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New 13-inch MacBook Pro (apple.com)
726 points by gshakir 33 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 1079 comments



Bringing back the escape key is such a admission of their original screw up. I'm glad they admitted it and reversed the design decision. But I'm still on a 2012 15" MacBook that's running strong. I normally would have updated but using my work 15" has been horrific between the dongles, the keyboard randomly dropping keys (last week "G" would not work, now it's back. The most infuriating thing about the touch bar, out of many things, is the fact that the Escape Key doesn't line up with the upper left, it's offset. So decades of muscle memory has to change by s quarter inch. What a pain in the ass. Yes I'm a vi user.


Everyone keeps talking about vi/emacs stuff. While that was annoying, the more annoying aspect was when macOS softlocked and I was unable to hit the chord (cmd+opt+esc) to get the kill task window because the touchbar froze as well.

Having a virtual ESC key in software that can be frozen, where part of your keyboard chord to kill apps includes the ESC key is really, really, stupid and caused me lots of wasted time that could have been saved had there just been a hard ESC key.


Mapping the Caps Lock key to Esc in the modifier remap interface is how I handled this situation (and others with essential ESC). Figured that probably wasn't coincidence that they added Esc to it when the new keyboard was introduced--was as much of a nod to mitigating a bad idea as we got.

But yeah, it was stupid, especially given that software developers are a very visible market for them in the Bay Area. As soon as the 16" came out with an Esc, I ordered one at work and bought one at home so I guess they won, but it's another step towards getting me on a Linux or Windows PC a generation or two down the line.


This didn't work for those of us who map Caps Lock to Control, like god intended. IIRC, it wasn't possible to map the left Control key to ESC for some reason.


I actually use Karabiner now to do Ctrl if held, Esc if tapped. It’s a little tougher to walk people through though:

1) install karabiner elements

2) select complex modifications

3) add rule

4) import more from internet

5) import change caps lock key v4

6) add rule change caps_lock to control if pressed with other keys, to escape if pressed alone

...is my actual current setup, along with a bunch of other key mapping. But I started with what I posted above, which everyone with Mojave+ on a MBP has available already.


Is karabiner going to stop working in 10.16? Because of the kext lockdown/deprecation?

I'm very afraid of getting too used to it and then having it stop working.

https://github.com/pqrs-org/Karabiner-Elements/issues/2149


I hadn't seen that before, but figures. More and more, a nice Lenovo, Dell, or System76 laptop running Linux is starting to sound really good. Hell, it's got better gaming support than Mac now, with Vulkan.

As far as the immediate concern goes, Karabiner is such a popular thing that I suspect there'll be some way to support it. If not, I won't upgrade. I just bought this MacBook Pro, and it'll probably continue to be usable on 10.15.x for its lifetime. I'm not too interested in my gaming keyboard and 10 key pad becoming unusable, at any rate.

If they actually completely kill software support for this, I guess next best thing would be a USB intermediary to process the key codes. Possible it's doable with a Raspberry PI or something, and there are enough mechanical keyboard enthusiasts on Mac someone would be motivated to do it. Won't help for the internal keyboard though.


The USB thingy already exists, I actually own one for macros with dumb keyboards. Its a very small USB-device with a USB port where you can attach standard USB keyboards. It runs QMK and essentially acts as a proxy, allowing you to program macros and what-not directly in QMK. A neat, little gadget.

See https://geekhack.org/index.php?topic=69169.0

Edit: Correction: It actually runs TMK, but I flashed QMK on it.


Sweet! Thanks for pointing me at that. I have applications where I might be able to use that anyway (PS4 comes to mind).


btw, this issue has some "system-supported" ways to do the simple modifications. That at least would let me do a workaround for some of what I'd need to replace (swapping modifier keys, mapping my ten-keypad to arrow keys, etc.)

https://github.com/pqrs-org/Karabiner-Elements/issues/2196


Karabiner also lets you disable the Touch Bar escape so you don’t accidentally trigger it.


Re left ctrl, btw, it’s possible now to map ctrl to esc. It’ll map both keys though—-the apple interface doesn’t do left/right.

It’s a “simple modification” (specific type) in Karabiner though, if you use that. I use PC mechanical keyboards so most of my typing devices a) have swapped around mod keys and b) map right ctrl to fn so I can do Mac device hotkeys from pc keyboard.


Real Vi/emac users don’t use the esc key. It’s way too far frome home row.


Right! Real vi users have a foot pedal for escape.

:__)

*yes, fingers pointing at me


I think most people actually remap to the ~ key, or if they're extreme they'll use tab. On my keyboard Escape already came as the ~ key and you have to use fn to access ~ or `.

The ergonomics of moving it closer far outweigh any benefits from it being physical vs touchscreen.


Remap caps-lock to escape and you're good to go! Or remap capslock to control and use Ctrl-[. Or use karabiner and remap capslock to control-when-held and escape-when-pressed-quickly.


AutoHotkey can do this "caps lock as both escape and control" thing too. I use this, from http://vim.wikia.com/wiki/Map_caps_lock_to_escape_in_Windows :

  ; Author: fwompner gmail com
  #InstallKeybdHook
  SetCapsLockState, alwaysoff
  Capslock::
  Send {LControl Down}
  KeyWait, CapsLock
  Send {LControl Up}
  if ( A_PriorKey = "CapsLock" )
  {
      Send {Esc}
  }
  return


When I first started using Emacs, I used to joke that with all the various modifiers and prefix keys for escapes that it was just a generation away from needing foot pedals.


Or they use ctrl+c


Right. I've been a long time vim user and I don't really use the escape key while vim-ing. I use ctrl+c.


don't you mean toe pedal?


Mapping the sequence 'jk' to Esc supercharged vim for me. Faster, but also helps me stay in the flow longer.

Run `:inoremap jk <Esc>` to try it out.


add in kj too and you can just press both keys at the same time and it will work like it was just one key press. the added benefit is that it's basically a no-op from the standpoint of vim too just in case you were already in normal mode.


I wonder if any people remap hjkl to jkl;. Having to shift my hands one key over always annoyed me.


'jk' are on the strongest two fingers on the right hand home row, since that's what you'll be doing the most. 'h' can be hit once or twice with no real effort, but there are better ways to move left and right within a line, such as `bBeEfFwWIA`. I also remap `H` and 'L' to move all the way to either end of the line, but I might be doing it wrong


I just use my index finger for both j and h. Are you used to the arrow keys? I noticed with jkl;, my fingers line up with the arrow-key directions.


On the keyboards vi was designed for, Escape was positioned where the Caps Lock key is now on modern US-101 keyboards. May as well just map it there.


I'm puzzled by this claim.

The keyboard for the ADM-3A shows a Ctrl key to the left of A. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ADM-3A#Hardware

The VT100 shows CAPS LOCK to the left of A. https://vt100.net/docs/vt100-ug/chapter1.html#S1.1

So on which visual terminal was ESC to the left of A? Or are you perhaps referring to ex, an antecedent of vi, which was designed for hardcopy terminals? If so, which hardcopy terminal had ESC to the left of A? I've looked at the images for some and can't find that.


You’re right. Next to Q is correct, still more reachable than it is now. Now Tab is in that position and we’re used to that.


Some of us just have big hands. :3


i am a real vi user its not too far I use esc


I think the parent was a bit tongue-in-cheek. It's in reference to the keyboard layout vi was developed with and the fact many vi users are obsessed with keeping their fingers on/near the home row (much like, "a /real/ vi user doesn't use the mouse"). Ctrl-[ is an equivalent to ESC on American English keyboards.

https://dave.cheney.net/2017/08/21/the-here-is-key

https://vim.fandom.com/wiki/Avoid_the_escape_key#Avoiding_th...


This happened to me last week.

I did not notice at first, but I could not reduce the volume, since its control was gone.

Then I tried to restart finder, but the escape key was ‘gone’.

I have an even better story about the one that replaced this (same model).


The "real" Escape key is essential. I'm using a new 16" MBP at work and it's quite nice, but without the real Escape key I'd probably be cursing the computer every day. I thought I'd hate the touchbar, but I actually thought it was cute -- for about an hour. Then I realized it was just a useless gimmick and reset it to "Expanded Control Strip" which is Apple's euphemism for "Make the touchbar look and act just like the old Mac function keys."

I did add the "Do Not Disturb" key to the touchbar; it's nice to have one-button access to that function when I need to get work done without distractions.


The last time this came up on HN (that I read) someone recommended Pock, so I'll pass on that recommendation.

https://pock.dev

This takes the touchbar from 'annoying' to 'ok this is kind of useful actually', for me at least. I spend a lot of time on a keyboard + trackball combo, but keep my laptop propped a bit for TouchID, zooming, and one or two other useful idioms.

I've been hiding the Dock for a solid decade, and it's a more useful default than, say, the illegible window snapshots Safari insists on offering over the obvious choice of favicon + a few letters of the title.

It's baffling to me that none of Chrome, Firefox, nor Safari, offer that interface for the touchbar on Mac.


Thank you for this post. This seems incredibly useful for casual settings when you're on another computer and you want to pull up another app.


I tried out pock.dev a while ago, but didn't really find it useful. I just rarely use my dock, it's been hidden for years. I open almost everything with spotlight (Or Alfred a few years ago), and switching is just cmd + tab.

I do find the Touch Bar useful for music controls and scrubbing through a video, but that's about it.


The touchbar is not useless - that is an opinion I do not share.

I do not use the Fn keys in MacOS - and having media controls, screen lock, and other data in the touchbar makes more sense for me. It was and is an experiment in user behavior and UI. Some like it, some don't. I'm not committed to it, but I don't want the HN bubble to think their "bad touchbar" is the only opinion.


I can see it can be, and it actually is useful for many users, but it's not for me, and many others share the same opinion. So having an option not to get the touch bar is important for us.


I hear you, but that gets to the core of Apple design: They don't have a million options for people.

Some want headphone jack, many don't. Some like the butterfly keys, many don't. Touchbar, USB-A, Magsafe, Touch ID, small OLED form factor... they pick a side and go.


> I did add the "Do Not Disturb" key to the touchbar; it's nice to have one-button access

Not quite one button, but option- clicking the notifications icon at the far right of the menu bar will also enable do not disturb


Learned that after I installed the button on the touchbar but yeah, good point.


The touchbar is for sure a gimmick, but I found some use for it in PyCharm. There’s a lot of commands you can run from the menubar in pycharm so its kinda useful to skip a complicated hotkey and just add it to the touchbar. Maybe in video editing programs theres some use?


I imagine it might be more useful for content creation than others. Then again, maybe not.

I was forced to remove several buttons from the touch bar, because when I go to type numbers I will occasionally brush the bar with my fingertips, interrupting my workflow as something random suddenly pops up.

I hate the Touch Bar.


I got my first touchbar enabled MacBook this month after holding out as long as I could and I find I accidentally hit it all the time when browsing the web.


I have the 2016 MBP, and the digital escape key makes me angry almost every single day, there's just no feedback whatsoever. And every so often I accidentally "press" it. Other than that, the only useful feature is music controls.


I'm still surprised that so many people are stuck on the Escape key but it's probably no surprise that the ones that are stuck are all developers using vi or emacs. I love the Touch Bar and had no problem adjusting/remapping and find the utility of the Touch Bar for video and audio editing to be invaluable now. I wasn't sold on it before but, over the last year or so, I'll be really disappointed if they remove it. Adding the escape key back seems like a good compromise for both parties, imho.


I've used the touch bar for years, and frankly, it's provided me zero value whatsoever. The only thing I use it for is occasionally adjusting volume or brightness but of course I can no longer do that without looking down at what I'm manipulating. Third party apps have totally ignored it. The physical escape key is the second useful thing in the entire function row, but hey at least it's got two useful things now (an escape key and a touch ID/power button), so that's a 100% increase!

I went so far as to build a physical escape key -- #couragekey -- a few years back (just as a joke, but it does work) https://twitter.com/martinmroz/status/995003391314083840

I just put in my order!

[edit] also the #couragekey was a really fun project to put together, I think I'll write it up to commemorate a real escape key coming back.


You can program your touchbar with something like BetterTouchTool. It's laughable that Apple ships the touchbar with such useless functionalities, but you can turn the touchbar into whatever you want, it's an amazing tool. For example, when I open iTerm I have buttons for my local development env (DB, redis, api, frontend, various microservices) color-coded by status and can start/stop them by tapping a button. You could program buttons for your git workflow, for managing browser tabs, desk spaces... If you can't find a way to make it more useful than fn keys, that's on you frankly.

All of that only applies if you're a dev, so I definitely agree that the touchbar was a fuckup from Apple, but it happens that it's massively useful for me


I can see state indicators for various services being remotely useful. But git workflow? I have terminals open anyway and everything is easily accessible from shell using aliases and ^R etc anyway.

Is there a way to decouple touchbar from active window btw? For example if I have Skype running I'd like to have Skype's buttons on touchbar regardless of focused window. I tried using BetterTouchTool but all I found out was quite hacky ways to mimic keypresses and whatnot instead of pinning app specific UIs.


> But git workflow?

Useless to me too, that's just an example out a million things you could do.

> Is there a way to decouple touchbar from active window btw

You can, touchbar items are global, app-scoped or part of a group that you can open/close programatically (clicking on a touchbar button, usually). The annoying bit is syncing: you'll need to poll for the state of Skype.


> You can program your touchbar with something like BetterTouchTool.

I just have no use for a touchbar. After all, I have a screen! I never look at my keyboard.... it’s all about tactile feedback, which the touchbar notoriously lacks.


> I just have no use for a touchbar

I find this very narrow-minded. You can't imagine a single thing that a programmable tactile interface would bring over keys (that you probably can't reliably touch-type either, fn keys are far)?

I never looked at my keyboard either. I still don't, I look at my touchbar from time to time to do things that would take me longer to do if I had to move a cursor (checking the time, my next calendar event, controlling music amongst a dozen things)


> I still don't, I look at my touchbar from time to time to do things that would take me longer to do if I had to move a cursor (checking the time, my next calendar event, controlling music amongst a dozen things)

Moving the mouse doesn't really bother me, and there are a million ways to wire functionality to keyboard expressions or in-UI functionality. I do miss my hardware volume, prev track, next track, play/pause functionality exactly because I could use them easily without shifting focus at all, even to my keyboard.

OTOH I'm not holding my breath for Apple to meet my needs, they aren't that kind of company.


I agree that there are probably some cool uses for the touch bar if you put some thought in to tailoring it to your work flow, but it is not a tactile interface. Keys are a tactile interface. You can't discern anything from the touchbar by touch, its a flat piece of glass.

Personally, I've never spent any time trying to customize the touch bar because I am never using my laptop without an external keyboard, because of how fuckin' terrible the built in one is. So happy they added some travel back to the keys. I have put off buying a new laptop for years because of how much I hate that stupid keyboard.


I mean, you can always use more screen. On my touchbar I display the time, battery, weather. I also have a script to start a timer and display the time remaining on it (or the output of any script, really). It saves some screen estate. It's nice!

Also there are actions you can program on the touchbar that don't require looking at it. For instance I set it up so that sliding two fingers anywhere on the touchbar changes the volume.


Personally I find more screen real estate doesn’t do anything for my productivity, which is rarely mechanically limited.


Wow that sounds awesome. You can do this with just BetterTouchTool? Could you share your config?


Well, and a few shell scripts that do the glue between docker-compose and an output that BTT can easily understand. You can write shell/applescript with BTT, but it's not really a good experience


Nothing you describe relies on touchbar, only Fn keys


I think the bit where the labels change is a pretty big differentiator, for things that are per-app.

Are you old enough to remember when PC applications came with templates that fit over a 101 key keyboard to show you what all the fn keys did? That's why very little outside professional tooling uses them for anything but system-wide shortcuts anymore. They're horrible for discoverability so unless you live in the app enough to thoroughly memorize them they aren't terribly useful.

As much as I don't care for the Hot Bar in general, it is far better for per-app shortcuts that are used rarely enough not to require (and thus develop) muscle memory. You'd need one of those OLED keyboards to do much better.


The visible status and feedback on what pressing the bar will do isn't replicatable with just Fn keys.


It feels like neither's a complete solution: on the touch bar you see what touching a button would do, but you have to look, and even then you don't know if you've touched it since there's no feedback.

On the keyboard, you don't know what a key would do in a given situation.

Sounds like we need a third option.


It's not necessarily true you have to look. BTT lets you define actions for sliding 2/3/4 fingers left or right on the entirety of the touchbar. You can set it up to change volume, brightness, ctrl+tab, change the size of a drawing tool, undo/redo, whatever. It works anywhere on the strip, so it's very forgiving.

I actually only just now thought of mapping 3-finger swipe to undo/redo. I've only been messing around with it for five minutes but it's kind of nice, honestly! It's better than cmd+z when you need to undo/redo more than once, because it bypasses the key repeat setting.


SAY NO MORE

you do have feedback with the touchbar! As I recently learned, the trackpad click isn't really a click. It can be triggered by software! And bettertouchtool has a specific action for "touchpad haptic feedback". That means you can trigger a touchpad click when you tap a touchbar button, and it perfectly fine as feedback.

Yes you do have to look. I'm not recommending touchbar actions for things that you do so often that it's a problem (though I have a big button to switch between firefox and vscode, big enough that I don't have to look). But it's not like I was using fn keys without looking either


That's really cool, I'ma give it a shot!


There's always https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimus_Maximus_keyboard but it sounds like it was extremely expensive and hard to type on.


I was of the same opinion as you until I discovered Pock: it's a small tool that puts the dock (and optional controls) in the touchbar. This means I can get more screen real estate while keeping my dock accessible. Frankly I'm now pretty much onboard with the touchbar, except for the probably huge battery consumption.


Auto-Hide dock is easier to reach than touchbar.


I realize a lot of people are big fans of hiding their dock. I find it annoying because there are too many moves instead of darting your eyes. When walking up to a random computer it's worse because I often find those people have moved the dock and I have to check each corner one at a time.


I've had the dock hidden for so long I've almost forgot it existed. I do all my app launching and switching with spotlight and keyboard shortcuts. But just recently I was having a hell of a time locating the trash folder in the filesystem or in a finder window, and thought they might have gotten rid of it or something. Then I remembered the good ol' dock icon.

I wouldn't mind the dock being visible when I'm using my large external monitor, but it just takes up too much space on a 13/15inch screen imo.


