it's like the critic of the rock band always producing the same music album after album, and then they evolve their stye and now they are not the same and it was better before. You can take both position depending on the weather, and there is no absolute truth.

What I feel is a stronger and more measurable critique is that the quality of Apple has gone down (i.e. I might be wrong, but there are numbers to decide).

Apple has the luxury of product lines which allows them to cater to different markets. They have the MacBook, Pro, and Air.

It would be strange to see U2, U2 Country, U2 Jazz. Apple in this example is probably better compared to a music label than a single rock band.

Unfortunately, they don't really have a non-luxury product line. The Mini is still poor value for money, and this means they have nothing to offer at the lower end for entry-level or business use.

> It would be strange to see U2, U2 Country, U2 Jazz.

Oh good gawd, please, please, please, don't let Bono see that as a suggestion

I agree about the thinness, but I'm very much looking forward to a future with USB-C for everything. The failure there isn't in the new standard, but that the new standard doesn't enforce only one or two cable types and clearly labeled power ratings.

frail cabling is part of the very deliberate engineered obsolescence.

I worked in electronics OEMs since 2007, and I tell you that such things are way more widespread than you think.

When Amazon was making its first forays into electronics in 2007 with Kindle, the agent who was working for them was squeezing my first employer very, very hard. We were one of companies in the chain for sourcing accessories.

They were literally asking us to shave single microns from plastic parts, and deliberately guiding us into using underrated components. The phrase "planned obsolescence" was never said out loud, but it was 100% clear that they wanted it.


As somebody in engineering, I can add that even cheapest Chinese mechanical sliprings have no problems at all transporting the EDP signal.

To add to that, even some of the cheapest clam shell phones were using slip rings or capacitive couplings instead of putting wires through the hinge even 15 years ago.

The corollary to that is that you're just repeating the mistake of the naysayers last time.

One of the most "egregious" omissions was either a floppy or an Iomega Zip drive. But a few short years later USB thumb drives became ubiquitous.

USB-C is the future, we're already seeing a plethora of displays launching with them, and they obviate the need for another power supply. Yes, right at this moment it's a bit of a pain (not massively though, I have a dock at work and plug a single cable in and my dual monitors, keyboard and mouse just start working - with my 2015 MBP I had lots of ports, but had to plug and unplug 3 cables each time I wanted to move my laptop).

I'd argue that maybe they went a couple of years too early, but they saw what the next big thing would be and jumped.

Why not have both USB-A and C? Plenty of non-Apple laptops do it that way. A USB port is far smaller that a whole floppy drive.

The rip off the band-aid shift isn't just about making the leap to a better universal connector, it's also about kickstarting the peripheral market. Manufacturers of peripherals heavily optimize on the short term, so if USB-A is still around, they'll keep their R&D low and just pump out more of that. Moving to USB-C in one fell swoop creates instant demand and forces them to move.

Apple is one of the few companies that can act as a market maker, bringing tons of consumers with money over to a new technology. The strategy was sound, and worked in the past (see iMac's USB in 1997, iPod connector, and lightning connector), though I think USB-C proved a bit too complex for many peripheral manufacturers to put out good products right away. These days though there's a ton of great USB-C peripherals out there.

What I don't get is why not just replace the headphone jack with a smaller one? e.g. a 1.5mm one?

> What I don't get is why not just replace the headphone jack with a smaller one? e.g. a 1.5mm one?

Before the iPhone, traditional cell phones already had smaller headphone jacks: a 2.5mm one was pretty standard. One of the innovative things the iPhone did was replace the smaller port with a standard 3.5mm jack, which allowed people to use regular (potentially high-quality) 3.5mm headphones with it, rather than a crappy 2.5mm headset. The decision eliminated pointless proprietary-ness to integrate with a more vibrant ecosystem.

Job's decision on the iMac to embrace USB and drop the Mac's proprietary ports could be seen in a similar light.

I wish those kinds of decisions were the ones present-day Apple decided to cargo-cult.

Yeah, but the EU has been trying to drag the same Apple kicking and screaming into using a common connector for phone chargers since at least 2011. The iPhone XS and XR still use the Lightning connector.

AFAIK the wording of the EU targets in the end was mostly about the charger, and shipping a USB charger and a USB-to-iDevice cable was tolerated as a solution.

With the latest iPad Pro using USB-C (as well as macbooks) makes me think this will be happening soon (fingers crossed)

I work in phone repair, and I have to say the lightning connector is superior to usb c in durability. 9/10 times a phone comes in "because it's not charging" there's dirt in the port, some tweezers and they're on their way.

Whenever a USB port is involved, it's usually smashed and requires soldering to fix. Given that most modern phones have AMOLED screens, and those cost 200$+ just for our store to buy the part, and that many phones require you to remove the screen to get to the charging port.... Well you see where this is going.

If I remember correctly, USB-C and Lightning have the same guaranteed insertion cycles.

How quick you forget, there were a lot of people complaining about the iMac dropping ports and using USB. If you want to see what it is look, look around at the people complaining these days about going all in on USB-C.

Yep this is exactly the same. People complained about the new lightning connector in 2012 as well. The one difference is USB-C is more complex and some peripheral manufacturers haven't been building stuff to spec.

The original iPhone used the 2.5mm jack and bundled a 2.5->3.5 adapter. The small jack sucked. A year later the iPhone 3G came out with the regular 3.5mm jack.

>What I don't get is why not just replace the headphone jack with a smaller one?

The explanation that made sense to me mentioned 2 design constraints:

1) the jack surface-mounted to the PCB took up space that conflicted with an edge-to-edge LCD/OLED display. If you've ever disassembled an iPhone, you'll see that removing the home button and extending the backlight assembly to the bottom edge means the headphone jack has to go away.

2) waterproof phone. The traditional jack was always an entry point for water damage.

Apparently, Apple studied millions of phone users and determined that more people wanted waterproof phones with bigger edge-to-edge screens than the headphone jack.

> waterproof phone.

Samsung has no problem making waterproof phones with headphone jacks. I'm not sure why, if you can put a USB/Thunderbolt/whatever jack on a phone and still be waterproof a headphone jack is some an intractable problem.

>waterproof a headphone jack is some an intractable problem.

The explanation (possibly inaccurate) I read was that the waterproof jacks were more expensive. I noticed the new Samsung A8s has copied Apple's decision to remove headphone jack. Sony also removed the headphone jack. There seems to be an unavoidable engineering+cost motivation that causes multiple companies to remove that jack. Is it the edge-to-hedge screen? extra space for the haptic feedback? Better battery life because it doesn't feed the analog circuitry for that 3.5mm jack? I don't know.

> I noticed the new Samsung A8s has copied Apple's decision to remove headphone jack.

Sure, and there are perennial rumors that real soon now that will be reflected on flagships (first the S10, but then that faded, now the rumor is either the Note 10 or S11.)

> There seems to be an unavoidable engineering+cost motivation that multiple companies (including Sony) to remove that jack.

Well, yeah, of course, if nothing else, it takes space that could be used for something else. The Samsung Note 10 rumor centers around trading it for a bigger battery, for instance. Obviously, it's not a trade-off free choice, and what it's traded for may not be the same between different manufacturers that decide to axe it. (The same with SD card slots, which lots of manufacturers have done—even Samsung several flagship generations back, though they reversed.)

