Archive for July 12, 2018

Thursday, July 12, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Apple Discontinues Its Own Photo Printing Service

Benjamin Mayo (via Steve Troughton-Smith, MacRumors):

Apple is discontinuing its Photo Print Products service, which has been integrated into iPhoto since its launch in 2002. The service expanded from simple prints, to albums, photo books, and calendars. It stayed around on the Mac when iPhoto was replaced with the Photos app a couple of years ago, but the service never made the leap to iOS.

[…]

Apple’s recommendation is that customers download a third-party app that includes a Photos Projects extension. This API was introduced in High Sierra, and allows photo services to integrate photo printing UI inside the Apple Photos app. Payment processing and printing is all handled by the third-party.

This is sad news. Even though I use Lightroom, I would import my photos into Photos in order to make prints and books. Though not as easy to use as iPhoto, in my opinion, it still provided a much better interface than the Web-based services, and I found Apple’s print products to be consistently high quality and more reliable. With Shutterfly, we had to get one book redone three times because the printer kept messing up. This, combined with the poor Mac App Store reviews for the third-party projects extensions, does not make me optimistic.

Update (2018-07-12): Cory Birdsong:

This is a major bummer. Look at what the Wirecutter had to say about it less than a year ago[…]

If you have a Mac, don’t bother with Shutterfly. Apple’s own Photo Books service makes a better photo book with brighter images and more handsome layouts. If you’ve ever used the Photos app before, you’ll find the software familiar and easy to use—Apple also offers a detailed tutorial if you need help. Plus, unlike any of the other services, the colors will print on the page how they looked on your screen, including the cover. A master printer and Wirecutter’s photo and design editors all fawned over the Apple photo book for its spot-on colors, gorgeous layouts, and small design elements, such as page numbers, panoramic spreads, and a dust jacket that matches the cover.

Our Apple book was delivered in immaculate condition in an elegant, plastic-wrapped white cardboard box that was neatly shipped inside another sturdy cardboard box. We also appreciate that Apple doesn’t make you play the coupon game to get a good price. A full-price Apple photo book will cost the same as, or less than, a Shutterfly book with a good coupon. We can’t recommend it as the best service for most people because you can only use the software on Apple computers. But for anyone who does use a Mac, it’s the best and cheapest photo book service available.

MacBook Pro 2018

Apple (Hacker News, MacRumors, 9to5Mac):

The new MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar feature 8th-generation Intel Core processors, with 6-core on the 15-inch model for up to 70 percent faster performance and quad-core on the 13-inch model for up to two times faster performance — ideal for manipulating large data sets, performing complex simulations, creating multi-track audio projects or doing advanced image processing or film editing.

Already the most popular notebook for developers around the world, the new MacBook Pro can compile code faster and run multiple virtual machines and test environments easier than before. Additional updates include support for up to 32GB of memory, a True Tone display and an improved third-generation keyboard for quieter typing.

If this is what Apple had announced in 2016, I would have immediately upgraded my MacBook Pro, even though I’m not happy about the Touch Bar, the ports, or some other details. However, now that I’ve switched to an iMac for my main Mac, I don’t see much reason to get one of these, especially given the continued uncertainty about the keyboard. If I had to get a new one today, it would be tempting to get the 13-inch without the Touch Bar, but it doesn’t support 32 GB of RAM and was not even updated this time.

In any case, it’s great to see Apple bump the specs at the high end and add features like the T2 and True Tone, rather than holding those back for the next physical redesign.

Dieter Bohn:

In both cases, the battery capacity has been increased to compensate for the extra power draw from the new processors and RAM. Apparently, the bigger batteries and the thirstier chips will end up canceling each other out. Apple says that it’s not changing its battery life estimates for these machines.

[…]

We got only minutes (and no more) to interact with the new hardware. So at best, I can tell you that the keyboard does seem quite a bit less clacky than current MacBooks, though key travel is the same.

That’s all for the good, but it’s not what people are worried about. Instead, it’s just hard to trust a keyboard after so many reports that it can be rendered inoperable by a grain of sand and that is incredibly difficult and expensive to repair or replace. This new third-generation keyboard wasn’t designed to solve those issues, Apple says. In fact, company representatives strenuously insisted that the keyboard issues have only affected a tiny, tiny fraction of its user base.

