back to article Why I just bought a MacBook Air instead of the new Pro

For the past few weeks, this tech reporter has been tussling with a complex issue: which new laptop to buy. Just a month ago, this seemed like an exciting proposition: not only was Apple going to update its MacBook Pro line (at last), but Microsoft had gone all Apple on us and come out with some genuinely innovative products. …

  1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Surface is nice and all

    ...shame about the operating system.

    Wake me when someone is shipping an OS where I, as the end user, actually have full control. Until then, I'll keep buying Eurocom and using Linux. It's an awful experience, but it's ever so slightly better than the rest of the festering shitpile that's on offer.

    1. joed

      Re: Surface is nice and all

      Not just the OS. The whole thing is the same "trying to hard", locked/un-upgradeable glittering "art piece"/cruft with planned obsolescence fuse lit (or maybe this was the battery;). So basically the same like Apple but with legacy ports. It gets harder to find something that values function over the form (and at acceptable price). For obvious reasons there's no legal choice on Apple side but hackintosh build is an option for non-commercial use. Windows side is definitely marred by the system itself (though FB crowd has shared it all already so it probably won't mind MS embrace).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Surface is nice and all

      Full control... as long as you don't mind doing things the way poettering wants.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Facepalm

        Re: Surface is nice and all

        Poettering's at Apple now, seriously? Why am I not surprised.... ;)

        The touch bar DJ demo... this just gets more laughable every day. DJs use nice peripherals with knobs, faders, piano keys or hip multicolored glowing touch-sensitive pads. Even the fancy ones aren't $2400.

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Surface is nice and all

          Just rejected a 'request' (demand) for 5 top-end MacBook Pros, simple because of the shiny angle. Instead they are getting 5x new MBP 2500 series which Jigsaw had left in stock. My reason given for the rejection:

          You can have one when Final Cut Pro has touch key bar support, not until then. Bleating 'but iMovie has it' at me is not enough, sorry".'

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Surface is nice and all

          >The touch bar DJ demo... this just gets more laughable every day. DJs use nice peripherals with knobs, faders, piano keys or hip multicolored glowing touch-sensitive pads.

          I never saw the demo as being an effort to sell the Touchbar to DJs per se, but just a way of demonstrating that the Touch bar was multi-touch and not too laggy. A chef wouldn't use a Swiss Army Knife in the kitchen, but cutting a tomato is a good way to demonstrate the sharpness of a knife.

          DJs do indeed have a wealth of knobs, sliders, and 'control surfaces' available to them. What is more, the rise of inexpensive I/O interfaces like Arduino means that people are in a better position than ever before to make their own man/machine music interfaces.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Surface is nice and all

        "as long as you don't mind doing things the way poettering wants."

        In Debian-land Wheezy is still LTS for a little longer and on newer H/W I'm giving Devuan a try.

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Surface is nice and all

          Devual looks fine- just like normal Debian, no worries.

        2. something_or_another
          Thumb Down

          Re: Surface is nice and all

          "I'm giving Devuan a try."

          LOL ... talk about planned obsolescence (yours and Duvuan whiners)! Linux with concrete shoes. "Let's do the opposite of the industry".

          Way to inform the world that you're going to stick with yesterday's skills, aging out, while everyone else is maintaining relevance. Don't get irritated when nobody wants to handhold you as to why you can't find the SysV init scripts.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Flame

            Re: Surface is nice and all

            > "Let's do the opposite of the industry"

            A wise idea in an industry dominated by the latest moronic fashions.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Surface is nice and all

            "Don't get irritated when nobody wants to handhold you as to why you can't find the SysV init scripts."

            Been using Unix & Unix-like OSs for almost as long as Poettering has been drawing breath and well before SysV. I don't seen any reason to change to something that no longer fits that description. If systemd-free Linux becomes unsustainable - and I accept that it might - I'll make the move to a BSD.

    3. Colin Ritchie
      Windows

      Re: Surface is nice and all

      http://blazinglist.com/top-10-best-laptops-hackintosh-2015/

      Want ports, power and repairability for less than a couple of grand? Get yer hacking hat on!

    4. IHateWearingATie

      Re: Surface is nice and all

      And how many of the users in your clients would you trust with 'full control' Trevor?

      Have used Linux in the past, mainly Red Hat and Debian. Don't use it now as life is too short. Win 10 is close enough to 'it just works' for me (would maybe move to MacOS if there were more games available).

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: Surface is nice and all

        "And how many of the users in your clients would you trust with 'full control' Trevor?"

        Every single one. I serve my clients. I don't control them. The question is how many of my clients trust me with full control of their IT?

        Their equipment. Their software. Their business. They make the decisions. I give recommendations. They live with the consequences of those decisions.

        If you can't understand that concept, then please state your real name and employer so that I can avoid both like the plague.

        1. IHateWearingATie

          Re: Surface is nice and all

          @Trevor_Pott

          "Every single one. I serve my clients. I don't control them. The question is how many of my clients trust me with full control of their IT?"

          Erm....you mentioned having full control as an end user. You having full control as the IT manager / admin/ consultant is more than a little differennt. The point was, you may want full control, but thats not a requirement for very many other people and is hardly a basis for criticising an operating system.

          Don't worry, I'll be avoiding your company like the plague too.

  2. WolfFan Silver badge

    you are not alone

    I took a good look at the new MacBook Pros. I went looking for refurbished older MacBook Pros. I also had a serious look at the Surface Book.

    Apple has simply lost the plot.

    1. goldcd

      I don't think they've lost it..

      ..they're just continuing along the path they've been on for many years.

      If I had to sum it up "solder, not sockets"

      I do think they've been riding on people blindly buying, and maybe "excusing" previous decisions, but definitely feels that a line got crossed with this release.

      Mainly as this had "Pro" in the name. Maybe the non-Pro people like simplicity, but this is for the "Pros", who might suddenly need a shitload of memory for their 4K-360-VR-Whatever pipeline in 2 years time.

      To me at least, that final straw was "I buy your latest iPhone and your latest laptop - and you want more money to actually plug them together".

      That's the very antithesis of their previous "just works [as long as you buy our stuff only]"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Solder not Socket...

        So...Apple names a product macbook 'Pro' w/ touchbar then solder the Sandisk SSD Flash chips to the main motherboard, in a weak/stressed area of their "curly moustache" board design.

        Apple do this knowing full well, that a Coffee/Coke spill on the keyboard, will render your whole macbook AND its Data, GONE. There is no SSD to remove, to manually recover data. You have to ask what Apple's motives are here.

        They just moved the Data loss probability tenfold in their favour, with the need for an active iCloud backup strategy, to compensate. Is this to start a new Apple service, push users toward Apple's own in-house data loss recovery repairs?

        Buy/use a macbook Pro w/ touchbar, please remember to implement an active backup strategy, there no second chances of retrieving Data here, after the fact.

        1. Tessier-Ashpool

          Re: Solder not Socket...

          You should implement a proper backup strategy whether or not flash memory is soldered to the logic board. Apple's motives? Surface mounting everything makes it slimmer and lighter and cheaper to make. They want to sell you a new computer when you need a bigger one. They want to replace a whole board when it gets busted and comes in for repairs.

          On the bright side, your old MacBook will have an excellent resale value when you get a new one.

          Speaking personally, I don't see 16GB RAM as a potential bottleneck. OS X has seen great improvements in memory management over the past few years. My laptop regularly has all its RAM in use – as it should do. The important metric is memory 'pressure', which is pretty low for me pretty much all the time.

          More storage? Get one or more USB-C flash drives for your many huge video projects.

          Sorry to see the MagSafe port go. It is superb. On the other hand, when I take my slightly lighter and more useful laptop into work and attach it to a chain of hi-res monitors via a single small cable for data and power, things maybe won't look so bad.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Solder not Socket...

            Excellent resale value? if you class losing £1000-1500 out the door, off a £2500 15'' Macbook Pro w/ touchbar. I don't see this machine holding the £1500-£2000 mark, in the secondhand market. Maybe Apple refurbs, but not fleabay.

            Apple macbook user with an active backup strategy? Do they exist?. OK, iCloud for Photos, Time machine at a push, but that's it.

            At least might push a few into action, after their first data loss / Coffee/Coke spill.

          2. YARR
            Unhappy

            Re: Solder not Socket...

            "your old MacBook will have an excellent resale value"

            But will you want to sell it?

            SSD controller wear-levelling obfuscates direct access, so only a full drive erase with random data will overwrite everything. How many typical Mac users will do that (requiring them to overwrite and re-install the OS) before selling on their computer?

            Corporate IT recyclers will often physically destroy hard drives before selling on the computer, but when when the SSD chips are soldered to the mainboard this isn't possible. Hence computers with built in SSDs will have to be physically destroyed to protect user's data. Not so good for the environment.

            1. Rainer

              Re: Solder not Socket...

              Corporate IT will have to learn to do FDE via FileVault from day one (and throw away the keys at the last day).

              And maybe a few typical Mac users will pick it up on the way, too.

            2. This post has been deleted by its author

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Solder not Socket...

              Good Point.

              The 15'' macbook Pro w/touchbar uses a Samsung 960 Controller, so that should have a method to change encryption key / erase the drive. It's probably integrated to Apple's Secure Enclave.

              iFixit also found a test port/unconnected socket the motherboard. So its looking like Apple just brought specialist Data Recovery 'in-house' too. i.e. You'll need a third party (well Apple, who else knowns the pin-out) to recover your data in the event of a Coffee Spill, where the machine won't boot, but a method to test if the data is intact.

              It's looking like a competition issue, which will need investigating, under EU law, to force Apple to release the details of this recovery process.

            4. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Solder not Socket...

              >Corporate IT recyclers will often physically destroy hard drives before selling on the computer, but when when the SSD chips are soldered to the mainboard this isn't possible. Hence computers with built in SSDs will have to be physically destroyed to protect user's data.

              If your data is sensitive, surely you'll be using full disk encryption to begin with? The last mention I can find of this being bypassed was in 2006 - in a much earlier version.

            5. arthoss

              Re: Solder not Socket...

              Is it necessary to overwrite the data is the disk is fully encrypted?

          3. something_or_another

            Re: Solder not Socket...

            Chaining monitors has been around way longer than USB-C. And speaking of USB-C - so nice of Apple to make their use of it proprietary. Can't just get ANY USB-C cable and use it with a MAC.

            Fuck that!

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Solder not Socket...

              >Chaining monitors has been around way longer than USB-C. And speaking of USB-C - so nice of Apple to make their use of it proprietary. Can't just get ANY USB-C cable and use it with a MAC.

              You can't just use any USB-C cable and use it for every application - regardless who makes the computer, monitor or other device.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_Type-C#Cable_wiring

              The main issue is dodgy cheap USB C cables. In the last year, this Google engineer has tested a good number of cables, and has become somewhat of an authority on the matter:

              https://plus.google.com/+BensonLeung

          4. Dave K Silver badge
            WTF?

            Re: Solder not Socket...

            Excellent re-sale value?

            How exactly?

            In a few years time, the memory and storage will be considered low to average spec at best, and the battery will have lost a sizeable chunk of its useful life as well. Now with a 3 year-old standard laptop, you can up the RAM a bit, pop a new shiny SSD in and replace the battery. Result is a nicely refreshed machine with decent performance, full battery life and some genuine re-sale value as a result.

            But who wants an older Macbook knowing that the battery will soon pack in, and that you're then stuck with a mobile device that only works near a power socket?

            Apple doesn't want resale value. They want your shiny new kit to wear out and be thrown in the bin as quickly as possible so you have to buy their next shiny product.

            Incidentally, I agree with the author. I own two Mac Minis that are a good few years old and have seen several upgrades during their life. I will not be buying another one with all its now-soldered components.

            1. Hans 1 Silver badge

              Re: Solder not Socket...

              Apple lost me with the solder, like any other techy with a pair of functional brains ... USB-C probably also means I will avoid computers with that like the plague. Sad thing is, OS X is by far the best "desktop" OS out there, if you do not count Linux/BSD distros with Gnome 2 or forks of that, in, usability/productivity terms, imho, ymmv.

              I also have an iPhone 5S in a drawer, fully functional, I do not want it because it's iOS, teen does not want it coz screen's too small, the other has the 6S ... the girls are too young, would have it stolen.... the wife is thinking about it ... though she also thinks screen's too small.... for looking at photos (LOL) ... she wears glasses, not that good ... Maybe I should sell and get a Nexus ?

              The article mentions touch screens, I had one, the only creatures on this planet that used it were the occasional flies getting into the room, iow, not many. I have 5 kids, FFS, it is not just me being old fart, it is simply ... useless.

              VR will not take off because of goggles, does not take a rocket scientist to work that one out, right ? Apparently it does, same who claimed 3dTV was the best thing since sliced bread and which failed coz of goggles are now all over VR - yeah, geeks maybe, that's it, average punter, nope.

