Tag Archives: macbook air

Apple Must Fix This One Massive MacBook Pro Problem


Would you buy a new MacBook Pro today? 

I suspect most people would be happy to buy the 16-Inch Macbook Pro, but would avoid the other models. For all of the advances in performance, battery capacity, and new screen technology, the 16-inch MacBook Pro had one key feature that every reviewer was careful to note. A working keyboard.

When will Tim Cook’s Apple offer a similar breakthrough feature to the rest of Apple’s laptop range?

For many people the MacBook Pro, and particularly the applications and services that run on their MacOS powered laptop, are ‘mission critical’ parts of their personal or business life. They can’t move to another platform. There may be other factors contributing to this lock-in as well, including Apple’s own add-on services such as Apple Music and Apple TV+ as well as the tight integration of the iPhone and iPad.

In short, switching away from the MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air is simply not an option.

Which means that the ongoing issues with the butterfly keyboard and its high failure rate continue to frustrate users. Although Apple has acknowledged the issue and offers a service program with a free repair or replacement keyboard (and an uncertain time estimate for repairs), Apple continues to sell new MacBook machines with the troublesome keyboard. As late as July 2019, Apple updated the popular 13-Inch MacBook Pro but retained the butterfly keyboard.

This approach started to change at the end of last year, as the new 16-Inch MacBook Pro arrived, and features a return to the scissor switch style keyboard used before 2015 – albeit labeled the ‘Magic Keyboard’.

Yet those who purchased the 13-inch MacBook Pro still have no option but to buy a laptop with a booby-trapped keyboard. With a new model expected at some point this year – WWDC 2020 in June is a likely but not guaranteed date – those looking for a replacement laptop are faced with spending top dollar on an inferior product. 

A small thought experiment. Imagine if the iPhone had similar systemic issues issue with the touchscreen digitizer (e.g. that incorrectly calibrated inputs, fail to register inputs, or assuming there were double inputs). Imagine if this had started with the iPhone 6S and that Apple had tried a number of fixes and the best answer it could give you was ‘we’ll replace your screen for free if it breaks’?

Do you think Apple would be happy to put its customers through that?

Then why is it acceptable for customers of the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro to be put through that?

It’s traditional for companies to wait for new features and marketable technology to be added to a product before launching an updated product. It’s also traditional to offer customers the best experience possible. Apple has known of the keyboard issue for some time, and now has a solution. When the 16-inch MacBook Pro belatedly solved the problem, that was the moment or Apple to release an updated keyboard on the 13-Inch MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

It has been three months since the working keyboard debuted on the more expensive 16-Inch MacBook Pro. It’s well past the time for Apple to be offering that keyboard across the full MacBook range.

Now read how Steve Jobs’ vision of the MacBook is no more…


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Apple’s Lack Of Innovation Is Hurting The MacBook Pro


Last week’s update to MacOS Catalina was… underwhelming. Although the requisite line about big fixes and security was present, Apple’s two changes related directly to media production (improved gamma handling on a specific external monitor, and 4K multi-stream editing performance.

Compare this thin release to the iOS release in the same timeframe. iOS 13.3 brought new features to Apple News, additional controls in Screen Time, and improvements to the Stocks app, tweaks to Gmail, Photos, Exchange, text input, messages, voice memos, dark mode, wireless charging… as well as the bug fixes. Last week’s point update 13.3.1 improved the security in screen time and added in numerous options and configurations to protect your location.

Once more the MacOS platform is picking up little more than maintenance releases since it became publicly available in September 2019, while iOS continues to get the lions share of focus and attention on its issues as it continues to expand. 

It’s not as if the MacOS Catalina does not have it problems, with stories of instability, upgrade problems, and application support still being discussed. But MacOS feels like Apple is ‘finished’ with it in a way that is not perceived with iOS.

Some enterprising developers have taken a closer look at latest MacOS Catalina and have found hints of new features in the code, including a ‘ProMode’ which will allow for a wider thermal window to access more performance for lower battery life, and some hooks that suggest Apple is looking at AMD as an option alongside Intel. So there is some work going on at the hardware level, but in terms of the core software and Apple’s own apps, if they are not subservient to iOS and Apple’s software and services business, they are going to very far down the list of priorities.

What does this mean for Apple’s laptops in 2020? I suspect the answer is not much. Apple is expected to have a launch event in March for the iPhone 9 (the spiritual successor to the iPhone SE). The tweaked hardware is expected to show up in a 13-inch MacBook Pro, which could make an appearance, but I think it more likely Match will be the iPhone 9 with perhaps a dash of iPad for the education marketplace. WWDC is a more likely launch platform for the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

And at WWDC the next version of MacOS is likely to be announced, a new round of developer betas will be released, and MacOS 10.16 will be available for upgrades in October. While there may be a maintenance release for Catalina over the summer, that will be it for software improvements for most of 2020.

In terms of genuinely new hardware and ongoing support, 2020 is looking to be a dead rubber from Apple in regard to laptops. What you have now is what you have for the rest of the year. While the hoped for upgrade to the keyboard to the older design will be welcome, fixing previous hardware flaws should not be the only update of note in 2020.

It’s also worth noting what this says to potential customers about Apple’s ongoing support for the MacBook family. Has Tim Cook decided that this is as far as the evolution of the MacBook will go? Now that the media producers have a machine that has enough extra capacity in terms of storage and memory, is that it? Will Apple now lean in even heavier on the iPad and iPad Pro to deliver a laptop experience to the public? Or will Apple carry on trying to tie the Mac closer and closer to Cupertino?

I personally hope not. The iPad platform is only as flexible as Apple allows it to be, unlike the Mac platform which can still happily run outside of Apple’s garden.

Now read more about Apple’s plans for the iMac…


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