Apple's new butterfly keyboard

jacobolus

10 Mar 2015, 18:38

XMIT wrote: It is certainly a rendering. Since when does Apple use real photos for press purposes of their products?
Since forever...?

Here’s one quick post about it: http://www.theverge.com/2013/5/8/431186 ... n-shooting

It’s certainly possible that they also show renders (they obviously have 3d animators too, to make all those cool videos), but I would expect most if not all of their product photos are real photos (minus the content on the displays which is probably photoshopped in at least some of the time).

zts

10 Mar 2015, 18:46

IMO, it's all about beautiful thin designs that promote mobility and simplicity. It's the design over functionality. People love beautifully designed things. Ive (and his rounded corners TM :roll: ) is a master ... this guy can literally take a piece of crap and reframe it as a piece of art. Others also made some beautiful things, like Thinkpad Carbon X1(14" next to the 13" mid-2012 Air)
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The negative stuff comes in when taking away hardware components is sold to public as a miniaturization trend. You can't miniaturize by taking the stuff away ... only by making them smaller. The extreme thinness is the enemy of the ports and definitively some now considered obsolete should be replaced by more, say, USB ports or whatever. But to justify taking them out for the sake of *we can't make a 12" or 13" laptop with all that junk inside* is just plain lie (or suddenly the ability to creatively think about slightly more complex problems is gone). The late 1990s to early 2000s engineers didn't have much problems building this (relatively thin 12" from 2000/1)
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+ 2 PC Card ports (1 on each side) + SCSI + IR ..
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and some odd keyboard layout choices ...
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I'm not saying we should go back to some of those old ideas and floppies, tho many of them were quite inventive, but we may need to be more careful about accepting the BS these new blend of the *best-of-my-recipes* offer. Yep, there is something just slightly off when you replace engineers with designers and when the design starts determining technical choices.

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XMIT
[ XMIT ]

10 Mar 2015, 18:48

Then Apple marketing must use both real and synthetic photos. :|

You'll note that the time is almost always 9:42am on press materials, and that the pentalobular screws of iPhones in photos are aligned with one another and the case of the phone.

That's a great article about Peter Belanger, thank you for sharing it!

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stratokaster

10 Mar 2015, 19:15

andrewjoy wrote:
Stabilized wrote: I have been quite against the 13" Macbook pro for a while, as I like the extra screen space of the 15" but it does seem like the 13" is the focus for the second.
the 13 inch is the only laptop err sorry computer they make that could be considered 'pro'. The Mac Pro is now just a glorified mac mini.
At least there is some RAM expandability and GPU choice. No such luxury for Mac mini, where everything is permanently attached to the logic board. But it's still funny that my small PC based on a miniITX motherboard has significantly more expansion options (at least in terms of storage) than a multi-thousand-dollar professional workstation.

abhibeckert

10 Mar 2015, 19:18

XMIT wrote: Then Apple marketing must use both real and synthetic photos. :|

You'll note that the time is almost always 9:42am on press materials, and that the pentalobular screws of iPhones in photos are aligned with one another and the case of the phone.

That's a great article about Peter Belanger, thank you for sharing it!
The pentalobular screws on my actual iPhone are perfectly aligned.

Apple doesn't just design their hardware, they also design their own manufacturing equipment and it's perfect - aligning the screws would have been a priority.

jacobolus

10 Mar 2015, 19:20

zts wrote: I'm not saying we should go back to some of those old ideas and floppies, tho many of them were quite inventive, but we may need to be more careful about accepting the BS these new blend of the *best-of-my-recipes* offer. Yep, there is something just slightly off when you replace engineers with designers and when the design starts determining technical choices.
Apple has great designers, many of whom also happen to be engineers, plus an amazing engineering team (look how compact that motherboard is, look at how efficiently the space is used inside the shell). Personally, I’d say their choices seem quite engineering-driven, they just have different priorities than you do.

If the laptops with 40 ports up and down the sides were really better for most customers, then they wouldn’t keep getting pushed out of the market.

A majority of consumer laptops sold today are either from Apple directly or are clones (some sorta okay, some pretty half assed) of Apple laptops made by competitors. Given the choice, not that many people actually want VGA, parallel, serial, PS/2, SCSI, telephone, and ethernet jacks on their laptop, if that makes it ugly, flimsy, twice as big, with shorter battery life, etc. You might have a bunch of peripherals from the 80s that you want to keep using without any adapter in 2015, but the number of people in the same boat is vanishingly small as a proportion of computer buyers.

