Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Apple introduces 8-core MacBook Pro (apple.com)
674 points by css on May 21, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 1034 comments

We repair these as part of our business, and to be clear, both the keyboards and the screens are failing on these at an alarming rate.

iFixit detailed the issues with the screens, which (in Apple's unending quest for "thinness") use a thinner flex cable to connect the display to the rest of the laptop. This thinner cable is prone to breakage, and we are already seeing 2016-2017 MacBook Pros in our shop regularly for this issue.

Since Apple built the flex cable into the display, the only solution (even from third parties like us) is a new display. At $600-$700 each, this is unacceptable.

And, like the keyboards, this is a part that's pretty much guaranteed to fail (unless you basically never open your laptop.)

Apple hasn't announced a fix yet, even with a petition with over 11,000 signatures, and more screens failing by the day.

From the time the keyboard issues happened, I made a strong recommendation to avoid buying these. If you can do your work on a PC, do so. (Personally, I now use a Dell XPS 15 as a "desktop replacement", and kept my old 2013 MacBook Pro around too.) If you need a Mac, consider a desktop version (with a SSD!), or stick with the 2015 or older MacBooks.

Even if you think the keyboard issues are fixed, consider too that this is the 4th generation of these keyboards--and Apple promised that the 2nd and 3rd generation would fix these as well. This plus the screen issues means switching to PC if you need speed should be a serious consideration.

iFixit article on "stage light" display issues/"flexgate": https://ifixit.org/blog/12903/flexgate/

> If you need a Mac, consider a desktop version (with a SSD!), or stick with the 2015 or older MacBooks.

This is what I did.

I bought a 15'' 2015 model the day after the 2016 models were announced. I didn't even know about the keyboard problems, but the touchbar, the lack of ports, the price, and the shallow key travel were deal breakers for me.

I used it for about a year but the integrated GPU and the 4th gen CPU ran too hot. At the time I lived in Cancún so quite hot, and the fan noise was becoming annoying even when doing skype calls and such. Also running it on my lap was uncomfortable.

So at the start of 2018 I sold the MBP and got a 5K iMac with SSD since I really didn't need the portability anymore. Best Mac I've ever owned.

I have an old 2014 13'' MBP laying around which I use in the rare occasions I'm away from my iMac.

Hah. My daily driver is a 2013 13" MBP. :) Works fine.

Thanks, this makes me feel better about my decision a couple months ago to switch to Lenovo's ThinkPad P1 Mobile Workstation. I don't have any regrets switching from Apple hardware, and frankly Linux is so much more superior (especially when using i3[0]), I'm quite pleased with it.

(The only complaint I have with the ThinkPad is the fan is super aggressive and very loud. It usually doesn't run for long, but it spins up with a whirring noise pretty often for 1-5 seconds before slowing down.)

[0]: https://i3wm.org/

Went exactly the same route a few weeks ago deciding between a new macbook pro or something else and went for the P1. Had some troubles with the UEFI due to outdated firmware (be sure to update that first thing) and other than that, I'm quite happy with the results. Battery life could be better, the fans are indeed more aggressive and I miss some of the touch gestures (swipe for browsing) that I didn't yet get to set up. My previous device was a late '14 MBP and that still works fine but is getting slow and quite hot.

Yeah, I am a fan of Arch on the desktop, but the P1 runs Nvidia's P1000 chip and Arch doesn't seem to like that, so I went with Ubuntu+i3 for now. Updating the firmware first is definitely critical, as you could brick the machine otherwise.

I'll echo my disappointment in battery life, although admittedly i3 and xfce defaults are probably not doing me any favors here...

You can configure that on windows using tpfancontrol. Should be similar on Linux. Tweak the fan curve to whatever the hell you want.

You can even turn the fan higher than Lenovo lets it (but it might fuck your fan over... Oops)

They have announced a free fix for displays on 2016 models:


And a free fix for keyboard issues on all butterfly keyboard laptops:


For now the display fix is only for 2016 displays; though I suspect with more bad press they’ll extend to 2017 and 2018 models too.

I have a 2016 model which is starting to get the stage light problem. I wonder if it’s worth getting it fixed now or if I should wait until it gets worse before taking it in for servicing.

> And a free fix for keyboard issues on all butterfly keyboard laptops

Don't know about the very latest one (assuming there is 4th gen) but so far this has been more like a workaround that breaks down again at some point since the design is not solid. Getting an inherently flawed replacement for free isn't worth celebrating IMHO especially considering how expensive these things are.

Apple has already released a fix for the screen issue, with a longer cable less likely to break. This was months ago.

They have also never said that 2 and 3 keyboard were fixes for the keyboard issue.

I am surprised someone in the business can be so far behind the news.

> If you need a Mac, consider a desktop version (with a SSD!)

SSD is undoubtedly the single biggest system performance upgrade in the past 10 years.

And we will soon past the halfway point of 2019, Apple is still selling an iMac with 1TB 5400 RPM HDD by default.

Apart from AirPod and Apple Watch, there is nothing on the current Apple's product line I am satisfy with.

ksec on May 21, 2019 [flagged]

Thanks for the downvote on what I thought was not even controversial. If we have to discuss whether "SSD is undoubtedly the single biggest system performance upgrade in the past 10 years." is correct then I think we can call it agree to disagree.

It could be one of the other sentiments you expressed.

Personally, I think it makes no sense to complain that some large company is selling an option that you don't want.

Not much point in complaining about downvotes on here. There is a certain population of, well, professional contrarians on HN, and there's also the (deliberately?) poor design decision that places the upvote and downvote arrows a few pixels apart. Someone may have voted you down by mistake. Think empty boat[1], not U-boat.

[1] https://www.thedailyzen.org/2015/05/27/the-empty-boat-by-chu...

Not seeing anyone else mention this problem so perhaps I'm an edge case but I have a 3 month old Macbook Pro (work supplied, fortunately) and I'm getting double presses on certain keys. I've managed to ameliorate it a bit with software [0] but it's still a disgrace that this is happening on a $4K machine.

[0] - https://unshaky.nestederror.com/

I've had a 13" MBP with Touch Bar since December 2016 and have had keys that felt weird, keys that repeated, keys that didn't work unless you pressed really hard, and keys that didn't work no matter how hard you pressed them.

I've had the top case replaced for free two times under warranty, and the extended 4-year warranty does make me slighty less worried. The battery is also replaced as part of the top case which is a pretty nice bonus.

Though it is still a major inconvenience to be without my main computer for a week while it's being repaired.

Mine started after probably 8 months. I ignored it until it became work stopping (I decided against installing software to compensate) and had it replaced under warranty. Soon after getting it back I got a keyboard cover which seems to be doing its job. I hate accessories, and am really disappointed they released a new mbp in this same form-factor.

> We repair these as part of our business

I feel this comment is very misleading, since it looks like you are describing these new 8-core machines, which have been announced literally today and you cannot possibly have any experience of.

Are these using differently designed screens and keyboards from other models from the past N generations?

Mm, sure, but you are making assumptions too.

Have you come across a second issue with the screens as well, which causes them to develop moving yellow spots? (for examples see: https://gregsamborski.com/macbook-pro-led-screen-discolorati...)

I had this issue. I assumed it was heat related, as the laptops can get real hot and sometimes I’m sure it doesn’t shut down properly when you close it - on mine the marks corresponded with the top bit of the keyboard, where it gets hottest.

Brought it in under Apple care and it was replaced (along with the keyboard, rolls eyes) no questions.

Yeah the upgrade policy at my work kicked in and they tried to give me one of these... instead I got a Thinkpad X1 Extreme and put Linux on it. No regrets.

I'm curious to hear about your experience with the X1 Extreme. My current employer has an equipment stipend that's the exact cost of a maxed out 15" macbook, I'd rather get the Thinkpad, a nice monitor and go to a conference.

PopOS? I've had fits, even w/ stock 19.04 on my X1E.

Dozens of our developers are using these for a couple of years now - no problems yet.

I've had issues with macbook pro keyboards for every model since the 2016 one, but I've never had an issue with Apple not doing an in-warranty repair. In fact, usually they swap out the battery for me during these repairs too.

Contrast this with every other PC manufacturer where they require me to ship the item to them, wait for weeks. Apple gives it back to me within a couple of days.

A Lenovo (or Dell, and maybe also HP, haven't looked at their offerings recently) laptop in the price class of a Macbook Pro typically comes with on-site warranty support (and for cheaper business models it's typically an affordable upgrade), or you can bring or ship it to a local service partner and have them fix it and deal with the warranty claim.

My first and only buy has a serious quality factory issue: two keys not working, screw under a third one, and God knows what within the laptop. The shop I bought redirected me to Lenovo website for the exchange, three numbers later (two weren't working at all) I am waiting for a document from Lenovo then I can go back to the shop for the exchange. It might take 5 days or one month. I am a bit unhappy. At least the warranty is cheap (yeah?)

I would add to this that I genuinely don't think that the keyboard failures are due to dust - it seems far more likely to me that the switches are simply failing due to poor design.

Is the switches failing because of dust not poor mechanical design?

> this is the 4th generation of these keyboards--and Apple promised that the 2nd and 3rd generation would fix these as well.

I don't think is true is it? I think this was just an assumption people made.

Leaked Apple service documents did say that the intent of the latest gen was to fix the reliability problems, so I don't think it's just an assumption.

A leaked internal document is a far cry from "Apple promised" though. If they wanted to make a public commitment, they would have done.

> this is a part that's pretty much guaranteed to fail (unless you basically never open your laptop.)

I have a 2016 MacBook "Pro", and every single part has been replaced (thanks, Apple Care) except the bottom plate.

It seems to me they are not really designed to be moved, or used in an environment with, you know, particles and such. Plug it in once, put a transparent dome over it, look at it, and you'll be just fine.

My 2016 is the first MBP where I've felt that. I have huge dents on it and it's in a Thule laptop bag if it's not on my desk. I'm not exactly gentle on my backpack but I never had to concern myself with my old 2015s (had a couple of these). I rarely use it outside of work, I take it home just for emergencies and it sits on my coat rack in the bag.

And you know what I'd totally pay $3k for a full on desktop replacement that does what I do with it. Fatten it up, give it better thermals, removable batteries, make it MORE durable, etc. I remember using 12lb Dell laptops. We're past the point of diminishing returns on portability now.

My work-issued 2017 has a visibly crushed corner of the display casing, from dropping my backpack on the floor.

My personal 2013 has led a pretty rough life (including a couple of drops), and the sum total of damage over time is... one plastic foot missing.

I'm pretty sure mine has a gnarly corner gash (at the corner of the monitor) from tossing it onto my cars leather seat while its in its padded backpack.. sad.

I will agree and add a data point here. My 2017 MBP has had chronic keyboard issues, despite being in for repair twice and having had the entire top case replaced. Seriously disappointed in this computer considering the price I paid. I am planning my escape from this platform.

They announced a screen repair program too: https://www.apple.com/support/13-inch-macbook-pro-display-ba...

>Eligible models are listed below.

MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)

>Note: No other Mac notebook models are part of this program.


Have one of the new 15" macbook pro with touch bar. My keyboard will never break simply because I never, ever use it. It's awful to type on, possibly the worst keyboard I've ever used. As is the track pad. I have a mouse plugged into it so I don't have to use the track pad. My MBP is basically a compact desktop machine and for that it is great. Fast and responsive.

Well, you don't need to use the keyboard extensively to break it. I used my MBP 2017 in the same manner as you, but still have to replace the keyboard twice.

Did something change regarding the trackpad? MacBook trackpads have always been at the top of the class, far better than any other manufacturer by leaps and bounds.

It grew really, really big. So big that it's almost impossible to avoid while typing, and palm-rejection often can't cope with that.

As swiftcoder says.

It's massive, needlessly so in my opinion.

> We repair these as part of our business, and to be clear, both the keyboards and the screens are failing on these at an alarming rate.

This model came out three hours ago, it looks like.

How can you claim this? Are you making the assumption that they have made no changes whatsoever to the keyboard or hinge?

> And, like the keyboards, this is a part that's pretty much guaranteed to fail (unless you basically never open your laptop.)

Despite the constant outrage on HN, I have a 2018 15" MBP and have had zero issues with the keyboard breaking or screen failing.

