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16-inch MacBook Pro (apple.com)
1840 points by rayascott 22 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 1688 comments



I'm astonished and pleased to see they walked back the two worst things about the original Touch Bar MBPs - the lack of a physical Escape key, and the full-size left and right arrow keys.

The lack of physical function keys remains regrettable, and the Touch Bar is still no worthy substitute, but perhaps this is a sign that Apple is finally interested in listening to feedback from its long-term customer base, even if that feedback conflicts with the design team's desires.


It turns out that people who buy laptops -- a mobile-ish form factor differentiated from a tablet by its keyboard -- might really really care about keyboards as the main interface between user and device.

I'd concluded that Apple didn't really think much of laptops anymore, and had simply moved on to caring more about other form factors: it seemed a logical conclusion if one assumed that people at Apple were in fact competent.

This shows some real care regarding laptops as a form factor and puts them back in the running for a lot of buyers, including me. But there's still one major issue that I don't see people talking much about -- the way that Apple's decisions regarding storage (namely soldering it to the board AND making it so that there's no way to access it in the event of a logic board failure) increases consumer risk as well as decreasing consumer choice:

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Apple-removes-the-Customer-Dat...

It increases risk of data loss. That's a choice that impacts the day-to-day experience much less than the keyboard, which explains why the keyboard has gotten much more attention, and it really is nice that a company arguably built on attention to experience returned to that aspect of it. But this kind of choice makes a huge difference in a moment of failure, and it's at least equally user-hostile, especially in a product bearing the name "pro" where data recovery can be a matter of business continuity.

I suppose that one can argue a responsible professional will be using network and external backups (and of course all responsible professionals worth considering or selling anything to will do this, right?), and so this isn't necessary, and Apple's thing (wise or unwise) is that they frequently reconsider and eliminate things that aren't crucial. But redundancy in some areas is wise, and I can't see what they think eliminating both removability AND emergency direct access when it come to storage actually buys them. Even if one assumes it's a lock-in action for service, it makes the actual service more difficult and costly.

I'm liking the keyboard correction. I just bought a 2014 MBP to replace an older failing MBP, so I'm not in the market for something else for a year or two, but when that comes up, I'll be seriously looking at the 16" as an option. And this will be what I'm thinking about.


>It increases risk of data loss.

I realize that this is idealistic of me but data loss should never be an issue. This is 2019 and backups have been drilled into everyone's heads for years and years and years. You can still access the drives in these via Target Disk mode (and I've had to do a few recoveries through that so I know it works) and it's likely that the pros outweigh the cons.


On the other hand:

- There's the adage in the enterprise space that, if you haven't tested your backups, then you don't really have backups. Most consumers, and even professional users, aren't likely going to be in a position to verify their backups before they actually need them.

- Not even being able to do simple repairs or upgrades massively reduces the ROI. This is especially for high-end, professional equipment.

When I first started my current job, everyone was given the option of a Thinkpad with linux or a Mac. Both units had 16GB of RAM. When it became apparent that 16GB was insufficient for my workloads, it was simple for IT to upgrade my Thinkpad to 32GB. My coworkers with Macs were not so fortunate.


> If you haven't tested your backups, then you don't really have backups.

Backups are boring.

Restore from backup is quite exciting.


> There's the adage in the enterprise space that, if you haven't tested your backups, then you don't really have backups. Most consumers, and even professional users, aren't likely going to be in a position to verify their backups before they actually need them.

This is why having more than just one computer is beneficial. Because I jump between multiple laptops, desktops, and other devices, and perform my work and other activities, I bring with me copies of my data between devices by necessity, whenever I need that data.

And I think that is actually the way to do it. Not to focus so much on trying to keep multiple copies of all of your data since forever, because then you get bogged down in details about keeping everything in sync and everything organized, but instead to just focus on the data that you actually need, and being conscious about making copies of data when you use it.

In the past, when I was using fewer computers, I had one computer that was sort of the canonical location of data. And I’d access it over the network and work on my data there. It had great uptime too. On the order of months. Then one day there was a power outage and that was when I realized that I had no idea what I had set as the password for the full disk encryption on said machine. Ooops :^)

I lost a fair bit of data that day. But I learned something too, and that learning has shaped my habits in how I deal with data and I can proudly say that in the years that have passed since then I have been able to hold on to all of the data that is most important to me.

I almost got blindsided by 2FA a couple of years ago, because I didn’t know that the keys for the second factor were intentionally kept device-local. But thankfully I was changing phones with the old one still functional and in my possession and was waiting with performing factory reset until after I’d set up the new phone and seen whether or not I had all that I needed. So because of that all I needed to do was to log in with the 2FA of the old phone on each service I had it on, temporarily disable 2FA and then reenable it with the new phone and when I did that I also saved all of the new 2FA keys so that in the event that I might actually end up having to switch phones because the new one broke in the future I would not end up locked out of my accounts.


If you're using iOS, Google Authenticator seeds are indeed backed up if you do an encrypted local backup via iTunes, iMazing, etc.


Even if data loss is entirely mitigated by backups, storage failure can also be a thing, and mitigating that issue used to be a matter of making at least one of your backups bootable and on media you could swap in, so this didn't take down the whole device. Not sure what techs do now, but I'll bet it involves more downtime and less continuity.

But data loss is an issue. Network backups are great, and I use them, but they're bandwidth bound. Local external drive backups are great, and I do them, but less frequently. And I don't test my backups (yet)... do you? Having removable storage -- or even storage that's reliably accessible in the face of other component failure -- provides an extra margin against the risk of loss that can creep in even with a set of responsible backup habits.

What's the pro of soldering storage to the board that outweighs these cons?


Just get a time machine, put on your wifi and you don't have to think about it anymore, it will just backup every day in the background. You can easily restore into another macbook using the builtin restore functionality. Apples solution to this is really good (still struggling to do it with the same ease with Windows without 3rd party software and Linux).


> restore into another macbook

That's the problem. Instead of replacing a $200 SSD, you have to replace the entire $2000 machine.


Just preheat the board, get your hot air station, heat and remove those bad modules, clean the pads, add your solder and remount some new ones before cleaning up all that flux you were using. Then reinstall macOS and restore your backups.

It might take a few tries before the solder balls up correctly under each pad. Use plenty of flux. Maybe give it a ultrasonic bath.

Source: YouTube


Ah yes, Apple is known for making things obvious, intuitive, easy, and user-friendly! /s

Having an actual mini-sata or m.2 connector won't be too taxing. But it will increase tech support costs, and lower profits from sales of new replacement machines at least.

Sad. (That's why my choice is Thinkpad T series, which is built like a tank: heavy, bulky, easy to replace any part, and hard to actually break; also, enough room for a good keyboard.)


T (and X) series solders some stuff now too. Dell XPS15 and X1 Extreme are mostly maintainable.


Even the XPS 13s are more serviceable than their rival MBP 13"s. The RAM may be soldered on both but the XPS uses a standard NVMe SSD. It's saved me a few times already.


I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or serious


Yes.


If you have AppleCare you won’t have to pay for that replacement. After 3 years, you would, however buying a laptop with an inferior OS just in case one day a machine catastrophically fails is like riding a horse because you are afraid your car might fly off a bridge at some point in the future.

I know I am anecdote-land, but I have never in 20 years of using Macs, had one catastrophically fail. Or fail at all for that matter.


Fair enough, but I have had one in the last 7 years, and so has my sister. Hard drives in both cases.


HDD or SSD?


Apple discontinued Time Capsule and their entire Airport line. The Time Machine software is still in MacOS, but de-emphasized and who knows if they'll retain it going forward.


Doesn’t it ask you whenever you plug in an empty hard disk if you want to use it as a Time Machine backup drive?


In what way has it been de-emphasized?


With how hard they're pushing their cloud and integrating it into pretty much everything I'm surprised there's still no official cloud backup solution for Mac.


The pros are only size related. Size at all costs is excusable as a consumer or prosumer product, but most of the users of the high end pro's want power, cooling, good ports, reliability, and certainly upgradability. The 2012's were so nice featuring 2 internal sata connections and removable ram. Those computers weren't too thick in my mind, so for a pro, I think they have their objectives mixed up.


I feel the upgradability issue is relatively minor. For some extra money, I can order one with 64 GB of DDR4 and 8 TB of flash. That's probably enough to carry me for five or so years. Quite frankly, my local storage needs topped out somewhere between 1 and 2 TB and have been there for the past five years. Whether 64 GB of RAM will be enough is the big question for me. Even if it weren't, there aren't many laptops available today that can go further than that.

Upgradability is good if you intend to make a lower initial investment and increase capacity at a later point. This laptop is not a toy and, if you are buying one, it's reasonable to expect a return on your investment.


Some extra money? You’re talking about a nearly $6k configuration.

It almost never makes sense to overbuy storage and memory, which tends to be a cyclical market that drops in cost over time. Doubly true with Apple that marks up both commodities dramatically.


64 GB will cost you $800. For $2200 you get the 8 TB. $6000 is the price of the full 8-core machine with each and every bell and whistle.

It's expensive, but not absurd. Think of it as paying $1000 a year for a computer.


64GB will cost you $800 now. When you need it, it may cost half that, or less. And Apple was notorious for underspec'ing the maximum amount of RAM a machine could take - it was common for a machine to take double the Apple official maximum because the DIMM densities increased with time. Since the integration of the memory controller into the CPU this is less of an issue, but the soldered RAM means you're limited to the amount that Apple is prepared to give you, which until this model has been far less than the CPU actually supports - the 15" i9 could be spec'd to 32GB, but the CPU could address 64GB.

Apple's attitude to upgrading is to replace the entire machine. It's both expensive and absurd. I bought a 2008 MBP back in uni in 2010. I later upgraded the RAM and disk when I could afford to, and when I had reached the limits of what it had. That machine served me well for 5 years. There's nothing else on the market today I'd trust to be a daily use machine for 5 years straight.


Maybe in Silicon Valley with VC money.

Even then, it's getting more and more difficult to justify the increasing gap between Apple pricing and say - Dell or Lenovo. Almost $1k in it now for equivalently spec'd non-base MBP vs XPS15/X1 Extreme, and the gap just gets higher as you need higher requirements.

Let's have a look at what Apple have done since 2012.

1) Inflate the base prices of the machines and attempt to justify it via non-optional "features" such as the touch bar, wide gamut displays, extra thunderbolt ports, obsessively thin designs, T2 chip.

2) Solder everything, requiring customers to buy the specs they think they'll need in ~3 years' time upfront, when prices are at their highest. Look how expensive 1TB of flash was 3 years ago vs today, for example. Heck, in 2008-2012, several Apple machines could be upgraded to beyond their original BTO capabilities thanks to technology advancements and firmware updates by Apple at the time.

