Their iPhones have reached a peak, where it appears people are no longer willing to pay so much for them. They are too damn expensive, with nothing to justify their costs. I am one of the morons who upgraded to the XS, but only because I needed the 512GB storage. If not for the increased storage needs, I wouldn't have upgraded and I know for a fact there is really no difference after using it for several months. I have no plans on updating to the next one, the first time since iPhone 3.
MacBooks are worse now than they were since 2015. I won't upgrade until they get rid of the TouchBar. I would rather go back to Windows than use that stupid TouchBar.
Apple software is terrible. iTunes is still the worst piece of software that I'm forced to use. The bugs they've had are inexcusable.
Apple is the richest company in the world, and instead of paying their engineers top wages, they are wasting it on stock buybacks. Until their revenues decrease year-over-year they won't change their ways.
To put it bluntly, Apple is extremely, extremely arrogant and I hope they will pay their price in the next few years. It feels like all product lines are either too expensive and/or worse quality than even a few years previous. Many people unhappy or unimpressed with their products, but they don't give a damn.
They may have reached peak growth, but the numbers show that outside China (which in hindsight appears to have larger economic issues), millions of people buy iPhones.
Are all the current iPhone users going to suddenly switch to Android? Very unlikely.
By all accounts the XS is a great phone. If I had anything other than the X, I would have upgraded.
> Apple is the richest company in the world, and instead of paying their engineers top wages, they are wasting it on stock buybacks.
You realize that Apple has so much money they can do both. This is not a binary decision.
A much bigger issue for Apple is that they need more stores. They have a huge advantage over any other phone maker in that people can walk in and get service and support. The stores are so busy now, that it has become a challenge. Hopefully the departure of the head of retail shows that Apple has realized they have not grown the store base fast enough.
Not with the same dollar. We shouldn't forget what giving money back to shareholders means. It means that Apple cannot think of anything to invest that money in that's more promising than what investors can find elsewhere.
You could say it's prudent and honest. Instead of wasting all that money on stuff that never yields a return they're handing it back their owners.
But I still find it surprising that a company like Apple with the enormous leverage of billions of (the wealthiest) users and a brand name second to none doesn't think that it can make great things happen with that money.
I don't think I'm best placed to tell them what that could be. But there are clearly some huge gaps in their strategy.
For instance, they keep pushing AR, because AR is an area where latency matters so much that you need expensive devices for it.
But AR would be so much more valuable in combination with all the information that only Google Maps and Google Street View has. Even more so if you think about the data that's going to be needed for (and generated by) self driving cars.
I imagine it's hugely expensive to gather that information. Apple Maps is second rate. They have nothing like Street View and no self driving car project. I think owning information that makes high end devices far more useful than low end devices is exactly what Apple needs.
There aren't going to be many players in that market exactly because it's so expensive. Only the biggest global tech companies can really do it. That moat will be one of the widest and deepest ever.
Gaming is another area where expensive devices make a difference. Playing games is something almost everybody does on their iPhones. I find it baffling that Apple isn't one of the biggest gaming companies.
Where are Apple's contributions to new user interaction paradigms? The touch bar? Is that it? Apple just isn't thinking big enough. That's why they have so much money left to pay back.
Anyway, you can completely disregard _my_ ideas on what they could do with that money and still be surprised that _they_ can't think of anything.
Apple has traditionally not be an acquirer of large companies. I know many people argue for them to do some big acquisition. I'm not sure that's a good idea.
Apple Maps specifically has improved a lot since release. I can't remember the last time I used Google Maps. Apple is also collecting street view data .
Apple has plenty of areas to improve, but it is not from the lack of R&D spending.
They can only spend each dollar exactly once. In that sense it is binary. But of course they can decide to do buybacks and invest in stuff. That's what they're doing.
My point is that I don't get why a company like Apple doesn't see great investment opportunities for every last dollar they earn. Especially as they have really huge gaps in their strategy.
They are not on a great trajectory right now. The services business they want to expand on does not look that strong to me in spite of growing reasonably fast right now.
Likewise, all of AR doesn't need the kind of information only a few companies have. Think of assembling something at home, like furniture. Or a car mechanic. Or astronaut. Or soldiers. Different companies may control relevant data sets in different domains, and some may not even be data-intensive like furniture assembly.
I upgraded to XS Max from 7+ and I regret it. LTE issues due to Intel modem are bad enough to launch a class action lawsuit.
Nobody said they couldn't do it. The fact is that they aren't.
If that sentence caught anyone else's eye, know that it caught mine too and I did a quick sanity check.  It does seem that Apple is falling a bit short of other top companies, especially for the upper levels.
I know one guy making market and he’s in the video streaming product group.
I think this explains why Apple products-- software and hardware-- have fallen in quality: they hire people dumb enough to think working for Apple matters somehow.
That reminds me of the post from a few days ago on HN: "#### you: pay me!"
