Suggestions for improving the MacBook Pro


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/11/28/suggestions-for-improving-the.html


#2

A properly applied amount of high explosives?


#3

The late Teens is going to go down in history as going from best to worst: presidents and Apple laptops.


#4

My 2012 imac had it’s Nvidia gfx chip die. I was able to keep it running only on the integrated graphics but no gaming, so just picked up a new Mac18,3 to replace it - haven’t looked back. I’m sure I’ll get 5+ years out of it as well.

I still travel with my 2011 Macbook air, though - side effect of being able to work anywhere there’s a terminal, web browser, vpn client, and my SSH keys :wink:


#5

Go MacBook Air. Best laptop ever made. Best keyboard. Magsafe. Old school usb. 11" or 13" as you like.


#6


#7

We’re replacing our old pre-unibody MBP with an iMac. The new MBPs just aren’t quite doing it. Our newer (4-year old?) MBP is still going strong.


#8

My old Macbook Air is on its last legs and I’ve been thinking about replacing it with the MacBook Pro.

I’ve just been waiting for Apple to adopt the new 8th generation i7 processors since they are twice as fast as the ones Apple used released at the beginning of the year and have lower power consumption.

Based on their release schedule, I was kind of hoping they’d have done a rev for December, but sadly that doesn’t seem to be the case.


#9

We opted for a 13" pro, refurb. USB-C hasn’t been used at all except to every once in a while connect the USB C to A dongle. Airdrop takes care of giant file swaps rather than USB keys. The keyboard is meh, but got used to it. Battery life is awesome, screen awesome, performance good (games meh, no Civ but older games like Osmos or Myth run fine, Myth-alike Deadhold even plays OK with low quality shadows). They aren’t going to back down on USB-C/one port to rule them all. Not until they remove all the ports and want to sell us $300 charging pads… you know it is coming right?

The touch bar would be great if they didn’t charge an extra $300 for a gee whiz feature. Nice but not required.

The real money is going to be a mac/pad hybrid with touch and draw (pro pencil is very good now) screen powered by a raft of non-intel apple designed A series processors… or maybe they do an intel/AMD style hybrid device (well, we just had to increase the price another $300 due to our amazing new processors!)


#10

I own a pre-Touch Bar MacBook Pro. I’ve played with the touch bar in stores, but I can’t see the actual workflow advantages. It seems like they were looking for a cool way to integrate their touch technology with laptops, but failed. It’s a solution in search of a problem.


#11

Better than old (pre chiclet) thinkpads?


#12

Honestly I have to disagree.
I find the touchbar to be useful and flexible: I can respond to dialog boxes without trackpadding, I can program it to give function keys in apps where I use them rather than having to contort my fingers fn-cntrl-f8 and touchID for login is simply a game changer.
USB-C with power, video and peripherals connected over one cable is elegant and convenient.
Like any change to keyboard mechanics it takes some getting used to, I would take one with more key travel if I had the option.
Overall I find the latest to be superior to its predecessor and it shows a future path with software and peripheral support that promises to be even better.


#13

I won’t buy a new MacBook pro because of the keyboard. The mechanism and the arrow keys are both deal-breakers for me.

I had a 12" macbook with the new keyboard for a couple of weeks. Tried to love it. I could not.


#14

Combined with not enough curve in the keys to reliably locate the top of the keyboard (when touch typing), the Touch Bar is probably a worse design mistake than the round “hockey puck” mouse. I use BetterTouchTool to neuter it down to only the escape key and hide some other features (brightness, volume) behind a command key trigger. With BTT can also make some amusing buttons that do nothing: “launch missiles”, “Order 66”, whatever.

They might be able to rescue the Touch Bar by adding tactile positioning cues and a click-response like the trackpad.


#15

Make it serviceable. I can buy spare parts for Dell Business / Lenovo ThinkPad laptops from official suppliers as an individual. I can officially download a service manual (albeit missing schematics) for both of them. I can officially obtain system board rescue and diagnostic tools for both of them. I can fit standard HDDs/SSDs, RAM, M.2/mPCIe cards to most of them. I can do none of these things to/with the MBP, and for that matter most of the current Apple product line.

If you make a laptop that costs that much I expect that it should last, and that if it breaks it can be serviced by a reasonably competent person - like any other expensive, professional laptop.

As for the touch bar - eh, looks cool but I really can’t see the advantage. As for the keyboard - that’s just a demonstration of the unreliablilty coupled with unserviceablity that Apple currently sell. USB-C is nice, but removing every other port is just madness.


#16

Being able to connect the latest Apple devices to one’s own Apple devices would be a start. I recently upgraded to the iPhone 8 and MacBook Pro, and there’s no provided way to connect the two devices. It’s kind of weird with the headphone crossover too. The experience went from, “it just works” to “it just doesn’t work”. Potentially that could be just better over-air sync with the OS… iCloud doesn’t meet privacy requirements of things like HIPAA, and be it that I married a therapist, it’s not a solution I want to rely on and keep getting pushed over ease of local data management that you get with something like the time capsule. It feels like iCloud is being pushed as a way to “sync” devices. If there was something like, a Qi dock on the laptop, that might be cool.

The RAM is low for the abuse I put my system through, albeit most people don’t run several IDE’s, browsers, data integration tools, multimedia editing tools, VM’s, test servers, and the like… I realize this puts me in the, get a “Pro” desktop space, but it would be nice to have some relatively affordable portable firepower… or at least an option… Performance improvements really seem to have stagnated the past four years across the industry as a whole. Call me crazy, but I think this could be improved at a good price.

I like the touchbar app specific options, bur when you find yourself in many apps, it’s just a giant void of empty real estate that could be put to use and not include a silly quarter sized arrow button that’s smaller than my fingerprint for functionality. Once again, this is something that can be fixed with software.

Right now, I mostly use the 4 provided ports to alternate where I plug the power in… There’s very little clarity about peripherals beyond “get a dongle”. That sucks. If you want to sell me a bunch of new products to connect, please make it clear what I am supposed to buy so I don’t need a dongle.

I did enjoy the mag-power connector from the previous iteration, and I do like the separate cable that connects the laptop of the current version.


#17

Solution: Take a 2012 Macbook Pro chassis, fill it with current, replaceable, and upgradeable components, then sell it to people.

As things are now, I can’t see ever buying another Macbook for myself. Just too much BOM reduction and feature removal for the sake of higher profit margins and shorter rebuy periods being misattributed to “progress” for my tastes.


#18

Apple should just recognize this, learn from it, and move on.

Apple is allergic to admitting mistakes. See Antennagate. Oh they eventually fix their screw-ups after several generations of product, but they’re too arrogant to admit their mistakes. But even Apple devotees are so widely irked by the new MacBook Pro design flaws that fixing all of them will be tantamount to admitting they screwed-up. It will be interesting to see whether they just concede, yeah that was a bad design, or if they quietly overhaul the thing with a straight face while admitting nothing. And if you don’t think Apple sales reps and techs are told never to agree with customers that any Apple product is less than perfect, well, I’d rather think they’re muzzled than all of them that foolish.


#19

Lack of Retina display makes Air unworthy of serious consideration. It needs to be retired. I upgraded from an Air to a Pro a few years ago and the side-by-side display comparison was sobering—like putting on glasses/contacts for the first time.


#20

I mostly just want an updated 15" Pro option without the stupid, unnecessary TouchBar bell/whistle. Beyond being distracting, it’s not optimally placed, and it’s rendered redundant/superfluous by the fact that there’s already a more usable/reachable, non-graphical touch interface (i.e., the trackpad).