Apple certainly isn't hurting for profits, in general or on a per-unit basis. Fobbing it off as "Your iPhone would cost $1.08 more, so we're looking out for you!" is just Apple spinning it the way they want.

1.5mm is way too thin for a consumer-aimed cord standard. I can imagine the headlines for "SnapGate" already...

That would almost certainly require a dongle in all use cases anyway...

I'd love to see a headphone jack standard (maybe based on on USB-C?) that's digital or analog and doesn't short whenever you plug/unplug stuff.

At some point through the chain, you have to have a change from a digital source (the music file on your computer) to an analog signal (that is pushing audio out of your headphones). If you are changing the headphone jack standard on the headphone end (changing it to a usb-c jack, for example) would simply be pushing the DAC into the headphone. Not only would this needlessly increase costs, it'd also remove the flexibility.

I personally think that more headphones should have the threaded 3.5mm jack on which you can adapt either the 1/4" jack or say, a usb-c or lightning adapter. This would effectively make it a permanent addition to your headphones without having to keep track of a separate dongle.

The lightning port would be ideal for that, except it’s proprietary.

Where are those sweet sweet licensing fees they enjoyed from the proprietary connectors?

Kind of misses the point. I'd rather like to charge and use my earphones at the same time. It's not an unobvious use case!

Just wait, the next iPhone will be symmetrical with a notch and a lightning connector on each side.

And the solution already exists within the product: wireless charging.

There are a few adapters that do audio out and lightning in for charging. Apple makes (made?) a dock that was similar. They all have pretty bad reviews unfortunately. USB-C and Android seem to have the same lack of solutions.

I was looking for one because one of our cars has no bluetooth, and the other has bluetooth that won't talk to any recent iPhone, and my iphone 5S is getting flaky. Wish I hadn't missed the SE over the weekend.

re: thinness - Jobs pushed for machines like the Air (and later the original Retina MacBook pro) because at the time, laptops were still thick and heavy.

We're good enough. We don't need to go thinner. Similar to battery life. After 10-12 hours, there's no point in it, except for a small few.

Agreed on the thinness part. I'm halfway expecting a bendgate scandal for their laptop lines.

However, the 10-12 hours of battery life is kind of misleading. To get that, you have to be doing the absolute minimum on the laptop. Doing anything graphics related requiring the GPU to kick in means your not going to get anywhere near that time.

> We're good enough

This isn't a decision you get to make. I want thinner, lighter. Always. Most people do.

I'll take thinner and lighter, but not at the expense of quality, usability, or other ergonomics.

USB-A is not exactly performance when it takes entire day to back up your phone.

Still I'd love that port to be there, event if I used if only couple of times a year.

It's almost as if they should've kept USB-A connector but improved the interface for future...

How do you get people to adopt USB-C if all laptops still have USB-A and manufacturing USB-C devices just means that you can't sell to all the old laptops without it?

I suspect a lot of these things happened when Bob Mansfield retired the first time...

Minimalism gone made. They'll soon be so minimal that they won't have a working device and we'll need to shift to a non-Apple device.

They have decided that form over function is the way to go. I was considering purchasing a Macbook - not any more!

Super-thin things are great. Some people love them and will pay dearly to have them. The problem is not in building thin devices, it's with ONLY building thin devices. In a complete product line there should be an ultra-thin laptop, and a thicker "PRO" model that has a decent set of ports (bring back USB-A so that we can do our pro work without dongles please!), is reliable, has a good keyboard and battery life. I should be able to choose whether I need thinness or not (in my case, I don't much care).

The MacBook line is going through a dark age right now, where seemingly people who design them are not the same people that use them. My personal suspicion is that Jony Ive (whom I do not consider to be a "Pro" mac user) became too powerful and people can't oppose his taste and his decisions.

The worst thing about all of this is that Apple is (still) so far ahead of everybody else. I really, really wish there was a viable competitor. The problem is that with the lead that Apple has with MacOS and iOS and with the ridiculous amounts of money that they have it will be very difficult to catch up.

>> The MacBook line is going through a dark age right now, where seemingly people who design them are not the same people that use them.

That might be true, at least for some subset of MacBook Pro users, but it is also possible to have a slightly more optimistic view. Instead of being in a 'dark age' you could also see the current models as 'transitional', in the sense that the long-term goal is to have a MBP that is very powerful and thin and caters to all target audiences.

Look at the very first MacBook Air for example, that was a pretty shitty laptop in almost every way, except for thinness. In fact, I don't think it improved on earlier Apple laptops in any other way. And it was ridiculously expensive to boot. But it did set a precedent: in terms of size, Apple laptops would from that point on be measured against the MBA, and technology just had to catch up, eventually resulting in the later MBA's. Which I actually think are one of the best laptop series Apple ever made.

I don't disagree that for some people the current MBP line-up is a regression, even though I absolutely love mine and have no problems with it except its cost. And I consider myself relatively far towards the power-user demographic, using my laptop primarily for development and heavy compute loads. But my feeling is that the MBP we will see one or two generations from now will be much better and thin, and everyone will have forgotten about USB-A ports and keyboard design flaws.

Ultimately building ultra-thing requires design tradeoffs. If you can build a thin machine with a powerful processor, lots of ram, huge SSD, powerful graphics, long battery life, and big beautiful screen you could build a thicker laptop that's even more powerful and has better expansion options.

You can do a lot with good design, but it's asking too much of Apple's engineers to break the laws of thermodynamics.

By that logic a laptop is never big enough, as you can always cram more and more into it, until you end up with a desktop workstation.

The premise is that at some point the components you can fit in a thin and light laptop, are powerful enough for any use case people realistically expect to be able to use a laptop for. Obviously you can still make something even more powerful, but the people who care about these things are very likely to go for a workstation anyway.

It has always been like this, but now it looks like we are almost at the point where CPU's and GPU's are becoming power-efficient enough that the law of diminishing returns says you actually can cram enough power in a thin and light laptop like the MBP to satisfy just about anyone who wouldn't get a desktop workstation anyway.

Case in point: just have a look at gaming laptops. While you can still get ridiculous monstrosities that weigh 12 kg and run less than one hour on a single charge under load, the trend is thinner and lighter for this category as well.

> By that logic a laptop is never big enough, as you can always cram more and more into it, until you end up with a desktop workstation.

That's right on the nose. The tradeoff is portability. You sacrifice performance to make it easier to carry around. Sometimes people are ok with something that's harder to transport to have more power.

Engineering is about compromises. You can't have a laptop toat is both very powerful and very thin and caters to all audiences.

If this were possible, Apple with their resources would have already created this super-laptop and there would be only one product in their lineup.

They actually do build a thick computer with lots of ports: The 2018 Mac mini. It's awesome. Thunderbolt, USB-C, USB-A, HDMI, Ethernet, Headphone .... it really has everything you need.

It's not really portable, but if you're a Pro, and need all those ports, chances are that you work at a desk and don't actually need a portable Mac.

I don't know - I do quite like being able to swap between the office, working from home, working from a coffeeshop, and having the ability to deal with emergent emergencies anywhere with my 2015 MBP. A charging port, two USB-A, and two Thunderbolt is more than sufficient for my needs; the headphone jack is a nice touch.

It's a shame that the MBP line went backwards in terms of functionality. If I wanted a gimped MBP I'd get an Air.