The Apple “pro” laptops have power, thunderbolt x 2, USB x 2, audio, HDMI, and an SD card slot. That seems like a pretty reasonable port selection for people who need to plug lots of shit into their laptops. For the Air, or the new Macbook, the goal is maximum portability.

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stratokaster

10 Mar 2015, 19:40

jacobolus wrote: The Apple “pro” laptops have power, thunderbolt x 2, USB x 2, audio, HDMI, and an SD card slot. That seems like a pretty reasonable port selection for people who need to plug lots of shit into their laptops. For the Air, or the new Macbook, the goal is maximum portability.
I don't think "portability" and "connectivity" have to be mutually exclusive. Just last week I saw an ASUS ultrabook based on the same Core M CPU, which is actually slightly thinner than the new MacBook, but still has 3 full-size USB ports.

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bhtooefr

10 Mar 2015, 19:46

Honestly, I'm perfectly fine with USB-A ports going away - give it a couple years, and USB-C will be ubiquitous anyway (and it's needed for USB 3.1 bandwidth). And, at that point, all the video ports can go away - DisplayPort can be carried over USB-C with very little active componentry.

But, give me more than one USB-C!

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ShivaYash

10 Mar 2015, 19:51

So charging AND connecting a hard drive is impossible right? Or is there an adapter for that?

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scottc

10 Mar 2015, 19:54

Apple probably wrote:Don't worry, we've thought of everything: we've got an adapter for that, for just 59.99.

jacobolus

10 Mar 2015, 19:55

stratokaster wrote: Just last week I saw an ASUS ultrabook based on the same Core M CPU, which is actually slightly thinner than the new MacBook, but still has 3 full-size USB ports.
Link?

Here’s the most comparable size I could find in a quick skim of their site: http://www.asus.com/Notebooks_Ultrabook ... fications/

Notice that it’s 60% thicker, 52% heavier, very slightly wider/longer, doesn’t have a full-size keyboard, has about 1/4 the display pixels on a slightly smaller display, slightly less capacity battery that lasts much shorter because the machine draws more power, slower wifi chip, slower CPU/graphics, less memory, same amount of storage but magnetic vs. flash, etc.
Last edited by jacobolus on 10 Mar 2015, 20:05, edited 1 time in total.

andrewjoy

10 Mar 2015, 19:57

jacobolus wrote: A majority of consumer laptops sold today are either from Apple directly or are clones (some sorta okay, some pretty half assed) of Apple laptops made by competitors. Given the choice, not that many people actually want VGA, parallel, serial, PS/2, SCSI, telephone, and ethernet jacks on their laptop, if that makes it ugly, flimsy, twice as big, with shorter battery life, etc. You might have a bunch of peripherals from the 80s that you want to keep using without any adapter in 2015, but the number of people in the same boat is vanishingly small as a proportion of computer buyers.
I agree with you , however Ethernet is still a current standard good luck getting gigabit speeds over wifi, even with ac you wont :P

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stratokaster

10 Mar 2015, 19:58

jacobolus wrote:
stratokaster wrote: Just last week I saw an ASUS ultrabook based on the same Core M CPU, which is actually slightly thinner than the new MacBook, but still has 3 full-size USB ports.
Link?
http://www.asus.com/Notebooks_Ultrabook ... OOK_UX305/

andrewjoy

10 Mar 2015, 20:00

that looks like a macbook air :P

abhibeckert

10 Mar 2015, 20:02

stratokaster wrote: I don't think "portability" and "connectivity" have to be mutually exclusive. Just last week I saw an ASUS ultrabook based on the same Core M CPU, which is actually slightly thinner than the new MacBook, but still has 3 full-size USB ports.
You mean the UX305?

The tech specs say it's 1mm thinner than the new MacBook, however it's also 35% heavier with less of a wedge shape and much wider which means the USB ports are next to the keyboard instead of underneath the keyboard. Notice how on the MacBook the USB port fits (barely!) into the tiny space between the keyboard and the display:

Image

Apple could only add a second USB Type-C port if they moved the keyboard down, but that would make the trackpad smaller, and a smaller trackpad would mean you have to carry a mouse around with you (notice how most PC users take a mice with them every where? Mac users don't need to, because the trackpads are so much better).

The Asus laptop is nowhere near as small as the new MacBook.

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bhtooefr

10 Mar 2015, 20:05

$79.99, actually - you need either the Digital AV or VGA adapter, which has a USB-A 3.0 port and a USB-C port (which can be used to charge).

