Tatsuhiko Miyagawa's Blog

The new Macbook Pro

October 30, 2016

I’m writing this blog post on Macbook Pro Retina 13” Late 2013. This is a computer my previous employer bought for me in early 2014, and I bought it from them because I really liked it, and they didn’t have any plan to reuse the laptop.

My current employer has given me a 15” equivalent, but I decided to separate my personal laptop from home this time, since I don’t want to mess my work laptop with personal crap, and vice versa.

The way I use this, a little outdated but mostly functional laptop is in variety of ways:

  • Used on my desk, sitting on an mStand, paired with the Magic Trackpad 2 and ThinkPad USB keyboard. Writing code, tweeting, Slacking, browsing, typing, editing podcasts and editing photos.
  • Brought to the closet, powered from the wall charger, connected to a podcasting microphone and a preamp to its USB ports, then record the show on Logic Pro X while streaming to Mixlr.
  • Brought down to the downstairs when I want to see live stats for F-1, or type on it when other family member is asleep, because my work desk is at the bedroom.
  • Carried around to the coffee shop to work remote, or hack on some personal projects.

All of this just works with this Macbook Pro including all the external gears that I use with this laptop. The new Macbook Pro lineups, on the other hand, just did the following:

  • No ESC physical keys on the keyboard, although as a non-Vim user i do not mind much, but this is a removal of something I use every day still.
  • The new butterfly keyboard with much less travels. I tried their new Apple Magic keyboard with the butterfly mechanism for a week and I got my wrist hurt.
  • Well, I use an external keyboard when I’m into serious typing anyway, but:
  • Removals of two USB-A ports and SD card means I need a dongle whenever I podcast while charging, or when I import audio files from my Zoom gear or a DSLR camera. So OK, is this an upgrade or downgrade? I cannot tell. This definitely requires me to buy a dongle or adapter or two, to make it actually functional.

It seems the way Apple wants me to do is that I would buy an iMac 21.5” 4K (27” is too big on my desk) since I mostly work from my desk, and it would do most of the heavy duty work that I need to do on the desktop, and then buy another Macbook 12” or Macbook Pro 13”, to do all the mobile work. Maybe it would work, but that’s 2 computers not one, and that’s always a pain to manage multiple computers.

This is not really good. I can’t tell what these new Macbook Pros are for. I definitely feel like I’m not their target “Pro” users, and I’m apparently not alone in this.

I could just switch to Linux or Windows 10 with Bash on it for casual development, maybe. But I’d definitely need Mac because, well, I just like Mac, and a lot of the software I use for podcasting only exists on Mac, especially the Logic X Pro. It’s such an irony that the reason I stick to the Mac is the software, not the hardware.

I’ll see if a new iMac comes around with the new processor early next year, and if buying two computers to replace one is really an upgrade. But for now, I’m going to skip this generation of the Macbook Pros.