Back in 2018 work gave me a new MacBook Pro. One would struggle to say that it was “well received“. That said, it was just a work machine. Plugging in an external screen and keyboard made it sort of tolerable… not really, just moving the mouse is enough to spin up the fans.
Work is work, but my main home machine was a late 2013 MacBook Pro that had none of the issues of the 2018 model… except it was old and slooow. It also stopped being able to upgrade to the latest o/s versions. The writing was on the wall…
<several weeks later>
The new machine is fine. The screen is amazing, the speakers impressive. Performance is kind of unbelievable – tasks like compiling ffmpeg which used to peg all cores for minutes are over before you’ve even noticed.
The case feels flimsy / thin. The bottom panel is especially flexible, the screen housing is better, but overall the case is a step down in quality / ruggedness. I know i’m not supposed to be trying to abuse it, but it feels too fragile!
The keyboard is only “okay”. It’s still too loud in a kind of “clunky” way that doesn’t inspire confidence in its longevity. The lack of contrast between the keys and the bed makes it harder to use in lowlight. Yes, i could turn on backlighting… but, no. Oh, and the TouchID “key” looks and feels out of place – not that the one on the 2018 model is anyway good / better. At least i’m using it on this machine and enjoying not having to type my password as often.
Unlike the 2016 debacle the above issues are more qualms / quibbles. If i’d been able to walk into the store and see / feel before buying, on balance, i’d probably still have bought one.
In short: still in mourning, and not sure i should have started dating again so soon.
My work has provided me with a 2018 MacBook Pro. This is my reaction to living with it for a couple of days. For perspective, i’ve been using Apple machines, pretty much exclusively, for 20 years. Much of that time they were glorified terminals to solaris or linux systems, but more recently (the last decade..) as my primary development environment.
- the screen is amazing.
- the speakers are a huge improvement over the already pretty good speakers in the 2014 model
The Bad / Ugly
- no magsafe charging… who thought that was a good idea? For years it has been possible pick up a laptop and safely knock the charge cable off the machine with your thumb, but now it’s a cable to pull, and an easy way to drag a machine off a desk. At least usb-c is physically better than thunderbolt 1/2 connector… which is actually negative as it’s now more of a hassle to disconnect the thing!
- in order to plug in almost anything you need a stupid dongle. Can’t even charge an iPhone without buying a new cable! I get that everything is wireless now, but i don’t want a wireless keyboard that will inevitably need to be charged, have a battery that gets worse over time. It only has a battery because it’s wireless and that’s dumb. Who are these crazy people who are desperate for free movement of keyboards and trackpads? Idiots.
- on the subject of keyboards – this one sucks. Just looking at it you can tell it’s bad – the keys have no travel, are comically large, and stupidly flat. To make things worse they make a stupid amount of noise when struck. Is that supposed to trick me into thinking they have some kind of sturdy mechanism? It’s not working. Feels like a toy.
- still on the subject of keyboards, the fn keys are missing. Not there. The replacement for this is a strip of plastic that provides no physcical feedback, and blinks distractingly as if it has some useful purpose. Part of the collateral damage here is that the Escape key is missing. What a fucking joke.
It seems unlikely that i’ll be using this machine as a true laptop for any extended period of time. In order to use it at all i’m connecting a keyboard (wired, obviously), a trackpad (which has batteries that will fail when it is least convenient), and will probably hook it up to a monitor at some point.
Due to the vagaries of corporate IT and Security weenies it’s hard to say if the proceeding four years have yielded any performance improvement. It certainly doesn’t feel any faster, even if it does now handle builds with spinning up fans. However, that could be the slew corporate spyware installed. Hard to say.
In my opinion it’s a hateful thing. A disaster of form over function. A miscarriage of design to hit the wrong targets. I don’t care if it’s n millimeters thinner, don’t care if it’s a couple of grams lighter – the primary interface (the keyboard) is an abomination. Couldn’t give a fuck about a new physical interface in search of a reason to exist – the Touch Bar is utterly pointless and distracting.
Would not recommend this machine, as a pure laptop, to my worse enemy.