Is Apple deluding themselfes?

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Do I need to be worried?



I'm seriously starting to get concerned. Concerned that the 'good old days' at Apple are making a comeback. A time when the Reality Distortion Field (tm) was limited to the Apple Campus and Apple lost all touch with reality.



When I read comments like these:

"What we are announcing today is a very significant upgrade in performance and it's something that our customers will be very happy with." then I can't help but wonder whether Apple lost the plot. "Will be very happy with"? Pardon?



Don't get me wrong, I'm not starting an Apple-bashing here. But as has been said in other threads, like when people question the logic behind 8 RAM slots vs. only 2 HD bays, that I'm starting to wonder whether Apple lost touch with what their users really want or need? A lot of Final Cut Pro users are very unhappy about the 2HD bays, yet they never even fill half their 8 RAM slots...



Of course people will always buy Macs, and Apple can always point at some sales figures. But maybe that's because if you love Mac OS X, you don't really have a choice, do you?

At least to me the recent weak quarterly figures of PowerMac G5 sales show that people are not all happy with what Apple offers. I think the hardware feature mix Apple offers in the PowerMac is wrong. And that's not IBM's fault.



And the sad thing is that Apple doesn't seem to get the message. They are still deluding themselves into thinking those are great, significant upgrades...



What do you think? Am I just struck by a sudden burst of pessimism? And everything's actually peachy?



And is it significant that Jon Rubinstein, Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering ever since the second coming of Steve, 'jumped ship' to now head the iPod division? Did he lose interest in Macs?



Added later:

If you look at the latest Poll people seem to agree. Most don't care about the missed 3GHz target. Not the end of the world, shit happens. I'm sure Steve really thought it would be achievable. (A victim of his own Reality Distortion Field?).

But most do care that Apple did not improve the feature mix .
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 56
    jasenj1jasenj1 Posts: 923member
    Quote:

    And is it significant that Jon Rubinstein, Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering ever since the second coming of Steve, 'jumped ship' to now head the iPod division? Did he lose interest in Macs?



    Ah, internal politics. There's something those of us on the outside have no clue about yet can speculate on endlessly. Certainly internal power shiftings, etc. could have affected the PMac product development. Maybe all the CPU development engineers were focused on the next gen iMac and were counting on just dropping faster processors in the PMacs?



    My guess on the HD issue is that Apple expects users to use the FireWire 800 port and buy external drives; you can add external HDs, you can't add external RAM.



    Apparently the 90nm issue was a lot bigger than I (we?) realized. I had hoped "low yield" did not mean "no yield" and Apple could have continued developing Rev C machines, jumping over the Spring upgrade. Perhaps from the inside, everyone was scrambling hard to deal with the heat and other 90nm issues and they feel good about what they accomplished.



    I think the sales of these machines are going to be very disappointing. The hard core graphics/video people already bought 2GHz machines when they were released; the 2.5GHz offers nothing more than the speed bump. And with PCI-Express in the wings getting a new machine would lock you into a fading graphics card standard. Certainly there are those for whom the extra speed is worth it; but I think the majority of pro-sumer and pro users will stick with the G5s they already have.



    I hope the new iMacs are compelling or it's going to be a bad quarter or two till Apple releases PCI-Express PMacs.



    - Jasen.
  • Reply 2 of 56
    hobbithobbit Posts: 532member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by jasenj1

    Ah, internal politics. There's something those of us on the outside have no clue about yet can speculate on endlessly.



    The short term future does look rather bleak for Macs it seems. Tom Boger himself said that there won't be any G5s in PowerBooks this year (and we're only in June), he's not sure about G5 iMacs either, and with Macs "not getting to 3GHz anytime soon" I'm not sure we'll see any other new PowerMacs this year.



    Apple must have known about this at least since January/February. Effectively they must have realized that there won't be any significant Mac introductions for a full year! What irony that this is the Macintosh's 20th anniversary.



    At that point Jon Rubinstein must have thougt his job would be a complete waste of time. And with the iPod getting all the momentum his move seems like a no-brainer.
  • Reply 3 of 56
    jlljll Posts: 2,713member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by jasenj1

    My guess on the HD issue is that Apple expects users to use the FireWire 800 port and buy external drives; you can add external HDs, you can't add external RAM.



    And Xserve RAIDs.





    Quote:

    Originally posted by jasenj1

    I think the sales of these machines are going to be very disappointing. The hard core graphics/video people already bought 2GHz machines when they were released; the 2.5GHz offers nothing more than the speed bump.



    Speed is what many need. If the new models can complete jobs faster, then they are worth it.
  • Reply 4 of 56
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by JLL

    And Xserve RAIDs.







    you're right, only apple would be delusional enough to think any power mac user requiring more hard drive space would buy xServe RAIDs
  • Reply 5 of 56
    hobbithobbit Posts: 532member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by JLL

    And Xserve RAIDs.



