Jason Snell for Macworld: Three MacBook mistakes: Will Apple correct course?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mr. Dee, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. Mr. Dee macrumors 68020

    Mr. Dee

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    #1
    Three MacBook mistakes: Will Apple correct course?

    Jason brought up some good points regarding the new generation of MacBooks and MacBook Pro's. There are a number of loyalists when it comes to these new models; especially in regards to the keyboard. But, I have concluded these persons are in the very smallest minority. When you have mainstream media pointing out the keyboard sucks; the touch bar is actually pointless; the USB-C strategy is too pre-mature, there is a problem.

    Apple is going through a tough design period right now and its either attributed to insulation or hitting a dead end trying to keep these products fresh.

    I personally gonna send an email to Tim Cook to tell him to restore some focus to the fundamental thinking of its founder. Stop trying to be so gimmicky because you have to have something new to wow us. Just be practical.

    I think what most users wanted in the new MacBook Pro's all along was a faster MacBook Pro using the latest Intel processors, RAM and video RAM technologies and two USB C ports in addition to USB A and the other ports. They have been right with the fast SSDs. The design decisions regarding the hardware is where things are really going wrong. The trash can Mac Pro was first big mistake and we are seeing it repeated with other flagship products.

    The retina MacBook itself is another example. Sure, it could be lighter, but what I think would have been better was to keep the MacBook Air chassis, reduce the bezel, make it retina, add a USB C port and new generation processors and be done.

    From the iPhones headphone jack to the Notch, Apple really feels like its experiencing a creativity block.

    Think about how technology needs to be easier not gimmicky. When Steve Jobs saw the GUI he obviously understood, this is a better way than typing in DOS commands. Apple was able to run with that for 5 years until Microsoft got it right with Windows 3.0 and even surpassed it with Windows 95. Even then, Mac OS remained the gold standard for graphical operating systems. Instead of carrying around CD's you have an MP3 player that conveniently keeps a thousand songs. Instead of downloading an album of fillers, you just download the songs you want for 99 cents. I just think that intuitiveness is gone at Apple.

    When I hear the responses from Tim in a Buzzfeed interview, its almost like he doesn't have a clue what he is talking about. He can't even sell AR by finding 3 good reasons with saying 'ummmmmmmm' 20 times over.
     
  2. Hater macrumors 6502a

    Hater

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    #2
    Lenovo took my money this time around with the Classic ThinkPad.

    Maybe it's time Apple looked back to the PowerBooks?

    Maybe I'm only another minority...
     
  3. zaphodb3 macrumors member

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    #3
    The fundamental problem is probably convergence of form. It's why people call smartphones and laptops "boring" and say things like "all these smartphones have been the same for the past 4 years", etc. It's because companies have converged onto a great form that they don't want to mess with too much, which leads to complaints about lack of novelty, when in fact tech history is littered with gimmicky devices. Check out the Nokia 7280, or the Xentex two-screen laptops.

    I think Apple is trying hard not to be seen as boring and old. Unfortunately, as the form for the standard laptop has pretty much converged, their only other choice is a 'gimmick' that they hope will somehow outgrow its 'gimmick'ness. I think a lot of other companies struck gold by investing in the 2-in-1 laptop idea, which Apple is trying to compete with on two fronts with both laptops and tablets. I wonder if Apple will eventually go this way to break out of their rut.
     
  4. ibtj macrumors newbie

    ibtj

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    #4
    i would add, that getting only 6-7 hours of battery life, while browsing the web and light youtube streaming is disappointing for a 3000$ machine.
     
  5. Mr. Dee thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mr. Dee

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    #5
    I think what hurts Apple the most is the need to backtrack on their decisions. They know it looks bad. When the Surface Pro came to market, Tim made public comments its a refrigerator and microwave in one. In 2015, they converted the iPad into such a device with the 12.9 iPad Pro and added a stylus (pencil). They tried saving face selling each component separately making even more money on top it.

    The issue with the iPad Pro right now is, the interface is, its not productive enough in comparison to macOS or Windows simply because of a lack of windowing. For a company with thousands of engineers, adding this novel function - even optional should not be so hard. iOS 11 tries to make it more convenient, but power users want all the multi-tasking power of macOS in iOS on iPad Pro. Its just the right thing to do. But I think Apple will get there, but they are gonna charge you for it by saying, window mode only works on the 2020 iPad Pros.
     
