Apple Publishes Q4 2018 Results »

Some quick numbers because I’m not making charts anymore:

  • Revenue: $62.9 billion, up 20% year-over-year
  • Services revenue reached an all-time high of $10 billion
  • 46.9 million iPhones were sold, basically flat over last year, but revenue for the iPhone was up 29%.
  • 19.7 million iPads were sold, down 6% YOY
  • 5.3 million Macs were sold, down 2% YOY
  • “Other products” saw 31% growth.

Remember, this quarter ended at the end of September, so it doesn’t include the iPhone XR, or any new Macs or iPads.

There are some big changes coming to future reports:

Repair Vintage Apple Products Pilot »

Jordan Kahn, writing at 9to5Mac:

Apple is introducing a new “Repair Vintage Apple Products Pilot” program that will extend the period of time customers can receive repairs for older devices, according to sources familiar with the initiative. The new program at first will include the iPhone 5 and other Apple products that are about to become obsolete, and in the coming weeks will add more products to the list for devices that previously lost repair support.

Good on Apple for this.

Update: Apparently this has been around for a while, as Joe Rossignol writes:

Now, Apple is further expanding the program to include the iPhone 5, which became vintage on Wednesday. In an internal document, Apple says Apple Stores and AASPs worldwide are authorized to continue servicing the CDMA variant of the device through October 31, 2020, and the GSM variant through December 30, 2020.

Apple’s internal document, obtained by MacRumors from multiple sources, also outlines other soon-to-be vintage iPhones and Macs that will also be added to the pilot program at various dates throughout the remainder of this year.

Maybe I had just forgotten, but I think it’s great that the program is being expanded.

Connected #216: The Honking Powers the Vehicles »

The new episode of Connected gets deep into the news of the week:

The MacBook Air and Mac mini are alive, and the iPad Pro has taken a big step forward, but progress seems to come with larger price tags. The guys dive into all the news, after Federico reviews New York City.

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More on the MacBook Air CPU »

Ryan Smith at AnandTech has confirmed that the MacBook Air uses the Core i5-8210Y:

The i5-8210Y is one of Intel’s new Amber Lake-Y CPUs. Launched back in August, Amber Lake is Intel’s latest-generation 5W(ish) chips and goes under the 8th Gen Core branding. Compared to the Broadwell (5th Gen Core) chips in the previous MacBook Air, these chips represent a big step up in capabilities and performance, incorporating a newer CPU core design as well as a newer GPU design. However it’s also notable that the new chips, even in cTDP Up mode, are also much lower power than the older 15W U-series chips Apple used, which means that processor power consumption should be significantly reduced – and the chips thinner as well – though the total performance gain won’t be quite as much as if Apple had stuck with U-series chips.

As best as we can tell, the Core i5-8210Y is likely to be one of Intel’s “off roadmap” chips, which is an SKU that’s made at the behest of a single or small number of customers. These aren’t always publicly documented by the company, especially if it’s not going into a consumer device. There’s nothing particularly special about the 8210Y – it’s just clocked a bit differently than Intel’s standard chips – but for that reason I’m not immediately expecting that we’ll see it anywhere else. By the numbers then, the 8210Y is essentially an Amber Lake chip that’s permanently in cTDP Up mode, giving it a de facto 7W TDP. This improves the base clock speed to 1.6GHz. Meanwhile Apple trades some CPU turbo for some GPU turbo; the 3.6GHz CPU turbo is a bit lower than Intel’s standard i5 chip, however the 1.05GHz GPU turbo is 100MHz higher as a result.

I am trying to reserve judgement here until we see how the MacBook Air benchmarks compared to the MacBook and the MacBook Escape. In theory, it should be notably quicker than the 12-inch machine, thanks to the higher clock speed.

Apple Ships macOS Mojave 10.14.1 »

Apple Support:

This update:

  • Adds support for Group FaceTime video and audio calls, which support up to 32 participants simultaneously, are encrypted end-to-end for privacy, and can be initiated from a group Messages conversation, or joined at any time during an active call.
  • Adds over 70 new emoji characters, including new characters with red hair, gray hair and curly hair, new emoji for bald people, more emotive smiley faces and additional emoji representing animals, sports and food.

Get it now, via the new Software Update pane in System Preferences.

