Archive for November 8, 2018

Thursday, November 8, 2018

BBEdit 12.5

Bare Bones Software:

There is a new command on the “Go” menu: “Commands…”. This brings up a modal panel which lists everything that you can do from a menu in BBEdit: menu commands, clippings, scripts, stationery, text filters, as well as open text documents and recent files.

This is a great way to quickly access commands from the keyboard without having to assign and remember obscure keyboard shortcuts.

Multi-File Search results windows now get a “reload” button, which you can use to repeat the search using the same settings.


The Multi-File Search window provides the ability to filter files and folders separately. In this way, you can include only those folders that you explicitly wish to search.


There’s a new command on the View menu: “Merge Windows”. When a non-project editing window is active, this command will collect the open documents from all other non-project editing windows that are open behind it, and will then close those other windows.


There is a GUI editor for color schemes. If you drop a .bbcolors or .bbColorScheme file on the application, a color scheme document window will open for that scheme. You can make changes to the colors, similar to the fashion in which the “Text Colors” preferences does it.


A simple Swift language module is now included with the application.

This is perhaps underselling it. I’ve been using the Swift language module for a while now (replacing my CLM) and am very happy with it.

“We are still hard at work on bringing BBEdit back to the Mac App Store,” explained Rich Siegel, founder and CEO of Bare Bones Software, Inc. “Rest assured: as soon as we have news, we will let everyone know.”

Previously: Mac App Store Sandboxing, IAP Trials, Multiplatform Services.

MacBook Air 2018

Tom Warren:

Apple’s MacBook Air from 10 years ago signaled a new era for laptops, but the company’s latest refresh, unveiled earlier this week, shows how the competition has caught up.

Dieter Bohn:

When I started testing the new MacBook Air, I spent a lot of time thinking about what I should compare it to. For $100 more, you could get a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a more powerful processor and brighter screen that only weighs 0.27 pounds more. You could also opt for a 12-inch MacBook with a slightly less powerful processor that weighs 0.72 pounds less. You wouldn’t get Touch ID with either, but the point is that choosing between this new Air and existing MacBooks is not as easy as it ought to be.


There is one knock on the screen, though: it doesn’t get as bright as I would like. The spec on it is a max of 300 nits, but the important thing to know is you’ll be cranking up the brightness to near 100 percent more often. I haven’t had a problem viewing this screen, even in bright rooms, but I do have a vague worry that it’s affecting my battery life to have it cranked up higher.


This laptop feels a lot nicer than the old MacBook Air. It fits the same size screen in a smaller body, but it’s not as thin or as light as the thinnest and lightest of laptops you can get today. When the first Air came out, it amazed everybody. This one, though very well-built, does not stand out from the pack when it comes to size or weight.


So let me just bottom line it: this new MacBook Air is faster than the old MacBook Air, but not by the kind of margin you’d expect after three years (or even one, if you happened to buy the 2017 model).

John Gruber (tweet):

Apple is not going to throw Intel under the bus — they’re taking an “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” approach, as they should. Macs are Apple’s products, not Intel’s, and it’s ultimately Apple’s responsibility that both of these products went so long between updates. But Apple’s frustration with Intel as a partner is palpable at this point. Look no further than the other product introduced at the same event, the new iPad Pro. Apple spent an entire segment talking about the A12X chip in the iPad Pro and the performance it delivers. They spent almost no time talking about the performance of the CPU or GPU in the new MacBook Air. Performance is actually pretty good for the price and for the intended audience of the MacBook Air — but only when compared against other Intel-based notebooks. When compared against the iPad Pro, it doesn’t look good at all.


Behind the scenes last week in New York, I asked a few folks from Apple for any sort of hint why these two Macs — the MacBook Air and Mac Mini — went so long between updates. One thing I was told is that Apple wants to focus on “meaningful updates”. The days of “speed bump” updates are largely over. The value just isn’t there.


There’s only one CPU option for the new MacBook Air: “1.6GHz dual‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i5 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz”. There are no build-to-order CPU options. I could be wrong, but off the top of my head, I think this is a first for a Mac notebook in the Intel era.

He seems to think that the keyboard is fixed.

Chance Miller:

In terms of comparison to the mid-2017 MacBook Air, which features a 5th-generation dual-core Intel Core i5 processor at 1.8GHz, the 2018 Retina MacBook is roughly 27 percent faster in single-core and 28 percent faster in multi-core.

Meanwhile, the MacBook Air offers similar performance improvements compared to the base model 12-inch MacBook, with a 20 percent improvement in single-core and a 17 percent increase in multi-core.


Last but not least, the MacBook Air is blown out of the water by the 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro, which scores a 16464 in multi-score testing, more than double the Air. Single-core testing is closer, with the Pro scoring 4504.

Owen Williams:

The choice of an Intel Y-Class processor in the 2018 MacBook Air is genuinely baffling. You spend thousands of dollars to get a new laptop and basically get the same performance as three years ago with a better screen.

Wojtek Pietrusiewicz:

I’m still waiting for a 15 W TDP quad-core MacBook, be it a MacBook Air or refreshed MacBook Pro Escape. There’s currently a hole in the line-up and it feels that it’s there so as not to cannibalize MacBook Pro sales — the Air has a 7 W CPU, the Pros have 28 W parts, and the 2017 Escape has dual-core 15 W processors. Where are the quad-core 15 W TDP Intel Core i5s and Core i7s?