  6. Queen6, Oct 26, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017

    Queen6 macrumors 604

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    #6
    Apple should do something and most of all apply some common sense. I no longer use the Mac professionally due to poor design decisions clearly taken to impress rather than deliver and a general lack of interest in the desktop OS outside of tricks & bells.

    I can work in either Windows or OS X, however I expect a lot more from a Mac than it just impressing the kiddies. Bottom line is Apple has become a phone company, that has a healthy PC business, equally it's abundantly clear the Mac is no longer considered important to Apple.

    With all Apple's vast resources the best they can do is just produce needlessly thinner notebooks that are now sacrificing usability & reliability...

    Q-6
     
  7. Naimfan Suspended

    Naimfan

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    #7
    Exactly correct.

    We don't need a laptop for the future - we need one that works NOW without requiring new cables or dongles or adapters. We need one that has a reliable keyboard, a trackpad that isn't so huge it creates random cursor movement and clicks, that eliminates the touchbar as a needless and expensive toy, and one that is not a complete retail rip-off. $2,399 for a 256 GB of storage and a poor to mediocre graphics unit is ludicrous.
     
  8. smbu2000 macrumors regular

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    #8
    The retro thinkpad?
    I just finished watching Louis Rossmann’s “Why I’m not buying the Thinkpad Retro” YouTube video. I’d recommend checking it out.
     
  9. leman, Oct 26, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017

    leman macrumors G3

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    #9
    Good article! Although I'd have to say that I am not sure about his criticism of the TouchBar. The thing is, the TouchBar is nothing to "rave about". Its not a reason to buy (or not to buy) a computer. Its simply a context-aware input device on your laptop that might or might not make sense for your computer use. The point is that it replaces something that has been ultimately quite useless — the function key bar. So yes, I'd rather have the situationally useful TouchBar than a bunch of legacy keys that haven't been part of macOS interface design guidelines for a over a decade. And as to the dreaded escape key and programming... my most used app is TextMate, which makes Esc my most used key. Is Touch Bar a regression here? Can't say that my fingers think so.

    Here is my take on what Apple should do better or could have done:

    1. Marketing. Apple still makes the classical laptop — their basic computer design is identical to what they did 15 years ago. Which is a great thing in my book. The problem is that it doesn't look as cool as the gimmicky convertibles other manufacturers are going for. In fact, by staying true to its roots and maintaining their vision of what makes a great laptop (while others cut corners by using cheaper connectivity options and low-power CPUs), Apple is paradoxically perceived as being less innovative. Remember how last year everyone and their grandma was bashing Apple for not using Kaby Lake CPUs, even though they were actually SLOWER than what Apple did use? This situation is quite annoying and I don't really know how Apple can get out of here. I certainly hope that they won't jump on the same bandwagon as everyone else.

    2. USB-C... When they went full USB-C, they must have assumed that peripheral makers will catch up. Well, they kind of did, but then they also didn't. I wish Apple used its vast resources to lobby a) better standards in the USC-C department (e.g. cable production for once) and b) availability of good quality USB-C chips for third-party use. Also, iPhone X with lightning connector is literally a kick in the nuts.

    3. Transparency. Come on guys, communicate a bit more and be a bit more honest. A great thing that Jobs could do was to "infect" others with his enthusiasm. Current Apple's PR completely lacks this. Federighi is ok, but more in a sympathetic goofy way. They really need to work on their presentations.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 26, 2017 ---
    Offtopic, but Louis Rossmann is a manipulative narcissist and everything he says should be taken with 1000 grains of salt. I haven't watched this particular video, since I can't stand the character, and it is possible that he is totally spot on with what he says, but be sure to check other reviews as well.

    P.S. Just checked out that Thinkpad Retro. Wow. It really takes "courage" to ask that much money for that spec. The funny thing is that it will probably sell well.
     
  10. jerryk macrumors 601

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    #10
    I like the ThinkPad 25th edition. Brings back some fond memories.

    I wonder if they keep the tray under the keyboard that directs water down and away from the electronics when you spill coffee, water, etc on it. I have seen some posting in the last week or so from members that probably wish Apple had this in the Macbook Pro.

    For those who have not seen this feature, watch this:
     
  11. SB-MBP Suspended

    SB-MBP

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    #11
    That editor is entitled to his subjective opinions as much as the rest of you guys. Doesn’t mean he’s right.

    Apple won’t fix design decisions that they deliberately decided to go with just because a few distraught individuals can’t accept the future of their machines. (Read: they’re not broken).
     