3) Where they didn't solder storage in the 2012-2015 machines, they used several different proprietary form factors for blade card SSDs when standardised form factors have existed the whole time (mSATA, M.2 SATA/PCIe AHCI/NVMe).

4) Removed the ability for customers to restore machines to working state either in the field or in a timely manner, and pushing customers toward Apple service and AppleCare.

5) Literally glue in the one consumable item in the machine (battery) that is almost certainly going to fail before the usable lifespan of the machine, pushing the price of a battery service up dramatically, reducing the economical lifespan of the machines.

6) Reduce serviceability of other components likely to fail or get damaged over time such as the keyboard and trackpad by riveting, glueing, sandwiching etc to ensure older machines are uneconomical to repair as soon as they can be, pushing customers toward buying a new machine.

This is a company that is doing everything to take away your choice as a customer, trying to turn expensive computers into disposable appliances. Don't try to justify this crap - just say no.

All the above, combined with the design flaws almost every 2016+ MacBook has (butterfly keyboard, flexgate, staingate, display connector issues, T2 chip integration issues), the seriously declining quality of Apple's OSs, the removal of useful features (MagSafe!, sleep light, external battery status meter, IR remote, non-type C ports, SD reader), have me now in the position where I not only don't want to buy any of there new MacBooks, I'm actively encouraging others not to as well.

Me, a once huge Apple fan whose personal portable machines have been Apple almost exclusively since the 90s. Whose OS of choice has been OS X/macOS since Jaguar. Who used to go out of his way to explain why Apple machines were worth it.

Nope. No more.


I recently bought a Thinkpad P1 Gen 2 with i9 9880H, 64GB RAM, 2x 2TB NVME, 15” OLED, basically all the options ticked, including a 3 year warranty with equivalent properties to AppleCare+.

It ran about $4700 before tax but after one of those coupons which Lenovo is constantly running and which knocks 10-30% off the MSRP of the device. Given Apple is now pricing NVME at $300/TB for upgrade, this seems comparably priced for what is largely the same internals.

I’ve been a MacBook Pro aficionado for the last decade. I’ve tried other stuff like the Surface Pro, never kept it.

I guess my point is there’s a myth that Apple is significantly more expensive than others, which doesn’t feel like it’s borne out by the manufacturer configurators when you’re dealing with high-end configurations?

Obviously, and this is highly subjective, I personally ascribe significant value to what Apple does to enhance thermal management (vs. the P1, which has throttling issues), to enhancing security through stuff like T2, Touch ID, FileVault 2 being so seamless, etc.

I’ve got enough nagging concerns about the maxed-out P1 Gen 2 that I’ve just ordered the new 16” MBP to do another compare and contrast — we’ll see how it goes. Extra 4TB of NVME over the P1 certainly doesn’t hurt.

Where I agree is some of the integration/packaging compromises impacting repairability are a pain, AppleCare+ is a subpar experience to Lenovo who’ll have parts and a technician appear next business day to fix your laptop. Also the mistakes Apple made around keyboards were deeply unfortunate, I had to get mine repaired multiple times.


> Upgradability is good if you intend to make a lower initial investment and increase capacity at a later point. This laptop is not a toy and, if you are buying one, it's reasonable to expect a return on your investment.

Not clear on your meaning here. Are you saying that upgradability increases ROI, and that it is something one should expect in a professional laptop? If so, I agree.


Kind of yes.

You can buy an upgradable computer specced to your current needs today and adapt it to your future needs as needed. You will pay less now because it doesn't need to be able to run now the OS that'll be available in 5 years and you probably will pay less for the capacity by then. The cost is the time you'll need to invest to make those upgrades: sourcing the parts, assembly, etc.

Upgradability is, in general, a good thing. In the case of these laptops, you buy them to the specs you'll need at the end of the machine's useful life, at the full current price.


> In the case of these laptops, you buy them to the specs you'll need at the end of the machine's useful life, at the full current price.

OK, I see what you are saying. The nit I have to pick with that particular sort of reasoning is that now Apple has put their customers in a bit of a bind:

- either you buy the absolute max spec (and hope that it includes the specs you'll need for that time span), or

- you risk buyers remorse as you end up in a situation where the laptop that you already handed over a small fortune for isn't up to the task

This past year I recently considered buying one of Lenovo's premium Thinkpad T-series laptops, but the fact that they had one (of two) RAM slots soldered put me off. I was buying this laptop for personal use, and so I didn't want to spend top dollar on it right then, but I didn't want to end up in a situation where what I had settled for wasn't enough.

I ended up going for one of the "budget" E-series Thinkpads, because (paradoxically) those do have fully upgradable RAM.


It's not just buyers remorse. If you use the machine for work and buy something under-spec'd - especially in RAM, you lose money by being less efficient with a slower machine.


The Thinkpad T490 (not the T490s) does have upgradeable RAM -- we settled on it for all our new developer machines. It's got an amazing keyboard and is fairly lightweight, but has every port you'd need, even VGA (and costs ~$1,000 for 8GB/256GB SSD).


It has one stick of upgradable RAM - better than nothing, but I wanted both sticks. Honestly, for a work laptop where you are going to be trading it out again in 3 years, that's probably fine.

My E495 currently has 8GB (2x4GB for better iGPU performance) and that's all I need for personal uses for now. But I can upgrade to 32GB later if I need to (and for less overall cost).


Upgradability also lowers the total cost of ownership, as the upgraded parts become cheaper by the time you need them.


By how much? I understand that if instead of buying a laptop with the intention of replacing it with the then top-of-the-line model five years down the road I get one that I plan to outgrow in 2 years, I'll spend less money, but is that a relevant amount compared to the money you expect to make by using the computer?

The question is less whether the cost is lower, but whether it's lower enough to justify the extra work of upgrading.


To paraphrase a recent HN comment about the touchbar...

     "I'm so glad this model has soldered storage"

     "I would buy a dell xps but only if it had soldered storage"

     things no one ever said. [1]
Soldering ram and storage on a laptop this big is an anti-feature, just a remnant of what Marco calls the "spiteful design" [2] of the last three generations. When a DIY upgrade to 128gb/16tb is affordable not a single person will be thankful they can't upgrade.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21524004

[2] https://marco.org/2019/11/13/mbp16


The point is I don't care. I'd rather have the specs of what I'll need five years from now right now and have a very comfortable machine than having a reasonable machine now, spending a day upgrading it later, having a then reasonable machine until it's retired.

The difference in cost is not that huge. I'm not talking about getting an 8-way Xeon Platinum box with 16 TB of RAM to put under my desk.


>have the specs of what I'll need five years from now right now

lol... like you can know this. My 2010 MBPro definitely needed 16GB ram in 2016, and thankfully I was able to put it in there even though apple never supported that much ram in that model.

Your entire perspective on this is entirely warped.


> whether it's lower enough to justify the extra work of upgrading.

Extra work? I upgraded the SSD in my 2015 MBP in 2 hours. And almost all of that was waiting for time machine to restore to the new disk. Is that worth it against the £2k+ I'd have to spend on a whole new MacBook? Of course it is.

I couldn't have afforded the bigger disk when I first purchased the laptop (if you have the ability to always be able to afford to top-of-the-line model, then that's a luxury that not everyone has). And this is Apple, who claim to be environmentally friendly.


Not everyone makes Bay Area money as an engineer especially in the hard sciences. Even though I’m one of the lucky ones, it’s annoying being forced to pay Apple prices for storage which is about double the market price eg Apple 8TB $2400 vs decent brand decent speed 8TB ~$1200-$1500. It is very hard to justify. This also doesn’t account for inflation and the general decrease in storage prices over time. Yes, the price drops are no longer as fast but in a year or two, we’re still seeing %25 price decreases; it’s still worth waiting for a lot of people including me. I feel the same way about Apple RAM. Soldering it down does nothing for me. it just helps Apple’s profits, since it seems they’re no longer able to substantially grow their user base. It feels like extortion and this isn’t helping growth long term even if they only see iOS as the future


But isn’t this exactly the point of the thunderbolt ports? You can buy your external SSDs and get as fast (even faster if you RAID them) access to your data.


I use this setup. It is annoying as hell when you have to constantly unmount drives. Using this setup for Apple Photos is even worse. In Catalina I’m unable to safely unmount unless I reboot (shutting down photos and waiting 30 min isn’t enough) Also this setup is not portable

Apple no longer just works anymore for me. It hasn’t for the past 2-3 years now.


It's also hard to imagine needing 8TB on-the-go capacity. That's certainly a niche use. I can imagine more cases where being tethered to a desk in order to get to the data would be not a big deal.

And there are always networked storage servers.


It's also worth considering that it extends the usable life of the machines. In some companies, older high end machines that are still in good condition are recycled and passed down to less demanding users - e.g. developer machines may get passed down to tech support.

For personal users, it means that passing it down to a family member may no longer be an option.

In addition, the lack of upgradability has tanked the resale value of lower end Macs - so lease companies aren't recovering as much value, and consumers machines are depreciating faster than Macs of old.


During the upgradability era, it was still cheaper to up your ram and storage yourself on day one than through apples gouging. You could even put in more ram than apple even offered.


Target disk won't help you if one of the critical ICs on the mobo dies.


If the disk is encrypted (and it should be) and the encryption key is stored in a secure enclave (like the T2 chip) or uses a machine specific key (UID), then having removable or swappable storage isn't helpful either.

In either case, you're not accessing any stored data from a broken Macbook.


With proper encryption solutions there is always a way to have a backup key printed out that's used when the drive is in another system.


Yet Apple still has no option to Time Machine backup to iCloud. I believe there are some third party ways to Time Machine backup to some cloud provider, but I don't see why Apple doesn't provide this as a feature out the box.


Because Time Machine does versioned delta backups and, as far as I know, no cloud provider offers the ability to store that much data unless their business model revolves around backup solutions.


But it’s just for Apple users? A terrabyte per user is surely within Apples reach? I can backup my phone to iCloud, but not my MacBook. It’s a glaring hole in their end-to-end experience.


Macbook drives typically can go to 1TB or more. You'd need much more storage than that to properly do a versioned backup solution that was online and that doesn't include any of the other uses of that storage.


This is kind of a cloistered view. Many people work in environments where bandwidth is hard to come by. And, of course, on-site backups are always risky.


The data migration connector will not help much in cases where your laptop and your local backup disk are destroyed.

My setup backs up to both local and networked disks (both disks listed in Time Machine, so backups alternate between them). The networked disk is actually a folder in a Debian VM that, from time to time, sends the backup to AWS.

