MacBook Pro considered a bad buy even at Best Buy's fire sale


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/04/26/macbook-pro-considered-a-bad-b.html


#2

Not crazy! I am a real fan of a good keyboard, and while the mechanical keyboards don’t do it for me, the new Macbook/pro keyboards are just terrible – even when they are working correctly!
An iPad Pro will not replace all computer time for many people, but it is a very reasonable replacement for mobile computing. I have had mine for about 2 years now and rarely use anything else when I’m away from my 2013 MPB which is now basically a desktop.
I have a few things to mention:

– Since you are keyboard sensitive, skip the keyboard cases and just carry an additional keyboard with you. I really love the Logitech K811 - small, light, best of it’s class. The Apple wireless keyboard is good for this too, as are several other bluetooth keyboards, including folding versions.

– Be sure whatever case you settle on works to hold the iPad in the orientation you want to use it in with a keyboard. I like the basic Apple smart cover, but I added a cheap plastic back shell I found on Amazon. Be sure most of the case will come off easy because you’re going to want to use this thing as close to naked as possible when going hand-held. (I pull off the smart cover when sketching, for instance.)

– Remember that this won’t be replacing a “laptop” because, with the iPad needing a stand and the separate keyboard, you can’t really use this on your lap. However, I have a cheap lap desk at home which resolves this issue nicely.

– The Apple Pencil is, simply, magic. I am a jewelry designer and metalsmith by trade and the iPad Pro has replaced 90% of my sketching and designing processes. (I still use illustration packages to create precise templates) It’s much better than anything else I’ve tried but the Surface Pro 4+ - and it’s still better than that.

– Keep the computer! you can’t do everything with the iPad, so keep a “real” computer around too, but don’t be surprised if you end up having to dust it off every time you use it.

– Due to the amazingness of the iPad Pro, I seldom use my phone for long-form reading or other media consumption. As a result, I’ll be going to the smallest screen I can get for my next upgrade and will once again actually be able to use my phone with one hand! (Plus the extra pocket space, cheaper upgrades, cheaper repairs…)

OR - pick up a used MacBook Air on Craigslist for $250-500 and use it till it dies.


#3

As someone who would previously refer to themselves as an Apple fanboy, I disappointed to say that all their current hardware sucks. I live in fear of the day when I need to replace my iPhone SE or macbook, since virtually every product they currently sell has major issues


#4

I usually replace my Macbook every 3 years to keep it under warranty, since I rely on it for my livelihood. I decided to upgrade the SSD on my 2015 MBP and just hold onto it for now, until at least the next hardware refresh.

If I could get away with using an iPad Pro, I’d probably do it. However, a significant portion of my job requires using a Windows-only piece of software, so having my Windows 10 VM is a necessity. Without that, I might as well just buy a Windows laptop. And that may be the next step, after 20+ years of using only Mac portables. Windows 10 is pretty annoying, but High Sierra has given me more kernel panics since upgrading than I’ve had since the early days of OS X.


#5

I have one. It did take me a bit to adjust to how it typed. I usually use a mechanical keyboard because I have slight internal tremors, and that means I am often mistyping. Mechanical keyboards cut that down.

That said, I adjusted fast, and have really grown to like how this one types.

I haven’t had any of the issues other people have complained about. There is a good article on this here, where they discuss the keyboard issue, but also that a lot of folks have not run into it. https://www.imore.com/macbook-pro-butterfly-keyboard-effect

That article discusses the financials speculates on the rates this is happening, which I liked.

As for an iPad Pro? I had one of those first. I can do 90% of everything I do on it. The things that brought me back to a MacBook Pro were 1) Photoshop and 2) Microsoft word and excel. Literally everything else I could do without it. I even worked around MS Word by using Pages for my writing and drafts, and doing the last bit of formatting issues on Word on my old iMac at the very end. Excel? I couldn’t work around that. Photoshop? I just started drawing wholesale on my iPad, and like MS Word, would import it to my iMac at the very end if I needed Photoshop for it.

You can get those MS products on an iPad, but it’s fiddly, and require an MS account, and I think you have to pay a monthly fee to get into their cloud system for it to be fully functional. I wasn’t into that.

So yeah, be careful with you purchase, but ultimately you might not have any issue with the keyboard at all. For me, and quite a few others, it’s smooth sailing. I really like my MacBook Pro, and don’t regret the purchase. I feel like there is enough under the hood that I can Photoshop things, crunch video, and play heavily modded Minecraft at the same time without even noticing a problem. I could not do that on my old iMac.


#6

I’d at least consider whether the limitations of iOS will be an encumbrance.

But the keyboards on the latest MacBook Pros are just bad engineering. I find it hilarious that the most prized MacBook is now the 2015/2016 design. Apple could easily release a better design this year, but they won’t. They’ll wait at least another year and then if they fix the keyboard at all, it will be a minor concession and there will be two or three other fuck yous to their abuse-loving customers.


#7

Yes, you may be crazy. Get a Dell XPS 13 running Windows 10 Pro, and break the iOS chains.