  12. Mr. Dee, Oct 26, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2017

    Mr. Dee thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mr. Dee

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    #12
    Jason is a respected journalists who has been covering Apple for decades. His opinion holds a lot of weight in the Apple community.

    I don't know if your rosy love fest for Apple has to do with their contributions to Ireland's as an offshore tax haven; or investment for new data centers; or you are in denial because you are using one of these flawed Macs.

    You say Apple won't fix design decisions when the original article lists the numerous design mistakes they have backtracked on over the years. From the iPod Shuffle to the Antennaegate iPhone 4 and the mea culpa over the modular Mac Pro.
     
  13. legioxi macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Make it faster, add more RAM, add another USB-C port and make the ports support Thunderbolt... but please don't touch the physical size or keyboard. The laptop's physical design is a dream for me, it's awesome for travel and working on. I just wish it supported 32GB RAM (that's its only limitation for me with regard to VMs/dev) and had 2 ports with thunderbolt.
     
  14. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #14
    Apple has sold millions of these computers but people who actually like them are in the minority? Hmm... When I see big news outlets casting criticism I don't think it's a widespread problem, I just think negative news sells and around ANY Apple product launch you tend to see immediate "Problems" being pushed by the media, as it gets hits on their site. A few months later they usually report that the problems have been fixed or that there's a new opinion saying the original problem wasn't real at all. Anyway, I'd bet the millions of MBP owners out there are quite happy with their machines over a few disgruntled tech journalists.

    I am curious at this stage what Apple could do to appease everyone though, I mean things will always be polarised, it's human nature to take a side and we've all been programmed to be either PC or Mac, iOS or Android ... if Apple released a computer with the same design just updated the components, people would cry that they don't innovate. If they did include a few USB-A ports people would question why not have all USB-C if it's so great. If they had the same keyboard there'd be moans of not changing for 10 years. No matter what though, there's always the memory of a dead demigod to invoke as a pillar of excellence and a vein misuse of 3rd hand knowledge, WWJD? That's right, he would have made it all perfect. On the other hand Cook, a man at the head of a multi-billion dollar company, only gets attention when he for some unknown reason wants to generate revenue, what would Jobs have done? That's right, he would have appointed Cook in the first place, meaning it was Jobs infallible decision to promote Cook and so Cook is actually jobs last great thing he did.

    Anyway, love it or hate it, buy a PC or an older Mac, keep hold of your current Mac, if something works and gets the job done then that's all that matters to me. Nothing really matters and there will always be opinions out there, don't mean you need to agree with them or follow them waving little torches.
     
  15. Mr. Dee thread starter macrumors 68020

    Mr. Dee

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    #15
    So, you went to every single customer who purchased a Mac between October 2016 to October 2017 and actually determined that the vast majority are satisfied customers who bought one of these?

    Please!

    The last I checked, Apple doesn't split out what Mac is bought by whom. The company continues to sell the older 2015 generation MacBook Pro's, along with the 13 inch MacBook Air, which remains very popular choice. If I was take a guess, I think Apple sells millions of MacBook Air more than even the Pro models. The MacBook Pro despite power is probably is a niche choice, albeit, a popular one. Going through airports, conferences and watching TV, I see the MacBook Air more than any other model Mac besides the iMac.

    But don't forget, Apple sells iMacs too and even the retina MacBook. For all we know, the new MacBook Pro's could probably be only 10% of Macs sold.
     
  16. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #16
    So I can not assume that the millions of computers sold means that people are buying them, and are probably happy with them because I have not gone to everyone who brought one. But you can believe that a journalist who has the exact same information and can determine that there is a an overwhelming majority think they're terrible machines? And then you're willing to speculate on numbers sold in the same post as criticising my guess?

    It's right that Apple just list number of products sold, but you can find market research companies that make a living from analysing data and stuff, check TrendForce for instance.

    "Apple shipped 3.4 million units of MacBook devices this first quarter and claimed fifth place in the ranking. The latest generation of MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, which was released in last year’s fourth quarter, was well-received by consumers and contributed significantly to the overall MacBook shipments. As a result, first-quarter MacBook shipments, while representing a 15.8% decline versus the prior quarter, also showed a year-on-year increase of 15.4%. Furthermore, TrendForce estimates that MacBook shipments for this second quarter will grow by more than 10% compared with the first quarter. This projection is attributed to Apple’s plan to update its 12-inch MacBook with a new processor and the possibility of promotional pricing for some older models."

