New MacBooks

The new MacBooks were announced today.

I’ve been wondering how many of the new iMacs with only 8GB of memory that can’t be upgraded that they’ve managed to sell.  The answer is now obvious:  Enough of them.

It’s a shame really.  The new Macbook is awfully close to the MacBook Air.  Only more expensive and with fewer ports.

One port.  What were they thinking?  You’ll need some sort of port multiplier to be able to charge the thing AND hook up an external drive at the same time.  Or an external display.  What if you want to hook up an external display AND have a hard drive?  USB isn’t like thunderbolt, where they’ve abstracted the entire PCI bus.

It worries me.  In the old days, Apple tried to have a Mac for every possible requirement, which led to a huge and bewildering array of Performas, Quadras, PowerMacs, etc.  With new leadership, it got cut back to a very simple equation:  pro laptop, consumer laptop, pro desktop, consumer desktop.  4 computers.  Customize the specs at time of purchase, but you’ve got 4 basic computers to start from.

Now we’re once again letting the model numbers creep up.  small iPhone, big iPhone, small iPad, big iPad, super lightweight laptop, with limited capability, pro laptop, mini desktop, all in one desktop, and pro desktop..  and now a super lightweight laptop that’s almost the same as the other super lightweight laptop.  Only more expensive, with its retina display.  And more port limited.  And with a lower end graphics package.

I know they’re very very proud of it.  I’m not sure I see that it’s a significant improvement.

The new Macbook Pros, on the other hand?  That I lust after almost as much as one of those cylindrical MacPros.

October 16 announcement

Today Apple made another big announcement; the second in as many months.  You can watch the keynote for yourself here.

For any who have been under a rock all day, as expected, Apple announced the new iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 (which still only has an a7 processor?!) iMac 5K Retina, Yosemite, iOS 8.1 (with Apple Pay), and an upgrade to the Mac Mini, which usually doesn’t rate any time at the big announcements.  A pretty good line-up.  I’d like one of each, please.

It was fun to see Craig Federighi making light of Apple’s apparent inability to keep a secret these days.  Craig has the presence and showmanship to be the face of Apple in much the way Jobs was, but in making light of that, it shows a different Apple than Jobs ran.

A long time ago, Steve Jobs made the point that Apple was not only unafraid of cannibalizing their own sales, but that they would rather cannibalize their own sales than let a competitor do it.  Phil Schiller made a point at 62 minutes into the presentation that underscores that this philosophy is still alive and well at Apple:  He notes that each product is pushing on the next to be even better; that as the iPad challenges what a computer can be, this, in turn, challenges Apple to move the higher end computers forward as well.  They give Phil all the good lines in these presentations.

This is a really important point though, and I’m not sure that the mainstream press will pick it up whilst they’re busy ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the new 5k iMac and newer, faster, better iPads, or else decrying how Apple will be going out of business next week because they didn’t announce an iPad Pro.  That point is that Apple still does not see themselves as competing against the Androids and Windows PCs of the world.  Apple sees themselves as competing against themselves.  Always striving to build the best widget that they can build, regardless of the competition.  Winning or losing, marketshare or mindshare; none of that matters.  What matters is whether or not the new device/software is a significant improvement in some fashion over the old device/software.  And that, my friends, is what makes Apple different than anyone else.


October 16

Rumor has it that Apple will have an event on October 16 to announce the second coming of the iMac, now with a Retina display, and a new, thinner, lighter, iPad Air.  Possibly a new iPad Mini, maybe with a Retina display, maybe without.

This is probably the first rumored event in a while where the technical media haven’t tried to foist off the idea that Apple will be introducing the new Apple TV.   That in itself makes it a blessed occasion.

Now what I’d find really funny is if this was the event where Apple did finally reveal how they had mastered television.

Of Apple events

At long last, after rumors that it would do everything but the dishes, the iPhone 6 was announced.  Along with the even longer awaited “iWatch.”

All around the web it’s been noticed that the watch in question isn’t an “i” at all, which will lead to the next round of press and speculation as to why that is and what it could mean and why Apple is ahead of the game or why they’re going to go out of business if they don’t put the “i” back.

I am heartened to see, however that some folks have caught onto the idea that the big thing that occurred was not the Watch, and not the ginormous iPhone 6+, but Apple Pay that is the real game changer here.

Phablets abound and have for a while.  Apple’s pandering to the market.  An annoyance for an old mac guy like me.  The slightly larger iPhone 6 has some great improvements, but again, nothing that’s not been around and nothing that will make a significant impact on the world at large.

But Apple Pay?  That’s a different ball game altogether.  As a picture on the network aptly points out, NFC has been in phones for over 2 years.  Why hasn’t payment taken off?

It will now.