Some thoughts on the Apple Keynote

by Volker Weber

Well, this was confusing. I need to put some order into all this "best ever". The Apple TV announcement is US only, from December. I will skip right over it.

Let me honest with you. There isn't a single one that I want to replace my late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina 13". And that is only for the ports situation. I don't complain about dropping a 3.5 mm headphone jack, which btw is still included. But take away all of the stuff I use daily, and things become ridiculous.


One day we might live in a world where everything ends in a USB Type C plug. Where I can walk up to a presentation and be confident, that's the cable I find. Where all chargers have this plug, and where iPhones use it instead of Lightning. Today is not that day.


Another fun fact, but pretty close to your last one: If you buy the iPhone 7 and a MacBook Pro and you don't want to spend much money on AirPods, you can not use your new iPhone Headphones (Lightning) with the MacBook (USB-C) without any other adapter.

Martin Cygan, 2016-10-27

The port concept is very strange. You need adapters for nearly everything. Nonsense.

I doubt whether the Touch Pad usability is good.

The only feature I really like is the fingerprint sensor, apart from the (more than ever) reduced design.

Sven Bühler, 2016-10-27

With any other company I would say it's classic "Shoot self in foot. Repeat." But with Apple fanboys who knows?

David Schaffer, 2016-10-27

Also, hier ist doch ein Kabel, um das iPhone mit dem MacBook Pro zu verbinden:

Viele Grüße,
Fabian Mülleer

Fabian Müller, 2016-10-27

Hm, ich bin mir auch nicht so wirklich sicher ob ich das so gut finde.
Nur Macbook Pro Updates und diese sind schon sehr speziell.
Touch ID find ich klasse, die fehlende ESC finde ich schrecklich, die nutze ich ziemlich oft. Auch die fehlenden Anschlüsse sind nicht so richtig schlau.
Irgendwie nichts wo etwas in mir MUSTHAVE schreit.

Christian Ott, 2016-10-27

Fabian, ja, Kabel kann man für alles kaufen.

Volker Weber, 2016-10-27

Good points on the ports that got dropped - how do you backup/restore an iPhone to iTunes without a USB Lightning cable??? Or are we to rely just on iCloud? Sometimes I backup to my MacBook Air for faster install/update.

Leo Wiggins III, 2016-10-27

Frankly, what I see there frightens me. I understand that Apple needs to make money (and puts its resources to iThings), but the constant neglect for their desktop lines is a shame for a company that used to (!) have "computers" in its name.
I am deeply committed to the Mac, i.e., I NEED it to get my work done. Luckily, my MBP is just over two years old, but what I see does not even tempt me to get a new one. Our (little) son trips over the charging cord three times a day - no joke - but also not a problem... so far. As vowe said, take away ALL the stuff your users need daily and it becomes ridiculous. Don't even get me started about my Desktop (i)Mac, which I wanted to replace with a MacPro for quite a while... At least update the iMac or lower the price! And if I look at the Laptop lineup, I am just confused. Strange for a company that one stood for clarity.

Luckily for Apple, there are numerous people who care deeply about the Mac - listen to them!

Christian Andres, 2016-10-27

Kabel und Adapter haben fette Margen. Deswegen das.

Thomas Cloer, 2016-10-27

Volker - did you ever use the Lenovo's with the touch pad function key strip? It was really bad. there is a reason they dropped it from the X1 line.

John Head, 2016-10-27

So I heard. I had to think of that. But Apple isn't Lenovo. Lenovo throws stuff at the wall and sees if it sticks. When Apple does something, they know it's going to fly.

Volker Weber, 2016-10-27

I have the 12" MacBook and so I am used to Thunderbolt 3, read USB-C. The only problem I have is that it has just 1 USB-C port. For example connecting an ethernet adapter and an USB presenter at the same time is not possible. With the new MacBook Pro I don't have this problem.

I like the new Macs Apple announced today. The Touch Bar is gorgeous.

Otto Foerg, 2016-10-27

Yes, if you are coming from the 12" MacBook, this is a wonderful upgrade.

Volker Weber, 2016-10-27

Does apple do a lightning to USB c cable to connect your iPhone to your new Mac book?

David Guillaume, 2016-10-27

Yes. You can buy one.

