Dialing that back a few notches, I genuinely hope that Ive's departure means Apple is considering a new approach for the design of their products. Years of product releases with crummy butterfly keyboards, nixed headphone jacks and missing magSafe have left me with no desire to purchase my next laptop from Apple. Maybe once the current pipeline drains we can look forward to Mac laptops that gain useful features and don't fall apart in months.
Maybe. I'm not holding my breath.
I'm more worried that without a chief of design with a strong will and veto power, the next generation of designers will just cargo cult Ive and we'll get products with all the downsides and no upsides. If it's true he's has been absent maybe that's what we've already been seeing?
If there's one thing more important to Apple than Ive, it's the Apple brand and nothing says "premium" like adding a product to a repair program on the day it comes out. I suspect that the knives were out for Ive after that humiliation.
However, I absolutely fault Apple for sticking with this keyboard after so many years. I know hardware designs are planned well in advance, but the 12-inch Macbook came out in early 2015. How did they look at the failure rate of that model and decide “yep, we should definitely release a Macbook Pro with this type of keyboard.” And then, why have they stuck with that design for four years and counting?
If Apple didn't or doesn't have anything else ready... well, first of all, why did they not have an alternative design ready, especially when they also ran into this problem with the Macbook Pro? But, secondly, Apple could just update the guts of the 2015 MBP, which is what everyone wants them to do anyway.
I realize it's misguided to assign feelings to entire corporations, but... Apple just strikes me as so needlessly stubborn sometimes. As if we consumers are small children, and Apple can't go back to the old keyboard lest we be rewarded for whining.
It's really not - predicting lifetime expectancy and failure rates is a discipline of industrial engineering. That is why it's possible to estimate the number of open/close cycles of hinges is possible to estimate with a great degree of accuracy. A company has to master art this for selfish reasons - so that they can minimize repair costs during the warranty period
I'm not an engineer, so you may well know much more about this, but it seems reasonable to me that real-world people, or some percentage of real-world people, aren't going to hit your keys in the exact way you tested for. If the effects don't appear for years out, what type of user test can you design to account for that?
As a product category, laptops have existed for close to 40 years, and Apple has been a successful and high end participant in that category for close to thirty. If they can't produce a reasonable keyboard reliability test or lack the willingness to do so, then they have other problems that are vastly more concerning than anything about a couple specific computer models.
More importantly, Apple did not need to also ship the 2017 MPB, the 2018 MBP(s), or the 2018 MBA. If they didn't have any alternate designs in the pipeline (why is that?), they should have reverted back to the 2015 design, with new parts.
Well, that's the point where I'd call Apple's judgement into question. They should have put the breaks on new releases with the keyboard until they had a clearer picture of what was going on.
If they are truly concerned with environment issues, they should compromise thinness a tiny bit for better repair-ability.
One of my last MacBooks, the first aluminium unibody one, had a beautiful latch that gave access to the battery and disk without any tools.
The rest of the machine was easy to get access to via 3 screws. Everything was neatly arranged. Whereas these days, it's a glued mess.
The environmental angle, then, just comes down to whether Apple can recycle parts in as eco-friendly a way as they claim.
I'm personally willing to give up repairability for a thin laptop. I'm far less willing to give up actual usability—I want a good keyboard, and I want compatibility with the most common types of thumb drives in active use today.
Actual consumers? Very few. But a repairable machine retains much greater tradein/resale value reducing the chances it heads straight for the landfill. Witness the mighty 2012—2015 MacBook Pro and the resale value it commands to this day.
Furthermore, having easy access to components means the effective lifetime of hardware is much longer. You can repair things when it is no longer economical to do so at an Apple Store.
I wish some laws were passed forcing manufacturers to display a repairability score, similar to the one that already exists for energy usage.
And now you know why Apple dropped those features.
*Mac Pro, not Macbook Pro. Sorry.
In my view, leaving that keyboard issue unresolved for years has been a terrible mistake.
If he can screw up the MacBook then he is not doing his job effectively and he could potentially screw up the iPhone too.
Still the best looking computer ever made in my opinion.
I don't know as I don't use apple but I heard of lot of grumbling off of those that do.
