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VirtuallyInsane

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Nov 16, 2018
333
433
I'm not talking about professionals here or the people who need an upgrade for creative/business reasons, but why do the average consumers think that they always need some brand new M2 Powered Pro Max Macbook Pro for lightly surfing the web, writing emails, listening to music, light office work, and playing a few videos? You could get off with a 2012 MBP or even earlier for that, and slightly upgrade it and run a patcher/Linux on it if you wanted to. Or just download the older versions of the programs.

It would save them a lot of money. You don't need 16GB of RAM for that either if you download an optimized browser or programs. You don't need subscriptions to everything if you're a basic user, and it doesn't matter if you spill water on it. You can just replace it, or buy another one on the cheap. Or replace the part for a low price. You don't even need AppleCare for that.

I'm not telling people not to buy a new MacBook, but there are other options to consider before you make the big purchase. I am waiting a while and saving up for mine. I am thinking about the usage and the decisions, and I am going to hold off for a bit, until the price is right, and it calls for me to upgrade. It's annoying when people say a MBP 2011, or Macbook 2009/10 is obsolete because they think you can't put X software onto it, when you probably can. People just consume, and they don't think about what it is they are consuming.

/Rantover (Well, is it a rant, or is it more expressing opinions? Anyway, wanted to out that out there because everyone is always pushed to buy the latest and the greatest all of the time, even when they maybe don't need it at all).
 

eyoungren

macrumors Penryn
Aug 31, 2011
28,884
27,017
Because people don't know what we do. And computers aren't as important to them as they are to us.

If they are aware, they don't know how to install alternative operating systems or how that would affect them. They want to be using the latest version of apps and they don't want to have to think about how things work or could work. There is a reason IT exists. They will stick with the 'experts', which in this case is Apple. And Apple is going to tell them to upgrade.

Never underestimate the motivational power of not having to think about things. And it makes it easy to blame someone else if things go wrong.
 

fwmireault

Contributor
Jul 4, 2019
2,166
9,252
Montréal, Canada
I agree mostly with you, but I think most people know they don't really need the latest and greatest. On this forum, there are a lot of apple enthusiasts, and they might want a device they don't really need. Or they want a specific feature that is only offered in more high-end models (e.g. I don't need Promotion, but it's a feature that I value a lot and the only way to have it on Mac is with the 14 or 16 inches MBP. I certainly would be fine with M1 for my workflow, but the base configuration for that device is M1 Pro).

But I do agree that we tend to think that a 4-5 years old computer is old, even if it probably has still a good 10 more years to give. At the end of the day, I'm all for letting people spending their money as they want, as long as their dependants have everything they need. So most people shouldn't say they 'need' the latest Mac, but if they really want it and have the money, good for them.
 

GMShadow

macrumors 68000
Jun 8, 2021
1,897
7,680
You could get off with a 2012 MBP or even earlier for that, and slightly upgrade it and run a patcher/Linux on it if you wanted to.

Because most people don't want to do that. They just want it to work.

Laptops also do have a more finite life than desktops - most people are pretty hard and uncaring toward their equipment. Five years is about max they can expect.

I know there's love for the 2012 MBP but it really isn't the end-all amazing product some people think it is. The SATA cables die a lot, the screen on the 13" is low resolution and was mid-tier when new, Ivy Bridge has been showing its age for a while...

OCLP is easier than the previous patch methods but it's still not something your average person is going to feel comfortable doing, and people don't want to have to check to see if the latest security update is safe to apply or not. It's also not perfect, and some features will never work - and Sonoma isn't looking likely to work ever on a lot of older Macs.


Opportunity cost is a real thing that not enough people consider in these sorts of things. Yes, they could put off buying a new Mac for another year or two, at the expense of hours spent tweaking and tuning, with the knowledge that the hardware is *still* just as old and now the software is a little more house-of-cards than it was before. Or they could just buy the new Mac now and by and large not have to worry about it.
 

TheShortTimer

macrumors 68030
Mar 27, 2017
2,788
4,912
London, UK
I'm not talking about professionals here or the people who need an upgrade for creative/business reasons, but why do the average consumers think that they always need some brand new M2 Powered Pro Max Macbook Pro for lightly surfing the web, writing emails, listening to music, light office work, and playing a few videos? You could get off with a 2012 MBP or even earlier for that, and slightly upgrade it and run a patcher/Linux on it if you wanted to. Or just download the older versions of the programs.

