Some level-headed thoughts on the new MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MF878, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. MF878, Nov 22, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016

    MF878 macrumors regular

    MF878

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #1
    Unlike some people on this forum, I do not like to post kneejerk reactions, and instead take a few days to use a product before deciding what's good and what isn't so good. I am also not 110% adverse to change (seriously, I wonder why some of you even ordered one). However, I also like to think I am not a fanboy who would let Apple off the hook for anything.

    For a bit of background, I'm coming from a completely maxed out 2012 15-inch rMBP (2.7GHz i7, 16GB RAM, 768GB, 650M) to a not so maxed out configuration (2.6GHz i7, 512GB, 460). The 2012 was an Apple refurb, otherwise I probably wouldn't have needed the maxed out CPU or more than 512GB of storage.


    So after a few days, here are my thoughts:

    Keyboard
    As someone who types in the realm of 100-130wpm depending on the keyboard, the decrease in travel was jarring initially. I had hoped for something more similar to the Magic Keyboard, which would have been a less significant decrease. I kept making errors during the setup phase, and I wasn't sure if I would like it. The noise was noticeable too. After a day or two, I started to adjust. The key is to realise you don't have to press the keys as hard as you think you do, which brings the noise down and reduces the potential for fatigue. Now about a week later, I am absolutely flying over this thing. The short travel actually helps me type faster, and the key stability means if I don't quite strike a key cleanly, I don't get thrown off. I had the 2012 out today to migrate some more of my stuff over to the new MacBook, and the key wobble and smaller key caps made the keyboard seem "cheap" in comparison. Don't subscribe to the myth that more travel equals a better keyboard. I should add that I thought the difference in feel from the 12-inch MacBook is noticeable, so if you are iffy on that, this one might alleviate some of your issues with it. I can see why someone might prefer the softer feel of the old keyboard (I thought I did for the first day or two), but to act like it is terrible is quite the overreaction. If you cannot get used to it, then I don't see how you manage with most laptop keyboards.


    Trackpad
    The larger trackpad makes four finger gestures a lot more comfortable. I don't know how it compares to the Force Touch trackpad in the 2015 models, but compared to the mechanical trackpad in my old Pro, the click is a lot "tighter" and quieter. I had tap to click enabled on my old Pro because the click seemed to take a lot of effort and was loud, but on the new one, I have it off with the click set to medium. I have had some minor issues with three finger drag, usually if trying to do it right from one of the corners of the trackpad, but I still instinctively start my gestures based on the old trackpad dimensions, so its only an occasional thing. I assume the fact that its only an issue from the edges means its a software bug with the new palm rejection required. The palm rejection seems to work consistently so far, by the way. Hopefully they can push out an update for the three finger issues, then as far as I'm concerned, the new trackpad is excellent.


    Touch Bar and Touch ID
    Touch ID is an easy one. It's a second gen sensor, quick as hell, exactly what we're used to from iOS. But no one was arguing about that.

    The Touch Bar is interesting. I think calling it a gimmick is unfair. I also think calling it revolutionary or a must-have (at this stage, at least) is overselling it. I think the contempt some people have for it is a result of it likely being a key factor in the price increase for the new models. To say that you'd rather the computer be cheaper and have regular function keys is a fair opinion. To say that you would rather have the function keys regardless of price is a bit moronic. I think having visible toggles and buttons that can adapt to each application is a much better thing to have going forward than continually mapping things to the same old keys forever and ever. My most used pro app is Logic Pro X, so until they update that, I don't feel like I can give a complete verdict on the difference it makes to my daily workflow. From using it so far though, I am more than happy to ditch the keyboard shortcuts I've learned for something a bit more visual.