I wonder if Apple didn’t feel self-imposed pressure to keep asserting its design dominance, and therefore look for ways to change. We’re all just armchair quarterbacks here though. in the end I think Jony Ive did more good than harm.
I'll replace it with another when it breaks, but hoping it'll last until AMD gets properly into the laptop game.
To me, pretty much any modern Thinkpad looks like 90s laptops made out of crappy, flexing plastic whereas something as sleek as a MacBook Air from the same year looks positively futuristic.
If (when?) I jump ship I'll either get an XPS 13 or a T4XXs, and the only reason I'm undecided is because of Thinkpads their design, especially the gratuitous logo-ing.
In my field (data analytics), a Mac indicates the user is in sales :-)
Although there is research that people perform measurably better on attractive gear. Aside from that, I believe around a third of all GitHub commits originate from macOS. Perhaps form and function often go hand in hand :)
I've an interest in ergonomics, if you could ref this study I'd be very interested.
are good starting points.
The essence is that people rate appealing devices as better performing, even if they factually work identical. Due to that halo effect they will perform on them better. The second source points out that if you measure something like 'type these 100 words' there will be no factual performance difference between appealing and unappealing devices, but on a higher level it does lead to things like more creative thinking.
My own guess would be pretty much what the studies say: people enjoy using appealing devices more, which leads to aggregate benefits: less stress which leads to more creative thinking, more use of the device, the device is better maintained, etc.
In fact the aesthetics are the easy part. Ive has always talked about materials and processes in interviews and videos, so it's unlikely his sole contribution has been doodling rounded rectangles on napkins.
The question is the extent to which Apple's recent missteps are his fault.
Jobs seems to have had veto power over bad or self-indulgent design. Cook isn't aesthetically sophisticated enough to do that with any flair.
That leaves complicated collective politics in charge of the design process. Promoting Ive out of the company may or may not improve that - time will tell.
The current 2016 MBP design were likely done in 2014/2015, with Intel's roadmap pointing to 10nm in 2016 and 7nm in 2019. Intel over promised on 10nm super low power capability ( Well may be that is still true, but no one know it couldn't yield ), and you would naturally expect 7nm with EUV to be better.
The 2016 MBP design had 45W TDP for CPU in mind, Imagine the 2016 MBP came out with 10nm, and updated with 7nm this year. That is easily an 8 Core CPU with much better IPC. Even the 10nm Icelake offered 20% IPC improvement, who knows what Intel Promised for 7nm.
So I don't think it really was an overreaching issue. Intel had a 3 years delay in delivery, and now looking likely at 4 years as 45W 10nm wont come until 2020.
With that in mind, I'd say the issues in Apple's recent range (of a design nature) can be attributed to him. He's taken minimalism past its extreme in recent years, getting rid of things that are part of the device's essential nature in favour of aesthetics and creating something that has great UI but terrible UX.
Sure you can point out gripes (the touch bar, lack of ports, no headphone jack etc.) but in almost every product category there are at most a couple other products which can compete in terms of build quality, aesthetics, and functionality. And people have certainly bought a lot of units of most of these products, so it's hard to classify them as "failures" by any objective metric.
If anything I think Apple has such a strong reputation for having categorically the "best designs" that they can't help falling short of expectations, and there's a whole category of journalism dedicated to catastrophizing every perceived flaw.
In other words they're not perfect but they're undeny
I feel like 'recently' their design has had too much 'strong will', and not enough veto power where it matters.
now if I can find fault with the design side it is in the Mac Pro. Both models seemed to have been created for Apple, if not Ive, instead of the customers who had been using the Mac Pro platform for a decade plus. Just from the presentations of both its all form over function, look at how cool we are in making this. Sadly the new one is so over priced it left the original market still without a valid replacement for even the 2013 model.
Given that the HQ was supposedly Ive perhaps Apple design can be summarized as audacious to the point of pretentiousness. If that has got to go to focus back on what people want then so be it.
I totally disagree. The earlier Macbook keyboards were far nicer to type on, in my opinion.
Perhaps you can't find a better flatter keyboard, but from a pure typing perspective, I think it's not good at all.
