Chance Miller, at 9to5 Mac writing about a potential Stage Manager leak:
According to the leaker, one of the biggest areas of focus for iPadOS 17 will be Stage Manager. Apple debuted Stage Manager as a new multi-tasking interface as part of iPadOS 16, but the feature has received mix feedback from iPad power users. As part of iPadOS 17, Apple reportedly has a multiple updates in store for Stage Manager, though it sounds like the basis of the functionality will stay the same.
- External monitor webcam support.
- Audio output source settings.
- Stream Multiple audio/vid sources at once with Stage Manager on.
- Resizable dock (in external display settings only)
- Sleep iPad display; external display stays on.
This leaker also says that Apple is developing a “special version of iPadOS 17” for the oft-rumored larger iPad that’s in the works. Sources such as Ross Young and Bloomberg have said that Apple is working on a 14.1-inch iPad that could be launched sometime this year or in early 2024. There’s even been one rumor suggesting a 16-inch model is in development.
If all of this is true, I can see the iPad becoming a much more useful device for so many people. That’s a lot of the annoyances I have with my iPad suddenly vanishing.
I’ve seen quite a few articles recently that claim that due to worrying sales of the iPhone 14 models, the price of next year’s models will likely be lower. While that may seem rather simple to understand, and probably not even require a “leak” to back it up, I’d like to offer two (also obvious) reasons why the 14 may be selling a little less than expected:
- The price was increased at a time when a lot of people have less money.
- It’s pretty much the same phone as the 13.
I’d argue that even if the 15 models go back to the “normal” (still hugely expensive) prices, it still won’t be worth the upgrade if the phones are not substantially better than their predecessors.
I still own a 13 Pro, and I honestly can’t think of any reason why I’d want to upgrade to a “better” iPhone. At least going by the improvements that were added in last-year models.
Now, if the next iPhone models are affected by the various E.U. rules that mean it needs to be USB C, have an easily (not sure what that even means) replaceable battery, and a few other improvements like that, then I’d probably be a bit more optimistic. But if it’s the usual list of changes like a brighter screen, longer battery, faster chip, and some new cinema-grade camera certification, then I think I’ll likely skip another generation. Or perhaps, even switch to a more interesting phone like the Google Pixel.
“The Future of Foundation”, Swift.org:
Today, we are announcing a new open source Foundation project, written in Swift, for Swift.
I saw this being talked about earlier on Twitter by people that understand this sort of stuff much more than me. But my first reactions were:
- I didn’t know Foundation wasn’t already in Swift.
- I wonder if I can become a contributer.
The post has the project launching on GitHub in 2023, which isn’t that helpful. Still, it would be pretty cool to say I contributed to Foundation.
There are quite a few publications sharing information regarding the pricing of Twitter’s Blue subscription, that it will be more expensive from an an iPhone. This is to cover the revenue cut that Apple take from all purchases on the App Store and their in-app payment system.
This isn’t exactly a solution that everyone can suddenly adopt. However, I think for large companies such as Twitter, it’s a clever decision. That’s as long as there is an alternative method to start a subscription from another device at a lesser price.
It’s one thing to offset the commission that Apple take, but I would imagine it also makes the cut that Apple take off all payments, a bit more visible.
Let’s say Netflix added an option to pay for the service via Apple’s in-app payment system, and also made the price higher to offset the commission. I’m sure a lot of people would suddenly be aware. And I’m sure, if the reasoning was made clear by Netflix, a lot of people would be aiming their complaints in Apple’s direction.
I’m not sure how this will play out. Especially as to some, Twitter isn’t even a place to be for free, let alone pay for it. But, if they can get more public attention on the cut that Apple takes from in-app payments, it would be interesting to see if the blame is directed towards Apple, or Twitter for not just accepting that cut, and keeping the end user pricing the same on all platforms.
Coinbase has accused Apple of forcing it to remove NFT transfers from its Wallet app on iOS. On Thursday, it tweeted that Apple “blocked our last app release until we disabled the feature” because the iPhone maker wanted the blockchain fees associated with an NFT transfer to go through its in-app purchase system, giving it a 30 percent cut.
Apple’s claim is that the gas fees required to send NFTs need to be paid through their In-App Purchase system, so that they can collect 30% of the gas fee.