Joe Rossignol:

In all other MacBook and MacBook Pro models with a Retina display released since 2012, when a customer has required a battery replacement, Apple has replaced the entire top case enclosure, including the keyboard and trackpad. This is because the battery is glued into the top case in Mac notebooks with Retina displays.

The battery in the new MacBook Air is still glued into the top case, the aluminum enclosure that houses the keyboard and trackpad, but Apple will be providing Genius Bars and Apple Authorized Service Providers with tools to remove the battery and reinstall a new one with no top case replacement required.

Previously: October 2018 Apple Event.

Update (2018-11-12): Michael Potuck:

iFixit is out with its Retina MacBook Air teardown. While there are some notable repairability improvements, Apple’s latest notebook got its lowest marks for non-serviceable, non-replaceable RAM and storage. However, overall, it scored higher than the 2018 MacBook Pro and the 2017 MacBook.

Here’s the iFixit report.

John Gruber:

The bit about performance-per-watt (around the 2:50 mark) seems like an argument Apple will be making again, this year or next, when they announce Macs running with Apple’s in-house ARM chips.

Tom Warren:

Inside the new MacBook Air vs. Surface Pro 6. It’s still impressive Microsoft manages to squeeze quad-core U series into a tablet without a fan, while Apple has dual-core Y series with a fan

See also: Hacker News, Apple (MacRumors).

Update (2018-11-16): Juli Clover:

We went hands-on with the MacBook Air last week, and this week, we picked up an older MacBook Air to compare the new model to see just what’s different and whether it’s still worth buying the old version, which sells for $200 less than the current model.

Rob Griffiths:

I was quite impressed by the Air’s benchmark results: Using a CPU with much lower power draw, it held its own against older but arguably more-powerful chips—besting the 2012 Air by a lot, and slightly outperforming the 2013 MacBook Pro. In the disk and graphics areas, there was no comparison: The new Air has a wicked-fast solid state drive, and (at least after the supplemental update) the graphics chipset is notably faster, too.

Things are even more impressive if you consider performance per watt.

Jason Snell:

This feels like the future of the Mac, certainly on the consumer end of the product line. With the new MacBook Air, Apple has picked a processor and stuck with it. Would any of us be surprised if it did the same with a future update to the MacBook? Or low-end iMacs?


What does shopping for a Mac look like if all you can choose is how much storage and how big your display is? A lot like shopping for an iPad. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially when you consider that Apple is currently making six different laptop models.

Update (2018-11-19): Paul Haddad:

I’ve watched/read a number of MacBook Air reviews, still haven’t seen a good explanation of why anyone would get one vs the 13” MBP.

Marco Arment:

It feels nicer, it runs cooler, it has better battery life, it costs less, and it weighs less.


Oh yeah. Touch ID, and the cool stuff in the T2.

Miles Wolbe:

Last chance to buy a proper MacBook

Update (2018-11-21): Josh Ginter:

I regularly experienced phantom taps on my MacBook Pro due to my thumb resting on the corner of the trackpad while typing. That same part of my thumb doesn’t rest on the left side of the trackpad on the MacBook Air, but there is significant overlap of my right thumb and the trackpad. So far, I haven’t had too many phantom taps, but I do recommend turning off “Tap to Click” in the settings if a) you’re used to actually clicking the trackpad and b) if you experience these random clicks like I do.


Regarding reviews saying the MBA spins up the fan a lot, I have a strong feeling it’s also because of this setup. There’s no heatpipe going from the CPU to behind the fans airstream, the fan is just pushing air out and creating negative air pressure inwards, no direct cooling.

Update (2018-11-26): Nick Heer:

When these Macs are all specced with 256 GB of storage, a different pricing picture begins to emerge[…]


Instead, by starting the MacBook Air with a 128 GB drive, Apple has priced it to fit its status as the default consumer Mac portable to buy. A 128 GB drive is probably enough for a bare minimum user who relies upon Apple Music and offloads their iCloud Photo Library. It’s a little dicey, I think — we all know how easily a hard drive can fill up in unexpected ways, like if Mail downloads a decade’s worth of email — but there are ways to manage that. I really do think 256 GB ought to be the baseline, but a good enough argument can be made for 128 in the Air.

See also: Mac Power Users.

Update (2018-11-28): David Sobotta:

My last ten years at Apple also coincided with Apple’s last efforts to be price competitive. Many of those years Apple lived by the mantra that each year they should introduce new products at the same price point but with more features and power. Without giving away the rest of my story, I can still say that I am not alone in saying that those days of Apple attempting to be competitively priced are long gone.


My biggest surprise has been how well minor photo image editing and resizing works on the Pixelbook.

Did the MacBook Air have a chance? If the new MacBook Air had been priced at $999 instead of $1,199, I would have looked at it seriously.

See also: Hacker News.

Update (2019-01-07): Juli Clover:

When comparing the new MacBook Air and the older 2015 MacBook Air, however, we found a more noticeable difference in quality. The FaceTime HD camera in the 2015 MacBook Air is a bit clearer and brighter, with the 2018 MacBook Air's camera letting in less light and producing an overall grainier, less clear result.


2018 MacBook Air owners are disappointed, and honestly, MacBook Pro owners should be too. 720p looks awful and it is outdated technology. Apple implemented a better 1080p FaceTime HD camera in the iMac Pro, and the quality is much better.