Benjamin Mayo:

In writing the 2018 MacBBok Pro story, my butterfly keys decided to bbreak and repeat the letter ‘b’ twice every time I hit it. You can imagine how annoying that is for a story about Macbbbooks.

Shane Vitarana:

100% of MBP owners I know have. this issue. Either Apple is lying, has false data, or the. issue is usage based.

Rene Ritchie:

The 15-inch, by contrast, is all about power. So, it has Radeon Pro discrete graphics with 4GB of video memory (on all configurations) and a hexa (6) core processor, with options for i7 and Core i9 processors up to 2.9 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.8 GHz.

That makes it up to 70% faster, something environmental photographer Daniel Beltra said was notable to him.

[…]

Apple T2 replaces the T1 chip from the previous generation models. In addition to taking over the Touch ID, Apple Pay, and other Secure Enclave tasks, they also handle realtime encryption, secure boot, and a lot of the controller functions, just like on iMac Pro.

Juli Clover:

Base prices for the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models are unchanged from last year, with pricing on new 13-inch models starting at $1,799 and pricing on new 15-inch models starting at $2,399, but build-to-order customizations can tack on thousands of dollars.

The maximum stock $2,799 15-inch MacBook Pro ships with 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, a Radeon Pro 560X graphics card, and a 6-core 2.6GHz Core i7 processor, but with upgrades, an ultimate machine with top-of-the-line components costs $6,699.

[…]

If you skip out on the SSD upgrades in the new machines, you can get a 15-inch MacBook Pro with maximum RAM and the best processor for $3,499, or a 13-inch model for $2,499, which is just a few hundred dollars more expensive than similar upgrades cost last year rather than a few thousand.

Leah Culver:

I was lucky enough to get to try out a new MacBook Pro for the past week (thanks !). I used it as my primary development computer. AMA.

Joe Rossignol:

Apple has confirmed that its new 2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models feature support for hands-free “Hey Siri.”

Jason Snell:

It took Apple 13 months between updates this time, but it seems clear now that Apple is committed to an annual update cycle for the MacBook Pro that takes into account the latest high-performance laptop chips from Intel.

Previously: New MacBook Pros and the State of the Mac, Unreliable MacBook Pro Keyboards, Apple Launches Keyboard Repair Program for MacBook and MacBook Pro.

Joe Rossignol:

Apple has stopped selling the sole 2015 MacBook Pro that remained available for purchase on its online store, marking the end of an era for the notebook.

Ryan Jones:

Here’s the strange thing…this is peak “back to school” season, yet the MacBook Airs, MacBook, and low end Pros remain the same. And the cheaper old 15” was removed.

Previously: The Best Laptop Ever Made.

Jeff Johnson:

Unfortunately, Apple no longer makes 17-inch screens for laptops. Worse, Apple no longer makes matte screens for any Mac! Four years after buying my current MacBook Pro, the glossy screen still bothers me all the time. The reflections are very distracting. I want to see what’s in front of me on my screen, not what’s behind me. You can’t magically avoid light and reflections just because you have a laptop.

Update (2018-07-13): John Gruber:

Maybe, as Apple says, the only problem they sought out to solve was the noise. But, if they also sought out to improve the reliability of the keyboards — to fix the problem where keys get stuck, among other problems — I think they would only admit to fixing the noise problem. Marketing-wise, I don’t think they would admit to a reliability problem in the existing butterfly keyboards (especially since they’re still selling second-generation keyboards in all non-TouchBar models), and legal-wise (given the fact that they’re facing multiple lawsuits regarding keyboard reliability) I don’t think they should admit to it. So whether they’ve attempted to address reliability problems along with the noise or not, I think they’d say the exact same thing today: only that they’ve made the keyboards quieter.

Lloyd Chambers:

For the first time ever, the MacBook Pro really looks like a pro machine. The key factors are the 6-core CPU, the 32GB memory option, P3 gamut display, and 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports. I wish I could pay to remove the touchbar, but we cannot have everything.

Joe Rossignol:

As with any new product launch, there is a wealth of information to sift through, so we’ve created a list of key takeaways about the 2018 MacBook Pro lineup, particularly as it compares to the 2017 MacBook Pro lineup.

Update (2018-07-14): Paul Haddad:

Fun fact: The high end 13” 2018 MBP is faster than the high end 2017 15”.

