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  • Editorial: A disappearing computer so big it's invisible

    I hatched a new pet theory after reading your article. 

    I felt that Walt was a very different writer after Steve passed away. He seemed less enthusiastic about Apple, and less correct about predicting the future in general. It takes years to deal with the grief of losing a friend. But also Steve had an uncanny ability to predict the future. Well, some would say he had that knack because he and his team were busy inventing it! 

    Walt was a friend not just to Steve, but also to Apple. Walt's personality, character, and candour earned him the trust of Steve, and being on the inside scoop definitely helped Walt's career. In turn Walt's publications prevented a lot of unjustified criticism against Apple.

    I am grateful for Walt's well-thought out articles, bold directions, justified and well-tempered criticism, and yes, he absolutely shined during the All Things D conferences where he and Kara really asked some questions I didn't think many journalists would be smart and brave enough to think up, or have empathy and character enough to ask in a way that opened up rather than closed off their interviewee.

    Through Walt we got a peek into how Steve saw the world, and it was interesting to say the least, if not outright enlightening. I'll always remember Walt as the one who asked questions that made Steve's eyes pop, but also tempered the question such that Steve could reply with something very thoughtful. Just one example of how Walt brought out the best in people.

    Tim is different from Steve and has different friends. It is human nature to fear the risk of a different take on a past success, but I think the whole spirit of "Think Different" (as I interpret) means to: reach out to see things from yet a different perspective, gain insight and drop old, even cherished, beliefs that no longer serve us, because we now have a new perspective that has far more predictive power.

    I recognize many great things that Tim has done:

    • where to be open (AI research, owning up to product gaps) and where to double-down on secrecy
    • really pushing for fundamental human rights, working conditions
    • grasping the rare occasion it is necessary to stand up against the establishment (FBI San Bernardino case)
    • pushing for environmental standards (96% renewable energy is nothing to sneeze at - if every company and household did that - we would achieve the "impossible" task and actually reverse climate change). 

     I also watch where he experimented and corrected course:
    • certain "not great fit" hires
    • his experiments on different ways to market Apple products, even down to "do we really have to do a keynote each time? Or shouldn't we give private 1-on-1s to certain trustworthy journalists and Phil?"

    I think Apple is in great shape (although the stress of being coxswain is certainly adding wrinkles to Tim's face).

    Yes, a few cherished people have left Apple, but that doesn't mean the ship is sinking.

    Sometimes people leave to another company that is funding R&D that has far higher risk and far longer ROI timeframe than Apple's governance will allow. And sometimes they come back through acquisitions, with key technologies underlie Apple's NeXT renaissance. 

    In short, Daniel Eran Dilger is right. Apple's best days are ahead of it. They have always made (and will continue to make) a few minor mistakes here and there, and correct them (sometimes blindingly fast, as in iPhone 5c, or culture-fit hires), or they might sink resources on something that ultimately isn't timely for the market (Pippin, Newton, eMate, Safari Pad, iCar) but to such depth that existing products (Mac Pro) get belated makeovers, but they do pick their priorities (iPhone) right that earn the money needed to fund the R&D and acquisitions that matter. 

    Typed with TextBlade
  • Apple is using a custom connector for the SSD in the new Mac Pro

    dougd said:
    Apple greed at work, they will charge 3x what other SSDs cost.
    I really doubt that. Apple has shown time & again that their engineers lead with what they believe is the best solution for the product. The pundits and rumormongers just come up with their own invented reasons, which are conjecture only. 

    Actually, Apple has been known to just take a standard connector, flip the pins to different locations, and charge you differently. AirPort cards were just PCMCIA cards with 2 pins swapped. They started cheaper than PCMCIA cards but eventually the cost of a PCMCIA card dropped but the AirPort card stayed the same. 

    When it comes to flash storage, same thing. 

