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Kuo: Apple to include new scissor switch keyboard in MacBook (9to5mac.com)
802 points by jeremylevy 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 647 comments



I desperately hope this is true. I have the first MacBook Pro that came with the Touch Bar, and it's the worst computer I've ever owned. The keyboard has failed twice, and the Touch Bar is inferior to the old hardware keys in every way. I hate it. The only reason I got it is because the MacBook Air it replaced was dying and I couldn't wait any more. Assuming this report is true, my only remaining worry is that they won't offer a version of this new Pro without a Touch Bar, or that only a model with a smaller display will offer hardware function keys, like they've done in the past.


You could buy a 2015 MacBook Pro and upgrade to rock solid keyboard, sane-sized trackpad, MagSafe, hdmi, USB ports and an SD card port.

It’s not thin enough to slice salami but I am a vegetarian so that’s not a big deal.


I did exactly this a year ago but one caveat to note is that if you're using an external monitor, the video card in this one doesn't support a good resolution. I'm stuck with 1080p.


"With OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 and later, most SST 4K (3840 x 2160) displays are supported at 60Hz on these Mac computers:

    MacBook Air (Early 2015) and later
    MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) and later
    MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014) and later"
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206587

Earlier years will only do 30Hz, which is fully usable for development/office work.


Anecdote: I find 30 Hz to be totally unusable for development/office work. The jerky movement of the mouse cursor, jerky scrolling, etc, is all painful to my eyes. So, I think very much, YMMV, but 60 Hz is safe.


Agreed, so much so that I gave up on 4K, scaled it to 1440p just to get 60hz on my (now-dead) 2013 rMBP with my external monitor.

Recently bought a second-hand perfect condition 2016 MBP with function-keys, and it's been brilliant so far, and I get proper 4K :)


Yeah me too. It feels like the mouse is lagging.


Note the "SST 4K" criteria. I have a late 2013 15" MBP that drives 4K at 60 Hz, but it is an MST "multi-screen transport" display (which requires enabling on the monitor menu). Don't know if they're made anymore. Mine is a Dell UP2414Q.


I have a 13" 2015 MacBook Pro and it drives a 4k monitor at 60hz over displayport.


I think it supports 4K but not at 60 fps. You are stuck at 30 fps.


I have a 2015 and a 4K monitor and can confirm that this is the case. 30fps isn't great but it is usable for most day-to-day computer work.

However there is a workaround if you are willing to disable SIP and play around with a program called SwitchResX. You can customize the display timings in such a way that allows 4K60 video to just sneak in under the bandwidth limits of the Thunderbolt ports. It also requires a Thunderbolt to HDMI 2.0 adapter, and a compatible monitor. If you like fiddling around this is one way to do it, but I have found it finicky and not really worth it.


4k60hz is also possible over displayport, on my Late 2013 mbp I need to use switchresx to get it going (but I've found that pretty set-and-forget), but on the newer ones than that it works without any hacks AFAIK


Could you share some details about how you do this? Do you need displayport on both ends, and is it a monitor or TV? I have the same machine and a 4K TV with only HDMI-inputs and am curious if I can achieve this is in some way. Switchresx looks really useful anyway, so thank you for that. :)


If you have a Displayport display, you can use a displayport to mini displayport cable, use switchresx, should work good.

If it's HDMI only, as the sibling pointed out the HDMI port won't work. However, Startech makes a displayport to HDMI adapter which works ( https://www.amazon.com/DisplayPort-HDMI-Adapter-Converter-60... ) (just make sure you get one which supports 4k60hz, most DP -> HDMI adapters don't).


I'll consider this though I it would be probably be sitting unused after trying it anyway as I really have no need for it. Thank you for the information. Just to clarify, we're both talking about a late 2013 macbook pro retina? The other helpful commenter mentions the 2015.


Yeah, this is all on the late 2013 15" with the nvidia dgpu - https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206587 has the official details on this BTW - they state that SST Displayport 3840 x 2160 displays are only supported at 60hz on the 15" from Mid 2014 on, but it actually works on the Late 2013 also with Switchresx.


There's no HDMI 2.0 support in 2015 MBPr AFAIK. So no 4k@60Hz over HDMI. You must get DP.


2015 can drive 4k at 60hz over displayport if the monitor supports displayport. HDMI output is limited 30hz afaik.


also got a 2015 and 4k @60hz is possible plug and play with a thunderbolt to displayport cable. anything other than default scaling gets a bit choppy though


Even very old Macs can handle 1440p, which is a great non-Retina resolution at 27".


I have got the 2015 15" model with Radeon R9 M370X and it supports 4k@60Hz over DP.


It even supports 5K if you can find one of the dual-DisplayPort screens. (I'm not sure if there's an adapter for the TB3 screens.)


1080p is not fine enough? How much information are you used to having on screen at a time? How much text, for example?


It's not about real estate, but rather about sharpness. At 3820x2160 ("4K") you can double every pixel, when compared to 1080p. That means that text at the exact same "size" is twice as sharp, producing less visual strain and improving readability (especially for fonts with complex strokes)

The difference is absolutely striking: I will never go back to a non "retina" display if given the choice.


It’s also real estate. I have the LG 5K 27” monitor—which I like, by the way, I don’t know why people give it crap—and routinely wish it was just a touch larger.

My screen is filled with Excel and some sort of online database, usually. I’m also using my 13” MBP screen below this one for chat windows, email etc.

I would hate to go back to the lo-res 1080 days.


You quadruple each pixel...


When doing photography work, you can look at image thumbnails and actually judge sharpness and colour directly off them. And when filling the screen, you can have a much better idea of how they will look in print.

As for text, I've been able to use tiny font sizes and increase the information density since hi-DPI screens— my eyes are good for it. Ahh, iPhone 4 and retina MBP... they were astounding tech at that time.


I cant deal with 1080p anymore, and large (27"+) 1080p monitors make no sense to me. Maybe they're good for people who need to have physically large text etc. but I find it useless for fitting information densely on the screen. I for one would rather use my 13" MacBook pro laptop screen than a large 1080p display. (I use a 24 inch 4k monitor and it's pretty great.)


I have a 4K display. Mac OS scales things to look nice. 1080p looks like garbage in comparison.


But the bulblet and bought a used 2013 15” MBP after a year in Lenovo exile. Cost me $600 for a six year old computer, but it feels great.


Man you guys really have Stockholm syndrome.


I use both a 12” MacBook (for Go and JS), and a Dell XPS13 with Ubuntu (for Rust). The UX on the MacBook is better in every way. Gestures, the window and desktop management, touchpad, Bluetooth, WiFi and printer drivers, etc. The screen, speakers, and other hardware components are much better as well.

The fast XPS 13 with Ubuntu also seems to really be taxed pretty heavily by electron apps, while the MacBook that is 8 times slower does just fine. When I switched, I finally understood why so many people on hacker news complain about electron.

Everything on the Mac feels like someone thought really hard about how to make it as good as possible, even if they were wrong in the end (like the keyboard). Everything in Linux always feels like someone said “ehhh... good enough!”.


I gave it a serious go for a year. Spent $1,600 on a Lenovo X1 Carbon. Wiped the disk and installed LTSC. The one feature it had that Apple didn’t (the built-in LTE) never worked properly. Stability was good, but lots of odd nits. (Auto-hiding taskbar would sometimes stop hiding.) Battery life was a crap-shoot. Rage quit and ordered the MacBook when it went from estimated 30 minutes remaining to dead in 5 minutes.

Speaking of which: Do you want to buy an X1 Carbon 6th gen? i7 8650U with 16Gb RAM and 256GB SSD.


I've got a late 2013 15" MBP with a 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7, 16GB of ram, 512GB SSD, and a NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M, and have been using it for 5 years now it and it is a great laptop. Can run chrome, mysql server, web servers, and personal programs without breaking a sweat. The only thing it cannot run are new video games or if you are deep into ML but old games still work great (I played GTA V on it ok when that came out).

