Since the announcement of the new 15-Inch MacBook Pro there have been lots of criticism about its limitations and flaws. I’m not going to refute the criticism because I have some of the same misgivings, but I want to share my thought process for why I bought the particular configuration I decided on.
First and foremost I needed a new computer. Multiple, daily GPU panics are not a recipe for a happy computer user and in the last 9 months as I waited for Apple to release new computers my frustration had turned to dread. Not what a software developer should feel about his main tool.
Is It a Great Computer?
I don’t know. I haven’t used the Touch Bar and I don’t know if I’ll be frustrated by the lack of an escape-key. The 16GB limit doesn’t faze me because I wouldn’t have gone with 32GB as that would have probably pushed the machine toward $4K. Did the price point move up? Yes, I was planning on going without the discrete GPU because of my GPU panic problems, but without that option my price point got bumped up a couple hundred dollars. Is USB-C only going to be a problem and are dongles of the devil? I have Firewire 400 devices and deal with projectors that are old and only have VGA inputs so I’ve had and will have adapters and dongles for my many years.
Most of the criticism I’ve heard isn’t really about the machine but about what signals Apple is sending because of the choices it made when designing the machine. While this type of analysis can be useful, it doesn’t really factor into how I buy a computer anymore. My buying decision is based on hardware build quality, capabilities, and software quality at a price point I can justify. What the computer says about the future prospects of the company would only concern me if it limited the useful life of it. I feel comfortable in saying that the choices Apple made with the 15-Inch MacBook Pro won’t limit the 5-7 year useful life expectancy I have for it.
What and Why
I bought the higher-end 15-Inch MacBook Pro because I wanted the 512GB SSD. I could have gone with the lower-end model and bumped up the SSD and saved a couple hundred dollars, but decided that the higher-end stock configuration was a better balance with the faster CPU and GPU. I got it in silver because Space Gray looks dirty in my eyes after using my current MacBook Pro for 6 years and a Titanium PowerBook for 5 years before that.
Buying the new machine was the easy decision. The next steps of deliberately deciding what software to install and intentionally integrating it into my life are much more important.