Tag Archive for ‘Hardware’

Mac Shelf Life ➝

Nick Heer:

What is the acceptable shelf life of a Mac? How old can a model be before it becomes uncouth to sell it as new? I remember when Macs used to get regular, approximately-annual spec bumps. It wasn’t that long ago — maybe five years or so. Has something changed since 2013 that seemingly makes difficult for the Mac to be updated more frequently?

I can’t understand why Apple has had such a hard time keeping their Mac hardware updated over the past several years. It’s one of the biggest failures within Apple today. I’m no engineer, but is it really that hard to drop faster chips into existing products every once in a while?

It feels like the folks at Apple believe that they need to introduce brand new features and top-down redesigns every time they update a Mac. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Minor updates to the internal components every 6-12 months is all we really need — just enough to keep us from feeling like we’re getting ripped off when we go to buy something in the lineup.

Designed by Apple in California ➝

From Apple’s press release:

Apple today announced the release of a new hardbound book chronicling 20 years of Apple’s design, expressed through 450 photographs of past and current Apple products. “Designed by Apple in California,” which covers products from 1998’s iMac to 2015’s Apple Pencil, also documents the materials and techniques used by Apple’s design team over two decades of innovation. […]

“Designed by Apple in California” is available in two sizes and printed on specially milled, custom-dyed paper with gilded matte silver edges, using eight color separations and low-ghost ink. This linen-bound, hardcover volume was developed over an eight-year period. It is published by Apple.

I wonder if Apple realizes how bad it looks for them to release a book amidst all of the complaints about their Mac lineup. Not that I believe this project kept them from developing their products — I don’t expect many of the people that produced this book are the same people who work on Mac hardware. But any effort Apple spends on unnecessary products leaves them open to ridicule — “why didn’t they put their effort into working on the Mac mini, Mac Pro, or iMac instead?”

Don’t get me wrong, I want this book. I don’t think I’ll ever buy one given its price point, but as a huge fan of Apple for over a decade, I love stuff like this. It is an odd product, though. I never would have expected Apple — of all companies — to release something like this.

I guess this book would have been more palatable if Apple produced it for employees and sold it to the public exclusively in their company store in Cupertino. But in that scenario, we’d probably be reading headlines like: “Apple made the most amazing design book that you can’t buy.”

Apple’s Intel Problem ➝

Stephen Hackett on Apple’s potential move away from Intel toward ARM-based processors for their Macs:

In short, Apple’s ARM-based A7 isn’t a good choice for a MacBook Air at this point. While I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility for Apple to ship a slower notebook if the tradeoffs were right, but that current performance gap isn’t enough to justify the possible gain in Cupertino’s beloved performance per watt metric.

Apple is reliant on Intel delivering processors in a timely manner. Intel’s Broadwell processor delays are very likely impacting Apple’s release plans for Macs. It’s one thing for their to be delays of a few months, but these new Intel chips were originally set to enter production in late 2013. Now the processors that Apple is assumed to have plans for might not be ready until July 2015. That’s a far cry from what anyone would consider “reasonable delays.”

But, what strikes me about this recent news is how quickly tech reporters have jumped on this idea that Apple would switch to ARM-based processors rather than use Intel’s x86 chips.

Stephen Hackett does a great job laying out some of the reasons Apple is unlikely to switch in his aforelinked piece on 512 Pixels. But, why would Apple switch from Intel to ARM-based processors when they could switch to AMD? I certainly don’t think either switch is going to happen — at least not in the near-term. But, AMD seems like a much more likely candidate to supply chips to Apple than Apple making a switch to an entirely different architecture for their Macs.

Not only would Apple avoid all of the headaches associated with making another major switch in processor technologies, but they’d be able to work with an underdog with something to prove. And, Apple would have a lot more room to bully AMD around than they currently do with Intel.

I certainly don’t have any room to talk when it comes to the performance differences between AMD and Intel processors (that’s a topic for 18-year-old me during the days when AMD was eating Intel’s lunch in performance and Intel’s chips were pushing 4GHz clock speeds). But, I certainly find the notion of Apple switching from Intel to AMD far more believable than Apple moving to ARM processors for their Macs.

iPhone 3,1 Parts Shipping, 802.11n, Video Editing, and More ➝

As per usual the build up to WWDC is being filled with rumors about future iPhone hardware. Developers have been digging into beta versions of iPhone firmware 3.0 and finding some interesting things.

Not only have developers found mentions of unknown hardware model numbers but they have most recently found driver support for Broadcom Wi-Fi chips that would suggest that future revisions of the iPhone or iPod touch could be receiving support for 802.11n. An interesting finding by 9 to 5 Mac is that this chip may also give the iPhone and iPod touch the ability to not only receive but broadcast FM radio signals.

Other firmware findings show that Apple might begin to support video recording on the iPhone. It is unknown if all iPhone models would support the feature or just a new revision but there does seem to be some evidence of video editing functionality.

And finally DigiTimes is reporting that component suppliers for the upcoming iPhone revision have already begun shipping parts for the new device.

Remember that these are just rumors, and may or may not actually happen. My first impression of them however is that we will probably see video recording in the next iPhone hardware release, I don’t expect to see FM radio functionality, and video editing seems unlikely.

MacRumors and The Boy Genius Report both have screenshots of supposed video recording and/or editing functionality.

Update 6/2/09: The Green Room has posted a single image with a rundown of every 2009 iPhone rumor. A great reference for what to expect on Monday.

Update 6/10/09: FM radio functionality was not part of the WWDC keynote announcements but video recording and editing was.