Friday, June 15, 2018

On the Sad State of Macintosh Hardware

Quentin Carnicelli (tweet, Hacker News, John Siracusa, MacRumors):

The inevitable march of technology means Mojave won’t install on all of our older hardware. There’s no shock there, but the situation is rather distressing when it comes to spending money to purchase new equipment. Here is the situation, as reported by the wonderful MacRumor’s Buyers Guide[…]

At the time of the writing, with the exception of the $5,000 iMac Pro, no Macintosh has been updated at all in the past year.


It’s very difficult to recommend much from the current crop of Macs to customers, and that’s deeply worrisome to us, as a Mac-based software company. For our own internal needs, we’ve wound up purchasing used hardware for testing, rather than opting to compromise heavily on a new machine. That isn’t good for Apple, nor is it what we want.

Rogue Amoeba:

We really didn’t think of it as especially gutsy or brave, because a stagnant Mac lineup is an existential threat to our company. We only hope this penetrates Apple’s bubble.

Sebastiaan de With:

I wrote this a year ago, hopeful that Apple would truly put more effort into the Mac.

It didn’t happen. I’m so stupefied as to why a company so big, ambitious and wealthy can’t maintain the Mac. Heartbreaking seeing so many creatives leave the platform.

John Gruber (tweet):

I’d really love to see Apple get Mac hardware on a roughly annual schedule, even if most years they’re just speed bumps, like they were a decade ago.

Nick Heer:

What is the acceptable shelf life of a Mac? How old can a model be before it becomes uncouth to sell it as new? I remember when Macs used to get regular, approximately-annual spec bumps. It wasn’t that long ago — maybe five years or so. Has something changed since 2013 that seemingly makes difficult for the Mac to be updated more frequently?

When Apple launched the 2016 MacBook Pro models — the first models with the Touch Bar — members of their executive team spoke with Shara Tibken and Connie Guglielmo of CNet. Schiller mentioned that the new models took a while to be launched because they “didn’t want to just create a speed bump on the MacBook Pro”. I hope that’s not their attitude across the product line. People love spec bumps; it helps customers know that they’re getting the newest model they can, and reassures them that it will last longer.

Michael Rockwell:

It feels like the folks at Apple believe that they need to introduce brand new features and top-down redesigns every time they update a Mac. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Minor updates to the internal components every 6-12 months is all we really need — just enough to keep us from feeling like we’re getting ripped off when we go to buy something in the lineup.

Nick Heer:

At what point does it become disingenuous to mark a product as “new”? The iMac was last updated over a year ago, as far as I can tell.

John Gruber (tweet, Hacker News):

But the striking thing to me is just how much smaller the Intel NUC is. It’s only a little bit bigger than an Apple TV. Calling the Mac Mini “mini” is absurd in 2018.

Previously: New Mac Pro Won’t Arrive Until 2019, Mac mini Turning 3.5 Years Old, How Apple Alienated Mac Loyalists, Understanding Apple’s Marginalization of the Mac.

Update (2018-06-16): Bob Burrough:

Phil Schiller says using a 5 year old computer is sad, while other Apple executives look on and laugh.

Update (2018-06-18): Tony Arnold:

The fact I (a die hard Apple fan since the Apple II) even considered a Hackintosh, let alone spent money to build one should give Apple’s management some idea of how bad their maintenance and stewardship of the Mac hardware platform really is.

21 Comments RSS · Twitter

I remember the "good old days" when it was typical for me to upgrade my Mac every 1-3 years because there was so often a very compelling reason to do so. However, my main machine is now a 2014 MBP that I got in summer 2017 and I fail to see what a newer MBP would really get me besides fewer ports and more headaches (this 2.5 Ghz i7 seems plenty fast). Before that, it was a 2.53 Ghz Core 2 Duo mid-2009 MBP... which I would probably still be using had I not gotten a hell of a deal on this used (but pristine) high-end 2014 MBP last year. But the only reason that the 2009 MBP is still alive and well is because I was able to replace the HDD with an SSD, and replaced the battery for $40 when it died. Can't do any of that with the newer MBPs. And I know my situation is not unique. Does anyone, anyone, actually truly like every aspect of the newest Macs?

