The new MacBook Pros are overpriced

rhymes on December 15, 2018

I've been a Mac user for over a decade but I'm lacking enthusiasm towards the recent wave of computers that Apple released (the disappointment st... [Read Full]
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Yay, unpopular opinion incoming :-D

I think I mentioned somewhere else that I switched from Mac to a Windows 10 workstation fairly recently.

I also used Linux desktop (Gnome, KDE) for about 10 years. And I had a constant love-hate relationship with it. Overall I felt like being part of an eternal, never-ending beta test. Before that I went through several iterations of Windows, and I also remember (not so fondly) the MS-DOS era.

Out of all operating systems and desktop environments I've been using in my life Mac OS X is by far my favorite. I like the ease of use, I love the thought, effort, polish and creativity developers put into their tools and applications for Mac OS X. I do not quite see that on the Windows platform (just yet). Tools like Paw that are unparalleled, extremely well designed, feature rich and completely blow Postman out of the water. There is no replacement for that on Windows.

There is also nothing like Alfred, nothing like Pastebot or programmer-friendly really good clipboard managers. Or quirky and strangely useful tools like Strukt.

Also the situation for good, stable terminal emulators that do not make your eyes bleed is pretty dire on Windows 10. There is Cmdr. It's OK. The UI is dated and ugly but it gives you probably the closest experience to opening up a terminal on Mac or Linux.
But it also has bugs when you SSH into a remote and do anything that is interactive and updates the screen buffer. It just glitches out and you need to close and open it again. Also do not try to resize your Cmdr window. Same issue.

I spent a good week downloading and evaluating Windows terminal emulators. The only ones that look good, polished and modern are implemented using Electron and are noticeably slow and not really all that mature.

There are a few Mac developers who start reaching out to Windows, but their efforts are very early stages.

I built a Threadripper workstation with 16 cores and 32GB RAM. I would assume the hardware is not really the bottleneck here (even though focus has been traditionally on intel CPUs). But there are simple operations that are inherently slow on Windows. Trivial things like deleting, copying or moving a file. I think the file system is just not well optimized. It's a jarring experience coming from Mac.

I'm OK now with developing on Windows 10 but getting comfortable was a fight with many compromises. Sure the ways of Windows are different and there are many ways to skin a cat. But I miss the Unix-y way and POSIX compliance in development. I primarily use the terminal for many things. In order to get some Unix-y flavor here you either have to use Cygwin (and I couldn't get to run reliably 100%) or WSL (Linux subsystem). Both are tacked on. Both cannot properly interoperate with Windows-native programs and features.

The WSL was also a constant source of pain for my team last year. It had bugs that would cause file system related issues, especially when reaching from WSL into the Windows file system (e.g. work on a checked out git repo). It caused undeletable "ghost" files only a restart could sort out. These issues are probably fixed by now. But there are other issues with WSL. For example WSL sets Windows files and folders to "case sensitive" on write access, which is not the Windows-native way of doing things.

The Visual C++ compiler for example cannot find source files that are flagged as case-sensitive, so if you happen to have a C++ project checked out on your Windows file system and happen to access it from WSL brace yourself for potential problems.

I personally do not see much value in WSL. It's quite slow, does not interoperate properly with Windows-native applications (unless you keep it 100% separate for specific tasks such as running servers or SSHing into remotes). And quite frankly, you might as well just use a Raspberry Pi and SSH into that thing instead. Or use VirtualBox.

 

"Overall I felt like being part of an eternal, never-ending beta test."

So true. I love Linux, but there's always that nagging question in the back of my mind, "will this work?" I really want a machine that I can just boot up and know it will function the way I need it to all the time. But, on the other hand, I suppose this is computing, after all. What would be the fun in that?

 

But, on the other hand, I suppose this is computing, after all. What would be the fun in that?

Yeah but it shouldn't, we are power users, we can adapt, we use computers in a different way than most people but why should we? When I'm done with my editor and my terminal I just want to use the computer, not fiddle with it :-) I don't find any joy by endlessly chasing the perfect setup or reinstalling things over and over, but that's just me, others are more keen to having that and maybe automating or perfecting their setup as uniquely as possible.

When I switched to macOS it was exactly because I was tired of asking myself "will this work", and that was 12 years ago, the fact that you're still asking this question it's not encouraging :D

 

Thank you very much Thomas, a lot of very detailed information!

Another factor in the choice, that I didn't really think about yet, is how much adjustments I'd have to make both in development and in normal "desktop-y" usage.

Lots to think about, as usual the perfect system doesn't exist (well, it's macOS with less stupid hardware choices, at least for me :D)

 

Yes, I gave it a good proper thought ahead of time and went on a hunt mainly in hopes of finding 1:1 replacements. It's impossible :-/ I had to adjust and do things in a different way. The only things I work with which are available with the same feature set for Windows are:

The ones I used daily that do not map are:

  • Quiver - I had to switch all my stuff to individual markdown files. But that's not really a bad thing
  • iA Writer - they have a Windows 10 version but it's very bare bones early stages and I doubt it will ever reach the quality and feature set of the Mac OS X version.
  • iTerm2 - I couldn't find a good terminal emulator. Cmdr is probably the way to go though.
  • Pastebot - I replaced it with Clipboard Fusion - It's not as good in terms of running (custom) filters though, or I couldn't figure it out yet
  • Alfred - I found Ueli but it had two problems: 1. it was slow to start and not really responsive. 2. It started giving crash messages on startup.

At least there is Chocolatey as a suitable Windows replacement for Homebrew

I do not like Windows built-in mail and calendar clients. The calendar for example doesn't allow you to change the target calendar / target account of an existing event. Something that can be done with ease using Fantastical. I'm using em Client instead and I have to say I'm quite happy with it. It's quite customizable and does everything I need to do.

I've spent years building a stack that is as cross platform as humanly possible due to the nature of my work, def feel your pain on 1:1. Some alternatives for your consideration:

Conemu (mux and window manager)

Wox (lame Alfred)

Typora (newish, but I've liked it, prefer it for docs as it gets out of my way)

Vscode has continuously improving java support (and dozens of other languages) and starts fast for an electron app if you don't load it down with plugins. Good for small changes and quick inspection, as well as a better editor for most things. Also has a --wait flag for use with git and similar.

sublime is handsdown the best large file processor for Windows. It's the only tool I've found that will easily regex modify multiGB files on Windows (aside from grep|sed+awk, but ymmv on that wish wsl, as you've probably seen)

And as slow as it is, powershell can be made to feel a little more like zsh with a little wrenching. There's even a better package manager for it. In some use cases, I think it exceeds some of the Linux tools (curls better than curl in many cases, useful for scripted testing on the cheap) gist.github.com/jchandra74/5b0c943...

And for what it's worth, cross compiling golang to windows is easy and functionally consistent. Roughly python, but better perf, and single file executables.

What are good alternatives to write many notes and snippets in markdown for Windows ?

Typora is good for generic notes, snippets. Also has built-in latex, mermaid, chartjs support
typora.io

Vscode now has ootb support for markdown rendering
vscode-docs.readthedocs.io/en/stab...

sublime is capable at this task with some configuration

Caret is an honorable mention, but isn't free.

Yes, I'm using Typora actually on Windows. It's closest in features to iA Writer for Mac. And I like the built-in code syntax highlighting. Neat feature. I will look into your other recommendations soon. Thanks!

