Early this morning, Apple rolled out a series of changes to its top-end MacBook Pro line. The upgraded devices have faster processors, support for always-listening “Hey Siri,” and a new keyboard design that will hopefully fix some of the design flaws in the old model, such as it being rendered useless by an errant grain of sand.
But in true Apple fashion, there was some bad news carefully slid in with the good. The 2015 MacBook Pro has vanished from Apple’s store, meaning that it’s no longer possible to buy a MacBook Pro without also shelling out $250 for a fistful of dongles.
The 2015 MacBook Pro was the ultimate iteration of a laptop that first debuted in 2006. By the 2015 edition, ports had been pared down to the absolute essentials: Thunderbolt connectors for high-speed external drives or screens, USB-A for connecting virtually any accessory, HDMI for external screens, and an SD card slot for pulling photos off cameras, the kind of thing that the “creative” types who supposedly buy MacBook Pros like to do.
Most importantly for the loyalists, the 2015 MacBook Pro was the last model to feature Apple’s traditional keyboard design before the move to the “butterfly” keyboard. The more complicated new mechanism, which can be found on all of Apple’s current-gen MacBooks, has never quite felt the same as Apple’s original keyboards, with the perception of less clickiness and a touch less travel. Of course, there’s also the fact that the newer butterfly keyboards have had serious reliability problems. Dust or a single grain of sand getting underneath a key can break it, and Apple has had to launch a four-year free replacement program after so many people reported issues.
Even after introducing the USB-C only MacBook Pro in 2016, Apple still sold the 2015 model on its online store, complete with normal-people ports and a reliable keyboard. Without any USB-C ports at all (and last-gen processors), the 2015 version wasn’t going to be a powerhouse buy for anyone using the MacBook Pro for hardcore work. But as a cheap, reliable option for people looking for a relatively light and well-made laptop with a fantastic keyboard, it was still a great buy. Perhaps it’s better that Apple killed it now, while it was still vaguely relevant, rather than giving it the MacBook Air treatment of keeping it around so long it becomes obsolete.