A bit paranoid, but little added effort (figuring out and setting everything up took about an afternoon).


The paradoxical thing with recent Apple laptop keyboards is that their Magic Keyboard 2 is pretty darn good. I haven't bought any Apple products for more than a decade, but I keep recommending and buying their Magic Keyboard 2 for Linux workstations.

It has a very good mechanical feel, and it reduces latency perhaps due to shallow action point and/or firmware tweaks [1]. Also, it's really easy to source ANSI layouts outside the US.

I do in fact prefer it to my blue ALPS keyboard for long typing sessions.

[1] https://danluu.com/keyboard-latency/


Which model is the "Magic Keyboard 2"? I don't see any keyboard products in the apple store with a "2"

Is it one or both of these?

- https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MRMH2LL/A/magic-keyboard-...

- https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MLA22LL/A/magic-keyboard-...


Apple is no longer selling the original magic keyboard, so those are the right product. They are wireless, and charge with a lightning cable.

They will also present as a USB HID when plugged in via USB/lightning, so they can be used with any workstation even without Bluetooth.

The version with number pad is my go-to.


Interestingly, the way you pair it with the Mac is to plug it in. When you unplug it is magically paired. It was embarrassing how long it took me to figure this out the first time.


Great to know, thanks!


I like it except it has full-height arrow keys :(


I ran into this issue with 2015 MBP. I incorrectly assumed SSD where still removable and connectable to a USB adapter. When my display started failing I took it to Apple. They advised that data loss is possible. I had an old backup and figured I could just use the SSD via USB for more recent stuff.

Sure enough all data is lost. I ask them why they removed such a feature. They said they replaced it will a special port on logic board for accessing the SSD the same way. They tried that though and it failed. LOL at the nonsensical design decisions.

If Apple does a removable SSD again, it would go a long way to restoring faith in them.


The special port has been removed from the later models because it never worked.


I've seen it work, but I think the problem now is that the T2 chip is the disk controller, so without the T2 running you can't access the disk anyway.


Yep. That’s correct. Unless you have a working T2, any SSD you have is basically decorative. Which is good for data security but terrible for its integrity.


What's more likely--logic board failure, or the loss or theft of your entire laptop? If you're not backing up your data, your risk of data loss is unacceptably high. Worrying about whether the SSD is soldered to the logic board is like walking outside in the cold without a coat and worrying about whether you're wearing a long sleeve or short sleeve t-shirt.


Personally? I've never lost a laptop or had it stolen. However, I've had several laptops stop accepting power, including one of the three Apple laptops I used in a business setting. Lack of simple removable storage on the apple laptop made handling the power issue a lot more exciting; because I noticed it when I had a full battery, I was able to do a full backup in time.


Maybe not logic board failure specifically, but I see the possibility of my laptop dying as much more likely than it getting lost or stolen. And it's usually possible to extract a working SSD out of a dead laptop.

I suppose you could also repair the computer if the full logic board hasn't died, but that may not be worth it if the laptop was purchased a while ago, especially given how unrepairable these devices are. And depending on how Apple decides to go about the repair, they may end up not retaining your anyway, even if they could have.


Theft is a worthwhile risk profile to consider. People should do backups. Perhaps they should use encrypted volumes for sensitive information, too.

This does not change the fact that removable storage (or even storage that's accessible post board-failure) provides an additional margin of risk mitigation against hardware failure. AND a convenient way of making bootable backups you can swap in the event of storage failure rather than taking the entire machine out. AND upgradability.

What's the advantage of soldering the SSD to the board?

(And personally, I've experienced boot failure hardware issues on two laptops, theft zero times.)


> This does not change the fact that removable storage (or even storage that's accessible post board-failure) provides an additional margin of risk mitigation against hardware failure.

How much additional margin? If you have backups, you're covered against both failure modes; the only marginal benefit would be to recover the x hours of data since your last backup.


> How much additional margin? If you have backups, you're covered against both failure modes; the only marginal benefit would be to recover the x hours of data since your last backup.

I would wager that for 90% of people, that would be all of the data since initial power on.


100% of the laptops will eventually break and stop working. A much smaller fraction will be stolen or lost.


A significant portion (majority?) of laptops will never “break and stop working”, but rather be retired and recycled when they become obsolete.

Or just spend years sitting unused in a box in an attic somewhere!


Have owned laptops for about 20 years. Their internals take a beating inside of bags and such. Most of them I have owned had the power connector fail. One had a GPU become de-soldered in 2006. Zero of them have been lost or stolen.


I’ve had 3 logic board failures I can recall, 0 losses/thefts.


> soldering it to the board AND making it so that there's no way to access it in the event of a logic board failure

I prefer this, considering how encryption works with the T2 chip. I'm probably in a minority of general users, but probably in the majority of HN users when I say that nothing on my laptop is important. I don't even have backups per-se. Code is in git and mirrored to multiple remote backups. Documents and similar exist solely in the cloud. If for some reason my laptop was stolen I want there to be an as close to 0% chance of an enemy retrieving data from my laptop as possible.

(Yes, I know SSD encryption exists, I think the T2 thing takes things a step further)


Not just the risk of data loss, but the inconvenience of restoring the machine is much higher. This means the only solution to restoring a modern Mac notebook is to replace the entire logic board - everything else may be functional except the storage, which is a consumable by most considerations, but now the entire board must be swapped. And if it's out of warranty, which let's face it, it's extremely likely to be, then you are completely and utterly stuck. You either have an enormous bill from Apple or an authorised repair shop (and Apple is notoriously cagey about allowing third parties access to their replacement parts) or you have to hunt down a machine for spares to do the swap yourself, and now with Apple's invasive security measures requiring communication with Apple's diagnostic tools to perform certain swaps, storage failure can render the machine entirely useless for months, if not permanently. Whereas if the disk was replaceable, just order one from the most convenient store, swap it in, restore from Time Machine.

The Function Key MBPs have a problem with their flash storage where they may randomly and unpredictably die, taking all the data with them. The fix is a firmware update, which also takes all the data with it. Fantastic, Apple, we bought six of those machines, and because the users are actively, y'know, using the damned things, it's not really convenient to tell them they'll be without their machine for a week while the service centre gets around to it, and then multiple hours of restoring their Time Machine backups. On the plus side, the SSDs in those machines are not soldered. Yes, they're proprietary, but it's something - if those machines suffer failure, I could grab an SSD on eBay and get them running again. It's almost worth the risk.


If you're dealing with Apple/an Authorized Service Provider, there is a replacement method available to them to get data off of a failing system. (Uses the USB-C ports and DFU mode).

Anecdotally, it does work on some boards that are otherwise hosed, but may be less frequently successful than with the prior data connector, as there's more pieces that do have to be still functional for it to work.


Interesting to note that the T2 chip in the new MBP supposedly contains the HD/Flash controller that used to be a separate IC -- according to the specs page. As it's a pretty fully featured SOC in its own right, that might make it easier to get to the HD in case of main CPU/RAM failures.


I replaced my MBP 2018 with a surface pro 6, and the surface has a much better keyboard even though it’s a clip-on mat. I think that says it all.


I feel like laptop keyboards continue to get worse. I mean, they're usable, but there are better key designs out there.


It’s getting better now that USB3.1 SSD cases are dirt cheap.


I bought a 1 TB Samsung T5 SSD for Time machine backups on a 512GB 15” MacBook Pro that I bought recently. With that and a Yubikey (with an off-site backup Yubikey of course), I’ve got everything I need if I ever have my laptop stolen or rendered inoperable. I’ve also got another older spinning rust external hard disk for backups, but that’s more of a backup of a backup thing.


Companies do not act according to their morals: they act according to their incentives. And there is an incentive to sell more iCloud storage if SSDs are hard to swap.


Except that when you don't have the disk space on your SSD to download the stuff from iCloud, the whole thing doesn't work. I think you've a conspiracy theory here.


When you don't, the local files that haven't been accessed in some time are deleted and only a local alias is kept. Next time you need it, it'll be downloaded.


Almost every cloud service (icloud, dropbox, box, onedrive) now has on-demand access to files to download them when actually opened.


This is tinfoily. Making people happy to buy $2500-$4000 machines is a much bigger incentive than squeezing a little iCloud money.


> I'd concluded that Apple didn't really think much of laptops anymore, and had simply moved on to caring more about other form factors: it seemed a logical conclusion if one assumed that people at Apple were in fact competent.

Counterpoint, I love the new keyboards and hate using anything else. Amazing how far people go in assuming their opinion is correct, and then just keep going from there.


Maybe somebody at Apple got the idea that telling more users "Sorry, your data is gone forever, no way to get it back." increases user perception of device security (that it's hard to get your data off your device; if Apple can't do it then criminals can't either.)

I'd rather have FDE on a removable drive, but perhaps the typical user doesn't really have a clear mental picture of what's going on.


> "the two worst things about the original Touch Bar MBPs - the lack of a physical Escape key, and the full-size left and right arrow keys."

The "butterfly mechanism" keyboards are awful, unreliable, and get worse with time, so I'm very glad to see them go. Likewise, the return of the physical Escape key is very welcome.

But honestly, the design of the arrow keys has never bothered me in the slightest. If anything, the present configuration is slightly better because it's aesthetically cleaner and gives you a larger surface to hit the left and right arrows.


The "butterfly mechanism" keyboards never bothered me. I actually like the feel of my MBP's keyboard. Likewise the software Escape key never bothered me.

But honestly, the design of the arrow keys is super important. With the full-height left/right keys it's hard to quickly find the arrow keys by feel. The new (old) arrow key design is honestly what I'm most interested in with this computer after the 16" screen.


I am with you as far as the butterfly mechanism (aside from robustness issues), but for me the arrow keys are fine.

The bigger issue for me is lack of physical volume controls. I think it's extremely important for any device which produces sound to have a physical mute button. This would be less of an issue if the touch-bar were more reliable, but it often doesn't respond immediately, or else gets frozen and unresponsive, for instance with the volume slider up.


I hadn't given it much thought until your post, but on my 2017 13" MBP, here's how I seem to do it:

1. Put my right hand in approximately the correct location.

2. With my middle finger, find the space between the up/down keys.

3. Now my right hand's index finger is above the "left" key, and my right hand's ring finger is above the "right" key.


I know the subject has been beaten to death but still, as someone who was pleasantly surprised by the butterfly keyboard, I am living a nightmare with my just 2 month old MacBook Pro with keys starting to lose travel and I feel like it’s only a matter of time before bein completely stuck. To the point I’m now afraid to use the keyboard, feeling like everytime I use it without the external keyboard keys become more stuck. I’m so disappointed and was misguided on how the new generation had less problems.


exactly. arrows are something that always bothered me in my mac , not butterfly ( to some extent yes ) or not esc.


