The Future of Mac

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    Posted: 13 June 2012 04:41 AM

    Just some semi-random thoughts.

    First, I’m not quite so worried about Mac Pro now, from an “does Apple really care?” perspective, as I noted in Intraday:  http://www.anandtech.com/show/6001/apple-confirms-email-to-mac-pro-users-about-something-really-great-in-2013

    iMac and Mac mini should update just fine within the year.  Unlike the Mac Pro there’s nothing I can see that would hold up a good ‘ol speed bump with USB 3.0 ports, Intel HD 4000 for the Mac mini, and hopefully some Kepler goodness for the iMac (though Apple could always go with ATI as they often do).

    I wonder if the 27” iMac will remain in its present form.  On the one hand, yes, bigger display.  On the other hand, it’s not like Apple couldn’t fit everything into a smaller enclosure - and the whole point of the bigger display was to accommodate a higher resolution.  Now that display technologies are rapidly advancing thanks to Apple - Retina across 100% of all Apple displays seems an absolute given.

    But 4x 2560x1440 resolution?  After all, that’s what “5120x2880” means.  Not a chance.  14.74M pixels in a single display is utterly ludicrous.  3840x2160 (a “mere” 8.3M pixels) strains credulity but at least sounds faintly possible within 1-2 years, so I bet the iMac returns to a 24”-ish form factor, with the ability to basically emulate a 2560x1440-ish mode if desired.  Hey, there’s always stuff like SVG.  Apple has drawn 3 lines in the sand, each time committing to a doubling of pixel density.  That ambition has some limits.  Meanwhile, the smaller iMac would do just fine with a 2880x1800 display that the MBP has.  The mind boggles just thinking about those numbers.

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  • Posted: 13 June 2012 08:56 AM #1

    I’ve been questioning, and please forgive me if this has been discussed previously, but doesn’t it make more sense to convert the iMac line to a television like device?  I imagine an Apple tv as a thinner,  larger screen iMac.  If a tv is in fact coming within the somewhat near future, is an updated iMac really necessary?

         
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    Posted: 13 June 2012 09:55 AM #2

    Mav funny you should mention

    3840x2160 (a ?mere? 8.3M pixels) strains credulity but at least sounds faintly possible within 1-2 years, so I bet the iMac returns to a 24?-ish form factor, with the ability to basically emulate a 2560x1440-ish

    Sharp recently announce sample specs for their new IGZO and they have 3840x2160 for a 32”

         
  • Posted: 13 June 2012 11:12 AM #3

    molash1 - 13 June 2012 11:56 AM

    I’ve been questioning, and please forgive me if this has been discussed previously, but doesn’t it make more sense to convert the iMac line to a television like device?  I imagine an Apple tv as a thinner,  larger screen iMac.  If a tv is in fact coming within the somewhat near future, is an updated iMac really necessary?

    This has occurred to me, as well. If Apple adds some of the new MBP technology to make it thinner and higher res, combined with iPhone and iPad interactivity and mirroring for remotes and other functions, isn’t that the future ATV?

    If one didn’t know better, http://www.apple.com/imac/ is a promo for a smart TV. “Video, photos, and Facetime calls look stunning,” “Thunderbolt technology lets you connect high-performance peripherals,” “HD videos look incredible and your favorite games feel even more responsive,” and “Comes with great apps. And the Mac App Store.”

    Are there things the current ATV can do that this wouldn’t be able to do?

         
  • Posted: 13 June 2012 01:01 PM #4

    Mav - 13 June 2012 07:41 AM

    But 4x 2560x1440 resolution?  After all, that’s what “5120x2880” means.  Not a chance.  14.74M pixels in a single display is utterly ludicrous..

    Why? I’d love it. Of course getting to where we have video hardware to support 15M pixels is probably about 2 years out.

         
  • Posted: 13 June 2012 04:10 PM #5

    Thinking that Apple should introduce a full TV might not be very profitable ... seeing that even Sony is struggling to make profit on their fabulous line of TV’s.  Same for many other OEM’s.  In reality all a TV is, is just a monitor.  Think instead of AirPlay and the ability to share on your existing TV exactly what is on the screen of your mobile devices.  Now the traditional TV monitor is also a presentation screen, a gaming screen, a whatever you want to display screen… and you don’t have to go out and buy an expensive new TV to participate.  Watch as Apple TV interface gets updated… this is a $100 item that connects unversally with any TV.

    The iPAD is a fabulous remote and can serve as a handy controller for gaming.  I doubt Apple will provide a full screen TV with all the computer interfaces.  AppleTV does that instead

         
  • Posted: 13 June 2012 04:20 PM #6

    Has anyone really noticed that Intel does not have even one processor in any of Apple’s mobile devices… or hardly anyone elses.  Also Apple develops not only great hardware but great supporting software, that is regularly updated.

    While Microsoft is pre-announcing their so-called innovative combined desktop and mobile OS combo. But, Microsoft does not make hardware.  Fine tuning software to hardware is what Apple does best.  Their formula is working.  Legacy computers are plentiful, but the numbers are changing.  What consumer buys a tower anymore, when laptops are so powerful, yet mobile and convenient.  Then there is iPad carving out its own marketplace with little competition.  When Airplay is fully developed there will be hundreds of millions of mobile devices that can readily interface the Central monitor in most homes, the TV.  Wow.  I think this is what Steve Jobs realized.  Maybe guessing, but certainly is plausible.