It also just came out, and for years this device did not exist / was woefully outdated. Glad to see that change.

What makes you feel that there are no viable competitors? On the hardware, build quality, screen quality, customization, fixit score and ports scales the HP Spectre and Lenovo carbon have been winning critics.

Is it osx only that makes you say this? I've seen hackintoshes in the past, would that be viable?

Yes, macOS and companion iOS are the real problem here. Together with the hardware they form an "ecosystem", which is conducive to getting things done, especially for people who need to juggle many responsibilities at once (think entrepreneurs/bootstrappers) and who really do not have time to deal with OS issues.

And please believe me that I did my homework before saying "no viable competitors". I regularly use Linux, Mac OS and Windows. It's not even close. I mean, seriously, Linux doesn't even have a sane concept of a system-wide clipboard. So in the end, hardware itself doesn't matter much, unless you mostly stare at it. If you want to use it to get work done, what matters is the entire package: hardware, OS, application software, companion devices.

Millions of people "get work done" on Windows, though.

And, conversely, you only need to scan the comments here to see some about how they had to deal with OS issues on Macs.

Yeah, and millions of people in the world don’t have running water or any kind of heat in their homes, and those homes don’t have any insulation. And those homes might not even have three walls, much less four.

Just because millions of people might live in abject poverty doesn’t mean that I should aspire to doing so.

System wide clipboard? Interesting, what does that mean? I've never had issues copy/pasting.

And they're already set up for this with their MacBook Air SKU. That product should be optimizing for thinness at all costs, while the MacBook Pro should be about functionality, usability, and power.

Instead the MacBook Pro is essentially "the laptop with a larger screen".

Diversifying the product line for every single customer desire will lead to Apple's slow evolution into Dell. We already have a Dell. Apple needs to be free to focus on making computers the Apple way.

I’d take “dell that works properly”

>(bring back USB-A so that we can do our pro work without dongles please!)

Serious question: what hardware are you using that requires dongles? I spent about $30 replacing the cables on all my devices with USB-C. I have never used a dongle. Is there pro hardware out there with USB-A cable permanently attached?

USB thumbdrives?

Easily replaced with USB-C/USB-A dual interface if you need to interact with older hardware.

I understand that not everyone wants to re-buy all their gear, but this a really cheap change for anyone who is already shelling out $2000 or more for a pro-level laptop. We are almost 3 years into the USB-C-only MacBook era, prices have dropped significantly on those peripherals.

Honestly? I love thinness and lightness. The evolution of laptops from the space equivalent of textbooks to the space equivalent of a magazine is amazing when you're constantly on the go, have other things that need to go into your shoulder bag, and don't want your shoulder/neck to hurt at the end of the day.

Thinness is amazing. If your laptop sits on your desk all day long, then of course it's irrelevant. But if you're using your laptop for its portability, taking it to multiple spots all day long (classes, conference rooms, buildings, across town), then thinness and lightness becomes an absolute top priority.

I've been using laptops for 20 years. I wouldn't go backwards ever. They've just gotten better and better.

I think most of HN is possibly just not the target market here.

The question is actually "at what cost?" Sure, all things being equal thinner/lighter is great. BUT, what trade off's are being made in the name of thinness? If you need to sacrifice 50% expected lifetime to make something 0.5mm thinner, is that a good trade off?

All my Apple laptops have lasted many years longer than laptops from other brands, and also have higher resale value at the end.

I'm not a hardware expert who's qualified to judge the actual tradeoffs Apple's making and the actual failure rates, but the big picture seems to be clearly that they're managing both thinness and longevity quite well, despite whatever isolated cases of failures there may be.

Apple certainly isn't perfect, but I've had more hardware problems with "non-thin" laptops by other brands than I have with thin laptops by Apple.

The target market being people who don't want their screens to work lol? Sure, thinness and lightness are beneficial to an extent, but surely you see there's a point of diminishing returns? What's the optimal thinness? Do you want a laptop that's a millimeter thick and crumples like a squashed tin can in your bag? Nobody is saying we should go back to textbook-thick laptops, that's a total strawman.

We've reached incredibly thin and light tech, but there's a point where making it thinner vastly reduces usability and reliability without really producing any worthwhile benefits. And I hate the "not the target market" excuse. I hear that all the time, and it always seems like such a cop-out. Is there a demographic for broken displays and keyboards which apple desperately needs to pander to? What about professionals and power users? It's a Macbook Pro, after all. This should be exactly the target market. I think most pro users would rather have that millimeter back to make the keyboard and display work, it didn't make it bulky by any means. It was still incredibly svelte and light and thin.

The X1 carbon is slightly thicker (.03 inches more) than the air but weights .5 pounds less.

It also has 2 full size USB ports + 2 USB C + headphone + a card reader.

The laptop is more expensive than a mac book air but it's more an example that you don't have to sacrifice ports for weight.

As well as full-sized HDMI.

I'm wedded to MacOS, but am in the process of hackintoshing a refurbished X1 Carbon. There are still a few issues but it feels so much more user friendly than the current model MacBooks.

HN participants are absolutely part of the target market, but they're innovators/early adopters on the technology adoption curve (which are a small part of the whole market): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion_of_innovations

devices are generally thin enough, so the tradeoff in my mind is between weight and battery life. i'd love true all-day battery life--not the 10-minutes-for-email-20-minutes-of-web-surfing type of "all-day" battery life--where i could have the device on for 8-12 hours doing real work. at the same time i'd love a laptop that weighs a pound and a phone that weighs 2 ounces, with lightning fast processors, huge, bright, high resolution screens, and honkin' graphics power. most folks would easily accept 30%, or even 50%, thicker devices for that.

obviously, that would require like 5X the battery and 3X the weight (made-up numbers). apple knows this already, but the technology just isn't there, so we're where we are with their best compromise. and they're trying to make this better for idevices by switching to wireless power, with the idea being that any time you put down your idevice, you'll be charging it.

I'm actually in the process of refurbishing and (potentially) upgrading a TRS-80 Model 100 for everyday usage. Sure, it won't have any of the modern stuff available, but it will run for hours off of 4 AA batteries that I can purchase anywhere.

Oh cool! I have a TRS 80 Color Computer w/ tape drive and thermal printer that needs some love. I got started amassing docs, software and parts but didn’t finish. Thanks for the reminder!

Are you going to be writing about the refurb anywhere?

The X

One explanation I read somewhere is that, by constantly pushing the envelope on form factor constraints and manufacturing complexity, they are making it impossible for knock-off companies to make convincing counterfeits.

yes. it’s a pretty straightforward differentiation strategy. whenever a product doesn’t compete on price, it competes on difference. it puzzles me that this is well known, yet people keep bringing up the thinness as an independent feature apart from apple’s overall strategy (and success).

with price competition, you go for cheap components, processes, marketing and distribution. when you compete on difference, you not only need new and unique qualities to market but a sustainable advantage.

one part of this advantage for apple is on the design and manufacturing side. apple maintains leads in these areas by being on the leading edge of what the technology can do (their products are never on the bleeding edge because their customers also demand quality and reliabilty). the other part is supply chain; not just the ability to source parts and get the best pricing, but the ability to create a cascade of innovation where components and design permeate the whole ecosystem (this lets them fully amortize fixed costs like r&d and manufacturing costs).

this is why apple captures the majority of profits in the markets it competes in. thinness is an attribute of that advantage.

