Apple Doubles the Price for Entry-Level MacBook Pro RAM Upgrade →

June 2, 2020 · 10:29

Taylor Lyles, for The Verge:

The price increase is actually a price correction […] The price to upgrade RAM from 8GB to 16GB is $200 on other Macs, including the iMac and MacBook Air, and this change is meant to keep the fee consistent.

I’m seriously appalled at what Apple is charging its customers for RAM and SSD upgrades. This was OK while there were 3rd party alternatives available, but not now.

John Gruber: ‘Who Is the Low-End MacBook Pro For?’ →

May 7, 2020 · 21:45

John Gruber, on Daring Fireball:

The high-end 13-inch MacBook Pro is the professional model. Faster and more modern processors, double the ports, up to 32 GB of RAM (and the RAM is faster too). The low-end models are something else altogether. They’re not bad MacBooks by any sense — but I genuinely wonder who they’re for.

I bought a Touch Bar MacBook Pro in 2016 and returned it, because of its poor battery life and because I couldn’t accept the Touch Bar. I promptly ordered the MacBook Pro Escape in January 2017. Turns out I didn’t really need the extra horsepower of the more expensive models and preferred the additional hour of battery life.

But why did I go for it?

  1. It was cheaper and I was glad I could save some money.
  2. I had a mid 2014 MacBook Pro before this one. I upgraded it for the display, which supports the Display P3 colour gamut. This makes it on par with my iPhone and iPad, making it easier to colour-correct photos.
  3. I had a 2013 11” MacBook Air before I upgraded to the 2015 Pro. I upgraded because I needed a bigger screen, but I was completely satisfied with the performance of the Air and its 15W CPUs. The same category which is now in the low-end MacBook Pros.

I would have upgraded my late 2016 MacBook Pro to one of these new low-end models, despite them using 8th gen. Intel chips, if it didn’t have the cursed Touch Bar. It does have a physical Esc key now, so I might still change my mind, but the new MacBook Air is out of the question — the screen is sRGB. If it had a P3 screen, I would strongly consider the Core i5 model.

Marco Arment: Making the Case for Low Power Mode for Mac Laptops Again →

January 14, 2020 · 12:45

Marco Arment:

When Turbo Boost is enabled, the fans annoyingly spin up every time the system is under a heavy sustained load. Disable it, and it’s almost impossible to get them to be audible.

Marco is testing this on a 16-inch MacBook Pro with a Core i9 CPU. I have been using a Core i7 extensively for two weeks and have found that it takes longer to spin up that some of the i9s that I’ve heard of. As an example, after fully loading the CPU and GPU with a longer (30 minute), intensive task, it took 30-40 seconds before that fans spun up past 3000 rpm (that’s around the time they start to be irritating) and got up to 4800 rpm after 90 seconds (that’s around the region I cannot tolerate them any more). The case itself doesn’t seem to heat up as much as in the i9 too. So basically, for short bursts of power, lasting up to 30 seconds, the i7 doesn’t seem to spin up the fans noticeably.

Either way, I have been using Turbo Boost Switcher Pro for years and can heartily recommend it. An Apple-sanctioned Low Power Mode would be even better.

Apple’s Phil Schiller on Reinventing the New MacBook Pro Keyboard →

November 14, 2019 · 06:16

Roger Cheng, interviewing Phil Schiller about the new keyboard design in the 16-inch MacBook Pro:

Will this keyboard find its way to other MacBooks? There are folks who don’t need the power of the MacBook Pro, but may appreciate the tactile experience.

Phil Schiller’s answer:

I can’t say today. We are continuing both keyboard designs.

It will be a sad day in Mac world if the new keyboard doesn’t propagate to all the other models as soon as possible, in their next updates.

I’m personally waiting for the new 13- or 14-inch MacBook Pro but it’s not a Mac I’ll be interested in, if it doesn’t get the new keyboard.

Apple (Once Again) Loves Computers As Much As We Do →

November 13, 2019 · 14:50

Marco Arment:

We haven’t had long enough to fully test it yet. There may be flaws or shortcomings discovered over time — there usually are (and always have been). But frankly, it could catch fire twice a week and it would still be my favorite laptop Apple has made since 2015. Fortunately, upon initial usage, nothing bad really jumps out.

