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For perspective, the retail price of a 2TB Samsung 970 EVO NVMe card is $795.
On this "pro" laptop, though, we should likely be comparing to an MLC drive, closer to the Samsung 970 Pro, though Samsung hasn’t released a 2TB version yet. The older 2TB Samsung 960 Pro is $1100 at Amazon. The 45% markup from Apple is still eye-popping. Of course, Samsung makes their own NAND, so they get profit from both the chip and the card, while Apple has to pay the chip profit to someone else, possibly SanDisk (as in the iMac Pro).

I couldn’t find a comparably-configured Dell laptop, but adding 4 TB of SSD (two slower 2TB SSDs or four high-speed 1TB SSDs) to one of their workstations can run $2700 and $3760, so... not pleasant, but in the right ballpark.
 


Two thoughts on the keyboard. It might be less prone to damage, but Apple doesn't want to admit too much to the problems of the previous keyboard. Or it is as prone to damage, but building a better keyboard, especially one easier to replace, requires a major MacBook Pro redesign, which takes around 2 years.

I'm interested in the speed of the SSD. This is one area where Apple is in the lead. Unfortunately their GPU offerings are less than impressive.
 


Yes, I am comparing prices with the Dell XPS 15, a PC which aims for the same spot as the MacBook Pro.
I just did the same comparison with a high-end configuration (assuming that a more capable unit will last a few years longer) and also got that same price difference.




MacBook Pro 15"

Dell XPS 15

Processor

i9-(8950HK?), 12M cache, 2.9->4.8GHz GHz, 6 cores

i9-8950HK, 12M cache, 2.9->4.8 GHz, 6 cores

RAM

32 GB DDR4

32 GB DDR4

SSD

1 TB

1 TB

GPU

Radeon Pro 560X

NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti

Display

2280x1800, 500 nits

3840x2160, 400 nits

Price

$3,900

$2,950
Having four Thunderbolt 3 ports is nice, but the Dell has an array of ports including Thunderbolt 3 (SD card slot, 2 USB 3.1 gen 1 Type-A, power, HDMI 2.0, and a single Thunderbolt 3 port), which for the moment is more useful, since most of my existing peripherals will keep working.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I'm interested in the speed of the SSD. This is one area where Apple is in the lead.
It looks about the same as the previous model:
Apple in 2018 said:
MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro includes a solid-state drive that’s blazing fast, with sequential read speeds up to 3.2GB/s. The 15‑inch model is available with up to a 4TB SSD, and the 13‑inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is available with up to a 2TB SSD — enough space to take even your biggest files with you, like large photo libraries or video projects. So you can boot up, launch multiple apps, or import huge files in a flash. And with the Apple T2 chip, everything is automatically encrypted on the fly.
Apple in 2016 said:
Apple unveils groundbreaking new MacBook Pro
All models feature SSDs with sequential read speeds over 3GBps.
 


For perspective, the retail price of a 2TB Samsung 970 EVO NVMe card is $795.
Not altogether on topic, but I recently purchased an OWC Express that holds four NVMe cards to go with my late '17 iMac. I opted for the iMac18,3 with 1TB PCIe (?) card and 16GB's of RAM that I upgraded to 64GB's (from Ramjet). Have installed one 2TB EVO so far in the Express and will wait for further price drops, though I really don't need 9TB of super fast storage.

I was hoping to get a new MacBook Pro this year, but I'm going to pass on the latest disappointing offerings. I wish Tim Cook would devote more of his time advancing better hardware designs and less on other non-Apple related activities.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
New feature in the new MacBook Pro models:
Apple said:
Use True Tone on your MacBook Pro
The True Tone technology in MacBook Pro (2018) uses advanced multichannel sensors to adjust the color and intensity of your display and Touch Bar to match the ambient light so that images appear more natural.

You can turn True Tone on or off in the Displays pane of System Preferences...

True Tone can also adjust these external displays when they're connected to your MacBook Pro:
  • Apple Thunderbolt Display, using the Apple Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 adapter
  • LG UltraFine 5K Display
  • LG UltraFine 4K Display
Some display accessibility settings, including Invert Colors, Grayscale, and Increase Contrast, might turn off True Tone.

You can use True Tone along with Night Shift. Learn how to use Night Shift on your Mac.
 


As far as I know, the keyboard, battery and trackpad are all permanently fused to the upper case, ...
I haven't completely disassembled a recent MacBook Pro. Can anyone verify if the newer keyboards are actually glued in?

The keyboards in the 2008-2010 Unibody MacBook Pros I've completely disassembled are held in by roughly 80 tiny screws. The screws provide solid support at the corners between keys. This is why MacBook Pro keyboards feel so much better than most other company's laptop keyboards.
 


iFixit said:
The Great Apple Keyboard Cover-Up
Apple has cocooned their butterfly switches in a thin, silicone barrier.

This flexible enclosure is quite obviously an ingress-proofing measure to cover up the mechanism from the daily onslaught of microscopic dust. Not—to our eyes—a silencing measure. In fact, Apple has a patent for this exact tech designed to “prevent and/or alleviate contaminant ingress.”
 


I haven't completely disassembled a recent MacBook Pro. Can anyone verify if the newer keyboards are actually glued in?
The keyboards in the 2008-2010 Unibody MacBook Pros I've completely disassembled are held in by roughly 80 tiny screws. The screws provide solid support at the corners between keys. This is why MacBook Pro keyboards feel so much better than most other company's laptop keyboards.
I haven't read about their being glued in - just being attached with tons of tiny and easily-stripped screws, making it very difficult to replace without causing damage.

According to iFixit, the late-2016 model's trackpad is removable (only 13 screws. :-)
They didn't try to remove the keyboard (none of the Retina MacBook Pros have shown that in the teardown. I suspect they don't want to bother with 80 screws.
 


I've just read on another site that with the announcement of the new MacBook Pro models, Apple have quietly dropped the 2015 models from sale (some may be available as clearout items). This means if you want a MacBook Pro with something other than just USB-C you better quickly start looking.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
...with the announcement of the new MacBook Pro models, Apple have quietly dropped the 2015 models from sale...
Yes, that's one of the first things I checked (and included in the MacInTouch Home Page notes about Apple's announcements). Unfortunately, Apple didn't even have any 2015 models in their refurb store, when I checked just now, but third-party sellers on Amazon seem to have some.
 


Yes, that's one of the first things I checked (and included in the MacInTouch Home Page notes about Apple's announcements). Unfortunately, Apple didn't even have any 2015 models in their refurb store, when I checked just now, but third-party sellers on Amazon seem to have some.
Sorry about that - I saw a lot of chatter about 2015 models but didn't see anything about them being discontinued.
 


I've had a replacement of one those in my "bag" on the Apple store for a while, as my current hard-working machine is occasionally doing random external monitor blackouts and user logouts.
Funny you should mention that - so does mine! External monitor blackouts when waking up from sleep, unexpected user logouts when it's working.

I think I caught the culprit of the user logouts: the NVidia web driver. It seems to interfere with Safari, JavaScript in particular. Now that you mention it, I reverted to the default Mac driver, and I can't remember being forcefully logged out since. But it's always difficult to remember something not happening, of course.

Just out of curiosity: do you happen to have two Ethernet dongles? I have one at home, another one at the office. When I move between the two, the dongle will not activate: no network connection. I have to wake up networking by opening iTunes or Safari, which will then complain that I am not connected to a network. I pull out and re-insert the dongle, and all is fine. Do you also see that?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple's new MacBook Pro models apparently have a new, unannounced, keyboard feature designed to reduce the problems of its earlier, defective design:
iFixit said:
The Great Apple Keyboard Cover-Up
Here’s an inflammatory take for you: Apple’s new quieter keyboard is actually a silent scheme to fix their keyboard reliability issues. We’re in the middle of tearing down the newest MacBook Pro, but we’re too excited to hold this particular bit of news back:
Apple has cocooned their butterfly switches in a thin, silicone barrier....
 


Not altogether on topic, but I recently purchased an OWC Express that holds four NVMe cards to go with my late '17 iMac. I opted for the iMac18,3 with 1TB PCIe (?) card and 16GB's of RAM that I upgraded to 64GB's (from Ramjet). Have installed one 2TB EVO so far in the Express and will wait for further price drops, though I really don't need 9TB of super fast storage.
I was hoping to get a new MacBook Pro this year, but I'm going to pass on the latest disappointing offerings. I wish Tim Cook would devote more of his time advancing better hardware designs and less on other non-Apple related activities.
Fill us in on what you wanted in a MacBook Pro. This is legitimate upgrade, processor- and memory-wise....
 


Yes, that's one of the first things I checked (and included in the MacInTouch Home Page notes about Apple's announcements). Unfortunately, Apple didn't even have any 2015 models in their refurb store, when I checked just now, but third-party sellers on Amazon seem to have some.
The 2015 models have been showing up in Clearance, and everything but the (useless) model with puny storage sells out fast. Nothing from 2015 has cropped up in Refurbs since the new models were announced. Too bad, because even the bottom model, which was $1699 in Refurbs, costs substantially more in Clearance. That Apple has been selling a configuration with only 256 GB of storage and calling it “Pro” does not inspire my admiration.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
The 2015 models have been showing up in Clearance...
I somehow missed that - thanks for pointing it out! Unfortunately, it's $1999 with no dGPU and the 256GB flash drive, which is absurd. As noted earlier (and to be noted on tomorrow's home page), at least there are third-party SSD upgrades (including some even faster than stock) for less money than Apple charges.
 



The batteries in the MacBook Pro models are fastened to the topcase with adhesive. This allows a sleeker design profile in the chassis. The reasons for the exterior pentalobe screws are litigious: no one needs to go inside unless an Apple Authorized technician. One lost screw inside or accidental puncture of the membrane can result in a thermal event later.

The topcase keyboards that I last saw had dozens of #000 screws (I painfully took one apart to have a "clean" top case for an artist/designer to use).

I no longer have access to used topcases, as they are to be returned to Apple. But from some web images, it looks like the new model has a silicon skirt-membrane around all the keys to minimize dust buildup under keys.

