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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > My take on the new MacBook Pro

My take on the new MacBook Pro
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Oct 28, 2016, 09:48 PM
 
This focuses on the 15" MacBook Pro. I have a 15" 2011. It does everything I need with capacity to spare, so I'm not ready to upgrade. But if I were considering an upgrade, this is how I would rate the changes.

• Display sizes: still 13 or 15. No return of a 17 (4K res), no hint of a 20 (5K res).

• Wider display gamut - a plus. For some, this will be a critical feature. For the rest of us, it will bring out more colors in pics and videos.

• The GPU update is decent, but well below the desktop-grade GPUs in competing pro notebooks. Shrinking the battery insured a juicier GPU was off the table.

• Battery
2016: 76.0 WH (10 hours) would have been 13 hours if previous battery were used.
2015: 99.5 WH (9 hours)
2011: 77.5 WH (7 hours)

• Missing MagSafe - a big minus. A plug–in connector like USB-C will pull out with a straight pull. But it won't release with a pull from the side the way MagSafe does. Besides, this means the USB-C sockets must have a light grip, so regular USB devices will also pull out easily. Combining the two ports (data and power) gives negatives for both type of connector.

Charging over USB-C would be a genius addition if we also had the MagSafe. But as the sole power option, and tying up a valuable data port, this becomes a big minus.

• Port count: 5 (4 USB-C + headphone) - terrible. Taking a closer look:

Total port count (including power, audio, IR, and card slot)
2016: 5
2015: 8
2011: 10 (11 in the 17")
Missing ports vs 2015 model: 2 USB-A, 2 TB, HDMI, optical audio out, SD slot, MagSafe.
Missing ports vs 2011 model: Ethernet, 2-3 USB-A, FW800, TB, IR, Audio in, optical audio in, optical audio out, SD or ExpressCard slot, MagSafe, Kensington lock.

By now, pro Macs should be experimenting with 10G ethernet ports. Wired speed and reliability beats wireless under most conditions. And a wired network connection might be required in some jobs (security rules) or locations (wireless jammed to a crawl).

If I want to carry adapters on the road, I can buy a low-level notebook with a dock and/or a pouch full of dongles. Paying more for a pro solution should buy generous ports and little need for dongles. MacBook Pros though 2011 followed this philosophy. They should have kept at least one USB-A port, a slot, and HDMI.

• Missing Kensington lock slot - big minus. Apple hasn't cut prices - MacBook Pros remain among the most expensive notebooks. I guess theft is down, so we don't need physical security. I feel better already. Adding a lock slot costs nothing (it saves a little aluminum) so why is this missing?

• Drives - a big minus. Still no internal drive bay for mass storage. No optical to convert to a drive bay. A single proprietary card slot in the 13 (w/ function keys), everything soldered in the touchbar models.
2016: max size 2 TB SSD
2015: max size 1 TB SSD
2011: max size each bay (2 bays): 512 GB SSD or 750 GB HD (3rd party: 4 TB SSD, 2 TB HD)

• Keyboard - key travel is down again. And the touch bar would be an interesting addition, except it's not an addition. I'd be far more interested if it were added *above* the normal function row.

The function key row had already been forced into double-duty as media- and system-control keys. Now the row lacks physical feedback and does duty as:
a) Function keys
b) System control keys
c) App-specific functions. Since an app may use a key location for a readout, you can't even depend on a key being there.

All told, this does not tempt me into upgrading. The speed upgrades are so-so (CPU) and excellent (GPU) vs what I have now. But the expansion/upgrade options are substantial downgrades. Of the other changes, most look more annoying than useful.
( Last edited by reader50; Nov 19, 2016 at 10:51 PM. Reason: corrections to ports and SSD info)
     
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Oct 29, 2016, 06:16 AM
 
Apparently the USB ports on one side are faster than the other.
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Oct 29, 2016, 09:08 AM
 
The upside with the new TB3 ports and power delivery is that you can finally have a single port dock again. Belkin has already announced one, with two TB3, three USB-A, DP and audio ports that also charges the MBP when plugged in. That is actually a big plus compared to the old ones - as someone who uses an HP laptop with a dock and inserts and removes that thing from the dock five times a day at least, I'm excited that the Mac finally has one. All I am missing from it is FireWire.

I think that the Touchbar is a great addition. By default, it has dedicated system segments on the edges while it lets the application control the center. By pushing the Fn key, it switches to the traditional layout with F-keys and Esc - which, if you think about it, is how it works today, because the F-keys are system control keys for things like volume by default. You can still make it flip, so they're F-keys by default and the new function if you push Fn.