Apple did update their App Store guidelines in October to mention rules around NFTs. App Store Review Guidelines (3.1.1):
Apps may use in-app purchase to sell and sell services related to non-fungible tokens (NFTs), such as minting, listing, and transferring. Apps may allow users to view their own NFTs, provided that NFT ownership does not unlock features or functionality within the app. Apps may allow users to browse NFT collections owned by others, provided that the apps may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than in-app purchase.
I guess it’s a rule now. So you could argue that Coinbase just have to get on with it. But this all does seem like yet another greedy move from Apple.
Yet another great piece by Riccardo Mori. A fascinating read, and one that has somewhat echoed feelings I have in regard to what Apple are doing with their software.
I was planning on writing in detail my thoughts on the Apple event, and the products that were announced. However, after I started writing an outline, I noticed a trend. These products aren’t for me, I’m not in the market for them, and they don’t provide enough additional value for me to replace what I currently have.
I didn’t want to create a big negative post about the event, simply because it didn’t cause me to spend my money, but I’ll offer a few short opinions on what was announced.
I’d say this was the biggest part of the event (I don’t know the actual numbers, but it felt that way), and I guess it appears that the Watch has started to mature, and updates to the main watch are iterative at this point. However, the Ultra seems interesting, specifically for more outdoors people that maybe hike or scuba dive. This seems like a niche product to me, so that will be an interesting thing to watch.
I can’t say much about the AirPods, except that I’d probably start to at least show an interest if there was a non-in-ear option.
Similar to the Watch, this is another iterative update. However, I do like a few of the additions.
Firstly, I have to mention the Dynamic Island, it’s a clear improvement, and it’s great to see how the OS handles and actually builds upon the cutout. However, I can’t get over that name.
As for the always-on display, I definitely think there’s some value in that, although I’d only ever know after using it for a while. I have it on my Pixel 6, and it’s been mildly useful to have the time and a few notification icons available, but it looks like the iOS implementation takes it just that bit further.
In general, this wasn’t an event for me. Apple’s products seem to all be maturing, and there hasn’t been anything spectacular for a while in my opinion.
But I can’t say that every event Apple do has to be spectacular. The world is built on small, iterative updates. The real problem may be the constant desire for bigger and better.
And to be honest, I don’t even know what I’m looking for in regard to innovation at the moment. Brighter colours? Maybe a different form-factor? I guess I just want something different from the same slab of glass Apple have been selling for quite a few years. Maybe that’s why Android is starting to pique my interest.
I started thinking about what my hopes were for iOS 16, and the ways I think iOS could be improved. Mostly with the intention to end up with one of the stereotypical wish list posts that most bloggers write about this time of year. Nevertheless, I could only think of six things. All of them inspired by my recent use of the Google Pixel 6 and Android 12.
That isn’t to say that these are the only things that will excite me about iOS 16, they’re just the only ways I can see iOS 16 improving. I’m sure there are various ways in which Apple could innovate, and bring something new to the OS. However, the OS has, without doubt, matured, and every year there’s a lot less low-hanging-fruit. Which is probably why innovation seems to have slowed (for both iOS and Android), and changes seem to be either iterative or being adaptations of existing capabilities of another OS.
With that in mind, here are the six things that are inspired by Android 12, that I think Apple should bring to iOS 16:
Some form of universal messaging support. Whether it is iMessage for Android (which I think is unlikely), or the adoption of RCS as a fallback instead of SMS. It’s clear that communication between iOS and Android devices shouldn’t be via SMS.
Freeform Home Screen layouts. There are many things that made me give the Pixel 6 a try, but a main one was the same old Home Screen. There’s been the addition of widgets, but everything still needs to follow the same grid structure. And for some reason, you can’t just put an icon where you want. Which seems stupid to me, since the size of phones nowadays are pretty large.
Multiple audio channels. This isn’t something that I’m desperate for, but it’s certainly irritating for me when you go to a website and a video/ad starts playing automatically and your song stops. Imagine going to a website on your Mac and an autoplaying video, stopping the song you’re listening to. Also, you should be able to alter the volume of specific apps/channels.
New widget sizes. Widgets are cool, but I don’t think the information density warrants them such a big place on the Home Screen. Why does the weather forecast need to take up the space of 4 app icons? A 2×1 and 1×1 size option would be very much appreciated by me. And I’ve also greatly appreciate resizable widgets, rather than fixed sizes that you have to replace manually.
