Mike Becky

Tag Archive for ‘Intel’

Apple Still Likely to Introduce New Macs With Intel Processors ➝

This isn’t surprising to me. I don’t know what an Apple Silicon-based Mac Pro would look like, but I expect it to be a radical departure from the current Mac Pro. I don’t think that will be ready for quite some time, though. And with Apple’s recent attempts to regain favor with the pro community, I don’t think they wants to leave all of those users hanging while they work on a suitable Apple Silicon-based replacement.

➝ Source: macrumors.com

Mac Mini

I’ve touched on this a number of times over the past few years — my current home server is due for an upgrade. The 2011 Mac Mini has served me well, storing our Time Machine backups, our Plex library, our local photo library, and performing various random Mac-specific tasks for the past decade. But it’s stuck on High Sierra and is quite a bit slower than any modern Mac.

I thought about upgrading when the 2018 Mac Mini was released, but the funds never quite lined up and at the point when they did, the Mini had been available for long enough that I didn’t want to order one shortly before a new model was released. Then the M1 Mac Mini came around and I had a bit of a dilemma — should I jump into the Apple Silicon world head first? Should I wait until the second iteration? It was a tough call, really.

Eventually I made a decision and not necessarily what you would expect. I recently ordered a base model 2018 Mac Mini. Yes, it’s older and slower than the M1, but there’s good reason to stick with the previous model for my next upgrade.

  1. It’s less costly than the M1 Mac Mini. The model I ordered cost just $499, brand new. The M1 starts at $699. But even if I ordered a refurbished one, we’re talking in the $600 range.
  2. It has more ports. I don’t expect to plug too much into the Mini at a time, but I do want to move everything to USB-C and Thunderbolt. The M1 Mini only comes with two Thunderbolt ports compared to the 2018 model’s four.
  3. It has upgradeable memory. With the M1 Mini, I need to order one with the amount of memory I need now and what I’ll need in a handful of years when I’m still using it. And that’s capped at 16GB. With the 2018 model, I can order the base configuration with 8GB to start and then upgrade to 16GB, 32GB, or even 64GB down the line when my needs change.
  4. It’s based on Intel, making it more versatile. Sure, there’s been some advancements in getting Linux running on M1 Macs. It will probably be working fully at some point in the future. And Microsoft may, at some point, let you purchase a license for a version of Windows that runs on ARM. But there’s no guarantee. And even though I don’t have any plans to run Windows or Linux on this machine, I’m going to own it for a decade or more — I’d rather leave my options open.
  5. It’s space gray. This is an incredibly minor point, but there is something sort-of cool about owning the only Mac Mini released that wasn’t silver.

There are downsides, of course. Buying an older model might put a shorter lifespan on its usage, especially with the transition to Apple Silicon. And it is slower than the M1. But I think the positives far outweigh the negatives, at least for my usage.

Speaking of usage, I’m pretty excited to get it all setup. It’ll be quite the process, though. I’m not going to be using Migration Assistant to move everything over, I’m going to do it manually. The current Mini’s macOS install is several years old at this point and I think it’s time for a fresh break and a clean install.

That means manually configuring my Time Machine shares and getting a new backup from all my machines, transitioning my Backblaze license, moving Plex’s database files, setting up VNC for remote access, and more. I’m also going to be booting from an external drive so I have a bit more breathing room — I’ll have to enable external booting and installing a fresh copy of macOS on the external drive.

There’s quite a bit to do, but it’ll be a lot of fun. This is exactly the sort of stuff that I enjoy most about computing. And there’s likely to be plenty of opportunities to write about what I learn and discover along the way.

‘I’m a Justin’ ➝

The campaign that this is parodying is over a decade old and these new ads are neither entertaining nor funny. I don’t care that they exist and don’t understand why anyone else does either.

➝ Source: macrumors.com

The One-Word Answer ➝

John Gruber:

I asked an Apple source last fall why it took so long for Apple to release the new MacBook Air. Their one-word answer: “Intel.”

I can think of one way they could have killed some time while they were waiting.

