Tested: The truth behind the MacBook Pro’s ‘terrible’ battery life – Macworld

Read professional reviews of Apple’s new MacBook Pro lineup, and you’ll come away thinking the new laptops have great battery life.

Great write-up of the battery issues surrounding the MacBook Pro. Gordon Mac Ung did some serious testing, and highlighted a bug that was causing poor battery life for some users. It’s a long read, with lots of graphs, and it’s worth reading if you have a new MacBook Pro or if you’re considering buying one.

Source: Tested: The truth behind the MacBook Pro’s ‘terrible’ battery life | Macworld

Phil Schiller again defends Touch Bar MacBook Pro’s 16GB RAM limitation – Apple Insider

“The MacBook Pro uses 16GB of very fast LPDDR memory, up to 2133MHz,” Schiller said. “To support 32GB of memory would require using DDR memory that is not low power and also require a different design of the logic board which might reduce space for batteries. Both factors would reduce battery life.”

If there’s less space for batteries, maybe the computer needs to be a bit thicker.

This shows how out of touch Apple executives are with their users. The pro users complaining about the new MacBook Pros don’t give a damn about these Macs being thinner; they want them to be usable. While not everyone needs 32 GB, the idea of limiting RAM because you want to make a computer thinner is simply unfathomable.

It’s interesting to watch Apple squirm. They reduced prices on adapters and dongles because of customer complaints. They slashed the prices on the new 4K and 5K displays, though the reduced prices, if temporary like those for adapters, may not last until the new displays ship. And they’ve had to explain the RAM limitation several times. People are not buying these excuses. Apple is making the computer they want, not the computer its users need.

Source: Phil Schiller again defends Touch Bar MacBook Pro’s 16GB RAM limitation

Apple could have made the USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 transition easier

We knew it was coming. Ever since the 2015 release of the 12-inch MacBook, with its single USB-C port, it was obvious that this connector would make its appearance on other Macs. But Apple’s recently announced new MacBook Pro with only Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports (plus a headphone jack) may leave you grumbling.

Apple’s insistence on this being a ‘pro’ device has led a lot of actual pros–developers, photographers, designers, and video editors–to point out that this new laptop isn’t practical for them. Aside from the limited amount of RAM available (16GB), the main complaint is the presence of only USB-C ports.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.

Apple Ditches Optical Audio Jack on New MacBook Pro

Apple doesn’t like the digital audio output on its devices very much these days. They removed it from the Apple TV 4, and now have ditched it from the new MacBook Pro (with or without the Touch Bar). Here’s what the specs show:

Mbp audio outputs

This is also the case with the MacBook and the MacBook Air, but previous MacBook Pros have included the digital audio output. Because it’s a “pro” feature, of course. If you do work with audio and depend on that output, consider your options. You may be able to use USB, if your audio peripheral supports it.

All the adapters you need to buy for the MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 3 – Macworld

“If you’re planning to buy a new MacBook Pro, make sure you set aside a considerable amount of cash for the adapters you need. Apple doesn’t include any in the box, except for a power adapter.

Your best bet is to get a combination dock, like the Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter ($60 on Amazon). It connects to the MacBook Pro via USB-C, and includes a USB-C pass-through port, two USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI port with 4K (30Hz) support. With this, you don’t have to carry around multiple adapters.

If you don’t want a dock, or you can’t find a dock with the mix of connections you need, Apple or another company probably has an adapter for you. We’ve come up with this guide to help you sort out what you need…”

Roman Loyola at Macworld has a great overview of all the various connectors and adapters you may need for the new MacBook Pro (and also the existing 12″ MacBook). It’s a shame this has become so complicated. The promise is that USB-C will take over for most of these connectors, but weren’t we told the same thing about USB-A, then Thunderbolt?

Source: All the adapters you need to buy for the MacBook Pro with Thunderbolt 3

Buying a MacBook Pro? Check Amazon First

I don’t recall seeing this before, but Amazon is discounting the new MacBook Pro before it’s even released. They have the 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, 512GB model for $1,799, which is a saving of $200 off Apple’s price. That’s the only model that shows up so far, but if you’re planning to buy one, it’s worth considering Amazon.

Amazon macbook pro

Updated: Apparently Amazon has removed this price, and now simply shows the model as “Unavailable.” Check back in the future to see if it’s still discounted.

Before You Go All In on Apple’s Touch Bar, Think about This

Apple’s new Touch Bar, on the company’s updated MacBook Pros – thinner, lighter, more expensive – is a very attractive input tool. It looks good, has colors, and stands out well. But before you go and spend your money on that new, increased-price MacBook Pro, think about this.