I haven't personally encountered any issues of the keys sticking though I know people who have. That's a real and serious problem, although it sounds like Apple may have figured it out in later models. But personally I love the feel of the clicky short-travel 2017 keyboard. About the only thing I don't like is the arrow keys, I miss the cutouts above the left/right arrow keys to help find them easier.
(Obviously, I'd hate this in an office space as well.)
I also don't get the point that MBPs need to weight less or become thinner. My MBP 2015 13" and 15" are light and thin enough as it is. The sacrifice isn't worth it.
Specifically the variants with the beam spring switch mechanism. You won't believe how much these go for on ebay:
Edit: here's a teardown of the switch mechanism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFYoh5VcZvg
And if you really want to go down the rabbit hole, check out this insanely detailed description of how the old selectric typewriters work (the beam spring was designed to replicate the feel of the selectric's wiffletree mechanism): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJITkKaO0qA&t=597s
You can pry from my dead hands my one cable from the monitor to the laptop and ability to charge the laptop from both sides. Not to mention that I can use chargers from anyone, not just from Apple, I can buy non-Apple charging cables, and with my Mac charger I can charge growing numbers of gadgets (so far iPad and Nintendo Switch).
Yeah, MagSafe had a nice, satisfying "click" when engages, but I find USB-C charging much more convenient.
You have a computer with four sockets on both sides, you can plug into each of these holes a standard (non-Apple) cable, on the other side of the cable can be a standard USB-C (non-Apple) charger or a battery pack that can charge your laptop together with your phone and your gadgets. And yet, that's much less important than the glorified party trick.
Nobody is saying that USB-C doesn't have strengths but this was a feature which many people felt valuable for valid reasons. It's also annoying to lose since it'd be an easy change to fix by putting the safety release on the charger so you'd have the same protection in the most common configuration.
I have three Mag-Safe chargers in my drawer (one broken), from my previous laptops. If they're standard (USB-C) chargers, I would use them for something. So I hope Apple will not put any non-standard "safety releases" on their chargers in the future.
I hope someone will make a cable with something similar to mag-safe (I know there's couple of kickstarters, I don't know how good these thing works) so we can finally put this story behind.
Or, you know, Mac users actually use their laptops outside, and in situations where one might trip on the charger cable much more often than PC users with clunky "desktop replacement" behemoths.
Besides, one obviously cares more for a $2000+ laptop going flying off the table than for a $500 POS PC laptop.
See how both sides can play the flame game?
So when travelling you could use any available charger, but when in the home or office you'd have the safety of the breakaway mag connection.
I don't think anybody expected it to be as successful as it has been. And the feature set and their acquisitions e.g. Beddit gives a really interesting insight into where Apple is heading in the health sector.
It has disappointed, actually, according to the very article we are commenting on: "The company sold about 10 million units in the first year, a quarter of what Apple forecast"
You definitely can see it on more people's wrists than in the early days.
And the "Wearables, Home, and Accessories" revenue was 5.1 billion last quarter, which is bigger than iPad Revenue of 4.8 billion.
I actually think that Watch sales is a surprise on how well it is. Nobody expected it would be that good.
My point is, peripherals can be successful and game-changing.
The day watch becomes standalone and/or compatible with Android is the day it has a chance of becoming a true game changer. Until then I wouldn't even describe it as a peripheral, but just an accessory for an iPhone really.
How do you measure success? Because there is no way any comparison with the number of people who own an iPhone or any other kind of Apple device. Even in Japan where Apple has the lion share of the smartphone market I hardly see people with an Apple watch.
Apparently you measure success by "besting the single greatest consumer product success story in a generation". By this metric, virtually nothing would be considered a success.
Meanwhile, Apple became the biggest watchmaker in the world as of 2017. After only three years of producing watches, they unseated literally every other watchmaker in the world on revenue. That seems pretty damned successful to me.
You might also be surprised how many are knockoffs  which are rapidly improving in quality :
Samsung Buds OTOH stay in (and don't have the daggy bits hanging out).
The amazing thing about the classic Apple designs was the way they managed to be textbook Veblen goods while also appearing to be gender and class neutral. They were aspirationally expensive, but not blingy.