I don't think counterfeit Macbook Pros are a threat to their market. Their users are usually pretty good about buying directly from Apple within their ecosystem. I don't think I've ever seen a counterfeit Macbook--there's other similar-looking laptops, but they are clearly marked as Windows machines and not trying to pass off as an actual Macbook. I'd love to see an example though, if I am being ignorant. I won't discount that possibility.

It seems they're butting up against the limit of what they are capable of reliably manufacturing, which certainly won't end well. I'm looking forward to seeing what direction they take for the next Macbook Pro, should be interesting.

There is a real real risk in this costly strategy of differentiating for the sake of differentiation without major value add. After a while there will be companies not imitating Apple's latest products but the Apple's earlier products at a lower price.

only took 8 month to get a xiaomi with the same form factor, if you go to more obscure non reputable brands there were some even faster https://www.gizmochina.com/2018/03/06/top-iphone-x-clones-fr...

There's a few reasons. First, your average consumer is not going to understand x GHz faster or y GB more RAM. They are going to understand that the new Macbook Pro looks thinner and sexier than their old, crappy Macbook Pro. Thinness is a dumb obsession, but it works on everybody. It transcends language, specs, bugs, whatever. It "just works".

Second, all these damn "flexgate", "signalgate", whatever, won't even make the radar of a person who doesn't follow tech blogs. Even if they do get this problem (which, let's be clear, won't happen to the majority of people), they'll go to the Apple store, where a human being can diagnose the problem and fix it. Name another laptop company that can do that. The only case where it truly can hurt Apple's bottom line is if the store can't fix the problem. And even in that case, this person won't exactly take to the streets against Apple. They'll probably just grumble and buy a different computer. I guarantee there's some internal model at Apple that shows that the projected losses from "flexgate" is a lot less than the projected revenue from a thinner form.

Finally, there's something to be said about thinness. Even one or two models back, I had to think about taking my laptop with me. If I wanted a laptop that I could carry everywhere, I'd have to consider a Macbook Air, which would be less powerful, have less space, blah blah blah. Now, I can pretty much slip my Macbook Pro into my bag because it's so damn light. I can palm my laptop and walk with it through an office. I can hold it under my arm like a magazine. Sure, there's some issues, especially if you're an actual professional. But it's been pretty obvious for the past few years that the "Pro" in MBP is a very loose term.

I have a 2012 Mac book pro 15” and it is thin enough for me. But I thought that with my 12” Powerbook and saw a picture of it the other day and that thing was real thick.

I think for me the thinness should take a back seat to design issues like this monitor cable thing. But everyone talking about just making the iPhone a little thicker and adding lots of battery life need to realize their use patterns are probably out on the edge of the curve. My iPhones have rarely lasted less than a day of use. And if you aren’t going to get like a week or a month then what good is a little more battery?

> But everyone talking about just making the iPhone a little thicker and adding lots of batter life need to realize their use patterns are out on the edge of the curve.

Maybe it's you and I who's out on the edge of the curve?

I also usually get a whole day of battery out of my iPhone without difficulty, but I know many people who don't, none of whom fit the HN-dwelling power-user stereotype. Also, any time I do things outside my usual routine, my battery takes a pummelling too — be it because I'm out and about on my own for longer than usual and all the spare battery goes towards Spotify, or I'm somewhere I don't know, and it's Google Maps/GPS that eats it up, there's many ways in which that "always lasts me the whole day" thing can go out the window.

> And if you aren’t going to get like a week or a month then what good is a little more battery?

Battery that lasts a whole weekend if, say, you miss the last train and need to stay somewhere overnight would be quite useful. Or, as above, battery that lasts the whole day for more intensive use.

Yeah I mean we have an example of thinness overtaking use in this monitor cable design (though I’m sure it wasn’t purposely “hey let’s make this thing thinner so the monitor cables will break!” At worst it was maybe a junior designer being overruled saying this could be a problem in a larger percent of cases than y’all are thinking) but extra battery life being nice to have is true but not a daily necessity. I mean in the past ten days I broke 50% battery useage twice and 75% 0 times. Average screen on of 4hrs 16 min and another couple hrs of screen off time.

Their new battery case is a perfect way to deal with that nice to have capacity. I don’t need it, already have an Anker battery for long days (e.g. on airplanes) but if your friends need it there’s a solution that doesn’t mean many users (I’m guessing Apple knows that it is most, but I don’t know that for sure) don’t have to carry it around every day and never use it.

Every iPhone since the 6 has been thicker than its predecessor.

The phones have been getting thicker for years. This myth needs to die.

That said, I agree on the laptops.

Agreed - it is amazing to me the number of things people will (falsely) blame on Apple having an uncompromising desire for thinness over all other criteria.

Apple makes their devices as thin as possible to meet within their design specs; they don't sacrifice their design for thinness. Thats different from Apple not accounting for any one person's needs/desires as part of their design.

I'll give keyboards as an example, since people are notorious for saying that apple put a "lousy" keyboard in all their modern laptops solely for thinness.

I'm sure there are a few people who would love a modern laptop that used Cherry MX switches in its keyboard, but that's not a demographic Apple is going to leap up and target.

From Apple's product page, describing the third generation butterfly keyboard in the MacBook Pro:

"The MacBook Pro keyboard features a butterfly mechanism — providing four times more key stability than a traditional scissor mechanism, along with greater comfort. The 13- and 15‑inch MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar now feature a keyboard with a quieter typing experience."

Note that the description does not mention thinness at all as a "primary" design goal - it mentions greater comfort, improved stability, and the newer model being quieter.

Was reducing keyboard depth part of the design goals for what became the butterfly keyboard? Of course! But I guarantee Apple's philosophy for the project was not "thinness at all costs" - the keyboard would not be released until they felt it was a better overall experience as well.

Now does everyone feel it is a better overall experience? Obviously not. I personally suspect Apple launched the keyboard originally on the Retina MacBook partially to gauge reaction, then was surprised at how much more negative the reaction was once it was added to the Pro line.

To me, a "me too" post by someone accusing Apple executives for purposely sacrificing quality for thinness is not something that encourages communication - it just encourages more ranting. A post talking about say, whether the keyboard issues that people have with the new design are related more around just the change compared to previous keyboard technology, or if it is an impact of say key travel distance, the force curve or key bounce, would be a really interesting discussion to participate in.

It is the "sex" factor. Meaning, it makes no sense, but a lot of people buy consumer hardware because of how sexy it is which means thin, light, and attractive design trumps a lot of core utility.

I buy Thinkpads because they are more utilitarian. But we cannot ignore that Apple's entire M.O. has always been making the thinnest/most attractive devices money can buy.

I'll just keep voting with my wallet until Apple releases a utilitarian machine again. The recent Mac Mini is the closest we've seen.

I have a Thinkpad through work and the main thing I notice with it is that the hard edge at the front is a killer on my wrists. Is this not a thing other people run into?

> the hard edge at the front is a killer on my wrists

I'm not sure it's recommended to be resting your wrists on the laptop at all. You're going to injure yourself like that. Every recommendation I've ever seen is to have your wrists in the air so that they're straight and level.

