MacBook Pro reviews: The flip side of the coin

On Friday, we ran a post titled There’s all kinds of love for the new MacBook Pro.

To balance that out, spend some time reading Machael Tsai’s blog post, which gathers a long list of negative comments about the new MacBook Pro and Apple’s Mac direction in general.

If this were simply a bunch of curmudgeonly complaints, we’d have skipped the post entirely. But there are a lot of fair complaints in this list, insights that are worth paying attention to.

  • ThinkActive

    I don’t understand. The thread of that is summed up by that inane quoted statement: “Apple has no idea who the Mac is for” because they did NOT watch the same presentation as me. Adobe Photoshop editing, DJ’ing, these are not what latte sipping, looking cool, consumers are doing, which is what these people infer.

    And let’s take a look at the commercial implications of business for Apple Pay and the secure enclave shall we?! Wakey wakey.

    • freediverx

      I challenge you to find a single professional DJ who uses a MacBook in the way portrayed in Apple’s demo.

      • JohnDoey

        I challenge you to find a single Photoshop pro who uses a MacBook as in the demo.

        Photoshop is a pen app. Your right hand holds a pen and the left one pushes buttons to select tools or increase/decrease brush size. Ideally the buttons are on a touchscreen, but sometimes they are on a mechanical keyboard or on a graphics tablet. We have tons of buttons. No need for more buttons. What we need is a MacPad with Apple Pencil or a Microsoft Surface.

    • JohnDoey

      What you are missing is that Photoshop is a pen app, not a touch bar app. This MacBook Pro does not have built-in pen support like almost all of its competition, therefore it is not for Photoshop users. Pick any other computer in this price range and it is a better Photoshop machine than MacBook Pro. The touch bar Photoshop demo does not represent the last 25 years of actual Photoshop use, which again, happens with a pen. Note also that in the 2000’s, the big innovation in graphics pen tablets was a built-in screen. This decade, it is a built-in computer that provides mobility. So to use MacBook Pro for Photoshop instead of a Microsoft Surface, you lose all mobility. You have to sit at a desk with notebook and tablet and AC power.

      What you are also missing is that DJ’ing is done with DJ controllers or a multitouch screen, not a touch bar. This MacBook Pro not only lacks a touchscreen — again, unlike almost all of its competition — it also lacks the ports to hook up a DJ controller, which is always wired due to latency issues. Buy almost any other computer in this price range and it is a better DJ machine than MacBook Pro.

      This MacBook Pro is therefore not made for the needs of Photoshop pros or DJ’s.

      So who is this Mac for?

      And why doesn’t Apple know what the actual hardware needs of Photoshop pros and DJ’s are?

      FYI, I am a Photoshop pro and DJ who is using an old Mac because there are no new ones for me.

      Apple Pay on the Mac won’t help me to make my next painting. Apple Pencil on the Mac is what I need. Or I have to buy a Surface really soon now and hopefully come back to the Mac in a few years when Apple is once again run by product people.

  • David Stewart

    I find quotes like this ridiculous: “The new MacBook Pro has a premium price for a Mac that’s still limited to 16 GB of RAM, has CPU performance that is likely lackluster because Apple didn’t talk about it in the keynote, and apparently doesn’t have such a great GPU, either.”

    The Macbook Pros are shipping with the most recent Intel chips (Kaby Lake doesn’t improve performance in any significant way for the the chips Apple is using and is just now starting to ship) and a brand new GPU. Short of switching architectures completely, I don’t see what Apple can do better in this regard.

    • FuzzyPuffin

      People are upset because Apple’s obsession with thinness has led to even more serious compromises this time around––fewer ports, worse keyboard, worse specs––and all at higher prices.

      The complaint about Kaby Lake is silly, but if they dared to make a MBP that was a bit larger they could have had more battery for a better GPU and more RAM.

      • David Stewart

        The keyboard is clearly a matter of opinion with some loving the new keyboard some hating it.

        I’m not sure what you mean by worse specs. I believe there are substantial performance increases over the older model in every category. There are fewer ports, but they are more flexible. Having two fewer ports doesn’t really matter unless you were using all the ports to begin with. With the USB-C connection you can connect multiple devices though the same port which is much more flexible.

        • FuzzyPuffin

          Some people may love the keyboard, but it is also clearly a compromise, designed so Apple could achieve their desired thinness. If not, they’d have put a Magic Keyboard on it, which nobody complains about.

          I mean worse specs in respect to a hypothetical MBP that was not made thinner. Obviously it is better than the old one.

          USB C (and more importantly, Thunderbolt 3) is indeed great, but the lack of a SD Card slot is a bummer for a lot of pro photographers. Dongles suck. They could have had four TB 3 ports and a few others had they not insisted on thinness overriding all of their design decisions.

          • David Stewart

            The Magic Keyboard has a three star rating on Apple’s store, so it is clearly not the case that no one is complaining about it.

