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★ The New Touch-Bar-Equipped MacBook Pros and the State of the Mac

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I think there’s been a lot of confusion over the nomenclatural transition Apple is going through in its MacBook lineup.

Back in 1998, 1988, Steve Jobs presented a simple four-quadrant lineup for Apple’s entire Mac line: a consumer notebook (iBook), pro notebook (PowerBook), consumer desktop (iMac), and pro desktop (Power Mac).

No one could be confused by the difference between an iBook and a PowerBook. The PowerBook was more expensive, faster, had a better display, and even used more “serious” design language — iBooks were candy-colored and the PowerBooks were matte black.

Much has changed since then, including all those product names (except for the iMac). About midway between then and now, Apple introduced what I believe to be the best-selling Mac notebook in history: the MacBook Air.

At the time the Air was introduced in 2008, Apple’s other notebooks were the “regular” MacBook and the MacBook Pro. Sound familiar? The MacBook and MacBook Pro played the exact same roles as the iBook and the PowerBook. One was significantly less expensive, and accordingly, not as nice. Plastic vs. aluminum, slower vs. faster. I used a white iBook for several years. My wife used a white MacBook for several years about a decade ago.

These were good notebooks and I remember them both fondly. But the only reason we bought those machines was that we couldn’t or didn’t want to spend the money for a PowerBook or MacBook Pro. The PowerBook “pro” alternative to my old white iBook was one of the most ahead-of-its-time designs Apple has ever made: the 12-inch PowerBook G4. Just look at it. It’s thick and heavy by today’s standards, but it foretold much of Apple’s aluminum-era design language. I wanted one badly, but couldn’t justify the price difference compared to the iBook, especially for what was going to be a secondary machine.

One notebook that was slower but cheaper.

One notebook that was faster and more expensive.

The MacBook Air didn’t fit into this matrix at all. It was slower than the regular MacBook but as expensive as a MacBook Pro. What you were paying for wasn’t “power” but instead right there in the (then utterly perfect, today somewhat confusing) name “Air”: remarkable thinness and lightness.

Apple moved from the names PowerBook and Power Mac to MacBook Pro and Mac Pro when they shifted from PowerPC to Intel processors. At the time, I chalked this up entirely to wanting to distinguish the Intel-based machines from the “Power” in “PowerPC”. In hindsight, though, I think it also signified a subtle shift in Apple’s design priorities for its very best computers. For decades, computers were starved for raw performance. CPUs were slow, RAM was scarce, disks were slow (and unreliable), graphics were slow. Printing was slow. Networking was slow. Everything was slow. And the more money you spent, the more you could alleviate these problems with faster components, and more ports and peripherals.

Just about everyone agreed the original MacBook Air was beautiful to behold and that something so light and thin would be nicer to carry around than something thicker and heavier. But many critics thought Apple had lost its goddamn collective mind by breaking the rule that you spend more money on “faster”.

From EveryMac’s page describing the differences between the original MacBook Air and the then-current regular MacBook:

Upon viewing the respective specifications pages for the original MacBook Air and a “regular” MacBook at the time the original MacBook Air was introduced — the MacBook “Core 2 Duo” 2.4 13” (Black- Early 2008), for example — two users might come to very different conclusions. A style-conscious user might view the MacBook Air as sleek and beautiful and the “regular” MacBook as comparatively clunky. A cynical user might instead view the MacBook Air as half the system for twice the price.

Both of these viewpoints could be legitimate. Most would agree that the MacBook does look rather “clunky” compared to the MacBook Air.

Likewise, there is no denying that the MacBook Air does have substantial limitations compared to the “regular” MacBook in performance (it’s slower and uses the same lackluster integrated graphics), connectivity (it only has one USB 2.0 port and no onboard Ethernet, compared to the “regular” MacBook with two USB 2.0 ports, a Firewire “400” port, Gigabit Ethernet, and optical digital audio in/out), and expansion (no swappable battery or upgradable RAM and it is a pain to upgrade the hard drive, compared to the “regular” MacBook which has a swappable battery, upgradable RAM, and it is relatively simple to upgrade the hard drive). The “regular” MacBook also has a convenient internal optical drive whereas the MacBook Air requires the usage of an external one or software workarounds.

Costs more. Not faster. Fewer ports. Fewer user-replaceable components. Sound familiar? MacBook Air buyers were paying a premium not for performance (or to use the old word, power) but instead for niceness. Apple effectively bifurcated the premium side of the MacBook lineup: Air for niceness, Pro for performance.

But then a funny thing happened. MacBook Airs got steadily faster and cheaper. Moore’s Law at work. The regular MacBooks went away, and eventually the 11-inch MacBook Air dropped to $899, and the more popular 13-inch Air to $999. The MacBook Air transitioned — not in one fell feel swoop, but slowly and steadily, year after year — from being a premium product to being Apple’s most decidedly consumer-oriented Mac. The go-to Mac for students, casual users, and the budget-conscious.

Last year Apple reintroduced the no-adjective MacBook brand for a device that was thinner, lighter, had a better display, one single expansion port that doubles for charging — and came at a premium price. Oh, and it’s quite arguably slower not just than the old MacBook Airs that are still sitting there in Apple’s lineup, but also slower than an iPhone.

The regular MacBook’s value proposition today is exactly what the Air’s was in 2008. The MacBook Air’s value proposition today is exactly what the MacBook’s was in 2008. They’ve flipped. But the Air is the device whose name implies “thin and light”. Here’s what I wrote back in May:

The outrage is coming from people who want Apple to update the MacBook Airs with retina displays. That’s not going to happen. The Airs are now Apple’s low-priced models. The Pros will get thinner (and thus more Air-like) and the new MacBook will get faster (and thus more Air-like). But the MacBook Air as we know it serves only one purpose: to hit the $899/999 price points.

Back in March 2015, after the debut of the current one-port MacBook, I wrote:

The key to understanding the new MacBook is that it didn’t replace any existing models in Apple’s lineup. In fact, the 11- and 13-inch Airs and the 13-inch MacBook Pro all got speed bump updates last week. If you need more ports or better performance, or if you frequently need to work while your MacBook is plugged into a power outlet, this machine is not for you, today. That’s why it didn’t (yet) replace anything in the lineup.

The original 2008 MacBook Air was slow, expensive (based on specs), lacked storage, only had one USB port, was the first Apple notebook without an optical drive, etc. It was not for everyone. It was not for most people, in fact. But some people loved it. The new 2015 MacBook is the same thing — some people will love it today, and it shows us Apple’s vision for the future of the notebook form factor.

So forget about the word Air. Apple’s vision for computers — notebooks, phones, tablets, even desktops — is thinner and lighter. Everything Apple makes today is an Air model in spirit. The name “Air” is no longer meaningful.

My Thoughts on the New MacBook Pros

I’ve spent almost three weeks testing a few models of the new MacBook Pros: the 13-inch model that lacks the Touch Bar, a mid-range (Core i5) 13-inch with the Touch Bar, and a 15-inch model with the Touch Bar. By way of comparison, my personal MacBook is a top-of-the-line 13-inch MacBook Pro that I bought just about exactly two years ago. As I’ve used these new models, the thought I keep turning back to is this: What Apple means by “pro” is tied very much to being nicer.

A rundown of details and observations:

  • The build quality is decidedly nicer. This is particularly noticeable with the display hinge. It feels better when you open it, it moves smoother as you adjust it to your preferred angle, and it closes with a more satisfying snap. iFixit’s teardown contains some interesting observations about how Apple achieved these improvements.

  • Space gray looks amazing. I wish it were even a little darker, but it’s very cool. In very bright light, it doesn’t look that different from the traditional silver finish. In darker lighting, though, the difference is very noticeable.

  • The trackpad is excellent. I enjoy that it’s bigger, and Apple’s palm detection has worked perfectly. Not once has it gotten in the way.

  • The reduction in bezel area surrounding the display is noticeable. The combination of device thinness, bezel reduction, and the space gray finish all serve to make my previous MacBook Pro look old.

  • The keyboard is, for me, a mixed bag, and it’s probably the one thing that many people will like least about these machines. I find less key travel to be less pleasant while typing. But I’m so far out there on this issue that I use a 20-year-old Apple Extended Keyboard II, with mechanical key switches, at my desk. I’ve never liked any notebook keyboard compared to an actual mechanical keyboard. But every time Apple makes its keyboards thinner, I get used to it. I always do, and I’m already pretty used to these new ones. And here’s the mixed bag part: the new MacBook Pro key switches do have a premium feel to them. I now can’t stop noticing how much the key caps on my old MacBook Pro jiggle around when I’m just resting my fingers on the keys. The new keys don’t do that. It feels like a premium keyboard — just one with incredibly short key travel, alas.

  • The keyboard change I’m having the most trouble with is the arrow key arrangement. Starting with the 2015 new MacBook, Apple has made the left and right arrow keys full-height; previously all four arrow keys were half-height, in an upside-down T arrangement. I’m having a devil of a time getting used to this. I use those keys frequently and do so without looking at them, and my fingers just can’t find what they’re feeling for. I’ll get used to it, I suspect, but this is one of the few things I’d change if I could.

  • I like the Touch Bar a lot, especially Touch ID. It also feels like the right way to do a keyboard for the emoji age.1 I’m still not entirely used to it, and I’m unsure how best to use it to suit my needs. What I’m sure of is that the wrong way to think about the Touch Bar is to expect it be to be a game-changing input method. It’s just a modern, dynamic replacement for a fiddly, static set of cryptic buttons. And it’s really nicely done. It looks less like a screen and more like a button bar with dynamically changing labels.

  • It took about three days using Touch ID on this review unit before I instinctively tried to use it to unlock my old MacBook. Typing my login password now feels archaic.

  • The Esc is the one button in the classic function key row that some people really use a lot. I’ve heard from them. “How’s the Esc key?” is the number one question I’ve gotten from readers about the Touch Bar. For some reason, the Esc key doesn’t sit flush with the left edge of the Touch Bar. It’s inset by about the width of a key. (My best guess is that it is inset for visual symmetry with the Touch ID sensor on the other side, but it’s possible there were engineering constraints.) ) But about half of the blank area at the left edge is touch sensitive, even though there is no display under that part of the bar. I made a brief video about this that shows it better than I can explain it. The bottom line is that it’s pretty easy to hit Esc accurately without looking — the team that made the Touch Bar was clearly aware that some people really do use the Esc key a lot.

  • My main wish for the next-generation Touch Bar: Taptic Engine support. Fake clicks like those on the Magic Trackpad, or even like the iPhone 7’s 3D Touch haptics, would be great. This might be trickier for Apple to pull off than I’m imagining, though. The trackpad has better haptics and works with much less pressure from your fingers, but the trackpad doesn’t have a display. The iPhone has a display, but 3D Touch on the iPhone takes more pressure to activate than I think a keyboard button should. This might take a few years.

  • I miss MagSafe. I think what it gets down to is that Apple sees the future as being battery only while using it. Charge it like your phone — overnight — and then just go all day. And I also see the beauty in having just four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports that all work the same way. But boy, MagSafe sure was a great idea, and it will be missed. (Even leaving aside the “trip over the cable accidentally scenario”, MagSafe MagSafa is great on a daily basis just because it’s so effortless to connect. It feels like a cable that connects itself.)

  • Speaking of battery life, it has been amazing. I watched Game 7 of the World Series with the 13-inch Touch Bar-equipped model open on my lap, for following Twitter and messaging a few friends about the game. It was a long game, over four hours, and I had the brightness on the display set as high as I wanted. (Maximum brightness would have been way too bright.) When the game ended the MacBook Pro still had 70 percent of its battery remaining. That’s probably the definition of “light use”, but my two-year-old MacBook Pro never got that much battery life under similar conditions.

  • It is almost criminal that the extended power cord is now a $19 peripheral, and not included in the box. These machines cost upwards of $4,000 and they’re going to nickel-and-dime you over a power cord?

  • Nickel-and-dime move number two: Not including a USB-C to Lightning cable with the iPhone 7. You can walk into an Apple Store today and drop thousands of dollars on a new MacBook and iPhone, but you can’t connect the two without a $19 cable (which will cost $25 again come January).

  • I don’t know if this is a nickel-and-dime move or just a design decision, but the wall charger no longer has flip-out arms for wrapping the cable. That was a great little thoughtful detail, and I miss it.

  • As promised, sound is way better from the built-in speakers. There’s almost no comparison.

Where the Mac Stands Within Apple

To me, an iPad in notebook mode — connected to a keyboard cover — is so much less nice than a real notebook. And the difference is more stark when compared to a great notebook, like these MacBook Pros. There are advantages to the tablet form factor, but no tablet will ever be as nice as a notebook as these MacBook Pros. I also prefer MacOS over iOS for, well, “doing work”. I think I’m more productive on a Mac than I am on an iPad. I can’t prove it, but even if I’m wrong, the fact that I feel like it’s true matters. I always feel slightly hamstrung working on an iPad. I never do on a Mac (at least once I’ve got it configured with all the apps and little shortcuts, scripts, and utilities I use).

There are a lot of Mac users who feel the same way I do, and these new MacBook Pros have debuted at a time when many of these users look at Apple’s laggardly update pace for new Mac hardware (including the 1,000-plus day-old Mac Pros) and have come to the conclusion that Apple is sunsetting the Mac. They think Tim Cook really does want them to switch to an iPad.

I think these new MacBook Pros, and the Touch Bar in particular, stand as refutation to that. These are very nice machines, designed and made with great care. And the Touch Bar is clearly no afterthought. A lot of teams from across the company worked for a long time on this. It’s an embedded iOS device, with the accompanying characteristics you’d expect: 60 FPS animation, seemingly instantaneous touch latency, well-done animation as things like the Control Strip expand and retract, and more.

The Touch Bar is also, clearly, a costly component, making the Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pros more expensive. Price aside, the new MacBook Pro with the old-school function keys shouldn’t exist. But the Touch Bar won’t be expensive forever. It’s just so clear to me that these machines share the design ethos of the original MacBook Air. They’re designed for the future — the near future, I think — but until then, we’ll buy compatibility dongles and wait another year to see versions that support more than 16 GB of RAM. [2]

There’s much griping about these machines now, just like there was much griping about the original Air then, but these are exactly the MacBooks I want Apple to be making — ones that show that the company is putting very hard work into every aspect of them. I’d be more worried about Apple’s commitment to the Mac if they did the easy thing — easier both technically and in terms of initial critical response — and just stuck a retina display in a MacBook Air and called it a day.


  1. I do wish my most-used emoji characters synced across my various devices through iCloud, the way my keyboard text substitutions do. It seems weird that every device I use has a different set of most-used emoji. ↩︎

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aleksaxyz
2710 days ago
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Really good review of the MacBook Pro, and reiterates good points about the laptop line up.
Gainesville, FL
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The New York Times is launching a daily 360-degree video series

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The New York Times on Tuesday continued to grow its virtual reality offerings by launching The Daily 360, a daily series of 360-degree videos.

The first video is a minute-long look inside the rubble of a social hall in Sana, Yemen that was destroyed in a Saudi airstrike.

The Times began its push into virtual reality last year when it launched its NYT VR app and sent out a million Google Cardboard headsets to Sunday print subscribers. This spring, the Times produced its first in-house VR project — earlier projects were produced in partnership with outside VR companies, such as VRSE.

For The Daily 360, the Times is partnering with Samsung, which gave the Times the equipment to produce the videos. In a note at the bottom of its introductory post, the Times wrote, “Times journalists have been provided with Samsung Gear 360 cameras and equipment to use while reporting out in the field,” and the credits of the initial video also identify that the technology came from the company. Samsung will also publish The Daily 360 videos on its own platforms.

samsungnyt

The Times is dedicating some of its most valuable digital real estate to the series — it sent out a push alert promoting it and the video from Yemen tops the homepage.

nytvr_homepage

Sam Dolnick, the Times editor overseeing VR, told my colleague Ricardo Bilton in May that the Times doesn’t “expect our VR app to be a daily habit in the way that the core app is.” As a result, Daily 360 videos will be available on the main Times app and the Times’ website in addition to the VR app.

In the days leading up to the presidential election, the Daily 360 will focus on the home stretch of the campaign, but as the election winds down the Times plans to introduce other areas of coverage as well. In the spring, Dolnick said the Times wants to experiment with different types of VR films:

We are going to keep going after the big stories, but we’re also going to do VR films that look at the worlds of style and culture. The New York Times contains multitudes.

We’re also experimenting with formats. We’re looking at an experience that we jokingly call “meditative VR.” These are single-shot, no-cuts videos of some beautiful place. You’re at a Jamaican beach at sunset, a Canadian waterfall, and you’re just there. And you look around. There’s no story, there’s nothing happening. I don’t even think it’s necessarily journalism. It’s just transportive and something that can be really powerful in VR.

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aleksaxyz
2724 days ago
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I'm actually surprised by NYT adoption of VR. It's cool and hip with the kids but I'm missing the thing that execs really like about it.
Gainesville, FL
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Gear List || Backpacking Stove System || Upright Canister for Soloists & Couples

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My stove system for solo backpacking trips in the shoulder seasons, when I'm willing to carry a few extra ounces so that I can quickly heat up large amounts of water. With a larger pot and an additional eating container, mug, and utensil, this system would be suitable for couples, too.