Only downside that happened is part of the trackpad stopped clicking and one of the fans starting running crazy loud. Took it in to the apple store and they diagnosed it as a swelling battery (seems like a problem for macs so if it looks like your case is fat, get it checked out). Ended up getting the battery, keyboard, trackpad, case, fans, and potentially the monitor (it looked new or was cleaned extremely well) for $300 which isn't too bad to make it feel like new. I'm probably going to keep this computer for another 5+ years unless it dies.

Would totally recommend and I would definitely not sell it for $600.


Just add eGPU to it and it will be more or less capable of modern ML and games


MacOS is amazing in many ways, and is spyware-free, which makes it the only choice for privacy-savvy users who also want to use adobe products.

Unless you go the Hackintosh route, you’re locked into Apple hardware.


Could say that just as well for people who willingly put up with Microsoft.

For many of us, Apple is an escape from that hell.


What's wrong with the large trackpad?


I personally find it unnecessarily large. My thumbs/palms are constantly touching the corners.

The 2015 touchpad is plenty large enough to accomodate my needs.


Not OP but my problem with larger trackpad was unwanted mouse movements. Maybe it was the way I rest my palms while typing but I never had this issue with previous mbp models.


Yep, the large trackpad is another design blunder. The heels of your hands are resting on it much of the time, resulting in the cursor suddenly jumping off to another part of the screen while you're typing.

Even dumber: Apple didn't make it work with the Pencil. WTF? Now THAT would be far more useful than the emoji bar.


Pencil does work with iPad and sidecar which is a much better experience for editing vs what would amount to a very small Wacom tablet on the trackpad (vs effectively an iPad sized Cintiq).


Yeah I dislike the bigger trackpad. There’s nowhere to comfortable rest my hands on it. At work they gave me a 2018 MBP and after 2 weeks of suffering I returned it for a 2015 version.


I prefer to rest my hands on either side of it, simply to prevent ulnar deviation style wrist angle.


In the meantime I regretted so much that I bought my 2015 model with 8GB of RAM, which seemed like a reasonable decision back then. Everything else is still great and better than the newer model I got from work - but nowadays I seem to run out of memory all the time.


Buy a 16gb board off eBay and do a board swap? Or buy a 16gb and sell the 8gb?

The former shouldn’t set you back much. The biggest cost on the latter would be the commissions, but you may be able to find a forum with a decent buy/sell section.


> I have the first MacBook Pro that came with the Touch Bar, and it's the worst computer I've ever owned.

Same here (well, I have the "cheap" one without the Touch Bar). Everything has been replaced at least once (on Apple Care, fortunately) except the bottom plate.

> The only reason I got it is because the MacBook Air it replaced was dying

Same here. That MBA was a fine machine.


I'm still using my MBA from mid 2013. It's a wonderful thing. Battery is "replace soon" but it's mostly plugged in. It's battered and bruised, but still fast enough. I've been debating a change for a while and figured at the start of the year I'd wait to see if they were going to ditch the bf keyboard if they release a new MBA. Super glad I waited, fingers crossed I get the same life out of the next one!

Say what you want about Apple and price, but I've had PCs since 1994 and the two Macs I've had have (usefully) outlasted every other machine by quite some margin - this one in particular. 6 years without formatting a Windows machine (I can't talk for now, but especially back then) would be crazy.


I have a 2009 MacBook Pro (Core2Duo + 4GB of ram), I've added an SSD years ago, and it runs absolutely fine, I use it almost daily to browse the web. Even the battery still works(only for about an hour, but it does).


> I have a 2009 MacBook Pro (Core2Duo + 4GB of ram), I've added an SSD years ago, and it runs absolutely fine, I use it almost daily to browse the web. ... the updates stopped at El Capitan unfortunately. ... I'm not that bothered.

You might want to consider running Manjaro[0] or Haiku[1] instead (I've had great luck with both on older MacBooks [2,3]).

Nessus reports El Capitan as a "Critical" vulnerability due to lack of security updates:

According to its self-reported version number, the Unix operating system running on the remote host is no longer supported.

Lack of support implies that no new security patches for the product will be released by the vendor. As a result, it is likely to contain security vulnerabilities.

...

Mac OS X 10.11.6 (intel) support ended.

Upgrade to Mac OS X 10.14 / 10.13 / 10.12.

[0] https://manjaro.org

[1] https://www.haiku-os.org

[2] https://tinyapps.org/blog/201811010700_linux_for_2009_macboo...

[3] https://tinyapps.org/docs/haiku/


Sure, but it's a laptop to look up some kitchen recipes, watch YouTube and use facetime occasionally. If it has security vulnerabilities I'm genuinely not bothered - any minute spent installing another system is a minute just not worth it for me.


Which is fine if you keep that laptop in its own isolated network. Otherwise it might end up being used for gaining access to other machines in your network.


i've got a 2008 MBP, these are great Linux machines unlike the latest macs. Very well supported hardware. Only issue I had was the custom gmux chip but it only takes a few lines of c to make a switch.


I gave my old Core Duo Mac Mini - circa 2006 to my mom after putting Windows 7 and Office 2010 on it. She uses it when she tutors and doesn’t want anyone on her main computer. That computer don’t die.


Can you still get OS updates? I thought mid-2010+ was needed.


No, the updates stopped at El Capitan unfortunately. There is a way to force it to update to Mojave but I think couple hardware bits stop working(....camera?) and I'm not that bothered.


Staying at latest patch levels are more about security vs features.


Don't get me wrong, I don't disagree. I just don't think it's worth my time to update it to watch YouTube and open BBC Good Food from time to time. The laptop never leaves the house, my assumption is that the attack surface for it is literally zero.


Best era ever, have the same one. For ~120 bucks you can get a fresh battery, too.


If I could upgrade the SSD for about the same, I'd probably just keep using this until it died. Alas, upgrading that is a bit of a faff.


I have a mid 2013 Air as well (and I recently replaced the battery for $100, it’s great and you should too), but I’d attribute the long life to simply the SSD and the software rather than anything else.


I think not having a dedicated GPU helps a lot too. Less heat, and one major component less that can break. In my small set of anecdata, consumer Macs outlive their Pro counterparts.


FWIW, you can get a replacement battery for these for under $100. https://www.ifixit.com/Store/Mac

It's not super easy to replace, but if you're comfortable with a screw driver, it shouldn't pose much of a challenge, and the instruction from ifixit are great.

I'm still holding tight to my 2012 MBP, but it's got a replacement battery, and a roomier SSD to breathe some new life into it.


If you're not comfortable doing it yourself, the Batteries + Bulbs stores have computer services & will do it for you (for a fee of course)


I am in a similar situation as you. Have a Mid 2012 MBA. Works fantastic. Also Catalina beta seems to have sped the system performance immensely. Always plugged in because of the battery.


Recently replaced my 2012 MBA battery, the batteries are quite cheap and the replacement is surprisingly quick and easy on this model. About a five minute job, you can buy the battery with the needed tools here: https://www.ifixit.com/Store/Mac/MacBook-Air-13-Inch-Late-20...


Sweet. Thanks for the tip.


I'm still rocking my MBA form 2010, it wasn't even top spec at the time, but the keyboard, size, weight and battery are all great. The screen is pretty terrible I'll be honest, but if I'm working on it it doesn't bother me much. Plus it has one of those ever so rare HDMI out ports (no accessories necessary). I just replace the battery every so often.

I'm currently weighing up the option of installing Linux onto it as I'm more inclined to move away from the Apple ecosystem, but I have reservations on what that will do the battery life :/


Consider reading this reddit thread regarding Linux on a 2010 MBA, https://www.reddit.com/r/archlinux/comments/9rnyw4/linux_on_...


I have a 2010 and 2015 MBP, both going strong.


SNAP!! although my MBP is tucked under my TV and being used to keep my smart TV dumb.


Same here. Everything in my 2016 MBP (with touchbar) has been replaced : keyboard twice, full motherboard, screen and one fan recently.

