Out with the old, in with the new.

I’ve been at Automattic about two years now, and it’s been long past due for me to upgrade my company-issued MacBook Pro. When I first started at Automattic, I opted for the 13″ fully upgraded model. I didn’t want a big and bulky 15″ and I definitely didn’t want the touch bar. I really like tactile keys and the difference in power wasn’t going to be that significant. Plus, it was less bulky.

My 13″ MBP ended up serving me well in my first two years. Here is a top-shot in all its glory in the machine’s last day of service:

rudy faile's 13" macbook pro
Farewell, good buddy 👋

I was due for a replacement in the middle of this year (2019) but decided to wait because there were rumors of Apple releasing a 16″ model which had numerous improvements over the existing 15″ models. For starters, it was bringing back the ESC key (less touch bar = good!) While I wish they would offer a tactile key option, this was better than nothing. Furthermore, they brought back the scissor keyboard! This one actually feels less mushy than the older ones feel, especially after you’ve gotten used to the butterfly mechanism of the 2016-2018 models, but it’s a short adjustment period. Lastly, I found that while I enjoyed the portability and power-in-a-small-package of my 13″ little beast, I was ultimately less productive due to lack of screen real estate.

All of these factors led me to wait for the possible release of the 16″ MacBook Pro. My patience, it seems, paid off as Apple announced the 16″ model on November 15th. I made my order that day and it arrived to my door about a week later.

I couldn’t find a case at first since it was so new. Even though the chassis was supposedly the same size, I had read multiple reports that cases from the 15″ would not fit on the 16″. Eventually, to my satisfaction, I ended up stumbling across this heavy duty case from i-Blason which is perfect for me because I have a tendency to drop expensive things.

I still have room for a couple more stickers😄

The specs are:

  • Operating System: MacOS Catalina
  • Processor: 2.4 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9
  • Memory: 32GB 2667 Mhz DDR4
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5500M
  • Storage: 1TB SSD

All in all, this thing is a beast and I’m really happy to have it. If I dislike two things about it, it’s the bulkiness of it and the touch bar. God, I hate the touch bar. I’ve hacked it a little to remove anything useful unless I touch the function key. Otherwise, I’m constantly hitting it by mistake starting up programs or changing the display brightness or some other arbitrary change within the software I’m running I had no intention of making. It makes me really happy that I opted for the last MacBook Pro without a touch bar the last go around.

Other than that, this thing has breezed through everything I’ve thrown at it. An 8 core i9 with turbo boost up to 5Ghz is just nuts. I can’t even get the fans to spin in the performance of daily tasks. I have to really try. I stand firmly behind the statement that Apple makes the best Laptops, Tablets, and Phones at the time of this post. I still think Microsoft has them beat in desktop computing.

Lastly, and perhaps most important: migration assistant is a dream. If you haven’t used it, it basically takes your entire operating system and puts it on your new computer. It’s almost unreal how good it is. Turn on your computer, see how you have files laid out, configurations made just so and everything just the way you want it? Migration assistant puts that into a new machine for you. It’s very altered carbon-esque in the way it makes you feel like your hardware is just a shell for the operating system and the accompanying files, folders, and software – which is eternal. Seriously, if there’s one thing I would do if I worked at Microsoft is figure out a way to make a migration-like tool that’s even half as good as migration assistant is. Your software comes over with the same configuration, your files come over, the terminal is set up on the same git branch I left off on, I didn’t even have to log back into my Gmail because my browser and cookies came over. That’s how good it is.

3 comments

  1. I’m due for a new laptop and have been putting it off because I can’t decide if to go bigger, go smaller, or stay the same. I got the 15″ my first year, and it’s been great for me. The only downside is the weight, so I’m considering the 13″ though still not sure what to do?!?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Supposedly the 16″ is the same size, and has the exact same chassis but they expanded the bezels in the screen area.

      Personally, I love the portability of the 13″ and it *is* that much more compact, easier to carry around, and weighs less. However, I think if you enjoy the 15″ now you’ll have a tough time adjusting to the reduction in real estate on the 13″. That was the hardest part for me and the biggest factor in my decision to upgrade.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for sharing your thoughts Rudy! It’s definitely helpful. I’ll spend some time in the Apple store and see what feels best. Generally 13″ seem tiny to me, so you’re probably right!

        Liked by 1 person

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