‘Its Software is Killing Me’ »

The new iPad Pro’s M1 system on a chip puts the tablet on the same playing field as a whole bunch of Macs in terms of power and performance, but as Jason Snell writes at Macworld, that’s never really been a problem for previous iPads:

Here’s the problem with this clever marketing, though: it draws a direct parallel between the iPad and the Mac. And while the Mac definitely lacks in some areas (no touchscreen or Apple Pencil support, for instance) you can basically do anything on your Mac, including run a bunch of apps that originated on the iPad.

The iPad Pro, in contrast, can’t do all sorts of “pro” things that a professional-level user buying a device starting at $1,099 might want to do. They can’t run Mac apps (though if you connect a keyboard and trackpad, you certainly could!), and Apple has failed to build iPad-optimized versions of its own professional apps.

I really hope with iPadOS 15, Apple finally has a compelling reason for stuffing the iPad Pro with so much power. There’s so much wasted opportunity here.

AppleCare+ for Macs Can be Extended Past Three Years »

Joe Rossignol has details over on MacRumors:

After paying upfront for an AppleCare+ plan for a Mac, the initial coverage period remains three years, but customers now have the option to purchase additional coverage that automatically renews annually until canceled. The new coverage must be purchased within 30 days of the end date of the original coverage, according to Apple.

Previously, there was no way to extend AppleCare+ coverage for a Mac once the initial three-year coverage window elapsed.

I think this is great news. Macs are better-built and longer-lasting than ever, and three years is just not realistic when it comes to how long most people use their computers.

Apple has more information in this support document.

The Chin 

Since the introduction of the iMac G5 way back in August of 2004, the basic building blocks of what makes an iMac an iMac have been the same:

From the front, it’s rather remarkable how little the iMac has changed in nearly two decades. The screen is front and center, surrounded by a bezel with a chin below the display. The whole thing is mounted on a foot that lets a user tilt the entire computer easily.

Over the years, Apple has used the chin area for various things. In the first generation of iMac G5, the power supply and speakers were down there:

iMac G5

When the white iMac picked up an integrated iSight camera — and later an Intel processor — the layout was a little different. The machine was now opened through the front, not the back, and the logic board extended down to the bottom of the chassis, with the screen mounted in front of it.

This has been the layout of iMacs ever since. The enclosure has been upgraded from plastic to aluminum — and the screen has been covered then later bonded to a sheet of cover glass, but the basic way an iMac goes together hasn’t changed in a long time.

With a design as long in the tooth as the iMac’s, it is easy to understand why so many people expected the next generation of iMac to have much smaller bezels and ditch the chin all together.

Sure, the chin had its place for years, holding the guts of the iMac in place, and its Apple logo being a window for things like the now-forgotten Front Row Remote, Mac fans have been ready to move on.

The new iMac is here, complete with a chin:

M1 iMac

It’s smaller than ever now, and lacks an Apple logo,1 but it still present, defiant and proud.

Like before, the chin still has a reason for being. Apple even showed it off during the iMac’s introduction.

The machine’s tiny logic board, two small fans and the improved speakers are all housed in that chin, with the 24-inch display sitting above these internals, not in front of them. All of this adds up to an iMac that’s just 11.5 mm thin, the same as the original iPhone.

Inside the M1

Some would argue that Apple should have made the new iMac chinless and thicker, moving these components behind the display,2 but that’s not the product the company chose to ship.3

I am sure there a million reasons for this design choice that we will never know, but there’s one that I think we do:

iMacs have chins.


  1. While the lack of an Apple logo looks weird now, in time we’ll all get used to it and think that iMacs with the logo look weird, if not even gaudy. 
  2. This may have also allowed them to put the headphone and Ethernet ports on the back, but that’s not really the point here. Even though I hate that this thing comes will an external power brick. 
  3. Others have questioned the finish used on the chin. The chin on the new iMac matches the finish on its foot, which is less saturated than the sides and the back. It’s an interesting effect that I personally like. The white bezels on the other hand, I’m not so sure about. 

Thoughts on Apple’s New Non-iMac Hardware 

The new iMac may be my favorite announcement in today’s Apple event, but I do have thoughts on the other hardware that was announced:

Tim Cook

Daddy Tim

Dude has been hitting the gym. Daaaaaamn.

Purple iPhone 12 and 12 mini

I think it looks great. Apple has done a mid-cycle color change with Product RED phones, but this is a nice change.

AirTags

These things have been rumored forever, and I’m excited to toss one in my backpack next time I travel. I’m even more excited the battery can be replaced.

Also, only Apple could sell a $29 product with a $449 accessory for sale.

Apple TV 4K

My Apple TV 4K doesn’t seem slow, but I am psyched I can buy a good remote for it next week.

iPad Pro

Both iPad Pro models are getting the M1, which I did not see coming. This brings with it Thunderbolt support, and a few interesting questions:

  • If an M1 iPad Pro can have 5G, why can’t an M1 Mac notebook?
  • Why does the iPad Pro still just have one external port?
  • With the M1 and Magic Keyboard, the iPad Pro is basically an iPadOS laptop, so why can’t it do more than the iPad mini? Being faster is fine, but Apple hasn’t give iPadOS many ways to put that power down on the road.

The new ultrawide front camera and its ability to keep you in the frame during a video call looks really neat… but why is that not a feature of the new iMac?

