I’m also a Thinkpad fanboy :)
x220t for 4 years and just as the article says, the touch was not useful. Few months ago I got x230 (because the x220t has issues with the connection to the touch screen, but can still be used totally ok with a second screen) and I still re-use my 16GB of memory + 256GB SSD. So, 1 investment, holds for years. With this spec, I’ve always been happy with ubuntu derivatives. Drivers match perfectly and all hardware just works. The x230 is silent and has a keyboard backlight — it’s lovely!
For the battery, even a second hand refurbished x230 can work between 3–6 hours depending on what you do. Could be 1 hour on a hangouts call. With phpstorm in powersaver mode can be hours, and with atom could be hours by default.
I also tried the latest MPB keyboard few weeks ago and I didn’t like it at all compared to the current Thinkpad-s. And true, the IBM one of the x220t was my favorite, but the new one is also convenient. I think MPB are offering the best OS with a linux base and vendor layers on top which make things work much smoother compared to Linux. And no wonder — imagine how many models Windows and Linux have to support, whereas Apple supports only a small set of laptops and it’s logical to have a good product in the end. Probably the price pays off if one is a designer and uses sketch and other software unavailable in other OS-s, but for general-purpose web development, Linux is doing really fine.
I also wanted to have a convertible Yoga at some point, but these machines are not so good for Linux. Even the vendors usually warn that drivers are not so good since there are some sensors and other goodies that are not there yet in Linux.
In general, Linux + comparatively older Thinkpad is magic. Low price, good quality, high durability and all the things a developer really need.