I find it a lot harder to adjust the volume with touchbar compared to the old keys. It used to be something I could do really quick and accurate, now I have to look down and try to adjust a slider.


On the contrary, I'd say the ESC key is even more important to normal consumers than programmers compared to, say, the backtick key. I mostly use it for coming out of fullscreen for youtube, netflix etc and I'm sure most consumers don't even know what a backtick is.


You're probably right about the unpopularity of the backtick key, and it's too bad. I use cmd-` probably 1000 times every day. For me cmd-` and cmd-Tab completely obviate any need for Mission Control or any of the other 14 different mechanisms in MacOS that show you all your windows and let you click one with the mouse.


Same. CMD+Tab tells me everything I need to know.

My dock auto hides and I only use it to open the downloads folder.

Very rarely I can't find a window and I use a hot corner to show all windows of the space but it happens once a week at the most.


The physical key isn't what's important to consumers. The ability to back out and use the ESC function is and that's still there for everyone who has a Touch Bar machine.


Or, you know, literally any app where `esc` is the "cancel and exit this dialog" key. Which is every Adobe application, all DAWs, etc. etc.


I don't see how that's a negative. The Touch Bar still has an ESC segment that works exactly the same as the button and literally no one in any of the companies that I've worked with that's not a developer has ever had an issue with it while simultaneously finding the Touch Bar far more useful than unlabelled function keys.


I'm glad Apple disagrees with you and is no longer making computers which lack a physical escape key.

I got used to it pretty quickly, and I've had press-Alt mapped to Esc for many years.

It was always annoying, and the 16" with a physical Esc is much nicer.

Now all Apple has to do is add some haptic feedback to the damnable thing and I'll actually like it.


I don't think they do disagree with me. I'm not suggesting that the physical escape key isn't a better option for people. I'm just responding to the person that said the Touch Bar was broken because it didn't include a physical escape key. It's not broken. It works exactly the same, functionally, as the physical key so there's nothing you can do with the physical key that you can't do with the virtual key on the Touch Bar. The physical key is just better because it's tactile and now usable for all the devs that rely on it.


I think Apple putting the physical escape key back indicates that they agree it was broken, relative to a virtual escape key.

The only advantage to a virtual Esc is getting that piece of real estate if you don't happen to want one, and as has been pointed out elsewhere, Escape is an important affordance in macOS-land, even if you aren't a Vim user.

The important report here is a process freezing both the UI and the touch bar, and therefore option-command-escape being unavailable to bring up force quit. That's obviously bad, and I would call it broken. Edge case but an important one!

This is just a quibble about whether it's worse enough to deserve the moniker "broken", though. I'm not personally attached to that, just want to point out that it does in fact break an important action in the core vocabulary.


>I think Apple putting the physical escape key back indicates that they agree it was broken, relative to a virtual escape key.

No it doesn't. All that it indicates is that there was a preference for it by part of their demographic. Again, developers are in the minority here. Most Macbook users don't care and it was an easy concession to make from Apple.


Except it doesn't, because there is no esc key. There's a portion of a touch sensitive monitor that may, or may not, have an active region that simulates an esc key, which you won't know without looking at it, rather than being able to rely on the fact that there's a key in the upper left that you can feel for without ever looking at your keyboard, in the knowledge that it always sends the one key code it has to.

If this has never been a problem for you: nice! But it's been so much of a problem for everyone else, and they've spoke up about this so much, that Apple undid that decision.


Yes, there is. Show me a situation where the Touch Bar wouldn't have the ESC button there. Additionally, if the position and location are that big of an issue, there is a setting that guarantees that the ESC key and FN keys are always on the bar at all times.

There is literally nothing that the physical key does that the virtual key on the Touch Bar can't do.


Actually, that behavior is baked into the OS.


That doesn't bear any relevance to application UI frameworks that don't build on top of the OS's UI framework.


> and find the utility of the Touch Bar for video and audio editing to be invaluable now.

See, the problem is that I rarely use the laptop's own keyboard. Only in cases where I'm actually on the go. If I'm at the office or at home, I'll have an external keyboard (and monitor).

While the laptop's own display remains useful, the keyboard becomes awkward to reach. The touchbar, even more so.

Now, if Apple's external keyboard had a touch bar, now that would be useful.


At this point, I would definitely use an external keyboard or even just an external Touch Bar (unless Apple releases mechanical keyboards with a Touch Bar). I kinda rely on it for media editing/scrubbing.


I haven't had an issue with the Touch Bar, but only because 95% of my usage is through a connected mechanical keyboard; the 5% of time that I do use my laptop's keyboard + Touch Bar, I definitely do not enjoy it.

I can sort of understand the potential appeal of it, especially in terms of customization. But even though the Touch Bar is 3 years old, am I the only one who is reluctant to invest time in learning it (this includes learning how to fully customize and optimize it) because it seems like the kind of feature that may soon disappear into obsolescence? It doesn't help that it's the sort of hardware feature that is literally only applicable to 1 of 3 computers I currently use. But unlike other Apple-pioneered hardware features (multitouch trackpad, built-in Touch ID), Touch Bar seems very unlikely to eventually become a popular cross-platform feature.


I am still surprised that Apple doesn't give the option of non-touchbar. Why is that? A good compromise would be to have both options, imho.


By limiting the customization, it reduces the complexity of supply chains and thus reduces cost.


So where are the savings? Certainly not passed down to the customer.

Plus, Apple is not known for hardware cost-savings as being a primary factor in their key decisions.


> So where are the savings?

Apple is a business and prices its products based on demand. If people are willing to pay a high price, you bet they're going to charge a high price. The savings from not having many hardware variations on a single model are simply accumulated into their bank account.

And they might not cut costs when it comes to the hardware itself, but they are known for having a limited number of options and customizations when it comes to hardware.


Apple doesn't compromise. You either conform to the borgthink, or you go elsewhere.

If you want to Think Different, you don't want apple.


Given that Apple is the only one offering computers with touchbars, I think they are still the Think Different camp.


No, they are in "move fast and break things" camp.


One doesn’t have to exclude the other.


I suspect nobody uses that entire row, so if you're not going to do anything with it besides an escape key, you may as well throw in something interesting.


I've got and used several non-apple laptops that use the row for media keys, and switch them to the function keys with a press of a dedicated fn key at the bottom.

I don't use function keys, but do use the media keys (mostly volume and screen brightness) by touch. The touch bar is hilariously named imho, because you have to look at it to use it.


If that's the case where are the external magic keyboards with touchbars?


Price? I have no idea what the markup on the touchbar is, but I'd guess it's at least in the $50 range, no?

When you're buying a $1650-4000 machine, $50-100 probably isn't gonna make potential buyers balk.

When you're buying a $99 keyboard, $150 is a fairly big difference. And honestly given the $99 price tag on Magic Keyboard, I'd guess Magic Keyboard + Touch bar would be like $199 at least. How many people do you think would buy it at that price tag? You also have to consider that Magic Keyboard currently works with windows, linux, etc, so the potential users are much wider than a Touch bar enabled keyboard, which would only work as intended with macs.


I think a lot of people balk at the price of Macs because it includes useless expensive features.

Where's the iPod Touch of Mac OS?


The Air and the mini.


I assume it's some combination of price, performance, and battery life on the external keyboard.

You can use the Touch Bar on your iPad (using an app like Duet Display, or even with Sidecar if you have a modern MacBook). I find it to be useful in certain situations.


I personally use Vi and so do others I hear from (as in HN) but other than that it would probably never come up as an issue. For the record, you can remap Caps lock to Esc which is as good, if not better than escape. I use this on my iPad and other keyboards as well (even with the esc key)


A bit tricky when I have Caps Lock remapped to Control, like any self-respecting emacs user!


Do both!

You can use karabiner elements to remap CAPS LOCK so that it’s ESCAPE when tapped and CONTROL when held.


I also map my Caps Lock to Control, but don't forget that Ctrl + [ is the equivalent of Escape in vi/vim. It's a chord, but it ends up being much more convenient for me since the keys are both comfortably around the home row keys.


I agree but, as I said initially, I only see this in the developer crowd. I just don't hear that type of criticism from any other segment in any of the companies I work with.


I think one of the main points is that you shouldn't have to.


I do use vi, but I think it's more important that ESC is used to non-destructively dismiss a dialog. Like exiting fullscreen mode, backing out, or dismissing a warning--but not exiting without saving.


I too love the touch bar.

For example I love that apps written to use (eg VS.Code) now have labelled buttons rather than imposing on me to remember strange function buttons.


The problem is most heavy computer users set themselves up with a proper ergonomic setup, i.e. external keyboard. And by not building the touch bar into external keyboards, they killed the entire concept of the Touch Bar, because any "pro" application has to assume that you may or may not have a touch bar and can't put essential functionality there. Which limits the Touch Bar to proper first-class support primarily in Apple first-party apps.


I guess the actual, underlying problem is, the Touchbar is bad UX for a bunch of software engineers, but pretty great for most everyone else. Think about it – you lose some keys you never really had a use for anyway except as media keys, and you get almost analogue-ish volume and brightness controls, apps can give you context-dependent options that are really discoverable (which F-keys totally aren't) and can adapt to your feature use patterns and be a lot richer than static bindings on 12 keys. As a musician, you get a neat little slider – no replacement for a proper external controller, but it's always there when needed, and it can change its behavior dependent on the context. As a photographer, you get a multi-function slider in post that feels (to me) a lot more precise than any touchpad acrobatics I'm capable of. Plus, and most importantly by a long way, it makes emoji really usable on MacOS, and emoji are super, super important stuff, it's hard to overstate their value. Text-based communication loses a lot of emotional cues, that's really hard to get used to if you're used to mostly in-person communication or at least voice, and in my experience keeps causing small (or not-so-small) misunderstandings and microdose vitriol even among people who have been doing this for ages and ages, been socialized in it, aren't too keen on lots of face-to-face, and detest emoji with a passion. Those are things that make the Touchbar a pretty neat feature for lots and lots of people, even given its many "legitimate" issues (it tends to micro-freeze for some people, it isn't as precise as it could be, lots of apps use it in not-well-thought-out ways, it's very hard to use blindly, ...) But not having F-keys is so disruptive to a lot of deeply-ingrained software development muscle memory and UI conventions transplanted from other OSes and other decades that I guess it just wouldn't fly with this crowd in pretty much any shape and form factor.


How does it help with emoji? I've found CMD+Ctrl+space to already work really well.


There is no way to discover Cmd+Ctrl+Space.

I've used Macs full time for 6 years and your post here right now is the first time I knew that was possible. OTOH I've been using Emojis in the touchbar since I got a Mac with one.


I tried to find something like that at least half a dozen times over the years and I didn't know this was possible, this is immensely helpful! Thank you!


> but pretty great for most everyone else

Honestly I think most people would rather save $200-300 than have the touchbar.

If you look at the average mac user, not pros but regular office people, they use stuff like Launchpad and rarely use keyboard shortcuts. You'd be surprised how many macOS users don't even use Spotlight for instance.


Get the Air then. More than plenty horsepower for regular office work, even thinner and lighter and quite a bit cheaper and prettier (do they still have the gold one? I wish they'd offer that on the Pros...) If someone buys a Pro for some Excel and web browsing, I'd imagine those $200-300 didn't break the bank. People sometimes get one even though the Air would have been fine precisely because of the Touchbar (says my little bit of anecdata.) Besides, I guess the Touchbar would be especially neat exactly for those people who never use Spotlight, because it's extremely discoverable. With Spotlight, you either need to know it's there, or discover it on your own (which is going to be hard); it's similar with keyboard shortcuts. Tap "Search" on the Touchbar? Way easier. You don't need to be good with computers to find out how to do that.


> Get the Air then. More than plenty horsepower for regular office work

The passive CPU cooling on the Air is a deal breaker.


For an office laptop? A few Excel sheets, a dozen or two browser tabs, maybe something like Slack?


Yes, even constant low workloads will make the fan audible.

See the NotebookCheck review of the i5:

> At around 30% CPU load (installation of OS updates), the fan is clearly audible and we are already above 40 dB(A), which is hard to understand considering the low performance level.

https://www.notebookcheck.net/The-new-2020-MacBook-Air-Core-...


Weird. At any rate, it doesn't seem to be an issue that deters companies from issuing those things to employees, and looking at the Windows machines some companies issue, that's probably fine; at least it's not a gargantuan brick with a super outdated Atom CPU and Windows 7. Reading the other comments, even some devs are happy with Airs.


I would pay Touch Bar prices for a MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar.


Me too actually :(


> Honestly I think most people would rather save $200-300 than have the touchbar.

This is such a silly comment. You actually have no idea.


Why is that?


The problem with function keys vs touchbar could have been fixed by embedding a small lcd in each key, or in a border above them. Its not like mac's have a shortage of vertical keyboard space given how much they waste on the trackpad.

That way you keep people happy who aren't looking down at the keys, and you give new users/etc nice graphics to help describe what the buttons do.


That eliminates one of the biggest benefits of the Touch Bar - the ability to use sliders and to scrub through media files. I'll keep the Touch Bar any day over LCD keys.


This is basically a repackaged "no true Scotsman" fallacy. We're talking about a laptop here. Most people that bought a laptop are using it because they need something portable and self-contained. On top of that, the Touch Bar isn't meant for "essential" functionality just like the F-keys were never meant for essential functionality. They were meant to be shortcuts for commonly used functions.

I use an external keyboard with the Touch Bar all the time. Pretending like you have to use one or the other is disingenuous.


Touch bar is stupid idea because it is so narrow,and located in such place that it is hard to see it clearly due to the angle. If they really wanted to add touch capabilities to MacBook they should have put touch display in place of TouchPad, like Asus did: https://www.engadget.com/2018-06-05-asus-zenbook-pro-15-scre...


I could care less about the ESC key being gone (remapped that to caps lock) but I hate the touchbar so much. Half the time i'm listening music and go to pause it the bar doesn't work, or tells me it's already paused even though music is playing.


A year or two back chrome implemented media controls for tabs that have media on them. Before I realized (and disabled) that, I thought the media keys weren't working on my 2014 MBP. That could be happening to you?


The fact that you remapped Esc to Caps Lock and don't miss the latter just indicates the non-essentiality of Caps Lock.

Guess which key Apple will remove next :)


They will put a tiny screen there to display ads for top selling apps.


Built into MacOS itself is the ability to do something many vi and emacs users do regardless of the presence of a touchbar:

Remap caps lock (a useless key anyway) to escape.

This is in System Preferences > Keyboard > Modifier Keys > pick 'Escape' from the dropdown next to 'Caps lock key'.

If you wanna get fancy you can rewire right-ctrl or whatnot to esc too if you like that.

There are also 3rd party utilities like [Karabiner](https://karabiner-elements.pqrs.org/) which is undoubtedly the front runner for mac remappers (And public domain to boot). It's very scriptable; for example, if you want, you can set it up such that a longer press on caps lock really is caps lock (making use of the led for visual feedback that you engaged caps lock), but a short tap is escape. This does mean the ESC cannot register until you release.

If only there was some software to make this keyboard not sound like a slap fight between 2 otters...


Just breathed new life into my 2013 15" by replacing the thermal paste. Runs much cooler/quieter now.


They tried something, failed, now they are changing course. That is a plus in my book. I have a 2016 15" MBP and I hate the keyboard. One of the worst laptops ever made by Apple. I hope next they bring back letting user upgrade components (like let me install my own RAM and SSD upgrades.)


Next press release may read as follows:

"The new magic keyboard, not only with the new inverted T arrangement of arrow keys, but also with absolutely brand new physical function keys featuring all new haptic feedback experience."


If Apple had released computers with the touch bar above the existing physical function keys, everyone would love it and other companies would provide a similar feature, the same way that they have all converged on the same industrial design as what Apple pioneered 20 years ago.

Instead, Jony Ive insisted on the touch bar replacing the function keys, and here we are. At least the butterfly switches are finally dead.


More like their past press release; here's some text from their newish 16" MacBook Pro page (https://www.apple.com/macbook-pro-16/):

The 16-inch MacBook Pro takes workflow efficiency to a new level. The new Magic Keyboard features a refined scissor mechanism with 1 mm travel for a responsive, comfortable, and quiet typing experience. The Touch Bar puts powerful shortcuts front and center, and Touch ID provides fast authentication. A dedicated Escape key allows quick switching between modes and views. And the inverted-T arrow keys enable fluid navigation whether you’re flying through lines of code, navigating spreadsheets, or gaming.


As I’m working from home I’ve got back on using my MBA 2013. I’ve replaced its internal 256gb with 2TB. While I like the MBP 13” 2018 of me and it’s faster in compiling... I really enjoy it. It’s working well and most importantly when I connect usb devices I don’t need extra dongles.


I switched to using caps lock for esc and actually prefer it now.


So what do you do if you already had Caps Lock assigned to Ctrl?


CMD+. does the same as escape in most situations. Works on MacOS and iOS.


The first thing I tried to do with it, pull a window out of fullscreen, did not work :/


I was initially waiting for this new 13", because I was finally needing a MacBook. I got tired of waiting and, as these things usually happened, bought an upgraded and battery-replaced 2015 13" MBP a week ago with 16GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD for a grand. Do you know what that RAM and storage space costs on the new 13" model? More than double that. I'm pretty okay with my decision.


The 2015 13' MBP's are still the best balance of form and function. You made a great choice.


I have the same laptop. It was the first Retina model Apple released in 2012 and it held up great for a long time. Last year, it started to have random kernel panics. Seems that was a factory defect and Apple used to fix it for free, but now it's "vintage" so they won't do it anymore. I can't believe it has a HDMI port and a SD card slot. Don't think those are ever coming back to Macbooks.


I remapped the key on the upper left, where ESC should be, to ESC. Well, it's now to the left of the number row, but I've used keyboards where it was in that place. So muscle memory works fine for that.

The keys that are there (caret and circle) get some other place, which works fine for me, because I am used to having those somewhere else in the first place.


MY 6 month old mac is loosing the ink off the letters, at this point I can barely read "A". My 2015 model they keyboard is still in perfect shape. ALSO one of the things I hate about this new keyboard is its SUPER noisy on voice calls.


As soon as the escape key has been removed, I had to do a big switch. Use the caps lock key as escape key. Happy since then! The only hassle is to go set it up in the keyboard prefs.


Apple just launched a $300 keyboard for iPad Pro, with no Esc key.


