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Sunday, 15 July 2018


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The 15” is the first MacBook Pro in several years that seems pro-level and sorted. (Time will tell whether the keyboard glitches are fixed but I suspect that they are—and that much of the ‘dust’ was generated by faulty internal keyboard components.)

The six-core version, with 32GB RAM and the T2 chip (doing a lot to improve disk performance), looks great. It’s a shame the quad-core 13” version is limited to 16GB of RAM—it would be my choice otherwise. The price hurts but, to be fair to Apple, I’ll admit I’m doing fairly heavy work on a six-year-old MBP (with 16GB RAM and an SSD, both fitted by me) and it’s still going strong, albeit not that quickly. It has never need a clean OS installation or hardware repair and it runs the latest OS and photo processing apps so I can’t complain.

The new 15” MBP is actually lighter than my 13”. I’m pleased and relieved—after the last few releases, I’d begun to think Apple’s laptop team had completely lost the plot.

Wonder if we'll ever see a 13" Macbook with discrete GPU again.. remember when even the 11" Air could be configured with Nvidia?

Yeah, I saw these the other day. The configuration that would be most beneficial for me would cost....$3800!. Jeez!

I also see they are still using that damned butterfly keyboard mechanism developed by Jony Ive, who, IMHO, should be fired from Apple for some very poorly considered and implemented designs of late. You're aware, I'm sure, that Apple had no less than THREE class-action lawsuits filed against them for that keyboard? And they only owned up the problem around two weeks ago.

This is the company where Phil Schiller told us it took "courage" to take out the headphone jack of a telephone. No, Phil, it took stupidity. Ever try plugging your premium sound-quality Etymotic, Westone, or Jerry Harvey in-ear monitors or a Square credit card reader into an iPhone 7 or 8? You're S.O.L.

Also, they are still foisting us with only four of those Thunderbolt-3/USB-C slots. Still making us live in "Dongle-Hell". No more SD card slot, no HDMI (just try plugging into a video projector at a lecture hall or corporate conference room at when you don't have the right dongle with you when originally you could just plug in the HDMI cable directly), no regular USB ports. I could go on and on, but I am firmly in the camp now that Apple has become completely inwardly-focused living in their cool space-ship campus in Cupertino, completely self-absorbed with how cool they think they are.

What's really happened is Apple have completely LOST THE PLOT when it comes listening to real customers needs (its called Voice of the Customer, Apple) to producing products that provide quality and value for customers who need to do work in the REAL WORLD, rather than some spaceship in Cupertino.

I'm keeping my mid-2015 Retina Macbook Pro until it falls apart.

If I sound p*ssed, I am. I can't believe this company has fallen this far since the passing of Steve Jobs, who must literally be spinning in his grave.

Maybe some grace of G*d, Apple will have once again regain it's senses.

Apple computers are expensive, but I've never had one quit working. Mine have all lasted until they were too outdated to be useful. I currently have a late 2014 15" Macbook Pro. I'll probably upgrade later this year. Not because I really need to, but because my wife is ready for me to pass my current one on to her. She is currently using a 9 year old Macbook. She will likely use the my current laptop for another four or five years, for a total of nine to ten years. The $2000 I spent for something that will be used daily over that period of time seems like a pretty good deal to me.

iFixit has some warnings about the “new” keyboard – they’re expecting it to be just as notoriously bad as the previous generation: https://ifixit.org/blog/10279/apple-macbook-keyboard-cover-up/

As a reply to Stephen: you *do* realize that it takes only one of these USB-C / Thunderbolt ports to connect a "dock" which has every connector you could dream of? I know, that won't help "on the road", but in corporate environments that's how we work anyways, connecting to real monitors and such...

Not trying to defend Apple here - never liked them anyway. "Walled garden", even worse than Microsoft's. So for me the solution since before the millenium change was to exit left, and to use Linux instead. And believe me, as a musician I could really like something like Logic, even more than the Adobe "tax" products most of you use for photography, videography, or any other "media content creation".

Anyway: I found my ways around all that. Ardour is as nice as ProTools today, as is Gimp when compared to the "shop", or Darktable instead of Lightroom.

My wife needs a new notebook soonish, and because my wallet accepts what I'm preaching otherwise, we'll support those who support us (with tested hardware support and certification for Linux), which is Dell. So an XPS instead of Apple, for a much lower price as well. Dual boot with Windows for her, because she also does our taxes with that - the only program (besides those from Olympus or other companies) which still needs one of those "walled garden" environments. But we'll be getting there as well - it's all a question of time ;-)

Yeah, the new equivalent of my 2016 (I think) 13", 16Gb, 512Gb i7 Mac Pro seems to be almost twice as expensive.
AND I've got the SD slot (which I use a lot), the 2 USB plugs (both in use 100% of the time), the Mag-Safe plug (indispensable), etc, etc, etc.
I'll give up this one when you pry it out of my cold dead hands.
I'm so not interested in the new Macs that if this one dies I will actually consider a Windows machine.