That's an issue I have with laptops in general, I think. To have the screen in a place where you can look at it comfortably, you need your hands in a place that is uncomfortable for them. And then vice-versa.

I already have issues with repetitive stress pain when I use a laptop too long. I mainly try to avoid the laptop when at all possible and just use my 8+ year old desktop instead for all work things.

As a plus, it has drastically cut down on the amount of "bonus" work I do at home in the evenings. When the choice is getting a little more work done vs not having tendons that hurt to move for the next 3 days, I'll take the lack of pain every time :)

For 8+ hours a day? Sounds impossible to me...

Maybe this is where the recommended regular breaks come in? ;)

My physio told me it was incredibly unhealthy to sit in the same position for more than 40 minutes at a time. (His exact words were "I'd tell you to move every 20 minutes but I know what you programmers are like")

As much as I dislike using my Macbook Pro (2015 vintage), it has easily the best on lap and typing experiencing of any laptop I've had or used in the last 10 years. It has that hard edge but for whatever reason I don't find it an issue.

Ergonomically speaking, you should not be resting your wrists down when typing or using the touchpad. Your wrists and palms are supposed to be aligned and hovering over the keyboard.

The main thing I've always heard is that you're supposed to avoid "negative" angles on your wrist when typing. So I have a very thin, flat keyboard that I normally use.

Laptops are a similar concept, but they are raised up enough that my normal typing posture doesn't work that well. With my Inspiron that I have at home, the base of the laptop is thin enough and angled decently that it works out fairly well.

The Thinkpad has a base that is almost an inch thick, and my hand is just the perfect size that the hard edge I referenced is exactly where my wrist bends, which is I think what makes things so uncomfortable when using it.

It's not just negative angles but any deviation at all, really. Your wrists are not supposed to be sitting at a static angle all day long, and having physical pressure from the desk/laptop on the underlying nerves and ligaments is a know factor favoring RSI symptoms.

TIL I've been doing it wrong for thirty years.

Only being slightly facetious. What's going to happen to me if I don't mend my ways?

Honestly? RSI is always a risk. People don't have the same propensity to experiencing it though. I'm late 20s and it already started destroying my wrists, fixing my positioning relieved (most of) the pain.

I just can't type like that. I'm a very lazy typist.

I used to say that too until I started experiencing RSI. I eliminated 95% of the pain just by fixing my typing ergonomics. YMMV ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I've got a T480 and my hands rest in front of the edge.

For the general consumer stuff it matters less, but I wish the pro line of devices worried less the "sex" factor and more on being actual professional tools.

Latest Mac Mini is no better. The decision to bundle the power adapter within the housing has added to the already poor thermal performance leading to throttling [1].

Then again people say "Apple is a design company" in air quotes.

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8DOzr7G82U

It's not a "latest" thing -- the Mac Mini has always had an internal power adapter. Whether or not that's worth the thermal trade-off is a different question.

I still have a 2006 Mac Mini, and its power brick is external. The size of the computer suggests it was built around the optical drive, while the newer Mac Minis are visibly wider than a CD. http://lowendmac.com/2006/mac-mini-early-2006/

My G4 Mini had an external power brick. The inside of the case was pretty spacious; much more so than the unnecessarily cramped current model.

Only the unibody Mac Minis. PowerPC and Intel non-unibody Mac Minis had an external brick.

I like having the adapter built-in. The fewer wall warts, the better. YMMV.

I mean, I like my devices to look pretty. Aesthetics have value, and shouldn't be ignored outright.

But, it's not impossible for a thicker device to look aesthetically pleasing. To choose a random example, I've always loved Nokia's Lumia line of phones, which were quite thick but had these lovely rounded edges that made it seem natural.

BTW, this is a good example of "being traffic": Apple isn't the one spreading 'sex factor propaganda' in this thread, the people trying to ascribe motives to Apple and consumers is.

The lesson is, if you don't want something to be the focus of everyone's attention, don't go around repeating it over and over again. Apple has the power to ignore you precisely because you're effectively parroting their brand identity, even if only to criticize it. Propaganda 102.

Of course, no one likes thin, light devices in a laptop that you carry around all the time. That is just silly.

>It is the "sex" factor. Meaning, it makes no sense, but a lot of people buy consumer hardware because of how sexy it is which means thin, light, and attractive design trumps a lot of core utility.

It goes further than that. Apple products are status symbols and owners of Apple products are seen as more sexually attractive.

I got an iPhone and still don't have cute people lining up. I was misled.

Thin sells, and I think for good reasons. Laptops sued to be so thick, you'd carry them in a "laptop bag." Now, you can carry them in a sleeve or briefcase. I want a laptop thin enough that I can carry it around with a stack of papers. As long as it has reasonable battery life, there is quite a distance yet to go for thinner laptops.

People really want balance: thinness, lightness, performance, battery life, durability. A thin laptop that fails to endure a year without repair might be too thin.

Except the failure rate is some probability distribution. If making the laptop thinner means that the 1-year failure rate spikes from 0.2% to 0.5%, that just means Apple pushed the manufacturing too far, not that there is an inherent problem with pursuing a thinner design.

> Laptops sued to be so thick, you'd carry them in a "laptop bag." Now, you can carry them in a sleeve or briefcase.

I own a TRS-80 Model 100 "laptop" - it came with a "sleeve" you could put it in. It fits perfectly inside a briefcase or backpack.

It runs for days on a set of AA batteries...

Yeah, but it's shit.

> just make it slightly thicker and you could add hours to the battery life.

Well, they have been making iPhones thicker. Apple's obsession with thinness apparently isn't as obsessive as purported.

Of course there's a design tradeoff: how thick to make it and what to use the available space for. We can argue about specific tradeoff decisions all day, but we can't argue that the decisions have to be made -- and whatever the decisions are, they won't satisfy everyone.

Anyway, if you want to trade thickness for battery capacity, you can get a battery case.

I suspect Apple's iPhone thinness requirements include "device is comfortable to hold and use in a thick case". The camera bump has gotten gradually larger partially because they can be a cut out section of such a case, without taking up additional thickness and making the cased device less comfortable to hold and use for long periods.

The most obvious subtraction to preserve device size and simplify internals to allow for other features was the headphone jack. Thus the "courage" remark - the teams (all the way up to the executives) were willing to have a device change that may people would be upset about because they felt it was the right tradeoff to make long-term.

It reminds me of wild birds that have gotten so wildly evolved through sexual selection that they are no longer fit or optimized for their environment. Wild colors and feathers everywhere attracting predators and taking too many resources to sustain.

Their data shows that's what sells to the mass market. You are not a representation of the mass market. You are an early adopter. Your needs are not their main priority.

> I really don't understand Apple's obsessions with thinness. Do they really think that a few millimetres off the depth of a laptop is worth sacrificing reliability like this?

I'm pretty sure if they thought it would affect reliability in a meaningful way, they wouldn't have taken this approach. Since Apple has obligations to repair devices, such an "obsession" with thinness would trump their obsession with profit margins.

> I really don't understand Apple's obsessions with thinness. Do they really think that a few millimetres off the depth of a laptop is worth sacrificing reliability like this?