I still own a MBA from 2011 in its original state (0 repair).


I have the 13" late 2013 Macbook Pro i7, 8GB. It is working perfectly fine, and as fast as it was on day one. Never replaced a single thing, and never had to do hard-drive wipe. The only problem I have is that, it is a 512GB SSD, and I have no free space left.


Sintech sell adapters via amazon US/UK etc for about $15 that allow you to take a regular NVME drive (which are VERY cheap just now) and adapt it to the apple SSD hardware interface. You can have up to 2TB of faster-than-ever storage. You'll also need torx screwdrivers to open the case.

If you do some googling you will see there are two versions, and depending on the size/shape of SSD you are buying it may be better to buy one rather than the other.

If you do more googling, people have tried various drives and report on performance/compatibility etc but generally compatibility is good except with some samsung drives.


I have an i5 version of this. Bought it from the refurb store in 2014 and it is the best computer I have ever owned. Unfortunately the keyboard is getting a little finicky, presumably from dust. In any case 6-7 years is a pretty impressive life span for a notebook in my opinion.


I have the same model, except the even smaller SSD. I’m always having to clear out packages for old projects, but the computer is still a stud.


see my comment above about sintech...


Did this one come with a DVD drive? You can swap out that for a secondary SSD


I got a maxed out MBA in 2016 after going with my gut and thinking that year’s MBP keyboard felt like a step down. My MBA is still going strong and I love this machine. I was worried I was going to have to switch in a few years to the worse new line, so if this is true I’m very excited.


I also have the first (13") MBP model to ship with a touchbar, which is also the only Mac I've ever had.

TBH, I think it's put me off Macs for life. While I haven't had a hardware failure, the keyboard is simply horrible - there isn't nearly enough key travel or feedback, and swapping useful physical keys for a useless touchpad is completely pointless - I have a cheap 13" netbook kicking around which has a far superior keyboard!

After having Macbook aficionados harp on for yeara about how wonderful Macbook keyboards are, I feel cheated.

I wish Apple would stop valuing thinness above all else - it's important, but there are diminishing returns. We've got the point where I don't want it to be any thinner - I want ports, good battery life and good heat dissipation (my MBP is quiet, but it gets bloody hot!)


I made a custom plate that sits over the default keyboard and I put my own better keyboard on top. I've been kinda curious if anyone else would buy one if I produced them for a nominal fee.


I've love to see some pictures of this setup?

Also, what's the plate made from and what alt keyboard do you use?


do you have pictures to see how it looks? I'm not sure exactly what you mean, why do you need the plate? for extra stability ?

I've seen a colleague carrying a wireless keyboard with the macbook >2016, and putting it on top of the macbook directly, no plate.


Hm, I have the new MacBook Pro 15in and if I don't use the plate my own keyboard presses buttons on the default keyboard.


If Apple gets rid of the TouchBar + fixes the keyboard that'd eliminate 90% of the complaints against Macbook Pros.


Well, not really 90%. The trackpad is too big and introduce false positive that to some user is above threshold. I don't need such a large track pad for christ sake.

The Display cable, while Apple making is 1cm longer, will only make it last a year or two more. That is 3 - 4 years of Display Lifespan. I hardly call this durable.

The Thunderbolt and USB-C design is a bag of hurt, the amount of short circuit , logic board failure due to it is unacceptable.


I've not had a laptop with Touch Bar, but I can imagine making the trackpad smaller, then having the Touch Bar and the F-keys would be amazing. What do you think?


IMO the Touch Bar is pretty useless for serious work. The thing is, you have to look at the Touch Bar to use it! I don't know how you type, but I never look at the keyboard when I'm typing. Plus where I rest my hands on the machine, they tend to touch the Touch Bar, and you can't feel when you are actually touching it and mucking things up.

(Disclaimer: I have a MBP with Touch Bar, but I do 95% of my interacting with it with an external keyboard and mouse because I hate the keyboard / Touch Bar so much.)


I too, would love to have both Touch Bar and Function Keys. I don't hate Touch Bar per se, I just don't like it replacing my F-Keys buttons. Pretty much like All Cars are going to Touch Screen interface, I mean UX designer will need to learn and understand, not everything requires software and touch screen.

The problem is though, Touch Bar and buttons would not work on 13" Macbook, the touch pad would be too small for some of the macOS gestures.


The Touchbar is a source of many complaints? Or just a small slice of people who complain loudly? Anecdotally, I have many relatives with touchbar MacBook Pros and they haven’t complained about it. Is it possible that many people actually like the touchbar but they don’t spend their time on specialized forums singing its praises? It just seems like the assumption that people hate the touchbar is selection bias. Aside from the aforementioned relatives, I have a few friends in the pro video/audio/photo world who love the touchbar.

I would caution Apple against placing too much weight on any particular opinion. Pleasing the curmudgeonly neckbeards might mean that you piss off the creatives, or vice versa.


The TouchBar is fine and looks nice. The problem is not the TouchBar itself, but how Apple decided to not care about many usability details complementary to the TouchBar (besides the ESC key).

Something really stupid (related to TouchBar design) happened to me about 2 weeks ago.

I watched a movie using an external TV, and I set the laptop screen brightness to zero. The movie ended, so I shut down the machine using the TV as a monitor.

Next day, when I turned on the laptop (without the TV). Zero! No sound, nothing, only the artificial "ESC" key in the TouchBar. My first reaction... "ohh the brightness", it happened before with older MBP models.

But... Where are my brightness keys!? For some reason, there were not displayed. (after a little bit of search in support forums, I found that some users were not seeing TouchBar keys during login too).

I connected the TV again... nothing. I tried to login... but since I couldn't see the login screen, I ended in the password recovery mode. In total desperation (that included trying to reboot in recovery or to do a SMC reset without any visual and auditive feedback), I found by chance that the screen displayed the right brightness if I open/close the lid.

When I saw the password reset mode screen, I was happy. But if I restarted the brightness remained in zero! and no TouchBar... After another trial & error of open closing the lid, I saw the pass recovery screen again. Then I deactivated FileVault to reboot in recovery mode, and finally, I saw the brightness keys in the TouchBar!!! (it was a WTF moment).

I searched in a lot of forums if it was possible to change the brightness with another key combination, but it wasn't possible. My secondary keyboard is a MagicKeyboard that is Bluetooth only... so I almost have to contact support for a very stupid design decision to not give the users a secondary method to control brightness when the TouchBar fails.

BTW previous Mac models emitted a sound during power on... that would have been helpful. It's very hard to know if your computer is working without any feedback. And it's also very hard to hit the recovery key combination without auditive feedback.

I like the aesthetics of Apple design, but as an Apple user for many years... the change of priorities in the hardware user experience is noticeable.


Guaranteed anyone who doesn’t mind just doesn’t need to use escape very much.

The problem with touchbar is it’s hard to use without looking at it - like most professionals do because it’s just muscle memory.

Give me a real escape and I won’t mind the rest being a touch Bar.

But I hope they make it like gaming keyboards that have real keys with tiny lcd displays on so you can customise the function but still have a real key to press.


I am a heavy programmer, and I do not mind the touch Esc key. It’s a bigger hit box. Though it does not offer tactile feedback, I find that just something to get used to as you don’t really need to locate it through tactile feedback.

It very much is a small set of people who complain loudly about the touchbar, and many of whom have not even used it that just think they won’t like it.


You can map your Caps Lock key to Esc.


Caps lock is where God wanted Control to be.


You can map it so that tapping caps lock is escape and holding it down is control.


Then you have to set a timeout, which introduces lag in your typing.


Only for the escape key. I don't find that there's any noticeable lag in practice.


It can be both. I know people who have it configured to be escape when it's pressed and released, but control when it's held down in combination with another key.


How do you do that? I normally use the keyboard preferences to change the capslock on my MBP to control. I'd like escape there too, but I'd like to avoid running additional software to enable it.