    As a side note, I don't understand why people have this whole bent about how having to look down at the Touch Bar is stupid. I don't feel like averting my gaze to the bar is clunky or unnatural, which is helped by the fact that the bar has fantastic viewing angle. I think Apple is pushing towards a point where perhaps the entire keyboard is a single 3D Touch surface (hence why they are also getting us accustomed to lower travel keyboards), and frankly, I think that's a better future for the Mac than simply giving us touch on the vertical display. As an example, being able to have scrubbers, a MIDI keyboard, etc. down on the lower display would give me far more capability using Logic Pro X on the go than just giving me the same old form factor with a vertical touch screen.


    Ports
    Not much to be said really. If you have a lot of peripherals using traditional connectors, then its #donglelife for you. Annoying? Yes, but I'm willing to accept it if it accelerates the transition to USB-C. You don't get a fast transition by including legacy ports, because there's less incentive for accessory makers to favour newer standards. Anyone who thinks Apple is doing this to try and make money off adapters makes me laugh, their adapter revenue is probably about as much as an accounting error for them.


    Performance vs Size/Weight/Battery Life
    Apple has never had top-tier GPUs in the MacBook Pro, so I don't know why people were expecting much more than what's in there. I knew before ordering that I was going to go for the best graphics possible, because I find the GPU makes the biggest difference to longevity (the GPU was the only thing holding me back on my 2012 that made me feel the need to upgrade). However, I don't do anything particularly graphically intensive, so unless they really gimped it, it wasn't going to be a major factor in my decision admittedly.

    Personally, I think their choice to use a 35W GPU is a good one. If I needed serious graphics horsepower, I would have bought the next refresh of the 5K iMac and got better performance at a lower price, and then got a 12-inch MacBook or 13-inch MacBook Pro (assuming I still went with Mac) for not much more money (which probably would've made me ditch my 12.9-inch iPad Pro). Unless I really needed that kind of graphics horsepower wherever I went, I wouldn't want a thicker, heavier laptop with less battery life, and I think a lot of people are on that boat and just get drowned out by the cries of the smaller group who want a mobile workstation. Even if they had maintained the same dimensions as the previous chassis, you're not going to get particularly great battery life with the dedicated GPU running if they'd gone with something high-end. Based on that, if I were in Apple's position, I would have found a 35W GPU with near double the 370X's performance difficult to pass up.

    I also don't think Apple should have compromised the design now to squeeze in 32GB of RAM when they'll probably be able to put it in this enclosure by the first refresh. Apple wants this design to be at or near the top of the class in terms of portability and battery life for the next three to four years.

    I think much of the frustration over the mid-range graphics in the MacBook Pro stems from the fact that Apple seem to be neglecting their desktop Macs recently. Hopefully the rumour mill is right, and we can expect iMac and Mac Pro refreshes by mid next-year. But as far as I can tell, the new MacBook Pro isn't going to be a less suitable product for you than it was before (unless you're going to need a crapton of dongles, but that will sort itself out for most people over time). People seem to think that it should be capable of being anything to anyone, but if Apple wanted a MacBook for every use case, they'd need several more notebook lines.


    In conclusion, I would say that this is not the radical departure some very vocal people are making out that it is. To me, it just seems like another evolution of the same ideals Apple pushed with the first unibody MacBook Pro in 2008, and became a bit more aggressive with in 2012. Everything about it just feels like a more refined version of what we had before, with a more premium keyboard and trackpad, a better display with a smaller bezel, a more seamless design (no more plastic hinge, and the stainless steel logo is classier in my opinion, but I was never that hung up on the glowing logo), and general all-around performance bumps (except in CPU, thanks Intel). Yes, its pricey. Yes, they nuked more ports. But we went through all this in 2012, remember? If the new model isn't right for you today, Apple is banking on the fact that in one or two refreshes, it will be. This is exactly what happened with the last design. Apple hasn't changed as much as people like to think it has. As someone who has been following along for over a decade, I'm not panicking.

    If you're upgrading from a 2015 and it seems underwhelming, no s#@*. The Touch Bar isn't a must have yet, so unless you really value improvements to portability, there isn't a whole lot here for you. This is an upgrade that's going to be more captivating for those on a 2013 model or earlier.