My favorite is when they wanted thinness so badly, they sacrificed the "bulky" hermetically sealed crystals in favor of super thin non-sealed oscillators of some type. As a result, iPhones would stop working in the presence of helium atoms (such as at hospitals where liquid helium sometimes escapes)[1], but not Android phones (which used the "bulky" hermetically sealed crystal oscillators)

[1] https://ifixit.org/blog/11986/iphones-are-allergic-to-helium...

A few millimeter (therefore a minimum of 2) is quite a lot.

I don't see the thinnes as a problem, i'm more curious on how this was not detected in there endurance tests. Can't imagine at all that there are not 100 macbook pros open and closing all day long somewhere.

There definitely are, but there are many potential factors that impact how something wears: most notably temperature and humidity. I reckon all it takes is a few opening movements in cold and dry weather to weaken the rubber or plastic in such a way that it'll fail, but much later. But I'm just guessing

I think it's a Jony Ive problem. He has too much power now and all he cares about is how cool the product looks in the store. When Steve was around, he could counterbalance Ive with concern about function, but nobody seems to have that role any more.

I have a hard time believing this sort of conspiracy theory - it would mean that design changes that impact quality (and thus things like costs to Apple for hardware warranties and returns) have no chain of responsibility.

> I really don't understand Apple's obsessions with thinness.

We engineers will work on the same thing over and over until we're told to work on something different. The last input the Apple mechanical, etc, engineers were given was "Make it thinner." There has been no change in direction, no new instructions, so they continue to work on the same request.

This is such a silly statement, I don't know where to being. Everyone wants thinner, lighter devices. Everyone. Or we would still be using 2 inch thick laptops. or 0.5 inch thick phones.

Even then, with the 2 inch thick laptops, there were making them as thin as they could. The tech wasn't there to make it any thinner, or they would have.

> I really don't understand Apple's obsessions with thinness. Do they really think that a few millimetres off the depth of a laptop is worth sacrificing reliability like this?

Ironically there are quite a few PC laptops that are thinner. With better keyboards, and useful ports.

If they made it slightly thicker it wouldn’t have a fucking awful keyboard that I had to return after three weeks because it started registering duplicate key presses.

They compromised everything for this aspect of the design.

I think it's all in their interest of making more money.

It is a clever move to minimise engineering, whilst maximising profit at the expense of the consumer, whilst the consumer does not realise.

Apple is in a position of power here, due to the public. Fact is, however you cut it, slice it, or dice it, people (in the whole) are stupid and will keep buying Apple for the foreseeable future, despite Apple's efforts at reducing reliability to maximise profits.

They know people will just keep on buying, and I would favour a guess that anyone in their position would be doing exactly what they are.

They will "milk the teet until it stops giving", and then change.

> Apple is in a position of power here, due to the public. Fact is, however you cut it, slice it, or dice it, people (in the whole) are stupid and will keep buying Apple for the foreseeable future, despite Apple's efforts at reducing reliability to maximise profits.

Are people "stupid" or are the alternatives even worse? Broken LCD cabling is not great, but you can take it into an Apple Store and they'll fix it or swap out your laptop. Never had a problem with it.

But I recently bought a non-Apple laptop for the first time in a decade, and it's been a disaster. Spent $1,500+ on a Lenovo X1 Carbon. The LTE has never worked reliably. The screen just developed either a patch of dead pixels, or somehow some dust got under the glass. Neither has ever happened to me on an Apple product. And even when it works, it's just "meh." Windows is surprisingly slow on what should be a very fast processor (i7-8650U). The trackpad is just okay. Battery life is just okay.

My wife just tried to replace her aging Retina Macbook Pro 2012. After trying a couple of Surface machines at the Microsoft Store, and my Thinkpad, she's decided to wait to see what Apple does in October.

> Broken LCD cabling is not great, but you can take it into an Apple Store and they'll fix it or swap out your laptop.

From the article:

> Apple designed the cables as part of the display, so they cannot be replaced. This means that when (not if) those cables start to fail, the entire display unit needs to be replaced, as opposed to one or two little cables—effectively turning a $6 problem into a $600 disaster.

> A few determined folks have managed to get their local Genius Bar to replace their screen on Apple’s dime, but for now it seems that for every person who succeeds, many more are rejected—or simply end up paying for a new screen out of pocket without realizing how widespread the issue is.

> There are also multiple people who claim to have started threads on Apple’s support site only to have them deleted.

No, people are not "stupid". Why should they have to be paying for this? Apple is regularly, repeatedly shown to have to be threatened with lawsuits to deal with their design flaws. And in many of those cases, they offer replacement of flawed components - with the same flawed components, which will fail again, and again (except you'll get unlucky and their 'window' will close, and you're just SOL).

> They will "milk the teet until it stops giving", and then change.

“If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth — and get busy on the next great thing.” — Steve Jobs, in 1996.

I didn't know that. Thanks.

Apple sells a $130 external battery case now. Fatness is available if you want it.

they did make it thicker. It’s thicker than an iphone 5

Yes they do, but it's bigger than technicalities. People buy products when the person behind it, shows confidence and a sense of "predictability" and consistency. Apple says (as extension from Steve Jobs), we care about the design, Apple goes for thin and slick, people will buy this, because "apple stand for slick design". This creates a bond between company-consumer.

This is more a psychology thing. It's why people like Trump get voted in. A weird example perhaps, but trump is 'simple', straightforward and 'predictable'. If he hates something, he will hate it with confidence and you can predict already how things will play out, when he's interviewed about it. This create "knowingness", and people might want a good leader, most of all, they want a leader that's consistent , good or bad, as long as it can be placed on the backburner in your mind.

You see this in many places where emotions are a factor. A mother mourning a missing child, eventually just "Want to know what happened". They likely will (partially) heal from the sadness of loss, but 'not knowing' will keep people awake indefinitely.

> Do they really think that a few [millimeters] off the depth of a laptop is worth sacrificing reliability like this?

Probably. I mean why else would they have done it?

The most important quote from the article:

> But the bigger problem is that, in an apparent effort to make the display as thin as possible, Apple designed the cables as part of the display, so they cannot be replaced. This means that when (not if) those cables start to fail, the entire display unit needs to be replaced, as opposed to one or two little cables—effectively turning a $6 problem into a $600 disaster.

This is beyond crazy. How much more space would it take up to make the ribbon cables replaceable?

I tend to defend Apple because I believe their commitment to "quality" as a being defined by every possible angle of hardware and software design as opposed to one, simple, established measurement, is something computer/device design needs (i.e., putting "unmeasurable" quality aspects like good UI design on the same level as measurable ones like processor speed). But they fuck up, sometimes. The one-button mouse made no sense, for example. But in terms of raw hardware, it's their over-commitment to thinness. Like, who cares?

I think there was a good movement to at least try and make laptops thinner, somewhere around the late 00s. There's a point between 4cm and 2.5cm that really made sense to me, in order to make laptops more portable (their main feature). But then, it got ridiculous. They shaved off a millimeter every year and at one point, it started to negatively affect the products. You could probably heighten the battery life quite a bit by adding 2 or 3 millimeters of thickness, you would prevent the keyboard rubbing onto the display (see "staingate"), and now this shit about cables being so goddamn thin they literally break.

This is their "Pro" line, as in "professional". I use my MacBook Pro professionally. I could not care less about whatever millimeter they shaved off the thing at the cost of making it more brittle. Sturdiness is a very "professional" quality and it looks like it's not in their list of priorities anymore. Meanwhile, MacBook Pro prices reach the $3000 mark.