              As for Windows on a tablet ? Holy crap, who wants that ? Windows is for the gaming rigs, with high-end graphics, and that is changing thanks to steam. For anything else, Linux is on duty 'round here ... except my work laptop ... and that might change ...

        2. Paul

          Re: Solder not Socket...

          May your deity give you comfort if your 2016 Macbook Pro develops a fault and you have no warranty, as you'll be throwing it away.

          https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Touch+Bar+Teardown/73480

          "Repairability 1 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)"

        3. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Solder not Socket...

          >Apple do this knowing full well, that a Coffee/Coke spill on the keyboard, will render your whole macbook AND its Data, GONE. There is no SSD to remove, to manually recover data.

          Any data you only have in one place is data that you don't care about. This is true of any laptop, regardless of vendor, OS, or storage medium.

          > You have to ask what Apple's motives are here.

          To get you to back up your data, maybe? With spindled image backups built into the OS for over a decade, very fast I/O and even a cloud service should you want it, I can't think of anything else they can do to make it easy for you to back up your data.

          >Buy/use a macbook Pro w/ touchbar, please remember to implement an active backup strategy, there no second chances of retrieving Data here, after the fact.

          Surely that is true of any laptop? I know SSDs are more reliable than spinning rust, but it seems arbitary for a user to accept the risk that a mainboard will fail, but not the risk of an SSD failure.

        4. Archivist

          Re: Solder not Socket...

          Data loss strategy..

          If everything's got to be immediately in the cloud then just buy a Chromebook.

          There - just saved you enough for a family holiday!

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. brianmay

      Re: you are not alone

      I have a 2015 MacBook Pro Retina 15" 16/512 Gb machine. It is fabulous, however when I looked at the latest MBP I see nothing that would attract me.

      The last MBP lasted 8 years and now my daughter has it. Not that I would upgrade as I want this one to last an age. The iPhone I have is a 5, it and the computer 'talk' to each other nicely without the need for any kind of dongles.

      I thought the idea was Apple et al were going wireless but there seems to be a huge need for dongles of all descriptions to do what we can do donglelessly now.

      This is my last Apple computer, I'll look at a Linux machine if I have to change as they're a fraction of the price. Apple design is impressive, but they're a bridge too far for me now.

      Yes, for me, they've lost the plot. Prices in UK are now ridiculous too which just makes it worse.

  3. goldcd

    I can understand

    buying the air as a stop-gap, and rolling the dice that they'll actually put out a real pro next time (how long do you think the wait will be this time?)

    However, I'm slightly bemused why you didn't just jump ship now.

    By jumping ship, I most certainly don't mean picking up an MS thingie (that's nearly as locked down as what you're running away from).

    I read the article as a paean to an age where you could buy something well built and then upgrade it incrementally as your needs increased.

    Bluntly - why not just buy a nice laptop, with a nice CPU, a nice screen and sockets you can clip upgraded memory and storage into? It's what you had before and clearly what you want.

    1. kierenmccarthy

      Re: I can understand

      It's a good and fair question.

      I actually thought about a range of other options: from a Google Chromebook to a Lenovo ThinkPad.

      In the end, I decided I wanted a really good day-to-day laptop with the space (money) to decide on a high-end machine later. Maybe a desktop.

      In effect, I punted the issue to two years in the future but because I was buying a new laptop, wanted to be happy with my purchase. And I've always liked the Air.

      Kieren

      1. goldcd

        A fair response.

        I shudder to think what might have even influenced you towards a Chromebook - although I'm in no position to criticise - having switched my phone from "a long line of rooted/hacked-to-F androids, to a 128GB Pixel XL. This being an Android phone that embraces every criticism I've made of Apple and matches it both in restriction and price (and I let my employer pay for it, as it *should* "just work").

        I'll recant my previous ideology, along with Google - there is a place for locked down.

        I do feel my PC has different "success-criteria" than my phone though.

        Currently I have my work laptop - a perfectly pleasant Elitebook, with a docking station that works (looking at you Dell & Lenovo).

        I have my personal PC - a frankenstein creation for Gaming, Coding, RAID, anything else that takes my whim and has evolved over the years, irrespective of the whims of the market.

        I have tablets for watching stuff as I lie in bed (went through the Nexus, now a lovely cheap nVidia model - really out of anything I've mentioned here, only thing I can unconditionally recommend).

        What I no longer have, is a "personal laptop".

        I used to. I've had thinkpads, I've had alienwares, but came to the realisation that I hated them all.

        They didn't have the utility of a tablet, nor the flexbility of a desktop.

        Bluntly, expensive and then continual annoyance.

        Where I think the future (and apple should go) is to embrace modularity and integration.

        Sell a Pro Laptop (decent CPU, and sockets for memory/storage).

        Sell a non-portable companion (RAID box, GPU enclosure ~ Razer Core on Steroids) - something you can connect to your laptop with one wire and gives you the benefit of a desktop.

        Do something with software (Apple software is utterly utterly shite) - Use sync & cloud to minimize the disruption when your Core and Companion aren't physically connected. This appear to be an utter ball-ache in say the Razer/Windows world, but in an all-Apple ecosystem is much easier.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: A fair response.

          Chromebooks are fine.

          I have a HD one with a good keyboard and I write hours a day on it.

          It's light, as slim as a Macbook Air and has a genuine 9 hour battery.

          I still use iPhone, not because I like iPhones, but because the alternative is dire.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: A fair response.

            >I actually thought about a range of other options: from a Google Chromebook to a Lenovo ThinkPad.

            I bought Lenovo's MIIX surface pro clone: Mobile i7,8Gb/256Gb,keyboard cover for <$600 and an openbox Chromebook for $100

            The chromebook sits there for web browsing and email notifications, the Lenovo does visual studio better than any previous laptop. For python/matlab it's indistinguishable from my desktop except for having awesome screen resolution. The folding keyboard cover, while better than the surface, sucks for typing other than coding

        2. Infernoz Bronze badge
          Meh

          Re: A fair response.

          Agreed laptops are a significant compromise. I had a work 16GB (two channel) i5 T450 Lenovo Ultrabook with SATA attached SSD, but cursed the lack of IO bandwidth; my new i7-6800K desktop, at home, with NVMe attached Samsung SSD 950 PRO, 32GB RAM (4 channel) and NVIDIA 1060 GPU is so much faster and easily worth the extra cost! My stopgap i3 HP laptop at home is now rarely used on a Dell USB3 dock.

          Out of curiosity I did some research on the /costly/ Razor Core GPU enclosure for laptops and apparently you lose half the speed of a GPU mounted in a desktop PC, so it looks dire value!

          I stopped bothering with fake RAID in desktops years ago, I now use and occasionally build new FreeNAS boxes with many-TB ZRAID2 arrays of WD Red drives and Parity RAM which are /much/ safer and faster than fake RAID and tired RAID 1 or 5; I share these on my Gigabit LAN and WiFi with multiple devices including Android tablets.

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: A fair response.

          "Use sync & cloud to minimize the disruption when your Core and Companion aren't physically connected."

          Wandering a little OT here - but it's Saturday at el Reg.

          There's something here that keeps puzzling me. Two devices, one, portable, with you and one not. Why the apparent reliance on a third "device", cloud storage to keep them in sync? They can be synced peer-to-peer once they're brought together. There's no need for the second device to be in sync when you're not using it so why the cloud intermediary.

          The use case of two non-portable devices, say work and home desktops, I can understand but not the rest.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: A fair response.

            Apple also invented Bonjour to do auto discovery over the LAN. Devices could have used that to find each other and sync.

            It seems everyone was intent on copying Google instead.

          2. Electron Shepherd

            Re: A fair response.

            "Why the apparent reliance on a third "device", cloud storage to keep them in sync? "

            Because peer-to-peer syncing doesn't result in a monthly fee going to Apple.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I can understand

      yesterday I saw an x220 going for £130. And that was an i7 with a much better screen than i5. Hdd's rubbish, but spare another £200 on extra ram and ssd, politely go back to W7, and you have a very competent lappie, for the price.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I can understand

        "yesterday I saw an x220 going for £130"

        It's a very good lappy. It's robust and portable. With enough RAM, a new battery and an SSD it is not noticeably slower than something 5 times the price for most workloads ... And it has I/O! PCI express may not be the bees knees but you can still pick up a power supply, a GDC Beast, an NVIDIA GTX 750 ti and a nice box for well under £200. You can now pay for all that showing people your laptop and saying you can play Fallout 4 on it. After a few people have bet you £50 you can't, you're in profit!

        (Don't brag too much, all my friends wised up after I made £80 in 3 bets)

      2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: I can understand

        Big fan of the x220. Last "proper" laptop keyboard, 5 rows, non-chiclet keys.

        Pretty easy to service and repair yourself (including screen fixes).

        Once you've maxxed the RAM (it can do 16, but 8 will do most people), decent drive(s) and a spare battery, you'll still be cheaper than a new machine.

        1. Dave K Silver badge

          Re: I can understand

          I'm an even bigger fan of the X201. Still has the Core i5/i7, can be upgraded with an SSD and plenty of RAM, but also has the 16:10 screen and a trackpad with proper buttons. In fact, a maxed out X201 is still my primary laptop when I'm on the move.

        2. bengoey49

          Re: I can understand

          Last year I bought a refurbished Thinkpad X220, i5, 8Gb Ram and 256 Sandisk SSD for 220 Pounds.

          Very happy with its performance and superb keyboard and I like the Matte (screen better than the reflective one). The battery is good and I know that if the battery is no good anymore I can buy a replacement battery.

  4. Barely registers
    Flame

    The customer is always.... a cash cow

    I dipped my toes into Apple waters, and they are now getting vigorously towelled off and drying by the fire. Not one penny more from me.

    The battery on my work Pro Retina is dying - 40 minutes offline max. I thought - I'll ring up the Store (tm), make an appointment in advance. They can have a battery ordered and waiting with my name on it and I can wonder in, watch them swap out the battery, pay, leave and get back to work.

    No, no, no, said Apple. Bring it in. We'll do a diagnostic. If it _is_ the battery, we'll order one in. Then you can come back and leave your machine with us, having backed up and erased and confidential data (of course). We'll then replace your battery and it will take some time between 3 and 5 days. DAYS! Then you can come back again and collect your work machine. You'll be happy, because you won't have been working for a week and you'll be all rested. The you can restore everything from your backup and return to work.

    3 round trips to a store (100km away), and a week lost. For a fucking battery.

    We need some decent WEEE directives that make implementation of such a f**k-awful design economically impossible. Function over form - that's what I need, and Apple can't, or won't do it, and whilst we continue to give them our money, they absolutely will not stop. Ever.

    This far, no further. The line must be drawn _here_

    ------------------------------------------------

    1. gregthecanuck

      Re: The customer is always.... a cash cow

      "This far, no further...". Hmmm that sounds familiar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tleSnj4OD0g

      1. Barely registers

        Re: The customer is always.... a cash cow

        Yep

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The customer is always.... a cash cow

      Whilst I agree with you point we've ended up with the laptops we (in aggregate) deserve. Most don't know how to upgrade or will ever upgrade them, so out went easy access and modular components. Then the masses cheered as the weight of the laptops came down and each time they got thinner and lighter in order to compete more with tablets until it was too late and every bastard component was soldered onto the main board. Yes, the mass computer buying public have given the tech literate the machines they deserve. Unfortunately we all now have to live with this shit.

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: The customer is always.... a cash cow

        >Whilst I agree with you point we've ended up with the laptops we (in aggregate) deserve. Most don't know how to upgrade or will ever upgrade them, so out went easy access and modular components

        No, no, no, no, no, no, no ... you really believe everything, right ? Like, farmers who say: "Customers do not want tomatoes that have taste."

        In the case of Apple, it is planned obsolescence, in the case of farmers, it is tomatoes made on the cheap, plants have never been in contact with "earth".

        Seriously, if you have a garden, even tiny, plant some tomatoes and taste them, yes, they will taste like the tomatoes you ate 30 years ago.

        There is NO, absolutely NO (!) technical reason why you would solder RAM and SSD. How much space does M2 take up ? See, BS! It is back to the 70's and 80's ...

        Thanks to Tim C[r]ook, Apple now sucks just as much as MS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, & co, in a different way, I agree ...but just as much!

        Eurocom look reasonable, thanks Trev' ;-)

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge

          Re: The customer is always.... a cash cow

          Seriously, if you have a garden, even tiny, plant some tomatoes and taste them, yes, they will taste like the tomatoes you ate 30 years ago.
          Likely you'd need to go back further in time than that. When I commenced my organic market gardening in the mid 80s, my customers weren't the trendies; they were the old folks who remembered the taste of real food. And gourmet chefs.

