Category Archives: Apple

Apple has heavily customized the GPU in the iPhone 7

Macworld, along with a few other sources, have uncovered the fact that Apple has heavily customized the GPU in the iPhone 7. It has been no secret that after Apple announced their own custom CPU’s, they have be acquiring graphics chip talent at a voracious pace. As history has shown us before, this usually means they have plans to bring all of their GPU work in-house.

Cost Savings

Some will argue that this is a cost-saving move, because now they will not have to pay for the technology. I’d argue that increasing head count, benefits expenditure, etc. costs way more than licensing some designs and technology. Its why companies, I’d argue to their detriment, outsource things like IT staff. On top of that, I’m sure they would still have to license someones IP as Apple itself does not have any patents regarding graphics processing. I doubt they would be able to somehow engineer a solution that will not run afoul of the current technology leaders in this space.

Control and Leadership

I believe that this is more of a control play. Much like they caught the mobile processor space off guard with a production ready 64 bit solution, they wish to increase the performance/power lead in the graphics space with something their competitors can’t also license. I’m sure this will also help them control some of the leaks around new technology as well. This could prove fruitful as we know VR is becoming the next “big thing”, and GPU tech is what is needed to make it possible on mobile, and the desktop. Another possibility is that they want to use this same tech in their desktops instead of relying on AMD/Nvidia for their middling mobile solutions.

Only time will tell how this plays out. Macworld:

The iPad Pro Reviews are in…

The iPad Pro reviews are out and while they are not a glowing revolutionary product reviews, they do signal some evolutionary steps toward a lighter machine for productivity. Overall though, the consensus is that the machine still is not a universal desktop replacement, but may start to be one for some people.

While I wouldn’t be someone that could replace my desktop/laptop with it, it could definitely replace my current iPad Air and old MacBook Air as I use those both mainly for light creation and work. Though I do wonder if a decent keyboard and an iPad Air 2 may just as well do the trick. The idea of split screen iOS apps on a larger screen though is very intriguing. I still think though, that some iOS limitations will still hold back an otherwise excellent hardware platform.

I do want to play with one with all the accessories as I feel both the Smart Keyboard and the Pencil are really what put the iPad Pro over the top of a cheaper MacBook or an iPad Air 2.

First up is John Gruber’s review at Daring Fireball:

The entire x86 computer architecture is living on borrowed time. It’s a dead platform walking. The future belongs to ARM, and Apple’s A-series SoC’s are leading the way.

While I don’t think this is totally the case for all, it is for sure a tolling bell for a lot of people.

Ars Technica’s review does bring up some an interesting point:

It’s best to think of the iPad Pro as a starting point, especially for iOS 9. These multitasking features are still brand-new, and there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit to pick in future iOS 9 revisions and into iOS 10. My biggest gripes with the iPad Pro are with the software rather than the hardware, and that means that most of them can be fixed given enough time and enough feature requests.

I totally agree with this, again it is a software problem not a hardware problem. The issue becomes how to solve for this without compromising the security and ease of use of iOS.

MacStories review sums it up as such:

The iPad Pro is the iPad I didn’t know I was waiting for.

I can understand this from Federico as he has already bent his workflows to work with iOS limitations. Having more screen, memory, and processor for someone who is already comfortable working in the ecosystem would make them giddy.

All in all I’m curious to try one in hand, as the size in hand when not doing productivity work on a desk may be too big. Much of my current iPad use in bed, reading, or playing games. Is it too big and unwieldy for those uses? I really would like to have a good integrated pencil in a smaller form factor if the size proves too large.

iPhone 3G and iPhone 4 History at iMore

iMore has a few good articles that will take you down a trip down memory lane. My first iPhone was a 3GS. In two days after playing with an iPod touch I realized that an always on data connection and a phone would make total sense. Having just come from a Palm Treo, I actually got a phone that worked and had a vibrant app ecosystem. Even that early in the iPhone’s existence it make the Windows Mobile app store pale in comparison. I switched to AT&T and left Sprint in the dust, granted not shortly thereafter Verizon and then Sprint got it.

iPhone 3G

iMore – History of the iPhone 3G –

I kept on the S revision bandwagon with the 4S. It was my second iPhone and having been through hell and back when upgrading my previous windows phones, I was worried about the process. Taking a full backup and then restoring it back onto a new phone just sounded as if it would be a disaster. In the end, it all turned out fine and I was sold. The 4S had a retina screen which looked beautiful and I became an fan. My next purchase was an 1st generation iPad. After that was a 2010 MacBook Air, and a 2010 iMac. Both of which I still use, and enjoy. Amazed that all these in-place OS upgrades haven’t made a difference.

iPhone 4

iMore – History of the iPhone 4 –

The Pono Player last gasp

ArsTechnica reports that Neil Young’s Pono Player is facing some tough times right now. Not having much more capital left, they are unable to expand to new markets.