Update (2019-01-09): Kuba Suder:

So, this is awkward… but I returned that new MacBook Air I was so excited about (yup, after 2 months, trololo ). I love the shape, the CPU isn’t bad, but the screen is so much worse than Pro’s. I’d say it isn’t even strictly better than old Air’s… (I got a 13” Pro instead)

Kuba Suder:

If you’re curious, I ran some “real life” benchmarks on these two + my older Macs (yes, I know, I’m not normal and need to get a job/life). I wouldn’t get the MBA for everyday all-day Xcode work, but for a mix of TextMate/terminal/light Xcode/Safari it’d probably be fine…

Update (2019-02-04): Robert Nyman:

I helped setting up a new MacBook Air for someone yesterday, and was quite surprised and sad to see how buggy it was. At one point the touchpad stopped working, and needed an OS reboot.

And App Store is a complete mess, where sign in and updates would constantly bug in 100 ways

When a Mac works, it and the OS is fantastic. But there seems to be a lot of QA missing as of lately.

Update (2019-02-12): Stephen Hackett:

The 2018 MacBook Air is a great computer. It’s what you should buy for your next home or office notebook, and it’s what parents should get for their kids headed off to college later this year. Apple finally has a new default notebook, and that is great news for Mac users. It’s just a shame that it costs a little too much, and comes with the additional costs of dongles and adaptors.

My wife and father both got 2018 MacBook Airs and really like the feel of the keyboard. They haven’t had any reliability problems with it so far.

Update (2019-02-27): Juli Clover:

In our latest video, we decided to pit the MacBook Air against Microsoft’s Surface Laptop 2 to determine which machine is the better value and the best buy.


Both laptops have a questionable port situation, with the MacBook Air limited to two USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports and Surface Laptop 2 featuring a USB-A port, a proprietary charging port, and, inexplicably, a Mini DisplayPort, an odd choice for a modern laptop. It has no USB-C ports, which is disappointing given that USB-C is the standard device and accessory makers alike are transitioning to.


The base model Surface Laptop 2 features a 1.6GHz 8th-Gen dual-core Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage all for $999, while the base 2018 MacBook Air, offering similar specifications with less storage -- a 1.6GHz 8th-Gen dual-core Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 128GB SSD -- is priced starting at $1,199.

However, the Surface’s processor is higher performance (and higher wattage).

Mac mini 2018

Jason Snell:

In the intervening 13 years, the Mac mini has become something different. As the one Mac without a built-in monitor that isn’t an expensive and large Mac Pro, it’s become a bit of a Swiss army knife, fitting as a tiny Internet or file server (I’ve had a Mac mini running in my house more or less constantly for more than a decade), running lights and audio in theaters and at rock concerts, and thousands of other small niches that are vitally important for the people who live in them.


Apple has witnessed how the Mac mini has gone from being the best Mac it could build for $499 to one that’s a vital tool for professional and home users in a variety of contexts. And so, after a long time in the wilderness, the Mac mini has at last been updated—the right way. The last time the Mac mini got updated, Apple took away the highest-end configurations. This time, the Mac mini has been built with those many niche uses in mind.


This update allows it to span a wide range from basic server needs all the way up to high-end applications that require a great deal of processor power, fast storage, ultra-fast networking, and even beyond (via Thunderbolt 3). The high-end configurations might actually provide enough power for people to consider them over buying the Mac Pro, whenever it comes out.

Marco Arment (video):

It’s the same size as the old one, which is the right tradeoff. I know zero Mac Mini owners who really need it to get smaller, and many who don’t want it to get fewer ports or worse performance.


The base price has increased to $800, and that’s not great. It’s partly justifiable because it’s much higher-end than before — the processors are much better, the architecture is higher-end and includes big advances like the T2, and all-SSD is standard — but it’s still an expensive product in absolute terms.


Geekbench results are very strong. The i7 Mac Mini scored better on single-core performance than every other Mac today (!) at 5912, and its multi-core score of nearly 24,740 beats every Mac to date except the iMac Pro and the old 12-core 2013 Mac Pro.


And since every T2 so far performs identically, all T2 machines — from the 2018 MacBook Air to the iMac Pro — encode HEVC this way at the same speed, and all in complete silence because they’re barely touching the CPU.

Rene Ritchie:

Tom Boger is Sr. Director of Mac Product Marketing at Apple. I had the pleasure of sitting down with him and talking about the past, present, and future of the Mac.

Wojtek Pietrusiewicz:

The new Mac Mini has an option to upgrade to 2 TB of flash storage. The upgrade from 128 GB costs 1600 USD. You can buy a faster Samsung 970 Evo M.2 drive for 500-600 USD — that’s around three times cheaper. The price difference between the two is even larger in Europe — Samsung’s M.2 drive is over four times cheaper in Poland, for example.

Kyle Bradbury:

New #apple #macmini ram upgrade notes:

1. Need a TR6 to remove antenna plate
2. Chassis needs to be removed from body
3. Memory is under a cage and the spring loaded arms are hiding under rubber covers
4. 8gb config came with 2x4gb SO-DIMMS

I’d recommend having an authorized service provider do this unless you are very comfortable with this sort of thing.

Brandon Geekabit:

How to take apart/disassemble the new late (November) 2018 Mac Mini, and looking at what we can upgrade. Only the RAM is user upgradable/serviceable in this generation Mac Mini.

See also: MacRumors.

Previously: October 2018 Apple Event.

