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Comparing the 13-Inch MacBook Pro to the MacBook Air and iPad Pro

Dozer_Zaibatsu

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And by the way, I work in DevOps. I totally could do my job with an iPad (especially now that they have trackpad support and the text-editing is improved). But I use a laptop because it's the company-issued device, and frankly I'm faster on it, muscle-memory and all that.

If you said that in an interview, I'd never hire you.
 
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Darth Tulhu

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If you said that in an interview, I'd never hire you.
Then you'd be doing me a favor, because now I feel sorry for the people that work with you or for you.

Not seeing the value of an employee that can do the job with an iPad that you need a laptop for is a symptom of something being really wrong with the company culture.
 
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chucker23n1

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And by the way, I work in DevOps. I totally could do my job with an iPad

Confused what you mean by "DevOps", then, because heavy-duty software development doesn't really sound fun on that small a screen. For the occasional casual code editing, sure. For bug triage and pull request/code review, absolutely. But DevOps includes, well, dev.
 
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Darth Tulhu

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Confused what you mean by "DevOps", then, because heavy-duty software development doesn't really sound fun on that small a screen. For the occasional casual code editing, sure. For bug triage and pull request/code review, absolutely. But DevOps includes, well, dev.
So a laptop is out? Can the iPad not output to a bigger screen? Does a .1 inch difference matter (12.9" iPad vs 13" MBP)?

I get where you're going, but the truth is I'm not a developer. DevOps includes both Dev AND Ops, Ops being the "side" I've been working under for the past 8 years.

I and my ops counterparts collaborate with the devs in my team to ensure that the team is taking into consideration not just the coding aspect, but the building, testing, release mechanisms, network requirements, security, and support of the applications AND infrastructure where those apps run on, among other things.

Thus the bulk of my time is spent using tools such as Subversion, Ansible, Jenkins, WebLogic, Oracle, a variety of SSH clients, VmWare tools, and off site Windows, Linux, Solaris servers, to mention but a few.

So yes, I could totally do my job in DevOps with an iPad now. Last year? That might have been a bit more painful. Mouse/trackpad support is the game-changer here.
 
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Abazigal

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I completely agree, this is why I hate when companies deliberately sabotage cheaper lines to force an upsell in attempt to extract as much revenue from customers as possible

This is a trademark of post a Steve Jobs era Apple, non upgradable devices, bigger margins, planned obsolescence and hard up selling. I guess that's what happens when a product chain inventory manager runs the company and not a visionary..

1. Macbook air is a great value at 999, retina display, fast memory, 256gb storage, keyboard does not suck, reasonably fast 10th gen i3


2. ONLY 100 extra for an upgrade to a quad core and 50% faster iris plus G7 graphics, “I'll be stupid not to upgrade”..

3. Air has horrific thermals and the i5 and i7 will throttle instantly and overheat when it turbos because [imo] apple deliberately nerfed the air, further proof is that the fan is not directly connected via heat pipe to the cpu on the airs. I assume this was done last minute in the design phase to artificially nerf the airs performance and not cannibalize sales from the higher margin 13 inch Pros. There is no other logical solution to why there cpu heat pipe is not connected to the fan.

4. because of the problems shown in 3. pay the small premium to upgrade to the non-nerfed 13 inch entry level macbook pro with ‘real’ cooling

5. realize the entry level 13 inch macbook pro uses ancient outdated 8th gen intel chips but the rest of the range uses 10th gen so I might as well pay to get the most up to date chip..

6 WOW my 999 purchase is now almost 1800. thank you tim cook and the bean counters(!)

On a more positive note I do think the base model 999 macbook air is the best value for money mac in a very long time.

Especially when you compare it to other competitors like microsoft when a surface pro 7 with a pitiful 4gb ram, tiny 128gb(97gb usable after formatting+win10) storage and a pro type cover is almost the same price...but still I wish apple did not deliberately make the i5 and i7 models have furnace level temps no thanks to their up selling led self sabotaging performance limiting cooling solutions..

This is what happens when people focus too much on specs and not enough on the end user experience. You don’t pay more just for the sake of better specs. You pay more only if you are sure that your work will benefit from those better specs.

The reality is that many users’ needs are more than adequately served by the entry level MBA. Majority are going to buy it for web-browsing and office, and an i3 with 8gb ram more than suffices. All users get the same keyboard and trackpad experience, so they are not losing out in any way.

Recent benchmarks have shown that there really isn’t that much of a difference in performance between the 8th and 10th gen intel processors that the 13” MBP uses, so sticking with the 8th gen processors for the cheaper models allows Apple to keep the cost low and sell them at the current prices that they do.

As for the MBP, getting the 10-gen processors also gets you more USB-C ports and better specs (more ram and storage), so it’s not like you are just paying solely for the better chip. And only the high-end MBP gets the 4 USB-C ports because it is only with this generation’s intel processors that allow for up to 4 ports without the need for extra hardware.