My stove system for solo backpacking trips in the shoulder seasons, when I’m willing to carry a few extra ounces so that I can quickly heat up large amounts of water. With a larger pot and an additional eating container, mug, and utensil, this system would be suitable for couples, too.

While preparing for a backpacking trip in the Colorado Rockies this coming weekend (early-November), I had to consider the appropriateness of my ultralight alcohol stove and my powerful remote canister stove systems. I concluded that both would be functional, but that with an extra $50 purchase I could have a perfectly optimized kit.

Intended applications

This “Fast & Light” setup is suitable for solo backpackers and couples who are:

  • Willing to carry an extra 5-ish ounces (140 grams) for a stove system with fast boil times, an intuitive operation, and good fuel efficiency;
  • Able to reliably find replacement fuel canisters, which are sold primarily at specialty outdoor retail stores; and,
  • Not deterred by the relatively high fuel expense, relative to alcohol and liquid fuel (e.g. white gas).

For some backpackers, Fast & Light will be perfect year-round, or at least outside of the winter months. But for me, I take it along only on solo trips in the shoulder seasons when large volumes of hot water will be desired, to help keep me comfortable despite brisk daytime conditions, long nights, sub-freezing overnight lows, and perhaps only low or moderate physical exertion. Imagine making each day a hot breakfast and morning coffee, mid-day coffee or tea, hot dinner, and hot nighttime tea.

For such extensive cooking I could use my alcohol stove. But its slow boil times would frustrate me, and its low fuel efficiency would partially offset its feathery base weight. Alternatively, I could use my remote canister stove. It would be faster and more fuel efficient, but unnecessarily heavy and overkill (because I wouldn’t fully utilize its sturdiness or its cold-weather performance).

This setup has sufficient firepower to melt snow, but I would not make a habit of it. Other stoves are better suited for this application, notably my winter backpacking stove system.

Gear List: Upright Canister Backpacking Stove System for Soloists & Couples

My complete kit is below. It need not be replicated exactly, but it’s a good starting point.

Save weight by using the 3.9-oz fuel canister (3.5 oz empty, 1.6-oz reduction) and a plastic or metal mug (or none at all, up to a 3.3-oz reduction). And drop the cost by purchasing a $2 Starbucks mug, and a stove and pot made of heavier aluminum and/or steel, not titanium.

Tweaks for a two-person fast & light backpacking stove

To use this setup as a two-person stove, make these changes.

  • Use a larger pot, at least a 1.3L if not a 2L. Note my discussion below about heavy pots and stove strength.
  • Bring an eating container (my recommendation: a 1L grease pot for $10), plus an extra hot drink container and utensil.

Discussion and alternatives

The stove is the most interesting item in this kit, but let me quickly address some of the other categories.

Cook pot

My pot is the most expensive item in this kit, at $60. The reason: I have used the Evernew Titanium Ultralight 900 ml for over a decade (I’m on my third, I think), and I already own it.

As a durable but less expensive option, consider:

A wide-and-short pot like the Evernew will be more fuel-efficient than a deep pot, although it’s not a deal-breaker like it can be for the Super Cat Stove. The ability to “nest” a canister into the pot is not an advantage, IMO, as it simply transfers dirt into the pot. Instead, fill the pot with extra food, and let the canister float inside your pack.

Hot drink container

When I pack this stove, the conditions are often such that I enjoy a hot drink to go. With its screw-top lid, the Nalgene allows this. Also, with its wide-mouth opening, pouring hot liquids into it is relatively easy and safe.

If you don’t need a hot drink to go, then use a $2 reusable plastic cup from Startucks or spend substantially more on the Snow Peak Double Wall 450 or similar.

Ultralight stove models

The SupaLite and Snow Peak LiteMax are both made by Kovea and are nearly identical. The biggest difference is that the SupaLite retails for $50; the Litemax, for $60. A penny saved is a penny earned.

Sturdier stoves

The Supalite should not be paired with large pots. I will primarily use it with the 900 ml Evernew, and on occasion maybe a two-liter MSR. But if I were regularly using a 2L+ pot, I would use a stove like the MSR Pocket Rocket or Snow Peak Gigapower (or Gigapower Auto) that is more sturdily designed, in terms of its materials and architecture. I could easily argue that the Supalite/Litemax is “stupid light” because of this issue.

Auto-ignitor

I was indifferent to this feature, which adds weight and expense, and which is redundant with the Bic lighter that I always carry on backpacking trips (for fire-starting, if for no other reason).