Hell, I still wish my iPhone had a headphone jack. I'd easily give up an imperceptible amount of battery life to get the jack back. It's been nothing but a pain in the ass every time I go somewhere and forget the adapter. Or the MANY times I need to both charge my phone and listen to headphones. Yeah, I have some nice bluetooth cans, but I'm not yet sold on bluetooth earbuds... they all seem to require constant charging due to tiny batteries. This shit is just way too complicated now, for what? It was so easy when there was a headphone jack.

Rob Russell

Recall Phill Schiller "can't innovate, my ass" - or words to that effect.

Occasionally they can.

And they can also sit back on their ass and milk their products.

In other news, I've had three previously hard-core mac clients this year adopt Microsoft Surfaces in place of laptops or iPads.


You have to wonder.


Posted on MacRummors

It's about time the Mac users community stood up and told Mr. Tim Cook his Apple computers stink. I have been an Apple Mac platform user since they first came out with the home computer back in 1979. My first Apple was the Apple II that was actually an Apple I with 8k of memory and no ROM auto-start and the old 6502 machine running DOS or a version of it. It was exciting to use this new technology and had the love and craving to want to explore what makes it work. However they have killed that creative feeling off with their crappy marketing of endless useless apps. I don't know how again Apple Board without a visionary the likes of Steven Jobs ends up failing. Tim Cook is just another billionaire focused totally on Stock price not the products except for the iphone and iOS thinking that all anyone wants today. Their companies decision to close off the computers to end users is total crap and they deliberately engineer or lack of good engineering build these system to prevent any and all end users allowed to change out parts for third party and they do so by making it near impossible to gain access even to install a new HD the end user risk damaging his equipment and or void their subsidized warranty. These days it takes a Class Action Lawsuit to get Apple to stop some of their protectionist practices. This will harm their user base eventually and diminished the platform. Is Apples ability to create and invent become so stale that they need to prevent end users from opening their systems and seeing what's inside. I currently have an Apple iMac 27 2011 machine I paid 3000 for install 32 gigs of ram and changed out the HD for a larger 2 terabyte. But it came at a cost since opening up the machine case and seeing how pathetic it is to just swap out a HD the flat ribbon cables that if you sneeze when removing they you risk damage. When I went to an Apple store to see the existing line of computer I became depressed and told the sales women what I though. See responded back by saying that " People today don't care about upgrading they just want a machine that Surfs the Web". I just shook my head.

There's actually a similar issue with the iPhone. It's very difficult to recommend an iPhone (that Apple currently sells) to someone who just needs a smartphone that can make calls, runs google maps and receive e-mails, messages when a iPhone SE 32 GB is that expensive, considering it's obsolete.

Can't you run Mac OS in a virtual machine these days? I mean if it's possible to get it running on a non Mac, virtual machine can't be that hard, right? Keep a real Mac around to get copies of the installer, then set up virtual machines on a nice Windows or Linux box for Mac development? Maybe it's time A-tier Mac developers should take a look at other platforms? I'd love some of these fantastic Mac apps to come over to other platforms. Not joking.

Gruber is right, the NUC is a pretty dang small system. I am rocking an older Ivy Bridge model as a home server. Reasonably serviceable too. It's strange Apple can't do something better with the Mac mini. The one nice thing about the Mac mini? Integrated power supply. Otherwise, meh.

@Nathan, you can't legally virtualize MacOS on anything other than Mac hardware.

Chris Snazell

When I bought my Macbook Pro in 2013 I had to spend about £250 in extras to put back everything Apple had removed to shave a few millimetres off the device's thickness. If I were to buy a new Macbook Pro today I'd have to spend £600 in extras to maintain the same hardware configuration.

The days when you'd get a decent Mac for the price you paid are long gone. Cook-era Apple's all about gouging their customer base under the smoke screen of "design".

Wasn't the whole point of the MacBook Air to be the "laptop for people who don't need ports" ???

So why has this mentality now over taken the MacBook PRO line?

