Pondering the 2018 Apple MacBook Pro: Serves Little Useful Purpose for *Me* Even for Travel—I Await a Revised iMac or iMac Pro
See my overview of the 2018 MacBook Pro.
I’m traveling so I will keep this brief and to the point.
I fully understand the portability benefits of a laptop and that for many users, this is paramount since lugging around an iMac 5K is an absurd non-starter. Also, the 2018 MacBook Pro appears to have adequate grunt for my work while traveling, though it falls well short on memory (I regularly use more than 32GB).
But, I now travel almost entirely in my Mercedes Sprinter photography adventure van, with a lovely 48 X 29" hickory table and 10 kW of lithium iron phosphate batteries and dual Xantrex Freedom XC 2000W power inverters. So power is not an issue, even for days of all-day work and the Sprinter at 800 rpm idle can put out up to 1.8 kilowatts anyway*.
* An hour of idling takes 0.8 gallons of diesel fuel with no diesel stink out the tailpipe. So with low batteries, somewhere between 1.3 and 1.5 kW per hour can be stored into the batteries, after charging losses. BTW, solar panels are a foolishly wasteful negative energy-losing investment, at least for my usage patterns.
It’s the display size at issue
The key thing is this: I need a large screen for my work. The MacBook Pro has a small non- screen 2880 pixels wide that is a recipe for bodily damage (hunched over posture) and eyestrain (too dense/small) and inferior keyboard (vs a desktop keyboard). And that I’d-pay-to-eliminate-it touchbar wart. Note that much of the Apple PR for pros shows a separate display—no accident.
There are other limitations, which when they arise are major productivity killers:
- 32GB memory limit (I regularly use more than 32GB).
- Cost: an iMac 5K at 2/3 the price has twice the memory and twice the SSD.
- Performance: the MacBook Pro can’t run for more than 30 seconds or so before slowing down.
- Temperature: the MacBook Pro becomes unusable when temperatures hit 90°F or so. Waiting half a day for the computer to become usable is not viable. And that godawful touchbar cannot operate below 50°F.
- The toy keyboard.
- The touchbar interferes with work and at best can be deprogrammed.
Accordingly, I have no plans to buy a 2018 MacBook Pro (though I’ll be testing it), which is ironic, since it is the laptop I’ve lusted after all these years. But it would be hugely expensive and sit idle most of the time—a very poor value for my needs. Very cool but foolish for my needs.
I’ll be waiting for the revised iMac 5K and/or iMac Pro. The iMac 5K with the new Intel chips is surely not far off. And I can always hope for an iMac 6K or iMac 8K.
Below alongside the MacBook Pro models I recommend, the 2017 iMac 5K that I have been using full time since November 2017—outstanding machine for my needs, though I wish it had 6 cores.