Thoughts about the real value of the MBP, opportunity-cost and future of the Mac systems

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

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

    WRONG macrumors 6502a


    Oct 7, 2015
    Principality of Sealand
    Hello there friends!
    Greetings to everyone.
    I want to open this thread as a sort of reflection about the value of the currents MBPs, plus how is going to end up in the future.
    I’ll try to be brief.
    (note: I'll always and only refer to the new 15" MBP, not the 13")

    As a lot of you, after desperately waiting for more than an year, right now I'm quite... confused by the update of the MBP.
    I honestly don't know if going to buy one soon, even if my 13" 2009 Core2Duo is dying slowly.

    One of the most important reasons that made me wait was the report quality/cost.
    The old 2015 15” was sporting not-so-good dGPU, old CPUs, old legacy ports, old battery and so on.
    We were expecting a lot of improvements, but as Not Jony Ive good summarized:


    So after all this time looks like the upgrade is not that meaningful.
    Nobody wants to pay 3200$ for an 16GB RAM, 1 year old CPU.
    It is not worth the money, again.
    But is it really?

    The pros of this new Mac are actually
    - improved display
    - improved dGPU (the Radeon Pro 460 should be around the GTX 965M)
    - slightly better battery
    - faster SSD
    - lighter and thinner
    - improved fans
    - improved speakers

    Cons are
    - an old CPU
    - consequently, weaker iGPU for light tasks
    - lack of important ports

    Of the "new" features, one thing that still amaze me, is Apple decision to use the old 6700HQ Skylake with Intel HD 530, and not the HQ with Iris Pro 580.
    Every of us of the Skylake MBP thread were expecting that, as for performance boost as for the reason of this long delay.
    Instead, the delay was all Touch Bar fault.

    But basically, from everyone coming from an old system like me, the new MBP will be a serious improvement.
    Not only that, but as I see a lot of comparison between the Razor Blade, the Dell XPS and the Surface Book, I don't see this huge difference.
    In fact, in the cons I didn't mention the price, as from my opinion, it is in line with Apple standard.
    Of course it is high, but not that high.

    Let's take a look.
    I've configured a MBP with 15" with 2.6GHz i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD and Radeon Pro 460.
    It costs 3200$

    The concurrents, same configured:
    - Dell XPS 15" with 8 GB RAM / 256 GB SSD and 4K is 1650 $. Cheaper, but weaker.
    - Surface Book 13" (there is no 15", which for me is a no-go) has a better display and battery life, but is 3300$
    - New Razer Blade: improved screen, remarkably better dGPU (NVIDIA 1060) and presumably worst battery life is 2700$. But is not available yet in Europe.

    We are in the range of 400/500 $.
    I think it's not that dramatic.

    What I find way more worrisome, is the messages Apple is sending.
    Messages like "we have no idea anymore how to innovate, so take this bar instead".
    Or "Let's make a mess of dongles to connect our two most valuable and profitable products (iPhone and MBP)".
    Or "Let's get rid of some ports (MagSafe) but take some other we earlier get rid of (3.5mm Jack) without even try to give an explanation."

    Or making the webpage of the MBP lacking of detailed explanation.
    No talks about Design, Performances, Features.
    Just "Overview".

    It's supposed to be a Pro laptop, Apple.
    Explain to me why. Put real benchmarks on it. Give me details about how is it built.
    Not just "that's it, overview, come and get some."

    That is also the bad message that emerged from the Event. A presentation of the MBP focused on
    "How amazing is the Bar!" and "How many things you can do with the Bar!".
    Performances, design and battery life were treated in background.
    Those are the things that matter in a laptop.

    Finally, to summarize my thoughts, the big problem with this Mac is its demonstration of the lack of focusing by Apple.
    A lack of focusing proved also by the computer line, which still remains old and outdated.
    And that's really a big problem.
    Let's say I'll be convinced to buy this new MBP and use it for the next 4-5 years.
    What then?
    How can I trust a company that neglected every single computer, every single important ports, every improvement, and struggle to innovate and to make something clear and focused to its products?!

  2. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    I have written this in a number of different threads, but its worth repeating it here. I believe that the reason behind this is that Intel was not able to deliver a sufficient supply of Iris Pro enabled CPUs. My reasoning: it would be much simpler for Apple to use the Iris Pro version, there were reported yield issues with Skylake, Intel is stopping production of Iris Pro-enabled CPUs altogether in future updates, Iris Pro Skylakes are virtually unavailable. Don't forget that Apple needs very high quantities of chips, and if Intel was unable to deliver the quantities, it kind of explains everything.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 31, 2016 ---
    To add to the above, what I believe we are seeing is not some sort of shady plot or disregard for users or whatever, but simply a nessessary compromise in face of technological bottlenecks. All things considered, I believe that Apple managed to introduce an incredible product here, and people who are criticising it are extremely short-sighted.
  3. WRONG thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 7, 2015
    Principality of Sealand
    Yes, I think the only PC using those are the NUC Skull Canyon.
    And given the leaked Intel Roadmap, Iris Pro GT4 are probably dead.

