Upgrading from 2014 MBP to 2018 MBP

qpid360

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 23, 2009
436
10
Pasadena, CA
I'm looking into getting a new 2018 MBP to replace my 2014 MBP, but reading through this forum got me a little worried. Other than a possible refresh and/or redesign this year, it seems like most people really hate the current gen MBP, particularly the keyboard, touchbar, and display.

Is this just a case of people being more vocal about issues on a forum or are the current gen MBP really that problematic?
 

Stygma

macrumors member
Jan 24, 2018
34
65
People love the display, they don't like flexgate associated with the display. They did modify the 2018 MPB to hopefully correct that problem but only time will tell. The Touchbar is a thing where some people love it, some hate it and others don't care. If you do not use the function keys or need a physical escape key, then it should not bother you. The keyboard . . . well, hopefully they add it to the extended warranty program soon, at least they have finally acknowledged that people are having issues with it. From most polls I have seen on here, roughly 30% of people have keyboard and flexgate issues. I personally am waiting to see what the 2019 update brings before I move on from my late 2013 MPB.
 
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chabig

macrumors 603
Sep 6, 2002
6,069
3,307
but reading through this forum got me a little worried
Mistake number 1: Forming an opinion based on reading an unbalance online forum consisting primarily of complaints.
it seems like most people really hate the current gen MBP
Mistake number 2: Drawing general conclusions from a small, biased sample set.
Is this just a case of people being more vocal about issues on a forum or are the current gen MBP really that problematic?
This! My 2016 MBP is the best Mac I've ever owned.
 

Anarchy99

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2003
899
801
CA
people speculate MBP refresh 2020, due to the many issues with the keyboard (even when not defective/damaged), touchbar, lack of IO, lack of storage upgradeability/recoverability and unless on the very high-end modest performance increases.

the 2016-2018 are a downgrade IMO

thats why I went from the highest end model 2012 to a highest end model 2015 last summer and bought a smaller more portable eGPU.
it will hold me over till the next refresh, if not or if the refresh is just as bad then I'm going back to Hackintoshing

to people curious i'd recommend buy one use it for the 14 days (thats why apple has that nice return policy) to see if you can tolerate they keyboard (your work will determine if the lack of I/O maters) and make the choice.
 
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AnotherSoftwareEngineer

macrumors member
Sep 9, 2018
35
52
I've had both a 2016 and 2018, both have been definite upgrades over the 2012-2015 models for me.

That being said, the keyboard reliability seems to be a lottery. I like the new keyboards and have been lucky to have no issues, but obviously others have been seeing issues.
 
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leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,187
4,715
From most polls I have seen on here, roughly 30% of people have keyboard and flexgate issues.
Since numbers started to be thrown abound... some facts:

1. The only large empirical survey on 2016-2017 MBP keyboard failures I am aware of is this appleinsider article, where they estimate the relative failure rates at twice those of earlier keyboards, at around 12% in the first year (the 2014-2015 keyboard failure rate was around 6%). Now, the important thing is that this is the relative rate, that is, from X computers that have been serviced, 12% were serviced because of the keyboard problems. Based on very conservative estimates about how many MBP's actually fail in total annually (its less than 10%) and also accounting the fact that people are less likely to contact service if they are just sporadically having a key that sticks, the amount of affected machines is probably somewhere between 5-10% (which is a lot, don't get me wrong! — but not far off overall probability that an expensive laptop breaks down). This is consistent with data I've seen people posting from their companies from reddit and also with my own observations (we have more then 20 of these machines in use, 3 of them had keyboard issues within almost three years of use). There are some who report much higher failure rates (like this source that claims 30% failure rate on a sample of 47 laptops), but given the small sample size, I'd take it with a grain of salt.

There is absolutely no empirical information about failure rates of the keyboard on 2018 models I am aware of, and while Apple has recently acknowledged that customers continue see problems, we simply do not know what the magnitude is. One thing I do notice is that complaints about 2018 models on these forums are much rarer than of 2016-2017 models. I do not know whether it's because less people own the 2018 model, because its relatively new or because it the improvements Apple did indeed helped.

2. I am not aware of any empirical study on how widespread the fluxgate issue is not have I seen this issue in the wild. All I have seen are claims that all 2016-2017 MBPs have a bad design error which will lead to the display cable inevitable getting broken. Seeing that these laptops have been around for almost 3 years now and I don't see angry masses with broken millions of laptops picketing Apple Stores, I am not sure how seriously one should take these claims. At any rate, the keyboard reliability is something that is certainly more relevant.
 
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Wingzfan61

macrumors regular
Dec 1, 2012
113
95
Had a 2015, went to a nTB 2017 then to a TB 2018 as well as a 2018 Air. The 2018 TB is my absolute favorite, including the keyboard and Touch Bar. No keyboard issues for me but my daughter did have them on her 2017 nTB. Apple fixed it in less than 48 hours.
 
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Donnation

macrumors 6502a
Nov 2, 2014
875
856
OP while Apple might refresh this model, I highly doubt its going to be a massive refresh. The only thing I have seen they may adjust is the size of the screen by making the bezels smaller.

No way Apple is getting rid of the touchbar. It would mean admitting that it is useless and that's not something Apple likes to do.

From a keyboard perspective I wouldn't expect many changes there either. Outside of fixing the reliability, if Apple completely redesigned the keyboard it would again be admitting the current design had problems, which is not something they are known to do.

As far as those two things go (touchbar, keyboard) I actually like them. I was lukewarm on the keyboard but got very used to it and very much like typing on it now. They touchbar while not life changing, is enjoyable to use and it does have some use in certain applications, just not everywhere like I think Apple envisioned.
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
64,141
30,738
Boston
My personal opinion is where there is smoke, there is fire, and there's enough cause for concern over the 2018 model, that I would avoid it. I'm sure there are plenty of people with machines that are fine, and had not incurred any keyboard failure, yet the fact remains that Apple has a repair program for the 2016 through 2017 model years and they had to apologize for the keyboard failures in the 2018 model. That tells me that that keyboard's design is flawed and the risk of failure is higher then scissor type keyboards.
 
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