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torifile
Less than Stellar Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Durham, NC
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2019-08-20, 22:04

I just bought a new MacBook Pro and I've never been more confused about what to get in my life. I was upgrading from a 2013 MBP (retina 13") that had just about outlived its usefulness.

Between the different processor options and the fact that I couldn't easily get 16 gigs of RAM without jumping up to the 15" (either in actual size or at least in price) was crazy making. I thought about the low-end MBP with 2 ports but speccing it out with a 512 gig SSD put it up in price next to the 4 port models. And from there it's a vacuum straight up to the $2k range. And then you're looking at the base 15" price range.

In the end, it came down to a couple of things:

1) I really prefer the 13" form factor
2) The graphics capability could be made up by getting an eGPU if I was missing performance when at my desk.
3) Price. Price wasn't a primary factor but it's ultimately what clinched it. At the end of the day, the 15" I wanted was almost $1k more than the 13" I wanted.

Both the 13 and 15 came with compromises. It was just a matter of which compromises I decided to make.

After using my 2013 MBP for the last 6 years, I've got to say, I greatly prefer typing on the butterfly keyboard. It feels more responsive. The old keyboard feels like you need to press keys for a mile before they register. If the keyboard holds up, I'll be happy with the change.

If it's not red and showing substantial musculature, you're wearing it wrong.
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kieran
Tweeting @kierankelly
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York City
 
2019-08-22, 11:11

I just got the updated 2019 13” MBP with TouchBar a few weeks ago.

I’ve been on the butterfly keyboard for a while since I was on the 2015 MacBook, so I don’t think it’s that bad. I however, have not had a problem with stuck keys, so that probably helps.

I really wish they could take the keyboard from the iPad Pro Smart Cover. That is a great keyboard.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2019-12-11, 15:53

Had my first 13" Touch Bar experience today (okay, I suppose that could be taken any number of ways I never intended...).

I used my first Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro today, a 13" model.

There.

In some ways, I found it interesting and where it might come in handy. But a lot of it seemed to replicate stuff you could already do with these nice, large gesture-heavy trackpads on the notebooks. Not quite sure if it's something I'd use a lot, but I remember having a discussion here years ago where we talked about future Apple keyboards basically being large, glass surface iOS type things that could change based on the app you were in (if you're in GarageBand, you get a nice virtual music keyboard in place of the typing keys, in Photos you'd get all the retouching and editing/manipulation tools, etc.).

In some ways this hits on that, just in a much smaller way (a little context-sensitive sliver at the top of the keyboard, vs. the entire keyboard area changing)...I opened Photos and some other apps and the commands/tools/functions in the Touch Bar would change to provide relevant items to use. Kinda neat to use, but a lot of it was duplication and I figured if your hands are already on/near the trackpad, why travel elsewhere to rotate a pic, etc.?

But I see the potential, going forward...especially across certain applications and tasks.

Makes one wonder if/when that (and illuminated keys) will show up in the standalone keyboards?

Anyway, after all this time (a year or two now?), today was my first hands-on with this feature. Oh, and my first real-life time spent with a Space Grey MacBook Pro as well. I really liked how it looked! It isn't as dark and "almost black" as some online pics make it look. Chances are, my next Mac and iPhone buy will be Space Grey. I've done the white/silver thing for a good 15 years now (mice, keyboard, iPods, various AirPort devices, iPhones and even third-party devices like my JBL Creature speakers, USB hard drives, etc.)...time I change it up and go with something different. Today sealed that; a very sharp look, I thought. That means, of course, come 2020 and the next go-around of MacBook Pros, iPhones, etc. the color will be discontinued. Me saying out loud that I like something is almost always a sure-fire way for it to disappear (favorite Gatorade flavors, certain body wash brands/scents, various offerings from Nabisco and Keebler over the years, favorite menu items at restaurants, etc.)
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kieran
Tweeting @kierankelly
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York City
 
2019-12-11, 16:07

I got the 13" MBP with TouchBar earlier this year and I'm still cautiously optimistic about the TouchBar.

Sometimes I love how simple it is and how things work, but other times I get frustrated that the button I want isn't displayed when I want i to be and it requires more touches than normal.

Biggest instance of this is the play/pause button. It's never visible when I want it to be. (This ties into the new-isn behavior in Mac OS where the play pause corresponds to the last media you had playing instead of always going to iTunes/Music. Grrrrr)
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2019-12-11, 16:08

Why does the Touch Bar lack a Taptic Engine?

What is their story on bringing the Touch Bar to desktop Macs?

After three years, it’s pretty weak to not answer those.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2019-12-11, 16:26

Yeah, I thought I would've been more dazzled and "ohmigosh!" with it, but it was more of a "hmm, I guess that's kinda cool sometimes...". Not exactly a glowing, over-the-top reaction. It probably could - and will - become more over time. isn't that Apple's approach? Out of the gate with some basic functions, then improve/add to over time to where, at some point down the road, it's just "there" and you don't remember what things were like before it? Being software-based, like that first iPhone screen, the sky is the limit. The size/shape is probably more of a limit than anything, but, in theory, anything could be put there. It just has to be smart and make sense...and sometimes, these days, that's a coin-toss or a whole other discussion.