Nice looking computers, but I'm increasingly wary of buying closed machines. I have both an iMac (late-2012) and a MacBookPro (Retina, mid-2014) and both are beginning to struggle, the iMac especially. I know what the answer is - more memory - but guess what I can't do with either of them? (Well, OK, a faster CPU would also help, but 16Gb of ram instead of 8Gb would be a great improvement.)

To add insult to injury, I've just discovered that my daughter's mid-2012 MacBookPro (pre-Retina) can be upgraded - potentially from the 4Gb it came with all the way to 16 Gb! As it happens we're going to give hers a boost to 8Gb, with the knowledge that if she absolutely has to, 16Gb is also possible.

But Apple's closed environment is beginning to niggle....

I use a 2012 MBP Retina, but I feel somewhat sympathetic to Blair Bunting's article late last year. Link: http://blog.blairbunting.com/microsoft-surface-book-2/

Blair was migrating from MacBook to Surface Book, and as a photographer, part of his reasoning was the impression that Surface brings touch screen that is very useful, whereas Mac brings Touch Bar which is a gimmick.

15” model is just what I need to replace my last of the line 17” MBP. Sign me up.

When you consider how much time most of us spend interacting with our computers, it isn't hard to understand why folks can become impassioned about their machines.

I have a seven year old Windows 7 machine that keeps plugging along. I did have to replace the hard drive a couple of years ago, and just re-installing all the software took three days. Three whole days. This means drivers, software etc. for two printers, three scanners, voice recognition, multiple iterations of Photoshop and Lightroom and so on. I enjoy migrating computers about as much as I enjoy moving house. It will take a natural disaster to make me do it again. And then there are all the peripherals. Call me crazy, but I view those as durable goods. They have got to work on the next machine, whenever it darkens my door.

However, most of the laptops in the house are really Internet appliances, and that's how my kids use theirs. They actually store nothing on their hard-drives. Well, maybe my son stores saved versions of his video games. But really, they are just windows on the Inter-world.

My daughter is going off to college this year and wants a new computer. She has a tech-savvy friend who is into computers who has recommended her a $1,600 machine. We're probably going to buy it, but given how she will actually use it, the purchase feels like firing up a Maserati to go buy candles at the party store.

At the moment, I am typing on an HP referb that I bought off Amazon for $200 and on which I installed Linux Mint (free) on a SSD drive ($120 or so). The OS comes with all the programs you'd need to run a small office, but I'll confess I've never gotten a picture worth saving out of GIMP, the Linux open source photo editor. I just have no idea how to configure GIMP to use with this laptop's monitor so that it will reliably produce images I like.

PS5 and LR5 5.1 are getting harder to use on the desktop, because newer camera RAW files aren't recognized by the older software, although otherwise they do what I need them to perfectly. I wince at every rattle and hum, though.

[Aside -Mike: I have never understood why new cameras need new proprietary raw formats. Any insight, other than straight-up planned obsolescence?]

I'm partial to Apple products but the dongle life is not for me. Sticking with my 2012 MBP for as long as possible. On its second logic board now, which to put it in perspective is the only hardware failure I have experienced in more than 25 years as a customer.

Mike, I'm with you on that Touch Bar. It's a "gadget" and the fewer gadgets the better. With prodding, I'll admit I'm reacting to it - in the manner that old geezers like me often do - as something I'm afraid to learn about and adjust to :-)

I'm very happy with my quite modestly configured 2015 13" Mac Book Pro, which was the last model with all those separate (and wonderful) ports - USB 3, HDMI, Thunderbolt 2 and SD card slot - rather than nothing but the newer USB-C ports. I'm driving it hard though at times in Photoshop with daisy chained hard drives and two big NEC monitors sucking the daylights out of the Intel video. It gets warm so my "baby" sits atop a fan base.

And, like any owner of something one loves, I want it to last forever!

I'm also trying to decide what to do. I have a mid-2014 13" macbook pro. It still works well. Our son is also off to college this year. he will need a computer for his studies (architecture at Milwaukee), but may not need a decent computer till his junior year. I'm debating whether to give him my macbook pro and buying a new one. He can then get a more suitable laptop in a couple of years. He get the nice ports, and being a student, the magsafe connector would probably be beneficial for him. I get the faster laptop and have to go the dongle route (which fortunately is as expensive as it used to be). Anyone have any other suggestions what he should do?

I've exactly with Stephen Scharf. When the 2016 MBP came out, missing what I considered to be a few crucial connectors, I went out and hunted down a mid-2015 15" MBP Retina which has native HDMI and SD ports, along with two Thunderbolt and two USB. I essentially bought the MBP for the ports -- I didn't need the highest specs otherwise, but I did want those.

The biggest problem with the MBP is that it's too heavy -- I have iMacs to work on at home, and the MBP is a travel machine. When it comes time to replace it, I'm going to take a long look at some Windows laptops...and the main criteria will be screen, ports and weight.