How is it hard? They're at the bottom right so you can find them by feel pretty quickly.


The lady and right keys are easy. But up and down are difficult. With the half height left and right keys it’s easier to find the up and down keys. The down key is between left and right and the up key is an island (or a peninsula at least). Does that make sense?

I bought the last half height model when I upgraded my MBP 13”.


I can find the up and down easily because they are shaped differently. They are the only keys split horizontally, and the connecting edges are curved inward unlike the other keys. I find them easy to feel fore. I am glad the new keyboard solves this problem for others though, I don't think the full-height left/right keys are particularly better.

But when not looking at the keyboard, having full height left and right arrow keys makes them feel just like the nearby Option and ? keys. Having a distinct arrow-key-group shape makes them easier to locate by touch.


You can't feel the break in between the up/down arrow keys by touch?


It's not always easy. If I need to quickly move to the arrow keys (I touch type, so no looking!), I have about 80-85% success finding the right key on the first press... with the inverted-T layout, that's about 99%.

There's something weird about the way my brain handles the key being the same size as the option key next to it, and the fact that the tops of all those keys are exactly the same.


If you touch type then learn the OS X shortcuts of CTRL-B, CTRL-F, CTRL-P, CTRL-N, far more efficient than moving your hand over to the arrow keys and works in (virtually) all places you are editing text.


It doesn’t work in the menus for example. The cursor keys are still important.


I don't think I have anything special configured for my Mojave setup and these seem to work for me. In particular, I use Ctrl + Shift + F2 (on my external keyboard) to focus the menubar and then I can use Ctrl-b and Ctrl-f to navigate back (left) and forward (right) between menus, Enter to select a menu, and then Ctrl-n or Ctrl-p to navigate next/previous entries in the menu, with Enter again to select.


Interesting! I always use Cmd-Shift-/, which focuses the search field in the help menu, and Ctrl-b and Ctrl-f do not escape from there.

But focusing the menu bar with Ctrl-F2 does indeed allow me to use Ctrl-f and Ctrl-b. And after hitting Return to open a menu, I can use Ctrl-n and Ctrl-p to navigate down and up.

Interesting.

I will have to try more, but I still think that there are places in macOS where Ctrl-b and Ctrl-f do not work, and I have to use the arrow keys, instead.


When you're searching for the arrow keys, the break is one thin line only in the middle of one key. When the keys are half height, there is are two large gaps to find. The difference is a few mm vs almost a cm and 3 targets to find vs one.


I hate the full-size left and right arrow keys because it means I can't easily use my sense of touch to find the arrow keys. I mistype them all the time now, even after months of use. That was never a problem with the previous inverted-T design.


Seconded. I frequently mistype L/R as up/down, and this is infuriating when striking 'command' + arrow to go to the beginning/end of the line (an extremely common op for me), and instead going to the top/bottom of the file, completely losing my place.

(Of course that particular problem would be less of an issue if the keyboard had home/end/pgUp/pgDn, which I'm still sore about, years after they got rid of them).

Arrow keys are so important I might almost want them all full size, in a "+" configuration.


I wonder -- is this for a 13" or 15" laptop? I'm curious because after this thread I was checking on how I tend to find the arrow keys. I have a 13" model and finding the edge of the computer itself seems to help me find the appropriate keys.


15".

It's a good 1.5" from the right arrow key to the edge.


That’s what I was guessing. I’d bet most of the people who don’t like the current (I guess now, the old) arrow key arrangement also have a 15”.

It’s honestly not something that I ever really noticed with a 13”.


Sure, but it's still a maladaptation to a problem that shouldn't exist in the first place.


Many PC laptop keyboards have full-size keys for all four arrows. Tiny keys for a feature I use so frequently is user-hostile, whether it's 2 or 4 of them.


It’s not about the size for me. Sure the full height inverted T is easy to use. The half height inverted T also works. But the one that isn’t inverted T is difficult.


They also usually have an awful-looking extra row just for the arrow keys. And FWIW, I find that the inverted-T arrangement is even easier to quickly find by touch than full-height arrow keys.


are you a touch typist? because lifting your hand, and repositioning it onto a grid of undifferentiated keys is MUCH harder when you can't feel the shape of the inverted T and can't see it (because you're not looking at the keyboard or because you're visually impaired).


Remember when Apple's keys had a dot on the D and K instead of a line on F and J?


Remapping CapsLock+hjkl to arrows IS productive.(oh, and CapsLock+Space to Enter, too!)


The escape key will be especially welcome by me, as I found the touchbar exceptionally hard to deal with, and I would often have to hit it three or four times to get vim to exit insert mode. I actually didn't have much trouble with the arrow keys, despite all the negative feedback I saw for them online.

Hopefully this trend continues and they can iterate on this model even further.


I remapped caps lock to escape and it's been wonderful. The oversized caps lock key on keyboards is an inexplicably bad UI choice anyway.


This argument as THE SOLUTION really needs to stop. As an example I mapped caps to ctrl a long time ago so this won't work without compromises.


Right? The solution is 'make the fuckin keyboard work'. These are workarounds.

I have twenty... seven, Jesus. Twenty seven years of muscle memory with VI. The only keyboard I can't 'vote with my feet' on is the built-in one on my laptop. As a result I'm hardly ever using my laptop untethered now. I don't think I've ever owned a keyboard I've typed less on than the touchbar macbook. Which means I'm barely using them as laptops, which is a little depressing.


You can use Karbiner to have a short press of caps lock map to escape and a long press to control. Works pretty good.


I almost never use caps lock so I just mapped caps to esc and hold shift for all caps. The no escape thing doesn’t bother me anymore.


Yep - I have mine set to be control if pressed with other keys, and escape if pressed alone. Works for everything except if I'm playing a videogame that uses ctrl to crouch.

Other people argue that all real vimmers use ctrl-[ instead of escape.

Edit: This is on a 2015 macbook pro, that still has the physical function keys. I almost never use the physical escape key, just capslock instead.


Is there a guide on this?


Install Karabiner-Elements. Go to the "complex modifications" tab. Add "Change caps_lock to control if pressed with other keys, to escape if pressed alone".


Thanks mate.


Can you map ctrl to esc?


Personally I find a classic Unix layout to work best for me. I’ve mapped the caps lock key to CTRL. I use that far more than I ever use caps, it feels quite natural to me after about a week or two of adjustment.


You can use Karabiner Elements to configure your Caps Lock to act as Ctrl when held down, and escape when tapped alone. Best of both worlds.


In addition to this you can do something like mapping Shift+Caps Lock to be an actual Caps Lock toggle. Now you get 3 buttons for one and it works amazingly well.


This was a revelation when I discovered it earlier this year. I could never go back now, it’s so convenient.


>The oversized caps lock key on keyboards is an inexplicably bad UI choice anyway.

It's probably largely a relic from typewriters when it was originally something of a mechanical necessity and then made more sense than today in the context of filling out forms etc.


Sun and Apple both used to have control in that spot. It was a sad day when they surrendered to the inferior PC keyboard layout.


I used to have really strong opinions about keyboards. I even still have a Northgate keyboard which was an "improved" version of the original IBM keyboard. (Which largely mirrored the Selectric.)

But TBH, I use so many different systems these days that I pretty much just accept that keyboard layouts and keyboard feel are going to differ from machine to machine and there's no point fussing about it.


I haven't used a laptop, desktop, or other computer (windows/mac/Linux) in the last 15 years in which I didn't immediately configure Caps-Lock to be control within 5-minutes of setting up the system. So, to some degree - it's always been control for me.


FWIW, early PC keyboard layouts had the Control key next to the "A", where God intended it to be, too. (Don't have the link handy, but there was a story posted here on HN in the past week or so about the history of the PC keyboard that showed this...)


True, and as a longtime fan of the IBM Model 'M' that had that configuration and was mechanical and built to last with buckling springs, I'm glad I can get one of these:

https://www.pckeyboard.com/page/product/40PSA


I remapped jk to escape. It’s easily my favorite remap, I don’t even bother with escape on full keyboards/desktops.


That's a bit of a pain if you put that into muscle memory and use other Vi interface software that can't be remapped.

Personally I'm in the Caps to Ctrl and use Ctrl-[ for escape camp. Works in my shell, REPLs and in my database clients and anywhere else with a readline interface that isn't Vim.

Even with that I still want a physical escape key.


how do you type "e_{ijk}"?


jk is a pretty rare combo to begin with, but when you do need it, just hitting j, and pausing for a second takes that input singularly, then you can type k safely. Slightly sub optimal, yes. But the benefits outweigh the negatives for me.


For example by typing: e_{ij<c-v>k}


obligatory xkcd - https://xkcd.com/1172/


I was listening to the Upgrade podcast (from relayfm), the episode that was just released includes an interview with someone from Apple (I think she's the PM for the MBP?)

She specifically mentioned vim users as one of the reasons for bringing back the escape key


This is the link to the podcast if anyone is interested: https://www.relay.fm/upgrade/271


Do you have a timestamp for the vim thing?


~19:50


Thank you


How long ago was "just released"?

Pretty sure Apple employees are locked into heavy NDAs (like many others in tech).


The episode was recorded earlier with Apple's blessing, given the presence of an Apple employee speaking on the record.

The episode was released this morning, after the embargo lifted.


It was released today and that’s Jason Snell’s podcast. The PM was authorized to talk.


Use Ctrl-[ for ESC.

Not only is [ always in the same spot, but you don't have to move your fingers off the normal keys or stretch. I was fortunate that a friend told me about that early on, otherwise I couldn't have handled VI, the stretching is so inconvenient (especially so on those old IBM PS/2 keyboards with cubic keys).


> Not only is [ always in the same spot

Only if it's the same keyboard layout. For instance, on the US layout, [ is immediately to the right of P, while on the ABNT-2 layout, it's two keys to the right of P. Meanwhile, ESC is on the same place (top left of the keyboard) in both.


Personally an Emacs user---I use the esc key loads too. Best thing I ever did was install Karabiner to remap capslock to esc when tapped, and to ctrl when held down. (One meta key to rule them all!) Have you tried anything like that? Just curious.


I remapped `jj` to escape (shortly before the touchbar was announced), because I disliked either having to move my hand or use both hands to get out of insert mode.

map! jj <Esc>


Yeah similarly I use

inoremap jk <Esc>


jk is the way to go! It is the fastest for me to type vs jj or kk.


If you map jk and kj to <Esc> you can just mash both keys at once and it doesn't matter which one registers first!


Have to ask: for all you jj / jk mappers, don’t you end up triggering this by accident when you’re just cruising around your code?


