MBP - poor quality, questionable design choices

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Jan-Willem, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. Jan-Willem macrumors newbie


    Oct 6, 2015
    I have been a long time loyal Apple user. But, but....

    - Have seen a lot of hardware issues the last years.
    - El Capitan creates a lot of issues
    - New machines make you totally dependent of Apple service, because storage is not removable anymore.
    - Apple is censoring its community forum, and is not willing to talk about it.

    It is wise to have some patience, but nevertheless, the problems with Apple products on this desk start to add up ugly in recent years.
    The MBP on which I am typing right now has after a little over three years still it's original optical drive, screen and battery. To put it otherwise: RAM, logic board and hard drive, are all gone. The logic board has been replaced under extended warranty - but it took a long time before Apple committed itself after a court case in the US. The power supply has been replaced under warranty because of a badly designed cable. That is a lot, and believe me, I am careful with this computer. This has meant cost, downtime, and risk of data loss.

    With El Capitan the internal audio out suddenly is not working: an internal hardware part from Apple itself! From a company that has a very narrow range of products, and set out a beta test of this new OS and got tons of feedback about all kind of USB audio issues. By the way: after downgrading to Yos it works fine again.

    Motion, a professional product of Apple, has become unusable, because positioning text on screen is almost impossible. I keep my fingers crossed that Apple will fix this, but since my machine is locked out of the new Metal technology, I am not sure. By the way: after downgrading to Yos it works fine again.

    May be a little over three years of support is the standard for phones, the mayor cash cow for Apple nowadays, but for professional products it is not acceptable.

    It is not just Apple. I have a Caldigit Expresscard, a relatively expensive part, that just supported one single release of OSX. When I talk to CalDigit they point at Apple and the changes they made to the OS and of course Apple will tell that Caldigit has to take care of this.

    Not to forget issues with TWAIN scanners. Apple dumped TWAIN support, but devices will keep on working as long as you don't do a clean update, because the old driver will remain there during an upgrade, but will not be installed again after a clean upgrade. Inconsistencies in the OS environment between an upgrade and a clean install are ugly. I expect that when I do a reinstall, let's say in the very rare event of a hardware failure, look above, I get the OS environment like it was before. Not, I get a new problem because an upgraded OS is different from a clean OS. By the way: the scanner has become unusable, long before the end of its technical life.

    When Apple changes the rules, like they do now with EC, it would be very normal (and be very Linux/Unix like) to communicate with the end user. Instead, third party applications are being moved to other folders without any warning. How difficult a log file can be?

    I am running a Mac Mini with OSX Server. Almost every update creates problems. Website down, calendar services down, mail down. Of course, I can fix it, but it is annoying. Also here lacks communication about changes and impact. How difficult a log file can be?

    Unfortunately there are more things to worry. One of the paradigms in hardware design for a long time has been a sound separation of data storage versus processing. When you look at new Apple products it becomes difficult (iMac) or impossible (notebooks) to get your SSD memory drive out of it. This because chips are being soldered on the logic board itself. That means that you are totally dependent on Apple to get your data back and the answer to any occurring problem will be: new logic board. Apple logic boards are really expensive, apart from 95 euros 'investigation costs'.

    Apple MBP's are advertised for heavy tasks like video editing. With my recent experience I feel they lack proper thermal control and that with the obsession of thinner devices with every iteration the suitability for compute intensive tasks becomes less.

    Last but not least and really annoying. Discussing issues on Apple's forum proves to be difficult. For whatever reason they delete posts as they are considered against their Terms of Use.
  2. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    You will get no sympathy from me there are literally thousands of other computers from hundreds of different vendors if you don't like apples offerings then don't buy them.

    Nothing you complain about is particular to apple, these same complaints are aimed at just about everyone else, yes other vendors make huge gaming rigs and different setups for business use etc but again apple never pretended to do so.

    They have provided a small number of configurations of quality products that cover the majority of what most users need, it's been this way for at least 15 years, if you fall outside this remit you just have to buy something else .

    You know the score if you buy apple you get a system that needs apple for service and repairs, if you back up your computers properly you should never need apple to retrieve your files. Also the SSD's are removeable (although the RAM isn't unless you use a 27 inch iMac or mac pro) you'll need another mac with the proprietry connector to read it but you certainly can pull it out and retrieve the information on it.

