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Apple Is Listening (marco.org)
281 points by dankohn1 7 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 367 comments

I’m glad that Apple is finally updating their Macs again, but at the same time Apple has doubled-down on its refusal to sell user-serviceable, upgradeable, and expandable hardware at prices that are within reach for most customers. The laptops have soldered RAM and soldered storage. The Mac Mini and iMac Pro thankfully have DIMMs, but in order to keep the warranty, you have to visit an Apple-approved repair center to have a specialist perform the upgrade, which costs more than doing it yourself. After over two years of waiting, the Mac Pro announcement was a huge letdown since the cost of the only user-serviceable Mac has doubled from $2999 to $5999, alienating Mac Pro users who can afford a $2999 computer but not a $5999 one.

It’s one thing for me to buy a “disposable computer” when it is priced very low. It’s another thing for me when you can’t upgrade or service computers with premium-priced parts in them. This is a trend I don’t support.

Unfortunately the only way to protest Apple’s business decisions is to leave the Mac, which means giving up macOS, which I find a more productive environment for me than Windows or any of the Linux desktops like KDE and GNOME. I started using macOS back when Macs were user-serviceable, upgradeable, and reasonably affordable. I continue using the Mac for macOS, but I’m finding myself alienated by Apple's business decisions.

I wish the situation for personal computer operating systems were better. I want PC hardware with an operating system that has the same power, attention to detail, usability, and reliability that macOS has. At this point I am willing to spend my spare time on such a project.

Actually, I'm in the middle of writing an e-mail to the Tim address at Apple, saying that if it takes the environment seriously (and I commend them on what they have done so far) they really need to take the next step, be truly 'courageous' and prioritise repairability and expandability in their forthcoming products.

Apple in the last 20 pushed the boundaries in terms of sleek and slim, but I argue those are last century's imperatives. Apple has the clout and profile, that if it took a stand and said 'we are going to make our products a few milimeters thicker, we are going to make them so that they can be upgraded, we realise that this will hit sales and profits, but this is the planet we are talking about', they could probably pull other members of the industry behind them'. Conspicuous non consumption might be the new fashion statement.

Tim from Apple is paying money to its PR department that gives away money to "green" organizations exactly to be able not to do anything that would really matter for our planet (and would hurt Apple income). Imagine Tim from Apple shows up on the stage and tells people that there is no good reason to switch to the new phone model every 2 years. It will not happen.

I have many "progressive", "pro-eco" friends who just can't understand I am still using that old crappy Nexus 5X although I could afford a new, fancier phone (and my cell phone operator would subsidize it partly and nice person from call center would add another 4 GB of free internet to existing 15, as if I could ever use so much using cell phone).

They also cannot understand that I am still driving my 10 years old car instead of leasing/buying a new car which would be more "eco friendly". I am trying to explain them that cars are not growing on trees and producing a new one is not really that environment friendly and that during past 10 years cars were not improved so much in terms of CO2 emission to justify the change (giving recent car makers test scandals it is hard to say if they improved at all. Even if I could buy electric car, which is not really an option in my country due to lack of infrastructure and my usecase - I don't drive in the city, only long travels - still producing a new car emits more CO2 than my car will emit during its remaining lifetime).

Same with driving to work (they buy those new cars for a reason, not to sit in a tram among those sweating people), same with using electric laundry dries (it is so unfashionable to air-dry laundry at home), etc.

People love to talk about being pro-eco and taking actions that make them feel good, but they can't face the truth that their consumption habits change would be infinitely more beneficial.

>I am trying to explain them that cars are not growing on trees and producing a new one is not really that environment friendly and that during past 10 years cars were not improved so much in terms of CO2 emission to justify the change

If anyone else is wondering, I think you're right about this. I've looked into it and there are a few people who've tried to tackle the question of what's better but I find they all have some problem with the assumptions they make, largely because it's just a difficult problem with a lot of variables. Mileage, age of each vehicle, expected life of each vehicle, what emissions can be attributed to production, whether to include emissions of the inefficiencies of recycling one but not the other, etc.

I decided that a new eco-friendly car and a similar old used car were close enough in emissions - i.e. within the same magnitude - that it wasn't worth it if it's your only reason for spending the money on a new car. What's far more effective is reducing mileage done in a car.

The new trend should be, in my eyes, to make electronic hardware similar to that of a good leather jacket or pair of denim jeans. If it tears, you patch it. If it fades, you dye it. That same mentality of repair used to exist, but as design has become obfuscated and electronics micro-sized, there's little you can do as a consumer. Collective thought should have been "Well, if it can't be repaired by the consumer, the onus of responsibility for repairing it therefore lies with the manufacturer for making it so difficult." Instead it seems to have gone the route of "Well, it can't be repaired by the consumer. I guess the only choice is to pay the manufacturer hundreds for repairing it, or dispose of it and buy a new one for near the same price."

If any company is going to go this route though, it's not going to be Apple. It harkens back to the days where Wozniak and Jobs argued whether or not to put slots into the Apple 2, and Jobs won that one of course. His legacy runs strong in the company.

[EDIT] Apologies, Jobs relented in the instance of the Apple 2, mainly because that was Woz's baby. Later models did not allow for playing with the hardware however.

> It harkens back to the days where Wozniak and Jobs argued whether or not to put slots into the Apple 2, and Jobs won that one of course.

The Apple ][ had expansion slots.

Aromasin is almost certainly thinking of [1]

"Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was a strong believer in hardware expandability, and he endowed the Apple II with luxurious expandability [....] Steve [Jobs] was reportedly against having slots in the Apple II back in the days of yore, and felt even stronger about slots for the Mac. He decreed that the Macintosh would remain perpetually bereft of slots, enclosed in a tightly sealed case, with only the limited expandability of the two serial ports."

"Burrell was afraid the 128Kbyte Mac would seem inadequate [...] He realized that he could support 256Kbit RAM chips simply by routing a few extra lines on the PC board, [...] But once again, Steve Jobs objected, because he didn't like the idea of customers mucking with the innards of their computer. He would also rather have them buy a new 512K Mac instead of them buying more RAM from a third-party."

[1] https://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&stor...

Exactly that. I misremembered the Apple 2 incident - but from that point onwards, Jobs vehemently fought any type of expansions or customization on any of his future models.

>be truly 'courageous' and prioritise repairability and expandability in their forthcoming products.

I don't mind if they are not expandable or repairable, if they were design to last, heavily tested for reliability, then I am fine. It should be so reliable to the point Apple is willing to offer 2 years standard warranty to Mac products for the same price, with AppleCare going up to 4 years.

The problem is I am seeing lots and lots of small details that simply ignores reliabilit. And they are not fixing it, such the the Thunderbolt high voltage placement right next to the CPU pin with no separation, cables failing for no reason. Keyboard etc.

And if these were fixed in each iteration of MacBook Pro, we wouldn't have much problem. Except the same problem in 2016 exists as in the 2019 model as well.

And these quality issues were apparent with many newer Apple products. iPad Pro bending when you Open it in box. AirPod 2 with rough finishes that cut your ears, ( and Apple even refuse to exchange it ).

There is a reason why Repair Shops for Apple products are thriving, its because they fail and lots of people are repairing them instead of going to Apple store where their Staff simply suggest a price that you might as well buy a new one.

local man writes email, changes tech giant's course of operation

seriously tho, the way i see is to boycott companies hindering repairs, and plaster the repair manifesto everywhere

EDIT: political rant below

the issue at hand is that these companies actions are dictated by their boards of investors, most of them members of the so-called 1%. and for some philanthropist exceptions those people only care about acquisition of wealth. they do not care about environmental damage, as they live in a different world than all of us, they do not have to go to work to secure their basic needs.

their very lifestyle is not threatened by global warming, social injustice or wars.

when the sea level rises they still will be residing in climate-controlled mansions, but at that time build of island further away from equator,

they will still have access to best medical treatment,

they will still have best food on their plates, even if the produce on those plates will cost 10'000$ a serving they will still have the funds.

they will still roam the seas on their super-sized yachts

they world is not in danger. ours is

>Actually, I'm in the middle of writing an e-mail to the Tim address at Apple, saying that if it takes the environment seriously (and I commend them on what they have done so far) they really need to take the next step, be truly 'courageous' and prioritise repairability and expandability in their forthcoming products.

That's not how capitalism works.

Between green and more profit, it will always pick more profit.

The green "recycling" etc is just ecology theater. Recycling = tons of parts just ending up in China (under "recycle" programs where they're paid to get western trash), where most of it is discarded and thrown away anyway.

> Between green and more profit, it will always pick more profit.

Absolutely. If your customers start choosing you rather than your competitors due to your green credentials, then in can lead to more profit.

In exactly the same way that Apple is gambling that security will lead to more profit, despite the fact that selling customer data is clearly a profitable short term opportunity.

>Absolutely. If your customers start choosing you rather than your competitors due to your green credentials, then in can lead to more profit.

Yeah, that's not gonna happen either. That will be the last concern of the majority of consumers...

And of course companies need to sabotage their sales (tell customers "just keep upgrading your existing model, buy less, etc") to get those actual (not ecology-theater) green credentials, which no company and no competitors are gonna do either.

This isn't totally true. China began refusing most (all?) of foreign recycling a couple of years ago. Now much of the recycling stream just goes to the local dump instead of China's.

>Actually, I'm in the middle of writing an e-mail to the Tim address at Apple

He won't read it. His PR team will respond instead.

>if it takes the environment seriously (and I commend them on what they have done so far)

They don't it's just PR. The stuff that they should do if they took the environment seriously are offloaded to companies like Foxconn which don't care about their public image.

>be truly 'courageous' and prioritise repairability and expandability in their forthcoming products.

They won't do that unless they get to a point that they just can't increase their margins or expand to other countries anymore. They even further invested into locking their computers on a semiconductor level( t2 chip).

>Apple has the clout and profile, that if it took a stand and said 'we are going to make our products a few milimeters thicker, we are going to make them so that they can be upgraded, we realise that this will hit sales and profits, but this is the planet we are talking about', they could probably pull other members of the industry behind them'.

That doesn't make them money. They didn't become the biggest tech company by not focusing on making money.

He probably won't read it - that's correct. Although about 20 yeasrs ago, I did actually get a response from sjobs when I wrote about an issue.

> That doesn't make them money. They didn't become the biggest tech company by not focusing on making money.

It does if they catch a new wave of consumer enthusiasm earlier than their competitors. I eliev such a wave exists.

> in order to keep the warranty, you have to visit an Apple-approved repair center to have a specialist perform the upgrade, which costs more than doing it yourself

At least in the US (and presumably in the EU which is much better about this sort of stuff) this is not legal. You can upgrade it on your own and Apple still has to honor the warranty.


In Australia too, Apple has gotten in trouble for their "error 53" technical measure to discourage third party repairs and not repairing devices that had that error https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/accc-takes-action-agai...

This follows an earlier infraction over refusing to repair faults after a year without AppleCare https://www.crn.com.au/news/apple-agrees-to-two-year-warrant...

I've done user-upgrades of the RAM on all my desktop Macs, and subsequently had repairs done under warranty here in the UK. Never had a problem and one at least two occasions the Apple engineers knew about the RAM upgrades. In fact the last HD replacement on my iMac was done free even out of warranty, I think because I mentioned I'd had it happen before on a previous Mac.

I feel the same way. Macs have become more expensive and less friendly for upgrading RAM and storage, the two most important things that need to be user upgradeable for longevity and reducing e-waste (I don’t care much about CPU/GPU upgrades).

