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Apple’s Latest Macs Have a Serious Audio Glitching Bug (cdm.link)
318 points by mortenjorck on Feb 19, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 329 comments

Apple appears to be coming to some sort of head at this point. This is speaking as someone heavily invested in Apple products and shares.

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.

> Their iPhones have reached a peak, where it appears people are no longer willing to pay so much for them.

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.

>You realize that Apple has so much money they can do both.

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.

Again, thinking binary is incorrect here. Apple is spending 10B+/year on R&D [1]. They clearly can think of something. I guess it could be argued they should be the top R&D spender (they are trending that way), but even if they were they would still have enough money do stock buy backs and pay dividends. The amount of money they make is staggering.

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 [2].

Apple has plenty of areas to improve, but it is not from the lack of R&D spending.

[1] http://dashboards.trefis.com/no-login-required/MCeJl2Yc?from...

[2] https://maps.apple.com/vehicles/

>Again, thinking binary is incorrect here.

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.

AR seems to be a new medium, and new media are generally broadly used. Video, for example, is not owned by Youtube: there's vimeo, dailymotion, hotstar/netflix/amazon prime video/itunes video, the porn sites, videos on various corporate sites, videos embedded in Amazon product pages, etc.

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.

>By all accounts the XS is a great phone. If I had anything other than the X, I would have upgraded.

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.

My goodness, yes. The LTE issues are a nightmare.

did your 7+ not have the intel model? my 7 does, and it has many more issues than my 6 did with the Qualcomm modem.

My 7+ had a Qualcomm one and it was pretty seamless. XS Max is pretty much my first exposure to Intel ones and it's practically unusable in NYC subway.

ah, you must have had the Verizon 7+, which due to cdma needed the Qualcomm modem. sorry that you've now had to join the rest of us.

The stores (and iMessage) get brought up a lot, but for the world outside the US they are a secondary consideration if they even factor in at all. There are more _Samsung_ stores in Dublin than Apple, and the ones we have a 3rd party 'authorised resellers' with average service at best...

Most of the US is not within range of an Apple store either.

> You realize that Apple has so much money they can do both.

Nobody said they couldn't do it. The fact is that they aren't.

>Apple is the richest company in the world, and instead of paying their engineers top wages...

If that sentence caught anyone else's eye, know that it caught mine too and I did a quick sanity check. [0] It does seem that Apple is falling a bit short of other top companies, especially for the upper levels.

[0] https://www.levels.fyi/SE/Google/Facebook/Apple

Anecdotally, everyone I know who works for Apple is paid below market rate. They justify it by reminding you that “you get to be part of the mission”.

I know one guy making market and he’s in the video streaming product group.

LOL what mission? Making fancy phones? Seriously what mission does Apple do? The mission to make money? Like every other company? LOL who would ever fall for this????????

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.

> They justify it by reminding you that “you get to be part of the mission”.

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.

Your attitude seems common, but I'm quite curious just how common it is.

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.

Just curious. Have you done a serious analysis of how much you’ll need in your retirement savings to be able to live a comfortable life when you’re no longer earning (due to lack of desire to work or lack of opportunities to work)? Say you live till you’re 90. I’m asking because many times people think about the present and say they don’t need any more money, but don’t think about the future when they won’t be able to earn.

Somewhat. We've eyeballed the cost of living where we want to retire (NorCal Redwood Coast) compared to the many asterisked expected 401k returns and everything looks reasonable. The big gotcha in my mind is that I expect that once we get old then some big medical issue will hit one or both of us and drain any/all saving.

This is the same garbage every company feeds you to make you feel better about getting under paid. It'll only stop when unions are more wide-spread.

same here. and my friends all tell me "it's a good thing, because you know everybody working here are passionate". He told me that while he was paying for his lunch at the Apple cafeteria because they don't even get free lunch. I was very surprised.

Free lunch? Ha ha ha... my employer does not even have free coffee.

Sorry, I realise this could have sounded very precious :) In the context of big tech companies in Silicon Valley, free lunch is so common, not having it is worthy of being talked about in such a conversation!

Free coffee!? I have to _pay_ my employer to let me work there.


They also compensate security engineers well but they also seem like an exception to the rule

When it comes to (smart)phones, you don't really have much choice. You either consent to being exploited by Google, or you pay a pound of flesh to Apple.

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.

True. We need a 3rd player on this market that does not do surveillance and produces products with reasonable price. A business focused phone would be great. There are very few applications that you could get away.

Business focused and reasonable price usually don't go together.

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.

"...they are losing to Apple and Android..."

When did you write this portion of your post? 2013?

Otherwise I agree.

Windows phone could have been it.

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.

They mentioned no surveillance so after all the windows 10 telemetry stuff windows doesn't seem to be the answer here.

There are other options, or will be other options, i.e. the librem 5 (https://puri.sm/products/librem-5/) The problem is that "out of the box" it's more or less a similar experience to the first iPhone. It's a phone, with messaging and a browser. None of the apps you've come to depend upon are there.