    Finally, a message to those still waiting for their orders. If you're typically a Mac user, don't need high-end graphics, and you're not anal about keyboard travel, STOP WORRYING. You will be largely happy with the new MacBook Pro.
     
  2. PaulWog Suspended

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2011
    #2
    I don't think ports, or the keyboard, or the GPU performance, or any of that is the core of the issue.

    Price is the core of the issue.
     
  3. MF878 thread starter macrumors regular

    MF878

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #3
    Depends who you listen to, I think. Some people seem to think all three of those are massive issues. Price is a legitimate criticism, ideally they'd have chopped about US$200 across the board. I assume that'll come with the first refresh.
     
  4. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #4
    I'd be interested in more of a comparison between your spec 2012 model to the new machine, cause it's pretty much what I am going through. Sorry, but it reads so far as you are justifying the new purchase, and transition.

    There are definite clear pros / cons to this machine, while for me the 2012 machine was a must buy, this one I am on the fence. So much in fact that I ordered the same spec as you and a maxed 2015 refurb. This week I will compare my maxed 2012 v maxed 2015 v same spec you have, one sad part is this is the first time I have not got a maxed MacBook Pro cause rhe value is awful ...at £4100 + £200 dongles + £330 AppleCare

    Edit : when I say comparison , how do the two perform side by side , actual tasks, benchmarks etc
     
  5. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    #5
    MF878,

    Thank you for providing one of the most enjoyable reads I've had on here in months. Actually, this belongs in the Top 10 of the Year. I thought you wrote this very well and your thinking is spot-on.

    Bravo!
     
  6. MF878 thread starter macrumors regular

    MF878

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #6
    I haven't gotten around to benchmarking, mainly because a lot of that info is floating around if you do a bit of Googling. Compared to the maxed 2012, the CPU is much of a muchness, GPU is vastly improved (approx ~4x, I think), and you get the benefits of faster RAM, faster storage, etc. Compared to a maxed 2015, it's gonna be slightly behind on CPU, but a reasonable amount ahead on GPU, along with faster RAM and faster storage (though not as dramatic as the difference vs the 2012).

    You're in the U.K., so the price blowout was probably further exacerbated by the decreased exchange rate. Buying a refurb 2015 is not a bad idea, but I'd say only do it if you NEED to upgrade. It's not going to feel "new" because it's exactly the same thing with a better GPU, and some other slight internal enhancements. Otherwise you're better off to wait for the first refresh of the new one next year, and hopefully the price will come down a little.
     
  7. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #7
    Cheers for the reply.

    Just day to day use, do you see a big improvement over the 2012 ? I'm asking all these questions and my unit arrives today lol.

    One major issue with the 2012 for me is egpu support, it's flacky compared to my 2012 Mac mini, so will do some egpu benchmarks using the 2015 and 2016 models this weekend .
     
  8. MF878 thread starter macrumors regular

    MF878

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    Location:
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    #8
    Copying and pasting files is much quicker, particular with entire folders. Boot and wake are faster, gesture animations are smoother. This is probably partially due to the clean install. It handles on-the-fly editing in Logic Pro X much smoother, but I haven't had a chance to test out some games and stuff yet (where I'm guessing the most noticeable improvements will be).
     
  9. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2009
    Location:
    United States
    #9
    Sincerely, bravo!

    If you're a college student, or it's for personal use, yeah it does seem like a lot of money because you can get really cheap computers these days. But Apple products can be expensive, especially "1st gen" (of major update) - just in last 15 years, iPod, iPhone, iWatch, MacBook Air, Mac Pro. Those all were/are expensive. Look at the iPhone lineup - they still have more affordable models for those that can't afford (or don't feel the need for) the latest and greatest.

    If you need to save some money, get the 2015 model or the NTB 2016 - still great laptops.

    For "Pros", give me a break. I'm going to break this down using easy numbers and easy math. Let's say you're a "Pro" - i.e. you use your Mac as a professional work tool to earn a living. So, you spend $3,600 on a tricked out MBP (and then rush here to whine about how it should be $600 cheaper). You plan to have this laptop for 3 years (36 months) (and then rush here to whine about how it should last at least 5-7 years).