It seems obvious enough to me for Apple to realize they've fucked up. Just like their last iOS update – oh wonder! – focused on speed rather than gimmicks, I hope their next MacBook hardware update will re-discover sturdiness as a selling point.

Even ignoring the "couple mm will add battery life", what about a couple of mm actually allowing the fucking machine to breathe and not thermal throttle?

My largest complaint with laptops is their performance just cannot match that of a low end desktop, and you're certainly not helping your customers by releasing a machine that (let's face it) is designed to not run at its fullest potential. It's the equivalent of buying a v8, but after you get past 35mph a couple of the cylinders shut off.

Making a portable device that never thermally throttles means a non-practical thermal system, likely consuming power and generating noise by running 100% all the time.

The reality is that the thermal output differs by well over an order of magnitude depending on what you are doing.

When a complicated task comes along, the system may: 1. spike to full CPU usage at max power usage (possibly higher than rated TDP) 2. if the work continues, get temporarily throttled while the cooling system catches up 3. settle on a "steady state" thermal performance

Since the design of the cooling system is different on a case-by-case basis, the thermal properties are now customizable by the laptop manufacturer to match their system.

This can cause issues with certain "stress test" benchmarks which do not take into account the more complex nature of both modern CPUs and cooling solutions. The performance curve from start to stop of a CPU load task no longer looks like a square wave.

I assume you were referring to the 2018 MBP with i9 chip (which I own). Initially there was an issue because the thermal and power profile that the machine shipped were not appropriate (and actually in some cases made the i9 machine perform inferior to an i7).

They fixed this with a later software update, which AFAIK resolved people's issues. I didn't purchase my machine until after the software update was released, so I never saw the original behavior.

The Wal-Mart of laptops: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/01181...

...instead of consistently asking suppliers for 1-3% wholesale discount per year, Apple is asking engineers for 0.3mm-1mm thinness reduction per year.

It wouldn't take more space. That decision was made for the same reason as the decisions to make as much hardware locked down as possible - So you have to pay Apple more to replace them.

I would suspect, if apple will ever think on those lines.

Service cost would deter their credibility.

I saw this design pattern in a high end plasma screen TV back in 2007. Tons of paper thin ribbon cables sealed to the glass. We got it broken in an auction, fixed it by plugging one of the tiny cables back in, then destroyed it trying to put it back together due to a cable sheering in half.

Not sure if it's related but I had this monitor problem that involved wire that would wear with each laptop opening. It was with the old plastic MacBook though, which was made while Steve was still alive. Eventually the screen would stop working as well. The only good part was that the multiple Apple Store repair sessions were all free.

Overall, nothing, but when you have an organization that prioritizes thinness and people are promoted based on their contributions to thinness you do what you can to make the laptop thin. A company that prioritizes modularity to the same extent will end up with laptops the size of micro ATX cases.

Not much, actually. But you have to keep in mind that adding anything extra to something that is going to be massively produced cuts into margins quite noticeably. Mass manufacturing is a relentless exercise of cutting corners and this is not the only place where Apple did that. It's just the place where they cut one too many.

As mentioned in other comments here Apple products may be designed to look "sexy", but from "where do we cut the costs" point of view it is no different from Dell or Lenovo. In fact, from this article it seems like both quality and serviceability of Apple products are definitely worse, and unless the looks and thinness are #1 and #2 considerations in a laptop -- you shouldn't buy Apple.

"Cutting corners" is the wrong term. Systems engineering is all about compromises, and there's a whole lot more driving these decisions than a lot of the simplistic analysis in the comments here. And at the end of the day, Apple's systems engineering is generally pretty top notch.

There was a design fault here, and that happens. I'm sure they'll replace any affected displays free of charge, and roll a fix for the assembly into production in the next couple of weeks. But in general, if you've ever compared a teardown of an Apple product with something from other manufacturers, there is often a pretty clear difference between them. I'm always very impressed (as somebody who only gets to design very low volume, high margin products).

In Norway we have 5 years of "reklamasjon" on products that are supposed to last considerably longer than two years, such as a laptop. It is sort of a government mandated warranty on top of the regular one. I have had 4 year and 11 months old stuff that I have gotten replaced or repaired free of charge.

Wonder how products would have been designed if this was a thing globally (or at least in the top 3 biggest markets). Anyone else who thinks "a whole lot more durable and repairable" is a reasonable guess?

In NZ there is the "​​Consumer Guarantees Act":


Which basically adds a government mandated warranty for goods and services sold to consumers (non-businesses).

In Australia the CCL means that if Apple cause a problem like this, they have to repair the product. There's a good chance that they might get a 4 year old Macbook Air and have to fix it for this issue.

Apple tend to be pretty good at that anyway. They gave me the top-spec mid-2015 MacBook Pro I'm writing this comment on for free when the graphics chip in my 2011 MacBook died a couple of times, before there was even an official replacement program.

The consumer law only guarantees for two years (although I think there is some provision for extra "expected life" of a product, can't remember exactly), and I didn't have Apple Care, so they didn't have to do that.

Sure, but here in Australia they can't limit the warranty like that. They tried this and got a massive fine. Hence AppleCare in Australia is different to what you get in the U.S. because we are protected by law.

I wish Canada had something like this.

Recently had a Dell XPS tower die just over a year into owning it. The Dell standard warranty? 1 year.

Haha... I understand how computers work. I've tried just about everything but replacing the RAM, motherboard (would require a new case-- those Dell cases just...anyone who's had one will know— and/or new processor...), and processor and still get perfect diagnostics results. But every time I attempt to boot it, it just freezes on the damned Dell logo...

I love Norway. Best friend is Norwegian and lives there, I never cease to be amazed by the level of common sense and decency that pervades everything I see and come in contact with.

We have something similar in The Netherlands. Had a 2015 13" battery replaced that started bulging a few months ago, for free, within a few days. The battery was functioning fine, it didn't have many cycles, yet bulged anyway (all the cells did) to the point the bottom started to pop open.

While I wouldn't have a problem replacing this battery myself with an iFixit kit or reviewed eBay stuff, after some measurements and checking this really had to be a manufacturing issue; so up to Apple to take care of (and they did).

How does the price of electronics compare to countries without similar rules?

My impression (as a Norwegian): - For computer parts, the price without VAT is quite similar to US prices. But our VAT is 25%, so it makes a huge difference. - For whole computers, you can save a lot buying in the US, but once you add extra warranties such as Apple Care the price difference is not worth it any more.

We are one of the countries where people have the most disposable income in the world, so that makes it bearable for those cases where the prices are notably higher.

More importantly, how do the externalities stack up?

I was taught about externalities during my econ undergrad and thought it was a sensible idea -- when considering a decision, the full context should be taken into account, including the consequences that aren't borne by the decision maker and we should be explicit that we are trying to maximize human flourishing. Yet I found that discussion of externalities seemed biased to only focus on the negative consequences, instead of taking into account both the positives and negatives.

For example, as a negative externality, the health consequences of managing e-waste are potentially serious. Electronics with shorter useful life might create more e-waste than those with a longer life.

At the same time, a positive externality of less expensive goods is increased demand for other, higher value goods and services - which might allow those managing e-waste to move into other fields of work and create an incentive to increase safety/automation/productivity for the remaining e-waste workers.

