The Mac Is Not at the Top of Its Game →

January 4, 2018 · 10:26

John Gruber:

But Apple has invested significant time and resources into the MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, and now iMac Pro as they are.

Why hasn’t Apple yet shipped the Kaby Lake Refresh quad-core 15 W parts in the 13” MacBook Pros? They used to be the first manufacturer to put out machines based on new CPUs, with everyone waiting their turn. Today? They’re months behind.

The Mac is not at the top of its game, even if we skip the Surface innovation angle. Apple really needs to get its shit together, because at this point, I don’t trust them to ever update anything again, whatever Tim Cook says. I’m not a fan of their current lineup either. The iMac is a huge compromise, as is the new iMac Pro. The Mac Pro is still dead and there is no word on when the new one will arrive. The Mac Mini hasn’t been updated in close to 1200 days. The MacBook Pros still haven’t gotten new CPUs and the Touch Bar is horrific to use. The MacBook is… cute.1

All I want is a Pro laptop, with a normal keyboard and a quad-core CPU, with a footprint no larger than the current 13” model. And a no-compromise, upgradeable desktop with a full GPU and Core-series CPU, not costing a fortune. This isn’t asking much.

  1. Its screen is too small for my aging eyes.

Rethinking Apple →

April 5, 2017 · 10:36

Dr Drang:

Apple is making money hand over fist. By market share, it’s the biggest company in the world. Why is it continually putting itself in positions where it’s either apologizing, like today, or should be apologizing, as with the once long-overdue MacBook Pro update and the currently long-overdue iMac, Mac Mini, and iPad Pro updates.

While I appreciate Apple voicing their commitment to the Mac, I cannot fathom why this is even necessary. They are one of the biggest companies in the world and surely they can create teams that will constantly only work on Mac hardware. While I understand that simple updates to components seem perhaps too easy to do, with Apple’s aspirations being much higher, regular updates should be present in all line-ups. For example, the Mac Mini perhaps doesn’t fullfill Apple’s dreams of what a small Mac could or should be, but while they figure this out, it would be nice to have current generation hardware inside, regularly updated to the latest and greatest technologies, including Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C. I know of a lot of people holding off, just because the Mini is 900+ days old.


Apple Pushes the Reset Button on the Mac Pro →

April 5, 2017 · 10:20

Matthew Panzarino:

As representatives of the largest company on the planet, it’s not shocking that they need to consider how everything they say could be interpreted both by users and by the market. But it does highlight the difficulty of the balancing act they’re trying to pull off. Having a dialog with pro users (and other users) is healthy in the long run, and seeing Apple make an attempt at this is gratifying. On the other hand, I definitely get the impression that scaling from an audience of five to millions with that dialog is very much an experiment.

As we file out of the building, I can hear the whine of machines beginning to carve away on the next generation of Macs, now promised explicitly for the first time ever.

Great piece on the new Mac Pro, some tidbits about the ‘iMac Pro’, and lots more interesting conversation from Apple. The whole briefing was a huge surprise — this is definitely not something Apple would have done years past — but it’s a welcome one. As is the apology Apple issued to its pro users — it might not be enough to keep everything happy, waiting another year for the next Mac Pro, but it had to have calmed many people down, showing them a future without needing to change software platforms.


I Envy John Gruber’s Writing Style →

April 5, 2017 · 10:12

The bomb dropped yesterday — midday for me — that Apple was still working on the Mac Pro. Five people were invited for a unique briefing by four — Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, John Ternus and Bill Evans. This was amazing news which I was not expecting. Quite frankly, I had assumed that the Mac Pro was dead, having gone so long without any updates. I was genuinely happy for most of the day because that meant that my favourite software platform — macOS — has a future. But as I write these words, I can’t help but go back to reading and re-reading John Gruber’s words:

We’re inside a nondescript single-story office building on Apple’s extended old campus, across De Anza Boulevard from One Infinite Loop. This is Apple’s “product realization lab” for Mac hardware, better known, internally, as “the machine lab”. This is where they make and refine prototypes for new Mac hardware. We don’t get to see anything cool. There is no moment where they lift a black cloth and show us prototypes of future hardware. The setting feels chosen simply to set the tone that innovative Mac hardware design — across the entire Mac lineup — is not a thing of the past.

There are only nine people at the table. Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, and John Ternus (vice president, hardware engineering — in charge of Mac hardware) are there to speak for Apple. Bill Evans from Apple PR is there to set the ground rules and run the clock. (We had 90 minutes.) The other five are writers who were invited for what was billed as “a small roundtable discussion about the Mac”: Matthew Panzarino, Lance Ulanoff, Ina Fried, John Paczkowski, and yours truly.

