Who is in charge of hardware design?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by DarthE, Nov 15, 2016.

  1. DarthE macrumors newbie

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    #1
    I'm curious about the hardware design at Apple. With the lack of timely refreshes on almost all hardware, it seems as though there is a vacuum. With the new MacBook Pro, there is a lot of debate over design choices.

    Most people point to Jonny Ive as he is the "Chief Design Officer". However, wouldn't he have more to do with the look of the product, as opposed to the functionality of it? Wouldn't the VP of Hardware Engineering (Dan Riccio) have more to do with what goes into the products? However, his bio seems to be focused on iPhone and iPads. Why isn't he present at any of the press events for these products?

    Frankly, it seems to me that hardware at Apple started to take a real nose dive with the loss of Bob Mansfield in 2012. Isn't that when their last decent hardware was designed?
     
  2. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 65816

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #2
    What are you asking here? Jonny Ive handles the 'Design', not the parts that go into it, but design encompasses experiential (Functionality). You mention a lack of timely refreshes, what do you mean? Hardware or design? They tend to keep to a particular schedule, and have always done the same, when it comes to design refreshes (About every 4 years for PCs, yearly for iPhone/iPad), with hardware changes about every year. Did you want them to release an entirely new design every few months like Windows manufacturers?

    Then you say 2012 was when there last decent hardware was designed. So what are you referring to? The look of it or what's in it? It looks great and has the best components, are you complaining about one of these?
     
  3. Antairez, Nov 15, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016

    Antairez macrumors regular

    Antairez

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    #3
    Blame Intel because only the 15" needs a dGPU so yeah, nothing to upgrade there if Intel doesn't have the right TDP CPU upgraded in time.
    Also blame Intel as CPU dictates the type of RAM it could use, so we are stuck in DDR3 for the past decade.

    Besides Intel's crappy release schedule that's affecting CPU, iGPU, and RAM. Apple has done a good job refreshing the SSD every year, the display, the speakers, the volume of the casing, the weight .... (not counting battery life because for each power efficiency Intel managed to output Apple will respond with smaller battery pack for the sake of portability, which I find it perfectly acceptable).

    You want a refresh on Wifi, Bluetooth, microphone or built in camera every year? I mean really?
     
  4. huckg macrumors member

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    Jul 30, 2016
    #4
    He's asking who's responsible for the overall engineering design of the computer.

    Someone needs to model the whole computer in CAD software, including the chassis, board layout, bills of materials, and schematics. That ain't the designer.

    The engineering head then signs off on it.
     
  5. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    #5
    Dell doesn't have this problem despite using Intel CPUs.
     
  6. Rogifan macrumors P6

    Rogifan

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    #6
    I have a feeling Phil Schiller's team is very involved in product features/specs/pricing. I highly doubt Jony Ive decided on his own (or at all) that the new MBP would be USB-C only. I doubt he alone (if at all) decides whether the SSD is removable or not. Phil Schiller's team is a lot more powerful than people think.
     
  7. burgman macrumors 65816

    burgman

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    #7
    Jesus or the Sith depending on who answers you on Macrumors
     
  8. DarthE thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    Well, they don't make hardware changes every year. They used to. It was nearly two years for the MBP; it's been well over a year for the iMac; nearly 2 years for the MBA; over 2 years for the Mac Mini, and 3 years for the Mac Pro. I've been buying Macs since 1994. When Jobs returned, minor hardware refreshes (CPU, RAM, etc) would happen at least yearly, with major design revisions happening every 2 to 4 years.

    I am more interested in functionality changes, such as choosing to eliminate ports in favour of USB-C, and making RAM and SSD non-removable. I am quite certain the look of the machine is Jonny's. What I don't know is who makes the decisions over the guts of the machine. Does Jonny say to engineering -- I don't like the asymmetrical look of various ports, or I want the machine to be 1mm thinner? Hardware engineering then says, well to get 1mm thinner you have to lose "x" and "y".

    Mansfield seemed to be able to keep a good balance of appearance and functionality. It seems to me that design now has swung wildly toward the appearance side of the scale.
     
  9. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 65816

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #9
    Pretty much a design will be made, the the engineers will say how possible it is, then several meetings/prototypes will occur, and eventually they'll come to a mutual understanding. If you want it X thin, we'll need to remove Y. Engineers will put their case forward to the board, design will do there's, then more meetings/prototypes etc. Essentially a process of refinement until the best solution happens and the board are happy.

    Functionality as you describe it would come under the remit of design, however it isn't one side forcing their way. There will have been meetings discussing the possibilities, they will have made prototypes including more ports then probably came to a decision of "What's the point? USB-C is all of those ports in one" kind of thing.