Volker Weber, 2016-10-27

I was planning on finally replacing my current 2012 fat 15" MBP (non-retina) with a new macbook pro this year.
But USB-C-only is a bit too much for me. The high base price and the lack of ports and the magsafe makes the new macbook pro really unappealing.
IMO, the thickness of the "old" retina models was just fine. They should've kept the USB-A ports and add a few USB-C ports and use the remaining space for battery.
This is the first time in years of using the Apple ecosystem that I'm thinking of switching to a different manufacturer. It's rather sad actually. I really liked my current macbook...

Lars Schwegmann, 2016-10-27

I would not do that. Get yesterday's model as it is being down marked. Cyberpunk is already below 1500.

Volker Weber, 2016-10-27

13" only with 8GB memory... Never heard of a company that halves the max memory in a new model?

Vince Schuurman, 2016-10-27

Apple makes mistakes too. i.e. The Cube. The TouchBar could be another.

Seeing a lot of folks talk about this comparison:

These are life long macOS users who are floored at the comparison and what looks like a pretty big downgrade.

John Head, 2016-10-28

ah sorry, I see the 13" model was already at max 8GB last year. But the comparison between the '15 and '16 model doesn't look good either.
Maybe the extra color makes up for it all ;)

Vince Schuurman, 2016-10-28

The Lenovo touchbar thing was awful, just awful. I have no doubt that Apple will make a better fist of it. But these machines take compromise and “new for new’s sake” way too far. It’s sad that my 2013 vintage MBP is a more compelling machine than the line announced today.

Ben Poole, 2016-10-28

I thought this was interesting - they removed the SD port, which is super inconvenient for photographers.

Amy Blumenfield, 2016-10-28

Apple reach new levels of price insanity with their UK prices. 25% increase in the base MacBook Pro 13" cost?! So long Apple thanks for the many years of loyal service.

Andy Mell, 2016-10-28

Andy, you are barking up the wrong tree. 1 GBP used to buy 1.55 USD, now it's 1.21 and falling. Since MacBooks are made in China and not the UK, there is your price difference.

Volker Weber, 2016-10-28

Weird. on the site, I can't see the macbook pro 13' with the ports left on.

I used to admire apple for keeping a constant keyboard layout across all their machines. Granted, developers don't use their keyboards like normal people, but I'm going to miss the function keys, and escape.

Let's all congregate and *demand* a developer-spec macbook pro :-). Loads of memory, big ssd, all the ports including a full-height ethernet port, a programmer's keyboard with a special separator character key which would only ever be allowed within code and as such must never be escaped.

Andrew Magerman, 2016-10-28

The Touchbar reminds me your feelings about the Lenovo Yoga:

"The more important reason is that I am not learning how to type on the flat Halo keyboard. Yes, I can look at the keyboard and type hunt & peck style. But I cannot look at my text while I type. Which is useless to me. How do I know what I am thinking if I cannot see what I am writing?"

Imho same problem with the touchbar.
And serious developers lost keyboard shortcuts.

"A less important reason is that I cannot draw on a digitizer pad. I can draw on the screen with Surface or iPad Pro but drawing off screen would require some training. Yes, I could use the clipboard and paper, but you cannot erase stuff on paper, while you can on screen. Awkward."

Same here: real designer and audio producer will use external devices, which they can use without looking at them.

Touchbar is very good for average users: remove unnecessary F-keys, make important keys (volume, lightness, navigation) available. But the MB Pro prices are not for average users...

Jean-Marc Autexier, 2016-10-28

Andrew, it is very well hidden. You have to go through "Compare ..."

Volker Weber, 2016-10-28

The old models are visible in the normal store, you just need to scroll down.
Didn't see them first either.

Patrick Bohr, 2016-10-28

If Apple is working on big business (in reference to your earlier MS post), it is certainly not the construction industry. This is a very large Creative and engineering industry at many levels, and the younger generations in this trade will use touch-screen tools to create new architecture and workflows. The MS product is not just aimed at making nice pictures (in response to a commenter). If it is, consider the wish to be the father of the thought.

What can we do with the new macs in my world? Autocad is the industry standard. The mac version has been crippled since the start (and the 2000 euro fee puts Autodesk on par with medical scumbags). Draftsight (2D) and Rhinoceros (3D) are excellent alternatives at affordable cost (many architecture and engineering firms are small and perpetually hit the bottom), but again, their mac versions lack essential functionalities. None of them are sufficiently adapted or even prepared for contemporary workflows (mobility, collaboration, …). Cad tools made for the mac are used by a limited number of architects, clustered in small geographic regions. The compatibility with other software leaves wanting, yet exchange between the packages is unavoidable. Today, the design of even a simple building requires a team approach and it is unlikely that all members use the same software. Re-schooling and tooling for a single project is unaffordable.

