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Mitch’s Musings - 2018 Apple MacBook Misgivings Tasty new tidbits about smartphones, technology and the future. July 12, 2018. Over the 4th of July weekend, I realized I'd been using my late-model 2016 MacBook Pro (4-core i7-based CPU, pre Touch Bar and pre butterfly keyboard) for almost 2-1/2 years. Clearly it's time to treat myself to an updated laptop. To my pleasant surprise Apple announced a summer 2018 refresh to the Macbook Pro line of laptops. This new Macbook offers, if your willing to pay the price, the more powerful 6-core Intel i9 CPU, up to 32 GB of DDR4 RAM, and much larger SSDs up to 4TB. I visit the Apple online store and discover the laptop I want--2TB SSD, 32 GB of RAM and the faster of the two GPUs--will cost, with AppleCare, about $5,000. Am I seriously ready to plunk down $5,000 to buy a new 2018 MacBook Pro? July 17, 2018. Dave2Dtv, a personality on YouTube, releases a video--MacBook Pro 15 (2018) - Beware the Core i9--were he determines Apple has held back the speed of the MacBook's i9 CPU to keep it from overheating. The end result, according to Dave, is that the computer is way slower than it should be. As a dramatic example, he puts it in a freezer and shows how much faster it runs. Throttle-gate begins. Dave discusses other features that disappoint him; the Touch Bar is a useless feature looking for a solution, the silicon pad added to the keyboard is not effective at keeping dust or improving the feel of typing on it and the GPUs for graphics are not all that high-end. July 18, 2018. More research on the web I discover the battery is larger but the time to discharge is still less than 5 hours (even though Apple claims its 10 hours), the MacBook needs expensive dongles to connect legacy gear (It only has USB-C ports, no thunderbolt or USB 2 an 3) and it struggles with hard core game play. Do I really want to buy this beast? SIDEBARON Has Apple Lost Its Way? This raises questions I'd rather not think about, but must. What's this say about the future of laptops inside Apple? Is this the same Apple that Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created 40 years ago? Don’t get me wrong—Apple is an amazing company, unlike any I've known in my lifetime. "Long before most of iBird’s customers were born, I bought an Apple 1 computer from Steve Jobs while he was still in his garage." The baby boomers among us remember Apple's shocking first attempt to completely alter how we use computers with the gorgeous pre-Macintosh GUI-based Lisa. Back in January of 1983 I bought 2 fully-loaded Lisa’s for our publishing company The Waite Group. The price then was $9,995 (which would be $24,600 in 2017 dollars). The only reason I could splurge was that I’d just signed a $1,000,000 contract with the New York publisher New American Library to write 15 computer books for them. So what was $20,000 in hardware when I had 50 times that in the bank? I’ll save the results of this crazy purchase for a future story but the point is the Lisa’s were an amazing view of the future of personal computers and of Apple. They showed us that the world of green text command lines were about to be replaced by the mouse, windows and graphics. It took several years before Apple and Steve got the Macintosh formula right but once they did, and Bill Gates copied the Mac with Windows, the world shifted forever. Apple laptops were just as good as their desktops and for many years they defined what mobile computers looked like. Eventually Apple went though hard times, Jobs left to start a new company, called Next, and meanwhile Apple came close to going bankrupt. Then Steve returned, and with a new enthusiasm coupled with wisdom, took Apple to new heights. The iPhone was a crowning achievement that, for the last 10 years, has given Apple a tremendous lead over every tech company on the planet. Sadly, in October 2011, Steve sadly passed away. Thought it was not apparent, at that point Apple lost something no one has adequately described. Steve Jobs had a unique gift that allowed him to envision products that would delight customers, and he could manage teams to create the hardware and software that made these dreams a reality. In my opinion, since his death, Apple even with it's billions of dollars in the bank, has not shown they know how to fully reproduce his remarkable set of skills.They can get 50% there. But that’s just not enough. And nothing appears more of an example of this epic fail than the 2018 MacBook line. SIDEBAR OFF July 23, 2917. A few days later Dave posts a new video that attempts to clarify what he was trying to say in his previous video. He still maintains that the 2018 i9 6-core MacBook is still not properly cooled. The video shows a number of tests comparing the new 2018 i9 6-core video to the slower i7 4-core MacBook. Warning: this guys talks really fast! Bottom line is that the new MacBook is still slowing the CPU down when it gets hot, but if you use it for certain kinds of work you won't be disappointed. He does not address all the other things I mention like the keyboard, the battery life, the useless Touch Bar, etc. July 24, 