Back to My Mac Will Be Removed In macOS Mojave →

August 22, 2018 · 11:05

I use Back to My Mac a few times a year and so far it has worked flawlessly. The problem with it going away is that when I use it, I really need easy access to files my desktop Mac, which I’ve probably forgotten to take with me. Screen sharing is not really a replacement and iCloud Drive won’t help me store 4 TB of archived data.

I guess I’ll just have to figure out an alternative before it goes away.


Apple’s Craig Federighi Talks About iOS Apps Running on macOS and Touchscreens on Macs →

June 5, 2018 · 23:34

Lauren Goode, interviewing Craig Federighi for Wired:

When addressing my question about whether iOS apps moving to macOS is a natural precursor to touchscreen Macs, Federighi told me he’s “not into touchscreens” on PCs and doesn’t anticipate he ever will be. “We really feel that the ergonomics of using a Mac are that your hands are rested on a surface, and that lifting your arm up to poke a screen is a pretty fatiguing thing to do,” he said.

Federighi added that he doesn’t think the touchscreen laptops out there today—which he referred to as “experiments”—have been compelling. “I don’t think we’ve looked at any of the other guys to date and said, how fast can we get there?” (It’s worth noting that Microsoft’s Surface laptop, which has a touchscreen and is considered a top MacBook rival, has received largely positive reviews.)

The Surface Pro’s and Surface Book’s weakest link is that they are poor tablets for users like me, but I can easily imagine a scenario where iOS (iPad) apps on a detached MacBook Pro screen would allow me to replace my iPad, while simultaneously allowing me to run full desktop software, such as Lightroom, should I need it.


Tweetbot 3.0 for Mac is here!

May 15, 2018 · 20:27

Tweetbot 3.0 for Mac dropped today! I’ve only had a few minutes to play with it so far, but it’s looking like a solid release — I’ve taken to some of the new functionality immediately.

The new 3.0 isn’t a free upgrade this time, which isn’t surprising, since we haven’t paid for the Mac version since 2012 and it’s 1.0 release. Since I practically live on Twitter, I had no qualms about the price, but your mileage may vary.

No complaints or regrets so far — I’m very happy with the new version.

Tweetbot 3.0 for Mac — $9.99 / €10.99 / 47.99 PLN


Apple Plans to Move Macs From Intel to ARM Chips →

April 4, 2018 · 12:12

Ian King, writing for Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is planning to use its own chips in Mac computers beginning as early as 2020, replacing processors from Intel Corp., according to people familiar with the plans.

The initiative, code named Kalamata, is still in the early developmental stages, but comes as part of a larger strategy to make all of Apple’s devices — including Macs, iPhones, and iPads — work more similarly and seamlessly together, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The project, which executives have approved, will likely result in a multi-step transition.

Tech pundits have been discussing this idea for years now, but the more I think about it, the more questions I find in need of answers. Will iOS move to notebook and desktop-type devices, and will it start adapting well-known macOS features at a faster pace? Will macOS remain largely unchanged? Does this signal some sort of merging of the two platforms? What would the scope of that be? How does Marzipan play into all of this and is it just a stop-gap before we get a new ‘AppleOS’?

This is one of the few times where I would love to learn exactly what Apple is planning beforehand, because there are so many different routes they can take.


Apple Working on Updated Macs →

February 3, 2018 · 16:31

Mark Gurman, for Bloomberg:

Apple is working on at least three updated Mac models with custom co-processors for release as soon as this year, including updated laptops and a new desktop, according to a person familiar with the plan.

We have the T1 in the Touch Bar MacBooks with Touch ID, the T2 in the iMac Pro, and I can’t help but wonder if the the next generation chip (or perhaps the current T2) will introduce Face ID to macOS. I have been living with this tech on my iPhone X for w few months now and it’s so much better than Touch ID, especially during winter, when I often have gloves on. Granted, I wouldn’t have this problem with a Mac, but by constantly and transparently authorising the user whenever a password is required, even when the Mac is already unlocked, should make things much more secure.


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.

