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The fifth age of Macintosh: what happens if Apple dumps Intel?
posted by Thom Holwerda

http://www.osnews.com/story/30287/The_fifth_age_of_Macintosh...

BY ANDY IHNATKO
Apple uses its own purpose-designed CPUs for its iPhones and iPads, built around the ARM architecture. An article reported by Ian King and Mark Gurman, published by Bloomberg yesterday, says that the company wants to do the same for Macs and could start shipping computers with the new CPUs instead of Intel chips as soon as 2020.
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The fifth age of Macintosh: what happens if Apple dumps Intel?

From what I've seen, Apple has no such plans to do this because making this change would require paying attention to the Macintosh product line. They've made no meaningful improvement to the product in years; arguably the last "update" to the hardware was a step backwards.

I usually recommend to people wanting a new PC that they look at Windows offerings. There are some interesting things going on in that space and the price point is far lower. I needed a new PC of my own in 2016, looked really hard to find a Mac that met my needs, and ended up with a Dell instead. Except for the Dell power supply, a petty annoyance, I'm very happy with the unit.

DD is in high school and primarily uses a Chromebook issued to her by the school. It does 95% of what she needs. This is the real threat to the Mac product line, a generation of kids who never needed a PC in the first place.

Regards,

- HCF
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About that same time frame as I looked for a new Mac, I gave up, but rather that toss all my software, start over, I bought a rebuilt Late 2012 12 core Mac Pro, e/w 32 Gb Ram from OWC, it had a 1 Tb HD, but I didn't need it as all I had to do was roll all 4 HD's from my elderly Mac Pro. Rebooted, came right up, I had to update a few things as I went to High Sierra, but O put the new 1 Tb HD into my old 8 core Mac Pro, sold it to a friend.. Recently updated the screen to a new 32" Dell from Costco for $200..

No need for anything in the pC world, I left all that ASAP once I retired in 2002.. DW's new 27" iMac has been flawless... But I like the big case of the 'cheese grater' MacPro.. An 11" MacBook Air hangs around for our travel times, all are up to date, likely no need to move on for a long time..

As an AAPL investor it has worked great, dividends more than cover our upgrades, just need to find a way to justify an Apple Watch, and some AirPods to replace my PowerBeas wireless earbuds..

GO Apple!
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From what I've seen, Apple has no such plans to do this because making this change would require paying attention to the Macintosh product line. They've made no meaningful improvement to the product in years; arguably the last "update" to the hardware was a step backwards.

Hmm. I like the improvements in my 2017 15" MacBook Pro. The Touch Bar is nice, especially in that it allows fingerprint login and the use of Apple Pay. Other than that it's just the usual faster, lighter, improved display and keyboard, etc. I expect I'll upgrade again some time in the future. So long as profits from the stock continue, I'm fine with overlooking the fact that it's expensive.

As to the new USB-C ports, I'm good with them all being the same and their being symmetrical. I am sad to say good-bye to MagSafe though.

-IGU-
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I usually recommend to people wanting a new PC that they look at Windows offerings.

I will have a Windows computer when you wrap my cold, dead hands around one.
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I will have a Windows computer when you wrap my cold, dead hands around one.

I use the occasional Windows machine at work, but mostly it's my MBP at my desk and assorted Unix and Linux machines for certain heavy lifting tasks.

I'm a very multi-platform person, have been for decades. When given no other choice -- very rare, nowadays -- I can use Windows.

That said, while Windows is vastly improved over what it used to be, I still find that those who prefer Windows spectacularly overrate their choices.

-awlabrador
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I usually recommend to people wanting a new PC that they look at Windows offerings.

Good grief, why?

I really despise the "feel" of Windows, especially Windows 10+. I remotely log into a Windows 7 machine, so that's somewhat tolerable, but the Windows 10 machine I log in from spends waaaaay too many processor cycles trying to be my friend. It really gets my goat when I return from lunch to see it's timed out with a pretty picture, then it takes forever to bring up the login dialogue and while it's grinding that out it still has time to ask me "did you like that pretty picture? would you like to see more?"