Viticci Tries the new iPad Pros »

Federico, writing from today’s Apple event:

I believe, however, that one thing is already clear: these new iPad Pros are ushering us into a new era of iPad design and functionality as a truly portable computer that can scale from couch to desk, from wireless accessories to USB-C connections, and from games and note-taking apps to Photoshop, AR, and beyond. It almost feels like Apple has taken the best aspects of the iPhone X experience and applied them to reimagine the modern portable computer in the shape of an iPad.

These new devices look great. I think I’m on the hook for a 12.9-inch model at some point soon.

On the Retina MacBook Air 

Retina MacBook Air.

Retina. MacBook Air.

Retina. MacBook. Air.

It’s a thing, and it comes in silver, space gray and gold. It’s on Apple’s website and everything:

The most loved Mac is about to make you fall in love all over again. Available in silver, space gray, and gold, the new thinner and lighter MacBook Air features a brilliant Retina display, Touch ID, the latest-generation keyboard, and a Force Touch trackpad. The iconic wedge is created from 100 percent recycled aluminum, making it the greenest Mac ever. And with all-day battery life, MacBook Air is your perfectly portable, do-it-all notebook.

The formula hasn’t changed all that much. The new MacBook Air retains its iconic wedge shaped chassis, wrapped around a 13.3-inch screen. It’s still lightweight, now weighing in at just 2.75 pounds. Like the new Mac mini, it’s built from 100% recycled aluminum.

However, it’s a bit of a sleeper. The Air may look old, but if you peek under the covers, it’s a whole new machine.

It’s powered by dual-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processors. In fact, both SKUs are clocked at 1.6GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz. The machine supports up to 16 GB of RAM, and up to 1.5 TB of SSD storage, made extra speedy and secure by Apple’s T2 chip, which seems to be spreading to all new Macs.

Update: It seems that this CPU may be a 5W chipset, like found in the 12-inch MacBook. That is a bummer, and I guess it helps explain the two-port MacBook Pro sticking around.

The new internals are betrayed on the outside by a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports,1 meaning the MacBook Air has the same IO as that weird Touch Bar-less 13-inch MacBook Pro. Unlike that machine, the new Air does have a Touch ID sensor, the first time we have seen it divorced from the Touch Bar. I like it.

The headlining feature, of course, is the Retina display. The ancient panel on the old MacBook Air was its worst feature, and now it’s gone. The Air’s display doesn’t include features like True Tone of the P3 color gamut, but most people don’t care about that sort of thing. The big news is the resolution, and it’s good news with a 2560-by-1600 native resolution, same as the 13-inch MacBook Pros.

The new Air uses the same third-generation butterfly keyboard found on the 2018 MacBook Pros. It seems like the reliability is better with these machines, but I would have liked to see a truly revised keyboard show up today. Oh well. Below it is a new, larger Force Touch Trackpad, and the keyboard is flanked by a pair of louder speakers.

The new MacBook Air starts at $1,199. In a way, Apple has made the the low end of its notebook line more confusing now:

  • $1,199: 13-inch Retina MacBook Air with 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports and Touch ID
  • $1,299: 12-inch Retina MacBook with 1 USB-C port and no Touch ID or Touch Bar
  • $1,299: 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro with 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports and no Touch ID or Touch Bar

I think the default machine for consumers and students should be the new Air, and getting rid of that cheap MacBook Pro would help clear the air a little.

This is Tim Cook’s Apple, so the old MacBook Air is still for sale at $999, which drives me crazy. I’d rather they lose that price point than still offer such an old machine.

Pricing confusion aside, I think this machine is going to do well, and it’s a welcome addition to the line from where I sit.

  1. Sadly, there’s no SD card slot in sight. Also, RIP, MagSafe. 

On the New Mac mini 

Today, Apple announced a new Mac mini.

I’m just going let us all bask in that for a moment.

The form factor seems to be the same, but now in Space Gray, which according to Apple, “pros just love”. I can’t really argue with that, I suppose, looking at my iMac Pro and MacBook Pro.

(A nice bonus is that all Mac minis are made from 100% recycled aluminum.)

Around back, there’s a new set of IO built for our modern day:

  • Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports
  • Two USB 3 ports
  • HDMI 2.0 port
  • Gigabit Ethernet port (configurable to 10Gb Ethernet)
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack

Gone is the SD card slot. It only survives on the iMac and iMac Pro at this point.

Inside, the Mac mini is all new. Every model comes with at least four cores, and all of them use SSD for storage. The days of spinning drives and Fusion Drives seem to be gone, at least for the Mac mini, as the new machines come with the T2 chip for managing security and disk access.

The base model — which is now $799, a full $300 more than before — comes with a 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor without Turbo Boost, coupled to 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage.

The base machine, and the most expensive, which clocks in at $4,2001 comes with integrated graphics, in the form of the Intel UHD Graphics 630 chipset. For a computer that Apple says can be used by pros, this blows my mind. Yes, macOS Mojave and Thunderbolt 3 make living with an eGPU relatively easy, but having a discrete graphics option, at least in the high-end models would make me feel a lot better about the Mac mini being useful to a wider range of customers.

It just feels like Apple could have gone further, especially as it touts the Mac mini’s all-new thermal system designed to keep these 4 and 6-core CPUs nice and cool.

While the GPU situation is a little frustrating, the RAM in this new machine appears to be upgradeable, which is great. It seems that Apple really heard us on that one. Sadly, the storage is not user accessible. I assume we can blame the T2 for that.

I ordered a mid-range model2 to replace my aging home server, which also is the heart of our family entertainment center. I’m looking forward to getting it in next week, and while this new machine leaves me with some questions, I am glad it is here.

  1. For that money, you get a 3.2GHz 6‑core 8th‑generation Intel Core i7, 64GB of RAM, the Intel UHD Graphics 630 GPU, 2TB SSD storage and 10 Gigabit Ethernet. 
  2. 3.0 GHz i5, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD. And a Thunderbolt 3 to 2 dongle to use my Drobo with it. 

October 30th Apple Event Liveblog 

Going to try something new for this event and just update this blog post as it goes along.

08:57 AM: Cooked some turkey bacon and scrambled a couple of eggs. These morning Apple events are a nice change.

08:59 AM: I’ve gotten my original Mac mini off the shelf and have it here on my desk, as a good luck charm.

09:02 AM: I don’t do drugs, but if I did, this event intro with the morphing Apple logos would be less jarring.

09:05 AM: Oh yeah, starting with the Mac. “The first computer designed for creativity!”

09:07 AM: Apple says 51% of Mac customers are new to the Mac, with 76% in China. 100 million Macs in active use. I have roughly 3% of those here in my studio.

09:08 AM: Mojave getting a review by Tim, complete with all the Finder features. BE STILL MY HEART.

09:10 AM: Starting with the MacBook Air. “When Steve pulled it out of that envelope, nothing would ever be the same again.” Tim says it is the most beloved notebook ever, and the most popular Mac.

09:11 AM: NEW MACBOOK AIR. Two USB-C ports, with a 13.3-inch Retina display.

09:12 AM: Edge-to-edge cover glass, with much thinner black bezels. 48% more colors than before.

09:14 AM: New MacBook Air has a Touch ID sensor, but no Touch Bar. T2 chip is present for security and SSD controls.

09:17 AM: Those two ports are Thunderbolt 3 ports. Can push a 5K display and use eGPUs. Force Touch Trackpad and much better speakers also highlighted.

09:17 AM: Up to 16 GB of RAM, coupled with an 8th-gen Core i5. This is a real computer.

09:18 AM: New air is smaller and thinner than previous Air. 2.75 pounds. The MacBook is probably feeling nervous.

09:20 AM: Every new MacBook Air is made of 100% recycled aluminum, not new material extracted from the planet. That is very cool.

09:23 AM: New MacBook Air can be purchased in silver, space gray and gold. Starts at $1199, “the most affordable Retina Mac ever offered.” Orders go up today, will ship next week. Still $200 more than the old MacBook Air, but it is a shockingly better computer.


09:26 AM: Comes in Space Gray, and every SKU starts with 4 cores. There is also a 6-core option. Using desktop-class 8th-generation Intel chips. Up to 5x faster than the old machines. Old Mac mini went to 16 GB; new machines can handle up to 64 GB of RAM. I AM FREAKING OUT AFTER 1,475 DAYS OF FEELING NOTHING.

09:28 AM: Every Mac mini is pure SSD, with capacity up to 2 TB. Super fast with the T2 onboard.

09:29 AM: The Mac mini has gotten the iMac Pro treatment with an all-new thermal system.

09:29 AM: Gigabit Ethernet, 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports, HDMI and 2 USB A ports. Can do 10-gig Ethernet if you custom order it.

09:31 AM: New Mac mini starts at $799. I’ll be ordering at least one later today.

09:32 AM: Was cool to see my friends at MacStadium get some stage time. I waved to the Relay FM live streaming server.

09:33 AM: “Today at Apple” has never gotten the cheers it just got. Apple loaded the decks with Retail fans, I guess.

