40 years ago I wrote my first BASIC program on an Apple II while serving in the U.S. Army. The rest is history.

PRODUCTIVITY

When the Systems Preferences resolution options just won’t do.

Image for post
Big Sur’s scaled resolutions alongside the resolutions available with Resolutionator

What’s Past is Prologue

When it comes to technology, there’s only one direction. Forward. And that’s never more true than for PC displays. I purchased my first computer monitor in 1987, a 14-inch monochrome Amdek 410A. A year later I graduated to an NEC Multisync II color monitor that displayed 16 colors, weighed-in at thirty-one pounds, and cost $589 ($1,289 today). That was the first in a long line of upgrades over the next two decades that saw display resolutions increase from CGA(320x200) to VGA(640x480), SVGA(800x600), XGA(1024x768), XGA+(1152x864), SXGA+(1400x1050), UXGA(1600x1200), and finally culminating in the glory that was the Apple Thunderbolt Display’s WQHD(2560x1440).

With a thousand dollar price tag, the Thunderbolt Display felt like an extravagance when I made the purchase¹. But then I started using it, and there was no going back. I marveled at the beauty and information density of that display for six years until it gradually started to fail. By the time it finally became unusable, Apple was out of the standalone display business and I was forced to evaluate third-party monitors for my 2014 Mac mini. …


Image for post
Apple’s M1 chip

APPLE SILICON

Apple is developing higher core M-series chips, but they’re not going to give them away.

In Get Ready for the Mac mini Pro I pushed back on Bloomberg’s report that Apple is developing a half-size Mac Pro as a potential addition to the current model. I argued that it makes more sense for Apple to add higher-performance M-series chips to the existing Mac mini, creating a new Mac mini Pro. As examples, I suggested a 12-core model with a $1,999 base price, and a 16-core model priced at $2,999. One response to the story labeled those potential Macs as anemic and an utter ripoff. …


Image for post
The author gives his M1 Mac mini the iMac G3 treatment

MAC DESIGN

Apple silicon will increase Mac’s market share, but bold new industrial designs could take it to another level

One of the first things Steve Jobs did after his return to Apple was to announce the original iMac on May 6, 1998:

This is iMac. The whole thing is translucent, you can see into it. It’s so cool… Around the back, we’ve got a really great handle here. The back of this thing looks better than the front of the other guys’ by the way… It looks like it’s from another planet and a good planet. A planet with better designers.


Image for post
Author’s tongue-in-cheek rendition of a Mac mini Pro

Apple Silicon

A high-end Mac mini makes more sense than a small Mac Pro.

These are exciting times for the Mac. The first Apple silicon chip, the M1, powers the new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini. With Apple acknowledging that this is just the start of a two-year transition for the Mac, the rumor mill has been in overdrive, with MacRumors providing a roundup the day after the M1 Macs were announced:

14-inch MacBook Pro: In July, reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo forecasted that new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Apple Silicon and an all-new design will launch in the late second quarter or third quarter of 2021. …


Image for post
Slide from Apple’s November special event (unified memory highlighted by the author)

APPLE SILICON

Believe it not, 8GB M1 Macs are very capable machines.

When I wrote Who Really Needs 16GB In Their M1 Mac? last month I had no idea it would be my most read Medium story. Nor did I expect that my words would be so misunderstood and misconstrued. I expanded on my reasoning with Apple’s 8GB M1 Silicon isn’t Magic, but it is Magical but since the original story is still generating negative responses, once more into the breach, dear friends.

Renee Ritchie Was Misquoted?

One recent comment suggested that I misquoted Rene Ritchie, whose YouTube video 8GB vs 16GB for M1 Mac — The TRUTH About RAM! was the catalyst for my story, because he was only offering advice to people who plan to hold on to their M1 Macs until they cease to function, with the memory upgrade being necessary as a future-proofing insurance policy. …


Image for post
iPhone 12 mini in a Moment Indigo Blue Thin Case | Photo by author

APPLE

The iPhone 12 mini is the phone I’ve been waiting for.

The Great, but Too Big iPhone

In November 2017, after three frustrating years of using Touch ID on an iPhone 6, I decided to upgrade to the new iPhone X and give Face ID a try. With Touch ID, I would place my finger squarely on the sensor and sometimes the phone would unlock, and sometimes it wouldn’t. I could never tell what caused the failures. With Face ID, unlock failures only occur when my face is obscured or I look away from the phone. …


Image for post
M3 graphic created by the author (with apologies to Apple)

APPLE SILICON

It looks like TSMC’s 3nm process is headed to Apple’s M-Series Mac.

The Road to the M1 Macs

Ever since Johny Srouji led the development of the Apple A4, the first Apple-designed system on a chip, the iPhone has delivered impressive annual performance gains, quickly becoming the fastest smartphone in the world. Then something even more remarkable happened, with the release of the A10 Fusion chip in 2016, the iPhone was suddenly faster than any MacBook Air ever made. By 2019, the iPhone 11’s A13 Bionic Soc delivered faster single-core performance than every Intel-based Mac in Apple’s lineup.

And just as long as there have been A-Series chips, Intel has been worried that Apple would eventually place its own processors in Macs. While they planned to fight off this threat by innovating with their own CPUs, Intel failed to execute, continuing to deliver 14nm processors since 2014. Meanwhile, Apple, whose 2014 A8 was manufactured on a 20nm process, saw its processors improve to 16nm in 2015, 10nm in 2017, 7nm in 2018, and 5nm in 2020. …


PRIVACY

Two very different views on Apple’s privacy-related changes.

Image for post
From Tim Cook’s tweet responding to Facebook

When it comes to user privacy Apple has two goals, to minimize the collection of user data and provide transparency about the data that does get collected with its products. In furtherance of these objectives, the company introduced two new initiatives this year, adding an App Privacy section to product pages in Apple’s app stores, and adding the AppTrackingTransparency framework to iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and tvOS 14.

App Privacy

During June’s Worldwide Developers Conference Apple announced that developers would need to provide privacy information when updating their apps in App Store Connect. …


Image for post
I believe, I believe. It’s silly, but I believe. | Photo by Dan Hansen

APPLE SILICON

Too much is never enough

Poor Tim Cook. Apple released the new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini in November, three of the most revolutionary Macs since the first Intel Macs in 2006, and less than a month later fans and followers are already looking for the encore.

“The introduction of three new Macs featuring Apple’s breakthrough M1 chip represents a bold change that was years in the making, and marks a truly historic day for the Mac and for Apple,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “M1 is by far the most powerful chip we’ve ever created, and combined with Big Sur, delivers mind-blowing performance, extraordinary battery life, and access to more software and apps than ever before. …


Apple Silicon

Further proof that an 8GB M1 Mac can do the seemingly impossible.

Image for post
An 8GB M1 Mac mini running Xcode, PaintCode, and Simulator.

Let’s try this again, shall we?¹

In my story, Who Really Needs 16GB In Their M1 Mac?, I pushed back against Renee Ritchie’s assertion that anyone who can possibly afford to upgrade to 16GB when purchasing an M1 Mac should do so. My argument was that a large number of Mac users won’t derive a significant benefit from purchasing the upgrade. I’m not sure why that hit a nerve, but here is an abridged summary of the responses from people who had a problem with that argument:

  • 8GB is fine for reading email but isn’t suitable for “real” work.
  • Anyone who can get by with 8GB should probably use a tablet instead of a computer. …

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store