Macbook purchase and questions on user experience.

This is a discussion on Macbook purchase and questions on user experience. within the Apple Purchasing forums, part of the Apple Forums category; Hello, this is my first time joining an Apple forum. I'm a student studying diploma in computer science, and by next year, I would be ...

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  1. #1
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    Talking Macbook purchase and questions on user experience.

    Hello, this is my first time joining an Apple forum. I'm a student studying diploma in computer science, and by next year, I would be taking a degree in software engineering. For last semester, I ran into a problem, when I took up a subject that involves developing apps for iPhone. I use a windows laptop, so its hard for me to do my assignments as I have to use the sluggish iMac in the computer lab. I plan to buy a Macbook so I can learn objective C in the future and develop more apps for iPhone.

    I've never owned an Apple product, and have little experience with them. And furthermore, I'm a Windows and an Android user throughout my entire life. So this is going to be my first Apple product purchase and I'm really not sure which Macbook should I get.

    I've done a bit of research and I found this 13 inch Macbook Pro's specs being most suitable for my budget :

    2.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
    Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz
    8GB 1600MHz memory
    256GB PCIe-based flash storage1
    Intel Iris Graphics
    Built-in battery (9 hours)

    I have a few questions to ask you guys who are developers or programming students.

    1. What do you guys think about the 13 inch retina screen? Is it comfortable for your programming needs? (Especially developing iPhone apps on Xcode)
    2. Lets just say if I were to use Boot Camp to dual boot a copy of Windows 8.1 into my Macbook, along with 600 over photos, few hundred songs, and 90GB++ of movies is the 256GB SSD good enough, or should I upgrade to 512GB? I don't like saving my files on an external HDD, and would definitely prefer to have everything in my laptop.
    3. I've seen benchmark scores between the 2.4ghz and 2.6ghz i5 CPUs, the 2.6ghz does have a decent advantage, but does it have any significant difference in terms of user experience? (like running apps on xcode with the iPhone simulator)
    4. I have tried using a 13 inch Macbook Pro (2013 model) with 4GB RAM in the Apple store, but I do find some delay in opening some apps and iPhoto picture transitions are not so smooth. Is the Retina screen too much for Intel Iris pro graphics to handle, or is this normal for all 13 inch Macbook pro using iris graphics?
    5. How is your overall experience using Apple's iWork apps to open Microsoft Office files and editing them? Would there be any weird format errors when my other Windows user friends find in the file that I have edited with iWork? (Such as pictures out of position, fonts not in line, pictures missing, etc)
    6. Should I get the current Macbook available now, or wait for this year's Macbook refresh?

    Since you guys are experienced Apple users, I would like to have honest feedback from you guys. Thanks in advance! :)

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  3. #2
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    Welcome to the forums

    I have not used a Retina MacBook Pro in anger, but I do use a standard 13" MacBook Pro for coding when I am away from my desk. So, to answer each of your questions in order:

    1) The Retina screen is absolutely gorgeous...end of story. However, you are wanting to use your MacBook for coding in XCode, and as I am sure you may have already found, plenty of screen real-estate is of great benefit when doing most forms of coding. In that respect, a 13" MacBook is not ideal, but you will have to cope if you can't afford the larger screen.

    2) Ok, if you are hoping to dual boot with Windows and store 600 odd photos, hundreds of mp3 and 90+ GB of movies on the 256GB SSD I would say you are pushing it. A clean install of Mavericks without any extra apps takes around 11GB. A clean install of Windows 8 takes anywhere between 15-25GB. You then have to add all the apps you will be using....depending on what SDKs you have to install, an installation of XCode can take up around 8GB. If you can stretch to the 512GB SSD then I would definitely recommend it. However, this begs the question on why you want to dual boot with Windows? What do you need to run on Windows that you can't run on OSX? I strongly advise against dual booting using Boot Camp as it can cause all sorts of issues....the Mac forums are littered with people having problems with Boot Camp. If you 'must' use Windows look at running it as a virtual machine using the likes of Parallels Desktop.

    3) I doubt you will see any 'real world' difference when running apps between the 2.4GHz and 2.6GHz CPU.

    4) I would think the 'problem' you were seeing was down to the 4GB of RAM installed rather than the Iris Graphics Chip. Go for the 8GB RAM and I doubt you will see much delay in apps opening.

    5) The MS Office files I have, open up just fine in Pages. That said I still prefer the Office experience over Pages. Office for Mac is likely to get a full refresh later this year, which will more than likely bring it more in line with the Windows experience (the current Mac version of Office is looks very different to the Windows version). Microsoft have also recently started a 'Personal' Office 365 subscription for 6/month which allows you to install the full office suite on one computer and one tablet (the iPad versions are just great).

    6) Arrr the million dollar question.....should I wait for the next refresh? The latest 'Broadwell' chips from Intel are expected later this summer, so I doubt they will make it into any Mac products this year. As a result, any refresh of the Retina MacBook line is likely only to be a step wise boost, like we've just seen with the MacBook Airs...a slightly faster CPU etc. But all that is speculation, and you can always hold off until the next release!!

    Anyway, those are my thoughts. At the end of the day, you are the one with the cash, so the final decision will be yours and yours alone
    'Deep Thought' - Mac Mini Late 2018- macOS Mojave (10.14.5)
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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JezzerP View Post
    Welcome to the forums

    I have not used a Retina MacBook Pro in anger, but I do use a standard 13" MacBook Pro for coding when I am away from my desk. So, to answer each of your questions in order:

    1) The Retina screen is absolutely gorgeous...end of story. However, you are wanting to use your MacBook for coding in XCode, and as I am sure you may have already found, plenty of screen real-estate is of great benefit when doing most forms of coding. In that respect, a 13" MacBook is not ideal, but you will have to cope if you can't afford the larger screen.

    2) Ok, if you are hoping to dual boot with Windows and store 600 odd photos, hundreds of mp3 and 90+ GB of movies on the 256GB SSD I would say you are pushing it. A clean install of Mavericks without any extra apps takes around 11GB. A clean install of Windows 8 takes anywhere between 15-25GB. You then have to add all the apps you will be using....depending on what SDKs you have to install, an installation of XCode can take up around 8GB. If you can stretch to the 512GB SSD then I would definitely recommend it. However, this begs the question on why you want to dual boot with Windows? What do you need to run on Windows that you can't run on OSX? I strongly advise against dual booting using Boot Camp as it can cause all sorts of issues....the Mac forums are littered with people having problems with Boot Camp. If you 'must' use Windows look at running it as a virtual machine using the likes of Parallels Desktop.

    3) I doubt you will see any 'real world' difference when running apps between the 2.4GHz and 2.6GHz CPU.

    4) I would think the 'problem' you were seeing was down to the 4GB of RAM installed rather than the Iris Graphics Chip. Go for the 8GB RAM and I doubt you will see much delay in apps opening.

    5) The MS Office files I have, open up just fine in Pages. That said I still prefer the Office experience over Pages. Office for Mac is likely to get a full refresh later this year, which will more than likely bring it more in line with the Windows experience (the current Mac version of Office is looks very different to the Windows version). Microsoft have also recently started a 'Personal' Office 365 subscription for 6/month which allows you to install the full office suite on one computer and one tablet (the iPad versions are just great).

    6) Arrr the million dollar question.....should I wait for the next refresh? The latest 'Broadwell' chips from Intel are expected later this summer, so I doubt they will make it into any Mac products this year. As a result, any refresh of the Retina MacBook line is likely only to be a step wise boost, like we've just seen with the MacBook Airs...a slightly faster CPU etc. But all that is speculation, and you can always hold off until the next release!!

    Anyway, those are my thoughts. At the end of the day, you are the one with the cash, so the final decision will be yours and yours alone
    Thanks for your info and feedback, the reason why I wanted Windows is because I may need to run pirated applications like Visual Studio, and along with my pirated Adobe CS6 suite. Those two applications are something that I really can't afford and I'm only using them for the sake of my education, and non profit projects. And also, I'm a gamer as well, doesn't really hurt for me to install some light MMORPGs to keep me entertained when I'm outside.

    And also another question I've forgotten to ask, will Windows have any driver issues while running on Apple hardware? And for the storage, I guess I'm better off buying a cheap hard drive to store my movies, and other large files. The SSD upgrade is way to expensive for me. Anyways, I guess I'll just wait since I'll be needing my Macbook for my degree next year, so waiting for this year's refresh wouldn't hurt. The Macbooks Pros we currently have now are from 2013, or 2014? I'm not very sure since I rarely take a look at Apple products.
    Last edited by Leoncarbon; 05-02-2014 at 07:27 AM.

  5. #4
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    Admitting to being a pirate won't win you any friends on these forums. It is strictly against the rules. Might be a good idea to bear that in mind for future reference.

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinJS View Post
    Admitting to being a pirate won't win you any friends on these forums. It is strictly against the rules. Might be a good idea to bear that in mind for future reference.
    I was just thinking the same thing.
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