Tag Archive for ‘MacBook Pro’

Larger Apple Notebooks ➝

Josh Ginter, while discussing his first impressions of the 16-inch M2 Pro MacBook Pro:

I hadn’t realized how often I move my MacBook between workstations until I threw a 16-inch MacBook Pro into the mix. I take the notebook home every evening with me. I move it between my office and the conference room about once a day. I’ve taken it on a family holiday. This MacBook gets moved around a lot more than I originally thought, and I pay the price each time I pickup this 16-inch beast.

Not only is the 16-inch larger both on a footprint basis and on a weight basis, but it’s also thicker than the 14-inch Pro. Why, I’m unsure. But this notebook is bigger in every dimension and you can sure feel it.

This is what has always steered me away from larger MacBooks — I’ve almost always opted for the smallest Apple notebook available. It doesn’t sound like it would matter that much, but I move around a lot throughout the workday.

I work from my desk, the dining room table, the back deck, the living room couch. And, often, I’ll end up at all of these locations at some point during a given day. I like moving around to help break things up and the different environments help keep me energized. When you’re doing this a few times each day, though, having the lightest and thinnest notebook available makes a big difference.

➝ Source: thenewsprint.co

My Computing Hardware

Kev Quirk and ldstephens recently wrote about their collection of Apple devices and I, coincidentally, had already drafted a quick idea in Ulysses to document and share a list of my current computing devices. If only so I can better wrap my head around what hardware I’m using and what I use each device for.

iPhone 13 Pro: My true, primary, general purpose computing device. There’s very little that I can’t do from my iPhone, but it’s often more comfortable to perform the more intensive tasks from devices with larger screens. But it’s always with me, so it’s my main camera and gets used more often than any other device I own.

iPad Pro, 11-inch (3rd generation): Like my iPhone, but with a larger display. And that’s generally how I use it — for the majority of my computing tasks, but a little less mobile. It’s also my go-to device when I want to watch media outside of the living room — at the kitchen table during lunch or to have in the background at my desk during the work day, for example.

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020, Four thunderbolt 3 ports): My work laptop. It’s used for a lot of writing, email, Slack, RSS reading, and app testing. I also have another user account on the machine if I need to do any personal tasks and don’t have another device handy. This is mostly with the intention of leaving my iPad at home when I travel for team/division meetups.

Mac Mini (2018): My main home server. It houses our Plex library, stores local copies of our photo library, runs Channels DVR, is used as a backup server for all of the non-iOS devices in our home, rips CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, archives a few YouTube channels for my son, and acts as a general purpose file server.

Mac Mini (Late 2014): The latest addition to my computing setup. I got it fairly cheap from OWC and it runs Steam on Windows for streaming games to our Apple TVs and Retroid Pocket 2+ using Steam Link. It’s not particularly powerful, so it won’t run the latest games at high settings, but it’ll run run plenty of indie games like Untitled Goose Game, Celeste, and older titles like Half-Life 2.

Mac Mini (Mid 2011): This machine serves a very specific and singular purpose — it runs TunesKit M4V Converter (still available under a different name) to remove DRM from iTunes purchased content. This software only works on older versions of macOS with an outdated version of iTunes. Since I still purchase content from iTunes, but prefer to watch through Plex, this bridges the gap.

Retroid Pocket 2+: Mostly used as a gaming device using Launchbox, RetroArch, Steam Link, and various emulators, but is also occasionally used for media playback — Pocket Casts, Plex, and Channels.

Google Pixel 3: This is a test device for work, which is used for trying out new builds and attempting to recreate user-reported bugs in our Android apps.

It would be great if I could simplify the home server setup a bit. I made an attempt at this with virtual machines, but gaming just wasn’t stable enough — I ran into a few games that simply wouldn’t run — and TunesKit M4V Converter requires that the system be able to playback the video it removes DRM from. Since there’s no way to use HDCP within a virtual machine, I was only able to remove DRM from standard definition iTunes content — running it natively is the only option for high definition content.