I use Karabiner and it's truly a wonderful piece of software. I'm super sensitive to any lag or missent keys, but this actually works very well and I don't even think about it anymore.

Here's the modification I use: https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/complex_modifications/#caps_l...

"Change caps_lock to control if pressed with other keys, to escape if pressed alone."


I'm not sure. I think on linux/X11 it's just xmodmap wizardry, any maybe on macos you need third party software, but don't take my word for it. It's not something I've really investigated since I'm personally satisfied with capslock=escape.


Which just means you then rewrite your muscle memory to hit caps lock on all your colleagues computers by accident.

No thank you.


I use Ctrl+[ instead of escape a lot of the times. Granted this is with mapping caps lock to control.

I’m afraid of mapping the caps lock to escape as a holdover from flash games where escape quit your game and so I fear destructive actions if I accidentally press escape instead of the “a” key, whereas if I accidentally press control nothing happens.


Am I the only one who actually uses the caps lock daily in this era? I see people remapping it all the time, and wonder.


Would it be that hard to just have both a Touch Bar and a row of keys? At this point the Touch Bar component can’t add that much in terms of manufacturing cost. An entire A10 iPod Touch is only $199.


Would those people that like the TB actually prefer paying (hypothetically) $200 less for their MBPs without it?

To me it adds zero value so whatever it adds to the cost of the product is an extra I don't want to pay.

I think if Apple had given the option to get their MBPs without the TB I doubt very few people would have bought it.


Ah, Schrödinger‘s Silent Majority.


actual macbook pro problems to be solved:

problem: flat keys suck

- the force of a keypress is concentrated on one point of fingertip

- finding the edge/center of a key is very hard

solution: concave keys

the keyboard on the first generation macbook pro were SIGNIFICANTLY better:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacBook_Pro#/media/File:MacBoo...

it was more comfortable - even luxurious - to type on, and your fingers could find keys and center themselves.

problem: dongles

- people will never have USB-C flash drives

- people will not have USB-C televisions

- people will never have USB-C ethernet

solution: ask people and give them back a few dedicated ports

problem: touchbar

- people actually touch-type

- some keys like escape are frequently used

solution: restore regular keys PLUS a touchbar above


Have the same MBP as you, and haven’t really had any issues.

I actually almost prefer the keyboard, I feel like having less travel means I have to press slightly less and can type marginally faster on my Mac keyboard than a normal one.

I’ve not had to replace anything, I’ve had a key that felt stuck once or twice, but after a good bash it fixed itself. But it is almost 3 years old now!

The Touch Bar is a bit useless I’ll admit, but using BetterTouchTool I’ve made it more useful. Shows me my company share price live, tube status and the time of my next train as well as shortcuts to my most used apps.


> I actually almost prefer the keyboard, I feel like having less travel means I have to press slightly less and can type marginally faster on my Mac keyboard than a normal one.

There are actually mechanical switches, like the Cherry MX Brown, that register the keypress before actuating. They're usually preferred by gamers because you can rapidly tap the keys without fully depressing them.

It's a shame there isn't a convenient way for people test out the variety of switches out there to find the style they prefer. Like Warby Parker for mechanical keyboards.


What will likely happen is Apple will replace Touch Bar with keys, and add OLED / e-ink screens on those keys.


That would have made more sense than the TB. You get a dynamic input method without sacrificing usability.


I imagined they’d expand it with more functionality, but I don’t think it’s getting any update in the new models?

At the minute it doesn’t do much except replace your function keys with a display. If it could render the dock or maybe take over some of notification centre, it might have some novel functionality.

What I’ve been trying to do so far is see if I can integrate it with emacs through a dynamic module, so it could render the modeline.


This would be superb


I bought a maxed out 2013 mbp instead. Was ready to buy a brand new one cash in hand but couldn't bring myself to do it. Still waiting...


I just purchased an Apple-refurbed 2015 MBP. It was a little surreal to be paying almost full price for a 4 year old model. The list of "pros" for the purchase decision was mostly a mirror of the "cons" of the more recent generations.

Overall, the 2015's are reliable machines with only the relatively minor annoyances of the battery recall and the "staingate" anti-glare coating issue.

Really hoping Apple returns to the ethos of their older designs, with serviceability and modularity higher on the list of design goals.


I have the 2015 MBP and I think it's the best laptop they've ever built.


Agreed. Still on a 2013 model at home and every time I use it after the new one I have at work I love it even more. Please please hold out another year so I can upgrade to something that actually works


I have a Macbook Air (2017 version) which I spilled a can of beer into. I thought it was dead but after leaving it to rest for a few days it resurrected from the dead and it works ever since like nothing happened. I love that machine. Indestructible.


While I am happy for you, I am also pretty surprised and would be interested in more details. A full can of beer is 355 mL, so how much beer are we talking about here? Are the keys not sticky at all?


I have a mbp 2018 (with touch bar)

I dropped a full bottle of gin on it last week. The bottle literally broke over my open backpack with the mbp there. It seemed like I threw it on the distillery.

After letting it fully dry, isssues are:

- Couple small spots on the monitor. I think water got inside between the glass and display. They were very big (20% of the screen) and been reducing and now just 2 small spots (maybe 2-3%). These don't seem to reduce anymore but I will try to see if applying some subtle heat over will make them disappear. - At first a couple keys didn't work, but now just the P and S seem to sometimes not register a tap, but when I press again, I get two of them. Not exactly sure what is going on or if it will go away. I would say it happens once every 20 or so taps (funny, writing happens there caused it on both the s and the p :))

Apart from that, all seems to be working fine. I can't say if it will continue, but I was sure it would be 'trash' after I saw what happen. Super happy it is working


80 proof alcohol is one of the better things you can spill on your computer. I spilled a glass of milk on my Titanium G4. Had to replace a bunch of components (back when you could pop out the keyboard) and it smelled bad.


The can wasn't full luckily. It might have been 150 ml or so. It mostly flowed under the keys from the grill right under the screen next to the hinge on the right side. Of course the machine shut off immediately and first I thought I bricked it. But I didn't. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


That's actually pretty impressive. Did you wash it with water? Did you do anything special to dry it out?


I totally understand, as do I. If you are trying to make a MacBook Pro more usable than they are currently, you have to get https://pock.dev It has been the best $0 app I have ever downloaded, and has changed my Touch Bar experience completely.

I makes your Touch Bar into your dock, and can include the date time, battery life, a mini Spotify/music controller, and several other useful things.


I'm on the exact same boat (Air then 1st touch bar Mac). I've resigned to using it docked only both at work and home.


I've bought the non Touch Bar model after using 2 months the TB one. I have never regret this decision.


I am sat here trying to work on a computer with about 8 buttons loose and two buttons which double press.

I've had the keyboard replaced once already for exactly the same problem, but I'm a contractor and Apple can take weeks to repair the keyboard so I'm probably going to be stuck working like this for a while longer - at least until I take holiday.

It's far from acceptable for a $2,000 [pro]fessional machine.


When the iPhone was announced and Steve Jobs commented how they were going to replace the keyboards on the screen, it seemed like a great idea. The adaptation was instantaneous. But when they announced this for the Macbook Pro models, the experience was not the same. Not to mention the bugs I had.


Now, if we could get a durable keyboard and two keys at the touchbar row, esc to the left and power/fingerprint to the right and a nice touchbar in the middle with haptic feedback, that would be perfect.

I don't use function keys much, and I need to confess the emoji keyboard is pretty neat.


Apple actually still sells the last of the MacBook Air models with the good old keyboards: the 2017 13-inch 2.2 GHz i7.


Whoops – they stopped selling that model today! Glad I got mine...


This isn’t about the Touch Bar, it’s about the butterfly mechanism.


Rereading their comment, I am positive they knows that.


Oh, it's definitely true.

I've just bought one after holding out for 6 years since my last MBP. Everyone's wishes will be granted imminently.