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.

I don't understand what people are talking about when they say they get gouged by phones. Mine cost 180 USD in 2016. I still use it everyday and I get over 10 hours screen time. The issue is people conflate everyday devices of utility with fashion products (Apple, Google Pixel).

They didn't say people are gouged by phones. They said:

>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.

iPhone SE was released in 2016 and still runs the latest version of iOS.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone_SE

It never cost anything close to $180 though. That was my point: a phone that cost that little in 2016 was probably an older android and is unlikely to have current software support.

I got burned by Android being out of date (insecure) because my phone had to be updated by the carrier. I was royally pissed that neither the manufacturer of the phone nor my phone provider was taking ownership-- of the thing they took ownership of by not supporting vanilla Android to begin with-- and leaving me with an insecure device on their network.

Total BS.

I switched to iPhone now.

I hate this attitude. My super cheap budget android phone isn't getting updates, obviously the only solution is to switch to an iPhone that costs 4 times as much. Never mind that there are also Android phones that get updated just as long for the same price as the iPhone. Clearly all Android devices are absolutely identical no matter the price.

Not sure about 2016 but I paid $139 for my iPhone SE in 2017, from a prepaid carrier (Straight Talk).

It's also discontinued and very difficult to buy new.

To give another angle, my iPad Pro cost around 1000€. The iPhone X is about the same price.

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.

I doubt cellular stack certification is what's driving prices up. I used to make mobile phones back in the late 90's, and even then we constructed mobile phones as an n-way system.

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.

Also, and thats the main thing keeping me from having an iPhone at this point, is that, even after paying a premium price for an iPhone, you have to spend even more money due to the App Store situation.

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.

Google Play Services is what makes sure i'm staying on an iPhone.

As for OSS, apple allowed free developer licenses for non-profits some time ago. https://developer.apple.com/support/membership-fee-waiver/

I doubt the margins on them are that different. Similar CPU, the XS has a smaller but more expensive-tech screen.

>Apple is the richest company in the world, and instead of paying their engineers top wages,

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.

The engineering issue is a lack of accidental touch sensing. Mac did this with the caps lock key (which is arguably easier to implement). The feature feels half baked.

I'd argue that the Touch Bar implementation is fully baked but utterly useless.

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.

I'm mainly frustrated by the lack of advancement in the Macbook Pro line. I have a 2014-ish MacBook Pro and accidentally got water on the keyboard. It works fine with an external keyboard. Instead of paying 400 dollars to get the keyboard working again I chose to buy a refurbished Macbook Pro from 2017.

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.

Lol my 2011 MBP has 16 gb ram and a 128gb ssd... and a 17" matte screen!

> I still have 8GB or RAM and still have a 128GB SDD

Well that could have been 32GB and 2TB in the 2018 if you wanted?

Apple charges ridiculous prices for SSDs and RAM.

You expected something else?

I agree with your assessment of the situation. Apple products are actually functionally worse than they used to be. Think about that - would you buy a car that did not work as well as your old one?

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.

The product lines are a lot less focused than they used to be, especially on the mobile side. It hurts the software side as well supporting so many different configurations. Many things that were introduced years ago still do not work properly, like handoff, continuity, and other related features.

Exactly! Apple now thinks feature announcements are the equivalent of success. And perhaps to investors, it is. But to users it actually sort of matters whether the thing makes their lives better.

And here I am switching to Mac after a lifetime on Windows.

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.

This is my fear. I'm holding onto my 2015 MBP really hoping Apple starts making laptops I want again, but I don't know where else to go. My last Windows machine was a very expensive Samsung Ultrabook machine that cost much more than the equivalent Apple machine. It was a mess in terms of OS and hardware. So I feel like I'm running out of options.

You're in good company in my household. We have four MBPs (2015, 2012, 2x2011). Not getting rid of them until, as you said, Apple starts making laptops I want again.

> the alternative is substantially worse

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.

What about Linux laptops? Are you considering that alternative?

Not OP. For home, I'm using a Dell XPS 13 with Ubuntu on it, for office I use a MBP 15.

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.

In my case, one of my core use cases is music production. Linux is as good as useless for that - no major DAWs support it.

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

You may not upgrade to the next iPhone model, but are you going to switch to another platform? If not, then you're still in Apple's ecosystem and generating some revenue and opportunity for them, aren't you?

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.

The percentage of people with Macbooks at conferences has decreased a lot. It used to be >50% at the conferences i was attending. Nowadays it's more like 15%. You also see a lot of Dell XPS, Thinkpads etc.

> This need to update your phone every year or every two years is insane, the peak of consumerism.

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).

While I understand where you are coming from, the iPhone 4 was announced in 2010[1].

I believe a more apt comparison would be my current situation with an iPhone 6 which came out in 2014[2]. 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).

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone_4#Release

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone_6

My Iphone 6 is still going strong after 4 years. Replaced the screen myself twice and battery once, planning to do a second battery replacement. There's no killer feature in the other models that would determine me to upgrade.