Even the new Mac mini is quite expensive compared to its predecessors. Mac mini used to be the cheap and beginner level entry into Macs/macOS. The current hardware may be worth the price, but Apple has clearly missed making something that’s a lot more affordable (with cheaper parts, fewer ports, etc.).

The 2012 Mac Mini was the high point of the Mini. Strong hardware, decent prices (I think I bought mine for 600 Euro), very serviceable. RAM was replaceable by removing the cover on the bottom (no screwdriver required). Replacing storage was a bit more work, but definitely easy for someone who has built a PC.

The Mac Mini 2014 showed the Apple to come: an overpriced, non-serviceable slab of metal.

I’ve been using my 2013 MBP every day since it came out, through my previous startup, an acquisition, and now my new startup. It’s been perfect, except for the fact that it only has 8GB of ram, and cannot be upgraded.

Meh. After one too many failures, my upgrade is a Thinkpad "mobile workstation" running Linux. Awesome keyboard, great battery, and room inside for me (!) to install the SSD from my dead, also-2013 MBP. Came with 16GB, and still has three more sockets waiting for more if I need it.

Which Thinkpad model is this, exactly?

I have a late 2013 MBP as a second work machine, which was upgraded to SSD + 16GB of RAM, and it runs like a champ. Admittedly, the upgrade was quite delicate, and the WiFi stopped working afterwards.

Anecdotally, a friend of mine built a beefy PC running macOS for his main work computer (i9, 64GB RAM, etc., for about half the price of a Mac Pro). It's completely built of generic, modular parts (other than the proprietary OS), with ability to extend and repair. Apparently, Apple is listening but money speaks louder than user freedoms.

Used my 2010 MBP through uni life, startup life and acquisition. After which I allowed it to retire. But it served me a solid seven years.

I'm actually one of these few people who's also happy with the new MBP.

Outside HN and other techie watering holes, happiness with the new MBPs is absolutely fine[1]. I'm not saying there aren't problems, I passed on getting a new MBP due to the keyboard issues myself[2], though I'm ok with the touch bar. There are real weaknesses in the current designs, but for the vast majority of users none of this is much of an issue.


[2] Though this means I wouldn't be included in purchaser satisfaction ratings, because I didn't purchase.

I'm sorry but I don't believe that a product that is added to the keyboard repair program on release day is absolutely fine. Apple doesn't have confidence in the new MBP and neither should anybody else.

The new MBP is basically gambling. You take your money to the Apple Store. They give you a computer, and a year down the line you see if that computer still works.

Apple products used to last an age, that is what justified the price. There are many people in this thread using old MBPs, including myself.

The more expensive a computer, the longer it is expected to last. It is quite normal to expect 5 years of use out of these things. I see plenty of evidence that this keyboard design is not capable of that.

The problem is that, statistically, nobody cares about the issues you raise. You can maybe get your problems addressed by a niche retailer, but Apple has bigger fish to fry.

How long will it have to take for people to realize that this tendency to only ever care for a virtual customer that's an average of all customers across all characteristics is in fact a market failure?

Looking at Apple's sales and customer satisfaction ratings, I'm not quite sure you understand what the term Market Failure means.

Actually I think they fully understand it. "Market failure" does not mean that a company fails to sell something. Here's the definition:

> Market failure is the economic situation defined by an inefficient distribution of goods and services in the free market...In traditional microeconomics, this is shown as a steady state disequilibrium in which the quantity supplied does not equal the quantity demanded.


GP claimed there are demands not being met, because suppliers make more money selling to a "virtual customer that's an average of all customers across all characteristics." If that's correct, arguably it is a market failure, and that's consistent with those suppliers making lots of money selling to that average customer.

So by that standard, any market situation in which a vendor makes high profit margins on a product in high demand would be a market failure. I really don’t think that’s what it means. The limited supply and subsequent high prices of Bugattis isn’t a market failure.

It seems to me it’s more like cases where poor infrastructure prevents distribution, or excessive regulation obstructs trade, preventing vendors and purchasers from linking up. That’s a problem on both sides. It’s an actual failure of the market itself.

As long as it remains a market success. It’s not a market failure yet. I think all these little slights pile up to make it collapse, but I’ve been waiting 30 years and it seems to be getting worse in that more companies are getting huger by meeting the 95% at the expense of the 5%.

With Apple making the Mac Pro so expensive it opens up the grey market for Hackintosh PCs to run MacOS at a fraction of the cost. If Apple wants to beat the Hackintosh they need an ATX based Mac that doesn't cost $5999 but more like $999 that can be upgraded with a better graphics card and etc.

Hackintosh is fun for a tinkerer but not really practical for someone that just needs to get work done. I say this as someone who dislikes macOS and has tried the hackintosh approach in an attempt to build iOS apps without having to buy a mac. You can make it work, but it's a big pain and all bets are off when an update comes down the line.

I know a few people who work from home as freelancers in the visual effects industry around here. They are all rabid Apple fanboys/fangirls, owned pre-trashcan Mac Pros, but just couldn't stomach the trashcan version. They all switched to Hackintosh or Windows in the last few years.

Even for technically challenged artists, it is not difficult because there are several technicians around here that install Hackintosh machines for this industry and update them from time to time. Their names are passed by word-of-mouth.

The bigger production houses will probably buy the new Mac Pros, but the entire freelance sector will keep their Hackintoshes or move to Windows. The pricing is just crazy.

> there are several technicians around here that install Hackintosh machines for this industry and update them from time to time. Their names are passed by word-of-mouth.

Like I said, it can work, but relying on "word of mouth technicians" isn't very practical. There are also times when, after an update, things just break, and the "technician" may not even be able to fix the issue in a timely fashion, especially issues related to sound or QE/CI. I've done enough digging around and tinkering with kext files and video drivers to know that it can sometimes take days of concerted effort to fix these issues. I'm sure mileage varies depending on one's needs or the particular hardware configuration but you're rolling the dice every time you update.

> but you're rolling the dice every time you update.

Definitely, they've all become paranoid about updates or installing anything which is not absolutely necessary. They are a version or two of macOS behind, and never update without confirming with the technician.

I shudder at the security implications, but I'm told it has become quite common after the trashcan came out.

I think that the new low level security chips, replacement parts with signed firmware and more and more software features getting baked into encrypted hardware is gonna be the end of hackintosh quite soon

They will have to support Macs without T2 chips for many years into the future.

I predict that MacOS's premier status will be disappear before Apple manages to lock it down. The Mac app development community is dying. Apple strangled it to death with the heavy handed Mac App Store sandboxing policies. Nobody wants to develop exclusive Mac apps anymore.

Wasn't a pain even with an AMD CPU back 6 years ago. Doubt it is pain now.

A friend of mine has used a hackintosh for a whole year to do professional, paid work. Not only was it reliable, but it was dirt cheap.

Featuring a used i7 3770k and rx580, it cost $200 to build and its CPU benchmarks were on par with the macbook pro i7 2017 but much more graphically capable (which is surprisingly noticeable when doing innocuous tasks like maintaining smooth animations when switching between desktops)

There’s no way that computer costed only $200 to build unless you were reusing many parts from a previous computer.

All I've ever had to do after an upgrade is re-run my MultiBeast config. What's so difficult? My quad-core i7 hackintosh is still going strong after 9 years of daily use.

If the Mac Pro is too expensive and a Hackintosh is the alternative you are not the target audience. Then you are probably better served with a iMac Pro or a upgraded Mac Mini.

Unfortunately Apple has no direct options for users of pre-2019 Mac Pros who were able to afford them at the previous entry level price of $2999 but not at the $5999 price point, which is the price of the new base model Mac Pro. Apple no longer sells any user-serviceable computers under $5999. And even if the iMac Pro met their needs, the iMac Pro would still be too expensive at $4999.

These users will either have to give up user-serviceability and buy a Mac Mini or iMac, somehow pony up more money to get a $6000 Mac Pro, or abandon macOS unless they go the Hackintosh route, which is not an option in corporate environments and other places where EULAs are enforced. This is the choice that Apple presented us with.

The Mac Mini is a great substitute for the old Mac Pro is they really want user serviceability. You can configure it up to a 3.2GHz i7 with 64G RAM and 2TB SSD for around that $2999 price (I'm in Australia so I can't check, but it's AUD$3500 which is less than US$2999).

The (non-Pro) iMac is a great substitute if they don't want user serviceability.

The problem with the mini and iMac (both varieties) is the GPU, which is too weak for many. External GPU via TB3 is a cool idea but it’s bottlenecked compared to raw PCI-E, which isn’t ideal.

I personally don’t even care if it’s AMD instead of Nvidia, I just want stronger card options. The fact that the GPU in the top config iMac Pro is just on par with my now-old 980Ti really sours it.

Note that I’m saying this as a long time Mac user and iOS dev using a hackintosh tower alongside a couple of MacBooks.

The EGPUs do give pretty decent real world performance (although they are expensive).


How is the market more open with the MacPro out, than it was with no MacPro at all? If this argument made any sense at all, Apple should have been struggling against a flood a users bailing for hackintoshes for the last 5+ years.

A $999 ATX upgradable Mac would kill the product line stone dead. The profit margins would be tiny, reverting to industry averages, and wipe out Apple's ability to invest in high grade materials, design and software engineering.

What happens to Apple when their capacity to devote resources to differentiating their products is no better than Dell or Samsung?

Apple will sue companies trying to make money on hackintosh. They did that in the past. And enthusiasts were running hackintosh for a long time and it seems that Apple is OK with that.

Or... they can just kill the Hackintosh by preventing the OS from running on unsanctioned hardware.

I’d reckon this is part of the long term plan for the T2 chip, they just need a few years before they can stop supporting the “normal” computers.

And yet, they haven’t...

Indeed. I could be wrong but I genuinely suspect that Apple just aren't that bothered about hackintosh users.

Although it’s purely anecdotal, I know people for whom their Hackintosh served as a gateway drug for switching to a real Mac.

They’ve been sticking to Macs since.

The group of people that really need a super powerful mac but can’t afford 6k is a pretty small niche, not sure they should worry too much about them.

However Apple prevents their OS from being loaded on hardware other than their own. While you can do it they do put effort into insuring you do not. They do not sell a retail version of their OS.

Is that a good thing? I am not so sure. People complain about the power they have over their app store, or their efforts to prevent people from loading apps purchased outside of the store, but turn a blind eye to the restrictions on using the OS.

Windows for what few warts remains is much more free to do with as you please.

Still, I no longer buy Apple products if they are labeled as made in China, that is a bigger affront that all the locking of software ever was.

I so much agree. The price difference to all its predecessors is killing the otherwise brilliant new machine. I actually had set aside about 5 to 6k for a Mac Pro with a screen, but no luck for me. I am currently using a 27" iMac, but I would like to have a desktop class graphics card and the 27" screen is a bit small compared to the 30" available before. My only hope is, that on the footsteps of the Mac Pro, there will be other updates to the Mac line upcoming. And if Apple is actually listening: stop screwing users up with memory and storage pricing. A healthy premium I would happily pay, but not several x factors vs. market prices. At least give users reasonable upgrade abilities.

Having an iMac on my desk also makes it difficult just to add a PC to my setup, as I would need a screen on top of this (and my desk space is scarce), but one day I might do the step - recent Gnome desktops have become very nice, and with Wayland the Linux display stack is getting nicer too.

If the desktop graphics card is your primary reason to upgrade, consider an egpu. They’re a stable solution in osx and not that expensive. Turned my ageing macbook into a nice vr rig.