The new MacBook Pro has no massive asterisks or qualifications. It’s a great computer, period, and it feels so good to be able to say that again.

For the first time in years, without any major exceptions, we can see that Apple loves computers as much as we do.

So when’s the updated 13-inch model coming out?

Apple Introduces 16-Inch MacBook Pro; Fixes Keyboard →

November 13, 2019 · 14:39


The 16-inch MacBook Pro features a new Magic Keyboard with a refined scissor mechanism that delivers 1mm of key travel and a stable key feel, as well as an Apple-designed rubber dome that stores more potential energy for a responsive key press. Incorporating extensive research and user studies focused on human factors and key design, the 16-inch MacBook Pro delivers a keyboard with a comfortable, satisfying and quiet typing experience. The new Magic Keyboard also features a physical Escape key and an inverted-“T” arrangement for the arrow keys, along with Touch Bar and Touch ID, for a keyboard that delivers the best typing experience ever on a Mac notebook.

They fixed it! This setup is the best next thing after having no Touch Bar at all.

New 16-inch MacBook Pro to Debut This Week →

November 13, 2019 · 10:55

Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg:

The 16-inch MacBook Pro will replace the current 15-inch model, which starts at $2,399. The new laptop will cost about the same and is expected to go on sale this week, the people said. It won’t be the last Mac launch of the year. Apple plans to release the revamped Mac Pro desktop computer in December, one of the people said. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

I’m most curious about the starting price (was rumoured to be around 3000 USD) and the new keyboard. Will it really be fixed? Finally?

July 9, 2019 · 20:20

The Surface Pro 6 got a quad-core 8th gen. 15W CPU in October 2019 2018. It took Apple 9 months to add 15W Intel parts to 13-inch MacBook Pros.

It’s things like this, that piss me off most.

I Won’t Buy Another MacBook Pro Until Apple Drops the Touch Bar (Or Makes It Optional) →

July 9, 2019 · 15:53

Apple PR:

In addition, the entry-level $1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro has been updated with the latest 8th-generation quad-core processors, making it two times more powerful than before. It also now features Touch Bar and Touch ID, a True Tone Retina display and the Apple T2 Security Chip […]

The Touch Bar is just bad design. Not only does it not provide any feedback whatsoever, I cannot use the keyboard without actually taking my hands off of it to look at what I want to touch (I use it primarily on my knees).

If Apple hadn’t added the Touch Bar to the non-Touch Bar model and just upgraded the CPU, I would be ordering one right now — the new CPUs are exactly what I have been waiting for. Unfortunately, they did, so that probably means no more Macs for me, at least until they get rid of the Touch Bar. And no, the Air is not sufficient for my needs — it lacks Display P3 and a proper processor.


Clarified that I’m all for making the Touch Bar optional. I would actually consider paying a small premium not to have it.

Recall for Batteries in Certain MacBook Pro Units →

June 21, 2019 · 07:33

Apple Support:

Apple today announced a voluntary recall of a limited number of older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro units which contain a battery that may overheat and pose a safety risk. The units were sold primarily between September 2015 and February 2017 and can be identified by their product serial number.

The recall does not affect any other 15-inch MacBook Pro units or other Mac notebooks.

Because customer safety is a top priority, Apple is asking customers to stop using affected 15-inch MacBook Pro units.

You can find out if you are affected here.

Apple is the MacBook Pro’s Biggest Enemy →

May 8, 2019 · 23:00

Rob Griffiths, on Robservatory:

To sum it up, the extra $300 on the Touch Bar machine gets you:

  • An OLED display strip embedded above the keyboard
  • A CPU that’s one generation newer—with faster clock speeds and twice the cores
  • Faster graphics
  • A True Tone display
  • Two additional Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Bluetooth 5.0—faster, longer range, lower power draw
  • Touch ID

All that for $300—from the same company that charges $600 for a 32GB iMac RAM upgrade that you can buy for under $200. There’s no doubt which machine you’d order—and which machine Apple wants you to order—if you were in the market and didn’t mind the Touch Bar: The non-Touch Bar Mac is clearly inferior to the Touch Bar version.