    Mac mini/Mac Pro have been fairly consistent in their upgrades. MBP I think was supposed to come out earlier in the year (March) but likely had issues with chips from Intel, so it took 18 months instead. iMac was updated last October, and is likely due next March so again 18 months. As others have suggested, blame Intel, they've been struggling because of Moores 2nd law, and so have shifted onto power efficiency. What this means is very little gain year on year in processing power. So Apple isn't as inclined as it was say 10 years ago to release updates yearly, as the updates now would be so marginal it would be considered pointless. Not just Apple though, the whole industry is seeing a shift and we'll start seeing smaller units at first, and hopefully as more power efficiency work continues we'll be able to start seeing processing power upgrades (As desktop CPU's become viable for notebooks).

    Hope that helps! P.s., do look up on how Apple make a product, start to scratch, they're very unique in the way they do it which allows for more control over the design of the product, rather than what will push sales.
     
  10. dugbug macrumors 65816

    dugbug

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    #10
    And they had to make some crappy trade offs. Intel needs to address the laptop market
     
  11. shareef777 macrumors 68000

    shareef777

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    #11
    Apple doesn't make a dozen laptop variations. You want a Ford, go with a Dell. Apple is more akin to a Mercedes.
     
  12. therealseebs macrumors 65816

    therealseebs

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    #12
    Nah, Mercedes has too many different models for the comparison to apply. You want a company that makes about three cars, total, and they're all focused on the same exact design space. I'd say Tesla, but they are way further up the performance curve.

    And while I don't think Apple ever made a dozen, it used to be they had at least three noticably distinct ranges, so you could pick and choose a bit.
     
  13. shareef777 macrumors 68000

    shareef777

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    #13
    Lol, I was gonna say Tesla, but Tesla is rocking the auto industry. Their machines are the best in every class/feature. Unfortunately can't say the same for Apple.

    As for the comparison, I just meant the Apple is more like Mercedes/BMW/Lexus, in that you're paying more for better quality/reliability. You can always get a Ford Mustang or Chevy Camaro that gives you raw power, without class or refinement.
     
  14. therealseebs macrumors 65816

    therealseebs

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    #14
    I'm not getting quality or reliability, though. I'm getting thin. Also, thin. And lightweight. And not-thick.

    That's it.

    You want to see a quality keyboard? Look at ThinkPads. (I dunno if they're still good. They used to be amazing.)

    Reliability? If you can't swap the hard drive out of one machine into another, that's a pretty serious failure of "reliability" from a maintenance standpoint. Everything fails eventually. What's it gonna cost you? With the MBP, the answer is "everything", because the SSD and RAM are now soldered to the main board. No way to do data recovery anymore.

    Apple has, in the past, made some really excellent hardware. The 2016 MBP is pretty disappointing by comparison.
     
  15. Pootmatoot macrumors 6502a

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    #15

    Given the new MBP has worse battery life than the Dell according to the Verge review, what "crappy trade offs" are you talking about?
    --- Post Merged, Nov 15, 2016 ---

    It's not 2013 anymore.
     
  16. dugbug macrumors 65816

    dugbug

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    #16

    Verge summary of MacBook review. If you ant a dell go for it, but those balances below sum it up perfectly well.
    • Brilliant display
    • Enormous, luxurious trackpad
    • Sumptuous industrial design
    • Balances performance, battery life, and size superbly well
     
  17. Pootmatoot macrumors 6502a

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    #17

    I have 4 Macs in my house, and my partner has last year's XPS.

    Of those points, the sole one the new MBP has the edge is the trackpad... but I've never even considered my MBP 2015 or the XPS as anything but... already the right size trackpad?
     
  18. Antairez macrumors regular

    Antairez

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    #18
    You need some more googling around, Apple is still waiting on LPDDR4 hence the decision to carry on using LPDDR3. Unlike many other manufacturers Apple is aggressive at cutting down battery size, and Apple's ultimate goal is to reach 'real' all day long battery life just like their iPhones. There's still a long way to go. Not some claimed '10 hrs' while only lasting maybe 7-8.
     
  19. myscrnnm macrumors 65816

    myscrnnm

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    #19
    I guess maybe Apple would be more comparable to an Alfa Romeo or Porsche. They tend to be high performance machines, and are very well known. But the model ranges are small and focused while attempting to reach a broad market, and performance isn't the best in the world, but very high on the scale. The new MacBook Pros are refinements of the 2008 unibody design, just like the 991 generation doesn't stray too far from the original 911 RR formula. Many changes have been made to the internals of the MBP, but it has the same spirit as the old PowerBooks.
     
  20. andrewbee macrumors newbie

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    #20
    This guy:
    [​IMG]
     

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