    As proof, here is a simple adapter that turns a standard SSD into one that works in your MacBook Air or Pro. The adapter is tiny because it contains no logic converters - it just, **surprise** swaps the pins!

    To courageously innovate around that, in 2016 they soldered the flash straight on to the logic board - giving you no choice but to pre-buy all the storage you anxiously worried that you might need down the road - and they charged handsomely for it. 

    Fanboys will say nobody upgrades. Pro users will say they upgrade if they can (that is why the new Mac Pro is the most upgradeable Mac ever - a course correction against the cylindrical Mac Pro). So who is right? Would MacBook Pro users buy less flash to start with, and buy more flash later (when it dropped in price) - if they could? 

    A company doesn’t boast a 38% margin (while the rest of the industry struggles to get past single-digit margin) and higher ASP just because they were able to be 38% cost efficient when everyone else was only 9% cost efficient. It is very hard to be 400% better than your long-lived competitors. 

    I’m not saying Apple is evil. They’re just doing business. They can compete any (legal) way they want to. 

    What I am saying is, some of us have had enough of these shenanigans. And we have proof that is what these actions are - shenanigans. 

    While I’m expressing my disappointment, “Apple pays every tax dollar it owes” is mindless drivel. Of course it does! Else they end up in jail! But “what it owes” isn’t some fair number arrived at that is mutually beneficial to the countries it operates in - it is a number arrived at where one country (Ireland) decides to be corrupt and set an artificially low tax rate in hopes of getting some revenue and shutting out other countries. 
    zinfellasingularitymuthuk_vanalingam80s_Apple_Guyairnerddysamoriaelijahgmaltz1983avon b7
  • Cook talks slumping iPhone sales in interview, to reportedly hold 'all-hands' meeting with...

    From 2011 through 2017, many so-called analysts who didn't understand Apple, said that Apple stopped innovating, and the other players in the market caught up. They said Apple could not innovate without Steve Jobs. 

    It turns out that you can innovate without Steve Jobs (look at WayTools, Telsa, and other companies). You just really have to want it. Referring to what Steve said, R&D isn't about writing a cheque. You have to think on behalf of your customers' best interests, all-round, including fairness and providing value. 

    When the original iPhone dropped in price the year after it was released, Apple issued a $100 refund for every single early buyer. Apple took a small hit on the bottom line to be loyal to their customers. And that's why the Apple brand name was so strong in 2012. 

    2018 rolls around and finally the so-called analysts are right. Apple now increments but charges category-defining prices. iPad Pro 12.9" (512GB LTE) went from CA$1606 (2017) to over CA$1900 (2018). The damn pencil went up by 50%!!! Same goes for iPhone, Mac mini, MacBook Air - just about everything Apple makes. 

    If it was $1000 or more, it went up by $200-$300. Overnight. If it was under $1000, it went up to nearly $1000. Base model Mac mini went from $499 to $799. And all they did was put back the quad core that the 2012 model had that they took out in 2014. And the audacity to shout on stage at the keynote, "more cores is faster." No shit? 

    Is it a mystery that people aren't buying? 

    Steve used to say that Apple's customers were smart. If you want to lead, you got to make things for the leaders. i.e. artists, musicians, directors, and other professionals who do amazing things with their systems and push the boundaries. 

    But instead Apple is fooling itself thinking it can chase easy money. They send demo units to "influencers" i.e. people with YouTube channels. They hope that Apple customers are truly sheeple who just buy what "influencers" show off. 

    Apple is failing because it is pandering to fools, hoping that "a fool and their money soon part." They forgot their customers are artists, creatives, directors, engineers, authors, teachers, scientists. 

    We can easily see Intel is polishing a turd when they are at 14nm+++ (i.e. didn't do 10, 10+, and certainly didn't do 7). Nobody is going to buy their crap. Everyone is pissed off at Intel, to the point they are booting up their own silicon teams. 

