Apple’s Mac Lineup: Judge, Jury and Execution

A woman using Touch Bar on MacBook Pro

Page 3 – Does Apple Really Understand TV?

TV app for Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad
The new TV app for Apple TV shows what you’re currently watching, upcoming episodes, and suggestions. But no Netflix support.

Tim Cook continues to maintain that Apple has intense interest in TV. By now, I am personally wondering why Apple hasn’t turned intense interest in TV into intense accomplishment. Yoni Heisler wonders the same. “Apple has no idea what it’s doing in the TV space, and it’s embarrassing.” This is a broad and deep condemnation of Apple’s inability to do something wonderful with it’s TV vision. This is another must read.

Author Heisler looks at TV interfaces, search, the terrible Siri remote, Apple’s failed subscription service, and the delay of single sign-on. Also, the lack of 4K support is mentioned.

Aimless. Backwards. Confused. These are just a few adjectives which, to a frustrating extent, seem to perfectly encapsulate Apple’s glaring lack of vision in the TV space. Apple certainly understands that TV (and by extension, the living room) is important, but the more I see what Apple is doing with the Apple TV, and the more I hear Apple executives excitedly drone on about their comically boring TV strategy, the more I become convinced that the company has absolutely no idea what it’s doing.

I have long maintained that Apple should be giving us delightful, drool worthy hardware that solves our operational problems, not trying to work against the interests of an entrenched, clever TV industry. That Apple isn’t going, apparently, to give us a cool 4K/UHD/HDR Apple TV for the holidays (again) is symptomatic of the same kind of thinking that led to Mac neglect.

Meanwhile, Roku, just keeps giving customers good choices and dominates in market share.

More Debris

Now that the new MacBook Pro has just four USB-C ports, it’s time to get really technical on these ports and the protocols they support. Here’s a fantastic article, must reading. [Ignore the drama in the title, but the author has good points.] “Total Nightmare: USB-C and Thunderbolt 3.

Do you have an unlimited data plan with your carrier? Or think you do? Chris Mills at BGR reminds us that the plans we have with our carriers have gone from simple minutes, texts, and perhaps some roaming fees to a complex EULA subterfuge, shenanigans and limits on no limits. “Don’t buy the crap T-Mobile (or anyone else) is selling.

We now have Macs and iPhones theoretically capable of teraflops of computational power. Then why doesn’t our user experience seem to reflect that? Ponder: “Why App Developers Are Fed Up With SDKs.

Finally, I have a note on a completely different theme, but one I’ve mentioned before. As AI agents become more and more responsible for making decisions for us, it’s going to be more and more important for humans to understand the basis of their reasoning and decisions. That topic is now being explored. See “Making computers explain themselves.

When Siri is smart enough to be really street and human smart, hopefully it’ll also be smart enough to explain why it thinks the way it does. It will be a challenge for Apple to engage that ethical part of the AI community, along these lines, and still maintain a competitive edge. Maybe Siri will get smart enough to tell Apple engineers how to do that.


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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W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

John: For a topic like this, it’s hard to know where to begin, so let me begin with a quote from HL Mencken, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong”. To illustrate, as a young intern, I had a complicated post-op patient who had had surgery for aesophageal strictures (look it up if you’re curious). During his recovery, he became febrile. We gave him acetaminophen (Tylenol), and did a workup to rule out infection. There was none. Still, he complained of fever. Clearly, in order to break his fever, I’d have to use… Read more »


Developer Marco Ament wrote a well-reasoned piece. See it here:

Scott B in DC

Before I make my comment: “heads” – sadly there seems to be no editing for TMO comments! May I recommend Grammarly. Even if you just sign up for the free version and add the Safari Extension, it might be enough to help you get past those typing nits! Since it is getting to be all about the apps, the software we use, what is the difference if that software runs on a Mac or a PC. I can get along without Safari since I use Firefox as an alternative. Other than Photos, what other Mac-only software will keep my tied… Read more »


“heads” – sadly there seems to be no editing for TMO comments!