I love my Dell Latitude 5491 - six cores is more than enough for my work at the moment, and the NVMe drive absolutely screams. Much lighter than a workstation notebook, too.

I’ve deployed over a dozen since 2016 without any issues.

Personally, I won't feel the keyboard issue is resolved until the keyboard is a user replaceable part.

i am sticking to my 2017 macbook air. This is from a time when apple knew what they where doing, and it has a proper usb port. And the handy magnetic connector that saved my laptop more times than i care to mention. My next laptop prob wont be a mac.

Thank you so much for sharing this information.

The cheapest XPS 15" is more expensive than the cheapest MB 15".

Are there any reliable ~$1000 laptops to host linux?

> The cheapest XPS 15" is more expensive than the cheapest MB 15".

... what? That's simply not true.

I’m not sure where you’re looking, but the XPS 15 starts at $1000. Of course, you’re not going to want that hybrid drive.

Dell also has an upcoming Memorial Day sale where they will discount certain models, and the new XPS 15 is due out next month.


I was going to say that the SSD is slower on the XPS, and it is, but it’s close.

The storage in the MBP is wicked fast even in the base configuration.



Samsung PM981s (and really Samsung SSDs in general) tend to trounce the competition, but IIRC the XPS 13 uses some mediocre SK Hynix SKU.

Thinkpad T series and Dell Latitude 7390/7490 are good choices around that price.


Louis Rossman does a great job documenting Apple's stupid (greedy?) design decisions.

After 8 years of macbooks, after using the 2018 model, I switched to a Dell Precision 5530 running Ubuntu 18.04 and it is awesome. The hardware is great, and having Unix under it all was the only real reason I liked Macs (used to be hardware, too). Granted, I don't need Adobe stuff, or anything else that doesn't run or have an alternative on Ubuntu (although it is dual-booted with Win10, but I've never used it, just keep it for when I want to play a game)

The Macbook pro 2018 was the worst laptop experience I've had in at least 15+ years. So disappointing, but maybe this will let Unix laptops finally start taking real market share.

I can only come to the same conclusion. Typing this on a 2018 MacBook 15 inch, and it's a disaster. I still keep accidentally hitting the Touchbar ten times per day while typing (it's not a press-bar, duh), I need a dongle for _everything and their mother_, battery lifetime isn't good, the keyboard is prone to mistyping and double clicks, the screen doesn't get bright enough sometimes, I can't get any higher spec hardware, it really feels like a super expensive toy to me.

I'd buy something different if there was a real alternative OS-wise (I feel too old to compile my own kernel for a glitchy wifi driver, and Windows? Nah, get away...)

I recently was forced to upgrade by 2015 laptop at work because the battery life was finally short enough that I couldn't stand it. I hate dongles. The 2015 Macbook will stand as their last best laptop. Nothing about the 2018 laptop is better, it's only worse. I don't understand why they don't see this.

There should really be a huge multi-billion dollar class action lawsuit for their keyboards and fixability to wake them up. I'm so angry.

100% agree. I'm typing this on a 2015 Macbook Pro, and holding on for dear life, even as it has started alerting me about servicing the battery. It's a great machine. I tried using the touchbar on my son's newer MBP. It's awful, and not meant for serious use. His laptop has been replaced once already due to keyboard issue, and starting to show defects again.

Replace the battery.

I did it last year on my 2012 rMBpro after it have been complaining about servicing the battery for about a year, and while it wasn't a walk in the park, it all worked out great.

Tip: there are 2 ways to replace the battery.

One is by following the official iFixit etc instructions where you remove absolutely everything before you peel off the battery with acetone.

The other is by immediately peeling off the battery right away. In that case, you have to be careful that the acetone doesn't flow onto the speakers (because they'd melt.) That's the way I, and many other with me, did it. It still only took me about 1 hour to get everything back up and running.

Or just take it to the Apple Store and pay them $199 to repair the battery which also gets you an entirely new top case and keyboard (old, original stock)

Yeah in my experience that 199$ price doesn’t happen in real life, as they tell you they need to replace the whole top case. Never understood why they publicly list the 199$ battery change price. Am I missing something?

AFAIK, If your battery is in the service battery condition (generally, less than 80% health), then you'll get the $199 price, otherwise you have to pay for the top case. It's the same repair either way but they charge for it differently.

I just had the battery replaced in two mid-2014 MBPs. They said that I'd be paying for the battery replacement (199), but that they would also replace the keyboard and trackpad and I wouldn't be charged for either. However, the way they stated it initially was a little confusing, since it sounded like I'd be paying an additional 100, but they were quick to clear it up.

They did say that they might need to replace the shell (battery was slightly swollen in both machines) and that I'd be responsible for that cost, but that didn't happen for either box. I don't think they replace the shell unless it's really, really deformed. Neither of my machines would sit flat and both were obviously swollen. One I could practically spin like a top (and the trackpad was screwed).

I got both back with no deformities, a new battery, keyboard, and trackpad, and a 199 bill (plus tax).

I wouldn't rule out getting it fixed. If you do end up paying a little more, then you can probably sell it for more than the price it cost to fix.

Was macOS or the diagnostics tool saying "service battery"?

Mine's in for a battery replacement for 199 right now.

Was macOS saying "service battery"?


I had to have my mid 2015 rMBP battery & top case replaced by a premium service provider in New Zealand due to a bulging battery. Thankfully I still had a couple of weeks of AppleCare left as the bill came to over $1300NZD ($850 USD). A $199 replacenent would be a dream.

I really do wonder whether Apple is running afoul of consumer law here. Surely $1300 is not a reasonable cost for a battery replacement.

Last time I looked I was quoted somewhere in the neighbourhood of $600 for a rMBP battery replacement - but that was just the battery. Even that IMO is not a reasonable cost for what it is - the only reason it costs that much is the fact that it's glued in, and the fact that Apple charge so much for the part.

indeed, the cheapest official vendor I could find in my country would have been about $600 for a battery replacement on my 2014 model. It's ludicrous. I bought a battery online for $60 or something including shipping from China...

Not an option if you have a 2012 rMBP

Are they not replacing 2012 batteries?

They are vintage/obosolete as of the end of 2018 so the stores are not obligated to service them any longer.

Not anymore.

It was $299 on my 2013. Still worth it though.

The way I did it was to use dental floss to cut through the glue and then removing the batteries.

Round here (which I can probably generalize as Europe) there are lots of small shops who repair mobile phones and computers.

Replacing a Macbook battery should be a routine task for any of them.

I just had to have my screen replaced (by a third party repair shop), and while they were at it, they vacuumed out a lot of cat hair for free. Now it runs much cooler, and seems like a new machine!

You can also replace the thermal paste, although now that it's not overheating all the time, I won't have that done until next time it overheats and slows down and I need to have it vacuumed out again.


or take it to a local repair shop.

i bought an $80 battery (ifixit? i can't remember now) and took it to a local shop and had it back in 3 hours. they charged $120. So... ~$200 but I had same day replacement.

Mid 2012 MBP here. Replaced battery with new one from iFixit 4 weeks ago. There was zero glue so no peeling necessary.

You were lucky! Putting so much force on those batteries, I was afraid they'd crack and catch fire.

Internally there is nothing rigid to crack, they should bend with enough force. Catching fire is a real concern, but if you can get the battery voltage down real low they should be inert enough to pry out if you can manage it without puncturing the pack. (you'd have to bypass whatever internal low voltage protections they have)

Yes. I'm glad there was no glue. Battery was swollen for at least a year until I replaced it. I remember there were three screes holding it in place so there was no glue by design. Wish current macbooks would hold up to this kind of serviceability.

Just make sure they are flat: if not charged they don't catch fire?*

* Advice from the internet: procede with caution.

me too, I think I spent 2 hours on the replacement just to get the old battery loose from all the glue, afraid I'd puncture it in the process. So. Much. Glue.

Ha! I literally typed out another comment about how I to refuse to leave my 2015 macbook pro for a newer model. The new keyboard, touchbar and usb-c everywhere is so lame

> usb-c everywhere is so lame

Do you mean "not having anything other than USB C is lame", or "I dislike USB C and wished Apple had gone with something else"?

Personally I’m still bitter about the death of MagSafe, which was the greatest thing ever.

Now that I have children of laptop-using age, I'm almost at the point where literally every single day I'm thinking about how useful MagSafe is. It was such a good invention for notebooks.

I really don't care about the "charge from either side" benefit of USB Type C. I do appreciate the fact that you can use aftermarket cables though - especially considering how poorly constructed Apple's are.

Just ordered a 2015 MBP from the Apple Store, they're still out there!

if you need to 'upgrade' there's a sintech adapter that will let you put a MUCH bigger and faster ssd in there.

You can buy a like-new, souped-up 2015 Macbook Pro on ebay. I am very happy with mine, except for the new OS.

I just got a certified refurbished one from the Apple Store.

> except for the new OS

What do you dislike about the OS? Presumably it's running macOS Mojave?

For me, odd things like inability to have a dark dock and titlebar and light windows. Using quickview on a file in Finder and then pressing shift-up used to select the file and the one above it, and then show a preview of the newly selected item. Now in Mojave they "fixed" it so that it shows the preview of the first file only, which is a colossal pain because now I can't filter through a giant list of photos to decide which ones to keep in an easy quick way. I have to look at each file individually.

I am sure I will think of some other annoyances. I've kept a 2012 MBP on Sierra, and love that machine far more, eg. keyboard is actually good and is quiet, real function keys, real ports as found on every other device in the universe, ability to use my audio interface, network ports etc etc

This may help:


Edit. It does to a degree. Firefox takes on the dark theme but everything else seems fine so far.

A couple of control freak things. I despise the junk mail folder that can't be hidden or removed and requires an extra "are you sure" click to delete messages. It refuses to copy files from my external hard drive. I have to disable SIP to do some fairly normal stuff. Siri, though I have it turned off. Location on photos.

Just returned to say: OS 10.14 rebooting while asleep because it's pouting about some nonstandard software or file.

Personally, Mojave has caused my 2013 rMBP 15" to go from a near-silent machine most of the time to one that has fans spinning noisily at all times.

Have tried everything short of a complete reformat - NVRAM, SMC reset. Nothing in activity monitor gives me any clues either.

I even rolled back to High Sierra to check my sanity. No crazy fan spin. Reinstalled Mojave --> crazy fan spin.

install smcfancontrol

A year back I replaced the battery on my 2013 15" model - like the other commenters, I paid $199 at the Apple Store for a new battery, topcase, including keyboard and trackpad. I also recently bought a used 2015 Pro on ebay as a backup. I have a 2016 13" touchbar pro, and after replacing the original keyboard, I'm actually quite happy with it. But for the 15" model I just don't think the price is justified given the specs... my next mac might be a Thinkpad with Ubuntu and virtualized MacOS, sorry to say.

Virtualized MacOS because of Mac or iOS dev? Hard to imagine why someone would use a virtualized OS for normal usage or consumption. But maybe I’m missing something.

Holding on to my 2015 MBPro for dear life as well.

protip: get a sintech adapter and stick a big fast nvme disk in there. another 1-2 years before you need a new computer.

Also typing on a 3+ year old 2015 MBP. Touchwood no issues except for a slightly wonky right speaker. I hope I can extend its life until Apple comes to its sense, or it'll have to be a Dell XPS for me...

Same here. My right speaker is blown out. Go to settings and set the fader to left. Not sure if the speaker can be fixed.

I hate accessories, but after getting my keyboard replaced I got a keyboard cover and so far it seems to be doing its job. It also makes me feel less like I have to baby it--which is something like in tools I use.

weird I'm on an early 2013 MBP (original battery) at 81% health (226 cycles)

That's a shockingly low health for a battery with that few cycles. Actually, if you use your computer every day, that's a small number of cycles…

It's 6 years old, it's perfectly acceptable health for a battery that gets use.

2012 MBP here: 87.3% health (6900 mAH as designed, 6021 mAH now) on 871 cycles, 2533 days old. Pretty impressed with it really. I use this Mac a lot.

You keep it plugged in all the time? Do you feel a noticeable drop in battery life? When mine reached those 80% health I felt like it had lost half its battery life or more...

