Monday, January 28, 2019

iMac and MacBook Last Updated 602 Days Ago

Joe Rossignol:

As noted in the MacRumors Buyer’s Guide and discussed in the MacRumors forums, it has now been 602 days since Apple last updated its iMac lineup, a new record for the longest span between iMac refreshes ever. The previous record was 601 days between October 2015 and June 2017 refreshes.

The MacBook was also last updated then; it still has the (even more) problematic butterfly keyboard.

The iMac, as far as I know, still ships with defective Kaby Lake processors.

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The Tim Cook-era is the darkest era the Mac has ever faced.

The Beleaguered-era was not as bad as this. You didn't go almost 2 years without updates for a consumer desktop line, or 3 years without updates for the consumer powerbook / macbook air laptop line (until late last year), or 5 years without updates for the power mac / mac pro line! You knew they cared. A new OS was coming. Jobs was back. Think Different. The keyboards worked. You could feel it turning around.

I feel none of that anymore.

Why should I work on Mac apps when Apple doesn't work to make even *decent* Mac hardware with regular updates? No butterfly junk, no soldered ram slots, no $2K entry price points for something that doesn't suck -- what happened to "just works" with regular updates? There's no Mac hardware I'd recommend or use. I feel like I'm stuck to the platform only through inertia. Add that we're going to be hit with a glut of Marzipan "good-enough" iOS apps soon, and I question the market for those who want to make first-class Mac apps, or even work in the Mac ecosystem.

Our future is Tim Cook saying "magical" as he throws 5-year old hardware at us again and again.

I wonder if Apple put themselves in a thermal corner with the iMac.

Intel has since moved on to 6- and 8-core replacements for the 4-core CPUs currently in the iMac, but it’s my understanding that the newer chips tend to exceed their rated TDP by greater amounts and for longer periods than the Kaby Lake generation. Without a die shrink to rely on, Intel is really starting to push the limits of 14nm.

So the iMac’s existing cooling system may just be unable to handle the marginally higher heat output of the newer chips, though that wouldn’t be an excuse so much as another sign of neglect for the Mac line.

Meanwhile, AMD looks to be back in the running for CPUs: at CES they teased a 7nm Zen 2 chip to ship later this year, with performance equivalent to a current Intel desktop CPU, but at only ~60% of the Intel chip’s power consumption. Though even if AMD ends up being the clear winner going forward, I wonder if Apple would even bother to switch.

On the bright side, the ARM Macs will look better by comparing them to the outdated Intel models they're replacing.

@ remmah : There is no reason why iMac can not adopt the iMac Pro design which allows up to 550W of cooling from CPU and GPU combined. That could have fitted the I9 running 5Ghz along with a Nvidia RTX 2080 and still have TDP room to spare.

Also, the iMac is STILL shipping with HDD by default in 2019. When 1TB SSD are now priced at $149,

I agree with @ Hammer, The Tim Cook-era is the darkest era the Mac has ever faced.

@ hammer

I think that’s a bit harsh on Tim Cook - The Mac line is inevitably more mature now than when Steve Jobs was at the helm.

Heck, I don’t even feel that inclined to upgrade from my 2009 Mac Mini which still works great for me after an SSD upgrade so with minimal CPU advances for people owning Macs have the age of mine, getting people to buy new macs would be hard no matter what Apple did.

Yeah it was a bit sad to see Apple abandon Towers with easily upgradable internals and it too a bit of work for me to get to the HD. In the Mini to swap in an SSD but that seems to have been Apple response to slower upgrade cycles from consumers.

Also Apple Macs were a lot more expensive in real terms back in their early days.

@Ed At first I thought that was an exaggeration, but here’s a SanDisk SSD for only $112.49. I’m sure the ones Apple ships are better, but they don’t give you a choice to trade off speed for price. Even for the lowest end MacBook Air they charge $800 to go from 128 GB to 1 TB, or $400 for 512.

[…] just picked up an iMac to replace my 2012 MacBook Air. While Migration Assistant failed me twice,1 all of the iCloud stuff […]

[…] iMac and MacBook Last Updated 602 Days Ago […]

@Michael Tsai, Actually there are even some 1TB for sub $100, I said $149 just to make it fair. The SSD Apple offer were fast when it first came out, and as tech improves it no longer has the edge.

This SSD gets similar performance to Apple iMac Pro, costing $165 at Retail Price. Using NVMe, and PCi-E 3.0 x4 compared to Sandisk which is SATA only. Apple is one of the largest NAND purchaser in the world, which means they do get favourable pricing, they made their own SSD Controller which means there are no margins passed to like Samsung or Marvell.

And as @ Niallom mentioned, after upgrading to SSD is Mac still works. SSD has been the biggest upgrade in computing for the past 10 years, and Apple is still shipping without one with their premium Desktop Computer.

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