Having used the 2018 MacBook Air for about 3 months now, I can say I really detest it and I would return it if that were possible.

1) the keyboard. This thing really feels like slamming your fingers into a metal slab. I think my iPad Pro keyboard is better. The MacBook Air keyboard is also very loud. For something with so little depth the sound is shocking.

2) the webcam. Total garbage. In a laptop this expensive I think this is inexcusable. my old ipad has a significantly better camera for video calls so I’m not carrying around both. Ridiculous.

3) the new charger is so much worse than I could have expected. The lack of MagSafe I knew about, thought it would be ok. Really a big loss. There’s also something wrong with the cable. It’s constantly getting kinks/twists in the wiring which I can’t straighten out, even though I baby it.

If they release a new MacBook Air this year I’ll definitely feel a bit betrayed. Like they knowingly released something that was a stop-gap PoS.


With Jony Ive gone, I hope they finally move towards function over form.

From what I've been reading, the push for portraying Apple as a fashion company, came directly from Ive's side.


Having no real insight into who made what decisions, I think Apple’s focus on design is laudable. There are many things done right. It’s just that as someone that relies heavily on my tech, the things they’ve done wrong really hit home.

The keyboard I can almost understand. You might argue that there were true believers in the tech, thinking they just needed to iron out some problems and then it would be “so much better.”

The webcam is something that just makes me mad. It is clearly just bad. Even with ok lighting the video quality is just horrendous. There’s absolutely no excuse. It’s basically apple saying they don’t give a fuck.


That portrayal has been making them good money.


Because, believe it or not, many people are happy with Apple's designs.

And it's not just sales; Apple generally ranks at the top or near the top in customer satisfaction surveys as well.


Oh I don't need any convincing that many people are happy with Apple's designs. People are happy to carry dongles to compensate for miniscule no. of ports, deal with accidents due to removal of magsafe, getting rid of escape key, bad keyboard (never thought developers would be ok with the last two) etc etc while insisting on continuing to buy fairly expensive Apple products. It pretty much underlines that Apple can basically get away with murder.


> Like they knowingly released something that was a stop-gap PoS.

That happened with the iPad 3. It was replaced 6 months later since its SOC was totally underpowered for its retina display.


My iPad 2 vastly outperforms my iPad 3...this is very much true.


> If they release a new MacBook Air this year I’ll definitely feel a bit betrayed.

With one exception, they've released a new MBA literally every year from 2008 to 2018. At this point it would be a betrayal not to release an update this year.


The 2017 was a processor bump from 2015, if I recall. The 2017 MBA is probably the best 'recent' Mac laptop in terms of accolades from Joe Public.


At least for the magsafe thing you can buy USB-C magnetic adapters like the “CONMDEX USB C Magnetic Adapter”. Doesn’t address the other major shortcomings, but it’s a small win.


Perhaps that one is ok. Bought the baseus variant and after a month it is unreliable for charging already. Never had that issue with a magsafe.


>2) the webcam.

There were many complaint about it. Somehow post 2015 model, all Macbook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air Retina has regressed in one way or another.


Regarding the keyboard: you really need to take time and learn how to use it. You don't push the buttons, you more like softly touch them. It's strange at the beginning but then you really appreciate the fact that you don't have to work that hard to get the same result.

It's hard to unlearn old habits.


The old iPad has a better camera? The specs wouldn’t support that claim.


It seems like there are two camps of people:

Those who are very pleased to hear they will be backpedaling on their updated keyboard designs.

Those who "don't understand" because they actually like the new keyboards (and the TouchBar even).

No matter where you stand, the new keyboards are highly controversial and divisive, and that's not good. The old keyboards didn't put people into opposing sides, they just were there. Sure people compared them to other manufacturer keyboards, sometimes for the worse and other times for the better, but it wasn't a hate or love relationship by the user base. There was no "getting used to it," it was just a keyboard.

I look forward to a return to a non controversial, highly usable and widely accepted as "fine", keyboard. I hope that's what we get.


> The old keyboards didn't put people into opposing sides, they just were there.

Have you ever spoken to a thinkpad advocate re: chiclet keyboards? The previous mac keyboards were absolutely controversial. It took years for the previous keyboard to be 'just a keyboard', which I do acknowledge happened.

> I look forward to a return to a non controversial, highly usable and widely accepted as "fine", keyboard.

Honestly, this will never happen for two reasons:

1) people's needs are diverse enough where that's simply an impossible job. I happen to _really_ like the current apple keyboards, but the reliability is bad enough for me to want a change. The consensus where I work (100ish mac laptops) is that the keyboard is awful. Someone is going to be unhappy, and it sounds like it might be me :(

2) There's some segment of the technology world (non-unix people?) that will latch onto any criticism of apple - fair/deserved or not - and shout it endlessly.


> The previous mac keyboards were absolutely controversial. It took years for the previous keyboard to be 'just a keyboard', which I do acknowledge happened.

I would dispute that people stopped caring about the keyboard shortcomings. They're ergonomically bad keyboards, just not bad enough to keep complaining for this many years. If all Apple cares about is what people are currently chattering about, they're missing an opportunity to improve the product, because I still regard the MacBook keyboards as a reason to buy something else. When I think of the painful adjustment that I'll have to make if I ditch Apple laptops in favor of something else, there's a voice in my head saying, "Remember when a laptop keyboard could feel good to type on?" Banging my fingertips into a hard surface all day never became "just a keyboard."


> I would dispute that people stopped caring about the keyboard shortcomings.

Let me guess, you have a guy feeling about this stuff?


Can you please clarify, what is a guy feeling?


Most of the technology works just hates any sort of change. Apple’s core base is different, they embrace change regardless of its utility. So that makes it hard to evaluate this kind of tech online.

I’m also noticing that the article suggests that apple’s real reason for change is poor yield and reliability. Those are objective measures, so I think we can agree that the current keyboard is bad.


> Apple’s core base is different, they embrace change regardless of its utility.

I really don't know how one can come to this conclusion. Apple people bitch about _everything_ that changes. I think the one and only exception might be any time that they added retina screens to something.

Source: I am an apple user.


Yes, and no.

There's bitching but Apple's audience is always the first to absorb the change that eventually hits the whole industry.

MacOS Classic to Mac OS X? They kept Classic Mode around for 5 years for a reason. Eventually the benefits outweighed the drawbacks.

Loss of floppy drives and serial ports in the iMac? Bitching galore, but it was the right move.

Loss of built in DVD/CD drive on the Macbook Pro (circa 2012 with the retina MBP)? Bitching, but when's the last time we needed it so often?

Lots of bitching about iPhone 6 screen sizes being too big, leading to the iPhone SE. But ultimately more people liked the bigger size.

Lots of bitching about USB-C vs. Magsafe, but ultimately USB-C is proving to be the correct move.

The touchbar feels like the main misstep. I think most of the bitching would go away if they brought back haptics on the ESC key.


The mac chiclet keyboards weren't the best or the worst but these recent keyboards are awful.


Well, IMO it depends on what you get used to. After typing for one day on my mechanical keyboard, even the Thinkpad feels like typing on cardboard. Conversely, using the mechanical keyboard, after spending a few days on my laptop, feels like an old typewriter. I can say that I enjoyed my 2016 Macbook keyboard after getting used to it and I was even faster than on the old macbook. Also, another example, the 2014 model had shorter travel and crisper feeling than the 2011 model. I guess, after a while you get used to something and it feels ok. Until it breaks that is.


This is the real point. A keyboard IS AN INTERFACE. The point of it is to move information between two things: the computer and me. It is a means. If I notice it at all, that’s a negative.


Regardless of who likes the current keyboard, there is a large reliability issue. I don’t mind the small travel but I have had to constantly air duster my keyboard and finally completely replace it (through apple) because the e key would sometimes register nothing and sometimes register twice - that’s not a subjective keyboard taste thing, that’s just a reliability problem I have never had with any other keyboard, certainly not in under just 8 months of use.