There will be some changes to my hardware soon, though. I’m expecting to receive a Retroid Pocket 3 soon to replace the RP2+ — I got my shipment notification yesterday. And I’ll likely be ordering an M2 MacBook Air in the next few months to replace my current MacBook Pro.

The New MacBook Pro

The announcement of the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros is a culmination of Apple’s laptop apology tour. They thoroughly ticked off users with the abysmal keyboards and limited ports in the 2016-era machines and they’ve finally rectified the situation. It’s a major release and one that many users have been waiting for since the 2015 models were discontinued.

The Ports

I can’t say I’ve really been held back by the limited port selection on my 2020 MacBook Pro. In the year-and-a-half that I’ve owned the machine, I think I’ve only had all four ports in use simultaneously on a single occasion. But there have been times when I had to dig out a different cable to connect an external drive or other peripheral. Not too much of an inconvenience, but that’s pretty specific to my workflows.

If given the option, though, I would definitely have included some variety. When I wrote about the Framework laptop, which let’s you choose what ports you want, I would have chosen two USB-C, a USB-A, and an HDMI. And that holds true today. That would let me connect just about everything I have without an adapter.

The new MacBook Pros feature three Thunderbolt 4 ports, a headphone jack, an SDXC slot, HDMI, and MagSafe 3. I’m sure there will be some grousing about the lack of USB-A and it would have been nice to see at least one, but given Apple’s priorities, I think they struck a pretty good balance with this.

The SDXC card slot is going to make a lot of dedicated camera owners and Raspberry Pi enthusiasts happy, while the HDMI port is just going to be so darn convenient. Whether you want to connect your laptop to a projector, a television, or a computer monitor, it’s a good chance you can make that happen over HDMI.

MagSafe sort-of came out of left field for me, though. It may have been in the rumors at some point, but I haven’t been following those too closely as of late. I’ve seen a lot of people wishing for the return of MagSafe over the years and while I think it’s a great feature, it was never on my wishlist. MacBook batteries are so good these days that I basically only ever plug it in at my desk and there’s no chance of accidentally yanking on the cable there. I much prefer near-universal compatibility of USB-C to USB-C cables.

Luckily, you can still charge over USB-C if you want, but the back-left port is where I would prefer my charging cable be located. And with the introduction of MagSafe, I would end up having to plug in to a port further forward on the chassis. Not too big of a deal for me, really, but still worth noting.

It is a bit of an odd implementation. It’s not a MagSafe charger like with previous laptops. Instead it’s a MagSafe cable that plugs into any USB-C charger on the other end. This is actually brilliant on Apple’s part because you don’t have to use a dedicated charger for your laptop. And no matter what USB-C charger you use, it will still get the benefits of MagSafe.

M1 Pro and M1 Max

I understand that this matches the naming scheme used on the iPhone, but the chip names are lame. The rumored “M1X” name sounded so much cooler. But at least their performance appears to live up to Apple’s superlatives.

I am even more interested to see how the Apple Silicon story continues to unfold, though. With the new chips offering double the multi-core performance when compared to the regular M1, how well is that going to scale in the 27-inch iMac and the Mac Pro? What will Apple be able to accomplish when they have a higher ceiling on energy usage?

And what’s the memory situation going to look like? Will Apple ever develop a system on a chip that allows for replaceable memory? Will their graphics performance be able to compete with the highest-end GPUs from Nvidia and AMD? Will Apple ever develop another machine that allows for adding a dedicated GPU over PCIe?

There are only two Macs left in Apple’s lineup that haven’t transitioned away from Intel, so I suspect many of these questions will be answered soon. Hopefully.

The Display and Camera

It has a notch. It seems that macOS will handle it fairly gracefully, since the center of the menu bar isn’t often used for anything. But if I was a hardware engineer at Apple, figuring out a way to remove the notch from the iPhone and MacBook Pro would be high on my priority list.

I expect most users will forget about the notch after a short period of use, but the MacBook Pro would undoubtedly be better without the notch than with it. If I was using these machines, I’d probably end up setting my menu bar to black using Boring Old Menu Bar to try and hide it.