From what I see, Apple’s product portfolio has become increasingly competitive from a pricing perspective. Apple has also expanded their product lines to include a broader range of models and corresponding prices. The benefit here is more choice for consumers. There’s something for everyone.

It’s easy to look at Apple’s pricing strategy and take a cynical view that management is trying to squeeze as much profit as possible from its users. However, I continue to be of the opinion that Apple’s incentive isn’t to milk users for all they can but rather to expand the Apple user base and provide users great experiences.
 
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chucker23n1

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So a laptop is out? Can the iPad not output to a bigger screen?

On paper, the iPad can output to a bigger screen. In practice, most apps limit it to mirroring.

Good luck replicating a typical office set up with a laptop's lid closed and connected to two external displays, each running independent apps.

Does a .1 inch difference matter (12.9" iPad vs 13" MBP)?

It's .4 inches, actually, but no, that's besides the point.

I and my ops counterparts collaborate with the devs in my team to ensure that the team is taking into consideration not just the coding aspect, but the building, testing, release mechanisms, network requirements, security, and support of the applications AND infrastructure where those apps run on, among other things.

Thus the bulk of my time is spent using tools such as Subversion, Ansible, Jenkins, WebLogic, Oracle, a variety of SSH clients, VmWare tools, and off site Windows, Linux, Solaris servers, to mention but a few.

So yes, I could totally do my job in DevOps with an iPad now. Last year? That might have been a bit more painful. Mouse/trackpad support is the game-changer here.

Y'know, even in that situation, doing something like having a dashboard full of VMs, RDP/SSH/VNC sessions, etc. (with a tool like e.g. Royal TSX) just sounds like it would scale better on a big screen. For occasional things, yes, I can see how an iPad is more convenient. Heck, when done well, it might actually be great for the "run into the datacenter, hook it up and check something locally on a dead machine" situation.
 
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Abazigal

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It's .4 inches, actually, but no, that's besides the point.

His point is that he is able to do the same job as ably from his ipad.

Assuming he is indeed able to, what’s the harm really? I teach with my ipad in the classroom and I don’t have my school leaders coming after me and chastising me for not using the school-issued laptop.
 
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chucker23n1

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His point is that he is able to do the same job as ably from his ipad.

Maybe? It doesn't seem like he has actually tried.

Assuming he is indeed able to, what’s the harm really?

The harm is giving people false expectations.

I teach with my ipad in the classroom and I don’t have my school leaders coming after me and chastising me for not using the school-issued laptop.

I really don't see how those jobs are similar.
 
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Abazigal

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Maybe? It doesn't seem like he has actually tried.



The harm is giving people false expectations.



I really don't see how those jobs are similar.

Point being that there seems to be this whole prejudice against the notion of people being able to get meaningful work done from an ipad.
 
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hudson1

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Point being that there seems to be this whole prejudice against the notion of people being able to get meaningful work done from an ipad.
That prejudice also carries some implication that anyone using an iPad for serious work would never have access to a Mac or other regular computer. Or if they did, they wouldn't use it regardless. I have a hard time believing that other than maybe a handful of cases.
 
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chucker23n1

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That prejudice also carries some implication that anyone using an iPad for serious work would never have access to a Mac or other regular computer. Or if they did, they wouldn't use it regardless. I have a hard time believing that other than maybe a handful of cases.

There are plenty of scenarios where an iPad is more convenient. And there are increasing scenarios where, for logistical reasons, you're carrying an iPad with you but not a laptop.
 
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Darth Tulhu

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On paper, the iPad can output to a bigger screen. In practice, most apps limit it to mirroring.
Good luck replicating a typical office set up with a laptop's lid closed and connected to two external displays, each running independent apps.

It's .4 inches, actually, but no, that's besides the point.

Y'know, even in that situation, doing something like having a dashboard full of VMs, RDP/SSH/VNC sessions, etc. (with a tool like e.g. Royal TSX) just sounds like it would scale better on a big screen. For occasional things, yes, I can see how an iPad is more convenient. Heck, when done well, it might actually be great for the "run into the datacenter, hook it up and check something locally on a dead machine" situation.

The root of the issue here is the same it always is:

People assume that because THEY cannot (or choose not to) do their particular job with an iPad then no one else can do ANY job with one. The notion is met with persistent disbelief.

I never mentioned any details regarding my job requirements prior to being immediately dismissed for asserting than I could do MY DevOps job with an iPad.

No one here knows the size of my organization, my role in it, the applications requirements, etc. My assertion NEVER that ALL DevOps engineers can do ALL jobs with an iPad. It wasn't even that I PREFERRED the iPad.