What about we who like the new keyboards (sans Touch Bar, personally) but understand (being intellectually mature adults) that people's preferences differ, probably at least in part because their typing styles also differ?

To be honest I expect this group greatly outnumbers your number 2), but being quietly satisfied with a thing is not a state of mind as conducive to jumping into an internet flame war as one of contempt for those who don't agree with your own subjective opinion of a thing or things.

The big problem I have with the new design is the reliability. I haven't personally had a key stop working, but it seems to be a real problem, and I do think the keys on my machine that has them (12" Macbook) have gotten fairly mushy after just a few years of use. That shouldn't happen—a really good keyboard will last for decades and/or tens of millions of strokes per key.


I like the new keyboard... for the first 2 years I owned my macbbook.

But as soon as it started failing and i needed to get keys replaced it became a nuisance.

The old keyboard had much better reliability


I'm in the former camp and I don't really know a lot of people that own Apple products that actually have anything positive to say about either the keyboard or the touchbar. So the other camp is probably pretty small. I know a disturbingly large number of people that already had keyboard replacement (multiple in several cases) and the only reason I haven't gone in myself yet is that not having a laptop for a week plus is very inconvenient so I've been living with a flaky command key for a while now.

So, good riddance. What took them so long?


I know a lot of people who prefer the new keyboard, including people who have had technical issues with it.


> non controversial, widely accepted as "fine"

This isn't what Apple does. There are many examples of them making changes that people dislike initially, but then over time emerge as 'the way'.

It seems in this case they may have gone too far and have not managed to convert enough people over to thinking the new keyboard is actually better than the old one - though this is certainly compounded by the reliability issue and might have been true otherwise.

But what they don't do, and shouldn't do, is drive for non controversial and fine. There are plenty of laptop manufacturers that use this strategy, and we can all agree that Apple make vastly, vastly superior laptops to those brands. Mistakes might be made, but they're part and parcel of what make Apple, Apple. Without the risk of mistakes, we also wouldn't have all the other great features that the MacBook has.


The heat comes from the reliability issues.


Finally! It took four years to admit there is something wrong. And one more year to change upcoming laptops. - It‘s unbelievable how this crap could be released. Coming from a ThinkPad to a MBP in 2015 I was even disappointed by the keyboard of the MBP 2015. Then switching to a MBP 2018 I was shocked how much worse things could get (for the sake of thinness?)


> Finally! It took four years to admit there is something wrong. And one more year to change upcoming laptops

I think they admitted something was wrong as soon as they created the replacement program, it's just they have been completely unwilling to alter their planned product schedule to fix it early. When they create a laptop design they expect to be able to ship the same basic chassis design for 3-4 years and in this design the keyboard and chassis are so entwined they're literally bolted together.

We're getting a new non-Pro design revision with it fixed right on schedule and the Pro isn't scheduled to redesign till next year so we get the fix then. Both these fixes could have been in the market 1-2 years ago if they company truly wanted it.

They just decided it either wasn't worth the money, or wasn't worth changing their cadence to fix it early. Just don't think they have much respect for their Mac customers anymore and know they'll stick around.


> Both these fixes could have been in the market 1-2 years ago if they company truly wanted it.

How much development time does Apple need for a new laptop design? I think it takes them about 2 years.

So if you say they could have had fixed keyboards in 2017, they would have had to start designing them in 2015, which is a year before the 2016 models even went on sale.

My assumption is that they only realized that the butterfly switches are unsalvageable after the July 2017 upgrade failed to fix the problems, so they started working on new Macbook designs with scissor switches in late 2017, which will be released in 2019/2020.


I don’t think the parent was implying that it took them 4 years to design a keyboard but that once Apple made a new design they expected it to last a minimum of 3 to 4 years. So they could’ve fixed it earlier but they insisted on getting their 3-4 years out of the original design.


> unwilling to alter their planned product schedule

Given that Apple is a company headed by a COO, run entirely on tight logistics, my strong belief is that they just wanted to use up all the butterfly keyboard key-mechs they had already pumped out.


Yeah I was going to say that but I definitely don't think it would have stayed in the market this long if the CEO was a product person rather than ops.

I mean I'm not trying to downplay how huge it would be to dump that design early, they have an insane amount of machinery and production line set up which they expect to get a few years of usage out of and at the end of the day only the CEO can make a call on if its important enough to go back and retool early and your Ballmers, your Tim Cooks are just never going to make that trade off.

An ops person isn't going to lose any sleep over the MacBook line being downgraded from a great product to an ok product.


In code the reason we don't do wholesale rewrites of complicated systems very often is because while there are bugs in the current system they're known quantities; going back to the drawing board and starting from scratch results in a newer, better, but unknown system with unknown bugs. That might be worse. It's a massive risk.

This is true for Apple's new keyboard too. We can't automatically assume it's better than the existing one, or that it has no issues. It's an unknown. For all we know a new keyboard might be even worse than the current one. Hopefully Apple will have learned from their mistakes but whether or not they've corrected all the problems or introduced new problems is something we can't know.

It's good that Apple appear to be listening and are trying to fix the problem (if that's the reason for the new keyboard) but I won't be rushing out to buy one for a while.


Nobody said they need to start from scratch. This failure of a keyboard already proved your point. Simply going back to the previous design and iterating from that would have been a massive improvement.


I love my Carbon X1, especially because of it's excellent keyboard. Unfortunatly the same can not be said about it's touchpad which causes constantly accidental clicks while typing.

A combination of Lenovo's keyboard and Apple's touchpad would make a strong combination.


What’s wrong with the 2015? That’s the last good version of the keyboard IMO.


It's not as good as those on Thinkpads.


Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.


I much preferred the keyboard on my 2015 MBP to that on my 2018 Thinkpad. The newer Apples keyboards (including the wireless ones) are crap, I agree.


Which thinkpads? From 2003? From 2010? From today?


I got an X1 Extreme. Keyboard is amazing. Didn’t know these keyboards were so much better than any MAC I owned until January this year.


Dat touchpad though...


I don’t mind it. I use the keyboard 95% of the time. Then touchpad much less. While Apple has the best touchpad. Keyboard is more important. IMO.


Interesting. Did you use more traditional thinkpad keyboards (back when IBM owned them)?


I think I used a ThinkPad back in 1997 when my Uncle had a laptop. But aside from that possibility I don’t believe I’ve ever touched one until beginning of this year.


They will take my T520 from my cold, dead hands. That was the last one that came with an actually useful keyboard...

... and thanks to Linux, it runs like on the first day.


I have a T520 at home as my linux box. At work I use a 2015 MacBook Pro.

I don't know.

I don't find the T520's keyboard to be any better than the MBP's. The differences in key placement are much more noticeable than any difference in key shape, travel, or response.

Am I missing something?

... and thanks to Linux, it runs like on the first day.

The integrated Intel GPU in my T520 is stuck on XDDM and never got an updated WDDM driver. So it can't run a modern version of Windows anyways.


Yes, better.


Funny there's a conversation about the ThinkPad 2015 going on - my x240 was the generation that had the buttonless trackpad (which screwed the trackpoint).

Credit to Lenovo, they backtracked within one generation, but I am not nearly so rich as to be able to change laptops that often so it was a costly design "innovation" to me on their end!


You can buy a trackpad with buttons to replace it. It is compatible with the X250 trackpad I think. Or was this only the case with T440s and T450s?


If you have a mint 2015 mac pro 15" with box and battery -- I predict it will be going up in value.


There's a good chance you can have the battery replaced as part of the ongoing recall.

https://support.apple.com/15-inch-macbook-pro-battery-recall


The last Apple laptop with a keyboard of similar quality to current ThinkPads was the G4 AlBook (2003).


The problem with the design is that it breaks, not that it is otherwise bad. I prefer it over the older design, as do many others.


That is the main problem with it.

* It breaks.

* It makes a lot of noise.

* It has almost no travel.

