Thoughts on the 2018 MacBook Pro

pcd213

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 24, 2019
69
22
After two weeks with the 2018 MacBook Pro, here's what I love and hate about it (coming from a 2018 MacBook Air). I'm interested to hear if you agree or disagree with these thoughts.

What I Love:
  1. Screen quality, brightness, and color accuracy
  2. Sound quality
  3. Speed
  4. Touch ID

What I Hate:
  1. Touch Bar: The touch bar is a gimmick, pure and simple. It does not make sense for touch typists as you need to look down to see what you're tapping on versus feeling the F keys on a physical keyboard. Even with the expanded touch strip setting enabled, the touch bar is not fluid to engage with. I can't think of any real benefit that the touch bar provides outside of a few app-specific features but, even in those cases, I think it takes more time to look down and see what the touch bar options are versus using your cursor.
  2. Keyboard ("dislike", not "hate"): I no longer hate the new butterfly keyboard like I did when I first owned a 2016 MacBook Pro but I certainly don't love it. The 2018 design, however, is nicer than the 2016 and 2017 designs. I'm sure most can't tell the difference but having owned and sold models from 2016 and 2017, I do prefer the 2018 design over the first two attempts. I had plenty of reliability issues with the first two years, but did not have those issues with the 2018 MacBook Air keyboard. All of that said, I would welcome a scissor switch keyboard with more travel. We need something much better than what Apple has delivered.

What I Want:
I don't think this wish list is entirely unrealistic but I doubt Apple will deliver on the last item given it has doubled down on the touch bar with the new base MacBook Pro / former MacBook Escape.
  • Scissor switch keyboard with more travel: I want to absolutely love an Apple keyboard like I do with the Lenovo X1 Carbon design. Why can't Apple deliver here? Is it their obsession with thinness and form over function?
  • iPhone X-style no bezeled screen: Screen bezels are another point where Apple is lagging behind the competitors. It would be nice if our laptops felt as modern as our smartphones.
  • Face ID over Touch ID: Touch ID is great but, no doubt, face ID would be a massive improvement.
  • All physical, no touch bar keyboard: I doubt Apple will retreat on the touch bar. In fact, I think they'll only expand the touchable area below the screen. It's sad to see that Apple isn't listening to its consumers in this regard. I think the overwhelming majority of customers either hate the touch bar or don't see the appeal. I don't know anyone who absolutely loves it.
 

BigBoy2018

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2018
816
1,422
After two weeks with the 2018 MacBook Pro, here's what I love and hate about it (coming from a 2018 MacBook Air). I'm interested to hear if you agree or disagree with these thoughts.

What I Love:
  1. Screen quality, brightness, and color accuracy
  2. Sound quality
  3. Speed
  4. Touch ID

What I Hate:
  1. Touch Bar: The touch bar is a gimmick, pure and simple. It does not make sense for touch typists as you need to look down to see what you're tapping on versus feeling the F keys on a physical keyboard. Even with the expanded touch strip setting enabled, the touch bar is not fluid to engage with. I can't think of any real benefit that the touch bar provides outside of a few app-specific features but, even in those cases, I think it takes more time to look down and see what the touch bar options are versus using your cursor.
  2. Keyboard ("dislike", not "hate"): I no longer hate the new butterfly keyboard like I did when I first owned a 2016 MacBook Pro but I certainly don't love it. The 2018 design, however, is nicer than the 2016 and 2017 designs. I'm sure most can't tell the difference but having owned and sold models from 2016 and 2017, I do prefer the 2018 design over the first two attempts. I had plenty of reliability issues with the first two years, but did not have those issues with the 2018 MacBook Air keyboard. All of that said, I would welcome a scissor switch keyboard with more travel. We need something much better than what Apple has delivered.