    That's $100/month for the machine that you're going to use to make a living. Obviously I can't speak for the world - I know there are places where that's a lot of money. Imagine the number of people who spend a $100 a month on lattes. Imagine the number of people who spend a $100/month on cable tv and movies and entertainment. But for all these "Pros" who can't afford a $100/month for the tool that is central to their business?

    I'm sorry... but they are not "Pros". Folks, the computer is the cheap part. You may think this is some sort of elitist attitude, but it's basic business. If you think, as a "pro", you should have a top of the line machine but can't afford $100/month, you're completely out to lunch (which is probably why you can't afford a $100/month despite your "pro" membership card).

    (... and remember, I used $3,600 / 36 months as an example... do the math for $2,400... and subtract what you're likely to get in resale if you take care of it)

    Sorry, but it's pretty pathetic that you feel the need in one way or another to interject your disdain for the new MBP into nearly every thread. Like, what is wrong with you?
     
  10. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    #10
    If you read the thread, I've had a civilised discussion with the OP and thanked him. All products have pros / cons. And as he has the same upgrade path I wanted to hear the cons also to balance things in my head.

    Am in apprehensive about spending £3k yes!! Am I overwhelmed by the new update, no.

    What is pathetic is people who post personal attacks on others on MR, so feel free to self reflect and ask yourself what is wrong with you.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 22, 2016 ---
    Cheers again. The 2012 was a very good machine. I hope I am where you are after a week or so, still have doubts about the keyboard as I own the 12 MacBook. I have to be honest , it's the price that's really putting me off this machine. I guess if it was comparable to last years I'd be much more positive . Unboxing to tonight , so everything might change after that lol
     
  11. azntaiji macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2014
    #11
    I agree with you. Coming from a mid-2012 13" MBP, this has been an amazing upgrade for me!
     
  12. ixxx69 macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    I won't continue this discussion with you beyond this post, but what a bunch of disingenuous BS.
     
  13. torana355 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #13
    Even if i may slightly disagree with some points that was a very well written post. I totally agree about the keyboard, i had to return my 2016 machine for financial reasons and im hating using my old 2011 MBA keyboard again, mainly due to the smaller unstable keys.
     
  14. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

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    Feb 11, 2008
    #14
    Congratulations on trolling a tread and adding no value other than personal insults. Here is a hint, try the ignore button.
     
  15. justyncuk macrumors newbie

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    Jul 6, 2009
    #15
    Given that I have the same spec on order as you, how long is the battery lasting at the moment?
     
  16. MF878 thread starter macrumors regular

    MF878

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    #16
    Better than my 2012. I can get to 10 hours wireless web at ~80% brightness easily, think I managed over 11 hours two days ago. It also seems to lose less charge on sleep. Haven't given the battery a go with more intensive tasks yet though.
     
  17. Guy Mancuso macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2009
    #17
    I use it for professional use but no one said it can't be a fun tool to use. I'm a photographer and folks as hobbyist spend far more money on their play toys than I do as a profession. Cost is relative to needs and wants. I bought a top of the line 2013 for 3300 used it 3 years and sold it to a friend for 1k. Given the time , resale and money I made from it. It was downright cheap to use. I expect the same here. I got this one yesterday and so far it's a very pleasant machine to move use forward. I'm actually not bothered about the ports. My 2013 had every port and than some maxed out. Really what's the difference now. The only downside is not Apple but others not having adopted the accessories sooner with hubs and docks. That's just part of evolution
     
  18. vddobrev macrumors regular

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    Haskovo, Bulgaria
    #18
    @MF878- excellent post! Congratulations on your purchase, enjoy!
     
  19. Ma2k5 macrumors 6502a

    Ma2k5

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    #19
    This is where you stopped being level-headed. A bit arrogant/ignorant to make out that the touch bar is a definite upgrade for everyone isn't it?
     