It would save them a lot of money. You don't need 16GB of RAM for that either if you download an optimized browser or programs. You don't need subscriptions to everything if you're a basic user, and it doesn't matter if you spill water on it. You can just replace it, or buy another one on the cheap. Or replace the part for a low price. You don't even need AppleCare for that.

I'm not telling people not to buy a new MacBook, but there are other options to consider before you make the big purchase. I am waiting a while and saving up for mine. I am thinking about the usage and the decisions, and I am going to hold off for a bit, until the price is right, and it calls for me to upgrade. It's annoying when people say a MBP 2011, or Macbook 2009/10 is obsolete because they think you can't put X software onto it, when you probably can.

Our entire society is geared towards pushing people into a perpetual cycle of purchasing, jettisoning and replacing items because the advertising and computer hardware/software industries have cemented the notion amongst the general public that you require the latest and greatest products for the same old tasks that you're able to carry out with your current/an old machine. It's not in their interests to allow you to have too many options - hence Apple's shift to providing disposable computers that basically have an expiry date.

People just consume, and they don't think about what it is they are consuming.
/Rantover (Well, is it a rant, or is it more expressing opinions? Anyway, wanted to out that out there because everyone is always pushed to buy the latest and the greatest all of the time, even when they maybe don't need it at all).

Such is the nature of a consumerist society. The last thing that those who profit from this state of affairs - and rely upon its continuance want is for people to pause and reflect on this in large numbers. There's a good discussion of this issue here. You might find it of interest. :)
 

avz

macrumors 68000
Oct 7, 2018
1,794
1,873
Stalingrad, Russia
100% agree. I just used my Late 2008 MacBook exclusively for a month for everything including banking without any issues. I even use it with an old 5400 rpm HDD and just don't see any real need for SSD unless you really need APFS. The only issue is that my active mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter cable is not very stable with 2560X1440(it works much better with Mid 2012 13 inch MBP).
 

GaryGnu

macrumors member
Nov 6, 2019
66
98
There's also the cost of repair. I have a Dell laptop from somewhere around 2005 or so. I call it the Laptop of Theseus, since I'm not too sure what's still original besides the case. Almost everything has been replaced, mostly by me once warranty ran out. I've been able to do this with standard home tools.

Now my circa 2012 Macbook, I went out and bought the special screwdriver sets to take it apart, and replaced as much as I could over the years, but I had to stop when the repairs needed exceeded my comfort zone and/or just started costing too much. It was just cheaper and easier to just buy a new one.

It's like with a car or home appliances. If you can't fix it yourself, at what point to all the maintenance costs stop being worth it. My clothes washer has been fixed 3 times, at a total cost of around $1,000 including parts and labor. RIght now, the spin cycle on standard wash doesn't work. It does on different wash cycles I don't use. So, after every load, we have to move it to a different spin and wait the 5 minutes to finish. When I talked to the repair guy, he said it would be around $300 for the part, plus $125 max for labor, though he expects it will be $75, since he's familiar with the machine, but wants to hedge his bets. Anyway, point is, we decided it wasn't worth the money, and he suggested that at this point, when the next thing goes wrong with it or the dryer (which he's fixed twice), that I'd be better off buying new.

Basically, Macs are great and last longer than PCs, on average. But, you can make a PC last longer because it's easier and cheaper to fix. The real question then, is when do the costs start to favor choosing the other option.

Obviously, I have other laptops, like the mentioned Dell, and I could live without the Mac. I bought the new one because I wanted it. 15", 16/1TB in Starlight for those who are wondering.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Penryn
Aug 31, 2011
28,884
27,017
100% agree. I just used my Late 2008 MacBook exclusively for a month for everything including banking without any issues. I even use it with an old 5400 rpm HDD and just don't see any real need for SSD unless you really need APFS. The only issue is that my active mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter cable is not very stable with 2560X1440(it works much better with Mid 2012 13 inch MBP).
Even here there is a line and where that line is depends on the type of person and what they use their computer(s) for. For years I was in the PowerPC Macs section because I got everything I needed done with PowerPC Macs. But for me, I had to draw the line when production of TenFourFox ended.

Of all the apps I use every day, the browser is the one app I spend most of my time in. When Kaiser called it quits I realized that at a certain point there was no way I was going to be able to get online stuff done. I had Intel Macs already, but in May 2020 I bought a MacPro for my daily driver. It's a 2009 MP 4,1 that I upgraded to a 5,1. I plan on staying on it for quite some time.