Storage is going down, and more disturbing the default storage is dropping on most models. I don't like it, but I can live with it - a bus powered 2.5" drive is cheap enough and small enough.

Apple is also sticking with DDR3 for some reason. Doesn't matter much, except for the Rowhammer thing, but it is odd - and it means that the ceiling remains 16GB instead of 32GB.

As for the GPU.. as I wrote in the other thread, it is comparable to a PS4. Not too shabby, and there are no laptops with even vaguely comparable thinness that has significantly stronger graphics. I think it is fine for now - I am just sure that Apple will stick with it for five years until it is entirely outdated, like they did with the nVidia 650/750.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Oct 29, 2016, 11:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Apparently the USB ports on one side are faster than the other.
That's just on the 13" model. On the 15" model, all four ports give maximum bandwidth.

I think that I'm done complaining about the Pro MacBooks for a while. I mean, even the high-end pro PC laptops are in the same price range. It would help Apple to bump up the specs on their Pro Mac desktops to compete with Surface Studio.
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Oct 29, 2016, 04:09 PM
 
Ah yes, I didn't comment on that. Not to burst any bubbles, but... The CPU in question doesn't have unlimited bandwidth to the rest of the world. Long story short, you cannot possibly keep both the PCIe SSDs and the thunderbolt ports fed all at the same time. Intel's Thunderbolt controller can only handle two ports, so Apple has to be including two of them. Most likely one of them is multiplexed behind something else which limits bandwidth.

(btw, this shows how focused Apple is on using a single type of port for everything. The sane alternative would have been two TB3 ports and two or four or however many regular USB ports - port type A is fine if you don't want to confuse your customers - but no, we want one type of port.)
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Oct 30, 2016, 08:25 AM
 
Would it have killed them to put one USB A port on there so you can use thumb drives without a £19 dongle that you will need several of and lose/break several of over the life of the Mac? Or at least included a few in the box.
The TB3-TB2 adaptor is £49! And of course needs a TB2=TB2 cable which is another £49 if you don't have one already.

The dock is fine if you never physically exchange any data locally any more but you could get most of that before via thunderbolt 1 or 2 couldn't you?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Oct 30, 2016, 11:32 AM
 
I agree, the main thing this machine is missing is a USB-A port.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Oct 30, 2016, 04:02 PM
 
They've removed the boot chime. For the love of all that is good in this world......!
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Oct 30, 2016, 05:15 PM
 
Really?

About time.

I hate being reminded that I forgot to turn off the volume from the previous shut down with a big faded GONNNGGG... This is especially uncomfortable to have happen in quiet room/library settings.

People reacted negatively to sentimental touches like this when they replaced the smiling Macintosh with an Apple logo in (I think) Jaguar.

At this rate, I would not be surprised if, in 10.13, they decide to switch the official Finder icon (in the dock) to a tailored icon of your Mac with an Apple logo and a magnifying glass over it.
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Oct 30, 2016, 06:37 PM
 
For those of us who do not require the highest top-end Pro features... which by the way get outdated every year...

Refurbished 13.3-inch MacBook Pro 2.7GHz Dual-core Intel i5 with Retina Display - Apple

There you go. A refurbished 13" Pro MacBook, dual core 2.7 GHz, 8GB of 1866MHz LPDDR3, 256 GB flash storage, Force Touch trackpad, SDXC slot, two USB-A 3.0 ports, HDMI out, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, and MAGSAFE.

Price: $1189.

This is a very smart choice for most current and potential Macbook users, especially students.


Compare with 2016-model 13" Pro MacBooks: the refurb 13" model has:

dual core 2.7 GHz (faster than 2.0 GHz for 2016 non-Touch bar version, Touch-bar version gets 2.9 GHz base, so not much faster...)
8GB of 1866MHz LPDDR3 (non-Touch bar version gets same thing, Touch-bar version gets 2133MHz but same 8 GB so little help there)
256 GB flash storage (same base as other versions)
10 hours of battery life (same as other versions)
Force Touch trackpad (other versions have slightly larger field)
SDXC slot (lacking in new MacBook)
two USB-A 3.0 ports (lacking in new MacBook)
HDMI out (lacking in new MacBook)
two Thunderbolt 2 ports (use 1 of available 2 to charge on non-Touch-bar version)
and MAGSAFE (sorely lacking in new MacBook)
( Last edited by And.reg; Oct 31, 2016 at 12:51 PM. )
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Oct 31, 2016, 01:51 AM
 
Simply listing the port count is a bit disingenuous, because all of those ports except Thunderbolt were dedicated single-purpose ports. How many people used more then four at any time, without connecting a hub anyway? I'd venture very few.