For cruising around my code the advantage is that jk/kj doesn't do anything in normal mode (cruising mode, haha). So I can just start mashing jk in a terminal window that I don't know what mode I left vim in.

The biggest downside to jk/kj mapping is that words that end with k are somewhat common. So a few times a week I will type something like "splunk" and want to exit insert mode immediately so I mash jk/kj after the k. 50% of the time the j is first so I end up with "splun" (kj is <esc>) (k moves up since we're in normal mode now).


> The biggest downside to jk/kj mapping is that words that end with k are somewhat common. So a few times a week I will type something like "splunk" and want to exit insert mode immediately so I mash jk/kj after the k. 50% of the time the j is first so I end up with "splun" (kj is <esc>) (k moves up since we're in normal mode now).

This is why I use `jj` instead of `jk`/`kj` -- as a native English speaker in a job where everyone primarily speaks English, there are few cases where I'd be writing code with a `jj` naturally in a string.


Very rarely. The only place I notice a difference is if the last letter I type is a j, the cursor 'hesitates' for a moment because Vim is watching for a k.

The advantage I found of jk over jj is that, in normal mode, jk is a no-op, so if I hit jk as Escape when I was already in normal mode, it doesn't matter.

The only problem is that when I'm editing text out of Vim, I end up with the occasional jk at the end of my typing. That almost happened while writing this comment.


There's also vim-arpeggio, with which you can define mappings for simultanously held-down keys: https://github.com/kana/vim-arpeggio


I haven't had that happen yet with jk at least, I could see jj triggering something if you have the timeout setting too long.


ctrl-[ works out of the box


But it's pretty unergonomic.


is it? I have ctrl mapped to caps-lock. so for me it's essentially home-row. left pinkie+right pinkie going almost nowhere. reaching for esc is decidedly not home-row.


A lot less than stretching for Esc.


ii here!


The tough thing about the touch bar is how often it freezes. It's hard to get used to it when all that is noticeable is the few times a week it does it.


I started using Ctrl-C instead of Escape in Vim years ago (long before the Touchbar) as it means I don't have to move my hands from the home position.


ctrl-c is a poor substitute for several reasons

1. it cancels any modifiers on the insert command

2. it won't trigger any abbreviations

3. it doesn't work with visual-block insert

4. it bypasses InsertLeave autocommands


>ctrl-c is a poor substitute for several reasons

Counterpoint: modal editing is a poor substitute for several reasons ;)


CTRL-[ is standard Vim mapping for Esc.


It's deeper than that. Control-[ is the same keycode as escape. [ is the next character after Z in ASCII, and Control-[ is the next character after Control-Z. It's not a mapping, they are one and the same.


there are great alternatives to reaching up for ‘esc’ in vim. ctrl-[ is my favorite. the ol double-pinkie


kj


I have always used ctr-c. I didn't even really know escape was an option, so I never had to adapt.


you can map tab to esc inside vim so you dont need to type esc

    :imap <tab> <esc>


Tab is still important to programmers.

Developers with a new MBP manage by changing Caps Lock Key to Escape. Less pinky travel too.

If you need caps, you can download Karabiner and move caps to something else. I changed mine to pressing both Shift buttons.


> tab is still important for programmers

I disagree. If you are a even modestly decent programmer you know to configure autoindentation so that you never need the tab key for anything. I cannot imagine a scenario where I would need the tab key in insert mode (except a very fringe case where I need to enter a tab character in a literal string and for some reason there are no escapes like \t. But then again you can still ^V^I)


You can't autoindent python, regardless of how good a programmer you are.


of course you can!

you only need to press ENTER (to create a newline) and BACKSPACE (to exit the current block). You never need to press TAB


So presumably in a whitespace-sensitive language you would always leave insert mode to declare the whitespace?


Lots of editor use the tab key to autocomplete. It's often called "tab completion."


of course, in vim you have ^o for that


I wasn't only speaking about Vim. Even then going to Caps is less travel than Tab.

I use Caps less than I use Tab like for switching programs.

Whatever works for you.


Ah, no. autoindent is a nice feature that is never perfect.


can you point to a minimal example where vanilla vim autoindent cannot cope with python code editing? I never found any situation where I had to press the tab key


Have you ever refactored anything? Especially in Python, moving a line into a control block requires using the tab key. If you don't have to press the tab key either you're such a god programmer that you have never made a mistake or refactored anything you've ever written, or you're trolling.


there's >> and << for changing the indentation of a line.

And i'm not a good programmer, a good vim user at most


When it comes to function keys, you either use them lots or rarely and for the former, yes - a physical key is prefered by far. However I see the advantages in other situations with the touchbar, however it would be great if the users had a choice. How hard would it be to have the touchbar in a modular design form that was user changeable and they could fit a row of keys instead?

However, there is always the option of an external keyboard. But then you end up carrying even more peripherals that you end up with a really thin light laptop and a second bag with all the adapters to enable to you to use the laptop in the way you want. For some it does feel like you got sold an electric sports car, yet end up having to tow a caravan about to carry all the spare batteries and other accessories you had in your previous car.

But certainly an opportunity to embrace modular design and allow the end user to customize in a way that has benefits and would win over pundits.

EDIT [spelling and fat finger W's]


We have a modular laptop in our office-- it's a Dell Precision, and practically everything in the machine's serviceable and replaceable (complete with a detailed service manual, provided by Dell). Replaceable, externally accessible disk drives, replaceable RAM, replaceable modular keyboard, even (IIRC) a socketed processor.

The catch is that all that modularity makes the thing massive-- the thing's a good 2-3 inches thick (with lid closed) and weighs nearly 8 pounds. It looks like what you'd get if you took a '90s-era laptop chassis, stretched it to modern screen proportions, and stuck modern innards inside. It's just not practical unless it's going to spend all its time sitting on a desk, and that begs the question of why you wouldn't just buy a desktop in the first place.


On the other side, I have a Thinkpad T470s which has all the ports I could have asked for, a fantastic keyboard and replaceable SSD and expandable RAM but weighs less than a 13" Macbook Pro.


Thinkpads are nice, but that device has a much worse screen, worse processor (significantly older, but... Intel), lower max ram, lower max storage, and (for most people) worse trackpad.


if you comparing to this laptop, you should be comparing the x1 extreme gen 2... oled screen, equiv processor, same ram, lower storage (8tb == another laptop on apple upgrade pricing), trackpoint/nipple v trackpad. at that point your comparing effectively os (win/linux v OS X), on hardware pricing the Thinkpad is quite competitive and cheaper. bonus nvidia for folks that want to do ml, vs amd graphics, which afaics have pretty poor support in any major ml framework.. to which the answer is cloud.. at which point Chromebook ftw.


Except I have set up 100 of those X1 ThinkPads, and I can tell you that the display, in addition to being the stupid too-wide PC aspect ratio, isn't close in quality to what you get with a MB Pro. And as previously mentioned, the trackpad isn't close to Apple's all-glass trackpads, either. And the audio is laughable. And the case isn't as sturdy. And it doesn't have 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports, of course (although some prefer the selection of ports that Lenovo provides).


I was referencing x1 extreme gen2 (aka this year) not last years model to compare to a today's brand new MacBook pro. re screen, to quote..

"My initial impression of the 500-nit panel on the X1E Gen 2, however, is that it’s a clear and straightforward upgrade in every way."

https://www.ultrabookreview.com/31168-lenovo-thinkpad-x1-ext...

and thats not even the oled option

https://www.techeblog.com/lenovo-x1-extreme-gen-2-laptop-rev...

bonus upgradable parts (ssd x 2, memory)

again its not a hw comparison per se, its a price (1-2k discount on hw) vs os sw. re sturdy its mil spec (810g), re ports its 2 usb-c/tbird plus no dongles (cause you have all the ports, hdmi, usb 3.1a x2, ethernet, sd). agreed re trackpad, but Thinkpad users I've noticed (linux mostly) tend towards the trackpoint/nipple to the point of disabling trackpad.

all that said I'm probably getting the MacBook due to apps, but the walled garden on graphics and ml as well as reasonable linux support gives me pause.

random aside, what did Nvidia do that apple won't talk to them..


Just a little side note to correct your facts: no, the x2 extreme gen2 does not have ethernet.

And if you think a trackpoint is any kind of substitute for a real trackpad, well, that's a joke.


> Just a little side note to correct your facts: no, the x2 extreme gen2 does not have ethernet.

Incorrect - it does not have a RJ45 connector, but it does have Ethernet, it just requires a dongle which may or may not come with the machine depending on the region its purchased in.

The benefit of the on board Ethernet is the fact you can PXE boot over it and other enterprise management benefits you don't get with a USB Ethernet adapter.


Apple sometimes makes mistakes, but their trackpads are not one of those. Exponentially better than what Lenovo uses for ThinkPads.


The current (post ~2015 or so) Precision models aren't like that. They're pretty sleek and competitive.

No socketed CPU or externally accessible disk drives, but you do get easily replaceable RAM, drives and battery if you're willing to pop the cover.

Keyboard and other components are replaceable individually as well, although it might be somewhat labor intensive in terms of disassembly.


Heck, I wonder why they don't have BOTH function keys AND a touch bar. It looks like they could shrink the oversized touchpad slightly to recover enough space. Is it because the cost would be too high? Is it because it would ruin their design? Or is there some other reason?


I would love this. I have the touch bar set to show my dock at all times which just clicks for me. I'd love to still have function keys for IDE shortcuts in this configuration.


or make the trackpad a screen like Asus does...


Or both! I'm always surprised more people don't think about this combo. Seems like a perfect fit with their strengths.


I think in term of UX issue, is how one would switch context, between plain old trackpad and contextual touchpad.


>WHen it comes to function keys, you either use them lots or rarely and for the former, yes - a physical key is prefered by far.

Yeah, I used function keys all the time back in the DOS days. These days, it's mostly to change sound volume.

To your broader point though, modularity can be tough. It inherently adds bulk and cost. And, now, you have connectors that can/will fail.


About the touchbar, I don't like it, for me it's not what the mediocre features it brought somewhat irrelevant most time, probably it can be a useful feature if it was designed better.

By nature, touchbar is a partial display and partial input device, blend it in with keyboard(a purely input) on the same flat surface angle, doesn't feel right. Currently, the only time I look at touchbar is when I need to click on touchbar, 50% of functionality just wasted in this sense.

If Apple kept the hinge design in pre butterfly keyboard macbook pro, that would be good place for touchbar. The location is more close to display, touchbar can act properly as a small assist display, also kept the keyboard part a pure mechanical input. The 45 degree elevation angle is also nicer.

If you still have pre butterfly retina macbook pro, just touch that hinge part, you may like what I said.