          • Ilja Nieuwland

            I wouldn’t wonder if that was largely due to the (again, much higher) price. But OK, some other complaints: not possible to connect an iPhone to a MBP out of the box. A jungle of dongles (remember Steve showing off the scarcity of cables in the original iMac?). USB-C and Thunderbolt connectors that are visually indistinguishable. And yes, that keyboard which I find nigh unusable for any length of time. But the biggest gripe: a price that goes up to 400€ more than the previous model can be a serious problem for those trying to finance a new device through the write-off of the old one. Particularly if you’re looking to replace upwards of 100 users, as we are here. A high price point is not necessarily a problem. One that is MUCH higher than the previous one, is.

          • freediverx

            I bought one and think it’s great. Those complaining about it are those who are overly fixated on the feel of older keyboards and are unwilling to spend time growing accustomed to the new one before passing judgment.

          • JohnDoey

            In a world of iPhones and iPads and Surface Pros and 100,000 Bluetooth keyboards — yes you are damn right I am unwilling to waste time learning a new mechanical keyboard that is a) almost certainly provably worse, and b) at best, maybe 10% better.

            I have been a pen Mac user for 20 years and now I have to switch to Windows to get a built-in pen which is far superior, and the irony is the PC keyboard is better because it is more like my current Mac keyboard than Apple’s new keyboard.

          • JohnDoey

            The keyboard is terrible, but what is worse is changing the mechanical keyboard right now when it is obsolete for most users. So much time and trouble for so many users and all for nothing.

        • JohnDoey

          The ports are not more flexible. That is why there are 200 dongles.

          If I need to hook up to Ethernet, a machine with built-in Ethernet is more flexible than one without. If a Mac is surrounded by devices with 5 kinds of port, having only one kind of port on the Mac is not more flexible.

          4 Thunderbolt ports would make everybody happy if the other side of the MacBook Pro went MagSafe, SD card, USB-A, USB-A, Lightning (the new headphone jack,) and the headphone jack. That complement of ports would match the usage of a MacBook Pro from 2017 through 2020, with the Thunderbolt ports likely being the least useful.

          • David Stewart

            You are confusing convenience with flexibility. Having an ethernet port when you need it is convenient, but that port isn’t flexible, it can only do one thing. With the USB-C ports each port can do whatever it is needed for. If you need ethernet, the port can handle it (with an adapter). If you need power, an external monitor, storage, etc. any of the ports can handle it. That’s flexibility. It will be also be convenient when at some point in the future almost everything has the USB-C connector.

  • CapnVan

    Haven’t read the whole thing yet, but this was disturbing: “I wish that Apple were still licensing the operating system to clone manufacturers…”

    1. That ended almost 20 years ago. And,
    2. It almost put the nail in the Apple coffin.
    • Mo

      But that person no doubt remembers getting a cheaper minitower, which was all that mattered to them.

      • Brandon Shoemake

        just checking, but you think its BETTER for Apple to have your money than for you to have it?

        • Mo

          If you don’t believe you’re getting a good value for what you’re spending, wait for better or go elsewhere.

          • Brandon Shoemake

            I no longer believe that anyone buying a new Mac today is getting a good value. In fact I believe it to be a bad value. The ecosystem is falling apart, browsing and searching the app store is broken which will make the app ecosystem fall apart.

            I hope something really great fills the vacuum.

          • Mo

            Welp, that’s one opinion. I’m genuinely curious to hear about what you buy next.

          • Brandon Shoemake

            I was preparing to buy another MacBook Air. Maybe it will come out later and be a good value. In the meantime I have purchased a little ASUS that is a good value for what I need.

            My Apple products haven’t lasted for nearly as long as they once did. Now they die an unrepairable death.

            To gain access to the data on my OS X drives I’ll have to rent a Mac or buy an old used Mac. Its the only way….. and I am discovering programs I’ve never used and changing my workflow to accommodate them. Life goes on Mac or no Mac.

      • JohnDoey

        No, not cheaper. What he wants is to get the hardware features he needs for his work inside a Mac OS machine so that he doesn’t have to switch to Windows. It is that simple.

        Imagine you need a digital pen for your work, and over the last 10 years, digital pens went from big $1000 external tablets that require a desk to $99 mobile accessories that are just a pen you use to draw right on the portable PC screen. You would really be hard-pressed to say to your boss that you need to spend 10x on the external pen from 10 years ago so that you can be stuck at a desk while your colleagues roam around working anywhere with their $99 pens, right? You would have to pick up the $99 pen and use it. Catch is: MacBook Pro (or any Mac) are almost the only devices in their price range with no built-in pen support, even though Apple makes Apple Pencil, so you have to switch to Windows to stay current in your career.

        So what this writer is saying is he knows he has to buy a non-Apple PC to get hardware he needs for his work, and he wishes that hardware would come with licensed Mac OS, given that Apple is not interested in making competing hardware.

        Early 90’s cloning failed because cloners just cloned Apple’s devices but for cheaper. In this case, the writer is specifically wanting a machine that Apple simply does not make. No competition is there at all.

        • Mo

          What the writer might not be saying (I’m damned if I’ll wade into that cesspool) is he knows he has to buy a non-Apple PC for his specialized use-case.

          That Microsoft is choosing to address that specific use-case is certainly interesting. Interesting to the general consumer population in a shrinking PC market? Doubt it.