Just that I would need a new machine, my iMac still has TB2.

> you have to visit an Apple-approved repair center to have a specialist perform the upgrade, which costs more than doing it yourself

That has not been my experience. The Apple store just refreshed my 2015 Macbook pro: new screen, new bottom case, new fan, etc. Did not charge me anything.

Apple products last much longer than others and are much cheaper to maintain.

Sadly I don’t believe this will be true of the newer generation butterfly keyboard laptops. Seems like the keyboards are more or less guaranteed to fail at some point and if it’s outside the 4 year extended guarantee window, tough luck, given the risk requires replacing the whole logic board. Real shame and I hope there is a new design soon addressing this!

Can you develop in which way this is supposedly worse than for say the hp laptop of my wife that ran out of warranty after 1 year without official removable battery parts sold by the manufacturer?

Also touchscreen start to literally fell off after 2 year, but can’t tell if it was weak design or if my wife was careless to be honest.

The logic board does not need to be replaced. The top case includes the keyboard, touch bar and battery.

> Apple has doubled-down on its refusal to sell user-serviceable, upgradeable, and expandable hardware at prices that are within reach for most customers.

This is like saying Ferrari has doubled down on its refusal to sell a budget hatchback for families.

No, it's saying like a company building "computers for the rest of us", that had traditionally had lines affordable by common pros, now only sells stuff suitable high end pro studios and cheaper mass market stuff, with no in-between regular pro tier.

They already have models in the "regular hatchback for families" range (and had since forever).

It's the mid-tier that suffers.

I agree.

I want an upgradeable Mac tower, but I certainly don't need a Xeon workstation with ECC memory even if I can afford a Mac Pro.

I'm quite happy with my 5K iMac so far, but I'm worried about future repairs and upgrades.

I got scared and fed up with Windows 10 and retreated to Mac OS for 5 years until I had a fiasco of a time trying to upgrade my mac pro to Mojave. During the time I used Mac OS I became familiar with Bash and some Unix ways of doing things. I found Bash to be really useful and powerful compared to the command interpreter in Windows.

I had a big interest in virtualization and along the years of using the mac I tried all kinds of linux servers in VMs for research and self education. I never did like ubuntu's standard desktop. I tried them all. After the Mojave fiasco I thought I'd buy a mid range computer with the latest Nvidia card (partially just because I could do that and I could not do that with mac). My mac was on the cliff edge of planned obsolescence anyway (Apple decides for you when it is time to upgrade).

Long story short it is indeed difficult to get used to Linux. You have to develop a survival attitude first. I found that changing one thing like fstab could make the system unbootable. Sudo can ruin your system fast if you are not careful and an expert. I did not want to be either careful or an expert just to get work done. So to survive my poor administration skills I found I could lean on a program called TimeShift which works a lot like timemachine for Mac. Its really like the best parts of Time Machine combined with Windows' restore points. Anytime I am about to install something new or tweak something that has the potential for causing a disaster I take a few minutes to make a snapshot via TimeMachine/Rsync. I can always go back, and if I really mess everything up I can boot into a live cd and run TimeShift from that.

TimeShift unfortunately does not do home directories very well but there is another gui/cli program called BackInTime that I use for the Time Machine like solution for my home directory and a couple others.

I use rotating backups. I have backups on a big 8 TB external drive and then I rsync that to a copy drive and leave that one offline in case my main machine gets poisoned by ransomware.

So thats my survival technique..

But is it worth it? It took me about a month to figure out what to do for disasters and bad configurations and I spent about a month deciding what "distro" to use. I tried all flavors of Ubuntu, and tried Mint but settled on Debian with the Cinnamon desktop. I got to say I really like cinnamon, it is very ram hungry but ram is cheap so it isn't a problem for me. It supports high dpi (well 2x at least). The file manager is great, it even has ftp built into it. Context menus work good, right click to open as root, or open a terminal. Cinnamon is a classic take on well established principles in UI design that were perfected over a decade ago, instead of changing things just to change them.

But so what if there are no good applications! I have a multimedia background so that was my interest. I used to use Photoshop cs6 for years but Adobe is too incompetent and greedy to rely on for the future. My photo editing needs have not changed much since I bought it in 2008 so Gimp isn't too far behind what I owned since then. I just tried using lightwave recently but it fails to work even in a VM so I decided to learn Blender. I could not justify purchasing Modo even though it is available for Linux. Main thing is Muscle memory. The proof is in the pudding for art programs. If people are doing amazing things with it, the software has merit. So I have a lot of optimism that I can still get some nice work done.

Visual studio code on linux is really nice. There were some snafus I had to get around but when it is setup its terrific.

I never used Microsoft office at home and my office requirements are simple. But if I did need it, I could use Office 365 on a web browser I presume. I just need the occasional word processor and spreadsheet.

Video editing on Linux is still a sore point but I like Olive editor and I am trying to support it with Patreon. It feels a lot like an early verion of Sonic Foundry Vegas. I in no way will ever miss Adobe Premiere

Debian has tens of thousands of software packages that are just a apt install away. That is a gigantic value. I don't have to worry about Window's malware as much as linux malware. I don't have to upgrade my hardware according to Apple's schedules and demands. I have access to the latest or near to the latest Nvidia hardware.

Desktop computing today is a disaster. I hate windows, I can't afford to waste money on inferior hardware and pray that the designers don't forsake my professional platform for consumerish goals. Debian isn't the only or the best linux perhaps. But if I didn't have Linux I would just give up on computing entirely and work at a factory or something.

I was worried about all of the above when switching to Arch (Manjaro KDE) from Windows as a web developer/CGI artist/graphic designer, however it's been easier than expected and I've decided to stick with it. Maybe these programs are worth your time:

DaVinci Resolve for video/audio editing on Linux, which has a great free version and may be the best editing software on the market for any platform. I've done a few professional jobs with it and greatly preferred it to Adobe Premiere/After Effects/Audition. Highly recommended.

Krita is great for photo editing/digital painting and Inkscape does a good job of replacing Illustrator for most uses. GIMP is still unbearable for professional use. This is the biggest gap in quality software for me - nothing can truly replace Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator or InDesign yet.

Figma is perfect for UI design/wireframing/prototyping and has a fully featured web app.

Blender is insanely powerful for free software these days (see Next Gen on Netflix for a feature-length movie created entirely in Blender) and Octane/Redshift render engines are available for industry quality 3D images.

VSCode handles all of my web development and native Linux terminals are much, much faster than WSL when installing and running tools like Webpack, Gulp etc.

LibreOffice covers 99% of use cases and looks pretty slick with a good theme, however I use Google Docs or Office 365 to ensure compatibility with clients' machines.

MacOS with regular PC hardware? Just build a Hackintosh.

It’s far easier than I thought it would be. Pick the right parts and it will work flawlessly.

Last I checked, you have to disable signature checking on kernel extensions. For some, having to trade off that level of security is a pretty big flaw.

I mean, that was standard until what 2 years ago? Not checking extensions was okay for about 42 years, I’m not sure anything really changed in the last 2. I doubt that most security experts will tell you otherwise when getting a signing certificate takes all of 5 minutes. The benefit you get is revocation but it really depends on your threat model right?

Have you recently tried to get Apple to hand out a kext signing certificate?

Convincing Donald Trump of climate change being real seems easier than that.

I assume you're being downvoted because of the unnecessary political commentary.

However, I am curious as to the process for getting a kext signing cert, as that plays a part in the value of having the certs in the first place or not.

I didn't mention anything about serial numbers and the fun and games that goes on there when trying to get a Hackintosh working with iMessage/Facetime/iCloud services, which is a bit of a mixed bag. There could be security implications related to that, that haven't been worked out of the woodwork yet, but the kernel extensions feels like the biggest risk there.

You can protest by using a Hackintosh. I'm sure Apple's aware of how big the Hackintosh community has become and I think it's part of the reason we're seeing niceties like upgradable RAM on the new Mini and iMacs.

I seriously doubt the Hackintosh community has gotten any bigger than it was 5 tears ago. Any numbers to back that claim?

Also, the Mini and the iMacs have always had upgradeable RAM.

Here's subscribers over time to /r/hackintosh [1] - about 600% growth over the last 5 years. Also, the 2014 Mac Mini removed the ability to upgrade RAM [2], but now it's back with the 2018 Mini.

[1] https://subredditstats.com/r/hackintosh

[2] https://www.macworld.com/article/2836399/new-mac-mini-restri...

Not convinced about the subreddit stats tbh. I've been subscribed for many years but I stopped building hackintoshes 3 years ago. It's a shame the comments/posts are limited to 1 year only.

Thanks, I didn't know the 2014 model didn't have upgradeable RAM. The last one I bought was the 2013.

Or Ubuntu

> which means giving up macOS, which I find a more productive environment

Get Ubuntu, install Docky and Macbuntu theme if you want to keep familiar desktop around before you fully convert to Linux.

Ever considered building yourself a Hackintosh? It's a no-brainer these days.

Yeah, NUC8i5/8i7 with 64GB + TB3 eGPU and you are set for a few years...

Does Ubuntu run Final Cut?

What's the point of this question? Stating the obvious that voluntary platform lock-in has consequences? That software from Apple doesn't run on anything else than Apple hardware (iTunes being an exception)?

It runs DaVinci Resolve and Pixar's RenderMan natively. CS6 runs reliably under Wine as well.

Can you run 3DS Max on macOS? So, isn't macOS a pro environment then?

The point is that he wants to use a program that isn't available on the OS you are suggesting.

Yes, so? If she is not happy with Apple hardware, switching a platform and learning another workflow is a way to solve it. It's not like there aren't other pro options nor that Final Cut Pro is the best pro tool in its category. I do it all the time; I can't do something in Ableton Live? I do it in FL Studio. I can't do something in After Effects or am fed up with Adobe's business practices? I do it in Vegas Pro or DaVinci Resolve. I have a Threadripper-based workstation with RTX/Tesla cards that matches what new Mac Pro could provide (with the exception of 1.5TB RAM), so I am using software for platforms that can run on it for some of my production tasks, as well as for all Deep Learning (tricky to run on default macOS hardware). Not sure why I'd need to make compromises if Apple decided that pro users with a lot of cash like me are no longer welcome.

The thing is most people aren't using software because of the OS, they are using an OS because of the software it has. The requirement isn't "i want to run macOS" because macOS by itself doesn't really do much, it is just a platform - something for other things to stand on.

Most people aren't asking "does $OS run an image editor?" they are asking "does Photoshop run on $OS?". Replace Photoshop with any widely known or niche application (as both are reasons to select an OS).

I get it; if you are pro you usually have to learn whatever software gets you where you want to go; if you are just a casual user, you can afford the luxury of falling in love with a certain platform and getting accustomed to certain software there. For those users if something on their platform changes to their dislike and the company is not willing to appease them, then well, tough luck I guess...

For what it’s worth, you can run 3dsmax in Parallels like you can run CS6 in Wine...

OK, so the same with running macOS in VirtualBox or VMWare under Linux/Windows. But that's probably not what they asked for.

So, about the cost. This Mac Pro is for editing 8k raw video. Which is Hollywood stuff, shot on cameras that cost 10s of thousands of dollars, on top of 100s of thousands of dollars of lenses and budgets 10s to 100s of millions.

I don't work in Hollywood, but I work heavily in production engineering for television productions that work on A LOT of 8K RAW video and multicam where time is critical, we have days to edit where hollywood has months and multicam is pretty damn taxing vs how a lot of movies operate.