 

I've had a MacBook for years, got a Dell XPS from work, put Linux on it, but since then I've changed distro for at least 10 times. It's always love/hate... I can honestly say I'll go for a more expensive MacBook pro for my next laptop. The 700 dollar extra is worth the ease of life haha. It's kind of a first world problem, but I honestly really miss osx. It just always worked for me.

 

The 700 dollar extra is worth the ease of life haha. It's kind of a first world problem, but I honestly really miss osx. It just always worked for me.

Yeah, that's a valid reason. If tomorrow I walk into a store and get a new MB Pro, I can just come home, attach it to my time machine, wait an hour for the restore and keep on working like nothing ever happened.

If I switch to another hardware maker and another operating system I'm going to have to spend some time adjusting, finding equivalent software, finding an alternative to time machine, learn a new set of bugs to work around, have to deal with windows updates maybe and so on. It's not impossible, it's just more work...

It's definitely a first world problem! :)

 

Applications like Paw couldn’t exist on the Windows side of the fence. Technically it’s possible, but the Windows ecosystem is cluttered up with antiquated “good enough” applications that crowd out gems like that.

In some domains like video editing the Mac platform provides relatively few concrete advantages, so it’s easy to switch. In others, like web development, there’s way too many irreplaceable tools. Windows is great for many things, but general web development is a serious weak spot due to the command-line environment and state of WSL, as you point out.

If you’re making a purchasing decision on an essential daily-use tool, buy the best tool you can afford.

 

I'm using Windows, Linux, and MacOS in parallel most of the time.

Sadly I can't get rid of MacOS because of iOS development :/

 

I'm using Windows, Linux, and MacOS in parallel most of the time.

Which one do you prefer? Altough my post was originally mostly about the hardware, we've veered on operating systems as well :-)

Well, sadly MacOS implies hardware :/

I like Linux, then Windows, then MacOS.

Linux (Xubuntu) feels rather snappy and all the dev tools run on it (besides Xcode).

MacOS also gets more dev-love than Windows it seems, but I never got the shell configured as I liked it without getting some strange bugs along the way. Also, the window manager of MacOS is horrible.

I like Final Cut Pro, which is a MacOS application, it's not as expensive as Premiere and quite optimized to run on Macs.

Games run much better on Windows and most non-dev applications seem to be integrated more nicely and work more performant (Firefox).

MacOS also gets more dev-love than Windows it seems, but I never got the shell configured as I liked it without getting some strange bugs along the way.

Weird, I've never had problems with zsh on macOS

Also, the window manager of MacOS is horrible.

Ah ah kind of, I use divvy and "hot corners" to solve that

I like Final Cut Pro, which is a MacOS application, it's not as expensive as Premiere and quite optimized to run on Macs.

True, Premier in turn is more optimized on Windows than on macOS

Games run much better on Windows and most non-dev applications seem to be integrated more nicely and work more performant (Firefox).

Yeah, gaming on macOS is a non starter

First thing I tried on my Mac was setting up zsh, but somehow different tools I used still started other shells.

I use iTerm2 with configured with command shell in Preferences -> General -> Login

In addition I use ohmyzsh and SHELL=zsh in the zshrc.

If you set the SHELL variable tools should respect it...

Zsh is installed with homebrew

Window management on Macs is really buggy. I've used Macs at work for abut 6 of the last 10 years and they've barely improved. Windows disappear, monitor settings disappear, mouse cursors work on one screen but are invisible on another, full screen apps vanish, that sort of thing. Happens a lot, whereas at least Windows is relatively stable (I never thought I'd say that).

Even iTerm2 has a whole slew of bugs. My favourite is when the screensaver kicks in there's about a 25% chance that iTerm will stop responding to mouse clicks and instead insert control characters onto your command line. That's fun.

Windows disappear, monitor settings disappear, mouse cursors work on one screen but are invisible on another, full screen apps vanish, that sort of thing.

The only thing I've noticed for sure is full screen apps and multi screens. Sometimes you have to display all available windows to find them. Another weird thing that happens to me is that sometimes if I decide to open the lid of the laptop (connected to the external screen) and close it again macOS thinks the only connected monitor is the laptop. But this hasn't happened since the last two minor versions of Mojave, so I guess they fixed that.

I feel that macOS for all its quirks, still moves faster than Windows with his complicated "editions". The relase of Windows 10 October 2018 1809 was a "clusterfudge" :D Not that this stuff never happens for macOS, if you think about it, it's kind of a miracle that Windows 10 works at all since the infinite combination of hardware configurations and more or less compatible software they have to deal with. Kudos to Microsoft on this. Apple only has to deal with their own hardware.

Happens a lot, whereas at least Windows is relatively stable (I never thought I'd say that).

ahahha :)

Even iTerm2 has a whole slew of bugs. My favourite is when the screensaver kicks in there's about a 25% chance that iTerm will stop responding to mouse clicks and instead insert control characters onto your command line. That's fun.

That's weird, I've never noticed because I don't use screensavers.

At work we have an enforced screensaver for "security", which I get round by using the app "Caffeine"...

 

I went through the exact same exercise over the last few weeks. Comparing the Dell XPS 15 to the new MacBook Pro (with an i9 processor) ad nauseam.

I love using macOS and have been using MacBooks for more than a decade now.

My 2012 MBPr is starting to show its age, but only when working on my largest project where I spend most of my time. I could have literally sat and coded myself out of the frustration but I decided the continued opportunity cost is outweighing the actual cost of replacing the machine.

When Black Friday came I was ready, and Dell had some decent discounts to sweeten the deal. Then just before I pulled the trigger I thought about how well the MacBooks have served me over the last decade, especially the last one still running nearly perfectly after 6 years. I also thought about what kind of software I'll be developing over the next 6+ years and I couldn't conclusively say that I won't be touching macOS or iOS...

I realised that a big part of why I've always gravitated towards Mac are actually two less technical reasons: the uptime is enormous and the leverage is off the charts. If I have to total the amount of time lost due to some kind of failure (hardware or software or configuration) over both my previous MacBooks it would probably be a day, two at most, over 10 years.

We can babble on forever on the nuances of this or that, but for me it came down to "it just works, and keeps on working", and I can then target way more platforms by using Apple hardware than most other general purpose platforms. Speaking for myself I just don't know where I'm gonna be in 6 years again, it could still be full-stack as it has always been, or it could be iOS, or watches, or maybe I would be booting into Windows to build out something there (heavens forbid). Having the leverage to tackle any of these situations is both empowering and comforting.

I bit the bullet, paid the Apple Tax and got the new MacBook Pro with an i9. Time will tell if my assumptions hold as well as they've done in the past.

I'm still getting used to the new keyboard, and this Touch Bar is peculiar. At the office I plug into a monitor and use a normal Apple keyboard with an escape key. I guess as with all things Apple I'll get use to the quirks and move on. As with all things Apple I also still need to acquire a bag full of new dongles...

I hope this helps, it feels a bit like a rant. Maybe I'm writing this out to justify my spending to myself, and not to you. If it is Stockholm syndrome, well, then I'd rather be held captive by Apple than the others 🤷‍♂️

 

Wow Kenneth, this helps a lot. Let me answer inline:

I went through the exact same exercise over the last few weeks. Comparing the Dell XPS 15 to the new MacBook Pro (with an i9 processor) ad nauseam.