    Still, it is something that astounded all of us, claiming "Apple always used HQ Iris Pro, that's the reason is late, the GPU is going to be the Iris 580!"
    and then not.

    Also this open a lot of interesting future scenarios, as Apple could really use some Kaby Lake GT2 later, combined with dGPUs.
    Kaby Lake MBP in the future could be really a thing!

    / I tried to be brief and I've written a lot.
    Thanks for all of you that had/will have the patience to read everything!
  4. Macintosh IIcx macrumors 6502

    Macintosh IIcx

    Jul 3, 2014
    I think it was much more a matter about waiting for the AMD Polaris GPU's. They are pretty much just out.

    I was, however, expecting the Iris Pro like everybody else. It doesn't seem like Apple would save much NOT going for the Iris Pro SKU's, so it is probably right that there has been substantial issues with yields on those CPU's.
  5. Clint_Barton macrumors 6502

    Oct 23, 2016
    As far as i can tell the iGPU in the 15in is an intel HD 530, not Intel Iris 530
  6. WRONG thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 7, 2015
    Principality of Sealand
    Yeah my bad, it's the Intel HD Graphics 530.
    Sometimes I still get confused by all this nicknames.
    I'll edit it.

    And to add more food for thoughts, this great article explains quite well what I was meaning.

    Apple just told the world it has no idea who the Mac is for
  7. Clint_Barton macrumors 6502

    Oct 23, 2016
    Its all good
  8. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    But I think that my story neatly explains a lot of things. Imagine the following:

    2015 - Apple is waiting for a Iris Pro enabled Skylakes, which are being pushed by Intel back and back. This is why we see no CPU updates
    End 2015/start 2016 - Intel announces the Iris Pro Skylakes, but it soon becomes clear that they can't deliver the quantities Apple needs. Apple starts to look for alternatives.
    Spring 2016 — AMD demoes Apple the new Polaris architecture and promises to deliver very efficient chips. They sign a deal.
    Summer 2016 — AMD experiences difficulties with the new manufacturing process, Polaris yields and quality are not what they have expected. AMD and Apple are aggressively binning the chips, resulting in the range of three products we see now (460 - the 'perfect' chip, 455 the 'ok' one as well as the 'broken' 450). Because of this, the desktop Polaris 11 uses a partially defective chip with two EUs disabled. Also, there are no mobile Polaris 11 GPUs for other laptops, because Apple has bought the entire stock

    Basically, according to my story, Apple was forced to seek a compromise amidst problems with technological processes its partners were experienced. Maybe Pascal would be a better fit — we won't know that before mobile 1050 is out. However, I think that its quite shortsighted to straight out blame Apple for not using Nvidia offerings here — there are a lot of factors, such as availability, business terms, actual performance of the chip etc etc. that we simply do not know. Also, going for Nvidia would probably mean delaying the new MBP for another 4-6 months. There are a lot of tough choices and constraints that many critics are simply not aware of. And unfortunately, its not information which is easily accessible for a normal person...
  9. samcow macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2015
    Without knowing too much about this, don't all 15 inch laptops come with a dGPU? If so, then why would Apple purchase a more expensive CPU for the iGPU that won't actually be used? Seems like if anything it's smarter to use the cheaper less powerful iGPU at that point - that is, assuming they were to pass the savings onto you, which i imagine is unlikely for Apple.
  10. Macintosh IIcx macrumors 6502

    Macintosh IIcx

    Jul 3, 2014
    A lot of excellent points being made here! Thanks for talking the time to write them out. :)

    I know some prefer to get all emotional about it instead of thinking all of the what-if's through, but personally I like your line of thought on this.
  11. shareef777 Suspended


    Jul 26, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I think KabyLake is a given. We're not gonna go another ~600 days without a MBP update. The delay was also due to Polaris. They weren't available till after WWDC and Apple would need a month or two to QA. Then as-is standard Apple protocol, they don't let anything outshine the iPhone at thee iPhone event so here we are in Oct. I was right there with you about losing the 580, but that's 100% on Intel. Literally nothing out there with those things except the NUC.

    I get people's dis-satisfaction with the lack of 'innovation', but come on, there's only so much that can be done. I don't see ANYTHING that's come out of ANY other manufacturer that tells me Apple is behind the times. Name one product that has any wow factor. The closest machine anyone has come close to Apple with is the Razer, and again. That has the same exact CPU and as you mention only a better GPU at the cost of battery life. The one thing I was certain Apple would, and has the ability to do, is add pencil support to that massive trackpad. Though I think they're saving that for next years upgrade.

    Sidenote, keep touch screens AWAY FROM MY MBP!!!
    --- Post Merged, Oct 31, 2016 ---
    I would still want the 580 as it would help minimize the dependency on the dGPU while unplugged, increasing the amount of time you can remain on battery.
  12. username: macrumors 6502a

    Dec 16, 2013
    Some great info there, nice analysis, thanks.

