Everything Announced at Apple’s World Wide Developer’s Conference Infomercial 2022

Every year Apple starts their World Wide Developer’s Conference with a keynote, It’s been a pre-recorded infomercial with solely online sessions for the past two years. This year Apple changed it up and while most of the event was pre-recorded, some developers and journalists were invited to attend an in-person viewing of the pre-recorded video. Encouraging people to travel during a deadly pandemic is not a wise thing when hundreds of people are dying each week and thousands more are getting infected with a potentially deadly or long-term disease.


iOS 16

Lock Screen Customization, Notifications, Focus Mode Switching

The way iPhones look when they’re on but the screen is locked is changing in iOS 16 according to Apple’s Craig Federighi. Federighi showed off the new functionality using a portrait mode photo where his children appeared in the foreground, in front and slightly above the time on the lock screen, and the blurred background of the photo remained in the background behind everything. Pressing and holding on the screen let Federighi go into an editing mode to choose a new style or pick out other customization options like a font for the time and date or adding and removing widgets. Like with Apple Watch faces, users can store their customized iPhone lock screens to pick between them later on. Federighi also said that developers could use the WidgetKit API to add information from their apps. Given the grousing I’ve heard from developers about limitations in the current widget system, I’m curious how well that ends up working out.

Federighi also highlighted changes to the way notifications appear on the lock screen, with new notifications fanning out from the bottom of the screen and a new API called Live Activities that lets developers put information into something that sure looks a lot like a widget instead of a constant stream of notifications. Examples included a basketball game with a scoreboard replacing endless notifications about the game’s score, Uber notifications replaced by a live progress tracker, a Nike workout meter, and a music player that can expand to let the album art take up more of the lock screen.

The Focus modes introduced last year are also getting updated to include lock screen and home screen selections, and focus filters that go into apps to filter out messages, websites, mail, and calendar events according to Federighi. He said that users would be able to swipe between the lock screens to choose their focus mode.

Messages in iOS 16

Messages updates were next from Federighi with the ability to edit and undo sending messages, as well as marking messages as unread. A press release from Apple clarified that messages can only be edited or undone for 15 minutes after they’re sent and they’re recoverable for 30 days after they’re deleted. Presumably only from the sender’s side of the conversation? This feature sounds like it would be easy for people who are making mistakes to abuse it.

Federighi also said that the Shared with You feature that surfaces photos and links and other things shared in messages would get an API for developers to hook into.

SharePlay Apps and Messages

The SharePlay feature that lets users watch videos and do other stuff together during video calls is also getting updated to let users get into a SharePlay app directly from the video call screen or find more apps that support SharePlay. It’s also getting added to Apple’s Messages app so it seems like users don’t need to be on a call to watch a show together, which would be an improvement. My family has enjoyed using SharePlay when it’s available, but we would usually mute the call and turn off the camera because it wasn’t necessary to be on a call at the same time.

Dictation Improvements

Federighi had Robby Walker introduce improvements to the dictation feature on the iOS keyboard with a demonstration that showed the on-screen software keyboard remaining in-use for edits during dictation instead of being covered up by the voice interface as it is today with iOS 15. Walker demonstrated selecting text and then using their voice to replace the selected text, and dictating with automatic punctuation. Currently you have to dictate the punctuation by verbally saying “period” or “exclamation mark” to get a . or !

Walker also said there would be a new API for developers to work with SiriKit and Shortcuts called App Intents.

Live Text scraping added to Videos, Translation Improvements, Other Detection Improvements

iOS 15 got the ability for the operating system to scrape text from images, iOS 16 is adding videos. Walker said you would have to pause the video to do this and showed it working on a code sample. I wonder how well that will work as video quality degrades over slower connections and with user interface elements blocking the text. Some apps also reject Apple’s video player and I suspect those just won’t work at all.

Walker also said that it would be easier to quickly do things with text in images and videos like translations and showed an updated Translate app from Apple that lets people translate using a camera in the app.

It is can be frustrating to try and select an image instead of the text in the image in iOS 15, so I hope that gets ironed out in iOS 16.

Speaking of image selection, Walker demonstrated selecting the subject of a photo with a long press and dragging just the part of the image that shows the subject out of the photo by selecting a dog and dragging the dog without the background into a message.

Walker implied that some or all of these features would also come to Apple’s other operating systems.

