Author Topic: Someone needs to have a quiet word with Jony Ive  (Read 797 times)


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Someone needs to have a quiet word with Jony Ive
« on: January 27, 2019, 12:25:05 am »
So, last weekend I upgraded from my excellent 2015 MacBookPro 15? to the latest model (2018). I went for the 2.6GHz hexa core model.

I had never seen one, although a friend bought the 13? model just recently and I had a little play with it over Christmas. Anyway, last weekend, we went to the local Apple store and bought one on spec.

My 'go to' test on any new computer is to rebuild WeatherCat - it gives a good idea of the general processing power available. As some of you may know, WeatherCat is made up from many projects all stitched together at build time - there?s the main WeatherCat application itself, a web server, 13 station drivers, 9 application plug-ins along with the upgrader app. A complete rebuild rebuilds all of these. (Note, normally when developing, only the bits that have been modified are built, not the whole lot, so a normal build is much quicker).

On my old 2015 MacBook Pro, the rebuild would take approx 27 seconds - pretty good! I have a 2013 MacPro (TrashCan model) that can do the whole lot in about 12 seconds - much better, but it is as expected.

Imagine my surprise when I did the same test on this 2018 MacBook Pro and it resulted in a complete rebuild time of 6 seconds! Amazing! It took a while before I could actually get up off the floor - money well spent, an amazing result. Hats off to Apple for building such an awesome portable! Actually, it isn?t an awesome portable - it?s an awesome build machine - the rest of the story isn't so wonderful, and there?s no need for it!

But, just staying on the upside for a moment - the screen is better - the colours are deeper, the contrast ratio is better and for some strange reason, even though the physical resolution is the same as my 2015, I can run it at a higher resolution and thus get more stuff on screen (sadly my eyes aren?t good enough to run it at its native resolution).

Secondly, the speakers are a huge improvement - much appreciated, these get used a lot when travelling and the audio output over the headphone socket is better as well - it drives my Oppo PM-3?s better - so a nice improvement on the audio front (as one would rightfully expect seeing as who they poached to run audio*).

And onto the downsides

Power connection:
There?s a problem humans have of generally being clumsy and one thing that can happen is you trip over the power cable pulling your expensive laptop off the desk. Apple (cleverly) solved this problem a long time ago with the MagSafe connector, which was great - you could plug it in either way, it showed when the battery was charging and when charging was complete, and if you tripped over the cable, would safely detach from the computer and not pull it off the desk.

For reasons I cannot begin to comprehend, this is no longer present; power is now supplied via one of the four USB-C sockets. Now don't get me wrong, I think high speed ports are mandatory on a laptop, USB-C is the immediate future as far as high speed interconnects go, but why remove the MagSafe power connector?

Having the power plugged into a USB-C port terrifies me - I just know it?s going to get damaged sometime in the future :(

SD card slot:
Both Cath and myself take photos - frequently these photos are taken on iPhones these days. However, we also take photos with our DSLR?s as a hobby. There?s nothing wrong with iPhone photos, and the best camera is the one you have with you at the time you need to take a photo - so many casual photo?s are taken on our iPhones. But we take a _lot_ of photos with our DSLR?s. Our cameras take SD cards and my old '15 had an SD card socket built right into the machine. I should imagine Apple sells a lot of MacBook Pro?s to photographers as they make excellent post processing machines. 

But my new, 2018 model has no SD card socket. I can?t even begin to imagine how anyone could make this decision - I?ve had to buy a USB-C ?hub? to provide an SD card socket (along with type A USB sockets and some other stuff that used to be provided). I don't mind losing in-built ethernet, or video out ports, but I can see no reason to remove the SD card socket. There?s no way it would make the machine any thicker, heavier or more difficult to use - so why remove it?

Excellent novelty for about 5 minutes, then it?s just annoying - continually changing context sensitive 'keys' just below my eye line is distracting

I solved this problem by treating it more as a fixed keys/media controller/secondary screen rather than continually changing context sensitive keys (Apple?s developer documentation specifically forbids using it as a secondary screen/display by the way). I used the excellent BetterTouchTool to provide a few fixed keys and then the rest of the bar as a display/media controller (see screenshot) so it isn't continually flicking about all over the place as you change apps/windows. As an aside, even though I don't like Apple's default configuration, the TouchID at the end of the bar is excellent. I don?t think it?s any faster than banging in a password, but it is more convenient and it 'feels' like it's faster to me.