...which is perfectly reasonable for a device with an operating system with no legacy of needing one for day to day operations.


I mapped it to caps lock, but my Blink already allowed that.


> Yes I'm a vi user.

Have you tried using crtl-[? As a side benefit, it's less of a stretch on the little finger, and it ought to work across most vi setups.


As a fellow vim user, I don't get the esc key problem. <C-[> is the same thing and a lot less movement. Esc is too far away where as <C-[> is already where my hands naturally lie and similar to other patterns I use (<C-x><C-p>, <C-x><C-l>, etc). I seriously do not understand the whole obsession with the esc key. If you have to lift your wrists you're doing it wrong.


One might be using a keyboard layout in which some special characters are cumbersome to type. I am switching between 3 layouts regularly and "[" and "|" are only fun on QWERTY, on AZERTY or QWERTZ they are painful.


That would be painful. But I hear these comments from a lot of Americans. QWERTY is also pretty common in Europe in general, so I don't think the frequency of the comments (aligned with the quality of English) lines up.


Why would you use Esc that puts your fingers away from your home position?

Use CTRL-C or map something like "jj".


In macOS Keyboard Settings

Remap CapsLock -> Esc

Changed my life.


Even better, hyper key: https://brettterpstra.com/2017/06/15/a-hyper-key-with-karabi...

(Functions as ESC if pressed alone, otherwise acts as hyper key which is great to use for keyboard shortcuts)


As a VIM guy myself, this was huge. I never felt like I was missing out having done this.


I've only been using vim (well, neovim) for a few months, but I just assumed everyone mapped ESC to the caps lock key. Nearly every beginner tutorial recommended it, for good reason.


I was curious how the 13 inch was priced so I compared it to a new Dell XPS 13. Dell has a better processor (maybe, [2]) , but I couldn't find the option to upgrade the Dell to 4TB internal SSD, so I compared both with the 2 TB option. Ram is the same at 32GB.

Dell came out to $2399[0] USD and Apple came out to $2999[1] USD.

Dell Pros:

* Row of function buttons (I've used BTT to customize my touch-bar to the point where it's a little bit of a tossup, but years of muscle memory still haunt me)

* Better processor (maybe [2])

* Cheaper

* MicroSD reader

Apple Pros:

* Better Trackpad

* More Ports (Upgraded Dell only has 2 USB-C, while Upgraded MBP has 4)

* Better hardware support

* Better resale value

Objectively, seems to me that list used to be a lot longer on the Apple side. IMHO I think the Touch Bar disappointment is probably over dramatized by developers, it's not too bad a couple years in and BTT has made it so I can run whatever macros I want in any application, so overall tossup in my mind. I still miss mag-safe adapters though. I still don't understand that decision.

Also, I'm happy with the new Magic Keyboard. I have the 16 inch MBP right now, and I will say that even though I prefer the travel of the '12-'15 era keyboards, this typing experience is far superior than the faulty butterfly keys.

I'm hoping given how they've walked the keyboard back, and how the new Mac Pro is actually a Pro machine that they're headed back in the right direction (post Jony Ive). A $600 price difference for this machine is probably worth it in my mind, just given my experience with resale value, longevity and lack of competitors, but there's a lot of room improvement.

[0] https://imgur.com/a/p6RA9HF

[1] https://imgur.com/a/f6ii7h9

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23067768


After several years I can unequivocally say I still hate the touch bar. I love touch ID, but the bar needs to go.

USB-C was all about standardizing. I'm still not sure how I feel about it, I did love magsafe, but I also love that in theory someday I'll have one cable to rule them all. And I'll be able to charge my headphones/laptop/phone/random device with a usb-c cable instead of needing 8 of them.


I’ve found that the Touch Bar’s fundamental flaw is that it doesn’t handle unintended touches well (which sadly affects multiple Apple technologies, including my Watch and even the trackpad occasionally), and that is directly related to the fact that it has no raised elements.

Furthermore, one of its main added features — the ability to do gestures that keys can’t do — just isn’t valuable. I haven’t seen a single example of something that was easier to do on the Touch Bar when I have a giant screen and trackpad/mouse already. I don’t need micro-scrubber interfaces or color sliders or Emoji bars, and the volume/brightness sliders are imprecise.

Despite customizing the bar with BetterTouchTool, including “vibrate” feedback, I invariably found I had to remove more and more things from the bar over time. Any functions in the central part of the bar were invariably triggering by accident. It was just too distracting to have things randomly happening when my finger slid onto something that doesn’t feel like an active panel.

Now, therefore, I have a Touch Bar with just a few things: a battery status indicator on the left end (near the thankfully-now-real Esc key), and the brightness/volume/mute on the right (near the wonderful Touch ID). And that’s it. It is literally 70% empty space now. This is ridiculous for something as complex and expense-adding as the Touch Bar. A complete failure of a technology.


You mentioned the volume/brightness sliders as being imprecise. I don’t have a MBP, but I noticed that touchscreen sliders are really difficult to use accurately. Whenever I slide to a value I wanted, lifting my finger inevitably moves the slider over just a little bit selecting an adjacent value (just by virtue of my finger not being lifted straight up). Is this the issue?


I’m sure I have had sliders mishave like that, too. Mostly I just don’t want a slider in the first place; I prefer feeling for the volume up/down keys and tweaking the volume bit by bit, sometimes using modifier keys for extra precision. It is incredibly easy to input “slightly louder” in the old way. It is unnecessarily hard to input “slightly louder” with a wonky touch slider. And, at times I have blown up the speaker by touching it the wrong way.


You can just flick left/right on the volume/brightness icons to adjust a single increment, without having to bring out the slider. This isn't documented anywhere, it's another one of those hidden features you just have to learn.


My touch bar freezes every hour or so when changing volume. I then have to close the laptop, wait for a second, and then open the laptop again. It's awful.


This is the only thing that I don't like about the touch bar. It freezes every so often for me too. However, the fix is a lot easier for me. I just open spotlight search (CMD + Spacebar) and it fixes it.


Wow! Just tried this and it works. Thank you so much.


You can also kill the relevant process: `killall ControlStrip`. I haven't had the precise problem you describe, but this did often suffice to fix strange frozen touch-bar problems.


> I’ve found that the Touch Bar’s fundamental flaw is that it doesn’t handle unintended touches well (which sadly affects multiple Apple technologies, including my Watch and even the trackpad occasionally), and that is directly related to the fact that it has no raised elements.

It's the worst. I constantly hit mute instesd of backspace.

Changing the volume or brightness is a complete pain now. It used to be just tap the key a couple of times and that was it. I would do it as a reflex without interrupting the work I was doing. Now I have to look at where the 'button' is, and then tap and slide. Completely awful.


It's easy to change this behaviour

Open the System Preferences app. Select the Keyboard option (third row, sixth item) On the first tab (also called Keyboard), locate the dropdown for "Touch Bar shows" and choose "Expanded Control Strip".


There are problems with that, too:

- Their “Customize Control Strip” sheet provides an arbitrary subset of volume buttons, which don’t include the ones I want. (Specifically, separate volume buttons and not “button that shows slider first”.)

- Previously I was very accustomed to feeling for the volume buttons, and even using modifier keys for very fine-grained volume changes. With default Touch Bar keys, this is basically impossible. It is sort-of-OK with BetterTouchTool customization but it took me awhile to find a combination that I liked. And, still not as good as the original volume/modifier keys.


This doesn't change that I have to look for the on screen buttons and can't just reflexively change the volume while doing something else. Changing the volume or brightness or whatever now becomes a discete task that stops me doing what I was doing before. This * 10 over the course of a day adds up to lots of distractions ovet time.


> Despite customizing the bar with BetterTouchTool, including “vibrate” feedback, I invariably found I had to remove more and more things from the bar over time. Any functions in the central part of the bar were invariably triggering by accident. It was just too distracting to have things randomly happening when my finger slid onto something that doesn’t feel like an active panel.

Is there any way to disable the fixed `esc`? I could just ignore the touch bar, except for that. It haunts my vim experience and my attempts to use full-screen (which `esc` exists by default), since apparently my left little finger tends to rest there without my realising (maybe because I'm a vimmer?).


BetterTouchTool can remove the “esc” (or any key) entirely but I don’t think there is a normal macOS way to do it.


I HATE the touch bar.

I simply H A T E it.

I hate it so much that I started to carry an TKL keyboard all the time with me just to avoid using this piece of sh*t touch bar and internal keyboard (MBP 2017).

As a developer it is crucial that I can use my keyboard without any looks but as there is no way to tell which function key you press on the touch bar the bar itself is completely useless for me.

Beside the butterfly switches one of the worst things Apple has ever introduced to their computers.


I just purged Apple from my life largely because the touchbar continues to live on. Love my new Lenovo, btw.

As a workaround for the touchbar that worked pretty well, I bought a silicon keyboard protector for the Apple Magic Keyboard, cut out the area for the function keys, and used hot glue to glue it over the touch bar.

Prevented the touchbar from activating at the slightest touch and did return some of the feel of actually having a row of keys.

Plus, the hot glue causes no damage to the aluminum and does hold for a good period of time.

Turn this into a product people could purchase and you'd become rich :)


The original Apple ][ had a reset key in the upper right corner of the keyboard that was WAAAAAY too easy to press.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/e3/1b/53/e31b53767fad646fc635...

They eventually put a stronger spring under it so it was harder to press, but it was still terrible. There was actually a thriving after-market for $3.25 "RESET KEY PROTECTORS": square plastic tube shields that fit over the reset key so you had to stick your finger down inside of it to press reset.

https://apple2history.org/history/ah13/

RESET KEY PROTECTOR, which prevented accidental RESET on the earliest models of the Apple II, was available for only $3.25 from Special Systems Design. This was necessary because the RESET key, on the upper right of the keyboard, was easy to press because it had the same spring action as the other keys on the keyboard. Various methods (like this product) were used to stiffen that key, and make it harder to press.

https://imgur.com/a/jGpcT4Z

Special Systems Design ad for Apple ][ Reset Key Protector, from Apple Orchard v1n1 1980 Mar Apr, page 107.

https://archive.org/details/Apple-Orchard-v1n1-1980-Mar-Apr/...


I swear on my Apple ][ (which had the stiffer spring under reset) you had to press ctrl at the same time. Mine had an after-marked Videx keyboard controller though, and maybe that was a feature of that controller?

edit: indeed, yes it was:

https://archive.org/details/Videx_Enhancer_II_Installation_a...

I forgot how amazing this controller was:

https://archive.org/details/Videx_Enhancer_II_Installation_a...

It had macros:

https://archive.org/details/Videx_Enhancer_II_Installation_a...


There is a switch on the keyboard interface card inside the ][+ that allows you to toggle between requiring CTRL be held down, or just pushing the reset key. I would assume that this was added later, and wasn't available on the earlier models.


This brought back memories of using my first computer, a Mac IIci my dad gave to me and my brother. We had the mouse set up in front of it in a way that it was way pretty easy to hit the reset and debugger buttons, which seemed to happen more often in the middle of a spited game for some reason...


Reminded me of how many times we'd accidentally kick the front of the nintendo on the floor and reset it.


Around 1994 or so One mac model (system 7) was notorious for having a power switch next to the floppy drive that looked like the eject button.

Those of us from a windows / unix back ground where for ever pushing the power button when we wanted to eject a floppy.


I admire your resourcefulness and dedication, but it hurts me that people are resorting to literally cutting and pasting hardware workarounds just to recreate what had been a standard part of computer keyboards for decades until some highly paid, well-meaning design team decided to screw with it completely unnecessarily.

Hey Apple laptop division, if you or your social-listening analysts are reading this: I hope the price inflation permitted by inclusion of the Touch Bar helped offset the lost lifetime value of the customers that it continues to repel.


They didn't do it unnecessarilly, Apple's whole thing has been always shipping something different for the sake of being different. Sometimes it works fine, and sometimes it flops hard.

See - gems like the iMac hockey puck mice. I still wonder - who thought that was a good idea..?


Well, your take on the infamous puck mouse perfectly summarizes my attitude toward the Touch Bar: who thought this was a good idea?


Different for the sake of being different is raison d'etre for strong brands.


My GF has a 2019 macbook pro and is using a silicon keyboard protector to avoid the touchbar as well.

I want to upgrade my macbook, but I've laughed so often at its 30$ fix for its 2000$ laptop that I just can't update to a macbook with touchbar with a straight face anymore.


I hate the Touch Bar as well, and I am very happy with my 2020 Air with a fixed keyboard and no Touch Bar. But can't you just remove the icons from the Touch Bar or set it to display the Fn keys?

https://www.idownloadblog.com/2019/02/27/customizing-touch-b...


The problem is that it is too easy to accidentally touch. Even if you set it to the Fn keys, a slightless faint of electrical conductivity between a side of your finger and the touchbar while you are pressing a number suffices for a key press. With a real key, you actually have to properly press the key. That might happen by accident, but is definetely harder.


Yes. It's the moments when you're carefully editing something really important... precisely pasting some line into a new location... you double and triple checked that everything is right.... and then BOOM your window is gone and replaced by some other app, or a control panel or... some weird thing happens and you're not sure what.

It's ridiculous.


You wouldn't have any pictures of that silicon keyboard fix, would you? Or even a short tutorial?


I use Karabiner Elements to map space+1 through space+0 to F1 through F10.


I believe macOS sets up ^[number] shortcuts to do exactly that as well?


I believe the default for Ctrl-1 is to go to the first space.

But what I meant is to hold down the spacebar, then hit 1, and to make that be the same as hitting the F1 key. Because with a touchbar, there is often no F1 key, or you have to look to find it.

The Karabiner Elements profile called SpaceFN has the spacebar do double duty: If you hold it down and then press another key, then it acts as a modifier (like shift and ctrl and cmd). If you just hit the spacebar itself then it acts as the normal space key.


Wow, is there no software setting to simply disable the touchbar inputs?


Yes, you can customize and remove all the buttons so it effectively does nothing. I only have volume control on mine. This thread is a little odd with the heavy-handed touchbar hate.


You're missing the point. People don't want "nothing" up there, they want the keys that belong there.

It's great that it doesn't bother you, but some of us use those keys.

It have an easy solution, though... I just won't buy one.


Yeah, I don't like the butterfly keys, but the touchbar seems neutral to me. I've never accidentally hit the touchbar while typing. And while it has always seemed a bit gimmicky, I do appreciate some of the controls (sound, brightness, etc.).


Honestly, this is a pretty regular occurrence and, in my opinion, just stems from people not even giving the Touch Bar a fair shake. As someone whose job is split between software/web development and media production/design, I'm incredibly happy with the Touch Bar. The only places I see people complaining about it is here on Hacker News and other developer-heavy sites where people just refuse to change their workflows even the slightest. I get that they don't want to and feel like they shouldn't have to but it's so ridiculous to me.

I would be upset if Apple removed the Touch Bar now. Sure, offer a Touch Bar-less option for these Luddites who won't even consider an alternative option but don't regress for their sake.


It’s not just that. Where’s the tactile escape key? I’ve had my 2019 for a couple of months and this is the most frustrating change over my glorious 2015 mbp


On the new MacBook Pros?


Thanks for sharing, knew there had to be something easier than hot-gluing stuff on the laptop!

That said, I would choose physical keys over a touch bar myself.


Can you get rid of the persistent `esc`? I haven't been able to figure out how.


So many homemade tweaks to fix glaring issues in expensive, premium products...

Remember the iPhone 4 where you had to hold your phone in a certain way so it wouldn't block the antenna? It's amazing that Apple can pump out products with issues like this year after year and still be a top dog.


You make it sound like Apple is the only one making hardware that has issues sometimes. They simply have to be better than the competition, and most of the time they seem to be.


Signal strength would be better if you hold it in a certain way and this was true for some other phones as well. I had an iPhone 4 and never paid attention to how I held it, and it always worked perfectly fine. Maybe it's because I used a bumper most of the time (like most people, at least here in Europe).

The return rate of the iPhone 4 was much lower than that of the 3GS [1], so apparently it did not affect many users in practice.

It's still bad design, but when I compare it to widespread issues I had with other tech devices relatively minor (e.g. spontaneously resetting Moto X 2013, self-destructing Moto 360 smartwatch back, etc., constant BlueTooth headphone drops on the Nokia 7 or 7.1).

The (by far) worst Apple design issue that affected me and people I know was the butterfly keyboard. It has left me sour for years and I considered to stop using Macs. I am very happy they have finally resolved that now. But many of the butterfly MacBooks were simply defective products. Only the later generations with seals hold up pretty well.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone_4


+1 to TouchBar hate. It was a major factor in "upgrading" my personal machine to a 2020 Air, which is the best (least-worst?) of all worlds: Touch ID + F-keys. Luckily the size/performance tradeoff works for me; but anyone who needs the fastest Mac portable is boned.

My work machine is the new 16" MBP, and while the new keyboard is the best they've ever made, and the return of Esc is welcome, the goddamn TouchBar still drives me up a wall (especially when tweaking audio volume, which is something one wants to do instantly and reflexively).


The UX for volume and brightness on the touchbar isn't as intuitive as I'd expect from Apple, but you can press and slide to adjust them. Took me a few weeks to realize I didn't have to tap the volume or brightness button and then adjust using the up or down buttons.


Whoa. I've been on the 16" MBP for a few months now and didn't know that. This reduces my hatred of the touch bar by double digit percentages, for sure. Thank you!


Yes, that helps, but I still have to take a beat and look down, as opposed to muscle-memory and not even thinking about it.


It's easy to change this behaviour

Open the System Preferences app. Select the Keyboard option (third row, sixth item) On the first tab (also called Keyboard), locate the dropdown for "Touch Bar shows" and choose "Expanded Control Strip".


While I'd still prefer keys, this is quite helpful, thanks for sharing!


The touch bar forces you to look at what you're doing in a place that should strictly be muscle-memory, and it's a flat surface that isn't safe to touch in an area where you rest your hands.

More than once I've hit the "back" button and inadvertently evicted myself from a browser video call, just by putting my hands on the keyboard.

tl;dr - Glad they brought back the escape key, now get rid of the rest of the touch bar.


My wife bought a MacBook Air last year, and the row of function keys with Touch ID sensor at the end is perfect. I'm so jealous, and hope they add the option to get that keyboard layout on the next iteration of the MBP.


