Not Impressed With Apple

By Simon, 8 November, 2021

It's about time I put another article up here. Further down, I tell a repair story where Apple did right by its customers (and it only took a class action lawsuit to get there). But this is me, being highly peeved by Apple's current lack of vision and forward thinking.

It's 2021, and we're supposed to have flying cars by now. Aside from the usual built-in obsolescence from non-upgradeable components such as hard drive and memory, Apple seem to be double downing on protecting legacy sales. Sure, there's now a shiny M1 chip inside that finally catches up with the VR world like it's 2017, but, in the new 2021 line up, Apple have also been removing features instead of expanding upon them. 

Take the new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, which come missing the touchscreen strip input on the keyboard as well as missing Face ID. Apparently, MacBook Pros lack FaceID because TouchID is more convenient because users' hands are already on the keyboard. If you drill down further, it's also because users' hands are already on the keyboard, that they don't need the touchscreen input on the keyboard anymore, as the MacBook Pro is optimized for indirect input. Yes, that's the logic coming out of Apple.

Um... do you realize how stupid that sounds? It turns out the real reason for all of this is that Apple don't want to cannibalize iPad sales by putting a touchscreen strip on the MacBook Pro anymore. Welcome to 2015. A giant leap backwards for all MacBook Pro users. 

Newsflash for Apple. I have a MacBook Pro with a touchscreen strip and an iPad. In fact the iPad is useful as an extra screen thanks to Sidecar (which took forever to get here). That touchscreen strip is not cannibalizing sales.

I'm not going to spend any time on FaceID, because that's not what I'm peeved about. Every time I look at my 2016 MacBook Pro, and I see the touchscreen strip, I wonder why it's not taking up the entire space of the keyboard. Why isn't the bottom half of the MacBook Pro one big touchscreen? A configurable touchscreen taking up the entire keyboard space would seriously kick-ass. I also wonder why the main screen isn't a touchscreen. Think about this for a minute. It's 2021.

Why do I want this? A number of reasons. Let's imagine the keyboard is a touchscreen. I'm in Final Cut and a custom keyboard indicating all the shortcuts shows up. Right now, that's a $125 custom external keyboard. Next, I go into Pro Tools and the custom shortcut keys for that show up. Again, that's another $125 custom external keyboard. Next, I'm in Affinity Designer and now the keyboard touchscreen is a drawing tablet. Let's see. How much is that Wacom Cintiq Pro 16 Creative Pen & Touch Display? $1500? That's more than an iPad and near the baseline MacBook Pro price. Or we could bring up any number of other custom interfaces. It seems crazy that this is what Apple don't want you to have. It's more compatibility with the developer community, and it's going to save, collectively, millions of hours of productivity. 

If you think other vendors will smite Apple for cannibalizing their sales, ask around and tell me how many people carry around a phone, a calculator, a still camera, a movie camera, a computer, a music player, a video player, etc. Apple already did that.

So how would this physically manifest it self? We know what MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs are like. We know what iPads are like with their touchscreens. Well, think of this. You have two iPad Pros, with their screens facing each other, and a hinge down one side, sitting on a table. You open it up on the table like a MacBook. The screen facing you is a touchscreen. The screen resting on the table, where the keyboard should be, is a touchscreen. You can work on either screen. It's completely customized to the task in front of you.

This is the future.