Same here (2013 Retina MBP)

yep late 2013 Retina MBP 15"

mostly plugged in, but I don't have any anxiety when I unplug it

What software are you using to get the percentage? My Early 2015 MBP is on around 300 cycles but not sure how to get the percentage.

Late MBP 2013 at 87% health capacity (481 cycles)

15" Retina MBP late 2013 with original battery. System reports 142 cycles (I mostly use it at a desk) and condition Normal.

Unfortunately it's not at all normal, it's swollen to the extent that the bottom of the case is slightly warped and the macbook will no longer sit flat. It's also affected the trackpad which doesn't click very well any more. I noticed these things a while back but didn't realise that the battery was the cause until I opened it up a couple of days ago to clean it out (something I do once or twice a year).

Now awaiting a battery replacement kit from iFixit and not looking forward to removing the old one. Probably going to try the dental floss method someone mentioned above (very, very carefully and far away from anything flammable).

I'm disappointed that Apple didn't either kill the Touchbar, or commit to it fully: why is there no desktop keyboard (wireless or wired) with the Touchbar? Presumably a huge amount of Pro users (this is a Macbook "Pro", right?) plug into keyboard, pointing device, and monitor frequently...

At least Lenovo just ditched their Touchbar after the disastrous 2nd generation of X1 Carbon, never to be seen again. Also did a mistake with the 2014 series of ThinkPad by removing the mouse buttons due to a bigger touchpad, just to give them back when the users complained enough in 2015.

Have to give them credit for that.

The touchbar on the 2nd gen X1 Carbons was seriously bad, but in fairness it was worse than the Macbook Pro touchbar.

I wonder whether they'll turn back on their choice to solder RAM on basically all their ThinkPads...

One can only hope.

I really wish. At least the T490 and P-series are still available with replaceable RAM modules.

Buying max RAM from start is a $200 extra which may validate saved space. Not justified is soldered SSD. Ive doubled SSD size once a year to extend laptop life by 6 or 7 years.

I would not give them credit for not being able to create a touchpad as good as Apples and just giving up. The MacBook touchpad is an amazing piece of hardware. I still think its too big now, but the hardware itself is one of the best things about the MacBook.

And I'll add the obligatory comment how us ThinkPad users enjoy our keyboard with the TrackPoint, experience no other manufacturer provide. I'd just remove the touchpad for more keys to the keyboard.

Agreed that I wish they had embraced, extended, or extinguished the Touch Bar. A larger offset from the top row of physical keys, a physical escape key, some form of accidental touch elimination, and/or a taller display surface would all be useful changes.

WRT to an external keyboard with it - in addition to making keyboards more expensive and proprietary, the Touch Bar is powered by the T2 chip, which is not just used to power the Touch Bar and TouchID, but for system functions like boot-up.

Even with these features removed, dynamically paired TouchID sensors would be a change to Apple's security model (which requires a hardware/data reset to pair a new TouchID sensor for security reasons).

Haptic feedback. I don't understand how they can understand how essential this is and implement it with increasing sophistication in both phones and trackpads but abdicate it entirely with the Touch Bar. To the point that third party software to use the trackpad haptics on touchbar clicks is a thing now: https://www.haptictouchbar.com/

I suspect it's probably hard to get the keyboard to straddle the touch bar, but I couldn't help think: Why not physical escape and power keys at the ends?

They should have just kept the F-keys and provide a system level option to neuter the touchbar as just a modern day reference card for the keys. It's not like the wrist rest isn't big enough to sacrifice for more room up top.

Agreed. F Keys + additional touchbar would have actually been useful.

The lack of a physical escape key galls me the most.

I remapped caps lock to esc.

I remapped esc to caps lock (physically) on day one. 6 months later, I'm still mentally re-mapping it occasionally.

Emacs users remap caps lock to escape lock!

Isn't the Touch ID sensor a "physical power key"?

> Why not physical escape and power keys at the ends?


I work from home and open the laptop only if I need to be on a video call. Otherwise yeah, plug into keyboard. I had to work in a coffeeshop one day and had to use the keyboard. I have no idea how anyone can tolerate that piece of shit, to put it lightly.

I actually like the new keyboard quite well. It helps with RSI issues for me.

Killing the touch bar would make Tim Apple lose face, and he lacks the Jobsian stagecraft spin to salvage it.

The touch mbp should've been a macbook air-like spin off, used to demonstrate the viability of the tech by letting people who want it choose it... instead of forcing everyone who wants a high end laptop to pick that model.

But the Apple keyboards are already $150, with no “lower” model available. Add a touchbar and it will be a $300 keyboard. Note that the price bump for emoji-enabled Macbooks is about the same.

Third party keyboards are a lot cheaper and work just as well, plus you get real F-keys if you want.

While I personally wouldn't buy it (I'm kind of picky about the tactile feel of the keyboard), you can get this fully functional Bluetooth keyboard for $20.


Apple also sells external keyboards with real F-keys. Their newer external keyboards are meh, but the previous model, the A1243 Wired Keyboard with Numeric Keypad [0] is amazing. It goes up to F19, and I just generally prefer their layout. I've been using an A1243 as my programming keyboard for nearly a decade. When they stopped selling them I even bought a used spare as backup for when my current keyboard dies.

My only complaints with the A1243 are that the top row is half-sized, and that it has a useless eject button between F12 and F13 which can't be remapped.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Keyboard#/media/File:App...

The eject button can be used in the combination “Cmd Alt Eject” to put to sleep. If it can’t be remapped, at least let’s find a way to use it ;)

I have a theory that Apple will eventually replace the entire keyboard with a giant “Touch Bar.”

Try the HHKB. There's even a BT version (with USB as well). It does come at a price though.

I've never been able to justify spending $250 on a keyboard that put the backtick/tilde in the wrong place.

Plus, I actually use the "Windows" key now, so its absence would be missed.

Fair enough, it is an expensive keyboard, so any major issues you have with it make the price harder worth it.

I don't use tilde much.

There is no absence of a super key. Its on the spot where alt often is, and alt is on the spot super often is. It shares key with shift.

The ctrl is where caps lock is on today's keyboards. If I have caps lock I rebind it anyway. So ctrl and super are easiest to reach, whereas the spot where ctrl often is is difficult to reach (there is nothing there on the HHKB).

So in short this keyboard assumes you normally rebind caps lock to ctrl, it assumes you never use the ctrl elsewhere. It assumes you use super more than alt. It is pretty close to a traditional Sun keyboard.

Funny thing is also, you can buy the keyboard without print on the keys, so that you can rebind it in any way you prefer.

> I don't use tilde much.

What?? I use it all the time: Tilde in vim for upper/downcase and bash for home and backtick for jumping to marks and in JS for template strings. Great key.

It's for consistency across their product line:

force touch -> force touchbar


Just walk away from the Mac.

Windows is perfectly viable for doing development, so is Linux. You can easily get a laptop that is cheaper and more reliable than a Macbook. About the only thing you'll be missing is a cool Apple sticker, but you can get those on eBay. Your wallet will thank you, and so will your fingers.

A Macbook was a reasonable, even logical choice in 2012. Now, not so much.

Apple can have me back if they want -- hey, take my money! -- but they have to stop fucking up. I don't know why the Apple board isn't simply pounding the hell out of the management that's been allowing the poor quality and user-hostile decisions of the past several years.

[Hmmm, I just looked at their board members. That would explain a lot...]

> Windows is perfectly viable for doing development, so is Linux.

Viable, yes. I've spent the last year (since replacing a 2013 MB Pro) with a Dell 15 XPS, roughly 50/50 Windows & Linux (Ubuntu then Fedora). Both work. They each run everything I need a laptop for.

Honestly neither is quite as good a desktop for me as macOS, but they are near enough that even if I liked the current generation of MacBooks (which I don't), I wouldn't consider it worth paying the premium.

There isn't a single solution I'm truly happy with. Windows 10 is yucky but for me fairly practical (meaning mainly it doesn't waste my time). Linux is more appealing and almost worth it for the speedy file access, but is too time-consuming for me to to commit to. MacOS is my favourite all-round OS, but (Hackintoshes aside) only runs on hardware I don't want (and certainly not at the price). I guess the only thing I haven't tried is ChromeOS. Maybe next time. 2019 desktop OS's are a sorry scene.

> Linux is more appealing and almost worth it for the speedy file access, but is too time-consuming for me to to commit to.

I hear a variation of this semi-often and I never quite get what that's supposed to mean. Maybe being a full-time Linux user for a decade has made me used to whatever people are complaining about, but I don't think so, people are complaining about having to fix broken HW/SW occasionally, however as someone who:

- Picks Linux-supported hardware specifically, as opposed to a random, generic PC, (something you wouldn't do with macOS either, btw).

- Runs a rolling release distro, so if anything should experience more breakage than the regular Ubuntu LTS/Fedora user.

I can honestly say that my workflow is basically:

-> Turn the laptop on, (or wake from sleep, yes that works well on solid HW)

-> Get my work done

-> Update the system every couple of days, (rolling release updates)

-> Repeat

Now does occasionally some package update their config that I'll have to merge or something like that? Sure, maybe once or twice a year.

When I do have to use macOS for builds, I experience glitches, (like the login bar loading and never finishing), various annoying updates, (& update prompts), apps, (like Duet Display), randomly breaking when you need them, occasional kernel panics, (but more frequent than I ever had on Linux, in fact I had one on Linux maybe once), choppy performance even on a top spec 2016 MBP due to poor thermals, video rendering issues when switchable graphics is enabled etc.

All in all, my macOS experience is actually somewhat worse than on Linux. It's nothing I can't deal with, but it's nowhere near as trouble free as people make it seem.

I honestly think it comes down to things like macOS being more animated by default, having 3D shadows under every window, the dock enlarging the icons as you scroll pass them, your coworkers having a Mac as a status symbol etc. rather than some big technical hurdle.

Possibly once a year I install Ubuntu on my laptop and am always determined to move over to Linux on the desktop but sadly it takes only a few days of frustration before I revert back to OSX.

It's nothing to do with 3D shadows under windows, the dock enlarging when I roll over it or my co-workers being impressed because I've got a Mac, because they all have Macs too.

That last point is the least of it - honestly, I have no desire to impress anyone with what technology I happen to use and find it quite extraordinary that anyone thinks owning a Mac is some kind of status symbol.

It's not as if Apple product ownership is a rare thing, people from all walks of life own Macbooks or iPhones or whatever, yet this falacy that Mac/iPhone owners buy these products to impress people still somehow persists.

No, it's the fundamental user experience on various desktop managers I've tried on Linux that while it clearly works for other people, it simply doesn't for me.

There's nothing wrong with that, and I'm sure if I persisted with it for longer then I'd perhaps be happy enough using Linux on the desktop but to be honest it's time I'm not that interested in investing, when I'm immediately productive on OSX, and was when I first started using OSX back in 2004.

My OSX experience is wholly different to yours - I get rare update notifications, possibly because of the software products I use? and performance on my 2018 MBP is as quick as I've ever experienced, but then it should be for a modern computer.

For me, OSX/macOS simply stays out of the way and lets me get on with doing work. I'm sure Linux does the same for you but be assured, the reason I use OSX is not a single one of those reasons you've suggested.

- All the keyboard shortcuts are consistent across apps.

- Hit space to instantly quick-look almost any file, in the finder, in my torrent client, etc.

- Global menu bar doesn't waste space.

- Time Machine provides revision control for your entire drive, integrated into apps, where you can browse and revert to old versions. Even works when you only occasionally hook up your backup drive as it syncs.

- Window/desktop management with real multitouch gestures (not triggers that only kick in after you complete a gesture).

- Smooth font rendering without gamma or hinting errors. Smart kerning adjustment for long labels in tight spaces. Smart ellipsis that displays the start and end of long filenames.

- Icons represent files and can be dragged e.g. from document window titlebars. Right click to get a breadcrumb of all the directories the file sits in, so you can trivially open a finder window for what you're looking at.

- Half downloaded files are resumable bundles that keep the source URL inside. Can even copy to a different machine and resume there just by double clicking.

- Integrated disk, partition and image management, including creating encrypted disk images through the UI, and restoring images to drives.