I have refused to upgrade my MacBook Pro (without TouchBar) to a newer model, and will continue to do so, until Apple decides to (1) make the Touch Bar optional or (2) bring the model without the Touch Bar up-to-date. I will not pay absurd prices for old tech — Apple is insulting its users by even offering that config. I don’t consider the MacBook Air to be a replacement either — it has a 7W CPU while the old Airs had 15W parts (as does the non-Touch Bar MBP). And yes, I tried to live with the Touch Bar. It did not end well — I ended up returning two models.

Apple prides itself on customer loyalty but they’re extremely close to losing me. When the time comes for me to upgrade, if they don’t offer what I need, I’ll just go with another brand.

MacBook Pro Arrow Ket Layout Scandal →

April 4, 2019 · 22:33

Todd Thomas:

The real scandal with the new MacBook Pros is the layout of the arrow keys. Ugh.

I don’t know when I bought my first Apple Magic Keyboard but it’s been at least 3 years and I still haven’t gotten used to that damned layout, making mistakes almost every single time I reach for them. I did finally fix the issue though, by getting a mechanical keyboard. So. Much. Better.

The MacBook Keyboard Fiasco Is Surely Worse Than Apple Thinks →

April 2, 2019 · 13:25

David Heinemeier Hansson, on Signal v. Noise:

Apple keep insisting that only a “small number of customers have problems” with the MacBook keyboards. That’s bollocks. This is a huge issue, it’s getting worse not better, and Apple is missing the forest for the trees.

The fact is that many people simply do not contact Apple when their MacBook keyboards fail. They just live with an S key that stutters or a spacebar that intermittently gives double. Or they just start using an external keyboard. Apple never sees these cases, so it never counts in their statistics.

So here’s some anecdata for Apple. I sampled the people at Basecamp. Out of the 47 people using MacBooks at the company, a staggering 30% are dealing with keyboard issues right now!! And that’s just the people dealing with current keyboard issues. If you include all the people who used to have issues, but went through a repair or replacement process, the number would be even higher.

Appl Still Hasn’t Fixd Its MacBook Kyboad Problm →

March 27, 2019 · 21:21


Nop, I havn’t fogottn how to wit. No did my dito go on vacation.

You s, to sha th pain of using an Appl laptop kyboad that’s faild aft fou months, I could only think of on ida: tak all th bokn ltts out of my column. Thn I alizd thatwould mak th whol thing unadabl. So to…


The Design Flaw Behind MacBook Pro’s “Stage Light” Effect →

January 22, 2019 · 19:00

Taylor Dixon, for iFixit:

The issue is fairly simple: the current generation of MacBook Pro laptops (2016–present) uses flexible ribbon cables to connect the display to a display controller board beneath the Touch Bar. These cables wrap over the board, where they’re secured by a pair of spring-loaded covers—and they’re subjected to the stress of bending with every opening and closure of the laptop. Within a seemingly short time, those cables are starting to fatigue and tear. The backlight cable is generally the first to go, producing the infamous “stage light” symptoms, and eventually giving out entirely when the laptop is opened more than about 40° […]

But the bigger problem is that, in an apparent effort to make the display as thin as possible, Apple designed the cables as part of the display, so they cannot be replaced. This means that when (not if) those cables start to fail, the entire display unit needs to be replaced, as opposed to one or two little cables—effectively turning a $6 problem into a $600 disaster.

Imagine if you had to replace half of your car because a cable stopped working. This is simply horrible design.

MacBook Pro Keyboard Popping Sounds →

January 19, 2019 · 12:20

Steven Peterson:

Today I picked up a new 15” MacBook Pro, fully loaded. It was very expensive. I was excited to have a faster machine for my development work. I just returned it and got my money back because it kept making random popping noises. Then I saw this.

I really hope we get completely redesigned keyboards this year. My trust in Apple is plummeting downhill at a breakneck speed. This means that no new Mac for me for at least two more years, until I’m sure the new ones work properly.