Wallet Stuff: ID & Keys, Tap to Pay, Apple Pay Later, Order Tracking

Corey Fugman talked about Apple’s work in putting drivers licenses and ID cards into the Wallet app, which is only in Maryland and Arizona for now but said that 11 other states are working on it. Fugman said that some apps would be able to access the ID to verify the user’s age for something like an alcohol purchase. It would only let the app know if the user was over 21 instead of their specific age.

Fugman said that Apple is trying to make digital keys a standard so that keys can be shared to other operating systems but they would be shareable between Apple users first.

Fugman talked about how iPhones can “…starting this Month…” do Apple Pay with a tap-to-pay feature without needing other hardware.

Apple Pay Later is a buy now pay later service that extends credit lending to every day purchases by spreading the cost out over a period of time with preset increments. These services are being pretty widely exploited and rightfully criticized for their usurious nature by advertising no interest but of course making their money on buyers who fail to meet the timeline of repayment and usually charging a fee to merchants for the availability of the service under the pretense of enabling customers to buy things they would otherwise be unable to afford. So instead of owing just a credit card bill every month you could owe money to dozens of lenders for smaller purchases through different apps and bills. Fugman said this feature would require no additional integration for developers.

Apple Pay Order Tracking was introduced by Fugman to track where orders are at. They’ve really got a shit sandwich here of stuffing usurious garbage into the middle of things that people might fall asleep through.

Maps Updates

Federighi said that new map features are coming to 11 more countries later this year, I still can’t get bicycling directions on O?ahu.

Maps is getting multi-stop routing according to Meg Frost. MapQuest from 1996 probably had this but it does look like Apple has thought out the feature by setting up Siri to help and being able to plan and store these routes. The Maps app will integrate more with stored digital transit payment cards and let you know how much a ride will cost or remind users if they need to reload a card before a ride.

Frost also said that developers would get better map access through MapKit and more developer stuff later this year.


Rubie Edmondson was introduced to talk about sports stuff and reiterated previously mentioned features like the live activities scoreboard and said that the Apple TV app would display those scoreboards on the lockscreen.

Edmondson also boasted about Apple TV +’s Friday Night Baseball which isn’t great because it locks baseball games that would otherwise be broadcast for free locally behind yet another paywall. If you’ve already subscribed to Major League Baseball’s MLB TV service, too bad.

The News app is getting a My Sports section with sports-specific news from your chosen teams.

Family Sharing Updates

Craig Federighi said that Apple will be making it easier to create children’s Apple ID accounts, manage their parental controls and screen time, and set up new devices.

iCloud Shared Photo Library is a new feature that Federighi said would make it easier for families to share photos. There are so many flaws with the current photo sharing systems so this could be great, especially if the photos remain at their full quality. The camera app is also getting a toggle to immediately share photos to a shared library and there’s a feature to automatically share images taken when someone else who is in the shared photo library is nearby. That seems like a potentially broken feature but sure.

Federighi said everyone who has access to the shared library can edit, remove, and add photos so get ready for a relative who thinks they’re funny to edit in cartoon faces to your important family photos. Federighi even showed an edit going from color to black and white which is a perfect example of how destructive changes like this can be. 

Safety Check

Katie Skinner introduced the Safety Check feature specifically with the idea that it would be useful for revoking access to some functionality like privacy permissions and location data when people are escaping abusive situations. It looks useful but it’s especially important to remain skeptical about Apple’s motivations and what they’re providing when they’re talking about functionality like this that is ostensibly to help people in terrible situations. I hope Safety Check does exactly what it promises.

Home & CarPlay

Corey Wang talked about Smart Home garbage like the Matter standard for home stuff to communicate with each other and showed a redesigned Home app that categorizes devices or just lets you browse through the entire list of devices in one long list separated by rooms.

Emily Schubert introduced new changes to CarPlay to add support for more screens, customizable gauge clusters, calendars, music, and widgets to the new screens, bringing truly distracted driving to a whole new level. Vehicles running this next generation version of CarPlay are to be announced late in 2023 which feels like a long way away for Apple to be announcing anything but I suppose they need the developer components in sooner which means they might have been impossible to avoid talking about. 

iOS 16 Odds & Ends

Federighi returned to talk about Spatial Audio improvements that would scan your ears to tune Spatial Audio features for you. I turn off Spatial Audio immediately because it sounds like garbage simulated surround sound to me.

