Archive for December 20, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How Apple Alienated Mac Loyalists

Matthew Panzarino (Hacker News, MacRumors, 9to5Mac, Slashdot):

“Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we’re committed to desktops,” Cook wrote. “If there’s any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that.”


No mention of whether that meant iMac or Mac Pro or both, but at the very least it’s encouraging to those of us who couldn’t live without a desktop computer.

Marco Arment:

Reading between the lines: the Mac Pro is very likely dead. To Tim Cook, the iMac is the desktop, period.

Chris Adamson notes that the statement came on the third anniversary of the last Mac Pro update.

John Gruber:

I’ll note that Cook only calls out the 5K iMac — no mention of the Mac Pro.

Stephen Hackett:

He didn’t mention the Mac mini or Mac Pro. I’m sure he’s aware how long in the tooth they are, and praising them at this point would have been seen as a little ridiculous.

Mark Gurman (MacRumors, Hacker News, Slashdot, TidBITS, ArsTechnica):

Interviews with people familiar with Apple’s inner workings reveal that the Mac is getting far less attention than it once did. They say the Mac team has lost clout with the famed industrial design group led by Jony Ive and the company’s software team. They also describe a lack of clear direction from senior management, departures of key people working on Mac hardware and technical challenges that have delayed the roll-out of new computers.


Four years ago at Apple’s annual developer conference, marketing chief Phil Schiller pledged to keep the computer front and center in the company’s product arsenal. “Nobody turns over their entire line as quickly and completely as we do at Apple,” Schiller said.


In the run-up to the MacBook Pro’s planned debut this year, the new battery failed a key test, according to a person familiar with the situation. Rather than delay the launch and risk missing the crucial holiday shopping season, Apple decided to revert to an older design. The change required roping in engineers from other teams to finish the job, meaning work on other Macs languished, the person said.


In another sign that the company has prioritized the iPhone, Apple re-organized its software engineering department so there’s no longer a dedicated Mac operating system team. There is now just one team, and most of the engineers are iOS first, giving the people working on the iPhone and iPad more power.


Mac fans shouldn’t hold their breath for radical new designs in 2017 though. Instead, the company is preparing modest updates: USB-C ports and a new Advanced Micro Devices Inc. graphics processor for the iMac, and minor bumps in processing power for the 12-inch MacBook and MacBook Pro. Cue the outrage.

Dell (via Hacker News):

With the UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD display (3840 x 2160), you can see each detail of every pixel without needing to zoom in. And with 6 million more pixels than Full HD and 3 million more than the MacBook Pro, you can edit images with pinpoint accuracy without worrying about blurriness or jagged lines.


The most powerful XPS laptop we’ve ever built includes the latest 7th Gen [Kaby Lake] Intel® Quad Core™ processors and an optional 4GB GeForce® GTX 1050 graphics card with the latest and greatest Pascal™ architecture, so you can blaze through your most intensive tasks.


Supports up to 32GB of memory with a bandwidth of 2133MHz, 1.3 times the speed of 1600MHz options.

Previously: New MacBook Pros and the State of the Mac, Understanding Apple’s Marginalization of the Mac.

Update (2016-12-21): See also: Hacker News.

Update (2016-12-22): Stephen Hackett:

None of these snapshots are due to an inherent flaw with the Mac itself, but with how Apple seemingly views it.

Update (2016-12-23): Lloyd Chambers:

Properly understood, the Bloomberg article is a damning indictment of the cultural change at Apple, at least if one admires true excellence and great (not just good enough) product design.


Apple’s working model for both hardware and software is now “ship by calendar”, not “ship by quality and excellence”.

Update (2017-01-02): See also: The Talk Show and Accidental Tech Podcast.

DTrace at Home

Adam Leventhal:

I’m not the first person to hit this. The problem seems to have existed since CS6 was released in 2016. None of the solutions was working for me, and — inspired by Sara Mauskopf’s excellent post — I was rapidly running out of the time bounds for the project. Enough; I’d just DTrace it.


Looking through /usr/include/sys/resource.h we can see that 1008 corresponds to the number of files (RLIMIT_NOFILE | _RLIMIT_POSIX_FLAG). Illustrator is trying to set that value to 0x7fffffffffffffff or 2⁶³-1. Apparently too big; I filed any latent curiosity for another day.


First I used DTrace to find the code that was calling setrlimit(2): using some knowledge of the x86 ISA/ABI[…]


Instead I used lldb to replace the call with a store of 0 to %eax (to evince a successful return value) and some nops as padding[…]

Stroustrup’s Rule and Layering Over Time

Dave Herman (via Ehud Lamm):

One of my favorite insights about syntax design appeared in a retrospective on C++ by Bjarne Stroustrup:

  • For new features, people insist on loud explicit syntax.
  • For established features, people want terse notation.

I call this Stroustrup’s Rule. Part of what I love about his observation is that it acknowledges that design takes place over time, and that the audience it addresses evolves. Software is for people and people grow.

LG 5K UltraFine Display Delayed

Ben Lovejoy:

LG has confirmed that the 5K UltraFine monitor Apple recommends for use with the new MacBook Pro models has been delayed. A company representative told us that LG does not yet have a confirmed date for availability.

LG originally said ‘early December,’ while Apple was more cautious on its website, simply stating ‘December.’ As we noted last week, Apple is already leaving things rather late to allow people to take advantage of its introductory pricing …

Apple is offering the 5K UltraFine at a launch price of $974, but only up until December 31. Given that it hasn’t even opened pre-orders yet, that isn’t going to allow people much time to place their order before the price jumps to $1299.

Update (2016-12-21): Joe Rossignol:

LG’s new UltraFine 5K Display is now available for purchase for $974 on Apple’s website in the United States, with orders initially estimated to ship in 3-5 business days but quickly slipping to 2-4 weeks.

Apple has extended its $974 sale price for the display until March 31, 2017, when the price will return to $1,299.95. The discount was previously set to expire on December 31, but it was likely extended due to the display’s lack of availability until late into the month. Apple’s discount on USB-C adapters is similarly extended.

User Automation Blog

Sal Soghoian (tweet):

This website is dedicated to informing individuals about the tools at their disposal that can be used by them to control the devices they engage with and rely upon every day. I hope you find this information useful.

Alas, there is no RSS feed.

Previously: Thank You, Sal.