I'm on my 2nd SE. Unless Apple makes an SE2, I'll buy another SE when this one dies. To me iOS is still the most stable mobile OS, but I don't like the current models' form factors. They're all entirely too large.

Same. I don't want a phone larger than the SE, that requires a mushroom glued to the back for manual manipulation.

Also, I too refuse to use any MacBook with that infernal touch bar.

> 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.

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.

Exactly my complaints. Awful and notoriously unreliable keyboard. The missing HDMI and USB-A are also stupid but at least it can be solved with a dock or dongle.

Broken keyboard cannot be solved, and they break all the time.

Lets hope the 16” 2019 will fix at least the keyboard...

I'd suggest that "solved with a dock or a dongle" is just as awful a fix as "why not bring a usb keyboard with you".

I always argue that Apple went with USB-C a little too early, but it IS the future.

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.

I was afraid to buy a new Mac because of how people talk about the keyboard, but after a couple months of use I can say I actually like the new retina macbook air keyboard. I know this is anecdotal, but considering Macbook computer sales, I wonder if I’m in the majority. Yes it’s my daily driver and I create a lot of content. No finger pain. I think it helps me type faster.

My 13" Retina is due for an upgrade, but when i went to the store and tried out the new keyboards i couldn't in any way see myself becoming comfortable typing on it.

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" :)

Note that the retina MacBook Air has an improved keyboard over the 2017 retina MacBook Pro

I'm not an iPhone user, but I use the MBP and MP. macOS itself is far, far better than Windows, but lately I've had weird issues with the security updates. Late last year a machine was bricked (yes, actually bricked). The 2018-002 and 2019-001 has taken me 2-3 times to get installed on > 5 machines.

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.

> I wouldn't have upgraded and I know for a fact there is really no difference after using it for several months.

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.

It's easy to make those claims when you live on websites like HN.

> 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.

China has people no longer willing to pay for iPhones. Everywhere else it's not changed much year on year.

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.

And India. And the Philippines. And loads of other developing countries. Meanwhile, Apple killed the best price/value iPhone they offered, the SE.

I just don't understand Apple's current product direction.

People are buying phones less often, so Apple is trying to increase the value (and subsequent price) of new phone models to encourage upgrades and to capture more money when people do upgrade (either because third party apps now run slow on the older hardware, or their old phone broke).

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.

That did not went well in the mid-90's if it weren't for the inverse acquision of NeXT.

>> I'm surprised to hear a need for 512GB storage

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.).

Well you most probably don't need all of that collection in your phone. Phones are generally lousy primary storage for, well anything including photos and music. Easy to lose, drown or destroy.

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.

I imagine it's not the primary storage for OP, but syncs from the library on Mac, which is probably has a backup strategy itself.

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.

Exactly this. I don't understand why people are giving up on quality and bend over for guys like Tim Cook who push down worse quality products consistently. They need to realise that wireless audio is just not there for all the use cases (leave the jack alone) and instead of faster processors we need bigger storage.

I have my primary storage on my laptop (+ secondary backups). I sync music from my laptop to my phone. you are suggesting I should convert the music to lower quality because most people cannot distinguish between lossless and mp3? I should compromise because companies refuse to deliver what I want and what I would pay for? That is the really lousy argument. Btw. you do not need to be genetically gifted to hear the difference. Also you do not need an _expensive_ headphone you need one with great sound quality. There are plenty of hifi headphones with reasonable pricing.

The big question is do you really need that high quality of audio on the go? Is spotify/mp3 quality really hurts your ears that badly? I would rather spent money on home audio setup or highend mp3 player rather than pump all that money into iPhone. Plus listening lossless audio on the go in non silent environment seems pointless to begin with because of all the noise around interfering with music.

I use a hifi headphone that has amazing sound quality. Why should I give that up and move over to something worse? I think we as a society are responsible to reject if a company tries to push down something that is worse than the previous version. Capitalism and supply/demand works only if the purchasing power is smart about quality.

I looked into audio quality with minimal tech, ie just a smartphone and earphones. Those two together can’t outperform mp3. If anything can, it needs an amp and headphones. So I bought an adapter and mid range earphones.

iPhone 6s has amazing DAC, I have an amazing earphone and I use ALAC. This setup certainly outperforms mp3 + external DAC + mid range earphone.

I am sure the brokers who arrange the buy backs love them - all that nice $

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.

They did that too.

>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.


The lead in that article is "plan to return $100 billion to shareholders in a massive stock buyback,"

Id rather have my share of that $100 Billion that as a special dividend - than some woo woo share buyback.

Great post. If you don't mind me asking what do you store on your phone that takes up 512GB? I've always wondered what people store on their phones that takes up the room.

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.