Quick Note is also coming to iOS. when it was previously only available on macOS and iPadOS. It still works very differently in both operating systems and is pretty inconsistent. I am glad to see Quick Note getting improved instead of being dumped into the pile of “marketing named feature we once talked about and then never updated.”

watchOS 9

Kevin Lynch appeared in a fitness studio to talk about new features coming to WatchOS 9. Lynch brought up “…four new watch faces” and then showed off a remade Astronomy watch face (are remakes new?), a Lunar calendar watch face, a bizarre watch face called Play Time by an artist named Joi Fulton that has odd characters for numerals, and Metropolitan another weird watch face with a font for the numerals that stretches if you turn the crown. Why is it version 9 of WatchOS and developers still cannot ship their own watch faces? Lynch went on to say that more of the older watch faces are getting “rich complications” which is Apple speak for updating the older software to match current functionality.

Using Siri will no-longer takes up the whole Watch screen with that interface, there will be banner notifications, and active apps get pinned in the app switcher.

The Podcasts app on WatchOS 9 is getting discoverability functionality to find and subscribe to new podcasts as well as letting kids use the app when their parents permit it.

Developers are getting new APIs for the share sheet (the thing that pops up when you tap on a box with an arrow pointing up and out of it) and the photo picker that lets users select images. Callkit will let developers manage VoIP calls on the Apple Watch.

Craig Bolton showed off new metrics and custom workout modes on the Apple Watch to help runners and other exercise types. Routes will be automatically saved for repeat comparisons and there are new workout types for automatically switching between cycling, swimming, and running for example.

Remarkably, Apple’s Fitness app has been locked out for everyone who doesn’t have an Apple Watch, Bolton said that with iOS 16 users could finally use the Fitness app without an Apple Watch to see stuff that iPhones can track without other hardware accessories and the results from other fitness apps. I’ve been pretty annoyed that the health benefits of the Apple Watch are unavailable to anyone who can’t afford it. I know that sounds ridiculous, but health should not be a luxury and it’s good more people could benefit from some of these features.

Dr. Sumbol Ahmad Desai announced updates to Apple’s Sleep app in watchOS 9. Desai said that the updated app would monitor which stage of sleep users are in and said users could optionally plug this data into a research study that Apple is running to help better understand sleep.

Desai also talked about heart health and atrial fibrillation and said that watchOS 9 would track that data over time.

Finally, Desai said that watchOS 9 and the Health app in iOS 16 would include medication tracking and warn users about potential drug interactions through manual medication entry and scanning labels.


Johny Srouji introduced the M2 second generation of Apple’s processors, re-emphasized Apple’s focus on energy efficiency alongside performance and went over the specs of the base M2 chip. A “second-generation 5 nanometer” process, 20 billion transistors 25% more transistors than the base model of M1, a memory controller that supposedly has 100 gigs per second of bandwidth (50% more than the M1) and up to 24 GB of memory alongside the M2 chip when the M1 was limited to 16 GB. Surprisingly, Srouji admits that the M2 base chip still has less performance than the biggest mobile chips from Intel (without mentioning them by name) but promises “almost 90%” (the chart shows 87%) of the peak performance at less power. The graphs Apple are showing are ridiculous with “Relative performance” on the vertical y axis and “Power consumption” on the x axis. What is “Relative performance”? Who knows! I don’t doubt that these are powerful, efficient chips, but they need better graphs. The one good part of this graph is that Apple says what the competitor’s laptop is in the fine print, it’s the MSI Laptop Prestige 14Evo with Core i7-1260P and 16 GB of memory.

Srouji said that the base model of M2 could have two more GPU cores to make 10, two more than the M1, for a claimed 35% more GPU performance. Once again we got a silly “Relative performance” chart comparing GPU performance against Intel’s integrated graphics processing, very strange.

New versions of the secure enclave and neural engine, and more video performance for 8K rounds out the M2 package.

2022 MacBook Air

Kristin White introduced a redesigned M2-based MacBook Air for 2022 which dumps the wedge shape in favor for thinness and the big round feet from last year’s MacBook Pro lineup, gets a MagSafe plug that is interestingly color-matched to the four colors of MacBook Air (last year’s MacBook Pro’s MagSafe plugs are all silver), only has two thunderbolt ports, but keeps the audio jack. White claims the new 13.6” display to be Liquid Retina and it has a notch for the webcam which is 1080p and Apple says it has twice the resolution and twice the performance in low light as the previous Air. The performance Apple demonstrates with this webcam is literally unbelievable because it is a professionally lit shot with natural seeming light that does not at all match what I’ve seen from the same camera on the 2021 MacBook Pro. These webcams Apple ships aren’t terrible for laptop webcams but they are garbage compared to the cameras on the iPhone lineup.