I really dislike #2 and #3 but to their credit it is thin (which I don't care much about). You can argue about #2 and #3 being subjective which is fair enough (the same is true for it being thin). However #1 is not subjective, and doesn't occur in a "few isolated cases". It is a proven design issue.

What I'd furthermore argue though is that #1 and #2 and #3 are together the sole result of going for thinness. After all, the previous keyboards worked great (and I owned 4 MBPs of the 2010-2015 range).

Meanwhile, the prices of the MBPs have only increased which adds insult to injury!

There's this saying, "if it ain't broken, don't fix it". At the same time there's "release early, release often". The first version of the iPhone had serious disadvantages. Apple didn't release AirPower. These each had their minus. However Apple has failed to address this specific minus. We've been beta testing this feature enough. It is time to admit the design flaw, and move on (but don't Osbourne the current series).


> * It makes a lot of noise.

You don't work with people using mechanical keyboards, right?


Everyone here, including e.g. IT, uses HP membrane keyboards with not a whole lot of travel. They don't make noise. I grew up with a IBM keyboard. Only thing I remember is I loved the feeling of it because they keys were always under my finger. I don't remember how much noise it made. I guess it is different if you're the person who's typing.

Not every mechanical keyboard creates as much noise as the other one though. And it also depends on how you use the keyboard.

If I'd work from home, a MBP butterfly would make my partner insane though. It could wake up my child, even. If you make your own noise, it is might be soothing or something. If it is other people around you whilst you're trying to concentrate you are violating their ability to use their time efficiently. I'm of the opinion that we should value such as "extremely rude".


It may make a bit more noise than the older one, but it certainly does not make "a lot" of noise. And the short travel is also not a problem, just a personal preference. As I said, I much prefer it, as do many others.


> but it certainly does not make "a lot" of noise

Personal anecdote but I was on an film set recently with mine, I'd planned to just work away because I was only going to be needed if things went wrong but on a quiet set I actually felt the keyboard was so noisy that I'd worry it would be getting picked up on the microphones. It felt uncomfortably loud even if they're filming a good 10 meters away.

I actually do like noisy keyboards in my own home, but the issue with Apple is if one size fits all then you really need to think of all the places that machine is potentially going to end up.


I often travel with public transport, including by train. Noisy people on smartphone is annoying, but there is a silence coupe where people have to be silent. So you can go sit there, right? Then it becomes apparent how noisy these newer Apple MBPs are. Whenever I get annoyed by the noise of a laptop, it is that.

And unfortunately I cannot listen to music and read... I wish I could! But I can't...


It is a lot of noise compared to my flaretech red switches. It is a lot of noise compared to my current and previous MBPs are previous ThinkPads.

Also, I even have my TouchPad on silent (I prefer than over the < 2015 versions even though the 2014 have less design flaws).

You prefer it, I don't. Many others prefer it, many other's don't. Like the touchbar, it was a controversial change. But if it then turns out to break regularly, then it is better to return to the previous design.


Yep. I find myself unable to use my personal MBP 2015 after using the 2018 MBP for work. The feel is just so much better. The reliability is the issue(though I haven’t faced any issues yet).


I can't stop but speculate if departure of Ive had anything to do with this. I guess there was a lot of push-back internally about this, but because of Ive, they had to endure 4 generations of butterfly switches. Touchbar also is just a resource hog for nothing extraordinarily useful. I haven't seen people use it too often. I bet they did user studies and found out that the Touchbar wasn't the new interaction method they hoped it would be. And now, they are planning to introduce new macs without them. I bet Ive feels bad about having to see his decisions being rolled back. Anyway, I hope the rumored 16' Macbook pro actually caters to the professionals by prioritizing thermals over thinness, and if one can wish, it would be nice if Magsafe could ride this rollback train.


This app was released recently:

https://pock.dev/

It puts the dock in your touchbar. It's the first time in the 9 months I've had this laptop where I've actually gone "ok, this is useful" and I am actually using it. I now have the dock auto hide and I mostly use the touch bar to open apps.

That said, I'd still prefer they ditched the touchbar in favor of function keys. I'd be happy if they shrunk the ridiculous size of the touchpad a bit, and put a row of function keys in between the touchpad and keyboard as well.


Personally, while I have never once used the touchbar, I do think the ability for apps to display contextual function keys has a lot of use cases. I would be happy if they released physical keys with little oled screens on them, like that old Optimus keyboard. Apparently it was garbage but the tech has come a long way in ten years.


I think that one thing holding this back is the lack of a desktop keyboard with a touchbar display. If there was a normal sized keyboard where you could have a full keyboard and a TB display, that would help give an incentive to have more touchbar apps like pock.dev.

Unfortunately, so many people hate the current version of the touchbar that there hasn’t been much innovation in this area.


A slight improvement over that invented by Apricot 36 years ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ACT_Apricot


Apps can display contextual functions on the screen! The main problem with the touchbar is that you never look at it. It's not discoverable.


The problem with the touch bar is that you have to look away from the screen to use it. Physical buttons would allow you to touch type, and I don't think it's a problem to scan the keys a few times when you start using a new app. In that sense they are just as discoverable as keyboard shortcuts. You look them up a few times, and eventually you use them without thinking about it.


We're working on that currently for an entire keyboard

www.sonderdesign.com


Interesting, I've been wondering for years why nobody makes e-ink keyboards. I'm old enough to remember the $1,200 Optimus keyboard that had OLED screens in each key. Everybody wanted one, but then it turned out they were total shit to use. E-ink should have far fewer challenges than oled screens though. Just a bit of feedback: your product page doesn't tell me anything about the hardware design. I would want to know what kind of switches you are using, materials, travel distance, tactility, etc before I would consider buying one. You might want to include some detailed technical specs on another page if you want to attract the hardcore keyboard nerds. While they aren't a large market, they are influencers. I'd also like to see some video of the keyboard being used before I plop down $200 on a preorder.


Windows laptops are far worse than the touchbar: replacing the function keys with volume, brightness etc.

The two worst keys are the touchpad lock key, and the WiFi key. Both of which "crash" the laptop when your average user hits them unintentionally: because either the touchpad stops working or the internet stops working. Absolute madness.


In all the laptops I've seen, volume and brightness controls require the Fn modifier to be pressed (or can be set to do so), else they behave as F1-F12 normally.


They did themselves disservice by replacing the f keys with a Touch Bar


honestly what do you use the dock for? i find i set up my windows in different workspaces at the beginning of the day and just toggle between them. the dock is more of an annoyance nowadays.


The https://pock.dev Touch Bar is great. It can show you the DateTime, battery life, all of your open apps, but the thing I use it for most is Spotify. You can do swipe gestures on the Spotify Touch Bar icon to control the music player without opening the app at all.


I do that as well, but I don't keep every app open all day long so the dock still comes in handy.


It's seemed wildly obvious to me that Ive, whatever good work he did under Jobs, did horrible work without Jobs to constrain him.

I hope that Apple returns to making quality hardware without Ive present.


Outside of the keyboard fiasco what else has Apple designed that’s so bad?

I quite like Face ID, the latest gen iPad Pro, and even the new Mac mini, and Mac Pro.

Sure the keyboards were bad, but like it or not Apple has a pretty obvious goal to get MacBooks as thin and light as possible. At some point they needed a switch from the existing keyboard design to make it thinner.


> Outside of the keyboard fiasco what else has Apple designed that’s so bad?

How about the first generation Pencil? To charge it you had to plug it in to your iPad.... it looked ridiculous and was very distracting. Thankfully, they fixed this in the second generation.


iOS 7 with zero affordance was slap in the face. It was epitome of form over function. Unfortunately the entire joined the bandwagon and it took yeas to dial back and undo the damage and or people just got used to it.


It’s pretty suggestive that Ive leaving was precipitated by this. He may have been forcing the keyboard against criticism. I’m sure he had huge clout from his big successes over the years. Good riddance, I say. I hope they make a dramatic back step on their laptops.


