back to article New MacBook Pro beckons fanbois to become strip pokers

Apple confirmed Thursday that its new Macbook Pro line will feature a touchscreen display to replace function keys. The new models, offered in 13-inch (33-cm) and 15-inch (38-cm) flavors, will be the first to sport the Touch Bar, a small Retina display strip that will sit just above the number keys in an area previously …

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  1. Korev Silver badge
    Coat

    Esc

    I expect the escape key removal will be attacked with Vim

    1. Ole Juul Silver badge

      Re: Esc

      'attacked with Vim"

      and vigour

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Esc

        VIM? Do you mean the old scouring powder[1] or the Enhanced 'Vi'?

        Personally, I think the former would do wonders for Apple new shiny-shiny.

        [1] The closest thing you get to it today is the soap/detergent used in Brillo pads. Brillo pads on a Macbook screen? Now there's an idea...

    2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

      Re: Esc

      Well, it would, if Vim could get out of edit mode.

      1. JW 1

        Re: Esc

        Nice :wq

    3. Marco Fontani

      Re: Esc

      Remap caps lock to Ctrl, then use Ctrl+[ to escape. That's what I already do today. You need both hands, sure, but it's not as hard on the hands, at least for me.

      I sometimes also use Ctrl+C to exit insert mode, also fine.

      The huge dealbreaker for me seems to be the lack of function keys... but I guess I could remap what I have currently mapped to function keys to a leader combination instead. Feels klunky, though!

      1. jeremyjh

        Re: Esc

        or just hold the Fn key and the function keys will appear.

        By far the bigger dealbreaker is that the 13in MBP with Touch Bar is £1749.

        1. Peter X

          Re: Esc

          By far the bigger dealbreaker is that the 13in MBP with Touch Bar is £1749.

          And still not having a proper UK keyboard layout! (I'm assuming they haven't fixed that yet)

          1. Dave559 Bronze badge

            Re: Mac keyboard layout

            I actually prefer that Apple make it easy to buy laptops with a US keyboard layout if you prefer: you get an actually usable left shift key and a nice big return key, the symbols are in logical places, and you can just press option+3 to get a £ sign instead. (The MacOS (and Linux) methods of composing special characters are far superior to the really primitive need to remember and enter alt+<character code> that Windows is stuck with.)

            1. Pompous Git Silver badge

              Re: Mac keyboard layout

              The MacOS (and Linux) methods of composing special characters are far superior to the really primitive need to remember and enter alt+<character code> that Windows is stuck with.

              Em dash in Windows: Alt+0150 (5 keypresses)

              Em dash in Linux: Ctrl+Shift+U then 2014 then Enter (8 keypresses)

              Em dash on a Mac: Option+Shift+Hyphen (3 keypresses)

              I'd say it's Linux that's stuck with redundant keystrokes here.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Esc

        The huge dealbreaker for me seems to be the lack of function keys...

        I have to admit that in the <mumbles, counts on fingers> 9 years of Macbook Pro ownership I've never really used the Fn keys except for dimming the screen or adjusting the volume..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Esc

          > I have to admit that in the <mumbles, counts on fingers> 9 years of Macbook Pro ownership I've never really used the Fn keys except for dimming the screen or adjusting the volume..

          Well, in all my decades of Linux and Windows, I've never really had to mouse-click on mysterious shiny widgets.

      3. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Lack of function keys

        OK, not exactly touchscreencolourtastic, but the slave owners gave me a Lenovo notebook with a multi function strip where the function keys should be which displays different commands depending on the context of what you're doing. Funny really, because what I'm usually doing is wondering why my function keys have been replaced by yet another bunch of meaningless icons every time I need F5.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Esc

      So you still need a proper computer running Windows to get a full touchscreen experience...

    5. macjules Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Esc

      Nano nano.

    6. Eddy Ito Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Esc

      previously occupied by the escape, function, and power buttons

      Ok, missing Esc and function keys is a bit of an inconvenience but no power button? Is it going to be more iPhony and only actually go to sleep to be awakened by the gentle kiss of your finger? I'm sure it will be fine as the extra monitoring won't use any battery power.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Joke

        Re: Esc

        The hivemind has found a solution!

        https://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/59klj4/new_macbook_pro_accessory_only_6999/

        ...though you can get a mechanical keyboard for less...