I think there comes a point in many (and I'd hope all, but I don't think it's true) peoples' careers where they realise that, in business, money talks and everything else is sadly just chatter.
Personally I totally happy with my current income and don't have any real interest in making more. I can pay my bills, buy anything that catches my eye, max out my 401k, travel to visit family. I don't turn down raises or bonuses, it is nice to have a little bit extra in case of emergencies. But an extra dollar doesn't mean much compared to the personal satisfaction of working on good projects.
As for the pricing of the phones, nobody is forcing you to upgrade every year. I've done that ever since the original iPhone came out, but when i bought the X, i also decided to only upgrade every 2-3 years to justify the cost.
MacBooks are a sad story though. I'm "stuck" with my 13" retina with the last functional keyboard Apple made. I've tried the keyboard on the newer models (in store), and i'm not a fan.
Anyway, you had Blackberry which was well regarded in the business world. But they are losing to Apple and Android, and now a Blackberry is just another Android smartphone. They still provide physical keyboards though.
On the consumer side, you had Windows Phone that tried to compete with Android. It was actually a nice OS, coming from a companies that did smartphones before Apple, and with one of the best regarded manufacturers at the time (Nokia) on their side. It didn't work.
The other alternatives include the Samsung backed Tizen, and now Sailfish OS.
All that to say that we had some attractive alternatives, backed by major players, and yet, no one wants to leave iOS and Android, even when provided with a compatibility layer.
When did you write this portion of your post? 2013?
Otherwise I agree.
Windows had a distinct identity, a better home screen and an inbuilt dark mode that worked amazingly well with AMOLEDS.
They also had great battery life and ran faster on low powered devices vs android of the time.
It died for good reason, but it certainly was a shame. I would love to see Windows take shot at it again, but I doubt they will.
At this point, Samsung or Xiaomi may be the ones best poised to take on the current duopoly.
Here in Denmark, where digitization of the society is well underway, you're pretty much lost without official apps. You _can_ use a browser for most things, but since there are apps, almost none of them are optimized or even usable on a phone screen.
Below is just a small portion of the things that would be impractical to live without with a "non supported phone". (impractical, not impossible!)
* Our country wide common sign on solution, NemID (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NemID) also has a smartphone app. The solution is used for authentication with all government and financial institutes, along with a lot others. The keycard remains a viable solution, for now.
* Most mail is delivered through e-boks (https://www.e-boks.com/corporate/en), which includes bank statements, insurance policies, tax records, building permits, sanitation and other. The solution is open for every company to use. It is also possible to reply to a sender through this solution. (requires NemID signon)
* Banking is done through an app. (requires NemID signon)
* Person to Person payments (including the option to split a bill), and to some extent in-shop payment is being handled by MobilePay (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MobilePay). It's kinda like PayPal, but a local solution. (requires NemID signon)
* Communication with schools and kindergartens is done through "SkoleIntra" and "Børnenettet", or "Tabulex" for when school is over. This includes teacher to parent communications, homework assignments, parent to parent communication, vacation registration, calling in sick, and more. It's probably the most hated system in the world :)
* Even receipts from a wide selection of shops are digitized and delivered to an app (https://en.storebox.com/#/), allowing easy access (and tracking of your shopping habits / credit card usage)
* Even emergency services has an app that will allow you to call emergency services, and it will relay your position to the operators so they know exactly where you are.
>You either consent to being exploited by Google, or you pay a pound of flesh to Apple.
Meaning you're in camp 1, unless you've run lineageos or something similar. Also if you're just on the regular os, a $180 phone from 2016 probably doesn't get security updates at this point.
I switched to iPhone now.
Event taking into account miniaturization, waterproofing and just “luxury” tax, it’s insane that both products cost the same when their capabilities are so wildly different.
I know there are reasons (like paying licensing and cetification for the cellular stack, and pure greed), I just feel they are wrong reasons.
The cellular stack runs on a subsystem on it's own, and all communication to that system is done through the good old fashioned Hayes Command set (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayes_command_set).
This subsystem is responsible for everything cellular, and it is certified by itself, meaning when you make a new phone model, you put in the same certified chip as you did in the last n models, and it's automatically certified (wrt to the stack anyway).
There are still FCC/CE certifications to be passed for all electronic devices, as well as devices containing radio emitters, but those are cheap in comparison.
Apple has always priced their products on a level of what they think people are willing to pay. It is a luxury product, and they (used to) spend a lot of time making sure it feels like it. From the very moment you enter the store, to you open the box, to the onboarding experience.
Most Chinese manufacturers have more of less copied the experience since then.
On my Android, I use a lot of open-source application that, I find, are often really the best app to do X or Y. They are also free, often without annoying advertisement, with the option to pay for a "premium" version (that usually add nothing but its to help the devs).
Because most OSS devs (with the exception of a few big project like VLC) don't have the money to pay for an iPhone and/or to publish their app on the App Store, there is almost no good open-source/free application on iPhone.
