Chris Hannah

MacBook Pro

My Experience with the Base Model 14” MacBook Pro #

Back in early February, I decided to treat myself to a base model 14” MacBook Pro, upgrading from a 16” model from 2019. I had it in my head that I was going to write a big post on my experience of using an M1 Mac compared to an Intel. From both a user and developer perspective, and go over any adjustments that I would have needed to make. Turns out, that won’t be happening, as it’s been a completely seamless experience. This machine is great, and to be honest, it’s surprised me a lot.

Why I Got the Base Model

My last machine had an 2.6 GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 processor, 32 GB memory, 1 TB storage, and a 16” screen. So, this time, I imagined that I’d probably need around the same spec. Except I didn’t really know what to expect from Apple’s M1 chip. I had heard it was better, but then when I was asking on Twitter, and watching reviews on YouTube, it still seemed like developers “needed” the higher spec M1 Max chip, and definitely 32 GB memory or higher.

Based on the feedback I got, and the reviews I watched/read, it seemed like the model for me was the 16” MacBook Pro with the M1 Max chip and 32 GB memory, so it was looking pretty expensive.

But then I remembered how well received the original M1 MacBook Pro/Air machines were, even the models with 8 GB memory. So, I decided to look at it from another perspective. I wanted one of the newer models (14” or 16”), so I started with the base model 14”, and decided that I’d only choose an upgrade if I was certain that I’d need it.

The screen size was easy, I’ve had many 13” models, and the size was always perfect. I went with the 16” last time because I wanted to experiment with a larger screen, but I can’t say it ever added much value for me. So, 14” it was.

Which M1 chip to get was the hard choice. The base chip seemed to be so much more powerful than my current Mac, so it seemed straight-forward. But I still had the recommendations in my head that developers needed the M1 Max chip, or at least a very powerful M1 Pro chip. I then came across the XcodeBenchmark project on GitHub. It’s essentially a very large Xcode project, from which build times can be measured, and various MacBook specs can be compared. My Intel MacBook Pro built the project in 242 seconds, so that was my baseline. When I noticed that the M1 8-core Air took only 128 seconds, I knew that whatever model I got, I’d be getting a substantial upgrade in power. The base M1 Pro chip in the 14” model was even faster at 109 seconds. That was enough reassurance for me, so I decided that I could easily get away with the base M1 Pro chip.

The memory became a lot simpler when I discovered that the Mac I use at my day job only had 16 GB, and I had never encountered an issue. And the storage was never really an issue since I don’t really use much storage on my laptops, I have a load of stuff in iCloud, and a load more on my NAS.

All of that meant that I didn’t actually need any upgrades. Turns out, the base model was all I needed.

My Experience

Like I mentioned at the beginning, my experience with this machine has only been positive. It’s by far capable of what I’ve been throwing at it, whether that’s been compiling and running iOS/macOS apps or playing games like World of Warcraft. I can’t say that I’ve ever pushed this machine anywhere near its limits. Which both makes be pleased I chose this model, but also confused why I was seeing so many recommendations for various upgrades.


The keyboard was a big surprise for me. I’m not sure if I didn’t know, or I’d just forgotten, but I didn’t realise that the keyboard had been upgraded in the new models. The key travel is much better, the keys are so much more responsive, and they feel really sturdy. I was also expecting to be slightly disappointed by the lack of Touch Bar (I was one of the few fans), but that didn’t happen at all. The downsides of not having a few contextual actions available near the keyboard really don’t outweigh the responsiveness and ease of physical keys.


These are great. I don’t know how you’d go about explaining how good they are, but now I’ve experienced these, I can’t listen to any other laptop speakers again.


I’ve had a few Zoom calls on this machine, and I have seen an upgrade in the camera quality. Nothing to shout about, but definitely an improvement.


From what I’d read and watched on the new M1 Macs, I expected that I’d be dealing with Rosetta a lot. Especially when developing apps. But, I haven’t actually had to deal with it at all.

I’m guessing that some apps I’ve used may be running using Rosetta, but I haven’t noticed anything weird. So, I guess it’s all working as expected.

The Notch

I’m not sure how believable this is for people, given what I’ve seen online, but I honestly never noticed the notch when I’m using this machine. I only remember that it has a notch when I see someone mention it on Twitter, and then I look up and see a black cutout over the menu bar.