    7. Dave559 Bronze badge

      Re: Esc

      The inconvenience for vim users was very much the first thing that came to mind for me, too! Given that Macs are understandably popular among web developers, I wonder whether removing the physical <esc> key is really a wise idea?

      While the touchscreen key row is a clever idea for hotkeys that are occasionally used, I can't help but think that having to jab a non-physical key that will be used every few seconds will be quite an irritation (and a possible break to the train of thought) for programmers?

      (I never came from the DOS/Windows world (Amiga, Linux, Mac for me), so was never really in the habit of using function keys, although I don't think they tend to get used quite as often as the <esc> key, so perhaps those becoming touch keys is not quite such a potential inconvenience. I think Apple should maybe have made an exception and kept a "real" <esc> key: I'm sure they must know its heritage and use.)

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Esc

      "I expect the escape key removal will be attacked with Vim"

      It will also a problem in emacs for people who [dons flameproof jacket] like to use a proper editor

  2. regprentice

    Some absolutley insane pricing on those new Macs.

    £500 price hike overnight for the base macbook pro? before 6pm you could have the base model for £999 (899 in many retailers) now the base touch panel model is £1499. They've kept a low 'non-touch' model at £1250 but as far as i can see thats effectively the same model as existed previously at a 25% premium.

    Some of the hardware decisions are poor as well - No Pro model can be specced with more than 16GB of memory across the entire range. Decreases in processor speed on like for like models. Dropping the SD card reader.

    I've just read that apple sold less Pros that it did rose gold iwatches - its going to be a long slow death for the mac pro i think, apple clearly no longer care about selling them.

    incidentally the pricing isn't just brexit as other countries (Canada and Germany in particular) seem to be complaining of similar% hikes on the mac forums.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Why would anyone buy a cheap macbook?

      What would all the people walking past Starbucks think of you ?

      1. jason 7

        You know there are plenty silver slim £300 Chromebooks that will do all the Facebook stuff in Starbucks as well as the £1300 Macbook.

        I was in the Hoxton at Holborn Hotel as a guest a few months ago and it was full of hipsters all using Macbooks/Pros to mainly look at Facebook and Twitter.

        Had they bought a Chromebook they might have been able to buy more than one coffee in the 8 hours they were sat there or even decent broadband at home.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "You know there are plenty silver slim £300 Chromebooks "

          You can get a decent real laptop for that sort of money...

    2. Nattrash
      Coffee/keyboard

      We just have to wait until the Chinese come up to speed. Since iStuff is made there anyway...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ok5bs0Tl3s

      And then you still don't have an SD slot...

    3. macjules Silver badge

      Fanboi mindset explained:

      1) It's a new Mac.

      2) Yes, I know the speed hike is negligible, but ..

      3) I want one.

      4) Why can't I have it now?

      5) [post 4 weeks wait] OMG I've just got the new MacBook Pro!

      6) [post 6 months] Yes, I KNOW that I've only had the MBP 2016 for 6 months but we all know the first of a new line is always faulty so I need a MacBook Pro 2017!

      Trust me, I employ staff exactly like the above. Funny how you never hear this sort of shite from Dell users ...

      1. Halfmad

        Dell users are usually too busy researching how to build their first PC so they don't have to buy Dell again :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          i use Dell XPS15 at work. ( Only place I use windows ). Actually, that dell is a really nice machine, the only downside is W10 that I have to use. Fully configured it is not a cheap machine, unless you compare it to the new MBP.

          1. macjules Silver badge

            Dell XPS15 is a fantastic machine ... running Ubuntu.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's true. Having been forced to use a Dell at work, you'll certainly never hear me clamouring for another one...

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Having been forced to use a Dell at work, you'll certainly never hear me clamouring for another one...
          Only reason I replaced my Dell Latitude X200 was the XGA screen res was too low for browsing designer web pages.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "as far as i can see thats effectively the same model as existed previously at a 25% premium."

      Yay for Brexit and the falling pound!

      How long do you think it will take for prices of imports to drop when/if the pound strengthens?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Brexit

        How long do you think it will take for prices of imports to drop when/if the pound strengthens?

        Are you familiar with the heat death of the universe?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        RE: Yay for Brexit and the falling pound

        As has been mentioned elsewhere, this is not due to Brexit. Other countries have also had price hikes. Brexit is simply a convenient cover.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting idea..