I store all my videos of my children on my phone. I have backups on iCloud and Google Photos, but I prefer to have them on my phone. It's personal preference, and I know others do it differently, but I don't want to waste time looking at a spinning wheel waiting for the video to download if I'm looking at old videos. I'm lucky in that I can afford the extra storage.

That makes sense. I need to start shooting more videos instead of photos.

I have tons of podcasts set to auto-download new episodes, and the file sizes on episodes can get pretty big. On my old 32gb phone I was constantly having to go through and prune podcasts as I don't auto-delete them since I'll often re-listen.

Couldn't agree more. I am a pretty big Apple user (mac/iphone/ipad), but their audacity (shamelessness?) with the recent pricing is breathtaking.

They will probably fix the audio issue and use the opportunity to charge $500 more for the new improved Macbooks.

I don't understand why folks get so upset about the Touch Bar. It just sits there; if you don't want to use it, don't use it.

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.

> I don't understand why folks get so upset about the Touch Bar. It just sits there; if you don't want to use it, don't use it.

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.

Several years ago I severed a tendon in my left index finger, as a result it is relatively immobile and sticks out. It brushes against that horrible touch bar all too often. I touch type, can handle real keys without looking, but the touch bar just slows me down. Have to look, recognize an icon, choose. Arrrrgh!

>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.

But you don't HAVE to use it, right?

You kind of need to if you want to change the screen brightness, play/pause music or video and change the volume. These are things I do all the time on my keyboard and honestly the experience with TouchBar is drastically less pleasant than it is with normal keys.

The Touch Bar replaces the entire top row of keys. No more escape key. Vim users were pretty pissed.

Worse than 2012 MacBooks.

Eh, I'm in two minds about the touch bar. Once you get used to it there are SOME good uses (IntelliJ has a pretty good touch bar implementation, for example).

But still no (physical) escape button.

I know regular consumers probably have no use for it, but as a die hard Vim user, it's kinda annoying.

I'm a die hard neovim user with a touch bar MacBook pro. I remapped caps lock to control and use control-] to escape in nvim. I'm used to it and it works just fine for me.

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’ve been doing the caps->esc remap for a lot longer than I’ve had a touchbar Mac. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to reach all the way to esc - constantly - day in and day out. My pinky and wrist would hate me.

You can have the best of both worlds - tap capslock for escape, hold for ctrl.

I currently use karabiner-elements to get this functionality, it's pretty good.

Turn you caps locks key into the Escape key. Using a TouchBar keyboard or otherwise, it is a better way to get around.

I've gotten used to the non physical escape button. Took me a while, but I got there in the end.


And turn Caps Lock into Ctrl

iTunes is terrible, but you don't have to use it – I got my MBP at Xmas 2014 and still haven't accepted the iTunes EULA.

Is there an alternative tool for managing your iPhone?

You dont need iTunes to manage your iphone - it's essentially it's own device. I've never synced my phone with my laptop.

So the answer is “no” then ...

As bad as iTunes is, its still better than adb

Well, Android never went through an evolution like ipod+itunes > iphone +/- itunes, so the tools for managing it from another machine never needed to attempt to be friendly.

That’s a poor excuse

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.

No, that's not.

You'll need iTunes the same way as you need adb. You don't.

Also, iTunes is not a "lousy piece of crap".

> iTunes is not a "lousy piece of crap".

I commend you on your loyalty.

You haven’t needed iTunes (or any other tool) to manage an iPhone since iOS 5.0.

The few times I have needed some additional tool (for directly copying music/custom ringtones/images), I use iMazing

iTunes appears to have stopped getting updates around 2012. The long description for podcasts appears in a tooltip bubble ~20 characters wide. It's unusable.

Ive must have burnt out.


RE 2:

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.

> 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.

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.

I just had to use ITunes the other day. It’s the only way to load an ipsw onto an iPhone.

You can also use Xcode. Or at least you could a few years ago.

You can do it with Xcode by opening the devices and simulators window.

I use it all the time, it's really not that bad.

That's a weird glitch, and generally I'm not a fan of apple hardware (I think it's overpriced, that their keyboards suck, that they don't have enough ports, and I don't enjoy working in osx), but this article comes off as almost biblically haughty. Apple should have tests around clock updates affecting external audio quality? I mean, maybe after this bug being discovered, sure, but before, was that a connection that could have been made in a QA engineers mind? Maybe it is, maybe it's fair? I don't know anything about manufacturing hardware, but I just find it surprising.

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.

The article comes from CDM which is a music production website, MacBooks are very popular in that field, and basically all audio producers use external audio interfaces, it's not an uncommon use case. This is not the first time that this type of issues happens (from memory, last year an OSX update broke compatibility with Native Instruments Maschine, a very popular music software). So I think the point that the article is trying to make, is that music producers are one of the most Apple-leaning crowds, and yet they feel like they are being ignored by Apple. But at the same time I understand your point, this is a small market in the grand scheme of things.

music producers are one of the most Apple-leaning crowds, and yet they feel like they are being ignored by Apple. [...] this is a small market in the grand scheme of things.

