long live the macbook pro

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Get ‘em while you can!

Every man can use a good machine in his life. My MacBook Pro is the hub of my workday and for what I do, it is indispensable. Direct access to a *nix terminal. Easy ssh connections. iCloud key chain. Wood grain cover. Drobo for local RAID storage. Hand-picked deals to make your shopping a breeze.

The Future of Apple

So this last launch of the MacBook Pro was a bit of a dud. The new keyboard mechanism seems to be a bit funky, and then the launch of the ‘touchbar’ seems to have been a failure. I don’t know what else would explain the rollout of a non-touchbar Pro model, but there it is. Just as a quick recap of the issues, the main gripe with the touchbar is the lack of utility (it feels like solution looking for a problem), and the fact that it affects battery life for no good reason.

And apparently, the issue with the new keyboard is that the keys don’t feel uniform, and that they make different sounds, which is very odd.

And seeing as we at macbookpro.ist hold the MacBook Pro in very high regard, we do not take these things lightly. I will proceed to make the point that despite a rough ride at the moment, here at macbookpro.ist we don’t think the MacBook Pro is going anywhere soon. Here is why.

Even though they launched Windows Subsystem for Linux, and that is a huge step in the right direction, my attempts at building a linux dev box to deploy to AWS Debian failed miserably when it became clear that the arrow keys for the Lenovo I found were not mapping correctly inside WSL; so you are using vim inside linux, and you open up the .bash_profile to add some lines of code and the scroll keys don’t work. BOOM. A win for Mac. My Engine Yard account can spawn a terminal directly from the browser. Try that, Windows.

Look - I know there are plenty of Windows developers out there, and it does seem like a lot of Machine Learning stuff I see on Udemy shows someone running Windows. But my world is still basically web applications on AWS doing fancy stuff, and you need a MacBook Pro to work on that. It’s a fact. That or just running a Linux distro but as I will discuss a bit later, the Mac ecosystem is still a big positive.

For about ten years, I found a way to spend no more than around $1000 every time I bought a new development machine. Except for the one time in 2008 where I started at the contract I currently have, and they spent close to $2000 on a maxed out (you guessed it) MacBook Pro, I have found that buying refurbished models and one-release-behind models can save you a lot of money and get you everything you need. And right now, in 2017, there is the added benefit that some of the new features are actually a detriment to the experience. For example:

  • the new models no longer have an HDMI port. Yes you can have ANOTHER dongle to use a thunderbolt plug and convert it to HDMI, but I hate dongles and I really don’t use that port much at all. It’s just once in a while I like to plug in to my tv, and use the available HDMI port. It’s just easy that that way.
  • The touchpad - Force touch is just not something I care much about, on my phone I don’t like it all, and on my trackpad I don’t like it much either; so not having it on my laptop is a big plus;
  • The touchbar - as discussed above, the touchbar brings no value, and impacts battery life, so no thank you;
  • The keyboard - seems to be something that is less useful currently than in previous models.

So right now, buying an older model is both better and less expensive. Now, the $1000 spend limit that I used to have is no longer a reality, but starting at about $1400 up to $2000, you can get everything you need and not have to pay the starting price for new MacBook Pro because right now they are all priced well above $2000.

Example: I just bought one of these myself. I need high specs for my work, but didn’t want to pay $2800 for the cheapest quad-core with 512GB of ssd. So found this model with the same specs for almost half-price.

Look at those specs, and compare to:

Finally, the thing about Apple is that for the most part, the ecosystem is great. You know what I love about Apple?

You only buy once. Seriously, I have bought the same software twice so many times in the past. The Apple Store keeps that from happening. Also, iCloud is nice. I use my iCloud folder for basically everything now, and it means I don’t really have to build my new machines from a previous image. I do a clean install every time because everything I need comes along with iCloud anyway.

And finally, Logic is a fantastic product. A lot of my producer friends are using it now. It is Mac-only, and is also a great tool for songwriters.

So if you hear someone talking shit about the new MacBook Pros, just remember one thing: when they finally get around to revamping the current line, those old models are going to go for cheap. And when they do, you can find them at macbookpro.ist.

It all starts here.