Update (2018-11-12): Brian Stucki:

The documents for the new Mac mini were just released. Includes the Essentials, the Quick Start and the Info Guide. Also includes this picture of the Retina display that Apple should definitely make and sell.

Nick Heer:

The biggest downside to the new Mac Mini, to my eyes, is that there are simply no good Thunderbolt 5K displays out there. That market just doesn’t exist yet.

See also: Rich Stevens, Hacker News, Apple.

Update (2018-11-13): Paul Haddad:

Assuming best CPU, ignoring GPU. Mini significantly faster than any iMac (non Pro) and the MBP 13”, non noticeably faster than the 15”.

Update (2018-11-21): Paul Haddad:

It’s here.


Mini i7 vs Mac Pro 12 core @3.33 with NVMe boot

TB Mac Archive build:
53s vs 94s

TB iOS clean build + simulator startup/launch:
26s vs 43s

TB iOS 1 file recompile to simulator re-launch”
5.5s vs 7.5s

RIP Cheese Grater, you’ve served me well!

Update (2018-11-26): Peter Bright (via Andrew Grant):

The Mac mini does nothing out of the ordinary here. Thermal management seems good—I couldn’t provoke any serious thermal throttling issues—but the performance peak just isn’t as high as it would be with a desktop chip or a discrete GPU. SSD performance is good, though.


It’s the machine Apple is pushing for a range of usage scenarios, and while it might be the best fit for at least some of them, it’s never a great fit.

So, for example, Apple suggests using the Mac mini for build and render farms. If you’re writing software for macOS or iOS then fair enough; it’s the smallest Mac by far, so it’s probably the one to use in your build farm. But if you were designing a machine to go into a build farm, you probably wouldn’t come up with the Mac mini.


The Mac mini represents an enormous compromise. It’s rarely, if ever, going to be the best form factor for any given role. Hell, it doesn’t even have “cheap” going for it this time around, really: the 2014 version at launch had a base price of $499. The hike to $799 represents astonishingly bad value. Though spec-wise the new machine is unambiguously superior to the old one, it’s by no means a high-end machine. It simply scratches one crucial itch: you’re wedded somehow to the macOS ecosystem and need a computer.


It’s the Mac you buy when you know you need to buy a Mac… and you’ve already ruled out all the other systems Apple has on offer.

Update (2018-11-28): See also: Hacker News.

Update (2018-11-29): Colin Cornaby:

One theory on why Apple doesn’t seem to want to really redesign the Mac Mini: A lot of us users with a lot of Mac Minis have custom mounting or racking solutions. Messing with the form factor in the slightest could mess with that.

Update (2018-12-19): See also: Lloyd Chambers.

Update (2018-12-23): Lloyd Chambers:

Adobe has made progress in using CPU cores over the past several years, so this test shows that the 2018 Mac mini and its six CPU cores offer a substantial advantage of the 2017 iMac 5K with its 4 CPU cores.

Update (2019-01-28): Marcel Weiher:

Speaking of Mac Mini 2018: was having problems with my Apple Bluetooth Mouse and the new Mini. <search interwebs> Apparently, it’s a shielding problem with the outermost USB-A port, which was connected in my case. Rearranged to leave it empty, seems to have cured it. 🤦‍♂️

Update (2019-04-08): Lloyd Chambers:

Readers might remember that in my review of the 2018 Mac mini I noted some display syncing issues with NEC displays. While I’m no longer having issues and 10.14.4 seems to have helped (unclear if all issues resolved for all users), it seems that Thunderbolt 3 is flawed on the 2018 Mac mini.

Issue: bus-powered Thunderbolt 3 devices connected directly to the 2018 Mac mini spontaneously disconnect.

iPad Pro 2018

John Gruber:

The iPad Pro is like a computer from an alternate universe. In the normal universe, Moore’s Law has stopped delivering significant year-over-year returns, and high-performance portables need fans to cool them. In the iPad universe, Moore’s Law still delivers year after year, and a super-fast, genuinely “pro” portable needs no fan.


The new Apple Pencil is one of the best “2.0” products I’ve ever seen. The original Apple Pencil is a terrific product, but the new one nears perfection for the concept.


I’ve been using the 12.9-inch model for testing over the last five days. It’s a lot easier and more comfortable to hold. There have been times when I forgot I was using the “big” iPad.


iPad is not really a multi-user device, because unlike MacOS, iOS still doesn’t have any concept of user accounts. But I know that many people use iPads as shared family devices. iOS 12 limits you to two faces with Face ID — your default face and an “alternate appearance”.


The new Smart Keyboard Folio cover is a much better design than the old Smart Keyboard. As promised by Apple, it’s much sturdier and more stable. Apple is really serious about all these magnets. They work. The downside, though, is that it’s thicker on the device, because it covers the front and back. I think this trade-off is worth it.

Nilay Patel (tweet):

The overwhelming message was the iPad is more powerful, more capable, and more the future than any laptop — Apple’s own new MacBook Air included.

But computers are about more than just sales and processor specs: they’re about software. And the one thing Apple didn’t really change on the iPad Pro is iOS 12, which has all of the same capabilities and limitations iPad users have come to expect. Apple wants you to think that the iPad Pro is the future of computing, but if you’ve already used iOS 12 on an iPad Pro, you know exactly how you feel about that idea.


