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  • Compared: M1 Max 16-inch MacBook Pro versus Mac Pro

    I think Apple should name the desktop-class M1 chip the “M1 Meta” … (LOL, but, if not for the Facebook thing, I actually do think it would have been a good name, if maybe a bit weird or pretentious)

    Seriously, though, I strongly dislike suggestions like “M1 Ultra” and “M1 Extreme” — for me, they don’t differentiate clearly enough from M1 Max. I think I’d argue for “M1 Pro-W” and “M1 Max-W” … 

    Boring, but effective, and it sends the right competitive message by adopting the same differentiator Intel uses for Xeon-W. Plus, it opens the door to other sorts of differentiators for other, even more specialized, SOC configurations in the future. 
  • New MacBook Pro chips deliver desktop performance with better power efficiency

    Okay, so we've seen what Apple has done for the MacBooks, plus the 24" iMac, which I count in the same category. What they do with the redesigned Mini remains to be seen, but it doesn't affect this argument. FWIW, I think it will be a variant of the MacBooks -- it won't be a true desktop (see what I mean by that below, basically what used to be called a workstation).

    Here's what I'm thinking:

    [1] The lack of a larger iMac at this point is likely to be good news. It means it will fit into the true desktop category, unlike the smaller iMac. The higher end will push up against the low end of the Mac Pro and/or iMac Pro. 

    [2] I agree with DED's suggestion in his Twitter feed on October 20 that Apple won't follow a regular timetable for M-series progressions, instead they will come as needed:
    ["As far as I’ve seen, everyone imagined that the next chips from the first generation of Apple silicon Macs would jump to “M2” rather than leveraging the incredible inertia that developed behind “M1” with the success of the first M1 MacBooks, iMac, etc. Juice the M1 brand fully."]
    ["With its A-chips, Apple similarly launched an X version for most of it chip architecture generations that boosted GPU power and memory bandwidth. Thus the A6 iPhone 5 was paired with an A6X iPad 3 that had the GPU power (well almost) to drive its new Retina Display."]
    ["While Apple Silicon’s generational branding incremented each year, that was because iPhones and iPads were also refreshed annually. Few Macs have ever been significantly updated every year. So far, Apple has only incrementally brought its first custom silicon to new Mac models."]
    ["This could explain why Apple continues to create new A-Series chips for its iOS devices, while launching the first Mac-optimized version as an M-chip, rather than calling it something like the A14-M. New A chips annually, but new M chips for Mac refreshes as needed, not marketing."]
    We can nitpick, but in general I think he's right.

    [3] My ideal for the true desktops would be as follows: iMac; iMac Pro; Mac; Mac Pro. FWIW, by "Mac" I don't mean an xMac, I mean a cylinder or cube with easily-replaceable memory and storage. Now is the time to reintroduce the "Mac," since the original, all-in-one Macintosh has been replaced by the iMac.

    [4] So what are they going to do for these desktops? I mean, it's hard to imagine they will use same SoCs as the MacBooks and such. I'm thinking M1-W, M1 Pro-W and M1 Max-W (following Intel's use of W for "workstation" Xeons -- which seems an unlikely marketing choice, but you get the basic idea). Not M2. They will, however, be in a different class from the first round of M1s. But what will that mean? For one thing, I think it will mean socketed unified memory and storage. Possibly user-replaceable. 

    [5] Finally, as an aside, what about Persistent Memory? Intel invested heavily in the technology ("Optane"), but they don't own the concept, IIRC others were working on it, and it seemed like something with a future, especially for scientific and other data-intensive software/servers. I don't really know how big a threat it is to Apple's claims of being on the cutting edge, and maybe it's really all about servers, but it's something I was wondering about...
  • New MacBook Pro chips deliver desktop performance with better power efficiency

    The last question, then, is what happens with the true desktop systems next year? I have some thoughts which I’ll post later when I have more time, but I thought I’d ask the question first… 
  • Apple Silicon MacBook Pro and AirPods event is on October 18

    “Unleashed” implies Apple Silicon is being set free in some way. I guess it could be confined to Pro laptops (i.e., the M1 is “unleashed” in the M1X), but you have to wonder if we’re going to see an iMac Pro or something like that, free from the thermal constraints of tablets and laptops (and ultra-thin iMacs)…
  • Steve Jobs wanted Dell to license Mac OS

    After the transition to Apple Silicon is complete and Intel Macs are no more, Apple could, if it wanted to, license macOS for Intel on PCs. That’s the takeaway here — if it made enough business sense for Jobs to pursue it then, even though he couldn’t get the absurdly favorable terms he wanted and Apple ultimately went a different direction and made history doing so, it might make business sense again tomorrow, now that Macs will stand apart within the industry in a way they never have before. It might be time to invade the PC space and challenge Windows on its own turf.
    Wow. This is also ridiculous. Of course they'd have much to lose — they'd have to continue maintaining macOS for Intel third party PC manufacturers with no quality control over those products. This dilutes the Apple brand and perception of the Mac experience. They also cannibalize their own Mac sales for what, a few bucks a box when they could've sold a $600-5000 or more Mac? This is like people who think Apple changed the charging ports to make money off of third party MFi cable sales. Not how they operate, at all. They want to own the whole stack. Apple Silicon is one of the largest nails in that coffin. There's zero benefit to licensing Mac for third party PCs. Zero.
    You folks are no fun at all! Seriously! Taking 1990s Jobs’ and Apple’s actions at face value and trying to understand what they had in mind isn’t a total waste of time. For one thing, it gives a better perspective on how we got here. It shakes up some of the myths about how this all came to be. And while it’s not likely, I don’t think it’s nuts to try to imagine what a macOS licensing initiative might look like. Apple has that capability. Jobs made sure of that. Shit happens. Governmental actions and/or regulations, for one. Legal challenges. Your “zero benefit” could turn into its opposite with a stroke of a pen.