The camera upgrade is going to be welcomed with open arms. It’s amazing that it’s taken so long for Apple to finally give this component the attention it deserves. I just hope it performs as well as they claim.

The display also features ProMotion, allowing for refresh rates up to 120Hz that adapts to match the movement of content. My iPad and iPhone both offer this as well and while it’s certainly noticeable, I don’t find it to be quite as revolutionary as others. It’s nice, for sure, but it isn’t going to fundamentally change the way you interact with your device.

The Keyboard

The Touch Bar is gone and in its place are good old fashioned tactile function keys. I wouldn’t say I necessarily hate the Touch Bar, but if I could have ordered my current MacBook Pro without it, I would have. It doesn’t offer enough functionality to warrant the lack of tactile feel and it always seems to be dimmed when I want to use it, requiring an additional tap to wake up.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is now the last remaining model with the Touch Bar and it sure seems like the only reason it remains in the lineup is because of the massive gap in pricing between the MacBook Air and the 14-inch MacBook Pro.

The black background behind the keys is an interesting decision. I wonder if that material is plastic and whether it has any impact on the repairability of the machines. Is it easier to swap out the keyboard on this laptop when compared to previous MacBook iterations?

Overall

I’m due for a new work laptop in the next month or two, so I was eager to see what Apple had to offer with this announcement. I don’t think I’m going to end up with one, though. Pricing isn’t a concern for me in this case because I can, for the most part, order whatever laptop I want though my company.

It helps that every laptop in Apple’s lineup is more powerful than my current machine — from a performance standpoint, no matter what I get, it’s an upgrade. So it will ultimately come down to the hardware features and physical size.

There aren’t any features that these new models offer that really compels me to get one over the M1 MacBook Air. The upgraded camera would be nice, but not necessarily a deal breaker — it’s not like the M1 MacBook Air’s camera is worse than my current one. I won’t have much use for the additional ports. And I’d probably end up charging the machine with a standard USB-C cable anyway.

There’s also some concern for me about Linux support. While I don’t use Linux for work, I have been using it on my personal machine. When we upgrade our work computers, we are given the option to purchase our old one from the company. I would rather have something with decent Linux support to prolong the machine’s life. And there’s already been quite a bit of work toward supporting the M1 MacBook Air in Linux.

I can’t be sure that there will be as much effort put toward supporting these newer MacBook Pros. There’s going to be a lot more M1 MacBook Airs sold than either of these Pros because of pricing alone. It’s a much safer bet to expect full Linux support on the Air.

Setting that aside, though, the physical size and weight is something I highly value. The 14-inch MacBook Pro is 3.5 pounds, compared to just 2.8 pounds for the M1 MacBook Air. The Air is smaller by every dimension.

These machines are great, but they just don’t seem like they’re right for me. I’m so glad that Mac users that need the additional performance and, perhaps more importantly the ports, finally have a rock solid option, though. It’s been far too long.

Apple Announces ‘Unleashed’ Event ➝

I’m due for a new work laptop next month, so I’ll be interested to see what is announced on that front. But truthfully, if Tim walked on stage and announced a hot fix release for iOS 15 that fixes Shortcuts, I’d be thrilled.

➝ Source: 512pixels.net

Thoughts on M1 Macs

This week’s Apple event was exactly what we all thought it would be — the announcement of the first batch of Macs powered by Apple Silicon. They detailed the M1 chip and introduced a new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini.

Mac Mini

The Mac Mini was the most surprising to me. Given the power consumption of Apple’s existing chips, Mac notebooks felt like a safe bet to be included in the first group of machines. A new Mac Mini is quite the welcomed introduction, of course, but I’m not sure if anyone expected it with a good degree of confidence. Especially given it’s spotty upgrade history — Apple notably waiting four years after the introduction of the 2014 model before releasing the 2018 iteration.

I’m pretty excited about the new Mac Mini, though. As many of you may know, I’ve been considering an upgrade for quite some time. The Mac Mini that we’ve been using as our home server is from 2011. It isn’t officially supported past macOS High Sierra and it’s performance when ripping and converting Blu-ray discs leaves a lot to be desired.