So not only do I have to pay a quite hefty price for a phone (which, to be fair, I find very good), but I also need to pay even more if I want to replicate the setup I have currently for free on an Android. Some application, don't even have good equivalent on iPhone.
I really hope one day Apple change their policy regarding OSS and open up iPhone programming like Google did with Android.
As for OSS, apple allowed free developer licenses for non-profits some time ago. https://developer.apple.com/support/membership-fee-waiver/
Any numbers saying that they earn just an average salary?
Also, why would the touchbar be an engineering issue? Some people like it. (I don't)
I do understand your concerns and I agree with some of them, I just don't believe it's because they pay their engineers less, or they are not good enough.
Some decisions come from top management. If there is only capacity to fix 10 bugs, well, that's it. I don't even see this large amount of features delivered on a monthly basis, so I assume their plan is really to invest just on their iPhones and hardware, maybe.
There's a ton of engineering and polish that went into that feature — from the way it can securely render the price of a purchase through Apple Pay to the way it communicates and transfers its frame buffer, to the UI components it can smoothly display.
It's just a pity I never actually want to use it.
What was super frustrating was that the specs are almost the same after a three year gap. I still have 8GB or RAM and still have a 128GB SDD. The processor and has double the cores, but overall it's not the kind of improvement you'd expect from a three year difference.
Instead it's thinner and only has USB-C inputs. I would have never chosen to buy this machine on the merits alone.
I'm in the same boat with the iPhone by the way. I have an iPhone 6 and really see no reason to upgrade. It works well enough for me and I have no appetite to spend 500 or 1000 dollars on a phone that will do the same things for me.
And yes iTunes is a disgrace. I've switched to Spotify for podcasts and most music and it's far better.
Well that could have been 32GB and 2TB in the 2018 if you wanted?
I differ on the cause, however. Steve Jobs was an artist - a product artist. There was a team in place that balanced his vision with an ability to execute. That is not true anymore.
It is one of the more interesting things to think about: how do you produce an iPod versus a Zune? Or what a Mac versus what we have now.
Personally, I don't think the issue is they don't give a damn, I think they don't have a clue as to how to give a damn.
All the things you say about Apple might be true, but the alternative is substantially worse. Microsoft dropped the ball way more than Apple ever did with Windows 10. And hardware quality among laptop manufacturers is frustratingly inconsistent, even within the same brand.
My last Lenovo worked great for 5 years despite being a low end machine. My much more expensive new Lenovo has had a keyboard replacement and significant performance issues in one year.
There’re other alternatives than Windows. I’ve been using Linux near-exclusively on my personal machines for almost two decades now, and I’m quite happy with it. Then there are the BSDs.
There are upsides and downsides to either of them. The Ubuntu is super snappy low latency desktop, it's a pleasure to type on it (running i3 as window manager); but the sound randomly disappears so much that I'm forced to use bluetooth speakers; and the backlight / network managers controls randomly stop working on upgrades. When I'm tinkering with stuff, I can hunt what's wrong and fix it, but when I'm working, I want stability.
So the MBP is the workhorse. But it struggles a lot with a high res external monitor connected via DisplayPort, and even worse, the UI starts to hiccup when I'm running a heavy load, like executing the test suite in parallel. The Linux scheduler is much better in this regard.
My other use case is writing. A LOT. I really need a good keyboard for it. The older MBPs had great keyboards. The newer ones, not so much. Outside of Apple, the only competent keyboards I've seen are on Thinkpads
iPhones age better than other phones. You can also get them to a service and get a batter replacement and they're like brand new after two years of use. You can't really say the same thing about the other phone makers, it depends on luck really. I've had Nexus and Samsung phones die on me after less than 2 years.
This need to update your phone every year or every two years is insane, the peak of consumerism. And iPhones are now good enough that you don't have to do it. I've seen multiple people using the iPhone 6 and not upgrading to 6s, 7, 8, X or XS.
I mean, as a society, shouldn't we be glad that we're no longer buying a new phone every year? Think of how much junk that generates.
> MacBooks are worse now than they were since 2015. I won't upgrade until they get rid of the TouchBar. I would rather go back to Windows than use that stupid TouchBar.
You're exaggerating. Personally I don't mind it that much. The only problem is the ESC key, otherwise I never touch typed the F keys. And I like having the fingerprint scanner.
You actually haven't mentioned the problem with more recent laptops (post 2017) which is the quality of the keyboard. Mine is still working after a year, fingers crossed, but I heard you can get it replaced for free.
> Apple software is terrible. iTunes is still the worst piece of software that I'm forced to use. The bugs they've had are inexcusable.
Personally I don't use iTunes. I never understood people that do.
You've also just mentioned the worst piece of software that Apple makes and it's kind of unfair because it's not representative of everything Apple makes.
I also have access to laptops using Linux and Windows and for me MacBooks still have the best ecosystem. And their laptops are still the best, even if overpriced.
If that weren't true, then you wouldn't see a majority of developers at software conferences with MacBooks.