    • Brandon Shoemake

      It was Steve Jobs not being there that almost killed Apple

  • Alex Kadis

    The lowest-end 13″ Pro really should just be new Air – with a price to match. They made a point that it’s just as thin, why not price it within $100 of Air? Even they know that it costs too much – they kept the $999 Air around for just that reason.

    Pro just means “high priced” now, and really doesn’t include a lot of the things that made me love the older Pros. I know Apple likes cutting ports, but I’m surprised that they now require adapters for all of their ports on the Pro models. The lack of ability to connect the latest iPhone to the latest Mac out of the box (without a new $30 cord), and the inability to use the headphones that come with the iPhone 7 on the latest Mac is just nuts (Lightning male-to USB-C female doesn’t exist yet).

    For my friends who are photographers (and myself as an amateur photog), the lack of an SD card slot is annoying (the USB-C to SD Card adapter on their site is $50), the lack of HDMI is obnoxious in an office environment, I’m really sorry that they’ve ditched MagSafe – it’s the little detail about the Mac I loved most, and I wish they would’ve kept them just a bit thicker for much longer battery life. I know that this is fighting against ALL of Apple’s trends, but I thought that the highest end laptop would be more “Pro” than it is. Yes, four PCI Express ports is awesome, but I see no reason for a trade-off (heck, two of the four aren’t even full speed).

    I was seriously considering buying this generation MacBook Pro but with the price hike and the everything else, I just can’t justify it. For the first time since I switched to the Mac 8 years ago, I’m considering a competitor.

    • rick gregory

      “…I’m surprised that they now require adapters for all of their ports on the Pro models.””

      They don’t. They assume that in he future as you buy new things, they’ll have USB C cables. Yes, it’s a hassle now, during a transition but the alternative to this is to never change. Do you really want the 30 pin connector back on your iPhone? No? Buy that was the same thing – “do they expect us to buy new cables??? well. yes. And honestly… if I have to buy new cabling every 8-10 years as standards change, I can’t really find it in me to complain.

      • I remember my Blue & White Power Mac G3 came with an ADB port I never used because… I think it was for Apple’s then-current bells-and-whistles monitor.

        • rj

          I could be wrong, but I think the reason for the port was that some important “pro” software of the time required an ADB hardware dongle.

          • Brandon Shoemake

            Apple Desktop Bus = Apple resisting the move to USB/not wanting to be an early adopter

          • That’s a bit goofy, I think. Apple was an early adopter of USB. The iMac had already shipped at this point and was one of the earliest “legacy-free” PCs.

          • JohnDoey

            Apple was the very first vendor to ship a computer with functioning USB ports and also the first to remove legacy ports. Not only did Apple not resist USB, they were the leader and were later credited by Intel with saving USB from the trash heap.

          • Brandon Shoemake

            I worked on hardware side of things when USB was first in use and finally released to the general public around 1995 (so says the Internet but it lines up with memory). Apple’s 1998 release of the G3 may be recorded as the first consumer computer with USB, but it was in use well before that in a much more buggy form.

            The Apple Desktop Bus continued in production even after Apple had switched to USB, until everything had been updated to USB. However, you have to exclude millions of non-consumer devices in order to say that Apple did it first.

          • Could be. I think I remember hearing something about that at the time. Probably served both purposes.

            Wasn’t like USB-C, which offers full conversion.

            (I still find it crazy that the LG monitor doesn’t offer a single “standard” USB connector.)

        • JohnDoey

          The ADB was for the color correction in the display. The USB version of that did not exist yet.

      • Alex Kadis

        I’m happy with Apple updating to new standards (USB-C), and I actually applaud them for doing that instead of something proprietary. I just wish they had kept around some of the most useful ports on the Pro machines. I’m all for removing everything they need to on the Air and the Macbook One, just not on the Pro. The lack of an SD card reader especially bums me out.

        The previous MBP had HDMI

        I see nothing wrong with wishing for longer battery life – I know Apple won’t do it, but doesn’t mean I can’t dream. The latest Microsoft laptop claims 16 hours.

        I should have said that on the 13″ MBP the PCIe speed is reduced on one side.

        • rick gregory

          Huh, I didn’t catch that about the 13″. That’s good information, thanks. Also missed the HDMI on the prior MBP.

          The issue with specialized ports is that if you need them, they have value… but if you don’t they still take space, power, etc. I think USBC is a better way to do that. You will have to buy a new cable that has USB C on the Mac side but as I’ve said elsewhere, I can’t really get excited about spending $100 or whatever extra every decade. SD card… I think this is a similar thing. Yes, it is likely annoying for people who use it a lot like you, but they almost certainly removed it because their data showed that it was used by a small minority of people.

      • JohnDoey

        The fact that you think it is silly for a user to want the IO ports on a computer they buy for the next 3 years of use (typical Mac life) to match the IO ports on the accessories that same Mac will be surrounded by daily during that 3 years really shows how much Apple has failed you at the design level.

        Four Thunderbolt 3 and nothing else feels right in that it is simple, but it is terrible design in a world with literally zero Thunderbolt 3 devices in it.