That changed when gold and pink started to creep into the design vocabulary and the prices started moving up. The classic designs were more democratic. Not everyone could afford them, but they managed the neat trick of appearing to be visually inclusive rather than aggressively exclusive.
From that POV, Watch has been a design failure. It lacks the social status of the high-end I-have-money watch brands. It's neither expensive-but-neutral nor an outrageously self-indulgent statement product. The expensive straps and stainless steel variants made a pitch for the latter, but it was never convincing.
As a signifier it's visually bland and even slightly vulgar, which is why it hasn't had the same cultural impact. It's also why it works for C1/C2s but not for the ABs. Sales may be fine, but in its current form it's never going to be the covert high status product that Apple used to do so well.
Apple is much more in line with a premium brand driven good like Nike, or Sony.
A true Veblen good phone would cost like $20000, be gold cased and nobody you know would own one.
[Only ever saw them on sales at Heathrow Terminal 5 and Courchevel 1850]
I'd say keep the Touch Bar, but add an escape key.
If you want "full port", invent a time machine and travel back to the time when people accepted cables. That time is gone now.
My impression of airpods is they added on demand 'connect to me' and always on device listing to the bluetooth protocol.
I think a way to solve the 'which device to connect to' conundrum is to make NFC re-association a standard thing with bluetooth devices. So instead of screwing around with software menus, you would bash your 2 devices together and have them (re)connect within 200ms.
The nintendo switch kind of gives this to you with their joycons. Slide the joycon in and it's associated & connected with that switch, no software fuckery required. It's a lot nicer than many other BT experiences for me.
Wifi on the other hand, has been fairly good since day 1.
The issue comes to when it's a acceptables trade-off. I think for now the wireless future is not here yet, and won't be for the next year or 18 months.
Apple didn't pull it off with it's AirPods (too pricy for wide adoption, still lag in the bluetooth stack, only 3 or 3 designs available for something that needs to fit on people's ear), I'd say they were too early to pull the plug on wired.
If they were too early, people would stop buying their devices because of the "lack" of functionality. They haven't. That means that the people who claim they're too early were wrong.
It turns out that most people who buy computers and most people who complain about the range of ports on computers are not the same size groups, and are mostly not comprised of the same people.
I feel I very much should be in Apples target for a pro-machine considering my Windows workstation is a dual GPU 1080Ti machine (cost a fraction of an iMac Pro and outperforms it) I use for 3D rendering, animation and video editing. Yet when I point out it's terrible value I again just get told it's not for me and it's for people who edit "Marvel movies" for a living.
I mean the only real complaint you could have with their pre-Mac Pro lineup was it just didn't have any way to fill niches, everything had to be good for the 80% and not right for rest. Wouldn't it have made a lot more sense to target this product as modular enough to fill the rest of those needs instead of targetting it specifically at the highest-of-high-end blockbuster movie editors.
There was a time when Mac Pros were an excellent value, and you could afford one if you were a modestly successful entrepreneur. But with the new Mac Pro, Apple seems to largely ignore the needs of entrepreneurs and small studios. It appears targeted at large studios where the cost premium is a rounding error.
But contrary to popular belief, many "professionals" do consider cost when buying equipment. Being able to depreciate this stuff on your taxes doesn't suddenly make the cost irrelevant.
2) Top of the line specs
Anyone seriously buying a Mac Pro is either in the above group or just a crazed fanboy happy to pay the ludicrous premium to say they did.
On the other hand one has to wonder, however, if at some point around the same specs as the "low-end" mac pro, that a server wouldn't make more sense? Can you stuff a pro graphics card into a Dell R740 and have it far enough away that the fan roar won't be an issue when editing 4K video?
The Mac Pro is a luxury good and should be viewed as such. The fact that the tech community is up in arms about it because it's technically a computer is really their own fault for misclassifying the device.
Why would anyone buy a Telsa semi truck when the Ram 3500 HD costs half the price?
That was the entire point of my comment. I'm saying whywhywhywhy is confusing two different product categories just because those categories happen to overlap slightly at the high end of one category and the low end of the other.