I'm using the F-keys to switch workspaces on the fly. I can't imagine going back. Pass on Mac.


> USB-C was all about standardizing.

USB-C is all about having a thinner connector and giving the appearance of standardizing.

Previously if the cable fit, it worked. There were just a bunch of different cables but that had largely settled down to USB-A cables to like 2 maybe 3 connectors on the other end.

Now we have cables that have the same connector on each end but do vastly different things and there's no clue as to what.

- Does it carry data or just power?

- Does it carry a video signal?

- How much data can it carry?

- How much power can it charge?

A USB-C cable that does everything is limited to about 30cm (1 foot) in length, give or take. I know because I use them to connect to a USB-C dock. If I wanted a longer cable to connect to something else, I could. I'd just have to remember not to use it for the dock.

How is this a good user experience?


USB-C is shit. Apple lightning physical connector is still lightyears ahead in reliability, maintenance (dust) and physical size.

USB-3 standard is even a bigger mess. This whole USB 3.2 Gen 2 x 2 is the biggest clusterfuck in the history of naming things.


Somewhere I read that USB-C's cable design was informed by Apple's experience with thee lightning connector. In particular, one of the changes is that the lightning connector has the springs on the hardware side, which means that if the springs break, you have a major headache. USB-C puts the springs in the connector, so if the springs break, you just buy a new cable. That seems like a pretty big improvement, to me.


Anything can brake. It is all about probabilities, potential failures etc.

Spring failure is less probable than breaking a male part of a connector.

If a spring breaks, you have a second one.

If both break, you keep the charging functionality.

You break the male connector. Game Over.


…then you buy a new connector, as mentioned previously?


I mean the most delicate part, a male part in the usb-c port itself. Naming is hard >_<


Oh yes, that part always seemed like a weak spot to me. I guess it prevents exposed connectors on the cable? But that's not all that useful…


exactly :/ Just plain silly. I've already seen two phones in the wild with the damaged usb-c port. User made an error and tried to charge usb-c with micro usb? Yes. Was that preventable with a better design? Yes.


It's also not as sturdy. I managed to break one of my ports on a 2016 macbook. Now I try to never let the cable hang from the port.


So now that I'm mostly working from home, I bought a Thunderbolt monitor, and the setup is actually pretty awesome. The montior has both USB-C and USB-A inputs. I've got a physical network cable plugged and my USB-A mechanical keyboard plugged into the monitor; and of course the monitor also acts as a charger for the laptop.

Boom -- instant docking station: Plugging in a single standard cable gives me power, ethernet, monitor, and external keyboard.

Obviously you have to carry around a USB-C adapter when actually traveling, but if you get a good all-in-one adapter that does ethernet, HDMI, and USB-A, I haven't found it too disruptive. Hopefully the USB-C form factor will take over and then stay as long as USB-A has.


Which monitor?


There were two I was looking at with the same LCD component, but just different configuration of controls & placement of external USB. The one I ended up going with was LG32UL950 because I found a place that had a $150 discount; now forgotten the other brand/model. The screen is so huge I've had to spend some time figuring out how to use the space effectively, but overall I'm pretty happy.


Interesting, I don't see an ethernet port. Do you use a USB adapter?


Er, yes -- I had written that it was a USB ethernet dongle plugged into the monitor, but I seem to have edited that out.


I've used the Dell U3219Q for over a year for this purpose. Importantly, the monitor provides 90W of power, which is needed for the larger laptops, especially when running power intensive tasks. Most USB-C monitors do not provide enough power.


> I also love that in theory someday I'll have one cable to rule them all

True, although they could have done what many of the pc laptop makers have done. They still provide their proprietary charger with many models (ie. ThinkPad connector), but the USB-C port can also be used to charge the computer if you one already or want to pony up for a USB-C charger. For example, I've used my macbook pro charger to charge my last couple PC laptops too (ThinkPad and Acer). Like you said, then I only need one charger on my desk.

I assume these manufacturer's do this because their own charger, especially the barrel chargers that some manufacturers use, are cheaper than USB-C chargers/cables. In Apple's case, they could have kept the magsafe connector because it's a better connector. But, I assume it was lost to cost savings or aesthetics.


I don't understand why people hate the touch bar or the keyboard. It's imperfect yes but the entire MBP keyboard+trackpad layout enables me to be insanely productive. The only reason I don't buy something like a Mac Mini is because I can't get a peripheral keyboard that is the same as the one on the MBP. The only thing I wish it had was a number pad.

Maybe you're just not realizing its potential. I definitely recommend checking out some cool extensions to the touch bar such as Pock https://pock.dev/


So there are a couple of glaring problems:

1. The keyboard. Ugh. The keyboard was ostensibly changed to shave half a millimeter off the thickness of an MBP. 0.5mm. The old chiclet keyboard was fine. The new one is basically worse in every way. It's louder, feels crappier to type on, has a high failure rate (as witnessed by Apple's free repair program) and is otherwise expensive to replace. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about the keyboard; and

2. The touch bar. This was is more mixed. The big problem is you don't have an option for not having it and Apple's reason for adding it is simply to raise the ASP (average selling price) of Mac SKUs. That's it. The old Macbook Air was too successful. Many people object to it because you lost a row of function keys with tactile feedback (ie physical key). Some really objected to the loss of a physical Escape button. Probably vim users.

I agree with you that Touch ID is great. I sure wish the latest iPhones had it (you could put a sensor on the back if you didn't want to lose the screen real estate). Face ID is absolutely atrocious.

Anyway, the problem here is that basically Johnny Ive went insane, chasing thinness to the extreme. Design is the art of compromise (as they say) and no compromising on thinness led to shitty products (eg the 12" Macbook).

There are many people here (myself included) that for years simply wanted a 13" Macbook Air with an upgraded screen (as close to edgeless as possible and higher res) and more memory. That's it. We waited for years. We got the shitty 12" Macbook instead.

It's incredibly frustrating to be so close to perfection but to take a giant step backwards instead.


Well put. I tried the new 16" keyboard, and while its way better than my 2018 MBP, its still not good enough. Chasing thinness really just seems to be something a select few wanted. As the name implies, I wanted a "Pro" laptop that had high spec processing, ram and storage. What I got is a laptop that doubles as a lap warmer, white noise generator, and user hostile to OS environments other than MacOS. So now I have a mid spec Surface Pro for development, and use the macbook for more creative type endeavors. I wish I could find a way to extract the keyboard from this surface and put it in my macbook. That would make me less annoyed by the heat and fan while running windows.


I disagree with everything stated here and, maybe I'm just lucky, but I haven't had any issues at all with the keyboard on any of my Macbook Pros (work, personal, or my SO's) and I can't go back to not having a Touch Bar.

I'm really curious about the numbers surrounding this. Especially with the latest sales figures, I'm curious if this is just a vocal minority or if most users agree with you that this is a step backward.


I guess a large part is that you can't use it without looking at it. If you're a touch typist you want to be able to do everything on the computer without thinking or moving your hands from the home row.


The Touchbar is terrible for Visual Studio Debugging. I have to take my eyes off the screen and cant rest my finger on F10 to step through code. That is ANTI productive. One of the reasons I spring for a macbook is so I can run MacOS, Windows or Linux on solid hardware. The touchbar is fine for things like Logic ProX or some other non development tool, but I need permanent function keys to work in Windows/Visual Studio. Thats a large part of what I do. IMO the touch bar is a GREAT idea if you also have physical function keys on the keyboard.


I don't hate it as much as I hate that it isn't an option. If it were a $500 add on I would never ever choose it as an option for my laptop, and now it's kind of mandatory if you want a fast macOS laptop. I will accept a laptop from my company with the touchbar, but I don't know that I would be willing to buy one myself. It's been a while since I used windows or linux as my dev OS, but might be willing to give it a shot with a good thinkpad. I hope apple makes it an option for the bigger faster MBP


I can't stand the Macbook Pro keyboard and touchpad. I accidentally input the touchpad on the regular basis because it's enormous, and the keyboard slows down my typing speed substantially. My "o" repeats somewhat often as well, as other people have suggested.

My best quality of life improvement with this machine was to connect an external windows keyboard and mouse. Swap the windows key with the alt key, and you have a beautiful macos keyboard.


I decided to become an early adopter of "USB-C for everything" in ~2017 and do not regret it. Between my laptops (work + personal), tablet, phone, VR, game console, headphones it is really nice to have a single 65w wall wart and a single cable that works for everything and only need to bring one charger.

The one holdout still is an e-ink e-reader, the Kindle Oasis's top review is a one-star review talking about lack of USB-C.

I might switch to an apple-based consumer tablet when they put USB-C on them. The pro tablet models already have USB-C but I don't need that kind of power.

USB-C is really nice. There are some complaints about cables but if you buy brand name cables (anker, cable matters, etc) they seem to last forever and don't have the problems the tech blogs speculate about.

I think twice in five years am I glad I had the magsafe adapter but I'm happy to live without it to avoid carting around a proprietary charger all the time. We lost my wife's magsafe charger while traveling and found out that those cannot be bought for any price when in rural areas, especially outside of first-world countries. Every town has a shop that sells/services USB-C phones/tablets/laptops though.


USB-C would take off like wildfire if there actually existed any proper USB-C hubs - not what's currently called a "USB-C hub" which is more like a breakout box which at best replicates the single USB-C port it takes up and adds a bunch of legacy ports; I'm talking about a proper hub that plugs into a single port and turns it into multiple ports, like those dirt cheap old USB-A hubs. You literally cannot move to an all-USB-C existence because with rare exceptions 1 port = 1 device.


As I've written before on HN:

A hub with multiple USB-C downstream ports cannot exist with any sort of reasonable UX. The C port supports multiple "alternate modes," which remap USB-data pins to other functions (like DisplayPort, HDMI, Thunderbolt, analog audio, etc.)

The various alternate modes are not simply transporting display/audio/Thunderbolt data over a USB channel. It's the difference between packet switching and circuit switching.

Plugging in, for example, an HDMI adapter to one downstream port affects what devices can be plugged in to other downstream ports.

A true HDMI adapter would revert all other downstream ports to USB 2.0. But... an HDMI adapter that's really a DisplayPort with internal DP -> HDMI converter can potentially allow USB 3.0 on the other downstream ports (or, potentially, ONE other port with DP and the rest with USB 2.0).

Either way, plugging in the HDMI adapter means your USB-C headphones might stop working (depending on whether they are analog or have an internal DAC).

How are users expected to understand that they need a certain type of USB-C headphones and a certain type of HDMI adapter in order for both to work at the same time?


From the point of the user: I have a mouse, a keyboard, a display, an external drive, and occassionally I need to plug in a flash drive, printer or some other device. There is one or two of those new small rounded USB ports on my computer which is not enough. How can I possibly plug in everything I need?

It's not the users' fault that the whole USB-C thing amounts to a very fast, very efficient and elegant garbage fire. It's the greatest port ever, it can do everything, except not at the same time, so I have to choose whether I want to plug in my keyboard or my display.


> How can I possibly plug in everything I need?

You cant. That's the entire point of my post. There's no way to accommodate your desire[1] with the USB-C port.

[1] To plug everything into one port with some sort of port expander thingy and have it "just work".


The best way I can sell Thunderbolt 3/USB-C to myself is that at Apple's size, they need to be able to sell (to consumers, courts, governments) that they aren't being anti-competitive, so by switching to designs that are open and standardized (Thunderbolt 3 is a spec, not a patent) they can better sell their market dominance as not driven by patents and lawyers.


I personally wish Apple would make something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Magnetic-Adapter-Connector-Quick-Char...

Before any of you see that and go "awesome, exactly what I was looking for!" - I've had several coworkers try various models of those adapters and all have told me they universally suck. Don't waste your money.

I trust Apple could do it with quality - frankly I'd be willing to spend $50+ for a reliable version of that.


I've got another trick to use in place of a Magsafe type cable. Get a cable that is a few feet longer than you need, and attach a couple magnets a few feet apart on the cable. Then click the magnets together. Now you have a cable with a loop that is held closed by the magnets. If someone trips over the cable, the magnets come apart and pull out slack from that loop, instead of pulling the cord on the back of the laptop.

Not quite as good as having the cord detach, but it still helps in the majority of minor trip-induced cord pulls (depending on how much clack in the cable you leave bundled between the two magnets).


Are you selling this on Instagram? I just got an ad in my feed for a product that does that


No, I was thinking of designing and 3D-printing a magnet holder clip -- didn't realize someone else thought of it too. I guess what they say is true, there is no unique new ideas.

Is what you saw just a couple clip on magnets (like what I was thinking), or is it a two-piece cord held together by magnets (like the previous comment mentioned)? That would be cool if someone already makes this as a product.


The product was a full integrated cable. I won't buy it for that reason as I would 1) like to retrofit my existing cables and 2) be able to choose the cable for the spec of the cable itself. If you made a clip and magnet for retrofitting on existing cables I would buy it if it was offered for a reasonable price.


Anecdotally, I’ve been using one of these (different brand but looks exactly the same) with zero issues between a Thinkpad X1 and a USB-C hub. It’s extremely convenient to be able to attach everything (PD, HDMI, USB) from a single cable that’s literally touchless. The magnet and positioning allows it to automatically connect when I set the laptop on my desk, and to use the laptop elsewhere I just pick it up and carry it away. Much better than a floppy MagSafe that only does power.


If you look into those magnetic things a little bit you'll notice they don't support full thunderbolt data rates. It’s largely physics that’s holding us up, not necessarily Apple. In theory data rates don’t matter strictly for charging but then we’d be back at a different cable/port for charging vs data transfer which would be subpar UX. If nothing else I think it’s why you only see these things aftermarket. I do share your sentiment, though.


It seems to depend on what you use them for.

In my experience, they're good for power. Driving a 2.5k monitor over DisplayPort works reasonably well if the computer is on a solid surface (not your lap).

But they don't work well for 4k video (especially with a direct HDMI adapter) or USB 3.0 data.


I purchased that. It doesn't suck. Though, I bet Apple could do better if it were integrated.


I've been using that exact adapter for several months now and I'm pretty happy with it. Carries power and data for my home setup + I have a separate one just for power for my mobile setup. What were your coworkers' complaints about it?


"Market dominance" might overstate the case.

Apple makes up for a small percentage of all laptops sold, even if you compare manufacturers (rather than "Apple" vs "Windows machine"). They have a smaller share of laptop sales than HP, Dell, or Lenovo, and very close to the same (depending on when you look) as Acer and ASUS:

https://www.statista.com/statistics/818439/global-notebook-c...


My gripe with the touch bar is that for every IDE you have to customise it to see the function keys by default. It's so damn annoying. Why can't the default layout be just the Fn keys ?


Because 95% of the people don't use them and for them having an emoji picker, a volume, brightness control is more useful. The small group of people who actively use the Fn keys can just enable this checkbox at the settings.


Someday they should make a pro model for the 5% of people who don't care about emoji pickers.


I wouldn't hold my breath for a big mainstream corporation to address the needs of 5% of their market share.


And lose touch typing


You can change it to show the F-keys by default in macOS settings. Then by pressing Fn you can view the "special" mode.


"Settings: Keyboard: Touch Bar shows" lets you permanently set to F keys or (my preference) the Extended Control Strip.


> Why can't the default layout be just the Fn keys ?

Because then no software would have used it. (Said ironically)


FWIW, I really hate IDEs (usually ported over from other platforms with little thought) that use function key shortcuts for commonly-used actions. I instantly remap "run" in every IDE to ⌘R.


I wonder why they haven’t replaced touchID with FaceID on MacBooks. There’s a camera and I find FaceID to be so much more seamless.


FaceID requires more than a camera, there's an additional sensor involved


I suspect it's because of the target thickness the lid -- and the camera is located in the part that tapers.


Does the sensor need to be in the same place as the camera or could it be at the bottom of the screen?


The day has come. Last year or so ;)

Macbook, Ipad Pro, Cheap phone (Moto G / Pixel 3A) everything on my desk shares just one power brick.


There are unfortunately some devices that are nominally USB C but don't actually support the spec properly, like the Nintendo Switch. So some caution is required still.


I'm charging my Switch with random cables just fine? I've heard that the issue was only with third party docks, not with USB-C cables.


The Switch may or may not freak out in the face of arbitrary USB-C chargers; but it's always supported Apple's USB-C chargers just fine. (I get the sense that Nintendo developed the console by relying on Apple USB-C chargers, until they made their own.)


Doesn't work on the dock though.


I travel a lot with my Macbook + Switch and I only ever bring my Macbook's USB-C charger. It works fine with the Switch dock.


I thought more recent Switch firmware updates had closed that gap. Could be wrong.. I don't really remember where I read it.


In what was does the Nintendo Switch break the standard?


https://old.reddit.com/r/NintendoSwitch/comments/87vmud/the_... (the Google+ links won't work anymore, of course).


I love the Touch Bar. I have almost never used the F# keys in macOS apps, in a whole decade now.


The touch bar is really, really awful. I'd definitely pay more to get rid of it.

- It's incredibly sensitive, so a slightly misplaced touch on the number row sometimes results in a wild function key that snaps me out of whatever I'm doing (launches iTunes, goes to Spaces, adjusts brightness).

- It's distracting. It's either a lighted row of fake buttons, or a constantly changing offering of useless app shortcuts. It turns on and off (again, distracting).

- The UX of using it as function keys is in every way worse than a physical button. You can't tell if the click registered by feel. Sometimes it even seems like it reacts to a click but then nothing happens.


I (a) remapped escape and (b) taped a piece of cardboard over everything except the fingerprint scanner, and the touch bar works much better.


> in theory someday I'll have one cable to rule them all

I predict a future with USB-D that's incompatible with USB-C and on and on...


Everything is going wireless. There are still some items that require plugging in but headphones, keyboards and mice, even hard drives, are all going wireless.


The Asus Zenbook, and the Asus Zenbook Duo, seem to expand on the idea in a more useful way. I am a bit surprised we didn't see the Macbook Pro go to a similar design (I.E. using the track pad as a display, or moving the track pad and adding a second display).


A standard data cable for laptops is fine I guess, but I want a distinct power-only cable that isn't complicated enough to enable malware attacks. And battery swaps. And a pony.


"After several years I can unequivocally say I still hate the touch bar. "

With BetterTouch Tool I have set it up so it's halfway usable. Still worse than the old function buttons though.


what are the adjustments you made with bettertouchtool?