I'd happily still use my iphone 4 if I could. The problem is the software bloat means that even the latest compatible version is really slow. Not to mention that it means that I no longer get the latest version of apps or security fixes (due to stopped software updates).
I believe a more apt comparison would be my current situation with an iPhone 6 which came out in 2014. It works perfectly fine, albeit with a new battery. I do not plan on upgrading to any iPhone past the 6 unless the headphone jack comes back (my major personal gripe).
Also, I too refuse to use any MacBook with that infernal touch bar.
For me, the keyboard kills it. It feels cheap. It almost feels like there's no keys at all like the glass surface that is rumored to come. I'm sure that's great for people who are media consumers but producers of media and software often like to have a keyboard. To me it feels like they missed the market and try to sell products at premium price to normal customers.
Also, the lack of HDMI and one USB-A port on each side would hinder my workflow.
Broken keyboard cannot be solved, and they break all the time.
Lets hope the 16” 2019 will fix at least the keyboard...
More and more monitors now support it, and a single cable to both charge your laptop, and extend your laptop to the display is a killer feature.
It may just be the good old fear of something new, but i'm usually not afraid to try something new - despite bad reviews - and i'm normally not picky when it comes to keyboards, but the Macbook one just didn't "click" :)
The MBP keyboard, I hate it. I saw here on HN about the cable to the display is fixed to the display, so a previous $6 repair part is now many $100's, AND they fail after a year with lots of use. And this is all because of the touchbar--the cable has to go under it and it's thinner than before, so it fails quicker.
I've been waiting to get my CEO on a 32GB MBP for years. He's on Windows with VMware running large Linux VMs. 16GB can't get it done. I haven't upgraded him because of all the problems with the latest line.
No update to the Pro line... this has been flogged to death.
It's heartbreaking to watch Apple drop the ball, because every single time I have to use Windows it is a complete shitshow.
No difference between what? X and XS? Sure. But in the same way that there is “no difference” between 6/6s, 7/8. It’s a speed bump (which from the X isn’t really relevant unless you use your phone for everything), camera improvement, and display improvement. All things that are noticeable if you have the two phones side by side, but that you will forget about in regular use.
I do agree on everything being too expensive now. All the MacBook lines are about $200 more than they should be, and the same goes for iPad. iPad now has much more amazing hardware compared to the mac lines, but it is hugely limited by its software.
With Apple’s recent leadership changes I think we are going to go into another era of lower cost hardware (while still keeping the newly formed top end, like the xs max.) All while they try to find what will sustain growth in the company post-iPhone.
> Their iPhones have reached a peak, where it appears people are no longer willing to pay so much for them. They are too damn expensive, with nothing to justify their costs.
I went into the apple store the other day with my wife to finally get her off of Android and onto an iPhone XS. We planned to pay cash and walk out with it, doing activation and migration ourselves. I had to get put onto a special iPhone waiting list until a specialist was ready to sell me the phone. I was surprised. There is a decline in the buzz around the phone but the demand is certainly still there.
> To put it bluntly, Apple is extremely, extremely arrogant..
Hmm. That's quite an attack.
There was great demand for stock buybacks, Apple resisted for a while.
I'm surprised to hear a need for 512GB storage, I'd be interested to know how that's used. The upgrade to XS is only minor from the X according to the reviews I've seen/seen summarised. A yearly upgrade isn't common, isn't their target.
I just don't understand Apple's current product direction.
People don't stop buying gas when the price of gas goes up. They just conserve and figure out how to make it fit into their budget.
Also, Apple isn't (and has never) been trying to target the highest end phones at developing markets. They'll target those markets with the iPhone 6 and 6s.
How should I store my lossless audio files then? I have a 6s and I am continuously having issues with space but I won't give up the jack port and nothing can change that. HiFi audio needs additional 10 years before it becomes viable on wireless (battery times, quality, etc.).
You also most probably wouldn't hear the difference between high bitrate mp3 and flac, unless you are genetically gifted with superior hearing and use expensive headphones on top of that.
But I guess its easier to shell tons of money and complain later rather than work a bit on managing your music collection/expectations.
As commenter above noted, you probably don't need lossless audio on your portable device if you only listen through earbuds, but if you use connect it to some good speakers or high quality headphones, then why shouldn't you be able to?
As for the quality difference in general, I ripped my own CD collection at lossless quality many years ago because given the choice of the same quality or worse quality that I may or may not be able to discern, it's seemed more logical to take the former. The lost data would never have been recoverable later.
Personally id rather have the dividend myself - that's real cash in my account not some vague if we spend x billion the share price might go up.
>Apple said Tuesday it has returned $275 billion in total capital to shareholders since 2012. ... Apple said it would be increasing dividends 16 percent to 73 cents per share.
Id rather have my share of that $100 Billion that as a special dividend - than some woo woo share buyback.