White also said that speaker quality is improved and this I am willing to believe, Apple’s audio quality from their recent laptops has been surprisingly good. The microphone, well there are limits to how good they can get but at least fan noise won’t be a problem because there are no fans in the 2022 MacBook Air.

White showed off a smaller power adapter that has two USB-C ports, a separately available 67 watt power adapter could also fast-charge the new MacBook Air. White claimed this would bring the Air up to 50% capacity in thirty minutes.

$1200 for the lowest priced MacBook Air with 256 GB of disk space, 8 cores of CPU and GPU, 8 GB of RAM and a 30 watt USB-C power adapter.

$1500 for the step up that has 512 GB of disk space, 2 bonus unbroken GPU cores for 10 total and a 35 watt dual USB-C port charger.

Interestingly, the M1 MacBook Air is still hanging on with the old design and 256 GB of disk space at $1000 on Apple’s website, for now.

2022 MacBook Pro 13″

No redesign for the 13” MacBook Pro which differentiates itself from the Air by costing a little more, having fans and the old Touch Bar OLED replacing the F-Row, and a little more battery life.

$1300 for the base model of 13” MacBook Pro that has 256 GB of disk space, 8 Cores of CPU and 10 Cores of GPU, 8 GB of RAM, and nothing else to write home about.

$1500 for the step up model that just ups the disk space to 512 GB.

I have no idea why this 13” model of MacBook Pro exists, except to make up for the fact that the 14” MacBook Pro models start at $2000.

What a strange situation.

macOS Ventura Stage Manager & Spotlight

Craig Federighi demonstrated new features coming to macOS Ventura like Stage Manager that seems to replace fullscreen windows with a centered window and puts other windows off to the side. Federighi said this would help manage situations where there are a lot of applications with open windows. Apps could also be grouped together in the demo with a few visible windows stacked and overlapping in the center of the screen. Finally, Fererighi demonstrated accessing files by clicking on the desktop to hide the currently active application and dragging the files into one of the open app windows on the left side.

Spotlight on the Mac is also getting updates to quickly glance at the contents of search results by using the quick look feature of macOS with the space key, and search for images in the photo library, files, and on the web or search the contents of images using the live text feature. Federighi showed off starting a timer and running Apple’s Shortcuts scripts from Spotlight and showed how informational search results about shows, music, and other topics, would be improved in Ventura with more detail. Federighi said that these new Spotlight features were also coming to iOS and iPadOS with Spotlight on iOS 16 being accessible by tapping on the dots at the bottom of the home screen.

Mail in macOS Ventura, iOS 16, iPadOS 16

Mail is mercifully, finally, getting an undo send option for a few “moments” after hitting send when your brain finally processes the typo it made, according to Darin Adler who also introduced other new features in Mail. Scheduled sending. Follow-up suggestions looks awesome, it suggests replying to emails if you haven’t gotten a response. Remind me does what it should do and reminds you to check in on a thread later on. Adler also said that search is improved in basic ways by checking for typos in the search query, search suggestions, and other improvements.

Safari on macOS Ventura

Shared Tab Groups will let friends and family share groups of browser tabs and collaborate on them. I love tab groups but they are one of the least reliable features in the current versions of macOS. I routinely have trouble opening new tabs where they are instantly closed and renaming tab groups is often impossible. There seem to be a lot of others with the same issues online.


Adler introduced the Passkeys feature that replaces passwords with crytpographic data that is encoded with Touch ID or Face ID and synchronized across Apple devices. There has been a bit of talk about this lately under the “Fido alliance”  that Adler said includes Google and Microsoft so that Passkeys work on Android and Windows. Adler admitted that the “…transition away from passwords will be a journey.” which is an understatement but I hope it works because passwords are impossible for most people to manage safely and there are so many situations where passworded accounts are the ideal method right now due to sharing logins among teams or family members. 2 factor seemed great, until so many companies went towards text messages as the second factor which are easy to compromise due to telecom companies being completely garbage at security.


Craig Federighi boasted about Apple’s gaming performance which is incredible because from the perspective of myself and other game developers I speak with, Apple does just about everything they can to push away game developers.