          But yes, tomatoes grown in humus-rich soil taste ever so much better than hydroponically grown shite.

        2. Blotto Bronze badge

          Re: The customer is always.... a cash cow

          the eurocoms are simply not comparable, headline spec is close but overall is like comparing a Skoda to an Audi. nothing wrong with a Skoda, just the Audi is a much more polished example of a car. same as the MacBook and eurocom other on paper equivalent.

  5. agatum
    Coffee/keyboard

    But it has lost the loyalty.

    Definitely. When I first saw the pricing for new mbp, see icon. And I am not in UK.

    1. patrickstar

      Ahaaaa - so THAT's why they removed the Esc key in the new MBPs...

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Mushroom

        There I was looking for the joke or troll icon, checking date, definitely not April, ok, let's google, this cannot be true, must be a ... FFS, NO, I have not looked at MacBooks in years ... a keyboard without Esc key is no computer keyboard.

        I must be the only person on this planet using vim/vi on a daily basis ...

        Mind, soldered RAM/SSD was already nogo, do not care what other insanity they come up with ...

        I beg you, I really beg you, investors, can you get Tim Cook out of there, NOW ? He is killing Apple, it might already be too late ...

  6. H H

    Exactly the same scenario here. Hanging on to my user upgraded 2011 iMac 27" for dear life and just replace a 2007 (!) white macbook with... an Air - after seeing the new models. Two years ago, I got the then just discontinued 2012 Mac Mini for my media serving needs - also right after seeing Apple newter the new models. This is getting really sad.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Joke

      Ahh the bastards - newting it. Another case of the Lizard people extending their grip. ((You have to understand that they are subtle in their devious ways and have decided that attacking the problem through their amphibian underlings will stay below the water)

      1. H H

        Thanks for the educational comment.

        1. Fink-Nottle

          There's nobody newter than me!

    2. Barry Rueger Silver badge

      Upgrade to last year's model

      Two years ago, I got the then just discontinued 2012 Mac Mini for my media serving needs ...

      I think that for a lot of knowledgeable people this is the reality - "upgrade" to last year, or the year before's model.

      Unless you have pretty specific, high-end needs it's entirely likely that whatever is on-sale at the end of the year at Best Buy or wherever will give you a perfectly fine machine for at least a few years.

      For those of us who are a) old enough to be really tired of building our own and b) not rolling in cash, this is the preferred route.

      (Though I did in fact just finish building my own box. Figure it's good for the next five years.)

      (Re Apple: gave it my best for three years with a Powerbook as my primary machine, but ultimately really, really couldn't work within the Apple paradigm. Something about the way Apple's OS does things just doesn't work for me.)

  7. Steve Kerr

    Bye Bye Apple

    Not an apple fan boy.

    Have had Macs for years as when I get home, I can't be arsed with messing around with PC's, I do that enough for work, I just want something that does what I want.

    So the MBP 13 from 2009 will be carrying on until it dies, maxed out memory at 8GB and a 1TB SSD. Does fine for me for my current needs, got a fast PC for anything else anyway.

    Since Steve Jobs popped his clogs, Apple pulled the plug out, and now they're circling the drain, they just don't realise they're on the event horizon of it yet, all just drinking the kool aid and patting each other on the bak.

    With all that cash sloshing around, they could really start innovating with really interesting stuff, but no, the accountants have probably taken over so rehash after rehash.

    Nearly disappeared many years ago, bounced back to a hugely profitable company, now going make to being lacklustre and just another faceless company at the back of the room.

    1. goldcd

      I am slightly incredulous

      as to why their stock hasn't vanished down the pan.

      They have enough money to try/do "ANYTHING THEY COULD IMAGINE"

      And yet.. their latest innovation seems to be to piss people off by ONLY supporting type-c (after others) and adding as an expensive option the OLED F-key replacement slider (Lenovo previously tried and canned).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bye Bye Apple

      " the accountants have probably taken over..."

      Nope. Jony Ive. And ever since that self-righteous prick took over it's completely form over function.

      I was no fan of Jobs, but that man understood how to balance the equation. Cook? Seems more like a placeholder than a leader.

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Bye Bye Apple

        AC "...it's completely >>form<< over function..."

        You've spelled 'profit' incorrectly.

      2. jason 7

        Re: Bye Bye Apple

        Ive is the problem. His 'design philosophy' is now tired and bankrupt. Apple needs to dump Ive and get some new blood in.

        I don't blame Cook, he's not an ideas guy and to be honest neither was Jobs. Ive had the design ideas to begin with but he's been flogging a dead horse now for 5+ years.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Bye Bye Apple

          Apple's customers don't buy computers - they buy phones and music downloads.

          The only reason Apple still make macbooks is that journalists buy them to write about phones and music downloads.

          1. Mage Silver badge

            Re: The only reason Apple still make macbooks

            is that Apple employees doing web pages, programming or stuff in the Apple store don't have a Lenovo or Dell logo on the laptop lids.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Bye Bye Apple

          No technical innovation is going to come from Ive, he just packages up stuff. If he did insist only on USB-C ports and nothing else on the MacBook Pro because it looked nice he would have been slapped down by Jobs or someone in Mac Hardware. Only the head of hardware for computers now is the same head of hardware for phones, who is trying to get rid of as many ports as possible and fit everything onto just one board. The head of software for computers is the same head of software for phones, who is trying to get rid of as many features as possible to make the interface easy to use by pointing and drooling and has spent the past five major versions of OS X just turning it into another version of iOS.

          Jobs knew how to bang their heads together and tell them to get real. Cook doesn't. I don't think Apple's going to change any time soon.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Bye Bye Apple

            >Ive, he just packages up stuff. If he did insist only on USB-C ports and nothing else on the MacBook Pro because it looked nice he would have been slapped down by Jobs or someone in Mac Hardware.

            Seriously, you think Jobs would have disagreed? Jobs' return to Apple was marked by the iMac, a device without a 3.5" Floppy Disk Drive. It was under Jobs that Macbooks lost their optical drive.

            I'm not saying that the transition to USB-C will be easy - but these things never are.

        3. Mage Silver badge

          Re: Bye Bye Apple

          Ives isn't a HW or SW guy, purely an Arty type copying Dieter Rams. Fine for book cases, radiogram or a pocket radio in 1960s, bankrupt for computers, phones and tablets. He's a stylist with no originality. Not a product designer, never was.

          1. jason 7

            Re: Bye Bye Apple

            But I bet Ive's suggestions and mandate carries more weight in Apple than the technical guys.

            "People buy it for the Apple look...not the middle of the road hardware inside it!"

            I still reckon Apple would dump the whole Macbook/iMac line if it could.

          2. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Bye Bye Apple

            >Ives isn't a HW or SW guy, purely an Arty type copying Dieter Rams.

            Strange thing is Mage, Dieter Rams has a very different view to you:

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/8555503/Dieter-Rams-Apple-has-achieved-something-I-never-did.html

            Dieter Rams has his view because, like Ive, he is a product (not industrial) designer. He knows you can't arrive at a good design just by copying - even if the results might look superficially similar. Seriously, if you were to learn about what product design entails - please do, it's a fascinating subject! - you wouldn't hold your current opinion. It is a little depressing to have one's field knocked through ignorance - when an informed discussion is much more fun.

            A good place to start would be Esslinger and Frog Design - he worked for Wega before they were bought by Sony, then developed some early Macs and later the NeXT Cube. Or look at the design process for the original Sony PlayStation.

            I for one remember beige boxes with some half-arsed attempt at a 'sculpted' front panel that only made it hard to find power buttons or USB sockets. May we never forget.

  8. PghMike

    The thing is, I like OS/X. But I have to admit that I'm also disappointed with the choices Apple made. I've using a late 2011 MacBook Pro, which I've upgraded to 8GB of memory. I've been holding off putting a new SSD disk in it, since I was hoping I'd be able to get a really light MacBook Pro 15". And I guess I can -- the new 15" model is 1.6 lbs lighter than what I'm using. But it's expensive, and I still have to see how badly they've messed up the keyboard. And I need dongles for everything.

    But I'm half tempted to go down to a 13" display, and if I do, I'll go to the one that doesn't have a touch bar, and save $300.

    But I think I'm also going to have to at least look at what the Linux ecosystem looks like these days.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > But I think I'm also going to have to at least look at what the Linux ecosystem looks like these days.

      I'm in a similar position (MBA 2011, still works well but feeling the pain of 4GB RAM which was the max at the time)

      One of the possible benefits of going the Linux route is to run Qubes OS and have something which is genuinely secure, and compartmentalised (e.g. work I do for different clients can be properly separated)

      1. Rainer

        > One of the possible benefits of going the Linux route is to run Qubes OS

        > and have something which is genuinely secure, and compartmentalized

        > (e.g. work I do for different clients can be properly separated)

        Yeah - Qubes OS is awesome.

        But getting hardware that is fully supported might be tricky.

  9. Blotto Bronze badge

    I'm in a similar dilemma with my 2008 unibody 13" MacBook 8GB ram 256GB SSD

    Some great points raised here.

    I too see this as a stop gap machine until the s revision next year with the updated cpu.

    Apple clearly wanted a better cpu for this machine but did their best with what is currently available.

    The oled strip is evolutionary and will be expanded upon over the years.

    The blistering fast nvme ssd is a game changer. 3/2.7 GB Read/Write is unparalleled and mitigates future ram requirements as swapping ram to disk is so fast. The inability to upgrade ssd and ram is uncomfortable but is in all likelihood not a problem so long as you get a big enough ssd to start with. 512GB is enough, anything important should be backed up off machine anyway so near line or cloud storage is essential anyway.

    Quad core hyperthreading will also keep the machine in contention for a few years but there is simply nothing better cpu wise right now they can offer.

    Thunderbolt 3 promises off machine graphics so gpu for vr down the line isn't that relevant in my opinion but I won't be playing games on this.

    The 15" isn't that much bigger footprint than my 2008 13"

    It's a lot of cash, but it should last 8 years.

    Questions for me are what speeds can we expect from the upcoming xpoint etc ssd tech, will they be quick enough to do away with the concept of RAM.

    When will xpoint etc be ready for inclusion in a machine. If it's coming in 12 months I'll wait, 2 years or more I'll buy this now.

    I would prefer the 13" if I could also get a powerful quad core i7 mini pref with tb's of replaceable nvme attached by thunderbolt 3.

    Time for some research before shelling out several months mortgage and bills on a computer.

    1. goldcd

      I've issue with the OLED Strip as an innovation

      If it's "for contextual keys" - presuming you use the app regularly, htf are commands on the OLED better than simply knowing what each of the F-keys does?

      If it's to be used an analogue input, well then that surely belongs on the trackpad?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: I've issue with the OLED Strip as an innovation

        But with no keyboard feel you have to look to know if you pressed it, so it's no better than a taskbar icon.

        If Apple had convertible laptop/tablets with QHD+ screens with full multitouch and Microsoft launched a laptop with a tiny little touchscreen below a dumb passive screen they would be ridiculed.

    2. Nate Amsden Silver badge

      Re: I'm in a similar dilemma with my 2008 unibody 13" MacBook 8GB ram 256GB SSD

      Not sure what your drinking but I want some.

      Not an apple customer either. With my recent laptop upgrade I too don't expect to upgrade storage for a while. 512G maybe pushing it for now, which is why my lenovo P50 has 2TB of SSD (2x512G samsung 950 pro and 1x1TB samsung 850 pro). My previous laptop(2011) had a 512G samsung 850 pro as well(that laptop went through 3 HD upgrades over it's life )

      For a 'tech pro' 512G is likely bare minimum these days.

      And how is 3GB per sec enough for swapping in place of ram? I looked up the specs of my i7 6820HQ cpu and it has 34 gigabytes per second of memory bandwidth. I assume that is with all 4 memory slots filled, currently using 2(16G upgradable to 64G)

      My 6 year old toshiba with i7 620M CPU apparently has 17 gigabytes per second of memory bandwidth.

      Apple has the money and skill to make machines for that market, probably their longest most loyal userbase. I bet most of them would be perfectly happy with the older form factors just with updated components.

      Sad that they just don't care.

    3. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: I'm in a similar dilemma with my 2008 unibody 13" MacBook 8GB ram 256GB SSD

      >The blistering fast nvme ssd is a game changer. 3/2.7 GB Read/Write is unparalleled and mitigates future ram requirements as swapping ram to disk is so fast.

      Sorry that's a rubbish idea because

      1) Swap is a fudge, not an ideal to be aimed for. Using it on an SSD shortens its life (maybe that's the plan... /tinhat)

      2) "Sorry we can't upgrade the RAM" is not a thing. Ok, it is a thing - its an Apple strategy thing, but it is not a technical thing.

