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  • A new Mac Pro is coming, confirms Apple exec

    I think there are a number of factors here that explain the lack of action on the Mac Pro:

    1. It's perhaps Apple's smallest slice of the pie... it's almost a rounding error in their financials. So it's not a high fiscal priority.

    2. Continuing supply chain issues, and perhaps trouble finding a fab partner who could put together a difficult, very large chip package in limited volume.

    3. Indecision about keeping or abandoning the tower PC form factor, especially whether or not to allow third-party GPUs to play nice with Apple Silicon. Apple is heading in a more vertically integrated direction, and the current Mac Pro form factor muddies the waters of that ambition.

    4. Indecision about whether or not there is a need for a Mac Pro at all... especially with the Mac Studio outperforming any current Mac Pro configuration in every regard except for expanded GPU compute performance. It's a very niche market that needs the highest local compute performance possible, and Apple may be judging that they don't need a "halo" product at the top of their product line to keep the staple products moving. 

    With all of that, I believe that Apple is going to kill the Mac Pro. It may replace it in a 2-3 years with something else, maybe a totally modular system for those who have massively parallel applications. 

    But honestly... I have no real idea. And since this is a product with a small footprint in the supply chain, there's less opportunity to for leaks. Apple could surprise us.
  • 'iPhone 13' adding ProRes video recording, doubling down on pro camera features

    charlesn said:
    You may want to mention that to Steven Soderbergh. Name ring a bell? Lemme help... Oscar-winning, Emmy-winning and Palme D'Or-winning director who also serves as the award-winning cinematographer on all his films under the pseudonym Peter Andrews. He has shot a few feature films entirely on iPhone because... "Soderbergh felt the advantages of the iPhone outweighed the image fidelity of an ARRI or RED cameras that cost a hundred times more." So yeah, definitely not for "pros" like you... only the tyro filmmakers like Soderbergh. 
    To each their own. Christopher Nolan still shoots on IMAX film cameras. Others prefer micro four-thirds prosumer cameras. The iPhone works for a certain kind of "cinéma-vérité" style that Soderbergh likes, but no I know of no DP who would ever say that any current iPhone can fully substitute for a large sensor interchangeable-lens cinema camera. 

    All the professional iPhone footage that I've seen is remarkable... given what it was produced on. It's another tool in the belt for a cinematographer. And a great option for productions that have severe budget constraints.
  • The frontrunners for next Apple CEO: Speculating on Tim Cook's successor

    +1 for Federighi... assuming he wants the job, which I’m unsure of.
  • Classical musicians review AirPods Max

    charlesn said:

    I have APM and like them a lot. But to claim that APM--or any bluetooth 'phones--sound better or even comparable to megabuck wired headphones playing back full resolution, uncompressed music through a high-quality audio system is... well, that claim is incredulous enough to leave it where it is. Compressed bluetooth audio is fine for what it is... and is actually the best I've heard it through APM... until you listen to it through the kind of headphones you describe, or speakers of similar quality, which will instantly reveal the inferiority of bluetooth audio vs full resolution playback. 
    Recent Apple devices send an unmodified AAC stream from Apple Music to the AirPods Max. And properly encoded AAC (i.e. follows Apple’s Mastered for iTunes guidelines) is - perceptually, to nearly every living person - indistinguishable from a CD. (And the jury is pretty much out on 96/24 uncompressed encoding. Only the most highly trained listeners can consistently pass a double blind test between the two.) 

    The point is, encoding is not really contributing in a meaningful way to whatever minor weaknesses the AirPods Max has. I own a pair, and my only gripe with them is the slightly overdone high frequency lift they have above 8kHz. (Which isn’t an issue for most acoustic music, but it is for most pop music.) Other than that, they are without a doubt the best wireless headphones I’ve ever used. Having tried many. They hold their own with any closed back headphones out there, wired or not. (I personally prefer open-back headphones for critical listening.)

    Anybody who can’t enjoy music on the AirPods Max doesn’t really like music, at least as much as they love gear (i.e. Audiophiles, the sorriest bunch of malcontents on the planet.) 

    (For what it’s worth, I work in pro audio as a recording and mix engineer. Audio fidelity is my bread and butter.)
  • HomePod is sold out, but isn't dead yet - Apple's 'end of life' explained

    I had been on the fence about getting a second one to use as a stereo pair. But once I learned that HomePod was being discontinued, I went to my local Best Buy and bought one the next day. I've seen Apple's track record with their discontinued products, and wasn't the least bit concerned about being left with two dud speakers that wouldn't work. And now I wonder why I waited so long to get a stereo pair. They sound amazing together! I work as an audio engineer, and have a (relatively) high-end monitoring set-up for my work. Suffice it to say, I have a high standard. The HomePods easily meet that standard. They are a pleasure to use for casual listening.