    Again if you want a computer that is self built and fully user upgradeable then apple have not produced that for at least 5 years (and before that it was only the mac pro, you have only been able to upgrade RAM and Hard drive on everything else for at least a decade) you know what you are buying if it's not suitable don't buy it, I'm not sure what you buying unsuitable tech for your uses has to do with apple.

    As for OSX updates yes they occasionally cause problems especially with third party software but again show me an OS that doesn't have exactly the same issues..... Would I rather see a well thought out and stable update every 2 years rather than the current 1 year unstable new features then the next year stability and efficiency updates? Of course I would, but hey Apple support their OS for at least 5 years and all their upgrades are free what are you complaining about you could update only every 2,3 or 5 years if you wanted too. You could also wait for the mid point to upgrade OSX when everything has been sorted out. Apple is in no way liable to provide continued support for 3rd party software and that is the same for all OSes.

    I have never even heard of a twain scanner but you are right apple has no obligation to support them and Twain have all the obligation to support their customers, again can't see what your problem with apple is here.

    The only computer apple claims is a "professional" computer is the mac pro everything else is described as a "prosumer" product, if you want professional products many other vendors do these at extortionate prices and provide 24 hour support as well this seems to be what you require so why don't you just buy that instead???
  3. aristobrat macrumors G5

    Oct 14, 2005
    The SSD drives are not soldered in.

    It's always been sage advice (regardless of Mac/Windows/Linux) for people who rely on their machines for their profession to not upgrade to the initial release of a new OS. The .1 release of the OS (and subsequent update for apps like Motion) follow relatively quickly and addresses many of the initial issues.

    Apple's had a long history of deleting discussions from their support forums. It's like their vision for those is that they're for people to look for (or post about) problems and get quick answers, not report or discuss bugs that have no answers. Not how I'd run it myself, but hey, there's other forums on the Internet for that.
  4. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    I got burnt by that one, and have backtracked to 10.9 for the moment. However, in that case, I think its complaints on a postcard to Caldigit (or, more likely, its the 3rd party who actually makes the cards for Caldigit who would have to write an El Cap driver). AFAIK Apple haven't prevented people writing 3rd party drivers (except maybe open sourcers who can't get drivers signed for licensing or money reasons) - in fact, they seem to have fixed it so that (e.g.) TrimEnabler can now use a properly signed kext instead of the earlier hack.

    However, you're dealing with a product that was only ever of interest to users of the 17" MBP (the last Mac to have ExpressCard slots), that was dropped 3 years ago.

    I've played with El Cap - I had 3 problems: The Caldigit USB3 Expresscard, ScreenRecycler (which has been in perpetual beta since the Lion version and warning 'May not work' since Mavericks) and Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 (I'll grit my teeth and pay for the upgrade if I can't live with Affinity or Pixelmator). So I'm sticking to Mavericks for the moment - everything I need works, and there's nothing too compelling in El Cap to make me switch. If you're relying on Abandonware then, whatever system you use, you'll eventually have to decide between sticking with an old OS or finding an alternative.

    Bear in mind that many of the things we love to hate about Windows are rooted in MS's past decisions to prioritise backwards compatibility over all else (e.g. the broken security model that needed every app to run as admin could have been fixed in NT if it didn't break software) - and even MS didn't expect Windows XP to hang around for 10 years.
  5. Jan-Willem thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 6, 2015
  6. Jan-Willem thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 6, 2015
    It is only recently that Apple is moving away from standard parts and becomes much less repairable/ upgradable than other notebooks. Swapping hard drives and memory never was a problem. For SSD's there are also standardized connectors, they could choose to use.
    Twain has been the standard interface for scanners since decades. Twain scanners are being sold even today by brands like Canon and HP. May be you have heard of them...? It is the task of the OS vendor to provide generic interface components, especially if they did that before. If they stop doing that they could at least choose to communicate.
    Upgrades are free that is true, but lacking to upgrade means that after a short time you won't get updates anymore.
    Professional..... what do you think the P in MBP stands for? Really...?
  7. Jan-Willem thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 6, 2015
    I agree with some of the points you make. No we don't want to go the MS way, and computers get old at some stage. But when are we talking about abandonware? CPU's don't improve so quickly anymore as they used to. The technical lifecycle of computers is getting longer. My machine has a geek bench score of 10000. A new Macbook Air of this year only gets half of that. By the way, I have never seen something advertised like "this product has a limited service lifetime of three years'.