        One thing I would have to do if I bought this MacBook Pro is replace my FireWire pro audio interface because there is no FireWire on this MacBook Pro. My options for replacement would be Thunderbolt 2 or USB-A 2.0, which this MacBook Pro also doesn’t have.

        To get around the lack of built-in pen support in MacBook Pro (almost alone at this price range) I would have to hook on a Wacom Tablet display, which requires a USB-A and a DVI, both of which this notebook also doesn’t have.

        Right out-of-the-box, the MISSING standardized ports and MISSING Apple Pencil support on MacBook Pro has now cost me a ton of money, and none of the accessories are faster or anything.

        So putting tomorrow’s ports on today’s notebook is not a user-centric feature or an example of good design.

        And you don’t win people over by arguing that promoting Thunderbolt — a decade-old unsuccessful technology that only exists on the 10% of the world’s computers that use Intel chips — is more important in and of itself than users being able to connect their Macs to the actual devices that those Macs need to work with over the lifetime of those Macs.

        Do you think USB-A is going away within the 3 year life of a new MacBook Pro bought today?

        • rick gregory

          “The fact that you think it is silly for a user to want the IO ports on a computer they buy for the next 3 years of use (typical Mac life) to match the IO ports on the accessories that same Mac will be surrounded by daily during that 3 years …”

          1) get cables that have whatever port you need on the peripheral side and USB-C on the Mac side. Alternatively, grab an adapter. AND… when you replace gear, look for gear that has TB3 or USB-C inputs.

          ” My options for replacement would be Thunderbolt 2 or USB-A 2.0, which this MacBook Pro also doesn’t have.”

          Uh… 1) there are USB-C to USB-A cables and adapters (I have one) 2) I’m not sure, but can TB3 talk to TB2? 3) How the hell is it Apple’s fault that the pro audio market keeps shipping gear with aging port interfaces? Shouldn’t some of your ire be directed at them for not shipping new models with current port inputs?

          “So putting tomorrow’s ports on today’s notebook is not a user-centric feature or an example of good design.”

          And you think that things will move to USB-C if no major vendor uses them? In a year, probably in 6 months we’ll have a rich set of connectors and cables. In the meantime, you can buy a USB-C to firewire cable or adapter. When you upgrade from that bit of gear, you’ll have a highly capable port to use.

          “To get around the lack of built-in pen support in MacBook Pro…”

          Now you’re arguing about a feature no MBP has ever had. It’s fine of you to wish they’d have added a touchscreen that’s usable with a pen, but you had no reason to believe that would happen. Also, both of those port types have cables that terminate in USB-C on the Mac side.

          It’s like all of you view buying some cables as a huge imposition. Screw all these upgraded CPU and GPU! Ignore the 2x faster SSDs! We’d have to buy A CABLE!!?!?!?

          PS: Are you seriously arguing that Apple shouldn’t update their Macs with better port technology because some people might keep 8-10 year old peripherals around?

        • rick gregory

          One more thing:

          “And you don’t win people over by arguing that promoting Thunderbolt — a decade-old unsuccessful technology that only exists on the 10% of the world’s computers that use Intel chips — is more important in and of itself than users being able to connect their Macs to the actual devices that those Macs need to work with over the lifetime of those Macs.”

          Uh… the ports are both USB and TB3. You don’t need any TB capable gear in order to get the benefits

    • adrianoconnor

      They should’ve absolutely called it the new air, and also kept the wedge shape too, going for a lower clock speed to compensate for a smaller battery.

      I’ve been waiting years to upgrade my air, waiting for a retina screen and Iris graphics, but I’m not sure I can buy this. I need to look at Asus/HP/etc, but I’m not sure I want to go that way either. Doh.

      • rick gregory

        Get the new entry level Pro. It’s $200 more than the comparable 13″ Air was until a few days ago which just isn’t a big deal if your laptops last 3-5 years.It’s much faster, retina, etc. (I have one, coming from a 2013 11″ Air, so…)

  • Rob Miller

    So many posts in there that make me hate when journalists try to be tech people. There’s like 5 valid complaints that it would’ve been nice for Apple to not have done, and a bunch of people complaining about price & specs. It’s like they’ve never owned an Apple product before.

    • CapnVan

      There are some valid complaints.

      The desktops have languished way too long. It shouldn’t take Apple too much in the way of resources to ensure that every desktop is refreshed annually, even if it’s just speed bumps and port refresh. I mean, clearly they’ve made the decision to go all in on USB-C. Why is it that none of the shipping desktops feature it? And newer processors, GPUs, etc.? This is the kind of thing that shouldn’t require major design work (and manpower) but which would, at the very least, show loyalists that the Mac isn’t being ignored.

      • rj

        I agree with this. The Mac lineup in the SJ era was a lot tighter. Now we’ve got this mish-mash of old and new machines and it takes more energy to figure out which one to buy.

        Look at the MacBooks: the premium line is pretty easy to understand – 12″ MB, a couple of different 13″ models, and the 15″. But they’ve also left the aged MacBook Air in the lineup, and they’re inexplicably still selling the previous 13″ MBP Retina.