Our budgets are a fraction of a hollywood production though.

The base model Mac Pro isn't going to be doing much at all. The higher end model with a lot of upgrades is going to be the sweet spot. You really need to push up to a 12-16 core, with 64-128gb RAM, 11+gb GPUs and then add the afterburner card (cause Apple won't play nice with Nvidia) if you want to be doing anything with 8K RAW on a high resolution display.

Yes, the Mac Pro is essentially an infinitely upgradable machine. That's awesome. But third party support is questionable and without Nvidia that leaves a lot of speculation as to what the afterburner card will truly be able to do.

I'd kill for that motherboard in a smaller CPU buildout. In a high budget post-facility environment, it may be an ideal candidate. Currently there isn't a Mac in our reach that doesn't overheat or choke on big media projects (we refuse to look at the iMac Pro seriously).

We've been holding off buying new gear for several years. Most of the editors I work with would prefer to stay on macOS, but the base model should have been $3500 8-Core with a lot more GPU horses. Apple delivered a $6000 box without anything to back it up. At a minimum we'd have to upgrade to a bigger GPU and add the afterburner cards and a little RAM, probably pushing us close to $10k mark.

AMD Ryzen 3000 and Threadripper builds are going to be increasingly more common for normal budget media work. The Intel i9 is our current sweet spot for budget to power ratio.

If I was in an unlimited budget post-facility, yeah, I'd get one cause it looks pretty damn cool and I love macOS. But I don't expect it to solve a lot of real world problems if upgrades are bottlenecked to proprietary offerings from Apple. We're going to have to wait and see if they can keep up with the rest of the industry.

Do you have your production software for Windows/Linux or is it only for MacOS? If you do, then you can very likely get the same specs for much lower cost from Taiwan based ODM builders like AIC, Gigabyte etc. They have these server-class motherboards in datacenter class mechanical/thermal chassis. After that, you can ask them to slap on whatever Intel CPU with how much ever RAM and how much ever PCI-E cards (GPUs, NVMe SSDs, custom ASIC accelerators, 50Gbps NIC etc) you want.

Get a Mac-Mini, 8-core with 64GB Ram, and an eGPU. You will have no problem hitting that $3500 target, make it $4000 for a fantastic eGPU.

Also, why are you refusing to look at the iMac Pro? Best machine I ever had.

The place I work decided that the iMac Pro was a no buy (much like a couple of models of Mac mini) because so little of it can be serviced locally and the RAM is not upgradable.

We have actually started buying Intel NUCs for our student labs instead of Macs. Adobe and Office work on both.

Serviceability of an iMac in a short deadline environment that is running close to 24/7 with sustained graphic and 8K renders / conversions. It's just not the right tool for the job. If I worked on single track edit with long deadline client work, like at an agency, I think it would be fine for most basic media stuff.

I'm fairly positive the iMac Pro would melt though. Even if it didn't melt at first, the load it lived under would greatly reduce the lifespan of the machine.

The Mac mini caps out at a 6 core.

Mac Mini also uses a laptop CPU, which takes a notable performance hit compared desktop CPUs.

My bad, was confusing it. Still, there is not much you can do with 8 but not with 6.

eGPU isn't an option. Nvidia if you're working with RAW becomes pretty critical and the support for that was greatly reduced with Mojave. RTX cards have been a gamechanger for most of the work we do.

You will not be editing raw 8K video using the tiny 8 core CPU and 256GB storage space of the base model which the parent was referring to ($6000). Its true that for Hollywood projects, the price of this might not be a huge deal, even with the baller fully speced out model. Heck in my own industry (pharma) we're paying thousands and thousands of dollars for software that doesn't do much except have the magical 21CFR compliant sticker that regulators look for.

I wouldn’t put much emphasis on the storage. Most places that are doing video editing at this level are using all flash based SAN networking over 10/100GB Ethernet/fibre.

As for the CPU, I agree. However I’m not 100% sure on how much can be offloaded to the GPU these days, 5-ish years ago when I was working with video editors a lot, it wasn’t much that could be offloaded.

Maybe it’s improved a lot.

I got Vegas Pro Edit from a Humble Bundle recently. Almost everything seems to be GPU accelerated.

I’m hearing this excuse way too much. People that aren’t doing that deserve a version of a Mac Pro they can buy.

What's wrong with Mac Mini or iMac Pro?

Here are my issues as a user of a 2013 Mac Pro:

- Neither the Mac Mini nor 2019 Mac Pro are user-serviceable; you have to take your Mac to an Apple-approved repair center if you want to upgrade your RAM (see https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205041#one and https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208377). I guess it's nice to have DIMMs when the computer is out of warranty, but I'd like to preserve my warranty and not have to pay Apple's prices for RAM upgrades plus labor costs.

- The storage is soldered onto the motherboard in the Mac Mini, which precludes upgrading or replacing storage.

- The storage for the iMac Pro is a special proprietary design, precluding the use of industry-standard M.2 NVMe flash drives. (Granted, the 2013 Mac Pro doesn't use industry standard M.2 NVMe drives, either, although I've read that it's possible to use some standard NVMe drives in the 2013 Mac Pro with the help of an adapter.)

- The iMac Pro at $4999 is still much more expensive than the previous generation base Mac Pro, which was $2999.

- The iMac Pro is an all-in-one design. I prefer desktop computers that are not housed inside a monitor; what happens if the monitor fails?

For most consumer PCs, I have no problem with most things being soldered on like RAM, CPU, etc...but soldering on the storage is unforgiveable. And it has nothing to do with being able to upgrade it, but rather it's about the problems this introduces (and the options it limits) when it comes to data recovery when your machine inevitably @#$@#s up.

Indeed. I was able to recover 10 years of photos and data from my brother-in-law's non-booting 2009 iMac earlier this year after he extricated the disk from behind the flat panel. He bought a new disk and I transferred the data onto it. His family now has a functioning computer again and all of their photos back, as if nothing ever happened.

The data recovery difficulties you refer to have nothing to do with soldering anything. It's a consequence of being secure by default. Pulling an encrypted drive from a machine with a dead motherboard shouldn't give you access to the data on that drive.

Apple has been providing a totally painless backup solution for a very long time, and there's no excuse for not using it.

If the monitor fails you put it under the desk and connect another monitor to it, pretty much what you would do with a desktop anyway... The storage for the iMacPro is freaking fast, what do you need standard stuff for? You can connect to external storage via TB3, you know ...

I think your issues really just exist in your head. Which is fine, because it is YOUR head after all, but these issues are not relevant outside of your head.

Sorry for the rant in advance, just getting fed up reading all these comments that make no sense whatsoever. It pretty much all boils down to people not wanting to pay for quality.

The Mac Mini got a nice refresh, but it is still limited in CPU, has no real GPU, doesn't have much drive space. So to turn it into a nice deskop machine, you have to get an external GPU enclosure and an external drive bay. At which point the whole desk is covered by computer parts stringed together. Makes any beige box look elegant in comparison. I really wonder when someone makes a box which has slots for a graphics card, drives and a mac mini...

The iMac Pro is quite nice. But extremely expensive, the computer is tied and limited to the 27" screen (which I consider on the small side), you are tied to the graphics card ordered (not sure how the top choice compares to a full desktop card), CPUs are Xeons, so quite expensive for what they do, RAM and SSD are not accessible, not even the cooling fans can be cleaned (and eventually cooling fans have to be cleaned). Once again limited to external drives.

The standard iMac now offers an i9 CPU which seems to be a sweet spot, but you don't get the same graphics cards as the iMac Pro, but at least accessible RAM. For all iMacs of current design, its a $300 bill to get anything done on the inside, due to the glued nature. A non-glued iMac would become instantly more attractive. But all have in common that you are limited to the builtin screen which you have to dispose of, once you don't use the contained computer any more.

And what is a very practical limitation: they don't have any screen inputs. I would like to connect my (work) MacBook Pro to my iMac screen, but that is not possible. Sometimes I even used via VNC screen sharing out of desparation, but that sucks.

The cooling.

Which is fine. But when are they going to announce a product for the rest of us?

I think Apple released this Mac Pro & Display at the wrong event. From every indication, it was designed for Hollywood. Developers don't need expansion, but Audio and Video producers do! Announcing at an LA event for producers and artists would have cleared any confusion.

It wasn't designed for AI or ML either, because Apple is having a war with NVidia now, probably over component pricing, but who knows.

Developers didn't ask for this machine or a $6k reference monitor. They just wanted something they can swap out the video cards or memory or hard drives occasionally as time goes on. They wanted a nice display that gave them 200% scaling and proper color correction in a matching aluminum body.

Whether I can afford this machine or not at home is beside the point. It's just that after the keynote high wore off, and we returned to reality, it's clear Apple revealed the machine at the wrong event.

I think they probably felt they had to reveal it at this event for PR reasons, if nothing else; you're right in that this is clearly a machine made for A/V editors, but I can't see Apple introducing the new Mac Pro at NAB. A new Final Cut Pro, sure, but not a new Mac Pro.

I think they dropped the ball by not having two displays, though -- the $6K Pro Display XDR for the crowd who goes "OMG that's so cheap for a monitor like that," and a $1500 Pro Display (sans XDR) that's basically the 5K panel from the iMac Pro. I am hoping that either that's still coming, or at least there are people with some weight in the company looking at the reaction to the XDR display and its "optional" stand and saying, "Did we tell you so? Yes, yes, we did, Doug. We told you so."

> $1500 Pro Display (sans XDR) that's basically the 5K panel from the iMac Pro.

Apple sells LG 5k displays for $1,299.95. AFAIK it is the same panel as the 27" iMac and iMac Pro.

I'm aware of that one, but there are folks who'd prefer to buy an Apple-branded monitor as long as there wasn't anything dreadful about it, for both aesthetic reasons and because there's usually a couple nice touches that aren't on the third-party one. I said $1500 instead of $1300 because I assume any Apple product will cost at least 20% higher than it should. :)

More to the point, it's unclear if Apple is still actually selling that LG display, though:


That headline is phrased as if it's definitive, but of course Apple hasn't said anything. But it's over a month later than that article was published, and the display is still listed as "Delivery: Sold Out" for online ordering, and it appears to be catch-as-catch-can at physical Apple stores: the ones that don't have it just list it as "unavailable for pickup."

I'd buy a $1500 Apple monitor if for no other reason than the fact that Apple would actually put a decent set of speakers on it¹, like they did with the Apple Cinema Display.

¹It's not clear to me if the Pro Display XDR actually has speakers at all, but its audience can be expected to buy a set of high-end speakers too, whereas a monitor aimed at actual users would need built-in speakers.

> they dropped the ball by not having two displays, though

As you said, they’re going for a specific market with this product. They can always release a general-market display down the road. Focusing on a specific set of power users first is how Apple built its renowned culture, and it’s nice to see it returning to those roots.

I see people downvoting this comment, but...it's kind of true.

The "kind of" part is this: Apple arguably built its culture first around the extremely hacker-friendly Apple II, then around the original Macintosh -- which was certainly expensive, but was very specifically pitched as "the computer for the rest of us." That segment is one that they're ironically a bit wobbly on right now. (The MacBook Air and the iMac are close.)