It is hard for me to believe there is any real growth in a market that even Apple, the portable music player leader, is pulling back from. Having recently demoted iPods to the accessory rack in their own stores, nothing more could signal weakening demand. Couple that with the fact that no one can easily tell the difference between the “hi-fidelity” pono player and “lower quality” music players, spells a tough business case for expansion.

The dire market and business case also tells why it is difficult for them to find a CEO. I don’t think anyone will want to take that position without a bit of a parachute and an assurance.

The player is definitely something niche that could fill a role, but it is definitely something that will never be much more than that.

ArsTechnica: “Lack of Resources” keeps Neil Young’s Pono Player from expanding

Macalope vs. The Apple is a religion cult

Once again the Macalope skewers the “any people that support Apple are brainwashed cult members crowd.” The funny part is that those who spout this are just as loud and fervent as the so called ones they say belong to a “cult.” I’d say they are members in a religion of their own, “I hate Apple more than anything.”


Apple Watch bands only available as collections

Rene Ritchie at iMore has an article up that is sure to rile the Apple haters and make the latent Apple complainers reach fever pitch. It seems that when the Apple Watch goes on sale in a few days you will not be able to mix and match and create your own watch combo. This is not to say you cannot buy alternate bands for your watch, but the base watch body will come with a predetermined band from Apple. I’m sure this will be touted as an injustice and have papers drafted making this a war crime.

But is it?

One thing people seem to misunderstand is that when you buy something that is higher end or designer, you are buying their vision, their design. Apple is trying to play off this high design style with the watch which is why you at the very least have to buy into their vision of what the watch “should” look like.

Those that will complain are those that think the Burger King slogan of “Have it your way” is the only correct answer. They don’t stop to think, if you go to a high end restaurant you are going there because of the chef’s creations. Why would you spend that much money only to tell the man with the pedigree that you are paying to dazzle you, how to cook your food? It would be the same as hiring Picasso to paint a painting for you and then tell him not to use blue, because you don’t like it.

And if you think I’m incorrect, go to your local Target or Walmart and ask to buy a $30 Timex watch with the band of your choosing. I’m pretty sure they will tell you it comes with a band. Then visit your local jeweler and try to buy a Citizen with your choice of band. That option doesn’t exist either.


Possible New Apple Wireless Keyboard

AppleInsider has some screenshots and details accidentally posted to Apple’s Czech web store. It seems to have keys that indicate that the keyboard maybe backlit. I for one would welcome a backlit keyboard, though many don’t see the utility. As someone who likes to use darker screen themes, combined with working late; the dim glow of keys would be great.

Possible New Apple Wireless Keyboard
Possible New Apple Wireless Keypad – Courtesy of Apple Insider


Many others speculate the use of the new butterfly style key switches, but what would be the reason? I’m sure they cost more than standard ones and there is no push to make the wireless keyboard thinner.

Give me a backlit keyboard and a touchpad with force touch built into it and I’ll be happy. Granted at this point I wouldn’t spend another $150 to replace what works perfectly now. Then again, this old iMac 2010 is getting a bit long in the tooth. Retina iMac anyone?

Link: Apple Insider – New Apple Wireless Keyboard

The Macalope takes on Apple Watch Fail

It should be no surprise that the Apple Watch doomsayers are taking are getting whipped up into a frenzy as the launch grows imminent. While I don’t think it will be the runaway success that is the iPhone or the steady sales category of the iPad, it will make a splash and sell in large enough quantities to be worth while to Apple.

My favorite line from the piece in regards to the oft misquoted 2.5 hours of application time:

This is not so much baloney as it is pimento loaf. Some people actually like baloney. No one likes pimento loaf.

I’m not sure why people think that they will be staring and playing with the watch for hours on end. After the initial fun time of it where you explore new apps and features most will use it like a regular watch or fitness band. It will sit there doing nothing but collecting data and waking up occasionally to alert you to something.

Macalope: Flop flap: Apple Watch comes pre-flopped

Apple’s new 27” iMac is not a push into the living room

It seems that many people lately, from PC World to the motley group on MacBreak Weekly, feel that Apple is making a push to put iMacs in the living room.  Most of them point at the fact that it is a 27 inch screen and has… gasp.. a VESA mount.  Apple needs a few things to fall into place before this becomes a reality, a much improved Front Row, Blu-Ray support, Price, and Apple TV.

Everyone seems intent on making Jason Calacanis’s prediction of an Apple branded Television come true with each product release.  I find it hard for someone to replace a TV in their living room with an iMac.  While what I’ve seen of Front Row looks to be a clean efficient 10 foot interface, it is missing a lot of functionality compared with Windows Media Center.  Sure, there are 3rd party applications to achieve this functionality but as usual no one can compete with the integration and styling of an Apple developed application.  There has to be DVR functionality for the iMac to be in the living room.