I’m not going to join the chorus calling for the head of Messrs. Cook/Schiller/Ive, but I’m puzzled as to why there has been no follow-through on the 2013 Mac Pro, and I agree that “Hello, Again” raised expectations to iMac ’98 level but delivered less of a step forward than Apple’s 2012 Retina MacBook Pro (or the neglected 2013 Mac Pro.) On the other hand, unlike many commenters here, I am a huge fan of the iPad Pro. I rarely use the Microsoft-style smart keyboard, but I use the iPad all the time and find the 12″ form factor to… Read more »


For those that argue that it’s OK because Apple is still making money, I’d like to point out that no matter how Balmer’s Microsoft blundered, it was also profitable. No matter how utterly clueless, leaderless, or feckless Microsoft became, it still made money.


I hate to admit it, but I agree with the other posters. Tim’s Apple seems to have lost its way. I have no idea who is ultimately responsible, I doubt very much it’s one individual, but I haven’t had thoughts like these about the company since the System 7 days. Something has gotta change.


There is such a thing as “too much elegance and not enough practicality/value.” I think Apple has crossed over this line with the current crop of MacBooks (I will not call them Pro machines). Thin in a consumer device is nice but really is out of place in a Pro machine. Too thin? Yes. While some are claiming Tim Cook should go, I think his only failing is not having enough balls to stand up to Jone Ive and say, “No! Stop obsessing about thinness!” How about a screen with NO bezel… well, it needs to be thicker. How about… Read more »


It’s been a long time since there’s been this much criticism about Apple from all quarters. I tried to give Tim cook the benefit of the doubt, but at this point he’s getting perilously close to Ballmer’s reign of error. Yes, the company is still making money. But the Mac is still suffering from neglect. Under his watch, there has been incredibly poor rollouts of the new Maps and Apple Music. Schiller is, amazingly, getting worse at presenting. In fact, this was the worst presentation ever. From the awkward, awkward demos of the touch bar, to the amazingly lame comparison… Read more »

Lee Dronick

So who replaces Tim Cook? Certainly Jonny Ive. Elon Musk perhaps.


Totally agree John, but it is worse than that. It is not just the Mac, there is lame all over at Apple. It is time for Tim Cook to go. It is deja vu all over again and they are playing the part of Microsoft 1999.

Lee Dronick

Maybe Siri will get smart enough to tell Apple engineers how to…fix their Mac lineup.

And fix that horrid iOS Music app


It has to be said. Tim Cook must go. I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. I tried to tell myself that his style was different from Steve Jobs style. Not better or worse just different. That his Apple would be different from the old Apple but the core of what made Apple my favourite company would still be there. But there’s a difference between following a different course and being rudderless. Today’s Apple reminds me a lot of the mid 2000s Microsoft under Balmer. Lots of little pet projects that come and go, but the core… Read more »


“Observers have noted that Tim Cook’s presentation seemed strained, not as well rehearsed, and invoked what seems to be filler material at the outset. The team seems to have been up late, re-thinking the agenda in light of what Microsoft announced. All the earmarks of failure to execute are there.”

In light of no evidence, that’s nothing more than idle speculation. I think Schiller did a stand up job.


With my 20/20 hindsight, I think Apple should have released a spec-bumped MacBook Pro back in July with Skylake processors, and waited until June 2017 to release the touch-bar MacBook Pro with Kaby Lake processors. This would have allowed Apple to shift the blame squarely on Intel for a delayed redesign, instead of releasing a compromised MacBook Pro this month. One article I read this week said that this new MacBook Pro is not a continuation of that Pro line we are use to (the 2012 line), but it is instead the “full” version of the 12″ MacBook. Based on… Read more »


Maybe Siri will get smart enough to tell Apple engineers how to…fix their Mac lineup.


Until people stop buying iPhones because Apple won’t provide the MacBook Pros, iMacs, & Mac Pros they want, Apple won’t give a damn what you think about their computer lineup.


Downright depressing, is what this is. I should have left reading this until Monday. I looked at that Surface Studio machine ad. That is a pretty slick looking piece of equipment. I am also starting to hear good things about Win10 (but it is still WINDOWS ) I then went to the Apple site and priced out a loaded 2016 MBP. (Warning, I live in Canada). Damn near had a heart attack! Almost $6000.00. That does not even include a monitor and the necessary converters to attach all my external drives and other devices. It is extremely unlikely that there… Read more »