The discussion is on the record.

I have been following John’s writing for many years now and these are the posts which always fascinate me most. Gruber has a knack for setting the mood for the reader, despite writing about a ‘normal’ meeting between technology executives and journalists — it reads as well as good thriller fiction.

While I did not appreaciate the other invitees articles as much, Matthew Panzarino’s piece was great too, although writting in his own style:

As representatives of the largest company on the planet, it’s not shocking that they need to consider how everything they say could be interpreted both by users and by the market. But it does highlight the difficulty of the balancing act they’re trying to pull off. Having a dialog with pro users (and other users) is healthy in the long run, and seeing Apple make an attempt at this is gratifying. On the other hand, I definitely get the impression that scaling from an audience of five to millions with that dialog is very much an experiment.

As we file out of the building, I can hear the whine of machines beginning to carve away on the next generation of Macs, now promised explicitly for the first time ever.

It’s John’s personal style and the way he describes the most mundane things that make me envious. I still remember his piece from 2012 about Mountain Lion:

“We’re starting to do some things differently,” Phil Schiller said to me.

We were sitting in a comfortable hotel suite in Manhattan just over a week ago. I’d been summoned a few days earlier by Apple PR with the offer of a private “product briefing”. I had no idea heading into the meeting what it was about. I had no idea how it would be conducted. This was new territory for me, and I think, for Apple (…)

Handshakes, a few pleasantries, good hot coffee, and then, well, then I got an Apple press event for one. Keynote slides that would have looked perfect had they been projected on stage at Moscone West or the Yerba Buena Center, but instead were shown on a big iMac on a coffee table in front of us (…)

Schiller has no notes. He is every bit as articulate, precise, and rehearsed as he is for major on-stage events. He knows the slide deck stone cold. It strikes me that I have spoken in front of a thousand people but I’ve never been as well-prepared for a presentation as Schiller is for this one-on-one meeting. (Note to self: I should be that rehearsed.)

This is an awful lot of effort and attention in order to brief what I’m guessing is a list of a dozen or two writers and journalists. It’s Phil Schiller, spending an entire week on the East Coast, repeating this presentation over and over to a series of audiences of one. There was no less effort put into the preparation of this presentation than there would have been if it had been the WWDC keynote address.

What do I think so far, Schiller asks.

These two articles are probably my two favourites pieces from his full archive. They could have just as easily not mentioned any products or Apple news itself — just reading about the atmosphere, settings, and people is fascinating enough for me.

Keep writing John. And Phil, please keep inviting John into stranger and stranger surroundings and situations.


The Nvidia GTX 1080 — the Nail in the Coffin for the Mac Pro →

February 23, 2017 · 09:08

Marco Solorio, writing on the OneRiver Media Blog:

But as good as that juiced up Mac Pro Tower is today, I know at some point, the time will have to come to an end, simply because Apple hasn’t built a PCIe-based system in many years now.

The Nvidia GTX 1080 might be the final nail in the coffin. I can guarantee at this point, we will have to move to a Windows-based workstation for our main edit suite and one that supports multiple PCIe slots specifically for the GTX 1080 (I’ll most likely get two 1080s that that new price-point).

With all that said, I see (and have already seen) a huge migration of longtime Apple users (such as me) going to Windows systems for their main workstation needs. The sheer power and lower cost is just too huge at this point. The Nvidia GTX 1080 just compounded that point exponentially stronger.

The only way out that I can see, is building a Hackintosh, but that’s just not possible for pros who need to rely on their hardware and software every hour of every day.

I am personally starting to consider that I will have to go Windows at some point in the future, just on my desktop and just for my video and photography needs.

Reverse halo effect, anyone?


Apple Abandons Development of Wireless Routers →

November 21, 2016 · 15:51

Mark Gurman:

Apple Inc. has disbanded its division that develops wireless routers, another move to try to sharpen the company’s focus on consumer products that generate the bulk of its revenue, according to people familiar with the matter.

Apple began shutting down the wireless router team over the past year, dispersing engineers to other product development groups, including the one handling the Apple TV, said the people, who asked not to be named because the decision hasn’t been publicly announced.

This is bad. Perhaps even the-beginning-of-the-end-of-focusing-on-the-Mac bad. I am also starting to doubt we’ll ever see another Mac Pro or Mini.


Apple Launches Mac Pro (Late 2013) Repair Program →

February 8, 2016 · 14:39

Jordan Kahn:

In the notice, Apple notes that Mac Pros manufactured between February 8, 2015 and April 11, 2015 are eligible for repairs due to issues with the machine’s graphics cards that “may cause distorted video, no video, system instability, freezing, restarts, shut downs, or may prevent system start up.”