Colin Cornaby:

In a lot of ways (except for the GPU), the new MacBook Pro is a better system than the iMac non-Pro, which is shocking. Six cores vs four on the iMac. Much faster storage.

The MacBook Pro has a lot more in common with the iMac Pro than the iMac.

Mark Spoonauer (tweet, MacRumors, Steve Troughton-Smith):

I had to do a double take when I saw how quickly the new 13-inch MacBook Pro duplicated 4.9GB worth of data. It took 2 seconds, which comes out to a rate of 2,519 megabytes per second. That’s insane.

So we also ran the BlackMagic Disk Speed test for macOS, and the system returned an average write speed of 2,682 MBps.

I’m seeing conflicting reports about whether one or both of these results is invalid due to APFS cloning preventing the file data from actually being copied.

Juli Clover:

The keys of the new 2018 MacBook Pro, which uses a third-generation butterfly keyboard, appear to be cocooned in a “thin, silicone barrier” according to a teardown that’s underway over at iFixit.

According to iFixit, the quieter typing Apple has been advertising in the 2018 MacBook Pro models is a side effect of the new membrane, which the site believes is actually an “ingress-proofing measure” to prevent the butterfly keys from seizing up when exposed to dust and other small particulates.

See also: Stephen Hackett.

Update (2018-07-16): Wojtek Pietrusiewicz (tweet):

The late 2016 MacBook Pro models introduced flash storage capable of reaching 3.2 GB/s read speeds. For some odd reason, Laptop Mag discovered this fact only after testing the mid 2018 models[…]

[…]

I really tried to get used to the Touch Bar, having experienced it on the late 2016 Touch Bar MacBook Pros for a month before I gave up on it.

Steven Frank:

i9 MBP Geekbench: 5324/22589 ($3099 base, $3899 with 32/1TB); iMac Pro 10-core: 5263/35205 ($5799 with 32/1TB) Kinda wild? (of course you also have to figure GPU, screen size, and keyboard (lol))

But I guess if I have to buy an un-upgradeable computer, I’ll take the one that’s almost as good for $2,000+ less and not throw out my back taking it to the store when it breaks.

tipoo:

Even more wild when you compare it to the iMac. Should get a bump soon, otherwise 6 cores on their laptop are faster than the 4 on their desktop.

Joe Rossignol:

When asked if Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers will be permitted to replace second-generation keyboards on 2016 and 2017 MacBook Pro models with the new third-generation keyboards, if necessary, Apple said, no, the third-generation keyboards are exclusive to the 2018 MacBook Pro.

Update (2018-07-17): See also: Accidental Tech Podcast.

Michael Margolis:

Looking closer at 2018 MBPs.

CPU: Mobile 6-core i9 is impressive. It’s 80% as fast as a desktop class 6-core i7 8700k.

GPU, however, is another story. GeekBench OpenCL score is 1/4 the speed of a desktop GTX 1080 Ti.

GeekBench OpenCL scores

2018 MacBook Pro 15": 56,361
Desktop GTX 1050: 72,702
2017 Surface Book Pro 2 15": 102,248
Blackmagic eGPU (radeon pro 580): 107,901
2018 Razer Blade 15": 145,782
GTX 1060: 126,977
Desktop GTX 1080 Ti: 222,808
Desktop Titan V: 362,782

Tom Nelson:

Sharp-eyed readers may notice that the 2017 models of the 15-inch MacBook Pro had slightly faster base processor speeds, clocking in at 2.8 GHz and 2.9 GHz. But the earlier generation i7 Kaby Lake processors had smaller level 3 caches, two fewer cores, and slower memory architecture than what is present in the new Coffee Lake models.

With the processor and memory architecture upgrades in the new 2018 MacBook Pro, Apple claims a 70 percent increase in performance.

iFixit (Hacker News):

Grab your best tinkering tools and let’s dig in—we’re tearing down the 13” MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, 2018 edition.

Joe Rossignol:

2018 MacBook Pro models feature the biggest yearly CPU performance gains since 2011, according to Geekbench founder John Poole.

Stefan Constantine:

Someone bought the expensive Core i9 MacBook Pro and found out that when put under load, it underclocks itself due to poor cooling.

scott:

It’s slower than the 2017 i7 under load.