eXtensions - Saturday 28 November 2020
Saturday Notes: New Macs on the Way, Older Macs Delayed
By Graham K. Rogers
While online commentators (including me) thought we were smart to speculate about a future with real Apple chips, Steve Jobs (who was still CEO at that time) was probably way ahead of us. He had always said that Apple needed to own and control the technologies behind the products. Many of the ancillary chips used were bought in from companies like Texas Instruments, Broadcom and Qualcomm. The integrated circuits for the Macs were from Motorola (RISC), IBM (PowerPC), then Intel. It was only when Apple began to produce handheld devices that a new avenue appeared and the company could design its own processors with technology licensed from ARM.
I have made the processor switch three times and each time the change was almost seamless. When the move from the PowerPC to Intel was made, it was revealed that OS X had been running on Intel processors in the lab for years. Since day one, Apple had put in place a safety net: OS X must be processor independent; every release of OS X had been compiled for PPC and Intel (Stephen Hackett, iMore). It felt seamless because of the background work done in preparation.
M-1 Macs - Image courtesy of Apple
If one examines the limits of the M1 - as good as it has been shown to be with initial performance and benchmarking figures - and factors in the comments from Apple about the whole range transitioning to Apple Silicon, there must be far more to come from a potential M-series. Those who have analyzed the chips talk about scalability, so while the M-1 devices only have 2 Thunderbolt ports, the next release of MacBook Pro computers will probably have extra ports as well as a boost in speed, while also being able to handle more memory. The M-1 maximum is 16GB.
Later that morning at work I had a message on Twitter from another person whom I knew was interested in the M-series Macs. He told me he had just ordered his Mac mini and that I should hurry along to the page in case orders began to slip behind. I looked and indeed the order buttons were live at last. I filled out the details. Ordered the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the 512 GB hard disk SSD and added 8 GB of RAM (maximum 16GB). As I had expected that was an additional 7000 baht. Within a few minutes I had completed my order and an email arrived telling me it will be in my hands soon: relatively speaking.
Not long after I was contacted also by a FaceBook friend who asked if I had ordered my Mac yet. I replied in the affirmative. He told me that he had seen the page live for ordering at 4:30 AM. I was slightly perplexed as to why my 6 AM visit saw no change, even though I had refreshed the page regularly. But the Mac has been ordered and I am really looking forward to this.
When the iMac did finally have a minor update this year I suggested it was time to buy, and recommended ordering this online. When I the call came during the week we were lined up to visit several stores,including the new Apple Store at Central World. Closest to his condo however was Central Embassy, the new mall which is almost empty. I should go there more often. We went in to the iStudio store there and called an assistant over after looking at the Macs for a couple of minutes. She went to check stock. When she returned she was apologetic but said they were all gone.
We debated where to go next and she interrupted saying there are none there either. And when other stores were suggested, she said no they've run out too. We wondered about the Apple store and she checked online. Out of stock. Entering the postcode she found that there were no Macs within reach at all. Everywhere was out of stock. When she looked at the online ordering, the delivery was shown as sometime in the new year. My friend asked about ordering from the shop we were in then and she honestly replied it may take two or three months, suggesting we ordered online.
The hard disk has been recovered, but the real cause of the iMac's demise was the mother board. Replacement hard disks are only a couple of thousand baht, but this was quoted as around 14,000 baht which was probably uneconomical. The order for the iMac was placed with Apple and the expected delivery date is the first week of January. As he is busy during December with his job I expect a new year visit to help with the setup.
One of the things Number One Son asked me this time is that I not set up parental controls. We discussed this as he is now coming up to 12 which is a time of risk for young people although he is an extremely intelligent young man. He is unlikely to take risks online. When the time comes I would rather not put on parental controls: that is a job for the parent not for Software. I will have a talk with the boy about the serious risks that young people can run into.
Every week I look at reports online of old guys entrapping young girls and young boys and forcing them to do things that normally they would never consider. I will also recommend that my friend downloads the movie, Trust. There is an interesting development as the teenage girl ends up in a situation that she could never imagine could develop from sharing a few emails and images with a boy online. Real life can be harsh.
Apple M-1 Chip - Image courtesy of Apple
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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