Better notification grouping. For me, Android has always had better notification support than iOS. But something I find very useful when I use my Pixel is the grouping of notifications. As in, a certain app can have have multiple categories of notifications, which the user can control individually. Which means you can turn off some of the more marketing style notifications, and keep the important ones.
Auto-unlock in safe locations. This is a feature of Android that I love. The Pixel 6 that I use has a fingerprint sensor in the screen, and while it’s pretty fast, it’s not instant. However, there’s a “Smart Unlock” feature, that allows you to add trusted places, where your phone will always stay unlocked. I know Apple like to tie a lot of this auto-unlock stuff to the Apple Watch, but I don’t wear one of those. I’d like just like to have my phone unlocked whenever I’m at home.
Those are the improvements that I can think of, but I’m sure there are a ton of others. So fingers-crossed they announce something exciting at WWDC!
Apple today announced Self Service Repair, which will allow customers who are comfortable with completing their own repairs access to Apple genuine parts and tools. Available first for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 lineups, and soon to be followed by Mac computers featuring M1 chips, Self Service Repair will be available early next year in the US and expand to additional countries throughout 2022. Customers join more than 5,000 Apple Authorised Service Providers (AASPs) and 2,800 Independent Repair Providers who have access to these parts, tools, and manuals.The initial phase of the program will focus on the most commonly serviced modules, such as the iPhone display, battery, and camera. The ability for additional repairs will be available later next year.
My immediate reaction on Twitter to this was that I thought that this is a good idea, and benefits both Apple and consumers. Because this will surely be good for Apple’s reputation, and they’ll now gain more control of the iPhone parts market. And that means for consumers, they will have access to official parts that they can trust, and also be able to perform repairs themselves.
I’m not too sure Apple are doing this purely for the benefit of consumers though. I’m starting to wonder if they’re introducing this program so that they have a counterargument to the right to repair people.
I’m super curious to see how this is received by people on both sides of the right to repair argument. Will people who support right to repair see this as a win or an empty gesture distracting from their real concerns? Will people who have argued against right to repair because it would mean bulky products be annoyed because this shows that’s not really the case?
Even though I’m sure that Apple will be very restrictive to what parts they sell, and what they “allow” you to repair. I would find it incredibly amusing if Apple find a way to support reasonably priced repairs for batteries, screens, cases, etc. Because right now, the only manufacturers I see that are even thinking about this kind of stuff are making big phones that look ugly. And the excuse that “it’s repairable” won’t hold up as much.
Louise Guillot, writing for Politico:
The European Commission is set to present a legislative proposal on Thursday to force manufacturers to use a common charger for electronic devices, according to a Commission official closely involved in the file.
The proposal will require all manufacturers to harmonize the charging points on devices — using a USB-C charging point — and to make their software protocol for fast charging interoperable between brands and devices.
The main target of the new legislation is U.S. tech giant Apple, which has pushed back against EU attempts to standardize chargers through binding requirements, arguing that it will hamper innovation.
This is such a fundamentally stupid proposal.
How can you enforce all phone manufactures to use the same charging port?
What happens when USB-C isn’t good enough anymore?
What about the massive number of lightning cables that would be unusable by the current iPhone users? Does that waste not matter?
What if a manufacturer wants to only support wireless charging?
And people in the E.U. wonder why England wanted out, and why nearly all the major tech companies are from the U.S. and Asia.
Of course, it was the UK that left the EU, not just England. But I think everyone gets the point. ↩︎
It’s been a little over 24 hours since the Apple event, and I’ve of course been thinking about the new products that were announced, so I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts.
Nice to see it get an upgrade. Nothing exactly to shout about, but I don’t think this iPad is meant for that. Still a great computer for a reasonable price.
Finally. The redesign we’ve been waiting for. I expect this to be a very popular device for reading and light browsing, and could probably serve as a pretty good gaming device too.
I have a 12.9” iPad Pro and also an iPhone 12 (for now), and I personally don’t feel like I need a product in between them. But I can definitely see the appeal.