IT was that I can, and for the record, have done my current DevOps role tasks, that is, until the MDM policy in my company changed and I was forced to use a Windows laptop instead. That said, there's been several situations where I've had to operate off my (company issued) Note8 and successfully accomplished all necessary tasks from that device exclusively. It wasn't ideal, but I was ABLE to.

Now, is a dedicated wired-in machine with multiple monitors a better setup for pretty much any sedentary task you use a computer for? Yes.

But that was NEVER the question.
 
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Darth Tulhu

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I wouldn’t either. We get a few wackos still that insist on carrying their iPads with them. Had to fire a few.
Can you elaborate on specific reasons?

Were the employees not being as productive as their non-iPad counterparts? Were they refusing to use anything else?

The term "wackos" is prejudicial at best, just like some of the IT folks in my company that detest and look down on MacOS users because they're Windows "fans".

"So, Mrs. X, your resume and job experience look pretty good. You seem quite comfortable with the job requirements... but I have one more question to ask: Would you be able to fulfill all the duties in the positioned advertised with a device such as an iPad?" "Yes, I could..."

"Oh, um, well, we'll get back to you... Thanks for coming in!"

Sounds like there's at least two companies whom I wouldn't want to work for.
 
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chucker23n1

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The root of the issue here is the same it always is:

People assume that because THEY cannot (or choose not to) do their particular job with an iPad then no one else can do ANY job with one. The notion is met with persistent disbelief.

I generally agree with this.

I never mentioned any details regarding my job requirements prior to being immediately dismissed for asserting than I could do MY DevOps job with an iPad.

No one here knows the size of my organization, my role in it,

Oh, BS. You were the one who brought up that you “work in DevOps”, which generally involves a heavy development portion (hence the name). You then had to backpedal that you’re actually more of a glorified admin, scrum master or whatever.

The onus was on you to defend that.

there's been several situations where I've had to operate off my (company issued) Note8 and successfully accomplished all necessary tasks from that device exclusively. It wasn't ideal, but I was ABLE to.

Again, maybe if you were doing bug triage and server emergency firefighting, but that’s a really narrow definition of “DevOps”, and I recommend you don’t put “DevOps engineer” on your resume if that’s what your job entails.
 
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Darth Tulhu

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Oh, BS. You were the one who brought up that you “work in DevOps”, which generally involves a heavy development portion (hence the name). You then had to backpedal that you’re actually more of a glorified admin, scrum master or whatever.

The onus was on you to defend that.

Again, maybe if you were doing bug triage and server emergency firefighting, but that’s a really narrow definition of “DevOps”, and I recommend you don’t put “DevOps engineer” on your resume if that’s what your job entails.
What I call BS on is your and others' definition of what DevOps is. There are 2 sides to it, Development AND Operations. I didn't lie (as you implied on a different post) when I said I work in DevOps.

Here you go: https://theagileadmin.com/what-is-devops/

For the things in do in that team (because I come from the Operations side), a (current) iPad Pro, with it's multitasking capabilities and trackpad support, could suffice.

Believe what you want, though, I'm done arguing about this.
 
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ericwn

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Tim Cook visionary for future of technology at Apple is bad for the consumer and prosumer.

Obstructing upgradability for 2x faster NVMe M.2 in MacBook Pro is going to make a lot of people angry!


View attachment 915073

3 people on this forum maybe. Everybody else just buys what they need and continues with their day. Upgrade ability has never been a feature on Apple notebooks in the last, what, decade?
 
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ericwn

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If Apple designed better thermal capacity in the Air I think a higher number of discerning customers would be happy to pay even a $200 upgrade to the i5, rather than continue upgrading to the pro models.

Steve famously simplified market segmentation so Apple could deliver best in class. Now, it seems entirely geared towards an upgrade path.

Steve simplified their offerings because they were a mess and had no customers. He was also the one who ended that process of simplified roadmap by bringing the Air out.
 
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iDarkTraveler

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LOL. I use the MacBook Air for a ton of stuff and it is flawless. Get off YouTube and actually try it before you bash it.

Zoom, Outlook, Mail, Excel with huge spreadsheets, word, image and music consumption, powerpoint, pdf manipulation, internet, etc.
What is your MB Air config. If the MBAir 2020 covers this workload (especially large excel tabs and some coding / light debugging), I'm up for it. Are you using external monitor as well?

I've been struggling for the last 3 days whether to buy the MBAir or MBPro 2020 - MBPro seems overpriced to me. I want a device that would last for 4-5 doing daily tasks and mentioned MS Excel, coding just fine. In case of the MBPro, I was even thinking of getting 32GB RAM if I decide for the 13" - a total nonsense in my case, but while going for the base one upgrade to 32GB RAM doesn't seem that significant considering the base price and it could make the MBPro last for even longer.