Computer Latency: 1977-2017 →

December 26, 2017 · 15:35

Dan Luu:

I have this nagging feeling that the computers I use today feel slower than the computers I used as a kid. I don’t trust this kind of feeling because human perception has been shown to be unreliable in empirical studies, so I carried around a high-speed camera and measured the response latency of devices I’ve run into in the past few months. Here are the results […]

It’s a bit absurd that a modern gaming machine running at 4,000x the speed of an apple 2, with a CPU that has 500,000x as many transistors (with a GPU that has 2,000,000x as many transistors) can maybe manage the same latency as an apple 2 in very carefully coded applications if we have a monitor with nearly 3x the refresh rate […]

On the bright side, we’re arguably emerging from the latency dark ages and it’s now possible to assemble a computer or buy a tablet with latency that’s in the same range as you could get off-the-shelf in the 70s and 80s […]

The smartphone results that Dan posted put things in perspective.


Tim Cook On The Mac Mini →

October 20, 2017 · 08:50

Tim Cook, answering an email:

I’m glad you love the Mac mini. We love it too. Our customers have found so many creative and interesting uses for the Mac mini. While it is not time to share any details, we do plan for Mac mini to be an important part of our product line going forward.

Plans can change, as evidenced by the current Mac Mini, which hasn’t been updated in 1099 days. I’ll believe it when I see it.

The iMac is currently the only model which has been getting regular updates. The MacBook Pro 13” should have had the new quad-core Kaby Lake Refresh chips announced already — the PC competition is already selling them — and we’re still waiting for the “can’t innovate my ass” Mac Pro.

Apple seems to have lost focus on the Mac over the last couple of years. I hope they get their shit together soon, before it’s too late.

P.S. Oh! Make the Touch Bar optional please!


Luna Display →

August 23, 2017 · 14:42

Craig Hockenberry:

What if I told you that you could add a Retina Display to your MacBook Pro for under $100? And what would you think when I showed how it plugs into your computer?

The only use that I can see, for me personally, is for Lightroom. But only because Lightroom for iOS isn’t an exact equivalent of its desktop counterpart.

This also raises a few questions in regard to touch screens and Macs. Should Apple introduce touch to the Mac? Is this a niche product/need? Will the iPad with iOS 11 kill that need? Or with future releases, making iOS on iPads fully featured? Will there be a laptop with iOS in the near future? Will “the next big thing” arrive, replacing our need for smartphones and tablets, before iOS matures?

These are truly interesting times in tech, ones which I could not have imagined 30 years ago, sitting in front our IBM PC XT.


Celebrating 30 Years of HyperCard →

August 12, 2017 · 14:44

Jason Scott:

On August 11, 1987, Bill Atkinson announced a new product from Apple for the Macintosh; a multimedia, easily programmed system called HyperCard. HyperCard brought into one sharp package the ability for a Macintosh to do interactive documents with calculation, sound, music and graphics. It was a popular package, and thousands of HyperCard “stacks” were created using the software.

In an alternative universe, my other self’s dad bought a Mac instead of an IBM PC XT. Instead of being quite adept at navigating folders in Norton Commander by the age of six or seven, I would have taught myself HyperCard.


My Mac, Hackintosh, and iOS Setup →

April 24, 2017 · 21:11

Jeffrey Abbott, on The Sweet Setup:

Every week we post a new interview with someone about what software they use on their Mac, iPhone, or iPad. We do these interviews because not only are they fun, but a glimpse into what tools someone uses and how they use those tools can spark our imagination and give us an idea or insight into how we can do things better.

My Mac and iOS setup is up today, with detailed specs of my Hackintosh! Yay!


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.


The Problem With the Mac Is Apple →

December 21, 2016 · 12:56

Mark Gurman for Bloomberg:

Mac upgrades, once a frequent ritual, are few and far between. The Mac Pro, Apple’s marquee computer, hasn’t been refreshed since 2013. The affordable and flexible Mac mini was last upgraded in 2014. And when a new machine does roll out, the results are sometimes underwhelming, if not infuriating, to devotees.

I decided to switch to the new MacBook Pro 13″ with Touch Bar because of the new P3 display. I also needed a larger SSD. I chose the base model (Core i5 2,9 GHz, 8 GB RAM), because it is more than fast enough for my needs. Like I often mentioned, I expected at least 8 hours of battery life under my light workload, but I am constantly getting around 6 for these past two weeks (Safari with a few tabs, Tweetbot, Ulysses, perhaps 10 minutes of Photoshop). I have had days where I topped out at 8, but those were due to having just one app open.

After two weeks, I am extremely disappointed that I don’t get a minimum of 8-9 hours when using the computer lightly. I have also yet to find a use for the Touch Bar — I am quite adept at using keyboard shortcuts and I find them to be much faster.

