Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Apple: revised for 2014

A few things stand out from the Apple presentation today:

  • No more 15 inch MacBook Pro with the older displays
  • iPad 2 continues to be sold, starting at US$399
  • Mac Pro is finally being updated, starting at US$2999

Of course, the iPad mini has been revised with a 2048 by 1536 resolution at 326 pixels per inch (ppi) display.  However, the price has also been revised US$70 higher, starting at US$399.  That seems a bit much, especially when they're still selling the (electronically) ancient iPad 2 for US$399 also (and people apparently want a full-sized tablet, even with low resolution but why shouldn't the price be $299?).  They have made their money back on the iPad 2, I'm sure, so why charge so much for the iPad mini revision?  Could it be that inclusion of the A7/M7 pair has upped the cost that much, along with the higher resolution display?  Alternately, they could drop the price of the iPad 2 to US$299 but that would disrupt iPad mini sales.  It would seem rather high cost given that the 9.7 inch iPad Air has the same resolution in a less dense display.  Also, there are still reports of low yields of the higher density 7.9 (what happened to 7.875, too much precision?) inch displays.

(Update 2013.11.06: I tried the iPad Air at the Sprint store and it was quite a comfortable beast.  It seemed rather warm just sitting on the plastic display, running the demo, so I can't imagine how it would be running Galaxy on Fire 2 HD.)

Apple, the whole "thinner, lighter" thing has been overdone.  My iPhone 4S has to wear armor to survive a fall, so it's bulkier and heavier, not thinner and lighter.  I appreciate that you want to design things with more aesthetic value, but there is a point where the devices aren't going to a museum display, and will be used by everyday people.  (I don't expect anyone from Apple to read this, and they don't seem to care anyway, but I thought I'd write it.)  I expect that the new MacBook Pro that is thinner and lighter will get some lawsuit about the palm rest being hotter and unbearable.

I wonder how many people use a Mac Pro now.  I haven't used one since the G4 days and I got mine at significant discounts.  Both were originally US$3999 each.  Of course, the base Apple II+ configuration was US$2495, as was the original Macintosh.  I believe the Macintosh Portable was US$6499.  Someone at work in 1990 had the Portable and I couldn't imagine spending that much money on any computer, short of a minicomputer system.

When people use Maya or other 3D software, or AutoCAD or various other technical design software, do they bother with Apple equipment now?  I know that Linux-based systems are often used on the back-end of projects but commercial desktop software is slow to move there.  As much as Apple and Microsoft and Google are herding us in a certain direction, we end up having to live with it because the commercial software we run isn't about to be moved.

The Macintosh operating system, (Mac) OS X, has been updated as Mavericks--something to do with a surfing spot in California.  As 10.9, it should be better, but I'm concerned about their slipshod implementations.  Look how long it took them to implement FileVault without losing data.  Resolution Independence never really took hold, but can be used on a per-application basis.  Memory Compression is their big, new technology and I think I'll wait, rather than having working memory corrupted, no matter how free they make it.  I wonder if anyone else remembers RAM Doubler from Connectix?  I used that quite a lot in one of my 1990s Macs, and it seemed to work flawlessly, but the Single-Tasking Mac OS 9.x (with Task Switcher) was much less complicated, although convoluted.

Let me remind you to take a moment or several moments to check the requirements and compatibility of your special, necessary software before you upgrade your operating system.

What I'm not saying is that I was ready for an iPad mini with the enhanced (but apparently not great, as far as color gamut goes) display--at US$349 but I'd want a 32 GB model, which would be US$100 more, and since reality hit, and it's US$50 more than what I expected, I'll be waiting.  I'd prefer to put money into an enhanced phone like the 32 GB iPhone 5c that has enhanced LTE band (2 bands on Sprint, my current carrier) support.  Since my iPhone 4S has no LTE support, and since LTE is starting to take shape, I'd like to be ready for 2014, when I'm expecting decent real-life LTE coverage and use.  (Yes, AT&T and Verizon have coverage, but putting LTE on a tower and saying that a town has coverage is not useful.  It has to work, and work well.)

Update 2013.11.17: I got the iPhone 5c and it's quite good, as you'd expect of what is mostly 1 year old technology.  I also looked at the iPad Air and it's very desirable, but only for situations where I wouldn't be trying to use it at stores or restaurants.  The Google Nexus 7 and EVGA Tegra Note 7 tablets are far more usable, if everything Android is in place and working smoothly.

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