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?

Consumers. (i.e. casual computer users who aren't terribly demanding in any particular dimension) Unfortunately they've been flocking in for the 'just works' Apple reputation as it is being un-earned by Apple. But for many in this group, it's probably good enough vs. what they were using before.

They are so far ahead of Microsoft when it comes to not annoying of frustrating regular users that they can probably fall for a decade before people start abandoning the platform in any significant numbers.

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

I disagree with this actually. I've had a MacBook for a number of years and bought a new one (a 2018 MacBook Air). The keyboard on it was awful and stopped working properly resulting in duplicate key hits. I was also fighting half of the OSX software at this point. Mail was getting buggy, iPhoto is just horrid and I'm not even going to start writing the massive rant about Pages / Numbers.

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.

As far as driving OSX from the keyboard... yeah, it doesn't go out of its way to teach you how, but there are some pretty deep keyboard shortcuts. Of real note is readline, which is built into every text box. You can use emacs/readline shortcuts everywhere, and because of the ctrl / cmd separation it doesn't interfere with the basic shortcuts.

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.

> 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.

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.

You may find Control-F2 helpful.

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.

Cmd-Shift-/ triggers menubar search too, which lets you just type the name of the menu entry you want and hit enter.

Thanks. I did not know that one and it sounds nifty.

By default this is the case but once you learn how macOS is pretty keyboard friendly. I love the ability to set up a keyboard shortcut for literally anything, including third party software, through system preferences.

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.

Edit: thanks for the tips, I created a living gist where I will document all the tricks:


I agree that keyboard navigation in macOS is shit. I don’t think it’s much of a pain point for me personally because i mostly use the laptop keyboard/touchpad combo But when trying to do desktop setups it gets annoying quickly, even the Magic Trackpad sucks in comparison since it cannot be positioned just below the keyboard.

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.

Same here, I have Windows VMs for work but even Skype is a piece of crap that forces me to reboot the VMs regularly while having serious bugs that interrupt my meetings. 9/10 meetings are starting with fixing Skype issues. If people were serious about not wasting their time Skype would be not used in businesses at all.

Could you give me example of windows specific headaches ?

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.

You sound like someone who has never had to deal with the horrific experience that is ASIO drivers. People use Mac because CoreAudio is great and obviously windows can't be trusted in a live setting due to the many already documented issues that it has with updating/crashing etc.

I don't doubt that there are numerous problems these days with the Mac/OS X and Apple overall.[1] My only point was that the group Apple is focused on today are general-purpose consumer users, not the traditional verticals (creatives, education, developers, etc.) that they built their reputation with. I suspect that's the reason we keep seeing articles like this: it's becoming painfully obvious to members of groups Apple used to serve that they are no longer Apple's focus.

[1] 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.

The issue is there is great software such as [0] Supercollider and [1] Pd. As interfaces are class compliant the drivers actually work suprisingly well on Linux, its just stability and edge case bugs that will catch you out.

[0] - https://supercollider.github.io/

[1] - https://puredata.info/

Lots of salt in this thread. I have a Mac because I enjoy it the most for software development. It's not a status symbol because, well, almost everyone here has a Mac. The alternatives are Windows-based laptops - who often lag behind software development support (e.g. ports), or Linux which is still just not good enough for desktop use. I use Windows at home for not-development and have used both Windows and Linux for software development so this isn't a biased opinion.

The hardware budget from my employer also helps.

I have been using linux desktops for almost 10 years as my primary environments. When I occasionally return to windows, I find that it is less usable for how I utilize my computer.

Funny I look at Linux on the desktop as less and less usable as things like systemd and KDE 4 and whatever version of Gnome that's equally broken.

> Linux which is still just not good enough for desktop use.

For you perhaps. I've used desktop/laptop linux for nearly 20 years and it works just fine, millions of others do too.

After the windows 10 blunders lately I decided to give Linux on the desktop another shot. Decided to go with Ubuntu since it's the most popular distro so there's more likely to be support for it.

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.

Windows is not a serious alternative. It is pretty unbelievable that MS did not learn a single thing from Apple over 20 years. The result of this ignorance shows. Their software is complicated, bloated has 100000 features when people use 3 most of the time. Apple got this right with the mandatory app menu where the most used things are the same (like CMD+P). I think for developers Linux is a better alternative today than Windows (if somebody does not like MacOS).

Windows hasn't learned from the Mac, because user experience was never a key selling point for Windows. Windows dominance was the result of selling large quantities of Windows licences to IT managers who were not chiefly concerned with user experience, but rather with easy management of a large number of machines, integration with other Microsoft products (Office etc), and backwards compatibility so they could continue running the software that their businesses depended on.

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.

> bloated has 100000 features when people use 3 most of the time

And here's your MP3 player, iTunes...

Please have a look to the default screen of Outlook and iTunes. Which has more functionality showed into your face that you never use.

The main market for Macs are people who want an expensive-looking, high perceived quality machine for emails, Facebook, and Slack.