The new ports are multipurpose - any one can be anything.

We'll get over it. Easily.
     
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Oct 31, 2016, 04:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
How many people used more then four at any time, without connecting a hub anyway?
5 ports used frequently here.

Power
External Monitor
Ethernet
Mouse (i dislike trackpads)
External HD (TM or file transfer) or flashdrive

My old 2007 MacBook offered 9 ports. Without requiring a handful of dongles. And you could connect all of them at once without buying a dock. Now, you can connect power and 3 devices. On a $2K+ laptop. It's a downgrade.
     
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Oct 31, 2016, 04:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
• Drives - a big minus. Still no internal drive bay for mass storage. No optical to convert to a drive bay. A single M.2 card bay.
Is it really M.2? Not some crazy proprietary connector anymore? You can just buy an M.2 SSD from Crucial or Intel or whomever when you run out of storage space?

That would be the best thing ever if true.

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Oct 31, 2016, 04:59 AM
 
I would like some USB-A ports for the simple reason that I do need to connect flashdrives and I do need to connect my backup drive to migrate the old stuff. This Apple thing of just cutting off all old ports at once wasn't even funny the first time, but it had some justification when the ports in question were all non-standard anyway.

I have much less sympathy for the other missing ports. HDMI is gone because Intel cut it from Skylake, so the 13" would with lose it or gain an extra chip (and less battery life) no mater what Apple wanted. Intel has been extremely clear in their messaging about this, and said in 2010 that they would cut it from this generation. The reason is technical, but basically - HDMI requires some analog circuits to work, DisplayPort doesn't, analog circuits do not shrink like digital ones do, so the analog circuitry for HDMI had become a too large part of the chip to be justified anymore. (And also HDMI sucks and the organisation that controls it are being morons that we don't want to deal with, but they didn't say that flat out).The main reason to keep that port is when you're making presentations, but in that case, the most common port in an existing installation is still VGA, with some HDMI and some DP. You need a dongle no matter what you do.

Ethernet was technically lost with the first Retina MBP. There are still adapters, but that is also exactly the type of port you want in a dock for your home office.

And while I am a staunch wired mouse user myself, I know that I am in a quickly vanishing minority. Almost all new mice are wireless, so it makes sense for Apple to disregard our tiny minority. Apple itself hasn't made a wired mouse in what, a decade or so?

EDIT: What happens if you order the Magic Mouse 2 with your new MBP? Usually that is an option, but that one is paired by connecting it to the Mac using lightning-to-USB cable...which you cannot connect anymore.
( Last edited by P; Oct 31, 2016 at 06:16 AM. )
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Oct 31, 2016, 11:30 AM
 
USB-C to Lightning is $30.

I hear you on the Flash drives. That is the single issue I'm looking at.
Mouse: Keeping a cheap dongle on the end of the mouse cable is probably not a big issue, though an annoying aesthetic one.
Everything else USB: Who cares whether I'm connecting a USB-A to USB-B cable, or a USB-C to USB-B cable?
     
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Oct 31, 2016, 11:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
EDIT: What happens if you order the Magic Mouse 2 with your new MBP? Usually that is an option, but that one is paired by connecting it to the Mac using lightning-to-USB cable...which you cannot connect anymore.
USB-C to lightning cables are £25 from Apple.

This port slaughter feels like a cash grab. This whole generation is a cash grab. Take the 13". Its actually a fraction slower than its predecessor, but it has a 15W chip instead of 28W so it gets the same life from a smaller battery. So Apple save on the battery and charges the end user an extra $500 for a slower machine that was cheaper to build.

The USB-C to USB-A adaptor costs more than twice as much as a 16GB flash drive. In England we call it taking the piss.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Oct 31, 2016, 12:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
USB-C to lightning cables are £25 from Apple.
Yes, but do they include that with the mouse if you buy it as part of an MBP upsell? I should do it and see what happens.

Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
This port slaughter feels like a cash grab. This whole generation is a cash grab. Take the 13". Its actually a fraction slower than its predecessor, but it has a 15W chip instead of 28W so it gets the same life from a smaller battery. So Apple save on the battery and charges the end user an extra $500 for a slower machine that was cheaper to build.
Not... exactly. I split it up in the other thread, but basically: The low-end 13" is the same as it was. The midrange 13" is the new model with new display, keyboards, trackpad, speakers and 2 ports but not the new touchbar. That one has dropped to a 15W GPU, but got the new graphics with eDRAM anyway. Yes the base clock is lower than the old midrange, but you rarely stay at the base clock for any length of time, and you have the eDRAM to help CPU performance as well.

The high-end model gets all the trimmings, touchbar and 4 ports, and includes a 28W CPU still. All it lost was that the base storage dropped by 256GB.

I use the US$ prices to compare here. Prices in other currencies increased because the dollar has grown stronger (I guess you can blame Brexit, but the SEK dropped as well) but Apple can't control that.

Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
The USB-C to USB-A adaptor costs more than twice as much as a 16GB flash drive. In England we call it taking the piss.
I agree. Apple would call that a cheap adapter.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Oct 31, 2016, 02:52 PM
 
Macrumors has a benchmark on comparable 13" models from the new range and the old one. New one is slower, has less storage, smaller battery and costs $500 more. Its obviously even worse in £.
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Oct 31, 2016, 08:17 PM
 
I find it weird that I cannot connect my brand new iPhone to a brand new MBP without an adapter. Stupid.
{{{ mindwaves }}}
     
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Oct 31, 2016, 10:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
I find it weird that I cannot connect my brand new iPhone to a brand new MBP without an adapter. Stupid.
Theres a proper cable, but its £25.
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Oct 31, 2016, 10:58 PM
 
I find it weirder that they went on and on about how the headphone jack was a dinosaur and needed to die, then put one on ghe new MacBook Pro.

I also wish they'd have kept the exterior dimensions the same and gone to 14" and 16" displays. Would make for a nice 12/14/16 options and appease those who were holding out for the resurrection of the 17" like myself.
     
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Nov 1, 2016, 03:51 AM
 
I'm glad they didn't. I really wanted a 13" model, but need the quad. I'm happy with whatever they shave off the quad model for portability.

Hey P, quick question: I've gone with the 2.6 GHz base model. Is there a compelling reason for the 2.9 beyond the 10% clock speed increase that I'm missing? I don't care about graphics power; this is for audio.
     
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Nov 1, 2016, 05:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
I'm glad they didn't. I really wanted a 13" model, but need the quad. I'm happy with whatever they shave off the quad model for portability.

Hey P, quick question: I've gone with the 2.6 GHz base model. Is there a compelling reason for the 2.9 beyond the 10% clock speed increase that I'm missing? I don't care about graphics power; this is for audio.
I think that the CPUs Apple are using are these:

ARK | Compare Intel® Products

In which case the main point is that it loses the last 2MB L3 cache, which doesn't matter much. For some reason Intel also disables TSX, which Apple doesn't use yet (it helps to multithread things where several things have to touch the same dataset, like the kernel, but the version in Haswell was so broken that Intel had to disable it, and I haven't seen anyone using it for real). I would go with the base model.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Nov 1, 2016, 05:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Macrumors has a benchmark on comparable 13" models from the new range and the old one. New one is slower, has less storage, smaller battery and costs $500 more. Its obviously even worse in £.
Well if the prices are not the same, how are they comparable? At the low tier, they're even because it is the same model. At the middle tier, they go between these two:

ARK | Compare Intel® Products

And I'm sure that the newer model got slower because the base speed is lower and it can't turbo for as long, but it has much better graphics.

At the top tier, they did a straight update of everything except the storage which went down.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Nov 1, 2016, 07:10 AM
 
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Nov 1, 2016, 10:21 AM
 
Wait... The four circled models are the three 2015 models, and the new midrange model. The new midrange model beats the old midrange model, if barely, while being thinner, lighter, having better battery life and a better display.

There are two customers that got screwed with this update: The ones looking for the low-end 13" MBP, as they didn't get an update at all, and the ones looking for the cheapest possible 15", as that model was removed.

