MacBook Pro 2016 wishes

I’ve been a professional user of Macs for the last 16 years. From graphic studios, to music production to video editing, I’ve used Macs to do my job as long as I can remember. I’ve *never* had a computer that was fast enough to keep up with my work. Yes, the computers we use now are easily 100x faster than the PowerMac 7600 I used to manipulate Quark XPress 3.32, but the quality and scope of work we throw at them has increased alongside of Moore’s law so that instead of waiting for Photoshop Unsharp Mask filter to process on a 200 dpi 24″x36″ poster, I’m now waiting for H.264 multi-pass encoding on 1080p video to finish.

So, as someone who has used every single “professional” Mac, from the Power Mac 8500 to the Bondi Blue G3 tower, Mirror-drive-door graphite G4, PowerMac G5 2.5 GHz (liquid cooled no less), and every Mac Pro shipped, which is an embarrassingly low number, I know of what I speak. /nerdcredentials

On Batteries

I’ve been using 15–17″ Macbook Pros for the last 10 years. The latest Retina design is great. I use every single port, sometimes all simultaneously. But in terms of battery life, there is no way that even for a second, I’d consider leaving the house without my AC adapter for this laptop.

Apple’s “wireless-web” of 9–10 hours for the latest models is nowhere near the amount of time I get out of a single charge. When I’m doing actual work, using the CPU and discrete GPU I might get half of that, if I’m really lucky. 3-4 hours is nowhere near “all-day” battery for a Mac user who uses graphic intensive software, stressing both CPU and GPU.

I have never, not once, thought that I needed to have a computer that is thinner and has a smaller battery. I could not care less about how heavy it is.

Somebody in the design lab needs to slap Jony in the face and stare him down while saying very slowly and deliberately “None of our Pro users want a thinner laptop! Please go talk to the designer assigned to the MacBook One to contemplate the essential essence of it’s form. We are going to make a fucking truck for the few people left that want to use them.”

But more likely, Ive is gonna do his Jedi mind tricks to make that person immediately start shaving off millimetres from the foam core model on their desk.

Magic Toolbar?

The OLED touch screen idea is a great idea. This will be a huge hit with Pro Apps users if Logic and Final Cut Pro lead the way. And as a nod to the past, I’d love for them to call it the Control Strip, but I suppose everything is magical these days in Phil’s world. As someone who uses apps that all have F key’s programmed into their default key commands, the dual nature of these keys has always been confusing. Sliders and other UI controls that offer more direct ways of manipulating things on a continuum will be way better than the current twitchy way of increasing volume for example.

Ports

The USB-C connector will be great. One port to rule them all has been a dream of computer users for so long. Ending our long national nightmare of incorrectly plugging in every USB cable 2 out of 3 times will be truly amazing. I really hope that all of these ports are also Thunderbolt 3, but maybe there are technical reasons why this would be difficult?

I will be sad however, if Apple reduces the total number of ports. If you count the SD card and power as a port, the current model has 8 “inputs”. I would really like to see *at least* 6 ports on the redesigned MacBook Pro, but 8 would be even better. Anything less will be a big step backwards in my view. Having to carry around a hub or another device to get more ports will be super annoying, especially with the number of adapters we will need.

It will be great that each port can be anything. Certainly I’ve had times where I wanted four USB 3 ports rather than two USB 3 ports and two Thunderbolt ports. This kind of flexibility will be great.

Thunderbolt 3 will be a big deal for pro users. Obviously, ever since the PowerBook Duo, Apple customers have been dreaming of the ultra portable laptop, that with one quick connection would transform into the ultimate desktop computer.

I will forgive Apple for only including 4 USB-C ports if they also ship along side of it:

MacBook Dock

There have been many Thunderbolt 2 docks, and there are now number USB-C ones, but all accounts seem that these are unreliable, and expensive, and limited in some way or another with some port lacking or not enough of.

If I were in charge of this product it would have:

– USB 3.1 ports x 6
Maybe 6 seems crazy, but I don’t think having a printer, audio interface, card reader, 1-2 external hard drives is unusual in the world of media creation.
– 10 GB/s Ethernet
– HDMI 1.4
– Thunderbolt 2 ports x 2
– SD Card Reader
– Analogue audio, 3.5 mm input AND output
– AC Power

And for my “one more thing”, I would make every nerd instantly get hard by including in the dock, an external desktop class GPU, whatever the latest Nvidia or ATI chip is best.

Thunderbolt 3 is now 40 Gbps which seems like there should be enough bandwidth for dedicated PCI lanes for the GPU, plus be able to handle all of the video streams for driving external displays and other Thunderbolt uses.

As a nerd, I would love this to be housed on a regular PCI card, the same as PC users use, so it could be upgraded easily… but I’ve come to accept the Apple strategy tax and realize that this is not gonna happen.

But at least, operationally, it seems like decoupling the GPU from the unpredictable cycle of Intel CPU availability, keeping this Dock up to date would be much easier to do. And prevent Mac users from feeling abandoned every time Intel fucks shit up.

This is probably very pie in the sky and not worth it for Apple to spend resources on, but if they are going to continue to have Pro lines, it would be better to create products that fit the needs of these customers, however small in number we are compared to iPhone users.