No, you stupid tool. I am trying to work. I do not need a relationship with you. You are a tool, and so are all the product developers at Microsoft.

I will admit Apple does a little of this too, but it's mostly confined to the software update process. For the rest, it just gets out of the way and lets me work.
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No, you stupid tool. I am trying to work. I do not need a relationship with you. You are a tool, and so are all the product developers at Microsoft.

I will admit Apple does a little of this too, but it's mostly confined to the software update process. For the rest, it just gets out of the way and lets me work.



I have to use Windows for work, too. I detest it too, but I will say loading the Apple TV screen savers onto made me hate it just a tense bit less.

Kathleen
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I said: I usually recommend to people wanting a new PC that they look at Windows offerings.

jwiest replied: Good grief, why?

My primary reasons are as follows:
• For the price, you get 2x to 2.5x as much computer in the Windows space. More storage, more memory, better processor.
• Way more options to choose from. Desktop, laptop, ultra-portable, 2-in-1, whatever you need.

Add to that now this:
• Actual USB ports that work with the billion USB devices out there.
This last point is worth its own separate post.

Overall I don't believe Macs offer good value for the money.

jwiest also noted
I really despise the "feel" of Windows, especially Windows 10+. I remotely log into a Windows 7 machine, so that's somewhat tolerable, but the Windows 10 machine I log in from spends waaaaay too many processor cycles trying to be my friend. It really gets my goat when I return from lunch to see it's timed out with a pretty picture, then it takes forever to bring up the login dialogue and while it's grinding that out it still has time to ask me "did you like that pretty picture? would you like to see more?"

Look and feel is a personal taste thing. If you like Mac better, then you should stick with that. I'm frequently frustrated by the single mouse button as I'm used to three. I have my Windows 10 box configured so it pops right up. I suspect you have Cortana enabled; I don't use it and don't recommend it as it's constantly busy in the background doing who knows what. I do have face recognition enabled so the "login dialog" doesn't show for long. I like the ability to tweak and customize; I also realize not everyone values this.

When I bought my current personal laptop, I had specific requirements:
• 15" screen or larger.
• Powerful processor, Core i7 preferred.
• More than 8 GB of memory, 12+ GB preferred.
• 512 GB or more SSD storage.

Apple could meet some of these requirements with an old Sandy Bridge CPU (one generation behind) for $2000. Dell hit all my requirements with a Sky Lake CPU (then current) and a touch screen for $900. I like Macs fine, but not that much.

Regards,

- HCF
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For the price, you get 2x to 2.5x as much computer in the Windows space.

pfft, not remotely. If you said 10%, maybe I'd shrug and let you have it, but 100% more, that's crazy talk.
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but 100% more, that’s crazy talk.

Here is a Dell Inspiron similar to my personal laptop:
http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/dell-laptops-and-noteboo...
Asking price is $1299.

Here is a comparably equipped MacBook Pro:
https://www.apple.com/shop/buy-mac/macbook-pro?product=MPTV2...
Asking price is $2799.

I tried to keep the two units as similar as possible. Apples to apples, if you will. The Mac is 2.15x more expensive than the Windows 10 box from Dell. I didn’t shop this around at all tonight, and possibly a better deal could be had from another Windows vendor.

I’m even willing to concede Macs have a certain jai n’ais se quois that Windows lacks. I didn’t feel that was worth $1500 for my application. Others (my dear Bonnie included) feel the premium is worth it.

Regards,

- HCF
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I tried to keep the two units as similar as possible. Apples to apples, if you will.

The MBP has:

-- A far more powerful GPU (Radeon Pro 560 vs. GeForce MX130; see https://technical.city/en/video/Radeon-Pro-560-vs-GeForce-MX... MX130 memory is different than tested by technical.city, though -- 2 GB vs. 4 GB in Dell laptop)
-- a higher capacity battery (76 watt-hours vs. 56 watt-hours)
-- Thunderbolt 3 ports
-- Touch Bar and Force Touch trackpad

The Inspiron has
-- A higher resolution built-in screen
-- memory configurable up to 32 GB
-- ports other than Thunderbolt/USB C.

