Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

Apple is Converting Mac Pro From a Fad to a Monster Graphics Platform

· · Editorial

Capt. Picard and Lt. Cmdr Data.

In 2008, the venerable cheese grater Mac Pro was designed for Apple customers who needed high end performance and expandability. In 2013, Apple shifted gears and saw the Mac Pro as an iconic desktop system with great performance if one shared the company’s vision for both industrial design and OpenCL. Now, it appears that Apple sees the Mac Pro as a platform that will support its future initiatives. Can Apple hold to that pattern? That abiding faith in high end computation and visualization? A new trademark filing suggests Apple now sees the light.

How Can Amazon Echo Look Possibly Succeed? It's Easy

· · Analysis

Decision making.

At first glance, the technically and logically minded person would wonder why Amazon thinks that an AI like Alexa, within the new Echo Look, peering into your bedroom and making clothing recommendations would be a hit product. But then one has to understand the psychology of the product. At that point, all becomes clear.

Emergence of Robots Will, Remarkably, Force a Change in iPad Design

· · Editorial

Apple using internal magnets to attach Apple Pencil 2 to iPad Pro

The iPad was developed, in the Macintosh era of maturity, as a simpler alternaive for content consumption. It nicely eliminated the headaches of PC complexity and security concerns. Today, things are radically different, and the need to be able to create content and generate personal revenue is much more pressing than when the iPad was first conceived nearly a decade ago.

TMO Background Mode Interview with The Verge Senior Editor Lauren Goode

· · The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast

Lauren Goode is both a Senior Editor at The Verge and the co-host of the podcast Too Embarrassed to Ask. Lauren didn’t start out as a technical person. In high school, she was into competitive basketball and volleyball. But the seeds were evident as she became an expert with a camcorder. Her interest in basketball and English led her to Clark University. There, she developed her passion for writing and soon after she was working in media via cable TV. That’s where her passion for video technology flourished. Later, at the WSJ and AllThingsD Walt Mossberg was her mentor. Today, Lauren writes for The Verge, and we discussed her specialties: wearables, smartphones and apps, and laptop technology. Recently, she’s become involved with an interesting new series about cars, “Screen Drive,” that you’ll very much enjoy.

This Coating is So Black, it Messes With Your Mind [Video]

· · Cool Stuff Found

Here’s the blurb from Mashable: “In 2014, researchers in the UK created the darkest material in the world known as ‘Vantablack.’ Now, they’ve created a spray-on version. Vantablack is so dark that it distorts the shape and form of the objects on which it’s painted.” Absorbing 99.965 percent of visible light, this coating reflects so little, it creates new optical illusions, disguises shapes, and tricks the human eye. You’ve never seen nothing like this. Wile E. Coyote helps with the demonstration.

This Coating is So Black, it Messes With Your Mind [Video]

Why Apple Will Be Using Xeon CPUs in This Fall's "Pro" iMac

· · Analysis

Intel's Xeon logo.

Recently, we learned that Apple may be seriously considering the use of a Xeon CPU in its so-called “server-grade” iMac planned for later this year. There are good technical reasons why the use of the Xeon has entered the discussion in what has traditionally been considered a consumer iMac—in contrast to the Mac Pro which has had Xeons all along. John explains.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Computerworld Apple Holic Jonny Evans

· · The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast

Jonny Evans of Background Mode

Jonny Evans is a self-admitted Apple Holic who lives in the UK and writes terrific analysis of Apple for Computerworld.  He has a lot to say, and so he also has his own blog called Apple Must. Jonny is one of the most insightful technical journalists to cover Apple. His articles are always compelling and well researched. Amazingly, Jonny started off as road crew for rock & rolls bands. Pretty soon he was organizing and promoting events. The leaflets got more and more sophisticated, and that led him to realize his passion for writing. One day, a writing job opening at Macworld UK appeared, and he landed the gig. In the second segment we covered everything Apple, and Jonny’s informed perspectives really came out. You’ll want to hear what he has to say.

Apple's iPad Fights For the Education Market

· · Particle Debris

Apple using internal magnets to attach Apple Pencil 2 to iPad Pro

The education market is very price sensitive. Three players are in a pitched battle for the right-priced personal computer: Apple (iOS), Google (Chrome OS + Android), and Microsoft (Windows 10 Cloud). These OSes and their implementation on hardware, plus the right kind of marketing and staying power, could determine which company seizes the hearts and minds of schools and students.

Why Apple Should Eventually Build Family Service Robots

· · Editorial

Bluefrogrobotics Buddy

Several things have become clear regarding AIs in our lives. There is little regulation. AIs can be manipulated in clever ways. Small devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo have very indirect business models so that they can be priced for the middle class, but have hidden drawbacks. John wonders where all this will lead with family service robots if Apple doesn’t step in and do it right.

A Very Nice Concept Video for Apple's Next Mac Pro

· · Cool Stuff Found

There will be many challenges for Apple as it designs the next generation Mac Pro. It will have to present with Apple’s unique design language, but the form will also have to follow the function as a modular device. For the practical minded user. The low end will have to be affordable, but it will also have to support the very best CPU/GPU/ and bus architecture. Here’s a concept video that pays homage to the (2008-2012) Mac Pro, has a modest desktop footprint, and still looks like it would be big enough to contain kind of power we drool for. Amazingly, it reminds me of HP’s Z2 Mini as well.

A Very Nice Concept Video for Apple’s Next Mac Pro

TMO Background Mode Interview with KGW TV Anchor & Digital Trends Host Stephanie Stricklen

· · The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast

Stephanie Stricklen on Background Mode

Stephanie Stricklen has been a career-long KGW TV Portland, OR News Anchor. She tells the story about how when she was younger, it wasn’t her plan to be in front of a camera. “It just worked out that way.” But the seeds were there. She became the EIC of her high school’s newspaper and decided on print journalism as a career. In college, via internships, she discovered the “adrenalin inducing” experience of TV news. Stephanie has covered the Olympics for KGW, and that took her to Salt Lake City, Greece, Italy, China, Canada and Russia. A tech nerd and Apple fan, she’s also into aviation and has flown with the Navy’s Blue Angels. Today, she works with Digital Trends as a host and still anchors with KGW. Amidst all that? Raising a daughter with her husband.

Sony Announces Prices & Availability of its OLED 4KTVs

· · Cool Stuff Found

Back in January, during CES, TMO wrote up a news story about Sony’s new XBR-A1E BRAVIA OLED 4K HDR TV. At the time, the product was not yet shipping, and we didn’t know what the prices would be. As a recap, Sony has embraced the OLED technology for its new line of 4K/UHD TVs, a market previously held only by LG. Now we know the details from the official press release for the two smaller models. For 55-inch: US$4999.99. For 65-inch: $6499.99. Sony says these TVs will be “available in stores beginning in April 2017.” OLED displays consistently win the picture quality battle against any kind of LCD, and so it’s important and timely for Sony to enter this market. No doubt, prices will be lower for the 2017 holidays.

Sony Announces Prices & Availability of its OLED 4KTVs