I did a quick low res mockup here: https://twitter.com/lostylogic/status/1194875389165760512/ph...


I feel like putting a screen in a place that's prone to get quite warm may not be a good idea.


> How hard would it be to have the touchbar in a modular design form that was user changeable and they could fit a row of keys instead?

Pretty hard, I'd think. It would probably make the computer thicker and/or clunkier.


There is plenty of room to do both if they insist upon the stupid touch bar.


I like the Touch Bar a lot. Not having esc was the only gripe I had with it but I personally much prefer the multifunctional bar over some static f keys


I'm curious, do you usually blind type? If so, what advantage does it bring to you to look down on your keys? Also, in an optimal seating position (elbows at 90 degrees), do your fingers obscure the visibility of the touch bar?


Also not parent.

I do blind type but I love the Touch Bar. There are many CAD programs that I use approximately monthly and I can never remember which F keys does what exactly. In my office I have cheat sheets on the wall but when out of office having icons makes using those applications much better.


I have my touchbar display the time, battery percentage and current song, so when I look down it's mostly to look at these. I also have a script that displays the last line of a particular file, so if I pipe a script's output in there I can look at its progress. I can swipe anywhere with two fingers to change the volume, three fingers is ctrl+tab (that one isn't useful, I need to figure out a better use), four fingers is brightness. I like it better than the F keys.

I did have to remap Caps Lock to ESC, because ESC on the touchbar was nigh unusable.


How do you get all that functionality? Especially the multi finger swiping and the last line of the file


BetterTouchTool. It's not free, but it's cheap enough, and it lets you do a lot of cool things (including the multi finger swiping which you can assign to anything you want). You can write AppleScript routines and assign them to buttons, or have them run every n milliseconds to display something, which is what I did for the last line of the file thing.


Not parent, but I'm also a user that likes the Touch Bar (see comment history).

To answer,

> Do you usually blind type?

Yes.

> If so, what advantage does it bring to you to look down on your keys?

For simple actions (like opening a new tab) there is no need to look down on keys. IMO this is little Apple's fault, whenever I use a tabbable & Touch Bar-usable application I set the new tab button on the right. I usually place the trash button (on Finder, Mail and some other apps) on the middle of the Touch Bar.

For some more complex actions (like selecting an emoji/suggestion, or moving between photos, etc...) it's just as fast/faster to glance over and move your fingers instead of using shortcuts/trackpad.

> Also, in an optimal seating position (elbows at 90 degrees)

I'm not sure if I'm in optimal seating position, but... (If you're meaning if my elbows are on the same height of the display yes)

> do your fingers obscure the visibility of the touch bar?

No, not at all. I can clearly see the Touch Bar whether my fingers are.


Is there an app on Mac that does not support clover-T for new tabs?


No, but I frequently find it easier to reach the Touch Bar (where only one finger needs to move) than to press Cmd-T (where two fingers need to move). I also use Cmd-T a lot too! :-)


Pages?


What are you guys doing that you touch type using FN keys? Touchbar is far better — you can’t scrub audio or video. You can adjust things with more granularity with sliders. It’s contextual.

I don’t remember ever using a hardware F6 or F4 key in my life, but the touchbar I use all the time.


Lots of software uses Fn key bindings by default. IntelliJ & mc come to mind first, but there are many others. Sometimes they can be remapped, but given the number of key bindings required by pro software, replacing roughly 1/5 of the keys with a silly little nontactile screen is a nonstarter for me. I never look at the keyboard (that's what the real screen is for). Indeed this was the precipitating factor driving me away from the Apple 'ecosystem' in 2018.


I do know where the keys are, but don't know what the Function keys do in 90%+ of the software I use.

Even where I use keyboard shortcuts frequently, such as VSCode, the Function keys are not really involved because they are rather far away.

incorporating a display is a perfect middle ground for the thousands of shortcuts you will never use enough to remember.


What do you actually use the F keys for? I haven't used them in so long that I only remember what F2 and F5 did.


Debugging: step, step into, step out, run/continue


You can easily reconfigure keyboard shortcuts in most IDEs. The function key row was never ergonomically placed to begin with. My current keyboard doesn't have one either (ErgoDox).

These actions are also not that important to be able to hit very quickly. Back when I did use function keys, I usually had to look anyway, because they're so far away from home row, and the time between using them is usually quite long. And even though I knew the function keys purpose in an IDE, I would never know them in any other apps, leaving that row useless when not programming. (Well, I use them for volume and brightness control, but again.. it's not a muscle memory action anyway)

I do think fundamentally speaking the Touchbar is the right idea. It's not better for everyone, obviously. But it's probably a bit better for most people. I'm just not convinced it's a big enough improvement to make the added cost worth it. It probably still ends up being mostly unused, which is worse when it's an expensive touch display instead of extra keys.

Personally I'd drop the whole row, maybe but the speakers up there instead, and make the keyboard wider.. put in keys between the two halfs of the keyboard like TypeMatrix or ErgoDox.. but that's never gonna happen


Has the Touch Bar been reliable for you?

From very early on, the one on mine has been very flakey, often going blank until a reboot. A few of my colleagues have had the same problem.


I feel the same. The stubbornness of Apple that was so frustrating is a bit more flexible now, paying attention to "subtle" feedback like the arrow key's sizes.


It may be "flexible" or their hand was forced. I know, personally, at least half a dozen people who have either delayed a Macbook purchased or outright moved to PC alternatives (e.g. XPS 13, Surface Laptop) because of the poor keyboard (both reliability and touchbar).

Now six people isn't statistically significant, but if that trend mirrors a wider one it could be costing Apple a measurable amount. The real question is will this be enough to satisfy e.g. programmers that actually want to bind the F keys to build/clean/run/step over/etc?


I've just ordered my first Windows laptop ever, literally. Dell XPS 13 (6 core model). I've been using Macbook Pros solely since the original Aluminium model when Apple moved to Intel processors. Apple's apparent hubris and inability to go back on their design decisions (Touch Bar...) has just pushed me over the edge.

I've been using my mid 2015 Macbook Pro and hopefully waiting for them to release a new MBP ideally without the touch or move the trackpad down/make it smaller, and have the Touchbar PLUS physical function keys (which I use for programming).

So yeah... "Pro" users at least in my case (and some friends) are moving away from Apple.


They'll go right back, don't worry.


Go back to what? They already haven't purchased a new Macbook in five or more years, that money is already lost to Apple. All Apple can do is try to get them for their next upgrade.


I don't think I am.


Why is that bad?

Apple for once listened to feedback and made corresponding changes; what's wrong with saying k, thanks, great?


Follow the money. It was cheaper to stick with that design for 3 iterations than it was to change it.


It takes a long time to get a design through the point of manufacture... especially at that scale. And even before that happens, an organization needs to admit that it has to happen in the first place. For everybody saying the keyboard sucked and needed improvement, there were at least a few people within Apple that had staked something on the design as it was.


And yet, I don’t think I’ll upgrade solely because of the touchbar. It’s horrible.


I've had a touchbar machine as my primary for a couple years now and essentially don't use the touchbar. But I didn't use f-keys all that much either.

I think there are some software improvement that could maybe make it better, but I'm not sure better enough to be compelling.


How easy is changing the volume with the touch bar. I use the function keys for that all the time.


Not bad... as saagarjha says, you can slide on either that key or the brightness key. Unfortunately, that doesn't work for me because I've set the touchbar to default to F-keys for the sake of consistency with the other keyboards I use. For whatever reason, this means that the slide-on-button trick does not work.


Yeah, I'm not sure why that disables app controls :/


For me the physical keys are better. With the touch bar, I have to look down to change the volume, and it occasionally hangs with the volume slider visible, but not actually responding to input. That's usually when I really want to turn down the volume quickly, and instead my laptop is blasting for another second while I have to adjust the volume with the mouse.

Also I really would like a physical mute button. It's often very valuable to be able to mute in a hurry.


The thing is, you can't use the touch bar without looking at it whereas I was constantly blind typing function keys. I think Apple have a different understand of "Pro" than I do.


You slide on the virtual key.


I mentioned you in a peer post that you might not otherwise notice.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21529637


Thanks, the comment thread for this post is a bit large and I probably would have missed that otherwise.


We devs are so conservative. It's ridiculous. Nobody allows Apple to innovate.


Apple can innovate as much as they wish. For example put the touchbar above the keyboard or below the LCD. Nobody is complaining about the TouchID on the power button for example, since that maintains its core purpose.

People are complaining because 30+ year old keys they rely on to do their professional work were removed to add arguably a gimmick with a worse user experience/no touch feedback.


Just like people complained when they dropped floppy and and PS/2 for CDs and USB? Or when they introduced a smartphone with no physical keyboard? Anecdotes don't make it fact.


You can see the difference in reactions to know that it wasn't wanted or desired by the target market. Its not anecdotes anymore, its data which we've had 3 years to accumulate.


Oh, don't underestimate the longevity of the no-floppy and especially the no-ethernet complainers. Just as one data point: there are non-ironic gripes about those decisions in this very thread.


I don't think there is a difference in reactions. A vocal minority complain every time Apple changes anything. Lots of people complained about the chiclet keyboard when the 2008 Macbook Pro came out. And shipping a computer without a floppy drive or a PS/2 port seemed crazy to many people at the time.


Change for the sake of change isn't innovation, it's a waste of time.

Spending hours fiddling with a dysfunctional keyboard that breaks after a week of normal use or has a gimmicky non-standard layout is not how I want to spend my finite time and mental energy.


> I'm astonished and pleased to see they walked back the two worst things about the original Touch Bar MBPs

Apple still hasn't walked back on mandatory notarization on Catalina.

In January 2020, they're removing the option to run software that isn't locally compiled or notarized[1].

[1] https://developer.apple.com/news/?id=09032019a


Worst is certainly removal of 32-bit support. I'll personally never be using anything past Mojave. It would literally cost me from purchased software that is now incompatible and will not be updated.

To say Apple has lost its way would be an understatement. Apple is actively detrimenting those who have stayed in its ecosystem for decades. As a professional audio engineer, I refuse to lose several of my plugins to a quote-unquote 'upgrade.'

If I lose access to my software, you are not 'upgrading' my OS, you are removing access to what worked perfectly before.

I also refuse to lose Adobe CS6, by which I've paid a full license for. No, I have no interest in updates. I had no interest in updates post-CS3, to be honest.

There is no benefit to the lack of 32-bit support that could be worth losing it. If they did this because they're moving to ARM, fuck them. Don't let your behind the scenes process fuck with my day-to-day ability to work.