Re: the 4TB models, I have seen prices in the spring of 4TB NVMe storage, priced around $1800-1900 (Samsung). So I suspect Apple is making a handsome profit on those 4TB models.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Teardown stars at iFixit have done the new MacBook Pro model:
iFixit said:
MacBook Pro 13" Touch Bar 2018 Teardown
Apple has been quietly improving their pro-level laptops, making them … quieter. Turns out they’ve improved the clacky keyboards more than they’ve let on—which leaves us wondering, what else is new in here? All we need is a teardown team and several thousand US greenbacks to find out.

...

√ The trackpad can be removed without first removing the battery.
x The processor, RAM, and flash memory are soldered to the logic board. Repairs and upgrades will be impractical at best.
x The top case assembly, which includes the keyboard, battery, and speakers, is glued together—making all those components impractical to replace separately.
x The Touch ID sensor doubles as the power switch, and is paired with the T2 chip on the logic board. Fixing a broken power switch may require help from Apple, or a new logic board.

Repairability 1 out of 10
(10 is easiest to repair)
 


I laid hands on a 2018 MacBook Pro 15" (2.2GHz/16 GB/256GB) this afternoon at our local big box store. Typed a bit, and I think I like the keyboard. Feels lighter in weight than my 2015 MacBook Pro 15". I didn't particularly notice the screen as being "better," and launching Pages and Safari felt similar in speed, if not a bit slower than my 2015 (2.8GHz/16 GB/512GB). Hard to tell without comparing them side-by-side. First time I've used a Touch Bar MacBook Pro, and I could see using it for certain things, perhaps.

Hard to swallow the price, though. Does anyone track Apple price reductions by model family over time? Do they follow a predictable curve?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Does anyone track Apple price reductions...
The Touch Bar generation raised prices (apparently to cover the costs of the Touch Bar, for one thing). Unfortunately, Apple hasn't reduced prices much (if any) even when they're selling computers that are ~5 years old as new (Cf. Mac Pro), so they're grossly uncompetitive on price/performance vs. e.g. older Dells.
 


The Touch Bar generation raised prices (apparently to cover the costs of the Touch Bar, for one thing). Unfortunately, Apple hasn't reduced prices much (if any) even when they're selling computers that are ~5 years old as new (Cf. Mac Pro), so they're grossly uncompetitive on price/performance vs. e.g. older Dells.
This is from 2014, but is along the lines of what I was looking for.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
This is from 2014, but is along the lines of what I was looking for.
Unfortunately, that misses Apple's price increase for Touch Bar models, as well as premium prices for popular, discontinued models, such as the 2012 Mac Mini and pre-2013 Mac Pros and the very long-lived 2012 MacBook Pro.

The market rewards the best products with higher prices, new or used; Apple very rarely discounts anything, even old products; and, lacking any competition, Apple can charge exhorbitant prices beyond what would be acceptable for equivalent Windows or Linux systems.

Bottom line: I don't think there's any simple rule of thumb for getting the best price/performance for Macs, although it's true that just-discontinued models may be discounted a bit (but may also lack premium feature availability, such as dGPUs), and Apple's refurbished inventory is generally a better value (but much more limited in availability) vs. new, non-refurbished stock.
 


DFG

Teardown stars iFixit have done the new MacBook Pro model...
And one interesting change is the disappearance of the "data port" on the motherboard that was thought to be usable for data recovery. Speculations are that this function is now handled by the T2 chip, which is also the SSD controller.
 


And one interesting change is the disappearance of the "data port" on the motherboard that was thought to be usable for data recovery. Speculations are that this function is now handled by the T2 chip, which is also the SSD controller.
That's what iFixit said, but looking at the photos, I see what appears to be that port on the other side of the motherboard - near the lower-right edge of the right-side fan assembly.

As a few commentators pointed out, however, since the T2 is the SSD controller, and it is almost certainly using some kind of hardware key to encrypt data on the chips, accessing the raw NAND modules will be pointless.

If the T2 (which incorporates several different controllers) is still working, then you can probably just use target-disk mode via one of the Thunderbolt 3 ports to recover data. And if the T2 is fried, there won't be any way to recover anything anyway.
 


Speaking of T2, you better have an active backup strategy. And note that Apple's KB on the T2 encryption is rather eye-opening. I doubt recovery was on the table at the meeting.
Apple said:
About encrypted storage on your new Mac
Mac computers that have the Apple T2 chip integrate security into both software and hardware to provide encrypted-storage capabilities. Data on the built-in, solid-state drive (SSD) is encrypted using a hardware-accelerated AES engine built into the Apple T2 chip. This encryption is performed with 256-bit keys tied to a unique identifier within the chip.

The advanced encryption technology integrated into the Apple T2 chip provides line-speed encryption, but it also means that if the portion of the chip containing your encryption keys becomes damaged, you might need to restore the content of your drive from a backup. This content includes system files, apps, accounts, preferences, music, photos, movies, and documents.

Always back up your content to a secure external drive or other secure backup location so that you can restore it, if necessary. You should also turn on FileVault for additional security, because without FileVault enabled, your encrypted SSDs automatically mount and decrypt when connected to your Mac.
 


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