Connected #248: There Will Be Consequences »

This week on Connected:

Federico and Stephen are joined by David Sparks to talk about the state of Apple’s current betas, the updated Files and Shortcuts apps and the ever-growing system of rules that form Connected’s drafts.

My thanks to our sponsors:

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36 Seconds »

Shelly Brisbin has published an audio documentary about accessibility and the iPhone:

From the moment Steve Jobs announced it in 2007, anticipation for the first iPhone was off the charts. And when it shipped? Customers lined up around their local Apple stores; some arriving days before the phones could be bought.

But the hype and hysteria left one group of cell phone users out – if you had a disability, the new hotness was just a cold, unresponsive rectangle of plastic and glass.

This is the story of how that changed in June of 2009, and what it has meant to people who are blind, have a hearing disability, or experience motor delays.

I started it this morning and can’t wait to wrap it up this evening.

On the Mac Pro, the G4 Cube and Their Shared Vent Design 

In a recent episode of ATP, the guys spoke about a conversation that was overheard at WWDC between Tim Cook and Jony Ive that included an interesting detail of the holes in the front and back of the new Mac Pro:

Then there’s video Marco posted on Twitter, in which Ive appears to compare the opening of the Mac Pro to the Cube:

In short, it seems that the vents on the new machine came from a design rooted in the era of the G4 Cube, nearly 20 years ago. There was speculation that a different route was taken due to cost.

As you can see in this image by John Siracusa, the openings on the new Mac Pro are quite complex and probably expensive to manufacture:

Here’s how Apple describes this design:

The lattice pattern on the Mac Pro is based on a naturally occurring phenomenon in molecular crystal structures. A network of three-dimensional interlocking hemispheres, it increases the surface area, optimizing airflow and structural rigidity.

To create the structure, a spherical array is machines onto the internal and external surfaces of the aluminum. The result is a lightweight lattice pattern that maximizes airflow while creating an extremely rigid structure.

This video on Apple’s website shows it well:

Here’s where the G4 Cube comes in. This morning, I saw a tweet from Huxley Dunsany, complete with a macro shot of the underside of the Cube:

From the bottom, these vents do look very much like what’s on the Mac Pro, perhaps the subject of the comments between Ive and Cook.

As I have a G4 Cube in my collection, I decided to do have a closer look. I pulled the core out of mine and removed the video card to take a closer look at this area from the back:

While the design from the outside is very similar to the Mac Pro, to my eye, it is not quite the same. The new machines uses hemispherical cuts, while the design on the Cube is created by two overlapping flat components. There are no fancy hemispherical cuts here.

The vents in the rear of the PowerMac G4 (Mirrored Drive Doors) are constructed in a similar fashion, just with much bigger openings, as you can see on the right of this photo:

And from inside the machine:

No fancy hemispherical cuts here, either; just two sets of flat, off-set holes.

Apple may have been playing with what would become the vents on the new Mac Pro nearly 20 years ago, but the construction of them seems to be all-new.

Ungeniused #81: High Fives »

This week on Ungeniused:

High fives can be used as a rad greeting or a sick burn, and they can even help you keep from getting sick.

This may be my favorite episode of Ungeniused in quite a while. Don’t miss the “up high; down low” segment.

My thanks to our sponsor:

  • Moo: Custom business printing and design. Use promo code PRINTMOO for 15% off, when you spend $50 or more.

Syncing an iPod with macOS Catalina 

With the breakup of iTunes, the USB-based syncing of iPods and iOS devices has been moved into Finder. While I am fully on the Apple Music train, there are many users who still plug in their devices to move media onto them, and I’m glad macOS Catalina has been engineered with those users in mind.

When you plug in an iPod to a Mac running Catalina, the device appears in the Finder sidebar,1 and clicking it reveals a wide range of syncing options, organized in a much nicer fashion that what is found in iTunes 12:

As you would imagine, each section in this interface surfaces content across various apps on the system. For example, Finder sees the local files I have in the new Music app:

The same is true for videos. Here, I have a local file that I simply dragged from Finder into the TV app, and Finder sees it, ready to sync it to my iPod:

If all of this seems a bit simple and obvious, it is. Apple’s done a good job at keeping support for its older media ecosystem intact, just tucked away out of sight so the new one can shine.


  1. In this example, I am using a 7th-generation iPod nano. Even though Finder has Disk Mode disabled, the iPod still shows up as a mass storage device. I’m assuming that’s a bug in this early beta. I would have used one of my much older iPods, but my Catalina test machine is a 12-inch MacBook, so I can’t adapt back to FireWire with it. 

Kbase Article of the Week: Mac Pro (Early 2008 to Mid 2012): About the PCI Express Slots »

Apple Support:

PCI Express (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express), or PCI-E, is a newer implementation of PCI which uses a much faster physical-layer communications protocol than older PCI bus architectures.

Rather than using a bus as PCI did, PCI Express uses dedicated, unidirectional, point-to-point connections known as “lanes” to communicate with PCI Express devices.

The first generation of Mac Pro came with a program named Expansion Slot Utility:

I wonder if the new one will come with something similar…

Update: I guess so:

Mac Power Users #487: Josh Centers: Beta Spelunker »

This week on Mac Power Users:

Josh Centers is the managing editor at TidBITS, which has been covering the world of Apple for nearly 30 years and is a writer for the “Taking Control” series of books. He sits down with David and Stephen to talk about his writing, the tools he uses and why running Apple betas can be a real adventure.

My thanks to our sponsors:

  • eero: Never think about WiFi again. Get $100 off.
  • Moo: Custom business printing and design. Use promo code PRINTMOO for 15% off, when you spend $50 or more.
  • 1Password: Have you ever forgotten a password? You don’t have to worry about that anymore.
  • The Omni Group: We’re passionate about productivity for Mac, iPhone and iPad.

Twitter Promises Catalyst Mac App »

Nolan O’Brien, writing on the Twitter Engineering blog:

Last week, Apple announced Project Catalyst for macOS 10.15 Catalina, which makes it easy for developers to bring their iPad projects to macOS as native Mac apps. We are excited that Project Catalyst will enable us to bring Twitter back to the Mac by leveraging our existing iOS codebase. We’ll also be able to add native Mac features on top of our existing iPad experience, while keeping our maintenance efficient as we continue to improve this shared codebase in the years to come.

The Twitter iPad app isn’t spectacular, but it’s good to see a company as big as Twitter taking Catalyst seriously.

Connected #247: You Never Want the Egg »

This week on the podcast:

With the dust settling from WWDC, the boys go through Apple’s major platforms and talk about what they are excited about seeing in these releases.

We walked through the biggest changes coming to tvOS, watchOS, macOS, iPadOS, iOS and CarPlay. Apple’s been busy…

My thanks to our sponsors this week:

  • Hover: Get 10% off any domain name – extensions for anything you’re passionate about.
  • Luna Display: The only hardware solution that turns your iPad into a wireless display for your Mac. Use promo code CONNECTED at checkout for 10% off.
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