Pretty much what I use my macbook air for - £900 back in 2013, battery still lasts several hours. The electrical tape over the webcam reduces the 'expensive looking' part.

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)

And Brew, Postgres, Atom, VIM, VirtualBox, tmux, fish and probably 100.000 more things. Why do you think Brew exists and with such stats??[1]

1. https://formulae.brew.sh/analytics/install/365d/

Do you have data to support that claim?

> what is the large market for Macs

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.

> what is the large market for Macs that dwarfs everything else?


You are mixing up artisan single origin drip coffee with Macs.

This glitch is just another nail in the coffin for using Macs in professional audio setups. Another serious issue is the massively outdated Mac Pro. Yes, a new one will come this year, but many people have switched already. See for instance


I find that truly bizarre. Would people seriously prefer to run a commercial studio and Pro Tools on a windows machine? I've run Logic across a number of versions on various Mac Pros and they're rock solid. I could almost guarantee a very different experience on a PC ....

I find it truly bizarre that there are people who actually still buy a Mac Pro. Just look at the shop page. They sell that thing for 4k$ with 16GB RAM and a 256GB SSD. It's completely bonkers. If you need a high-powered audio machine with dedicated PCI-E ports today(!), there's simply no alternative to a Windows PC. And yes, Windows can do audio just fine; you either invest the work and carefully choose components and build it yourself, or you buy it readily from 3XS, VisionDAW, whatever.

The difference between a $1.5k Windows machine and a $4k Mac, with the intention to use either for the next 4-5 years, is nothing compared to studio budgets. Audio engineers spend tens of thousands just on room treatments, thousands more on analog mic preamps, and you need a hefty collection of different microphones. This is all so that you can bill studio time at $500+ per hour and produce great recordings. Any time you're spending diagnosing blue screens and Windows driver issues is time not booking artists and preparing mixes. OS X happens to be the first-class platform for most DAWs like Ableton, and the only choice for Logic, so you're limiting yourself not using a Mac.

There used to be some timing issues with Windows audio 10 years ago that forced people to go for alternatives but I think it got fixed in Windows 7. Now Apple's ignorance and total lack of innovation makes people move to Windows. I think it just shows that market forces work.

Yes, Windows used to be terrible when it comes to audio, but that was a long time ago. Of course, any badly written driver can still destroy everything, that is why you have to choose hardware carefully. But with a good ASIO driver you will achieve very low latencies without problems.

>Would people seriously prefer to run a commercial studio and Pro Tools on a windows machine?

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.

In commercial environments the OS starts to not matter so much. The machine is literally bought for one purpose and that alone.

I have worked in environments where vendors actually give a proper legally binding guarantee that Windows boxes work as expected and they charge accordingly.

> Last year an OSX update broke compatibility with Native Instruments Maschine

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.

It actually caused problems a large percentage of the most popular audio software and it was interesting to see which software developers could get the software out first.

The trouble with the beta was it wasn't exactly the same as what shipped which caused delays of several months in most instances.

I remember NI saying that there were issues accessing the beta so they (like other SW houses) were not prepared. I will try to find it and post a link if I'm successful

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

Not just the hardware. Apple also makes the second most popular DAW. It's a billion dollar business for them.

Good point, I forgot to mention. Yes Logic is very popular.

Reliable low-latency audio is the reason why musicians buy Macs. Linux isn't an option, because the proprietary software we need generally isn't available for Linux. Windows is massively problematic because of the Deferred Procedure Call mechanism - badly written device drivers can steal priority from the audio device driver, causing dropouts and glitches in audio playback and recording. If you're going to use a Windows machine for pro audio use, you really need to buy from a specialist system integrator.

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.

This. And I think everyone who works with pro audio is stuck with, "Well, where else are we supposed to go?" We'd switch platforms tomorrow if we thought we had a better option.

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.

> I own plugins that are more expensive than the laptop I use to run them.

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.


You and the parent both "get it." I just hope that Apple gets it before it is too late.

I rally don't think Apple don't care about the Mac. They invested huge amounts of money and R&D resources into it in recent years. The problem is it mostly backfired.

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.

> was that a connection that could have been made in a QA engineers mind?

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.

> the pro audio industry is probably 1/3rd of the Macbook Pro market

Citation needed - I seriously doubt that the the professional audio market is large enough.

To be fair, a MacBook pro is the highest end premium product in this space being used with official software for a well-defined industry use case.

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?

> Midrange laptop

I mean, a topped out x1 carbon is pretty much the non-macbook business laptop, so this is a bit unfair.

People have a special affection to soldered-on memory that tops out at 16GB?

I think this is a good point against calling a computer professional device in 2019 - or was "business" meant from a pure quality/design /luxury perspective?

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.

Not much different from having to install brew to get usably recent versions of basic developer utilities on macOS or installing WSL on Windows. Atleast with the Thinkpad I still have my arm and leg to get it done and I love the keyboard.