      Quite simply the "pro" is not a pros's machine, its a macbook up-sell for consumers who don't know any better.

      For consumers, I doubt 16G RAM will be an issue for the lifetime of the machine. RAM requirements seem to be levelling out. I'm guessing the reason the RAM is not upgradable on the pro machine is that it would be embarrassing to have it non-upgradable on some machines but upgradable on others. I get that everyone has to make a profit, but this is not the way to do it. Apple is basically hoping that the rest of the industry follows suit so that it doesn't have to explain itself.

      Magsafe data links might be technically tricky but the rest of it is well within their capabilities - they just chose not to do it. If Apple had left on a couple of USB2 ports, swappable battery, SSD and RAM and given us a new cable design for magsafe power with dual optical (or shielded electrical) thunderbolt3.1 links to the Apple version of the Razer Core with graphics and additional SSD slots, they would have made a lot of people very happy and people would be cooing over their "innovation."

      If they had brought out a range of peripherals to take advantage of the high-speed ports, they would also have less flak. When they swapped floppy for usb drives, the actual USB drives were better. There's no apparent reason to have these new ports... except to sell more dongles so you can connect all the same kit you already have. If they had said, "Here's our new 10GbE Server/SSD RAID box. You can also get our 8/16-port 1GbE/10GbE switch that you can connect to the 10GbE link on your new pro." People would have said, "ok, its a pro box, I don't need it but I accept that its better than the old one and justifies the price hike."

      I feel that consumer gear performance is probably impinging on business-system performance and the enterprise vendors don't want consumer pricing in their arenas. I'd love an 8-port switch which can take 10GbE or 1GbE SFPs. Thunderbolt interfaces can run at the right speeds, but no-one does the in-between bits to get to ethernet or the small switches. Everyone wants to do the 48-port version for $15k. Given that the complexity goes up exponentially, I would have thought a low port-count switch would have been a winner. We have PCIex16 slots going begging on most consumer desktops but where's the really high-speed networking and SSD arrays? No-one wants you to add another 256G SSD, they want you to throw out the old one and buy a new expensive 1TB one.

      The problem is that my steam library is larger than many business databases and its very hard to segment the market when those who have a good reason to spend cash have the same requirements as those with no profit-motive for buying kit. This is why we are seeing a drop in innovation on the desktop. No-one wants to compromise their existing profit margins. And this is why we must tilt the playing field back towards companies who have nothing to lose and why IP laws (and the threat of IP litigation) have got to the point where they are damaging. If we stifle innovation via the law courts at home, the Chinese will do it and have the market to themselves. Sure, they'll be rubbish to start with - but so was the first iphone and so were Japanese goods in the 1970's.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Depends on your needs, though.

    I can see where you're coming from and yes, for you, this may be the end of the line.

    But that is, however, a personal opinion based on your specific needs. For our needs, for instance, the upgrade could not have come at a better time. I will have to kit out a few new companies, and starting with USB-3 connectors only then makes sense - if I've seen this right it may even be possible that Apple will then have solved the most vexing problem of all: a power lead that you can actually detach at the PSU so it doesn't get damaged.

    Apple may reign supreme in the design department but I think we can safely say that whoever designed the way the lead to the laptop leaves the PSU must have been smoking some very bad stuff that day because it appears to be explicitly designed to damage the cable - cable that carries quite high currents. If it's now a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 socket where you can just jack in another cable if you damaged it I would be very happy indeed.

    For the rest, meh. I needed new machines so it's not a real issue, but I can imagine the pain if you're still on the previous generation - my own laptop is here with 5 leads going into it. Somewhat irritating..

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      Re: Depends on your needs, though.

      I think it's meant to be an opinion piece. One person who made one decision writing it up because it's a site about that sort of area.

      My experience is even more contrary than most, I think — no major performance hurdles or developing hardware issues with a 2011 Air and its 4gb of RAM, used primarily for native Mac app development — but the weight of evidence suggests I'm massively in the minority.

      1. Yesnomaybe

        Re: Depends on your needs, though.

        I am not a fanboi. But I love my MagBook Air. And it is becoming the default laptop I buy for people, as it is reliable, good ENOUGH, and "cheap". And the brand is still seen as one of the better ones.

        So people feel good when I steer them towards an Air. Saves me money and trouble in the long run.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Depends on your needs, though.

          The big advantage of the macbook air is that when they come back to you to ask how to do/fix something you can say "Sorry don't know anything about macs" - that's worth the extra $500 easily

          1. Yesnomaybe

            Re: Depends on your needs, though.

            Hahaha, yes that helps! Touch wood etc, but they have been very reliable. Presumably the batteries will start failing at some point, but the aluminium shell does make for a rather robust laptop. And it's a bit of cheap "bling" for people to have on show in meetings. Yes, sad I know....

  11. sjsmoto

    I was considering upgrading my Macbook Pro, and waited for the announcement. But it's unlikely now due to the steep price just to get to where I am today. I'll probably just get a new Mini and remote into it from my Toshiba. :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was considering upgrading my Macbook Pro, and waited for the announcement. But it's unlikely now due to the steep price just to get to where I am today.

      I'm more wondering how much they give back for my current one (because they do), but it's academic for now: I first want to see this thing on the market for half a year so that I'm certain all hardware wrinkles have been dealt with..

  12. Andy 73

    Another option...

    The MacBook Pro finally converted me to Apple (if only for the dev stuff - still avoiding the consumer lock in). But after a little over one generation, I'm out again..

    I've just discovered the Razr line of laptops, that seem to be taking up the design chops of Apple without the idiotic corporate lock in. As a developer, having bash is vital, so the recent moves by Microsoft may make me return to the fold.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another option...

      As a developer, having bash is vital, so the recent moves by Microsoft may make me return to the fold.

      Running Linux: yes. Running anything made by Microsoft: after 2 decades of that, switching to Macs was an incredible relief so I don't think they'll see us back anytime soon. Apple's price hike has narrowed the margins, but for us the numbers still point towards Apple.

  13. DougS Silver badge

    "If the 7S doesn't do something spectacular"

    Then you'll switch to the Galaxy S8 or Pixel? What exactly are the "spectacular" things those do that the iPhone doesn't? What do you think you would get from those that your 6 doesn't do now, and the 7 doesn't do? It sounds like you're complaining the 7 looks too similar to a 6, which is a stupid thing to complain about. Do you replace your car every few years when your favorite model comes out with a redesign, just because they made the headlights and grill look different and changed the slope of the hood?

    At least on the laptop side you've actually bothered to list a couple things you find useful that is lacking on the Macs. I happen to think touch screens are completely useless on a laptop, but everyone has different opinions there. For my part, I just ordered a new 17" HP laptop, and specifically chose the model WITHOUT touch not even primarily because it saved a few bucks but because it somehow saves nearly half a pound!

    Upgradability is more of a concern, though in 15 years of owning laptops I've upgraded exactly once - replacing the hard drive in my current one with an SSD. Hopefully Apple knows what it is doing here. I will say the techie crowd at the Reg sees lack of upgradability as a FAR worse sin than the average buyer will. A small minority of PCs/laptops are ever upgraded during their lifetime. However, if Apple loses the techie / pro market where people who upgrade or at least value the option to upgrade, that can only hurt them in the long term. I think making the RAM and storage non-upgradeable in a product sold as "Pro" is indefensible. I could see doing it on the non-Pro lines though.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: "If the 7S doesn't do something spectacular"

      Widgets on the Home screen.

      The iPhone Home screen has barely changed from the original array of static icons - the only new things are that the calendar icon now has the actual date and the email has a thing saying how many unread emails in the inbox.

      My phone has both of those, yet also shows me the time at the international offices, the weather forecast, the alarms I have set, the subjects of recent emails, my next flight and next appointment.

      When any of it becomes unimportant I can remove it, and when new info becomes important to me I can get an app that puts it right on my Home screen.

      Usually in several different ways so I can pick the one I like.

      - Eg when on holiday I pull work emails completely off the home screen.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "If the 7S doesn't do something spectacular"

        Widgets on the Home screen.

        The iPhone Home screen has barely changed from the original array of static icons - the only new things are that the calendar icon now has the actual date and the email has a thing saying how many unread emails in the inbox.

        Not quite. iOS 10 now has a swipe-left lock screen that can contain all sorts of data, all of which you have to authorise before it appears. One of my favourite uses is having a few OTP passwords visible on the home screen of the public sites I handle (the critical ones still require login), it's a neat function of the OTP Auth app.

        It is, however, still not quite as flexible as Android's homescreen.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge

          Re: "If the 7S doesn't do something spectacular"

          Most Android lock screens have that kind of thing as well, though the Apple implementation is definitely better than most.

          However, I can't put data on the Lock screen because it's a clear security risk. I expect many people have the same consideration - OTP codes are a particular risk.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "If the 7S doesn't do something spectacular"

            However, I can't put data on the Lock screen because it's a clear security risk. I expect many people have the same consideration - OTP codes are a particular risk.

            Hmm, maybe comprehensive reading isn't your forte or I didn't make myself clear. Let me highlight the relevant words for you:

            One of my favourite uses is having a few OTP passwords visible on the home screen of the public sites I handle (the critical ones still require login), it's a neat function of the OTP Auth app.

            The specific OTP app mentioned which is capable of doing this will fail safe by default - for accounts to be shown on the home screen you have to explicitly enable that (and even then it sometimes doesn't show anything until it's seen at least one login - not found time to work out what governs that yet). I wouldn't do that for anything important, but the few experimental Wordpress sites I use really don't need that level of control - hence those accounts being allowed on the locked frontpage.

            On the other hand, there is no way I'd run *any* website without OTP..

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "If the 7S doesn't do something spectacular"

      "I will say the techie crowd at the Reg sees lack of upgradability as a FAR worse sin than the average buyer will."

      It's not just a matter of upgrading. It's also a matter of servicing. The laptop that can't have its storage upgraded is a laptop that can't have a dead drive replaced. Same goes for a dead battery: it should just be a quick order from one of the numerous online shops flogging spares, not a ceremonial visit to a "Genius" and a long wait. The average buyer might not be moved by upgrading but few would be prepared to do what another commentard here did; buy a second machine to cover the two weeks it took to get his battery replaced.

    3. Geoff Campbell

      Re: "If the 7S doesn't do something spectacular"

      Two things that Samsung and others currently have, that Apple don't:

      One real biggie for me - wireless charging.

      One curious but currently pointless thing that might develop into something big - VR.

      There are, I hear, lots of usability things like widgets and folders that Android has and iOS doesn't, but I've not used iOS enough to comment on those.

      GJC

  14. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Wheel

    Apple are getting closer and closer to the Macbook Wheel...

    http://www.theonion.com/video/apple-introduces-revolutionary-new-laptop-with-no--14299

  15. William 3 Bronze badge

    "All White Execs"

    This hatred of white people is simply racism.

    It has to stop, seriously.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: "All White Execs"

      Ah diddums - were you triggered? Do you need a safe space?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "All White Execs"

        "This hatred of white people is simply racism.

        It has to stop, seriously."

        In the scheme of things "All White Execs" (I speak as one) get it easy, bigger battles to be won out there. You're not hard done by, really, genuinely, you're not.

      2. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: "All White Execs"

        The people that get triggered and need safe spaces are the ones making comments like "all white execs."

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: "All White Execs"

        "Do you need a safe space?"

        A civilised society is one where it doesn't matter what colour the execs are. Although if the board member is turning green and hasn't moved from one meeting to the next maybe it's time they retired.

  16. rsole

    The MacBook Pro has moved on from what it was.

    I am a little confused by this article. It is complaining about the lack of upgrade options with the latest MacBook Pro models but using the Surface Pro as a comparison which is just about as hard to upgrade.

    I would also like to point out that the mid 2012 MacBook Pro is also quite capable of being upgraded.

    Although I can see much benefit in making a computer upgradeable there comes a point where it is just not needed. In the past the main drivers were CPU and graphics upgrades but these have essentially stabilised with only small incremental improvements. Disc drives have reached a state where it is reasonable to store most long term data in the cloud or on external drives and for most users the RAM is really not an issue. In addition the need for a replaceable battery is much less than years ago when you can get 10 hours instead of 2.

    So we are left with a minority of users that need the fastest possible and this is not really an area where portability is essential.

    I have been one of those users that would upgrade everything that it was possible to upgrade but I have been finding this less important with the current models. Also, it is not essential to use an Apple product for all my computer needs and I can actually achieve quite a bit with just a Raspberry Pi. In the end I have to make a decision about what I am getting for my money and I still find that for most of my work a MacBook Pro is ideal.

    1. Marshalltown

      "In addition the need for a replaceable battery is much less than years ago ..."