But: the Mac got adopted by the high end graphic design and print layout industry, and Apple started making higher end machines specifically targeted to that market like the Mac IIfx -- which was a $9K machine at its introduction in 1990, and that is not adjusted for inflation. As far as I can tell, that was their high water mark in pricing, but they've regularly had "flagship" models breaking the $4K mark at introduction, e.g., the Power Macintosh 9500. The sub-$3K flagship era of the Power Mac G5 and original Mac Pros is something of an anomaly. (Which isn't to say that I wouldn't like to see a headless Mac with internal expansion slots that starts at $1999.)

The sub-$3K flagship era of the Power Mac G5 and original Mac Pros is something of an anomaly.

Apple actually was able to maintain this pricing for entry-level Power Macs and Mac Pros from 1999 (I haven't checked earlier prices) through the 2013 Mac Pro model. Here is a list of prices I compiled:

  Blue and White Power Mac G3 (January 1999) -- $1,599 ($2,453 in 2019 dollars)
  Graphite Power Mac G4 (December 1999) -- $1,599 ($2,453 in 2019 dollars)
  2001 Power Mac G4 (January 2001) -- $1,699 ($2,453)
  2001 Quicksilver Power Mac G4 (July 2001) -- $1,699 ($2,453)
  2002 Mirrored Drive Door Power Mac G4 (August 2002) -- $1,699 ($2,413)
  2003 Power Mac G5 (August 2003) -- $1,999 ($2,776), reduced to $1,799 ($2,499) in November 2003
  2006 Mac Pro (August 2006) -- $2,199 ($2,787)
  2010 Mac Pro (July 2010) -- $2,499 ($2,929)
  2013 Mac Pro (December 2013) -- $2,999 ($3,289.83 in 2019 dollars, but you can still purchase an entry-level 2013 Mac Pro today from Apple for $2,999 in 2019 dollars).

interesting! Looked up some old datapoints on wikipedia

Apple Lisa 1983 $9,995 ($25,143 in 2018 dollars)

Apple Macintosh 128k 1/24/84 $2,495 ($6,000 in 2018 dollars)

Macintosh II 3/2/87 $5,498 ($12,125 in 2018)

Next Cube 9/18/90 $10,000 ($19,177 in 2018 dollars)

Flagship Mac Pro 2019 is likely to cost more than $50k. That's much more than $9k at 1990.

The prices I gave were the starting prices in 1990, so I think it's reasonable to compare them to the starting prices in 2019.

I can accept that the new Mac Pro has been designed for a very special audience in mind. But if that is so, can we also conclude that Apple hasn't shown any signs of listening to typical developers or photographers? I would be very happy, if they prove me false with yet unreleased machines, but until they do, the Mac Pro doesn't close the matter.

iMac Pro seems like a compelling computer for photographers.

Certainly not a lot of storage - not sure about the graphics card for Lightroom. And of course, quite an expensive machine. Also, one is limited in screen choices to the internal screen, which is very good, but only 27". Also, Apple doesn't sell external 27" displays, so one cannot have a matching second screen.

Yes, the iMac Pro is certainly a nice machine, but quite expensive for what it does and again extremely limiting in hardware choices.

Yeah I’m hoping they will release that display as well. I have no need for the xdr display but would happily fork over 1500 to 2k for a 5k 27 or 30 inch apple display. I’m wondering though if they are just letting lg service that market because the margins aren’t good enough? I don’t know it just seems odd that they would anoint lg to sell those monitors and then make their own.

Some of us were asking for this machine.

As a developer who builds large, complex projects (it's not uncommon for a build to take 40 minutes on a 16-core Xeon workstation), the Mac Pro is exactly the type of workstation I'd be interested in.

(The display is another story. That's definitely targeting the media production vertical.)

Wouldn't someone like you be better served on a 32 or 64 core Threadripper workstation then?

I assume there's I/O bottlenecking in there somewhere, but for the rest, surely you're not 100% pegging all 16 cores all the time, but more parallelism would still benefit you to a certain extent... While not costing $6k+ for a base 8 core machine.

Or even have a dedicated build server/farm with object caching. At some point building on your own machine is not a great solution.

If you're building Apple projects, it might be hard or impossible to offload that to other operating system.

GP said they were using a Xeon workstation, so I assumed it's not an Apple offering already.

iMac Pro has a 18-core Xeon W option.

I guess I meant, usually people with Mac systems call them a Mac of some sort, not just a generic "Workstation".

If you're targeting Apple platforms with your builds, just how does a Threadripper workstation address the problem? (And don't say Hackintosh...)


It may not be a viable solution for every project, but it does work for many.

Developers have a new platform to develop for that has customers willing to drop close to $10,000 on a workstation and will certainly spend money for software as well.

Apple announces whatever they want whenever they please. e.g. Apple Music was announced at WWDC 2015, which has nothing at all to do with developers.

They also don't make it clear what the difference between iPro and Pro is (desktop vs workstation). When you know this, the prices can be seen with different eyes (except for the stand maybe).

For example the top range workstations from HP are over $10,000.

And you can buy a Sony reference monitor for $20,000.

But I still don't know what market Apple is targeting. Most of Hollywood is using Windows and Linux. So it will be hard to get them back.

Maybe they target audio shops who are still mostly on MacOS.

Or they have a surprise for us all. For example: Apple is working hard with OTOY to make real-time rendering very fast with Metal. If this boost is so great maybe they can get back marketshare in Hollywood.

But until then I think only the real fans will buy a Pro.

Video, CAD/CAM, research will be using Windows and Linux for now I guess.

Back in 2012, I bought the original rMBP.

It fit everything I needed: it was thinner than my previous laptop as it had no optical drive, it was lightweight, it had a gorgeous screen, good enough keyboard, and seemed like a reasonable price for a higher end laptop work computer. I've used it everyday since 2012, and aside from the battery which I eventually replaced, it's been functioning without a hitch. From the 90s to the late 2000s, I used a variety of PC laptops and this was the only laptop that survived a huge amount of abuse from travel and daily usage (obviously, YMMV).

I'd love to upgrade to a new MBP, but I truly don't understand what they were thinking with this current iteration. The touchbar feels gimmicky and over the top. Call me old school, but give me physical buttons any day of the week and keep the keyboard simple. Most importantly, give me a keyboard that has more room to press so that random dust getting in there isn't going to screw shit up.

The worrying part is that in order to keep using the good MacBooks from the past, you need to keep them on the OS version that they shipped with.

I have a 2012 MacBook Air that was crazy fast, weighed four grams, and even ran windows 7. Sure, the drive was small, but it was perfect.

But some time in 2015 or so I made the terrible strategic blunder of upgrading to the latest OS version. Performance immediately dropped to zero, and now when I open it up for any reason, I just spend my whole time watching it spin uselessly trying to idle along with one browser tab open. It's sad to see it so reduced.

I've had the same experience with every iPad I've ever owned. Delightful, responsive machines that get auto-updated to brick status over the course of about three years. (I have every model up to air 3, and the only one still working perfectly is the old 1st gen air that I've kept on iOS 8 and spend a minute every day carefully dismissing the auto update prompt).

I have one of the sacred 2015 MacBook Pros, which now can't edit videos using the new format exported from my wife's iPhone x. An OS upgrade would solve that. But the machine is too precious to risk it.

I don't know what the solution is.

For that air you need to upgrade the hardware to modern specs. My 2012 mbp shipped with 4gb ram and currently flies on mojave as if it was shipped with it, because I replaced the hdd with an ssd and gave it 16gb of ram. The processor in this computer isn’t all that far off from the one in the brand new air, 7 years later.

One interesting thing with the Airs is if you format the SSD or install a new one, slightly to my surprise the thing boots up and say 'OS missing would you like to download it' and it then downloads and installs the original OS the machine came with when new. At least that's what happened to me, 2014 model I think.

By the way I use a 2013 with High Sierra and it's not that bad - sometimes they are slow at first while they index everything and then speed up again when done. I get more beach balls than before upgrading but some other stuff works better, especially charging the iphone which used to drive me nuts with the old os.

For other HNers, Apple intentionally slows down their older versions via updates. They've been fined for this in a variety of countries and courts in the last few years.

From Oct 2018: https://www.cnet.com/news/apple-and-samsung-fined-for-slowin...

It's straightforward to find other sources and examples.

Generally, you are correct, try to avoid updates after the first few months of purchase.

At least with the MacBooks, you do have the option to downgrade back to a previous version of the OS, if you find the performance of the new one not up to par. So why not go back to the version of the OS on your Air that you were once happy with?

For the record, I have the same rMBP 2012 model that the person you're replying to talked about, and it still runs great. But I'm typing this reply to you on a MacBook Air from 2010, running macOS 10.12 Sierra, in Chrome. Still works surprisingly well...

I have seen that with my Late 2013 MBP (dgpu) as well - for some reason on High Sierra and Mojave the performance is significantly worse than Sierra (seems to be related to WindowServer process leaking memory).

Haven't seen any issues with the latest OSX for the 2015 MBPs though, and unlike with iOS you can easily downgrade to an older OS if you do see issues.

Things have reversed with the ipads. Ios 12 is faster than 11, and maybe even faster than 10. And early reports indicate that 13 is faster than 12.

Well worth updating on your machines that support them.

Dunno if the same focus has extended to new macos's, am not on the newest one.

Upgrade your drive with a dedicated mSATA adaptor (you can still get Samsung 1TB mSATA drives). That could boost your performance.

Actually, you can still get 2TB Samsung mSATA drives. The Samsung T5 and T3 external drives are just enclosures around mSATA parts.

The oled touchpad is ridiculous. I never use it “as intended” and it wrecks my function key muscle memory. My laptop is actually expanding because of the battery. I’d like at least a dock that does decent, active cooling.

Get that battery replaced stat. If it’s expanding, it’s a fire risk.

The replacement is ordered.

You should be able to get a free top case/battery replacement for the ballooning battery issue. (Just FYI)

Do you have an online source backing this up? Because people report Apple does't care, at least in some cases:

> Apple support have refused to provide any assistance, simply stating that the MacBookAir is out of warranty. They just said this behaviour (rapid expansion of a battery) "can be expected" in some cases.


If it's an expanded battery and you are out of warranty, they should only charge the cost of the battery to get that fixed up, so you wouldn't be out of pocket for the top case part (which is much more expensive) nor any other components that may have been damaged by the expansion.

As a vi user, I hate the touchbar and its escape "key". I sometimes find myself turning down the brightness instead of getting into command mode which is irritating.

I hear this specific complaint often; I wonder if people don't realize the hit area of the escape key is much larger than the key itself. On my 2016 MBP I can fire it from almost a centimeter from its left edge I do wish there was some haptic feedback, and all my issues would go. Touchbar has been great for scrubbing, provides much finder-grained control of both brightness and volume than the keys did (fine-grained sliders for both the laptop display and attached thunderbolt display).

Id happily agree that comfort-wise, I still prefer the longer-travel keys of the 2012-2015 era.

As a Vim user who occasionally uses a touchbar MacBook, I don't even think about the touchbar. Mainly because I don't use it for anything. Let me repeat that: nothing. It does not enter my mind. Until I hit escape and I'm still in text entry mode. Because the escape key didn't fire.

I appreciate the collaborator who sent this thing to me, so I have excellent field experience on which to base my decision to "nope, never" buy one of these.

I'm now using an early 2017 MacBook Pro 13" "Escape" (14,1 sans Touch Bar), with the 2nd-gen butterfly keyboard. My main workflow revolves around iTerm2, zsh, tmux, and NeoVim. Even though I have a real Esc key, I usually use Ctrl-[ as it's closer to the home row and faster for me.

