November 6, 2016

What’s up Mac?

With the poorly named Hello, Again Apple event behind, it’s now easier to take a look at what changed in the Mac lineup.

Before I share what I’m going to get, some thoughts on the new MacBook Pro’s:

Price

The new MacBook Pro’s are priced out of my range. Even the base (no Touch Bar) MacBook Air replacement model at $1499 is not an easy model to recommend: 8Gb of RAM is perfectly acceptable, but 256GB too limited imho. However, that’s a typical Apple move as this reddit thread shows:

In 2012 the newly-introduced 13-inch rMBP cost 1699$ - within half a year it dropped to 1499$ and six months later to 1299$

Further down p_giguere1 explains:

See, completely redesigned Macs usually have pretty poor production yields at launch. Making them more affordable would only make demand exceed offer, which is effectively a profits loss.

That’s why they have high prices at first, then lower them when yields are good. Some of those price reductions are associated with reducing specs on the base model. Apple could already be offering cheaper variants (13″ with 128GB, 15″ with iGPU) but they likely couldn’t make them fast enough.

Basically, I expect this to be fixed at some point in 2017. When the baseline model falls to $1299 it would fall again in MacBook Air pricing territory and be the clear recommendation for someone looking for a Mac.

Features

Touch Bar:

Although I initially complained about this, I’m slowly understanding that this can be a very useful improvement in the Mac’s I/O model. However, for it to be a consistent interface, it has to be available for Desktop Mode users. Not necessarily the iMac, but anyone that connects their MacBook to a monitor and doesn’t use the MacBook keyboard — which anecdotally is how most people I know use it.

Touch ID:

Lost in all the noise from the event, the Touch ID is one of the coolest things about these machines. More than anything is has to be one of the features that once you use it, it’s absence pains you. And the ability for third-party apps like 1Password to have access to it, makes me want it even more.

USB-C/Thunderbolt Ports (Lack of everything else)

I’m perfectly OK with this. USB-C is the future, and Thunderbolt is the PRO future. Yes, there’s going a painful time with dongles, but even with the current MacBook Pro and its multiple ports, I have to carry some.

If you’re confused about the USB-C/Thunderbolt dual meaning, the short version is: The conector is USB-C, and it works with all USB-C devices. But if you have a Thunderbolt device, you can take advantage of a ~5x speed increase — at about ~2x price. Best of both worlds, and a very practical solution by Apple1.

Keyboard

I haven’t used the MacBook or new MacBook Pro keyboard a lot, but from playing with it on the store, the limited travel doesn’t bother me. While the no-clickiness of a glass screen might be too millennial for me, the reduction of key travel since the original iMac has resulted in keyboards I actually prefer.

Size, weight and design

Take my money2. While not huge changes, they are noticeable if you compare against the current MacBook Pro, or even the MacBook Air 13in. For anyone that carries their computer home everyday, or travels, the small change is very appreciated.


So, which of the new MacBook Pro’s am I getting?. Sadly, I’m pretty sure none of them. With my $1800 budget, even the no-Touch Bar model would be compromised by either 8GB of RAM or 256GB of SSD space.

I’m entertaining three options, all of which are used MacBook’s3:

  1. 2014 MacBook Pro 13in, 16Gb + OWC 1TB SSD Upgrade ~$1500
  2. 2015 MacBook Pro 13in, 8Gb, 512gb ~$1150
  3. 2016 MacBook 12in, 8Gb, 512gb ~$1200

The last two are specially compromising, and I’m mostly considering them as a temporary solution while the new MacBook Pro prices come down next year. I’m also holding hope for Black Friday — but don’t expect any of the prices to come down within my budget.

I’m switching back and forward among these options everyday, but today I’m leaning on #3. The MacBook Air 11in was one of my favorite laptops ever, and since I will only be using it for personal stuff, I may not need the Pro power — or so I tell myself.


  1. Now, why the iPhone 7 doesn’t have an USB-C port instead of lighting, is a very interesting debate.

  2. Sadly, it’s not enough to purchase it.

  3. Now that Swappa started selling Latptops.


Apple Mac


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