I know I am definitely in the minority, but my iPhone SE with 32 GB never gets full now that I use Google Photos to backup the images and delete them from the phone whenever it gets full.
They will probably fix the audio issue and use the opportunity to charge $500 more for the new improved Macbooks.
It's not like Macbook Pros are getting more expensive. A 15" Macbook Pro with Touch Bar starts at $2,399. When I bought my first 15" Macbook Pro in 2008, the base model was about $2,500. That's the price range of a Macbook Pro.
When it comes to iPhones, considering the sales trajectory without the broader industry context doesn't reveal much. It's not like Samsung and LG phones are selling as fast as they used to either. BTW, their flagship phones cost about as much as an iPhone these days. Phone sales in general are slowing down. Apple continues to compete very well in that space.
People have been complaining about Apple's arrogance for as long as I can remember. I'm not trying to discount the way you feel, I'm just saying that your feelings are not necessarily representative of Apple's future prospects. Apple threads on HN have attracted similar comments for as long as I've been reading here. I mean, people were complaining about iTunes 10 years ago, and look at Apple sales over that time.
1. It replaces the F keys, which I actually want to use.
2. Unlike real keys, if you even brush the touch bar, it detects a touch and performs whatever action is assigned to the region you accidentally came into contact with.
But you don't HAVE to use it, right?
I know regular consumers probably have no use for it, but as a die hard Vim user, it's kinda annoying.
Other people like to map caps lock to escape, which makes it even easier. I have even heard of people doing this that have a physical escape key on their keyboards.
I currently use karabiner-elements to get this functionality, it's pretty good.
And turn Caps Lock into Ctrl
EDIT I would add that at least with adb its not the only option. Android is a reasonably open and flexible and open experience and there are lots of different ways you can manage your device. The iPhone for better or worse is locked down, the least Apple could do is provide something better than the lousy piece of crap that is iTunes.
You'll need iTunes the same way as you need adb. You don't.
Also, iTunes is not a "lousy piece of crap".
I commend you on your loyalty.
Ive must have burnt out.
iTunes is the only way to get a local iPhone backup.
For those who don’t care how their phone is backed up, iTunes is the only way to fully backup their phone at all without paying for iCloud.
iTunes is the only way I can listen to Apple Music on my Mac.
iTunes is the only way I can create smart music playlists for my phone (Which is ridiculous, but I digress)
I can’t wait until I’m not forced to use iTunes.
I'm unclear by this statement. iTunes backups are technically a more 'full' backup than the iCloud ones, because iCloud will avoid caches, files marked as not-to-backup, and will not back up files which are part of app packages (and can just be downloaded again). But you can do an iCloud backup without paying a cent - you'll just hit a storage limit with sufficient data/devices and have to start paying for additional storage.
> iTunes is the only way I can listen to Apple Music on my Mac.
There was an article here the other day about http://musi.sh
> I can’t wait until I’m not forced to use iTunes.
I thought the hold-up was that it was cross platform between Mac and Windows - but the Win 10 version is still the same old crap.
Like, off the top of my head, the x1 carbon is still loved by most Linux users (that I have encountered) despite the fact that out of the box, sleep literally does not work on it for Linux systems. You have to install a BIOS update. Yet Lenovo doesn't seem to get nearly the attention that apple does for this and the myriad of other mistakes I have discovered with them.
This is the same point that’s often made about developers. But if it’s not developers and it’s not music producers, what is the large market for Macs that dwarfs everything else? And are they at least getting the products and features they want?
I just tried switching from my MBP to a Surface Laptop, and the bullshit that win 10 makes you deal with is just insane O_O
Alas I took the MBA back and got a refund and grabbed my spare Thinkpad T440 out of the cupboard and put windows 10 on it. The OS is a shell to run Chrome, Excel, Word, Putty, iTunes, kicad, LTspice, WSJTX and I use Fastmail for mail. Literally nothing gets in my way. It just works. And everything like photos and videos are in FILES not weird opaque containers and buggy as crap apps. The CPU is about the same speed, I've got more RAM in this, it's got a FHD display which is good enough and the keyboard is amazing compared to anything Apple had to offer. Plus it cost me literally 1/5th of the cost.
Also comparing OSX to windows, you can actually mostly drive windows from the keyboard without resorting to hand warping shortcut combinations reminiscent of Megadrive Streetfighter cheat codes.
I think after switching back I just had stockholm syndrome.
I've been using Windows 10 more and more over the last 2 years. Its fine. For the first time in a long time I don't feel like Windows is slowing me down, especially now it has sub-system for linux. Its still annoying that processes can lock access to files... but thats small potatoes.
As a long-time Win user, having wrist pain, this is the killer thing for me. Everything about a Mac feels extremely unergonomic to me. Many things are not doable from keyboard at all. AFAIU most of the Mac developers do all stuff with touchpad so they don't care though.
It focuses the menubar, at which point you can navigate the menus by typing/arrow key, Spacebar to focus, and Enter to select.
It helps me avoid a lot of mouse usage.