    You just need to cross-reference number of Macs against laptops. You could hunt down the average purchase price or money spent when buying an Apple notebook in order to strengthen an opinion, say the average is $900 then it's probably a MBA, if $2000 it's unlikely to be a MBA.

    If I was basing this on personal observations it'd just be pointless but I seldom see a MBA in the wild, see a couple of rMB's, mostly new MBP's. But that's just going to be based on where I am or where I go and not actual global studies unless I've been everywhere in the last 12 months and kept a log.
     
  17. vxh.viet, Oct 26, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017

    vxh.viet macrumors member

    vxh.viet

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    #17
    Sorry but which Buzzfeed interview you're talking about? If it's this one, then I think he handles it quite good. Yes, he doesn't come up with a legitimate reason for using AR, heck nobody at this stage has a practical reason for using AR beside gaming and entertainment, but I believe AR has a much better presence than 1 year ago. We our self also have the very same problem with answering said question. AR is quite consumer ready now but I believe it will really flourish when head-on display/goggle becomes more user friendly.

    Sorry, I didn't mean to side track this discussion.
     
  18. Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

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    #18
    Everyone I know who has purchased or tried the new design MBP for professional use has either returned or passed, nor have I yet to see one being utilised in a professional role. People are either holding onto older hardware or switching to Windows. Many now consider the MBP to be a joke, even long term professional users, Apple went for the soft option, so the backlash from it's professional audience is hardly surprising.

    Apple may very well be selling the MBP in numbers, equally it's failing miserably to impress it's dwindling professional users, and arguably it's most important customers. Apple desperately wants the credibility, kudos and "Halo effect" it's professional users bring, yet it's current direction is literally driving them away.

    Was a time I would have unreservedly recommended the Mac, these days I pretty much discount it, being mostly a lifestyle product designed to impress rather than perform...

    Q-6
    --- Post Merged, Oct 26, 2017 ---
    There are most definitely significant use case's for AR & VR and much is in development, I'm aware of some developments myself, in their own field extremely impressive, equally still at the developmental stage, nor something that's coming to the average household soon if ever.

    I do agree the current bottleneck is the display form factor, once this is developed AR/VR will be significantly impactful on many levels...

    Q-6
     
  19. ugru macrumors 6502

    ugru

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    #19
    Pretty easy solution IMHO.

    Add one more USB-C port to currrent MacBook and rename it MacBook Air.
    Add an HDMI and USBA and magsafe to current MBP and rename it MacBook.
    Release a real MBP thicker, more ram, more powerful CPU and GPU, magsafe and as big as legally possible battery.

    Problems solved.
     
  20. leman macrumors G3

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    #20
    Sure enough.

    There are no more powerful CPUs out there, the MBP already has the fastest. Making it slightly thicker won't help with a faster GPU, since the next fastest one has 2x TDP. And adding DDR4 will most likely reduce battery life substantially. See? Not hat easy after all.
     
  21. killawat macrumors 65816

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    #21
    Apple ask me (and others of course) how we're enjoying our new MBP (via survey), and I gave them good reviews. Don't worry fellas, I told them that the headphone port still matters in 2016, so you guys can enjoy it on your 2018 MBPs . I own 2006 (in service) , 2007 (sold),2008 (dead nvidia), 2010 (retired), 2016 and 2017 (work) MBP variants. Remember ExpressCard ? Remember that tiiiinnnnyyy little latch that comes out of the top lid assembly? And the resulting lid bowing? I do. Anyway, the 2016+ are my favorite, hands down. They're skinny as hell , I can't even hold them half the time. I do not use the touch bar at all, what so ever. It's goes wild when you're quickly tabbing through windows. But TB3 for me is nirvana. I can hook up whatever I want. And so can you. 80 Gb/s worth. The flexibility is unmatched. My main gripe is that Apple didn't provide a solution to pass DisplayPort Signals from mDP to USB-C. Come on apple we can have TB to FW800 but we can't have USB-C to mDP? If you want more ports you may have to look past Apple. I was very, very close to leaving the Mac eco system, I hung onto my 2010 for over six (freaking) years and had to watch TB1, TB2, and every other windows PC get TB3 except Apple. I was close to getting the 2015 but wanted TB3 ports. Apple made us wait over two years for it iirc, but for me, it was worth it.