Apple moves the escape button to a touchscreen, and with it they flip the bird to the architects and engineers. The escape button is THE key to use between commands, much like the space bar when you write. I can already see a variation of the iPhone typo disclaimer: drawing made on a mac, may contain errors.

How's that for application readiness assessment?

Sure, Apple things just work. And we’re not not treated like stupid cows who should have taken IT classes. Yet, Apple categorically refuses to address basic issues: file sharing in a mixed OS environment is fubar, file selection is erratic, and iCloud is a disgrace - recent system updates advanced Halloween by a couple of weeks. I am talking about contacts, not calendar.

My inbox wants me to believe that Apple is focussed on things that make us work better. Like stickers. In two weeks three mails announce better ways to work, and talk about… stickers. Insulting a cheering crowd is popular these days.

Apple has managed to reduce once-critical commentary to extensive exchanges about the difference between two colors black. The color of a phone. That most of us carry in a cover. A recent storyline is how iMessage is THE thing that keeps us to the mac. True or not, it is pathetic either way.

Gruber often said that Apple is skating where the puck is going to be. It no longer holds. Critical voices are silenced and patronized. Perhaps it is nostalgia, but I think it is foremost disappointment that Apple cannot manage to live up to their own standards. Critical analysis and reduction to the essence is no longer central to the work. That is, per definition, contrary to the idea of The Best.

Values go the same way. Staying hungry and foolish has nothing to do with designing watch bands for Hermes. Hermes the rebel?

For 20 years I have carved my own path on a mac. Should I start looking for my old regedit notes?

Frans Swarte, 2016-10-28


Ich hoffe, dass mein iMac 2011 noch lange halten wird.

Karl Heindel, 2016-10-28

This is an interesting discussion, and using a late 2013 MBP Retina aswell, I am wondering if I would buy the new model if I needed a new computer now ... and I think I would.

Yes, the port situation hurts ... at first, because we so got used to a weird mix of plugs and interfaces ... as it was in the early days, when we needed bulky and ugly interfaces to connect a printer, a scanner, a CD Drive, etc... today all this comes with USB... I think Apple again is just way ahead and in 2-3 years when all devices come with USB-C only, the world is much, much simpler ... again. Until then, I'll skip one or two visits to the movies and get the right set of adapters.

Maybe I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one ;-)

Stefan Heinz, 2016-10-28

As ever there is always lots of hype before these presentations and as ever afterwards there is always a sense of loss and being let down afterwards.

This time though I think I will still have the feeling of being let down in some weeks time.

The new TV app.... what ever. This has no place in my world today, and frankly I can't imagine all the TV player apps I use integrating with it. (Sky Now, BBC, Netflix)

To me the new laptops are just a hygienic exercise. New design.. what ever. Removing ports.. come on this is Apple what did you expect. Touch Bar.. maybe useful, certainly interesting. There was nothing that excited me enough to replace my ageing 2102 MBP (2.9 proc / 8gb ram / SSD) that is still super speedy because I look after it.

Initially my biggest disappointment is touch, or lack of. I really want Apple to get with touch. I just can't understand why they drag their heals. Having slept on my thoughts over night I am left wondering if they need to first announce touch at WWDC so that developers can get on board before they release capable hardware. A Touch Bar is likely much easier to develop to, with simpler HCI implications, than suddenly enabling touch on traditionally crafted mouse oriented MacOS apps.

Finally. What about iMacs? Surely their spies alerted them to the MS Surface Studio. Once the new Studio is released and if the reviews are favourable then Apple iMacs must surely loose market share.

In short I was disappointed immediately afterwards and I continue to be today. Maybe in a month I will shrug my shoulders and say Meh.

In my dreams...... New MBP with touch and Pencil capability.

Ian Bradbury, 2016-10-28

I need a new MBP because I want to replace my 2009 model... First I was upset (only USB-C!!!), but after a while I found this... ;-)

Paul Potaczek, 2016-10-28

Ian, Amen.

Looks are not all that important, but this silver look. Meh. I am using this look since it came out and after more than a decade it feels dated (to me). And no space grey is not that different.

I would really like something with a surface like the Kindles have.

Now it takes probably another 2-3 years until we can get a shot at something better, say with touch screen or 32/64GB RAM; hopefully not even smaller.