I'm very surprised that the MBAir level on the GPU performance with the MBPro, putting the MBPro in questionable position. Also to me, this is the first time when the MBAir is better in some parts than the base MBPro with 8th CPU (don't understand why Apple kept this line - sure, it's enough for many, but it sort of removes the "Pro" in 2020?!).
[automerge]1589835335[/automerge]
It's clearly a stopgap until either Intel can deliver better CPUs in quantity (there still seem to be volume production issues with Ice Lake, more than half a year in) or perhaps until Apple switches that one over to ARM. My guess is the former: that, come Tiger Lake, the lower-end Pro also gets an upgrade.
Do you expect it to happen at the end of 2020 or rather 2021?
 
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MickG

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For the past 25 years or so, I've always had a Mac Desktop and a Mac laptop. I worked as a MacTech until about 4 years ago, but today I mostly just write on both and rarely need either for any heavy lifting.

This time last year I replaced my 2013 MBP with the 2019 MBP and just really hate the butterfly keyboard. Even adding a keyboard cover (which always feels better to type on) the keys just don't drop enough. It only feels slightly better than typing on glass.

I've played around with the 16" MBP's scissor keyboard and the 13" MBA's scissor keyboard (the guy at Costco "thinks" it is the latest MBA––often Costco only sells a generation back) and they feel better, I think. I hope. It was hard to tell in Costco, but I "think" they're better.

I'm seriously thinking about selling my pristine 13" 2019 MBP, and getting either the 2020 MBA or MBP just because of the keyboard. But for the first time, I really don't know which to get.

My wife has always loved her MBA, but we got her the 13" 2019 MBP last June because it finally was about the same weight as the MBA and it was a good call. She's now using every port for Zoom work things and there's no looking back to a lower performance model.

I'm just not sure which one would be right for me, and I usually just pay more for the MBP so I never have that moment where you're trying to do something and wish you'd bought the better, higher model. But really, I mostly just write on it (working on a book now), surf, watch videos and am finally more of a typical consumer, but with too much knowledge and history in Macs.

I don't want price to be an issue. I know that's a weird thing to say, and no one wants to spend more than they have to (and the pandemic has dinged everyone), but I know I can get top dollar for my barely used pristine 2019 MBP (16GB RAM & 2TB HD). That means my net for a brand new 2020 MacBook of some kind, might only be a few hundred dollars, especially if I only get the 1TB HD. I year later and I still have 1.5TB worth of space on this one, as it becomes more a writing tool and less of a storage place.

For the first time since I cannot remember, I don't know whether to get a fairly maxed out MBA, or it's equivalent in the 2020 13" MBP. I feel like I just have to get something to replace these damn butterfly keys that still slow my typing with all kinds of errors, so which should I get? The vast majority of the time I type on the MBP it's in my lap in a Lazy Boy kinda chair. I use my Mac mini when it's time to sit at a desk for the rest of the day. That was one of the reasons the CPU was the one thing I never upgraded. Back in the day, anything above a Core i5 just ran too hot in my lap. And I don't do any video editing, so why bother?

I still really hate iOS for anything other than my phone, so an iPad of any kind is not in the running.

Sorry this is so long. I need an editor, I know.

Just curious if there is anyone else out there who is using either of these 2020 13" models and whether you notice the better scissor keyboard, or not. Or anything else to distinguish the two.

Much obliged for any thoughts,

Mick
 
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chucker23n1

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I'm seriously thinking about selling my pristine 13" 2019 MBP, and getting either the 2020 MBA or MBP just because of the keyboard. But for the first time, I really don't know which to get.

[..]

For the first time since I cannot remember, I don't know whether to get a fairly maxed out MBA, or it's equivalent in the 2020 13" MBP. I feel like I just have to get something to replace these damn butterfly keys that still slow my typing with all kinds of errors, so which should I get? The vast majority of the time I type on the MBP it's in my lap in a Lazy Boy kinda chair. I use my Mac mini when it's time to sit at a desk for the rest of the day. That was one of the reasons the CPU was the one thing I never upgraded. Back in the day, anything above a Core i5 just ran too hot in my lap. And I don't do any video editing, so why bother?

I know you said not to focus on price too much, but I will anyway.

Don't get the Pro with just two ports. Between the Air and the four-port Pro, it's just in a bad spot and also has an outdated CPU at this point (which is in part Intel's fault).

So that means if you do go Pro, you start at $1799.

Now, you also said you don't want above i5 for heat reasons, and you have the Mac mini for heavier stuff anyway. Despite this, I wouldn't go with the $999 Air — the $100 i5 upgrade is just a great deal. You also say 1TB, so that's another $400. I wouldn't recommend going with just 8 GB of RAM, though that's debatable depending on use cases. So, another $200; we're at $1699 now. That's almost the Pro's $1799, but we first need to bring the Pro to the 1TB as well, so now it's $1999.