I'm starting to think that each MBP power user goes through this exercise at some point. We all have have read somewhere that "PCs cost less" but similar to what you say afterwards in your answer: I've had to deal with issues for a total of a couple of days in two years. My first MacBook lasted 4 years before I sold it, the last one is at six years and the one in between was stolen :D

It is true though that newer MBPs seem to be made with a lower quality bar and they can't be upgraded, which means that I have to get the highest builtin configuration I can afford and that's it, which is a little of a bummer.

I would steer clear from the i9 though, a lot of hardware makers (not just Apple) are having issues dissipating the heat in laptops

We can babble on forever on the nuances of this or that, but for me it came down to "it just works, and keeps on working", and I can then target way more platforms by using Apple hardware than most other general purpose platforms.

Yeah, macOS/MBP for me is truly the right combination, I'm just a little unenthusiastic about the lack of innovation and needless price hikes

Speaking for myself I just don't know where I'm gonna be in 6 years again, it could still be full-stack as it has always been, or it could be iOS, or watches, or maybe I would be booting into Windows to build out something there (heavens forbid). Having the leverage to tackle any of these situations is both empowering and comforting.

True that, I don't know either. I think we're going in the direction of people being able to target whatever they want by using cross platform environments. The only big lockin I still see is the need for MacOS to develop (or at least build) iOS native apps but there's obviously no incentive for Apple to change that.

I bit the bullet, paid the Apple Tax and got the new MacBook Pro with an i9. Time will tell if my assumptions hold as well as they've done in the past.

Let me know about i9 and the heat :D Talking about taxes, I found out the other day that I can rent Apple hardware as a business and change it every two or three years, with warranty for theft and damages. I basically pay a monthly fee and at the end of the lease I can switch to a newer model. Hardware as a service I guess :D This would definitely lessen the burden (and the guilt) of shelling out thousands of dollars

I'm still getting used to the new keyboard, and this Touch Bar is peculiar. At the office I plug into a monitor and use a normal Apple keyboard with an escape key. I guess as with all things Apple I'll get use to the quirks and move on. As with all things Apple I also still need to acquire a bag full of new dongles...

I use a Microsoft keyboard and a Logitech mouse at home so I'll just need to get used to that when I'm around. The dongles though are unforgivable. I wonder how much money Apple makes only on adapters (see the fact they haven't adopted USB-C for the phones yet, but oddly they did for the iPad Pro: The iPad Pro's USB-C port is great. It should be on my iPhone, too)

I hope this helps, it feels a bit like a rant. Maybe I'm writing this out to justify my spending to myself, and not to you. If it is Stockholm syndrome, well, then I'd rather be held captive by Apple than the others 🤷‍♂️

Ah ah it's not like the others aren't for profit companies anyway :-)

We could call it the "get out of my way and let me be productive syndrome".

 

They are overpriced, you're absolutely right. This is the reason why I have always used only *BSD/Linux boxes, though I'll get MacBook for development from my new employer. But I wouldn't buy it, it's not worth it.

 

At this point, the next time I'm due for an upgrade from my employer I'm just going to ask for a Linux laptop instead -- my dotfiles will transfer better, I'll only have to deal with one keyboard layout, and it'll save them some money too.

 

Do you think 2018 MacBook Pros models are overpriced? Am I missing something?

All Mac's are overpriced :P

But for real, I do* all of my dev work on a $280 Thinkpad x230 that I bought last year. It's an old computer, but it is also upgradable and repairable. It's got 16gb of ram and a 256gb SSD. If something goes wrong with it, I can probably fix it or at least repair the part that broke. I can't say that about my Mac (which is a 2015 Mac Pro, that I found for half off). I have Arch Linux installed on my Thinkpad - it is blazing fast and configured the exact way I like. Not saying this is for everyone, but it definitely works for me.

As far as software goes, I definitely feel the differences between Linux and macOS, but as more things move onto the web it gets easier and easier to make the switch. I'll probably stick with Thinkpad+Linux moving forward. I just have to remind myself that the people who built the tools I really love had to build those tools without that tool, so I can probably build things without it too. :P


  • After switching to my newest job, I couldn't get the platform running on my Arch machine, but we just got docker running so I'll be switching back soon.
 

But for real, I do* all of my dev work on a $280 Thinkpad x230 that I bought last year. It's an old computer, but it is also upgradable and repairable.

Nice, I don't really want two separate computers though

Not saying this is for everyone, but it definitely works for me.

That's the gist I think :D

I just have to remind myself that the people who built the tools I really love had to build those tools without that tool, so I can probably build things without it too.

Ahahah something like "well, they used to punch cards into computers, so now I'm living the dream" :D

 

Ahahah something like "well, they use to punch cards into computers, so now I'm living the dream" :D

Exactly! Lol

 

I have a very similar situation to deal with. My 2012 MBP-Retina is not enough for my needs, and I was looking into upgrading.
You've raised good points, my biggest concern is how well will I work on a Linux or Windows machine?

What is the actual cost of the learning curve to switch to Linux or Windows machines, set it up for your needs, get it to the level that these machines work for you and help you do better, and not you working around their limitations?

 

If you use the terminal at all, a lot of the concepts will transfer more or less directly (OSX is based on BSD Unix, which is a near relative of Linux). Instead of /Users/you you'll have /home/you, instead of launchd you have the much nicer systemd, and most distros have a proper package manager built in. The graphical interface is effectively a matter of taste with Linux; you can install and run any of dozens of different window managers, and most are very customizable.

 

What is the actual cost of the learning curve to switch to Linux or Windows machines, set it up for your needs, get it to the level that these machines work for you and help you do better, and not you working around their limitations?

Probably the only way to answer that question is with research. You're the only one that knows which software and tools you need inside and outside development. Make a list of the major things you need and see how well they work on Linux and Windows.

These might help:

 

Hi, I have Dell XPS 15 with 32GB RAM and 512GB SSD. I develop under Windows and Ubuntu with dual boot. Battery is great but neither windows nor ubuntu works stable. First of all while ubuntu, battery goes only for 1 hour. And windows 10 has still lots of problems with this machines hardware such as wireless card, 4k screen. So that I use WSL under Windows 10 to get linux in my machine without sacrificing my hardware performs in virtualbox.

So at the end, I switch back to macbook pro. macos is a great os with bash. And If I want to build a docker swarm or kubernetes, I do not have to use hyper-v or any properitial vm solutions, virtualbox is just fine.

 

Thank you Onur! 32GB RAM is sweet!

First of all while ubuntu, battery goes only for 1 hour.

Woah, this sounds like a bug somewhere! Maybe it can be solved. My computer has a battery that doesn't last much, but after 6 years :D

And windows 10 has still lots of problems with this machines hardware such as wireless card, 4k screen.

This is the stuff of nightmares :D Doesn't Dell test their hardware before selling it?

 

I follow these articles for installing and maintaining ubuntu.

wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Dell_XPS_15_9560

github.com/rcasero/doc/wiki/Ubuntu...

and i can cross check my battery health when i switch back to windows. in that time, the battery goes about 6-8 hours.

 

I agree with most of thomas' points so I'll just toss in my experiences to add to the mix.