And OSX didn't offer something cool that I needed for years. Maybe everything I need is already in there; just a faster, less buggy and more refined version of the Finder would be nice.

I tried Windows a couple of times, but it just doesn't stick.

I guess I am turning into an old fart - get off my lawn.

Mariano Kamp, 2016-10-28

Yes, you are. Happy birthday, Mario!

Volker Weber, 2016-10-28

Thanks Volker ;)

Früher war alles besser.

Mariano Kamp, 2016-10-28

Thanks Volker - I could almost not believe that you are unhappy with the USB-C strategy. Maybe it is 2 years too early for the majority of users to replace everything with USB C. But I can tell you - my wife moved from MBP 15 (2011) to an 2016 Macbook (12") and has never complained about a missing port, disc drive or whatsoever!
The use case with the iphone 7 makes me thinking though why the heck Apple keeps selling iphones with the Lightning adapter instead of USB C??! Did Apple grow too big so the mobile devices department does not talk to the Mac department?
TouchBar - ok, maybe interesting. I think Apple does it better than Lenovo, so we will see this surviving (and maybe growing). MagSafe however is a drawback - and it should not be too difficult to combine USB C with MagSafe (Griffin sells it already).

Axel Koerv, 2016-10-28

Your wife's use cases might be different from mine. Does she ever have to connect a projector for a presentation? Does she ever have to connect a presenter remote? Does she ever have to pop in an SD card? if you only need to browse the Internet, if you only need to work on documents and email, if you just need the port to charge, then you're absolutely fine.

Incidentally, this is what I use my iPad for.

Volker Weber, 2016-10-28

Re UK prices:

Apple put up UK prices.

Ben Poole, 2016-10-28

Oops. I could have sworn this site used to take links…

Ben Poole, 2016-10-28

maybe someone mentioned it already in the 41 comments but:

MacBook has one USB-C *not* Thunderbolt 3. (it's important when considering buying a docking station thing or maybe also when buying an external monitor.)

It is the same type of port, but not really the same feature set.

Matthias Welling , 2016-10-28

’So much to touch’ says one of the high-profile adverts: just not the actual screen, yet.

I know of so many users, whether used to Windows laptops or to iPads, who want and expect instinctively to drive a computer via the screen these days - in the past two weeks, putting my MBA in front of a 90 year old and a 5 year old, saw them trying to do so!

I wonder if Mac OS and its hardware will move in that direction any time soon?

Nick Daisley, 2016-10-29

Forgot to say: a more contemporaneous (half century old) friend describes my Macbook as 'unnatural' because the screen doesn't function as input device, after her few years of exposure to Windows 8 and 10 and an iPhone.

An interesting and potent word to use.

Nick Daisley, 2016-10-29

Wonder if the "weird" 3rd MacBook Pro (the one with the "classic" port set) has improved specs (processor options, memory, storage) over its direct predecessor. That would then make sense for the "workhorse" requirements.

Stephan H. Wissel, 2016-10-29

With "Hello again" Apple raised expectations that were underachieved (by far).
- No new Desktop Macs
- An US-only "TV" App for Apple TV
- No new Desktop Macs
- A MacBook Pro with Touchbar
Yes, this piece of innovation is great. But pricey too.
In general, all new MacBook models are quite pricey, compared to their predecessors. The MacBook Pro without touchbar, that has been advertised as successor to the 13 inch MacBook Air, starts at 1700 Euro. That's hard.

And did i already mention? No new Desktop Macs.
Looks like Desktop Macs are dead.
Future Desktop Mac = MacBook Pro + LG Thunderbolt Display

Manfred Wiktorin, 2016-10-29

I am glad that I exchanged my work horse only 4 weeks before, getting a descent discount. So I am very fine with a yesterdays model including a safe power port and useful HDMI & USB.

Interestingly one of the questions Apple asked after buying: Why did you prefer the MBP over the MB? First option to tick was: MagSafe.

I am sure they really know whats going on out there.

Dirk Bartkowiak, 2016-10-30

Put everything in perspective. If you have a 'recent' MacBook Pro, there no real reason to 'upgrade'.
Mine is an early 2011 model (no retina).
I would have upgraded anyway. So I'm happy.
Only one type of port: Indeed, but one that is going to be around for the next 5 years at least.
I use my iPad for touch, and never had any inclination for needing it on a laptop.
I ordered my new MBP, and will get good money for my 5 year old one!

Theo Heselmans, 2016-10-30

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe