Building a fake MacBook Pro while complaining about cliquey Apple fans

; Date: Fri Jun 28 2019

Tags: Apple »»»» Hackintosh

Are Apple products only for high end customers who can pay premium prices? Apple is surely chasing after such people, with high prices and pristinely designed software and hardware. To folks that can't afford those prices, it can feel like being pushed out of a special clique by the snobs who are inside the clique. There are two approaches to avoiding the premium price while being able to use Apple hardware and software. There's the approach I take, and the approach shown in the attached video.

In the attached video the presenter (Oz Talks Hardware) presents his case - that Apple hardware is overpriced - that Apple is a clique that looks down on folks who have phones with headphone jacks or laptops not made by Apple. And then he launches into building a Hackintosh'd Dell laptop to run Mac OS X.

Ignoring his criticism of the Apple owners culture, his technique is to repurpose non-Apple hardware to run Apple software. Thanks to the Hackintosh community that's possible, and proves that not everyone in the Apple culture are cliquey fanboys.

My preferred technique is different. I buy old Apple hardware that's been refurbished, or that I refurbish myself. For example I just upgraded my iPhone 6 to a iPhone 6s (refurbished) because it's expected the 6 will go EOL soon, while the 6s will have a few more years, and the 6s was a significant upgrade over the 6. It's a fine phone and only cost $187, a fraction of its price when it was new, plus the iPhone 6 fetched over $100 on eBay making my out of pocket cost in the neighborhood of $60. I also pulled a similar trick with my girlfriends iPhone, moving from an iPhone 5s to iPhone SE for a similar reason and similar cost. Finally the laptop I'm using is a MacBook Pro 2012 with Core i7, 16GB memory, dual disk drives, etc, fully upgraded in other words.

For more, see Living the Apple ecosystem without giving money to Apple

The speaker in the attached video makes some good points about sticking with Apple hardware to run Mac OS X versus using competitor hardware.

To wit, his chosen laptop is newer than my 2012 MBP. One could get a 2013-2015 MacBook Pro at a significant discount over the new price, and at the same time avoid the Flexgate problem, but you would have a machine that is less repairable than either my 2012 MBP or the laptop Mr. Oz chose.

The Right To Repair is extremely important, and is a major strike against Apple. Apple has designed some sleek and amazingly thin and lightweight hardware but that came at the cost of some problems.

  • Unrepairable -- Current MacBook Pro's have soldered-on memory and in many other ways go the extra mile to make sure you cannot repair the things. The Flexgate problem is an example where a badly designed display cable easily breaks after a few months of use, and then the whole display must be replaced (hundreds of dollars) because the display cable is not independently replaceable.
  • Heat -- Apple does not design hardware to properly dissipate heat, and instead the CPU easily goes into thermal overload mode, throttling the CPU to reduce heat. Ergo, CPU performance is not up to par with the specs of the hardware.
  • Lack of Touch Screen -- Most other laptops have touch screens, can be operated in tablet mode or tent mode, why can't Apple do the same? I've wanted that since the mid-2000's.

What Mr. Oz demonstrates is taking a Dell E-7440 laptop and installing Mac OS X. The process was fairly easy - he described several hours of fiddling to get all the features running smoothly. The only flaw being WiFi support where the built-in M.2 WiFi card did not work, and the replacement M.2 WiFi card was flaky, but he found a USB WiFi dongle which worked fine.

Near as I can tell the E-7440 is also from the 2013-2015 time frame. He could have gone with a 2012 MBP but then he wouldn't have been able to make those other points.

That he could replace the M.2 WiFi card demonstrates that Dell honors the Right to Repair. That Dell looked to be nearly as sleek as MacBook Pro hardware, but it can be completely disassembled and repaired as desired. Plus the CPU has proper heat dissipation. Plus it's a touch screen, and the screen can be folded all the way back.

One could argue the result is better than a MacBook Pro.

The $200 Macbook (Pro) Apple Can't Sell You | OzTalksHW

About the Author(s)

( David Herron : David Herron is a writer and software engineer focusing on the wise use of technology. He is especially interested in clean energy technologies like solar power, wind power, and electric cars. David worked for nearly 30 years in Silicon Valley on software ranging from electronic mail systems, to video streaming, to the Java programming language, and has published several books on Node.js programming and electric vehicles.