I’m still waiting on actually benchmarks from reviewers before pulling the trigger, but if Apple’s numbers are to be believed, I think we’re in for a real screamer in the M1. An 8-core CPU, up to 8-core GPU, the integrated Neural Engine, and unified memory architecture seem like a massive upgrade when compared to Intel chips. Intel’s been floundering for a handful of years now, AMD recently surpassed them in performance, and now Apple’s moving to their own chips. The folks at Intel have their work cut out for them.

The Mac Mini as a whole isn’t necessarily a strict upgrade, though. The M1 model is limited to 16GB of RAM — that’s compared to the 64GB limit of the Intel-based model, which is still available for sale, to be clear. I can’t speak to specific workflows that would necessitate the additional memory and I’m not sure if changes to the memory architecture of the M1 would result in needing less memory for given tasks (more efficient usage, for example), but if you feel you need more than 16GB of memory Apple isn’t giving you the option on an M1 Mac.

And that 16GB memory limitation is across the board for all models announced by Apple at their event. These Macs are only available with 8GB or 16GB of memory.

Back to the Mac Mini, this also means the end of upgradable RAM. One of the things that appealed to me about the Mac Mini was the ability to upgrade it over time. That was hindered a great deal when they moved from 2.5-inch drives to SSDs that were soldered to the logic board, but up until these M1 Macs, you could still upgrade RAM yourself.

For thrifty buyers, that gave you the option to save a bit of money at the time of purchase and acquire less-costly aftermarket RAM, upgrading it yourself. If I purchased the 2018 Mac Mini, that’s exactly what I would have done — bought it with 8GB of RAM and then upgrade it sometime after purchase. With the M1 Mac Mini, for both internal storage and memory, you’ll need to get what you need right out of the gate.

The M1-powered Mac Mini also saw a reduction in ports when compared to the Intel-powered model. The Intel Mac Mini has four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, two USB-A ports, HDMI, audio out, and ethernet. Of the lot, the M1 model lost half of the Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports.

The changing port configuration won’t have any impact in how I use the Mac Mini. My current Mac Mini has a ThunderBay 6 connected over Thunderbolt (through Apple’s Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter) and occasionally has a USB-A Blu-ray drive and/or an external SSD connected over USB-A. None of that will change if I end up with the M1 Mac Mini. I’ll still be able to connect all of my accessories without issue — I’ll even be able to drop the Thunderbolt adapter.

The last change is simply cosmetic — the M1 Mac Mini is only available in silver. I was looking forward to purchasing a Mac Mini that was more similar in color to the ThunderBay 6 that it will sit on top of. It’s not that my current, silver Mac Mini is an eye sore or anything, but it would have been nice to have some uniformity on my server shelf. I hope Apple offers the Mac Mini in space gray again at some point in the future.

MacBook Air

My wife is a school teacher and was suddenly forced to work from home earlier this year. At the time she was teaching pre-kindergarten and didn’t need much in the way of technology in order to provide her students with regular instruction. This year, though, she’s teaching fifth grade and with that comes the need to manage online teaching portals, video calls, and documents — often simultaneously.

The only computing devices she has at home are her iPhone and an iPad Air. They’re more than enough for her everyday tasks and were usable when working from home with her pre-k class, but she recently spent about a week working from home teaching fifth grade and it was usable at best.

Her school is opened up again, but there’s no telling when or if it could be closed again for some period of time. So she has her eye on acquiring a new laptop. I think this new MacBook Air would be the perfect fit. It has incredible battery life — up to 18 hours according to Apple — a fan-less design, and all of the great features of the previous MacBook Air.

I am a little surprised that there was no change in pricing for this new model. The Mac Mini’s starting price is $100 lower, after all. And while it’s easy for me to say Apple should lower the price, without much knowledge of the factors that lead them to the $999 price point, it sure seems like it would be possible now.

Given that Apple’s designing the chips in house, the MacBook Air is almost certainly their biggest seller giving them economies of scale, the M1 in the MacBook Air starts with a 7-core GPU, and the machine is available for $899 with education pricing. It just seems like this would have been a good time to lower the price a smidge.