"It's absolutely vital for my MBP to be 3 ounces lighter, even if it means removing ports and making the keyboard crappier." ... said no Pro user ever. Not to mention that the weight of just 2 adapters will be MORE than the total weight of ALL of the ports that were removed. It really makes no sense whatsoever.

"Phil Schiller says using a 5 year old computer is sad, while other Apple executives look on and laugh."

I totally thought this was going to be some kind of joke! Reality is strange...

Funny how he makes the observation that Windows was developed "before the Internet" (NOPE) and "before social media" (NOPE -- ever heard of BBS?)... plus how much code in Windows 10 is actually from Windows 3.x? Is this any different than Mac OS X (and thus, iOS?) having its roots in NextStep, which was also developed in the late 80s?

Apple's hubris is what's sad.

“...says using a 5 year old computer is sad, while other Apple executives look on and laugh.”
This tells me what I need to know about this company.

It's sad that a company and products we once loved (under Jobs) has turned into a company and products (especially the latter) which are universally derided and constantly disappoint. Apple seem to have become fat & lazy and it will eventually catch up with them. Has to.

Why can almost every other computer company (Del, HP, Lenovo etc) push out multiple updates per year, new form factors, updated CPU/GPU etc, whilst Apple just sit on their big pile of cash and give everyone the finger?

>It's strange Apple can't do something better with the Mac mini.

They of course _could_, but they _don't_. One can only wonder as to the motives. But it's telling all the same.

Since the IIgs, I've only ever owned Apple computers, but if my trash can were to die now, I'm not sure what I'd replace it with. :(

>Phil Schiller says using a 5 year old computer is sad, while other Apple executives look on and laugh.

BTW, he said this to point out a potential market of people who might be interested in buying an iPad. Unfortunately, a 5-years-old Windows PC is a much better computer than any iPad Apple has yet released.

Yes, very true, but so is running OS X on non Mac hardware. Since Jason Snell has already done this, I don't think the end user license agreement is being adhered to in these discussions. Also, legal, in civil court, is what you will pay to prove. This isn't a legal question as far as criminal. Just to clarify for any random people coming across the discussion via Internet searches.

EULA discussions can get weird and will definitely vary on market.

Yep that was correct. It was an observation used to push for more iPad sales. I agree, lot of things to like about the iPad, but I'm not sure it quite replaces a computer for most people. I know, I know, it could, Apple marketing says it is possible, but man, it sure is taking its sweet time to flesh out all these computing features on large screen iOS devices.

Adrian Bengtson

"…and products (especially the latter) which are universally derided and constantly disappoint."

If you talk about Macs yes indeed, so many bad decisions and production issues and what not.

But it's not true for every Apple product. Whatever team inside Apple that created Air Pods did really well and customers love them. Apple Watch users are generally happy as far as I know and even the expensive iPhone X seems to have a solid "customer sat" as Cook loves to say. And that sort of makes it even more sad that they can't get Macs right (and/or don't care about them).

A hackintosh provides what Apple has refused to offer for over 8 years and counting: An up-to-date, upgradable tower. Oh, and a discrete GPU option that doesn't cost an exorbitant amount of money. So far, between the two hackintoshes I've built over the past six years, I've had fewer hardware problems with them than any of my real Macs.

Earlier this year I put together a Haswell-based system with $400 and some existing parts I had (including an Nvidia GTX 1060 I got before the cryptocurrency craze). This system runs circles around most Macs that Apple currently sells, and will likely continue to run circles around most Macs that Apple will sell for the next 5-10 years. My guess is it'll be over a decade before $800 at the Apple Store will buy me the same performance I have right now for that same net investment, and my hackintosh is already has parts in it that are 2 – 4 years old.

Another benefit is I can put more than one drive inside, using a $2 SATA cable (instead of a $90+ thunderbolt box), so I can also boot into Windows to play a game or do VR development. And because I can use my own drive, I got a 1TB SSD for $250, instead of the $700 upgrade that Apple charges.

This computer currently meets my needs in ways that no currently-shipping Mac can, which is sad because I'm just a random person buying generic PC parts off the shelf, and Apple is the company with hundreds of billions of dollars at its disposal.

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