09:34 AM: He’s not wrong:

09:37 AM: Some press releases are up:

09:41 AM: Something something something Apple Retail.

09:42 AM: The MacBook Pro is about to get a big GPU bump, as noted in the MacBook Air release:

Apple also today announced new MacBook Pro graphics options that will bring powerful Radeon Pro Vega graphics to MacBook Pro for the first time. These new graphics options deliver up to 60 percent faster graphics performance for the most demanding video editing, 3D design and rendering workloads.

09:43 AM: iPad time! Tim says iPad has outsold every other PC maker’s entire lines over the last year. Wowzers.

09:43 AM: The iPad mini has been mentioned. WHAT IS HAPPENING?

09:44 AM: New iPad Pro. Squared-off edges, no home button, smaller bezels, new Pencil and more shown off in video.

09:45 AM: My iPad Pro looks ancient.

09:46 AM: New iPad Pro packs an LCD, using the tricks from the iPhone XR to round it off in the corners.

09:47 AM: New sizes! 10.5-inch iPad Pro now has an 11-inch display in the same footprint. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro keeps the same screen size, with much smaller bezels for a more compact device. That means the 12.9-inch has 25% less volume.

09:49 AM: Face ID is here, as expected. No notch; the hardware all fits into the bezel. Works in portrait and landscape, seemingly in all four orientations. iPhone X-like gestures are all here.

09:51 AM: Someone check on Federico for me, please.

09:51 AM: Powered by an A12X processor. Based on what is in the iPhone XS, but more powerful to drive all those pixels. 8 core CPU (4 fast, 4 efficient) with a 7 core CPU. Multicore workloads are up to 90% faster than before. “Faster than 92% of all portable computers sold last year, including those powered by the i7.” Ouch.

09:53 AM: Apple says the iPad has the GPU grunt of the Xbox One S.

09:54 AM: It really feels like Intel Macs are on thinner and thinner ice, performance wise.

09:54 AM: Up to 1 TB of storage, and moving to USB-C. Can use the iPad to charge your iPhone on the go, haha.

09:55 AM: No word on learning about external storage devices, which is pretty critical to how I need to work.

09:56 AM: New Apple Pencil. Pairs and charges via new magnetic mount on the iPad itself. Can tap on the Pencil to switch modes. Up to developers to customize.

09:56 AM: New Smart Keyboard folio, with two angles for typing.

09:57 AM: Talking about AR, so if you need a snack, now is the time to get one.

09:58 AM: 10 hour battery life, but it comes with an 18 watt charger in the box, which is nice.

09:59 AM: Really enjoying see so many Apple employees take the stage today. Gender diversity is better than some previous events, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

10:00 AM: One hour in. Really giving MarsEdit a workout on my MacBook Pro today.

10:03 AM: Unrelated, but I can’t stop sneezing this morning. It’s annoying.

10:05 AM: Adobe is on stage, showing off Photoshop for iPad, as well as its AR authoring tool, Project Arrow. The new Apple Pencil really seems like a huge improvement, with shortcuts for zooming just a tap away.

10:10 AM: I could not be more impressed with what I’ve seen from Photoshop in the two events it has been shown off. I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

10:11 AM: Third party apps are great, but where are Logic and Final Cut Pro for the iPad, Apple?

10:12 AM: iPad video has a great Phil Schiller voice over. He’s so good at this.

10:14 AM: The new iPad Pro has 102 magnets in it for the Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil. Wild. There’s a camera bump, too.

10:15 AM: The 11-inch iPad Pro starts at $799 for the 64 GB version. The big one starts at $999 for the same amount of storage. Orders go up today, ship on the 7th of November. The 10.5 Pro is still for sale, as is the iPad mini 4.

10:17 AM: iOS 12.1 is out with group FaceTime, new emoji and dual SIM support for XS and XR users. iPad Pro press release is up.

10:18 AM: Tim is going over all of today’s news and talking about Apple’s belief that creativity is what “drives the human race forward.”

10:19 AM: Musical guest: Lana del Rey, who walked out to thunderous cheers.

10:22 AM: Apple’s site has been updated:

10:24 AM: No headphone jack on the iPad Pro. No USB-C to 3.5mm adaptor in the box, either.

10:25 AM: The $799 Mac mini has an i3 processor. Blerg.

10:26 AM: The old MacBook Air is still for sale at $999. Blerg.

10:30 AM: I think that’s it for the liveblog. It was like tweeting the event, but on a platform with no Nazis. Let me know what you think about it.