Just a few things keeping me on this platform.

Oh also, when I upgraded my 2013 mbp to a 2015, migrating was trivial, as both laptops set up an adhoc wifi and transferred everything 1-to-1 without having to do anything. My customized Unix environment that lived though 3 or 4 major OS upgrades transplanted as if nothing changed.

Linux doesn't want to provide that level of convenience because it requires too much cat herding and agreement, while Microsoft can't without breaking years of legacy crap.

> I hear a variation of this semi-often

And I read that cookie-cutter response almost every time. Fine. Whatever. We have different experiences. I accept yours (because I think most people are more-or-less truthful). You don't accept mine (because ?).

> I honestly think it comes down to things like macOS being more animated by default, having 3D shadows under every window, the dock enlarging the icons as you scroll pass them, your coworkers having a Mac as a status symbol etc. rather than some big technical hurdle

Feel free. "Honestly think" any invented story you wish.

I was actually genuinely interested in you expanding what is actually harder, or rather what needs 'managing', I am not doubting your story, I just find it somewhat hard to wrap my mind around the specifics. I don't really personally care if you use Linux or not, but I am kind of tired of always hearing that 'I don't want to manage stuff' talk, without any specifics as to what that actually means.

Well I'll take you at your word that you're interested and 'not doubting' my story. But can you at least see why that isn't the impression I got from reading your comment? You even said you thought people were swayed by bouncing animations and fancy docks! [Edit: and that very dismissive status symbol comment - believe me, you'd laugh at that if you saw me in my crude rainforest shack, with nothing resembling a developer's office within 100 miles] FWIW, which isn't much, I always auto-hide docks, and DE preference is roughly i3/sway > Gnome > macOS > Windows.

Linux use for me isn't so much a matter of large technical hurdles, but the death of a thousand cuts. By the time of my last f/t Linux use round (just a couple of weeks ago) I didn't have any outstanding tech issues. There was nonessential hardware I couldn't get working at all or well (fingerprint scanner, SD card reader, gpu switching), but I could live with that.

It's more a matter of having a constant barrage of small issues, often with new software I install, each of which is quite soluble, but only after reading documentation (often poor). That's just not how I want to spend my time. I'm not going to enumerate the issues because, as I say, by and large I solved them. They are mostly trivial but constant. I would rather have spent that time listening to music, or learning Mandarin.

I keep logs of all my computer admin & troubleshooting in markdown files. I've been roughly 50/50 linux and windows over the last year. Eyeballing the logs, it's clearly true for me - Windows gives me hardly any issues to solve at all. I install stuff. It works. I get on with my work and the rest of my life. In contrast I have vast reams of notes about the various little niggles I had with Ubuntu and then Fedora.

[Edit: sorry - I forgot your I just find it somewhat hard to wrap my mind around the specifics. So just one example. Nothing big, but bear in mind I'd have something like this at least 3 or 4 times a week. I want to be able to dial down power use sometimes - if I'm low on battery, doing undemanding stuff and won't be near an outlet for a while. Windows: I didn't have to read any docs. Click on battery icon, and slide left on the popup control. Fedora: click around in gnome and find nothing. Search for info on how the Gnome power management interacts with whatever service is started by systemd. Find nothing up to date (Fedora doc on the topic was from version 14 or 17 and bore no resemblance to my version 30). Read up a bit on tlp and powertop, but still unclear on their relationship to whatever Gnome does. Find broken links to relevant AskFedora posts because they've deleted all the old pages moving to Discourse. Ask a question. Get no answer. I could have solved it eventually with a bit more reading, sure. But like most things I wanted to do, it would take orders of magnitude more time to figure out than on macOS or Windows.]

You didn't exactly share your story, so we have to make stuff up ;)

Actually you don't - I did give my reason for not committing to linux, despite in some ways preferring it, which is that it took up too much of my time to manage, compared to either macOS or Windows. What do you want, proof? Evidence that I'm not a paid Apple-and-Microsoft corporate shill?

I just wanted to make a joke to release what I found to be unnecessary tension.

Right, sorry - I'm sure I'm not the first person to be humourless on the internet ;)

I moved away from the Mac for 3D work a few years back just because CUDA based rendering engines were such a game changer. I was totally expecting the experience to just be gritting my teeth and dealing with Windows for the power, but actually I've been pleasantly surprised that it's honestly improved a lot and MS is taking the approach of tackling one or two pain points a year consistently, like modernizing the Terminal this year and I'm sure one day they'll get to Explorer which is the last thing that bugs me.

I also bought a Surface Go recently and this has convinced me I could move away from Mac completely (To a Surface Pro) if need be, the industrial design is excellent, the keyboard is an absolute joy to type on and it's so versatile, like a "Pro" machine should be.

With WSL, you might as well run Windows and do all Linux development there as well.

To an extent. Speed is an issue (might be fixed with WSL2). The other issue is that some parts are missing, i.e. systemd.

It gets you pretty far, but not all the way. I guess for most people in most cases its fine.

the touchpad performance on the mac is second to none. Can modern windows or linux come even close?

> Can modern windows or linux come even close?

The Surface line trackpads are extremely close and their keyboards actually surpass current Apple boards.

I tested them all (well, the main contenders) and even the flagship Surface Book trackpad is not comparable to a current MacBook. The Surface Book trackpad is like almost identical to a MacBook from around 2012-2013 era.

Admittedly the current MacBook trackpad is too big - but is otherwise functionally perfect in terms of its multi-touch and haptic feedback.

I guess touchpads must be far more important to some of you than they are to me. I'll only touch mine on the rare occasion I'm lazily reading on my laptop rather than a tablet. I'd hardly miss if it stopped working.

Absolutely not. The good thing is that any extended development session calls for an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse/trackpad.

Also, you can use the external Apple trackpad they sell with any OS.

> The good thing is that any extended development session calls for an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse/trackpad.

For you. I do all my development on a 13" laptop.

Have you done any iOS development in Xcode on that 13" MPB of yours? Unless you have excellent eyesight and use a screen resolution that gives you the max real estate, it's incredibly frustrating to use the code assistant editor, or to run the simulator.

I must have spent a couple thousand hours of iOS development on it. I use the default 1280x800@2x resolution with Xcode filling the screen (but not in fullscreen).

I do all my work on a vanilla 13" MBP, it works just fine. I also use 13" Linux and Windows laptops almost daily, and the "touchpad experience" there is indeed painful.

> Also, you can use the external Apple trackpad they sell with any OS.

I think the problem isn't the hardware, but the software (or more likely a combination of both). The MBP touchpad under Windows with Bootcamp is also quite terrible.


Agreed. But you can hack their replacement programs to extend the life of the newer (post 2015) models. There are a few battery replacement programs on MacBook Pro’s (e.g. https://www.apple.com/support/13inch-macbookpro-battery-repl...) and there is also a keyboard replacement program (https://www.apple.com/support/keyboard-service-program-for-m...). Replacing either practically gives you all new internals because of they way everything is soldered on. I just did that on my 2016 model and it should hopefully last me now a few more years.

If it’s any consolation (probably the opposite) my 2017 MBP, without Touch Bar, has gotten about 2h battery when running a now-typical corporate “pro” stack (docker, slack, Outlook, etc) sind day one. If only running UNIx stuff plus maybe a browser I can push it to 6.

Every time I get out my 2013 MBP (not for the day job) I remember what a computer could be.

Slack and Outlook - I either use the web versions or just use my phone. They are both cross platform battery killers.

Docker - I don’t use it, but if it’s anything like the VMs I use to run, it also kill batteries.

I’m better off provisioning all of that on our DEV AWS Account and just connecting via my phone’s hotspot if I don’t have a reliable network connection and running very few things locally.

I recently discovered the web Slack and am trying to use it more. Seems to help, which ought to be a huge embarrassment to $WORK or whatever they call it.

I used to use Outlook Web and might go back. The native client is a nightmare but does some useful things the web one doesn’t.

Docker has been a huge boon to my dev efforts, usually much lighter weight than an old school VM, so I’m no hater but if I had to work on battery more often I’d probably do the same thing, spend a few bucks on AWS and only work online but with better battery life.

All that still won’t get me more than 6h though.... :-(

> I used to use Outlook Web and might go back. The native client is a nightmare but does some useful things the web one doesn’t.

Is Mail.app, or some other mail client, an option for you?

Why didn't you just replace the battery?

I am still rocking the MBP 2015 and recently changed the battery. Did you consider doing the same? That is, updating batteries instead of getting the new ones?

I upgraded from 2015 to 2018 at work recently and then went back to IT and asked if I could change my mind and trade back. The 2015 is nicer.

The 2018 model shouldn't be called an upgrade in any way.

I much prefer the touchpad. It's so nice being able to click the top part easily.

The 2015 Macbook Pro has the Force Touch trackpad as well (so no physical movement), so it has the exact same feel when you click at the top of the trackpad. Everything before the 2015 did have that issue though, you're correct. Never really bothered me though to be honest. The nicest part of the FT trackpad if you ask me is the ability to make trackpad clicks almost silent, and the fact that it's (supposedly) less likely to break.

Turn off haptics and use tap to click. Once you go tap you'll never go back?

It's faster…

Not in a way that I could perceive at work. I guess both the 2015 and 2018 are "plenty fast" for the web development work that I do.

Obligatory "Benjamin Button Reviews the New MacBook Pro" link (late 2016): https://blog.pinboard.in/2016/10/benjamin_button_reviews_the...

> Gone is the gimmicky TouchBar, gone are the four USB-C ports that forced power users to carry a suitcase full of dongles. In their place we get a cornucopia of developer-friendly ports: two USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 2 ports, a redesigned power connector, and a long-awaited HDMI port.

Can I have one of those please?

I still think the PowerBook 540c was the best Apple laptop that I ever used.

Although I had switched over to Windows by the time of the Pismo G3/500 (voted the best ever), I had my 540c upgraded with a PowerPC, and got many years of delightful service out of it.


I had a 5300 for a while and it was a piece of crap compared to the sturdy souped-up 540c.


It had two big symmetrical removable battery compartments, so you could switch out one at a time and keep running on as many batteries as you have pre-charged without interruption! Plus there was an external dual battery charger.

And you could swap a hard disk drive or CDROM into one of those bays.

Plus it was fat enough that it was able to cool so it didn't overheat all the time like an MBP.

Anorexic thinness isn't a thing for me: I'd trade a lot of thinness for huge removable batteries and great ventilation.


I never really liked the 500 series - I preferred the 1400 (I know, weirdo). The Intel MacBooks have had their moments (glass trackpads, SD card readers, quad core in the 2011 15"), but almost all of them had design defects of some kind:

* Original white and black MacBooks had sharp edges and cracking wrist rests

* 2nd Gen MBP had 8600GT chip death issues

* First Unibody MB/MBP had glossy screen not suitable for indoor lighting

* First Polycarbonate Unibody had chassis cracking and rubber base warping issues (but was otherwise an excellent machine, too bad they didn't resolve those issues and keep selling it...)

* 2011 15" will all eventually fail due to faulty GPUs

* 2012 Retina MBs had underpowered GPUs

* Retina MBPs had soldered RAM and proprietary SSDs (10.13's NVMe support for those older machines with a simple adaptor has made a complete mockery of anyone defending Apple's stupid proprietary pinout, too), glued batteries and display coating problems

In saying that, the original aluminium unibody was a spectacular design. It felt so much more premium than any other machine of the time it was absurd.

I personally think absolute peak Apple notebook was the 2012 MacBook Pro 15" with the Anti-Glare display. All the best things about the pre-retina Unibody design, but serviceable, with USB3, no known serious GPU or CPU flaws, and none of the retina issues such as staingate or glued battery.

Had they made a Haswell revision of that to get the better battery life I'm reasonably convinced it would still be a seriously popular machine today.

>* First Unibody MB/MBP had glossy screen not suitable for indoor lighting

This didn't affect me (and it didn't change until Retina, I think), but EM209 <https://randyzwitch.com/broken-macbook-pro-hinge-fixed-free/... hit me twice, the second time not covered by Apple.

Oh the glued hinge right behind the hot air vent is hilarious. I forgot about that one.