        The iMac is now a step behind (no USB C, no touch panel) and won’t be updated until Jan at the earliest – which means close to 18 months of the same model.

        The latest Mac mini is a shitty product, and the Mac Pro is of course just an embarrassment.

        • David Stewart

          A lot of the issues in Mac lineup are down to Intel and the general stagnation in significant improvements in CPU and GPUs.

          • rj

            Maybe an excuse for the MacBook Pro (up until Thursday), but hard to see how applies for the rest of the lineup.

            The iMac could/should have been refreshed at the same time as the MBP.

            Same with the mac mini, which is several generations of Intel chips behind.

            I’m pretty sure Apple’s skipped at least one generation of Xeon, and in any event the Mac Pro has had the same video card for 3 (!) years.

          • David Stewart

            The iMac could have been refreshed, but to what? They were updated a year ago to the cutting edge Skylake processors. The Kaby Lake desktop processors don’t come out until Q1 next year, so it would make sense to hold off and wait for those.

            Apple backed themselves into a corner with the radical design of the Mac Pro, since I have to imagine it makes updating components much more difficult. That said, pros tend to need powerful GPUs for rendering, which can actually be handled via render farms or Thunderbolt connected external GPUs.

          • rj

            The iMac could have been updated to Thunderbolt 3, with a touch panel keyboard option – essentially keeping it in line with the MacBook Pro. Maybe Kaby Lake is worth waiting for, but there’s always a new chipset around the corner. These 18 month product cycles are too long, unless they start cutting the price mid-cycle.

            I agree on the Mac Pro. Its cool, but what real benefits did the cylinder design deliver? I think the old box design, with lots of internal expansion was better.

        • rick gregory

          I do agree here. They need to both refresh the desktop lineup and drop some models. Make each choice have a clear niche that it fills and, when you start to move away from that niche, you find another model that works for you.

  • JimCracky

    These are not Pro machines by any stretch of the imagination.

    • intosh

      There is no such thing as an absolute “Pro machine”. “Pro” is highly relative and subjective. Arguing whether they are pro machines or not is just a silly discussion, bordering on juvenile bickering.

  • rj

    Not sure why the “you can’t plug the flagship phone into the flagship notebook” argument is getting so much coverage. Approximately nobody syncs their Mac to their phone via USB anymore. If you want to to do so (or you need to use your Mac as an iphone charger), buy an adapter. BFD.

    There’s merit to the “not all macbooks need to be thin and light argument”, though. I wouldn’t buy one, but I do think there is a market for a re-imagined 17″ Macbook Pro. Something with a bigger CPU, much bigger GPU, bigger battery, not so thin and light (maybe 5.5-6 pounds?), hopefully room for 32GB RAM, and maybe even some legacy ports.

    • I don’t see much need to go thicker for legacy ports. Just buy a third party combination charger and port replicator. It’ll plug into one USB-C and provide whatever ports you need plus power. Maybe it’ll even include a fan.

      Yeah. Those are possible now.

      • rj

        Thicker is also for more battery, and faster CPUs and GPUs. That a case that size would accommodate legacy ports is a bonus.

        I’m not saying the design decisions made on the 13″ and 15″ are bad, but clearly some people would like a machine with different priorities.

        • You could also fit a bigger battery in a hub. 🙂

          As to faster CPUs and GPUs, the question is how much thicker and how much less battery life they’d have. The answer seems to be “significant.”

          • rj

            Sure, you could do a lot of things with a hub. But its kind of awkward if you need that functionality all the time. Built-in is better, for frequent users of that functionality.

            With the current lineup, Apple has placed a very high priority on thin and light. Which is great for most users, but not for some “pro” types, who are more interested in a portable workstation. Clearly, its possible to build such a thing – several Windows vendors do already.

          • David Stewart

            I think it depends. I currently get to work and plug in five cords to my Macbook Air. With the new MBP I would be plugging in a single cable. I would need to create a similar set up at home, but being able to move between home and the office just needing to deal with a single cable at each place is quite appealing.

          • rj

            I think the single connector for everything including power is awesome, and am looking forward to it.

            But I can also understand the users who are reasonably annoyed by having to get a dongle to connect to virtually any peripheral in existence today.

            Again, not criticizing the design decisions used for the new MBP (particularly the 13″), but think there’s also room for a bigger, less reductive model at the high end.

          • I don’t know. Sure, you can make a thicker laptop, and put a faster CPU in there and a stronger battery to compensate. But I have a PC laptop that blows hot air hot enough to burn skin out the side. (And I DON’T mean at peak usage moments; it’s a very steady heater. Though it could be that Windows just demands that much CPU.) I can only imagine what would happen if the airflow through that vent was reduced in some way. And I just don’t see Apple building something as temperamental as that, something as likely to require repairs (which may or may not be a warranty cost to them).

            Maybe I’m completely wrong, of course. 🙂

          • From really embracing my Thunderbolt display, I’m down to two plugs at my home office. At the other office, I still had three or four and the experience wasn’t as good because one of the devices was a fairly bad hub. 🙂

          • You’re trying to have it both ways. If the complaints are mostly about connectivity, that means it’s actually about connecting things. All a dock does is reduce port stress and simplify what can go wrong inside.