Apple Watch Series 7
Not so square edges. But overall a pretty bland increment in my opinion. I wasn’t expecting much, but I thought it would at least get a new chip.
iPhone 13/13 Mini
Honestly, I found the base model 13 and 13 Mini pretty disappointing. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, and others have suggested that this is an “S” year.
It’s got the new A15 chip, the cameras have a better sensor to let in more light (with the same aperture as iPhone 12), a tiny bit more battery life, and a few new colours. An improvement, but like many of the other products, nothing to get excited about. Especially if you’re on the last generation.
I even felt that the iPhone 13 video could have been for the iPhone 12, barring the new cinematic mode. Which, while I’m on the subject, I’m not too convinced by yet. Partially on how good it will be at artificially focussing on subjects without weird blurring on the edges of subjects, and also how much use it will be to the average user.
iPhone 13 Pro/13 Pro Max
Okay, so while I’m a bit disappointed by the base model iPhone 13, at least the Pro models excited me a bit.
The iterative changes over the previous generation are expected, but it’s the new cameras that grabbed my attention. Because, although the base model 13 gained new sensors for the wide and ultra-wide cameras, the Pro gained a new 3x telephoto (up from 2.5x in the 12/12 Pro), a new ultra-wide camera with a wider f/1.8 aperture (from f/2.4 In the 12 Pro), and also a new wide camera with a wider f/1.5 aperture (from f/1.6 in the 12.
It wasn’t just the aperture that changed, there’s also sensor improvements, a seemingly massive improvement in low-light capabilities, Night Mode everywhere, and most likely a lot of other things. But the other 2 main features I’m looking forward to trying out is the 2mm minimal focus distance on the ultra-wide camera, and also the customisable photographic styles. I can already imagine setting certain lighting/colour adjustments when in various locations. For example, getting softer colours new the beach, or maybe boosting the contrast and enhancing the colours in a more urban environment.
However, I can imagine that if I wasn’t interested in the camera improvements, this new model would feel as bland as the base model 13.
If I look at this announcement as a whole, I’m disappointed. I think that with all the fanfare surrounding the iPhone Apple Events, the large amount of production time that Apple have been putting into the recent digital events, and my own personal expectations, I thought we’d see a lot more than what were mostly incremental upgrades.
I know Apple can’t invent a new product category every year, so of course, the only thing left is to iterate on their existing products. But I would have expected a little more than what we got, maybe just a few things to get really excited about.
To take it to an even wider scale, I think this event follows what my feelings have been regarding Apple during Tim Cook’s reign. I know he was at the helm for the Apple Watch and AirPods. But overall, I feel like a Tim Cook Apple has a sense of stability, quite a few product lines, with them all receiving regular, iterative improvements, and everything slowly getting better every year. But, I wouldn’t say that Apple is an exciting company under Tim, I wouldn’t go far as to say they’re boring, but over the past few years, I’ve noticed myself becoming a lot less enthused about Apple. Maybe that’s just me, but it’s something I’ve been feeling for a while.
For the past couple days I’ve been thinking about getting an Android phone. Not because I want to “make the switch”, but becuase I’ve had an iPhone for over 10 years. And while I think the iPhone is a good phone, how do I really know that I don’t love Android even more if I’ve never tried?
That, and because I think Android 12 looks really nice with the new Material You design.
And while iOS has recently gained widgets on the Home Screen, the design has largely stayed the same. Maybe that’s just a negative perspective, but after 10 years it can seem a tad boring.
But that’s when I start to think about the Apple ecosystem. How I’ve slowly built up a collection of movies, books, music, and apps that purely exist in this world. Add that to the various Apple devices I own, that each add their own weight to the locked-in feeling.
So it’s not like I’m ever going to make some major switch without truly thinking about it. But when I really think about how much I feel locked-in, I think back to my younger self, and my feelings towards technology back then. I liked the look of Apple products, but I mainly liked having endless control of my computer, I tinkered a lot, I broke things a lot, and I actually learned quite a bit along the way.
In general I preferred to be an opinionated user, rather than having an opinionated computer telling me what I could do.
While I’m not going all out attack on Apple — I use and enjoy many Apple products — but sometimes I get tired about the lock-in feeling, and start to think what it’s like on the other side.
And if I’m being truly honest, I think the best looking smartphones are the Google Pixels that come in white/black combinations, with my favourite being the Pixel 2 XL. That might sound pretty weird coming from an iPhone owner and app developer.