Far more worrying to me is the butterfly keyboard in this scenario (for dev). The Ctrl, Tab, Return, and especially the A, J, K, D, and T keys get a lot of use and currently aren't tough enough to withstand constant usage. I've already had to replace the butterfly switch under the J key because one of the tiny clips that hold the switch in place in the corners snapped off. Fortunately I was able to blow the broken off piece out and prevent the key from going catatonic until I could replace it, but my left Shift key got a tiny speck of something underneath of it and is now refusing to register `:` half the time, which is incredibly frustrating for a heavy Vim user.

The non-user-replaceable battery is another annoyance. We all know that heat is the enemy of Li-ion batteries. I'm working remote in SE Asia, and even with office A/C it's very hot here. This laptop is a little over a year old, has never been used outdoors or outside an office, and it's already in "Service Battery" mode and shutting down at around 70% charge. This is completely unacceptable. I'm going to have to take it to the Genius Bar and be without my work rig for about 2 weeks if I'm lucky, and it goes without saying that I have a lot of user-centric settings and config enabled that would take me hours to replicate on a borrowed rig (even though I can clone my dotfiles and part of the config).

As Marco says in the article, developers are the biggest cohort of Apple's "pro" users. Apple needs to go back to the drawing board and make a truly pro keyboard that can withstand the rigours of touch typing and massive amounts of key entry, and can resist a very modest amount of dust.

We all know that heat is the enemy of Li-ion batteries. I'm working remote in SE Asia, and even with office A/C it's very hot here. This laptop is a little over a year old, has never been used outdoors or outside an office, and it's already in "Service Battery" mode and shutting down at around 70% charge.

Something sounds very wrong there. Unless you are regularly using it in areas above 35° C it shouldn't really matter.

Clarification: I have used this in rooms with no A/C, but to my knowledge it's never been in a room with temperatures above what Apple recommends as above normal range.

Re: Haptic feedback on the touch bar, see https://github.com/niw/HapticKey, which is surprisingly good despite being a massive hack.

You could start using Ctrl-[ instead of the Esc key and see if that works better for you. The [ key is easier to reach, it's closer to the center of the keyboard. But sometimes using a different key is tricky, as we get our muscle memory used to a particular key position and after some point it's difficult to change that.

I personally also tend to use Ctrl-M instead of Enter and Ctrl-H instead of Backspace, for the same reasons. And some people map Ctrl to Caps Lock as it's also easier to find with your finger than the Ctrl key - it's a big key. I usually do this too.

I have a habit of resting a finger on a key I intend to press soon but not yet. This keeps biting me in the ass with the stupid touchbar escape key.

Have you tried mapping Caps Lock to Esc?

Caps Lock works as a Control key for me. Can't really reach built-in Control comfortably.

That was my problem too but I discovered the Karabiner Elements app which lets you map caps lock to escape when pressed alone and to control when held down.

I'm with all the people who remap Caps Lock to be the Escape key. Works fine.

(Although when I have to use other people's Macs or my Win PC at home it's often hard to remember to use the Escape key instead - at least toggling Caps Lock isn't destructive.)

Speaking of vi and the touchbar, it took me an inappropriate amount of time to figure out why my terminal was sometimes changing colors while occasionally using vi..

I'm giving up my spec'd out Macbook Pro 2015 over my cold, dead body.

My wife needed a MBP so I've bought a 2019 to replace my 2013 13" model.

The i7 2.8GHz dual core is now an i5 2.4GHz quad core. The RAM is still 16GB. To keep the price roughly the same the 2019 is a fixed 512GB instead of an upgradeable 1TB.

And of course, no escape or function keys but touch bar. And no SD card slot. And a keyboard replacement programme - I've replaced a few keys myself on the 2013 that wore out, I can't see me doing that one the 2019.

The 2019 hasn't arrived yet. I'm genuinely not sure whether to give her the new one and keep the six year old one for myself. That it's even in question seems ridiculous.

My experience with a 2017 MBP has been good. If I were you, I'd give the 2019 model a try.

My company is a windows shop and around 2013 we wee looking at Macs to replace Windows. Back then Macs were quite competitively priced compared to Windows machines. But that seems over now.

The article addresses this

>To be fair, this story hasn’t ended yet. [... T]hey still need to resolve the problematic MacBook Pro with its next generation (rumors are promising)

The lack of function keys is not unprecedented, though. Well into the '90s Macs generally didn't have any. What do you use them for?

I don't mind the lack of function keys; I've realized to my mild surprise that the only things I tend to use them with have been bits and bobs I remapped myself with Keyboard Maestro (I used to have F13 remapped to...something or other, for instance) and the occasional terminal app that uses function keys. I do use media keys, but I've found the Touch Bar is by and large just fine for that. (I don't really have muscle memory associated with those, and controls like volume and brightness are fine use cases for a surface that can do sliders.)

In practice, my only real complaints with the Touch Bar are (1) not enough things really find ways to take advantage of it, which contributes to its "just a gimmick" feel, and (2) GIVE ME BACK A PHYSICAL ESCAPE KEY.

The lack of a mechanical Escape is nuts, yes. But Apple could and should have dealt with that by moving the Escape to somewhere else on the keyboard. In fact they should have done that anyway, as Escape is too remote on the far left of the far-away function row. Given the the MBP keyboard as it is, most users should probably remap Esc to the Caps Lock key, at least if they don't tend to hit Caps Lock by accident.

I used to remap caps lock as another control key, actually, but sure, they could put the escape key somewhere else. My muscle memory is for where the escape key is now.

(...but I actually remap caps lock to escape in my iPad's terminal client, ironically, because the Brydge hardware keyboard has no escape key at all!)

There is this Karabiner software:


It allows remapping keys, so you could e.g. remap the whole top row from ~, 1 to 0 to act as ESC, F1 to F10 when needed. Not ideal but better than touch bar.

I used Karabiner for a while, but didn't find a lot of incredible use for it in practice. Some people love it, though.

I'd have liked to have seen more apps try and do something with the touch bar, though. Amusingly, Apple's native Terminal.app does more work with it than many other apps I've seen -- it adds a virtual key that toggles the Option key between Option and Meta, adds a "Man page" button that will bring up the man page for the last-typed command, and lets you quickly change the theme of an existing terminal window.

Quite a lot of shortcuts in IDEs like IntelliJ IDEA and many others depend on them.

Are there modifier-key-based alternatives to the F-key shortcuts? If so then one should be using those instead; in fact one should be using those instead of the F keys anyway, since they're (by all accounts; not an expert) faster and more convenient for touch-typing. (They may be slightly less discoverable than the function-key versions, but that's no longer a problem once you've gone ahead and discovered them.) If there's no modifier-based alternative to some important shortcut, then that's certainly pretty dreadful. It is more the ISV's fault than Apple's, but obviously that's cold comfort to users. What Apple should do, though, is map keys on the right-hand side of the mechanical keyboard to the F keys while the Fn button is held down —so, like a typical laptop numlock, only with a momentary rather than a latching modifier —instead of only changing the Touch Bar display.

Real functions keys are excellent for debugging -- single step, step into, etc.

Modifier-based shortcuts are not as good because it usually takes two hands, and maybe I want a hand free to use the mouse to scan values, operate the UI I’m testing, etc.

Also, IDEs have a ton of functions so all the simple modifier combinations are already in use. A complex two-hand combination is good for something you frequently use once while typing (e.g. “show autocomplete”). Debugging, on the other hand, is something you do relatively infrequently (hopefully!) but when you’re in that mode, it’s great to have dedicated single keys, closely clustered together.

Physical keys are much easier to use than touchscreen buttons, especially when not looking at the keyboard.

I avoid the TouchBar like the plague, but I think JetBrains is to blame for that particular problem. macOS apps don't typically use the F keys for shortcuts, and I wish JetBrains would offer an optional, more Mac-like set of hotkeys out of the box. (Their "OS X" scheme is basically just the Windows one with ctrl and cmd exchanged.)

I use my F keys to trigger scripts that do things like focus browser and reload page or bring the terminal to the front.

Once they replace this travesty of a generation of MBP, I’ll agree with this. I’ve been impressed recently with the improvements in software and hardware.

I have a maxed out 2015 MBP and I won’t buy the most generation under any circumstances. I buy laptops with the expectation it will last at least 4 years, and I have no confidence that this generation will last that long. I have full confidence though that the rumored replacement will be amazing, much like the new Mac Pro adessed the past criticisms.

To be fair it should last for four years, as that’s how long the keyboard replacement program covers it for. I’m not aware of any other critical flaws, although repairiability of this generation is probably quite bad overall.

Whether it will last much more than 4 years I’m not sure, I’m not that confident - could be worth mashing some biscuit into the keyboard just shy of the 4 year mark to get a replacement ;)

Actually, I think Microsoft's effort is putting much needed pressure on Apple. My wife about a year ago got a Microsoft Surface 6, the tablet with keyboard + trackpad. It was about the same price as a MacBook and with a bundle, the Microsoft Office suite came included. It works well for my wife's use case and she's able to stay with her preferred interface.

Hardware has been trouble free, Windows 10 with One Drive makes it straight forward to change machines, apps run well as a normal user account, and to my knowledge it hasn't been hit with any malware. The screen being capable of touch interface, can actually be cleaned!

In comparison, my last of the "good" MBPr from 2015 has a partially fouled screen because the slightly greasy keys touched the screen. I am so annoyed when the screen is dark but I'm in a well lit room.

I jumped on the Apple bandwagon circa 2007ish, when I bought a Mini. Prior to OS X (and its nix underpinnings) + x86, I paid them no mind, but both of those things put together plus their reputation for solid hardware engineering finally won me over. Shortly after that, I got myself an Air. Before that I bought and used ThinkPads exclusively. I also have the original 15" Retina MBP from 2012, which still runs great.

But I have slowly found myself leaving the Apple ranks over the years, and the 2012 Retina was the last Mac I spent money on. I also ditched iOS (and iPhone along with it) for Android (long story) well before macOS began to take a back seat for me.

In January, I requisitioned a Surface Book 2 from my employer, and it has been fantastic so far. Easily the best laptop keyboard I have ever* used.

If you told 20-years-ago me that I would be buying PCs manufactured by Microsoft and praising them, I would have had you committed. But it has been fascinating watching a hungry Microsoft compete in this space...

My late 2013 MBPr battery finally died recently, and I took it to an Apple store for service. Two days and $199 later I have it back with a new battery (and keyboard, which is attached to the battery) and in like-new condition. It looks and feels like a brand new computer.

Probably worth seeing if having Apple Service can do the same for yours, but via a screen replacement.

I had a similar experience with my 2012 rMBP last year. Out of warranty: screen, logic board, keyboard and battery replaced.

Charge? £0.

Well, I'm not so sold on this.

1) Pro users wanted a replacement for the Mac Pro of yore. Instead they got something suitable only for high end pro studios, willing to pay $6k starting price for the new Pro (or are in need of a very-cheap-for-what-it-does (even-with-the-stand-included) but still very expensive reference quality monitor).

Where's my $3K-$5K Mac Pro (basically a headless iMac Pro grade machine) for regular videographers, graphic designers, etc, that don't make more than $100K/year and don't work for Nike or Hollywood? We used to have several options from Apple back in the day, now it's either the iMac Pro or, I dunno, the mini. Still no extensibility.

2) Where's a redesigned keyboard as a first priority? Why do they wait for a "new redesign" of the whole laptop? Meanwhile forcing people to keep buying the same broken design, even for the 2019 model? Just release the same current design with a decent 2015 style keyboard and the minimal tweaks needed to make it fit.

