Apple & the Mac Pro. Oh Please. Stun and Stagger Us

Mac Pro concept by Peter Zigich


There are varying perspectives on what the next Mac Pro should be like. But everyone seems to agree that it should look beautiful, be insanely fast, have stupendus graphics power, be customer upgradeable to ridiculous amounts of RAM, boot from an SSD and be cooled by liquid helium if necessary in order to run rings around any everyday iMac. A WWDC announcement would stun and stagger us.

Well, the liquid helium is an exaggeration. Maybe.

We've come to suspect that an expansion chassis is in order thanks to the power of Thunderbolt. And Thunderbolt 2 is on the way. That way, one can go to warp 1 with just the base Mac Pro, and then work one's way up to higher warp factors with the expansion chassis as funds permit. BYOD. Bring Your Own Display. Or two. Or three. One cool idea was develped by Peter Zigich awhile back, and I liked it a lot. Even so, I suspect we'll see the fabulous hand of Jonathan Ive. It actually won't be a cheese grater. It'll be something from the engineering deck of the Enterprise. The Abrams Enterprise.

All we know is that we want a no holds barred flagship Mac. Something to drool over. Here's some of the latest thinking and discussion.

As the music goes from the movie Chicago, Apple, please. Stun and stagger us.


Tech News Debris from the Week of June 3

When all you have is a desktop OS, in principle, the whole world looks like a notebook computer. Even if it's an 8-inch tablet. Here's the sad tale: "Microsoft and its OEMs stick to an outdated tablet strategy." The story also reminds me of the definition of insanity.

Federal court in Manhattan. A high priced, superb defense attorney takes a star prosecution witness apart, bit by bit, and destroys his credibility. Is it Harvey Specter of USA Network's Suits ? Nope. It's Apple attorney Orin Snyder. This is better than TV: "Google helps DOJ make first big mistake in Apple ebook trial." First class reporting by Greg Sandoval.

You buy your favorite movie on Blu-Ray. Inside is also a DVD and un-Apple-like instructions on how to enter a code and transfer the content from the DVD to iTunes. Not so elegant. Now, Disney has, maybe, a better way. "Disney Takes Digital Copy to the Web." Nice for some, but bad for those who want the DVD in their hands.

One of the things we've heard from other sources is that mobile is great and mobile video is awesome. But this report from Experian Marketing Services suggests that mobile video isn't all it's cracked up to be. Their data looks compelling, and makes one wonder about the hype we've seen before. "Study: Smartphone Users Aren’t Watching Much Video."

I love charts that tell a story and clarify a competitive situation. Here's the press release NPD sent me, with a chart. "According to The NPD Group, a global information company, growth in watching television programming is driving subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) viewership, and Netflix continues to clearly dominate the category. According to NPD’s VideoWatch VOD report, in the first quarter (Q1) of 2013 the number of viewers watching television shows using SVOD services increased 34 percent, compared to the same quarter year-ago. NPD’s VideoWatch Digital tracking shows Netflix dominating the sector, with a 90 percent share of video-streaming units during Q1 2013, which was 4 percentage points lower than last year."

While Netflix slipped slightly, they are still the top dog. Way up there. Maybe this is why Hulu has been put up for sale.

L-R: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime (Data via NPD)

The culture in the U.S. says that it's best to be original and creative. However, some others, especially in Asia, revel in copying and making an art of it. For your amusement: "In China, an Empire Built by Aping Apple."

There are those who are concerned about Apple's commitment to Macs and OS X. The argument is that, so long as you ship a product, and so long as you are Apple, celebrated for making the best, there is no excuse for a let down or disinterest or reallocation of resources.

Regrettably, this next article by Pierre Igot is a severe indictment of Apple's attention to detail in OS X. It made me sad to read it. In Apple's defense, I note that there are some things that just can't be fixed in software. So you ship new hardware and move on. But that only applies to a few things here: "OS X 10.8.4: Yet another big disappointment."

Here's a tidbit of an article, but full of interesting facts for anyone with iPads and kids. "The State of Childhood E-Reading So Far." If you doubt that today's kids are a whole lot different than the previous generation, you need only reel back in horror from this awesome tale: "My Teenage Son Does Not Know How To Mail A Letter, And I Blame Technology."

Finally, I have mentioned previously that I think Google Glass is a long-term technology. It has staying power. The technology will grow and develop. It's just too good an idea to pass up. And yet, we shouldn't jump to conclusions too soon about, just because the early technology seems a little creepy.

In time, Google Glass will become just a small piece of thin plastic that everyone applies to their prescription lenses or sunglasses. Or both. With that in mind, as an exercise for all you brilliant Particle Debris fans, I direct you to this, for your analysis: "Why Google Glass Will Crater." Of course it will. Then it will be reborn. Technology marches on.