    My two sense is you are safer with Apple for the next 5 years than other manufacturers. You know you will have software support, it will 100% run the latest OS in 5 years. And that OS will come free.

    What do you need all that power for? Is there anything it can't do that you need?
  13. shareef777 Suspended


    Jul 26, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I guess the gist of it is that Intel is falling significantly behind with their CPUs, as-is AMD with their GPUs, and nVidia doesn't care enough about battery life for Apple to use. Outside of that stuff, Apple did what they could on the display and SSD front (best in the business right now). The body of the machine is still the sexiest, most portable machine out there, and the lone unique component (TouchBar) has yet to be vetted on its usefulness. I've already posted in a few threads about why I think it'll be pretty useful.

    As for USBC, we heard the same old story about the floppy drive, the CD drive, the VGA/DVI port, and the ethernet port. I love the fact that Apple switched to all USBC. There's nothing left and no where to go with ports. All manufacturers will be going USBC and we're ready day 1 for anything they throw at us.
  14. WRONG thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 7, 2015
    Principality of Sealand
    Yes, it does make sense, and in fact it could really be what happened.
    A lot of different circumstances brought us wait for 560 days.
    We should not forget that, after all, Haswell/Broadwell comparison wasn't all that bad after all.

    My God.
    They were always right.
    I still can't believe it.

    Yes, that's actually my point too.
    As long as I don't like the pricing and I don't if I'll use proficiency the Bar, the concurrency is quite the same.
    The MBP still is a great compromise between weight/battery/performances, and competitors are not that far.

    From my MBP too.
    I don't want an iPad Pro.
    I want a Mac (Book) Pro

    Yes, that what's the most annoying thing and the most o_O
    But given the problems that probably happened as leman @leman hypothesized, that's what we get.
    Also, about GPUs

    I doubt that. Leaks about the 1050 and so far comparison of Mobile Pascal show TDP similar between Mobile - Desktop.
    And since I sincerely doubt the 1050 will work on 35W, there were no suitable NVIDIA mobile GPU for Apple needs.
    Simply as that
  15. Macintosh IIcx macrumors 6502

    Macintosh IIcx

    Jul 3, 2014
    I think it is important to realize that we kinda have reach a performance plateau in regards with CPU power in notebooks. Clock speed just isn't going to go dramatically up, and there aren't that many tasks that will benefit for moving from 4 cores to 8, especially in a laptop. So we are left with CPU's getting more and more efficient in terms of performance per watt, but not in terms of absolute performance.

    GPU will continue to improve faster, but there is only so much you can do with a 35 watt power constraint. We just had a big move to 14/16 nm, it will take time before the next step is reached.

    I'm pointing this out because some people tend to assume that the Sky Lake CPU is old and slow tech when if fact I don't think that Kaby Lake or Cannon Lake is really going to give much of a performance boost.
  16. xmonkey macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2016
    Lots of good reasoning in this thread and I agree with all of it.
  17. Macintosh IIcx macrumors 6502

    Macintosh IIcx

    Jul 3, 2014
    I have given it a bit of thought, and I think that the primary reason why this launch felt a bit flat for me was that rumors about the new MBP was actually spot on. It turned out that we pretty much knew everything in advance.

    Then came the "Hallo, again" and you started to get the sensation that maybe Apple had something outrageous new to add that we hadn't figured out. A one more thing. But there was nothing new, instead the surprise was a price hike. That was tough and rough to get over.

    Once I subtract some of the emotional "disappointment", I actually think the MBP 2016 is a really great laptop for me.
  18. shareef777 Suspended


    Jul 26, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I'm with you. In hindsight, the 'Hello again' was in reference to taking out a widely used port (similar to how the last iMac that used the Hello tag removed the floppy drive).
  19. viljamip macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2016
    I just realized something... MacBook Air is the thickest laptop Apple makes. (If you exclude the 2015 MBP)
  20. curmudgeonette macrumors 6502a

    Jan 28, 2016
    Let me expand your theory:

    Late 2014 - Apple is waiting on Iris Pro Broadwells, scheduled to be released in January.
    Early 2015 - Force touch is ready. Apple can't wait any longer. They respin with Haswell.
    Late 2015 - Intel is promising a short cycle for Broadwell; is promising Iris Pro Skylake in January. Apple plans one last spin of the old chassis with Iris Pro Skylake.

    January 2016 - It is too late for a Broadwell spin - it'd look bad. Also, Touch Bar is coming soon. Apple starts planning a combined update.

    Spring 2016 - Apple wants to increase GPU power so that even older models can support AR/VR. They also want to drive dual 5K displays, something Intel can't do. Apple has decided to go with an AMD dGPU across the board for several generations; tells Intel they won't be needing Iris Pro.

    Late 2016 - Touch Bar is ready. Polaris is ready. Apple can't wait for Kaby Lake. Skylake HD530 is used instead.

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19 October 31, 2016