    Apple introduced an express card slot, sold it, so they should support it. As far as I understand the problem for CalDigit is in lack of support for the express card interface. When I bought the machine I already planned to use it for USB 3. It was by no means an extra or giveaway.
  8. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    The only proprietry connector they use is the SSD and if you buy what you need when you buy the mac you never need to worry about that.

    Twain is just a piece of software as I have just discovered, it is third party software that apple have no obligation to support, TWAIN have an obligation to update their software for use on any new OS as and when microsoft, apple or even linux update their software the same as any third party software developer has to do.

    Apple have not claimed that any of their hardware is "professional" apart from the Mac Pro they don't use EEC RAM or other professional parts (Xeons etc)they use top of the range consumer tech. The Pro could just as well be for prosumer as they are designated not that a name means anything, they don't get exteneded warranties or any of the other support you pay for with professional class offerings from other vendors just the same excellent service you get with all their products.

    More Importantly though you have failed to answer my one big question for you, why not just buy something else if apples offerings aren't for you?? If they don't make what you want then why would you care?? You wouldn't do this buying a car or a vacuumn cleaner or even a TV, if one company didn't make what you wanted you'd just buy it from someone else.....

    I know why of course it's because despite the changes, the locking down of hardware, the niggly OS updates and the lack of third party support they still make the best computers and OS around and the fact that they aren't what you want gets under your skin.... Get over it and move on with your life.
  9. Jan-Willem thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 6, 2015
    why not just buy something else...
    Not so difficult to answer. I have a lot of stuff from Apple here. Also software. Cannot move away so easily. Just as it took time to go from Microsoft to Apple years ago. But eventually it might happen.
    I don't believe you think that Pro stands for Prosumer. Silly argument. Glad at least now you know what twain is.
  10. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    Short version, Apple is the new Microsoft. We are told we want it, we will like it, we don't need anything that once was and now missing, and the problems are not really problems.
  11. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Rest of post TLDR, but i'll address these points:

    1. I see a lot of hardware issues with machines from all vendors. They all use the same component suppliers, sometimes those suppliers have defective components

    2. Have had zero issues with El Cap, YMMV clearly

    3. FreeNAS? Any other NAS? I find i am requiring less storage in my machines as of late because I share my content between multiple machines over the network. I store it all on my NAS (which is fault tolerant) and work from there, unless i need SSD speed for something.

    4. Its their website they can do what they like with it.
  12. MRrainer macrumors 65816

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
    If you can't remove your SSD, you have to use FileVault from day one and do regular backups.
    That way, your data is safe and you don't have to worry.
    As for the non-self repair argument - those days are gone. In a few cycles, Intel will probably not even ship CPUs for sockets any more except for servers. You get BGA and that's it.
    Same with RAM: LPDDR RAM isn't sold for slots - nor are motherboards with those slots produced or sold...

    Apple is just leading the pack here. Everyone else will follow, eventually.
  13. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Yup, CPU upgrades are a bit of a farce and have been ever since i got burned with my old 486DX-33. "Oh you can plug in an overdrive processor, or upgrade it to a DX2 in future!".

    That's all well and good but i was still stuck with crappy ISA slots (no local bus slot), 30 pin FPM DIMMS, etc.

    By the time i needed to do a CPU upgrade the RAM was out of date and super expensive, the ISA bus was a massive, massive video bottleneck, the chipset was ancient and the pentiums were just coming out and WAY faster, etc.

    TLDR: you can upgrade CPU, but CPU in machines these days has been "plenty" for about 8-10 years now for most uses. And if you're one of those edge cases, unless you're dealing with Xeons, chances are any available upgrade that fits is not going to be a huge difference and you're unlikely to be able to jump a CPU generation or two.

    You also don't have the ability to upgrade everything else (e.g., DDR3 -> DDR4 RAM, thunderbolt 2 -> 3, USB 2 -> USB C, etc.) which tends to be more important.

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12 October 13, 2015