3) Where's a pro apple monitor that people who don't need /can't afford a $6K reference beast can buy? Where's the iMac / iMac Pro monitor in standalone form?

> now it's either the iMac Pro or, I dunno, the mini

What about the 5K iMac? With an i9 it becomes a very powerful machine that describes your use case perfectly.

It's not as repairable as a tower though, but neither are the iMac Pro or the Mini.

It's not upgradable (nor is the mini and iMac Pro) and like the iMac comes with a screen that can't be used on its own (when the computer part is old in 5-6 years).

True, but you can upgrade the RAM, use eGPU via TB3, and add more storage via TB3/USB3. It's not like an iPad.

It’s also thermally challenged.

The iMac 5K? Even with the i9 it doesn't throttle.

I'm wondering why you need so much power in 1 machine for DCC work. Wouldn't it be better to have a relatively cheap model, and when you need to Render, to farm it out to a cluster of computers?

For example, they claim the beefiest model will be 4x the old Mac Pro. But at what cost? $10,000-15,000 for maxed out system? How many cheap PC renderfarm computers can I get for that? How many cloud rendering instances could I rent?

To me, it's like they "listened" and built a Bugatti Veyron instead of a Ford F-350. The people wanting an upgradeable workstation are not looking for a max-out computer off the shelf. They simply want the capability to upgrade it over time or modify it according to their needs. In particular, for rendering 3d workloads, it seems renting cloud computers is far more scalable. If I am time limited, I can easily buy enough power to render 20x faster than this system in a crunch.

This seems more like a vanity project.

Why outsource critical work to a 3rd party cloud when you can buy this one time purchase from Apple?

Why build your own cloud and hire a ton of specialized personnel to manage a bunch of infrastructure you're not in the business of managing when you can buy this one time purchase from Apple?

Why wait around for your project to render when you can render it in real time and make changes as necessary? Remember when you had to wait 30-45 seconds for Xcode to deploy a new build just to see if your UIButton is the right color? Doesn't that suck?

The Mac Pro is for professionals, just like the Bugatti Veyron wasn't meant to be a daily driver. Sure, some rich enough consumers will get it just because they want it, but that's not the reason it exists. Anyone who makes enough money to transition their hobby into their profession won't scoff at a $10-45k price point. Truckers buy $100-200k trucks because they depend on it for their livelihood. Plumbers, electricians, etc. all buy $30-40k vans for the same reason.

The reason this computer looks so out of place on the pricing charts is because we've gotten so used to cheap $400-800 laptops that we forget there was a time when mainframes cost dozens of millions of dollars a pop. Nowadays, that market only matters to Fortune 100 corps, but it's still real and thus there's still a real demand for beast machines like the Mac Pro.

> Why outsource to cloud when make a one time purchase from Apple?

Because I can scale the cloud as much as I want. I can purchase 100x the compute power of this Mac, and I stop renting it as needed. The Mac Pro will need to be upgraded over time, the cloud will automatically upgrade what HW I can rent.

Also, there's a difference between rendering previews and rendering in real time. This machine is not going to render a production frame workload in real time. You do that kind of stuff with offline rendering. A machine that's 4x faster represents a marginal increase in workload that can be rendered in real time, because 3d rendering isn't O(n). And if you want real time rendering previews, there are PC workstations that will still smoke this Mac.

I feel like once again, people are trying to justify Apple pricing by appeal to edge case, when the reality is, people can put together a professional PC workstation for 3dsmax that performs about the same and costs half the price or more.

Look at the Z8 for example, not even the top of the line custom built PC workstation: https://petapixel.com/2017/09/13/hp-z8-pc-can-upgraded-insan...

Up to 3TB of RAM, 48 TB storage, 56 CORES, and this was shipped in 2017! Starting price $2400 (vs $6k for new Mac Pro). And you can't even get NVidia cards for the Mac Pro. An NVidia RTX 2080 or Titan RTX can be up to 2x faster than a Vega II Pro in DCC apps. If you want really fast rendering, Nvidia has actual racks of GPUs that are far more cost effective than sticking 4 expensive Vega II Pro's into this Mac.

A fully decked out Mac Pro is likely to cost $36k. An NVidia RTX Rendering server, which can give you real time desktop previews and contains 8 Titan RTX cores with 24GB VRAM, and 16 Xeon Cores, also costs $36k, and it can be scaled as needed.

If you really need to scale up massively parallel workloads, then commodity compute HW is far more cost effective and less limited.

Remember the joke of “never underestimate the bandwidth of a 747 full of hard drives”? That’s the render farm. Throw a ton of work at it, and it’ll get done faster than a big single machine could. What would have taken a week now takes a day.

The Mac Pro in our analogy is 5G wireless: not nearly as much bandwidth as the 747, but at much lower latency. Lots of interactive/real time applications are possible that in a farm would be bottlenecked by network bandwidth alone.

Besides, we’re already using render farms where each machine has 20+ cores and 256GB RAM. A future render farm might as well be built from machines with specs similar to the new Mac PRo.

As far as I can tell, this Mac Pro's specs are on par with 2017 PC workstations.

Offline rendering doesn't work for video editing or audio production which need realtime workflows. This machine was clearly made for those segments.

I'll believe it when they produce a MacBook Pro that developers love again or a Mac Pro that (not yet independently wealthy) developers can afford again.

As I sit here looking at the stupid TouchBar, the hunk of aftermarket plastic that contains an HDMI port, Thunderbolt port and USB ports hanging off the side of my MacBook Pro so that I can connect my peripherals, the TouchPad I never use and the keyboard I hate, I can't help but wonder if I'm just an idiot for buying Mac after Mac after Mac. I've run Apple products since 2007 and this is the feeling I'm left with. When my iPhone 7 decided to stop working, I ended up getting a Pixel 3a because it was cheap and good enough for what I want to do with a phone. I'm looking at my laptop the same way. I can't shake the feeling that for my use, I'd be happier on a Thinkpad T480. If I can self-upgrade that second NVME to whatever I want, it'd be a ripping machine to run in i7-8550U 32GB RAM 1440p trim, and comes with a second 72Wh battery, for less than £1800.

I just replaced my 13' mid2012 MBP with a 12' 2019 MBP. Newer software, Spectre updates and driving my Thunderbolt monitor was getting too much for the 7 year old machine which overheated and slowed it down to a crawl whenever things moved fast on the screen. My old Thunderbolt monitor is now augmented with a Dell UHD monitor + CalDigit dock which cost together roughly the same. The new MBP is driving both with ease. My desk cabling is as clean as before with the added advantage that I can plug in the Windows laptop into the monitor when I'm occupationally forced to use is.

I was worried a bit about the keyboard but the latest generation seems to have a little more travel and Apple is backing it for four years. I mostly use it with a full size keyboard so the lack of ESC key is nuisance I can live with. Price is an issue but considering that I upgrade only every 4-6 years and value the smooth operation of the setup I'm ok with it - even if should be 20% less imho. I worry however about accessibility of Macs for people who can't afford to spend so much. Last year Apple PC sales shrunk by 3.8% which is o.k. as the market shrunk by 4.3 but is abysmal considering how superior their product is.

If you never use the TouchPad you are probably not the typical MacBook Pro user ...

Granted. I have Drevo Calibur keyboards and Logitec MX Master S2 mice at both home and work. I've relegated my MacBook to being a flat desktop that gets hauled between the office and home. I'm the first to admit that I'm a sub-optimal laptop user.

Been there and back again

As far as a desktop Mac, a suitably configured iMac is more than powerful enough for development. A $2100 5K iMac - 6 Core I5 3Ghz (turbo boost to 4Ghz), 256GB SSD, 16GB of RAM. The RAM is user upgradable and an external SSD drive would be as fast as any normal internal SSD drive.

As far as a laptop? I'm not spending my own money on a development class laptop. I hate developing with just a laptop. I have a dual external monitor setup at home and at work. My next personal computer will definitely be a desktop. You still get more power and more thermal headroom on desktops than more expensive laptops.

Dunno nowadays with all the Electron apps, the RAM jacked up by open JIRA browser tabs, needing Outlook open plus JVM based IDEs from JetBrains having 16GB of RAM is not enough. I need at least 32GB and even then I would feel better with 64GB cause I fear it will only get worse. I am partially hoping JetBrains makes their IDEs fully Kotlin based and compile them natively to much lower memory footprints.

I am also ashamed of Slack and how they dont even take advantage of Electron to add things that Chromium supports, might as well convert it to a native app and make it worthwhile. I feel like Slack could do so much more and yet it sits there nothing new or special. Theres plenty that could be improved for Slack. I could share a dozen ideas but I rather see them get off their own lazy butts and give everybody their moneys worth.

I wouldn't pay $600 for the 32GB upgrade from Apple. I would buy the 8GB configuration from Apple that would take the price down to $1899 and buy 3rd party RAM.


I refuse to use Slack or Outlook on my computer. I keep them both running on my phone.

Except the RAM is soldered on their laptops. It's company provided so I rather not argue against a laptop, plus I am effective in using it anyway.

I wish I could buy 3rd party RAM for a MacBook Pro unless they finally stopped soldering on the RAM recently, then I would love to buy a new MBP with my own cash if I can get a normal keyboard.

The 13 inch comes with 8GB and only support 16GB - a $200 upgrade. The 15 inch comes with 16GB and only supports up to 32GB - a $400 upgrade.

You would probably only save up to $200 on third party memory. Which is not nothing but if you get a 15 inch you’re already talking about $2400

I think I get what you're saying, so you rather get the 8GB model and add on a 8GB RAM stick? For a total of 16GB and a few hundred bucks saved, cause afaik they solder all RAM. I'm all for putting new RAM on a laptop, but unsoldering RAM sounds like too much effort to me.

No I’m saying if hypothetically the RAM wasn’t soldered onto to the 13” MacBookPro and you could buy third party RAM, you wouldn’t save “a few hundred bucks”. The maximum ram that It can handle is 16GB and that’s $200. Just taking a cursory look, you could save maybe $150. Which is not nothing but you’re already willing to spend Apple prices on a MacBook Pro, I can’t see how $150 in savings would be the deciding factor.

On the other hand, the price delta between Apple prices for the 16GB -> 32GB upgrade is about $250 more for the 15 inch than you could get from a third party if that were an option but you’re already spending at least $2400 on a 15 inch MacBook Pro.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m arguing hypothetically. I’m not spending my own money for an expensive laptop. I don’t need portability for my personal computer. I need portability for my work computer and a job will give you a work computer - and hopefully one that is beefy enough to do what you need.

My personal development computer will always be a desktop. You get more bang for your buck and I hate developing on just a laptop without external peripherals anyway. I’ve never been interested in Apple laptops enough to spend my own money over just getting a much cheaper mid range Dell when I needed the portability.

Doing all this, right now, with 16gb and works fine! Memory left.

Three pycharm instances (=yay microservices) 9 docker containers (=hyperkit =vm =yay for microservices with dependencies)

Slack, ms teams, no outlook though.

It all runs smooth. The thing which makes my workflow slow is the switching between code of and keeping shared code in sync of those goddamn microservices.

Heh I am running out of RAM cause of Microservices plus Docker plus all I listed above.

I was surprised Firefox tells me Jira uses half a gig of RAM and its not even a proper SPA. I hope they optimize their frontend to be less memory hungry.

It runs smooth till I need 3 of my own services plus 8 plus vendor services running then the 16GB MBP runs out of RAM.