What I Want:
I don't think this wish list is entirely unrealistic but I doubt Apple will deliver on the last item given it has doubled down on the touch bar with the new base MacBook Pro / former MacBook Escape.
  • Scissor switch keyboard with more travel: I want to absolutely love an Apple keyboard like I do with the Lenovo X1 Carbon design. Why can't Apple deliver here? Is it their obsession with thinness and form over function?
  • iPhone X-style no bezeled screen: Screen bezels are another point where Apple is lagging behind the competitors. It would be nice if our laptops felt as modern as our smartphones.
  • Face ID over Touch ID: Touch ID is great but, no doubt, face ID would be a massive improvement.
  • All physical, no touch bar keyboard: I doubt Apple will retreat on the touch bar. In fact, I think they'll only expand the touchable area below the screen. It's sad to see that Apple isn't listening to its consumers in this regard. I think the overwhelming majority of customers either hate the touch bar or don't see the appeal. I don't know anyone who absolutely loves it.
Good assessment. Perhaps the new macbook pro redesign (September) will give us not only the scissor keyboard again ... but also throw in user upgradable ram/storage again. A boy can dream!
But if I really wanted to dream I’d also say magsafe too.

P.S. Im not even bothering to mention ports other than usb-C since even I’m smart enough to realize thats never gonna happen no matter now much I click my heels.
 

pcd213

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 24, 2019
69
22
Good assessment. Perhaps the new macbook pro redesign (September) will give us not only the scissor keyboard again ... but also throw in user upgradable ram/storage again. A boy can dream!
But if I really wanted to dream I’d also say magsafe too.

P.S. Im not even bothering to mention ports other than usb-C since even I’m smart enough to realize thats never gonna happen no matter now much I click my heels.
Yeah, from my wish list I left off Magsafe, user upgradable RAM, and additional non USB-C ports because I thought there was no chance of those coming true. It'd be fantastic if they did, but I'm not holding my breath.

Sometimes I take a step back and take a 50,000 foot view at what's going on with Apple's laptop lineup, and I can't imagine why Apple can't deliver a fantastic keyboard. The keyboard is the most essential part of the laptop and Apple failed big time. What I can't wrap my head around, though, is why they can't build something just as good or better than the Lenovo X1 Carbon keyboard. And each time I think about it the answer always comes down to their stubbornness in form, thinness and design. I desperately hope that Apple can't get out of its own way and build a new keyboard that delivers on the functional needs of its users. Sadly, again, I'm not holding my breath.
 
Last edited:

petvas

macrumors 601
Jul 20, 2006
4,416
508
Mannheim, Germany
I am using a 2018 13" MacBook Pro and I love it. At first the keyboard felt strange, but now, after three months of using it I love it. I prefer it to other keyboards and I can type with it much faster and with fewer mistakes.
I enjoy the great display of my MacBook Pro, the TouchBar, which I find very useful, but that of course depends on the app. I use it all the time for autocorrect and for confirming dialog boxes, or adding emojis and changing the volume. I understand that there are many people who don't like it, but I am on the other side.
The overall design, battery life and features of the MacBook Pro are great and I couldn't want anything else from a laptop. The USB-C only ports do not bother me at all as I use external devices very rarely and I use my MacBook Pro as my second device. My 27"iMac is my main computer.
 

LogicalApex

macrumors 6502
Nov 13, 2015
494
434
What I can't wrap my head around, though, is why they can't build something just as good or better than the Lenovo X1 Carbon keyboard.
Lenovo does the best keyboards on laptops IMHO. Just as IBM did when IBM made ThinkPads. I wonder if there are patents that IBM/Lenovo has that helps to keep them in the lead here.
 

pcd213

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 24, 2019
69
22
Lenovo does the best keyboards on laptops IMHO. Just as IBM did when IBM made ThinkPads. I wonder if there are patents that IBM/Lenovo has that helps to keep them in the lead here.
That's a great point. I hadn't thought about patents.
 

pcd213

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 24, 2019
69
22
There seem to be a few touch bar apologists in the MR forum or, should I say, people that get very angry when you talk bad against the touch bar. I'm someone who is on their laptop in bed a lot, and the angle there doesn't always work best for seeing/using the touch bar. When sitting down in a traditional way, it's more visible and a bit easier to work with, but still not as fluid as touch typing without having to look.
 
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bill-p

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2011
1,647
186
Yeah, touch bar (TB) is pointless. I get what they are trying to do when I use the TB as a pure content consumption tool, i.e.: it's good for when I need to scrub youtube videos and the likes, but it doesn't really do much for productivity and makes me slower sometimes.

Butterfly keys are what they are. Apple going back to scissor switches is enough of a statement. And I don't think it's the obsession with thinness per se. It's mostly because they have to think about shaving aluminum down to the absolute thinnest they possibly can while not compromising integrity and solidity. So in the end, they end up not having as much space as if they were, say, using some other material.