Metal Improvements

Jeremy Sandmel introduced new features to Apple’s Metal rendering API in Metal 3. Did you know that Nvidia and AMD both have upscaling pipelines that are becoming more widely adopted? Apple has heard about that too and Sandmel introduced MetalFX Upscaling. No Man’s Sky was demonstrated and Sandmel said it is coming to the Mac “later this year.”

Sandmel then introduced a Fast resource loading API that Apple didn’t waste any time creating a marketing name for. “This really is a new day for gaming on the Mac.” says Sandmel. The Apple Silicon transition started two years ago and Steam still doesn’t have a native version of the desktop client. Why hasn’t a dump truck full of money and engineers backed up to Valve’s headquarters to make it happen? Why isn’t there a reasonable gaming computer available from Apple? Apple doesn’t care about gaming on the Mac.

The next game Sandmel said was coming to the Mac is Resident Evil Village. It’s great but it came out last year. No Man’s Sky is six years old. A Capcom representative took over to say that the MacBook Air manages at 1080p and the Mac Studio does well at 4K.


Federighi returned to talk about the Continuity features of Apple’s operating systems handing off FaceTime calls between devices, which is good, before introducing Continuity Camera to let Macs use the iPhone’s better camera systems. Federighi demonstrated the feature with Johnnie Manzari and Manzari showed how Continuity Camera includes a bunch of features to blur the background and do other tricks but the one that was the most impressive was a desk view that added in a second camera perspective using the ultra-wide camera on the iPhone to give an overhead view of Manzari’s desk. I use software from Elgato called Epoc Cam to use my iPhone’s cameras with the Mac and it is terrible software that crashes and only runs at 30fps. There are a bunch of other competitors out there that also do this and I honestly hope Apple’s version works well because some of the popular competitors have impressive business models like Reincubate’s Camo that’s either $5 a month, $40 a year, or $80 for a “Lifetime license” all of those prices are ridiculous.

Belkin is supposed to be offering stands to hold iPhones above Macs later this year.

iPadOS 16

Federighi reiterated all of the previously announced features in iPadOS 16 before mentioning that Apple is finally shipping their stock Weather app on iPad OS. It took them 12 years.

After acquiring and starting to sunset the fantastic DarkSky weather app and it’s API, Federighi also mentioned an API for developers called WeatherKit.

Federighi demonstrated new collaboration features with a team working on a document at the same time and discussing it with shared tabs over a video call. The features are also promised to come to Apple’s other platforms.

Freeform for iPadOS, macOS, and iOS

Elizabeth Reid showed off an upcoming app called Freeform that looks a lot like Apple’s Notes app and the semi-defunct Paper app from Fiftythree, except focused on collaboration and creative thinking for diagramming and sharing ideas on an ever-expanding canvas.

The Return of the Return of Game Center

Federighi talked about gaming features again like a revamped Game Center interface which has been stuck inside of the Settings app for a long time now and SharePlay gaming to let you play with friends with something that looks a little bit like streaming the game. It wasn’t clear what was going on in the short background video.

Desktop-class apps on iPadOS 16

Federighi said that apps on iPadOS are getting more features from their macOS counterparts like customizable toolbars and new APIs for developers.

Display Scaling on iPadOS 16

A higher resolution option for apps to show more stuff? Great.

Stage Manager & External Display Support on iPadOS 16

Fedrerighi demonstrated iPadOS 16 with overlapping windows managed by Stage Manager on an iPad and on an external monitor. Federighi said that with an iPad and an external monitor there can be eight apps running simultaneously on the iPad.


I’m pretty happy with most of these updates. It’s great that the iPad might finally be a little closer to a real computer with overlapping windows but that improvement is as impressive as the usurious work to add buy now pay later functionality to Apple Pay is disgusting. I cannot imagine any good outcomes that could come from setting up people for failure like that except for potentially doing it in a less evil way than companies like Klarna and Afterpay and that isn’t worth doing. Buy now pay later services should be regulated out of existence.


Snell on the 2021 MacBook Pro’s Ports

Jason Snell has words about the new 2021 MacBook Pro lineup, highly recommended if you’d like to reminisce about Apple’s walk back of most of their laptop decisions:

If Mac laptops come in eras, one just ended.

It started in 2016 with the release of MacBook Pro models featuring butterfly keyboards, the Touch Bar, and a minimal selection of USB-C ports. It ended on Monday with the announcement of new MacBook Pro models that roll back most of the major changes introduced in 2016, putting the MacBook Pro in a new state of grace that recalls the middle of the last decade.


