In what will certainly come as no surprise to anyone who follows Apple, the company is reportedly preparing to cease production of it’s last upgradeable portable computer – the Macbook Pro (non Retina) 13″.
Apple has pushed two significant updates today that address a serious hardware issue plaguing new 13″ Retina Macbook Pro models, and the Mail app in Mavericks and how it works with Gmail.
The late 2013 13″ Macbook Pro update is an EFI Update (v 1.3) that addresses the situation where the keyboard and trackpad may become unresponsive.
The Mail.app update addresses the strange Gmail behavior Mail.app exhibited in Mavericks when using a Gmail account.
Both updates are available using the links above, or by using the Mac App Store.
Getting your OS updates from the Mac App Store can be a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because once the file is downloaded, installing from your local drive is much quicker than the old method of CD/DVD installation. It can be a curse because downloading a 4GB disk image is not a quick task for most people. And if you have multiple Macs that need to be updated, it will require you to download that 4GB disk image multiple times.
There have been ways to take the OS Install disk image and create a bootable USB thumb drive from it since the Mac App Stores inception. It’s not an overly tedious process, but it’s not what I’d call drop dead easy.
With OS X Mavericks coming soon, you may want to check this app out and get your USB thumb drive ready.
It’s pretty rare in prerelease speculation that the blogs get the specs of a new device right, but get the new devices name wrong. But such is the case of the new iPad. Not the iPad HD. Not the iPad 3. Just iPad. Makes sense though if you think about it. We don’t have MacBook Pro HDs, or iPod Touch 3s. I suspect the next iPhone will probably be called just iPhone as well.
As to the new device itself, it falls in line with predictions. Retina display. 4G LTE. New graphics chip to handle the extra resolution. New iSight camera with 5MP and 1080p recording. Just about every internal component has been upgraded.
Curiously, the one component that hasn’t been upgraded – the FaceTime camera – could have really improved the FaceTime experience if it had been upgraded to take advantage of the new resolution. As someone who FaceTimes regularly with family, it’s an improvement I would have welcomed. But I’m quibbling. This is a huge upgrade. Anyone who tries to paint this as a disappointment is being disingenuous.
Each iPad iteration brings more software to the platform that allows the iPad to be used for real world tasks. With this upgrade, Apple rolled out iPhoto. In true Apple fashion, it is a beautiful reimaging of the software used to organize and edit photos. With the improved screen, the iPad has the potential to become the travelling photographers tool of choice for in the field proofing, editing and sharing.
Great article from the NY Times:
Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.
A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.
The article skirts some of the main reasons why types of jobs aren’t coming back” Specifically, no mention is made of the high taxes companies pay in the US (which results in these jobs being filled overseas by ‘contractors’, whom Apple is not liable for).
Jobs is probably right that these jobs are never coming back to the U.S. though. And that scares the hell out of me. One day soon, the Asian companies that produce the hardware will figure out how to produce software that is good enough, and once that happens, the American companies who have used these Asian manufacturing companies will find themselves cut out of the chain, and competing with their manufacturers, who will be able to seriously undercut them.
It’s hard to imagine Apple before the iPod now, but 10 years ago, it didn’t exist yet. Apple was back on track, but it had yet to release a device that could be considered a ‘game changer’. Initially, I don’t think anyone believed that the iPod would have the success that it has had. The early reviews were split on it, with half seeing it for the brilliant device that it was, and the other half only seeing it for what it lacked (Windows compatibility and USB connectivity).
Still, it’s not a stretch to say that the iPod is the device that defined the modern Apple. It definitely gave them the resources and clout to tackle devices like the iPhone and iPad.
Lion has been available to the masses for over 2 months now, and the reception has been generally pretty favorable. Distribution of a commercial OS via a downloadable only option has never been tried before, and I think by all accounts, it has been very successful. Still, with any new release, there are those that don’t find the grass greener in the new pasture. Lion brings a lot to the table to be pleased with, but it also brings a fair amount of change to the table as well.
Depending upon your level of interaction, that change might be as minor as Apple’s decision to switch the default scrolling direction. Or, if you are a developer, it might be as complex as requiring you to have your application sandboxed by November 1st if you wish to continue selling it through the Mac App Store.
Apple has always been a company that isn’t afraid to cut ties to the past in order to forge a path to where they believe the future is. In sports parlance, this is ‘skating to where the puck is going to be’. In many cases, Apple is the entity driving the puck itself. From time to time, this has caused some consternation in the Mac community. Yet Apple forges ahead.
Most of the Mac OS X releases to date have been evolutionary. With Lion, Apple has taken the biggest leap yet. With the Mac App Store, LaunchPad, and Sandboxing, I think it is pretty clear where Apple is headed. I don’t subscribe to the theory that Apple will ‘merge’ iOS and Mac OS X. That seems silly to me, as if Apple had felt on OS was sufficient for all devices, it wouldn’t have created iOS from the underlying OS X technology in the first place.
I do, however, believe that Apple is moving to remake the Mac in the likeness of iOS. With Sandboxing, Launchpad, and the memory management changes that have appeared in Lion, they have already taken some great steps in that direction. I wouldn’t be surprised to see future releases of Mac OS X (nee, now just OS X, which in of itself is perhaps quite telling) become more locked down like iOS.
Apple has posted a FAQ on the MobileMe to iCloud transition. While this details much of what we already know, there are a few bits of surprising information.
The section that perked my ears up:
What happens to the other sync services I use for my Mac?
Syncing of Mac Dashboard widgets, keychains, Dock items, and System Preferences will not be part of iCloud, but will continue to be available for you to use until you move to iCloud. After you move to iCloud or after June 30, 2012, whichever comes first, those sync services will no longer be available. Other MobileMe services that are not transitioning to iCloud (iWeb publishing, Gallery, and iDisk) will continue to be available through June 30, 2012, even after you move to iCloud.
.Mac/MobileMe sync was the main reason I paid for MobileMe, and .Mac before it. In my opinion, it was about the only part of MobileMe that Apple got right, and now it is killing it? Apple shouldn’t be killing this – it should be extending this Sync strategy to it’s other devices.
If you’ve used Sync, you already know it’s a life saver. If you own multiple Macs and buy new ones on a regular basis, MobileMe Sync allowed you to get that Mac setup to your liking in just a few minutes. MobileMe Sync allowed me to keep the settings for Coda & Transmit on all my Macs in sync. It allowed me to keep all of my Docks setup just the way I like. It made sure all my Macs had the same Widgets. It was one of Apple’s best services. It is definitely the service that kept me ponying up for .Mac/MobileMe all those years.
And now Apple is killing it.
Apple has revealed that Lion Server will cost $50, and like it’s client sibling, be offered via the Mac App Store exclusively. The $50 price for Lion Server is in addition to the $30 price of Lion clent.
This is an amazing price reduction. Snow Leopard Server was priced at $499. Now, for $80, you can get Lion Server.
Bravo Apple, Bravo.