         
  • Posted: 13 June 2012 05:00 PM #7

    madhatter61 - 13 June 2012 07:10 PM

    ...this is a $100 item that connects unversally with any TV.

    A $100 item, which not only costs only a fraction as much as a large TV, but takes a fraction of the inventory space (& shipping cost), while probably having about as much $ profit as the TV—without even considering ongoing revenue opportunities from online purchasing.

         
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    Posted: 13 June 2012 05:05 PM #8

    “Macs” are already predominately Macbooks (Air or Pro). Desktop Macs sold are mostly iMacs with the Pro & Mini filling niche markets. If Apple broke out sales figures based on the various models, we would quickly see how they prioritize development energies.

    Broadly speaking, the future of Mac is very healthy. One of the numbers TC presented early in the keynote was the 66 million installed base of Macs. That may pale in comparison to 365 million iOS devices, but it is a huge number that is still growing rapidly. It’s a $20+ billion business! I’m sure Apple is investing plenty of energy in continuing to build the very best computers.

    Although the Retina display in the new MB Pro is stunning, I think what most consumers will be drawn to is the overall Apple ecosystem that increasingly meshes iOS and OS X devices. Consider that the majority of over 400 million user accounts do not involve a Mac. Apple will do their very best to exploit that halo effect.

         
  • Posted: 14 June 2012 10:14 AM #9

    greedyn00b - 13 June 2012 08:00 PM
    madhatter61 - 13 June 2012 07:10 PM

    ...this is a $100 item that connects unversally with any TV.

    A $100 item, which not only costs only a fraction as much as a large TV, but takes a fraction of the inventory space (& shipping cost), while probably having about as much $ profit as the TV—without even considering ongoing revenue opportunities from online purchasing.

    Carrying that line further, maybe Apple should get in the jewelry business?  And with The Wizard of Ops (props to Mav) running the show, there’s more margin to be made from a $2,000 HDTV than a $100 Apple TV.

         
  • Posted: 14 June 2012 02:05 PM #10

    madhatter61 - 13 June 2012 07:10 PM

    Thinking that Apple should introduce a full TV might not be very profitable ... seeing that even Sony is struggling to make profit on their fabulous line of TV’s.  Same for many other OEM’s.  In reality all a TV is, is just a monitor.  Think instead of AirPlay and the ability to share on your existing TV exactly what is on the screen of your mobile devices.  Now the traditional TV monitor is also a presentation screen, a gaming screen, a whatever you want to display screen… and you don’t have to go out and buy an expensive new TV to participate.  Watch as Apple TV interface gets updated… this is a $100 item that connects unversally with any TV.

    The iPAD is a fabulous remote and can serve as a handy controller for gaming.  I doubt Apple will provide a full screen TV with all the computer interfaces.  AppleTV does that instead

    That’s right. I’d also argue that there’s something else that’s been overlooked. The real value of retina display seems to be its ability to mirror (airplay) in high resolution to larger screens (in particular, having all the icons, apps, and functionalities engineered for high res).

    Does retina display on the iPad and MBP really make sense otherwise? It adds significant weight, thickness, battery drain, and cost, for functionality that is noticeable only under very close scrutiny. Apple makes hard trade-offs, and I suspect they wouldn’t make this trade-off unless there was more to it.

    I realize this observation might be heretical, but I’ve found that most people, including myself, can’t tell much of a difference when viewing iPad2 and iPad3 side-by-side, mostly because iPad2 already has such as nice screen. The exception is iPhone, where retina display significantly improved readability.

    Just a thought. I’m wondering what others think.

         
  • Posted: 14 June 2012 03:12 PM #11

    To edit iPad layouts without having to pan and scroll you need a lot of vertical pixels. In fact you needed the bto hires 15” mbp. But on that one the fonts and UI elements in other programs got to be very small. The new mbp retina solves this.

         
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    Posted: 14 June 2012 03:20 PM #12

    Good point.  Retina Displays for all Macs with displays would be of great help to iPad devs, who at least theoretically can get pixel-perfect viewing/simulation in landscape mode from any MacBook.  That’s probably at least 2-3 years away though.

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    The Summer of AAPL is here.  Enjoy it (responsibly) while it lasts.
    AFB Night Owl Team™
    Thanks, Steve.

         
  • Posted: 14 June 2012 04:30 PM #13

    Also: Most devs are pros or incorporated, and so will most likely get a tax break on buying office equipment. I know that I do smile

         
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    Posted: 15 June 2012 02:30 PM #14

    I’m guessing this will get closer to the 13” MB Air’s weight. $1500 and 3.5 lbs. and I’ll be first in line.

    13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display predicted for early October

    The information comes from one Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at KGI, whose recent track record has been exemplary. He accurately predicted that Apple would discontinue the 17-inch MacBook Pro ahead of that news becoming official at WWDC 2012, while also identifying the upcoming 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display as a separate product family from the incumbent MBP line. With such a credible history, Kuo’s words deserve to be taken seriously.

    The new 13-inch MacBook Pro variant is expected to ship with a 2560 x 1600 resolution, doing exactly as its 15-inch sibling has done already in quadrupling the number of pixels on screen from the current 1280 x 800 res. Also similar will be the lack of an optical or a magnetic storage disk drive, which will help slim the chassis down to a supposed 18mm profile. What will be different, according to Kuo, is that the 13-incher will rely on Intel’s integrated graphics instead of a discrete Nvidia solution.

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/15/3088889/13-inch-macbook-pro-retina-display-release-date-rumor