This $300 difference now comes down to very few things:

  • the Pro has the Touch Bar (my guess is you're indifferent to it, since you don't mention it)
  • the Pro has a brighter, better display and better speaker/mic system
  • the Pro has a CPU that will endure processing tasks for longer; the Air will throttle more quickly, but for quick bursts isn't really that different
  • the Air is thinner and lighter
Given that you "mostly just write on it (working on a book now), surf, watch videos and am finally more of a typical consumer", the Air will be fine. I'm not sure Pro will be appreciably better. They're both good choices.
 
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MickG

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I know you said not to focus on price too much, but I will anyway.

Don't get the Pro with just two ports. Between the Air and the four-port Pro, it's just in a bad spot and also has an outdated CPU at this point (which is in part Intel's fault).

So that means if you do go Pro, you start at $1799.

Now, you also said you don't want above i5 for heat reasons, and you have the Mac mini for heavier stuff anyway. Despite this, I wouldn't go with the $999 Air — the $100 i5 upgrade is just a great deal. You also say 1TB, so that's another $400. I wouldn't recommend going with just 8 GB of RAM, though that's debatable depending on use cases. So, another $200; we're at $1699 now. That's almost the Pro's $1799, but we first need to bring the Pro to the 1TB as well, so now it's $1999.

This $300 difference now comes down to very few things:

  • the Pro has the Touch Bar (my guess is you're indifferent to it, since you don't mention it)
  • the Pro has a brighter, better display and better speaker/mic system
  • the Pro has a CPU that will endure processing tasks for longer; the Air will throttle more quickly, but for quick bursts isn't really that different
  • the Air is thinner and lighter
Given that you "mostly just write on it (working on a book now), surf, watch videos and am finally more of a typical consumer", the Air will be fine. I'm not sure Pro will be appreciably better. They're both good choices.


Thanks so much for your reply. You picked up a lot of things quite accurately about my wishlist and decision-making process. Much obliged.

Replies below:

Just to confirm, have you compared the new scissor keyboard to the old butterfly? That's the only reason why I'm considering this because I have an otherwise perfectly great MBP.

It's like buying a guitar with a fretboard that just doesn't feel right, or a keyboard that doesn't have the right weighted keys. After a year of writing every day on this, I still make mistakes because I can't always tell that I've depressed a key and my stroke is till too hard and I need the key to absorb that more like the old style. I'm hoping there's enough of a difference to justify the effort and the money. I really need a better writing machine if I'm going to get my book done!

~~~

Good tip and distinction on the 2-port. I'd not noticed the CPU difference in my very early comparisons. When you get off the tech merry-go-round, it's funny how fast you fall behind (even though it appears to keep going in circles).

~~~

Yes, after a year with my first touchbar on the 2019 MBP, I'm kinda "meh."

I finally turned it back into a regular display of mac functions like the non-touch bar functions. It just doesn't seem to fit my workflow. I have no desire to lift my hands and play around up there to do much other than to futz with the volume since I keep everything else pretty set (max bright, etc...).

Is anyone else really loving and using the touchbar for even half of what it might do?

~~~

Good point on the display being brighter. That's hard to give up because the retinas have always been less bright than those that preceded them. Brighter is something to consider. If the AppleStore opens up, I'll try to see if I can tell the difference between them. Nicer speakers are good too for the rare occasion when I use them.

~~~

Yes, I would definitely max out the MBA with 16GB RAM (which still seems good enough for everything) and at least a 1TB HD. Those are the minimums I'd have to work with. I know the air is thinner, and that might be kind of nice, but it's only just a smidge lighter. I was able to talk my wife into the 2019 MBP because the weight and size differences had nearly disappeared. She's happy with hers and doesn't seem to mind the keyboard as she has a much lighter touch.

~~~

Does the Core i7 still run noticeably hotter? I really don't plan on doing any heavy lifting, but I will watch (not edit) video on this when I'm away from home (and occasionally when I'm still here). The i5 gets hot enough on my thighs as it is. If there are no overall obvious speed differences in a more end-user type usage, I'd rather stay cooler. Just wondered if Intel or Apple had done anything significant to control the heat coming off the base of the laptop or they're still about the same as they were when the i7 came out.

Lastly, does the MBA with an i5 run at the same lap temp as the MBP? Or would the fans in the MBP make it slightly cooler? Thoughts on that?

~~~

Thanks again for your thoughts. It does seem like Apple's line is getting harder to distinguish and it makes shopping for a new one a little more tricky that before.

I'm leaning towards the MBP at this stage but still want to be open about the MBA.

Cheers,

Mick
 
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chucker23n1

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Just to confirm, have you compared the new scissor keyboard to the old butterfly? That's the only reason why I'm considering this because I have an otherwise perfectly great MBP.

I have not. Some (very few, it seems) people prefer the very low profile of the butterfly. It’s also hard to say if the 2019 butterfly revision still had reliability issues.