I have volume and display brightness buttons, also a mute button and play/pause. They are permanent and don’t switch with the application. Pretty much like it was before the Touchbar....

I tried to use the Touchbar for a while without customization but I never could get the hang of it. It just seems useless.


Is that different from System Preferences > Keyboard > Touch Bar shows Expanded Control Strip?


You have more options. But it has been a while since I set this up so I don’t remember exactly.


Same here: I love the Touch ID but the touch bar is awful. The bar always moves around and the buttons I want are always at a different spot or just not there.


Magsafe or no Mac. Also touch bar needs to go. I mean, regardless of usability, just look at that eyesore! It used to be that Macs were for professionals. Now it's for showoffs only. Sorry. I really used to love Macs...


And yet you still can't charge an iPhone with USB-C.


I'm REALLY hoping this was the last major revision of iPhone (and airpods) to retain lightning. I won't hold my breath but I hope they finally make the move to usb-c.


Consolidate on something, at least. Here are the connectors to devices purchased from Apple in the past 12 months:

Beats Studio headphones: micro-USB (for serious, Apple?)

Beats Powerbeats Pro: Lightning

iPad Pro: USB-C

iPhone XS (a little more than 12 months ago): Lightning

See a pattern there? Yeah, me neither. I might as well have purchased them from separate vendors. And Lightning at this point isn't even a standard within Apple, it's just some jackass proprietary shit you have to buy special cables for.


Useful figures, so thanks for providing those. It's been a few months since I last looked into the latest prices. I agree with you that it's still worth it.

However, I feel that without comparing the OS and tight OS integration, this doesn't represent one of the most important aspects of a comparison between the two, when considering a purchase.

I go through this same loop every time I buy a new machine... yes, usually it's "no more Apple for me!" especially when I do the price comparison. So I waver for a couple of weeks whilst I research the latest hardware and Linux distros. But then I end up buying an Apple machine. It's been the same story for me for the last 17 years.

There's plenty of people like me out there that definitely don't want to use Windows, and that want a Unix that gets out of the way. I love Linux, especially on the server, but it's generally too much hassle on a laptop and so I always gravitate back to macos.

If the $600 is an Apple tax for that, then I will gladly continue to pay it. Over the 3 years lifetime of a developer machine (or more!), my time is definitely worth more than $600 compared with constantly fiddling with Linux kernal modules and other hardware support issues. I just want to get some work done without interruptions.

Definitely would love the exact same machine without the TouchBar, though. Perhaps that would shave off $100?


I came to Macs as a longtime Windows/Linux user for software developmemt. There's no way I would ever go back. My 2015 Air is rock solid, never any problems despite being used 8-12 hours per day and you get Unix underneath. Just bought a new Air so I can have a backup machine.


Could not agree more with this. I'd sooner buy an "ancient" secondhand MacBook Air than use Windows or attempt to use Linux on a laptop.

I find the the touch bar obviously annoying, but that annoyance is so minor compared with the annoyances of Windows or running Linux on a laptop. Honestly it seems like a lot of people have quite the double standard when it comes to Apple products.

This is also coming from someone who was forced to use Windows professionally for several years (worked on CAD software).


Dang I'm the total opposite. 1 round in the Apple ecosystem and I'd never touch their products again.

I can't understand the appeal outside the marketing gimmicks.


It sounds like a number of things p*ed you off, but what was your biggest gripe with the Apple stuff? Or perhaps it was everything (!).


I'm in a similar position and I can answer for my situation. I bought iPad 3 back in 2012 I think. I liked it a lot and I bought iPhone 4S which I liked even more (until they released iOS 7 but that's theme for another rant). After that I understood that I love Apple approach and decided to buy a Macbook as I wanted to write some apps and also needed new laptop at that time. I bought Retina Macbook Pro 15" mid 2012.

Well, it was worst laptop I ever saw. Software was good, I still love it. SSD broke in the second month, so I took it to repair and it was in repair for another month until replacement SSD arrived. Thankfully it was covered by warranty and that's the only good thing about this situation. I used it for 2 years and then it just started to tear apart.

Charger cable failed. I bought new at aliexpress, tried to replace it and almost caused a fire, so I had to buy a new charger which costs like a cheap laptop LoL.

Keyboard failed. Right now half of keys just do not work, another half of keys work if pressed hard enough. And I did not spill anything there, they just don't register presses. I'm using USB keyboard to work on it.

Audio port failed. There's some switch there to detect optical cable or something like that. That switch is stuck, so red laser always lighting out of there and macOS thinks that I inserted a headphones, so speakers do not work. And headphones do not work either. I'm using USB headphones if I need sound.

It sometimes panics. I think that something's wrong with GPU. It's Nvidia GPU and I've read that it was poorly soldered. Not sure.

Its battery almost dead, it can live for a 10 minutes of low-power usage. Of course I can't replace a battery, because it's glued.

Even on charger it gets hot on load pretty quickly and then it starts to throttle. Its CPU going lower than 1GHz. And system becomes very laggy, everything slow as hell. Its cooling just terrible. Sure, it's a laptop, but I never experienced such a slowdown with other laptops. I was very disappointed with Apple engineering.

I've used few laptops in my life. Not a single one of them caused so many issues. Not a single one of them had faulty charger cable. All of them have easily replaceable battery.

Also in my country I'm paying heavy Apple tax, Apple devices typically cost 30-50% more than in US, but other manufacturers have more sane prices, so I would have to pay much more extra.

I went back to Windows and I'm pretty happy. I never liked Windows, but since Windows 10 it's actually good OS that works much more stable than macOS and have all the software I need.

My last hope was Mac Pro. But its price is just absurd, so that hope is vanished. Basically Apple does not make any computer that I would want to buy, all computers are antithetical to my needs. I want something that's reliable, bulky, powerful and repairable. Preferably a PC, as I don't really need a laptop. And they focus on the opposite properties. So while I loved macOS, there's nothing to run it on.

I'm thinking about hackintosh and probably will build my next computer considering it (can run Windows anywhere, so can select hackinosh-friendly parts anyway). But it seems that hackintosh in the future might be doomed (more proprietary hardware, may be even ARM migration), so probably that won't be a way to go either.

What funny is that I'm in a similar position regarding phones. I hate large screen phones and with discontinuing iPhone SE 1 Apple stopped producing the only phone that I'd want to buy. I'm using iPhone 8 now, but I don't like it and thinking about buying SE 1 instead. Too bad that Androids don't have any phones for me either, so it's more about phone industry rather than just Apple.


Thank you for taking time to write a detailed response.


Yeah, secretly I hope that some guy from Apple will read similar responses and will decide to release Mac Mini Pro or something like that, so I can just put good GPU there, put it on my desk, configure it with some entry Xeon CPU and ECC RAM and that's for $2-3k. And if something breaks or just in the future when I would want upgrades, I could just buy some Samsung SSD, put it there and enjoy improved performance, rather than spending all the money again for slightly bumped specs. Just an ordinary workstation computer with macOS support and reasonable price, nothing extra-ordinary.


iPhone was just slow with apps and annoying with sign in and update requests. This was annoying.

And they lacked features I was used to. I hear they finally got widgets, so that I suppose is solved.


I've had very good experiences with Linux on my laptop. Definitely more stable than windows, literally never had to fiddle with kernel modules or any sort of hardware support. Battery life is actually better than in windows.

You have to be a bit careful with the hardware, especially non Intel wifi/Bluetooth seems not well supported. And Nvidia graphics are a bit risky, but of the alternative is a MacBook that shouldn't matter as much


I've heard this a lot over the years, but it's never held up to scrutiny.

Usually there's a lot of manual config, driver issues, shitty hardware support, screen resolution issues, bad battery life, laptop suspend issues, terrible trackpad support, connecting to external monitor issues, etc.

I've had the best luck with Thinkpads and I still like Linux and have fun with this kind of thing, but it's not even close to macOS and I don't think it's really close to Windows either.


My issue with desktop/laptop Linux has always been the quality of the GUI-based software.

While I appreciate that people put in tons of time and effort to make these things available for free, I’d rather pay for something better, and on Linux I usually can’t.

As an example, our dev machines at the office run Linux, and it’s a great platform for the majority of the work we do. But I have to keep a Windows VM around for Office, because I can’t trust that LibreOffice isn’t going to completely mangle a file that I need to send to a client.


Dell has supported Linux officially on the XPS 13 variants since 2012. https://bartongeorge.io/2020/01/01/introducing-the-2020-xps-...


Thanks. I'm am aware of this. I research this all the time, and regularly come away disappointed. I don't know if I verbalised clearly enough, but I have actively wanted good options for years, and I'm always open to whatever alternatives are current at the time of purchase.

Seriously, I'm in the market for a new laptop and there are still too many concerns relating to support for these devices... not just Dell but usually for whatever manufacturer I'm looking at. Once you start reading about people's experiences there are always issues - many of which have been discussed to death on HN.

Just because Dell claim that Linux is officially supported does not mean that it will be a smooth ride. I don't think that has changed much at all over the last few years? But perhaps this year is different.

Do you own this though? If you're using this new XPS model without power consumption issues, excellent wifi (wifi chips issues seem to always be the main downer), good mousepad behaviour? Perhaps it's finally not a problem? I will gladly lap up any positive news that you can give on this front.


I'm using the Thinkpad X1 Carbon 7th generation and I feel like with the latest Ubuntu 20.04 LTS it's finally at the level of usability I want in a Linux laptop. Everything works out of the box, including the speakers, camera, microphone, wifi & bluetooth, and fingerprint reader. I can even use my fingerprint for sudo! (I did have to run one or two commands to get that working though). The trackpad is also great, if a little small. Probably comparable to the Dell's. Also haven't got a chance to test real-world power consumption because I'm stuck at home lately (thank COVID for that) but it seems to be okay.


>fingerprint for sudo

That's awesome! I just bought the new XPS 13 (9300) with 32gb of ram. Unboxing it today, I've heard it works flawlessly with Ubuntu 20.04 except the fingerprint reader, and Dell says that will be possible later this year.


Excellent! Now the positive news is rolling in :-)

Looking at that 7th generation model now. Actually... that looks really nice. And 20.04 LTS would be pretty good for me.


XPS 9560 4k model (2017 15") using Arch Linux. Recently formatted and re-installed arch (i had made a mess of some core linux things over the years and wanted a clean slate), and I don't recall any specific issues that were not user error trying to install or maintain an arch installation. The main "problem" that comes to mind is optimizing battery life while getting maximum performance from the discrete GPU. I chose not to go down that path--I just dual boot windows for games. As far as system stability goes, I've had zero issues with anything noteworthy. I've never done anything unique to my kernel settings on this device. Everything that i've needed worked out of the box. I may have needed to install some packages for drivers based on my device to improve performance (install nvidia drivers, possibly proprietary touchpad drivers).

Specifically: excellent wifi support, 5-7 hours of battery life, never had a trackpad issue.

Risk areas that i haven't investigated: backlight controls aren't working right now...thats the only thing that comes to mine.

And this is using arch. I'm sure Ubuntu is even more seamless.


I'm on the same machine. Also on Arch linux with Gnome Wayland as my DE.

It's been a complete delight. Actually, it's been leaps and bounds better than macOS Catalina on my work machine.

For me, the transition to Wayland made a HUGE difference. Trackpad actually feels basically the same as macOS, and better than windows 10.

Multi-monitor support is better than macOS (which loses my monitor arrangement consistently with two identical monitors and through a usb-c dock).

Bluetooth works as expected. (Not so for macOS catalina anymore, they've fucked up an truly astounding number of things...)

Suspend/resume are both fine.

Battery life is actually around 10 hours if I'm just doing light dev.

Basically - I've been pestering my office to let me switch for a while now. I'd take an XPS running linux over the current iteration of macbook/macOS hands down.


I switched from a macbook to a system76 laptop around 6 years ago and the only negative I noticed functionality-wise was the worse trackpad. But I would guess that different users are sensitive to different problems.

E.g. power management isn't much of an issue for me because I use my laptop unplugged for only a couple hours per day, so I wouldn't have noticed any problems related to that.


Ahh... good to hear.

I have been keeping an eye on the system76 stuff too - not just Dell. For a long time system76 seemed to only make laptops with large keyboards with extra number pads and asymetric mouse pads which put me off (many manufacturers do this, so it's not just them).

I notice that they finally have more tenkeyless models, so slowly but surely my checklist is being satisfied. Are you still able to use a recent version of Pop!_OS after all this time, or are you using another recent version of another distro? I'm interested in the longevity in terms of being able to install up to date OSes over the years. I mean that really shouldn't be an issue with Linux - support usually only gets better as time advances and new drivers / modules are written, but it would be nice to know how you got on, regardless.


I bought the laptop back when System76 used Ubuntu and have never tried their Pop!_OS, and I use Fedora nowadays. Haven't had any problems with newer versions of Fedora.


Not XPS, but I have used Ubuntu as main dev machine on Dell Latitude Laptop for more than 6 years without much issue.


Thanks. When you say "without much issue", have you ever lost more than a few hours to "required tinkering" over those years, or was it pretty much plain sailing?

Anything else I should take a look at? What would your ideal next laptop be?


Not the OP but I've been using various Thinkpads running Ubuntu since 2010. Been using Linux for many years prior to that on desktops. Also have my family kitted out with them (again on Ubuntu). It is possible to use just fine from a default install with none to very minor tinkering required. However if you do put in a few hours of tinkering you'll reap the rewards in having the laptop behave exactly how you want it to. Here's a hint, install tlp along with the thinkpad kernel access source ("sudo apt-get install tlp tp-smapi-dkms" on Ubuntu) and set the battery charge thresholds. This will help with runtime on battery and also extend the life of the battery itself. is set to start charge at 88% and stop at 95%. In the past five years my battery has only depleted by a few percent in capacity.

I have used Macs (had 2 Mac Book Pros and a Mac Mini) and Windows but its Linux all the way now, specifically Ubuntu LTS. Not sure how people put up with Windows 10's constant forced updates. If it has to be Windows give me Windows 10 LTSC.

Ideal next laptop? Probably a Thinkpad X1 Carbon gen 7 or Dell XPS 2020.


Oooh. Nice details. I have bookmarked all of this info.


>> have you ever lost more than a few hours to "required tinkering" over those years

- Not really. And Linux ecosystem has improved tremendously in last 10 years.

For one of the colleague at the office, tried some Thinkpad , but that was not such a good experience. Now everyone on the team (> 30 people) gets Ubuntu Laptop or Desktop.

If you are going to use it main dev machine, then definitely Latitude. Ask Dell guys to preinstall it for you. They will install proprietary drivers for you.

I also have Macbook Pro 2015 model. Don't expect trackpad experience like it. I always use external mouse and keyboard any way.

Not tried XPS series yet, So can't comment.


If you're fine paying a consistent 600 tax, just make the leap and give a reasonable xps machine running linux another chance.

My work machine is a 13" macbook pro on Catalina, my personal project machine is a 15" dell xps from 2017.

Of the two, I'm delighted by the XPS running Arch/Gnome/Wayland.

I'm much, MUCH less delighted by the Catalina crap box.


I recently switched from an Air to an XPS 15 9570. I was very excited, it seemed to have all the best qualities of a MacBook, minus the shotty keyboard, and superior performance per dollar (at the time).

Things went downhill rather quickly. I've had massive cooling issues, I've removed and replaced the thermal paste. I've been forced to operate the laptop on the "Cool" thermal setting; downgrading the performance of the processor. Now, the two of the screws in palm rest, which hold the screen in place, have sheered right off. Doing some digging, this was commonplace with this particular model.

I'm not doing anything particularly intense either. Docker with a few containers running a dev website.

I can't speak for the latest XPS 15 7590 build quality however.


I've had a company-issued XPS 9570 for the last year, and overall I haven't had any big issues.

Cooling is sub-par, but I think that's mostly due to the Intel i9-8950HK running way over the advertised TDP during Turbo. Dell has been tweaking their cooling profile in subsequent BIOS updates, at with the latest version (1.15) they're quite aggressive on ramping up the fans to keep things cool. Which is good from a performance perspective, but really annoying to sit beside all day. While I didn't experience severe thermal throttling, I did end up disabling Turbo as it made the laptop sound like a jet engine too often for my taste.

My only other complaint would be that despite Dell's claims of 100W+ power delivery from their ThunderBolt dock (above and beyond what USB-C PD can deliver), I frequently find the laptop discharging the battery under moderate load (high CPU, idle dGPU) when connected via USB-C to the dock. Using the supplied DC charger solves this, but it's still a poor user experience.

At my previous employer I had a 2017 MBP. IMHO an XPS/Precision is a better option as you can (in no particular order): upgrade the RAM, upgrade the SSD, run Linux on it, and (until the new MBP release) had a much better keyboard experience.

As others have noted, Dell's enterprise warranty support is fantastic. I was able to invoke the warranty to replace a motherboard in a Latitude I bought used on eBay; they sent a technician to my house to replace it free of charge.


I will never buy a dell again, had an XPS 9550 (£2.7k 32gb ram, top of the range) - they had a chip in to detect a valid dell power adapter and that went so they wanted over 600 to replace the motherboard.

I bought a macbook and use the dell charger (udb-c) to charge my macbook.


My step-daughter spilled water on her MBA. It would no longer charge. It would run connected to AC, and the battery health was fine, but the "charging circuit" needed replaced, according to diagnostics.

Okay, I thought. $200, maybe $300, including parts and labor.

Not quite. They wanted $879. "Maybe we should look at getting you into a new Macbook instead?"

No thanks. It was almost never used unplugged anyway.


Sounds like they needed to replace the whole motherboard.


My 9370 is definitely just plain USB-PD, doesnt require a Dell charger. I can charge it with a inexpensive Anker charger.

600 is pricey for a mainboard replacement, but none of the other vendors are much better, including Apple. I previously had a Thinkpad that died shortly out of warranty, and they actually wanted more to fix it than I paid for it new.


I've had nothing but problems with 9570. Constantly overheating. It's a good day when I can get even 3 hours of battery life.


that was my experience as well before returning xps and getting a new macbook.

on any intensive work it would get so hot that i could not rest my hands on it.


I had an old XPS13, and eagerly ordered the XPS15 9570 fully loaded the moment it was available in the UK.

What followed was a year of fan noise, thermal throttling, GPU switching problems and many hours lost trying to get the right combination of Ubutunu + Nvida drivers working.