Apple reduced the key travel, and claim to have made it quieter. After a week of typing on it, it?s OK - louder however. I still struggle with the lack of travel a little bit, but overall it?s OK. But the one on my '15 was better.

No USB A sockets:
Ok, I get the need to push technology, but removing ALL USB-A sockets? I mean, my 1 year old iPhone has a USB type A to lightning connector cable supplied with it - I can no longer charge my iPhone from my laptop? If I go buy an iPhone Xs today, it has a USB type A charging cable supplied with it. (The comedy here is that the Apple store I bought this laptop from actually had no USB-C to A adaptors for sale, the staff could only suggest Amazon).

Why not at least provide one type-A port?


In summary, things I don't understand - removal of MagSafe, removal of SD card socket, removal of USB type A sockets and less travel on the keyboard. I can?t see why this would be done outside of trying to make the machine look as minimalist and as slim as possible. It is a nice looking machine, but I need the above. Obviously I?ve had to buy a USB-C ?hub? that provides SDCard, USB-A etc - but it?s annoying - it?s another thing to carry, another thing to plug-in, another thing to forget. This is Apple palming off their design responsibilities onto users.

Someone needs to have a word with Jony before the only person buying Jony Ive designed products is Jony Ive.




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Re: Someone needs to have a quiet word with Jony Ive
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2019, 01:26:02 am »
I hear ya! Even the guys that repair Mac portables (and constantly condemn Apple fort their expensive hardware) can't understand the loss of the MagSafe. Apple must save $2 by not having to build those?! [banghead] Plus the green/amber light was another good hardware diagnostic tool!! [rolleyes2]


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Re: Someone needs to have a quiet word with Jony Ive
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2019, 03:28:25 pm »
Someone needs to have a word with Jony before the only person buying Jony Ive designed products is Jony Ive.



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Feel your pain brother . . . (Re: . . have a quiet word with Jony Ive)
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2019, 11:42:07 pm »
Dear Stu, X-Air, Reinhard, and WeatherCat Apple "faithful," . . . . .

I'm probably in a worse bind than you are Stu.  My mid-2011 MacBook Pro is definitely showing signs of trouble and I'm having a very difficult time trying to see how I can migrate my present software and hardware ecosystem to a new Mac.  Still, I have to bite the bullet and find the time to make this all work.

I'm definitely having some serious problems with the silicon valley failing to "grow up."  When you are a younger person, you don't have a lot of memories needing preservation.  You are more willing to go through inconveniences for the sake of novelty.   

As you grow older, there is more of "you" to be preserved.  Documents written years ago might still be special to you and you would like to continue editing them.  My PhD was written using Word Perfect for the Mac.  Effectively, I have lost any way to touch that content.  I now have many music files and photo files.  These things very important to me - I want the software associated with these things to become more bullet-proof.  There are very few features I want added.

Over time the content of my digital world has become more and more important.  As such my needs for software and hardware have changed.  Instead of novelty - I want less change and more practicality.  Instead of innovation, I'll happily settle for improved reliability and robustness.   From youth to middle-age our values change as do societies expectations for us.  We are expected to meet our commitments and behave responsibility. Alas my information technology suppliers are trapped in a frenetic quest for innovation at apparently all costs.  The silicon valley is in a way in a kind of "middle-aged crisis."  It is continually struggling to reclaim its success of its youth.  Even if there are always young people, this is no longer a young industry and it really should start showing the responsibility of its age.  The sort of corporate miscues that lead to dot-com crash should be inexcusable now.  Neither the CEOs nor the investors seem to understand that and some are likely to pay for insisting on reliving history instead of learning from it.



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Re: Someone needs to have a quiet word with Jony Ive
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2019, 04:44:26 pm »

Thank you for the excellent and in-depth review of your new kit. It's very helpful to the rest of us when someone takes the time to share the details of what they like and don't like about new hardware (or software).

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Re: Someone needs to have a quiet word with Jony Ive
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2019, 01:37:31 am »
Stu - excellent review! Thank you for taking the time to write it. I foresee a third career for you in the Mac Blogging business. --grand