Even still, this looks like a great machine overall. Like with the Mac Mini, I’ll wait for reviews, but I expect my wife will end up with the base model MacBook Air in gold before too long.

MacBook Pro

The new MacBook Pro has all the same features of the previous, two-port model but with the M1. When compared to the MacBook Air, it has better battery life, no 7-core GPU option, and an active cooling system.

The cooling system seems to be the real differentiator here. Like the rest of the lot, we’ll have to wait for reviews and benchmarks, but I suspect the performance differences between the Air and the Pro will come down to cooling capabilities.

The Pro’s fan should give it the ability to sustain higher clock speeds for longer than the Air can while under load. So unless there are some more inherent differences between these two machines’ M1s, this seems to be all there is to it. And if that’s the case, for short bursts, the Air and Pro (with the same number of GPU cores) should preform identical to one another. The difference wouldn’t be noticeable unless you’re performing longer, sustained tasks that tax the system.

If that theory pans out, I feel like the vast majority of users should just opt for the MacBook Air. You’ll save a little bit of money, still get incredible battery life, and much of the same performance. Unless your workload involves heavily taxing sustained tasks, I just don’t see the reason to spring for the Pro.

Future Macs

This initial batch of Macs powered by Apple Silicon is a huge step forward, for sure, but I’m still left wondering what the rest of the lineup is going to look like long-term. The 16-inch MacBook Pro, 21.5-inch iMac, 27-inch iMac, iMac Pro, and Mac Pro are still left unchanged.

These also happen to be the machines that are built with more desktop-class components. And there’s a lot of questions left unanswered in that regard. Is Apple going to release another chip or collection of chips for these machines? Should we be expecting an M1X? An M2? Will these other machines be available with more than 16GB of RAM?

And what about the Mac Pro? Is Apple going to release a machine powered by Apple Silicon that has the ability to install and upgrade internal components? None of this first batch of M1 Macs support external GPUs, so is this the beginning of the end for AMD or Nvidia powered graphics in Macs?

Will Apple consolidate the lineup at all? Will the 27-inch iMac and iMac Pro be merged into a single offering? Is the current Mac Pro the last Mac Pro?

We could speculate all day, but what I can say with certainty is that I haven’t been this interested and excited about the future of the Mac in a long time.

Moving to the MacBook Pro

13-inch MacBook Pro

After Apple started transitioning their notebook line away from the notoriously unreliable butterfly keyboards, I started pondering what my new work laptop would be. My first work-issued laptop was the 2018 MacBook Air. Although I absolutely loved the machine’s weight, size, and overall design, the keyboard was fundamentally flawed.

I started having issues with the keyboard just a month or two after I received the MacBook Air. But I just dealt with the annoyance of duplicate and missed key presses because I needed it for work. I live too far away from an Apple Store to easily bring it in for repair and that left me with the only option of sending it in by mail, which usually takes at least a week. I couldn’t be without my work laptop for that long.

Then, about a year later, Josh was born and I was on parental leave for four months. I took that opportunity to send in my machine and get the keyboard replaced. It came back about a week later and the keyboard worked perfectly. That’s excellent, but my faith in the butterfly mechanism was tarnished.

I came back from parental leave earlier this year and knew that I was due for a replacement machine in April. Apple had already released the 16-inch MacBook Pro last November with the new scissor switch keyboard and I wasn’t going to order a new laptop unless it had the new keyboard. The 16-inch is just too large for my liking, though. I like to move around the house throughout the day while I work — spending some time at the kitchen table, some time in the living room, and some time in the office. Between that and the extra heft while traveling to work meetups a few times each year, I would much rather have a smaller machine.

The next Mac to return to the scissor switch keyboard was the MacBook Air in March. All the benefits of my 2018 MacBook Air with a new, more reliable keyboard — what’s not to like? I still had another month to go before I was able to order a new work laptop and although I found the new Air intriguing, I felt it was in my best interest to wait and see with the 13-inch MacBook Pro update had in store.

I didn’t have to wait long, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro was announced in May. But that left me with the question, which MacBook to choose?