Apple’s Current MacBook Pro Keyboards Are Badly Designed →

December 29, 2018 · 10:49

Marco Arment:

After a week of unexpected Overcast work on vacation, I have as much of a love-hate relationship with my 2018 13″ MBP as ever. I’m so glad I have it. I’m so glad it’s as fast and capable as it is. Still HATE the keyboard. Still make tons of errors due to the spacing and layout.

It’s not the butterfly switches, though they’re still unpleasant, ungraceful, unreliable, and a huge unforced error.

It’s the damn layout. There’s not enough space between the keys. There’s not enough curvature on the keycaps. There’s no inverted-T arrow keys. It’s a bad design.

I know this is beating a dead horse, but time doesn’t solve bad designs.

It was a bad design in 2015, it was a horrible decision to make it the only choice in 2016, and it continues to be a horrendous keyboard in 2018.

I’ll move on when Apple does.

I loved the keyboards on the 2008 MacBook Pros and I was surprised when I found that the ones on my 2013 MacBook Air and 2014 MacBook Pro are even better. I have to agree that the most recent iteration is worse and my biggest complaint is the layout of the arrow keys. I have been typing on this keyboard for over two years now and I still make mistakes when trying to press the arrows without looking at them. Turns out that the empty space above the left and right arrows was really important.

The Space Bar on My MacBook Pro Doesn’t Register Presses Properly

November 19, 2018 · 09:54

I recently had a problem with my Control key which I finally fixed by taking out the vacuum cleaner and sucking substantial debris1 out from under it. Today, the Space bar will not register keystrokes on its right half.

(A few minutes later.)

Seems to be working fine again, after thoroughly vacuuming it at max power.

I am not happy with this keyboard and I refuse to buy another MacBook until they fix this issue with a completely new design — silicon condoms membranes are not enough.

  1. A speck of dust.

The New MacBook Air — ‘Sometimes, That’s Enough’ →

November 6, 2018 · 12:15

Dieter Bohn, writing for The Verge:

That fan is a weird place to start when talking about the new $1,199 MacBook Air. I’d rather jump into all the many good things there are to talk about: the pixel density on the new display, smaller bezels, Touch ID, the T2 security chip, a larger trackpad, and a smaller design. I’ll get into all that. But I want to hang with this fan noise for another minute because its whirring encapsulates the most important thing to know about this MacBook Air.

Namely: it’s a computer that will let you do whatever you want, even though some of those things are probably beyond its capabilities. It won’t say “no” when you want to open 20 tabs and eight apps and then edit a photo. (Though, sometimes, with a fan and spinning beachball, it will say “uncle.”) Most of all, it’s a computer that is familiar. It does everything you expect in a way that you’re used to.

Sometimes, that’s enough.

I’m still waiting for a 15 W TDP quad-core MacBook, be it a MacBook Air or refreshed MacBook Pro Escape. There’s currently a hole in the line-up and it feels that it’s there so as not to cannibalize MacBook Pro sales — the Air has a 7 W CPU, the Pros have 28 W parts, and the 2017 Escape has dual-core 15 W processors. Where are the quad-core 15 W TDP Intel Core i5s and Core i7s?

And no, no Touch Bar for me, thanks.

My Replaced MacBook Pro’s Keyboard Is Having Issues Again

September 28, 2018 · 12:24

I had my 2016 MacBook Pro Escape’s keyboard replaced in April 2018, because some of the keys were expanding under heat, making them “sticky”, e.g. when using it in the sun.

I’m extremely happy to report that today my Control key has gone on strike and will only work when it feels like it should, which translates to registering maybe one in ten presses.

This keyboard is great to type on, when it works, but it’s generally a disaster.

New 8th Gen Intel Core CPUs for MacBooks, the Rumoured MacBook Air and Perhaps Even an Updated MacBook Pro Escape →

August 29, 2018 · 09:34

Intel today announced additions to the 8th Gen Intel Core processor family: The U-series (formerly code-named Whiskey Lake) and Y-series (formerly code-named Amber Lake) are optimized for connectivity in thin, light laptops and 2 in 1s for the first time, while also providing ultimate mobile performance and long battery life.

Intel showed these parts, which are newer versions of what the 12-inch MacBook uses — this should suggest an update soon:

  • m3-8100Y | 1.1 GHz | 3.4 GHz Turbo Boost | 2 cores
  • i5-8200Y | 1.3 GHz | 3.9 GHz Turbo Boost | 2 cores
  • i7-8500Y | 1.5 GHz | 4.2 GHz Turbo Boost | 2 cores

There are also two possible candidates for the rumoured upcoming MacBook Air if it continues to use 15-watt CPUs:

  • i7-8565U | 1.8 GHz | 4.6 GHz Turbo Boost | 4 cores
  • i5-8265U | 1.6 GHz | 3.9 GHz Turbo Boost | 4 cores

The MacBook Pros with Touch Bar use 28-watt CPUs and they were updated in July 2018. The MacBook Pro Escape (the model without the Touch Bar) wasn’t — it uses 15-watt CPUs. The i5 and i7 listed above could easily make it into the Escape if Apple chooses to upgrade them.

If the MacBook Pro Escape gets an update, then I think the rumoured Retina MacBook Air will not get Thunderbolt ports at all, to differentiate it further (and keep the price down). If the Escape is left to die off (Apple really should stop this practice and just remove a model from sale as soon as possible), then there’s a chance that the new Air will get Thunderbolt, but my gut feeling says Apple is going to want to keep the price down and not include it either way. The 12-inch MacBook has not filled the gap left by the 13-inch MacBook Air and they’ll have a hard time keeping the 899-999 USD price-point with all these new fancy technologies. While the ”Air” moniker is well known, logically Apple should just release it as a 13-inch MacBook, but that would be troublesome if it were to be cheaper than the 12-inch model.

All the speculation on this subject just go to show how far Apple has strayed from the simplicity of their line-up.

2018 MacBook Pro Core i9 vs. Both Core i7s →

August 2, 2018 · 09:55

Finally got our hands on the 2018 MacBook Pro 15 inch 2.9GHz 6-core i9. In this article we compare it to the 2.6GHz i7 6-core. Plus we have partial results for the 2.2GHz 6-core i7.

I am still constantly surprised when the i9 turns out to be slower in certain tasks than the Core i7, though I shouldn’t be. Most users shouldn’t pay the i9 tax — the i7 will be plenty fast.

Intel Says Not to Expect Mainstream 10 Nm Chips Until Q2 2019 →

July 30, 2018 · 10:21

Peter Bright, writing for Ars Technica:

While the company’s 14nm manufacturing process is working well, with multiple revisions to improve performance or reduce power consumption, Intel has struggled to develop an effective 10nm process. Originally mass production was planned for as far back as 2015. In April, the company revised that to some time in 2019. The latest announcement is the most specific yet: PC systems with 10nm processors will be in the holiday season, with Xeon parts for servers following soon after. This puts mainstream, mass production still a year away.

Looking at the problems Intel has been having with their CPUs, we should reasonably wait until their second generation 10 nm series, which will probably arrive late 2020 (2021 in Macs?).

I wonder if my late 2016 MacBook Pro will last that long. I shouldn’t have to worry about this, and I normally wouldn’t, but the current generation isn’t very reliable.

John Poole’s Initial MacBook Pro Core i9 Benchmarks (With Apple’s Fix) →

July 24, 2018 · 23:14

After applying the latest update from Apple, I re-ran the Geekbench build test on the i9. It’s slightly faster, but processor frequency stays stable when building (which is comforting).

Still technically slower than the i7, but close enough that, practically, it doesn’t matter.

He later adds:

It’s thermally constrained. The processor is at 95-99C consistently throughout the test. Both the i7 and i9 run all cores at ~3GHz.

macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update for MacBook Pro (2018) →

July 24, 2018 · 23:02


Following extensive performance testing under numerous workloads, we’ve identified that there is a missing digital key in the firmware that impacts the thermal management system and could drive clock speeds down under heavy thermal loads on the new MacBook Pro. A bug fix is included in today’s macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update and is recommended. We apologize to any customer who has experienced less than optimal performance on their new systems. Customers can expect the new 15-inch MacBook Pro to be up to 70% faster, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to be up to 2X faster, as shown in the performance results on our website.

Let further throttling testing begin.

MacBook Pro (mid 2018) throttling

July 19, 2018 · 11:14

As expected, the #ThrottleGate controversy is being looked into by anyone who has their hands on the new MacBook Pros.

John Poole on Geekbench’s blog, running a CPU-only test:

Why does this test not replicate the throttling seen in other tests? Part of the issue is the test themselves. Premiere uses both the CPU and the GPU, while Geekbench only uses the CPU.

The i7 ran at an average 3.0-3.1 GHz, which is above the CPUs base 2.6 GHz frequency, but below the advertised 4.0 GHz Turbo Boost for 6 cores. So is it throttling or is the test just not maximizing load on the CPU?

Jeff Benjamin, for 9to5Mac, ran a test based on Final Cut Pro X:

Leaving the Core-i9 configured as default, I exported the video in 5 minutes and 30 seconds. Throttling was definitely noticeable during the export, as you can see from the following chart created from Intel Power Gadget log data.

Curiously, when he set the CPU to utilize only four cores, it was faster than when using all six.

Mike Wuerthele, for AppleInsider, opted for Cinebench 15:

We shifted to a different benchmark for our own series of tests. Using Cinebench 15, we ran 10 total runs on the i9 MacBook Pro.

Immediately after starting the first test, the CPU clock speed shot up to 4.17 GHz. It rapidly drops to 3.86GHz until it hits the chip critical temperature of 100C. It then drops nearly immediately to 2.57GHz and also nearly immediately drops to 84C.

The speed of the processor varied between 2.33GHz and 2.9GHz generally, with one profound dip to 2.02GHz, and then the range drops to a peak of 2.65Ghz.

I think it’s same to assume that all MacBook Pros will throttle under load, especially when both the CPU and GPU are being taxed. A potential solution for this problem is running an eGPU, which should help (in addition to being significantly faster than the one on-board). Surprisingly, an iMac Pro may not solve everyone’s problems when it comes to video editing — it was a slower in 9to5Mac’s test than the MacBook Pro:

Xeon CPUs lack onboard hardware video encoding, dubbed Intel Quick Sync Video. So even though the iMac Pro runs circles around the MacBook Pro from a thermal perspective, it doesn’t really matter in this test.

The MacBook Pro Core i9 Cannot Maintain Its Base Clock Speed Under Load

July 18, 2018 · 13:44

Dave Lee posted a video yesterday, showing a Core i9 mid 2018 MacBook Pro averaging 2.2 GHz under load, during an Adobe Premiere render.

The results show just how badly Premiere is optimized for the Mac — a Gigabyte Aero 15X is over 30 minutes quicker (39:37 vs. 7:18) — which has led AppleInsider’s Mikey Campbell to write the following:

It should be noted that Premiere Pro is not optimized for Mac, as evidenced by the Aero 15X performance. Lee failed to test render speeds with Apple’s Final Cut Pro X, or any other app for that matter.

While thermal throttling is nothing new, especially in portables, Lee’s findings are somewhat questionable in that assumptions are being made based on a single machine’s performance with an unoptimized app. Making blanket statements without thorough testing is reckless at best and disingenuous at worst.

While Lee failed to reach out to Apple for comment, it is highly unlikely that the company would ship a flagship product without first rigorously testing its performance. That goes double for a device like MacBook Pro, considering the company’s renewed vigor to serve the professional market.

It took me about 30 seconds to find the following video which exposes the same issues in the 2017 models. The render was done in Final Cut Pro X this time…

In fact, there are many more videos on the subject, so while it is possible that this is a problem with Dave’s specific machine, I’ll go crazy here and suggest that it’s a design problem, especially since there are many reports that just using an external display is throttling some machines, which has led some users as far as replacing the thermal compound that Apple uses on its CPUs.

I have the same issue on my MacBook Pro Escape (late 2016) when rendering larger projects in Final Cut Pro X (especially in 4K) — it slows down considerably the further the render is along.