            Raw performance is a more interesting argument, but Intel just isn’t ready. No compromise laptops are over for the moment.

          • rj

            Intel/AMD/Nvidia are ready. There are faster CPUs and GPUs available today that will fit into portable form factors (see the portable workstation market and gamer laptops on the PC side). Some of those machines will take 32GB or RAM.

            Not sure what you mean by trying to have it both ways. Apple and others have made laptops with a wide variety of ports of them for years, so I’m not proposing anything new. Thunderbolt 3/USB C may be the future, but a fistful of dongles (or one big uber dongle) isn’t a great solution for people who have to deal a lot with SD/HDMI/USB 2/Ethernet/whatever today.

          • rick gregory

            The problem with existing solutions is that you get N of a given port. Then you’re screwed. With the new pros (aside from the base level one), you get 4 ports any of which can be power, data transfer, video, etc. The flexibility outweighs the loss of specificity in the long run. Now? Yeah, you might need some adapters or you might be able to simply get new cables. But that pain is always going to be there at some point unless you don’t change.

    • rick gregory

      I wouldn’t buy one, but I do think there is a market for a re-imagined 17″ Macbook Pro.

      Sure there is. But how big is it? Do those people actually need a laptop or are they better off with an iMac for the power work and, say, the entry level MacBook Pro for occasional field work?

      One danger in trying to capture every tiny niche is that you make a product line that’s confusing… what about people who want 16″ laptops!? What about people who want a 17″ but in the Air form factor!!?? and so on…

      • rj

        I’m talking about one more machine with a clearly defined role – portable workstation. Many Windows vendors make such thing, and it feels like a hole in Apple’s lineup.

        An iMac isn’t portable at all, and having two machines sucks.

        • rick gregory

          Yeah I get your point – I just don’t think that market is all that big and that for a significant percentage of it, the people wanting a 17″ could easily get along with a 15″ Pro.

  • If you want to know who’s not worth following in technology, look at the reporters who made no effort to understand what was going on there. There’s maybe 1 valid complaint to every 5 there, and that’s being generous.

    Who’s the new MacBook Pro for? Anyone who wants a historical level of bandwidth in and out of the MacBook. Which is, by definition, Apple’s Pro market.

    Could some things be even better? Sure. Buy a desktop if you can’t compromise. The days of no-compromise portable computing are over.

  • rick gregory

    No, that’s not a good post. It’s misinformed whining for the most part. They did talk CPU, their product page notes the GPU performance increase. 16gig isn’t enough? FOR WHO? Yes, there are some people who legitimately need more RAM than that but 1) they’re a tiny minority, 2) I question whether they should be using a laptop if they need that much power (because many of the people who really need that RAM capacity also need cutting edge power).

    Not enough different ports? I wonder, was Tsai on the side of nuking the headphone jack? Because if you do that under the reasoning that we should move forward, doesn’t the same apply here? Move forward to peripherals that all have USB-C on one end. Hell, in a few minutes I’m headed out to buy some new cables for this MacBook because I need to. I’m not whining about that – things change.

    No SD card slot? REALLY? Hell, there’s no ethernet port either. I’d bet a small percentage of people ever used that slot on existing MacBooks.

    Are there a few good points in that vomit of links? Sure. The MacBooks are pricey. it was silly that you don’t get a lightning to USBC cable included so that out of the box you can plug your iPhone into your MacBook. But too many of the comments are like Marco’s:

    Despite most of us not buying it for years, it’s worth noting that the last upgradeable Mac laptop went away today.

    So… you didn’t buy it. You thus demonstrated you don’t care about it. But you’re still going to bitch that it’s not there anymore. Right.

    • Personally, I love the switch to external expansion. Mostly because I’ve been keeping track of what’s gone wrong with my laptops over the years.

    • intosh

      To advance, you invariably have to leave some people behind. Complaining about lack of SD card reader is like complaining the Macbook Pro did not ship with a DVD drive a couple of years ago. Apple is typically in the forefront of abandoning components that are on the verge of being obsolete. This is forward thinking. And, I know there is a lot of memes and bad jokes about this, but the truth is: it takes courage. It takes courage to be the flag bearer, attempting to advance the industry. It takes courage to leave the old baggages behind, baggages that are slowing you down.

  • rb763

    The best thing to do is somehow get Tim Cook interested in photography, not iPhone photography but with a smokin’ big 50MP camera and Adobe Lightroom and then we would see some serious performance upgrades.

    • JimCracky

      Making photos with phones is not photography, it’s snapshotting

  • Mo
    1. Ahh, more “reviews” by people who haven’t used the device they’re trying to review. Positive or negative, I tend to pay more attention to the folks that have actually used the thing for at least a week.

    2. So many people—here and elsewhere—complaining about the limitations of a portable computer that they very rarely use as a portable computer, when what they actually needed in the first place was a desktop machine. I know someone who did this. Plugged into AC power almost 24/7, for years. I lost track of how many batteries that MacBook went through.

