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  • Why Apple will move Macs to ARM, and what consumers get

    Count me as someone who is skeptical about all of this.

    On the one hand, we know what Apple has been doing with low-end ARM, but we have seen nothing on the high-end, so maybe Apple does have plans that would work across the entire lineup.

    On the other hand, there's nothing to suggest that this is the case.  Apple would be taking a big risk here when it has other things to do.  One thing that everyone neglects to consider in terms of Apple's previous transitions is that Apple was always transitioning away from what the rest of the industry wasn't using, albeit earlier also to what the industry wasn't using either.  So if their source was behind, delayed or inferior to the industry, Apple's products were too.  Now, any delay or issue isn't an Apple one, it's an industry one.

    IOW: Where Apple could be frustrated that there was no PowerBook G5 to compete with the industry, today Apple can compete with the same chips the rest of the industry has.

    Moving to ARM means Apple has to invest in maintaining a lead in their chips across the entire lineup of devices and do so with a minority market share as compared to Intel which supplies chips to the rest of the industry.  This not only puts Apple at a disadvantage, but if it falls behind, the entire Mac lineup falls behind.

    Combine this with the usual pain of transitioning, the issues with losing full Windows compatibility, and the distraction from other things Apple could be doing, and I just don't see the upside being worth the cost and risk.  I do see a potential for further ARM development as a co-processor in Macs though.
  • Apple wants to replace your car keys with an iPhone

    I'm curious as to how this would work with parking valets.  Being able to "share" a virtual key doesn't seem like a viable option since it would depend on the valet having an iPhone (or compatible phone), and often there are numerous valets so it would be next to impossible to manage. 

    Maybe cars could have a valet key that we activate before handing it over.
  • Apple staring down possibility of new per-employee tax in Cupertino

    sdw2001 said:
    Unbelievable idiocy on the Left coast, as usual. Punish the biggest job creators instead of working with them to give back to the community voluntarily (which many are happy to do).  

    Have you been to the Apple campuses?  They are huge, take over a very large portion of the city and are still growing and taking over more space.

    Additionally, there's a constant stream of double-decker buses flowing through and onto 280/85.  Local businesses aren't doing so well because few employees leave campus and few people go to the area now who aren't going to the campus.  The Eichler models homes and low end apartments have skyrocketed in price just in the past decade, forcing out anyone who is a renter.

    It's all extraordinarily disruptive, but besides the fact that $275 per employee is trivial for companies like Apple, it's not like as if Cupertino has a problem with not enough jobs in the city.  The issue is that there are too many employees working in places in the city isolated from everything else.
  • How to transfer your iPhone or Mac Photo library to an external drive

    Apple would do well to find a better solution to Photo Library. As of now, I have 35 GB of photos and home videos (as stated by iCloud and the size of the Masters folder), which I believe to be somewhat typical.

    Trouble is, my Photos Library is beyond 46 GB! Photos clogged my SSD with 11 GB of redundant information, related to my own media! That, combined to Apple asking an arm and a leg for better storage options on its MacBooks, makes for a preposterous situation!

    Before anyone says anything, I don’t have duplicated data, or edits. The offending storage hogs are thumbnails caches and facial recognition stuff that Photos creates by itself!
    Your situation does sound very typical, if not absolutely average.  My personal library is about 250GB and that has about 35GB of what you're calling redundant information.

    I worked with a startup many years ago that did something similar to iCloud Photos... or at least as similar as could be at the time on Windows.  I have a bit of insight into what this "redundant" data is, and what it would mean to remove it.

    First, a lot of it has to do with creating alternative views (thumbnails) of your images.  Remove those and browsing your library becomes impractically slow as it ends up having to load in large image files and then render them at the size you're viewing at.

    The second largest amount of data is probably going to be related to non-destructive editing.  Technically, you could eliminate this if you really wanted, but the benefit to being able to go back and change edits is a pretty compelling reason to keep that data, combined with the degradation that would occur with repeated edits.

    The remaining amount of data related to metadata and the database all is either needed for a feature (like Faces and Places) or general functionality.

    The TL;DR: here is that we get "taxed" 5-10% for much greater efficiency in speed in use and a lot of compelling features (non-destructive editing, Faces, Places, and other metadata based functionality).

    If you're really hurting for space, I'd recommend turning on optimized photos with iCloud Photos for what you store on your internal SSD drive, and then keep a cheap large external HDD for the originals.
  • Apple joins Alliance for Open Media, signaling support for AV1 video

    jbdragon said:
    Wait, so how did Apple become a founding Member when they were the last to sign up?
    It just means that they have a seat on the board of directors.

    There may be a lot more to this story.  For example, it could mean that Apple was working with them all along, but didn't want to give permission to have their name associated until now (for a variety of potential reasons).  Or it could be that Apple had been negotiating technology to be incorporated into the specs (like patents they own for QuickTime used in MP4).  Or it could be that Apple was waiting for certain technical requirements to be met before officially signing on.

    That last point...

    There's been a huge issue with AV1 meeting a quality to bit rate ratio at a given computational complexity that makes it favorable over HEVC.  Those 3 variables don't necessarily add up to being advantageous over HEVC and its licensing depending on how one prioritizes them.  Some reported as having signed on to AV1 in fact have been saying that their support was conditional on how the final spec shaped up... Netflix in particular has been concerned about this.

    So Apple may have been working with them, but instead of publicly stating support and then risk walking it back based on how the spec became finalized, they may have been waiting until the spec met their requirements before publicly signing on.

    This is likely to be good news for everyone involved except those administering the patent pools for HEVC.