  20. Seed101 macrumors 6502

    Seed101

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    Nov 11, 2015
    #20
    Nice informative post.

    It's good to hear the wide variety of views and opinions on here :)

    My wife needs a new computer and we're deliberating about the 2015/2016 13" at this very moment...though she'll cling onto the old mac until it completely dies on her before purchase, of that I am sure...
     
  21. MF878 thread starter macrumors regular

    MF878

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    #21
    Well, maybe "moronic" is a bit harsh of a term, but yes, I do think that if your only reason for not wanting the Touch Bar (remember we're ignoring cost) is that you want to keep using the same shortcuts in your muscle memory, it's a bit of a vain reason to expect Apple not to implement it. Besides, the function keys are still available and just because they're not physical doesn't mean you'd be unable to touch them without looking. I touch type on my iPhone sometimes for crying out loud, it can't be as hard as that.
     
  22. Ma2k5, Nov 23, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016

    Ma2k5 macrumors 6502a

    Ma2k5

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    #22
    If you think the only advantage of physical keys is "muscle memory", then I don't know what to say. I guess if the whole keyboard was a touch-bar and not just the top row, you would be able to appreciate why physical keys are better than a screen for a lot of people - infact it is very easily replicable by using any on-touch keyboards, be it on an iPad Pro or otherwise, it isn't a nice experience.

    The touch-bar might be ok for people who never really used the F keys, but if you use certain programs/coding, you end up pressing the Esc/F keys a lot, and having physical feed back, better feeling when clicking them, and also being able to feel them out (I know if my finger is placed on the F4, F5, or F8 key, I can't do that on the touch bar, and I don't get any feed back pressing them either).

    So even if the cost was the same, if I had the option of the touch bar vs non-touch bar, I'd always choose the non-touch bar. Ideally, I would have liked no touch bar + touch ID. Apple have delivered something to people, that they didn't want or asked for and the touch bar will have issues to come for many years (my prediction). I'd be willing to bet in future iterations, it is replaced by a different system altogether (E-ink physical keys) or it will come as an option rather than the only option on 28w/45w models.

    They created something which solved no problem, but only caused some. No one was suffocating with F keys. If they created the touch-bar in addition to the other keys, then yes, you could argue your point that, with cost being the same, you'd be "moronic" to not want it (let's assume it didn't make the machine larger and didn't affect battery life).

    Also, touch-typing, even on iPhone, is much worse than on a keyboard. I challenge you to get 125+ wpm on your iPhone with 0 errors, which I easily achieve on keyboards. I own the iPhone 7 too and if anything, it reminds me how much worse on-screen keyboards are for heavy usage. It is okay on my phone as I don't have to do 10,000 word essays or coding.

    It also isn't a consistent experience, pressing keys on the keyboard and at the same time pressing F keys on a touch bar, won't feel nice. It makes me shudder thinking about it. But then again, not everyone has to use the F keys regularly - but those who do like myself - please appreciate that we aren't against touch-bar because we are blind haters to new tech.
     
  23. fokmik macrumors 68000

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    #23
    are you sure you can get at least 8-9 hours with light usage/wireless web etc? without any modifications?
     
  24. MF878 thread starter macrumors regular

    MF878

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    #24
    Yes, was using Safari with an average of 3-5 tabs active at a time on my home 802.11ac network. Watched the occasional video as well and even tuned into a live stream for 20 minutes or so.
     
  25. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #25
    F keys have pretty much always been a variable function row. For likely 99% of Mac users they have done little more than act as media and brightness controls for many years because most users aren't going to remember what those keys map to behind the scenes in other programs. So for the vast majority of users, changing that row to something that can be dynamically changed to better support whatever app is currently being used makes a lot of sense. The number of people who can touch type all F keys reliably is probably well under 1%.

    I suspect that in the long run, after a new generation of developers grow up having used computers with keys that are actually labeled for the functions they provide will look back and laugh at how long we held on to these relics where you had to memorize key mappings that changed with every program you used.
     

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