    Xserve RAID is a fantastic piece of hardware, don't get me wrong.

    But if you think about it, any setup ends up being an oxymoron, it's either overkill or half-baked.



    Overkill:

    If for Final Cut Pro all you want is a fast internal boot drive and a fast RAID 0 or RAID 3 for data then all you need is 3 internal HD bays. Xserve RAID is overkill for this kind of setup.

    Internal HDs are user-upgradable. Most external FireWire 800 drives are not, making it difficult to swap/upgrade drives. The few with swappable drive bays are very expensive. Again overkill.

    So basically your one option is an internal RAID and booting off an external FW 800 drive. Is that a professional setup? Apart from the fact, again, that external FW 800 drives are more expensive than internal SATA drives.

    It almost seems like a conspiracy between Apple and FW 800 drive manufacturers...



    Half-baked:

    If you really are serious about it and really have the cash to get an Xserve RAID for your video editing or 3D workstation, the G5 still loses out.

    At that point, where the Xserve RAID makes sense, users also expect error correcting code RAM as well as Pro graphic cards. Neither is available for the PowerMac G5.

    So why bother investing in an Xserve RAID in the hopes of getting a 'high-end' setup? It isn't and it won't be.
  • Reply 6 of 56
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    I think Apple knows very well the situation they face. They could easily make these "poorly featured" PowerMacs fly off the shelves by simply pricing them more aggressively. But they didn't.



    Partly because there's no room to move relative to the iMacs, but me thinks it's more to do with positioning Mac as "premium" solutions for wealthy creatives types.
  • Reply 7 of 56
    hobbithobbit Posts: 532member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by satchmo

    It's more to do with positioning Mac as "premium" solutions for wealthy creatives types.



    That's surely what Apple was aiming for - but I think they missed.



    I know the PowerMac G5 case is already huge, but it really would have helped to make it just 2" taller to fit in a second CD drive and 2 more HDs. And with a clever changeable design they could have even offered a choice between 2 CD drives and 4 HDs or 1 CD drive and 8 HDs - all user upgradable.



    And since Apple already has the know how (and chipset) to support ECC RAM in their Xserves, they could have added that to the PowerMacs too.



    With those two additions, this upgrade would have been a lot better.
  • Reply 8 of 56
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    While I am not excited about these updates, I don't think it's anything to complain about. You have AMD and Intel who both aren't raising the clock of their chips any faster then Apple/IBM is. (or is it are? I guess it depends if you read it as "Apple IBM" or "Apple or IBM")



    The HD space...a good point was made. You need RAM slots. RAM is something that you will need more and more in the future, and limiting that is a bad idea. HD space can be made external and very fast with FW800. It's not that more expensive. It's like $100 more, which if you use your computer for a living, it's not painful to lay that down. Would be nice for more HD space, but you don't have it, live with it, it's not that big of deal. You aren't limited to the amount of space you can have at least.



    While I am not praising apple for this update, I don't think apple should be chastised. It doesn't look that impressive, but in the grand scheme if things (compared to other computer companies) we aren't doing that bad. And yes, 500MHz per processor (1Ghz for the late person) will be appreciated for those who are using their computers like a professional will.
  • Reply 9 of 56
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Apple isn't at all delusional to imagine that the Xserve RAID is a viable storage solution. You guys are focused on individual editors working in a vacuum. What percentage of digital video work is actually done by teams, in shops, where a big SAN makes all the sense in the world, and local storage is basically only used for scratch space? People gripe elsewhere that the Power Mac looks like it was designed to be on a network; what if it was? What if that represents the fact that most Power Macs are on networks? If Apple's really going to be serious about business and enterprise, guess what? That whole sphere is chock full of networks, servers, and remote storage of every description.



    I'm not even talking about huge companies, either. I work for a non-profit with maybe two dozen people in the central office, and we have a SAN and multiple file servers. Our SAN cost a lot more than an Xserve RAID, and the file servers cost more than Xserve G5s. But they make collaboration, maintenance and backups far easier, so they're worth what we paid.



    As to RAM slots: This plays into the way OS X is set up. On the bandwidth-rich G5, more RAM directly corresponds to faster performance. There isn't a ceiling like there is on the G4, because of the bus bottleneck. Ideally, you want to avoid the hard drive as much as you possibly can, and it so happens that OS X is set up to do that. For compute-intensive work — modelling, rendering — more RAM is better, and hard drives are only valuable as scratch space when RAM runs out.



    Finally, the quotes about how happy Apple is? Marketing. Go read the press release accompanying the 1.42GHz Power Mac G4 for contrast. They're not going to release a product with a press release saying "it's about time we kicked that piece of crap out the door." It's a solid upgrade. The 2.5GHz machine is a significant jump in the top end. The only thing wrong with it, really, is that Jobs stood in front of a big screen that said "3GHz in 12 months" at about this time last year. (The next time you feel down on your luck, remember this: You could have been the IBM flunkie charged with telling Steve that it wasn't going to happen!)

