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Posts Tagged ‘Mac’

Tea Leaves

September 9, 2015 Leave a comment

Sometimes Apple appears to be so together. You get the feeling that that their events are impeccably stage managed, and every detail is thought through (despite occasional evidence to the contrary).

Apple is also a company of patterns. They tend to like yearly patterns. It made sense to expect that they would split their holiday offerings into two events, one in September and another in October. Instead, however, they decided to have one big bash this year, with focus on four(!) major product lines:

  • Apple Watch
  • iPad
  • Apple TV
  • iPhone

Notice any omissions?

As far as I can see, there are two reasons Apple chose to ignore the Mac during today’s press event.

The Optimistic Take

This event was all about new hardware. iPhone 6s. New Apple TV. iPad Pro. Even new colors of Apple Watch. However, with the exception of brief recap of watchOS 2, there was no mention of new hardware-agnostic software features. No review of iOS 9 (except for discussion of how great iPad multitasking is on that huge iPad Pro screen). Maybe Apple would have loved to talk about the Mac, but there was no new hardware ready. Intel doesn’t have the Skylake processors ready yet, so the Mac would simply not have fit in with this program. Soon enough it will be back in the spotlight.

The Pessimistic Take

Apple was focused on the future today. The Mac received about as much screen time as Windows PCs and Android phones. It is a platform that Apple supports out of obligation. Computing is now mobile (read “touch”) centric, and the Mac is no longer a first class citizen. Sure, some dinosaurs will insist on things like access to the file system and arbitrarily placed windows for the time being, but Apple is moving on.

So which of these positions is Apple telegraphing by virtually ignoring the Mac? My best guess is that there are camps on both sides inside the company. But we should be able to suss out what direction they’re going down soon enough. After all, Apple is a company of patterns.

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Categories: Computer Blue Tags: , ,

RIP Sparrow

I’ve become addicted to the Sparrow email client for the iPhone and especially the Mac. Looks like they’ve been bought by Google, who plans to bring the developers in house to work on who knows what related to Gmail, letting Sparrow die on the vine. 

We will continue to make available our existing products, and we will provide support and critical updates to our users. However, as we’ll be busy with new projects at Google, we do not plan to release new features for the Sparrow apps.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t see this one coming. Sparrow seemed like they were making a nice living selling their app. They were making something useful and getting paid, and we were getting a top notch email client. Seemed like a win-win. You always worry about the free online services. You know that eventually they have to find a way to cash out. When I pay for an app or a service, I suppose I imagine they’re in it for the long haul. 

Still, Sparrow won’t stop working any time soon, so what’s really lost here is the potential for what they could have done with Sparrow in the future. It’s like seeing writer change careers in the middle of a trilogy. You still have the books that had been produced, but there’s a feeling that the story was never completed. 

Categories: Computer Blue Tags: ,

How To Resize PDFs in Lion

June 29, 2012 1 comment

Nifty trick and saved my bacon today. 

Long story short, Preview in Lion (and also, I’m assuming, Mountain Lion) lets you chose File -> Export. Towards the bottom of the Save screen, you’ll see the option for Quartz Filters. Choose Reduce File Size. If the resulting PDF compresses your images too much, you can create a custom filter with OS X’s Color Sync app. 

Then to use this new filter just right click on the PDF you want to compress, choose Open With -> Color Sync, pick the filter you want, and hit Apply

Categories: Computer Blue Tags: , , ,

Putting Their Money Where Their Mouth Is

Since I’m taking unpopular positions on controversial topics today, I figured it would be a good time talk about some of the design choices in the new Retina Macbook Pro. A more descriptive name would probably be the Macbook Air Pro, but never let descriptions get in the way of good ad copy. 

A lot of people are attacking Apple for not placing a very high priority on upgradability. The RAM is soldered to the logic board. The SSD, like the one in the Air, is proprietary (although I don’t think they’re compatible with each other). The screen is fused to the glass, so if there’s a problem you have to replace the whole top part of the machine. The battery is not user changeable (although that has been true for Apple’s mobile line up for years). 

Some say Apple is being greedy. They’re trying to nickel and dime their customers for upgrades up front. After all, you don’t get to be the biggest company in the world by leaving money on the table. Others say that these were trade offs based on the company’s priorities. Modularity reduces efficiency. Best, Apple would say, to fit everything in as snuggly as they could. This helps them minimize the size while maximizing battery life. 

I’m sure the answer is somewhere in between. Apple believes that customers will appreciate the benefits of the trade offs. Of course, they’re hedging this by keeping the old style MBP’s in the line up. This is how Apple does market testing. There are no focus groups or polling. They make what they feel is the best product they can. They ship it. It either sinks or swims. 

Still, there’s one aspect I haven’t seen anyone mention. Yes, these new design choices make laptops that much more expensive to repair. If the RAM or screen go bad, a huge part of the computer will have to be replaced. But Apple is not asking customers to shoulder this burden entirely on their own. The cost of Applecare has not increased. Assuming that Apple will keep their level of customer service the same on this new device, I’d say they’re placing a pretty big bet themselves that these new processes will stand up. 

Imagine you have a previous gen Macbook Pro covered under Applecare, and you find an issue with the stock hard drive or ram, or your screen starts to go. Apple will likely replace the parts that is defective and send you on your way. If you come in with a Retina Macbook Pro, they may have to replace an entire logic board. The price to you would be the same. $0. 

Apple is betting on it’s ability to make these machines reliable. It can’t afford to give every Retina Macbook Pro customer 2 or 3 replacements over the lifetime of the warranty. I think this machine shows Apple’s confidence in their supply chain. They have to stand behind every one of these expensive little boxes. It’s a refinement of what they learned building the Airs. 

Meanwhile, if the issue is the GPU, it doesn’t matter what model of laptop you have. You’re screwed. Those things have been soldered to the logic board for years for reasons of efficiency, and no one seems to mind. This is just the next step in a trend. Maybe you think this is a step too far, but it’s certainly not unprecedented. 

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