I will put into writing my thoughts about laptops in general and Mac Books in particular
Today laptops fall under two big categories:
- Plastic case
- Metal case
The small exceptions (composite case) are a sub-category of the plastic case.
There are advantages and drawbacks for each category. The metal is usually aluminum, a relatively good heat conductor leading to a better heat exhausting. The drawback: more weight, bigger price, few choices in colors and aesthetics. The plastic is lighter, cheaper, gives more choices. The light colored cases have a tendency to blacken over years, due to thermal properties of the material.
Now, the big question: at equal prices, which one would you buy ? Metal or plastic ? Not easy to answer. While metal seems to be a better choice, the psychology of the buyers is different. Plastic cases are easy to customize, do not scratch or if they do, the traces are less visible. Besides, plastic does not conduct electricity, thus more comfortable.
Gray aluminum has been the traditional case at some companies. It is the natural color of the metal, it dissipates better the ambient light and blends well in the environment. Recently-made sleeves solve the problem of the colors, leveling up the balance between aluminum and plastic.
Metal is more resistant than plastic. The thinner the laptop, the more fragile it becomes. A solid case is required and plastic is far from a good choice. But why should the consumer struggle with this choice ? Wouldn’t it be better to have the option of the case when buying the computer. And wouldn’t it be better to be able to change the case over time?
I think laptops should be more than that. They should be a toy used to live on. And a toy is to get broken, changed, customized, suit its owner.
I was thinking of buying the new MBP with touch bar, despite some facts:
- Still the same old 16 GB of memory -0.5 points
- Need to use adapters for those fancy ports -1 point
- Huge price for a laptop -2 points
It’s an investment, so did a little research and what I’ve found out decided me to postpone my decision. I mean, years ago, I moved away from the system that gave me two big disappointments (Millennium and Vista) to a system that had all I needed: a good battery, decent UI, great productivity environment, excellent audio/video support and decent integration with the mobile (both Android and iOS). I have never regretted my decision. I will never return to Windows and the last nail in that coffin will be the advent of a strong gaming industry for OSX and Linux. Among OSX and Linux, I favored the former because it has all of the latter plus some extra. I believe in design over raw power. But design is more than just fancy words. Design is a mindset.
Now, what I have found is not at all encouraging. Other limitations appear:
- The memory is soldered to the motherboard. It cannot be changed. Come on, memory is the greatest technology driver of the next years. You cannot have A.I. without memory. CPU is OK, few laptops have allowed you to change the processor in the past. But memory ? Yikes -1 point
- The SSD is no longer replaceable. So if a bigger, better, faster storage appears, Yikes -1 point
- Battery life. Till the advent of the tablets, the Mac Book lines had the best battery and I was smiling when seeing people with PCs re plugging the power cable after just 4 hours of working on battery, while I still could work 2-3 hours more. My ideal laptop would be able to work all day on battery. The old MBP was not far from this ideal. So, from this point of view, Yikes -1 point
- Lack of compatible devices. Yes, there is the dongle, but should I have a bag full with adapters every time I wander around ? Yikes. -1 point
Of course, the new model has two improvements offer the old one:
- the big touch pad. Yes, it is nice to have it. Good. +1 point
- the touch bar I wanted to have 10 years ago. Not bad, but could’ve been better. +0.5 points
- better CPU and graphics. Hey, technology evolves. The average today computer is much faster than the best laptop of 2012. Not ten times faster, but still faster, thanks to the SSD +1 point
My ideal touch bar was different. Where would you put a touch bar ? atop the keyboard ? Yikes. It is far from reach of fingers (touch?). I need to shift my yes from the screen to an area which is different (the top row). Plus, the touch is not that of a button. So it is useless. -0.5 points.
I remember the introduction of the iPhone. Amazing. Especially the part about the keyboard. People have forgotten it. The iPhone was revolutionary because it simplified things to their core value, but no more. Einstein said things are supposed to be as simple as possible, but not simpler.
Overall score : strong negative
I am not gonna to buy the new MBP this year.
Yes, the current CPU I have is not very fast, the disk is not very fast, but my laptop gives me a good level of productivity. And a laptop should not be thinner beyond a certain limit or it starts to be called a tablet. Oh, did I say Surface ? And yes, the iPad Pro is not a laptop.
BTW, it doesn’t mean I will not consider buying a new Mac, if a new model appears, but it has to solve the issues, not add more of them. I don’t understand the decisions Apple takes today. I really don’t. I miss the vision and leadership of Steve Jobs.