Maybe I need to come to terms with things and either settle for the closed ecosystem, or venture out and try new things. Because by being fully immersed in the Apple ecosystem, I’m saying to myself that I want every decision regarding my personal computing, whether it be the mobile computer, laptop computer, or the computer on my wrist, to be dependant on the ideals and decisions of one company.
Apple has just released the product that I think we’ve all been expecting ever since the recent addition of MagSafe in the recent iPhone lineup. It’s a product that simply makes sense.
As you may expect, it’s by no means the biggest battery pack you can get for your iPhone, with the capacity standing at 1460mAh, and it’s not clear what this will mean in terms of actual extra use time. However, when you compare it to the iPhone 12 battery capacities, you can probably get a rough estimate:
- iPhone 12 mini capacity: 2227 mAh
- iPhone 12/12 Pro capacity: 2815 mAh
- iPhone 12 Pro Max capacity: 3687 mAh
So maybe if you’ve got a 12 or 12 Pro you can expect somewhere near 50% extra battery life? I’d be fine with that. But I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Regarding charging speed, the battery pack can charge an iPhone with up to 5W of power when not plugged in, and up to 15W when plugged into a 20W or higher power source. 5W is the typical rate for a standard wireless charger, so there’s no fast charging on the go. However, the benefit of MagSafe is that it simply attaches to the back of the device, so it’s not as inconvenient to use online attaching it via a cable to a battery pack.
I can see this as the perfect solution for a travel charger. As when you’re out and about, you have an extra punch of battery to get you through the day, but also the battery pack can serve as a wireless charger when plugged in. So I guess in that case, it’s two products in one.
Another interesting part of this battery pack is that it can also be charged by the iPhone. So if you need to use a cable directly with your iPhone for whatever reason, your iPhone will then use reverse charging to charge the battery pack. This functionality was reported to possibly exist in the latest iPhones last year, but this is the first I’ve heard of it being used.
I’ll wait until we hear more about the real-world capacity tests, and also when I’m able to travel a bit more, but it certainly looks like something I’m going to end up buying.
Check out the MagSafe Battery Pack on the Apple Store.
The new iPad Pro has been announced, and I’ve got a few thoughts on it.
Of course, the most significant part of the announcement was the addition of the M1 chip. It brings the obvious added power and increased efficiency that we’ve seen in M1 Macs. But I think it also signifies something bigger.
Because Apple could have easily just called the iPad chip the A14X or something similar, that’s essentially what it is. But they chose to go with the marketing term, M1. And with the M1 name being associated with Macs and desktop computing, I think it shows what Apple wants the iPad Pro to be.
I could be reading too much into this, but my opinion is that we’re going to see a much more Pro-focussed strategy for the iPad Pro. And I’m hoping that kicks off with some real Pro applications announced at WWDC, especially Xcode.
The iPad Pro also now comes with more memory, with the 1TB and 2TB options coming with 16GB, and the rest with 8GB. Both options are an increase from the 2020 models, which came with 6GB. I think this will be a significant stepping stone in getting more powerful apps on the iPad.
Then there’s the screen. The new 12.9" iPad Pro has a “Liquid Retina XDR” display, which means 10,000 mini LEDs, sorted into over 2500 local dimming zones (The Pro Display XDR has only 576), 1000 nits of brightness with a peak of 1600 nits, ProMotion, True Tone, HDR, P3 wide colour, etc. All of this sounds very appealing and partially confusing, to be honest.
Most of the other features, while mildly interesting, aren’t exactly game-changers for me. Things like the USB -C port gaining Thunderbolt support, the curios Centre Stage feature where your camera can follow you, and of course, 5G.
One other thing did pique my curiosity, and that’s the new White Magic Keyboard. While my initial reaction was that it would surely wear out quite quickly and get quite visibly dirty. I feel that the White Magic Keyboard combined with a Space Grey iPad Pro could look pretty good together. Hopefully, I can see a picture of it before they’re ready to order.
However, all of this excitement also relies on enhancements to iPadOS. The hardware has never actually been the issue when it comes to iPad. That has been steadily improving over time, and it’s been pretty powerful for a while now. However, it’s now time that the software matched the same level, and I mean that from both an OS perspective and Apple’s app offerings. Apps like Xcode, Final Cut Pro, and Logic surely have to be coming to the iPad in one form or another? I’m starting to see little reasons why they couldn’t.