Luckily, I work for the best company in the world — we’re able to choose what machine is best for each of us and our work, with limited restrictions. So I could essentially get whatever I wanted, configured however I wanted. With price being no object, that means you have to choose a machine entirely based on it’s own merits — there’s no need to make concessions because a component upgrade is too expensive.

I hemmed and hawed for quite some time about what machine would actually be better for me and my work. I liked the form factor, lighter weight, and lack of Touch Bar on the MacBook Air, but how much would I appreciate the extra horse power of the MacBook Pro? And would that additional performance be worth the trade offs in portability?

I had it narrowed down to two different configurations:

MacBook Air

  • 1.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
  • 16GB of memory
  • 512GB solid-state drive

MacBook Pro

  • 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
  • 32GB of memory
  • 512GB solid-state drive

Most of my friends that I spoke with suggested I choose the MacBook Pro, but the decision wasn’t too easy for me. I overvalue portability compared to most of them. I want the thinnest and lightest laptop I can use and will typically give up performance for it. And that extends to the power adapter that the machine uses as well — 30 watt power adapters, which the MacBook Air require are much smaller and lighter than the 61 watt power adapter that comes with the Pro. I know I can use third-party power adapters (and trust me, I do), but it becomes tricky when you want to use your laptop under load with a lower wattage adapter — the battery depletes even when plugged in.

Then there is the question of the shape of the machine itself. The MacBook Air features that iconic wedge shape, while the MacBook Pro is flat. I rarely use an external keyboard, so would the flat shape effect my ability to type comfortably? The answer isn’t obvious and given the state of retail at the moment, it’s not like I could go out and try the MacBook Pro for some amount of time in store. And even if I could, the environment isn’t exactly great from an ergonomics standpoint, so I doubt I’d be able to get a good impression of what it would feel like to use in practice.

And the other major downside of the MacBook Pro is the Touch Bar. I have heard almost nothing good about it and the overall impression that I see online is that the Touch Bar makes your computer worse. Things are a bit different with the current iteration, though, specifically with the escape key being a physical key. But without much experience with it, I’d still err on the side of preferring a machine without one.

But then we get into the topic of performance. This is where the MacBook Pro really starts to shine. Based on Geekbench 5 benchmarks, the MacBook Pro is only marginally faster than the MacBook Air on single-core tasks, but it’s one-and-a-half times the performance on multi-core tasks. It’s difficult for me to gauge whether I will really get much benefit from that extra performance in my day-to-day tasks, though.

I spend all day in Chrome, Slack, Simplenote, and Things. Those aren’t particularly intensive applications, especially since I typically have less than ten tabs open in Chrome at any given time. I also have some menu bar apps open, like iStat Menus, tyke, Droplr, One Switch, and a handful of others. That’s a pretty accurate snapshot of my daily work and I don’t need a ton of CPU performance to keep up.

But this might not always be the case. I have an opportunity to spend time working on support for our mobile apps in the future and with that comes the possibility of more intensive applications. Specifically the iOS Simulator and Android in emulation so I can test our apps in different environments. This is a far heavier workload than what I’m doing currently and is the single reason I ultimately decided to spring for the increased performance of the MacBook Pro instead of the better portability of the Air.

Impressions

I ordered the 13-inch MacBook Pro in space gray with a 2.3GHz Intel Core i7, 32GB of memory, and a 512GB SSD. I’ve been using the machine for my daily work for about a month and although I had some hesitation with a few of its features, I’m very happy with the decision overall.