> You have to install a BIOS update.

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.

If only it actually did work flawlessly. YMMV

ugh I need to install that update. My X1 doesn’t even sleep right in Windows

Well there is no sleep in Windows - it's connected standby - which puts everything in low power mode but running. I ran W10 on it few months but don't recall having issues with conn stdby. Yeah definitely update to the latest BIOS though - 1803 issues maybe sorted by the update.

You can normally enable classic sleep in Windows by setting the CsEnabled key in registry to zero. That's how I'm doing it on my XPS 15 9570. Still trash of a laptop, but now it sleeps proprly :)

> ugh I need to install that update. My X1 doesn’t even sleep right in Windows

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?

> 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.

So even though Macs are the de facto standard in the music industry and Apple makes software for music composition (logic pro) that supports all the external audio devices mentioned here, they couldn't plug one of these in to test? Are you kidding me? That's some atrocious testing process especially for a company whose slogan is "it just works". Clearly, this isn't the case anymore. The literally did not test their own software with their own hardware, yet we're supposed to excuse them? Like the article says, Apple's QA is basically non-existent. This is the most obvious testing scenario for the audio subsystem used by professionals I can think of. Apple should be ashamed of themselves. This is not an industry where even one audio skip can be tolerated. But it sure goes along with their new marketing strategy of bringing out garbage, untested, broken systems and pretending they are still pro equipment. This fiasco does away with that for the audio industry, that's for sure.

Technically, nothing works for Linux on the X1C out of the box, because the X1C ships with Windows. Or "no OS" if you're a corporate buyer.

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.

It's what integration tests are for! Have a lab full of machines running popular workflows on lots of existing applications. One would hope their rigs compare sound out the audio port with expected waveforms; they certainly have the budget for it.

There is no comparison between Apple and Lenovo. Apple is notorious for being a closed ecosystem company. They charge a premium price, control the app store, control the hardware, practice planned obsolescence all in the name of "providing a premium user experience". If they are going to overcharge me a "premium tax", they better earn it.

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.

with Linux you have chosen to step outside of the mainstream, and for support that means figuring it out yourself. the fact that lenovo released the patch actually goes beyond what we would expect. when you go with Apple, you are paying a premium so that everything "just works". they should be held to a higher standard.

The difference is Lenovo markets it as an "Ubuntu-ready" machine.

Last time I checked sunflower audio wasnt working either.

I'm a former full-time musician working as an audio dev those days.

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).

Did you ever come across how they map parameters inside the VST/AU standard? Everyone else does 0 -> 1. They do 1 -> 120 or something completely boffed.

I'm not surprised given Logic's legacy baggage from the days eMagic was an independent company. Everything was stored in an event list, which would try to fit many things into MIDI-like terminology. Not surprised if they tried to quantize parameters for software instruments the way they would for hardware instruments, and this has stayed the case almost two decades later.

AFAIK it‘s 1 to 127 because of MIDI.

I distinctly remember it being not the MIDI standard, and it was really frustrating. I'll report back if I look at it again.

I've used Logic since 2004 and quite frankly in its current state it seems Apple is barely keeping it alive for old users much like Motion which hasn't seen a major release since 2011.

Logic actually got some great improvements and it's one of the best value for money product out there.

- 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 have a 2017 MBP, and it regularly has audio issues, among other issues. Sometimes I'm able to kill the audio daemon, and get my audio back. Other times I have to reboot (sometimes I have to reset the PRAM in order to get audio back). I have audio problems at least once a week. I know two other people with 2017 MBPs that have the same regular issues I do. I assume there are many more.

I feel that recent Apple laptops are no longer premium machines regardless of the premium price tag.

I'd agree with this. I don't recall backlash against Apple products to the extent I've seen in places like this over the last two years, ever. I don't think anyone can argue against the notion that the quality of hardware and software is much lower than previous models of basically anything in their range and I don't think I'll buy another Apple product outside of a replacement iPad, so presumably there's some sort of change afoot. It'll be fascinating to see how this plays out; so called 'techies' are often the people family and friends consult for advice on new purchases, and if we're not recommending Apple products, will that make a difference? I don't think they care - they're rich enough not to worry, perhaps, but it's still odd to alienate a demographic this way. I'm sure they know something I don't!

I had a 2017 MBP and the USB speakers I had caused issues. I sold them thinking it was an issue with the speakers, but the next set of USB speakers had the same problem. Eventually, I just used AUX to connect them.

The sound issues I've been running into are not limited to a single type of output. When the sound is out on my computer it is out for internal speakers, Bluetooth, HDMI, USB, and 3.5mm AUX.

Honestly, I'm really disappointed with Apple for pro use lately.

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?

Most recently, I'd also include the "iPad Pro Shipping Without A Headphone Jack". It's different than ditching the headphone jack on the iPhone, which is mostly just an inconvenience and wireless headphones are becoming more popular anyway. Music production is literally one of their big advertising markets for the iPad, with a vast array of applications available. Wireless headphones are unusable for music production (not just quality, but also latency) (not Apple's fault, its just bluetooth). So if I want to mess around and make some sounds, I need a dongle for my headphones; and most often, I need a full expensive USB-C hub because I need a second USB-C port for charging.

