Future 13" MacBook Pro (w/ Function Keys) Speculation

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Yebubbleman, Jun 15, 2018.

  1. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #1
    Putting aside what any of us WANTS to see from subsequent MacBook Pro updates, I am curious as to what those of you that have been following MacBook Pro specific rumors think about the likelihood of Apple continuing to offer a 13" MacBook Pro. Specifically one that has a removable SSD, retains the traditional Function keys, and has no meddlesome T-series co-processor - in exchange for the kind of processor that would traditionally be in a 13" MacBook Air rather than a 13" MacBook Pro and with only two Thunderbolt 3 ports instead of four.

    Aside from SSD replicability, the thing I probably value most about this machine compared to its Touch Bar brethren is the absence of a T-series co-processor (or iBridge). Yes, it pilots the Touch Bar and enables TouchID, but it also makes repartitioning your SSD (which, while becoming increasingly uncommon of an activity thanks to the El Capitan-and-later era of Disk Utility, is still sometimes necessary) and, potential downgrades of your OS down the road, kind of problematic in ways that you wouldn't have to care about on a Mac that still lacks said T-series co-processor.

    How likely do you all think it will be that Apple will just keep giving this machine spec bumps? Or do you all think that the aforementioned things that I like about this machine will go away soon?

    Certainly it fuels my "do I purchase now or later" dilemma...
     
  2. Closingracer macrumors 68040

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    #2
    If they are intending to push the TB I would think they will kill off the nTB soon. If they are going to only push it like they have been which isn't much they might keep it going for a while
     
  3. chabig macrumors 603

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    #3
    Why is partitioning even necessary any more, and why does the corprocessor make doing it problematic?
     
  4. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #4

    Partitioning is useful for the same reasons it's always been. If all your partitions are for macOS though, APFS volume sharing inside a single APFS container does the trick too though.

    Why the T chip should make it problematic I have no clue about. I'd like to know that too
     
  5. Yebubbleman thread starter macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #5
    The Touch Bar runs a heavily modified version of watchOS that lives in a hidden EFI partition (and runs off of the T1 chip). If you repartition the drive, you kill said hidden EFI partition, which will send your Mac into a boot loop. And from what I’ve gathered, this isn’t simply restored when reinstalling the operating system. The T2 chip on the iMac Pro necessitates that, if there is an OS failure that it be restored from another Mac running Apple Configurator 2. So, yeah, from the standpoint of “what if I want control of my drives” or “what if my system takes a dump”, this is somewhat user-hostile and is somewhat scary for the future of the Mac (assuming Apple ever updates the Macs it has).

    From the standpoint of laptops, the 13” MacBook Pro with function keys is the last “current” Mac laptop that has a removable SSD. The 12” MacBook doesn’t have that, and the TouchBar MacBook Pros don’t have that (presumably due to a requirement of the Touch Bar and TouchID). And yeah, lacking a co-processor that mandates how and when I restore my operating system is certainly a plus in my book.
     
  6. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #6

    Surely if you repartition with Apple tools like Disk Utility it won't harm the iBridge OS?
     
  7. Yebubbleman thread starter macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #7
    I'm pretty sure that you are either prohibited from doing so on said machines via Disk Utility or you are able to at the risk of bricking the Touch Bar.

    Put it this way, this article is largely what has me so anti-touch-bar. Otherwise, I'd just buy myself a maxxed out 15" MacBook Pro of current and be done with it...

    https://blog.eriknicolasgomez.com/2...new-os-activation-for-touch-bar-macbook-pros/
     
  8. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #8

    Right. That article is about imaging with non-Apple tools for sysadmins that image upwards of 100's of Macs using third party tools. Using Apple's software for imaging works, and presumably third party tools will be updated to handle these new computers gracefully.
     
  9. Yebubbleman thread starter macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #9
    NetInstall is a first party tool. It IS Apple's software for imaging.

    And as best as I can tell, the moral of the story is don't blow away the drive on a Touch Bar MacBook Pro. And again, I'm not a fan of that because who the hell knows when you might actually need to do that. You boot camp and something goes haywire with Windows or macOS or both and repartitioning is what you traditionally want to do. And so long as your Mac isn't (a) a 13" MacBook Pro with TouchBar, (b) a 15" MacBook Pro with TouchBar, or (c) an iMac Pro, you can still do so without a fuss.
     
  10. chrfr macrumors 604

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    #10
    The iMac Pro doesn't allow for Netinstall or Netboot; it's likely that the same limitations will expand to apply to future Macs, thereby making any traditional imaging tools either from Apple or third parties obsolete.
     
  11. casperes1996 macrumors 68040

    casperes1996

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    #11

    Sorry, I may have misread the article, but pretty sure it said something about not using NetInstall - I just skimmed it though, so I may have read that wrong.