BTW, there are generic USB-C to 4xUSB-A hubs that cost less than Apple's single dongle and take up about as much space, so I mostly remove that complaint. I still think it is silly, especially for the new midranger that only has 2 ports, but I can live with it.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Nov 1, 2016, 10:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
that model was removed.
No, it's still available for purchase:

2015 15" Pro Macbook

AND as a refurbished model for $1699.
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Nov 1, 2016, 12:47 PM
 
There you go. I missed that. In that case, it is in the same category as the low-end 13".
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Nov 1, 2016, 02:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
They've removed the boot chime. For the love of all that is good in this world......!
How to bring back the startup chime on the new MacBook Pros - The Verge
The startup chime can be turned on and automatic boot up on opening can be turned off in the Terminal.

It'll be much easier if you just comply.
     
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Nov 1, 2016, 04:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
I think that the CPUs Apple are using are these:

ARK | Compare Intel® Products

In which case the main point is that it loses the last 2MB L3 cache, which doesn't matter much. For some reason Intel also disables TSX, which Apple doesn't use yet (it helps to multithread things where several things have to touch the same dataset, like the kernel, but the version in Haswell was so broken that Intel had to disable it, and I haven't seen anyone using it for real). I would go with the base model.
Thank you so much for weighing in on this and confirming my gut feeling.
     
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Nov 1, 2016, 04:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Wait... The four circled models are the three 2015 models, and the new midrange model. The new midrange model beats the old midrange model, if barely, while being thinner, lighter, having better battery life and a better display.

There are two customers that got screwed with this update: The ones looking for the low-end 13" MBP, as they didn't get an update at all, and the ones looking for the cheapest possible 15", as that model was removed.
Yes, I'm in that category: I wanted a quad model with integrated graphics.

However, I'm only slightly over total planned budget, and if continue regularly working with Final Cut Pro, discrete graphics are certainly not going to hurt, so I'm okay...
     
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Nov 1, 2016, 05:33 PM
 
Does anyone have any insight into why Apple might have dropped an integrated-graphics 15" model from this year's redesign?

What I've read would seem to imply to me that the current integrated graphics might not be entirely up to pushing the full display at full frame rate at all times, especially with the new wide-gamut displays?

Anyone? Bueller? (Glancing sideways at P…)
     
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Nov 1, 2016, 07:26 PM
 
Nah, it is just about profit maximization. They added the new hotness to the expensive models first to get people to buy those. It also probably doesn't hurt that supplies of the new touchbar are likely to be tight at first. Next gen the model without the touchbar will come in at the $1300 price point and there will probably be an integrated graphics 15" again, and the gen after that the no touchbar model might actually get down into the territory of the old MBA.

They did the same when they added Retina to the iMacs, if you recall, and in a similar manner with the first Retina MBPs. That it stings this time is because the old models are so old. If they had done a Skylake refresh of the entire line nine months ago, we would all be happier, both today and last summer, and I think Apple would be too (they seem to have lost a lot of back to school sales).

I think the integrated graphics in Skylake is up to the task. The old Broadwell and Haswell stuff was fine, and the Skylake GPU is improved in this respect. Will also be interesting to see how the new eDRAM design affects things (it is now a memory-side cache, which means that it will "stupidly" cache any accesses to memory, not just from the CPU, instead of being a straight L4 like it used to).

Deeper color COULD put larger demands on the GPU if Apple moved to a 10-bit panel, but there is nothing to indicate that they have. Apple still specifies that the panel does "millions" of colors, and 10-bit would be "billions".
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Nov 1, 2016, 10:47 PM
 
Is there any danger these models are a stop gap release like the Yosemite G4s? They aren't being received well generally as far as I can tell. You're absolutely right that had Apple done a refresh then these would hurt less in terms of what we are getting, but the prices are still painful.

I need a new Mac and I've been waiting an age but I have to get one on finance which means getting a used one is out of the equation but I don't want to be tied for 2-3 years to a Machine thats going to get bumped again in March. Especially if they are going to be a chunk cheaper then as well.

Its sort of unprecedented, but if people hate these enough, will Apple do anything about it? I guess they can't do much more than a price cut mid-development cycle anyway right?

Right now Microsoft is showing Apple up with hardware and thats unprecedented too. Am I being unrealism hoping the negative reception will push them to release something awesome next update?
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Nov 2, 2016, 01:57 AM
 
Looking at what Apple has released, it really seems like something went majorly wrong in the development process. It seems to me they canceled another upgrade to the previous enclosure (a straightforward spec bump), and instead opted to skip new generations. Perhaps the reasoning was that they wanted to clearly differentiate between the new MacBook Pro and a spec bump. (The performance delta between Skylake and Kabylake is small.) And this new version seems to have gotten delayed, AFAIK none of the reviewers even have the Touch Bar version of the new MacBook Pro, they all got the 13" with physical function keys. That's a strong indication that hardware, software or both weren't ready for mass production yet. Plus, many of the restrictions seem to be due to Intel not producing the chips Apple wants.