But eventually I will have to draw the line again and I can already see it coming. This Mac is running Mojave. I can upgrade OS certainly, but my work Mac uses Ventura and I absolutely hate it. So, at present, my only consideration is when I will be 'forced' on to Catalina. That will give some reprieve but only so much. I have a 2008 MBP running Catalina and I'm not really fond of the OS.

Sooner or later though I will have to move, because I eventually tire of trying to make workarounds work. I've been in this spot before.
 
There's also the cost of repair. I have a Dell laptop from somewhere around 2005 or so. I call it the Laptop of Theseus, since I'm not too sure what's still original besides the case. Almost everything has been replaced, mostly by me once warranty ran out. I've been able to do this with standard home tools.

Now my circa 2012 Macbook, I went out and bought the special screwdriver sets to take it apart, and replaced as much as I could over the years, but I had to stop when the repairs needed exceeded my comfort zone and/or just started costing too much. It was just cheaper and easier to just buy a new one.

Heck, send over your 2012 MBP. I’ll make fetch happen. :D

It's like with a car or home appliances. If you can't fix it yourself, at what point to all the maintenance costs stop being worth it.

True. That said, iFixit, as a public-accessible resource, is no spring chicken and is available to anyone who wants to repair their own Mac. I say this with a qualifying “but…”

The “but” is entirely on Apple’s hands: at a certain juncture during hardware product development, Apple laptop and desktop designers began to, zealously, implement features which made user-replacement difficult (the one-shot seal on iMacs, post-2011), to exceedingly difficult (soldering RAM, CPU, and even SSDs), to impossible (sourcing the part to replace a broken Retina display).

I’d contest these features as “user-hostile by design” and wilfully anti-competitive — hand-in-hand with reifying the idea that the end-user consumer doesn’t actually own their product, through and through. Each “feature” escalates the inherently disposable (by design) nature of Apple hardware — chock full of components which must also be sent to waste streams prematurely, and which trains consumers over time to accept a synthetic cycle of consumption and disposability and to pay no mind to (boring, but important) things like product life cycle analysis.

From a corporate vantage, especially in light of the way our species has a thing for extracting everything it can for the sake of wealth, with scant foresight on how the piper of mother nature will get paid, it’s reckless, irresponsible, and emblematic of how little regulation is linked with product life cycle analysis.

With a few design tweaks, Apple products would continue to be user-serviceable and even user-upgradeable (see, for instance, what Frame.work, whose laptops have been designed by former MacBook designers from Apple, have been striving to do).

My clothes washer has been fixed 3 times, at a total cost of around $1,000 including parts and labor. RIght now, the spin cycle on standard wash doesn't work. It does on different wash cycles I don't use. So, after every load, we have to move it to a different spin and wait the 5 minutes to finish. When I talked to the repair guy, he said it would be around $300 for the part, plus $125 max for labor, though he expects it will be $75, since he's familiar with the machine, but wants to hedge his bets. Anyway, point is, we decided it wasn't worth the money, and he suggested that at this point, when the next thing goes wrong with it or the dryer (which he's fixed twice), that I'd be better off buying new.

I’m not well-acquainted with the build quality or modular capability of washers and dryers, but if the durable goods industry’s drift/slouch toward anti-right-to-repair practices (which have found their way into products like cars and even farm equipment) have found their way into the appliance products being released by the LGs, the Samsungs, the Kenmores, and so on, then this bodes poorly for being able to maintain equipment for as long as earlier products once did.

By the same measure, appliances are being pressed, mostly by national-level regulations, to consume less power, water, heat, and so on. So, in a manner of speaking, the selling point of improved efficiency/certification can be a device for manufacturers to lean on to rationalize making replacement parts on existing equipment a prohibitive affair — enticing consumers to jettison and buy next-gen new.

Resource and wealth extraction are uniquely human technologies, and extraction really is the bane of this planet’s welfare.


Basically, Macs are great and last longer than PCs, on average. But, you can make a PC last longer because it's easier and cheaper to fix. The real question then, is when do the costs start to favor choosing the other option.

The modular parts on PCs for the bigger names — Lenovo, Asus, Dell, etc. — will tend to be easier to come by, but it gets tougher when looking for vendor-specific components which fail, when those vendors are smaller.

Back in the early 2000s and even early 2010s, Apple lacked the market reach they now have, so it might be forgivable that the Apple-specific bits might be tougher to procure back then. But this generally wasn’t the case. Only once Apple flexed into the juggernaut they now are, post-introduction of the iPhone, did they lean hard into making more and more components tougher to acquire. That Retina display, for example? In their contract with display vendor LG, they proscribed LG from selling Retina displays to any third-party, repair or otherwise, with no exceptions. Once Apple designate a model as obsolete, they halt repair service on that product.