Interviews with people familiar with Apple’s inner workings reveal that the Mac is getting far less attention than it once did. They say the Mac team has lost clout with the famed industrial design group led by Jony Ive and the company’s software team. They also describe a lack of clear direction from senior management, departures of key people working on Mac hardware and technical challenges that have delayed the roll-out of new computers.

I love the Mac, which is perhaps why I get so frustrated that it doesn’t perform as well as my expectations expect it to. If the above is true, then this is a dark day for the whole platform — I actually want more work put into the Mac than into iPhones. I would also like the company to focus more on iPads too.

If more Mac users switch, the Apple ecosystem will become less sticky—opening the door to people abandoning higher-value products like the iPhone and iPad.

I have been looking around for alternatives already, but luckily for Apple, have not found anything really worth considering. However, I have seen people switch to Windows after the latest MacBook Pros rolled out. I am pretty sure some of them will probably also get rid of their iOS devices too, in favour of cheaper alternatives. Others are building their own hackintoshes in the meantime, because Apple’s current desktop line-up does not satisfy their needs. It doesn’t satisfy mine either.

Four years ago at Apple’s annual developer conference, marketing chief Phil Schiller pledged to keep the computer front and center in the company’s product arsenal. “Nobody turns over their entire line as quickly and completely as we do at Apple,” Schiller said. “We’re really proud of the engineering team and the work they do to do this quick so you can get the exact product you need.”

I almost got a Mac Pro in 2013, but I held off, waiting for the next generation. Meanwhile, 1098 days and two Xeon updates have passed us by without a new model appearing. The iMac, however beautiful, is not enough for my needs — I need a full GPU.

To be fair, Apple depends on Intel Corp., which still makes key chips for Macs. Like the rest of the PC industry, Apple’s innovation and product cycles are sometimes constrained by when Intel produces new chips—a process that’s getting more difficult.

Apple has been skipping generations. I don’t know the reasons behind this decision, but this is not acceptable for so many reasons.

Making a laptop stand out is also harder these days. But when Apple has tried to leapfrog the competition, it has fallen short. Take the company’s attempt to create a longer-lasting battery for the MacBook Pro. Apple engineers wanted to use higher capacity battery packs shaped to the insides of the laptop versus the standard square cells found in most machines. The design would have boosted battery life.

In the run-up to the MacBook Pro’s planned debut this year, the new battery failed a key test, according to a person familiar with the situation. Rather than delay the launch and risk missing the crucial holiday shopping season, Apple decided to revert to an older design. The change required roping in engineers from other teams to finish the job, meaning work on other Macs languished, the person said. The new laptop didn’t represent a game-changing leap in battery performance, and a software bug misrepresented hours of power remaining. Apple has since removed the meter from the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Since Apple planned a larger capacity battery, but reverted to an older design (which is a good decision — safety is paramount), then they should have forsaken the thinness, which would in turn have granted more space for the older generation battery. This would have perhaps allowed my machine to actually get the claimed 10 hours, instead of 6.

In the Mac’s heyday, people working on new models could expect a lot of attention from Ive’s team. Once a week his people would meet with Mac engineers to discuss ongoing projects. Mac engineers brought prototypes to Ive’s studio for review, while his lieutenants would visit the Mac labs to look at early concepts. Those visits have become less frequent since the company began focusing more on more-valuable products like the iPhone and iPad, and the change became even more obvious after the design team’s leadership was shuffled last year, according to a person familiar with the situation.

In another sign that the company has prioritized the iPhone, Apple re-organized its software engineering department so there’s no longer a dedicated Mac operating system team. There is now just one team, and most of the engineers are iOS first, giving the people working on the iPhone and iPad more power.

Apple is currently losing the market and users which got them where they are — the creatives to whom they catered to. Microsoft is now actively trying to get them on their side (and succeeding!) with products such as the Surface Studio.

That’s part of a broader shift toward making Macs more like iPhones. Apple prioritizes features, like thinness and minimal ports, that sell its iPhones and iPads, which generated about 75 percent of revenue this year. Those are contrary to professional needs, like maximum computing power.

