"Yeah, well, you know, that's just like, uh, your opinion, man."

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

17:01 Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The complaints about the new line of MacBook Pros continue, and Apple's most reliable stalwart defenders are manning the barricades to uphold the honor of Apple's sterling reputation for "good design."

The main argument the apologists are putting forward is that "pros" aren't Apple's target market. The "pro" in the MacBook Pro branding is meaningless; it serves only to distinguish those models from the soon-to-be-a-memory "Air" models, and the utterly unremarkable "MacBook."

Apple really cares about "design." It's made it into a fetish. Thinner and lighter are the goals, each product iteration "thinner" and "lighter" than the previous one. That seems at least somewhat reasonable, a device is easier to carry, takes up less space. Apple can ship more of them for less money and less carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. But space and weight trade off against other features, like the SD-card slot.

Phil ("Courage") Schiller, who's rapidly becoming as much of a caricature as Jony Ive, offered this lame explanation why they omitted the SD card slot in an interview published in the British newspaper The Independent:

Because of a couple of things. One, it’s a bit of a cumbersome slot. You've got this thing sticking halfway out. Then there are very fine and fast USB card readers, and then you can use CompactFlash as well as SD. So we could never really resolve this – we picked SD because more consumer cameras have SD but you can only pick one. So, that was a bit of a trade-off. And then more and more cameras are starting to build wireless transfer into the camera. That’s proving very useful. So we think there’s a path forward where you can use a physical adaptor if you want, or do wireless transfer.

"It's a bit of a cumbersome slot. You've got this thing sticking halfway out" Really? Really?!

First, it only sticks halfway out because that's the way you chose to design it! It slides right in flush with every damn camera body I own! And with a little push it springs right out so you can remove it! So, I call bullshit.

"Then there are very fine and fast USB card readers." Yes. There are. And there are very fine and fast Windows machines as well. When I went to New York to visit my Mom, I packed my 13" MBP Retina (2012) and the power supply. I didn't need to remember to pack any dongles. I didn't have to worry about losing any dongles. Or adapters. Or SD card readers.

"We picked SD because more consumer cameras have SD, but you can pick only one." Notice the curious use of the word "consumer." While I shoot exclusively Olympus, I'm pretty sure most pro and "prosumer" cameras use SD cards. I think the Compact Flash models are now the exception, rather than the rule. And frankly, there isn't much of a "consumer" camera market, since the iPhone and other smart phones have eaten it!

So notice the irony here, the only people likely to use SD cards are "pros" and serious hobbyist photographers, the kind of people who spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on cameras and lenses and printers (Moi!), and yet Apple's "pro" laptop offering blows them right off.

"And then more and more cameras are starting to build in wireless transfer into the camera. That's proving very useful." Well, I'm glad you think so Phil. Tell you what, come on down here and shoot the Blue Angels with me later this week, and I'll wait while you transfer your images after it's over. Then tell me how useful it is. Christ, this is just utter bullshit.

And an adapter is not a "path forward." It's a work-around, you miserable fuck.

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Apple doesn't give a shit about photographers. They do kind of care about iPhone users who happen to take pictures. They gave us that festering pile of shit that is Photos to replace Aperture. Ah, but what about the wider gamut displays?!

More marketing bullshit. In photography, the print is the product. Current printer technology can't match the color gamut the sensors capture and current displays offer. Printing is all about making choices in tonality to render a pleasing image in print. If you never make a print, and all your photography is viewed on iMacs and iPads and iPhones, I suppose you're onto something, your images will look "better." But "pros" print, and a color accurate screen is essential, and a wider gamut is nice, but all that extra color data ain't gettin' on the paper. So, this is more of a product differentiation feature than any sort of recognition of "pro" needs.

One Port to Rule Them All

Ideally, the ultimate MacBook Pro will be a two-dimensional surface and weigh nothing, and all IO will be wireless, presumably through quantum entanglement or something.

USB-C is nice, it's the future. Yay, progress! But progress is a transition, and many "pros" have a significant investment in peripherals and devices that don't use USB-C. Yes, this has been the lament ever since the iMac got rid of the 3.5" floppy drive. Except this isn't a "floppy drive," a single media type. This is an interface to a whole range of products and peripherals. My "old" MBP has two Thunderbolt ports and two USB 3.0 ports. Do you suppose they could have left a legacy USB-A connection in there to help us through the transition? Nope. Wouldn't look as pretty!

No. Because Apple cares more about it's fetish for "design" than what actually serves customers.

Apple is the number one consumer electronics company in the world. Consequently, they now believe their own bullshit. Just watch those Jony Ive videos. They don't care about specific market segments, like "pros." They care about their design fetish, and they believe the vast majority of "consumers" will follow them.

The "pro" market is too small to care about. At least, it's no threat to the fetish. The fetish will prevail in all design decisions.

Yes, it's always been about the "art," but now it's become absurd.