I don't think it's a bad release, but given the anticipation I think it's not quite enough to justify the big gap.
Originally Posted by P View Post
Apple is also sticking with DDR3 for some reason. Doesn't matter much, except for the Rowhammer thing, but it is odd - and it means that the ceiling remains 16GB instead of 32GB.
As far as I understand that is due to Apple wanting to use low power RAM, and LPDDR4 isn't supported by Skylake and even the relevant Kabylake SKUs (thanks Intel!). Makes me think that Apple can't be too happy with Intel right now.
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Now, you can connect power and 3 devices. On a $2K+ laptop. It's a downgrade.
You can actually use one port for several things at the same time. The LG display Apple touted during the keynote charges your MacBook Pro, provides the video signal and gives some additional ports on the display. But with existing hardware, that's correct.
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Its actually a fraction slower than its predecessor, but it has a 15W chip instead of 28W so it gets the same life from a smaller battery. So Apple save on the battery and charges the end user an extra $500 for a slower machine that was cheaper to build.
That bit made no sense to me and still doesn't: the smaller model has a CPU with a much lower TDP, 10 % more battery capacity, no Touch Bar hardware and yet the same battery life?!? I have heard speculation that Apple didn't want to tout the fact that their smallest laptop has the best battery life.
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Is there any danger these models are a stop gap release like the Yosemite G4s? They aren't being received well generally as far as I can tell. You're absolutely right that had Apple done a refresh then these would hurt less in terms of what we are getting, but the prices are still painful. [...] Its sort of unprecedented, but if people hate these enough, will Apple do anything about it? I guess they can't do much more than a price cut mid-development cycle anyway right? [...] Right now Microsoft is showing Apple up with hardware and thats unprecedented too. Am I being unrealism hoping the negative reception will push them to release something awesome next update?
I think a lot of the complaining will subside if Apple does two things: (1) It starts to rev their Macs regularly, i. e. when suitable Kabylake CPUs are released, then we will see updates in a timely fashion. And (2) that the prices drop with the next generation.
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Nov 2, 2016, 05:43 AM
 
I think that the concern from most corners is the price. Apple had the very popular Macbook Air line, and made a good 13" MBP in the low-end model as the upgrade model. These were good everyman computers, and they sold well. Those are mostly lost, as Apple is chasing towards some future model that only they can see. The 12" Macbook is intended as an 11" MBA replacement that finally got the better display, but the price jumped from $899 to $1299. The 13" MBA still has the old display, which is really bad compared to the competition by now, and is really only around to fill that spot in the pricing range.

Then Apple has a portable Mac event, one that has been expected for some time. They start by talking about their rich history in Macs back to the original Powerbooks, reveal some new Macs with rather impressive overall improvements. They spend an insane amount of time talking about the Touchbar and how they can use it in apps - before they reveal that whoops, you need to spend about 50% more than you were expecting to get that Touchbar. And the low-end (that is, $1299) MBP doesn't get an update at all, it is still the same old Broadwell CPU. The 11" MBA is gone - the 13" MBA is untouched. That is an entire segment of Apple's line that has been untouched for 18 months now, and one that was in dire need of an update before that.

So is Apple's plan to transition some of those users to iPad Pros? I can see that for the 11" MBA users. The last few months with only an 11" MBA as a Mac, I have been using my iPad much more than the MBA. The pricing of the 11" MBA was always odd to me - why make it cheaper than the 13" one? Yes lower cost parts, but that follows the pricing decision, not the other way around. So maybe the 12" MB makes sense at the current price point with a lower-end model stretching down, more as the smallest most portable Mac than as the cheapest.

But it doesn't answer what happens with the 13" MBA. That is the model Apple most urgently needs to update, and I think Apple knows that - Schiller's wording implied it. I think maybe the Touchbar-less MBP was intended for this gap, but was pushed up by the lack of Touchbar hardware. If so, great - but are you really bringing that model down to $999? I don't think so. I think Apple wants to raise the price of this segment, and I think that that is a mistake.

So my guess is that the next update, which may come next spring or so, will bring the Touchbar-less MBP down to $1299, give the midrange model the Touchbar, and let the high-end model be more or less what it is - more storage in the base model probably, a higher clocked model possibly. At that time, they will kill the 13" MBA, and I think that that is a mistake. It needs to come down more, and if it doesn't quite reach $999, it could get closer.