Most people seem to enjoy the extra key travel of the scissor. This is subjective; it depends on your posture, “medical history” if you will, etc. But I think by and large, the butterfly keyboard struck a poorer compromise.

That said, no, I’ve never typed on one.

It's like buying a guitar with a fretboard that just doesn't feel right, or a keyboard that doesn't have the right weighted keys. After a year of writing every day on this, I still make mistakes because I can't always tell that I've depressed a key and my stroke is till too hard and I need the key to absorb that more like the old style. I'm hoping there's enough of a difference to justify the effort and the money. I really need a better writing machine if I'm going to get my book done!

It sounds like you’d enjoy the additional key travel.

Again, though, that’s subjective. All I can say is the consensus seems to be the new Magic Keyboard strikes a better balance, and Apple seems to want to kill off the butterfly sooner rather than later. In part because of reliability issues / lawsuits, maybe, but perhaps also in part because few people seem to love such low travel.

If you're unsure, getting someone else's opinion on this probably won't help much. You gotta try yourself. (There's also a return policy, I suppose.)

Good tip and distinction on the 2-port. I'd not noticed the CPU difference in my very early comparisons. When you get off the tech merry-go-round, it's funny how fast you fall behind (even though it appears to keep going in circles).

You’ll get better longevity from either the Air or the four-port, because both have much newer CPUs. The two-port seems to exist mostly as a “see? The Pro starts at $1299” proposition. It's not an awful computer, but I don't see it as a particularly good choice — if the $1799 Pro is a bit much for you, go with the Air (configured upwards from the base model), but either way, don't go with the $1299 Pro.

Yes, after a year with my first touchbar on the 2019 MBP, I'm kinda "meh."

I finally turned it back into a regular display of mac functions like the non-touch bar functions. It just doesn't seem to fit my workflow. I have no desire to lift my hands and play around up there to do much other than to futz with the volume since I keep everything else pretty set (max bright, etc...).

Is anyone else really loving and using the touchbar for even half of what it might do?

I have no experience with it myself and am a little wary of moving to it.

It seems few people outright love the Touch Bar. It also seems Apple hasn't quite figured out what to do with it / how to spread it to the rest of the lineup. What if you're on an iMac? What if you use a MacBook Pro, but for ergonomic reasons, want an external keyboard?

Tools to make it more powerful exist, like https://github.com/Toxblh/MTMR/ and BetterTouchTool https://folivora.ai.

Good point on the display being brighter. That's hard to give up because the retinas have always been less bright than those that preceded them. Brighter is something to consider. If the AppleStore opens up, I'll try to see if I can tell the difference between them. Nicer speakers are good too for the rare occasion when I use them.

Brightness helps a lot outdoors, and also in environments with stark lighting conditions, given that there's a fair amount of glare due to the glass panel. So I think it's a bit of a shame the Air isn't as bright.

Does the Core i7 still run noticeably hotter? I really don't plan on doing any heavy lifting, but I will watch (not edit) video on this when I'm away from home (and occasionally when I'm still here). The i5 gets hot enough on my thighs as it is. If there are no overall obvious speed differences in a more end-user type usage, I'd rather stay cooler. Just wondered if Intel or Apple had done anything significant to control the heat coming off the base of the laptop or they're still about the same as they were when the i7 came out.

A few things on this…

"i7" really just means "the highest (or sometimes second-highest) tier within a series". What in particular that means depends a lot. But yes, generally speaking, given the same thermal constraints, an i7 is meant to be (slightly) faster, and therefore will run hotter.

Second, upgrading from the i3 to the i5 on the Air is absolutely worth it at $100 (you go from a dual-core to a quad-core, and there will be situations where that's welcome). Upgrading to the i7 for another $150, much less so (it's still a quad-core, only at a slightly higher clock).

On the Pro, you start with an i5, and the only option is to spend $200 on an i7. Both are quad-core, and you'll barely notice the difference.

So, in these two cases, I would pick the i5 no matter would: it runs slightly cooler, and it saves money that honestly isn't a good bang for the buck. (But don't go with the i3.)

The final point: much of the heat comes from temporary bursts of high clock, which Intel does opportunistically when it seems warranted (i.e., when a brief, fast computation helps performance), then scales back down as soon as power draw or temperature limits are reached. (This is marked as "Turbo Boost" and "Thermal Velocity Boost".) But, if you find the resulting heat (or fan noise!) annoying, there are tools to disable this behavior altogether or configure it to be less aggressive. See, for example https://www.rugarciap.com/turbo-boost-switcher-for-os-x/ (my understanding is only the automatic features cost money). I don't personally use such a thing, but it is my understanding Marco Arment does.