So when my house was burgled and that machine got stolen, I went back to the XPS13 form factor. Smaller, lighter, longer battery life, quieter. Only disadvantage being the max of 16GB RAM.

Once the XPS13 finally arrives with 32GB RAM I may well upgrade again.

The new MacBook Pro may tempt me, but I am certainly not giving up proper function keys.


I have a 9570 as well. I ordered the bare minimum memory and storage so I could swap in my own 16GB of RAM and 1 TB SSD. I also applied thermal pads to the VRMs and (less importantly) heatpipes so they conduct to the chassis. Lastly, I undervolted the CPU with Intel XTU. I have had no throttling issues and it has been a steadfast partner. I've never had a laptop I liked more. It took some upfront work, and that's not everyone's bag, but I honestly could not find a decent laptop that met my specs for under $3000. This one did it for $1600.


I had similar experience with 9360. The notebook freezes under heavy load and I have to restart (it happens once a day when working on rather large Android project). The webcam on the bottom left of the screen is a bad joke (I think they moved it elsewhere later?).


From what I can see, Dell has significant problems with quality control. That's why the feedback is so varied.

If you live in a city with good Dell support, you could probably have managed to replace it. Sounds like a hardware problem.


> it seemed to have all the best qualities of a MacBook

Except MacOS.


I think the resale value is Apples real strength. When I upgraded my 2016 13” mbp to the new airbook, Apple offered 60-70% of the airbook cost in return for the mbp. Because tech-wise there are just so many hood options. I ended up selling it to a local third party reseller that I’ve used in the past for 80% of the cost of the air. I can’t remember the original price for the mbp, but it was around what the air cost me.

Compare that to the surface pro my wife has, which essentially lost all its value the moment she walked out the store. It’s an excellent machine by all means, and Linux subsystem is great, but it’s not actually cheaper than a Mac when you factor in the resale value.

I do live in Denmark, and things may be different elsewhere, but the only hardware that has any resale value around here is Apple.


It really stuns me how “MacOS” doesn’t appear anywhere in the Pros (or the Cons). That’s literally the main discriminant between choosing an Apple machine over any other brand, and there’s no mention of it.

By missing that main difference the comparison is reduced to pure comparison of commodities, and of course the result is that the Apple machine is ‘unjustifiably’ more expensive. The Apple ecosystem is literally why people buy Apple machines rather than any other brand.

I’m also mystified nobody else brought this up.


At this point macOS is just a different list of pros and cons all by itself.


For me it is still the best OS experience by far.


Often a different list for each person.


MacOS has really stagnated over the years. I first started using it back in 2004, where its main competitor was pre-SP2 Windows XP. At that time you could really call MacOS advanced. At this point, it's sort of a wash. Windows does things better, Mac does other things better, and it mostly comes down to preference.

The old argument about security is mostly a wash now as well. (whereas with pre-SP2 Windows XP vs. OSX 10.4, you could legitimately claim that OSX was more secure.)


Back then, MacOS X didn't have enough third party apps to replace Windows workflow but the OS kept advancing on every release.

Now we have better third party apps on macOS than Windows but OS stopped advancing but who cares about OS anymore? It's all about apps nowadays.


My apps on Windows: KeePass, Chrome, Thunderbird, Putty, Oracle VM, Idea, EditPad Pro, Paint.NET, Battle.net, Discord, foobar2000.

My apps on macOS: Chrome, Thunderbird, OracleVM, Idea, Battle.net, Discord. Can replace Putty with Terminal ssh (I like Putty more, but that's not a big deal), can replace KeePass with text file (less security, but not a big deal either), can replace EditPad Pro with TextEdit (worse replacement, but I can live with it), can replace Paint.NET with Gimp. Not sure about foobar2000, may be DeadBeef.

And there's no software on macOS that I would miss in Windows. So that's questionable about third-party apps, at least for me. The only thing that I loved in macOS is its Terminal, because I know bash, but recently I learned a bit of PowerShell, so it's not a big advantage anymore. Also I can always spin up CentOS VM if necessary.


If you just want a unix shell this is going to be way lighter than a full-blown VM: https://ubuntu.com/tutorials/tutorial-ubuntu-on-windows#1-ov...


A fair opinion for some, but if there is still more application support on Windows, I don't see how this is a benefit to MacOS.


The macbook still electrocutes you when it's plugged in since the grounding is all fucked up.

This is still a problem: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3969131

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/macbook-pro-giving-me-e...

https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/10545/is-it-bad-th...


That's some... creative usage of the verb "electrocute", which implies death.

That said, I did feel the electric current when the 2012MBP was not grounded, but the 2017 model does not have the same problem.


When people tell me they were electrocuted I say, "oh, so you died?"


Language changes and evolves over time, this is normal and natural. Just because "elecrocuted" at one time only meant died from electricity, it doesn't mean it can't mean now that one simply got a jolt and didn't die.

Or do you still think "Google" just means a big number? Do you "literally" means "exactly" or can also be used to show strong feeling or emphasis.


I know, I do it to be cheeky.

Google doesn't mean big number, do you mean googol?


More specifically, you're using the non-grounded plug rather than a grounded one. Since the laptop is metal, it passes it to you and to the ground instead of through the dedicated circuit.


>More specifically, you're using the non-grounded plug rather than a grounded one

Yes, the one that comes with extremely expensive European 2019 16" Macbook Pro is not grounded.

I'm not sure they sell the grounded lead anymore. But maybe I should charge my work macbook with my personal xps 13 charger which is grounded (yay usb-c!)


Every Apple device I've owned has done this (iPad, iPhone, MacBook) :/


According to the forum posts, it's happening to everyone who uses the default plug, the extension that comes with a 3 pin plug resolves the issue.

I have one short and one long cable, and am only just now realizing the issue. I'd simply assumed the short one was a fake I'd gotten.

Can't speak to why your iPhone and iPad do the same thing, I've experienced it when using sketchy cheap lightning cables or wall adapters (including ghost touching), but not when using better built stuff (like AmazonBasics or Anker).


That's assuming that your house have grounded sockets. My house does not and most of old houses in my country are the same, only new houses have ground.


>This is still a problem:

The three posts you provided are from 2012, 2013, and 2011. So is it really still a problem?


I still feel minor electric shocks with my 2016 MBP if I charge it with my ThinkPad power plug and touch the chassis.


Are you in Europe perchance? I have a feeling that wiring in the EU is more prone to sparks than in the US, so maybe grounding behaves differently as well, due to some sort of variation in building and wiring codes.


No, live in the US.


I hate that so much. Physical punishment for using a laptop.


Not in EU with a grounded plug.


I cannot agree more. At least for myself i would add MacOS as a huge plus over any other laptop. I know many people work in Linux but I just for the life of me cannot make it as comfortable as MacOS.


I really like Linux, but switched to macOS years ago because the quality of most Linux software outside of the GNU ecosystem is very unpredictable and commonly faulty. Companies seem to hate supporting Linux, and I've had enough distro updates break my OS in the past that eventually I just got beaten down. MacOS gives me a Unix shell, a consistent UI, and I've never had a system update lead to a black screen, or a new UI that I hate, or half my installed software being broken. Let's not even get started on the support for most Linux distros. Even Ubuntu has what I would consider to be dreadful support, unless maybe you're a corporate client of theirs.

Linux is good if you can configure it for a very specific purpose, like a server, or a graphics workstation, or even web development. For general purpose, its warts grow the more you use it. Hopefully someone has a dangerous looking Bash one-liner that will solve all your problems.


I switched from Mac to Linux a few years back, haven't regretted it for a second (well, there were a few seconds in there that were touch-and-go).

I now run a tiling window manager (i3wm) on a Debian distro (PureOS, came with the laptop) and I'm enjoying it immensely.

I still use an external Apple keyboard (a magic keyboard from 2015 - y'know, when they were good hehe). The trackpad has never been quite up to the Mac's standard, so I use an external mouse too. But I was using an external keyboard and mouse even on the MBP, so no change there (just the option to switch to trackpad isn't as awesome).


Which laptop or desktop hardware are you using for your Linux setup.


After the Mac I bought a Dell XPS 15, which ran Linux fine but I had issues with the dual-boot and GRUB setup - I could probably have fixed them, but meh.

I then bought a Purism 13, which has been awesome (apart from a niggling problem with the space bar). Having a laptop designed from the ground up to be open, maintainable, and running Linux is an amazing experience. I had a problem with the screen on this one and tech support said "open up the back of the case and have a look to see if anything looks odd". I had more or less the exact same issue with the MBP and had to do without my laptop for a week while they replaced the screen.


The integration with iOS/iMessages/keychain/homekit /FaceTime is extremely convenient for me. I don't mind paying extra for it, and I like that they have stores near me.


I would definitely agree with that. Having bought into the Apple ecosystem brings software features that you can't get elsewhere.


Yeah, I'm sorry but the idea of dealing with linux compatibility on a laptop or running Windows is a complete dealbreaker for me. despite how bad the macbook pros get i just can't switch.


Good thing the Dell XPS developer edition ships with Linux already set up.


The thing I dont understand about OSX is the Finder situation. It's just awful. Installation is awful, finding applications is awful, navigating to the system folders is awful.

It's very much like Windows and it's pretending Desktop is the root folder and then hiding everything behind databases of My Documents.

Dont make me jump through hoops to find computery stuff.


> Dont make me jump through hoops to find computery stuff.

I'm curious what "computery" stuff you're looking for? If you're trying to modify stuff a "normal user" wouldn't touch, you'd be better off on the command line. Finder isn't meant for people who want to muck around with the system because everyday normal users shouldn't be messing with system files.

Personally I hardly ever use Finder. Cmd+Space to launch apps and then I use those apps to manage their document types. I develop using VSCode and I'm on iTerm I'd say 75% time anyways.


I don't get why power users shouldn't be afforded the power of graphical file management. The command line is not an adequate substitute for quickly navigating and managing the filesystem to me.


Maybe I'm not a "power user," but I'm using the Finder for graphical file management roughly every day and it's just not a super big issue for me.

These "Macs aren't for power users" threads always kind of fascinate me, because it's so clear how differently people define "power user," and at times it feels like a lot of people define it as "this system has defaults that I don't like" or, even more often around here, "If I ever feel like I have to touch my mouse the system is crap." Whereas for me, I want a launcher/workflow runner like Alfred, which very often is my "command line" for a lot of functionality. I can assign a keyboard shortcut to anything in any menu in any application at the system level. I can wrap Unix scripts in Automator actions and put them in the Service context menu, so I can highlight text in any application and run it through a filter with a single click. I drag the proxy document icon in the title bar of windows to perform actions on that file all the time. To me, these are totally "power user" things, while I've never once thought "man, if only I had a mouse-free tiling 'window' manager that just split the screen in multiple sections with no overlapping windows I would be so much more productive."

Also, I'm typing this on a 2020 Macbook Air and it has a terrific keyboard. With the release of this 13" MacBook Pro, AFAIK this eliminates the butterfly keyswitch from their lineup.


For managing files, the commandline is strictly more efficient than GUI if you ask me.

For navigating: try ranger.

https://github.com/ranger/ranger


I agree, and I think both options should always be available. to the user.


Seems really simple to open "Macintosh HD" in the Finder and find all the "computer-y stuff" I could want. I also added my homedir to the "favorites" list. There's also the very handy cmd-shift-g shortcut for "Go to folder" that autocompletes paths on tab (also under the Go menu which has a bunch of handy links, including Home, Computer, etc.).


I usually navigate directories from the command line. If I want to do something that needs Finder (like drag and drop a file) I run an "open ." to pop a Finder window with the current directory.


Shift-cmd-g, and you can put in any path you like, with autocomplete.


I live in the terminal and just `open .` when I need Finder for some reason (very rare for dev purposes).


I've actually found `open` to be the most indispensable thing on MacOs. The Linux versions don't cut it (`xbg-open` or something?) it opens applications in the foreground of the shell process so it takes over the terminal you were working in, so you have to write aliases to background the process.


You can write a script for that, something like `xdg-open $1 & disown` will cut it already. However managing the default applications on Linux is a ridiculous pain in the ass.


> Dont make me jump through hoops to find computery stuff.

Just press cmd+shift+period in the Finder to unhide all the hidden files and directories.

You can also write `open /path/to/somewhere` from any location in your terminal window to open the Finder at that spot.


CMD+up and you in `computery stuff`. Don't understand the problem


I would agree finder when compared to File explorer (and its Linux equivalent) or even file manger in windows 3.1 is the Mac OS's biggest weakness.


Genuinely curious, have you had your MacBook Pro knocked over from the power cord since switching away from MagSafe?

Lots of people complain about missing MagSafe but I’ve never seen or heard of this actually happening. I’m sure it has happened but it just doesn’t seem like a big problem. For me, just in the past month I’ve had the usb charger yanked out by the cord multiple times by people and pets tripping over it while working from home, but the laptop is heavy enough that it doesn’t budge and the cable comes out cleanly.

The benefit of having a standard port now, being able to get monitor, power, and usb connected through one cable, or being able to use the usb-c charger to charge other devices when traveling, is well worth the change IMO. I also used to get little metal specks stuck in the MagSafe port, and then realize the laptop hasn’t been charging all day and have to clear it out and make sure the contacts were connected securely. I wasn’t a big fan of MagSafe at all.


MagSafe was great when the average battery life was under four hours. You have to be plugged-in in weird places. It saved my laptop a couple of times when I was at University. The problem is not just knocking over the whole laptop, but you can damage the port as well.

With the current 8+ hours battery life, I only have it plugged in when I'm at my desk, so no risk of tripping over.

For me, the standard port overweights any other downside.


That's an interesting take on it

Still, I wouldn't want to discharge the battery if it's not needed as to save the cycles.


Isn't it worse to keep the battery 100% charged at all times?


Not any longer, as a modern device will discharge the battery a bit to keep it healthy.


I haven't had an incident yet, but I'm way more careful with a young kid (or myself). Leaving one charging on a couch, for example, isn't something I'm comfortable with both because of it sliding a foot or two on to the carpet or bending the connector.

More annoyance comes from removing of the charging indicators that were on the magsafe port. The only clue is a small "ding" sound when it starts charging, but is easy to miss and won't happen in deep sleep. I've plugged in a laptop not noticing someone had unplugged the other end until the next morning my computer was still dead. It was also nice that you could see that amber charging light turn green so you knew it was charged without opening the lid and waking it up.


I can see that it's not a necessity for many people, but I still have a 2015 13" Macbook Pro with MagSafe in addition to a newer 15" Macbook Pro, and my experience using both every day is that I positively mourn the difference.

I'm shocked that Apple has not taken it upon themselves to ensure that there's a usable magnetic adapter for the USB-C port, under their brand or through a partner. I've tried a couple of third-party adapters that were utter failures. I hope somebody succeeds someday, preferably Apple or with Apple's blessing, because I would be very slow to try another third-party adapter otherwise.


I knocked it over with MagSafe and it still failed to disconnect. It was the 2011 L-shaped plug and I managed to yank it at the perfectly wrong angle I suppose. The macbook lived but ended up with scratches and dents (that's how I discovered that an aluminum chassis maybe wasn't the best idea for a laptop). The new flimsy usb-c cable has a better chance of actually disconnecting.


I have younger kids, who would sometimes kick my cord with MagSafe and it wouldn't be a big deal; I would just connect again. Now I don't use my laptop around my kids if I'm charging.


The very first day I had my first USB-C mac i had an incident with my standing desk that Magsafe would have saved.

These days I tend to use my laptop at my desk with external monitors, but the thing that worries me the most when I'm somewhere else is the yanking of the cable weakening the and/or reducing the reliability. I had to re-solder the power adaptor on an old Acer a few times, I don't think I've got the parts or skills (or time) to do that on a few year old Mac.


The good thing about USB-C chargers, if you break the cable you can just buy a new one. No soldering necessary. I chew through a lot of MagSafe charges in the past few years. I fixed most of them, but you can't disassemble them without damaging it.

EDIT: If you talking about the connector inside your laptop, that is a different story.


Yeah, the connector inside the computer.


I was concerned about that myself, but so far so good. I suspect the ability to charge on either side makes a difference. I usually plug in on whatever side is closer to a wall and out of the way. Combined with all the other usb-c/tb benefits, i think the tradeoff is worth it.


My dog did it on several occasions.


I've moved to a 16" as well, the touchbar is fine IMO. The biggest issue before this update was just removing the escape key. I've mostly adjusted to switching caps lock to escape now because of it.

My biggest disappointment in this 13" upgrade is that it is still 13 inch. The display quality has increased over the years, but resolution/size has stayed the same since 2012.

That and the continued use of the same 720P webcam. Hopefully we get a FaceID enabled mac in 2021 where they put in a decent camera.


Yeah I noticed this too. In PC land, most ultrabooks have thinner bezels so this form factor would either have a 14” display or it would have a 13” display in the same footprint as the old 12” MacBook.

My $800 13” HP Envy for example only has about 2mm of bezels on its 4k display.

Apple is falling behind here which is strange considering how much they fetishize thinness.


> I still miss mag-safe adapters though. I still don't understand that decision.

As someone who’s never had a tripping accident with a magsafe charger but has had to replace multiple damaged chargers despite being careful, I welcome that change. Spending 90€ because Apple doesn’t know how (or doesn’t care) to make cables with a modicum of durability isn’t fun. With USB-C, presumably (I don’t own one of these) I could get better cables or replace them cheaper if they got frayed.

I was also excited for the possibility of being able to charge on either side, until I learned that comes at a cost: https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/363337/how-to-find...


Yeah as someone who used MagSafe for probably a decade and then switched to a USB-C MBP (now counting 3 years), I much prefer USB-C. And I'm a really clumsy person, and have two small children running around.

I probably went through one Apple MagSafe charger a year. One of them I literally only used on my desk, and the cable fell apart in 6 months, the Apple Store guy accused me of all kinds of abuse to avoid replacing it under warranty. Even with crappy amazon marketplace noname Chinese 90W USB-C cables, I've been totally fine for 3 years now.

With USB-C you can get cheaper third party chargers with all kinds of options (including full-featured Thunderbolt docks), you can use literally any old USB power bank, you can just switch out the cable when it wears out or gets chewed on, charge on the right side of the computer [the latter also really helps with the yanking risk].


Replacing the cable is a lot easier than replacing a damaged port.