  • Reply 10 of 56
    ast3r3xast3r3x Posts: 5,012member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Amorph

    Ap(The next time you feel down on your luck, remember this: You could have been the IBM flunkie charged with telling Steve that it wasn't going to happen!)







    You know he called Steve's office at 3am so that he could just leave a message.
  • Reply 11 of 56
    placeboplacebo Posts: 5,767member
    Sorry, but I don't see what sucks so much about the new Powermacs. They're keeping up with Intel perfectly fine, by the looks of it. I mean, they were almost the fastest computer before, and now it seems like they will be.
  • Reply 12 of 56
    hobbithobbit Posts: 532member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Amorph

    For compute-intensive work — modelling, rendering — more RAM is better, and hard drives are only valuable as scratch space when RAM runs out.



    Then it will surprise you to learn that Maya won't speed up any more once you have 4GB of RAM installed, no matter how much you plonk in.

    4 RAM slots is way enough for Maya. 8 is a waste.

    That's why most Alienware systems don't even come with more than 2GB of RAM.



    It is however much more important to have more VRAM and a lightning fast Pro graphics card. Especially since Maya now supports hardware rendering.

    This speeds up modelling and rendering way more than 4+GB of RAM.



    Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that 8 RAM slots are bad.

    I'm just saying that given a (theoretical) choice between either 8 RAM slots or 4 HD bays, I'd pick the 4 HD bays any time.



    And to all who say HDs can be upgraded externally while RAM cannot:

    Well, just get bigger RAM modules then! Chuck out the 512MB ones (sell them on eBay) and get 1GB sticks. And by the day you need more than 4GB of RAM there will be 2 or 4GB sticks at reasonable prices.
  • Reply 13 of 56
    zosozoso Posts: 177member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Placebo

    Sorry, but I don't see what sucks so much about the new Powermacs. They're keeping up with Intel perfectly fine, by the looks of it. I mean, they were almost the fastest computer before, and now it seems like they will be.



    Are you delusional?



    That claim was so false that Apple got hit twice IIRC in the UK by the ASA (can't remember what the acronym stands for) for misleading claims in the ads!



    One year ago, they were not the fastest, but surely were among the fastest. In September, when the 2.5 will finally ship "for selected customers" the claim that the G5 is the fastest PC on the market will be so ridiculous that Apple will seriously tougher legal action in the Uk, and surely not only there.



    They fsck'd it up BIG time, denying it won't change reality. And not even something great as Panther, nor something (I suppose) huge as Tiger will change it.



    ZoSo
  • Reply 14 of 56
    buonrottobuonrotto Posts: 6,368member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hobBIT

    [B]When I read comments like these:

    "What we are announcing today is a very significant upgrade in performance and it's something that our customers will be very happy with." then I can't help but wonder whether Apple lost the plot. "Will be very happy with"? Pardon?




    I really wouldn't get worked up over marketing speak. I mean, what are they supposed to say instead, "Gee, this really isn't up to snuff in our minds either, but please buy these things to support The Cause." They said what they had to say. I thin it goes without saying that Apple isn't exstatic about the situation, but the upgrade is still a good thing, they didn't put a lot of fanfare into it, which is telling in itself, and their comments seem necessarily positive if tempered a bit.
  • Reply 15 of 56
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hobBIT

    Then it will surprise you to learn that Maya won't speed up any more once you have 4GB of RAM installed, no matter how much you plonk in.



    No it won't, because it's common knowledge that individual apps can't see more than 4GB.



    Go back and read the part where I talked about why this makes sense: Because of what OS X does. If you have 8GB, that means that Maya has all of its virtual 4GB mapped to real RAM - no swaps, no TLB misses - and OS X is entirely in RAM, and any files you happen to be working on are also in RAM. If you have something besides Maya running - Photoshop maybe? Shake? - hey, that's got some RAM to play with too. Given that the fastest hard drives are ridiculously sluggish relative to RAM, this is a serious performance win.



    In OS X, all available RAM is used as a RAM disk, and the OS constantly profiles applications to figure out how to use that RAM disk most efficiently. More RAM == faster. It doesn't matter whether you have more RAM than an individual app can address. If an app isn't using RAM, OS X will.



    As for "lightning fast graphics card" - in what concrete way is FireGL hardware faster than the corresponding consumer hardware? Sure, they'll have a few things that are slightly faster, or more VRAM, but basically you're talking about minor differences. Maya apparently cripples itself if it detects a consumer card, because (on the PC side) that means that it can't count on a robust OpenGL implementation — but you'll have to take that up with alias|wavefront. Apple's done their homework.