Everything Announced at Apple’s October 2021 Infomercial

Apple just had their iPhone infomercial in September and launched new versions of their Apple Watch and iPhone. Now in October they have an infomercial for Mac updates. Here’s everything they announced including new MacBook Pros.

Apple Music Voice
Zane Lowe announced new playlists and a new cheaper $5 monthly subscription for Apple Music that seemingly only lets users play music through Siri on Apple’s devices and not the Music apps which have been on more than Apple devices for a while now. The cheaper plan also can’t use Spatial Audio or Lossless Audio. The regular Apple Music plan is still $10 and it’s $15 for a family plan. This cheap plan might crush Spotify if it were available on more devices and let you use the regular Music app, as it is, it seems weird and bad to force people to use Siri only.

New HomePod Mini Colors
New Homepod Mini colors in blue, orange, and yellow in addition to the old black and white options. Same $100 price, no other updates. Dave Wilkes Jr introduced the new devices.

Third Generation AirPods get Spatial Audio
That’s basically it, the non-Pro and non-Max AirPods are getting Spatial Audio, longer battery life, adaptive EQ, and a redesign to bring them a little closer to the AirPods Pro headphones design with a wide case but without noise cancellation. The default price goes up to $180 to get that noise cancellation and includes the wireless charging case, but you can still get the 2nd gen version without wireless charging and without the new features for $130.

New m1s

New Apple Silicon
Johny Srouji introduced the new M1 Pro chip that supposedly gets 70% faster CPU performance and 2 times the graphics performance.

Srouji also introduced the M1 Max with an even larger chip that has more cores for everything and supports up to 64 gigs of RAM. Srouji went over how the new variations on the M1 supposedly get incredible performance with low power consumption.

Craig Federighi introduced other features of the new chips, and then a montage of third-party developers talking about the new performance.

Macbook pro without ui
New MacBook Pros
John Ternus introduced new 14 and 16 inch Macbook Pros that get their first redesigned appearance since 2016. The controversial touchbar touch screen that replaced the F-row of keys on the keyboard is gone, but Touch ID remains, and Shruti Haldea introduced more of the new features like the return of the SD Card port, HDMI, and Magsafe 3 for power in addition to power through the thunderbolt ports. Kate Bergeron introduced the new displays on these laptops with thinner borders, ProMotion variable-refresh rate and the rumored notch that holds the camera along the menu bar area in macOS. Trevor McLeod introduced new features like the notch holds a better 1080p webcam, better speakers, and better microphones. There’s no Face ID.


Haldea returned to further throw Intel under the bus with comparisons to previous generations of Intel MacBook Pros in performance and battery life. The performance improvements sound sick. Prices start at $2000 for the 14 inch, and $2500 for the 16 inch versions. The 13 inch M1 MacBook Pro sticks around for a cheaper, touchbar equipped, option.

The new laptops are great for people who need the performance or have an older MacBook Pro and have been waiting for a bigger update.

Still to get the Apple Silicon treatment are the bigger iMacs and the Mac Pro. The Mac Mini is also rumored to receive another update but I doubt it’ll happen before the end of the year at this point.

The cheaper Apple Music plan seems punishing that users can’t seem to use the Music app. I’ll update this post if I’ve gotten that wrong but it’s gross.


Can We Trust The New 16″ MacBook Pro Keyboard?

Skipping an event, Apple launched a new 16″ MacBook Pro to replace the 15″ model via press-release and inviting some folks to look at the new laptop. The 16″ MacBook Pro was changed by thinning the bezel to slightly increase the size of the display, upgrading the speakers and microphone, and the keyboard is back to a scissor-mechanism instead of the dreaded butterfly-mechanism.

The new laptop looks like this:

This new 16″ laptop was rumored for a while, and part of the rumor was that the price would get a significant bump. That rumor was a little bit wrong, the starting price for this MacBook Pro hasn’t changed at all since Apple raised it a few generations prior. It’s still $2400 for the base 15″ MacBook Pro, before you add on an AppleCare insurance plan and upgrade any components before you order it. Fortunately it does start with an entirely reasonable 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM.

I thought it was interesting that Apple specifically called out Fortnite players as having a better experience in their press release with the meaningless non-statistic of “Gamers will enjoy smoother gameplay with up to 1.6 times faster performance in games like Fortnite.” 1.6 times faster what? Framerates, presumably.

