eXtensions - Friday 18 March 2022
Friday Notes: OS Updates; Ideas on the Mac Studio; Damage Caused by Rumors
By Graham K. Rogers
I can remember GP racing from the days when the engines were in the front and the colors of the cars depended on the country they were from. There was the occasional sticker, for example from Castrol, but things went wild with cigarette sponsorship. Some deals have gone sour, with the latest being the sponsorship that the Haas team had from the father of Nikita Mazepin, a Russian Oligarch. The driver was dismissed and the sponsorship dumped with the threat of litigation now in the air. Somehow I do not think that Google will be so dramatic. McLaren's other sponsors (and there are many) include Dell and WebEx.
As I was working on the iPad Pro, I tried the iPad mini update first, but that did not go well. A spinning wheel showed it was searching for the update but that did not change. By this time I had already updated iOS on the iPhone, so wondered why the iPad mini was misbehaving. Back to basics: I restarted it. When I tried again a panel appeared for a moment telling me that I was not connected to the internet. I had seen the wifi indicator on the device the first time I tried. That panel disappeared immediately and the update panel appeared allowing me to download the file. The iPadOS (15.4) download on the iPad Pro appeared immediately when I started this process a few minutes later.
I checked the next morning and confirmed that using Focus from the iPhone did not activate Focus on the iPad and vice versa. However, using Focus on the iPad mini activated Focus on the iPad Pro, but not the iPhone. The same happened when I activated Focus on the iPad Pro: iPad mini, but not iPad Pro. Both had been updated the previous day along with the iPhone. The problem was with the iPhone, so after playing with the Focus On/Off buttons on all devices with no effect, I restarted the iPhone. That fixed it. However, messages appeared on the iPads showing that the iPhone was now identified as a new device. That had not happened the day before, but I had been to the office and the wifi there had been used. That is the only variable.
Others have been less fortunate, particularly those who have had the motherboard replaced and there are several reports (e.g. Sami Fathi, MacRumors) that the device cannot be updated. My guess is that this is collected to the inbuilt security. This was the responsibility of the T2 chip on previous Macs, but with the SOC, the security setup is not recognizing specifics regarding the new hardware and this has stopped the update. That will need a software change, or perhaps even firmware. Later in the week there were updates to the MRT ConfigData and to XProtectPlistConfigData files.
A number of reports have begun to appear after Mac Studio computers have been examined by media outlets. I expect these have been in their hands for a week or more but no comments were online as Apple usually has an embargo. That has now been lifted. My favorites for their different points of view are from Jaron Schneider (Petapixel), who says that it is "overall the most powerful computer we have tested for photography applications"; and from Ramon Loyola, Macworld, who provides some benchmarks in the review and regards it as a good investment despite the price.
Also, Andrew Cunningham on Ars Technical wrote a fairly lengthy review entitled The Mac Studio Shows us Exactly why Apple left Intel Behind. That in itself confirms what some of us have been suggesting for a while now. Intel was a drag on development as it is creating chips for such a wide range of PCs that any specific features that Apple wanted were hamstrung by the needs of PC developers. Apple silicon sets it free, while giving Apple a huge advantage in the new ideas it can build into its chips, and its software.
M1 Ultra Chip - Image courtesy of Apple
I had a G4 in my office for a year or two, and later ran a G5 Power Mac for a couple of weeks, but Apple was unable to put this in any notebook. It was this failure by IBM to meet promises on the PowerPC chip development that was the main cause of Apple's switch to Intel. In the same way, Intel's stodgy approach to development of its chips - one size fits all manufacturers - pushed Apple to producing its own: Apple silicon. This of course was a long time coming: Apple does not rush new products.
When the M1 was ready, it was released. I have heard of few problems with the new computers now running the M1 chips, although I (and others) did have problems with accessories after the update to Monterey. I have fixed the webcam by buying a new device that connects with USB-C rather than an adapter. The old webcam was recognized in the system report, but just would not work with the specific apps I wanted. The probability is that this was a power supply problem. I also had a rebate from Amazon this week from the extra customs fees that were charged.
The other accessory that has a problem with the M1 Mac is my M&O Beolit 20 speaker. It works fine with the iPhone and iPads, but not with the Mac, since Monterey was released. The Help desk at B&O suggest this is a Bluetooth problem and they are unable to offer support as PC BT has too many variants: smartphones and tablets are supported as the OS offers fewer BT installations.
Mark Gurman has often made predictions that are right on the button, although he and everyone else missed the Ultra chip. We were told to expect the M2. He is still trying to cover that in what is to come. This is hardly rumor any more as John Ternus told us that the Ultra was the end of development for the M1 series, although what can still be done with the M1 is open for some debate. Remember, when Apple released this chip initially in the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and Mac mini, there were three (slightly) different versions of that one chip. The many-colored iMac followed not long after.
I read Gurman's news letter when it arrives, then look online and see a score of others taking the rumors as Gospel truth, putting out layer on layer of embellished Gurman. Another oft-cited rumor source is Ming-Chi Kuo, who has put out several new predictions since the Apple Event, some of which fly in the face of what Apple has announced, while others are potentially damaging. Most notable are that the MacPro will not be coming until 2023 when John Ternan said it would be announced in the next couple of months (announcement and release do not always coincide of course); the next iPhone will use 2 chips, with only the Pro and Max versions having the latest A15 processor; and the Mac mini is not going to be updated this year. Each of these generated several articles that repeated the information as if it were fact.
Having found some unusual freedoms with his new Twitter account, Ming-Chi Kuo has flooded us with negatives on Apple a few days after an Event that revealed not just new products, but the route that Apple is taking. With shares rising and several Wall Street pundits positive on Apple, the brakes are then applied, although a Covid outbreak in China causing Foxconn to close factories put more pressure on later. He was not finished and later Joe Rossignol, MacRumors, reports on a Tweet that insists Apple will need to reorganize its car team if it is to be in production by 2025. I am sure Apple is aware of the needs and that perhaps the team has been dissolved as it is no longer needed. Needless to say several reports picked up on these rumors including Wall Street commentators the next day.
The message reminded me of Trip Chowdhury's infamous message about Apple announcing the iWatch (sic). It had to be done within 6 months or Apple was doomed. The Apple Watch appeared when Apple was ready and Apple has not been damaged at all, despite the efforts of rumor-mongers and Wall Street analysts.
Sir Lewis Hamilton - Image courtesy of Mercedes-AMG-Petronas
In the first series of the Netflix documentary, Mercedes-Benz was notably absent as Toto Wolfe, the team principle, was reluctant, in part, to expose the team to cameras and related staff. The effect of that fist season softened the stance and the team participated in what followed. This Apple documentary, however, may be a way not only for Wolfe to give the team more exposure after the season final controversies, but dovetails neatly with Apple's support for what are patronizingly called, minorities. The term itself disadvantages those groups and they should be called what they are: Black, Moslem, Asian, et al.
Apple has been doing a good job of equalizing - providing balance - and the Hamilton documentary will add to that. For me, too, it will equalize the US-centric approach on AppleTV as Sir Lewis Hamilton is a Brit. Mario Andretti and Phil Hill were the only US F1 World Champions, although the highly respected Dan Gurney came close.
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)
For further information, e-mail to
Back to Home Page