      Really? Consider how non-replaceable batteries recently affected Samsung. Think back to the trouble they have repeatedly caused other makers in the past - including Apple. Non-replaceablle batteries consumerize the electronics and maximize cash flow. Battery bad - you need a whole new phone/lap/tablet. Had stuff stored on there? Sorry, it's gone. You should have come in and bought a new one when you first saw signs or trouble. They don't benefit anyone but the maker - unless of course they are designed so they catch fire.

      1. Rainer

        Re: "In addition the need for a replaceable battery is much less than years ago ..."

        > Really? Consider how non-replaceable batteries recently affected Samsung.

        They'd have had to have the phones replaced anyway.

        Also, Samsung did suffer because they don't have "Stores" the way Apple has, where you can actually talk to a human being.

        Samsung has "repair centers" and resellers that are mainly doing just that: re-selling. The "repair centers" are 3rd-parties that have no connection to Samsung other than a contract.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: The MacBook Pro has moved on from what it was.

      If you expect to use the laptop on battery more than say 20% of the time, and hope to use it for more than two years, you will need to replace the battery.

      It does not take long for the capacity to drop below 70%, turning your "all day" into a "half day".

      A bit later it'll be 50% and getting quite annoying, and within a few months it'll only be a UPS long enough to find a wall socket.

      On my laptop, I phone Dell and a new battery appears on my desk the next day.

      On a modern Apple, you back it up, take it in, they take it away. A week later you go in to pick it up - and hope that it's actually the same machine with your data on it.

      If you're a business then you also needed to secure-erase everything as you had sensitive data on there, and take a week holiday because you couldn't do any work.

  17. sjb2016reg

    FanBoi

    I used to be a fanboi. Indeed, have been a Mac user since my dad bought a used Mac 512K back in 1986. In the early 2000s I bought stock at less than $20 a share and I have done very nicely from that, however, I can't take this anymore!

    I write this on a 2012 Lenovo Thinkpad T430 that I bought on eBay for less than £250 and still has on-site warranty until January next year (already used it once). I still have a Macbook Late 2007, but it's dying so needed a replacement and there was no way I was buying any Macbook from later than 2012 as I like having the option to upgrade RAM, HD and replace the battery. None of which is possible now, and I wasn't going to pay north of £400 for a used 2012 Macbook. I still prefer the MacOS or whatever they're calling it now, but if I really need to use a recent version of OSX, I fire up my Hackintosh desktop.

    It's such a shame. All my family use Macs because I said I wouldn't offer tech support if they bought a Windows PC, but I can't make that recommendation due to a shocking lack of value for money and the inability to fix anything yourself; leaving aside the fact that the tech is old, which for all of our use cases, isn't a huge issue, just the icing on the sh!tcake.

    1. Scoobydoobry

      Re: FanBoi

      I too think Apple need to get rid of the "you need to return it to the Apple store for a diagnostic" which involves a trip to - drop off, return trip and collect. Also the need to create an advanced appointment is a bit of a joke. I couldn't get one for at least 10 days for a recently troubled MacBook. So the crApple device was useless for over 2 weeks. This left our company having to buy another one to use in the meantime as well as the associated software etc.

      I don't suppose with the newer fully integrated devices this is going to improve. Don't get me wrong, I'm not jumping on the Microsoft bandwagon (they too have similar devices) but a bit of upgradability would be nice.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: FanBoi

        "a bit of upgradability would be nice."

        You're not even talking about upgradability just basic serviceablilty. Imagine the car analogy: how long to fix a puncture?

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: FanBoi

        We used to buy macbooks for salesdroids because of the service.

        If it breaks down in just about any major city in the world go into the Apple store, get them to fix/replace it and connect back to our sharepoint site and you are working again in an hour.

        Now it takes longer to get a macbook fixed than it does for us to get a replacement Lenovo delivered to them and with Windows10 we don't need an IT guy to spend a day configuring it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not about the hardware - purely about working on macOS. No way would I ever go back to Windows

  19. Pompous Git Silver badge

    At this point...

    ...it dawned on me that Apple may have completely lost its mind.
    You never read Infinite Loop: How the World's Most Insanely Great Computer Company Went Insane published 16 years ago then.

  20. Pompous Git Silver badge

    an Apple Genius told me...

    ...how much the company would charge for a new keyboard that it became apparent it was time to retire this old workhorse.
    At least they are available! An Apple "Genius" told me that a replacement optical drive and keyboard were not available for a 5 year-old Macbook. It was obsolete. Works fine with a Logitech USB keyboard and there's a USB optical drive on the shelf if needed.

  21. razorfishsl

    You should see one of these things in a business presentation.....

    Absolutely fucking ridiculous......

    Once you get all the shit attached for external storage, monitor, power, network.

    hmmm should I carry an HDMI attachment or a VGA attachment and then i need the dongle to allow multiple connections..... and god forbid if I should want to use it with an external KB & mouse.

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      ExtremeTech had it as "Apple is officially a dongle company that sells computers and phones."

    2. Steve Todd
      Stop

      When was the last time

      That a business presentation needed 10 or more hours of power, more than 1TB of data and a hard wired network connection? Worst case you need a video cable, and maybe a VGA adapter in the unlikely event your client is really behind the times.

  22. Jim-234

    In the PC world you can still make things better if you don't need bling

    If you want to use Apple OSes then you are kind of stuck and you are being forced down the path of never being able to upgrade which seems to be the name of the game these days.

    If you are able to go to the PC side and use Linux or Microsoft, then you can still have fun, for example in a workstation get a Dell Precision 7710, 7510 or 5510 (or pretty much anybody else who uses the same Foxconn chassis), and proceed to pull it apart and rebuild it with the memory & drives you want.

    64 GB memory if you want to.. 2x 2TB NVMe SSDs + 2TB SATA SSD, or 1+1 etc, Xeon or i7 CPUs etc.

    It's getting harder to find upgradable systems, but if you skip the really flashy ultra cool looking stuff, you can have nice power houses that will last a long time and not get swiped as quickly.

  23. Turk

    Tools not toys...

    I also just refreshed my old and trusty laptop and went through a similar analysis.

    After much fussing (do I get a Mac and run Windows in a VM, Surface Pro, or another Lenovo...) and gasping at what things cost, I ended up getting another Lenovo but this time the sleek X1 Carbon totally kitted out with a 5 year accidental damage protection warranty.

    So C$3500 later I have a new thin and dependable notebook, docking station and it basically does the same thing as my 3 year old T440s that my wife now uses. Some may say that I could have purchased a new sexy MacBook Pro for that cost but then there's the added cost of new software or VM bits and that's the point of my reply...

    This is a business tool and I use it to make money much as a carpenter has a tool belt and tools. I don't want a top row of softkeys to select different emojis (btw - Lenovo tried this a few years ago on the X1 and swiftly got rid of it a year later), I want a dependable notebook that I can use and abuse and if anything goes wrong an onsite technician is there the next day fixing it.

    For the cost of a Starbucks drink with a few adjectives each workday I have this and it gives me more pleasure and utility than an over priced coffee.

    1. psychonaut

      Re: Tools not toys...

      X1 carbons are superb. You can pick up a second hand 8gb 256gb ssd one for about 400 quid. They aren't upgradeable though but they do run win 7 very nicely indeed

  24. Blotto Bronze badge

    interesting

    its interesting that those with older portable Macs are looking for something that'll last as long as their current machines and deciding that the current crop just don't cut the mustard.

    Given the length of time for this upgrade and the choice of cpu & gpu it seems that Apple struggled equipping this machine too.

    i wouldn't be too surprised if apple jump ship to their own ARM chips in the near future in order to get the complete package they seem to be aiming at. Small form factor, stunning design & performance, 2 out of 3 is a compromise apple are currently struggling with.

    Can anyone state the price of a competing system to the £1949 13" and £2699 15" Macbook pro's with similar cpu's and ssd speed?

    1. David Shaw
      Flame

      Re: interesting

      Well, for a £700 saving there's this on UK refurb today: Refurbished 15.4-inch (May2015) MacBook Pro 2.2GHz quad-core Intel i7 with Retina display_£1,609.00 16GB_RAM/256GB_SSD

      you'd have to crayon in the emojis on the Function Keys tho'

      A tale of caution tho' if people are *really* after 'raw power' faster CPU etc, well - ever since I melted my Early2011 MBP mobo doing maths, I cautiously bought an IBM server with a very large number of Xeon cores & 100GB of RAM, then progressed to crates with multiple K series GPUs , (lots of 1080s on order now) to do the math without melting! (and I can remote access it easily through multi factor auth)

      I think buying an MBA , whether today's /uk/shop/product/FMGG2B/A/refurbished-133-inch-macbook-air-16ghz-dual-core-intel-core-i5 (March 2015 model)@£929 or one of the new ones is probably the best path. . .

  25. 2+2=5 Silver badge
    Happy

    Dongles

    That dongles 'interview', again, just in case you haven't seen it yet.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMKURBg0pyo

  26. cd

    Send it to me and I'll put a keyboard in. Get one off a scrapper that works or find a leftover OEM, iFixit or whomever. I bet you could do it. I have a China-copy ebay trackpad in mine that works better than the Apple original.

    FWIW, a 2011 iMac and it will still run 10.6 although it came with 10.7. Easy to do a HD swap or add and extra as well, and lots of room for RAM.

    Cook is their Ballmer figure, product guy who surfs on momentum until the numbers turn. Next will come Apple's SatNad if they catch on in time.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Windows

    Lock in = less freedom

    I think there's one thing we all really need to understand: companies need revenue to survive, and in order to create that revenue some will take this to extremes in order to make that happen. And that usually goes at the expense of your freedom. The less options you have the more depending you'll become on the supplier and that means... A good chance that the supplier created its own returning customer.

  28. Updraft102 Silver badge

    Are you sure it's hardware?

    Are you sure the glitches the 2009 Macbook has are really hardware-related? I haven't used a Mac since the SE/30 back in college, but with my PCs, I'd definitely nail down the problem as hardware before even thinking about buying new (unless I was using it as an excuse to justify something shiny and new, of course). While I am not one of the Windows guys who believes that reinstalling Windows is a normal and expected part of maintenance (I haven't done a maintenance reinstall of Windows since 95), installing a fresh copy on a spare HD and seeing if I can reproduce the crash/glitch/whatever is always a possibility. Is that sort of thing possible with OSX/MacOS?

    I have a 2008 Core 2 Duo laptop (Asus) that is still running strong, and while I have had a few glitches (namely Nvidia drivers that are supposed to be for my Tesla GPU, but cause bluescreens with any version later than 258, which is dated July 2010), it's rock stable now with Windows 7 x64 and Mint 18 x64. I know laptops are not thought of as being upgradeable the way desktops are (and they're not), but this little guy was working so well (and the Core 2 Duo platform still good enough for what I need a laptop for) that I was compelled to upgrade it rather than replace it. Something about having a computer that old holding its own in 2016 just speaks to me... perhaps it is my contempt for the "planned obsolescence" economy and the scourge of throwaway items that are too expensive to really be treated as disposable.

    My Vista-era laptop, which came with 3GB RAM, now has 8GB (max of 4 specified by Intel and Asus-- complete nonsense; you just need to put in the right type of SoDIMMs), a significant CPU upgrade (2GHz T5750 to 2.60 GHz T7800), an upgraded GPU (GTX 220M on the flipped Asus MXM), a 1TB SSD, and a new Mini PCIE wireless card (the Intel one never did get a stable driver before Intel EOL'd it).

    Like the Macbook in question, it had several keys on the keyboard that refused to work, but I got a brand new keyboard for it for $15 US, shipping included, and it works perfectly. That's one thing I have never liked about Macs-- the price of replacement parts (though I am certain that if I'd called Asus for a price, it would also have been far higher). Maybe you can find a new or good used one on eBay that won't cost a small fortune.

    It's a shame that Apple seems to be adrift. I've never cared for their products personally, but having competition is important, and with MS determined to destroy the Windows franchise with the unusable Windows 10, this is the first time I'd ever actually recommend a Mac to anyone who wanted a laptop or desktop and just wanted it to work out of the box. I can't recommend Windows anymore in good conscience, and I know that most people would not do like I would and slap an older version of Windows on a new PC (as I did with my Asus laptop the day I bought it-- Vista came off, XP went on, and it would remain so until about a year or so ago).

    I keep hearing about how Microsoft is innovating now, but you have to overlook so much bad stuff to even get to the point of appreciating the relatively meager selection of positive things Windows 10 has to offer (in terms of software; there's no way I'd go near any of their locked-down hardware, innovative or not) that I can't see it as a viable option. A lot of the innovation seems to be in Microsoft thinking up new, innovative ways to annoy and alienate their long-time customers. I hope Apple can turn it around and give MS a run for the money.