I agree the MacBooks are overpriced and some of the new features aren't great. That said, I dislike Dell more for their inconsistencies. I've opened 5 identical laptops over time to be greeted by random hardware,and in some cases even ram with mismatched timings and frequencies. The trust just isn't there for me.

As for Windows: I've developed for the platform, among other things, for a few decades. If you're considering cutting over to windows, even with the introduction of windows subsystem for linux you've picked the absolute worst time. Windows 10 is becoming increasingly unstable, and even the devs at Microsoft prefer macos and apple hardware. Part of the reason for that is it's the only stable combination of high end hardware and *nix architecture that works out of the box, the rest of it is Microsoft is heavily embracing linux due to the cloud and even it's development offerings are going multi-platform. At the end of the day for development apple and macos ends up being the close enough option.

Worth noting, I bought an xps 13 with Ubuntu for my son, a Razer blade 14 for my daughter, and I personally use a new 15" mbp in combination with two 8 core Intel desktops booting windows and linux for work.

 

Thank you, invaluable info you gave me. I've heard about windows instability, they had issues with the last service pack or the previous one right? I feel like due to the infinite combination of hardware and software Windows has to be compatible with, they will never have a smooth release. Even macos can have problems with that and they have to deal with orders of magnitude less combinations.

My parents have a Dell desktop with Windows 10 and had issues since day one. I've tried the "formatting" escape hatch once but still, didn't improve that much. Oem is always a coin toss.

Out of curiosity, how is the razr blade? That would be an alternative option hardware wise.

 

Windows is going through a phase right now. The hardware/software combinations isnt as much of an issue as their organizational structure. Hopefully they'll sort it out.

Razer products tend to be hit or miss. They're somewhat fragile so if you aren't gentle on hardware they're probably not a safe bet. If you treat your equipment with kid gloves (sleeves, padded cases/backpacks, always set it down carefully, no power cable yoinking) they're stable and reliable. Caveats accounted for they're definitely worth the premium, especially for the gunmetal options that eschew the gamer chic nuances.

 

I am a life long windows + linux user. Last while buying a new laptop I had the exact dilemma, weather to go with a overpriced macbook pro or a beautiful dell xps.
After thinking for months I came up with these points.

  • Linux is awesome, but I hate most of the WM.
  • Windows 10 is great but WSL is pain to work with.
  • MacOS is pricy but has what I need to work.

... and i bought a macbook pro. As for me I just wanted a portable machine that just works.

Note: In Bangladesh the almost same spec of dell xps and mbp has the price difference of 200$. The pricing of these high end laptops are much more expensive here.

 

Linux is awesome, but I hate most of the WM.

Me too :-)

Windows 10 is great but WSL is pain to work with.

Why? Because it doesn't integrate with native apps? Anything else?

As for me I just wanted a portable machine that just works.

That's it :)

Note: In Bangladesh the almost same spec of dell xps and mbp has the price difference of 200$. The pricing of these high end laptops are much more expensive here.

I really don't know what pricing policies companies have, sometimes prices vary wildly by country, but it probably also has to do with local cost of life, import tariffs, and so on.

 

I have been writing and debugging Django apps using pycharm for a while, on WSL first I need to install ssh-server, create a virtual environment on wsl then set pycharms python interpreter to remote wsl server. That was the bare minimum for me to get started. Then came some little issues with filesystem watchers and etc. Adding up all of this made the experience quite annoying.

And on pricing, It's not that companies charge too much from Bangladesh but simply suppliers here does not orders expensive thin and light machines like xps, surface pro, MacBook pro in bulk. For the most of the time well-reputed shops buy the laptop from Singapore or USA and send them directly to Bangladesh, That adds a huge cost to the factors. Here the base MacBook pro costs around 1560$.

I have been writing and debugging Django apps using pycharm for a while, on WSL first I need to install ssh-server, create a virtual environment on wsl then set pycharms python interpreter to remote wsl server. That was the bare minimum for me to get started. Then came some little issues with filesystem watchers and etc. Adding up all of this made the experience quite annoying.

That sounds like a lot of hassle :D I didn't give it much of a thought but using WSL also means you have to configure another operating system inside your main one.

Thanks for the info!

 

Huh. I always thought it was "MacBooks Pro", like "Fathers-in-law".

 

"Macbook Pro" is the whole product name whereas "in-law" is effectively an adjective on father. But I don't think grammar is quite the point. :)

 

But people shorten it to "MacBook", and "Pro" is short for "professional". So "MacBook Pros" logically expands to MacBook Professionals (which makes me think of the Genius Bar). Anyway, I seem to be in the minority.

 

I had a Dell with Windows about 10 years ago. It was giant, heavy, cheap plastic, some parts were sticky for some reason, and I had to keep it on top of another giant cooling system. It was like 15cm tall, closed. Slow as a slug, uncomfortable keys, unresponsive touchpad. And the cables! Oh no. I hated everything about it.

Then I got a MacBook Pro in 2015. Thin, slim, beautiful, fast, metal! Everything is just fantastic.
I hope I never have to change it. If I ever do, I’ll buy the same one again.

 

I feel you, I use to have one of those computers as well.

To be fair the new Dells are light years better than those of 10 years ago :-)

You also have which is probably the best MacBook Pro edition ever made, if not the best laptop ever made.

I'm holding out for the 2019 model, hopefully they'll get it right this time: macrumors.com/roundup/macbook-pro/

It's not that hard, they just need to bring back the perfect keyboard they had and provide an option without the touch bar. Everything else is mostly fine!

 

Windows is a wonderful OS but you need to be constantly wary of what you are installing on your PC and where the downloaded bytes are coming from. Having a good anti-virus is a good idea, in fact the one that comes by default with Windows (Defender) is good enough. Having a package manager like chocolatey to manage your installs is also a great idea if you are a beginner.

Linux on the other hand is even more superb, it gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility but you need to step into the shoes of power users for that. I'd suggest you to try windows for a few months or so, then switch to linux once you have enough knowledge.

 

Am in the same boat and have been considering shifting from Mac to Windows for a while now. The Mac's are too expensive, and I hope Windows 10 is good enough to make the switch not be painful.

I will most likely make the switch, but I think I will mostly miss the better support for command line tools in Mac that come pretty much out of the box. On windows 10 the command line still seems quite backwards.

Interested in hearing what other laptop makes/models are worth considering.

 

What about trying some of the Linux/BSD distros? The development on Win machines is pain, at least for me.

 

I have had some experience using Ubuntu on my personal laptop but that was over 10 years ago. All of my recent Linux experience has been just with command line on EC2 instances. For command line tool support, I agree it is great. But I haven't looked much into the GUIs, IDEs, and other development tools support software. I also end up handling some design files, so I do need to be able to run Photoshop, Illustrator, Zeplin, and few other softwares - there may be alternatives to these on Linux but I doubt they'll meet the bar...

I also end up handling some design files, so I do need to be able to run Photoshop, Illustrator, Zeplin, and few other softwares - there may be alternatives to these on Linux but I doubt they'll meet the bar...

There might be, but make sure you can export to formats that do not break the chain of work. If a designer sends you something and you have to send it back I mean.

 

Well if you could afford it, you can get a Thinkpad for a work laptop running Linux instead of Windows 1.

If your gonna carry it around I just stick with an ultrabook from Asus which does sort of looks like a cheaper version of MacBook Air due to its weight, design and long battery life.