    Remember, Apple is all about replacing expensive hardware with affordable hardware. They're shipping graphics hardware that's about 98% there, and an OpenGL implementation that is there. When Maya starts taking advantage of that fact, Macs will suddenly become much better 3D workstations.



    Unfortunately, I wouldn't want to be the guy in charge of updating Maya. That's a huge beast of an app, and any change will come slowly. Not to mention that the change I'm advocating is politically sensitive (to ATi and nVIDIA).



  • Reply 16 of 56
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,423member
    Quote:

    A lot of Final Cut Pro users are very unhappy about the 2HD bays, yet they never even fill half their 8 RAM slots...



    Patently false. I practically "live" on creativecow.net, kenstone.net, 2-pop.com and dvinfo.net. No one is complaining about 2HD bay..nobody. The creative process is about being fluid and most of these guys obtain that fluidity by using external FW drives to manage projects. Typically a new user will come on and lament the "mere" 2 bays from Apple and many will chorus back with suggestions to buy not one but multiple external drives. It's far easier to simply plug in a new drive and get to batch capturing.



    As for RAM as the prices continue to decrease for the 1GB and 2GB modules people will take advantage. Motion requires hefty RAM and a fast GPU. After Effects requires a lot of RAM for the realtime preview. RAM is the lifeblood of your workflow. It's more important than internal drive bays by a mile.



    Quote:

    the 2.5GHz offers nothing more than the speed bump



    What???? Using this logic a 3Ghz model would have been "just a speed bump". Time is money and the new G5 being 25% faster in clockspeed than the former at the top end will gather some sales. Pessimism on this board is centered around "enthusiasts" and not pros. Funny thing I've noticed about the Pros. They don't like speculation. I'll post a thread claiming "The Powermacs are coming!!" and it's ignored. They don't care about what's coming or paper launches. They want ship dates and pricing and info on how the new computers can make their jobs more efficient. I love the way they think. They are looking for a deliverable monetary return for their investment. Their mantra get a computer..get software and get to work creating something.



    Quote:

    you're right, only apple would be delusional enough to think any power mac user requiring more hard drive space would buy xServe RAIDs



    And only someone who's delusional enough to need to capture uncompressed 4:4:4 video is going to buy that RAID. Again Apple is attempting to take care of the Pro as well as the enthusiast despite the diamatrically opposed views of the two.



    Quote:

    At that point, where the Xserve RAID makes sense, users also expect error correcting code RAM as well as Pro graphic cards. Neither is available for the PowerMac G5.

    So why bother investing in an Xserve RAID in the hopes of getting a 'high-end' setup? It isn't and it won't be.



    This is another reach. A very bad one at that. Video guys don't care about ECC memory. They're capturing uncompressed video. RAM has a small part in is. EEC memory is desired most by people who load huge projects into RAM that cannot be corruped. Think Databases and Oracle and the like.



    Quote:

    4 RAM slots is way enough for Maya. 8 is a waste.

    That's why most Alienware systems don't even come with more than 2GB of RAM



    Yes but now take the 4GB you want to give to Maya and then start adding in the high end plugins for Maya and you'll easily tap into that full 8GB. Memory is for multitasking and there can never be enough. You might not want to pay for it but no one would refuse more memory if they had the option to receive it.



    Quote:

    Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that 8 RAM slots are bad.



    Penny wise pound foolish. Exchanging HD for RAM would be exchanging one of the fastest components in your computer rated in Gigabytes per second for one of the slowest rated in Megabytes for second.
  • Reply 17 of 56
    No matter what way you look at it to put it in Apple's favour, I'll agree with the original question and say yes, they are deluding themselves.
  • Reply 18 of 56
    applenutapplenut Posts: 5,768member
    you're both wrong.



    the case is effing huge.... it could fit 8 ram slots and 4 hard drive bays easily.



    both of you quit whining one way or the other. hopefully the next revision will have 4 drive bays....until then the lack of more than 2 is the least of the power mac's problems/negatives
  • Reply 19 of 56
    jlljll Posts: 2,713member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by applenut

    you're right, only apple would be delusional enough to think any power mac user requiring more hard drive space would buy xServe RAIDs



    Quote:

    Originally posted by hobBIT

    Xserve RAID is a fantastic piece of hardware, don't get me wrong.

    But if you think about it, any setup ends up being an oxymoron, it's either overkill or half-baked.




    You're both looking at it from a single user point of view (which seems to be the overall perspective in all applenut's posts), but many are working in larger companies, and the few video companies I know all have RAIDs.



    Edit: Oh, Amorph beat me to it
  • Reply 20 of 56
    jlljll Posts: 2,713member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by applenut

    you're both wrong.



    the case is effing huge.... it could fit 8 ram slots and 4 hard drive bays easily.




    Perhaps you should call Jonathan Ive then and set him straight.
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