I figured both the Touch Bar and illuminated keys would've made it to the standalone desktop keyboards ages ago.

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2019-12-11 at 19:37.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2019-12-12, 04:14

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
Yeah, I thought I would've been more dazzled and "ohmigosh!" with it, but it was more of a "hmm, I guess that's kinda cool sometimes...". Not exactly a glowing, over-the-top reaction. It probably could - and will - become more over time. isn't that Apple's approach? Out of the gate with some basic functions, then improve/add to over time to where, at some point down the road, it's just "there" and you don't remember what things were like before it? Being software-based, like that first iPhone screen, the sky is the limit. The size/shape is probably more of a limit than anything, but, in theory, anything could be put there. It just has to be smart and make sense...and sometimes, these days, that's a coin-toss or a whole other discussion.
Well, if we're gonna compare to the iPhone: the Touch Bar was introduced in October 2016, so a little over three years ago. In iPhone terms, that would make it March 2010. A few months from now, iOS 4 and the iPhone 4 get introduced. Software-wise, since iPhoneOS 1.0, stuff like better enterprise support (Exchange, VPN, …), the App Store, copy & paste, etc. has happened. Hardware-wise, the phone has gotten much, much faster, and its camera now does video. And soon, iOS 4 will add multitasking. Hardware-wise, iPhone 4 adds the Retina Display, a front-facing camera, and much more.

Huge leaps in three years.

What has happened with the Touch Bar? Not nothing, but also frankly not that much. 10.14(?) added Quick Actions that relate to the Touch Bar, and in 10.15, Sidecar sort of adds the Touch Bar to all Macs (as long as you also have an iPad). Hardware-wise, the physical escape key is back. That's about it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
I figured both the Touch Bar and illuminated keys would've made it to the standalone desktop keyboards ages ago.
Right?

They just introduced a new keyboard on the Mac Pro (well, really just a different color finish), and it's still unchanged.

What frustrates me is that it's not entirely clear to me if they believe in the Touch Bar. Do they think it's good enough as it is (I still haven't used it personally, but I'm fairly certainly it's not quite 100% the way there)? Are they waiting for some third-party miracle killer app (third parties are probably in turn waiting to see what Apple does!)? Is there a big update coming, maybe with the next iMac?
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2019-12-12, 05:35

It would’ve been neat to see such a keyboard included with the new Mac Pro. Seems that would’ve been a good time to do it, a new “Cadillac” keyboard to accompany their new “Cadillac” desktop. In time, or right away, it would be available for standalone purchase and would also be part of the next iMac and iMac Pro update, whenever that happens (2020 or 2021).

In the meantime any current iMac, Mac mini, or non-Touch Bar notebook user could buy it.

I think if the tech/feature was available to more of the line (built into the Air as well, included with the iMac and Mac Pro and available as a standalone purchase), it would be viewed as more of a “part of the whole Mac experience”. And that may be where they’re heading. Just seems like this week would’ve been a good time to kick that off. At $5,999, such a keyboard being part of the new pro desktop would’ve made sense.

And then trickle down elsewhere throughout 2020.

I don’t see it being a MacBook Pro-only thing forever (and if it is, it’s probably never going to be much more than it is currently...a half-baked, niche feature that never reached its full potential, having only been present on one line of the Mac roster after 2-3 years). Wider availability/use - with every Mac user having access - would be the best thing for (and help spur) ongoing, active growth and development.

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2019-12-12 at 06:31.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
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2019-12-12, 05:57

^ all of this
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-12-12, 13:08

While making the "Magic Keyboard with TouchBar" a Mac Pro thing in order to drive a sense of "cool and cadillac-y" might sound cool, it would not work. How many $6000+ Mac Pro's is anyone expecting Apple to sell? 10 million?!

No.

They might sell 50,000 or maybe a touch more, but that's going to be it. A large chunk of those will be upgraded systems and will run into the tens of thousands of dollars. While there is a market for these things, that market is not very large at all.

So, what "killer app" is going to be sold to 50,000-ish people that is going to make everyone want to run out and grab a Mac Pro? The answer is: There isn't one. You think some advancement in Garageband is going to drive people to rush to the Mac Pro? Hardly. And a big niche company like Avid isn't going to sell any additional software because of the Touch Bar.

I say all of that under the following context: A keyboard like this thing you ask for would cost many millions of dollars to develop and build. That development cost would have to be added into the cost of the Mac Pro, which would likely add $500 or more to its cost. Mac Pro buyers might not even shiver at such things, but it would not be the reason that anyone bought one (except maybe that one rich kid who has all the cool things that nobody likes).