...come to think of it, I should probably give that a binding on my ErgoDox somewhere.
Only complaint is you have to actually enable Full Keyboard Access from system preferences before you can use the keyboard to do things like select buttons in dialog boxes.
I’ve actually been thinking about writing a keyboard assistant using the accessibility API. In theory it should be easy to drive anything that’s built using UIKit.
Afaik, Windows is perfectly fine for casual users.
Apart from updates needing restarts and windows being inconvenient for programming, I don't see any clear disadvantages of using windows.
 I left about a decade ago when I saw where things were headed with iOS-ification of the platform in general. I'm a developer so I feel/felt your pain as a member of one of the groups Apple used to care about. I moved to Linux which I know is no help to you... power user/pro audio features and software on Linux are still lacking.
 - https://supercollider.github.io/
 - https://puredata.info/
The hardware budget from my employer also helps.
For you perhaps. I've used desktop/laptop linux for nearly 20 years and it works just fine, millions of others do too.
Developer tooling is really damn nice and using the command line is a joy. With proton on steam I can play a lot of the games I like.
But no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get sound to work properly. I'm using a FiiO E10K and a pair of Sennheiser HD650 and no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't get it to sound right. I tried editing whatever configuration file I could find and I still couldn't get it to sound not choppy. Eventually I gave up and went back on windows. Maybe when I'll change my amp I'll give it another try.
I'm glad it's working for you though.
The Mac user experience is great in part because Apple is willing to compromise on backwards compatibility. This allows them to innovate in the user interface (which Microsoft also does) while at the same time keeping it relatively consistent, which is what Microsoft is prevented from doing.
Also, since Apple relies on selling directly to consumers, they really have to prioritise the user experience.
And here's your MP3 player, iTunes...
For real work on the road I use my t410s and ubuntu (although the hinge has now gone, which is a right pain), but most of the time I do real work I'm at home and use my z440 HP workstation (also with ubuntu)
There are legitimate reasons to buy macs, but I'd say most people want them because they look nice and they consider them a status symbol.
Yes. A specialist system integrator can sell you a Windows machine with reliable low-latency audio performance and modern components. A lot of people can make do with a 2013 Mac Pro and don't want to deal with the inconvenience of switching; plenty of others have switched because they simply can't tolerate working on a machine with an Ivy Bridge processor and a maximum of 64GB of RAM.
I have worked in environments where vendors actually give a proper legally binding guarantee that Windows boxes work as expected and they charge accordingly.
When you sell packaged software you'd better make sure it runs with the next version of the OS. All registered Apple software developers have access to beta software, including OSs, for a very long time before launch, precisely to prevent things like this.
The trouble with the beta was it wasn't exactly the same as what shipped which caused delays of several months in most instances.
Edit: I could only find articles from 3rd party sources - NI did not release the statement on their website, but through their newsletter. For example it is mentioned here: https://www.native-instruments.com/forum/threads/critical-co...
Also, I said "from memory [...] last year" but it was 2015! Wow, time flies! :-O
Pro audio users have been loyal Apple customers through thick and thin, but a lot of us have lost faith in Apple's ability or willingness to serve creative professionals. The poor price-to-performance ratio of the trash can Mac Pro was a major source of frustration, especially given the loss of functionality compared to the "cheese grater" Mac Pro; it's really not fit for purpose without spending an extra $1500 on a Sonnet xMac rack kit. The complete lack of hardware updates since 2013 added insult to injury, leading a lot of people to defect to Windows out of sheer desperation. This bug isn't just a nuisance, it strikes at the heart of why musicians continue to pay a serious premium for hardware that often isn't particularly well suited to their needs.
I think Apple are seriously underestimating the risk to their brand of losing creative professionals. The ubiquity of Macs in recording studios and edit suites and on DJ stages said something powerful about the kind of company Apple is and the kind of people who use Macs. It justified the status of Macs as the premium choice for serious creatives. It created an aspirational halo, even if you only really use your computer for web browsing, Google Docs and editing a few photos. Apple are haemorrhaging their most loyal and influential customers, because they don't seem to care about the Mac platform.
That doesn't really matter right now, because they're still selling huge volumes of iPhones at healthy margins, but it could come back to haunt them in a few short years. Chinese smartphone manufacturers are stealing Apple's lunch in emerging markets and making a serious dent in the west; iPhone revenues are declining and it's entirely plausible that the decline could mark the start of a long-term trend. Apple have in effect become a luxury brand that happens to make phones, which has created the existential threat of simply falling out of fashion.
It's also important to understand the context. We spend thousands of dollars on near-field monitors, cables, interfaces, and other kinds of external hardware. If it's a fully rigged up studio, we're talking millions. The "Apple tax" is not really an issue for us, because it's one of the least expensive purchases in our tool chain. I own plugins that are more expensive than the laptop I use to run them.