My expectations were that I’d find the notch to be hideous and intrusive, but I was very pleasantly surprised.


Overall, I can only reiterate how great this machine is. It’s by far more than I need, and I think the same will probably apply to most people. The base model is so powerful now, I think that if you aren’t aware of any specific use-cases of yours that absolutely require an upgrade, then the base model is most likely more than sufficient.

Apple updates MacBook Pro with faster performance and new features for pros #

Well this is unexpected, Apple have updated some of their Macs:

Cupertino, California — Apple today updated MacBook Pro with faster performance and new pro features, making it the most advanced Mac notebook ever. The new MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar feature 8th-generation Intel Core processors, with 6-core on the 15-inch model for up to 70 percent faster performance and quad-core on the 13-inch model for up to two times faster performance — ideal for manipulating large data sets, performing complex simulations, creating multi-track audio projects or doing advanced image processing or film editing. – Apple Newsroom

The improvements are to the 13” and 15” models of the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, and there are also a few extra bits of news. I thought I’d try and extract the key improvements:

MacBook Pros




The Essential Adapter for the New MacBook Pro #

If like me, you’ve got a new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, you may get yourself in a situation where the ports just aren’t enough.

With the MacBook Pro, the ports you have access to are:

  • 4 x USB C / Thunderbolt
  • 1 x 3.5mm Headphone Jack

This is all perfect, until you need to plug in an external display, or have an old USB A drive you want to use. For sure, there are adapters everywhere, and you can literally find any combination of dongles.

The problem arises when you have adapters that break over time, or when using multiple adapters, they tend to get lost.

Well, a while ago I backed something on Kickstarter called HyperDrive. It’s an adapter that is more of an extension, as it just slots on to the side of the Mac, and turns 2 USB C ports into a lot more.

I was going to make a video for this when I first received it, but that just never happened. But ever since Apple released Clips for iOS, I’ve been making small videos.

So I’ve created one for this. I won’t share here what the actual details of the HyperDrive is here, because I don’t want to spoil the video!

You can’t get a HyperDrive from Kickstarter anymore, but they are now running an IndieGoGO campaign where you can find them.

It’s truly a game changer for me.

Typing Noises #

There’s a bit of talk over the new MacBook Pro’s keyboard, and the noise it makes. So I decided to make this little video, to show the noise of the new keyboard, against my old MacBook Pro, and also an Apple Wireless Keyboard.

P.S. I love the new keyboard noise.


  • MacBook Pro – Late 2011
  • Wireless Keyboard – 2007
  • MacBook Pro – Late 2016

My Thoughts on the new MacBook Pro #

I’ve been using my new MacBook Pro for a while now, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on it! I probably haven’t written about everything that’s new, but I’ve split everything up in to the main categories that I think everyone will care about.


The physical design has changed a bit since the previous MacBook Pro, with it’s much smaller profile, and smaller bezel around the screen. And of course because it’s so light, it’s much more portable. Sure my old MacBook Pro wasn’t that heavy, and I could still carry it everywhere. But this is so much better at it. It’s so easy to just whip it out of my bag when I’m on the train into university.

I’m a fan of dark colours, so I definitely had to get the Space Grey version. It’s so much better than the boring silver.


The display on this MacBook is absolutely unbelievable, and I’m still finding it hard to fathom the fact it is this good. Maybe it’s because it’s my first Retina Mac, but then there’s also the Wide Colour support. I’ve had a look at some different images on this new Mac and my old one, and the colours are just so vibrant.


Not a feature I thought I would be writing about, but these speakers are a true improvement to the previous laptops. They’re so loud that I probably couldn’t ever have them at full volume when at my Mac, but maybe when you have a few friends round, this could be the sound system. It’s that good.

They’re also surprisingly clear, and the sound quality is a lot better. The fact that the speakers have moved to either side of the keyboard is a big bonus as well, because everything just sounds more real. I can’t really describe this, but it’s just so much better.


I honestly don’t see what all the fuss is all about, I really like this keyboard. It feels a lot more stable than the older design, and if I think about it, I can tell that the keys don’t travel as far. But they have some travel in them, and they make a pretty good clacking sound as I’m typing. I didn’t have a transition period to get used to it, I was able to type straight away.


