Ben Lovejoy’s diary series are an attempt to provide a real-life review of Apple devices. Not just first impressions of them as gadgets, but the role they perform in everyday use, and an evolving view over time. 

Read the diary entries from the bottom up to read them in date order.

MacBook Pro Diary Stories December 17, 2019

If I were writing a conventional review, my 16-inch MacBook Pro review would be a little late to the party. But my Diary pieces are all about how my impressions build over time with real-life use, so it’s less important in this case that I took delivery of mine exactly a month after it first went on sale.

I hadn’t initially planned to buy it because, on paper, it simply didn’t seem to be enough of an upgrade:

  • Very similar physical size
  • Slightly larger, slightly higher-res screen with thinner bezels & custom refresh rates
  • A completely redesigned scissor keyboard
  • New CPU, GPU, RAM and storage options
  • Better speakers and microphones
  • An extra hour of claimed battery life

Playing with it for about half an hour in an Apple Store hadn’t really changed my mind: this was still something of a distress purchase for me…

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MacBook Pro Diary Stories December 9, 2019

My MacBook Pro problems had one more episode in store for me: after getting the repaired machine back from Apple, there was a glitch after restoring it from a clone.

I cloned the original SSD to an external drive using Carbon Copy Cloner. When I got the repaired machine back, it was effectively a brand new one, as it had a new logic board with new SSD.

I plugged in the clone drive and used a CMD-R startup to boot from the clone, which worked fine…

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MacBook Pro Diary Stories December 6, 2019

I wasn’t expecting to be buying the 16-inch MacBook Pro this year. To me, it seemed too small an upgrade to justify replacing a three-year-old machine, so I’d planned to stick to my usual 4-5 year upgrade cycle for Macs.

That was before experiencing three separate failures in my 15-inch MacBook Pro:

  • Butterfly keyboard issues (bouncing and unresponsive keys)
  • Swollen battery
  • Logic board fault

I did, incidentally, manage to deduce exactly what the logic board fault was…

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MacBook Pro Diary Stories December 4, 2019

To add to the faulty keyboard and swollen battery, it turns out my MacBook Pro has a third failure: a logic board fault.

There was some good news when I went to collect my MacBook Pro today: the top-case replacement had been done. It had a shiny new keyboard, and non-swollen battery.

The bad news, however, was that the machine still immediately shutdown when run on battery power…

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MacBook Pro Diary Stories November 29, 2019

I’ve finally been forced into arranging the keyboard replacement I’ve been deferring forever, and that has led me to think about my next Mac. But let’s start at the beginning…

My 2016 MacBook Pro has long been suffering from the infamous butterfly keyboard glitches. I get double-characters for B and P, and both spacebar and CMD keys are unreliable.

These things would have long since driven me nuts but for two factors…

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MacBook Pro Diary Stories October 8, 2019

If I didn’t write about Apple-related tech for a living, I’m honestly not sure whether I’d upgrade to macOS Catalina. For me, the loss of 32-bit app compatibility could potentially be both a major hassle and a significant expense.

A hassle in part because there are several small utility apps I use which are 32-bit only. All are old, and the developers have long since lost interest in updating them, so I’m going to need to find suitable alternatives…

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