    Regardless, it did say that with a network connection it could retrieve the TouchBar OS again, right? Or have I missed more things?
    --- Post Merged, Jun 18, 2018 ---

    Sure, alright - but that doesn't limit re-partitioning by an end user who doesn't need to manage a larger infrastructure with net installers. - And there's still the MDM server solution; That should still work, yeah?
     
  12. JPack macrumors 601

    JPack

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    #12
    Future of MBP with F-keys will probably depend on the upcoming $999 MacBook Air.

    The F-key model will probably disappear if the $999 has Retina and TB3.

    Right now, the gap between the Air and Pro is great enough it necessitates an F-key model. But once the Air has been updated, the Pro can start at $1,499 with Touch Bar.
     
  13. Yebubbleman thread starter macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #13
    Certainly if you Boot Camp and things go south, you will need to repartition. There are many situations where, albeit historically, a repartition can save your bacon. That being said, the new Disk Utility deemphasizes it greatly, but that still doesn't negate that sometimes, the functionality is necessary. If my partition goes to hell, simply erasing it and reinstalling the OS is not likely to help, and on a machine where the drive is ON the logic board, that REALLY doesn't help me if what I want is to regain control over my computer.

    It said that with a network connection (and the correct open ports [which is also bad if you're in a locked down environment as is common at some workplaces]) it will reattempt to activate the OS, but that results are not consistent.

    Doesn't leave me with the warmest of warm fuzzies if what I want is control over my computer as I have been able to enjoy with countless Macintoshes past.


    MDM is the proposed alternative to all of this. It's fine and dandy if you're taking the machine out of the box ready to roll for a new user. But it makes things weird if you want to reissue a computer to someone else and/or have to follow strict information security protocols and have to wipe the drive before giving the machine away.

    As for the end user scenario, the end user can wipe a current partition and it can create a new one, but if you want to blow away the partition scheme, you can't. And again, sometimes you need to do that. I get that APFS is supposed to be revolutionary for the Mac, but it can't be THAT good so as to render this sort of thing unnecessary for EVERY POSSIBLE SCENARIO.

    Which is odd to me because the Function Key 13" MBP (w/ Two Thunderbolt Ports) was literally billed as the MacBook Air replacement. Phil Schiller was on stage going on about how that machine was specifically targeted at MacBook Air customers hungering for a retina MacBook Air. And certainly from a specs perspective, it uses the same class of processors, RAM, and graphics that would've gone to a 13" MacBook Air had it been labeled as such.
     
  14. JPack macrumors 601

    JPack

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    #14
    The base model MBP is an Air replacement in terms of specs and dimensions, but it's still $300 more expensive than Air.

    The Air can adopt a Retina display and low end Kaby Lake processor. The MBP can adopt Coffee Lake. The MBP will continue to have form factor, Touch Bar, and processor advantages.
     
  15. Yebubbleman thread starter macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #15
    Right, so if they drop the price of the MBP with function keys, then other than being confusing marketing, why would there need to be a Retina Air?
     
  16. JPack macrumors 601

    JPack

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    #16
    Apple needs a mainstream product at $999.

    Retina Air continues to be a product for those who want basic computing needs in a bulkier form factor. For Apple, it's cheaper to manufacture due to the 4-cell battery (Air) compared to 6-cell (Pro).

    If anything, the current choice between MacBook Pro F-key and Touch Bar is far more confusing than Retina Air vs. Retina Pro.
     
  17. Yebubbleman thread starter macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #17
    I still don't get how, especially compared to the current 13" MacBook Air, simply lowering the cost on the Function keys 13" Pro and renaming it "MacBook Air" wouldn't suffice.

    The only things making that machine not a "MacBook Air" are the name and the price. Though, I agree that lumping it in so that it is as adjacent to the 13" Touch Bar model as it is really does make it confusing from a marketing standpoint.
     
  18. JPack macrumors 601

    JPack

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    #18
    MacBook Pro is more expensive to manufacture due to:
    • Newer chassis design and tooling compared to Air
    • Force Touch (none on Air)
    • 6-cell battery (4-cell on Air)

    I simply don't think Apple would want to make Air look like a Pro especially since Apple already is already manufacturing the Air chassis.
     
  19. Yebubbleman, Jun 19, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018

    Yebubbleman thread starter macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #19
    I don't know that I agree 100% on this. Especially since Apple has otherwise seemed keen on dumping the "Air" branding from product lines that used it in favor of simply having {Product line} and {Product line} Pro as they've done with MacBook, iMac, and iPad. But I will agree that it was much simpler marketing when the 13" machine that had the lower power CPUs was called 'MacBook Air" and the 13" machine that had the beefier dual-core mobile Intel Core chips was called 'MacBook Pro'. And I will agree that their $999 spot is not occupied by a machine running the latest processors of the caliber historically employed by the Function Keys Thunderbolt 3 enabled 13" MacBook Pros of current and the 13" MacBook Airs of yesteryear and that something with more current specs should retake that spot from the aging MacBook Air and the underpowered 12" MacBook.
     

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18 June 15, 2018