Apple has now added a fifth default Search engine option to iOS, iPadOS, and macOS. And that new addition is Ecosia.
Ecosia is a search engine that has been produced to plant trees. Not literally, but the profit from the search ads are used to plant trees, and therefore to help the environment.
I heard about Ecosia quite a few years ago, but it didn't seem to work that well for me. I've tried it again recently, and it seems to have improved a lot. So I'm going to be setting it as default on all of my devices to really try it out. For the simple reason that if I can get reasonable search results, then there really isn't a negative, only a positive effect of trees being planted.
To be honest, although Apple added DuckDuckGo to the list of default search engines, I didn't really expect them to add any more. DuckDuckGo just seemed like a privacy-focussed alternative to Google.
I wonder how many people will switch to Ecosia, and if Apple will add even more options in the future? Maybe they will make their own?
A teardown of the new Mac mini has surfaced on the forum eGPU.io (via Reddit), providing us with a real-world look at Apple’s new M1 chip, which is soldered onto a much smaller logic board than the one found in the 2018 model of the computer.
There sure looks like there’s a lot of empty space in there, which bodes well for the future. You can take it as more room for future even more powerful models, or that this power could be put into an even smaller chassis. Either way it’s positive.
My HomePod arrived this morning, so I thought I’d give my first impressions of it. I’ve had an original HomePod for quite some time, and I love it, but I did always think I’d like a smaller one in my office. That’s why I ordered a Mini as soon as it was available.
Turns out, it was a pretty good decision too. Because for £99, I think the HomePod Mini is much more value for money than the £279 HomePod. I’m not saying the HomePod isn’t worth that amount of money, but instead, I think the Mini is so cheap for what it is.
Obviously, the main part of the HomePod is what it sounds like. The original HomePod has an incredible set of speakers and can be pretty loud. With that in mind, I was expecting a speaker the size of the Mini would sound drastically different. I mean, still Apple quality, but noticeably worse than the bigger variant. However, they’re a lot closer than I imagined.
The HomePod has an expected much higher level of bass, but the Mini still has a decent amount. I’ve complained in the past that the HomePod has too much bass, so I wasn’t going to complain if there was a little less. It can also be pretty loud. I have it around 50% right now and it’s certainly enough. I had them working together at one point, and it was amazing, so I’ll probably end up getting another Mini at some point.
I tried sending music between the Mini and my iPhone 12 a few times, and it’s definitely faster than before. But I have to be honest and say that it wasn’t as fast as I’ve seen in reviews, so maybe I need to find the sweet spot?
One side-note I have about the Mini is that the cable it comes with is what all future Apple cables should be made out of. It’s a braided cable, similar to the bigger HomePod, but the thickness of a typical cable.
While the HomePod will always have the size advantage over the Mini, the difference in sound quality doesn’t seem to match the difference in size. The Mini is a great speaker. I think that this is the product that will Apple to compete with other devices from Amazon and Google. I don’t think that they will ever match the price points or ubiquity of either two, but I can imagine a lot more people are going to be thinking about a HomePod now.
Today, Apple announced a reduction in App Store commissions that will substantially benefit a large part of the developer community. Starting January 1, 2021, developers who earn up to $1 million per year from their apps will have the commission paid to Apple cut in half, reducing it from 30% to 15%. Apple CEO Tim Cook said of the new App Store Small Business Program in an Apple press release:
Small businesses are the backbone of our global economy and the beating heart of innovation and opportunity in communities around the world. We’re launching this program to help small business owners write the next chapter of creativity and prosperity on the App Store, and to build the kind of quality apps our customers love.
The App Store has been an engine of economic growth like none other, creating millions of new jobs and a pathway to entrepreneurship accessible to anyone with a great idea. Our new program carries that progress forward — helping developers fund their small businesses, take risks on new ideas, expand their teams, and continue to make apps that enrich people’s lives.
Such a great decision, and one that a lot of people have been wanting for quite some time. The $1m a year limit is certainly going to disappoint some people, since it will cut out a lot of developers/companies. But I don’t think Apple are wrong to at least focus on the small businesses first. I’m sure a lot smarter people will argue the case for or against the cap, but right now I’m just looking forward to applying for this myself.
