Macbook Pro designs haven't evolved much over the years retaining significantly its original form to date. However, the move towards a thinner form factor has drastically helped remove key hardware features that have been a keystone in the previous Macbook Pro versions. This writeup plays up the value of such features and aims to "jumpstart" new discussions about them, hoping someday it will help revamp and bring back these older, great features in future Macbook Pro versions.
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I have longed planned to do a personal opinion piece about my prior complaints of Apple’s ever-lengthening consistency in delivering a “nearly-flawed” system time-after-time since post-2014. when the was rolled out.
Coupled with the constantly slimming profile, disappearing I/O options and the widely-infamous butterfly keyboard, across recent MacbookPro generations since 2015, the “one-laptop-setup-for-macOS-pro-users” now seemed like a wilting dream of the past.
Thankfully, Apple has realigned itself in Dec 2019 and chose to both:
- Swap out the faulty keyboard design, and
- Revamp a new MacbookPro 16″ (Late-2019) range to cater to the needs of pro-users like myself.
My Little Mac Journey
Being a self-confessed Apple fan since I got my first MacbookPro (Late-2008) back in Mid-2009, I have grown more attached to Apple’s simple yet highly effective operating system, the macOS (Previously MacOSX), as compared to my Windows or Linux experiences.
Since 2009, I have weathered through three MacbookPro 15″ (Late-2008 / Early-2011 / Mid-2014) bodies, where each lasted roughly 2–3 years on average, given my constant 24/7 heavy daily use of multiple processor-intensive and RAM-hungry applications.
This, interestingly enough, is significantly-better statistics when compared to my older Windows-alternative laptops, which only lasted a baseline of 1–1½ years each, based on my “extreme usage”.
Preview My Recent Fix
Perks Of The Classic Beast
For those who did not own MacbookPros 15″ pre-dating early-2010s, these were fully-fledged powerhouses that were heavier in weight, bulky in form-factor, and were considered all-rounder-workhorses that catered to any work-situational-need at any one given time.
Here listed below, are some of my current, sorely-missed signature-features that were unique and highly-acclaimed to the then MacbookPro 15″, which may have mostly gone extinct in 2020:
- “All-In-One” I/O Connectivity (Reduced) — We once had the ability to connect to generally all standardized I/O peripheral-connectors of its time, such as USB-A ports, Thunderbolt ports, Audio-jacks, an SD-Card slot, and even a Gigabit-Ethernet port amongst others, without a need for any additional dongle or 3rd-party solutions.
- MagSafe 2 Innovation (Expired) — Perfectly-designed was the MagSafe 2 port that saved my MacbookPro 15″ from countless accidents flying across the floor and trashing it. This technology relied on a “subtle-disconnect” functionality which safely “breaks-away” the power-cable when tripped by a passing individual.
- Physical Top-Row Media Keys (Expired) — Having the Mac-only additional row of shortcut-media keys just made our daily workflows that much faster! — From controlling our screen brightness to managing our media-controls is just simply a one-tap away.
- “Anytime” Battery Indicator (Expired) — An invention that was super-revolutionary at its time, the 8-pin-sized LED battery indicator, coupled with a simple button unit was built physically into the exterior of the laptop and provided an immediate indication to the user on how much remaining charge was left, without a need to boot up the software to do a check.
- DIY Repairs Were Possible (Expired) — The MacbookPro 15″ was once a fully-repairable machine, where a simple unlatch of an innovative latch-release, we could easily access the inner hard-disk or removable battery compartments, and easily swap them out when faulty. Other repairable changes including the RAM memory or other laptop parts were also made possible, as such parts were not welded permanently together back then.
Pro-Users = Function > Aesthetics
Being honest and practical, the MacbookPro 15″ price tag still surfaces a primary concern when it comes to our new system purchases, and Apple will neither win the awards for (A) Most-Value-for-Money-Device nor (B) Most-Affordable-Device.
However, we do know definitely-for-sure that the build quality is there and these well-built-systems usually last beyond years and outweigh their initial over-the-top costs.
Take my current MacbookPro 15″ (Mid-2014) rig, for example, she’s being active-non-stop since the day she was out of her packaging. Still going strong while hitting her 6th-year birthday mark this year in 2020, she is by far, probably my Last-Best-MacBookPro-Ever-Built pre-2015.
I do believe that many existing MacbookPro pro-users are now breathing a sigh of relief as Apple finally came around and released their newly revamped MacbookPro 16″ in Dec 2019. This move has even made many of those who have switched out of the Mac ecosystem previously reconsidered (Primarily due to the butterfly keyboard issue) or have switched back entirely in more recent months, given the more powerful system overhaul.
There were expectedly slight weight and size gains with the MacbookPro 16″, but I personally believe these are minor concerns as compared to the renewed hardware benefits.
No doubt, though things may have changed for the better in 2020, I personally do hope that Apple will continue to “listen to what their users actually want” and maintain their current trajectory going forward.
Secretly, I believe many others who are like me, would still wish Apple may re-consider these “minor upgrades”, for their near-future version-iterations for the top-end MacbookPro 16″:
- Stop Over-Focusing on Slim-Form-Factor / Weight-Savings — As mentioned previously, a major bulk of the time, the laptop will highly-likely be sitting by the desk as we deal with our work. Critically, we just want our high-end MacbookPro 16″ to be the “jack-of-all-trades” for all our daily grind — Either connecting easily to various cable-connections or media-storages or easily crunching off high-intense processing or graphics-heavy processes.
- Replace the TouchBar with Physical Keys — The TouchBar simply drains more power and most of us just don’t see a feasible usage of a “small TouchBar” — We would rather you give us a full-sized Touchscreen but we now know that will never be possible. Bringing back the original physical media keys will just help simplify our experiences, as controlling our media-playback can then be just a simple one-tap-action rather than multiple 2–4 gesturing taps.
- Include back the SD-Card Slot — As more and more portable capturing devices utilize the SD-Card format as memory storage, it would be useful for many of us to carry one lesser dongle to do our media transfers to our MacbookPro 16″. Moreover, having an inbuilt SD-Card that is directly linked to the motherboard will inevitably transfer faster as compared to an external-dongle-device connection.
Wishful Thinking Maybe.
Thank you for reading my personal opinion piece and I would love to hear your views if you do share similar views as me!