Regulated output

The Soto OD-1R Micro interested me because it is the lightest regulated stove and therefore will perform better in cold temperatures than non-regulated upright canister stoves. But I concluded that this feature was unimportant to me: I plan to use the Supalite to heat up a maximum of 1.5 liters of water at a time in temperatures ranging from 10’s to 50’s. That will take less than 10 minutes.

For cold ambient temperatures to have a significant effect on the stove performance, the stove run time would have to be longer. In very cold temperatures, I can bring the canister up to body temperature by keeping it in my jacket or sleeping bag prior to use.

Integrated stoves

Combined stove/windscreen/pot systems like the Jetboil Flash PCS and MSR Reactor are extremely convenient, fast, and fuel efficient. However:

  • Independent components are more versatile, because they can mixed-and-matched;
  • A stove was less expensive than an entire system (because I already own multiple pots); and,
  • The superior fuel efficiency of integrated stoves does not offset the higher base weight unless the stove is used extensively, like on long trips and by large groups. Even then, it’s a marginal difference. The true advantage of an integrated stove is its convenience.

Pros & cons versus my other stove systems

Versus alcohol stoves

The Dirtbag and Cadillac are lighter, with most of the weight-savings being due to the stove and the fuel bottle/canister. Both burn alcohol, which is more widely available than gas canisters but has less firepower.

So, if you are willing to carry a few extra ounces in exchange for faster boiling times, and if you can reliably purchase replacement canisters, then opt for Fast & Light. If you prioritize weight above speed, and/or if replacement canisters will be difficult to find, then go with alcohol.

Versus a remote canister stove

Hot & Heavy is more suitable for larger pots (e.g. one- or two-gallon sized): its design is more stable and its pot supports are stronger. In contrast, upright stoves are scarily top-heavy if paired with large pots, and ultralight upright stoves like the Kovea Supalite may not have the long-term strength to support the weight. Finally, Hot & Heavy shares the same core components as my winter backpacking stove.

So, stick with a remote canister stove if you want:

  • A single stove that can be used for 3-season group backpacking and for winter backpacking as a soloist or with 2-3 other people; and/or,
  • To use one- or two-gallon pots, which are too heavy and tip-prone for upright canister stoves.

Questions or feedback? Please leave a comment.


Disclosure. I hope you have found this post useful. It contains affiliate links, which help to support this website and the development of more content.

The post Gear List || Backpacking Stove System || Upright Canister for Soloists & Couples appeared first on Andrew Skurka.

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aleksaxyz
2724 days ago
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I'm not much for cooking, but getting the system down to 5 oz? Impressive.
Gainesville, FL
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Airbnb is finally taking China seriously

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Airbnb sleeping

Photo credit: Nomao Saeki.

After years of not taking China very seriously, Airbnb is now trying something different. The US-based company has set up a China entity, which means it’s obligated to store some personal data and payments information on Chinese servers – but most global users will not be affected.

Airbnb has so far had “more than 3.5 million guest arrivals by Chinese travelers at Airbnb listings all over the world,” said the company in a blog post explaining its move. With China’s outbound tourism booming, the giant startup wants to lure more of them away from hotels – as well as persuade some of them to open their own homes to travelers coming to China.

It now has more than 2 million listings in 191 countries.

“While to date we have not focused on building our community in China, we’ve seen more and more Chinese hosts organically sign up to share their space and there have been nearly 1 million guest arrivals at Airbnb listings in China to date,” says the company.

Airbnb, founded in 2008 and now with more than 2 million listings in 191 countries, has updated its terms of service to reflect these legal changes with regards to mainland China. Hong Kong and Macau users are not affected.

“Going forward, if you reside in China, you’ll now formally interact with a new entity — Airbnb China — when you use our platform to both travel and host in China. And consistent with how the traditional hospitality industry handles stays in hotels, information about guest bookings in China and Airbnb listings in the country will be stored by Airbnb China,” the firm explains.

Local data storage means Airbnb may be required by Chinese government agencies to disclose information.

See: Why Airbnb is struggling in China

The American startup is up against a strong Chinese startup in the form of Tujia, which has raised around US$400 million in funding and is valued at over US$1 billion. Tujia now has 430,000 listings in 312 cities in mainland China – and its investment from HomeAway means that the Chinese site also offers a ton of overseas options from HomeAway’s sizable catalog.

This post Airbnb is finally taking China seriously appeared first on Tech in Asia.

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aleksaxyz
2724 days ago
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I don't know if this author understands how startups expand their userbase when the infrastructure allows them to.
Gainesville, FL
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