Edit: You could argue that the people who are really getting burned here are the "prosumer" bedroom producers. That has to be put in quotes, because some of these "bedroom" folks are basically pro-level producers. I'm sure there are lots of people running USB 2.0 interfaces for an in-the-box rig with Ableton or whatever. They are paying the Apple tax, and they deserve way better.
For anyone curious about this statement, allow me to introduce you to Vienna Symphonic Library. It's the industry standard virtual orchestra, it's used by the vast majority of professional composers and a license for the complete library costs $14,332. We're not talking about a desperately price-sensitive market.
Those ultra-slim butterfly keyboards didn't invent themselves. Likewise the Touch Bar. Not developing it and sticking with Fn keys would have been a heck of a lot cheaper and easier. All the things 'everyone' complains about took a huge amount of attention and investment to deliver. Even the jet engine Mac Pro took a lot of work to screw up so badly. They just seem to have got it wrong.
Apple is constantly under pressure to innovate, from themselves as much as externally, so they just feel they can't sit still even when where they are is actually the best place to be.
On the other hand I got a 5K iMAC when it came out and ... oh... m... g... is that thing gorgeous to use. But a lot of the very pretty, very well engineered, innovative bits and bobs they've come out with recently have just been wrong.
That's not a connection that should be made in a QA engineer's mind, it's a connection that should be made in an architect or team lead's mind, or better yet, one that should already exist as part of the internal documentation. You don't throw tarballs over the wall at the QA team yelling "you dudes, tell me if this breaks!". You know what's being developed and how, and you design your tests to validate that. Otherwise there are infinitely many tests to run.
As for the connection: the article is low on technical details, and https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/anvufc/psa_2018_macs... suggests there might be several bugs at work here. That being said, if there were a list of top 5 things that could get screwed by date and time change, synchronous playback would definitely make it on that list.
If anything, the output from one of the bug reports ( https://openradar.appspot.com/46918065 ) hints that one of the thing that happens as part of the update is pausing the audio engine. The person who introduced the bug may not have figured it out at the time (which is okay, we all make mistakes), but the whole thing should have gone through code review, at least one round of documentation, and a testing process that's built to spot new problems along with the old ones, based on knowledge about what's new in the code. With the right process in place, there's no way that hits the market without serious testing, not at a pro-oriented company anyway.
Edit: tl;dr: IMHO, that's definitely a testing scenario that should have existed. By spending and commitment, the pro audio industry is probably 1/3rd of the Macbook Pro market, synchronous playback issues routinely creep up in software whenever time and clocking are brought into discussion, and (for at least one of the bugs) the source is not some strange interaction but a deliberate action in the code.
Citation needed - I seriously doubt that the the professional audio market is large enough.
That's hardly the same thing as a bunch of developers installing an aftermarket OS on a midrange laptop. And even then, "you have to install a BIOS update" is just shorthand for Lenovo fixed the problem, right?
I mean, a topped out x1 carbon is pretty much the non-macbook business laptop, so this is a bit unfair.
I know we aren't talking about servers but not-self-serviceable hardware with strict limits is what I usually associate with mid-range, not professional users, not even prosumers.
That laptop costs around 2000€ though. The price itself is enterprise-level indeed.
To be fair though even without S3 sleep it is easy to drop Linux power consumption on the X1C6 to ~2.5-3W with display off and no Linux user worth their salt is afraid of installing a BIOS update which literally adds a 'Linux' mode for sleep after which it's flawless.
The BIOS update even installs without needing Windows now a days - LVFS even.
So, it is even Thinkpad guys who can't write proper bioses these days?
Is there a single laptop out there where you can say the bios is truly flawless?
Board firmware (laptops, desktops, servers) is pretty much always crap.
I love that several distributions of Linux are basically turnkey solutions for most systems (I run Ubuntu on both of my Thinkpads!), but it's not quite fair to compare Lenovo hardware running a 3rd party OS with Apple's vaunted "it just works" hardware/software combination.
Most linux users expect some problems when deciding to go the linux route. When you decide to use linux as your daily driver, you expect to sometimes get your hands dirty. Also, companies like system76 offer laptops created for running linux so you are bound to have a much much better experience out of the box.
Developing audio-plugins (AU) make you use a lot of DAWs (digital-audio-workstations).
There's some issue with Logic Pro X that has been logged for quite a while now.
A few days ago I heard the reason it isn't addressed for more than a year now...
The developer in-charge on that feature isn't allowed to access other parts of code needed for fixing the issue.
Apple quality-control in the past years has been totally wracked.
What concerns me isn't this issue, but the future of it:
- it might won't be fixed at all! (arghghgh)
- it might be fixed after very long time (and who know maybe they'll break or regress something else).
- They bought Camel Audio and got Alchemy.
- They've added more nice instruments to their arsenal.
- They did a UI redesign.
- They've add ARA2.
Compare those updates to other mature products (Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Cubase) it's not bad.
I feel that recent Apple laptops are no longer premium machines regardless of the premium price tag.