You can also approach that from the opposite angle — I personally have iStat Menus, and occasionally, for a few minutes, use it to deliberately drive the fans at a higher speed than the OS would, just to cool my Mac down a little. There are various tools that allow that.

Lastly, does the MBA with an i5 run at the same lap temp as the MBP? Or would the fans in the MBP make it slightly cooler? Thoughts on that?

The Air isn't fanless (unlike the 12-inch MacBook was).

At similar usage, the Pro is likely to be quieter and/or cooler, simply because it has more room inside to dissipate heat.

Thanks again for your thoughts. It does seem like Apple's line is getting harder to distinguish and it makes shopping for a new one a little more tricky that before.

I'm leaning towards the MBP at this stage but still want to be open about the MBA.

I think it's gotten better. In 2018, it was really confusing in the $1000-2000 range whether you were supposed to get the 12-inch MacBook, the 13-inch Air, the 13-inch Pro with just two ports (which at the time had various weird differences compared to the other Pros), or the 13-inch Pro with four ports. Not to mention all of them had a highly controversial keyboard that most don't seem to like to type on, and many seem to have experienced serious reliability issues (keys getting stuck, typing multiple times, etc., with the only remedy being replacing the entire topcase!). It made it really hard to confidently recommend any portable Mac at all, for multiple years. That sucked.

They changed the keyboard, killed the MacBook, and made the two-porter a bit less out of place (added Touch ID, etc.). I still think they should kill that altogether, though.

Today, right now, both the Air and the four-port Pro are fine purchases. They've both been upgraded in recent months, and don't seem too pricey for their value to me, by Apple standards.
 
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MickG

macrumors newbie
Mar 14, 2006
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Santa Barbara, CA
I have not. Some (very few, it seems) people prefer the very low profile of the butterfly. It’s also hard to say if the 2019 butterfly revision still had reliability issues.

Most people seem to enjoy the extra key travel of the scissor. This is subjective; it depends on your posture, “medical history” if you will, etc. But I think by and large, the butterfly keyboard struck a poorer compromise.

That said, no, I’ve never typed on one.



It sounds like you’d enjoy the additional key travel.

Again, though, that’s subjective. All I can say is the consensus seems to be the new Magic Keyboard strikes a better balance, and Apple seems to want to kill off the butterfly sooner rather than later. In part because of reliability issues / lawsuits, maybe, but perhaps also in part because few people seem to love such low travel.

If you're unsure, getting someone else's opinion on this probably won't help much. You gotta try yourself. (There's also a return policy, I suppose.)



You’ll get better longevity from either the Air or the four-port, because both have much newer CPUs. The two-port seems to exist mostly as a “see? The Pro starts at $1299” proposition. It's not an awful computer, but I don't see it as a particularly good choice — if the $1799 Pro is a bit much for you, go with the Air (configured upwards from the base model), but either way, don't go with the $1299 Pro.



I have no experience with it myself and am a little wary of moving to it.

It seems few people outright love the Touch Bar. It also seems Apple hasn't quite figured out what to do with it / how to spread it to the rest of the lineup. What if you're on an iMac? What if you use a MacBook Pro, but for ergonomic reasons, want an external keyboard?

Tools to make it more powerful exist, like https://github.com/Toxblh/MTMR/ and BetterTouchTool https://folivora.ai.



Brightness helps a lot outdoors, and also in environments with stark lighting conditions, given that there's a fair amount of glare due to the glass panel. So I think it's a bit of a shame the Air isn't as bright.



A few things on this…

"i7" really just means "the highest (or sometimes second-highest) tier within a series". What in particular that means depends a lot. But yes, generally speaking, given the same thermal constraints, an i7 is meant to be (slightly) faster, and therefore will run hotter.

Second, upgrading from the i3 to the i5 on the Air is absolutely worth it at $100 (you go from a dual-core to a quad-core, and there will be situations where that's welcome). Upgrading to the i7 for another $150, much less so (it's still a quad-core, only at a slightly higher clock).

On the Pro, you start with an i5, and the only option is to spend $200 on an i7. Both are quad-core, and you'll barely notice the difference.

So, in these two cases, I would pick the i5 no matter would: it runs slightly cooler, and it saves money that honestly isn't a good bang for the buck. (But don't go with the i3.)

The final point: much of the heat comes from temporary bursts of high clock, which Intel does opportunistically when it seems warranted (i.e., when a brief, fast computation helps performance), then scales back down as soon as power draw or temperature limits are reached. (This is marked as "Turbo Boost" and "Thermal Velocity Boost".) But, if you find the resulting heat (or fan noise!) annoying, there are tools to disable this behavior altogether or configure it to be less aggressive. See, for example https://www.rugarciap.com/turbo-boost-switcher-for-os-x/ (my understanding is only the automatic features cost money). I don't personally use such a thing, but it is my understanding Marco Arment does.