Here are my miscellaneous thoughts and impressions on the machine’s features, when compared to the 2018 MacBook Air that I upgraded from:

  • Physical Size: The difference in thickness and weight of the MacBook Pro was immediately obvious when it first arrived. But it only took a few days before I completely forgot about it. When I pick up the MacBook Air now, I am reminded of how light it is, but in my day-to-day it hasn’t had much of an impact.
  • Keyboard: It feels different than the MacBook Air. And while I appreciate the scissor switch keyboard’s reliability and key travel, I do find myself missing the stability that came from the butterfly switches. Not enough to go back, mind you, but I can understand to a certain extent why Apple was fond of the butterfly mechanism. If they were able to fix the reliability issues entirely and increase key travel, I think the butterfly keyboard would actually be more enjoyable to type on.
  • Touch Bar: I’ve been skeptical of the utility of the Touch Bar since its introduction, but have had very little experience with it up until now. Having a physical escape key seems to be a massive upgrade from the previous iteration and I’ve actually found the feature to be a positive addition to my workflow, although minor. I currently have my Touch Bar configured to display the extended Control Strip with display brightness, keyboard brightness, and volume buttons on the right with Quick Actions, Mission Control, and Show Desktop on the left. I only have one Quick Action configured, but I imagine it will get more useful to me as ideas for automation present themselves in my work.
  • Performance: I haven’t had much of an opportunity to test out the MacBook Pro’s performance. I’ve been sticking primarily to my everyday tasks so far and it has tackled those handily. I’ve run Geekbench a few times and the performance results do bear out what I’ve seen listed in their benchmark browser.
  • Battery Life: I don’t have exact measurements on battery life and mileage may vary depending on your workload. I have found that the Pro’s battery life is worse than the MacBook Air, but not by so much that it impedes my ability to work away from a power adapter for prolonged periods of time. One interesting wrinkle in this attribute is my use of Turbo Boost Switcher Pro, which lets you disable Turbo Boost at will. When this feature is disabled, I’m still seeing better performance and better battery life when compared to the 2018 with Turbo Boost enabled. So if I ever needed to work for longer stints without a power adapter, disabling Turbo Boost would likely do the trick.
  • Power Adapter: The MacBook Pro’s power adapter is large compared to the MacBook Air’s adapter. And massive compared to the third-party Anker power adapter I had been using. But I’ve since purchased Anker’s 45 watt adapter with a similar form factor and although it doesn’t provide as much power as the included adapter, it seems to at least maintain the current charge when the machine is under load.
  • Thunderbolt 3 Ports: The MacBook Air offers two Thunderbolt 3 ports while my new MacBook Pro offers four. There has been exactly one instance where I’ve used more than two ports — I had my power adapter, iPad Pro using Sidecar, and my Apple TV HD connected so I could display its screen in QuickTime for screen sharing on Zoom. I’m sure there are still a lot of Mac users that wish they could have more ports, but I think Apple’s offerings are just fine.

Unless something radically changes over the next couple of years, I expect my next Mac will be whatever the 13-inch MacBook Pro iteration is at the time of purchase. It offers an incredible balance of horse power and portability, which makes it the perfect machine for my work and travel habits.

Bar None ➝

Shaun Inman:

Bar None is an app that lives in your menu bar and ignores all Touch Bar input unless you’re holding the fn key. That’s it.

I don’t own a Mac with a Touch Bar, but I’m very glad this app exists.

➝ Source: shauninman.com

‘I’m on Cloud Nine’ ➝

Marco Arment on the newly announced 16-inch MacBook Pro’s scissor switch keyboard:

Look at this glorious keyboard! An Esc key! Inverted-T arrow keys! A millimeter of key travel! Enough spacing between the keys for our fingers to accurately orient themselves! And keystrokes will probably work, 100% of the time, for years! […]

The new keyboard is very similar to the recent desktop Magic Keyboard, and I expect it to have a wide appeal, just as the Magic Keyboard does. It has slightly less travel and spacing, but the overall feeling is very similar — and it’s nothing at all like the butterfly keyboard.

I absolutely love it — not because it’s the most amazing keyboard in the world, but because it’s completely forgettable in the best possible way. It just feels normal again.

I love my 2018 MacBook Air in every way, it’s one of my favorite Macs I’ve ever owned. Except for the keyboard, which is absolutely atrocious. I’ve had the machine for about a year and have been struggling with duplicate keypresses and missed keypresses for almost that entire time.

But this new keyboard truly seems like it will fix all of the issues with reliability while also reintroducing all of the design decisions that we’ve been clamoring for. I just hope Apple very quickly adds this new keyboard to the rest of their notebook lineup.

➝ Source: marco.org