  29. psychonaut

    Keyboard / battery replacement

    Just take it to a local it shop. They'll replace keyboard and battery for you. As it's an apple they'll probably charge you extra but you'll get the whole thing done for less than 150 quid and probably the same day

  30. toffer99

    For years I was puzzled as to why so many people were suckered into buying a pretty computer costing about twice as much as its plain Jane equivalent. Then Brexit won and Trump got elected and all became clear. People are stupid.

  31. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Apple Past, when all the hype around product launches was real"

    Now there's a statement to reflect on.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: "Apple Past, when all the hype around product launches was real"

      It looks like they are running out of ideas and are starting to make up shit to compensate.

      See also: Far-Speaking.

  32. David Lawton

    I think its just a case of the general rule, don't get a 1st Gen Apple product. I do like the look of the new Macbook Pro but, i don't like the massive price increase, i'm not ready for USB C yet, and removing the MacBooks best feature MagSafe is just bonkers.

    Hopefully we will see a refresh next year with Kaby Lake, 32GB RAM option and by the maybe USB C might be around a bit more. Plus they might reduce the price a bit.

    I'm glad Apple have kept the older Pro and Air around still so you can still get a Mac with USB A.

    I don't need a new Macbook as my 2012 Air and 2013 Pro are still working as good as the day i got them, so i can go ages yet before i need to start parting with cash. I just know i don't want a Windows based device again, spent 20 years of my life with that OS before my eyes were opened and i tried OS X. I'm not spending my life babysitting badly made Microsoft OS's anymore.

  33. llaryllama

    Back around 2008/2009 MacBook Pros were my default choice when I wanted a reasonably priced, reasonably specced, lightweight machine. There was no other real competition for a 13" laptop.

    When I broke my last MBP I saw the non-upgradeable, overpriced, under specced and almost portless machines I would be looking at for an "upgrade" and abandoned Apple altogether.

    I got a 13" Asus zenbook for barely over US$1000 with a core i7 processor, 255GB SSD, 16GB RAM. The build quality is as good as a MBP, screen is superb, battery life, keyboard etc. are faultless. Comes with a 3 year global warranty. You could get one with a touchscreen as well if that floats your boat.

    Yes, there are other options outside Surface and Apple these days.

  34. Mage Silver badge

    Alternately

    Buy a nice Lenovo, look at E460, they offer Win7 Pro.

    Download Linux Mint + mate 64 bit to a USB stick, boot and install. It lets you drag space for Windows vs Linux on GUI.

    Then you have Linux for all the serious work and Windows 7 for games.

    Apple has no commitment to OSX, only to iOS.

  35. dalethorn

    The attitude at Apple is far worse than most people are aware of. After they force-downloaded iOS updates to my iPad and iPhone a dozen times, chewing up multiple gigabytes of bandwidth on my DSL, I had the local Apple store people verify that indeed they do that, regardless of any settings I have to block it. So I called support, and got a supervisor who kept telling me 1) We don't do that. and 2) You're wrong, the store is wrong etc. Then she hung up on me.

    Apple is the nastiest most fascistic company I've ever dealt with. Well, there is another biggie that's nearly as bad, but they always are agreeable, then they do the bad anyway.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The paragraph in the article that says Apple need to come up with a better laptop and not bother with AppleTV, iPad, or even iPhone highlights the problem .... you used to get your MacBooks from a computer company... you're now hoping to get a laptop from a phone company - they;re look to cross sell laptops to iphone owners and not vice versa

    1. Marcus Fil

      Let me..

      FTFY:

      "they;are looking to cross sell laptops and the essential alternative cables to iphone owners and not vice versa."

      I am a long time high end Apple laptop user - best portable UNIX (+VM LInux and Windoze) platform there is. I am also an iPhone user (always a generation behind). Apple will not be selling the new MBP to me unless the next refresh sees a return to sanity. Some, or all, of the following required in order of sheer bloody utility: at least one USB 3.0/A socket, SD socket, magsafe power. A bigger battery and more RAM would also be nice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let me..

        "Apple laptop ... best portable UNIX ... platform there is"

        Really?

        I've got a rather nice Asus laptop here. It runs Linux (which is rather like UNIX) rather well. It looks rather nice too. I'll bet it pisses all over your Macintosh (which at least might be waterproof). Oh yes, and I can upgrade the memory and storage. Rather a nice little unit.

        Rather happy, am I. Rather suckered, were you?

        1. Marcus Fil

          Re: Let me..

          UNIX - that runs Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, Mathematica, Maxwell, Modo, Rhino etc. and still has a bash terminal. FYI Linux is not UNIX - looks like it, but it isn't - ask a grown-up to explain the fundamental differences. This is the MacOS advantage that Apple seem to ignore in moving their platforms towards the exclusive use of coffee shop poseurs (I am using a nice term here, but I don't know why).

          Apple was never cheap, but a lot of people commenting are talking about Apple laptops 6 or 7 years old and still going strong. Apple, it seems, don't like that - you need to get into a 3 year refresh mentality - except serious users are not going to accept that cycle at Apple prices (or anything close). They are also not going to accept a reduction in utility in exchange for a price hike and a need to to buy a load more bits.

          Maybe USB-C is the future, but it is stuff all use if you want to use your laptop in the present (you know connecting to real world things like 3D printers, iPhones, datasticks etc.). Carrying up to 17 adapters about makes you look like the fanboi twat you obviously are; adding an adapter hub is also a) not an answer if you are out and about and not chained to a desk b) adding back all the weight saving, and then some, that Apple kindly introduced when you did not ask for it. The Macbook 'lite' platform was the bloody Air for those poor souls who could not lift more than a laptop and a skinny latte; the Pro is supposed to be the workhouse platform - the clue was in the name. The 2016 MBP is a cluster fuck and Apple has been called on it - does it listen or does it drive itself to the mortuary?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Let me..

            That there bash terminal you speak of, is that a GUI-enabled bash shell, or a terminal emulator application that provides a standard IO interface that may be used to provide access to a bash shell. Perhaps you might want to ask a grown-up about the fundamental differences.

      2. Rainer

        Re: Let me..

        > Some, or all, of the following required in order of sheer bloody utility:

        > at least one USB 3.0/A socket, SD socket, magsafe power

        Next iteration, the whole market will have switched to USB-C. You won't find a decent laptop from any manufacturer with legacy USB.

        It's not an Apple-thing, it's an Intel-thing. It comes with their reference-chipsets etc.

        Magsafe had to go because of that. But no-one else has it either - so what's the point?

        SD-card readers - who has them these days?

        The new Apple laptops are a long bet, for a future that is all wireless.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just switched from a Lenovo to a Macbook Pro before the new ones came out (work is paying). Would not have done so if I had seen the lack of a decent replacement path in the future. Plus Sierra is unstable - it has hard-crashed 3 times in 2 weeks.

    Disappointed - I had a couple of Macs back when OS X came out and was very happy. Apple's quality control and attention to detail is broken.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Refreshing to see a real world user and some real world comments. XP was stable after a couple of service packs, slow nowadays, because of no multi threading and we have to take Microsofts word that it would never have touchscreen, VR and the rest of todays / tomorrows tech. That leaves win 10 for the Microsoft future, designing your business plans around win 7 is ridiculous. For Apple your business plans are definitely maybe in the future, the no diy upgrade is not good for home / small business use ( not sure how upgradeable surface's are though). Only issue is waiting for better tech, if so neither Microsoft nor Apple will be cheap so better save up whilst waiting. At least with MS there are other hardware companies around.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      XP was stable after a couple of service packs, slow nowadays, because of no multi threading
      No multithreading? Really? Win95 and NT4 both supported multithreading... It was MacOS prior to X that persisted with co-operative multitasking.

  39. Disk0
    Happy

    Funny how everybody has their own reasons, and they rarely carry over to the next person.

    I still have a PowerBook G3 with a cpu socket, two removable drive/battery bays, a card slot, and a dozen ports. I maxed it out right away, because that's almost always worth it.

    That meant two batteries, a ZIP drive, a DVD drive, and an external harddisk, Total playtime about 5 hours. By the time I needed to upgrade any of it, the combined cost versus the gains did not compare to replacing it. It would not be able to take a G4 or G5 processor, faster memory or newer storage - simply because the slots and ports for these were not around when the laptop was built.

    A new laptop will almost invariable have 2 - 3x performance, a better screen, longer battery life, less bulk. faster ports, you name it - but that even with all the upgrade options that one could possibly desire or imagine, none of these will extend the practical life of your laptop beyond those magical 7 years.

    NB you can buy a complete (used) top panel for your old MacBook Pro for about 50 currency units, replacing it is very possible.

  40. gfx

    2011 macbook pro's are update-able Put 8GB RAM, a SSD, a new keyboard, a new battery and a new SATA cable in one over the years.

    Got a Surface Pro 4 but it's also glued together like the new macs. Hope it will last.

  41. The Onymous Coward

    I agree with the author's sentiment.

    2011 MacBook Air user here. SSD failed a few months ago - replaced it with a 960GB SSD. Other than that, it has been flawless. The battery may be next on the list as it currently only lasts about three hours. I hook it up to a Thunderbolt display for Photoshop, the odd bit of GoPro editing and Garageband. I for the top CPU at the time, a 1.8GHz i7, so the only thing that holds it back is the lowly 4GB RAM.

    I would love a speed bump and a retina display on both the laptop and external display, but Apple simply don't offer it, so when the machine dies, I'll have no choice but to go elsewhere for a replacement.

  42. Speaka2Bica

    I have been there

    Your article is kind of like a deja vu for me. I have been through this in the late 80's and again in the late 2000's. It is such a pain in the neck. I have to say, your assessments are spot on.

    Best of luck to you as you go through the transition period!

  43. Aknarula9

    I have been using Mac line up since early 2000's, I am pretty happy. So I ditched my MacBook Air for Microsoft Surface, I feel that we need to teach Satya and his team that how the hardware is suppose to work. The response time when you are working just A Ess internet is bad. The surface mouse integration with Surface Pro is very bad and slow. You are trying to move the screen up or down. The system response is either very slow or it's going to fast. Some time it's just slow or hangs

    I am not sure if the Microsoft staff itself uses the Surface Pro

    Its integration with One drive is so confusing, I am a Executive who uses computer for normal Word, Excel Power Point, Demo our software product, struggles with high end Aurace Pro. The touch has no use, some time the attached keyboard will stop functioning. It's a nice showpiece but disappointed with the hardware.

    I guess I won't suggest any one to buy this machine, buy MacPro for quality, speed, Excellent

    Hardware and its integration.

    I will replace the Surface and go back to MacBook Pro

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Which?

      You don't say which Surface Pro you have. I have not experienced any of those problems with the SP4.

      GJC

  44. giin

    Not much has changed in Windows-land

    I've been using mostly Macs for the last 10 years or so. I've always had at least one Windows computer to deal with. Either it was my daughter's Dell or the gaming laptop I recently bought. Both are running Windows 10, which is supposedly on par with MacOS these days. Both still suffer from the same old Windows OEM bullshit. Crappy drivers ruing the experience on both devices, both have odd random issues ranging from having trouble connecting to WiFi, touchpad drivers simply not working to not waking up from sleep. Needless to say, having owned and used 10+ macs in the past 10 years, none of them have had these issues.

    So keep kidding yourself about the Windows experience being even close to what Apple can deliver, it is not, unless you buy the premium hardware direct from Microsoft.

    Criticize Apple all you want but fact is, despite the price MacBooks are still the device to beat. Microsoft may be closer than before with the Surface line, but it has not even caught up yet.

    1. Electron Shepherd

      Re: Not much has changed in Windows-land

      But computers exist for the sole purpose of running software, and, like it or not, the range of software available for the Windows "ecosystem", if there is such a thing, is much broader than that for OS X.

      For example, why did you buy a Windows "gaming" laptop, if "the Mac is still the device to beat"? Why not just run the games on the Mac?

    2. Rusty 1

      Re: Not much has changed in Windows-land

      Isn't it strange how different people have different experiences. I've supported and owned a good number of traditional PCs and laptops over the last decade, running Linux and Windows (XP, 7, and 10), and have hit only one problem - one old system which was upgraded to Windows 10 didn't have drivers for the 8 year old sound card. No network problems wired, or wireless. Video was fine. Keyboards have always worked fine, and all provided both delete and backspace keys. The wonders of engineering!

      I don't care what a specific software vendor's hardware is "the device to beat" - I use an operating system that just works on what ever device its installed on.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bought a t410i without os and a few bits missing off ebay for £48. Put in ssd, more ram, usb 3 express card, linux mint, new battery, wwan card, and missing trim from China off ebay. Total cost about £115. I have windows 10 in virtual box which I got for free under the windows 7 upgrade offer.

    Never crashes, very fast to use, easy to fix. Why would I want to spend ten times that for an apple product that I can't fix, can't plug my peripherals into without proprietary cables, and can't replace the battery ?