Apple keeps saying the iPad Pro now has an “all screen design” that “goes from edge to edge,” but let’s just be honest: nothing about these bezels is edge-to-edge. It is, however, an extremely nice 264ppi LCD screen, and I continue to be a fan of Apple’s fancy technique to round off the corners of LCDs.


But one extremely important category of devices will definitely not work: iOS does not support external storage. You can plug as many flash drives or hard drives as you want into the iPad Pro’s USB-C port, and nothing will happen. Apple says third parties can write apps to talk to external storage, but out of the box, this $1,899 tablet simply won’t talk to a flash drive.


There isn’t a single other tablet on the market that can compete with the raw hardware of the iPad Pro, and there aren’t many laptops that can either. But Apple’s approach to iOS is holding that hardware back in serious and meaningful ways, and while USB-C makes life with this new iPad Pro slightly easier, it still has the same basic capabilities and limitations of last year’s iPad Pro.

Matthew Panzarino:

One basic summary of the arena is that Microsoft has been working at making laptops into tablets, Apple has been working on making tablets into laptops and everyone else has been doing weird-ass shit.


Apple needs to unleash itself from the shackles of a unified iOS. They don’t have to feel exactly the same now, because the user base is not an infantile one. They’ve been weaned on it — now give them solid food.

Jeffrey Van Camp:

As a more traditional work PC, it sometimes struggles. In a pinch, the iPad Pro and its Smart Keyboard are usable. For example, I wrote this review on the Pro in Google Docs while also opening webpages on the right side of my screen, but it took me longer than normal to do research and collect links—and a good long while to figure out how to do other tasks. I wanted to use the normal web version of Docs, but I had to use the app. My office also uses a collaboration tool called Airtable that wouldn’t work in an iPad browser. It also tossed me to the app, which lacked key features. Attaching specific files was kind of a nightmare in the Gmail app, too. Some apps, like Spotify, don’t allow Split View multitasking (side-by-side viewing) at all yet. You have to use them full screen. Spreadsheets are also tougher (slower) to manipulate in the apps I’ve used.

I found solutions to all of these problems, and I’m sure I can keep finding creative solutions to make the iPad Pro work as a PC, but the hassles will keep coming. The iPad’s web browsers are still treated more like their less-capable smartphone counterparts, and the apps that are supposed to work in their place also sometimes lack desktop features. Part of this is the fault of developers, but Apple bears responsibility, as well.

It doesn’t feel like the world is ready to treat my iPad as an equal to a PC yet—even if that iPad is a lot more powerful and user friendly. Now that Apple has declared the iPad is a PC, it should take more of the guardrails off of iOS and strongly encourage developers to treat it like they do the Mac.

Matt Lee:

Brand new 12.9” iPad Pro. Faster than MacBooks and MacBook Pros. More powerful than 80% of notebooks. BUT, can’t access @AppleEDU’s own Apple School Manager website. #NeedRealSafari #PrettyPlease

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Just to make the iMac Pro people miserable: if you look at Geekbench’s LLVM component, the iPad Pro’s A12X handily outperforms the iMac Pro’s Xeon at compiling…

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Putting USB-C on the iPad has confused a lot of the tech press; TL;DR the capabilities are the same as the Lightning USB adapter, just with added 4K support. MFi is still a thing, app developers can’t write apps or drivers for USB devices, etc. Nothing, as yet, has changed

I remain unconvinced that the new iPad Pro actually drives a 5K display at 5K. There hasn’t been a straight answer from Apple on this yet, but I believe it’s 4K60 as the specs page suggests (upscaled to fill 5K by display). I’d love to be wrong & look forward to definitive answer

Marques Brownlee:

Been using this new iPad Pro for a couple days now and the review is coming soon. But bottom line - It’s ridiculously powerful to the point where it almost doesn’t matter because iOS is still iOS.

Best iPad by far. Still an iPad.

Colin Cornaby:

Hi going to repeat again that I still think an ARM version of macOS that has changes for touch should be what the iPad runs

Bob Burrough:

If you try to jam keyboard and mouse into iPad, just so you can say it replaced your computer, iPad is no longer designed for a specific scenario. It can be used in all scenarios...none of them considered. That’s not design. That’s anti-design.

Mark Gurman:

2015: “iPad Pro review: Big and powerful, but it won’t replace your laptop”
2016: “iPad Pro 9.7 review: Apple’s best tablet, but it won’t replace a laptop”
2017: “iOS 11 on an iPad Pro still won’t replace your laptop”
2018: “Nope, Apple’s new iPad Pro still isn’t a laptop”

Ben Bajarin:

It definitely isn’t a truck. But it is a car.

This is always the rub with more tech reviewers profiles in that they are people who need a truck, reviewing a car, with truck use cases in mind.

And probably never will.

What do you think about the idea that PC/Mac innovation has peaked but iOS/iPad still has room to grow up?

It only looks like it peaked out because Apple hasn’t been focusing on the Mac for the last 10 years or so.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

It was way easier to excuse the missing basics before iPads cost $2000 and had power outstripping the MBP. Even in iPad Pro’s own market segment, it’s the only product missing all of these things, like external storage support, desktop-class browsing, mouse input, etc

David Heinemeier Hansson:

I keep wanting to love the iPad for everything-but-programming, but even for RAW-based photography, the software still just isn’t there. So much performance, so little workflow.

Raymond Wong:

How fast is the new iPad Pro at exporting 3-min 4K vid to 1080p in Adobe Rush CC?