This is one of the things that gained a lot of attention, and I completely see why. My MacBook has 5 ports, 4 Thunderbolt 3/USB C, and a headphone port. I understand dongles aren’t brilliant, and they cost even more money. But I believe USB C is the future of wired connectivity, and therefore devices will slowly move over to this standard.

My issue is with the fact that it doesn’t connect to my iPhone 7. Okay, the iPhone came out before the Mac, and not all iPhone users have a new Mac they can plug their iPhone into. But I would argue that hardly anyone even plugs their phone into their laptop anymore, so including a USB C -> Lightning cable in the box would of been so much better.

Then there is the headphone port, if Lightning is the future of audio, then why isn’t it on here? And more importantly, why can’t I use my EarPods with my laptop? Usually I would only ever use one pair of earphones (my current iPhones EarPods), on all of my devices. But now if I want to take my Mac somewhere and listen to music, I’ll have to either take two pairs of EarPods (3.5mm Jack and Lightning), or just use the old ones and carry a Lightning -> 3.5mm Jack adapter. Neither solution is any good.

However, while I say all of this stuff, the only thing I’ve plugged into my Mac has been my external display. And because my HDMI cable is always plugged into my screen, attaching an adapter to it is completely fine.


I have the 13″ version of the MacBook Pro, and with just the integrated Intel Iris 550 graphics, it’s not a computer that’s hugely designed for gaming. But I’ve found that it was perfect for my needs.

I am a gamer, but not one that plays all the newest games, or even many games. The few I play are World of Warcraft, Minecraft, and a few smaller ones (the recent one being TouchGrind).

For World of Warcraft, I had to play it on the absolute lowest graphics on my previous Mac. It was find for me, because I still loved playing the game, but it wasn’t the best experience I could have. On this Mac however, I put this straight up to the mid level settings to test it out, and it worked! I was getting about 60 fps in very populated areas of the game. It’s a lot better than I expected it to be, and with the new display, the environments are really beautiful.

Then there is Minecraft, it’s not a hugely demanding game, but it’s not the small pixel game that everyone may think it is. I have it with every video setting turned up to the max (Except view distance, because that can get stupid), and it’s completely fine! It’s the perfect Minecraft experience, and while that isn’t much, it’s great to know my laptop can support it. And also whilst doing a lot of other things at the same time.

Touch Bar

I do like the Touch Bar, however I wouldn’t say it’s groundbreaking new technology. But maybe it doesn’t have to be. It’s made a few things for me much faster, especially the Emoji picker!

The design of the Touch Bar is better than I imagined, as it blends into the physical keys on the keyboard really well. I’ve had it in a wide range of lighting conditions, and it’s always just felt natural.

It’s certainly not just bringing iOS to the Mac in regards to adding a touch screen, I think it’s a true extension to the keyboard.

Overall Thoughts

Overall, I love this new MacBook Pro. It’s the perfect laptop for me, and probably even more.

The design is a great improvement, and the only flaws I see at the minute is the lack of ports, but this will improve over time as more of my devices become USB C.

I’ve had three MacBooks before this one, and my previous one lasted me 5 years. So I expect this one to last me probably the same amount of time.

It is a bit expensive, and more so for myself because of the Brexit price increase, but I think it’s totally worth it.

My New “Wrathion” #

My new MacBook Pro has arrived! So this is a sort of preliminary post, before my actual write up on what I think of it.


For starters, this is the configuration of my new Mac:

  • 13″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
  • 3.1GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5
  • 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM
  • Intel Iris Graphics 550
  • 256GB PCIe-based SSD


The name you may of guessed already, is “Wrathion”. I started this very recently, in which all of my devices are named after Dragons in WoW. For a bit of back story, the Black Dragonflight were my favourite, until they became corrupted, until one little egg was rescued and is now the only uncorrupted Black Dragon. He is still a whelp (like my 13″ Mac), and is Black (sort of like my Space Grey Mac), so it sort of fitted!


Yes, I’ve already put stickers on my Mac. Eight to be exact. I do plan on covering it even more, but I didn’t want to rush into anything!

Anyway, here’s a little GIF I made of my sticker situation:

Thoughts So Far

This MacBook is amazing, and actually a lot better than I thought. Also, something which may be unique, I love the new keyboard.