    I can absolutely see how a USB-C MBP would not work for some people. I personally would never buy a MacBook because it only includes one USB-C port that doesn't even have TB3. And thats ok, I see alot of people who don't know TB3 from tuberculosis, but they love their MacBooks.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 27, 2017 ---
    Apple ask me (and others of course) how we're enjoying our new MBP (via survey), and I gave them good reviews. Don't worry fellas, I told them that the headphone port still matters in 2016, so you guys can enjoy it on your 2018 MBPs . I own 2006 (in service) , 2007 (sold),2008 (dead nvidia), 2010 (retired), 2016 and 2017 (work) MBP variants. Remember ExpressCard ? Remember that tiiiinnnnyyy little latch that comes out of the top lid assembly? And the resulting lid bowing? I do. Anyway, the 2016+ are my favorite, hands down. They're skinny as hell , I can't even hold them half the time. I do not use the touch bar at all, what so ever. It's goes wild when you're quickly tabbing through windows. But TB3 for me is nirvana. I can hook up whatever I want. And so can you. 80 Gb/s worth. The flexibility is unmatched. My main gripe is that Apple didn't provide a solution to pass DisplayPort Signals from mDP to USB-C. Come on apple we can have TB to FW800 but we can't have USB-C to mDP? If you want more ports you may have to look past Apple. I was very, very close to leaving the Mac eco system, I hung onto my 2010 for over six (freaking) years and had to watch TB1, TB2, and every other windows PC get TB3 except Apple. I was close to getting the 2015 but wanted TB3 ports. Apple made us wait over two years for it iirc, but for me, it was worth it.

    I can absolutely see how a USB-C MBP would not work for some people. I personally would never buy a MacBook because it only includes one USB-C port that doesn't even have TB3. And thats ok, I see alot of people who don't know TB3 from tuberculosis, but they love their MacBooks.
     
  22. ugru, Oct 27, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017

    ugru macrumors 6502

    ugru

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    #22
    Wrong.

    - 4 cores for the 13", 6 cores for the 15" (8 gen INTEL CPU);
    - Max-Q nVidia 1060/1070 and bring back Magsafe to allow more than 100W power supply;
    - 99Wh battery for the 15" (25% bigger, like 2015 MBP) will result in a battery life at least as the one you have today;
    - Thicker like the 2015 one to accomodate all of the above and a more powerful cooling system.

    Pretty easy indeed, if you abandon the dumb design decisions.
     
  23. leman macrumors G3

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #23
    Where are these 6 core CPUs? Did I miss something? And sure, the 15W quad-cores are amazing if you disregard the 50% slower graphics than chips Apple currently uses.

    Max-Q 1060/1070 are still around 50-100% hotter than the hottest GPU Apple ever used in a 15". So no, the 2015 form factor won't work. You'll need to go bulkier if you want to have proper heat dissipation. Not to mention that you are completely ignoring practical issues such as Nvidia and Apple not able to reach a deal (my guess is that Nvidia wanted a much bigger cut). Magsafe never offered 100W power supplies — current USB-C power delivery is rated higher than any magsafe connector ever was. And — if you use a power-hungry GPU with a DDR4, extra 25% battery capacity will do jacks.

    I understand the wish for a Apple-branded gaming laptop or desktop replacement. But thats exactly what Apple is not making. And never was actually. If you call these "dumb design decisions", then how come you are an Apple customer to begin with (I assume you are, since you are on this forum)? Apple's design decisions are exactly the same as 15 years ago — the current retina models are logical evolution of the Powerbook and later the MacBook Pro (thin and light business-level laptop with fast CPU, flexible connectivity, mid-range GPU and best-in-class display).
     
  24. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #24
    I don't think you understand the design process, or manufacturing process that goes into making a new product. One doesn't simply drop a new CPU into it and throw it up on sale, it's a lot more complicated than shopping on Newegg for a new GPU. There's also regulatory criteria that needs to be met and logistics, and basically a million other things which is what makes it an industry. Also why would you want a power supply greater than 100W when you can't have a battery greater than 100Wh? Adding a bigger battery does not necessarily mean longer life, there's a balance between things. A bigger battery would just be a lot heavier and require a lot longer to charge for instance. Thankfully battery technology has been evolving and has moved on since 1980s mobile phones, but people still seem to have the mentality of bigger = better.

    Posts like this just remind me of when football fans yell at the TV, because they know so much more than professionals.
     
  25. leman macrumors G3

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    #25
    P.S. Btw, I wouldn't be too surprised if Apple drops a Ryzen-powered MBP refresh this november/dezember. It is of course rather unlikely, but the mobile Ryzen looks like a winner this time.
     

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