You can also approach that from the opposite angle — I personally have iStat Menus, and occasionally, for a few minutes, use it to deliberately drive the fans at a higher speed than the OS would, just to cool my Mac down a little. There are various tools that allow that.



The Air isn't fanless (unlike the 12-inch MacBook was).

At similar usage, the Pro is likely to be quieter and/or cooler, simply because it has more room inside to dissipate heat.



I think it's gotten better. In 2018, it was really confusing in the $1000-2000 range whether you were supposed to get the 12-inch MacBook, the 13-inch Air, the 13-inch Pro with just two ports (which at the time had various weird differences compared to the other Pros), or the 13-inch Pro with four ports. Not to mention all of them had a highly controversial keyboard that most don't seem to like to type on, and many seem to have experienced serious reliability issues (keys getting stuck, typing multiple times, etc., with the only remedy being replacing the entire topcase!). It made it really hard to confidently recommend any portable Mac at all, for multiple years. That sucked.

They changed the keyboard, killed the MacBook, and made the two-porter a bit less out of place (added Touch ID, etc.). I still think they should kill that altogether, though.

Today, right now, both the Air and the four-port Pro are fine purchases. They've both been upgraded in recent months, and don't seem too pricey for their value to me, by Apple standards.


I keep wanting the time to respond at greater length but am still in the final week of Grad School. I should have more time to respond next week, and might wait till after it arrives towards the end of the week.

I ended up ordering another Core i5 MBP (2.0 GHz) with 16GB RAM and the 2TB HD (in the hopes that I'll hang onto this one long enough to have that look like a wiser HD size). I got it through Apple Educational since I'm in school, but Adorama looked cheaper! Should have looked a bit closer, but there you go.

Mostly, I wanted to sincerely thank you for your detailed responses and replies here. It really helped to sort out the differences. I think the brighter screen was a tipping point of sorts for my 50-something eyes. It was very generous of you to donate your time and experience. Much obliged.


It's definitely the oddest Mac purchase I've ever made, already having exactly what I need, but with the crappy keyboard making my writing instrument feel flawed. I really, really hope the new keyboard is worth all the hassle!


Final thoughts prior to arrival. [This response ended up taking so long to write that my new 2020 13” MacBook Pro arrived yesterday! See my initial 24 hour thoughts below]


LOVE iStat Menus and we used to install a free version of it on every computer that came into our shop. It was usually to help us, but many of our clients ended up purchasing it later. The new weather feature was cool enough that I paid for that.


HATED the 12" MacBook and very happy to see the Airs kick them off the lineup. Whew! They just looked rinky-dink, flimsy, and just awful. I'd prefer Apple not to cater to the low end of the market, and they were still too expensive to do that well, anyway.


I think the Touch Bar is still one of those things that came out of an Apple brainstorming session about how to make something new for the laptop. It’s simply not ergonomic for me and no one really wants to keep lifting their hands off the keyboard to do stuff. Perhaps using a MBP at a desk for something video or audio recording related might help, but even then the imprecision of the glass and not being able to feel where one key ends and the other begins, just doesn’t make sense to me. If Jobs was still alive, I think he might kill it by now.

Those think tank sessions must be really interesting, and I confess I wish they’d hire me for those, but I believe that if one defines “new” as “better,” you’re in for some useless, annoying upgrades that will ultimately prove “worse.”



NEWS FLASH! IT’S HERE!


And without further ado, the keyboard is noticeably better!


I have an ill-fitting (2019 MBP) Moshi clear guard over it right now (the longer traveling keys need a special cover which should be here in a few days), but that chronic issue as I type—with my pounding style bouncing off the keyboard all the time—appears to be gone! OMG! I’m sooooo happy! I hope Apple never screws up it’s keyboards again. Most real typists don’t want to type on glass, or have that feeling of doing so. I’m glad that the Apple desktop keyboards are no longer a centimeter tall, but they don’t need to go any shorter than the Chiclets style.


Wow, what a weird, wild journey this has been. To replace a one-year old perfectly great MBP because of the keyboard’s keys is a first for me. When I was in the business (4 years ago), I used to replace hardware with some regularity because I could easily sell my extremely well-cared for used stuff to clients. But even then, there wasn’t often a need to do so every year (iPhones were the exception because the hardware kept leapfrogging…). Anyway, at least I don’t feel really stupid and the new scissor keys really do have that extra travel space that works for my writing.



ONE CONCERN, However…


Late last night while watching some videos on it, I noticed weird video glitches when going full screen. Ugh… I hope I don’t have a lemon. Anyone else heard anything about that? Video plays fine in the small 3x5 box, but some of them (maybe a third?) were very glitchy. Not sure how to explain what I saw. I saw this in both Chrome and Safari (latest version of each) and couldn’t find a pattern to why it was happening.


Has anyone heard of this with the new 2020 MBP?…

Mick
 
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