eXtensions - Sunday 28 April 2024

Sunday Comment: Apple Event, 7 May; Mac mini and Apple Silicon; Maker Expo and Student Posters; MacBook Pro and Water (update)

By Graham K. Rogers


Sadly, the death of Charles Edge, formerly of Take Control books was announced this week. A few days after its Q2 2024 results, Apple will hold an event on 7 May. We are looking forward to new iPad Pro models but other products may be revealed: perhaps a European release of the Vision Pro. With M4 development well under way, it is suggested that Apple could skip the M3 Mac mini. Will there also be a supreme M4 chip for the Mac Studio?

Anyone who has been using Apple products for a while is probably aware of the Take Control books, such as Take Control of iPhone Photography, or Take Control of Sonoma. Each contains a wealth of expert advice. One of the stalwarts of the team who had contributed to these works particularly in early days was Charles Edge. Sadly, he died suddenly last week at the relatively young age of 48. Joe Kissell writes a tribute to Edge on the Take Control site and links to an earlier article by Adam Engst at TidBits who apparently knew him better. John Gruber at Daring Fireball also links to this.

Apple Event At last we have a date for the long-anticipated event at which it is expected that Apple will announce new iPads: iPad Pro (which I am waiting for) and new iPad Air models. Apple sent out an invitation for its "Let Loose" event that takes place on 7 May (Joe Rossignol, MacRumors): a few days after its Q2 2024 results. With an unusual time of 7am Pacific Time, this originally seemed more aimed at the East Coast (10am) and will be reasonably convenient for those of us on this side of the World. I make it 9pm here.

However, a later report from MacRumors (Joe Rossignol) adds a twist to this by suggesting that there could be an event running in London at the same time: that would be early afternoon. The report includes speculation that journalists invited could have hands-on experience with new products, suggesting that the Vision Pro could see a UK [perhaps Europe-wide] release. With a dip in sales of the device, even while new uses are being devised, this could be smart timing.

The message and the images that go with the invitation, point towards the expected iPads, with one of them clearly showing an Apple Pencil. That has some confirmation from Tim Cook's cryptic, "pencil us in" on X. The Apple Pencil 3 has been rumored for a while. I also hope that there will be a new version of the folio case (with the keyboard) as this is an essential for efficiency in my house along with the pencil. I found this month that several of my students are also relying on this.

Instead of sending me files online as was the case during Covid restrictions, or bringing me paper copies of their work, this year several student groups turned up with iPads and the Apple Pencil. To save time I used their Pencils, although mine was in my top pocket most of the time. Some of them have covers for their Pencils which means the texture is not familiar to me; and the apps they use are also different. It is surprising how personal these devices quickly become.

This weekend, however, I had several files sent (via LINE) from graduating Senior students. They are preparing posters about their Capstone projects for a Maker Expo fair, to be held at the University's Mahidol Hall on 16 May 2024. Industry experts are invited and judge the poster presentations. Hundreds of students from local schools also attend. Last year I was asked to look at some files and fixed the English, but this year more students are preparing early and want the English to be more professional

maker Expo fair maker Expo fair

maker Expo fair maker Expo fair

Maker Expo fair - 15 May 2023

My M1 iPad Pro is still performing well after some 2 years of use and is in good condition, which is more than I can say for the case. I just shove it into my bag and drag it out when needed, so the material covering it has frayed. This week further urgency was added to my update needs by a warning that photos would not update to iCloud as storage on the iPad Pro was running low. The device offered me options of deleting certain apps and data. I went through the list provided, deleting some and was able to complete the iCloud synchronization. I have 128GB storage on this iPad so I would have expected to update this anyway, but with that warning I will consider 256 or even 512GB storage (or other options) when the new devices are announced.

iPad Pro with worn case
M1 iPad Pro with well-worn case

Jamie Cuevas (IDownloadBlog) mentions the probability of OS releases (iOS/iPadOS 17.5) and I see this week that several beta releases of these and other Apple operating systems have been released to developers. Might we expect some new features with the iPad announcements next week (7 May)?

Several reports suggest that there may be no M3 Mac mini this year as M4 development is well under way. Apple may jump straight to that chip for some devices. Many Mac mini users hold onto their devices for several years. My update to the M1 was forced on me (I was quite willing) by an update to macOS that would not run on my older Intel device; and I have a colleague at work whose 2010 Mac mini still performs well for the basics she requires. 14 years is a long time for a computer, but the Mac mini seems particularly adept at this longevity. I will probably wait until the M5 for my next one.

On this theme of the jump to M4 chips, Juli Clover (MacRumors) writes that the whole Mac lineup is expected to be updated by the end of this year. She has a close look at the Mac Studio. There is some speculation that as well as the Ultra chip, there could be an even more powerful version (code-named "Hidra" [sic]). Part of the thinking behind this speculation is the way the earlier Pro and Max were developed using an Ultrafusion Interconnect. With no M3 Ultra might there be a double-Max: the M4 Supreme?

Mac Studio
Mac Studio - Image courtesy of Apple

I wrote last time about a M2 MacBook Pro belonging to a friend who had accidentally spilled some water around the keyboard. Although the Mac kept running for a few days, it could no longer be charged. A visit to the Apple Store at Central World, confirmed water damage. A list of parts needed (plus the estimated cost) was provided. The parts have now arrived and the price has crept up a little; there is also the risk that, when disassembled, the display may be found to be damaged. If that needs replacement too, it will push the price up over the original cost. Methinks a new MacBook Air would be a better option.

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 X (@extensions_th). The RSS feed for the articles is http://www.extensions.in.th/ext_link.xml - copy and paste into your feed reader.


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