I know very little about e-waste and am not qualified to take a position. I am simply saying that it would be incredibly valuable if the people who did take positions explained the full context of how they came to their view, including presenting the best arguments against their position with a clear explanation of why those arguments aren't persuasive.

And 5 years is not that much, I had to replace a washing machine of 8.5 years because LG doesn't supply a motherboard, so a perfectly good and revised machine could go to the trash (donated it to some blue collar folks that will fix the board or replace by a salvaged one, I don't have a backyard to tinker with this unfortunately)

Buy a Miele one. Our old landlord got a technician to replace the control panel in the 20+ year old one we had.

> we have 5 years of "reklamasjon" on products that are supposed to last considerably longer than two years, such as a laptop.

I find that curious. If you had asked me at any time between 1990 and 2012 if I expected that a laptop would be up to par performance without upgrades after 2 years, I would doubt it, much less 5.

It seems like many manufacturers are stopping updates after 2 years, and with the LIPO battery (whether, a laptop or a phone) there are expected chemical degradations over that time.

In the U.S. having warranty insurance (double the apple 1 year warranty) is a common consumer protection provided by credit cards.

You’re shooting down a straw man here. No one in the 1990s and 2000s expected their laptops to be up to par in terms of performance beyond a few years. And I’m pretty sure the OP isn’t suggesting that’s the case in Norway.

What they are suggesting is that the same laptop would work for 5 years, even if it’s performance was not equivalent to its contemporaries. However, they would continue to be good at receiving email, browsing the web, etc.

This isn’t even that remarkable. Apple used to update their OSes every few years, and their newest OS would run on laptops that ran at least a couple of generations older OSes. IOW, at least 4-6 year old laptops.

This was pretty much the expectation people held.

4-6 years and still browsing the web seems unlikely. Take two devices I purchased in early 2013, an Ipad Mini 1st gen 8gb and a Nexus 7. Both were out of update range by 2016 and both struggle to browse "simple" web pages or by the same time.

With top of the line, first of their generation full x86 laptops; 5 years seems unlikely, especially during the web growth periods and Moore's law from 1995-2005 -- to even be able to reliably and securely run web pages.

The early 2010s for mobile devices was a lot like the '90s for PCs, true. The iPhone had blown the doors off everyone's notions of what a phone could do, and the tech was advancing so fast that a cutting-edge device could be obsolete in two years. (On the '90s PC side, I suspect that Doom and the ensuing explosion of 3D games kicked things off.)

Don't mistake that for the default state of computing technology. My daily-use laptop is a 2010 MacBook Pro, and it's only started feeling slow in the last couple of years. Even now, it's fine for light web browsing and gaming.

That's probably one of the reasons why the top spec 13" model (Touch Bar and Touch ID 2.3GHz Quad-Core Processor 512GB Storage) costs kr 22 190,00 = $2581 in Norway, while I get the same model for $1999 in the United States.

I'd rather have the choice to decide myself if and how much I want to spend for warranty (e.g., AppleCare) than having the government force me to indirectly pay for a warranty that I might not need or want.

VAT is 25% in Norway so that makes $500 of the difference. Put in a 3% margin for forex swings and you are pretty much at the difference.

Not to mention that in Norway the VAT is included in the price, whereas in the U.S. the Sales Tax needs to be added on top. For a fairer comparison, you would actually need to add the appropriate sales tax for your state. That wont make up all of the the 25% difference but could easily add 7 to 9% to the cost of the U.S. price.

Keep in mind though VAT is very different to sales tax. If it's a b2b purchase you will almost always get VAT refunded on the purchase by the government, which afiak never happens in the US on sales tax. So it is actually cheaper in the EU/EEA to get a laptop as a business (as you will reclaim the VAT in Europe but you wouldn't be able to reclaim the sales tax in the US).

>$2581 in Norway, while I get the same model for $1999 in the United States.

Norway tax is 25%. You should compare the net value.

> I'd rather have the choice to decide myself if and how much I want to spend for warranty

True, but the problem is the final price doesn't include the cost of recycling and environmental impact (extremely hard to price it correctly).

What EU should do it to force 5 year warranty for most of the equipment with an option to opt-out to 3 years mandatory warranty.

> True, but the problem is the final price doesn't include the cost of recycling and environmental impact (extremely hard to price it correctly).

At least for recycling Apple charges a $5 (for 13") or $6 (for 15") recycling fee when buying a MacBook in California. Not sure about other states.

The difference is well explained by the 25% VAT applied in Norway.

Including VAT? Remember that most (if not all) European, public-facing prices already include VAT. Not sure for Norway, but I'd think they do too.

Good luck setting up AppleCare for your dishwasher mate.

Turns out that lots of dishwasher manufacturers provide a free warranty with the purchase of a dishwasher. And as a customer I have the choice to decide if I get a cheap dishwasher (from a cheap manufacturer) without warranty or a more expensive dishwasher (from a better manufacturer) with warranty.

You can go for a cheaper laptop in Norway as well. The thing is that that laptop is covered too and the cheap dishwasher. I think it is good that people that cannot afford expensive stuff can have reliability about the machines they buy. Quality is not op-in, if you get my point.

So buy used.

I don't understand the arrogance and the stubbornness of Apple to keep that stupid Touch Bar. They have completely lost me as a customer because I absolutely refuse to buy a Macbook Pro until they give me the OPTION of a regular keyboard. The fact they are arrogant enough to think they don't need to provide me with the option makes me angry as a consumer, and I'm about to ditch it completely at this point and go to a Surface Pro.

Touchbar would be really cool if they would just move it up a slot and re-implement the fn row side by side.

But then... what would the Touchbar offer that the keys don't already?

There’s more usage to the touchbar than replicating the media controls of the fn keys. For example if you wanted to smoothly scrub through a video, a continuous Touch Bar would make more sense than two discrete keys.

An ancillary lighted display that distracts you with bright colored buttons when you're trying to watch Netflix.

I'm frustrated being on a 2016-era MB Air and feeling like I don't anything to upgrade to without a touchbar now.

Once this machine kicks the bucket, I may just buy another of the same one instead of upgrading (if they still sell it by then).

You're in luck, since the 2018 MacBook Air has function keys instead of a touchbar! It's also a little bit faster and now has a high resolution retina display. It even still has a headphone port.



Every Mac has a headphone port.

The press around Apple products has been concerned about them disappearing with the push for AirPods. Some articles chose to make the distinction that it wouldn't happen unless they added a Lightning port to the MacBooks, but the latest iPad Pro went from both a Lightning port and a headphone jack to neither one.

How dare you use the machine Wrong. Doff your turtleneck, peasant.

Apple does, and everyone else listens. Even after making fun of apple... Headphone jack and the stupid fucking notch are the best example of companies falling over themselves to be like Apple.

I love my MBP - when my employer pays for it. I'd never buy a $3K machine with this many issues on my own dollar.

I absolutely love my MBP, the 15" retina from 2012. I just spent $90 for a replacement battery, and after 2 hours of disassembly and reassembly, it's back to being a fantastic workhorse.

But there's no way I'd buy a new one for myself today.

Did the same thing. Not even considering upgrading (although the 32GB of RAM is nice).

Probably one of the reasons why these laptops are so expensive.

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