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro’s mini-LED display seems bonkers. It has 10,000 LEDs across the entire back of the display, up from 72 on the previous model. This gives it 2,500 local dimming zones.

My 32-inch, $5,000 Pro Display XDR has just 576 dimming zones.

Gulp.

10 Gigabit Mac mini

A good $100 spent if you’re going to use this a server for years into the future.

Apple Announced M1-Powered 24-inch iMac… in Seven Colors 

Today, Apple unveiled an all-new iMac. Built around a 4.5K, 24-inch display, this is the first Mac designed from the ground-up to use Apple silicon inside.

Right off the bat, we gotta talk about the colors:

Yes, the new 24-inch iMac comes in green, yellow, orange, red, purple, blue and silver. The hue on the foot and front of the machine is more muted than around the back.

As a person with considerable experience with iMacs of various colors, I like this, even while I wish they were more saturated all the way around.

Notably, this the first time any Mac has been available in yellow.

Like the early iMac G3 models, these iMacs come with color-matching keyboards and mice (or trackpad, if that’s your jam). For the first time, an external keyboard includes a Touch ID sensor, which is awesome. Also a first for a stand-alone Apple keyboard: backlighting.

Sadly, none of the new peripherals can be purchased separately, at least at this point.

The design is all-new, and this iMac is clearly cut from the same aluminum cloth that the Pro Display XDR and iPad Pro came from. The sides are flat, the bezels are thin1 and the foot is shaped like the Pro Display XDR’s, just without all the cool adjustments. If you prefer your iMac to float, Apple has VESA-ready models, but unlike the old iMac Pro, you can’t switch between the foot and a VESA mount. Order what you need.

The new iMac is just 11.5 mm thick — the same thickness as the original iPhone. Ditching Intel parts made this possible, which Apple was quick to point out. In fact, the entire computer seems to be housed in the chin, with the display sitting above the other internals.

It also meant that the headphone jack had to be put in the side of the machine.

Like the MacBook Pro line was split late last year, the iMac family now consists of smaller M1-based machines and larger Intel-based machines, with the 27-inch 5K iMac still for sale. (Sadly, the non-Retina, can-be-ordered-with-a-Fusion-Drive 21.5-inch iMac is also still for sale at $1,099.)

Apple has three default configurations of the new iMac:

The base model $1,299 machine is pretty barebones:

  • 8-Core CPU
  • 7-Core GPU
  • 256 GB SSD
  • 8 GB unified memory
  • 24-inch 4.5K Retina display
  • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Choice of Magic Keyboard or Magic Mouse

This model is only available in blue, green, pink or silver.

Stepping up to the middle $1,499 iMac comes with these specs:

  • 8-Core CPU
  • 8-Core GPU
  • 256GB storage
  • 8GB unified memory
  • 24-inch 4.5K Retina display
  • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
  • Two USB 3 ports
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Magic Keyboard with Touch ID

At the top of Apple’s line is the $1,699 model with 512 GB of storage.

As these aren’t available for pre-order yet, we aren’t sure of the maximum price these M1 iMacs can reach. However, we do know that the 4-port models can be optioned with up to a 2 TB SSD and all models can be packed with 16 GB of memory.

We should talk about the inclusion of Gigabit Ethernet. While the two-port iMac doesn’t support Ethernet as configured by Apple, it can be added as a customizable option. However, these Ethernet ports are not on the iMac itself, but rather on its external power brick.

Power brick for M1 iMac

That’s right, this new iMac comes with external power brick, something that no Mac desktop has had in over a decade, when the Mac mini got redesigned in 2010.

That power brick does have a trick up its sleeve, however, and that’s Ethernet support. iMac owners can run power and data to the brick, which then uses a color-matched, fabric-wrapped cable to connect to the back of the iMac magnetically.

I’d much rather have MagSafe on my notebook than my desktop, but time will tell how strong that magnetic connection is.

All in all, I am very impressed by this iMac. It’s not the machine for me, but it breathes fun and life back into the consumer desktop in a way we haven’t seen in well over a decade, if not longer… and it makes me excited to see what’s coming next.


  1. The bezels are in gray finish, which is a huge change. iMacs have had black bezels since Apple first wrapped them in aluminum and glass back in 2007. At least there’s a 1080p webcam at the top now, and new microphones. 

Kbase Article of the Week: ImageWriter II: Worn Spring Affects Print Quality »

Apple Support:

The most common cause for the ribbon to stop spinning intermittently is a worn spring: the spring that maintains constant tension on the nylon wire that drives the ribbon-drive gear assembly. If the spring is worn, the constantly-varying tension within the ribbon cartridge (transmitted to the gear assembly), causes the nylon wire to slip.

Try replacing either the Ribbon Wire/Spring assembly (service part number 935-0001) or the spring only (available as a part of the Miscellaneous Hardware Kit, part number 076-0317).

Ingenuity Flies »

What an amazing achievement for humankind:

Monday, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet. The Ingenuity team at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California confirmed the flight succeeded after receiving data from the helicopter via NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover at 6:46 a.m. EDT (3:46 a.m. PDT).

“Ingenuity is the latest in a long and storied tradition of NASA projects achieving a space exploration goal once thought impossible,” said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk. “The X-15 was a pathfinder for the space shuttle. Mars Pathfinder and its Sojourner rover did the same for three generations of Mars rovers. We don’t know exactly where Ingenuity will lead us, but today’s results indicate the sky – at least on Mars – may not be the limit.”

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