The 15" with integrated graphics was always an odd bird. I could see it returning when supplies of the Touchbar improve, but I am far from certain that it will. Even at $1999, that is not a cheap model, so it is unclear what its segment is.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Nov 2, 2016, 05:48 AM
 
Me. I wanted the CPU power without the graphics horsepower.
     
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Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
As far as I understand that is due to Apple wanting to use low power RAM, and LPDDR4 isn't supported by Skylake and even the relevant Kabylake SKUs (thanks Intel!). Makes me think that Apple can't be too happy with Intel right now.
Yes, that has come out over the last few days. The memory standards are confusing at this point, but... Power consumption is mostly related to voltage the memory operates at, and goes as the square of the voltage. DDR3 runs at a base clock of 1.5V. DDR3L runs at 1.35V. LP-DDR3 runs at 1.2V but also includes a bunch of power-saving features and also reduces another of the voltage states from 2.5V to 1.8V. LP-DDR3E (confused yet?) boosts the clocks to 2133 MHz effective, which is above what DDR3 usually can handle and the max that Intel support on Skylake mobile. DDR4 runs at the same 1.2V. There isn't a DDR4L, it seems, but LPDDR4 runs at 1.1 V.

Because of the speed boost from LP-DDR3E, the equation comes down to the extra power saving tricks from LP-DDR3 versus the extra capacity from DDR4. Apple decided that the power saving tricks were more important. I disagree, but then I guess they have the statistics to know what people order. At the prices Apple charges, I wouldn't have gone for 32GB either.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Originally Posted by P View Post
I think that the concern from most corners is the price. Apple had the very popular Macbook Air line, and made a good 13" MBP in the low-end model as the upgrade model. These were good everyman computers, and they sold well. [...] But it doesn't answer what happens with the 13" MBA. That is the model Apple most urgently needs to update, and I think Apple knows that - Schiller's wording implied it.
I don't think Apple's strategy here was wise, they don't seem pragmatic enough: they don't want to take a temporary hit on margins by offering the non-Touch Bar version of the 13" Pro at a lower cost, they don't want to upgrade the 13" Air to breathe a little more life into it (just bolt in the latest Intel CPU that fits and, gasp, perhaps upgrade the screen). Nor are they willing to compromise when it comes to dealing with technical limitations (e. g. accepting to use higher-power RAM to push the RAM ceiling to 32 GB, give a MagSafe-like solution to the charger or offering a single USB-A connector that'd simplify everyone's lives in daily use).

With other transitions in the past, Apple offered a roadmap and stuck to it, but didn't yank to floor from underneath our feet. The OS X and Intel transitions were multi-year affairs, and I would think they should have announced a time plan for a Retina transition as well and stick to it. And in some cases, take a hit in margins for the sake of completing the transition faster — with all the benefit that this brings. The 13" Air is the odd man out, and technologically, it is eminently possible to bolt in a Retina screen and a new CPU into the existing, old enclosure. If Apple doesn't want to include the latest and greatest, fine, use the previous-gen Pro panels without the wide color gamut. On a smaller scale you have transitions in terms of connectivity: USB-C is really the connector we have all been waiting for, although it'd take a while. It's a pity that Apple used a DisplayPort connector before, because it seems that with every generation, you need a different set of connectors to go with it. (And don't get me started on USB cables, while up until now one end fit all, the same cannot be said for the other …)
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Nov 2, 2016, 10:52 PM
 
It seems Apple cut even more from the ports than we knew. AppleInsider reports the new MBP headphone jack no longer does optical audio-out. Another dongle needed.

No word on if headset mics still work.
     
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Nov 2, 2016, 11:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Take the 13". Its actually a fraction slower than its predecessor, but it has a 15W chip instead of 28W so it gets the same life from a smaller battery.
ArsTechnica's test of the new Pro confirms my suspicion, under medium-to-light load the new Pro will last a staggering 16 hours. Although under load it drops to previous-gen MacBook Pro levels (133 minutes).
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Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
It seems Apple cut even more from the ports than we knew. AppleInsider reports the new MBP headphone jack no longer does optical audio-out. Another dongle needed.
I actually use that feature. There is also no audio port on the display, like LG usually has.

Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
No word on if headset mics still work.
Good point. Note that the display DOES have a mic.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I don't think Apple's strategy here was wise, they don't seem pragmatic enough: they don't want to take a temporary hit on margins by offering the non-Touch Bar version of the 13" Pro at a lower cost, they don't want to upgrade the 13" Air to breathe a little more life into it (just bolt in the latest Intel CPU that fits and, gasp, perhaps upgrade the screen).
I think that they took a look at Skylake and said "meh". Which is not unfair, it is some 7% faster clock-per-clock. I also think that Intel probably has Broadwell chips for cheap (there is a Broadwell CPU in this brand-new HP laptop from work, which is otherwise excellent). No, what it needs is the new display, and if you're doing that why not go to Retina if that is the path forward, and that is what the new MB and low-end MBPs are. And they'd be fine at it, if not for the price.

Note that the base 13" MB was $1100 in 2013, $1200 in 2012 and $1300 in 2011. Apple pushed the price down over time, and I'm thinking that maybe they regret doing that.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Nov 3, 2016, 06:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
ArsTechnica's test of the new Pro confirms my suspicion, under medium-to-light load the new Pro will last a staggering 16 hours. Although under load it drops to previous-gen MacBook Pro levels (133 minutes).
And that is why Magsafe is gone. With 10 hour battery life, you don't need to have the charger plugged in while using it in the couch or at the coffee shop.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Nov 3, 2016, 08:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
And that is why Magsafe is gone. With 10 hour battery life, you don't need to have the charger plugged in while using it in the couch or at the coffee shop.
Maybe there's not as much need as there was before but that doesn't help much when you are low on power and need the charger plugged in in a crowdy environment like:
- large office with many stupid colleagues
- meeting room
- at home with children around
- ...

I always felt safe with the Magsafe and it was one of the few things other laptops really didn't have!


If I wouldn't have bought a 2015 15" MBP this year I would probably want one with the Touchbar now...but 4 Thunderbold 3 ports and nothing else than a 3,5mm headphone jack without optical output? Really Apple? Literally everything I would need to connect to this notebook isn't USB-C! I still use an external Firewire HD with an Firewire-USB-A adaptor. Now I would need 2 adaptors to connect this drive or buy another Firewire-USB-C adaptor if anyone ever makes one!
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Nov 3, 2016, 09:37 AM
 
In an office you'd probably have the computer on a desk with the charger cable going in a hidden area. At a meeting, you wouldn't need the charger anymore. This is the split: Today, you mostly have the laptop plugged in at all times because you're going to need it soon enough, but the iPad you use and then charge it - charge all night if you have to, but rarely do you use it while charging. This is also why the charging cable is shorter now.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Nov 3, 2016, 10:52 AM
 
Originally Posted by badidea View Post
Literally everything I would need to connect to this notebook isn't USB-C!
1. You don't have "this notebook" yet. so you shouldn't need to worry about connecting to it.

2. Based on your criticism, this notebook isn't for you at this time. Apple dealt with this complaint in 2015 with their 12" Macbook by responding with a faster model with again one USB-C port in 2016. Concerning the Pro MacBooks, the 2015 models are still available, and there is a very large used Mac market.
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Originally Posted by badidea View Post
I still use an external Firewire HD with an Firewire-USB-A adaptor. Now I would need 2 adaptors to connect this drive or buy another Firewire-USB-C adaptor if anyone ever makes one!
This is intriguing. I have never heard of a FireWire to USB adapter that actually works, and as far as I know, this is actually impossible. What exactly is your setup here?
     
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Nov 3, 2016, 09:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
In an office you'd probably have the computer on a desk with the charger cable going in a hidden area. At a meeting, you wouldn't need the charger anymore.
Nevertheless, I still think it's a significant loss, and one that could be mitigated with a smart USB-C charging cable. (Just two days ago, my wife tripped over my charger and without MagSafe my relatively new MacBook Pro (bought this February) and my brand new iPhone 7 would have taken a nose dive.)
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Nov 3, 2016, 10:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by badidea View Post
I still use an external Firewire HD with an Firewire-USB-A adaptor. Now I would need 2 adaptors to connect this drive or buy another Firewire-USB-C adaptor if anyone ever makes one!
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
This is intriguing. I have never heard of a FireWire to USB adapter that actually works, and as far as I know, this is actually impossible. What exactly is your setup here?
Ditto, I noticed this too. I suppose it's not actually impossible, but you may need a custom processor to generate the FW host, then present it as a USB device. Got a product link?
     
 
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