 

Thanks Max, your suggestion is perfectly valid but I feel I've failed to add some key information in my comparison.

I didn't talk about Linux in the post because Linux is not really an option for me as a desktop day-to-day operating system. Mostly because I don't like it (love it as server though :D) and because most of the non-coding software I use (Adobe's for example) doesn't really work on it.

Sorry, I should have been clearer in the original post!

Maybe Thinkpads are a valid alternative with Windows 10? I didn't really check them out, just did a comparison between one PC model and MacBook Pros.

 

Ahh... it's a shame, yes it's a really great brand to consider if you're really looking into move out of macs into windows as a company laptop but I don't spend much of my time in windows to understand if it's really that great as I work in Linux all the time.

Based on my colleagues and boss experiences who brought it previously, they like it enough that we were allocated a ThinkPad as part of our development machine.

 

Have been using Dell XPS line as a personal laptop for a long time now and I'm very happy with them. I got the sputnik when it first came out (XPS 13 + Ubuntu) and recently got the XPS 15 w/ Windows 10 Pro. I'm pretty happy with both and see no reason for the price delta Apple has over the XPS.

 

Thanks David, it's nice to read about someone that hasn't had any issues with Windows 10 Pro

 

I recently returned an HP Spectre x360 (slightly better spec than the XPS 13 from the article) and was terribly annoyed by the thermal throttling. My 2014 MBP easily outperformed it despite a much older processor. From a hardware point of view, a 13" MBP has a much faster CPU for any sustained workloads despite having a smaller turbo boost.

Windows itself was another headache. Not all laptops support the Microsoft precision drivers making native OS gestures such as the finger swipe to change workspace not work or produce scrolling issues between different apps. This may not be an issue on the XPS.

Not all apps in Windows work well with high DPI scaling either.

WSL is slow and there'll always be file system permission issues for docker and vagrant mounts when Windows is the host OS; this often applies to git projects too.

Dual booting is a possibility but another area where my much older MBP was significantly faster for certain workloads. Try doing a virtualbox packer build in Ubuntu with an 8550U, my CPU decided to run at 400Mhz (while plugged in!); after manually tweaking the minimum clock speed to 1.8Ghz the build was still much slower than my near silent MBP and a lot louder as the fans were constantly running.

 

Hey Andrew, thanks for your insight.

I recently returned an HP Spectre x360 (slightly better spec than the XPS 13 from the article) and was terribly annoyed by the thermal throttling. My 2014 MBP easily outperformed it despite a much older processor.

PC land is a jungle, because you have this cartesian product of hardware vendors + configurations and Windows + OEM customization which leads to PCs with similar specs but with wildly different performances. 🤷‍♂️

WSL is slow and there'll always be file system permission issues for docker and vagrant mounts when Windows is the host OS; this often applies to git projects too.

You're probably the third person say WSL is slow on here, can you elaborate? What do you mean by slow?

 

The XPS has slightly better thermals than the early 2018 Spectre but still hits thermal limits quickly. Notice how the MBP uses a different processor to every Windows 13" and 14" ultrabook on the market, it's base speed is also higher. Despite this and the fact the MBP CPU draws more power, battery life in Mac OS is superb.

WSL's main performance issue is related to file io. Something like 'git status' is much slower than native performance. Expect 'npm install' to be much slower than if you were on Mac OS or native Linux. To make the performance issue worse, the terminal experience in Windows requires manual setup to get something that kind of works, i.e. interactive applications (I recommend running wsltty via conemu).

Further to this, WSL does not always work correctly, e.g. I've had problems with multiplexed SSH connections and agent forwarding. Expect to have to downgrade binaries manually.

WSL's main performance issue is related to file io. Something like 'git status' is much slower than native performance. Expect 'npm install' to be much slower than if you were on Mac OS or native Linux.

npm install is already slow per se :-(

Further to this, WSL does not always work correctly, e.g. I've had problems with multiplexed SSH connections and agent forwarding. Expect to have to downgrade binaries manually.

It's like ending up with a worse linux on top of Windows.

My brain is currently moonwalking out of that place :D

 

You pay also the macos experience. Not only the hardware. Windows is a mess of bug, bad apps, vulnerabilities and it require tons of ram.. and it’s much harder than macos to use, i suggest you to stay on mac. I tried time ago the same thing and i sold my windows after 2 months, returning on mac.

 

I fear that I'm not very keen into learning a new OS from scratch after this many years where the biggest appeal for developers is installing another operating system inside of it (Ubuntu with WSL) just to have a similar experience.

The hardware is clearly on par if not superior but my user experience is worth a lot.

Also, as other reminded me in this thread: I can just plug in my Time Machine backup in the new computer and keep on working as if nothing changed :-)

 

I'm with you. I was briefly a Mac user in the very early days on an SE/30 then owned Macs from the Bondi Blue iMac onwards. My 2012 Mac mini was fantastic when new with a quad i7 and 16 GB of RAM but newer machines are showing it up so I decided recently to upgrade, and go back to laptops. Nothing Apple are offering looks attractive sadly, and I've fallen out of love with macOS too. It's too closely tied to iCloud and online services. I use Linux at work and have a Dell XPS 13, which I really like so after a bit of hunting I found a refurb 9370 model - 8th gen i7, 16GB, 512GB SSD, matte screen with none of that glossy touch nonsense for £1000 exactly. Comes on Wednesday, can't wait!

 

For day to day office, I still feel MacOS is a ton smoother than Windows. It's little things but they add up. Maybe for power users it's different.

 

I'm going to be sent in the depths of tartarus for this but Windows 10 has fundamentally the same UX that Windows ha 20 years ago. It might be a completely different operating system underneath, but user don't know and don't care. Metro UI in Windows 8 was gargabe fire if you remember, it worked decently on the phones but the phones never really made a dent in the market.

macOS has been fundamentally the same thing too in UX I guess but it's easier to deal with.

It's not like the three main desktop OS options have innovated that much in user experience in the last 20 years, so we're stuck with them :D

 

I ended up using a Dell Win10 laptop with Ubuntu for dual boot. At first, I was considering Mac since you get a mixture of both worlds but yeah the price was a deterrent. Now I hate constantly switching between these two so the next time I will have to swallow the cost and go with it as it just saves a lot of hassle.

 

Yeah, dual boot is a drag. You have to customize two operating systems instead of one and live with the fact you're going to have files in one that you need in the other (probably using web based tool is the solution here)

 

If you can deal with Windows, why not use a Windows machine? To me, the pricing on the Macs includes the fact that it runs Mac OS (without the hackintosh hassle), and that's my preferred OS, so it isn't overpriced.

If you want a Mac and are price sensitive, consider going with an Apple refurbished one. My current MBP (2014) was a refurbished one from earlier in the year. I couldn't tell it was refurbished. Other than the price, it was essentially a new machine.

 

It's a combination of factors: the prices, the issues, the lack of expandability and so on.

I haven't decided yet, I wanted to note the difference between similar configurations and start a discussion.

My current Mac is refurbished as well, refurbished Macs are a possible option, you're right. Thanks for reminding me :)

 

I'm using a Dell XPS 13 inch with 16Gb RAM and 512Gb SSD. I'm mostly booted into Ubuntu 18 and it's really great. For me Linux is a really nice development environment. I had a Mac Air for years and loved it and am now thinking of upgrading to a 2nd hand Macbook Pro or an XPS 15. I'm drawn back to Mac OS but would prefer a 2015 model to a new one due to the keyboard/port nonsense. Finding it hard to decide.