Apple has updated a documentation page detailing the company’s next steps to prevent last week’s Gatekeeper bug from happening again, as Rene Ritchie spotted. The company plans to implement the fixes over the next year.Apple had a difficult launch day last week. The company released macOS Big Sur, a major update for macOS. Apple then suffered from server-side issues.Third-party apps failed to launch as your Mac couldn’t check the developer certificate of the app. That feature, called Gatekeeper, makes sure that you didn’t download a malware app that disguises itself as a legit app. If the certificate doesn’t match, macOS prevents the app launch.
A pretty embarrassing bug for such a big day.
So Apple has finally announced the first Macs that will run on Apple Silicon. To be specific, there is a new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13", and a new Mac Mini. And they all have the new M1.
This is still early on, and there’s bound to be more information as time goes on, and as people eventually receive their machines. But, it leaves me with some questions regarding the M1, Apple’s idea behind the Mac lineup, and Apple Silicon in general.
Is an M1 always an M1?
With all three new Macs having the M1 chip, I assumed that the only difference in power would be related to how much power it uses, and the thermal capacity of the machine. As in the Mac Mini is plugged in constantly, so it can draw more power. And the MacBook Air doesn’t have a fan, so it needs to maintain a lower temperature.
But while it appears that the M1 is the same across the models, there is one machine which has a slight variant. The cheapest MacBook Air for some reason has an M1 with a 7-core GPU. And all of the other machines have an 8-core GPU.
So are all M1 chips the same? Does the “7-core GPU” variant actually have 8-cores, but one’s switched off? Or did they literally make two options of the same chip, with 1 GPU core being the difference? If they are physically different, is does M1 represent a chip family?
Is CPU configuration now dead?
With the new M1s being the same, apart from the weird MacBook Air situation, there is now one less thing you can configure when purchasing a Mac.
Sure, you have the option of a 7-core or 8-core GPU on your MacBook Air, but this is not configurable in the same way that memory and storage are.
Maybe from now on, the chip will determine the model. And if Apple does start to separate Mac models by chip variants, will we ever be told more about them apart from the number of cores and the iteration?
What chip will be in the next tier of Macs?
Even if we class the Mac mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook 13" models as being transitioned to Apple Silicon, there are still four more models that run exclusively on Intel chips, the MacBook Pro 16", iMac, iMac Pro, and the Mac Pro.
I think they will obviously feature higher performant chips than the current M1 chips that are available. But I wonder how far they will go, and at what rate. Because although the MacBook Pro 16" is a laptop, it’s the high-end model, and will therefore need to be much more powerful than the 13".
But when it comes to the other three models, they all have one benefit over the laptops, in that they have a constant power source. And the Mac Pro can go even further due to it’s larger size.
Apple said they wanted to transition the whole Mac platform to Apple Silicon in around 2 years. But I wonder if this means only having Apple Silicon Macs available, or just by having an Apple Silicon option of every Mac, while still selling various Intel variants.
How many chip variants will Apple sell at once?
This isn’t exactly a major question, but it will be interesting to see how many Apple Silicon chips will be available to buy at a single time.
When the whole platform has transitioned, I wonder if at one point they will all run the same M class chip with variants on certain models. And at what rate are they upgraded?
The iPhone chips are updated every year, so it will be good to see the same behaviour for M chips. Although would that mean every Mac gets updated every year? Or just certain models?
Is the memory limit a problem?
The Macs that have the M1 chip are all limited to a maximum 16GB memory. That doesn’t seem great to me, since the Intel MacBook Pro 13" supports up to 32GB memory, double its replacement.
Maybe this is a technical limitation? I thought initially that it was a limitation from the M1 chip, but I’ve also seen suggestions that it’s due to the type of memory, or even due to the heat generated from larger amounts of memory. So it could even be a product decision.
And although the limit is pretty small, will it actually be a problem? iPhones have much less ram than Android phones, and they’re by no means slow. So maybe the tight integration of Apple Silicon and macOS will create the same benefit, and memory will go further on Apple Silicon than an Intel equivalent.
These are the questions I have right now, and I bet there’s a load more that others want to be answered too. We’ll simply have to wait and see what happens.