1) not testing stuff thoroughly - the i9 mbpro overheating saga ("fixed" by firmware upgrade), this T2 usb2 dropout (which probably isn't fixable at all) - unacceptable.
2) releasing significant GPU upgrade 2 months after a flagship mbpro release - I and many others were screwed by buying the latest and greatest (the most expensive laptop I've ever bought) only to be obsoleted 2 months later by 90% faster GPU that doesn't overheat, with no chance for customer exchange at that point.
Inexcusable, I pay the Apple premium to avoid crap like this, now I'm wondering what I am paying 2x for?
So now, you've got a hub to get two USB-C ports, then you've got a USB-C -> 3.5 dongle on one of them (some USB-C hubs have built-in 3.5 ports, but these don't generally support audio passthrough, and the DACs inside the hub are shit compared to Apple's official ones). If you've ever owned a big USB-C hub like this, you'll know that they get Hot. Like, "that's uncomfortable to touch" Hot.
All they had to do is put two USB-C ports on it. That's fine; I get that headphone jacks are thick and "last gen". But they couldn't even do that.
Nevermind the fact that Apple's official $9 audio dongle also only has a barely acceptable DAC in it.
My butterfly keyboard repeats keys. This easily halves my typing speed. (Or rather "Itt easily halves my ttyping speed")
Yesterday my machine got stuck booting with a black screen after running out of battery with the backlight turned off.
Also, the keyboards have gone from making virtually no sound to making loud clicking sounds.
I have also had a glitch where the sound gets distorted.
Obviously it would be better if the keyboards didn't break so easily to begin with, but at least you may not have to put up with it :)
I've owned a 2013, 2016, 2017, and 2018 MBP (most of them through work).
I'm typing this message on a 2018 MBP, which wasp urchased 3 months ago, and I've decided that I'm not . going to go back and fix all of the sticky spaces that it errantly injects. I could take it in, but then I'd h ave to give up the device for a few days, and its my work machine.
The 2017 had a similar . issue where keys would more visibly just get stuck down. Sent it . in twice; four months later the issue cropped up again. My company decided to just upgrade to the 2018.
The 2016 had a host of issues. Ironically the keyboard was fine, but the battery pretty quickly started failing (there's a recall program for them now, which started a year after mine started showing symptoms and I was t old by a rep that "there's nothing we can do here, we can send it to Cupertino but you'll be without it for about 2 weeks"). The single fan in the machine eventually stopped working.
I know that expecting better service than that is asking a lot, because no one else does much better (except maybe Microsoft, if you have a MS Store nearby their on-site support is far better than Apple's as they're authorized to do device replacements surprisingly often). But that's not what I expect; what I expect is for these things to stop failing so often such that support is necessary. Its not that hard; they had a perfect formula with the 2013-era devices. But they won't admit . that they made a strategic mistake with these new body designs and revert back to something that actually works.
This is my current situation. I am eligible for a free keyboard repair (2017 MBP), and I need one owing to sticky keys, but last I checked the estimated repair time was over a week. I would be hard pressed to go one day without this device. I cannot suspend my livelihood for 7+ days.
The more this problem festers the more I am tempted to buy a solid laptop and dip my toe back into development on Windows, or try my hand at Linux. That transition would be at least as disruptive as the keyboard repair, but it would enable me to untether myself from this decreasingly reliable maker of tools.
Incidentally I got to live with the new butterfly keyboard for a week or so. I've been hearing horror stories about it for years at that point, but turns out it was okay. Not gonna win any awards, but after a few hours I got used to it like any other keyboard, had no problem touch typing, and didn't notice any increased rate of errors. The arrow keys did take some getting used to, though, and the lack of physical Esc and function keys was a nuisance in a small number of scenarios.
I have to say Apple's support experience is stellar. I can't imagine having that with a Dell or Lenovo.
I was on a film shoot recently and actually felt so self-conscious that the noise of my butterfly keyboard would show up on the recording that I just stopped working all together that day.
Been on loads of shoots with my pre-butterfly macbook and never worried about that.
Form over Function. I'd bet that most OSX devs probaby use an iMac now.
Seriously, it’s maddening. It has halved my typing speed.
That plus this audio bug makes me REALLY hope they let me keep this one as a back up.
As someone who works with a lot of pro audio gear on the Mac, I can say that it's hard to describe what a show stopper this is. Glitches and dropouts are a catastrophic problem for almost anything involving sound, and they're right: If you're having those kinds of problems, you run immediately to the interface manufacturer.
Still, I'm not sure many people using pro-grade audio interfaces (mine cost almost as much as the computer itself) are still using the USB 2.0 bus. Thunderbolt has been pretty enthusiastically embraced by the industry.
Audio AD/DA hasn't changed a lot in the past 10-15 years. A good USB 2 interface is still perfectly valid as long as the manufacturer provides drivers. For example the legendary RME Babyface Pro.
(RIP my 2018 Macbook Pro speakers, they sounded great when they worked)