I have a heavily used Macbook Pro purchased sometime in 2015. I use it a lot for my day job (software development) and also for managing my large digital photo archive (Adobe CC Lightroom/Photoshop/InDesign). It is still blisteringly fast and un-erringly reliable

There have always been power-users that prefer keyboard shortcuts, over menus. Code over "drag and drop".

The context-sensitive right mouse click was always one of my favorite Windows features- the Touch Bar just takes this one step further. I was worried that Apple were going to drop it for, so far, the implementation has been a little underwhelming. For us average users, I think Touch Bar is a great idea. I'm still waiting for an iMAC version...

I have the 2016 13 inch non-Touchbar MBP, and have to say I'm super happy with it. Haven't had any problems with the keyboard (yet...), and i love the precise feel of this keyboard. The machine is smaller than a Macbook Air, the screen is better than the older MBP, the large touchpad is amazing.

The "dongle life"-thing is completely overblown, i just got some new cables with USB-C in one end and whatever connection needed in the other, problem solved.

I also refuse to buy any new peripheral that that doesn't have usb-c. This is 2018, even Olympus put USB-C on their newest OM-D. It's just a much nicer plug, micro usb and the like are atrocious designs, even the USB-A plug is user unfriendly and needs to get out of my life. I hope Apple succeeds in killing that old crap like they did with flash and the floppy drive - people were angry about that too at the time.

Anyways I'm seriously considering an upgrade. True tone is great, and the mac screen looks ice cold after using my iPad pro. It also looks from early benchmarks that performance is really in another league compared to earlier models. What they are doing with the T2 chip is really interesting, it's something that PC manufacturers can't easily emulate. This chip is basically an A10-class processor, so it's in itself extremely capable.

I've been buying Mac's since the Se30. There are many great things about them, but I too am increasingly frustrated with closed systems and design over function.

My all time favorite Mac was my 17" MBP with ports galore and multi function card slot (name escapes me at the moment). It is still running perfectly and used by my daughter with an SSD and a second HD in place of the optical drive. I have several macs including an early Mac Pro in the studio.
When I read about apple's new filing system which has incompatibilities with older systems and their replacement of JPEG with HEIC , I ran out and bought the last 15"MBP with Sierra as loaded as I could buy it. So I can skip High Sierra and buy time to figure out how the file system might affect me.
It is a nice machine. The touch bar is a gimmick that can be mostly ignored (I hit the siri button every time I delete.......
I do not like dongles, but I purchased both of OWC's Thunderbolt 3 and their tiny travel dock. They work very well and they power they machine.
Would I rather have all the ports on the machine, Yes. but that is not happening. The screen is beautiful and the P3 Gamut makes it the best screen ever shipped on an Apple Laptop.
But I bought it as a defensive move. I wasn't looking for a way to spend 4k, and what is sadder to me is that I wasn't particularly excited to have it. For as nice as it is (and it is a nice machine) when I look at it what I see is how much better a tool it could have been if Apple cared at all about users like most of us reading these pages.
They could do better, they know it, and choose not to.

I bought a new MacBook Air because I need the ports. I refuse to buy a computer that has only one or two usb c ports. I will move to windows if Apple stops making laptops with ports. And we have a total of four Mac's at home, of various vintages. And three iPads.

I like iPads, and I’m a bit disaffected with the Macbooks currently. I think the slim fetish is well out of hand, affecting battery life, prices, and keyboard fidelity.

Also Apple is *way* overcharging for storage.

The old Mac notebook using "rolla ball" mouse (older than yours which use mouse pad, officially call trackball) have left a mark on my family. For the last 20 years we use rolla ball mouse since that experience. Down to the need to search for all computer mall for any wired rolla ball mouses. Only change to wireless rolla ball this year!

The new macbook pro is out of reach and in fact it was out of reach of mine even last generation. Only bought two for my two sons.

The 6-core model may not be ready for prime time, unless you do your heavy-duty image-crunching in a walk-in freezer: https://www.reddotforum.com/content/2018/07/2018-macbook-pro-15-with-6-core-i9-shows-severe-thermal-throttling/

This is what I wish the "USB-C" Pro had been 18 months ago when I bought mine. I knew I'd regret the early adopter move just ahead of a processor switch, but I was forced to upgrade as my previous, late-2010 vintage MacBookPro gave unequivocal signs of being ready to pass the ghost. I sure am not going to keep this Pro for less than my standard 6-ish-year cycle (2004-2010-2017-2023...)

As more and more USB-C peripherals become commonplace, dongle life will soon be over (at least in familiar territory around our desks, for there's plenty of legacy equipment out there in the wide world that sometimes we need to connect to...)

Keyboard? I can't say it's not my brain getting fried, but the number of typing mistakes I make has grown exponentially since moving to the butterfly thing...

I think the main thing to remember when purchasing an Apple computer is that it will last for twice as long as most PC equivalents - simply because of the OS that underpins the thing. MY desktop iMac is 7 years old and still going strong. My six month old MacBook Pro will last as long.

As for the touch bar, I thought it a gimmick whee I first bought the laptop but now I like it a lot and use it more than I thought I would. I would now like a full size keyboard for my iMac with Touch Bar.

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