 

I'm drawn back to Mac OS but would prefer a 2015 model to a new one due to the keyboard/port nonsense.

And thinking that it would take very little to fix all of this mess: a few different ports and a decent keyboard :D

 

I think when you get into the upper stratosphere of price for consumer-grade goods, then if something little bugs you, like the positioning of the touch bar or the largeness of the mousepad... let it steer your choice. You're paying to be picky, which is fair enough. If the 2018 model doesn't fit what you want, stick with what you have or jump ship to another flagship device, but unless you're developing Windows-specific software, then I think you'll miss MacOS terribly.

Do I think 2018 MBPs are overpriced? It depends what you want. If you want a 2018 MBP, then no. If you want a computer to do the stuff I want to do, yes. I'm happy with a 7 year-old i3 linux laptop for development and a frankenstein desktop for games. The laptop is more than powerful enough for everything I want to do, and it probably only cost about 400 quid in the first place (ok excluding SSD and RAM upgrade as they years went by). For reference, I'd never buy a brand-new car and I drive something that has its roof held on on one side by an old bootlace.

Let's be egalitarian here: all operating systems suck, at least to an extent. These days none of them tend to crash very often and they all have tolerable GUIs.

After a while, though, Windows just feels like I'm typing wearing boxing gloves, and the newer things like WSL only go part of the way to helping that. I'd avoid that experience and just put Arch on it or something. But MacOS is almost as good as Linux for most things developer-y.

Who knows. I'm rambling. My feelings about Apple as a company colour everything I say but I try to be as neutral as possible.

When we're talking about these devices we've already established you'd be prepared to spend that much for something you really liked. So if the 2018 MBP isn't right for you, regardless of how much it costs, skip it.

 

Thanks Ben, reading your comment and all the others definitely solidified my understanding and will help when I make a choice.

Let's be egalitarian here: all operating systems suck, at least to an extent. These days none of them tend to crash very often and they all have tolerable GUIs.

True that, they are also incredibily complex. There's not much innovation going on either at the UI level. They've all been looking the same anyway for years, some even for decades.

I'd avoid that experience and just put Arch on it or something.

This the feeling I got reading all the comments

 

Nope. Totally agree that the new 2018 MBP are overpriced.

I'm split on where to go next. On one hand, I'm tempted to replace my current MBPr 2015 (when it eventually dies, so probably not for a while) with another 2015 MBP, because they were the last year before their major changes buggered them up.

On the other hand, I picked up an old Thinkpad that I installed Ubuntu on, and can seriously see myself replacing the macbook with a new ThinkPad and just running linux on it.

My last foray into the Linux Subsystem on windows wasn't a heck of a lot of fun, mostly with broken symlinks everywhere. It made developing ruby a real unpleasant experience. Have they improved it?

 

MBP 2015 is the best laptop ever made so I understand your "struggle".

On the other hand, I picked up an old Thinkpad that I installed Ubuntu on, and can seriously see myself replacing the macbook with a new ThinkPad and just running linux on it.

If you're fine with Linux there's honestly no reason to stick with MBPs. Thinkpads with Linux are really solid.

 

I tried Linux a couple of weeks ago. My employer gave me a new Notebook so I could try it out.
Worst decision ever! I switched back within two weeks.

You're absolutely right, that the MacBook pricing is cheeky. For me the selling point is still macOS. You get a Unix based OS without the hacky desktop environment (in my opinion Gnome and others are still not comfortable usable for production use).

I'm glad that I could try Linux but for me there is no reason to leave Apple and MacBooks behind.

 

Worst decision ever! I switched back within two weeks.

Ahahah :D Well, it's not that bad. In the sense that if you have a separate work laptop, you can make it work. Just have to win over your habits, two weeks is probably not enough. There's nothing work with sticking to macOS anyway...

(in my opinion Gnome and others are still not comfortable usable for production use).

I don't know, after all plenty of people use it comfortably. I don't like the UIs and windows managers that Linux has but if it were a "work only" computer I would probably be fine nonetheless. If all the software needed to develop was available on linux too I mean.

 

Of course Macs are overpriced... I didn't know that was a discussion point. But you still get what you pay for, a really high quality product that works incredibly smooth and seamless with its OS and has some of the finest software you can find.

Just try out Sketch or Affinity software for a while, and then think you have to go back to Adobe's UI nightmare on windows. The thought is just too much....

I agree that the Touch Bar is a disaster. I don't want to look at the keyboard to see what a button is doing. Windows has proven that touch screens on a laptop can work. I guess Apple just doesn't want to go in that direction because it would immediately cut into iPad sales (especially iPad Pro).

But no, using windows is still a UI nightmare. It feels like they just randomly litter the screen with all kinds of buttons, shortcuts, applications and who knows what. And once you are inside an app or open a settings screen, you're transported right back into windows 98. The UI for printing, or adjusting monitor settings is laughably bad, I can't imagine why there isn't a law against bad windows UI by now.

 

I am a long-term Windows user (MS-DOS, Windows 3.11 long-term) and I recently switched to Linux. Both Windows and Linux are moving fast in the recent years. Unfortunately, in different directions.

Do not rely on your previous Linux experience when deciding which OS to choose. Give Ubuntu 18.04 LTS a try, even on your old laptop, then make a decision.

Cheers!
Ivelin Tenev

 

Thanks Ivelin, I'm sure Ubuntu is better than before! I'm also bound to macOS or Windows because of Adobe software and other things that don't run on Linux and I don't want the hassle of a dual boot machine or a VM.

So it's either going to be another Mac or a Windows laptop. I'm lazy in this regard but I really do not want to have to fiddle everyday to make things work in some odd combination. I'd rather concentrate on solving problems with programming, this is why I've loved the macOS all of these years, it's Unix based and it gets out of the way 99% of the time.

Both Windows and Linux are moving fast in the recent years. Unfortunately, in different directions.

What do you mean by "different directions" ? Let me know about your experience in this regard. It seems like MS by releasing WSL is trying to catch up with developers that have a unix-like experience, who are probably the majority in the open source world.

 

You mention in the discussion that the 2015 MBPs are the best machines ever. Well, I just got a 15" that was a display machine at a local store, at a discount. That was to replace a 13" that I had since 2011.

I don't work in the same field as you do. I'm an almost full time translator slowly starting to shift to web development. Most of my work pro-apps are Java based free software solutions so theoretically I could use any kind of OS/hardware, but I've stuck to Mac because of 3 things that are crucially important for me.

1) automation: 90% of my workflow is based on automation scripts that make mac apps communicate together, on a side note: sandboxing on mojave is a real pain point here,
2) multilingualism: you can use dozens of input systems out of the box (like Linux, unlike Windows) and the system is not English centered (unlike Linux, where anything beyond bilingual is not trivial). So I can type Japanese/French/English and shift from one to the other without any problem. And that has been the case for the last 20+ years.
3) it just works. when I have a problem with a machine, I take my backup machine, plug it on the Time Machine backup and I'm back to work in no time.

I'm not of the opinion that the build quality at Apple has lowered in recent years. As is mentioned in the thread other makers do not offer the same build stability. Also mentioned, and as I just wrote, when you change of machine, you just plug the new one into your Time Machine backup and you're back to work with the exact same settings by the end of your lunch break.