This does make sense on a MacBook, but not on the MacBook Pro. While footprint and weight are important factors for my travels, the previous generation MacBook Pro was easily small enough. There is so much Apple could be doing in this space, to cater to consumers and pros. They could make the MacBook Pro thicker, with faster components, while reintroducing a Retina MacBook Air (perhaps based on the non-Touch Bar MacBook Pro) with ULV CPUs and lower weight. This is just but one quick example — I’m sure Apple could have made more people happy instead of constantly reducing their target audience by making the Mac more and more of a niche machine.

In recent years, Apple managers have also become more likely to float two or more competing ideas, meaning designers and engineers must work on more than one concept at a time. In the past, managers pushed a more singular vision. Engineers are now “asked to develop multiple options in hopes that one of them will be shippable,” a person familiar with the matter said.

This sounds like another change in Apple’s traditions, which probably results from the fact that the Mac department doesn’t have a visionary to lead it.

For a 2016 MacBook update, some Apple engineers wanted to add a Touch ID fingerprint scanner and a second USB-C port (which would have made some power users happy). The update instead included a new rose gold color option alongside a standard speed increase.

The first option would have made for a much more compelling machine for many. I would love to know how it went down though.

Still, Apple hasn’t given up on Macs. In a recent company Q&A session, employees asked whether Mac desktop computers remain strategically important. “We have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that,” Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said, according to a transcript of the discussion obtained by Bloomberg News.

Tim Cook’s words were carefully worded. I’m pretty sure that the Mac Pro is dead, which will most probably leave many pros abandoning the platform altogether. The iMac has its own issues, but while it can be (and is) used for professional work, it is not a pro machine. It never was. Having said that, I hope and expect Apple to return to regular updates of the Mac Pro and Mini.

Apple designers are already exploring standalone keyboards with the touch strip and a fingerprint reader for desktops. Apple will decide whether to release these based on how well the features do on the MacBook Pro.

I feel like the old Apple would have been certain enough of their technology and its future, that it would have gone ahead and released the keyboards along with the MacBook Pros. In the meantime, I find the Touch Bar useless. Touch ID is a nice touch though.

Mac fans shouldn’t hold their breath for radical new designs in 2017 though. Instead, the company is preparing modest updates: USB-C ports and a new Advanced Micro Devices Inc. graphics processor for the iMac, and minor bumps in processing power for the 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro. Cue the outrage.

Since my 2016 MacBook Pros battery performance is so bad, I’m getting a replacement unit in the next week or so. If the new one does not behave any better, then I will most probably replace it with a non-Touch Bar model. I will miss Touch ID, but realistic battery life is one of my priorities.


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’s 40 Years of Selling Macs →

March 29, 2016 · 10:27

Horace Dediu:

In Apple’s first 40 years it shipped 1,591,092,250 computers.

This shipment total is higher than any other computer company in its first 40 years. Actually there are no PC makers that are 40 years old. One computer maker (IBM) is older but they only sold PCs for 24 years and what they still sell they don’t sell in high numbers.


PC Sales Drop by 8-10% in 2015, Macs Up by 6% →

January 13, 2016 · 10:34

Micah Singleton:

But none of those issues have affected Apple, which has kept growing its Mac sales despite declines in every other aspect of the PC industry. Apple is now the third largest PC maker in the US, passing Lenovo, according to both Gartner and IDC. Worldwide, the firms differ on Apple, with the IDC placing them in fourth place, while Gartner places them in fifth.

This is not counting iPads. They are in decline, but Apple should have easily taken the top spot were they included in the totals. And no, I don’t believe the iPad is dead.


Tim Cook about converging Mac and iPad →

November 17, 2015 · 18:03

Adrian Weckler interviewing Tim Cook:

Speaking to Independent.ie, Cook denied that the death of computers such as the Mac was imminent and said that there would be a market for such traditional personal computers for the foreseeable future.

“We feel strongly that customers are not really looking for a converged Mac and iPad,” said Cook. “Because what that would wind up doing, or what we’re worried would happen, is that neither experience would be as good as the customer wants. So we want to make the best tablet in the world and the best Mac in the world. And putting those two together would not achieve either. You’d begin to compromise in different ways.”

He’s right, it wouldn’t be a good experience. Macs and iPads excel in different areas: the former is extremely powerful and potentially complicated to use, while the latter is simpler, but due to iOS’ constraints, requires more work to incorporate advanced workflows. The good news is that people will be able to get more and more done on the iPad over the next few years, especially since the operating system will gain new capabilities, empowering developers to make even more amazing apps.