I’ll get on using my Mac, and pretty soon I’ll be writing a better piece on what I think about it.

The In-Between Macs #

Stephen Hackett begins his monthly column on MacStories, with a really interesting article about where the been MacBook Pro fits in.

The current MacBook Pro line is a little bit of a mess. Even after brushing aside the last-generation machines that are still for sale, the current offerings are confusing. Both 15-inch models come with the Touch Bar, but only two of the three 13-inch models offered do.

That $1,499 non-Touch-Bar-but-still-in-the-new-skinny-case 13-inch MacBook Pro is what I’m typing on right now. It’s a great little laptop. The screen is gorgeous, battery life is great and it’s more than fast enough for what I need when I’m not in front of my 5K iMac.

You can clearly see Stephen has left his mark already, by quoting a piece from 2006.

Read the full post.

New MacBook Pro Has Already Outsold All Competing Laptops This Year #

Joe Rossignol has reported over at MacRumors, that the new MacBook Pros have already outsold their competitors for the current year.

Slice Intelligence says the new MacBook Pro accumulated more revenue from online orders during its first five days of availability than the Microsoft Surface Book, ASUS Chromebook Flip, Dell Inspiron 2-in-1, and Lenovo Yoga 900, based on e-receipt data from 12,979 online shoppers in the United States.

The new MacBook Pro generated over seven times the revenue that the 12-inch MacBook did over its first five days of availability, according to Slice Intelligence. If accurate, that means it took the new MacBook Pro just five days to accumulate 78% of all the revenue generated by the 12-inch MacBook since its April 2015 launch. – MacRumors

If this is true, I think it’s pretty impressive!

Hello Again #

It’s been 5 days since Apple’s “Hello Again” event, and it’s time for me to put together what I thought of the whole thing.

I’ll make it easy by structuring it in a chronological order as the event panned out.


Apple once again opened the event with a short video on accessibility, it showcased their efforts to make all of their products usable by everyone. I really appreciate all they do with things like this, and luckily I’m fortunate not to need them.

iPhone Photography

Tim showed us some more photos, and this time they’re from the iPhone 7. I haven’t had my 7 Plus for very long, but the quality is astounding. And the new Portrait mode really makes photos stand out.

Apple TV

Yeah yeah, there’s thousands of apps for the TV. Nothing spectacular in my opinion.


The idea of a live stream from Twitter while you watch a sports game may sound interesting, but it doesn’t do anything for me. Maybe it’s because I watch (real) football, and a Premier League game would attract quite a vibrant array of tweets. Also, I watch football to watch the actual football, I don’t really care what other people think about it until after the game.

TV App

Apple TV App

We then got a first glimpse of the TV app for tvOS, and I think this is what the tv interface should of been from the start. But we all know Apple have had issues getting content providers on-board. Seeing as it strangely matches the icon on the Remote, I think they’ve been planning this from the beginning.

I like the interface though, and the idea of having your content in one place interests me, as I’m the sort of person that uses loads of different apps, but each for a small amount of content. It doesn’t have the support from Netflix or YouTube though, which will definitely affect people’s opinions. I still think it should be what you see first when you turn your Apple TV on, and then you can back up out of it to see the entire collection of installed apps.

It’s also coming to iOS as well, which is pretty neat.

Oh yeah, and why is there a black background to the icon? That’s pretty ugly.

MacBook Pro

Wow, this is awesome.

MacBook Pro


Now to the main part of the event, the MacBook Pro.

I think it’s the perfect mix between the MacBook Adorable, and the previous MacBook Pro. It finally comes in at least one other colour, Space Grey, and for the 13″ version, it’s 17% thinner, 23% less volume, and it weighs just 3 pounds! They may be boring stat’s for most people, but it means this laptop is more portable than ever.

The trackpad also received an update, and is now two times bigger! It sounds perfect for Pencil support, but I don’t see that coming any time soon.

Then there is the keyboard, it’s also something which has been adapted from the 12″ Adorable. It’s now the 2nd-generation, featuring new butterfly mechanisms, and slightly more travel than before. So compared to the old MacBook Pro, they’re still flat, but at least they’re supposed to be better.

Touch Bar

This is the real update to the MacBook pro, the OLED touch panel that sits just above the keyboard, instead of the previous function keys.

I think it sits perfectly in Apple’s opinion on bringing touch to the Mac, as the Touch Bar looks like an extension to the activities your fingers are already doing when typing. I agree that laptops just aren’t the right form factor for touch enabled screens.

I like the TouchID support, but it doesn’t really appeal to me as a major feature. Sure it’s way more secure than a password, and it’s quick, but I can type my password pretty quick on a Mac anyway.

Emoji Touch Bar

One thing I do like about the Touch Bar, is the quick Emoji selection! I use Emoji loads, and it’s just a pain on macOS at the minute. But this will certain make my tweets more beautiful.

They’ve opened it up to third-party developers which is great, but one small thing I also like is that it’s for active apps only, so something can’t force it’s way in.

It’s a good extension to the keyboard, and in the words of The Great Cue – I can’t wait to do it.

Apple Pay

This is useful, and certainly a welcome addition. Probably the only reason why I slightly appreciate the TouchID sensor.


Something else I’m looking forward to seeing with my own eyes, the new display. It’s 67% brighter, 67% higher contrast ration (not sure what this is exactly), and 25% more colours, because of the wide colour support.


There’s not much to say here, but I’m glad it’s faster. It could of been a load faster, but from what I gather, it’s down to Intel.

They all feature SSD’s, which is a huge step forward. Maybe we can see the price of these come down soon? 2TB SSD in a laptop sure sounds pretty good, but have you seen the price?!


The speakers have now moved to either side of the keyboard, and supposedly they have a much higher dynamic range, so even more bass, and louder volume!


All the ports you want, just disguised by Thunderbolt. With the MacBook Pro feauring 4 x Thunderbolt ports, and still the same uncourageous headphone port.

It’s definitely forward thinking, and eventually everything and everyone will adopt USB C as the new standard. But it will cause some adoption issues first off. Apple have certainly adopted it in their own way though, with the port actually being a much more powerful Thunderbolt port. Which actually uses the same design as the USB C connector, and can also support it.

It means that you can use it for data transfer, connecting to external displays, and even to power your Mac from any of the ports!

MacBook (Not So) Pro

There’s also a slightly less Pro model available, and is aimed at MacBook Air users. It’s pretty much identical to the real Pro, except it just has the 2 Thunderbolt ports, and doesn’t feature the Touch Bar.

I’m not interested in this really, and I’m actually confused why they still call it the Pro.


No Cinema Display?

With the announcement of the LG 5K display, there’s certainly a reason to think Apple are no longer in the display business.

No Desktop Upgrades

Does this mean they don’t think the Desktop has a future, or that they are still working on future improvements? I hope it’s the latter.

Magsafe is Dieing

One thing I’m actually unhappy about, but maybe the problem it solved just doesn’t exist anymore. With the super huge battery life of MacBooks, is there a cable issue? I’m pretty sure they could of adopted it somehow into the Thunderbolt port.

Startup Chime

The startup chime is gone, and I’m glad! Some users may feel attached to this noise, probably the same way I feel about MagSafe. But the only time I ever noticed this noice, was when I was booting up my Mac in a quite lecture room, which was quite annoying.

Final Thoughts

For myself, it was a really cool event, and I loved what they announced. But because the lack of iMac, Mac Pro, and even Mac Mini updates, I can totally see why some people were not very pleased.

I actually loved the new MacBook Pro so much, I ordered one straight away. It wasn’t a spur of the moment purchase though, as I’ve been planning to upgrade my current 2011 MBP for a while, and you’ve probably seen my sticker collection – which will be getting used straight away!

Here’s what I ordered:

13″ MacBook Pro

  • Space Grey
  • 3.1GHz Dual Core i5
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD

USB C to USB Adapter

I knew this would be necessary!


MacBook Pro OLED Bar #

Stephen Hackett has written his thoughts on the rumoured OLED touch bar, which could be replacing the function keys of the next line of MacBook Pros.

The iPhone’s solution was to get rid of all of these plastic buttons, and make the entire experience — keyboard and all — take place in software running on a touchscreen.

I think this flexibility has a lot to do with what Apple is up to with this probably-new MacBook Pro.

He puts forward some reasonable concerns, and it’s a point of view I haven’t seen from anyone else.