Yes, glossy screen had an anti-reflection coating added for Retina models that then proceeded into staingate. To make matters worse they took away the matte anti-glare option entirely because they thought their new compromise was best. Yelp.

I got my 2015 mpb battery replaced. I'm back to smooth sailing. Always plugged in so it'll last as long as possible.

It had bad battery bloat but when I got it back from apple care everything looked new.

What does Apple recommend wrt keeping a MBP always plugged in? That's what I do almost all the time, but I'm curious what they say about it.

Battery will last its longest if it's reasonably frequently used.

Ultimately if you want the longest battery longevity, keep it between 50% and 85% charged, and keep the machine cool.

Right, obviously heat is an enemy of li-ion batteries. My understanding (and I could be wrong) is that if a MBP is plugged in the power bypasses the battery once it reaches 100% charge, correct?

That is my understanding as well. Most of my macbooks (I've owned 3) have been plugged in the majority of the time, with at least some time every few days spent on battery power unplugged. I'd say you're fine as long as you're using the battery at least once every 2-3 weeks -- longer than that might not be good for the battery over long periods of time.

I have no dongle issue (I rarely plug anything into my laptop), but the Touch Bar was terrible for me. I was finally able to use Karabiner to suppress escape (I mapped caps lock to esc which is more convenient anyway).

I can see the Touch Bar probably makes sense for people who look at the keyboard while they type, which might be a majority for all I know, but for touch typists it's at best worthless, and the accidentally triggering is terrible.

I think the maxed out 2017 Air (before the retina display) is their best, if you're not doing much video or too much ML.

This is my personal laptop but the screen is really crap. My work laptop is a 2015 13” MBP. Work recently offered to upgrade me to a new MBP. I declined.

The Air's display isn't that bad. It's a good TN panel with a good non-retina resolution (1440x900 on the 13"), decent contrast, and good (for TN) viewing angles. It's certainly a big step up from the frankly abysmal base WXGA TN displays of many Lenovo/HP/Dell machines.

But yes, it's not even close to the retina IPS displays.

I own two of them. And a 2015 13” MBP with a Retina display. And a current iPad mini and an iPhone XS. And a BenQ 32” 4K display. And before that I had a 2009 13” MBP.

All of the non-iOS displays are calibrated via a munki.

The MBA display from this generation (my kids have the 11” MBAs with basically the same crap display) is the worst I’ve used by far. So bad it’s basically useless for photo editing. The contrast stinks. The color gamut stinks. You can’t look at it off-axis at all.

No no, I’ve looked at a lot of displays in my life. It’s my least favorite. The 2009 13” MBP display was better.

That there are non-Apple laptop displays that are even worse is cold comfort.

Haha, never pick up a base model ThinkPad then. Some of those displays are just ridiculously bad.

I measured the contrast of my 2013 MBA at ~800:1 with my Spyder3 back in the day, which is pretty OK for TN. It got somewhat close to 60% sRGB coverage.

For reference, my ThinkPad X230's TN display measured ~180:1 and couldn't even get to 50% sRGB.

No it isn't suitable for photo editing, but then no TN display really is due to the viewing angle colour and contrast shift. I haven't measured the 2015+ models but understand that the actual panel panel is meant to be the same. It's not what I would personally choose, but I thought it was acceptable at the time, even next to the TN MBP displays.

Just spent $200 on new battery and install for my 2015 MBP. I wish I'd opted for the 1t model vs 512g drive, but was getting refurb and at the time they had no 1t left - wasn't sure they'd have any more (friend of mine snagged one a few weeks later!)

> I wish I'd opted for the 1t model vs 512g drive

Hi there. You can buy a sintech adapter on amazon that will let you put a standard NVME SSD into a macbook air/retina 2013-2015 model (and maybe some others).

It costs about $20.

With that, you can choose some of the cheap, new, fast, 2TB disks and get a massive improvement in speed and storage capacity for relatively little money. Google around; there are some recommended drives.

From what I've read the 'long' version of the sintech is the best one to buy. The upgrade process is on ifixit; it's super easy. You will also need a torx screwdriver; again you can buy a 'mac fixing kit' for $5-10 on amazon etc.


Battery replacements are fairly cheap. I did that with my 2014 air and it's now good for another three or four years.

Was it not possible to replace the battery?

I do not mean officially, just get one in there, unofficially.

> I feel too old to compile my own kernel for a glitchy wifi driver, and Windows? Nah, get away...

Linux hasn't had issues with the major wifi chipsets in ages. It's as plug and play as Mac and Windows are. There are plenty of reasons people might choose to avoid Linux, but drivers (outside of specialty, niche or obscure hardware) aren't really a reason anymore.

Graphics drivers are a constant source of trouble and confusion (so many driver projects and PPAs). My gf has a Linux laptop that stops working after every dist upgrade, and it's always some driver issue (or yet another Ubuntu NetworkManager bug).

Also, if the system isn't shut down cleanly, it will never just boot up again in spite of supposedly using a journaling file system. She always has to run e2fsck in manual mode (i.e confirming every single repair), specifying the address of a backup superblock.

Printing and scanning is broken as well. Not for some niche hardware but for one of the most widely deployed HP printer/scanners.

So on her particular laptop, Linux is anything but plug and play. If you're saying that Linux works well on your laptop I will believe you. It has never worked well an any laptop I owned and drivers have always been the main reason for that.

I believe you cannot simply run Linux any laptop. You have to buy a laptop specifically for Linux.

I've used laptops and desktops with GPUs from all 3 manufacturers. The only issues I've had were either really minor (ie. About the same as the other platforms), or with graphics switching (ie. Bumblebee). If you're just using the recommended drivers for the hardware I'd be extremely surprised if it was as unstable as you describe.

For reference, it's recommended you use the open source drivers for Intel and AMD, and the proprietary drivers for NVIDIA. No PPAs required.

The place where I remember a gap was laptops with dual graphics cards designed to use a low power one for light duty and a more powerful one for heavy duty tasks.

That said, avoiding that mess is fine for a non-gaming laptop. And I've had no trouble installing Linux on Dell, Asus, or Lenovo. Many configurations specifically listed Ununtu as an OS option (but why bother getting it preinstalled), so sure any of those would be fine. They're not especially rare anymore.

> I believe you cannot simply run Linux any laptop. You have to buy a laptop specifically for Linux.

No you don't. Ive had debian on a lenovo laptop for five years with none of the issues you speak of. Printing and scanning work great (dell and brother printers). It boots fine after a hard power off. No update has ever fubard anything. I have no more trouble hooking up to a projector than anybody else (my boss has a mac and complains about hooking up to projectors).

I've also run linux without issue on prior laptops from toshiba, acer and sony and some off brand thing from 10 years ago. I have a brother who runs linux on a dell laptop just fine (and has for years). A co-worker runs linux on a newish sony laptop. I guess I'm just living in the perfect intersection of hardware that just magically always works with linux. Or maybe, linux just works.

> Linux hasn't had issues with the major wifi chipsets in ages.

… except (ironically) if you use Linux on a MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. In this case there are severe issues with the wifi firmware making wifi completely unusable: https://github.com/Dunedan/mbp-2016-linux#wi-fi

The annoying thing is that for once this is an actual bug in the firmware and the upstream doesn't care about fixing it. It's simply not fixable on Linux side without rewriting the whole wifi stack to use Mac's model. It's not the typical "Linux hasn't got a driver", but without digging into the issue it looks like that.

I thought the whole point of this thread was to avoid using Macbooks so how is this relevant?

Driver for my wifi card under linux crashes. Granted it is a 'staging' driver, but it's still a pretty bad look.

I had a miserable time with the Broadcom drivers as well-- I actually abandoned them completely to instead use an adapter with Ralink driver. No hiccups, let alone crashes, since.

No. It's better than no driver. (I'll assume it works at all in some capacity.) While there are some companies that make wifi cards you can't use easily, that's just one thing you check before buying, just as e.g. general reliability/performance.

That's way worse than no driver. By 'crash', I mean the whole kernel crashes. And, by the way, it does advertise linux support (for linux 4.10, but that's in the fine print).

Linux on Macbooks is still crap though...

Runs great on my 2014 MBP.

AFAIK dual-display over thunderbolt is just not working very well for example (there are issues when going to/back from sleep). I've tried switching to Linux on my 2013 MBP for a couple of weeks, and gave up.

yeah no shit, apple only wants you to run macos on their hardware.

Directly from Apple’s support page.

“Install Windows 10 on your Mac with Boot Camp Assistant”


Has Apple ever officially stated that they support running Linux on Macs?

Well you did say ever....


Huh, TIL.

I can only come to the same conclusion. Typing this on a 2018 MacBook 15 inch, and it's a disaster. I still keep accidentally hitting the Touchbar ten times per day while typing (it's not a press-bar, duh)

My favorite problem is activating Siri when I use Touch ID (yes, I know you can remove Siri from the Touch Bar). I miss the physical escape key. But the Touch Bar is great for volume control and scrobbling. Touch ID is awesome though (if I manager to hit the right area), I really miss Touch ID on my Linux machine.

I need a dongle for _everything and their mother_

Don't get me started on the dongles. I was a fairly early adopter (had the first generation 12" MacBook). They actually sold USB-C adapters initially where the USB-A port only supports USB 2.0. Yep 80 Euro for an adapter that only does USB 2.0.

Then their USB-C HDMI adapter only support HiDPI at 30Hz (due to supporting an older HMDI version). Again, unbelievable for an adapter that was initially 80 Euro.

So, I had to buy a USB-C <-> DisplayPort adapter to hook up a HiDPI screen at 60Hz (third-party USB-C <-> HDMI adapters universally had bad reviews). The adapter works fine on the MacBook Pro 2016. I updated later to the MacBook Pro 2018, and for some mysterious reason the adapter does not work on the MacBook Pro 2018, no output at all (still works fine with my wife's 2016). So I had to buy yet another adapter... (What's the point of USB-C as a universal interface if it is not universal?)

I wish they would just offer a variant with physical function keys and a Touch Bar. They’d have plenty of room for both if they reduced the comically oversized touchpad.

From what I can recall, the reason why the USBC to DP adapter isn't working on the 2018 models is that the macbooks now have special end to end encryption (read: DRM and forced market penetration) to only allow you to use "apple authorized" dongles.

I have been using a System76 Darter Pro (max cpu and ram) with Pop!_OS 19.04 and it’s been a dream to use. My day to day workload includes docker, node.js services, Postgres, mongodb, and gis tasks. I get about 6 hours of battery life while working and about 8 or so when doing non-work tasks. It’s the real deal. I’m also driving a 4K monitor with the laptop display on as well. Smooth as butter. However, I’ve tried some modeling with Sweet Home 3D. That didn’t go so hot. The Darter can use thunderbolt external gpus though and I’ve been meaning to pick one up and see how well it works

Pop OS on a T series Lenovo have been fault free for me. Ive run it on T480, T580 and T480S. The T490 which has just been released has a much brighter panel so opt for that one if you can.

I like PopOS but that first link is terrible.

It only reinforces the idea that PopOS is little more than a reskinned Ubuntu (which is not a bad thing!). The only non different default setting is the availability of a recovery partition, while the other features mentioned are basically just different defaults.

They also include better support for NVidia drivers vs stock Ubuntu. Thats very appreciable when you have a laptop with integrated and discrete GPU.

Exactly, so why do you not just use Ubuntu?

> Exactly, so why do you not just use Ubuntu?

For us who don't prefer Mac OS:

It copied way to much from Apple.

The alt-tab is in particular has been a usability disaster for some of us I think.

For a while I'd install Ubuntu and try from time to time but now I've given up on them.

I keep wondering whether I should try Linux again. Is KDE any better than Ubuntu?

For what it's worth, KDE [Plasma] is just a desktop environment - you can run it on Ubuntu.

As of 2019, I'm fairly happy with Linux on the desktop; usability is really solid, WINE is significantly better than years before, and many games will play perfectly fine with basically no manual configuration thanks to projects like DXVK.

I'm running KDE on Arch. And, I'm definitely happier than I was on Windows.

Depends on what you want from your desktop:

There's a number of people who can't stand KDE because of lack of consistency in padding etc (I have to take their word for it because I cannot see such things).