I don't have enough experience with USB-C devices to know but micro USB ports ended up being too fragile if you have toddlers.


> Replacing the cable is a lot easier than replacing a damaged port.

If you’ve ever had an accident with it, which I never had.

I don’t doubt that removing magsafe is a loss in the aggregate; I’ve only mentioned the alternative is likely to be better for me.

A better option still would be if they made durable magsafe cables. But they don’t, so here we are.


It's one of those things that doesn't matter to you, until it really really does. You only need one accident to make it completely worth it


If that's something you're worried about, there are USB-C magnet attachments you can buy. If it's something you don't worry about, now you have way more options for chargers and cables.


I can't find a source for this right now, but IIRC USB-C was designed such that the cable was always the weak point, so in cases of extreme stress the cable will break before the port does.


The xps is a plastic laptop with a plastic hinged small trackpad. The mbp trackpad alone is worth the extra money. I keep a laptop for 4-5 years. It’s not worth interacting thousands of times a day with an outdated subpar input device to save $10 a month.

I’ve been watching the xps closely and the internal stats are good but the “plastic laptop with a small hinged trackpad” aspect of it make it a no go for me at the price point.


Per the specs on the dell website, it's a milled aluminum chassis. Guess that could technically mean there's plastic somewhere, but they seem to be selling the fact it's not plastic.


Through some kind of engineering magic, they've been able to make it out of thin aluminum while still retaining the creaky plastic feeling Dell is known for.


The top shell and the bottom shell are thin aluminum but the rest of the laptop is plastic. The bottom assembly is a plastic body screwed into a thin aluminum shell. Unfortunately I don’t have a link but there are reviews on YouTube where people subject it to the “twist test” and the laptop body creaks and visibly twists under light manual force.


I have the latest Dell model (XPS 13 9300), and I'm left with a bit of chagrin as I probably would have looked into this new 13" MBP instead had it been available a few months ago, but overall I've been happy with my purchase. I'm not really "in" the Apple ecosystem so I'm probably a bit biased though.

A few other Dell Pros:

* 16:10 aspect ratio. The 4K touchscreen in general is fantastic, nearly borderless and really stunning in person. Dell has honed in on some great industrial design for the XPS 13 line. The laptop is incredibly compact for the feature set and screen size.

* Keyboard is fantastic. Trackpad is great, but not quite Mac level. They have been improving this considerably over the years and this latest iteration is the best yet.

* Linux support, even though I ended up not using it due to "okay" HiDPI support.

* i7, FWIW. Not sure the thermals really allow you to take advantage of full perf gains from the better processor.

* Another Dell Pro which has made me feel better about the purchase has been the free year of Next Day On-Site ProSupport. My original lid had a mark on it and no shit they scheduled a technician to come to my apartment and replace it the next day. Macs obviously have the advantage of Apple stores but in this case I was really happy with the level of CS Dell was able to provide.

Dell Cons:

* I was previously an (Arch) Linux user and have given Windows 10 a shot this time around, mostly because I don't have the time to be fiddling with config files these days. And while Windows does "just work", some things are a little janky still. From what I've heard of MacOS these days, things are not necessarily perfect there either, so maybe a toss-up. I will say Windows being so linux-friendly with WSL has made the transition much easier.

* Two ports has been not really a huge issue. I find that either I'm docked, in which case I have a whole other set of ports to use, or I'm not really plugging in more than two USB C accessories at the same time.


That new aspect ratio has me desperately wanting to upgrade.

Well that and I have xps 15 and that was fine when I took a class a year or two ago but I find it a bit bigger than I like for laying about on the couch and etc.


> 16:10 aspect ratio.....

MacBook ( Pro, Air or just MacBook ) has always been using 16:10 ratio.

16:10 on Dell is something new in the PC space that everyone is making a big fuss about it. Although I hope this change will finally run across the industry so we are back to 16:10 instead of stupid video consumption orientated 16:9 Ratio.


Funny. You pine for 16:10 everywhere and I pine for 4:3 everywhere. If software is eating the world, then why doesn't the ultimate screen ratio for development take over computers?


the 3:2 ratio on the surface laptops is pretty nice imo


You mean the ratio used on non-Pro iPads?


Interesting, I did not realize this. I also did not realize that Retina is not 4k, though I doubt this makes a huge amount of difference on the tiny screen sizes.


Old things are new again. 16:10 was the standard around 10 years ago. I still have an old Dell Core 2 Duo circa 2010 that has a resolution of 1920:1200


I think "better processor" can only fall into the Dell camp if it's confirmed that they're running it at a 25W TDP all-the-time and not the default 15W, or else Apple's chip choices will likely win because they can consume more power (but I don't know the actual model #s Apple is using).


Yeah, that's the stupid part about tech specs honestly--so many hidden caveats--I always thought it was interesting that Apple benchmarks usually outperform competitors when comparing similar hardware, usually to things like this.

Mostly annoyed now, because you are correct, it's running at 15W[0][1].

[0] https://imgur.com/a/ry5eAIy

[1] source for [0] (pg 11) https://topics-cdn.dell.com/pdf/xps-13-7390-2-in-1-laptop_se...


The real news is that you can get 32gb RAM and 4TB SSD in a 13-inch form factor

Sometimes its not really about the price, its about "can you?".

I'm glad Apple (and Dell) is addressing the market, alongside the improvements in the technology in their supply chain.

There have definitely been some years where I have been pretty sure something was possible but everyone was holding out for another year because a processor came out too late, or some totally antitrust violating agreement, or milking consumers, all while we just had to assume there were some quality control or battery life issue.

I am glad to know this is going to be generally available.


Have you ever purchased a Dell ? Well I just did (Dell XPS 13 2-in-1) last month and let me tell how you how horrible the driver and support has been. I really wish I could chuck this brand new 1400$ device out the Window for days of troubleshooting I've got through. I deeply regret it and wish I purchased a Surface device instead (note I'm not an Apple user)

For the price premium and judging by the quality of the drivers that Apple produces, I WOULD MUCH RATHER PAY THE PREMIUM than struggle with Dell.


I had a dell latitude at work - horrific. Replaced with an xps-13 - much better, but wouldn't recommend. At home replaced my mbp with a surface laptop, deleted windows installed linux - bliss.


I regret not purchasing a Surface device, despite the extra cost over the Dell.


Are latest Surface models working okay with Ubuntu?


Couldn't say; using arch, on non-touchscreen, all good.


What kind of driver issues did you get?


Bluetooth and Sound. Take a look at the XPS forums, there's more than a dozen posts on each topic. Dell engineers haven't pushed a fix in over a month after delivering faulty BIOS drivers.


I tried to return the POS but Dell wont take it back since I was a few days past their 30 day return policy. Let's not forget I had to deal with a minor fallout due to the pandemic, but their "customer service" department doesn't care about personal issues and difficulties customers have had during the last month and only profit and sales.

I'm never buying Dell


Did you purchase it with a credit card that offers longer return periods on your purchases?


There's a reason Dell produces stuff cheaply.


The only Dells that are comparable to the Macbook Pro line are the 7000 series Latitudes.

The build quality of the XPS line is just not up to snuff.


As a long time PC user I'd say the Razer Blade series of laptops are far closer to Macbook replacements than Dell's machines. Plus you get a nice discrete GPU to boot. I've been using my 15" blade for several years now - and they are even better now.


As a long-time Apple user who switched to Windows/Linux after Apple decided to ditch discrete GPUs and open standards for graphics, 100% this. Razer Blades are the spiritual successors to the pre-unibody Macbooks.

That said, I've had terrible luck with Razer batteries, and their only warranty replacement option involves a multi-week turnaround. It's a good thing I'm pretty handy and replacements can be had on the usual sources.


My friend had a Blade back in 2017 -- had to replace the charger 5 (!) times until he downgraded to a chromebook.


Apple has lost me as a customer for their computers. The software has been getting flakier for years, the butterfly fiasco, and their inexplicable decision to continue shipping laptops missing 15% of the keyboard. I'm on a System 76 Darter Pro now. Pop OS has been fantastic. Great specs for the money, and while it certainly isn't Mac-level hardware, it's fine. At this point, the Darter has a far superior keyboard, even comparing to the newest MBP keyboards.

I still need a Mac for my music and photo collection, and to sync my phone. But since my 2015 MBP is dying, I'm in the market for a used Mac Mini.


Apple still has me as a customer, when it comes to work solutions. I have to use windows at home for gaming, no way around it.

MacOS vs Windows 10 is a MUCH lesser difference than MacOS vs Windows 8 and below. If Apple doesn't put more focus into their computers over the next 5 years the tide may truly turn.

Also before someone mentions Linux, I really love linux. I used linux out of NEED in college but I find myself maintaining it too much for it to be worth it vs MacOS when it comes to work. I have access to linux servers for running most of my code anyway so perhaps I'm a special user.


Has to be fanless and new SSD or HDD, or you are buying trouble just to avoid setting up Plex or something.


One reason I'll recommend an Apple product over any PC to friends is the Apple Store. Aside from being able to see and play with the hardware, Apple's support experience is better than any PC maker's.

Why doesn't Dell open a store in every neighborhood that has an Apple store? They should be able to match the Apple consumer experience, but more importantly (to Dell), they could run business support operations from those stores.

I'd be a lot more likely to buy the XPS machine you mentioned if I could take it someplace when the coil whine becomes apparent.


5 years ago I destroyed my dells screen, thrre was someone driving to my place the same day and he replaced the screen on site and I could work on. Where would apple ever do this?


This is what a lot of people don't know. If you pay for premium support from Dell, it is significantly better than the support experience with Apple.

No having to check for appointment slots each day, hoping to get one two weeks out. No having to arrive at the store at the start of the day, get in the same-day queue, and hope to get seen for a 15 min checkup within 4 hours, and then lose your machine for days, if not weeks, while the repairs are done off site.

Dell premium consumer (consumer, not talking about their business support options here) support gets you next day engineer to your home, with replacement parts on hand to repair your fault in your home. Three unsuccessful repairs on the same component results in a total replacement, usually with an upgrade.


If an Apple user is having trouble setting up Time Machine, they can book a slot at the store to have somebody help them configure that. Is Dell going to send somebody to my parents home to help them with that?


Apologies, if it wasn't clear given context, I was explicitly talking about hardware support. Dell doesn't do vertical integration of hardware and software, so I doubt they'll send someone to your parents home to help them configure Windows (or Ubuntu).

That said, your parents will still be subject to having to check for appointment slots each day, hoping to get one two weeks out, or waiting in store for hours for the next slot.

They'll also be subject to lots of random bugs in Time Machine, which has become a decidedly second class citizen as far as support within macOS goes. I cannot reliably do a time machine backup over wifi anymore, and am now subject to doing it via USB only instead. This is a much bigger problem now that my USB disk is still stuck in the office, and I've been unable to get into the office for over 2 months.


> Dell doesn't do vertical integration of hardware and software

That's a good point. It's a reason why comments like the one at the top comparing a Dell to an Apple computer don't make a lot of sense. They aren't apples-to-apples comparisons.

BTW, your Apple store experience sounds terrible. We have a handful of Apple things in my home and have used in-store support probably ten times over the years and have never had the experience you describe.


It's the experience I've been facing in London, UK for the last 5 years.

I'm 'fortunate' to have those options when I'm in London. Friends and family in other parts of Europe don't have a store near them, and their only support option is to send their faulty unit away for 2-4 weeks, which often results in me doing their support for them, as I'm (or I suppose, was) often flying through and could do it as a favour.

> That's a good point. It's a reason why comments like the one at the top comparing a Dell to an Apple computer don't make a lot of sense. They aren't apples-to-apples comparisons.

Yes, and no. This is a technical forum. The software support Apple offers isn't (and probably shouldn't be) useful to the vast majority on here, as any software support you can get from an Apple store, you can get on Google significantly faster.

Within that context, I think the comparison is reasonable. We can all fix any software issues we run into (within limits, those limits vary by platform, arguably more limited in Apple land) ourselves, and those that we can't we're at the mercy of our upstream supplier anyway.

From my experiences dealing with Apple Support regarding software bugs that have come about through software updates, I have no positive things to say. They did offer me $200 worth of accessories to make up for all of my time they wasted after ~18 months of one incident, but that's a poor amount of compensation for the amount of my real time they wasted.


For what it's worth, my experience closely mirrors oarsinsync's, as far as Dell vs. Apple consumer-level hardware support goes.

The Dell tech who came to my house (next day) had people skills as good as any Apple Genius, and better tech skills to boot. He was in and out in less than 45 minutes, and I think he finished less than 24 hours after I called Dell (though that isn't promised as part of the contract).

I'm still happily in the Apple camp, mostly because I do appreciate the integrated ecosystem. However, there's simply no comparison when it comes to after-sales hardware support--Apple has a lot to learn from Dell.

I don't doubt that you've had a better Apple Store experience than some of us, but:

1. I've had poor Apple service in several cities across the US, so I think good service is the exception rather than the rule

2. Many small/medium cities only have one Apple store (which is inconvenient) and rural places have none (which is worse). As far as I know, there are no geographical restrictions, within the lower 48, on where Dell will travel for next-day at-home service.

3. Dell at-home support costs about the same as AppleCare+.


I bought a dell gaming monitor from best buy. It had like 12 stuck pixels. Dell overnighted me a replacement with a return label.

I'm a macbook fanboy but holy hell that is some GREAT service from dell.


This right here. I worked along side IT at a medium/large manufacturing company for my internship and a few times they had Dell support specialists driving out to fix hardware on the spot or give you a new one same day. For their company iPads the support was- "drive a half hour to the nearest Apple store with the shit and hope they can help you."


For years my employer paid for on-site support and when we would call for help, the technician was almost always from some third party service (Unisys?). The experience was rarely good.

Dell should bring that all in-house.


Dell has way better support than Apple. (I only have experience with it in Europe, but I think in the US would be the same)

You don't need to take anywhere. You call support and a technician will show up at your office/house and change the part on the spot. [1]

Where Apple shines is when you travel internationally. Apple offer an international warranty. If you buy a product in the EU they will fix/exchange it under warranty in the US or anywhere else in the world.

[1] https://www.dell.com/downloads/emea/services/uk/en/in_home_s...


Everybody is talking about hardware support. What about software? Will they send a technician out to show you how to attach a document to an email?


Keep in mind that is not the basic warranty service. If you buy prosupport your call will not be routed to India and you can get the in-home or in-business service. If not, you'll be having a bad time.


Only for hardware, and only if you pay extra for it.

Dell's higher tier hardware support is pretty great, but it isn't an apples-to-apples (sorry) comparison.


> Why doesn't Dell open a store in every neighborhood that has an Apple store?

How would they manage to keep any competitive pricing if they do that? They have cheap prices because they hire totally cheap support labors doing crappy support.


I haven't had a Dell in awhile, 4+ years, but I have to say, the Macs that I've had felt just as sturdy as the day I bought it. My personal MBP I got is from early 2017, and my new MBP I got for work less than a year ago feel exactly the same, besides one having stickers I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Every dell I've had starts creaking at the hinges after just a few uses. Doesn't feel as sturdy, the $600 difference is worth the longevity and integrity of the macbook hardware alone.


I'm curious if they still have the high CPU issues when charging the device on the left.

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22957573

[2]: https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/363337/how-to-find...


I have an older XPS 13 with a glass screen (same design but previous generation) and one big annoyance is that every time you open the laptop, the screen will have grease marks across the centre where the keys have touched the glass while closed.


FWIW, this has been a problem on all the laptops I've ever owned, including 4 different MacBooks built between 2011-2019, and a Chromebook Pixel.


And eventually the marks don't wipe off, they remove whatever coating is on the screen. I've had this happen on pretty much every MBP I've ever owned.


I've had this happen once, and the Apple store replaced the screen no questions asked. I usually use a microfibre cloth between the screen and the keyboard though. It's a problem with all (modern) laptops from what I can tell - my Thinkpad T480s suffers from it, though my X220 does not.


Get a sheet of microfiber cloth, cut it to your screen size, and place it over the keyboard/trackpad before closing your laptop.


If you’re into that kind of thing, RadTech makes microfleece screen protectors and sleeves that are already sized appropriately for various Apple products.

https://www.radtech.com/products/screensavrz-macbook-pro-key...


Sure, or wiping it off before use with my shirt works as well! It's still a bit annoying


~~2399$~~ 2999$ (EDIT: see replies) in the US, and.... 3924$ for the same model if you buy it in Europe (3629 EUR). That's a bit outrageous.

I still have a Macbook Air 2013, and have been looking for an upgrade for like 5 years, but I was not willing to pay 4k for a laptop with a worse keyboard, a worse power plug, an OS that in 2020 still doesn't have any kind of windows tiling capabilities and quite poor virtual desktops support, a useless touchbar, no wifi6, and the worst webcam ever made.

Selling it at twice the price that in the US doesn't help. I can pay for a plane ticket, and still get it cheaper there.

Also, for a company that markets their laptops as having great displays, its quite ironic that their OS still doesn't support any kind of window tiling to use them efficiently in 2020. The display isn't micro-LED either, so it is instantaneously outdated, and well... the retina display doesn't help you see your macbook-using coworkers any better because their webcams have a resolution of 1x1 pixels.


> its quite ironic that their OS still doesn't support any kind of window tiling to use them efficiently in 2020

Luckily, the accessibility API make this quite possible to do if you're one of the people that can't work without it. (Do keep in mind that note everyone uses tiling to work "efficiently".)

> The display isn't micro-LED either, so it is instantaneously outdated

What? How many computers actually ship with microLED today?

> the retina display doesn't help you see your macbook-using coworkers any better because their webcams have a resolution of 1x1 pixels

Even with the current climate, reading text and looking at images in retina resolution is a huge part of most people's jobs. If you haven't tried a Retina Display, I suggest you do: it's quite nice.


The price $2999 in the US. There's no markup here, Apple's EU pricing just includes 20% VAT ($600) and implicit AppleCare (~$300) as required by EU consumer law.


> implicit AppleCare (~$300) as required by EU consumer law

I wouldn't say AppleCare is the same as having the extended warrenty to obey the EU consumer law. AppleCare includes a bunch of things that are outside of normal "warrenty" coverage.


I'd love for someone to chime in with specific details. I looked quickly at the French and US sites to compare. France does offer AppleCare+ for 299,00 € on a random MacBook I chose.