    Frankly the direction apple are taking says a lot about their user base. I have a mate who is an apple fanboi. He doesn't think you should have more than one usb port....

    1. Ilsa Loving

      Apple has two demographics

      > Frankly the direction apple are taking says a lot about their user base. I have a mate who is an apple fanboi. He doesn't think you should have more than one usb port....

      The thing is, Apple has two demographics. One is the classic "sheeple": the ones that don't actually know jack about computers, with a subset being an almost cult-like following.

      The second demographic are tech professionals that already have more than enough work to do and just don't have the patience to deal with having to baby their computers on top of everything else.

      And this second group is MIGHTY pissed off with what Apple is doing because Apple is actively making our lives significantly and unnecessarily more difficult for no reasonable reason. I'm still using an 2011 MBP. I've been wanting to upgrade cause it's getting long in the tooth, but every successive machine Apple has released has been even more idiotic than the one previous.

  46. Daniel B.
    Facepalm

    Well, shit.

    Just when I was thinking that it was probably time to upgrade into a rMBP, they somehow made it crappier. Not only is the laptop non-upgradeable, now it also sucks with the removal of MagSafe and requiring dongles for pretty much everything.

    Looks like I'll have to upgrade to the older model, if they're still selling it by the time I save enough to buy one. Otherwise, it seems I'll just have to do with my current 2012 13" MBP until it dies, and then see if there's something actually decent. But judging by Apple's direction, it seems I'll have to jump back to the icky Mickeysoft waters I evacuated when Windows 8 shat on that pool.

    Apple, cut the crap. It's not funny anymore.

  47. tempemeaty
    Megaphone

    The Vice

    This article was a great read. Thank you. I've been feeling like I'm being squeezed in a vice. It's nice to know I'm not the only one going through this extremely troubling dilemma.

  48. kmac499

    Apple n' Scientology

    In the beginning was a guy who made his own harmless DayJob was moderately good at what he did (in his field) making a few dollars.

    He quite grew to like having a few dollars so he did it again and realised that the 'world' he had created appealed to quite a few people.

    He then got 'marketing' a terrible disease which allows you to take a basically harmless idea and spin it into a belief system. This can become so strong it can take over the lives of the people who follow it, making them hand over all their money for the latest edition\revelations.

    Then the original guy died, leaving a gaping hole in the lives of his fellow travellers and a wish in them to continue his legacy a they see it.

    Sadly the flow of money becomes a self reinforcing meme which corrupts the custodians of the basic idea convincing them that they must be the only true path because otherwise why would they be so succesfull.

    Eventually pursuit of the belief blinds the custodians, until some smart arse kid at the back shouts "Hey look he's got no clothes on" Then it can all go to shit very quickly.

    BTW I'm most definitely not saying Apple is an evil cult.. it's just marketing

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Apple n' Scientology

      Whatever, but it needs to go to shit pretty quickly so that we can have acceptable machines back.

      OTOH, the last acceptable machine from Apple that I eyed was a NeXT Cube.

  49. ecofeco Silver badge

    Boutique markets are only so big

    Apple has made the mistake so many manufacturers make when aspiring to the upscale market: that market is only so big and it's great while it lasts, but it is still a finite market, is very fickle and demands bleeding edge coolness and you must remember all three of these things or you will get dismisses seemingly out of nowhere.

  50. The Morgan Doctrine

    Yo, what about the ancient desktop Pros?

    I've been ready to spend up to $9,000US on a new blazing desktop. Since 2014. My old one is too old to update with the new OS. But I'll be damned if I spend big bucks on obsolete hardware and a CPU that's two-generations too old. Yeah, good bye Apple. You schmucks. Great OS if you like riding dinosaur hardware.

  51. Joe Gurman

    OK, I get it

    Mr. McCarthy doesn't like the new MacBook Pro, thinks he's going to jump ship on Apple, and likes the MacBook Air of a few years ago. Cool.

    But why the inaccurate tirade (the cheapest model of the MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar is $1799 in the US not $2400)? He admits he didn't even get a chance to try it out before deducing it was useless for anything but emoji. I think I'll visit an Apple Store when they have ones to, you know, use, and decide whether I agree.

    Oh, and I use a three-year old MacBook Air. Its CPU, graphics, and storage (a mighty 128 Gbyte SSD) pale in comparison to the base model MacBook Pro's with Touch Bar. I think I'd like to look at a performance comparison and try it what the Touch Bar, an unfamiliar technology, can do before I make a decision. Mr. McCarthy's rant hasn't helped me make a decision, not one little bit.

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: OK, I get it

      He presumably wants a 15" MBP. The 15" with just two USB C ports (a.k.a the completely, totally, utterly, useless one) starts at $2000. The 15" with four USB C ports (a.k.a the merely useless one) starts at $2400.

      The new MBPs have only two or four ports; All the 13" units only have two ports. Just two ports makes them useless for pro ops.

      The ports in question are USB C/Thunderbird 3 ports. In order to connect anything, anything at all, which is not fitted with a USB C plug, you need an adaptor. There is no Ethernet. There is no FireWire. There is no old-style USB. There's not even a power plug, one of the four (or two...) ports is going to be needed for power. Adaptors are required for everything. I have a multitude of old-style USB devices: external optical drives (including one from Apple, which I suspect will not work with the new MBPs), external hard drives, USB thumb drives, scanners... there are times when I must connect to a USB printer for one reason or another. Now I need adaptors. Certain networks around here are deliberately walled off from the wireless networks (security. You may have heard the term) and so I must have Ethernet. I need an adaptor.

      The CPU in the 13" units tops out at a two-core 2.4GHz i7. This is not a 'Pro' system. The RAM on all of them tops out at 16 GB. The $2000 15", in addition to only having two ports, also maxes at a 2.2 GHz quad-core i7, marginal at best, with Intel graphics, again marginal at best. The $2400 15" is a 2.6 GHz quad-core i7, better than 2.2 but not earthshaking, and has an actual video card, a Radeon Pro 450, again not earthshaking but better than Intel video.

      it's not even debatable: a 13" MBP is not a 'Pro' system. A 15" MBP is just barely a 'Pro' system. I currently have a 5-year-old Windows laptop which has a 2.2 GHz quad-core i7 (a good CPU for 5 years ago) and only 8 GB of RAM. But it's got three USB ports, Ethernet, VGA, HDMI. It also has a battery which was never great and is now worse. However, I understand that a significant percentage of the new MBPs are already having battery problems. 4 hours or less instead of the promised 10, that kind of thing.

      Sorry, man, but just on the specs there's no way that I'd buy a new MB. I might buy one of last year's version. They have ports, and working batteries.

      I do hope that this clarifies things a little. Or you could go to Apple's site and have a look at what they actually post there.

  52. kskropf

    Perhaps it's time to refer to Apple in a way appropriate to what they have become:

    Purveyors of luxury goods and services.

    Not a tech company any more.

    Would you like a Chardonnay with that MacBook Pro?

  53. Demogenes

    Good pooints and same conclusion as mine.

    One slight remark The last mbp's that could be modified was the 2011. I have that and it can be upgraded.

  54. spitfire31

    "The mid-2009 Pro was basically the last Apple laptop that let you do all the things that kept it running: new memory, hard drive, battery etc. From that point, Apple started locking the laptop down."

    Not quite.

    My Early 2011 MB Pro 17" is running almost every day as a desktop machine with external monitor, keyboard+mouse and an Akitio Thunder Dock Tbolt hub that gives me 2 x ESATA, 2 x USB 3.0 and one FW 800, plus one extra Tbolt. The MB Pro itself has an Xpress Card slot for further expansion.

    I've myself changed fans on it twice, battery once, HD twice (it's now a Samsung 1TB SSD) and I upgraded the RAM to 16GB. This is a machine that earns the Pro designation.

    I also have an MB Air 2013 13" with 8GB which has proved itself capable enough for serious video and audio editing as well as being a handy typewriter.

    The new MB 'Pro' is an embarrassing joke. Eventually, I'll also be looking for a new machine, but I very much doubt it'll be adorned with partially eaten fruit on the lid.

  55. albsure

    Apple are historically famous for going in their own direction and ignoring the mainstream industry and going in their own direction. That's what makes them Apple. Yet people are complaining that Apple are doing exactly what they always do and have been for the last 20 odd years!

    Hahahaaha

    Why is anyone shocked?

    The reason they do this is EXACTLY the same reason why google drop software and api's routinely (remember the rss stuff?). It allows Apple to deal with the pain upfront and gives them a free run at designing new machines without legacy issues. If you try to hedge you end up like Microsoft. Trying to make new OS's with tools and services from 20yrs ago still hanging around causing all sorts of issues.

    People in this thread have been saying they have been using their MacBooks for over 5yrs and it's still doing well in some cases. That's because it's was cutting edge then when it didn't have to be. Who was releasing retina screens before they did? I remember all the outrage at how some websites and apps didn't use retina and Apple should have waited. Well guess what, 5yrs later you are benefiting from that move.

    And in 5 yrs time when your new MacBook needs a new graphics card and you can just plug it in to whatever side port you need because it's got USB c/thunderbolt 3, you'll be happy. And when you realise that your new camera just automatically syncs photos directly to your laptop or cloud account and you don't need a sd card you'll be like oh, what a good purchase that was.

    The fact is Apple always cater for the future, not for now. If you want NOW get a Dell. It's always been like this. I'm happy with that approach. Just admit you like the comfort of the pc world. That's your speed. Fine.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Backward thinking

    I find your article incredible backward thinking and negative. You forget to highlight key positives such as the volume reduction, weight reduction, display quality.... same battery life with smaller volume batteries. Hmmmm

    You sound as though you would rather stay in the dark ages and not have technology move forward.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Backward thinking

      The macbook Pro w/touchbar isn't technology moving forward. That's the whole point. This isn't an improvement in design, for a Pro user, the backward thinking has all been done by Apple with this design.

      Here's a scenario, I've just worked on a plane for 8 hours during a flight with my new macbook Pro w/touchbar. I get off the plane I'm tired.

      I go through Airport Security, fumble, drop my laptop (I've done it). I didn't have internet on that journey. Where the fcuk is my 8 hours of work now given my dead broken Macbook? Before I could have removed the SSD, carried on, now its a week minimum without a laptop, and potentially no recovery - Fuck that.

  57. Stjalodbaer

    M0ngo still just p0wned in game of life

    Make whole macbook pro input surface of clamshell combination of haptic keys and touch display with everything relocatable and configurable by user and apps. Why why only touchstrip ?

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I took a similar route but instead bought a late 2014 MacBook Pro loaded with 18 months of AppleCare left.

    The good part is your previous Mac lasted 7 years on 8GB of RAM. So if you double up the RAM and now have a current generation processor which is waaaay better than your 7 year old processor you should be extremely happy. Also you can't upgrade a SurfaceBook or most of the "UltraBooks" out there so I would start to accept this as the norm, not the exception.

    The 4K resolution and TouchBar will be great in a couple of years but like Touch on a SurfaceBook its mostly gimmicky. The key point is that Windows 10 sucks and I would rather have a non-upgradable MacBook Pro running OS X than a buggy platform like Windows. Also the integration with the iDevices and AppleTV & Watch you have will be a much better experience than a Windows/Android or if you could find one, a Windows/WindowsMobile combo.

    Time will tell whether the TouchBar will be awesome but for now I was willing to save about $800 and get a used device.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Windows 10 has improved immensely. Windows update is pain still.

      "Windows 10 sucks"

      Windows 10 has certainly sucked, at different points in its rollout.

      I've run Windows 10 since the start. I'm someone who has verbally run Windows 10 into the ground at times, over its crappy drivers for Touchpads/Keyboards/Fingerprint readers in the beta/insider phase. The Windows 7 nagware. Crappy Windows 7 Update taking 12+ hours. The 'Something Happened' MS crappy ISO creation tool.

      But give Microsoft its due, Windows 10 AU 1607, fully updated, with a local account all privacy settings switched off, isn't too bad, I have to admit. I hate the start menu, but I live with it.

      Windows 7 is still cleaner/preferable in its design, but Windows 10 is past the point of being awful-"awful" and the Windows 7 File Explorer was/is just dire.

      Windows 10 AU 1607 isn't there yet, but is not far off the equivalent of Windows 7 SP1 in terms of release quality/stablity. It did suck. It's certainly a little less sucky, as of now.

      But then, macOS Sierra is rock solid/stable for me and Linux Mint 17.3 is a superb desktop/OS too.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "And even though this is the tale of a ***single*** person, I am willing to bet that the same process is going on right now with millions of customers across the globe."

    Try installing Tinder dude?