    Perhaps the only area that Apple is leading in right now - is the A-series silicon. They used to lead in development tools too, like Swift. But hey, they pissed off the people who made Swift so they went elsewhere. 
  • 'Find My Friends' helps save teenager trapped under car

    @Racerhomie3, you can just turn it off on your device (if you're in an abusive household). 
  • Q&A with 'Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level' author Leander Kahney

    tipoo said:
    "secretly talking to each other, secretly doing things like adding memory chips to the hardware." 

    I wonder what this part is about? Which product was Jobs trying to get out without memory? article Diagnostic Port:
    Even though the diagnostic port was scuttled, it wasn't the last attempt at surreptitious hardware expandability. When the Mac digital board was redesigned for the last time in August 1982, the next generation of RAM chips was already on the horizon. The Mac used 16 64Kbit RAM chips, giving it 128K of memory. The next generation chip was 256Kbits, giving us 512K bytes instead, which made a huge difference.

    Burrell was afraid the 128Kbyte Mac would seem inadequate soon after launch, and there were no slots for the user to add RAM. He realized that he could support 256Kbit RAM chips simply by routing a few extra lines on the PC board, allowing adventurous people who knew how to wield a soldering gun to replace their RAM chips with the newer generation. The extra lines would only cost pennies to add.

    But once again, Steve Jobs objected, because he didn't like the idea of customers mucking with the innards of their computer. He would also rather have them buy a new 512K Mac instead of them buying more RAM from a third-party. But this time Burrell prevailed, because the change was so minimal. He just left it in there and no one bothered to mention it to Steve, much to the eventual benefit of customers, who didn't have to buy a whole new Mac to expand their memory.
  • Bill Gates cautions Apple and other tech companies about arrogance inviting government int...

    Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has warned Apple and other tech companies that they need to exercise care when dealing with governments over important issues, such as the San Bernardino fight between Apple and the FBI over a locked iPhone, suggesting the firms may be inviting intervention for overtly arrogant actions...

    Doing the right thing for the right reason, regardless of how unpopular it is, is not arrogant. Talking to the press and performing libel against someone who is doing what is just, I think, is the very arrogant. 

    As part of the same interview, Bill Gates also mused on how the progress of technology is empowering smaller groups of people to cause harm to others. Suggesting the potential for such groups to gain access to nuclear weapons and to cause biological terror and cyber attacks, Gates notes it is a good thing for children to access genetic technology in a laboratory, "unless a few people decide to make human-transmissible smallpox and spread that into the world."

    Nice of him to talk about the imagined harm - and conveniently forgetting to mention all the real harm that he did against the American populace. Forgetting the monopoly abuse are we? The strategic embrace-and-extinguish business practice of acquiring of competitors and shutting them down? Spreading all that FUD? 

    Do you think donating to a charity undoes all that harm? The mafia probably donate to charities too. 
  • Benchmarked: Razer Blade Stealth versus 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys

    That is, comparing price matched hardware, the Apple hardware will ALWAYS lose.   

    The Apple product can't win because:   A very big chunk of the price of an iOS or MacOS device is the cost of the operating system, ancillary software and Apple's ecosystem -- which I would guess is probably about a third of the total cost of the machine.  (Other hardware vendors buy a far cheaper OS and simply don't have an ecosystem to speak of).
    I don’t agree. A few years back, the MacBook Air was $100 cheaper than the closest PC knockoff - an Asus Zen book. The MacBook Air had only 2 USB 3 ports compared to the 4 on the Zen book, but as I told my friend - you didn’t need 4. The trackpad really works. The Bluetooth really works - so no silly corded mouse or silly mouse dongle. 

    But that was when Apple was making money like crazy even when trying to court PC switchers. 

    Now they price things like they don’t care. 

    Also, a good OS doesn’t have to be the most expensive - sometimes it’s actually the cheapest. The reason being if it is good - it will sell in volume, and it’s cost will be amortized over more units. If it is good, it is structured well and easy to maintain, so the cost of finding and fixing bugs is less. 