Often such people seem to enjoy using Macs and I defend that choice.

Personally I prefer Linux or even Windows to Macs because of (drumroll) consistency.

I want my keyboard to look mostly the same year in and year out. I want the layout to be roughly similar either I sit on my laptop keyboard or an external keyboard. I want modifier keys to work the same between apps. As a heavy multitasker I want my alt-tab to work the way it used when I learned it.

As for why KDE/Linux instead of Windows I just really like it for some reason. On top of that I prefer the Linux ecosystem, the reduced build times I get when I compile, the snappier git etc etc.

I recently got a Purism Librem 13 and it's been golden. The only thing I miss from MacBooks is the touchpad. I did replace their PureOS with stock Ubuntu, which was a breeze and probably improved performace due to proprietary drivers.

I've not compiled my own kernel in the last 5 years and all of my hardware has been supported. Not saying that you can't run into h/w compatibility issues with Linux today, but I don't think that you should keep yourself from using Linux as a daily driver if you're worried about hardware compatibility. Just get a thinkpad, and you'll be golden.

>I feel too old to compile my own kernel for a glitchy wifi driver

You can buy hardware that comes with Linux support including drivers. Changing your workflow is always a pain though, so Linux with a decent DE like KDE could be a suitable alternative for you but because of the big change you could get frustrated and hate the experience.

I am also at that period in life where I don't get pleasure from tinkering with compiling custom kernels, making the PC boot 10% faster, use the latest and greatest... so for me Kubuntu LTS fits perfectly it may be a good option for you too.

> I feel too old to compile my own kernel for a glitchy wifi driver, and Windows? Nah, get away...

You can buy laptops with various flavours of Linux pre-installed from a number of different manufacturers right now, you know that right? In the distant past I used to regularly compile my kernels out of necessity and also out of curiosity and trying to eke every last drop of performance from my systems. Now? No way. Have not done that in ages. And you never need to compile a kernel to get a driver working these days, every now and again what you might find is that you have to blacklist a driver or drop a manufacturers firmware into place. In truth, I had to do the exact same on a Macbook to get a non Apple blessed SSD running at full tilt many years ago.

Linux, by any reasonable metric, stands shoulder-to-shoulder with MacOS and Windows today. I can't believe in 2019 with Chromebooks, Lenovo, Dell, Purism, System76 (and those are the ones that I know off the top of my head) you still think compiling kernel drivers is a thing. Even Microsoft makes Linux apps these days: VS Code, Skype, SQL Server, … so that's got to tell you something. The real hold-out is Adobe. I'd love if IBM bought Adobe (after their Redhat purchase) and made all Adobe's apps cross-platform.

Not sure what your usage is like, but after being on OSX for 10 years and going back to Windows 10, I don't miss it much. Windows 10 is pretty great these days.

Zoom on Macs is so much more convenient than on Win10, even with aerozoom, I also tried the sysinternals zoom: no dice, Win10 usability is still kluncky. I got both and still use the 2015 Pro a lot more than the way more beefy oled-screen Dell.

I have Windows running along side macOS on my Mac Pro. It boots faster and the video screams... when it’s not installing updates. Seriously. It’s worse than my xBox.

The only reason I want a Mac again is for MacOS's hiDPI support. I can't stand regular screens anymore, and from what I've heard, Windows 10 hiDPI support is non-existent, even for non fractional scaling.

Using Windows 10 forces one to either use a low resolution screen, or deal with the consequences (most non-flagship software fails at scaling).

And that's not even getting into font rendering issues. Windows 10 can't render don't properly, except in design apps such as InDesign, for some reason. As for Linux compatibility, Win10 does a semi-decent job emulating Linux system calls with WSL.

Fonts are terrible on Windows. It feels like nitpicking, but as a former designer, I notice. Constantly.

> Windows 10 hiDPI support is non-existent

This is not true.

If you purchase a Dell developer laptop or any Lenovo Thinkpad you dont have to worry about hardware support for Linux. Works out of the box.

And get a refurbished T440p with a quad core CPU that's fast and costs you a couple of hundred of euros. Replace parts when they break. No need to pay the premium for the new models.

Yup I was actually typing this on a T440p. Excellent deal with this laptop.

I had to wait three months for Lenovo to replace my X1 Extreme's motherboard because switching to discreet graphics to install Linux bricked it.

That must have been a wonderfull f*up on the part of your service center.

Here where I live they would have to refund you the machine, if they weren't capable to repair it within 30 days (while under warranty, which I assume X1 Extreme was). The only manufacturer, whose service is able to achieve 30 days here is Apple ;).

With Lenovo, and previously IBM, I've had experience to have issues fixed NBD, even when I was retail customer.

Well shipping was like 30 days late so they tried to say it wasn't eligible for return.

I just got it back and as much as I want to use it I'm trying to return it still...

Lenovo standard customer support sucks ass. Pay a little more and they route you to IBM support (at least in Canada). Those people are godly. Next business day, go to your home, fix whatever you want, accidental damage, whatever, all covered.

I love those guys.

Running a 2017 MBP model at work here, have all those issues and more. My Bluetooth chip somehow freezes without fail after X hours of usage and requires a hard power cycle to fix, often if I put it to sleep on a night I wake it up to a kernel panic message.

I have a 2013 MBP at home that I still use every night, the worst thing that has happened to it in all those years of daily usage is 3 of the feet have fallen off. The thing has been an absolute champ and I would have dropped serious money on another by now if they hadn't changed it.

Interesting, I’ve never experienced these usability problems. Maybe accidentally hit the touchbar once or twice a day for the first week, before I got used to it. BTW you can customize the touchbar to move stuff around so it’s not in the way of your fingers (e.g. top-right corner). But yeah it sucks and there’s no real use-case for it, the standard keys are way better. The only thing I like about it is the TouchID, but they’ve showed with air that it can be a standalone thing.

The usb-c transition happened too early, it’s annoying that you can’t even plug in an usb if you forgot to bring the dongle. The nice thing about it is being able to plug the charger at any port, but that’s no reason to have only the usb-c ports.

Agree on the OS, I’ve probably bought into their ecosystem way too much to make a smooth transition away. Also the trackpad experience is still superior. But the list of reasons why I would buy a macbook after this one bites the big one is getting shorter.

Not meant as a dig at you, but your comment reminds me so much of this recent HN story: https://www.derrickreimer.com/essays/2019/05/17/im-walking-a...

Guy spent a year trying to build a better slack, but then finds out people love to complain about slack, but will not make any steps to actually try any alternatives.

May suggest running Ubuntu in a VM for a while, see how it works for you? Not that that will help address driver issues.

Fwiw, it's my current setup - I'm currently trying to decide between installing it outside the VM, or migrating to a cloud desktop.

Unix still isn't a great desktop, but, as the alternatives get worse, it's coming into its own.

You mean Linux (not Unix). MacOS is a certified UNIX operating system.

>I feel too old to compile my own kernel for a glitchy wifi driver

You'll be happy to hear about dkms then. Just install the driver, let your package manager update it and it will recompile on its own for whatever kernel you're using.

This is if you even need such a thing.

I'm a UX engineer who recently switched from Macbook Pro to the Ubuntu version of Dell XPS 13. Now that I use Figma, a web-based design app, I no longer need any Mac-native design software. I am pretty pleased!

The XPS 13 has an edge-to-edge display/small footprint, the top of the line whiskey lake processor, 16GB of RAM, and a crazy-good battery life. (I opted for 1080p screen instead of 4k to get that 10+ hr battery life.) All of this for <$1200 with my employer's discount. The equivalent would be 2k+ on a Mac.

There have been one or two hiccups worth mentioning: 1) the trackpad, while not terrible, isn't as good as Mac's. 2) Multi-monitor support on Ubuntu hasn't been perfect. I couldn't get 18.04 to work out of the box with my three monitors; however, once I upgraded to Ubuntu 19.04, it worked out of the box. Phew.

Pretty happy with this setup!

That sounds awesome, except a low resolution screen (1080p) is a no-go in 2019. So far I haven't heard of anyone being pleased with Linux or Windows milquetoast hiDPI support.

I am still using a MacBook Pro 2018 as my laptop, but do my primary work on an Intel NUC8i5BEH with Linux. I work remotely from my home, so I rarely need the laptop anymore.

The NUC has the same quad core Intel i5-8259U, with double the RAM and double the SSD size at approximately a quarter of the price of MacBook Pro. If you don't have an existing screen, you can buy a good Dell HiDPI screen for ~500 Euros.

The Linux NUC feels much faster than the MacBook Pro, probably because of faster syscalls on Linux, and generally better optimizations in Linux. But for me the killer feature is NixOS. NixOS has a steep learning curve, but with atomic updates/rollbacks, declarative system configuration, and the ability to have virtualenvs with any package, it is hard to go back to a system that does not have these features. (I use Nix on macOS, but it is more of a gateway drug than the whole experience.)

Of course, there are some sharp edges, Bluetooth headset (including Airpods) support is better on macOS, you can't beat Microsoft Office for Office compatibility (duh), and Skype works better on macOS.

Same thing here (Intel NUC + NixOS).

Recently I purchased an HP Envy with and AMD chip for $550 USD and got myself used to sway + i3statusbar-rust. Everything is simple, can be backed up using git and I use at most 300mb of ram after boot. Computer startup is less than 10 seconds and shutdown is less than 3.

I think this is the third time I feel this way about computers. First one was when someone told me about Apache and Linux in 2000, second when I discovered postgis + geodjango in 2007.

I have the previous generation NUC, a NUC7i5BNH, as my home computer. I put it in a Akasa fanless case, and it's wonderful — it's completely silent.

I use Kubuntu, since I've been using KDE for 15 years. I use 5% of the configuration options — just by looking, you'd think it was a default install — but I really miss that 5% if I'm on a Mac or Windows.

Came here to say the same thing. If you can avoid using a laptop, I know many people can't, a desktop buys you a lot of freedom.

Freedom to choose good components, a fanless case, and a functional OS like NixOS.

I've been using a desktop at work for the last ten years and hopefully to the foreseeable future. With a price of a MacBook pro you get 16-24 cores, good cooling facilities, 32-64 GB of RAM and excellent Linux support.

I built a desktop a few months ago after 10 years of laptops. Wow, what a difference time makes! It's incredible what you can get on even a modest budget when speccing desktop components.

I also have a desktop at work, along with a couple of other people.

If I need a laptop for a meeting or to travel, I can either use "my" 5-year-old one, or the spare new one. Or the conference room desktop, which has a real keyboard and mouse.

I also work at a company heavily reliant on Microsoft Office. It makes it hard to pick any OS that isn't Windows or Mac.

Cloud apps like Google Docs, Hangouts, Slack etc.. were supposed to make the OS less important. It's too bad we're not there yet.

Why not just use Windows then? If you really need *sh and command line tools, just get WSL, msys or cygwin.

Maybe first move to using Microsoft apps online?

Why don't they use Google Docs instead of MS Office? It's 2019...

Multitude of reasons:

* your documents cannot leave your company network,

* you need features not supported by gdocs,

* you need to work offline,

* you need 100% compatibility for produced files,

* (fill in your favorites)

Lack of MS Office (non-365) availability for Linux is quite a barrier to Linux adoption in more places.

For running Adobe products, I use Virtualbox running Windows 10 on my Linux laptop. The speed of hypervisors has gotten so good recently I genuinely can't tell the difference over running Windows natively, even though this laptop is 8 years old now. Everything "just works" and so I don't see why which programs you need to run should determine what brand of computer you buy or what OS you run on it, any more.

I guess the one exception (other than gaming?) is if you need to run any MacOS only software. (I can't even name any, other than that written by Apple, off the top of my head.) I have Mojave running in Virtualbox, but it's noticeably slower than both Linux natively and Windows 10. That could be the 8 year old laptop thing again.

I see a huge difference running WIndows in Virtualbox. Possibly because I'm doing everything wrong but it sucks for graphics stuff like Adobe products and I can't even get it to hit 60fps like my standard linux desktop.

We're still a way off passing through graphics cards etc in a 'just works' sort of way (yes there's hugely involved ways to get it done) so it's going to be a short while before I could agree with you that Windows VM's are fully ready to replace native installs for situations like mine.