- 56% faster than 2017 iPad Pro
- 711% faster than iPad Air 2
- 115% faster than iPhone X
- 35% faster than iPhone XS
- 124% faster than 2015 MacBook
- 804% faster than 2017 Surface Pro

Steven Sinofsky:

I’m fascinated by the technical “class” obsession w/ iPads replacing laptops.

This review of GUI and mouse is what I think some of the review of the iPad will look like in 20 years. Sure I could be wrong.

I have no illusion of convincing anyone but some thoughts…

Walt Mossberg:

The most important word in your thread is “scenario”. I ordered a new MacBook Air because I still need or prefer a Mac for some scenarios. But my most used, and favorite, computers, are my iPads (a Pro and a mini) and my iPhone X.

Jason Snell:

The iPad Pro is a Rorschach test, or if you prefer, a mirror. People see what they want to see

Patrick Moorhead:

With all the iPad defenders coming out of the woodwork, it’s evident to me that some sense of a panic button has been pushed. Because I have many people SiliconValley‘splaining to me how the PC is the new mainframe. Fact is, the PC has adopted most characteristics of the tablet.

Nilay Patel:

As one of the few people outside of Adobe that has used Photoshop for iPad, I think it will make for a great mobile complement to a desktop, but not much more. We have a full dive here:

Gabe Weatherhead:

As excited as I am to get my new iPad Pro with a USB-C connection, it doesn’t feel like Apple is putting a lot of wood behind this arrow. These are iterative improvements because any major changes require major changes to iOS and the entire interaction model behind app and window management.

For a certain percentage of iPad users the device is feature complete.

Marco Arment:

Figured it out.

The LG UltraFine 5K does NOT work with the iPad Pro. It only accepts Thunderbolt input, but the iPad Pro outputs 5K over USB-C as DisplayPort, not Thunderbolt.

A 5K display that supports DisplayPort input should work, but I don’t have one to test.

Samuel Axon:

Ars sat down with Anand Shimpi from Hardware Technologies at Apple and Apple’s Senior VP of Marketing Phil Schiller to ask. We wanted to hear exactly what Apple is trying to accomplish by making its own chips and how the A12X is architected. It turns out that the iPad Pro’s striking, console-level graphics performance and many of the other headlining features in new Apple devices (like FaceID and various augmented-reality applications) may not be possible any other way.

Federico Viticci:

Fun in USB-C land with the new iPad Pro and an UltraFine 4K display:

The USB-C cable that comes in the box with the iPad Pro cannot mirror the iPad to the external display. It just charges it.

The USB-C cable that comes with the UltraFine supports 4K60 mirroring.

Benjamin Mayo:

To add onto the mess, if you walk into an Apple Store and want to buy an Apple cable that actually works with displays, you need to buy the Thunderbolt 3 USB-C cable — even though the iPad doesn’t use the Thunderbolt 3 part.

Jacky Haruhiko:

Nobody understands the difference between a USB-C charge only cable which only supports USB 2.0 but not 3.1 speed, and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 USB-C data cable that supports 10Gbps data transfer which requires a separate purchase. And then the Thunderbolt e cable which looks the same.

Michael Love:

Your app is going to look bad if it’s not optimized for this 11" screen, so optimize it. Also, given the generally tepid state of the iPad software market I expect a lot of iPad apps will never be updated, so bear that in mind when evaluating cost/benefit vs 2017 model.

Keith Harrison:

There’s no notch to worry about but there are rounded corners, and the home button is gone, replaced with Face ID and a bottom home screen indicator. There’s also a new Apple pencil gesture. Here’s a quick summary of what you need to know to support the new models.

Nilay Patel:

Gosh where did all these reviewers get the idea that the iPad Pro should be compared to regular computers

James Rogers:

Why does the iPad Pro have to be a laptop replacement? I know that Apple flirts with this messaging, but that alone doesn’t define the device. They also spend time downplaying this concept, as well when it doesn’t suit them. I also look back to Steve Jobs’ original framing of the device as a purpose-built machine that was perfectly suited to particular tasks.

Marco Arment reports that the new iPad Pro’s screen has the same oleophobic coating as other recent models, i.e. it has the increased propensity to collect to fingerprints.

See also: Apple, MacRumors, MacStories.

Previously: October 2018 Apple Event.

Update (2018-11-12): Jason Snell:

That brings us to the new iPad Pro, with 102 magnets spread all around. On the new iPad, Apple’s using magnets in four primary ways: As a way to firmly attach accessories to the device’s back, as an Apple Pencil attachment, to attach the Smart Connector, and to attach a screen cover while locking or unlocking the device.

Nilay Patel:

It’s true that the iPad Pro has enough magnets in it to stick to a fridge. But did you know it will also make you look super silly trying to pull it off a metal table?

Matt Birchler:

Same deal with Apple’s other iCloud web apps. “Use the native apps” you might say, but things like Apple News Publisher don’t have apps. Even if you request the desktop site, it only sorta works.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

How did Apple find itself in a situation where it has three different kinds of incompatible Apple Pencil pairing technology?

Marco Arment:

Can confirm, the new Pencil doesn’t include an extra tip like the first one did.

Whatever their reasons, this feels needlessly stingy.

Alexis Gallagher:

Can anyone with a new Apple Pencil tell me if it’s any more accurate than the old one?

I keep hoping and hoping that one day $1,000+ of cutting edge technology will become a viable substitute for a $3 paper notebook. Is it now?