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.

> the DACs inside the hub are shit compared to Apple's official ones

Nevermind the fact that Apple's official $9 audio dongle also only has a barely acceptable DAC in it.

Which mbpro are you referring to on the GPU upgrade? Ive not been keeping up. I will add that the T2 chip seems to be a solution looking to create a problem. I had a lot of grief with my iMac Pro and the T2 chip causing kernel panics. I had to re install Mac OS and that seemed to resolve it for the most part. I use my imac pro for audio so Im thankful I have a thunderbolt interface. If I had spent that 5k for a space grey paperweight I think I would be pretty furious.

The 2018 Macbook Pro (introducted in July) got an update with Vega graphics in October


What is happening with Macs?

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.

Depending on your Macbook's age and your location, you may be able to get the keyboard replaced due to sticking keys. I ended up getting a brand new MBP when they repeatedly fucked up repairing my sticking keyboard.

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 :)

The problem is, many of us with this problem cant afford to give up the device for the amount of time it takes Apple to fix 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.

> many of us with this problem cant afford to give up the device for the amount of time it takes Apple to fix it.

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.

Last time my MBP (mid-2015 15'') was in the shop, I just "purchased" the latest model, only to return it when my old machine was sent back. The 14 days no questions asked return policy makes it possible even if the turnaround time is 7+ days. I did communicate my intent very clearly prior to the "purchase" (really just a loner), and multiple Apple Store employees I talked to were very supportive.

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.

Once I entered an Apple store with a cracked case (white MacBook fell from the table). I left with a brand new lower part (hard disk excepted - they moved mine to the new machine) for free. There was a recall for the case, IIRC, one for the upper palm rest (something to do with magnets that made the plastic crack) and they replaced the keyboard for no reason.

I have to say Apple's support experience is stellar. I can't imagine having that with a Dell or Lenovo.

With Lenovo you would get the 3 years onsite warranty with accidental damage protection at the time of purchase. Then a technician will come to your office or home and to replace the broken parts of your Thinkpad. That beats having to go to an Apple store IMO.

There is no Apple stores in some countries or only in some cities. Often, Apple costs even more there. You can order parts from aliexpress and replace on your own if it's Lenovo.

I've had a Dell technician come to my office within a day of reporting an issue and replace the screen on my XPS 13 there and then, that was just with the standard warranty.

>Also, the keyboards have gone from making virtually no sound to making loud clicking sounds.

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.

Jony Ive.

Form over Function. I'd bet that most OSX devs probaby use an iMac now.

God, happy to see I’m not the only one with repeating keys issues in my MacBook Pro.

Seriously, it’s maddening. It has halved my typing speed.

Apple will fix you keyboard free of charge, i got mine replaced by apple two weeks ago and had zero issues ever since.


I'm not looking forward to my laptop being "refreshed" by my org in the next few weeks. I will be getting a brand new 2018 Macbook Pro and all I can think is "if the stupid keyboard breaks, I'll be without a laptop for 2 months because Indonesia SUCKS for getting things done quickly".

That plus this audio bug makes me REALLY hope they let me keep this one as a back up.

Simply that Macs are one of the smallest sources of revenue for Apple. Around 10% if I remember correctly.

I understand that. But to be completely honest, for my sake they could bring back the 2013 model, keep patching bugs and just spec it up. Zero new features needed. They perfected the art. Just leave it be.

From the article: "Issues with the way the new chip synchronizes timing causes dropouts and glitches in the audio stream. (It seems basically all USB 2.0 audio interfaces will be impacted. This of course unfortunately leads users to blame their interface manufacturer, but the fault lies with Apple.)"

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.

> Still, I'm not sure many people using pro-grade audio interfaces are still using the USB 2.0 bus

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.

That's true. RME (definitely on the high end) is remarkably good about supporting a wide variety of connection technologies. Include Firewire.

I'm still using firewire.

Thought this was regarding Macbook Pro speakers being blown out due to audio glitches that was reported last week:


(RIP my 2018 Macbook Pro speakers, they sounded great when they worked)

I think I got bit by that last night - working with sound in Mathematica, a simple MIDI tune was playing and then my MBP made a horrendously loud noise. Didn't damage the speakers, which surprised me given how loud it was. Probably the fastest I've mashed CMD-Q to quit a program though.

Had that happen to me as well on a 15-inch Touchbar. Left speaker made a horrendous sound on viewing a YouTube video and is now silent. Could probably be fixed under warranty but it's my work machine and can't have it taken from me for 2 weeks which is how long servicing / replacement usually takes in Bulgaria where I'm in.

My 2016 did that while booting. Now my left channel only produces distorted sounds. Luckily it’s still under AppleCare.

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