I don't know how much your hourly rate is, but let's say it's $50. The extra $700 is 14 hours of your time. Now, let's say your machine is going to last you 5 years. That's 3 hours/year. So, if you can positively say that getting a similarly spec'ed but cheaper machine with Windows is worth the 3 extra working hours/year that you'll pay to have a Mac system, then you should go for it.

 

Thanks for your perspective. Very insightful

You mention in the discussion that the 2015 MBPs are the best machines ever. Well, I just got a 15" that was a display machine at a local store, at a discount. That was to replace a 13" that I had since 2011.

Nice

I don't work in the same field as you do. I'm an almost full time translator slowly starting to shift to web development.

Welcome to the fray :)

1) automation: 90% of my workflow is based on automation scripts that make mac apps communicate together, on a side note: sandboxing on mojave is a real pain point here,

True, I've had a few apps needing to be updated because of sandboxing. Hopefully programmers will catch up

2) multilingualism

This is huge. I deal with three languages too (unfortunately one of them is not Japanese...) and I've never had any issues

3) it just works. when I have a problem with a machine, I take my backup machine, plug it on the Time Machine backup and I'm back to work in no time.
you just plug the new one into your Time Machine backup and you're back to work with the exact same settings by the end of your lunch break.

TM is a huge time saver, and I've been saved by it more than one time. If I were Microsoft I would form a team of engineers to copy it bit by bit and sell it with a different name.

I don't know how much your hourly rate is, but let's say it's $50. The extra $700 is 14 hours of your time. Now, let's say your machine is going to last you 5 years. That's 3 hours/year. So, if you can positively say that getting a similarly spec'ed but cheaper machine with Windows is worth the 3 extra working hours/year that you'll pay to have a Mac system, then you should go for it.

Perfectly argumented, thank you.

I didn't mention it in the original post, the fact is that I was also considering of renting the computer using my freelance business. I've had a conversation with an acquaintance who works in communications and she told me she rented her Mac and her iPhone (I had no clue one could do that). She pays a monthly fee to Apple, gets repair and theft insurance, and then return the computers for new models after two years. It's another aspect to consider :)

 

I cannot speak about the specs but I keep hearing all around me of broken new gen mac books (ones with display instead of F keys).

 

I'm not a fan of the "touchbar" on the MacBook machines. To compensate, I attach a real keyboard to the machine and use that instead. (Unicomp PC Keyboard, with buckling spring mechanism, which what IBM used in their classic Model M keyboard.)

I also don't like their butterfly mechanism (2nd gen), but I dislike most laptop keyboards anyway. The Dell XPS 13 doesn't feel too bad, reminded me of the IBM Thinkpad, which had an acceptable mechanism.

The MacBook trackpads are the best in the business. Yet even though they're as good as it gets, I still find them to be abysmal. I have to have a mouse. Not an Apple mouse, but an actual usable mouse like from Microsoft or Logitech.

 

How good is Dell XPS trackpad compared to the Macbook's?

I don't think there is a comparison, the Mac trackpads feel like an integral part of the machine, and the XPS felt like any other high end PC laptop, but still bends with the case. The haptic feedback is just incomparable on the Mac.

 

Yeah, I'm writing this here on a MacBook Pro 2017. I had serious problems with a few of the keys after just two months of use. They were stuck because of dirt. So I had to carefully lift them in order to clean them. The keys are so delicate that you need to read tutorials about how to properly get them out without breaking them. And there's even a way to permanently damage the underlying butterfly mechanism that requires a full replacement.

And guess what? I broke two of the keys, and I followed that tutorial. I was lucky that only the key cap broke. Could have been worse but I better not become a surgeon. So in the end I had to buy replacement keys because the broken ones couldn't be attached anymore.

The most annoying part: the noise. Every single key press is as loud and obnoxious as possible, kinda like: hey look at me, I'm here, using a Macbook Pro!
A friend of mine told me that his entire department was all of a sudden getting equipped with Macbook Pros, and that the noise from typing was driving him nuts.

 

I love macOS and would gladly pay a premium for it.

 

I have been using the Dell XPS 15 for a long while now. I've actually had a couple, and the most recent has the webcam at the bottom. To be totally honest, I actually prefer that!! For some reason, and I cannot really explain why as I'm not quite sure, but the webcam at the bottom seems to frame my face better at the angles of screen I normally use, than the webcam at the top.

Every time I use my mac, I always have to fiddle with the screen to get it to frame my face properly, but then the angle of the screen is at a poor angle to view stuff on the screen. I had the same problem with my first Dell XPS 15 which had a webcam at the top. I think just having the camera some 7-8" higher just puts the frame, a common screen angles, too darn high.

So, I wouldn't fret about the webcam at the bottom of the screen! In fact, Dell may have a little bit of genius about doing it that way, to get better framing at useful screen angles. ;)

As for WSL, it's really great! If I did not have to do iOS development, I would ditch the MacBook in a moment flat and never look back. I've been using Windows for a long time, and Macs for about 6 years. I've never once had an enjoyable moment with any of the MacBooks I've used, and over time the MacBooks just seem to get worse. The keyboard was never great, but with the newer ones and ultra-slim keys (no tactile feedback), the touch bar (ugh), the GARGANTUAN trackpad that I cannot seem to help but accidentally touch with the inside of my thumb/hand all day long, and the tactile feedback design of the trackpad (which even disabled, still has a really quirky feel/feedback)...using MacBooks has been a growing journey in frustration and poor user experience.

The Dell XPS 15, on the other hand, is a dream. Every time. I love everything about it, the screen is BEAUTIFUL with amazing, rich color. You'll love it!

 

As an owner of an XPS 13, just pick up one of the 1080p (4K is really unnecessary at a 13" screen size) Windows models, re-partition it to give windows a tiny slice of the drive, and install Ubuntu. Linux desktops have been pretty good for awhile now, and Ubuntu has fantastic support for consumer level daily use.

 

Yeah, 4K is nice but it's not a selling point, I'd rather close the lid and use an external monitor anyway.

I'm sure Ubuntu support is quite good, but I don't really like Linux as a desktop OS and I have gear and software that won't work on it.

Thanks for the suggestion! I would keep it in mind in case I get a separate "work computer" (but I've managed so far with only one computer and a backpack to carry it).

 

Also depends if you are going for very portable (the 13" versions) or more horsepower (say, the 15" versions).

To me, the portability is the overwhelming single biggest criterion. If I get a more chutzpah laptop, I might as well just get a desktop machine, because it ain't going anywhere anyway. My 15" and 17" and 19" laptops have rarely left the desk they're tethered to (tethered with external monitors, printers, hubs, real keyboards, a mouse, copper ethernet...).

So for my needs, I'd either get a Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition, or a MacBook Air.

The only problem I have with the Dell in general is that I have to be able to run Xcode on it, and I have to be able to build for macOS and run macOS applications. (At some point, I may need to build for iOS and run/debug in iOS VM. But not today.) On that point, the Dell option becomes less viable. Not Dell's fault, just the way it is.

They're tools. If they do what you need them to do, then they are good tools. If they don't do what you need them to do, then they are inadequate for the need.

 

Also depends if you are going for very portable (the 13" versions) or more horsepower (say, the 15" versions).