2018. MacBreak Weekly 620, How How is My Mac? Also The New Screen Savers 166 New i9 Macbook Pro Can't Take the Heat? You all know I am an avid fan of Leo Laporte's TWiT TV Podcasts. The coolest thing to me about Leo's episodes is that he has an insatiable appetite for buying new hardware and testing it on the air, then gathering the reactions of experts about his results. In this particular show Leo bought a high end 2018 i9 MacBook Pro with 32 GB of RAM and ran it though its paces to determine if, in fact, Throttle-gate was justified. One of the conclusions that Leo and his experts come to is pretty amazing and is as follows. Apple is build's its own ARM silicon chips for the iPhone and iPad; but for the MacBooks it relies on Intel and its 8086 line of CPUs. Here's Leo and his gang's current theory: Apple is working on an ARM chip to replace the Intel silicon in the MacBook line; but its not ready yet. Meanwhile Apple was getting bad press from customers complaining that Apple had not updated its laptop line in many years and Windows laptops were exceeding the performance in the marketplace. So, Apple then decided on a interim solution--they would produce an update with the more powerful i9 chip--knowing that in 2020 they'd bring out a radically updated ARM based MacBook that would blow this 2018 i9-based specs out of the water. July 20 - 24, 2018. Various Reviews of the 2018 MacBook. Below are a number of reviews I read that discuss Throttle-gate as well as give strong opinions as to the value of the Macbook. July 27, 2018. Apple issues update to fix throttling. Responding to the Throttle-gate uproar Apple releases an update to the Macbook OS that supposedly fixes the issue with slowing down the CPU. However, while it does help fix the slowing down, it does not fix the heavy load testing that Dave2Dtv first posted on YouTube. Apple blames the issue on a bad "digital key." Our question is how could a company of Apple's size and stature make such a bone head mistake? Apple's official statement: Following extensive performance testing under numerous workloads, we've identified that there is a missing digital key in the firmware that impacts the thermal management system and could drive clock speeds down under heavy thermal loads on the new MacBook Pro. A bug fix is included in today's macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update and is recommended. We apologize to any customer who has experienced less than optimal performance on their new systems. Customers can expect the new 15-inch MacBook Pro to be up to 70% faster, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to be up to 2X faster, as shown in the performance results on our website. References to all Links. Here is a summary of the research I did for writing this story. Mashable - Apple's 2018 MacBook Pro packs serious power for the few who can afford it. - Mashable Review by Pete Pachal. https://mashable.com/2018/07/19/apple-macbook-pro-2018-review/#a_noHrjkxsqi Mashable - Apple's 2018 MacBook Pro has some serious CPU throttling issues. https://mashable.com/2018/07/19/macbook-pro-core-i9-throttling/#Cjgus6_e8gqg ZDNet - The 2018 MacBook Pro has a problem with overheating. https://www.zdnet.com/article/the-2018-macbook-pro-has-a-problem-with-overheating/ TechRepublic - Laptop expert warns overheating could make 2018 MacBook Pro slower than last year's model. https://www.techrepublic.com/article/laptop-expert-warns-overheating-could-make-2018-macbook-pro-slower-than-last-years-model/ Digital Trends - The launch of the new MacBook Pro has been a complete disaster. https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/macbook-pro-2018-disaster/ Computerworld - About that MacBook Pro Core i9 throttling story, Is that software optimized yet? Doesn't look like it is... https://www.computerworld.com/article/3291760/apple-mac/about-that-macbook-pro-core-i9-throttling-story.html ARS Technica - Re-testing the MacBook Pro: Apple’s firmware update led to a big improvement The new MacBook Pro now behaves as expected, but there are still limitations. https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/07/re-testing-the-macbook-pro-apples-firmware-update-led-to-a-big-improvement/ Conclusion: What Would Steve Have Done There is no question that Apple believes a “thin” laptop is the most critical factor in how the public judges the MacBook. Apple is not alone in this belief; the entire PC industry is caught up in a thinness war. But in forcing the new MacBook to stay thin, Apple refused to redesign the MacBook case so that it could cool the i9 CPU. Instead, they throttled the speed of the CPU when it gets too hot, which results in limiting its overall processing power. What would Steve Jobs have done given this predicament? I believe he would have designed a new case that allowed a cooling element to be added when the customer needed it. It could have been a snap-on hardware device with extra fans; or it could have been a faster graphics processor with fans. Maybe he would have reinvented the way laptops are cooled like he did with Gorilla Glass for the iPhone. Who knows? But for sure he would NOT have released a crippled laptop.