And I don't think that the posting you answered was wrong. Apple calls this machine a "Mac Pro", so any professional users should be targetted by it - they don't have any other machines for professionals who require a desktop machine. Instead, they should have called it the "Mac Hollywood", as this seems to be the target audience.
I know plenty of professionals who use an 11” MacBook Air. Your definition of professional is not the same as everyone else’s, and it’s ridiculous to try to fit everyone else to your own mold.
Basically, stop using the argument “no REAL professional would ever...”. It’s a worthless argument.
There was no absurdity in the comment you answered on. Apple pitches the machine for a general "professional" audience, especially as it is the only modular Mac offerring. But in fact they only designed (and more importantly) priced it for a very special subsection of the professional audience. So they should be more specific in their pitch and also offer a modular machine for the rest of the professional users.
And your original comment would have been more constructive, if you had tried to make your point explicitly, as you are doing now.
Your definition of professional is not the same as everyone else’s, and it’s ridiculous to try to fit everyone else to your own mold.
I am not doing so. The original poster (and I agree) just also wants a modular Mac machine.
Basically, stop using the argument “no REAL professional would ever...”. It’s a worthless argument.
I have nowhere said that, please stop putting words into my mouth.
I'm not in the industry but from what I have observed of friends who are this Mac Pro is a machine that will evolve workflows compared to a DIY build workstation. As far as audio is concerned which I know more about this Mac Pro will be the industry standard for quite some time. They are already redesigning DAW software to facilitate the extra potential it provides.
The video accelerator card is the only Mac Pro-specific thing, and it's competing against existing (albeit more expensive) products that enable that, too. Like the RED ROCKET-X. Or the CUDA-accelerated decoders on Quadros that you can't put in a Mac Pro.
Except... if your content is all in ProRes. Then the accelerator card makes an appearance and could make life more pleasant. But if your workflow isn't ProRes, then that pleasantry comes at the cost of 1) more than doubling storage requirements, and 2) transcoding time (which is slow, because the ProRes accelerator won't help in turning something else _into_ ProRes).
For DAWs, I'm struggling to see the "extra potential" - it's a Xeon processor.
Dell: Xeon W, 8 cores, 3.7GHz, 32GB RAM, 256GB SSD,
I know there are some configurations at some points in the product refresh cycle where Apple computers are price-competitive with Windows computers, but this isn't an example of it.
Come on, this is just not true. It's an 8-core with 32GB of RAM and 256GB SSD for 6000$. Just because Apple found some PC workstation that's even more expensive than the Mac Pro doesn't mean it's good value.
And you should only be buying the monitor if you are after a reference quality display. In which case you would know how cheap it is.
Apple's display specs are impressive but it's not actually going to compete with reference displays. It's missing all the actual reference display features (interlacing controls, SDI inputs, programmable LUT, info overlays, etc...). You can buy more products that add that, like this input box from Blackmagic: https://www.studiodaily.com/2019/06/blackmagic-caters-apple-... But now the price is adding up and you've got more boxes and dongles to deal with.
But out of the box the display itself is competing with high-end color accurate displays, the content creation displays. It's not competing at all with reference displays.
All that said more relevant to this discussion is the fact that Apple doesn't have a cheaper display at all. If you want a workstation and you go to an Apple store the only monitor option they have is the Pro Display XDR, when all you may actually want or need is the display from an iMac just in a standalone case for use with the Mac Pro.
Pretty big difference.
tl;dr the only people who buy the base model will be the enthusiasts who just want a Mac Pro, and they are indeed getting a bad deal, but this machine isn't for them, however much they want it to be.
256GB does not store you a lot of RAW photos, video, or whatever Pros are editing with this machine.
Not a good configuration for everybody, but pretty good for me.
Where did you read this?
Going all-in on USB C was the right move. I love having just one cable sticking out of my MacBook Pro to connect to a 4K display and provide power to the MacBook (and use the display as a USB hub for wired Ethernet, etc). And being able to pick either side. So for me it's the right tradeoff. For non-me's they should make a breakaway USB C charging-only cable.
(Charging the first generation Apple Pencil from the iPad Pro itself was great design, by the way, until wireless was ready. Charging the mouse from the bottom was not.)