So if you’re stuck with a rMBP from 2012–2015 with a broken display, your sole recourse is to scavenge a unit with a non-ruined display or buy one, used, for remarkable amounts of money created by a contractual scarcity.

Sorry. I’ve long had a bee in my bonnet about Apple’s user-hostility around reparability, post-2012ish lack of tangible, material responsibility for a reduction of product life cycle waste at the point of design and development. 😤

In the absence of international regulation around corporate enforcement of slowing product life cycles from a flash flood torrent to a gentle brook, then what steers designers and manufacturers of hardware, appliances, vehicles, etc., is the quarterly earnings report being delivered to shareholders and private equity.

We really are our own worst enemy.

Obviously, I have other laptops, like the mentioned Dell, and I could live without the Mac. I bought the new one because I wanted it. 15", 16/1TB in Starlight for those who are wondering.

Sidebar: No Gnews is Good Gnews with Gary Gnu (bad gnews, ofc, is when Goriddle shows up to destroy Gary’s gnewscast…)
 
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Bananasaurus

Suspended
Aug 16, 2023
753
2,631
Yes I do.

200.gif
 

retta283

Suspended
Jun 8, 2018
3,180
3,480
My 2012 iMac running Mavericks and Sierra is completely sufficient for my uses at home. At work I use a 2020 iMac that boots into Windows exclusively, ironically. My needs at home are few, just reliable access to the ever-changing internet, and access to my extensive back-catalog of apps. Most people really only need the first. Any computer that can run macOS going all the way back to at least Mavericks or Mountain Lion can do this task.

However, in my case, a modern Mac computer *cannot* support an extensive back catalog of applications. The amount of applications that I use that have at least some reliance on 32-bit code is staggering, over 90%. I'm an old fellow, and all of this stuff is from 10-15 years ago or more, but it is what I have come to know and use in my daily life. Otherwise it would make no difference to me whether it was a 2012 or 2021 iMac. Means nothing.

Well, I would say nothing, but I refuse to use any non-HiDPi screens on any OS after High Sierra, (and I do not like High Sierra). The font rendering looks like a bloody mess to my ailing eyesight, and it's almost impossible for me to use, even with Terminal tweaking. I have no choice but to stick with an earlier OS until the point comes when they are unusable for web browsing tasks, at which point I will buy a retina Mac computer or a Windows machine for home. If this 2012 iMac is still kicking it will become a glorified jukebox for iTunes since I detest the Music app, and for a few specialty apps.

All of this is to say that the only inevitability that ejects me from using 10 year old hardware and software is web access. The performance is no issue, a quad core Ivy Bridge desktop i5 with 16GB RAM is more than enough. It is merely remaining within browser support, and nothing else matters. People that are reliant on cloud suites like Adobe or Office 365 are clearly in much more dire straits, but even then so long as you're running the latest OS the hardware itself will be sufficient.

However for most, it's not a matter of "the right tool for the right job" it is merely getting what they need in the fanciest and flashiest possible package, which is constantly evolving criteria. It's not everyone, but there is a desire for the new and the flashy. I myself have fallen for it plenty, but it's almost always sobering to realize quickly that I need none of it. I simply will not accept a subpar experience, and my current experience on my 2012 iMac is not subpar, not yet.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Penryn
Aug 31, 2011
28,884
27,017
Can you please elaborate as to why aren't you fond of Catalina? I'd like to know more about your viewpoint.
It's okay for a while, then at some point out of the blue it will stop opening apps. ALL apps. I've tried all methods to get an app open at this point, the screen just blinks at me and then ignores me.

I've traced it down to it losing connection or something to a certificate. I even used a terminal hack which supposedly fixed that but…not really. The only solution is a restart.

And by now, most people in here know just exactly how much I love restarting.

I've also had some quirks of where I can use Indesign 2021 on Mojave, but not Catalina. It won't open. 🤷‍♂️

Just little annoyances like this. Oh and with Catalina you want to make sure that if you are using APFS to share the boot drive SSD you want to connect via SMB and not AFP, because Apple deprecated AFP and the share won't show up if you use AFP.

But SMB shares won't stay connected overnight.

Possibly I can attribute all this to Catalina not being supported on the Macs I have it on, and maybe a messed up install or something. But that whole app won't launch deal really kills productivity sometimes.
 