I'm certain that that will change very quickly, though.

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scottc

10 Mar 2015, 20:07

Hah, I wasn't too far off then.

abhibeckert

10 Mar 2015, 20:11

I understand the need for having a lot of ports, this is the back of my mac:

Image

However, that's not the only thing I need to be productive — I also need big screens:

Image

I plan to buy one of these MacBooks (after trying out the keyboard, which may change my mind). However there is no way I'm ever going to do serious work on it. This is for sitting on the couch at home, or for when I visit my girlfriend (9 hours travel each direction :cry:) and something comes up at work that I need to sort out immediately.

All I need is email, a web browser, and a good keyboard. Everything I'll do on this MacBook can be done on my smartphone, I know this because my laptop is currently broken and I've been forced to work on my phone a few times lately, but it's got a horrible keyboard and the screen size is almost impossibly small.

I won't be buying any dongles, I won't be plugging much in at all. There are some things I'll plug in, but I'm sure they will all have proper USB Type C cables available before too long — I'll wait for those to become available.

jacobolus

10 Mar 2015, 20:13

stratokaster wrote: Just last week I saw an ASUS ultrabook based on the same Core M CPU, which is actually slightly thinner than the new MacBook, but still has 3 full-size USB ports.

http://www.asus.com/Notebooks_Ultrabook ... OOK_UX305/
I’ll agree that Asus is impressively thin. But..

324 x 226 x 12.3 mm, 1.2 kg for the Asus, versus:
281 x 197 x 13.1 mm, 0.92 kg for the Apple

25% more volume (actually probably more, since Apple’s is not a simple rectangular prism shape) and 30% more weight: not really the most comparable size.
Last edited by jacobolus on 10 Mar 2015, 22:57, edited 1 time in total.

zts

10 Mar 2015, 20:32

jacobolus wrote:
zts wrote: I'm not saying we should go back to some of those old ideas and floppies, tho many of them were quite inventive, but we may need to be more careful about accepting the BS these new blend of the *best-of-my-recipes* offer. Yep, there is something just slightly off when you replace engineers with designers and when the design starts determining technical choices.
Apple has great designers, many of whom also happen to be engineers, plus an amazing engineering team (look how compact that motherboard is, look at how efficiently the space is used inside the shell). Personally, I’d say their choices seem quite engineering-driven, they just have different priorities than you do ...
yes, I am quite unreasonable when it comes to the number of ports or user-friendly battery replacement access. And it's true that Apple can buy the best engineers and designers available. But sometimes these guys collide and you end up with these type of directions on how to open the first Mac mini
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Doesn't look like a high tech, but everybody makes a few esthetic and engineering mistakes. As far as the ports go, there is nothing in writing either from Apple or Ive that they are anti-port folks. Less than 10 years ago even lowly iBooks and Mac minis packed quite a few
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(+ slot optical drive on the other side not shown)
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Sorry for the small size (should find my original photos somewhere). Not sure why people not long time ago needed so many ports ... or maybe Mac really became design-driven ... or just to force you to the cloud ... ahh, the cloud :D
Last edited by zts on 10 Mar 2015, 20:36, edited 1 time in total.

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urbancamo

10 Mar 2015, 20:33

This new keyboard could turn out to be like the Cambridge Z88s - seemingly a horrendous rubbery domey affair but actually, in use, surprisingly quick to type on.

abhibeckert

10 Mar 2015, 20:47

zts wrote:
jacobolus wrote:
zts wrote: I'm not saying we should go back to some of those old ideas and floppies, tho many of them were quite inventive, but we may need to be more careful about accepting the BS these new blend of the *best-of-my-recipes* offer. Yep, there is something just slightly off when you replace engineers with designers and when the design starts determining technical choices.
Apple has great designers, many of whom also happen to be engineers, plus an amazing engineering team (look how compact that motherboard is, look at how efficiently the space is used inside the shell). Personally, I’d say their choices seem quite engineering-driven, they just have different priorities than you do ...
yes, I am quite unreasonable when it comes to the number of ports or user-friendly battery replacement access. And it's true that Apple can buy the best engineers and designers available. But sometimes these guys collide and you end up with these type of directions on how to open the first Mac mini
macmini11.jpg
Doesn't look like a high tech, but everybody makes a few esthetic and engineering mistakes. As far as the ports go, there is nothing in writing either from Apple or Ive that they are anti-port folks. Less than 10 years ago even lowly iBooks and Mac minis packed quite a few
macmini05.jpg
(+ slot optical drive on the other side not shown)
ibookg4-6.jpg
Sorry for the small size (should find my original photos somewhere). Not sure why people not long time ago needed so many ports ... or maybe Mac really became design-driven ... or just to force you to the cloud ... ahh, the cloud :D
I owned both of those macs. I opened the Mini a few times, once to upgrade the RAM and again to install an SSD and a third time to pull out he disks (server model had two internal drives) after it got wet.

It really wasn't that hard to open, you just need to use anything thin (butter knife, small screw driver, etc) to lever against the clips. Then it slides off by hand. It takes about 10 seconds.

I also had that MacBook, and it was so heavy I had aching shoulders for 20 minutes after removing my backpack. I wouldn't call that portable. Also it had 54Mbps WiFi, a lot slower than 1,200Mbps on this new MacBook. That changes everything in terms of what ports you need.

jacobolus

10 Mar 2015, 20:59

zts wrote: As far as the ports go, there is nothing in writing either from Apple or Ive that they are anti-port folks. Less than 10 years ago even lowly iBooks and Mac minis packed quite a few
They’re not opposed to ports, but they’re merciless about cutting stuff that’s not essential. That’s how the industry moves forward. If you maintain endless backwards compatibility for everything to the end of time, you end up with a nightmare.

The pictures you posted are machines that debuted in 2003/2005, respectively. At that point, many people were still on dialup internet, and the rest often connected via ethernet because wifi at the time was less common and damn slow, so the RJ11/RJ45 ports were essential. Beyond those, there’s Mini VGA on one and DVI on the other (duh, you need to plug a screen/projector in), USB, Firewire, audio out, power, and a DVD drive (most people still got software via optical media). None of those ports were redundant except arguably USB/Firewire, though Firewire had marginally better performance even at that low-point of Firewire 400 vs. USB 2.0.

The modern Apple machines are actually pretty similar to the ones you posted in port selection, just updated for 2015, with the exception of the Macbook Air / new Macbook, which are about extreme portability, and so slim down to as few ports as they can get away with, and assume people will connect to things with wifi/bluetooth.

You’ll notice on their current machines no serial, no parallel, no ADB, no PS/2, no SCSI, no RJ11, no Firewire, no old versions of USB, no VGA, no DVI, no S-Video, no floppy drives, no optical drives, and as little of the rest as they can get away with.

sypl

10 Mar 2015, 21:26

I do like the big escape key. Too important a key for it to be relegated to it's usual (for mac) tiny, half-size afterthought. Also eliminates that weird function key spacing on current macs.

Are metal dome switches loud? Like the tactile switches you'd shove in to a breadboard? I can't imagine Apple allowing that to happen.

Very curious about these switches, can't wait to try them out.

andrewjoy

10 Mar 2015, 21:48

abhibeckert wrote:
It really wasn't that hard to open, you just need to use anything thin (butter knife, small screw driver, etc) to lever against the clips. Then it slides off by hand. It takes about 10 seconds.
once then have been opened a few times you can just grab them and rag them apart :)

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Hypersphere

10 Mar 2015, 22:08

Since switching to Mac as my primary computing platform several years ago, I have been frustrated with software being written mostly for Windows, but I continue to relish Apple's innovative designs. The new keyboard and Macbook certainly look beautiful, and I expect they "just work" as well.

At the same time, just today I encountered a serious bug in Apple's video driver that causes my molecular dynamics simulation software to crash when running in GPU compute mode on my Mac Pro. The program runs fine in GPU mode under linux or Windows or in CPU-only mode in OS X. I've filed a bug report with Apple, but I am not holding my breath for a solution. Apple pays most attention to its consumer lines of mobile devices whose sales constitute most of their revenue these days.

Frustrations aside, I admire Apple's minimalist blend of form and function. It is especially interesting to see the single USB-C port in the new Macbook subserving multiple functions. I also notice that the trackpad provides haptic feedback. Nice going!

zts

10 Mar 2015, 23:23

jacobolus wrote:
zts wrote: As far as the ports go, there is nothing in writing either from Apple or Ive that they are anti-port folks. Less than 10 years ago even lowly iBooks and Mac minis packed quite a few
They’re not opposed to ports, but they’re merciless about cutting stuff that’s not essential. That’s how the industry moves forward. If you maintain endless backwards compatibility for everything to the end of time, you end up with a nightmare ...
You know I've been using Mac for maybe 16 or so years and had many of their notebooks and a few Mac minis. Maybe two years ago I realized that if the Mac notebook trend continues, as you accurately describe as mercilessly cutting *non-essentials* then most likely there won't be any Mac notebooks in my future. I can see a nice big iMac with maybe an external DVD burner in the future, but no Mac notebooks. What I'm trying to say, in my excessively inelegant way, is that Mac notebooks stopped being production machines. They are now excellent and efficient machines at consuming content, but not so much in creating it. Pro line losing the DVD drive, Ethernet port, etc. is just not something that I could use daily, maybe only for some occasional travel. I think it's an excellent business model for Apple -- losing thousands of creatives and gaining millions of typical consumers is not a bad trade. My current 15" early-2011 MacBook Pro is in great shape and will hopefully last a few more years.

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Muirium
µ

10 Mar 2015, 23:59

I like this new trend of there being other people around to be positive about Apple instead of just me! I think Jacobulus is quite right about what they're up to, and the reason why. It's where people are already headed, and Apple's fundamentally about taking them there.


@zts: You're right that all this is really about where Apple's Pro laptops are going. I think it's inevitable they're headed off the same way, dropping everything but a handful of tiny ports, although likely more than just the one!

Whether that condemns them to being incapable of content creation… hmm. I don't agree. The primary focus for most creators is right there: the keyboard, which is clearly here to stay. Then there's wireless connectivity, which I much prefer for mounting volumes for files I'm working with, over hooking up cables directly. The things I do use my USB ports for are mainly peripheral charging duties and my keyboards. I expect to be using better means for both those things in the future. Might be harder to replace my fancy microphone though. Bluetooth needs better audio protocols in both directions. I suspect this will indeed happen, as wires are becoming barbaric.

I do miss MagSafe though. I'm keen on wireless charging and really hope to get that someday, as laptops have an excellent cross sectional area and are convenient to leave overnight on a pad. The thing holding it back is the sheer capacity the batteries have now.

Something to bear in mind is that you can run a lot of gear without plugging it into (or worse: housing it inside of) your computer. In my case I've an old Mac Pro which does the drive housing and device charging duties as it's always plugged in. Drobos and Synologies and the like are getting to be quite standard equipment, as is good high bandwidth Wi-Fi. Andy won't be pleased, but that's quite enough to make a sterling setup. And unlike iOS - the real consumer-centric platform - the Mac is already well suited to using this stuff.

jacobolus

11 Mar 2015, 00:17

zts wrote: You know I've been using Mac for maybe 16 or so years and had many of their notebooks and a few Mac minis. Maybe two years ago I realized that if the Mac notebook trend continues, as you accurately describe as mercilessly cutting *non-essentials* then most likely there won't be any Mac notebooks in my future. [...] What I'm trying to say, in my excessively inelegant way, is that Mac notebooks stopped being production machines. They are now excellent and efficient machines at consuming content, but not so much in creating it. Pro line losing the DVD drive, Ethernet port, etc. is just not something that I could use daily, maybe only for some occasional travel. I think it's an excellent business model for Apple -- losing thousands of creatives and gaining millions of typical consumers is not a bad trade. My current 15" early-2011 MacBook Pro is in great shape and will hopefully last a few more years.
Yeah, I think that’s bullshit.

I mean, fine, if it’s not for you, it’s not for you, but losing the optical drive and the built-in ethernet port is totally worth it for basically all of the “creatives” I know, when the trade off is their laptops now last 8–10 hours on a charge, have high resolution screens, have very fast wireless connections, and only weigh 2–3 pounds. The only people I’ve heard complaining about this are programmers and IT guys; everyone else just buys an external optical drive (or stops using optical media) and gets on with life.

A couple photographer buddies of mine (as well as several techie friends) pulled the optical drives out of their 13" Macbook Pros a few years ago, so they could have both an SSD and a very large magnetic hard drive. I haven’t personally needed an optical drive since maybe 2008. The only time I need an ethernet connection is when my wifi is broken and I need to plug directly into the router to fix it. There’s absolutely no reason to waste a bunch of space and weight for something that gets used a few times a year.

If you still need a floppy drive, VGA, serial, and PS/2, I suspect HP or somebody still sells a machine with all of those included.

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bhtooefr

11 Mar 2015, 00:36

Honestly, I'd prefer a mechanical HDD option (in addition to the SSD, for tiered storage, and Apple's got the only consumer OS that actually supports tiered storage AFAIK) in my MBPR, but that's not an OMG MUST HAVE.

I'm almost certain that my MBPR's replacement will have a pointing stick, though.

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