My main system is currently a late 2012 maxed out Mac Mini that struggles with Adobe products. I also miss Linux on my desktop so your set up is appealing to me. Looking to use Lightroom, Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. By chance have you passed through a drawing pad?

I have not, but Virtualbox supposedly supports passing through the USB protocol itself, so I imagine it works; at least it's supposed to work?

Yes, you can pass USB devices through most hypervisors, including Virtualbox.

For example, I tried a smartcard reader inside VM (host: macOS, hypervisor Virtualbox, guest: Windows) and it worked.

On the flip side I switched from a Dell (XPS 15 9570) to a MacBook Pro 2018 15" last August after multiple issues with the Dell.

I've not had a single issue with the MacBook Pro yet. Not a single crash/kernel panic, no keyboard issues, no T2 or TouchBar issues. I open the laptop in the morning and it wakes from sleep and works all day. I almost only ever reboot it for system updates that require it so usually every 4-6 weeks.

I'm not super keen on the keyboard but it honestly isn't horrible to type on. I do worry about reliability though. However I am at almost 300 days of zero problems where I had issues with my XPS out of the box that seems are still not fixed having looked at /r/Dell on reddit recently. Shocking that Dell have taken close to a year and things like speaker pops are not resolved.

I also had a ThinkPad but sadly Lenovos quality control isn't what it used to be and the two units I received had hardware defects. And with modern ThinkPads being less serviceable (the new T series has soldered RAM, CPU and WiFi?!) I can see even Lenovo starting to go the Apple way with soldered storage within two years.

Also while I do no deny Apple screwed up with the butterfly keyboard I do feel all the attention being on Apple is a little unfair and can lead people to think Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft are much more reliable which just isn't true in my experience. In the past few years Microsoft's Surface line has without question been the worst laptop experience I have ever had with software and hardware issues not to mention even less repairability than Apple laptops!

The attention on Apple really isn't unfair when you a) compare their 2016+ machines to their 2015 ones, and b) dig a little deeper into some of the design flaws of the machines beyond the keyboard.

For example:

* The trackpad on 2016+ models is too large for many users who experience palm rejection issues. * The display cable on 2016 and 2017 machines was too short, and is now starting to cause the issue known as "flexgate". It's almost a given that with enough use, every one of these machines will suffer this failure. To make matters worse, unlike the 2015 machines where the display cable could be replaced on its own, the entire display assembly is glued together on 2016+ machines and has to be replaced as a whole unit. * Stupid electrical decisions such as putting pins for high voltage backlight power and low voltage data signalling right next to eachother mean that there's a good chance the machine will fry itself if it gets at all humid inside (most machines do at some stage, especially if used on a lap). Most other notebooks do not do this and are much more durable in this regard. * The storage being soldered is fucking braindead. Apart from being planned obsolescence due to NAND flash's finite lifespan and macOS's increasing hunger for storage space, data recovery is not possible without a proprietary system to connect to a lifeboat port on 2016-2017 machines. 2018 machines have no such port and at this stage, there is no known way to recover data from working flash chips on a dead logic board without board-level repair.

Apple made far better computers in 2015. The competition also being shit doesn't excuse Apple's regressions.

> Apple made far better computers in 2015. The competition also being shit doesn't excuse Apple's regressions.

Totally agree with you there.

My opinion on it being "unfair" on Apple is more to do with the fact that such things are not unique to Apple yet they are the only ones who get pulled up in the tech and even media.

I had two Surface devices from Microsoft; a Surface Book 2 and a Surface Laptop and both were pieces of crap yet cost the same (or there abouts) as an Apple laptop. Sure I see people complain about it here and there but no way near the level you see complaints about Apple products.

One area that bugs me quite a bit is YouTube and tech website "reviewers" such as The Verge et al. Right out the gate the 2018 15" model was ripped apart for the thermal throttling (and it should have been, it was a problem that Apple mostly fixed within a week to be fair) but the same people never mention the same or worse throttling from an XPS or Surface. Or any other long term issues those product lines have had and never been properly addressed. The XPS 15 coil whine, DPC latency, colour saturation issues, speaker crackle, squeaky spacebar, etc. All have been issues on the XPS 15 for several revisions and Dell have still hardly even acknowledged such problems.

So while I think Apple did fuck up with several design decisions on the current MBP I feel it is only fair to point out that the alternatives people often recommend come with their own set of issues as well. My Surface Laptop had a fan issue after just two days. The solution? Total unit replacement because the whole thing is glued together and you can't open it without damaging the alcantara keyboard fabric! So that meant a full system backup and restore which brought along another issue as the machine had been upgraded to Windows 10 Pro via the Windows Store but that is locked to the motherboard and ARRRRRRGH it was such a pain in the ass.

The sad truth is Dell, Apple, Lenovo, Microsoft, Asus, etc. all make shitty hardware decisions in the name of appearance and/or thinness. It sucks but it is reality. I just wish people would bitch about Dell, etc. as much as they do Apple. Maybe then they would fix things rather than deflect to Apple for being "worse" (which is false but believed to be true because of reporting).

I generally agree.

I've also defended Apple a lot in the past for usually "getting most things right" where other manufacturers just don't. And you're right, they deserve to be cut down for stupid solved-problems-a-decade-ago like coil whine and rattling fans.

My viewpoint comes from expecting better from Apple because they've been better in the past, and only have a small number of SKUs to deal with. 2006-2012 saw Apple introduce new generations that solved problems and almost unilaterally improved upon their predecessors. They made a few hiccups (such as 2008's glass displays), and 2009's non-removable batteries, but they were reasonable well-thought compromises. Apart from serviceability, the 2012-2015 Retina era did the same.

On the other hand, Dell/Lenovo/HP etc vomit product lines all over the place and have done for as long as I can remember. Seldom do they keep the same basic chassis for more than 2 releases, and even when they do they don't seem to learn lessons and iterate to improve.

In saying that, comparing 2019 XPS, Latitude, Inspiron, and ThinkPads to their 2012 counterparts show marked improvement in many aspects, and few regressions. I guess that's a sorry indictment of PC notebooks at the start of the decade more than anything else...

I guess you could call that unfair on Apple, but then you look at the price they ask for their machines and quickly forget about fairness...

This is EXACTLY what I think. While I hate the lack of reliability in the latest macbooks, I would say that the other manufacters are not doing anything better at all. The XPS 15 is full of issues and Dell doesn't even acknowledge them, the XPS 13 has basically everything soldered on apart from the SSD and the Thinkpad is going that way as well (just look at the latest X1 carbon and T490s). The Surface devices are just as expensive as the macbooks and just as impossible to repair. I won't even consider Asus/Acer because in my opinion they simply put junk conponents (with junk drivers) in their products and they're not reliable at all, even in the high price range. What's funny is that if you actually look at the thermal behaviour of thin and light laptops (go on notebookcheck.com), you'll notice that the MBP 15 is one of the best when compared to the XPS 15, X1 Extreme, Zenbook 15 Pro, etc., And yet everyone only complains about the mac. (Furthermore, I still find macOS superior to Windows 10, even if I'm a long time Windows user, but that's about personal tastes.) Personally, I've just stoppped listening to journalists, youtubers or whatever, I just read the reviews and look at the graphs on notebookcheck.com and search for potential issues on reddit/other speficis forums.

I have a late 2013 MacBook pro and the Dell precision 5530 running Ubuntu 16.04. The Precision 5530 is faster for everything except when I'm using it for video conferencing. A regular Hangouts session brings it down to its knees. I will be holding on to my 2013 MacBook pro as long as I can :).

I got a maxed out late 2013 MBP and I too am going to hold onto it as long as possible. 4 core i7, 16gb of ram, discrete gpu and it still runs like a champ. The only problem I had was that the battery recently swelled up which caused problems with the touchpad and fans, but apple ended up replacing the battery, keypad, touchpad, and casing for $300 which wasn't too bad considering ifixit wanted like $1,000 bucks for all those parts and now it feels like new.

Me too. I see little reason to upgrade it. I planned to upgrade it two years ago but am still waiting for something that's up to the expected design. More memory (more than 16 gig) would have been nice when I bought it, but that's the max Apple allowed and it can't be upgraded.

I've yet to have to replace my battery. I'm hoping that the 2019 edition is worth buying, e.g. this stuff built in: * Escape key * SD card reader * Older USB and new USB C sockets * HDMI out * >1TB SSD * magnetic power adapter

I'd also like to see touch screen but let's see. I'd give that up for all the above.

I really don't see the point in making the macbook pro an ipad with a keyboard and some extra umpf. They're totally missing the target audience.

Out of that list, you'll definitely get USB-C sockets and probably the 1TB SSD. I can't see any of the rest of it ever being on a MacBook again.

You're probably right; but it seems odd that the power adapter is such a step back

Mine is the early 2013 maxed out and also runs like a champ. The battery is going bad, so I'm glad you posted how much you paid for it. I'm really not looking forward to an upgrade.

If the battery starts to swell, get it replaced and see what Apple quotes you. I delayed it (thought the fan noise was because of dust so i tried opening it up and shooting compressed air at it and that did not work but I did notice how hard it was to close it back up) until it caused the fan to non-stop whining at an unbearable rate.

Took it in for an official check up to double-check it as i was thinking about ordering fan parts to repair it myself. They said the battery looked to be swelling which they thought was causing the insane fan noise and quoted me $200 for the battery replacement. I thought I could buy the battery cheaper but grudgingly accepted as they said it would cover all the repairs with that fee. They shipped it to a repair center and then upped the fees by $100 for labor. I again grungendly accepted it as I just wanted it fixed, I could mess up the personal repair, and having them do it saves me time.

After getting the laptop back that looked brand new with all the replacements, I remembered why I love Apple. I'm just surprised they didn't tell me all the parts they were going to replace for the $300 as that would have sold me instantly especially considering my trackpad had been half broken but I did not associate it with the swelling battery at the time.

Yes for Video conferencing Mac or Windows are so much better when it comes to hardware and application support. Being in need of some Unix-compatible, Macs are still my first choice although my last purchase decision was really not easy...

I'm not defending the Macbook -- I can happily say I have not used a recent model one -- but for additional perspective on Dell laptop keyboards, I absolutely hate the keyboard on my 15"-16" Dell Precision provided by my employer. The keys are oddly far apart compared to a conventional desktop keyboard. I struggle to type with any accuracy on the builtin keyboard -- especially for things like entering my password, where mistakes are hidden.

Full disclosure: I am a Dell employee and obviously these views are my own and not that of Dell.

The precision 5530 is an absolutely fantastic machine. Best laptop I’ve ever owned. I was a MacBook Pro user since 08, and when it came to replacing the ailing 2013 MBP, I was not at all impressed with what apple had to offer. Fedora was a great experience (using i3, but gnome is pretty nice too), and I haven’t looked back at all. The only downside is that I can’t do iOS development on it, but that can be handled with a VM where necessary. I only wish dell made them with an AMD gpu rather than the Nvidia Optimus garbage.

I still consider macOS UI much more superior. Also I love the new MBP with the TouchID integration.

I recently upgraded my computer at work, and instead of going for a beefier laptop I opted to build an AMD Ryzen 7 2700 machine, and I could never been happier, running Fedora on it is many many times faster than any laptop out there. The build only costed $900 and the specs are far superior than what I would get for a laptop on that price range. Since most of the time I spend at my desk programming I feel it was a good move, and when I have to go to meetings I have my Surface Pro 6 which serves me very well on that purpose.

What have the biggest annoyances been when switching?

I occasionally try switching but always get frustrated with the amount of time I have to spend fussing with graphics drivers, multitouch drivers, keyboard shortcuts, etc, but it's possible that's because I've only really attempted it on Apple hardware.

Driver issues were very minimal (had to turn off a power management thing, and use the on board graphics card for most usage), maybe an hour-ish. Otherwise, I was completely shocked how modern the experience is. Honestly, I find it better than the Mac UI because it lets me just get shit done without getting in my way. Keyboard shortcuts are weird, but I was using Windows 10 in the mix as well, so I'm used to that. However, I was never big into the apple ecosystem, so it would be more painful if you have an iphone, ipad, use itunes for everything, etc.

I'm in the google ecosystem, so life was crazy easy.