#8

Lenovo had a similar issue a few years back re. keyboards. I love the x series. But the x220 which I have at home is the last to use their spectacularly good classic keyboard. There’s even a wiki for installing the classic keyboard on newer machines.
http://www.thinkwiki.org/wiki/Install_Classic_Keyboard_on_xx30_Series_ThinkPads


#9

All modern operating systems are good enough. It’s applications that determine what hardware/software combination is the best choice.

Seeing how fond you are of working on images of Trump, I’m guessing you want Photoshop so that means you should probably stick with macOS or Windows. Both are good.


#10

I have a high-spec 2012 MBP. It is still going great. Battery life is now a bit low, and at some point I’ll get the battery replaced. But this keyboard issue with the new units meant we replaced my wife’s (2010?) MBP with an iMac, rather than take the risk. I just hope that my MBP survives until they keyboard thing is fixed. We still like to have one portable unit.


#11

Choosing a Lightning port over a USB-C port, when usefulness of ports is concerned, seems pretty crazy to me.


#12

I am in a similar situation, I usually replace my macbook pro every 3 years, but this winter ( I have a mid 2014 model now) I sat out because none of the current offers by apple satisfy my needs … KB is not even an issue, I am always using the wireless KB (hence I would also never use that touch bar) … my current machine is showing signs of years of abuse, I wonder if one of the 2 graphic cards stopped working … the trackpad barely works ( I might have a slightly swollen battery … ) … so, I really need something new soon … please Apple … come up with something that really excites me again!


#13

maybe? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: depends on what you intend to do. for just writing, email, and web it is fine. for natural media art programs the pencil is a dream. the sound is outstanding as is the screen for video watching. it is a great large mobile device and works better in conjunction with a computer. apples “file management” will drive you f’n crazy and is a deal breaker for real work. for programming and such it sucks for most real work. it is fine to cowboy into a single file for minor edits. if you plan on using any external devices other than headphones skip the ipad altogether.


#14

Uhmm, you do know that other companies make phones and computers and stuff, right?


#15

Windows sucks though.


#16

I bought a new MacBook Pro about five months ago after my 2010 Macbook finally bit the dust in an unrepairable way. I needed a replacement laptop that ran OSX, because I use Logic Pro for music recording/editing – I used Pro Tools for years then switched experimentally to Logic for one project, and enjoyed it so much more I can’t bring myself to leave the Mac laptop ecosystem now.

I also needed a 1-terabyte drive, and really wanted a retina screen for my terrible eyesight, neither of which were available on any of the new Mac laptops that possess superior keyboards … so I wound up, propelled by these specs, getting a new Macbook Pro, even though I’d heard tons about the crappy keyboard.

My verdict? It’s a fantastic laptop in nearly every way except the keyboard. It’s super light, amazing screen, snappy and responsive, and the trackpad, which is the size of Montana, is terrific. I at first was bugged by the all-USB-C ports and the dongles they require, but in practice it hasn’t cramped my style much – and I even appreciate the convenience of being able to plug the laptop in on any side, given it’s USB-C too.

But the keyboard? It is wretched. Five months in and I still haven’t gotten used to it. I’m a fast touch typist, and I suspect it probably reduces my average speed by 25% … just spitballing here but that’s what it feels like.

I’ve had the laptop long enough now that I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get used to it, or adapt. And since I try to make hardware last a loooong time I’m stuck with this for the foreseeable future. Sigh.


#17

Not crazy to consider iPad as primary.

My primary uses are statistics (so excel/Numbers), word processing, browser/email, some light graphics, and general dinking around. iPad Pro with the Logitech keyboard manages that beautifully, no bobbles. I’ve written academic papers and novels in Pages, and I like Pages because it’s fairly stripped down while flexible enough to handle 200K words and serious flowable layouts. Scrivener works; it’s just not my tool. I have the 12.9; I like the size and keyboard size.

Spouse has the 10 size, with keyboard. Spouse is R&D programmer. I’d have to ask for tool recommends, but I know he’s writing code on it and was delighted to find he could. (He was an early adopter of the Asus Transformer and loved it. Also liked the Surface.)

I’ve used both the Smart Keyboard and the Logitech keyboard; the smart has sleekness and light weight on its side, but the downside is that fabric based electronics are not yet as durable as plastic, but their price point is still above hard electronics. I also spent 6 months having consistent connector glitches that replacing the Smart Keyboard didn’t fix; the glitch is not apparent with the Logitech, so I’m sucking up the extra pound and extra centimeter of thickness. The backlight keyboard more than makes up for it.

I still have my iMac; I do still use it for a few things (large format printing; taxes, testing documents for cross-platform format) but my daily use machine is, and has been, an iPad Pro since it came out. I will probably replace my iMac long before I buy another laptop. I just don’t need it.


#18

"The whole situation has made me want to do something completely different, like give an iPad Pro a try as my main computer. Am I crazy? "

Go really crazy and ditch iOS.


#19

I agree.

I’ve got one of the touchbar 15" MBPs and in a pleasing contrast to my previous two Apple laptops, nothing has gone fatally wrong with it - yet.

So they’ve improved quality control on the hardware - with the exception that the keyboard is simply horrific. Typing on it for any length of time is really uncomfortable and the loss of the function keys for the near pointless touchbar was one compromise too many. It’s hard to imagine this piece of kit went anywhere near people who type large amounts of text.


#20

It’s a shame to hear, Apple used to make the best Windows machines.