Jun 062013

I’m writing my prediction for the Mac Pro replacement on my home-made Mac Pro replacement, which has four 3.4 GHz cores with hyperthreading, 16 gigs of RAM, NVIDIA GTX 650 GPU with 1 gig GDDR5 memory, one SSD and three HDD drives, in a black Fractal Design tower case with beveled edges. It’s a Hackintosh I built for about $600, and it works great. However, it’s just a stop-gap to what I hope is a new desktop Mac.

Heading in to WWDC 2013 it’s pretty clear that Apple’s Mac Pro replacement will not be a tower computer with a bunch of slots and drive bays. Based on the comments from Apple and bolstered by this week’s announcements from Intel, I think we’re going to get a sealed cube. With rounded corners, of course. Just like the WWDC logo.

Late last year, in a reply to an Apple user’s e-mail, Tim Cook said there would be something coming later in 2013 for the pro users. Having paid attention to all the rumors and discussions about it since then, here is what I predict it is:

  • A cube, smaller than a mini-tower. Think ‘Tall Mac Mini’. Expansion components may ‘stack’ underneath it.
  • One or two CPU sockets, with the new E3-1200 V3 series Xeons Intel just announced.
  • ECC memory, up to at least 64 gigs, probably 128 gigs, possibly 256 gigs
  • Probably no GPU slots. If present, they won’t be a standard form factor
  • Thunderbolt 2, announced this week. Double bandwidth (20Gb), backwards compatible. To be used in lieu of slots for connecting GPUs
  • No other card slots
  • Room for 2.5″ disks only, up to 4 of them

It will probably be previewed at WWDC, but not be ready for sale till the Fall. Apple will talk up the Thunderbolt 2 bus the same way they talked up the Mac serial bus in 1984, as a direct replacement for internal expandability. Pro users will howl, because regardless if they need them or not they want giant machines with at least two top-end graphics cards and 12 terabytes of internal storage. Other than the graphics issue I think they are wrong. I’d love a small powerful desktop Mac. But Apple is wrong if they think an embedded Intel GPU, no matter how much it’s improved, can replace a good discreet GPU card. It can’t, and an externally-connected Thunderbolt GPU is just weird and will be overpriced and underperform compared to current solutions.

I think Apple will basically say this new computer is as powerful as the Mac Pro in 1/10th the space. Problem is, the Mac Pro is already behind in performance, both CPU and GPU, and simply reaching parity with that in less space is not good enough.

But I can’t wait to buy one anyway. Maybe they will call it Mac.


Post-Keynote Update: Half wrong about just about everything. Story of my life.

Darth Vader Tissue Dispenser

  • A TUBE! A TUBE!. Expansion components won’t stack at all.
  • Unclear if there are one or two CPU sockets, but using new E5 series Xeons. That’s nuts. They did it wrong.
  • ECC memory, unknown capacity, but only 4 slots.
  • Two custom GPU locations – I don’t think they can be called slots. Definitely not a standard form factor.
  • Thunderbolt 2. Could be used in lieu of slots for connecting GPUs but that will suck.
  • No card slots
  • Room for ZERO 2.5″ or 3.5″ disks. PCIe SSD Only, up to 2 of them.
Oct 162012

Lovely fall colors. Didn’t get what I wanted in June or September, so again I’ll just cut-and paste from my WWDC Wish List:

  • New Mac – Not a giant Mac Pro, not an iMac, a Mac. A desktop computer with slots
  • Xcode for iPad – Write, compile, debug iOS apps on the iPad
  • Updated beefed-up iWorks and Logic Pro

And due to the thrice-extended wait, I now require three golden ponies with glitterwings and rainbow tails.

I won’t object to the expected iPad Jr. although it will require me to make a decision: iPhones or iPad Jrs for the kids this year?

Sep 252012

I’d like to rant about Apple’s Podcasts app and it’s apparent multiple personality disorder.

I know, there are much bigger things wrong with iOS 6. But until I actually have to drive somewhere I don’t know how to get to already, Maps won’t be a problem for me. What IS a problem for me, RIGHT NOW, is the new Podcasts app.

I listen to hours of podcasts a day, while commuting, lunching, and going to sleep. And with iOS 6 Apple has removed podcasts from the iTunes app and from the Music app, forcing us to use the Podcasts app to download and listen. And I’m not even here to rant about the problems with the app indicated by the thousands of one-star reviews it’s getting for being obtuse in other ways. I’m mad at the incoherent and inconsistent UI appearance.

You may have heard there is a war on at Apple regarding skeuomorphism in their software. It would appear that this war is going on right in the middle of the Podcasts app.

Take a look at this screen, which is the playback UI in the Podcasts app: Continue reading »

Sep 112012

Nothing has changed since May. Literally, nothing (Diverting my eyes from the MacBook Pro with Retina Display and Mountain Lion). So I’ll just cut-and paste from my WWDC Wish List:

  • New Mac – Not a giant Mac Pro, not an iMac, a Mac. A desktop computer with slots
  • Xcode for iPad – Write, compile, debug iOS apps on the iPad
  • Updated beefed-up iWorks and Logic Pro

And because I have had to wait so long, I now require a golden pony with glitterwings.