  • Caleb Hightower

    Since Apple couldn’t affect real change in the CPU/GPU, they instead focused on what they could change, design & user experience. CPU speeds are stagnant due to quantum realities and lack of industry demand (people using smart phones more). A revolution is needed to make the next leap forward. Just not sure these computers’ premium price is worth the Touch Bar and Thunderbolt 3 on their own.

    This one caught my attention:

    All MacBook Pros now use ‘onboard SSDs’ a la the MacBook” If your logic board dies your data dies with it. Backup your new MacBook people.

    – Thomas Brand

    As for Apple’s ‘PRO’ products (both hardware and software), seem headed for obsolescence in the near-term. More resources are being poured into prioritizing iOS devices running Apple A-chips, rather than OS X machines with 24 cores and X-terabytes of RAM. When was the last time Apple significantly updated Logic or Final Cut or the trashcan Mac? R.I.P Apple Displays (Have you seen the LG ‘designed’ for Apple PROs?) R.I.P Aperture.

    Tim Cook’s Apple is moving forward with their sights on the mass Millennials, rather than the boutique PROs. I cringe at the thought, but I see no evidence that Cook will reverse course here. The future is all about efficiency, portability and iOS. I would prefer Apple spin off their PRO businesses, rather than see them wither and die an anemic death.

    • David Stewart

      Pros who were really interest in color accuracy didn’t use the Apple displays anyway. The monitors they use tend to be in the thousands of dollars.

      I think Apple’s view is that the modern professional will have a workspace with external monitors, any necessary storage, external GPUs and input surfaces which they connect to their Mac either wirelessly or via the USB-C ports. At the end of the day they disconnect and go home where they will still have their core computer with them if they need it. That’s not a bad workflow and one which many people already use. It has the benefit of stripping the computer down to its bare essentials, running the OS and then leaves advanced functionality up to peripherals which can be upgraded separately as appropriate. There is a lot of flexibility in this approach which I think will be appreciated more and more as adoption increases.

      • Caleb Hightower

        I will miss not being able to update my displays with a new Apple variant. I truly love my four 27″ Thunderbolt displays. Can’t speak about color accuracy, but they “look so good you’ll want to lick them.”

        • I love my Thunderbolt Display, but I’ve already had to swap the power supply twice. The first one blew within two weeks, so I got the whole display swapped. The second one blew about a year later, and I think it cost me somewhere around $600-800. (I’ve heard the third power supply is a better design than the first two, so hopefully it’ll keep going.)

          I’ve loved Apple displays over the years, but if they’re sharing the mojo instead that’s probably better. They have not done well in reliability.

          • Caleb Hightower

            Ouch, I have not had that problem with mine. Are you plugged into a proper power surge protector? Mine are plugging into a dedicated UPS. It’s a bit much, but I have sketchy voltage where I live.

          • …Jesus. I’m going to unplug my Thunderbolt display until I get a dedicated UPS now. Seriously, thanks. I dunno how I didn’t notice that.

            FWIW, it’s happened at two different locations, and the power supplies ARE known to be weak, but still. No excuse for not putting one in.

    • The backup quote is just precious. Because a true “Pro” user needs to be told to backup because things could go wrong.

      • rick gregory

        Yeah… I read that and thought “what kind of idiot doesn’t backup their machine NOW?”

    • rick gregory

      “Since Apple couldn’t affect real change in the CPU/GPU,”

      Don’t be silly. They updated to the latest widely available chipsets for both. Yes, I know, Kaby Lake. Which don’t seem to be shipping in quantity. Saying things like this just kills any credibility you have with anyone knowledgeable.

      • Caleb Hightower

        It appears like you misunderstood me. Apple really can’t force Intel’s/AMD’s product release schedule since that’s not their area of expertise (not the same as their A chips). Apple knew people were eager for a MBP update, and have been asking for one for the past 2 years. So they do the next best thing and add innovative features on a laptop that make sense. I think its irrational to expect Apple to use a processor that doesn’t yet exist. The tradeoff for Intel, since they can’t really go faster, is to go more efficient. That makes sense to me in a laptop.

        Care to comment on what I think about Apple’s direction of the PRO sector, or do you just troll comments for sport? Which, by the way, goes to show how much ‘knowledge’ you have.

        We’re all Apple fans here and all want the best for them.

        • “You’re not wrong, Walter…” 🙂

        • rick gregory

          Yeah, I did misunderstand you. My apologies on that. I’ve seen so many “the performance sucks, it’s not Kaby Lake!!” comments that I took yours in that vein. Ooops…

          BTW – I dont troll comments. So while I did misunderstand, 1) you can get stuffed with that comment and 2) express yourself clearly in the first place next time.

          • Caleb Hightower

            Sure, I’m bad at my communications. All good here.

          • hugs both

  • rogifan

    For all those complaining about lack of Mac updates if Apple did update Mac hardware every year then people would be complaining about that too and we’d get all the whining about planned obsolescence and I just bought a MBP and now Apple has released a new one?!?

  • Matthew Smith

    Apple will need to convince the masses who previously bought MacBook Airs that the iPad Pro is truly more capable than what the MBA was.