    I like the strip idea, it's a sort of evolved derivative of the Art Lebedev Optimus Maximus keyboard which was interesting, but far too expensive to be of any use for normal mortals. Or maybe Apple's inspiration came from Tactus?

    I recall a HP laptop having this idea for volume, but it was a pain to use. That said, it was long ago and we've learned a lot since about making touch buttons.

    For the rest, meh. Maybe. I'm no big touchpad user so that won't tickle me much, and the whole connector saga has as disadvantage that you'll need an interface for all your legacy kit. That said, it means that all sound I/O is now digitised and may even happen in sync with each other.

    I may get one next year when the hype has died down and any hardware problems have been ironed out - definitely not right now :).

    1. smartypants

      Re: Interesting idea..

      It's also worth waiting till the bear market in Sterling disappears, which should be sometime between March of next year and around 2 decades from now, depending on how stupid Number 10 decides they want brexit to be (currently, the stupidometer is at 11, so not good!)

      Though on the plus side, I never thought I'd see the day when Apple started pricing in £ at the proper exchange rate for the USD :-)

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Interesting idea..

        which should be sometime between March of next year and around 2 decades from now, depending on how stupid Number 10 decides they want brexit to be

        I'd wager having to waiting 'til 'May' has passed for an end to 'stupid'.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting idea..

      "I recall a HP laptop..."

      Friends don't let friends buy HP laptops.

      HP Desktops are generally fine.

      HP Laptops too often are poison.

      1. Florida1920 Silver badge

        Re: Interesting idea..

        Friends don't let friends buy HP laptops.

        Not so fast. I bought a used ProBook 455 on eBay about 18 months ago. Been using it about 8 hours a day, every day. So far, 0 problems. The Western Digital HD in my HP desktop, OTOH, crapped out after 5 years.

        1. The Quiet One

          Re: Interesting idea..

          Agreed. My Firm has used HP for years and hardware problems are pretty much non existant.

          My Probook 6470 has been al round the world, pretty much never gets turned off and I run it into the ground with various tools all day.

          It i still as fast and responsive as the day I imaged it and the battery still gives me enough for a two hour meeting (just).

          No need to replace it, and I dont think it will ever die.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Interesting idea..

          The Western Digital HD in my HP desktop, OTOH, crapped out after 5 years.

          Same with the WD HD in my Macbook Pro. Replaced it with the same drive though. These things do seem to have a shelf-life.

        3. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: Interesting idea..

          The Western Digital HD in my HP desktop, OTOH, crapped out after 5 years.
          There ain't half some lucky bleeders; the Toshiba drive in my Mac Mini died after 18 months.

      2. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: Interesting idea..

        Friends don't let friends buy HP laptops.

        I think that statement needs adjustment. I've had quite a few HP laptops and they have been very good and reliable. With one exception. The Pavilion line of "entertainment" (or whatever they decide to call it on any day) line tends to be very unreliable whereas the business oriented lines (at least in my experience) work very well.

        1. Vince

          Re: Interesting idea..

          I'd second that - HP Elitebook, HP Probook both solid, but the Pavilion range is unreliable and regularly see those coming in for repairs/replacement.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting idea..

      Yep, there's a Lenovo ultrabook in the office that features touch buttons for the function keys. Surprisingly they work fine under Ubuntu as regular function keys, something I fear will not immediately be the case for the Apple offering, but it's still a very weird feel to be pressing against an immobile piece of plastic instead of a moving key cap.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Interesting idea..

        "but it's still a very weird feel to be pressing against an immobile piece of plastic instead of a moving key cap."

        Yeah, great for blind users :-(

        1. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: Very weird to be pressing an immobile price of plastic

          ZX81

          1. salamamba too

            Re: Very weird to be pressing an immobile price of plastic

            You could feel the ZX81 (and ZX80) keys depress. If you really didn't like the feel, you could buy a stick-on keyboard that resembled the spectrums. Don't diss my first computer.

        2. dave 93
          WTF?

          Re: Interesting idea..

          Blind users? Seriously, that's the best shade you can throw? They do actually make a model with F-keys.

          1. EC

            Re: Interesting idea..

            1) What if a blind user would like a powerful model?

            2) That is not shade. It is a direct criticism. Please.

            1. Androgynous Cow Herd

              Re: Interesting idea..

              Does a blind person prefer a 13" or a 15" screen?

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