Microsoft Takes Apple by Surprise, Pours on the Heat


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Page 2 – The Tech News Debris for the Week of October 24th.
Apple’s Vision Beyond the Touch Bar

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Apple’s new 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros. Image credit: Apple

One of the questions customers are asking this week is how committed to the Mac Apple is. At C|Net, Shara Tibken and Connie Guglielmo have put together a fabulous article. “Does the Mac Still Matter?” The subtitle: “In exclusive interviews, Apple executives explain why it was over four years in the making — and why we should care.”

We didn’t want to just create a speed bump on the MacBook Pro,” [Schiller] says. “In our view this is a big, big step forward. It is a new system architecture, and it allows us to then create many things to come, things that we can’t envision yet.”

This article will give you a feeling about how Apple is thinking about the Touch Bar and beyond. One thing that comes to mind is the long-term roadmap of just how we’ll work in the future with iPad-like device which we touch and future Mac-like devices and their displays which we haven’t been accustomed to touching. And how they may or may not merge. Only Apple has the roadmap, but the Touch Bar might just be the launch point.

More Debris

Why do the new MacBook Pros still max out at 16 GB RAM? MacRumors has that reader question and the answer from Apple SVP Phil Schiller. In part:

It is a good question. To put more than 16GB of fast RAM into a notebook design at this time would require a memory system that consumes much more power and wouldn’t be efficient enough for a notebook.

I find that to be an unsatisfying answer. After all, when in the office, connected to a 4K/5K display, doing compute and app intensive work, the MBP is plugged into A/C power. When on the move, with only a small display available, less ambitious tasks are likely. And even then, a battery top-off is seldom hard to achieve. Unless you’re in the Antarctic. I remain unconvinced because the competition has all moved to 32 GB.

If you’re thinking about a new MBP with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3, this is a good FAQ and refresher on the transport protocols also supported: USB 3 and DisplayPort 1.2. Backwards compatibility is also discussed. I have this one kept handy myself.

Joe Wilcox is trying to make sense of the specs and prices of Apple’s post-event Notebook line. So far as I can tell, he’s got it all right. And it’s pretty darn confusing. “Could Apple make Mac laptop buying any more confusing?

If you’re interested the more detailed specs of the new MacBook Pros, AnandTech is always a great place to go. “Apple Announces 4th Generation MacBook Pro Family…” There, you’ll find a comparison chart with the part numbers for the various Intel Skylake CPUs and GPUs.

The new Microsoft Surface family

Microsoft’s Surface family.  Surface Studio, Surface Book and Surface Pro. Image credit: Microsoft.

Finally, while all the excitement this week was for Microsoft’s Surface Studio and Apple’s new MacBook Pros, I want to bring your attention to Microsoft’s relatively new notebook, the Surface Book. Engadget has given it a thorough review, and its worth checking out. What struck me was the all out emphasis on computational power, something that catches the attention of many technical and creative professionals. It’s just another sign that Microsoft, after being asleep at the PC wheel for years, is now swinging for the fences.

_________________________

Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.

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webjprgm
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webjprgm

Thank you wab95, someone needed to say that. Sometimes TMO becomes too much of an echo chamber for the same ideas and they’ve become rather depressing of late. I hope Apple knows what they are doing, though I am a little frustrated by some of the trends that I don’t find personally useful. (I like thin, but I still want USB ports rather than tons of adapters. Or include a couple adapters in the box to appease us.) I do think the Touch Bar is something that will spread to desktop Macs and is the start of a cool future… Read more »

archimedes
Member
archimedes

Physical gadgets for the iPad have been around for a while – I’ve been interested in trying out the Tuna Knobs ( http://www.tunadjgear.com ) with various music apps.

archimedes
Member
archimedes

The Surface Studio seems like a better version of the Lenovo Ideacentre – which I’ve been a fan of for some time because of its large-format, adjustable multitouch display. For certain applications – drawing, music, tabletop games – it seems like a winner. Too bad it doesn’t run iOS. 🙂

wab95
Member
wab95

John: I’ve been away for awhile due to unavoidable circumstances, but have monitored, when possible, the traffic at TMO. There has been no small amount of not simply angst but dysthymia, anger and outrage over many things Apple, particularly the recent Mac event, in that interim. I’ve been uncertain if and when to post this, as well as under which column, but this seems as appropriate a place as any. It has been argued at TMO that one of Apple’s most important user bases, graphics and video professionals, have had a disproportionate role in propagating Apple products and enlisting new… Read more »

roarcjw
Member
roarcjw

I am so disappointed with Apple. They used to be so clued in as to what the consumer is looking for. Now it seems that they are stopping up their ears and regurgitating the same old commercialize pitch but with no innovation behind it. Listen to what the people want! I’m amazed that Microsoft is now out appling, Apple!

