Post WWDC: Has Apple Fixed Everything, or do Weaknesses Remain?


| Particle Debris

Page 2 – News Debris For The Week Of June 5th

Time for iPad to Steal from Mac

Continuing the thread of iOS 11 evolution, Dan Moren asks: “Do some of the new iPad features in iOS 11 seem…Mac-like?” His compelling theme is the observation that if the iPad is going to rival the Mac in terms of productivity and earn its enduring, rightful place in our future, it has to steal some fundamental ideas from macOS. See: “No need to reinvent the wheel with iOS 11.” For example:

Apple tried hard—and I do mean hard—to get rid of the file system on iOS. The original model, of associating documents with the apps that created them, certainly made a lot of sense at first blush. But as people started using the iPad for more complex tasks, that document model was quickly outgrown. Now, with iOS 11, the Files app finally brings the hierarchical file system of documents and folders to iOS.

2017 imacs

Steal from success of others, especially when it’s your own stuff.

It almost makes me think there was a series of meetings in which Apple’s Craig Federighi and others gathered around the whiteboard and started listing those elements from a modern productivity OS, like macOS or Windows, that enabled the things customers wanted to be able to do with their iPads. That list included drag and drop, file access, an app dock, and so on. That formed the marching orders for the product manager of iOS 11.

My take is that this kind of thinking is going to work. For the first time, Apple is asking itself the right questions about how to steal features from the Mac, enabled by the iPad’s A10X-class hardware, instead of, to exclusion, trying to make the Mac more like iOS.

After all, it’s been the iPad sales that have been declining, not the Mac’s.

More Debris

For some, the most exciting announcement during the WWDC keynote was the sneak peek at the iMac Pro, due in December. This new Mac has all kinds of implications.

  • It reaffirms Apple’s commitment to the Mac desktop.
  • It shores up Apple’s standing with the creative and technical professionals.
  • It ushers in a new era of no-compromise, high performance computing from Apple.
  • It entices us to ponder what delightful things Apple have in store for the next Mac Pro.
  • It acknowledges that if Apple is going to be a leader in AI, AR and VR, it needs a new class of computational hardware.
  • It’s a fabulous Halo Mac to aspire to.
iMac Pro - Apple

Astronomical drool-factor. A new Halo Mac, iMac Pro.

Two articles this week flesh out those notions. The first is by Anthony Frausto-Robledo at Architosh. “Breaking the Jobsian Quadrant: Why Apple Finally Made the iMac Pro.” He uses a term I like: The technical design, engineering and science (TDES) professionals. Quoting:

Our research and industry knowledge tells us that each TDES industry segment consists of users with varied computer performance requirements.

There’s a nifty chart you should look at that characterizes the spectrum of users. The implication is that Apple needs a corresponding spectrum of Macs. Soon, we’ll have that—ranging from Kaby Lake MacBook Pros to standard iMacs to the iMac Pro and then on up to the next Mac Pro.

Next, we should consider the pricing of the announced iMac Pro. If you think the starting point of US$4999 is reckless or out of touch, consider two things. These Macs won’t be bought out of personal funds. Rather, they’ll be purchased by pros for whom time is money. And how does the pricing compare to the competition anyway? AppleInsider does a great job of comparing the pricing to the equivalent competition. See: “iMac Pro cost blows away similar Lenovo workstation, DIY builders struggle to meet price with fewer features.

These iMac Pros will be snapped up by universities, research labs, technical corporations, the technical parts of federal governments, movie studios, architects and so on.

As for the rest of us? We can dream once again.

Finally, I have time for just one more item. As you know, I’ve been on Apple’s case for a long time to get on the 4K bandwagon with Apple TV and build on its technology learning curve. There’s only so far a company can fall behind and then catch up with respect and credibility.

This article at Forbes gives me hope that we’ll finally see a 4K/UHD/HDR 5th generation Apple TV for the holiday season later this year. There just wasn’t time to discuss it in the WWDC keynote. The angle? Think about the keynote discussion of H.265/HEVC video encoding. Ready now? “New Apple Feature Secretly Hints At Exciting Future For Apple TV.

Considering the hardware fervor we saw in the WWDC keynote, I’m certain now that the Apple TV will go 4K this year.

Joy.

______________________

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 holiday weekends.

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pjs_boston
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pjs_boston

Given that Apple’s ‘A’ series chips are now as powerful as dual core Intel chips, it makes sense for Apple to add features to iOS that make use of that power. To that end, I believe it’s possible that Apple might soon make a mouse-driven version of iOS for its consumer motebooks. This version of iOS would use the code base of iOS and would incorporate an interface much like macOS. By using the guts of iOS, Apple would be able to cut the cord on all of the legacy cruft from macOS and make machines that require little to… Read more »

dhp
Member
dhp

It’s going to take a while for me to get used to the dark aluminum iMac Pro. Right now when I see it, it first strikes me as a very poorly adjusted photo of a regular iMac.

ibuck
Member
ibuck

The media or analyst schtick on writing about Apple seems to include the obligation that, no matter how good Apple’s latest device or capability may be, a writer must give a not-so-subtle dig at Apple at the end of each discussion, or they will be dismissed by other tech writers. Ben Thompson does not risk such a dismissal by his peers. There are consequences. Invidia stock trades at 50 times earnings. Apple with a much broader range of products trades at 17.5 times earnings. Microsoft trades at 31 times. Sure seems like this schtick hurts Apple both in product sales… Read more »

MacFrogger
Member
MacFrogger

I second mrmwebmax: “Great PD this week John!”

I esp appreciated the Ben Thompson article!

geoduck
Member
geoduck

I have an iPad Air as well and yes, it does everything I throw at it, from writing to graphics to gaming to the latest iOS, to streaming video, to…whatever. But the updated iPad Pro with iOS11 and a Pencil is tempting me. Maybe with next years tax refund… The article on how the iMac Pro cost is not out of line struck a chord. Last fall I got an iMac. Part of the reason I was willing to plunk down $2500 for a fairly solid system was that it included a 27 inch 5K monitor. I looked around and… Read more »

mrmwebmax
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mrmwebmax

+ Great PD as always. As for thoughts on the iPad and declining sales: I think the problem is that Apple does not build hardware that goes obsolete the moment its unboxed. For years, us Mac users were pointing out TCO when comparing Macs to Windows machines, and making the claim that because Macs last longer they save money in the long run. Thus I believe it is with iPad. I believe too many people — pundits, analysts, etc. — saw the iPad as having the same upgrade cycle as the iPhone. That’s not going to happen. With programs like… Read more »