    Example of a really good OS dominating and being the cheapest? In server environments: Linux. 

    Yes, Linux is darn near unusable for common folk. But macOS is probably the largest Unix distribution on PCs. Surely they have enough users to amortize the cost? 

    AppleInsider picked an aluminum unibody PC with a comparable display, so you can’t accuse the compared item of “cheaping out” on those major components. Yet the Razor gives much better performance in every test, and costs $400 less. And Razor isn’t a charity - they need to make profit to stay alive - probably more than Apple needs to. 
  • Facebook issues memo on Apple Enterprise Certificate fiasco as employees vent frustration

    That’s funny. I thought Apple only revoked the certificates used for their VPN App - not all their certificates including ones they use for internal Apps.
    I think this time they used their internal Enterprise certificate, and paid customers to install apps using that certificate. So Apple enforced its agreement. 
  • T2 chip in iMac Pro & 2018 MacBook Pro controls boot, security functions previously manage...

    wizard69 said:
    Effectively you get the performance of a couple of cores but you and Apple dont have to pay for those cores at Intel prices.  

    It will be interesting this year to see how the new machines roll out.  That is will T2 be universal or not.  Also how much more can T2 like chips take on, in laptops that could be very interesting.  
    I think it’s more about system security and Apple’s wish to reduce dependency on vendors.

    They probably were really pissed off when they found that Intel firmware on the Thunderbolt controller meant that a specially crafted TB dongle could pwn a Mac. They were also not happy to be beholden to Intel’s chipset plans (which have been behind the times - to one point where Apple once used nVidia chipsets in Mac portables). Remember Intel Centrino? That was Intel’s ploy to get PC makers to buy their crappy chipset and crappy wireless cards. You needed all three to be Intel to get that flashy sticker. 

    But switching to nVidia chipsets (most power efficient, includes GPU) and Atheros wireless (best radios) got them screwed when nVidia penny-pinched on the chip’s packaging, causing thermal issues (cracked solder joints) that resulted in massive recalls. 

    None of the big vendors seem to have their head on straight, so Apple regretfully has to make everything. It’s not like they want to throw R&D behind Desktop CPUs when all the money is in Mobile. Oh well! 

    They ship like 37 million iPhones a quarter, which are effectively a hardware legacy-free system (what’s a headphone jack?), so they probably can make a full desktop at some point. They’d probably rather not, though. Lots of R&D to get x64 code running perfectly on an ARM. I mean, even subtle details like Meltdown and Spectre have to be looked into. 

  • Compared: Apple's 16-inch MacBook Pro vs the 2019 15-inch MacBook Pro

    k2kw said:
    Great product now that Apple is fixing the mistakes of Ive.   I think that this will be a big seller as pros upgrade from the Butterfly keyboard and the pre2016 models.  I think it is the best that Apple could do given what Intel is providing.   I’m looking forward to a future model with 10th gen 10nm chips and Lpddr.
    It's possible that Ive pushed for the Butterfly keyboard, but it's also possible that he didn't. Same goes for: soldered Flash, and soldered RAM. But if the past is a predictor of the future, he was the one who pushed for the "one-button" upgradeable PowerMac 8600. I was stunned when I first saw that machine. Having just helped someone upgrade a PC and deal with the rat's nest of wiring (and slicing myself in several places from the sharp sheet metal cases), to this one-button drop-open hinged case, where everything was right in front of you and easy to reach. From some quotes I've read elsewhere - Ive fough hard for that. 

    So before we heap all the blame on one person, consider this alternative scenario. Ive quits because he's had it with all the MBA maximimize shareholder value BS, which forces him to choose planned obsolescence, and then to lie about it - justify it as a technical decision required to make laptops thinner. 

    Now he sees the 16", and goes, [email protected](*#! it! If I only stayed 6 months longer!