Game developers are also purported to have improved performance with another call-out: “In Unity, developers will experience 1.4 times faster fly-through performance during game development.”

All of this improved performance is attributed to better Radeon Pro options, the 5300 and 5500 with either 4 or 8 gigs of video RAM with the pseudo-benchmarks attributed to the highest end Radeon Pro 5500 8GB.

The new speakers on the 16″ MacBook Pro are supposed to have less vibration, due to being paired back-to-back which Apple promises will cancel out the rumble. The new microphone array sounds better than any other laptop microphone I’ve heard, which should make video and audio calls better, unfortunately the built-in camera is still an old 720p module that hasn’t been upgraded in years.

The new keyboard has the inverted-t arrow keys that were replaced four years ago with what most people seem to think is a less useful shape that looked kind of bizarre with extremely tall left and right arrows that were hard to find by touch. There is now more space between the keys, and a physical escape key and a separate power/Touch ID button on the opposite sides of the Touch Bar panel. All those changes are welcome, but the most important change is the new scissor key switch mechanism that may be more reliable than the butterfly mechanism, and here is the real question: after three generations of awful, unreliable, butterfly keyboard mechanisms, should anyone trust Apple to get this right?

I don’t think so. I think most people would be better served to wait for longer-term reports. As long as there is still time left on the extended keyboard warranty if they have a butterfly-mechanism keyboard and if they don’t have daily issues with key switch unreliability. You’ll also have to wait if you want this new keyboard part on any other size or type of MacBook. It’s only on the 16″ Pro for now.

It stinks that Apple is the only company that can make laptops that run macOS, because it puts people in a bad situation where they have few choices if they want privacy, security, and enjoy the user experience of Apple’s products. I’m glad that Microsoft continues to work on their Surface line of devices to challenge Apple, and we may see ARM-based macOS devices before long that replace these Intel-based laptops.


Apple’s Anxiety-Inducing MacBook Pro Keyboard Situation Update

Remember how Apple released a MacBook Air last year that might have had a more reliable update to their butterfly keyboard mechanism? Joanna Stern wrote about how it wasn’t fixed for the Wall Street Journal and put the nail in that coffin.

Here’s one I missed, Casey Johnston also had an update on our long national keyboard nightmare and bought a 2018 MacBook Air. Surprise, her Air’s keyboard broke as well.

Today. May 22, 2019. Apple has a press release speed-bump for the MacBook Pro accompanied by this headline: Apple introduces first 8-core MacBook Pro, the fastest Mac notebook ever

Congratulations Apple, any updates on that keyboard business?

“Phrase not found” Uh-oh.
Ol’ Jack is starting to worry here that maybe Apple isn’t getting around to fixing this one properly

Here’s the “good news.” Apple has extended their keyboard warranty program for their laptops to include all MacBooks with this butterfly mechanism.

“But wait,” you’d say, “haven’t they done anything to possibly fix this issue in these models?” Apple has told it’s spokespersons to say, on-background (with conditions), that these updated MacBook Pro computers have:

…a new material for at least one of the components in these switches. The purpose of this change is specifically to increase the reliability of the keyboards.

That is John Gruber’s interpretation of the message. I also completely disagree with Gruber’s supposition that these keyboards “…can’t be worse and are likely better.” The new keyboards can definitely be worse, and it’s clear that Apple’s judgement on this issue is poor. Apple has shipped the same bad keyboard design for 4 years.

I’m glad that Apple is trying to fix this keyboard design, and is updating their Macs on a regular basis again. Supposedly if you bring in a 2018 model of MBP or Air for repair you’ll get the 2019 keyboard material. I’m disappointed that if my ancient MacBook Pro fails I would not choose an Apple laptop to replace it. This 4-year extended warranty program doesn’t inspire confidence when it is immediately applied to their latest iteration of this butterfly key switch design.

What happens if the keyboard dies on the first day of the fifth year you own one of these laptops? You’ve got to beg Apple to fix it, or pay them to fix it.

How long can you go without your laptop? If you don’t care, then maybe you should get an iPad Pro. Apple’s keyboard for that is more reliable.

Would you recommend, sell, or give, one of these laptops in good conscious to a friend or family member, knowing that the warranty won’t last and the keyboard is likely to fail before the rest of the computer? I wouldn’t!

After all of this. Even if, or when, Apple’s designers make a new laptop that has a new keyboard design, would you trust it? I wouldn’t.