The US page is pretty clear that it extends a 1-year hardware warranty to 3-years and extends 90 days of technical support. In recent years they seem to focus more on accidental damage (with an additional per-incident fee).

The French website is more hand-wavy around improved hardware warranty. It also mentions the tech support, but the value seems to be the accidental damage.

The accidental damage math in the US is a tough one for me. $300 for AppleCare+ and $50 per incident goes a long way towards paying outright for a repair or buying a new laptop. The hardware warranties seem to be significantly better in Europe and historically the biggest value-add in the US. AppleCare+ just seems a lot less useful in Europe.


While this is probably true, I don't think it would be entirely fair to beat apple up for not having an EU only warranty program tuned to the minimal that is required.


Thanks for the correction, 2399$ was the price of the comparable Dell modell. The VAT and AppleCare makes sense.


Sounds like a good business opportunity. What's stopping me from buying them all up at the Apple store and selling them to overseas customers?


Ehm, customs? VAT import taxes?

As an individual, I can just by it in the US for personal use, and carry it over. But if you intent to transporting them for selling them, the story is very different.


Legally, you are required to pay VAT and import duty when buying in the US and importing it, even for personal use.

Chances are, you aren't checked. But if you are, having the original packaging or charger will be noticed by customs. They might even have data to determine country of origin from a serial number, or notice that it's a version that wasn't available when you left for the US etc. And if they ask, the burden of proof is yours to show you bought it in the EU.


How long does one need to stay in the US for that not to hold ?

I lived there for one year, and bought a lot of stuff in the US for personal use (like clothes). When I moved back to Europe, I just moved everything with me without paying any VAT.

I was worried that they would make me pay VAT from socks and underwear to laptop, phone, and everything. Asked about it, and was told that I didn't had to pay anything.



This is not EU specific, duty is typically due on consumer good when you move them between countries if you haven't owned them long enough. It's not always enforced or enforceable of course, but it's there. See for example people buying cars on either side of the US and Canada border for use on the other side.


> What's stopping me from buying them all up at the Apple store and selling them to overseas customers?

Import duties and VAT. VAT accounts for much of the price difference, OP didn't explain which Europe they're talking about, but assuming a 20% VAT a 2999 machine costs $3598.8 to the end-user.

Means you're working with a 325.2 price difference, which doesn't even cover import duties.

So pretty much as ever, if you're round-tripping through the US, picking up an MBP there is nice. It does not however make for a business.


> So pretty much as ever, if you're round-tripping to the US, picking up an MBP there is nice.

Just keep in mind that if you stay in the US for less than 6 months, you should be paying VAT on it on your way back (see other comments). Otherwise this probably counts as tax evasion, which comes with pretty hefty fines in some EU countries.


Different keyboards for starters?


American layout actually adds value to the laptop in Europe.

You can change the layout in the apple store when buying it here, but that adds 4 weeks to the delivery time..


in Europe, I can chose whatever keyboard I want, and I would think it's the same for the US store. I've configure both MacBooks I bought in the last decade with English keyboards because it's the only layout where {} and [] don't seem like a cruel joke by language designers.


VAT


For at least 20 years it's been cheaper to buy a round trip ticket to the USA and a macbook pro than it is to just buy one in Australia.


Isn't this just because you (illegally) fail to declare it for duty purposes?

If so it wouldn't have much to do with apple, no?


Nice comparison but from personal experience I'd count the 'Killer' WiFi/BT as a giant negative on the XPS. I've had no shortage of issues with it on Linux and Windows.


Bluetooth may have hit the right spot for demand but whoever came up with the spec wasn't smart enough to get it below thousands of pages for its spec and now every manufacturer has random quality of Bluetooth drivers. Bluetooth needs s replacement but it's kind of too late.


That's really interesting. I've had a Killer wifi module in a Razer Blade Stealth running Debian 10 for about a year and I have never had any issues at all.


> Better Trackpad

After using the Dell for a month and finally sending it back, I can tell you that this was the deal breaker for me.


Dell:

* Much higher resolution screen (3840x2400 vs 2560x1600)

* Smaller and lighter (not by much though) and thinner bezels

* Better hardware support (apple hardware has bad support under anything but macOS and I can't think of any hardware which is supported under mac but not on windows).


> apple hardware has bad support under anything but macOS and I can't think of any hardware which is supported under mac but not on windows

I had to read this a few times. You mean third-party hardware and peripherals, right? I first read it as running Windows on Mac hardware, which Bootcamp supports. Linux usually lags a few years and often isn't solid. Battery life usually isn't as good.

Paradoxical to your peripheral experience, I often much prefer macOS' experience to Windows with things like mice and printers since they often use standard, builtin tools instead of requiring third-party drivers with terrible UIs. For most things in the past 10-15+ years they support both Mac/Windows.

One pro Windows laptops usually have over Mac is the Mac webcams have the same quality from their laptops over a decade ago. Cameras are something Apple used to brag about (both including them standard and the quality of them).


* Better Trackpad

That is an understatement.


If Apple made a 13 inch MBP without touchbar but with 4 ports I’d buy 3 because I know they’d immediately discontinue or “improve” it.


Back then, Apple hardware only differentiated in hard disk spaces for the different prices and provided equal experience to users and now their lineup is such a mess and if you want 4 ports, you have to take 512GB space which is typically way too big and no clear distinction between Air and Pro but more like Pro is Air + all sorts of random options.

Sadly, Jobs' vision is fading out.


Apple should simply re-release the pre-touchbar 2013 Macbook Pro, with USB-C ports.

"Peak MacBook Pro" was 2013 (once they fixed the screen-coating deterioration).


Let's talk 2013 vs 2015 :D


Dell XPS + Linux Mint seems like it would be an incredible development machine. I used to love OS X because everything "just worked" and you still got a real bash environment. I think Linux has caught up in terms of UX. I installed Linux Mint on my desktop recently and Cinnamon is really nice. All the tools I need are there, and I had no drivers issues whatsoever.

I see little reason to continue buying into the Apple ecosystem. I switched from iPhone to an S9+ a couple years back and plan to keep this phone for at least another few years unless it dies.

I think in general people are getting sick of the upgrade cycle. Gadgets are getting good enough that they can last multiple release cycles. I think consumer electronics companies are going to need to find a way to evolve, or they really will be running into the classic "not enough consumers" problem.


It's pretty disappointing how few ports the XPS 13 has. Only two data ports (both USB-C), but it's really only gonna one because you're gonna be using the other one for charging all the time. And I use hardware security keys for everything so I always have one plugged into my laptop, so if have zero ports free and would need to attach a USB-C hub to do anything else. At least there's wireless keyboard and mice ...

Any idea on battery life comparisons between the two? I'm not an Apple fan by any stretch, and don't have any Apple hardware at all except MacBooks, but honestly, the Mac here might be worth the extra money for the ports, build quality, and longevity. My current laptop is a 2013 top of the line MacBook Pro 15" that is still chugging along fine without any problems.


I have an xps-13, and it has been pretty unreliable. The first one I got died mysteriously, luckily I was able to exchange it for a working one. After a couple years of occasional use, the screen died (my guess is it was probably just the cable).

I still don't use it unless I need more processing power, preferring to use my 2016 Macbook 12" for everything other than compiling Rust code. The Macbook has held up great, and I even did the infamous glued in battery replacement myself.

I will probably get a Macbook pro in the next few years instead of another non-mac computer.


When I buy a Mac, I don't buy a computer.

I buy an operating system.

In my case, the Apple OS gives me exactly what I need. Apple holds all the cards, and are able to set the price. Wish it was lower, but I am glad the OS works as well as it does. The control that Apple has over both the hardware and software is key to that.

For others, Windows is exactly what they need (I see this a lot with hardware hacker stuff. It's very hard to get Apple versions of a lot of the tools I need). They do have a lot more choices, but I prefer my experience. Well worth the difference in price, for me.


> and how the new Mac Pro is actually a Pro machine that they're headed back in the right direction (post Jony Ive).

Hardly, considering the lack of professional tools support outside Hollywood movie makers.


"Hollywood movie makers" and specifically VFX artists have long moved to linux/windows workstations as the performance on mac side has stagnated until the recent release of the Mac Pro but it was too little too late.

Writers and sound engineers are still firmly in the Mac camp though due to their tools being mac exclusives.


> A $600 price difference for this machine is probably worth it in my mind.

Agreed. Recently bought the 16 inch MBP after considering Lenovo and Dell. Prices between the machines weren't that much different (Lenovo came to 7200 minus some discount to bring it down to MBP price).

End of the day I didn't want to deal with Linux drivers (no M$ for me) and I wanted something that worked. Plus, the touchpad on an Apple device can't be beat. It's not a perfect machine, mainly Catalina issues I suspect, but worth it IMO.


The XPS13 optionally comes with Ubuntu preinstalled. Haven't had to fight drivers in a while (on my second XPS 13).


ya, but limited hardware IIRC. Considered it.


I'd say - based on my experience w/ work-issued dell's, the Apple keyboard is better. Even the butterfly...the dell keys were prone to falling off (albeit I suppose you could repair them w/o replacing the entire chassis....)

I hope the Mac screen is still better. We bought a couple of Thinkpad T490's on discount. The internals are fine, good processors, battery life, keyboard, but the trackpad sucks and the screen is noticeably still worse than my 2014 MacBook Pro...


> I still miss mag-safe adapters though. I still don't understand that decision.

I really dislike the mag-safe adapter on my 2015 Mac (the first Mac I've ever had). It often feels like you only have to sneeze in the direction of the connector and it pops right off.

I get the problem they're trying to solve, I too don't want to go back to the old style of connector where you could accidentally rip it out of the motherboard. I just want something a little firmer than magsafe.


I'm guessing you have MagSafe2. I only had MagSafe1 laptops and thought they were great. I might be mistaken, but I thought I had heard of Apple tweaking the magnets on different models.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MagSafe#MagSafe_2

I believe the Surface have their version of MagSafe and support charging via USB-C...I wish that was the direction Apple went with.


the new macbook pro has 4 thunderbolt ports only if you go for the top-of-the-line model. anything "regular" has two ports like the dell xps 13.

You also "forgot" to mention that the xps 13 is probably easier to fix if anything goes wrong.

Regarding hardware support... what do you mean exactly? If it's warranty, dell is probably as good as apple.


You forgot that the Dell XPS 13 also has a touch screen... and there is a 2-1 model with a tablet mode and an (awful) pen.


Given my experience with non MS Surface touch screens, I'm not really sure if I consider that a strong pro--if I were writing the sales pitch for the laptop yeah, it's a pro, but in terms of day to day use, I'm not sure how much I'm looking for a touchscreen on a laptop.

Regardless though, the gesture support on MacOS touch-pads would probably cancel it out as anything I'd probably do with the touchscreen frequently could be supported through a gesture.


Touch screens are useful as a shortcut to mouse or gesture movements.


Depending on what your needs are, the TouchID and T2 might be pros (or cons). Same thing with macOS, but that might simply be a matter of 'need it' and 'do not need it' and isn't much of a gradient. If you need macOS, you'll buy a Mac and the whole comparison matters a whole lot less.


I’m pretty sure Apple is using the latest 4-core 10th Gen CPUs. Unless the Dell is using a 6 core chip, it is unlikely that their CPU is better.

The top end is the Core i7-1068NG7 and the i5 is the Core i5-1038NG7. They are both 28W parts with the highest end integrated GPU that Intel sells.


> Objectively, seems to me that list used to be a lot longer on the Apple side

Maybe, but I think the price gap used to be a lot longer too?

(As in, Apple's dragged it up (or perhaps arguably dragged up build quality or whatever that's impacted price) not vice versa.)


The other important differentiator is the OS. I can’t (reliably) get MacOS on a Dell laptop so my choice is clear: either keep using the MBP I have or upgrade. At this point I don’t want to go back and try re-learning Windows.


> I still miss mag-safe adapters though. I still don't understand that decision.

With any luck the mag-safe connector will be back in a couple of years. Of course Apple will call it "new".


If you care about it, just buy a magnetic USB-C dongle: https://www.amazon.com/usb-c-magsafe/s?k=usb+c+magsafe

Returning to magsafe would be a downgrade when you can just magsafe-ify any of the ports yourself with a cheap adapter.


Not an entirely bad idea, however I t should be obvious that having an adapter hanging out the side of ya laptop is less than ideal.


Well, I think it's a superior solution to having a special magsafe port when you can have more USB-C ports with the option to add magsafe to them.


The Apple list is shorter because you ignored nearly all of the differentiating features enabled by the Apple ecosystem. You also ignored many of the non-obvious details of the Mac hardware.


I did a similar comparison a few years ago and had a very similar list and came to the same conclusion (about $500 more for the Apple, but it was probably worth it in known reliability and resale). The only thing I would have added was that Apple's camera quality hasn't improved in 10+ years, which sucks if you're working remote (hopefully now everyone notices this).

A lot of the hardware things I liked about Mac laptops got stripped off (MagSafe, charging indicator, SD card slot).

I imagine everything else is up to personal workflow. My wife was looking at another Mac laptop because she wanted to transition GarageBand projects from her iPad. Since, in practice, the files often crash when doing this and she has to export/import that workflow is useless and she's looking at a Windows laptop.

I'd be curious what kind of things you would put on your list.


I’ll not that I use windows, Mac, and Linux (arch and Ubuntu) all equally effectively. In no particular order, here are some things about macs that are often missed:

FaceTime, iPhone, sms/iMessage integration that works even when phone is not nearby.

T2 chip/Secure Enclave.

Easier to use full disk encryption.

Note’s built in capability to encrypt specific notes with a private, unrecoverable password.

Faster system software updates.

Most apps shipping as DMG rather than installer packages, which allows me to install them without granting admin rights.

Family members who have macs ask me for help far less than those with windows.

The trackpad is vastly superior. I actually prefer thinkpad-style trackpoints, but thinkpads aren’t what they used to be. The Mac trackpad feels good to touch, the taptic full-pad pseudo-clicking is superior to physical button presses, and the multi-pressure level support is occasionally useful. The gestures work well and feel natural.

Find my Mac/iPod/iPhone is implemented in a privacy preserving method. It’s also super useful to be able to simply say to my laptop “hey Siri, where is my phone?” to have it trigger the audio beacon.

The speakers on the new 16” MBP are excellent. I use my headphones much less now.

I love the look of Macbook monitors more than most pc laptop monitors. Of course, some pc laptops have comparable or exactly the same panel, but the price goes up pretty fast.

Photos is an imperfect replacement for Picasa (RIP). However it has some features my family loves, like automatically figuring out groups of related events and generating movies from photos of family trips, then surprising me with a phone notification.

Many of the built in apps feature end-to-end encryption.

I feel like windows 10 is always spying on me. I have to spend hours configuring a fresh windows install to turn off all the garbage. Not signing into a Microsoft account with windows 10 causes all kinds of limitations, like not being able use fingerprint readers.

The microphone array on the new MBP works very well such a shame it wasn’t paired with a better camera.

Access to a terminal. I spend most of my time in vim. WSL just isn’t comparable (yet) in terms of integration and ease of use.

There are also things that are much worse about macs, but that aren’t dealbreakers for me:

Horrible software quality, going back decades, in ways that really matter. The only times I’ve ever lost data due to software is when OSX corrupted a drive. Backups are vital, and they must be stored on non-Apple devices/services. This is a hidden cost no one ever talks about, even though the internet is rife with Mac/time machine data loss anecdotes.

Extremely uncomfortable sharp edges.

Safari is so close to being useful, but falls short. I configure it to wipe out everything on close, and use it as a sort of super-private-mode browser.

QuickTime is garbage.

Application file associations are super finicky.

There is no built in method to set the screen to native resolution, needlessly inflicting blurry screens.

Apple might blow it again with the hardware for years, meaning no upgrade path.

The machines are under-ventilated, under-powered, under-rammed.

Lack of games support.

Horrible battery life if you do anything intensive. Factorio burns through a full battery in about 90 minutes.

I wish they would make a “kids edition” laptop that is cheaper, made of plastic for dent-resistance, and can be locked down in the same way as iOS.

I wish it had a built in hyper visor or allowed me to run apps in something like sandboxie.

I wish I could change the the window manager (I happily used Arch for years and fell in love with the tiling window manager spectrwm).

The lack of a 4K screen on the MBP makes me sad. I had a thinkpad p1 with a 4K screen and it was stunning (but a power hog).


Depends on use cases. We switch between the xps-13 and starting now this at work.

We use 0 apple specific apps. We write python and Vue.js using pycharm.

So from a business use case, do you want windows, Linux, or Mac hot keys? Python and everything runs everywhere.

(Biggest problem is Windows Home doesn’t run Docker as well, but it can be worked around)


I would add form factor in the comparison. Dell XPS 13 is smaller.


This comparison is at the higher end, but I am curious about the $1799 version of the Macbook Pro - with the new 10th Gen processors, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB storage.


I think that the MBP actually has the better CPU and the better thermals (the latest XPS is not that great in this regard).

Other than that, I completely agree


I had a XPS13 a couple of years ago and the USB-C port was not Thunderbolt 3. The new 13” MBP has four TB3 ports which is a pretty big deal to me.


>I will say that even though I prefer the travel of the '12-'15 era keyboards, this typing experience is far superior than the faulty butterfly keys.

I still dont like the new Magic Keyboard travel. It feels to me exactly the same as butterfly. The whole typing experience just sucks. But given a lot of people ( DHH ) are saying it feels the same as Magic Keyboard on the iMac ( Which I will probably never understand ), the likelihood of that ever coming back to the Mac is near Zero. May be even Magic Keyboard on iMac will one day be the same as well.

I wonder if someone will make a plastic keyboard cover that adds back the few mm key travel, along with "artificial" buttons to cover up the Touch Bar.

In case anyone ask why not the MacBook Air, it is because the CPU run up to 90C with passive cooling. I dont know how long will the product last under medium load usage.


Apple Pros:

* macOS


Debatable.

Personally this is a con.


Pro is the quality of third party apps. OS is irrelevant as long as the hardware works.


>* Better hardware support

What are you basing that on?


>IMHO I think the Touch Bar disappointment is probably over dramatized by developers, it's not too bad a couple years in

The touch bar still sucks, but eventually all design decisions Apple makes are justified by users.


They literally just changed the keyboard design because users hated it.


They changed it because on 50% of all machines (stats from our office) the keyboard went bad within a year, causing massive warranty cost for Apple.


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