Sure, I put both sizes in the comparison for this very reason. The 700€ difference is in both cases though :D

The only problem I have with the Dell in general is that I have to be able to run Xcode on it, and I have to be able to build for macOS and run macOS applications

Yeah, I feel you. It also depends on what you develop on, correct. I only installed XCode because Flutter doctor tool kept bugging me about it, but I've never opened it. Still, I can probably live without it. My comparison is mostly about the hardware price. I've not even started making a list of the various tools and programs to see if I could "safely" migrate. I really don't know what's going on in the Windows world, except for WSL because we all talk about it :D

They're tools. If they do what you need them to do, then they are good tools. If they don't do what you need them to do, then they are inadequate for the need.

Agreed!

 
 

I don't support Apple, not in the sense of "supporting" a charity or a cause anyway :) The last time I gave money to Apple was six years ago and in exchange I received a refurbished laptop, that I'm using right now to write this comment. I don't think I was scammed :).

It's a complicated argument the one about companies and "support", and it gets more complicated to discuss because some people harbor feelings (that is the thing I really don't get) about this or that enterprise.

What's the difference in giving your money to Dell or to Apple or to Lenovo or any other hardware maker?

 

For me it's Apples clear shady business practices. Their "Buy another one, you're not allowed to repair". Their hardware has been getting more and more expensive and it can't be justified past "It's Apple".

Considering that the last generation of Macs, iMacs and I think even tablets have a chip installed that checks that all other bits of hardware has the same unique identifier at all times, and if it doesn't it won't let the system start (basically DRM) is absolutely disgusting. Forcing people pay £0000s to get simple repairs done because it has to be done by their arbitrary authorised people.

This is a good playlist by Louis Rossman who explains how bad they are, with this video showing the Genius Bar trying to charge a stupid amount to repair a simple repair: youtube.com/watch?v=o2_SZ4tfLns&in....

For me it's Apples clear shady business practices. Their "Buy another one, you're not allowed to repair". Their hardware has been getting more and more expensive and it can't be justified past "It's Apple".

Yes, Apple doesn't allow you to repair or upgrade your hardware but "shady" implies something done behind your back. They are upfront about it, every single review will tell you so, if you walk into a store and ask if their computers are upgradeable the staff will tell you no and I wouldn't be surprised if it was written somewhere in the copy too.

Their hardware has been getting more and more expensive and it can't be justified past "It's Apple".

That's the whole point of my post. If you read other people's comments you can sense that in saome cases that premium "hike" is justified, in other cases is not. It really depends on you, your circumstances, your needs and your abilities to spend. Yes, they are expensive but let's be honest, you're still getting a solid piece of equipment, even if ovepriced.

Forcing people pay £0000s to get simple repairs done because it has to be done by their arbitrary authorised people

Again, I don't like it either but it's their prerogative under current law. Tell me the last time you self repaired a smartphone or a tablet. Premium phones don't even have replaceable batteries anymore. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense for companies. If Samsung sells you a phone with a defective battery that you can't replace, the support chain is "send the phone back, we'll fix it or give you a new one" (hoping they charge you fairly, which they never do if you're out of warranty, no company does).

If Samsung were to sell you a phone where you can fiddle and change the battery or the parts, they would have to support every third party possible defective components and then you would probably have to pay more if your phone was damaged because Samsung could argue that it's not the phone, but the battery. So, economically, it makes a lot of sense for companies to restrict upgradeability and DIY.

Then we could argue if that is fair or not (and part of me would love the ability to perpetually upgrade anything) but that's an entire different argument better explained by the interview with the iFixit guy in the video and the argument made by the technician.

Food for thought: if I sell you a phone made by, let's say, 3 components (motherboard, camera, battery) and over the course of its lifetime you replace one or all of these, is it still a Samsung phone? Or is it a Ross Henderson phone? If I get a PC and do the same, should I have the right to go to Dell and demand repair? That's probably why laws tend to say "if you open it, your warranty is void".

Keep also in mind that they might have patents on some of the components so this might also be another reason for Apple to make it has hard as possible for third parties to fiddle.

This is a good playlist by Louis Rossman who explains how bad they are, with this video showing the Genius Bar trying to charge a stupid amount to repair a simple repair

Thanks Ross, I heard about this and yes, that's very unfortunate.

Apple definitely makes a lot of money with adapters, dongles and repairs. Even components are overpriced. Apple Care is stupidly expensive. None of these things are evil per se though (Ferrari are stupidly expensive and overpriced too :D).

Tricking people on shelling out more money because they misrepresented the damage is definitely a shady business practice, on that I agree, there's no arguing around that.

Though I want the nuances to be clear, saying "Ross, you need to give me a million dollars to replace a battery" is not shady, the shady part is misrepresenting the damage in order to get more money out of it. It's a fine line but we can understand it. Printers makers do it all the time: they sell you a printer for a few bucks and then charge stupid money for the cartridges. (Well, there's another entire argument to be made over planned obsolescence)

Going back to Apple: I wish they would just package the cost of Apple Care in the cost of the hardware because buying thousands of dollars of premium hardware without it it's risky (and it shouldn't, especially with the european warranty). They won't do it, because as insurance companies, they make money buy selling Apple Care to people who won't ever need it.

The only way all of this is ever going to change is regulations I guess.

Going back to the video: thank the heavens for that honest technician and for iFixit. I'm 100% in support of the right to repair, even if I'm probably never going to do myself.

I honestly don't know how is the law in EU about the right to repair or if we have one at all, but we have at least those two years of guaranteed warranty (unfortunately limited to construction defects)

 
 

Windows is great but has too many problems with high-DPI / scaling / blurry text, which make it very hard to deal with. Plus MacOS has many other advantages.

 

Windows is great but has too many problems with high-DPI / scaling / blurry text

hahaha I guess so

from How to set up the perfect modern dev environment on Windows:

Lord, almighty fonts on Windows are terrible, and even uglier in any terminal application I can find. Microsoft has done some work to make Cleartype better, but it still physically pains me compared to MacType. I don’t know how to fix this.

:-)

 

I use a desktop Windows as my main PC, I love wsl (of course it has some limitation), hyper-v, application guard, sandbox, and much more. But lets say for example I want to increase only the font size of the system, I can do this in the "easy of access" setting. I have a 24" full hd display and if I scale it more than 125% the texts in the folders appear partially truncated. Even worst: the last version of Chrome seems to scale everything based on that setting too, so all the pages are scaled by default (and for "by default" I mean you don't even see the chrome lens icon on the top right warning you of this), which make impossible to debug correctly the design of a website. Also, if I use ctrl+f the text I type in the search field looks blurry. Of course I can go to the chrome app property and change its high dpi scaling behavior, but all the sudden I'll see the text on the tab too small for my taste (as default 100% scaling)...

 
 

Hi Matt, thanks for the hacintosh link, unfortunately it's outside my purview (not a laptop, invalidates warranty, no individual business tax refund, no support for years, can't walk into a store or call someone and say "it's not working, fix it", lots of hassles :D).

It would make a nice desktop alternative though, I might think about it if I ever want to get a second computer.

I'm going to re-post down here the inline link, in case someone passing by is interested in building a hackintosh computer:

If you want to know how to embed videos, check the editor guide

 

Yes, it is and it always will be. That's the benefit of monopoly

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