Case in point: look at LG Gram. I have one (the 17") and it's super thin and light. Yet the key switches still have more travel than whatever Apple has.

A happy medium may be to give up on unibody aluminum and use a different material for, say... the screen and the keyboard area. That should allow for Apple to hit their target thinness and still retain key travel. It's not like the MacBooks are that thin.

And in any case, 12" MacBook is also now dead so it's pretty clear Apple wants to move upward, and 13" is the smallest size MacBook they make.

Personally, I'd prefer a 18" MacBook with super thin bezel, and wouldn't mind having to lug a bit more weight daily for that. The LG Gram 17" has really spoiled me now.
 
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pcd213

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 24, 2019
69
22
Yeah, touch bar (TB) is pointless. I get what they are trying to do when I use the TB as a pure content consumption tool, i.e.: it's good for when I need to scrub youtube videos and the likes, but it doesn't really do much for productivity and makes me slower sometimes.

Butterfly keys are what they are. Apple going back to scissor switches is enough of a statement. And I don't think it's the obsession with thinness per se. It's mostly because they have to think about shaving aluminum down to the absolute thinnest they possibly can while not compromising integrity and solidity. So in the end, they end up not having as much space as if they were, say, using some other material.

Case in point: look at LG Gram. I have one (the 17") and it's super thin and light. Yet the key switches still have more travel than whatever Apple has.

A happy medium may be to give up on unibody aluminum and use a different material for, say... the screen and the keyboard area. That should allow for Apple to hit their target thinness and still retain key travel. It's not like the MacBooks are that thin.

And in any case, 12" MacBook is also now dead so it's pretty clear Apple wants to move upward, and 13" is the smallest size MacBook they make.

Personally, I'd prefer a 18" MacBook with super thin bezel, and wouldn't mind having to lug a bit more weight daily for that. The LG Gram 17" has really spoiled me now.
How is the keyboard on the LG Gram? I haven't seen it in stores to give it a try.
 

triangletechie

macrumors 6502
Apr 21, 2017
409
439
NC
I have a 2018 MBP. I have the auto display brightness turned off, yet sometimes when I log into the machine, the brightness level is lowered a few spots. Any reason why this happens? I keep my MBP plugged in so I always have the brightness set to max level.
 

bill-p

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2011
1,647
186
How is the keyboard on the LG Gram? I haven't seen it in stores to give it a try.
Pretty decent, actually. If I have to describe it... it's somewhere in between the butterfly keys and the original MacBook Pro 2015 era keyboard.

Also the display flexes a little when not in clamshell, and the keyboard deck can flex a bit as well if I tap really hard on it, but it doesn't feel like it'll break apart.

Screen quality, performance, and the overall package are pretty well done. Too bad I still use Mac OS daily for everything, otherwise that would have been my computer. Apple should take notes.

Even the upcoming 16" computer is not enough. 17" or bust. And since someone else is already doing it, Apple should rethink their strategy on thinness and weight, and re-consider using some other material now that Jony (loves aluminum) Ive is no longer with them.
 

SantaClawz

macrumors newbie
Jun 17, 2019
22
15
Toronto area
Awesome little laptop, I have one too and I agree with almost everything op said, except the keyboard and touch bar, which I think are both great imo, and for the life of me I don't know what all the negativity towards them both is all about.
 

pcd213

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 24, 2019
69
22
Awesome little laptop, I have one too and I agree with almost everything op said, except the keyboard and touch bar, which I think are both great imo, and for the life of me I don't know what all the negativity towards them both is all about.
Yeah, I'm sure there are a lot of differing opinions on the keyboard and the touch bar. Regarding the keyboard, I think a lot of people were initially angry with the lack of key travel, and then angry over the reliability issues. I had reliability issues on both my 2016 and 2017 MBPs, but I was very lucky with the 2018 MBA and now the 2018 MBP. I can understand why people don't prefer the more shallow key travel on the newer models, and I'm excited to see what Apple comes out with in the upcoming 16" model. I could really go for a bit more travel on this laptop but, generally speaking, I have grown accustomed to the 2016-present style keyboard. However, if you've ever typed on a Lenovo keyboard, it really is a night and day difference. I don't think Apple is putting nearly as much attention to it's keyboards as they do with their trackpads, and I think they've forgotten that both are essential input mechanisms (but the keyboard is used more than the trackpad).