John Siracusa concurs.

Craig Mod:

The problems begin when you need multiple contexts. For example, you can’t open two documents in the same program side-by-side, allowing you to reference one set of edits, while applying them to a new document.


Switching contexts is also cumbersome. If you’re researching in a browser and frequently jumping back and forth between, say, (the actually quite wonderful) and Safari, you’ll sometimes find your cursor position lost. The document you were just editing fully occasionally resetting to the top of itself. For a long document, this is infuriating and makes every CMD-TAB feel dangerous. It doesn’t always happen, the behavior is unpredictable, making things worse. This interface “brittleness” makes you feel like you’re using an OS in the wrong way.


Even so, once your photos are finally imported, you find that programs like Lightroom CC on iOS are hamstrung in baffling ways. When editing in Lightroom CC on the desktop I make half a dozen virtual copies of good images to quickly compare different crops or edits. On iOS, the ability to make a copy of an image is inexplicably, infuriatingly, not present. You get one copy of each image per album, no more.

Federico Viticci:

Speaking of thumbs: whatever Apple has done to improve thumb detection along the edges of the screen, it’s working really well for me. I was concerned that, with these extremely narrow bezels, the new iPad Pro would pick up accidental taps more often than the old one when holding it in portrait, but this hasn’t been the case for me so far. In fact, if I start holding the iPad from one of the edges with my thumb, I can hold the device by touching both the bezel and the screen and iOS will not register it as a tap or scroll action.

Matthew Panzarino:

So I’ve been on the iPad Pro this work trip to Brazil and it’s great - almost there - but simple things still require gymnastics to pull off.

David Barnard:

Sure, the iPad isn’t a laptop replacement… yet. But if you’re in a pinch and need macOS to accomplish a specific task, using @ScreensVNC on your iPad Pro with your iPhone as a mouse is surprisingly great.

Drew McCormack:

The iPad will never be the primary productivity tool for most people. It’s not about the software either — it’s about the physical interaction. It may not be a popular opinion, but a mouse or trackpad is much less taxing, allowing much more control, with much less effort.

[The case is] fine for typing, but in that config, it’s just a laptop. And I dread having to lift my arms to move the cursor or swap apps. It’s a physical thing.

Frank Reiff:

I think Apple is pursuing a pipe dream with the iPad “Pro”: a device as powerful as a Mac but as simple as the iPhone. A workhorse OS needs more powerful abstractions such as file systems, file types, interprocess communication, etc.

The fallacy is to believe that you can wield the power of say a file system without understanding its abstraction. It’s the deliberate use of the abstraction that unlocks its power. Having to make an effort to learn the abstraction, while inconvenient, is necessary.

Wojtek Pietrusiewicz:

I first read about the wobbly screen in the Smart Keyboard Folio in Will’s post and layer saw that Marco Arment mentioned it in his video review. Do watch the whole thing — it comes at the iPad from a different and interesting perspective.

See also: Adam Jackson’s unboxing photos, The Talk Show, iFixit, Marco Arment.

Update (2018-11-16): Upgrade:

After a week with the new iPad Pro, it’s time for our in-depth review of what we like and don’t like about Apple’s latest tablet hardware. Which size is the best? Why does Jason want to cover his Smart Keyboard Folio with stickers? Does the new Apple Pencil pass Myke’s tests? And why is Jason so angry about Apple’s pro apps?

Jason Snell:

I got kind of fired up at the end of Upgrade today when I considered that Apple’s now selling two high-end, high-powered iPad Pros and yet won’t release their pro video and audio editing apps on the platform, just their simplified subsets.

It’s hugely frustrating & the source of lots of the review pushback - these powerful portable machines with such huge potential and yet still so much pro software not on or available to iOS. Would kill for Logic or a basic level Pro Tools on iOS.

The real shame is, this was all within Apple’s hands - it is a failure, either of imagination or of their OS and app development groups. Apple’s own apps should be leading the charge. Instead, they’re nowhere to be seen.

Jason Snell:

The iPad Pro is not meant to be a toy or a curiosity or an alternate device. It is just as serious a device as a computer, Apple suggests, and if that’s true we should judge it accordingly.

But just because the iPad Pro needs to be taken as seriously as a computer doesn’t mean it should be judged as a PC. The iPad is not a computer, not as the term’s been defined for the past 40 years. It’s something new and different, and it excels in some ways that PCs don’t while also struggling to do some things that PCs do well.

Dan Masters:

I feel there has been a lack of nuance in the ensuing debate; thus, I will analyse the six most common arguments I have encountered.


iPad proponents have understandably confused any critique of the iPad Pro and its OS with the common refrain from years ago: “You can’t use an iPad for real work” — after all, iPads could obviously be used for real work, even prior to the Pro! The mantra was largely unjustified and rightly mocked. However, not all criticisms are created equally, and to dismiss scepticism simply because it seems similar to previous incorrect views, or because it doesn’t align with one’s own experiences is shortsighted.

You may argue that ultimately my quibble is with the iPad Pro’s price, but that its superior specs compared to similarly-priced laptops means it is justified. However, Chromebooks with impressive specs (and prices to match) have not been widely adopted. Why? The software simply doesn’t justify it!

Apple fans have always said specs don’t matter; only user experience does. The iPad Pro is no different[…]

Joe Cieplinski:

iPad has been my favorite Apple device for a long time now. This new edition only strengthens my feeling. I am newly inspired to write apps for this machine. I want to use it more than I already do. It doesn’t have to replace my laptop. It needs to expand my current concept of how and where I use computing devices. And that’s been steadily happening since the first iPad was released in 2010.