MarcusNewton
Member
MarcusNewton

I am in the same boat as Geoduck, I have a 2014 MacBook Pro 15″ that sits on my desk 80% of the time hooked up to other equipment. I was really hoping for new desktop Macs from the hello, again keynote, but I came away, as many did, really disappointed. The new MacBook Pros are nice, but a bit expensive for me. I am shocked that they are still selling the older model MacBook Pro and kept the price the same for almost 2 year old hardware. Jonathan Ive’s bulimia problem and Angela Ahrendts’ luxury pricing is seriously making… Read more »

BurmaYank
Member
BurmaYank

The image of  I’m getting from its recent announcements & after hearing these thoughts discussed here is of a gifted operation with an expert manager who is no leader;  has been without any leader since a year or so before Steve died. ’s rudder works well, but is adrift without a course-charter.

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

I just wonder if Apple had more to show but pulled it when they saw Microsoft’s lineup?

I don’t think it’s likely but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time. What was shown with updated MBPs doesn’t match Tim Cook’s comments a month or two ago about renewed interest in the Mac. Not at all.

I am thinking they had other products that were not far enough along to debut.

skipaq
Member
skipaq

I don’t think there is a problem with I’ve as head of design. He rightly fights for everything he believes in. Certainly the direction that Apple has taken over the last few years is Cook’s responsibility. I couldn’t watch more than a couple minutes of the watch our products get thinner presentation. Could they honestly think going in that this thin Mantra plus a touch bar was going to bring Mac users to their stores. I’ve seen more exciting diet infomercials. They have been sacrificing function for the sake of esthetic design. There is no way around faulting Cook for… Read more »

vpndev
Member
vpndev

I just wonder if Apple had more to show but pulled it when they saw Microsoft’s lineup?

I don’t think it’s likely but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time. What was shown with updated MBPs doesn’t match Tim Cook’s comments a month or two ago about renewed interest in the Mac. Not at all.

JonGl
Member
JonGl

The problem isn’t Ive per se, but that Apple seems to be depending on him too much to replace Steve’s vision. But he’s not Steve. Steve always had an overarching vision, and he was ready to move heaven and earth to achieve it. Ive was his greatest tool in the toolbox, but he was just a tool. He has good vision for things, but he is not a mover and shaker, and he doesn’t have the status of CEO nor Steve’s drive. Simply put, his temperament is not Steve’s. IMO, Tim is the problem. His focus is on many things… Read more »

DudeMac
Member
DudeMac

The problem with Microsoft’s hardware is that it ships with Windows and I’m sorry, but I don’t like Windows all that much as it’s just not that user friendly to use. IMHO, it’s a cluttered mess with a chock full of confusion to boot. I just returned to using Windows professionally after about a 10 year hiatus and even with Windows 10 I have to say that I’m not all that impressed. Some things like refreshing the Desktop manually simply because some files got moved around, other files get trashed and so on but failed to take notice on-the-fly is… Read more »

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

Remote desktop app

Jump Desktop (Remote Desktop) – RDP / VNC by Phase Five Systems
https://appsto.re/us/_e5Vv.i

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

“Does anyone know of a good remote desktop app for the iPad that would let me run an iMac from across the room?”

There are such apps, but I don’t know how well they work or how comprehensive they are.

skipaq
Member
skipaq

Until Apple gets the message that thinner is not always good design, they shouldn’t design cars whose major selling point is they are thinner and lighter.

macjeffff
Member
macjeffff

256 GB SSD in a $1799 laptop? So, I have to spend $1999 to get something usable with the new Touch Bar, before I buy AppleCare? And then I’m forced to buy a bunch of dongles, and keep track of them? The Touch Bar looks absurdly thin, doesn’t it? I guess that saves production cost. The new MacBook Pro is nice, but I’m going to put off buying one until the next generation. I can hang on for another year or so. I’m disappointed though, because I was ready to buy. I bet their numbers will be disappointing. I think… Read more »

geoduck
Member
geoduck

Been pondering this MacBook business. You know, I might wait and get the next gen iMac instead. I use my iPad for most of my mobile work. The MacBook spends 75% of its time on my desk attached to a monitor. I like having the ability to take it with me, but really any more it’s the iPad. I could get an iMac with better specs, more space AND a 27 inch 5k display for $800-$1000 less than an equivalent MacBook Pro, which I’d want to connect to a monitor most of the time anyway. Does anyone know of a… Read more »

Lee Dronick
Member
Lee Dronick

I disagree with you all on the Apple Watch. I find it very handy for things in addition to notifications. As to yesterday, time and the Apple Watch will tell if it was a death knell.

geoduck
Member
geoduck

bdkennedy1: You are dead on with your comparison with the early ’90s Apple. Lots of things, but few that actually work as advertised. Lots of models, but none that really do what you want. To that they’ve added gadgets like the AppleWatch that are gee whiz neat, but really do little that I, or if the recent BBC article its to be believed, few others need. Meanwhile their desktop Macs are moribund, their AirPort routers are very out of date, they’ve dropped displays completely, the iPod line is dieing. I was impressed by the Surface Studio. That said I am… Read more »

Jamie
Member
Jamie

I’ve got some time left in my Mac, so I’ll see where Apple goes before jumping ship, but at this point I’m not hopeful. I’ve been using their stuff since 1995 professionally, and since the 80s as a student. Would be sad to bid them adieu, particularly given they are the only tech company whose privacy policies are worth a damn and that’s no joke these days. Nevertheless, I can’t argue with the fact that a Surface Pro beats the pants off of an iPad Pro as a professional tool. What a weird world.