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Steve Jobs would never let this happen

As a huge Apple fanboi, I’ll be ordering a new MBP as soon as they are available from my workplace (they have to go through their stupid “verification” process first, even though it’s the same OS as currently available, and it’s not like they’re going to say no to the 2500 of us who have been overdue for replens for the last year). Though the one I’m typing this on at home is fine, and will likely last another four years (although see below – foreshadowing!).

My not-so-hot-take after reading all the threads:

  • Thinner at the expense of utility: The FAA mandates that the biggest battery you can carry on planes is 100 WHr. The current MBP is 99.5; the new one is 76.5. If you can get 10 hours of use with the smaller battery, why not make it thinner if you can’t make the battery bigger? I carry a MBP on my back or shoulder every stinking day. Through airports, hotels, and in the Chrome bag on the bicycle. Thinner and lighter is not a small selling point.
  • Memory: The currently available Intel mobile processors don’t support more than 16 GB. So 32 GB isn’t possible until next year anyway. Did you want to wait another year for an MBP update? See also battery life above, and Apples answer about 32 GB killing battery life with the memory Intel supports. There is no way Apple are going to advertise “10 hours of battery life (unless you buy this option)”.
  • Ports: The world is going to USB-C. The SD port was nice, but I only recently got a camera that supported SD. Real cameras still use CF, so I had to use an external reader anyway (which yes, has always been a huge PITA – card readers are generally shit). Apple has historically tried to force the world to follow it to modern interface standards: USB-A, Firewire, Thunderbolt – with varying degrees of success. Now it’s doing the same for USB-C. Even nicer, USB-C has no polarity, which even Thunderbolt failed at. I’m a big fan of this idea – it has been very nice for the last few years to plug in one Thunderbolt cable to the TB hub and have backup disks, headphones, display, and ethernet all at once. When it worked. Which it didn’t always (looking at you, Belkin). Which leads to…
  • MagSafe: I am a huge huge fan of MagSafe. Genius, practical, laptop saving connection. But going back to the one-port to rule them all – right at this instant, I have two cables connecting my laptop to the outside world. One break-away MagSafe, and one non-break-away Thunderbolt. The MagSafe is not really able to do its job anyway. If I could plug in one cable, be connected to the dock, and charge the laptop, is that worth losing MagSafe? Honestly, I’d rather have both, because I travel a lot, and there are lots of times that I just need power in a conference room, hotel room, airport, cafe, lab. But the other half of the time, I’m plugging into a dock at work, home, hotel, or the Snow Conference Room. I get the logic. I would have still liked to have MagSafe in addition to USB-C. But I get it.
  • Dongles: These follow an inverse breaking-wave curve. I carry them, then they go away one-by-one, then with the next version, I have to start carrying them again. I still carry the ones for VGA and DVI, as most of the conference rooms in the the world don’t use mini-DisplayPort and have only recently started with HDMI. And ethernet because Airbus turned off their guest WiFi. I suppose I’ll be replacing them with different ones. Hopefully I can get a really small USB-C hub to use for charging and everything else (hint hint, Apple. Make one of these, as Belkin and Griffin tend to be good at ideas and suck at execution). With a breakaway MagSafe connection. And an SD card reader. And CF card reader.
  • Performance: I process data using Matlab and Python. Neither of which has ever been particularly optimized for battery life or multiple cores. I would like more memory, and but even more, faster processors. Matlab is never going to run on multiple cores, not for the things I do.

The Touch Bar looks promising. Less weight on my back is fucking great. One unipolar port to rule them all is a Really Good Idea. Touch ID has been wonderful on the iPhone and will be fucking great on the laptop. Space Gray is neat. A better screen is always welcome. We’ll see about the keyboard and bigger trackpad but I’m not as big a keyboard nazi as some.

Are we going to see an external Touch Bar keyboard? That’d be pretty great. An Apple USB-C hub?

It is stupid that I can’t plug a new iPhone 7 into a new MBP without buying dongles that didn’t come with either. I don’t know about anything else, but I’m pretty sure Steve wouldn’t have let that happen. At least the new 256GB iPhone is USB3 so it didn’t take two days to copy over music. Finally. iTunes still sucks. This computer stays on 10.10.2 so I can use iPhoto and Aperture.

This update is missing the built-in LTE radio. I travel a lot, and mobile devices have gotten to the point where I don’t worry about having a connection, or data usage. I’ve had a reasonably good LTE data connection on all my devices everywhere I’ve been overseas in the last couple of years (10+ countries). Work pays for AT&T, and with TMO, I just don’t have to worry about it. So a built-in LTE connection in addition to the Wifi would be awesome for those times when I’m in places without.

What I really think all this says – lack of new processors, lack of efficient fast memory, long times between refreshes – is that we’re about to see Apple go to ARM processors in Macs. The same thing is happening with Intel that happened with PowerPC. Steve Job’s Apple would not be held hostage by Intel’s lack of ability to produce processors. Will Apple do this with the Mac Pro and Mini? One can only hope that’s why there hasn’t been an update on these lines, rather than just giving up.

Was there any chance I was going to change? Get real. I have to use Linux and Windows laptops (and desktops) at work. I just spent the better part of two days setting up a new Windows computer so that it can be cloned properly. No one else has ever even gotten close to making something as good as an MBP trackpad, let along palm rejection while typing. Linux can’t even get a basic bog-standard terminal window to be as good as the MacOS Terminal, much less as good as iTerm. A one-pixel width to grab to change the window size? That alone would kill that idea dead dead dead. We won’t talk about Windows 10, Ubuntu, connecting to WiFi, or sleep.