With such few numbers out there, what software company is going to say, "Oh, yeah, that's just we were waiting for to launch this super expensive, cool new app! 50,000 customers! Woot!"? It's already not being driven by top-selling laptops.

No, the Mac Pro will not be the driver of that sort of tech, which is why TouchBar exists where it does: On a device that has a built-in power supply. You see, all that fancy OLED screen/Fingerprint thingy requires a lot of internal tech. The TouchBar isn't just some lit up row of buttons. It's a highly advanced system driven by Apple's T2 chip, which is itself part of a larger system. Sure, it might be easy, and it might not draw much power, but my gut tells me that neither of those things is true. It is very difficult, and it draws way more power than a simple keyboard. And in a standalone device like a wireless keyboard, the battery is going to have to be much larger, the security tech is going to have to be much more advanced (the T2 will have to communicate over wireless, and that will create security issues—although I suspect Apple could use the same sort of encription they use with iMessage, but how much would that cost to implement, in both software and hardware?), and the cost is likely going to be $500 or more. That's a stiff price to pay for a keyboard. Hell, even at $300 there will not be very many takers (many of our customer already balk at the $30 upgrade cost for the extended keyboard). And to come with an iMac, the cost will have to rise by that much—or by $250 at least—which will turn off a lot of customers.

In the Mac Pro, the audience is too small and what Touch Bar does isn't driving any innovative features even at the high end, so it isn't going to sell any additional systems. On the low end, the cost will be too high for the majority of customers to justify.

There's a reason why the fool thing doesn't exist yet (or, I should say, reasons).



As for haptic touch in the MBP, I see no reason why that cannot be implemented, other than because it's really hard to do. All of the hardware is in there (excepting, of course, pressure sensors in the bar itself). I'm guessing there are several reasons: The software is more difficult than we think, what with sliders and buttons and such. I know from using an iPhone X that the haptic business isn't all that special and Apple cannot seem to figure out what they want to do with it and when it should be invoked. The Touch Bar would add several levels of additional complexity because the system has to sort out when there is a button press vs. a finger just sliding over the surface looking for a button to press vs. actually trying to slide a slider. I suspect it's not easy to do. Right now, the system accepts only touch and slide. There is no "press". Next, the hardware seems difficult to me. The Force Touch trackpad has sensors in each corner, but there aren't really "corners" on the Touch Bar, at least not corners that would generate accurate pressure data from, say, the center of the bar. Thus, there have to be far more pressure sensors spread out, and they cannot be the "touch and press and hold" things that are used in the iPhone and Trackpad. These buttons have to fire immediately, while still being sensitive to differing levels of pressure, and must feel natural—which is the biggest difficulty (hardware wise)—with haptics.

Before you say "just implement it in software", I would say, "not so fast!" Why? Because the electro-magnetic hammer in the MacBook Pro is down under the trackpad, far away from the TouchBar. Haptics feel very natural with the trackpad, and I suspect that is because the "button" is directly beneath the area you are pressing. Same with the Watch and iPhone. But on the Pro, the "button" would be "way over there" and I suspect it wouldn't feel natural. Thus, the need for an additional hammer in an area of the computer currently occupied by GPU, CPU, fan, etc. Effectively, the further away you move from the "button" the less natural it feels, and thus the need for more "buttons". It gets complicated quickly.

In other words, it's very hard to do and make it "feel" right.



Now, add all that to a wireless keyboard and the level of complexity skyrockets. This stuff isn't as easy to implement as "why haven't they done this yet?"

I want both devices. I want haptics in the Touch Bar, and I want a wireless Touch Bar keyboard. Neither is coming anytime soon.

Boise State! … Boise State! … Boise State!

Last edited by kscherer : 2019-12-12 at 13:40.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2019-12-12, 13:40

They'll hit in February...
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2019-12-12, 13:55

Probably.

If there is one thing I have learned since joining this forum 15 years ago, it's that I will never be right.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2019-12-12, 14:18

I'm sometimes right, it just takes 6-9 years (technically putting it in the category of "lucky guess" vs. any sort of "visionary insight"). When something takes eight years to pan out, you're just flinging darts and hoping something pokes.

I did get the white widescreen iBook/MacBook, the iPad mini, iPod touch, iPod photo, watch (I drew an "iPod watch" in 2010 with Chris Isaak album art, time and weather synopsis on the home screen), cylindrical/garbage can Power Mac in 2003, a convoluted take on Sidecar (using an iPad as an extended Mac screen), a dinky, one-port minimalist WebBook in 2008 which looked an awful lot like the 12" MacBook and a few other things in 20+ years of playing in the Apple rumor site/forum sandbox. Not bad for a certified idiot with no real grasp or insight on anything.

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2019-12-12 at 14:33.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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2019-12-12, 14:51

I know every single product that Apple is missing out on, and none of them are made.
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