Once I got used to the new keyboards, I actually far prefer them. Ditto with the TouchBar. Yeah, I'm a heretic I suppose.

Keyboard: pleasant clicky-ness and little movement required. Thin AF.

TouchBar: customized with BetterTouchTools to be a hybrid of my most often-used shortcuts (expand menu, alfred, fantastical, window management, and 1password on the left, notification center and lock screen on the right) and music controls with gestures in the middle: shows current track, can change volume, switch tracks, play/pause, mute, or tap into a submenu to pull up most frequent playlists and add current songs to my library. Way better than using the function keys of old.

Oh and the escape key… long remapped to caps lock. If I really need caps lock, fn + caps lock key toggles it.


The problem that most people have is not with how it feels, it's how unreliable it is with buttons failing or missing keystrokes. Sometimes only caused by a spec of dust.

Getting used to the feeling of the flatter keyboard isn't really an issue for most people.


No, most people have no issues. There is not a 51% failure rate. Being in a group does not a majority make.


According to Twitter Poll by 50 different Web SaaS companies, All of them had MacBook Pro Keyboard failure in their team and have been working around them.

If you are telling me even a 5% keyboard failure rate within the first 2 year of purchase is an acceptable number that we can simply stop further discussion and say we agree to disagree.


I was referring to the subset of people who have a problem though, not the total number of customers who bought one.


Even a 10% failure rate would be catastrophic and much worse than previous keyboards.


Exactly

It’s a piece of shit, and even after a replacement it’s broken within weeks.


I'm just contemplating my second return...


I haven’t had a failure yet and I hate HATE the butterfly switches. I thought the old scissor switches were subpar and prefer a mechanical keyboard, though, so obviously thin and non-tactile are akin to profanity in my world...


How is "little movement required" a good thing though? Having a healthy amount of key travel makes typing a lot more comfortable. I'm not impressed by thinness either. Laptops are thin enough to be functional. When Apple says "our new keyboard design is 40% thinner" it's a non sequitur. The question should be whether it's better, not whether it's thinner. That should attract ridicule like if an energy drink advertised: "Our formula is now 11% more dense!" Like, I'm sure their flavor scientists are aware of the density but that's a random and bizarre data point to be bragging about publicly.


I think it's impossible to make an objective judgement about whether more key travel is better or worse. Personally I got used to the new keyboard in a couple of hours, and never thought key travel again. I do like the "clickiness" of the keys, but I don't really care how far I have to press it.

I would say the toucbar is a completely useless liability, and the poor durability of the keyboard is an issue, but if they were able to produce a butterfly keyboard which worked reliably and had a physical escape key it would be more than fine for me.


Yeah after a year getting used to it I thought the same. Then I went back and used my old Macbook Air while it was getting repaired (for keyboard issues, of course). After using the old MBA keyboard for more than 30 seconds I changed my mind pretty quickly.


> Oh and the escape key… long remapped to caps lock. If I really need caps lock, fn + caps lock key toggles it.

I've remapped escape to caps lock too, but how do you get fn + caps lock to toggle caps lock?


I'm pretty sure you can do it with karabiner, this page has an example with mapping shift+capslock to capslock:

https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/complex_modifications/


I've tried BTT, but the biggest issue is you're trading touch typing for contextual hunt and peck, even worse if you're opening one of those submenus. You can fit 100x the shortcuts in the same real estate with f1~12 + modifier keys, and you don't have to look down from the screen.


Thank goodness. MacBooks are the best laptops in many respects, but I had to cross them off the buy list due to the keyboard. I understand it's controversial, but for me I've spent plenty of time using the butterfly keyboard and it just doesn't feel comfortable to me. And I'm not some mechanical keyboard purist, actually my favorite keyboard of all time was the previous chicklet keyboard. A runner up for me is a travel Bluetooth keyboard with round keys that Logitech makes.


> MacBooks are the best laptops in many respects

I've never heard this before.

I thought some people needed their proprietary software that could only be run on Apple products, and that is what forces someone to buy a Macbook.

What are they best in class for?

EDIT: Thank you for the serious responses


  I've never heard this before.
For several years (after the ThinkPad brand got sold to Lenovo who promptly started shipping it with spyware) there wasn't really a PC laptop brand with a rock solid reputation for high build quality.

Lots of companies were putting their badges on inch-thick, mostly plastic 15" laptops with mediocre touchpads that never delivered the battery life they promised. And if your employer issued you with a Windows laptop, that was what you got. Remember laptop bags, when moving a laptop needed padding and a shoulder strap and pockets to carry your mouse and power brick?

That's not to say there weren't some good products out there - there were some well designed Vaios, some pretty daring early tablet PCs and so on. But there wasn't a brand where you could say "Just buy an X" and know that you'd get a good quality product.

Of course, in recent years a lot of PC manufacturers have stepped up their game (or maybe I'm just spending more money?) while Apple has had a few stumbles.


> ...the ThinkPad brand got sold to Lenovo who promptly started shipping it with spyware...

That's incorrect. You're referring to SuperFish, which was only on Lenovo's consumer machines, not on ThinkPad.

https://support.lenovo.com/us/en/product_security/superfish


Nonetheless, it cast a big shadow over the brand; you couldn't just advise someone to buy a Lenovo.


Oh, I would never just advise someone to buy a Lenovo. They might end up choosing some mediocre IdeaPad!

I only advise people to buy ThinkPads, and I make specific recommendations on what model to get and which options to choose after we talk about their needs. For example, most people are better off getting a better display instead of a faster CPU if they don't have the money for both.

Everyone I've advised like this has been delighted with their ThinkPads. If there is any "shadow" over the brand, it hasn't affected them or me.


> What are they best in class for?

Best overall balance between performance/weight/battery life.

Best trackpad, hands down, no caveats, no balancing against other concerns. It's just that good.

Best integration with other devices (iphone, watch, etc). Making calls/sending text messages from a laptop is something I'm unwilling to give up at this point.

And most importantly, it's _by far_ the best support for a commercial unix/unix-like OS on a laptop. Dell isn't too bad though.

In the end, unix or a unix-like os is hard requirement for many of us, and I'm just too tired of fiddling with xorg/powertop to get decent battery life. I just want to get work done.


The older (say 2008-2015) trackpad is best -- a dream to use. The newer one is too big, alas. It's shocking how often I accidentally press it when I'm just trying to rest my palms on my laptop.

(But yes, the unix-like OS that doesn't require a lot of fiddling about and has nice GUI is the big thing for me, too.)


Reliable, great hardware quality (keyboard aside), gorgeous Unix-based OS out of the box, excellent driver support.

Edit: And the best trackpad ever designed imo


Near-instant sleep/wake, best trackpad, Exceptional battery life, good weight/thinness balance for the power, industry-leading I/O performance with their SSD (which were PCIe years before the mainstream), very fast external ports (USB-C now) which can drive RAID disk arrays, fast flash drives, even eGPUs.

After the hardware, the software: it's a GUI that just works with minimal fuss, supports most mainstream software, and also works with all the *nix stuff from Linux and BSD.

AND I can dual boot to Linux, Free/Open BSD, or Windows

AND I can run VMware or Parallels or the native Mac hypervisor (Docker)

I've seriously given consideration to the Surface Book Performance Base and the Dell XPS 15, but there are a lot of tradeoffs that keep me coming back to Apple's choices. The touchbar is not very useful to me but it's a minor thing. The keyboard I've been lucky (for 2 years).


The trackpad makes it impossible for me to use a non-Apple laptop (I particularly love the haptic ones) - if anything else comes close I would love to try it.


Trackpad, battery life, the OS.


Best in class screens

The trackpad is unsurpassed in the industry

Low power consumption / good battery life


Except for trackpad and a decent MacOS, nothing really. Low quality hardware, increasingly subpar battery life on newer MBPs, battery swellings too common.

The hardware issues are common, but PR damage control teams, stakeholders, and fans will bury anyone who mentions it.


> What are they best in class for?

The overall experience.


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