Paulo Andrade:

As a developer, I can no longer avoid the iPad. I have to start using it on a day to day basis. It may very well be the future of personal computing.

Update (2018-11-19): Juli Clover:

Alongside the new 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, Apple introduced a second-generation Apple Pencil, which is designed to work exclusively with its latest tablets.

In our latest YouTube video, we took a look at the new Apple Pencil 2 and compared it to the original Apple Pencil to highlight all of the improvements that Apple made with the second iteration of its iPad stylus.

Juli Clover:

Apple’s new 11 and 12.9-inch models are its thinnest yet, measuring in at just 5.9mm, and both forum complaints and a new bend test video suggest the two devices have the potential to bend without a huge amount of force.

Marco Arment:

“Flaws” that matter about the iPad Pro:

- The Face ID sensors are in a bad spot that your left hand often covers when holding in landscape

- The Keyboard Folio is a bit clumsy

- Everything’s more expensive than before

“Flaws” that don’t matter:

- It is possible to bend it

John Gruber:

But, I will object to one thing: the iPad feels like a young platform, yes, but it’s not young. It’s over 8 years old. Steve Jobs was still around to introduce it. When the Mac was 8 years old in 1992, System 7 had been launched and it was a very advanced platform, suitable for work of any kind. The new iPad Pro hardware might be the best consumer computer hardware ever made — the only rivals are the iPhone XS and XR. But software-wise, the iPad platform is nowhere near as far along after 8 years as the Mac was a generation ago. The iPhone is. But the iPad is not, and I don’t see how anyone can deny that.

Juli Clover:

Apple today shared a new short video focused on the recently released 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, listing five reasons why the tablets can be your next computer.

Update (2018-11-21): Bob Burrough:

The “What’s a computer?” ad is yet another Apple marketing failure, but the real problem is much more fundamental. These products are supposed to be so designed as to market themselves. Apple is trying to force iPad into use-cases where it is not the best tool for the job.

If Apple wants to build a mobile productivity platform, they should start with a blank sheet of paper and figure out what a product needs to have to do exactly that, and do it better than all alternatives. If they did that, it would sell itself.

Nick Lockwood:

Sigh... another day, another timeline full of iPad fans trying to get their story straight about whether Apple is taking its time to adapt iOS for pro users, or whether it already did but pros are just too dumb to know all the obscure features and gestures that make it usable.


Did pros really want Photoshop on the iPad, or did they actually want a Mac tablet they could draw on? Apple never offered that option, so sales of iPad Pro and Photoshop for iOS may be misleading.

Federico Viticci:

The beauty of computers is that they won’t judge you.

Use whatever computer you prefer. Use a terminal, a Mac, a PC, a phone, an iPad, a Chromebook. It doesn’t matter. The work you do matters.

Never let anyone tell you that the way you create something is wrong. Just do it.

Update (2018-12-03): Jason Snell:

With apologies to FiveThirtyEight, I also whipped up this scatter chart, showing current models, charting their benchmark scores against their prices.

The real thing to measure in this chart is height above the trend line. And by that measure, the 2018 iPad Pro is way ahead. Meanwhile, the Touch Bar MacBook Pro models all retain a fairly consistent height above the trend line. (And the less said about the 12-inch MacBook, the better.)

Update (2018-12-04): Jordan Merrick:

The fact that the iCloud website doesn’t work properly on an iPad—and hasn’t for years—is beyond frustrating. How can Apple expect others to take the iPad seriously if their own web pages don’t work correctly?

Update (2018-12-19): Becky Hansmeyer:

And then there’s this: to really thrive, the iPad needs a richer ecosystem of pro applications. Besides filling the obvious holes in its software line-up like Logic and Final Cut Pro (also Aperture 4ever ❤️), Apple needs to offer developers more capable APIs and continue to improve its App Store guidelines and practices.

For example: improve the revenue split, aggressively purge scammy apps from the store, stop nitpicking every little thing from developers with a good track record (alternatively, make the guidelines more clear), continue to explore new business models, and make it a helluva lot easier for developers to implement subscriptions. To an outsider like me, this doesn’t seem like rocket science. Perhaps it’s just poor organization, or utter cluelessness, or maybe it’s a stubborn unwillingness to even acknowledge (let alone address) these issues because it might negatively affect the bottom line. Whatever the case, it’s holding iOS back.

I long for a day when iPad reviews aren’t by necessity reviews of iOS. A day when we’re just bickering over specs, colors, ports, and keyboard layouts. Some say we’ll never see such a day while Tim Cook is at the helm. I prefer to remain optimistic. 2019 will be the year, I just know it. 2019, y’all. You’ll see.

Update (2019-04-08): peterfromsarasota (via Damien Petrilli):

Has anyone else found that leaving their Apple Pencil 2 attached to their iPad Pro 11 overnight drains the battery anywhere from 15%-25%. I did a test of leaving the pencil attached over night and saw a 17% loss in the iPad battery. The pencil was fully charged when I left it connected overnight. So it really had nothing to charge on the pencil. Then I charged the iPad to 100% and left overnight without the pencil attached and the next morning the iPad battery was still at 100%.

Seems like the Apple Pencil 2 is constantly drawing power from the iPad Battery.