Interesting article about why the MacBook Pro lacks XYZ

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by asoksevil, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. asoksevil, Oct 31, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016

    asoksevil macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2010
    Taipei, Taiwan
    • Why is it limited to 16GB of RAM? Supporting more RAM would just require a bigger battery, so instead of making it thinner, they could have included 32GB of RAM and kept it the same width as the previous model

    Although this is technically true, there is a seemingly little-known legal obstacle to this. The Federal Aviation Administration has capped the maximum allowable size of laptop batteries on flights to 100 watt-hours. That explains why Apple’s pro model contains precisely a 99.5 watt-hour battery (2015 model, 76wh for the 2016). Making a thicker laptop would not allow them to increase the size of the battery due to these regulations.

    This battery capacity limitation goes a long way to explaining a lot of the problems with current laptops from all manufacturers. It’s also probably the main defining force of this iteration of the MacBook Pro. Apple were determined to have a reasonably long battery life, and everything else they did had to be designed around the limited size of the battery. They couldn’t have made it bigger or more powerful, practically speaking, if they wanted to.

    • The GPU is disappointingly underpowered. They are up against things like the 1060 from Nvidia which is more than 3 times faster

    This is about that battery restriction again. The 1060 draws 75 watts and the AMD Radeon which Apple uses uses draws a mere 35 watts. Considering that my latest passion is machine learning, I would dearly love to see an Nvidia card used personally, because CUDA is required for machine learning GPU acceleration in general, and that is not supported by AMD, so I’m stuck with using the order-of-magnitude-slower CPU in macOS for the most part.

    • The storage capacity in the base models as the same as it was before

    Apple’s internal storage speed is in line with the industries best, and the prices that it charges tend to be less than the competitors. On the contrary, Apple has stopped overcharging for its internal storage recently.

    • The TouchBar is a gimmick, and they could have just made the screen itself touch sensitive

    Apple said that they prototyped this and it didn’t work out, and I tend to believe them. User input is something that’s hard to get right for everybody at once, and it seems like we’re just going to have to wait and see how it works out before judging this. My perspective of it has improved since I ran the TouchBar in the Simulator in the latest version of XCode, which emulates it by putting it on the screen.


    I have gotten the opportunity to see how it works in practice and it’s better than I thought it’d be after I saw it onstage. My guess is that they have not nailed the entire future of user interaction on laptops with one fell swoop with this, but whether it becomes a genuinely useful tool and the beginning of future paradigm shifting design iterations is yet to be seen.

    The dial with the new Microsoft Surface Studio certainly looks sexy and has the wow factor, but it is too soon to call it the winner yet. I will be interested to see in a year from now which input method is the most used and the most supported. Any predictions which declare either the winner at this point are too early.

  2. Baldrake macrumors 6502

    May 22, 2012
    Great White North
    Really interesting discussion. Designing a laptop certainly is balancing a lot of different issues pulling in different directions.

    Microsoft demonstrated very clearly that making a desktop OS into a touch OS is very, very hard. After all the effort they put in, even Windows 10 is still a mess. I am optimistic about the Touch Bar - will be interested to see how well it flies in real use.
  3. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    All well and good except the entire premise the article is based on is wrong. The battery in the 15" MBP has been reduced from 99.5Whr on the previous generation (correctly limited, in part by Aviation regulations) to 76Whr today.
  4. asoksevil thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2010
    Taipei, Taiwan

Share This Page

3 October 31, 2016