SpotOnT

macrumors 6502a
Dec 7, 2016
891
1,848
The people who can get by fine with a 2010-2012 MBP for all their computing needs are not the people who are going to want to research forums for how to install patches and hacks to get their computer to work. They are not going to want to deal with “obsolete” hardware that requires them to buy used parts and fix anything themselves when it breaks, because Apple won’t touch the thing. They don’t want to deal with soldering the motherboard when their dedicated GPU goes on the fritz. They don’t even want to do something as simple as buy a screwdriver set to clean the dust out of the fans or replace the battery.

They want a simple computer that just works. Works with their iPhone, their software, etc all without any tinkering.

I can relate to a degree. I need a car to get me to work. I don’t want some old car that needs tinkering and constant repairs and that may or may not start all the tine. I want a car that will just work and get me where I need to go.
 
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!!!

macrumors 6502a
Aug 5, 2013
695
943
I think it's more or less the same as with phones, people see the "new and shiny" and think they must have it. Apple encourages this behavior, which is really unfortunate as it contributes to unnecessary product production which in the end results in increased e-waste.

Though Apple isn't exclusive in this, NVIDIA has been encouraging this buy-every-gen behavior for their GPUs, and it feels like, at least for some people, they see cars in a similar way: needing to buy the latest and greatest every few years.
 

ArkSingularity

macrumors 6502a
Mar 5, 2022
925
1,122
I think it's more or less the same as with phones, people see the "new and shiny" and think they must have it. Apple encourages this behavior, which is really unfortunate as it contributes to unnecessary product production which in the end results in increased e-waste.

Though Apple isn't exclusive in this, NVIDIA has been encouraging this buy-every-gen behavior for their GPUs, and it feels like, at least for some people, they see cars in a similar way: needing to buy the latest and greatest every few years.
You see the same thing with people telling folks to get the 14"/16" Pros over the 15" Air for people who really don't need the Pro. We're talking people who just want a computer to browse the web. (Don't get me wrong, these new Pros are amazing. I'm always gonna tell anyone who wants one to go ahead and get one, but to make the Air seem inadequate for these use cases would just be... outright misleading.)

It's something that happens a lot on Reddit. People look for recommendations with a ~$1000 budget needing a simple college laptop, then get told they need to spend $2K+ (way more than they can afford to spend) before they'll have anything worthwhile.
 
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You might be on to something. But I buy what I need for the work that I do. The M1 Air has been nice, but it's not powerful enough for my current workload. Waiting for the M3 next year.

Unless you’re regularly rendering 4K+ video content or developing for video games, then this I doubt. But hey, you do you.

(Your gif meme sort of undermined your argument here, and “need” carries a very specific context which does not involve durable goods.)
 

Bananasaurus

Suspended
Aug 16, 2023
753
2,631
Unless you’re regularly rendering 4K+ video content or developing for video games, then this I doubt. But hey, you do you.

(Your gif meme sort of undermined your argument here, and “need” carries a very specific context which does not involve durable goods.)
I'm regularly rendering 4k and 8k videos for clients, composing music, running several VMs at once, and playing games on occasion, though I mostly do that on my PS5 and Switch. The GIFs were just to be silly. I actually do need more power than the M1 can provide. I also need dual monitors now and the M-series Airs just don't have that capability. It's treated me well, but it is definitely time to upgrade. Also the heat throttling on the Air due to having no fans is a not a fun bottleneck during heavy workloads.
 

rampancy

macrumors 6502a
Jul 22, 2002
684
917
...but why do the average consumers think that they always need some brand new M2 Powered Pro Max Macbook Pro for lightly surfing the web, writing emails, listening to music, light office work, and playing a few videos?

Welcome to capitalism, I guess...

I mean, from my experience, a lot of folks out there would have their needs easily fulfilled with an upgraded A1278, A1342, or 2008/2009-era A1181 running Linux. Heck, even just geting an upgraded A1181 running Chromium Legacy would be good enough for a good chunk of people.
 

xantufrog

macrumors regular
Jul 7, 2023
130
132
I kind of get your point, but as someone with lots of old computers around that I tinker with and enjoy in various ways, I have to say I have never upgraded a laptop and not immediately appreciated the benefits of its newer software and faster performance and new features. Your argument is focused on what is “necessary“ but doesn‘t seem to recognize there is still value added from upgrading. Assuming one can afford the upgrade of course - if not then it makes a lot more sense to try to milk every ounce of life left out of the current computer
 
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