How often do you use the function keys on your laptop? When you do use them, how do you feel?

Every time I need to use the function keys on any keyboard, I have to look down at my keyboard (I touch type), then find the key I’m looking for, then press it. This is the case even if I use the Mute key, or the brightness keys; I never remember where they are. This is because we use them so infrequently compared to other keys that their positions don’t stay in memory.

And, every time I do that, I realize that it’s uncomfortable. This Mashable article even suggests that it’s an “ergonomic nightmare.” Of course, this is based on a few moments using it, and a whole lot of tweets from people who have never used it, but it’s a valid point. The Touch Bar is tiny; about the same thickness as the F-key row on a keyboard. So hitting the right key won’t be easy. You’ll need to look down at your keyboard, then up at your display as you see what happens, then back to the Touch Bar, and so on.

Also, a lot of people work with a laptop on a stand, using an external keyboard; until Apple makes the Touch Bar available on their standalone keyboard, these people won’t be able to use it. Reaching up to touch the last row of keys on a laptop on a stand will be an ergonomic nightmare, if you do it often enough. (Repetitive stress injuries in the shoulder occur from that type of repeated movement; that’s why Apple won’t make a touch-screen computer.)

I found the Touch Bar idea quite interesting during Apple’s presentation yesterday, but I immediately thought about how small those keys were. If Apple really wants this to be a useful input row, why didn’t they make it a bit wider? Look at the Magic Keyboard; the keys on the top row are the same size as the rest of the keys.

Magic keyboard

But on the MacBook Pro, those keys are about half the size:

Touch bar keyboard

And it’s not that there’s not room to have keys that size; it’s just that historically, the function keys on Apple’s laptops have been smaller.

Apple clearly had nothing new to offer in their laptop line, and came up with this new input tool. I think it’s laudable that they’re trying this, but I’m not sure how useful it will be as long as it’s only available on their most expensive laptops. I’d recommend that anyone interested in this think about the ergonomics before rushing into a purchase. And I hope Apple brings this to a standalone keyboard soon; though we know they’ll wait several months, to get people to buy the new MacBook Pro first, alas.

Latest OS X Update Includes Update for USB-C Multiport Adapter

Usb c adapter

I have a MacBook, and the USB-C Multiport Adapter was connected to it to charge the computer. After I installed the latest OS X update, I saw this:

Usb adapter update

Clicking Install, I then saw the following description for the update:

Usb c update notes

So if you have a Macbook, and have one of these adapters, plug it into your laptop to apply the update to the adapter. You’ll need to restart your MacBook after applying the update.

If you’re not seeing the updater, or if you have more than one adapter and need to run it again, you can find it in /System/Library/CoreServices/Firmware Updates/USB-C Multiport\ Adapter/. (H/t to @pmod for pointing out the location of the updater.)

Poor MacBook Battery Life Caused by Time Machine?

My MacBook is my second computer, and I don’t use it much. I use it for testing, for taking screenshots, and for working outside my office from time to time. I’ve been using it a lot in the past week, and I’ve noticed that I’m getting perhaps 6 hours of battery life, without using a lot of apps.

One thing I notice is that two processes, mtmd and mtmfs, pop up frequently, using about 100% of CPU (of a core) and do so for a while. Here’s a screenshot from iStat Menus when that happens:


These two processes are related to Time Machine, and have something to do with creating local snapshots. But I’m only using the MacBook at my home office, so it’s on the network where my Time Machine backup device is located, and it shouldn’t make local snapshots. It should only do this when it can’t access your Time Machine disk; it then copies those snapshots the next time the Time Machine disk is available.

When I check Activity Monitor, and look at Energy, the app listed as having the highest impact is Time Machine, way above Safari which is the second. So it’s clearly Time Machine that’s killing my battery.

Activity monitor

I’ve contacted AppleCare, and spent a lot of time on this, sending them logs and other data, and I’m waiting to hear back. I reinstalled El Capitan, and nothing changed. Is anyone else seeing this?

Update: I found the following in system logs. I find these entries to be interesting.

12/7/15 18:32:47.000 kernel[0]: Sandbox: mtmfs(552) System Policy: deny(1) forbidden-rootless-xattr
12/7/15 18:32:47.156 mtmfs[552]: could not set attributes com.apple.rootless on destination file descriptor: Operation not permitted: Operation not permitted

12/7/15 19:33:33.810 com.apple.xpc.launchd[1]: (com.apple.mtmfs) Unknown key for Boolean: ForceEnableHack
12/7/15 19:33:33.810 com.apple.xpc.launchd[1]: (com.apple.mtmfs) This service is defined to be constantly running and is inherently inefficient.