A MacBook Letdown

The MacBook just looks and feels like the obvious, no-brainer choice for a small Mac. That’s why people buy it. That’s why I bought it. I loved it before I bought it. I love looking at it and picking it up.

I just hate using it.

I hate typing on it, I hate the trackpad, it’s slower than I expected, the screen is noticeably blurry from non-native scaling to get reasonable screen space, and I don’t even find it very comfortable to use in my lap because it’s too small.

I hate returning things, but I’m returning this.

Some really strong words by Marco Arment about Apple's latest Macbook. I'll agree whole heartedly with all his conclusions and unfortunately, after waiting years for an upgrade to the latest MacBook Pro Retina Display, might take his suggestion in buying yesterday’s model on the cheap and saving some money.

I sold my late 2008 MacBook Pro two years ago and have since been using a late 2010 MacBook Air, but it’s time that I give this laptop back to the wife and grab my own. I’m just sad that the latest MacBook Pro’s released just yesterday are still running Haswell instead of Broadwell and with Intel’s Skylake around the corner, who knows what Apple might do. Not to mention Marco’s disdain for Apple’s new Force Touch Trackpad.

The one thing that I do like with the latest $2,499 MacBook Pro is the new AMD Radeon R9 M370X video card. Clocking in at 70% faster1 than the NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M, it’s quite remarkable but the price is a little much. You’re essentially paying $700 for the Force Touch Trackpad and discrete graphics which end up making it TOO HARD to justify. Going with the pre Force Touch Trackpad MacBook Pro and without discrete graphics at $1799 is too hard to pass up.

  • Footnote #4 under the the MacBook Pro Performance Retina Page: Testing conducted by Apple in April 2015 using preproduction 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-based 15-inch MacBook Pro systems with AMD Radeon R9 M370X and 2GB graphics memory, and shipping 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7-based 15-inch MacBook Pro systems with NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M and 2GB graphics memory, all configured with 16GB RAM. Resolution used: 1440x900. Tomb Raider tested using the built-in benchmark, with anti-aliasing turned off and low graphics quality. Formula 1 2013 tested using the built-in benchmark, with 2x anti-aliasing and default graphics settings. Batman: Arkham City GOTY tested using the built-in benchmark, with 4x anti-aliasing and high quality setting. MacBook Pro continuously monitors system thermal and power conditions, and may adjust processor speed as needed to maintain optimal system operation

  • The Proliferation Of USB 3.0

    During the last decade, Apple has led the way in optimizing the personal computer being the first to delete legacy equipment and replace them with new technologies or simply minimalize.  On some occasions, their choice to adopt was either strategically delayed waiting for broad acceptance or in some cases never implemented e.g. Blu-ray.  On the opposite extreme, they have also led the way in the proliferation of FireWire; Apple's own design and technology implemented in 1999 and found in Apple Computers since.

    With the inclusion of the latest USB 3.0 ports, we can finally celebrate the new dawn of faster data transfers.  Rumored to also be is a new Dock Connector that I'm guessing will take full advantage of these blazing new bus speeds.  Introduced back in 2008 and the first consumer products released in 2009, it's been a long time coming with Intel releasing their first integrated chipsets earlier this year.  I truly believe that we will look back and thank Apple for this as the adoption rate and proliferation of USB 3.0 peripherals will most likely sky rocket.  This in part being that it costs less than the Thunderbolt equivalent and is backward compatible with USB 2.0.  Consumers love the term "backwards" compatibility.  Where the PC world has failed in the introduction of USB 3.0, Apple will be heralded as the usurpuer.  From those million iOS users stuck syncing for hours, thank you and finally!  Yes, we can say that wireless syncing is where it's at, but only because we don't have access to quick syncs and backups.  The cloud is great nonetheless, but USB 3.0 will be where it's at.

    The success of WWDC '12 and not to mention the intro of the MacBook Pro with Retina display, the yet-to-be-announced Fall '12 iPod / iPhone / iPad maybe iMac event couldn't come fast enough.  I love Thunderbolt technology but how many hard drives and peripherals do you see out there support it compared to USB 3.0?

    Does upgrading matter?

    Yes, I have upgraded my MacBook Pro 5,1 (late '08 unibody) by increasing the RAM and changing out the hard drive. I did that about one and half years into ownership because I could. Have I ever wanted to upgrade the memory on my iPhone or iPad? Yes, but instead I select the device that I feel will max out my experience for the given life. Am I sad that I can't upgrade the new MacBook Pro with Retina display? Maybe just a tad because I cannot purchase a model with 16GB at the store unless I select the highest model. I can't just buy the one with 8GB and upgrade it myself but boo who, I'll just spec it out myself online and be at peace. Rafe pretty much sums its up beautifully.

    "...I was very pleased to be able to take it apart and replace that hard drive myself. That being said, I’d rather have one of the new MacBook Pros with Retina Display than that old MacBook any day of the week." -Rafe Colburn

    via rc3.org

    The Best Laptop without a Budget

    Here's a great video review of Apple's latest MacBook Pro with Retina display by Ross Miller at The Verge.  It's short and sweet and gets right to the point.  You can drool over the beautifully written review too! It's been over three and half years since I bought a laptop, the first unibody 5,1 MacBook Pro, and I definitely think it's time to upgrade.  If you ask me, I'm all for choosing the higher tiered model at $2,799 then upgrading to the faster  2.7GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 because of the higher cache on chip = 8MB L3, and then going with 16GB RAM.  Yes, it's an extra $450, but worth it since you can't upgrade later on.  Spec it out now and be happy for the next couple of years.  And no, I don't think that upgrading the hard drive to the 768 SSD is particularly worth another extra $500 as you can get a Thunderbolt drive for that kind of price.  Spec it out!

    "It is the most expensive MacBook Pro out there, one of the most expensive laptops out there, but… if budget is not an issue, this is the best laptop you can buy right now." - Ross Miller, The Verge

    Here's picture of the Retina display up close. AMAZING!

    I wish I was worthy to receive a review unit!

    Maxing it out

    Simply put, the latest and greatest MacBook Pro w/ Retina display is the hardest and most difficult laptop to have been ever torn apart. Of course, the guys at iFixit have done all the dirty work for you and neatly labeled and dictated their work in perfect form.

    As in the MacBook Air, the RAM is soldered to the logic board. Max out at 16GB now, or forever hold your peace—you can't upgrade.


    via iFixit