On Custom-Ordered ARM Macs »

Jason Snell, writing at Macworld:

Looking a bit further into the future, if Apple starts building Macs with ARM processors, is it going to want to offer different classes of processors within those models? On iOS, Apple has steadfastly refused to do this. Every model-year of a given model is generally powered by the same processor across the board.

It’s conceivable that Apple might roll out a new ARM processor across several Macs and have each one have a different clock speed or number of cores—but even then, I have a hard time imagining that Apple will let customers configure what processor goes in what Mac when they order them. It seems more likely that Apple will offer what it feels is the right processor configuration for a model—and if you want a more powerful processor, your option will be to buy the next model up.

I 100 percent think it will be the case that ARM Macs will eschew customizable CPU options.

A Bad Take »

I am technically on vacation this week, but I felt like I had to talk about this:

Since the new iPads were announced a couple of weeks ago, there has been a lot of talk about the device and its place in the world.

As we spoke about on Connected last week, the iPad can be a computer replacement for many, many people. Then, there are those of us who can’t quite do all of our work on one. That should be expected any time we consider a young platform. When the Mac came out, there were some users who could move to it right away, and others who needed to keep an Apple II on their desk for many additional years as the Mac evolved and matured.

Gartenberg’s take is one I’ve seen before, and it would be as if someone in the late 80s decided that Mac OS was a failed expirement, and Apple needed to revert back to its older system software if the Macintosh were to ever take off.

He is right that Apple should work harder to separate the iPad from the iPhone in ways that make sense. I agree the multitasking system Apple first shipped in iOS 9 need work. I find it tedious at times and annoying at others.

However, that is far from a good enough reason to break the bonds between the iPhone and iPad. iOS is — by far — Apple’s most successful operating system. Ever. The iPad benefits from running the same software as the iPhone. The iPad has access to a massive library of third-party software, and Apple gives developers the tools to ensure a single application can run across everything from the iPhone SE up to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Moreover, having the iPad and iPhone run the same OS is beneficial for Apple as well. The company already seems to struggle keeping all its platforms moving forward consistently; adding a new OS for the iPad would only make that worse.

Apple has shown, with iOS 9 and iOS 11 specifically, that it can break the iPad away from the iPhone in meaningful ways when it makes sense. They need to keep at that work, improving the iPad user experience, but saying it needs a different OS than the iPhone is just throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

New Macs Come with Smarter Audio Device Support »

Paul Kafasis on the Rogue Amoeba blog, on a neat trick provided by Apple’s T2 chip:

On older Macs, the headphone jack and the internal speakers are essentially separate ports on a single output device, and only one of these ports is allowed to be active at a time. Because of this, audio can be sent to either the built-in speakers, or the headphone jack, but not to both. As well, if anything is connected to the headphone jack, the OS shuts off the built-in speaker completely.

With these new Macs, there are actually two distinct output devices. The headphone jack and the internal speakers are separate devices, completely independent from one another.

This makes T2-equipped Macs a lot more flexible for audio professionals, but I still miss the line in jack.

Inside Apple’s New Macs 

The 2018 MacBook Air and Mac mini are out in the world, and that means we know a lot more about what’s going on under the hood of these new machines.

iFixit has taken apart the new notebook, and there are a few interesting things to note:

  • It has the exact same keyboard as the 2018 MacBook Pros, membrane and all.
  • The battery can be replaced separate from the top case, unlike other modern Mac notebooks.
  • It does indeed have a fan.

The group has also taken apart the new Mac mini, as Quinn at Snazzy Labs:

In his video, Quinn shows how to upgrade the RAM. It’s not nearly as easy as it used to be, and should only be done by people who have been trained to do so, or who really know what they are doing.

Like the Air, the SSD modules are part of the logic board in the Mini. Welcome to the T2 era.