Biggest annoyance with the iMac though is you can’t, say, work from home with your work laptop and plug it into the screen.

This is another case with macs where the situation 8 years ago was much better since they used to have target display mode. From what I understand, they killed it because they needed to use a custom format to drive the 5k screen initially. Now regular DisplayPort 1.3 and 1.4 have enough bandwidth for it but there’s been no mention of bringing the feature back.

That’s why I said I'm not spending my own money on a development class laptop. I have the same Bluetooth keyboard and mouse at home and at work - in other words, I don’t care about the keyboards on the MacBook Pros. Decent regular monitors are cheap. If/When I do get a 5K iMac for person use, my current two monitors will be attached to it for personal use and attached to my work laptop when I bring it home.

Well, if your work machine is a laptop (and that is the only reason you can take it home) you need to use it, if you want to work at home, hence the need for an screen to attach, which you cannot do, if your screen at home is in fact an iMac. (Work data of course stays on the work machine, everything else is a huge no-go)

That hasn’t worked since the 2013 iMacs.

I do not believe this works on the 5K iMacs.

Just buy a ThinkPad T480, add 32GB yourself, install Linux and you have the perfect development machine. Unless you work with iOS apps specifically , in which cause you can use a build server

A "$2100 5K iMac - 6 Core I5 3Ghz" is not a substantial improvement over my late 2013 MacBook Pro (2.6 GHz, 4 core i7), which can both travel to client sites and directly drive 2 x 3840 x 2160 pixels on my desktop displays. No new MBP's have been worth buying. The new Mac Pro is nice but crazy expensive in a configuration I'd expected to be buying in 2019.

No normal non pro computer is a substantial improvement since 2013. Computers have been "good enough" for awhile.

I'm neither interested in nor discussing here "normal non pro computer[s]". It was you who suggested a "$2100 5K iMac - 6 Core I5 3Ghz" to me. I merely explained why it doesn't, IMO, demonstrate that Apple is Listening.

Because Intel hasn’t created a consumer processor that is significantly faster than what they did in 2013 that means Apple isn’t listening? What hardware (besides a reliable keyboard) could Apple ship in a laptop in 2019 that would make it a worthy upgrade?

I'm probably not a good target, but my wishlist for a laptop (that I cannot buy anywhere right now) is:

- Great touchpad (Apple are the only ones ticking that box)

- Good keyboard (Old apple and thinkpads are fine. New apples are terrible, just like the Asus UX430 I got at work).

- Great thermals (I want to be able to use my laptop as a laptop. Most of them nowadays burn during summer in hot areas).

- Good battery life (replaceable without power tools / health risks).

- Good-enough screen (so I can use it outdoors)

- Good connectivity (USB-C is good, but a couple regular USBs wouldn't hurt). Ethernet without dongle, please?

- Repairable / expandable (no soldered shit please, easy to open and clean).

- Affordable (as in <1500€)

- Either MacOS or Linux support (sorry but I quit Windows a long long time ago and I'm not coming back with all the telemetry and forced-update stuff).

I couldn't care less for 20% more/less cpu power, it being 5mm thicker than most laptops today, or it weighting even an extra pound more than usual.

I have much the same wishlist as you, and also haven't found anything that ticks all of the boxes. My day job is network/sysadmin/IT, which mostly involves remote connectivity to other hosts, so my local CPU grunt needs are not particularly heavy.

That said, given the dearth of good options out there right now, I just replaced an old MacBook Air with a Surface Book 2, and with a few exceptions, I couldn't be happier right now:

1. This touchpad is just as good as pre-Force Touch ones from Apple. No joke. (If you must have the super-size ones with the Force Touch feedback instead of the "spring-board" style real button click, sorry...nobody else has that. But the non-Force Touch ones were "best in class" before, and that wasn't very long ago...)

2. The keyboard is easily the best laptop keyboard I have ever used. And that's coming from someone who used ThinkPads (I had the 770, the T42p, and the T60p) before switching to MacBooks, and who uses a Model M daily while at my desk. :-P

3. I have the base-model Surface Book. It's only a dual-core i5. But, again, I'm fine with that. The CPU is also housed in the screen, since the screen is made to be detachable from the keyboard. And since I have the base-model, I don't have the dGPU in my keyboard base either. So the base of the laptop stays cool while I use it on my lap. Oh...did I mention that the entire device (both keyboard base and screen) on the non-dGPU model is fanless? So no moving parts in the entire thing, noise-free, and isn't constantly sucking dust from the surrounding environment into itself.

4. There is a battery in both the screen and the keyboard base. Combined, I get amazing battery life, easily 8 hours or more depending. (I use it in laptop-mode 90% of the time.)

5. Screen on this is fantastic. Higher DPI than my 15" Retina MacBook Pro from 2012, way brighter, and the backlighting is more even. (I have the Samsung LCD on my 2012 rMBP...the model that never developed "image retention". I think the SB2 panel is made by Panasonic.)

6. It's got 2 USB-A, 1 USB-C (sadly no Thunderbolt, but it can handle DisplayPort), and a full-size SD.

7. Repairability is one area where it really falls flat, and in even bigger ways than the past MacBooks I own. :-( This thing I think got a repairability index of 1 (out of 10) from iFixIt. It's a sealed box for all intents and purposes. What really pisses me off, though, is that the SSD is not soldered onto the mainboard (it's a standard M.2 module), but there is absolutely no way of accessing it without basically destroying the computer in the process. If there was ONE area where I wish Microsoft had NOT taken any cues from Apple...gah, don't get me started. (And even then, at least with pre-2016 MacBook Pros, you could take the bottom cover off and get at the storage module in an emergency.)

8. The particular model I purchased ranges from $1,100 - 1,500 USD depending (list price is 1,500 but it's usually on sale). Don't know how that translates to your specific market.

9. I have not tried to use "desktop" Linux on it. I have booted SystemRescueCD off of a USB flash drive, though, in order to make a bit-for-bit image of my current Windows installation, and that worked fine (though to be fair I never bothered to start up X11). My understanding is that a lot of the hardware is supported even on current models; you can check out https://www.reddit.com/r/SurfaceLinux/comments/7kazwp/curren... for more details.

Anyway, just FYI.

Thanks for the pointer.

Unfortunately, the surface book base model is now on sale for 1499€ here (with a pen for "free"). With only 8Gb RAM, 256Gb HDD and 0 upgradability it'll be a pass from me. It is good to know that PC's are starting to get good trackpads though!

9th gen Intel processors perform significantly better in benchmarks than 4th gen Intels that were available in 2013. Not to mention, benchmarks are half the story - modern Intel mobile processors are significantly more efficient.

As to what Apple could do with the hardware, the 2019 MBP outperforms 2018 MBPs in real world benchmarks due to its better cooling and some under the hood stuff in Mojave that is unclear. There was a good review posted today on Linus Tech Tips.

I’m not saying they aren’t “better”. The point is they aren’t “better enough” to be worth the upgrade for the original poster. If the iMac I described doesn’t give him enough of a speed boost to make it worthwhile to upgrade, neither would the newest MacBook Pro.

I'm not talking about consumer processors. I'm talking about professional, developer machines.

> an external SSD drive would be as fast as any normal internal SSD drive.

Only if the external expansion bus is as fast as PCIE3.

What external thunderbolt SSD has as low latency as an NVMe drive?

As a developer are you really going to be able to tell the difference?


Disk latency is a limiting factor of compile times for large projects.

What external Thunderbolt SSD isn't literally an NVMe drive? Who is bothering with the expense of a Thunderbolt controller only to put a SATA controller and SSD behind it instead of directly connecting a NVMe SSD? (Unless it's a RAID controller and several SSDs in a TB enclosure.)

It doesn’t get me HN points to say, but I’m a developer who loves my MBP.

I love my late 2013 MacBook Pro too, but I've been longing to replace it for years now, only to be disappointed time and again with each new MBP release. I'm still waiting and wishing for a model worth buying.

Me too. I have a 2017 13in and a 2018 15in. My wife has a 2018 13in as well. We’ve had some minor issues that AppleCare resolved but other than that I love how crazy fast the SSD are and how cool and quiet they generally will run.

I’m pretty happy with mine too, but mine isn’t used daily, just when the Mini has an issue or I go out of the (home) office and need to work.

You love it more than the 2015 MBP?

are you a fan of the butterfly keyboard ?

I have a 2017 15" and my girlfriend has a 2016 13", we both do technical work with these machines as our primary work devices.

Neither of us have any issues with the keyboard other than the clearly above average failure rates and the hassle of getting it repaired. My 15" has not exhibited any issues at all, the slightly older 13" has started to develop some stickiness with the arrow keys.

Obviously there are issues with this keyboard and I eagerly await a redesign on it (as well as haptic feedback on the touchbar and making the touchbar option across all models).

On the whole I'm quite happy with the extended warranty as it essentially amounts to free AppleCare+, and given their insistence on making the overall device unserviceable it also amounts to a deductible free midlife battery replacement.

It's an elegant solution to the whole fiasco in my mind-- the cost of servicing all these keyboards has to be painful beyond normal for them given that ridiculous design, magnified further by the fact that end users should have no problems encouraging the keyboard to fail if/when they want a scratch free case or 0 cycle battery. To say nothing of how it undermines the value of AppleCare as a service, both because you can get nearly the same thing for free, and the existence of the keyboard program is straining their staff resources on repairs, which are otherwise almost exclusively devoted to AppleCare customers.

I’ve had the 2011 model 15” MBP and currently own a 2016 model 13” MBP and I love the butterfly keyboard.

It is soul crushingly inconvenient and annoying when the keyboard breaks and you have to have it replaced.

I’ve had mine replaced twice so far both times under warranty. Because Apple provides the extended 4-year warranty for free on the keyboard it is no longer a financial risk to own the computer, only an inconvenience if it breaks again.

On the plus-side, because the whole computer is glued together I got a fresh new battery installed every time they replaced the keyboard.

They have improved the repairability of the keyboard itself over time, and have recently started doing in-house repairs/replacements of the keyboards at Apple Stores to cut down wait times.

Not the OP and I wouldn't say I'm a fan but I've made some peace with it by putting a membrane cover over the top and so far: (a) not one dust related casualty in the past 18 months and (b) it subdues the clackety-clack of the keys into something that's actually quite pleasant.

However, the touchbar...still a pointless gimick.

Amusingly, I spilt a coke in mine a few months ago and other than 1 or 2 keys sticking every once in a while, it’s still working fine.

I love my 2019 MBP - and I expect I’ll love it until the keyboard fails, and then I’ll hate it.

Because it has a large, accurate trackpad with multitasking gestures, I’ve all but abandoned my combo of Kenesis Advantage and Logitech Pro MX - it feels more efficient to move my hand less.

Apple's desktop options are actually quite strong right now.

If you just want a really powerful desktop computer for dev work - get a souped up Mac Mini If you want it with a nice screen - get an iMac Pro If you're a video professional - get a Mac Pro

The Macbook Pro keyboard situation is a garbage fire, though I will say that I'm quite happy with my 2016 keyboard after it got replaced for free through the program.

Mac Mini is not a really powerful desktop. It's has mediocre CPU with terrible cooling (not allowing it to reach even full potential), built-in GPU and non-standard soldered SSD.

I want 16 core CPU (probably Threadripper, as Intel is unable to produce anything competitive recently) with Nvidia 2080 Ti or better GPU, and 32GB ECC memory for $2k.

And if Apple made it and put it into a nice case, I would happily pay $3k or even a slight bit more for it.

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