I'm literally going to have to leave behind my career as an iOS developer - I refuse by principle to purchase new Apple products ('vote with your money') - and I certainly refuse to accept an 'upgrade' that annihilates the usability of some of my most important software, in the name of...what? What possible benefit does removing 32-bit support lend to the customer? None. It's literally just a fuck you to me for supporting them for years. What a damn shame.


> To say Apple has lost its way would be an understatement. Apple is actively detrimenting those who have stayed in its ecosystem for decades.

Like they did with the transition from SCSI/ADB to USB, or the transition from Mac OS 9 to Mac OS X, or the transition from PPC to Intel, or the transition from 30 pin to lightning, or...

Apple may or may not have lost its way, but dropping support for old software/hardware is something they've been doing consistently for a long time. There's nothing new about it.


I was there for most of that, but loosing 32-bit feels different to me. For the physical peripherals, I could still use them on old hardware. Forcing me to remain on an old OS is far more severe and I too (and everyone in my extended family) ran into this. In particular, my relatives depend on the old Microsoft office packages they bought eons ago. "Fixing" the problem Apple gifted us means buying and learning new software (and AFAICT, you can't even buy Office anymore, only rent it).

This is extremely disappointing and I'm not even sure what to do next time their hardware dies (which has happened multiple times).


It’s not so different from 10.7 dropping Rosetta, which led to a similar scenario where upgrading your OS meant a bunch of old PPC apps could no longer run.

Again I’m not defending Apple, just pointing out that all of this has happened before and all of this will happen again with Apple.

If you value compatibility with old binaries highly, Windows is a much better platform for that than macOS.


There was a reason for that - a benefit for users - there was a platform change, whose speed increases made an actual legit argument for the platform change.

There is no benefit to removal of 32-bit apps. There is no purpose, from the user's end, other than fucking them over, that I can see.

There's not even any reason given.

Rumours of an ARM platform change do not an ARM platform change make. Catalina is worthless and detrimental to me as an upgrade.


You can buy permanent licenses of Office 2019, it’s $250.


Do you still have to register an account with Microsoft?

IOW, as updates can go through the MacStore, can you use the permanent License of Office 2019 on the Mac without ever connecting to Microsoft?


Dude, MS has had activation for their products for like a decade and a half if not more.


I do not think that this works.


You can buy Office just fine. They push 365, but that's just a licensing model, you can buy regular licenses just as easily.


Ok, thanks, but it doesn't change that it's an unwanted expense and, the worst part, require new training.

Of course I already just learned that most of my Steam library would also turn into a pumpkin if I upgraded. Seems like I'm stuck on Mojave forever.


I'm not sure what this "new training" is, I've never had any training with Office and have been using it in most of its variations since it was first released.


Are you 75+? My parents are. Move an icon an they get confused (I say that without judgement - they have not like grown up with an intuitive for software)


The difference with 32 bit software is that there's nothing forcing them to do it. With something like a port, there are physical limitations to the device, so abandoning older technologies at least gets you something in terms of form factor.

With 32 bit support, these exact same CPUs could easily still run 32 bit software as they have for years. The tradeoff I guess is that it makes the OS a bit easier to support from Apple's point of view. The advantage to the user is not clear.


That's a lot of emotion for some decision I wouldn't even have noticed. (Not a single 32bit app, as I found out).

But, anyway, if you want to use decades-old software, why are you so keen on updating to the latest MacOS?


I develop iOS software as a hobby and a job. In order to support the newest iOS versions - Apple will support one major OS version behind, but what happens when 10.17 hits?


I believe that is not correct, you can still run unsigned apps, you just have to enable them in System Preferences >> Security and Privacy.

https://www.howtogeek.com/443611/how-macos-catalinas-new-sec... (middle of page)


Or secondary click on them and open them from the menu that pops up.


> ... the lack of a physical Escape key, and the full-size left and right arrow keys.

Seems that if you scream hard enough AAPL listens:

> What Apple emphasized is simply that they listened to the complaints from professional MacBook users. They recognized how important the Escape key is to developers — they even mentioned Vim by name during a developer tool demo.

* https://daringfireball.net/2019/11/16-inch_macbook_pro_first...


What I really don’t get is the Touch Bar could just sit in between the number keys and function keys. Even on 13” models there is space for both and a giant touch pad.

They have been forced to add it to just about every model to keep people from downgrading to avoid the thing. Which ok saved me money, but I would expect this to get the point across.


I'd want the touch bar to sit on top of the function keys, but I agree.

I also would be much happier if it was just easier to turn it off or if it at least made each touch action take 200ms or so so that I don't accidentally hit it all the time.


> perhaps this is a sign that Apple is finally interested in listening to feedback from its long-term customer base

What makes you think they stopped? You know it takes a couple years to design and ship hardware at this level (as well as to design the production lines to be able to build a few million more copies), yes?

It’s not like a web app where they can change, test, PR, and deploy in a few days or weeks or months. There is a lot of preproduction work that goes into building the kind of objects Apple is now famous for and are almost taken for granted.


If you look closely, not only is there a physical escape key, there's a physical fingerprint key, and the touch bar is also elevated. You still might not to be able to use the touch bar without looking at it, but at least you can find it without looking at it.

I was half expecting them to use haptics on the touch bar. Still no luck there.


When the touchbar first came out, I thought we'd see haptics in the second iteration. It seems so obvious that pressure-sensitivity and haptics could mitigate a lot of the weaknesses of the touchbar.

What I really miss is upgradeable RAM and SSD. Still using a 2010 MBP because I was able to upgrade it; that's no longer possible.


I’m sure someone has suggested this at some point but why not physical keys with an lcd underneath each key? This would allow those keys to be fully customizable and be worthy of the “Pro” designation.


Because it’s expensive, bulky, and unnecessary. Something like this already exists: the Optimus Maximus keyboard. And while it’s a cool concept, it’s not without its rough edges. [1]

[1] https://www.artlebedev.com/optimus/maximus/


Wasn't the Maximus made with tech that is now 10 years old? I can imagine that costs have decreased by at least an order of magnitude by now, now that oled is much more mainstream.


I wanted one of these when I first spotted it, but in hindsight it would be too dependent on software to work and I'd probably end up spending ages setting it up when the right thing to do would be to get blank key caps.


"Keys" on the touch bar are more dynamic. Buttons can have different width, you can show text, sliders for e.g. volume. It's not a 1-to-1 mapping.


Reminds me of a phone I used to have: https://gizmodo.com/samsung-alias-2-e-ink-flip-phone-review-...

The keyboard was fully E-ink, so it changed based on the app or orientation of your phone. It was pretty awesome!


How about e-ink instead? Having 100 individual LCDs seems like it's be energy expensive.

The problem with both of these is they'd just be expensive, period. And solving a problem I don't often have.


I'm sure there's a prototype of this sitting around somewhere in Apple headquarters, either waiting for some patent to expire, or some key component to become cheap/thin/reliable enough.


You can't put a big control on a single key.


Or even both the touchbar and the physical keys on the pro models? 7-row keyboards are a thing.


Fixed, inflexible keys defeat the purpose of a screen that can show anything.


The touchbar has a lot of uses for many people. Developers may not see that much benefit from it (unless they use a native IDE or text editor), but for people who use native apps, the touchbar can be really useful.

Getting a physical escape key back and going with a more reliable keyboard design are big wins.


I don't get why they couldn't fit both a touch bar and the function keys on a 16 inch laptop. Other vendors manage to put a numpad on their notebooks of similar sizes.


They also brought back the 100 watt-hour battery


Who cares about Watt-hours? What matters is how long it runs - I'd be perfectly happy with a laptop that runs a month on a 1.5 Watt-hour AAA battery. Kinda like Amps for vacuum cleaners, this can actually be a measure of INefficiency.


The TSA cares.


Escape key issue was so bad that a lot of my devs mapped caps lock to the escape key. Butterfly keyboard also has some weird workarounds with people carrying around mechanical keyboard.


To be fair, mapping caps to escape has been a thing for years and years. I started doing that once I learned vim about five years back, when I still had an older MacBook Air with a physical escape key.


Agreed, as long as I am forced to use the TouchBar, it personally for me is not "the world’s best pro notebook".


Forget being forced to use it, I'd like to not be forced to pay for it. How much does the price of the MBP go up because of all of the parts required for the touch bar?


Could there be more pros than you?


Sure, but besides a very low number of comments on HN I've never seen anyone who really appreciated the TouchBar (and the increased price it causes). Say Apple would offer a model with and without TouchBar and the TouchBar model would cost $400 more, how many people would be willing to pay that? I bet it would be less than 5%, maybe even less than 1%.


For shuffling VMs it's really helpful.


Ive is gone, perhaps function over form will be the new aluminium.


Touchbar doesn’t make sense until you install something like Pock.Dev. After doing that, it’s useful.


I was skeptical too, but some apps have found really great ways to use it:

- Mute/unmute on skype

- Preview and switcher for a number of slides at a time in powerpoint

- Mirror displays / extend desktop when connected to an external display


I was sorta kinda OK with the missing escape key. For me the biggest keyboard improvement is a return to the inverted-T arrow layout.


> the lack of a physical Escape key

C-[ is the same thing in Unix. I haven't tried it on a Mac though. But if you're using vim (mostly where I hear this complaint) use C-[ (actually just use it in vim anyways because who wants to lift their hand up to do such a common movement?)


I just map caps lock to escape, then i need even less finger movement.


I prefer mapping caps to Ctrl over escape because it leaves me with loads of other useful shortcuts in both the terminal and Vim.

e.g. Ctrl-o to pop out of insert mode for 1 command only.

or

  ctrl-w: delete the last word.

  ctrl-u: delete to the beginning of the line.

  ctrl-d or ctrl-t: change indent level.

  ctrl-h: backspace without leaving the home row.

  ctrl-m: without leaving the home row.
There's loads more that are useful in Vim. Of course you've still got the built in Ctrl keys but having ctrl in place of caps is really ergonomic for me.


I just tried that and that is super uncomfortable to me. Having all my fingers on the home row. My pinkies are much shorter than my index, middle, and ring, so it is pretty easy to hit ctrl with my pinky. I think your suggestion might be better if all your fingers are very similar in length, but I don't know a person like that.

I do use most of those ctrl commands btw. I didn't know about ctrl-o, so thanks for that!


Horses for courses I guess.

My little finger is much shorter than the rest but moving it a few mm to the left is easier than a large jump to the bottom of the keyboard for me.

For example, I use tmux a lot with ctrl-a.

A small movement of the hand left, jumping my little finger onto control (caps) and using my ring finger on A works really well for me.

Btw the first thing I do on getting a new mac is map the right alt key (or enter key back in the day) to control.

I hate having to press both keys with one hand for Ctrl key combos (ctrl-a being the only exception).