Speculation and Dread for the Next Transition ➝

Riccardo Mori, in reference to Andy Ihnatko’s piece on the rumored transition of Macs to ARM:

I have to reiterate just how silly and disheartening all the recent treatment of the Mac has become. That it’s inadequate, and has to be phased out, is just empty talk by all-too-eager iOS-only pundits. Obviously, everyone is free to use what’s best for them and speak about their preferences, but things like The Mac is too cumbersome and difficult to use, or that it’s inadequate for modern tasks, or that iOS is a superior platform are very subjective opinions, and not statements of facts. It’s also a bit hypocritical to invite Mac users to be more open-minded towards iOS as a professional tool, while iOS-only proponents aren’t similarly inclined to maybe get to know the Mac better before dismissing it as inadequate and awkward. As I’ve previously, repeatedly said, this iOS vs. Mac OS debate is toxic; Mac OS doesn’t need to be put aside to make iOS shine. It’s not a zero-sum game.

This insistence that, between iOS and Mac OS, ‘only one shall prevail’ is so misplaced. Both platforms have a specific kind of versatility and a specific set of strengths. If you ask me, the smart position is Better both worlds than the best of both worlds — but both worlds need to be taken care equally. Currently, that doesn’t seem to be happening, with the Mac losing ground, and Apple executives not giving very strong signals that they love the Mac as much as they say they do. This rumoured next transition will be crucial and revealing in this regard. As Ihnatko concludes, either Apple has a big, revolutionary plan in store for the Mac, or it’s preparing for the last season of Mac OS.

iOS may be my preferred platform, but I certainly don’t want to see Macs to go away.

Apple Planning to Use Their Own Chips for Macs ➝

Ian King and Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is planning to use its own chips in Mac computers beginning as early as 2020, replacing processors from Intel Corp., according to people familiar with the plans.

The initiative, code named Kalamata, is still in the early developmental stages, but comes as part of a larger strategy to make all of Apple’s devices — including Macs, iPhones, and iPads — work more similarly and seamlessly together, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The project, which executives have approved, will likely result in a multi-step transition.

Apple has already shown their prowess at developing powerful, energy-efficient processors with their A-series chips. And I can only imagine what they’ll be capable of when they’re design for Macs that will, presumably, feature larger batteries and a higher tolerance for heat.

The Retina Divide ➝

Apple released their first Intel Macs in January 2006 — the MacBook Pro and iMac. The final Mac to transition from PowerPC to Intel was released in August of that same year. In just seven months, Apple was able to transition their entire lineup to x86 processors. Granted this isn’t a direct comparison, but Apple announced their first product with a Retina display in June 2010 — the iPhone 4 — and here we are nearly six-and-a-half years later and Apple is still selling products with low pixel density displays.

Based on the price differential between Retina and non-Retina Macs, it’s clear that the cost of including these high-density displays is the limiting factor. But why is that still the case? Why hasn’t Apple found other ways to shave manufacturing costs on their computers or come to terms with temporarily decreased margins?

At this point, I wouldn’t buy a new Mac without a Retina display and Apple should draw a similar line in the sand. Non-Retina displays are drastically inferior products and Apple should feel like fools for continuing to sell them.

‘Apple Could Use Custom x86 SoC Made by AMD’ ➝

Gian Maria Forni, writing for Bits and Chips:

According to our sources, Apple is pondering about using custom x86 CPUs in its next iMacs and MacBooks, during 2017-2018. Nowadays it’s hard to avoid the use of x86 ISA in high end and professional personal computers, but at the same time Intel CPUs are too expensive if we compare these with ARM SoCs.

So, Apple’s target is to realize a complete x86 custom SoC family, like Sony and Microsoft did with their consoles. AMD is the perfect partner to do this.

This rumor was published back in October of last year, but John Gruber linked to it a couple of days ago.

There’s a lot of interesting things happening in the world of CPUs. Intel licensing ARM technology and attempting to take over the manufacturing of Apple’s A-series processors, the massive gap between Mac hardware iterations which was at least partly due to delays in Intel’s latest generation of CPUs, and the aforelinked rumor that Apple might be working with AMD on custom x86 SoCs. To name a few.

This is exactly the kind of rumors I enjoy, though. It hearkens back to the early days of my technology enthusiasm, when AMD was first to market with 64-bit and dual-core processors. And, perhaps this is just wishful thinking, but I have a strange feeling that we’ll be learning more about all this within the next six months.