Not wanted:

  • A dumb longer iPhone 4

(Which is probably the only thing we’re gonna get)

May 152012

Here is my wish list for Apple announcements at this year’s WWDC or sometime soon after:

  • New Mac – Not a giant Mac Pro, not an iMac, a Mac. A desktop computer with slots
  • Xcode for iPad – Write, compile, debug iOS apps on the iPad
  • Updated beefed-up iWorks and Logic Pro

And a pony.

Update (June 14th): A perfect score – Zero. And the poor Mac Pro didn’t even get updated. The new MacBook with Retina display is fine if you are in to that sort of thing. I’d drop 2k on a killer Mac desktop, but first they’ll have to make one. Holding my breath for that pony.

Oct 222011

Droppin' on y'all

On October 12th Apple had their largest upgrade rollout ever. On top of that, the iCloud service went public. Let’s look at all that was going on for a typical Mac + iDevice + Mobile Me user that day:

  • On the Mac, install OS X Lion 10.7.2, Lion Recovery Update, and iTunes 10.5
  • On the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad, install iOS 5
  • On one of these devices, go through the iCloud setup to create an account or migrate an existing Mobile Me account
  • On the other devices, set up iCloud
  • Repeat as necessary if you have multiple Mac and/or iOS devices

For an individual with multiple Macs and iOS devices, that’s a busy day. For a household with multiple people with multiple Macs and iOS devices, that’s a busy weekend or two (I’m in to my second).

Considering all that was going on the update and cloud services held up pretty well, with some temporary outages here and there. Apple’s authentication process for the iOS 5 update seemed to be hardest hit. This resulted in many people having trouble getting through the iOS 5 install process after the download. Within a few hours the problem had abated. Later in the week Apple reported that they would have to throttle iCloud conversions due to the heavy load. I’m not sure if this is still going on, but I’ve migrated three accounts so far without any trouble.

So what did all this get us? On the surface and in casual use little appears to have changed. But there is a lot of new stuff.
Continue reading »

Sep 302011

Amazon sells us everything. They have all of our credit card numbers. A few years ago they started selling us books electronically, and the Kindle to read them on. Later they added music and video to the offerings. And now they’ve announced the $199 Kindle Fire to consume all this content on. And they have a giant cloud service to support it.

The Kindle Fire is going to be the second successful tablet computer and the first real market competition to the iPad. Coupled with their cloud services they have a mobile platform second to none.

Suddenly Amazon is where Apple wants be.

Very interesting.

Sep 272011

Apple has sent out invites for an iPhone event at the Cupertino campus for next Tuesday.

May I go on the record with the following prediction?

The new iPhone will be the same basic design and size of the current iPhone 4, with an A5 processor. Possibly both CDMA and GSM 3G in one, but no 4G. No magic-super-new ‘iPhone 5’, although it’s possible they will use that name.

9/29 Update: Looking more and more like the name will be iPhone 4S. MacRumors is reporting a rumor that an ‘iPhone 4S’ has shown up in Apple’s internal database, but not an ‘iPhone 5’. The comments are precious. Denial throughout.

9/29 Update 2: An impressive physical mockup of an ‘iPhone 5’ based on recent leaked case manufacturer images coupled with the design sense of the iPad 2. This looks reasonable and would certainly count as a redesign. At least the rumors are getting more interesting!

9/30 Update: As usual, John Gruber at Daring Fireball has a well thought out and comprehensive analysis of the rumors. Also as usual, he coyly stops just short of saying what he thinks will be announced.

10/4 Update: iPhone 4S as-predicted. Software stole the show from hardware. Siri personal assistant and iCloud are the big additions. iOS 5 drops on Oct. 12th, iPhone 4S on Oct 14th. Details and video at apple.com

Jun 292011

A follow-up to my Padme Moment four years ago.

Meesa got MoolaComputers are tools of creation. No company has pushed that concept farther and to more people than Apple. Along the way, computers became tools of consumption and that is where Apple is making the bulk of it’s massive record-breaking income in recent years. So, understandably, that is where a lot of their product energy is focused.

But producing superb tools of creation is how people came to love Apple products. And lately the creative professionals who love and create things on and for Apple computers aren’t feeling that the love is reciprocated.
Continue reading »

Jan 052009

AppleInsider claims to have details of the iMac and Mac Mini announcements forthcoming at MacWorld on Tuesday:

NVIDIA insider chimes in on new iMacs, mini and Mac Pro

The skinny is that the iMacs and Mac Mini will move to Nvidia graphics chips across the line (right now only the high-end 24″ model has Nvidia graphics). I was initially excited about this, because I’m STILL waiting for a machine from Apple that can properly run all the apps in Final Cut Studio that doesn’t start at $2,800 (Mac Pro)! But my hopes appear to be dashed.

Continue reading »