    In my experience, iPad Pro is a huge leap over the MBA. I know that’s unpopular in nerd circles (mainly because nerds have no idea how the majority of people use computers). The new MacBook Pro is Apple going all-in on Jobs’ trucks vs. cars analogy. The Touch Bar is for power users, because the MacBook Pro is for power users. They will lose some people to PCs for a while, but tell me, how much time have those users spent with Windows lately? macOS running on a gorgeously designed MacBook Pro with 16GB RAM, with a Touch Bar properly implemented by developers, will be a vastly superior user experience than running a spec-ed up Lenovo with 24GB RAM.

    For the rest of us, non-coders, non-nerds, that just need to get work done, there is iPad Pro, running at about the cost of a MacBook Air but providing a better, more versatile experience than the MBA ever did.

  • Brad Fortin

    “The problem is that the MacBook Pro is not a true Pro notebook.”

    Wait, so the article essentially opens with a “No True Scotsman” fallacy? I’ll take this with a grain of salt.

  • John

    There’s different pro users, and I can’t speak for the creative professionals or data science jockeys. I program and work with a lot of people who program, test, analyze, etc. Our company is about 80% Macs.

    From my point of view, there are helpful things. Compiles and running tests consume lots of CPU and sometimes GPU. The new CPU’s are nice, but I expect that the GPU’s will affect creative folks more than me. I always max out my CPU when ordering so I will always want more.

    RAM? Dear merciful Dog in heaven, give me more RAM. I understand that there are trade-offs for addressable RAM depending on the underlying compute but I regularly suck up all 16 GIGs without breaking a sweat. How much you use really depends on what technologies you’re programming in. Personally I don’t think I would need 32 but then, hey, I never thought I would need 16.

    Keyboards. Oi. My second computer is a Macbook and I generally like the keyboard. I hate the arrow keys, like the escape key, like the larger keys, etc. I wish it had more throw or depth – whichever you call it. On my current Pro I never lose my place on the keyboard, for some reason that happens to me on the MacBook. Not sure why. Missing function keys, and especially the escape key, will send certain developers over the edge. A lifetime of muscle memory is painful to fight against.

    Also, keyboards are a very personal and important topic for many developers, testers, and analysts. Hand strain and pain are incredibly common among people who spend 40-60 hours a week with their hands on keyboards. For me it’s meant fighting to avoid full blown carpel tunnel again so I’m really picky. Overall I seem to have less hand pain with old style Mac keyboard which is a decider for me.

    The big trackpad. Depending on how you rest your palms on the Mac I could become annoying, mainly because of the small ridge. Again, think 40-60 hours per week on the keyboard. For example, for me the sharp front edge on the Macbook irritates me. That’s me personally.

    The screen? Sweet. Less weight, A 1/2 pound always helps but no a real make/break thing. Overall, for me it’s “OK”. I’ve been using a Mac for programming since ’84 and I’ve also used many other types of computers. I’m fine with paying more money to Apple for something that I use everyday and my workflow is definitely happier on MacOS.

    I’ll be buying another laptop next year and it will likely be a Mac. However for the first time in a decade I’ll also look at my options for a sweet Linux setup.

  • gfurry

    What do you suppose the pro market is compared to the rest of the market? I am not talking about people that make a living with their computers, I am talking about those that need something more powerful than the new MacBook pros? 98% vs 2% I would guess. Those 2% are making a lot of noise now but they will get over it or move to something else. The other 98% probably like smaller lighter computers. I hate dongles as much as the next guy but you can’t make people support your new technologies if you include the old technologies to fall back on.

  • rick gregory

    One more thing on this…

    It’s more than a little arrogant of Tsai and some others to assume that if you don’t need 32gig of RAM and a mobile version of the 1080 video card, then you’re just one of “the latte-sipping children in campus coffee shops ” as one of the links put it.

    Frack that. Power use isn’t just about pushing specs. It’s ridiculous on the face of it to say that if you can get your work done in the VAST limitations of 16gig and a current spec Skylake CPU that you’re NOT doing powerful, PRO things, that only people whose work pushes the current hardware to the max are doing pro work. It’s arrogant, it’s shortsighted and more than a little self-involved.

    Frankly, if someone needs very high end RAM, CPU and GPU power – buy a desktop that does that. HERE, yes, we can call out Apple, at least until they update the Mac Pro.

  • BringinItAllTogether

    This is all just a bunch of whiny a$$ed crap from a bunch of people that have NOTHING BETTER TO DO WITH THEIR TIME!!! If you lived in the world of selling computers then you know that there are SO few professionals who purchase Macs that look at needing 32 vs 16 RAM or that it is SkyLake vs KabyLake vs Coffee Lake or that it is a couple hundo more. They haven’t had a new Mac in a while and it is time and HEY THERE’S A NEW MAGICAL TOUCH BAR ON THERE!!! WOOHOO! Here’s my whole wallet! Most of these people don’t look at or even know what they are lookin at when you tell them. Just REALLY serious professionals and geeks. Most people don’t even need the power that you are talking about. Apple will make money hand over fist because they are amazing new Macs. That’s all there is to it!