  60. PassiveSmoking

    Nest is killing it

    I'd say that'd debatable. Nest might be the best known IoT brand but it's stagnated for years and from what I hear Google are no longer taking it very seriously, in spite of the ludicrous amount of resource they poured into it.

    http://arstechnica.co.uk/gadgets/2016/06/nest-alphabet-unlimited-budget-analysis/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nest is killing it

      agree with you on Nest being a cuckoo

      My current test IoT domotic systems are based on French NETATMO, just one IoT provider amongst many; BUT all my juicy data stays at home (on SD-card), and only metadata is sent to my 'phone through a VPN; I can choose my own cloud storage e.g. DropBox if I do wish to offsite the images. I like end-user control! No 'recurring' monthly fees.

      My thermostat works flawlessly - even with the internet down, (this wasn't the case with last years' test IoT company Momit from Spain)

      The Netatmo stuff claims to be Apple IoT/"Home" compatible, but as the first step for this requires uploading my macOS keychain to iCloud - very much à la Google NEST - I think I'll miss that bit. All the Netatmo tech, incl wobbly sensors work, very well so far and I don't have to talk to any AI to make it all go.

      I just looked at the arstechnica link, my Netatmo biometric indoor home security camera has actually achieved the opposite of those false alarms from nest protect. The Netatmo cam listens for smoke alarms, and sends an alert message to the mobile app when it hears a traditional smoke alarm. I have a 5-years old really excellent 'classic' kiddee lithium photoelectric system downstairs, obviously non-networked. Now it has become integrated into IoT, a really high quality sensor - with a very reliable (so-far messaging) - It does also think a vacuum-cleaner is an alarm, but I now expect this.

      The kiddee alarmed recently, and when I phoned home responding to the Netatmo app it was a downdraft/blowback from the chimney affecting the wood-burning stove, which hadn't been noticed otherwise.

  61. John F

    They lost me at "no touch screen"

    They said they tested pros with touch screens. Did they try their five year olds in front of them? Apparently not.

    Wake up, Apple. The future just passed you by.

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      Re: They lost me at "no touch screen"

      Anyone that puts their grubby fingers near my screen has them removed. I can't speak for your five-year old, but my two-year old knows not to prod.

      More to the point, even with out a five year old or the need for a clean screen, it's an incredibly slow way to input data. Move hand from keyboard to screen, jab, move back. I can't think of a single pro in any field that would prefer that over a keyboard shortcut.

    2. arthoss

      Re: They lost me at "no touch screen"

      Ah cut the crap. Trying to use an ipad pro for work for more than 1h with intensive touching of the screen and you get gorilla arm (own experience). I can't believe one can use a screen that is not fully horizontal for working. Now and then touching OK, working by touching every minute and doing moving and precision work and you'll get RSS.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "And even though this is the tale of a single person, I am willing to bet that the same process is going on right now with millions of customers across the globe"

    Yep, bang on the money. As an owner of an early-2008 Mac Pro, which has done a wonderful job over the years and is still going fairly strong - I've recently been looking to downsize to something less power hungry which is portable if necessary.

    Unfortunately Apple have been reducing the size of their laptops for some reason - most of their offerings are in the 13" format, which is way too small for me - the largest they offer is now only 15" and the price tag on that is simply unaffordable. The 'touch bar' was for me the final nail in the potential decision to upgrade to a current spec Mac, as was the removal of the headphone socket on the iPhone was the final nail in my potential decision to switch from the doomed Blackberry to an iPhone (thinking it might complement my Mac Pro nicely).

    There is no way I'm going Windows 10 thanks to it being ridden with Cortana and other horribleness ... so it looks as though its time to dust off my long unused home-contructor skills and put together a replacement machine myself in the aluminium coolermaster case I still have from the last PC I built before the Mac.

  63. Paul 164

    Totally agree

    Apple have lost their minds along with their innovation.

    Everything with them seems to be going backwards - having to buy adapters to use Ethernet, USB and having to buy external drives because I want to write a CD! I thought that was in the past by 15 years or so!

    My iPhone is a 5s, mainly because I hate the larger phones and don't want to pay a lot of money for little improvement... Don't get me started on the iPhone 7 and its missing audio jack!

    My laptop used to be an i7 MacBook Pro until somebody damaged it beyond repair. Looking into a new Pro, I found the specs very limiting (less ports and no optical drive), and the price higher than when I bought the i7. Not only that but not being able to upgrade the hardware on a machine I OWN is just a HUGE CON.

    I had to opt for the older i5 mid-2012 MacBook Pro in the end - all because I want the option of using ports without adapters, using an optical drive and because I might want to add new RAM or HDD.

    Unless Apple actually start listening to their faithful users, I see many of them jumping ship.

  64. jeffty

    Glad to see...

    ... it's not just me thinking this in regards to Apple's latest Pro offering.

    I get that Apple have always done their own thing around connectivity, but the new laptops can't even be connected to the new iPhone line unless it's through an adapter. That tells me this new direction isn't thought through in terms of their own devices, let alone anyone elses. It's the same with the iPhone 7 - no headphone jack, yet the much-hyped Airpod option isn't available yet due to the constraints around making it work.

    I've got two Macbook Pros in front of me as I type this - one a work laptop (2015 model), the other a personal machine (Mid-2012 i7). The personal is my favourite - one of the last models to be easily upgraded, and I've added 16Gb RAM, a 1TB SSD and a 1TB HDD in place of the optical drive. It still happily powers through anything I throw at it.

    Looking at the work Mac, I can see the reduction in connectivity and functionality options and I agree with the design choices. I never really used an optical drive on the go (hence me swapping it for an HDD) or the firewire ports, but actively use the rest (HDMI, Displayport, USB, SD). I don't like the fact this laptop can't be easily upgraded with everything being soldered together, but then again I wouldn't choose to with it being a work laptop.

    I can't say that about the new Pro model. Whilst the touchbar is nice, I wouldn't upgrade to a new machine solely to have it. The connectivity options are poor - whilst I get USB ports aren't very elegant in their appearance, they are widely used for every external peripheral going and their omission is a mistake at this point in time. I could understand Apple's direction if the USB-C port was starting to catch on, but you can't even get USB-C cables for Apple's peripherals yet.

    I agree with the reduction in connectivity options for the Macbook and Macbook Air - traditionally these laptops have been used by people who want shiny, light and minimalist. The same isn't true for the Pro - it's a machine for the power user on the move. And the power user isn't going to buy it if it doesn't meet their needs, let alone allow them to connect their walled-garden devices easily without a sea of dongle adaptors.

  65. Jason Hindle

    Happy I upgraded a generation early

    The latest MacBook pro didn't leave me at all disappointed with the decision. That said, my 2011 MacBook Air still runs fine, so the inability to upgrade the hardware has only been a minor problem for me. Come to think of it, the only reason I upgraded at all is really the retina display, for editing photos on the move, and extra memory (and oomph) when running more than one VM.

    I honestly don't see any good choices when buying a new laptop at the moment. Windows 10 is still not, IMHO, a finished product. Apple has definitely lost its shine. Linux*, meanwhile, is not good for photo editing**.

    * Did consider a workstation class laptop, running some flavour of Linux, for portable geekery.

    ** No, I'm not learning the atrocious bloody GIMP!

  66. Red Five

    I'm with you...been waiting over 5 years for a proper upgrade to my Mac Mini, the one I had being the last one that you could upgrade and swap out hard drive before they soldered everything down.

    And so the October 'reveal' came and my only option was to drop the equivalent of an all-inclusive family holiday down on a laptop..and a badly specced one at that, with no future-proofing.

    So, down to my last wick with Apple, I'd had enough and spent £700 on a Dell 8910 desktop with every whistle and bell going with switched back to Windows (yes, I am one of the mythical people you hear about).

    And that is the beginning of taking all the Apple out of my tech life...I've had enough with the bullshit and lack of any innovation.

    The IPhone 7 can't connect to the new MacBook Pro out of the box - that there should tell you everything you need to know about what's going wrong with Apple...

  67. Adam Jarvis

    Worth watching, regarding the iFixit teardown / Recyclability (shockingly bad).

    Twit.tv (Leo Leporte) the show, the new screensavers, did a really good investigation into the recyclability of the new macbook w/touchbar.

    The interesting fact that came out was that even Apple's recycling facility can't recycle the new macbook, due to the lithium-ion Batteries being glued in.

    https://www.twit.tv/shows/new-screen-savers/episodes/80?autostart=false

    Worth watching from 24 minutes onwards for iFixit section, macbook review starts around 9 minutes.

  68. Blotto Bronze badge

    I have 2016 MacBook Pro 15" 512GB touchbar

    so I ummed and aared and eventually purchased a standard build 2016 MacBook pro 15" 512GB with touch bar on Black Friday sales with ~£300 discount.

    a great machine,

    touchbar is surprisingly useful and intuitive

    screen is phenomenal

    machine foot print is just slightly bigger than the 2008 unibody MacBook it replaced

    usb-c to usb-a adaptors are £3 delivered on Ebay or £7 at maplins offering 5gbps usb 3 speed for data transfers

    the keyboard sucks & is noisy, she likes it.

    I decided 8GB ram was not enough and was struggling with 256 GB ssd currently so opted for 16GB ram and 512GB ssd for future proofing, 13" dual core i7 MacBook Pro customed to to my mins was only ~£100 less than the standard quad core i7 of matching spec so was silly not to go bigger. I'll suck up the extra foot print for the better cpu :).

    touchbar is so good I wish the whole keyboard was a touchbar, would hugely complement a touch screen and be much better than the noisy keyboard.

    huge trackpad is not a bother so far

    any port charging is intuitively useful

    screen is huge

    weight is less than old 13" machine and welcome for one handed sofa working.

    this will be the main machine for a while

    expensive but no regrets so far.

  69. Ilsa Loving

    Macbook Pro 2011

    A second-best option is a Macbook Pro 2011. I have one. You can't change the battery yourself, but at least you can still change the hard drive and the RAM. I have done both, upgrading to 16GB and a 1TB SSD. It works for almost everything, with the exception of the latest AAA games (Fallout 4 running in bootcamp is only borderline playable at minimum settings)

    I completely agree with this article. I have been an Apple customer for about a decade, but unless Tim Cook pulls his head out of wherever he's keeping it, I'm going to be seriously cutting back on my Apple purchases.

    Right now the only reason I haven't moved to Windows yet is that despite being thoroughly pissed off with Apple's ridiculous design decisions, I despise Windows an order of Magnitude more.

    A perfect example: Over the holidays, I had to completely reset Windows Update on my parents Acer laptop because it just *would* *not* *update*. I finally got it working, but it *still* took almost 4 days of running constantly before the update would finish. Then I tried to install a new printer. They had two older Macs in addition to the Acer. Installing the printer on the Macs? Minutes. Hell, one of them even found the printer before I clicked the "add printer" button, so I didn't even have to look for it on the network. It couldn't have been easier or faster. On the Windows 7 machine? 2 hours. 2 freaking hours. First I let Windows try to find the drivers with Windows Update. Sat there for 30 minutes before I gave up and just used the CD. Even with the CD, the process was shockingly time consuming.

    So yeah, with all the Windows 10 hate going around, Apple is now in the position IBM was pre-Windows 95, where there was a clear gap to be filled and people wanted a solution. And just like IBM, Apple appears poised to completely squander the opportunity and look like a bunch of idiots.

  70. llaryllama

    Mac portables used to be a good deal

    I owned a variety of Mac portables from the age of 16 until a few years ago when Apple killed off the built-in CD drive, which was a deal breaker at the time.

    For a long time if you wanted a well built, lightweight all-round laptop in a 13" form factor and all the requisite ports 'n stuff the 13" MBP was actually a very good deal. It was about the same price as other crappier offerings and I'm not a PC gamer so I could live with the cost savings they made on performance to get a better chassis and screen.

    Now the Taiwanese manufacturers have rapidly caught up on build quality and have a lot more specialized options so you can choose the right balance between weight, performance, ports etc. My current laptop is an insanely well built 13" Asus with a great IPS matte screen, ports all over the place, super light, i7 processor, crazy good battery life, all the other jazz and about half the price of a current generation MBP with similar specs.

    My colleague has a brand new MBP and is already starting to regret it. For a start Apple keep breaking NFS connectivity with our Linux servers on each update. His desk is full of dongles just to get basic connectivity with ethernet and HDMI, and as a bonus the Apple display he bought quite recently is no longer compatible with the current MBP. In fact it's basically not compatible with anything except an older Apple laptop.

    Windows has its faults and quirks but I can still hook up my laptop to a 10 year old touch monitor from a completely different brand, I don't need dongles to hook up gigabit ethernet and I never run out of USB3 ports. Oh, and as a party trick for MBP owners when I stay at hotels I can hook up the TV to my built-in HDMI port and watch Netflix.

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