Secondly comes Steve Job’s “world of hurt” that is Blu-Ray.  While most of America still hasn’t made the conversion to Blu-ray as DVD is still sufficient for most, the change will come and Apple will be caught off guard.  I’m sure in the depths of one infinite loop, there is Snow Leopard code with all the DRM needed built in, to be released at a moment’s notice.  If one is going to purchase an expensive piece of kit for the living room I certainly would like it to play more than just Apples HD content.

Lastly, and it seems to be a mainstay of any Apple product evaluation, is price. 1700 dollars for a glorified media player is just overkill.  For the price of a 27 inch iMac one can get a very large HDTV, or can get an HDTV and an Apple TV which would seem like the better buy.

I’d really like to see Apple make some sort of Apple branded television, but sadly I can’t say the 27 inch iMac is it.  Hopefully a cheap TV with Apple TV hardware built into it will come to fruition.  But then again I won’t hold my breath.

The Mac’s two enemies and where Apple iPhone can take us

While sitting around doing nothing, my brain was wondering.  I happened across the thoughts of the endless battle between Windows and Mac fanboys.  How everything from market share, viruses, ease of use, crashes, etc. is used as fodder for one side to continually peg the other.  All of a sudden it came to me; there really are two things that are going to be over the next probably ten years that are going to make or break it for Apple; Web Apps and the Apple iPhone.  Subsequently it also morphed into a future prediction for the world of Mac and Tech.

First, it’s time for full disclosure.  I am a Windows guy.  I’ve used Windows since the 3.0 days and have used it ever since.  I’ve also used Macs some.  From the horrible System 7 when I was in middle school to a much improved OSX.  With that said, I think Apple has done some great things for the technology world.  OSX is truly a great operating system and the Mac hardware is beautiful and functional (except rev. 1 products).  The house that Jobs built is definitely a worthy competitor to the Microsoft world.  The only reason that I have not owned a Mac is the price makes it hard for me to justify it, but to each his own.

So now let us dive in to the meat of my out of left field idea.  Web Apps will be the killer of MacOS (and most desktop OSes) for the general public.  Most of the computing public does a few things with their computers.  They surf the web, edit a few documents, look at pictures, update their Twitter and Facebook status, and maybe play a casual game.  All of these tasks can and do exist in the browser already.  Now there are those of us who do other things that have to be native apps, but the majority of the computer owning public do not.  Very few people are PC gamers, the consoles have taken the lion share of that market and the Mac platform has very few games written for it.

Since most things now run in the browser, how important is the OS.  The OS is not going to die anytime soon, but as the browser becomes the main screen for most users why pay for the glitzy OS.  Of course this argument also applies to Windows, but I see it affecting the Mac platform first.  Why spend $2000 dollars for an iMac that can run OSX (even if it may be better) when all you need is a cheap windows PC with a functional browser?   This is going to force Apple eventually to either lower the price of its systems, which given Apples reaction to the netbook segment seems unlikely, or cause a major paradigm shift for the general computing public.  This leads me to my second reason, the iPhone.

I see the iPhone as the next widespread Mac platform.  Going back to our mainstream user needs, what about that can the iPhone not do now?  The Apple iPhone is everything the public wants, a cheap Mac.  Apple has already shown that they can sell the hell out of the thing.  Plus if I’m not mistaken, iPhone platform has more applications and games developed for it then OSX.  The only thing missing from the iPhone is a larger screen (for document editing and better web browsing), a keyboard (for document editing and email), and more storage (for pictures and documents).  I truly see in years to come the end of the iMac and Macbook.  Instead I see “extenders” of the iPhone taking their place.  How awesome would it be to have a larger screen on your desktop, with a keyboard, hard drive, and broadband network connection to dock your Apple iPhone in.  Of course Apple would keep OSX and the Mac Pro for power users, but you could even have a Foleo type mobile dock for the phone to replace the Macbook.  What about processor intensive tasks?  Let us say Apple’s desktop dock has a graphics chip to offload the graphics tasks.  Through OpenCL the iPhone OS can offload video processing, picture manipulation, etc. without requiring the phone to have a beefy processor.  Ubiquitous computing would come true and I can see Apple being the only one to bring it to fruition.  What else could lend credence to a shift like this?  Take the gradual market shift from desktops to laptops.  While laptop power has increased, it still is not close to the power on the desktop.  It works though because a laptop has enough power to do what most people need it to.  Even the iMacs that Apple produces now use mostly laptop components.

Now that I have the entire Apple fanboy world wound up, let me temper the flames by saying that this same paradigm shift will also affect Windows.  It’s just going to take a lot longer to make the shift.  Marketshare and business penetration will slow this progression on the Microsoft side.  It would take a radical break from the status quo, architecture, and people to jump on the idea to make it come to fruition.  Who else has the knowhow and balls to make this happen?  Simple, Steve Jobs.  It makes the acquisition of PA Semi and the patent from Apple a few years ago for a large docking station for a mobile device make sense don’t it?