In fact, I do not yet have a single device that I can plug directly into my laptop. And this years after they made the switch.
No they didn't, mines a 2018 and has had a ton of keyboard issues also Apple themselves admit it isn't fixed even the 2019 isn't fixed 
Getting rid of the headphone jack is to me much like getting rid of the floppy. I love having four usb-c ports on my mbp that is either power or data transfer. I bought a 13” mbp last year when they got four cores, loving how portable and light it is, and just connecting one cable gives me display, power etc,
Every day I love my expensive current rig of mbp, iPad Pro with pencil, AirPods and bose q35.
That is so not true. This story paints the picture of a dysfunctional org under Cook’s watch who is dramatically less inspiring than Jobs to their key design team. I don’t know if it’s true but it’s definitely not what a company would want to feed to the press.
The ideal story in situations like this is that they’ve been working on a transition for a awhile and the company is in good hands, without all the dissatisfaction stuff.
I guess it depends on your viewpoint on engineering vs. design, but I imagine the story's last graf is depressing for those who prioritize the latter:
> Mr. Ive’s old design team—a group of aesthetes once thought of as gods inside Apple—will report to COO Jeff Williams, a mechanical engineer with an M.B.A.
But whatever, who buys apple for the hardware? I mean, its a super nice bonus that it is overall the best hardware, but that's not the key reason.
It saved my machines quite a few tines over the years since it came out in 2006.
Basically in my experience MagSafe is that annoying thing that keeps unplugging my laptop when I bump the charger while still damaging my laptop if I trip on the cable.
Unless you mean because they need Xcode, are you joking? My personal Mac runs Linux, and my work Mac (with mandated image) frustrates me with macOS all day.
Good point! I had to buy a Mac for doing iOS development. I was (reasonably) happy on Linux before that.
For most people who do not want to spend much money on a phone, I just recommend them to buy an iPhone 6s or perhaps 7. You get most of the privacy benefits of an iPhone, for an affordable price. And even though it is an older model, it will probably get updated longer than most new Android phones at the $300 price point.
I find that I type faster on my 2018 Macbook Air than on my 2015 Macbook Pro
Keyboards need to work, "pro" laptops need enough cooling and repairability, in general, you shouldn't have to throw away working parts just to repair other parts glued to them (how can they have the desktop iMac being glued together at all?).
Either that, or full Pink Hello Kitty.
Or both, to differentiate between pro and consumer.
Anyway, the oxygen supply died on the phone a while ago but the momentum of the whole mobile phone business was such that nobody has noticed that the solid rocket boosters ran out of fuel and were chucked away three years ago.
Only if you work in the sector do you really appreciate how it has all changed. But if you build a business and an eco system around constant growth then things do fall back to earth rather quickly when everything stops growing. Sales may be magnificent but that is no good if there is no growth and the world has come to expect growth.
An ever growing business does not have to be efficient. Losses can be covered over because more sales make the previous mismanagement of expenses seem like small beer money.
Apple de-coupled the figures so we don't know how many units were shifted. Then they say that they are selling services now. But this isn't going to fill the hole left by the lack of iPhone opening day queues (remember that madness?).
These Chinese phones are going to be the default devices for a lot of people. When it comes to price or function they have it covered. Trade wars are not going to stave that situation off forever.
If you have bought into the Ive Apple eco system it all works perfectly. But if you are an outsider a lot of it seems daft. You can't plug your Apple phone into your Apple computer without dongles, then it doesn't rapid charge if plugged in that way or even move data quickly.
Then, with your Apple computer the touchscreen doesn't work. If you have had pinch to zoom for a while on a normal laptop you find it odd that Apple machines don't have that. The keyboard failings and much else is not necessarily design, sometimes things just don't work out. But when the phone doesn't plug into the computer, then you know that is a design thing.
The product lifecycles have also been bad, same Apple computers year in year out when most laptops get refreshed when new CPUs come out. It is absurd how Apple make what they feel like making not what their customers want. Ive was at the helm and the ship went off course five years ago with only those in the thick of it realising not all was well three years ago when sales started to slow on the product that matters - the phone.
Pinch to zoom works perfectly on my MacBook Pro. Using the touchpad.