Interesting. Because resting my left hand on the keyboard my pinky is on shift, ring on a, middle on e, index on f.

I also use tmux. I do a remapping to ctrl-s because I use ctrl-a (and ctrl-e) all the time to go to the beginning and end of lines. And let's be real, the normal behavior of ctrl-s (suspending) is not something I'm ever going to use on purpose.

But also I'm not using a mac.

> I hate having to press both keys with one hand for Ctrl key combos (ctrl-a being the only exception).

Do you not use panes? In vim? Because I use those quite a lot.


They even made it super simple to remap caps-lock to escape in OSX Sierra (the release of which, probably coincided with the release of the first Touch Bar MacBook Pro). You can do it from System Preferences, without any extra software like Karabiner. Although, I still use Karabiner Elements for some more complex keyboard remapping.


I don't understand this binding (it is a common one). I don't want a 50/50 shot of having caps lock on (or my light indicator). I'm also a fan of keeping things as vanilla as possible (I do use plenty of plugins and stuff, but almost every problem you have vim solves natively)


> I don't want a 50/50 shot of having caps lock on (or my light indicator).

What? Have you tried this feature at all? If you map Esc to Caps Lock in Mac OS, the light indicator never turns on, and you don't enable caps lock when you press that key.

Or do you mean that this is what'll happen if you use a different computer? In my experience that's not a problem at all. Muscle-memory can be made context sensitive. I use two different keyboard layouts (dvorak and qwerty), two different key arrangements (staggered on my laptop, grid on ErgoDox), Esc mapped to Caps-Lock on my home laptop, completely different key mappings on my ErgoDox at work, and still I have very little trouble using a Qwerty keyboard with standard mapping if a use a different laptop. I'm probably a bit slower, but that's not really a problem if it's a computer I don't use that often.


I mean I use ctrl-w all the time in vim (delete word back while in insert or moving panes. Basically I'm hitting ctrl ALL the time). I also frequently hit it when I'm writing a HN comment or something. Though this actually isn't a problem because sometimes I just shouldn't be replying.

Edit: I do notice that pretty much everyone that does the caps remap is using OSX. Is this because most people are using macs or just because macs have different behavior? Either way, I'd rather use a vanilla command than a remap if efforts are basically the same (my pinky rests on shift anyways and it is easy to contract my finger. I also use ctrl-backspace when typing in HN and other forms).


With Karabiner, I never have such issues. Caps Lock becomes a normal key. The light is never on. Caps are never. actually locked.

It's a key that's drastically oversized compared to it's barely measurable amount of regular use.


I have never used them, but what is wrong with the full-sized left and right arrow keys?


It's much harder to blindly tell where in the arrow key cluster your finger has landed without the blank spaces of the inverted T layout.


I do not understand this at all as the break in between the up/down arrow keys is far more apparent to touch than even the bump on the F key that's supposed to allow you to blindly return to the home keys. If that little bump works, how can a full break not be working for you?


A full-height arrow key is almost identical to the key next to it.


That depends on which key you're referring to. On the Macbook, the left arrow key is right next to the up/down half-keys. If you touch to the right and you're hitting another full key, you're not at the arrow key.

Again, I don't understand how the bump on the F key works but somehow the giant dip in between the two up/down keys is the problem...?


The issue I have is that I will rest my index finger on the Option key instead of the left arrow key because they feel the same. The dip is fine for the up/down keys, but I can't "rest" my index and ring fingers on the arrow keys anymore.


Why not? Rest your middle finger down where you feel the break. Your index and ring fingers are now on the left and right arrow keys.

This is such a non-issue.


They're hard to locate by touch. Seems counter-intuitive, maybe, but I'm sure I won't be alone in attesting from experience that it does make a difference.


I wonder if the screen reflective coating is better too. AFAIK, since introduction of retina screens of MacBooks (2012) it's a matter of time that the reflective coating will start to peel off and will leave ugly blotches.


This seems highly anecdotal. I have a launch 2012 retina still with no peeling.


I guess, though anyone I knew who used retina macbooks had issue with screen peeling off within 1-3 years of use.

There was a replacement program for a bit, so there was a possibility to change the screen, though after some time changed screens are peeling off too.

I know even an anecdote where almost brand new 2016 rmbp after working outside, had a spots of peeled off coating, because apparently light dust have scratched it. Thankfully Apple replaced the screen.


I wonder if it has any correlation with people who close the lid but continue running heavy workloads on their machine. The extra heat could possibly be a cause for delamination.


Nah, I see it on student laptops all the time (who aren't running anything with the lid off).

Also not correlated to putting pressure on the lid with it closed, I've lugged mine around in a backpack full of stuff for years and have no peeling issues.


There was a recall for this delamination issue in earlier MBPs. I think even the last generation didn't have this problem anymore.


Does anyone else remember when the macbooks came with two options for screen coating? The original anti-glare coating cost a few nits of brightness and some people had Feelings about this. I can't even recall now when they got rid of the option. Probably when the backlight got more powerful?


I remember when the anti-glare was the default and you had to pay a few quid more for the glossy.

Then they changed so the default was glossy and anti-glare was more expensive (but, IIRC, had more resolution).

The retina display is the first one I remember where the anti-glare option was not available.


You're correct the 2012 model was when they stopped offering the Anti-glare screen - it was 1680x1050(if i recall?) compared to the default glossy screen's 1440x900, i recall there also being a 1680x1050 glossy display upgrade available too, at a glance the two could be distinguished by the aluminium bezel on the anti-glare display.

I picked up a grey market anti-glare display assembly (upper clamshell) for my 2011 model back in 2012 or so and it dutifully served another few years.


I predict that from now on the touch bar will slowly become smaller and smaller until it disappears completely. It would have been better if they'd gotten rid of it entirely in one iteration though.


I like it. It helps me control my music, volume and VMs all at once without having to bother with windows or holding down key modifiers


Yeah me too, but I don't like accidentally touching something and then being out of context. Also happens with the gigantic track pad. It's really annoying.


It took 3 years for Apple to quietly acknowledge those mistakes.


Jony Ive leaving the company a few months ago is not a coincidence.


>The lack of physical function keys remains regrettable, and the Touch Bar is still no worthy substitute

If the Touch Bar had been introduced above physical function keys, we'd consider it yet another Apple UI breakthrough, and other companies would imitate it the way every notebook today looks like the 2001 TiBook.

>perhaps this is a sign that Apple is finally interested in listening to feedback from its long-term customer base, even if that feedback conflicts with the design team's desires

I don't think the fact that Jony Ive left the company a few months ago is a coincidence. Basically, Apple finally got notebook keyboards right ... after three years of worldwide embarrassment, and the departure of the company's chief designer!


I must be missing something out, but what's wrong with left and right arrow keys? I have 2018 15'' mbp and they are just fine. Or you mean up and down arrows?


coming from ubuntu before mbp(2013) I anyways found the escape key to inconsistent to appreciate. depending on your state of full screen and what program you are in it will give you different response (exit full screen vs in program functionality) hence tried to disincorporate usage of escapekey from my muscle memory alltogether.


How 'bout a full-size up and down key? I use those all the time and those scrunched keys are easy to make mistakes on.


The touch pad is ridiculously huge now, going by my greasy finger smears I maybe use only 50% of the total area. They could easy sacrifice some of that real estate to put the touchbar as row above the function keys and feature a full size set of offset arrow keys.


Agree, I often end up brushing the touch pad accidentally with the heel of my hand while typing, and inadvertently moving the cursor somewhere up the page. Maybe someone else can weigh in on any advantages to having such a large touch pad.


You can drag further with it or use it at a higher sensitivity and drag as much as you used to. There are also more places you can start dragging so it’s more likely you will naturally touch your finger down and start dragging.


I almost never use the function keys and I am a programmer. They made the right call on that one. Just because you use an editor that makes use of rarely used keys doesn’t mean that they are a universal truth.


Do you debug and use the keys to control it? This is my biggest gripe, since most IDEs (and browsers if web dev) map debugging to the Fn keys, so I end up using them a LOT. I hate clicking the debugging icons, particularly since I tend to use a few different editors/browsers and they are all in different spots.


First thing that comes to mind when mentioning the Fn keys is debugging, however I always found that is feels unintuitive to use and would be eager to change my habits to learn more intuitive shortcuts.


I remap those almost immediately :(


So the keyboard guaranteed to break within the first 6 months on a 3k laptop is not among the worst two things?


why you consider full size left and right arrow bad?


those were not the worst things. a keyboard that breaks a week after you get it was the worst thing. the second worse thing is this redefinition of a computer into a big ipad. where does my sd card go? i cant plugin to the hdmi tv at a friends or a board room? why does it have a headphone jack? if we dont need it on our phone why do we need it on a laptop (lol)? oh yeah because inch by inch... apple is the epitome of capitalism, good and bad, and lately more bad than good.


> where does my sd card go? i cant plugin to the hdmi tv at a friends or a board room?

Apple has a long and storied history of removing drives and ports that it considers obsolete. No one should be surprised at this point.


I have to say that I agree with the parent post. I specifically haven't upgraded because: 1. no hdmi 2. no sd 3. escape key 4. keyboard 5. magsafe 6. usb a

I admit that maybe #6 is a little Luddite-like but there will be too many leads around which are usb-a which I'll need to use an adapter on. Right now, this is genuinely annoying that I need to carry around all these adapters which all cost quite a lot each.

Talking to one of my colleagues who has one of the 13" macbooks. He said that you just changed to be more careful about the lack of magsafe. Maybe I'll learn?

For HDMI. This is dumb for everyone who will ever have to do a presentation.

For SD. Tre-annoying, since my camera is usb-a. So I have to be $30 for an sd card reader. Yet another adapter.

Maybe someone should do some photos of a laptop with all the leads hanging off?! Then the designers might appreciate that it looks crap and do something about it....

Conclusion: you buy the MacBook Pro with max memory; upgrade the graphics card (why not... it isn't that much); up the disk size; buy a usb c adapter; buy a hdmi adapter; buy a sd card reader; buy a lightning cable converter too. That totals $5000. Ouch.


> He said that you just changed to be more careful about the lack of magsafe. Maybe I'll learn?

Having magsafe on my retina MacBook, with little kids in the house, may have been the best leisure hack I've ever enjoyed. The hack came from lack of anxiety about the kids tripping over the cord and bringing the laptop crashing to the floor, enabling me to simply set the machine down, walk away, and play with the kids instead. Now I would have to put the laptop somewhere out-of-sight in order for it to charge.


I'm hoping that someone brings to market a simple usb-c extension cable that has a magnetic middle bit that if pulled splits the table in half.


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