I have two System76 Meerkats and a Purism Librem 13, which are an absolute breeze.

I think the craziest thing is that the newer macbooks have worse battery life than the 2015 macbooks.

Lenovo T480 hackintosh here.

What has the hackintosh experience been like for you?

I've been running macOS on both my XPS 15 (9550) and desktop (Haswell i3 based w/ Nvidia graphics). The experience is good on both systems but they definitely have their caveats.

The XPS is probably the most positive experience thus far, it'ss a 9550 with i7/16GB RAM/1TB NVMe/GTX 960/4K. It's currently running Mojave 10.14.3, everything except the SD Card reader and Nvidia GPU work (including the touchscreen, WiFi OOTB, Bluetooth, etc.). The GPU really isn't a problem, Intel graphics work with full acceleration and anything GPU-heavy gets done on the desktop. Helps with battery life too; my system's battery health is down to ~45% but I can still squeeze out a good 4 hours from it. It's not very well supported, you really gotta stay on top of updates and be ready to fix what breaks, but when it's running it's a dream to use.

The desktop on the other hand is a completely different beast. It's got an i3-4150/8GB RAM/GTX 980 and currently running High Sierra 10.13.6 (because of a lack on Nvidia drivers in Mojave). Getting it setup was a little bit of work, the WiFi/Bluetooth card needed an enabler kext and audio needs a bootloader tweak to work, otherwise it's functionally indestinguishable to a legitimate Mac; It can even be updated through the Mac App Store, iCloud/iMessage works, Handoff works.

I personally wouldn't build one again. I've built 4 in my life and my last one was High Sierra (last year is when I stopped using it).

It'll run great (NOT problem free) for 6 months; just enough time to forget everything you learned over the entire weekend you dedicated to initially getting it working, then update or something will break and you have to dive back into the tonyx86/etc rabbit hole for another entire day or an entire weekend.

Look at what he said, it's great when it works. That's the problem.

Stuff will usually still "work" but your video drivers will drop your resolution to 640 and you have to fight with that and try new kexts, sometimes your sound will flake and you'll research how to fix it, etc.

If your time is remotely valuable and you want your personal equipment to just "work" and not have to be tinkered with it's unpleasant.

That's why I was so excited the Mini finally got updates, but that doesn't really work with egpus so I wound up just going back to my MBP.

Wondering what the battery life is like compared to running linux on your hackintosh ? :D

Have a 5520 with 19.04 and very happy with it, with the exception of the 16:9 screen ratio, which is too narrow but common.

Smiliar boat except with a lenovo x1 extreme. After typing on my lenovo for 1 day going back to my macbook pro retina feels like an absolute disaster. It's like we've been gaslit by apple to believe these computers are good. They're not. They're complete trash

> I switched to a Dell Precision 5530 running Ubuntu 18.04

If you want a desktop experience that comes close to MacOS on Ubuntu, give Budgie Desktop a try; it's developed for Solus:


...but is available for Ubuntu - you can install it separately, or as it's own distro:


Note that the 18.04 LTS will have the older version of Budgie and not the latest; the latest version is available with 19.04, but won't be available for LTS until 20.04 - though I am sure there's ways of getting it installed if you really wanted to.

I switched to Budgie Ubuntu 18.04 LTS after my super-long-in-the-tooth-modified-to-hell-and-back Ubuntu 14.04 LTS install face-planted after I tried to install a new version of the NVidia proprietary driver using a very hacked and patched together gcc setup (something I did for an online MOOC where I needed a greater version of C++ than 14.04 supported - not the smartest thing I ever did, but it worked well for a while, and long enough to complete the MOOC).

My 14.04 install started with a Minimal version, then I built it up from there to a look-and-workalike Crunchbang (#!) system. This was done just after #! ceased being supported (after I had played with it and liked it), but before the community picked up the pieces (ultimately resulting in Bunsen Labs distro).

It worked well, but after it finally fell over, I decided I wanted to go a different route on a new install - and Budgie Linux with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is where I ended up. I couldn't be happier; it allows me a desktop experience that I swear is very close to what I have on the MBP I use at my employer, but I have customized my own way (though I did grab a set of SVGs for a better looking trashcan for Plank). I also had to write a new wallpaper switcher (in python) as I didn't like anything as well that exists. Minor things, though. Overall, it's a great desktop - gives me some freedom to play, but is still beautiful and highly functional.

One thing I'll never do again, though, is install anything that isn't "standalone" in /home or a "deb" package (or something like AppImages); anything that must be compiled from source will either be made into a package to install, or I'll put it on a VM (that's what ultimately led to my old system falling over - too much crap in too many places without any kind of tracking, etc - my fault, ultimately).

I've been running Ubuntu on my Latitude 6650 since new a couple years back. Unfortunately due to my company moving to Office365 fully, its no longer viable for a daily driver - mostly due to no support for Teams (except for a crappy broken web interface), Outlook & OneDrive.

Always had Windows available in Virtualbox, but its definitely slower & had endless audio issues with conferencing (you don't want to be the guy who always has sound problems)

Now switched to Windows 10 on a dual boot - which is much easier on the fan, laptop not running nearly as hot as switching between the GPU & onboard graphics is seamless. Despite decades of Linux experience (servers & desktop) I could never get Prime working properly to switch to onboard graphics when needed...wasted days of my life on this.

Despite this Ubuntu 19.04 has big improvements in driver support & if it wasn't for Office, I would have gladly stayed on Linux.

Now its Kali in Virtualbox for me which is almost as good as running natively.

Windows has better toolbar management, mouseovers & switching between apps. Also since Ubuntu moved back to Gnome, switching between Virtualbox VMs has been buggy (display driver issues no doubt)

Linux has a better file browsers (windows explorer hasn't changed in a decade, no tabs & looks terrible) & much better terminal options.

I'll miss Linux as my daily OS, but I guess MS has its grip tightly on most organizations balls these days.

> Windows has better toolbar management, mouseovers & switching between apps. Also since Ubuntu moved back to Gnome, switching between Virtualbox VMs has been buggy (display driver issues no doubt)

I find both Mac and Windows' window managers much less pleasant than one of the many tiling window managers on Linux, since they automate away a ton of manual window management. That being said, I invested an unreasonable amount of time into configuring xmonad to behave in the way I want to, and the default window manager on, say, Ubuntu, is indeed pretty bad compared to Windows / Mac.

Amethyst, an xmonad-clone for Mac, works well enough, but still has bugs and is nowhere near as configurable as tiling WMs on Linux.

Manjaro i3 version running Pantheon and Gala, for me :) I love it more than MacOS.

I'm using Ubuntu, which hasn't really changed in the last 5 years or so (gah the Ambiance theme), and still find the GUI super limited, slow, ugly, bad fonts, etc. IMO its inferior to macOS and Windows by miles.

Try Pop_OS

try /r/unixporn. SFW despite the title. It's a community of people who spend time making (mostly) Linux desktops that look incredible

I remember when compiling a window manager written in haskell was exciting - I have a newborn here now and must prioritize ;)

Come on, didn't you have a Dell Inspiron 8000? Those things were the Macbook Pro of the day, sexy and horrible with BSODS due to flexing motherboards and gorgeous 1600x1200 displays.

My previous worse experience was on a Dell, actually :) Forget the model, but it was a 17" monster and horribly unstable with a crap keyboard and dim display. But that was back in the early 2000s, and I'm shocked it's Apple that gave me an experience that was nearly as bad.

Yeah, I'll probably be switching to a Surface Book. I don't mind spending for a premium laptop but I care about it feeling good to use and I just don't like the newer Macbooks.

Were drivers a problem? Did you run into any problems with the nvme SSD? I tried booting Opensuse but it couldn’t see the SSD. Maybe I just need to try Ubuntu.

Basically no, but I did this to fix up an intermittent lock up bug:


No problems with the nvme ssd that I've noticed. I went with Ubuntu because Dell ships with Ubuntu as an option, so I figured they worked the kinks out :)

thanks for the reply, you inspired me to grab Ubuntu 18.04, put it on a usb key and boot my 5530, but alas it doesn't recognize the NVMe disk. There's a single line from dmesg about remmapping a NVMe disk, but Nothing on fdisk -l.

What version of Ubuntu are you running? Is it produced by Dell or the generic release?

edit nevermind I found a fix: in the BIOS (F2 while booting), I needed to set System Config -> SATA Operation -> AHCI. With that, the nvme is found just fine.

Any issues with that model? I'm thinking of doing a similar switch but I really don't want to be fighting driver and compatibility issues.

I was having a one-a-day random lockup, that was fixed by this: https://medium.com/@agathver/nvidia-gpu-optimus-prime-and-ub...

After that, it's been awesome. While inch-for-inch I like Mac trackpads the best, I hated the giant trackpad on the current macbook line, and the Dell trackpad is the right size and probably 95% as good. I don't care too much about not having all of the swipe shortcuts Mac has, so I didn't try to get more working on Ubuntu, but that could be a pain if you are into them. (Ubuntu has two-finger support out of the box that works great).

I was really pleased that closing the screen and opening it works just as well as Macs for suspending and resuming. Win10 does subpar at that.

The UI isn't quite as smooth as Mac, but it is still very smooth and easy. Just like the Dell 5530 isn't as thin as the current Mac, it is totally thin enough. Apple is just polishing for the sake of polishing at this point.

Plus, I have Ubuntu underneath, which makes it awesome for more line of work (software guy, call it "full stack", I do all kinds of stuff, but all Linux-based).

One thing that's holding me back is that my early 2014 maxed-out 13in Macbook Pro model is still pretty great. I find it better than the 2018 I use at work. Better keyboard, MUCH better trackpad (although I'm using the mouse more these days) and performance-wise, I barely notice any difference...

The battery is nearly dead. Maybe worth it for me to have it serviced and just keep using it for some more time.

i refuse to let go of my 2015 model because i can't stand the new ones. Not sure what I am going to do when it stops receiving new OS upgrades

My unibody/pre-retina mid-2012 is still getting them (and I'm still using it, because it's the last/best machine that still had a truly matte screen!), so you're probably safe for a few more cycles.

Based on historical evidence, you'll likely get updates for another half decade or so.

What’s the battery life like?

I have the larger battery, and for daily development (including web stuff) usage, I get 10+ hours. Even if I'm doing heavy dev (running test suite, lots of compilation, etc) it drops down to maybe 5-6 at worst.

Keeping an updated Win10 on the laptop is a good idea, it makes the unit easier to sell when it’s time to move on. And you don’t want to pay for that twice.

There's really no need to keep Win10 on the laptop. The Win10 license is kept in the UEFI so you can reinstall from a Win10 ISO at any time and it will activate correctly. This even has the added bonus of removing the Dell bloatware from your Windows install.

> The Win10 license is kept in the UEFI so you can reinstall from a Win10 ISO at any time and it will activate correctly.

Not if Windows 10 detected that you have "major" hardware changes. In which case, your new installation won't be activated (granted, Microsoft doesn't enforce activation on). You may need to extract the license key from UEFI and type it in manually to get activation to work. It's a hassle.

I got bit by these "major" hardware changes on a computer I'd passed on to my relatives. For whatever reason I had had the onboard Ethernet adapter disabled in BIOS when I upgraded from Windows 7 to 10, and enabling it prevented Windows from activating at all. (FWIW, it was not a laptop.)

Unlike in the past, when all you had to do was call in and recite your license key, these days their policy is to accept nothing else but a proof of purchase, which in my case was from almost 10 years prior. Luckily enough, I had it archived.

Yeah, the exact definition of "major" hardware change is kept as a secret by Microsoft so that it's not easy to defeat that activation mechanism for pirates.

The newer version (version 1511 and above) of Windows 10's digital licenses are essential a private key (as in asymmetric cryptography, called digital entitlement[1], stored in UEFI), as opposed to the a 25-character product key we used before. If for whatever reason the activation program cannot find that key, it won't be activated.

[1]: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12440/windows-10-ac...

> which in my case was from almost 10 years prior. Luckily enough, I had it archived.

If you bought your Windows license online with a Gmail address, Google has you covered. https://myaccount.google.com/purchases

Macs used to be for hackers, but now they are too mainstream

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact