I’ve been waiting to see what Apple would announce this week. I’ve been hoping for an excuse to upgrade my 2013 MacBook Pro (with retina), partly because I’d like some more storage (It’s amazing how quickly a 256GB drive gets filled once you start developing apps), and because my eldest is about to start University next year and I thought upgrading would mean I could give her my more than capable existing MacBook Pro.
At the moment, she’s working with my original MacBook, a 2009 white unibody MacBook which, as can be seen, has had better days. It still works a charm, though it’s been running hot, with all fans howling for a year or two now.
So, like everyone else working with a MacBook (Pro), I was keenly awaiting the refresh of the line this week. The rumour mills are pretty accurate these days, so we already had a fair idea of what to expect as a minimum, however to be honest, I’d been hoping for more.
I’d also been hoping for a realistic move forward from where I am now, and I really don’t think Apple have provided this.
Dongles Everywhere, it’s the future man…
Last year I saw the new 12 inch MacBook released with it’s single USB-C port and quickly wrote the device off as a waste of time. The lack of a separate power connector, and specifically, a MagSafe power connector was to me a huge step backwards. The smaller screen size made it doubly less attractive.
When I think about buying a new computer, I like to think I’m buying something that will allow me to continue from where I am, and transition over the next few years to a point where I’ll be ready for the next transition.
With the 12″ MacBook, and these new MacBook Pros, this is not the case. If I were to upgrade to one of the new MacBook Pro units, none, repeat, none of my existing peripheral hardware would be able to connect to it without these stupid, ugly white dongles.
Here is an image from dailytech.com showing the mess Apple is moving us towards (this for a 12″ MacBook, but you get the idea):
Every day, I connect to my MacBook Pro via the standard USB connector, various iPhone or iPad devices, other devices to charge, external drives for backup, and so on. Other people have more than I do.
If I were to ‘upgrade’ to one of the new MacBook Pros, I’d have to find a way to connect all of these devices via a USB-C port. What’s more I’d need to purchase a number of these ugly white dongles (why can’t I get them in a colour to match the MacBook I’ve just hypothetically bought?) if I want more than one plugged in at a time. Apple ‘kindly’ gave us 4 USB-C ports on these new MacBooks but that just encourages us to purchase more dongles.
Note: OK, I’ll be quoting Australian dollar amounts here, but they should be indicative of other markets.
Here in Australia, the starting prices (it’s not even worth looking at the spec’d up prices, really) for each of the 3 new MacBook pros are as follows:
13″ MacBook Pro (no Touch Bar): $2199
13″ MacBook Pro (Touch Bar): $2699
15″ MacBook Pro (Touch Bar): $2999
Apart from the Touch Bar, there are some other subtle (or not so subtle) differences, the main ones being the speed of the CPU and the amount of storage.
Now, like many of you, and certainly, many iOS developers who, contrary to popular myth, aren’t living the high life off app sales, those prices just aren’t viable to me. My current MacBook Pro was bought as a refurbished unit from Apple, and it’s probably the way I’ll go next time now that I’ve seen these prices.
Apple are basically saying to me, “Hey Peter, we understand you can’t afford our sparkly new Touch Bar MacBooks, but you can always buy the new MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar. It’s only $2199!“.
My answer to this is that for that amount, I’d be buying a MacBook with the same amount of storage, a slower CPU, less connectivity, less expandability (I currently have a 128GB SD card in the SD card slot to expand my storage economically), and for more than I’d pay for a newly refurbished 2015 MacBook Pro with twice as much storage (see image to the right).
No thanks Apple.
I love your hardware, and I really enjoy the ecosystem you have created. My family is well and truly committed to Apple tech too, but this time around, we’ll be avoiding your new MacBook pros. If there is a new MacBook to be bought, it will be one that we can use now with the peripherals we have now.