For those of us who strongly prefer macOS, the $1500 up-front cost to get to use macOS vs. Windows is easily worth it, when you consider having to use the laptop daily and spread out over 3 years for the Dell vs., say, 5 years (barring physical incapacitation) for the MBP.

Were I to get the Inspiron -- and I use Dell Latitudes and Dell Precision MC6800s at work -- I'd have to install Ubuntu for dual-boot, using Ubuntu as my primary OS, which means I'm wasting money on Microsoft (except for the rare application I might use that requires Windows). A major problem with using the Dells to run Ubuntu is that Nvidia has appalling driver support for Linux (or at least Ubuntu), which means I'd deactivate the Nvidia card and use only the Intel graphics (Inspiron uses Intel HD Graphics 620, according to http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/04/help-me-choose/hmc-video-..., which may or may not be out of date; MBP uses Intel HD Graphics 630, which is moot because I wouldn't have to turn off the Radeon).

I once had Windows-only software running long-term (e.g. weeks) data acquisition off an Inspiron in a lab. Windows 10 Pro kept rebooting itself every once in a while for forced (mostly security) updates, killing a lot of mission-critical data gathering. Yes, the computer was networked, so not having the security upgrades was theoretically a risk, but it was a risk we understood and were willing to take, given the importance of the lab runs. Microsoft doesn't want people turning off those updates, so it wasn't a simple matter of opening a control panel and toggling a switch. To say that I had to jump through a bunch of hoops and research the how-to information on the web is a ridiculous understatement. You can tell me that it's do-able or easy, but when I compare it to macOS, I'll give you the same "yeah, right" skepticism I reserve for Linux propellerheads who tell me the same thing for Linux ("it's so easy. You just go to /etc/blahblah.d and change the settings FUBAR, FROTZ, and FLATHEAD in blahblah.conf, then reboot!").

Avoiding these hassles daily, weekly, or monthly for 3-5 years is well worth an up-front cost of $1500, to me.

-awlabrador
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I'm frequently frustrated by the single mouse button as I'm used to three

Halt, the 1990's are calling. It's been so many years since Apple's OS has only used one button I've forgotten when multiple button actuation was implemented in OS X. It's probably been 15 years by now.

And as far as "Actual USB ports that work with the billion USB devices out there" there is nothing as accommodating as OSX. If, and that's a huge if, a person is having that problem all it requires to fix it is a simple reboot with a special key combination held down.
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And as far as "Actual USB ports that work with the billion USB devices out there" there is nothing as accommodating as OSX. If, and that's a huge if, a person is having that problem all it requires to fix it is a simple reboot with a special key combination held down.

How does that change the hardware on the side of the laptop? Current MacBooks and MacBook Pros only have USB-C connections.

- HCF
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Current MacBooks and MacBook Pros only have USB-C connections.

You’re behind the curve again. MBPs have Thunderbolt 3. It’s just a USB-C connector.

-awlabrador
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You’re behind the curve again. MBPs have Thunderbolt 3. It’s just a USB-C connector.

Let me know when you can reconfigure that port back to a USB type A port.

To be fair I did call them “Actual USB ports” not type A’s. I have no idea how many devices around the Fire house have type A USB connectors. Including about a dozen Lightning cables for various iDevices. Apple sells iPhones that you can’t plug into your new MacBook without an adapter. And that bugs me.

Regards,

- HCF
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Let me know when you can reconfigure that port back to a USB type A port.

USB-C hubs can be had for <$15 on Amazon.com, which will give you USB type A ports, if you want them. If that's too much of an increment, I'd suggest not buying a new computer at all and instead re-think your finances. Soon enough if not already, demanding a built-in USB type A port will be like demanding a floppy drive in the days when Apple dropped them. (Yes, Apple still includes USB type A to Lightning cables in its iPhone boxes; I expect that to change, but meanwhile, you can sync via WiFi to your Thunderbolt 3/USB-C MBP.)

You might think I just blindly follow Apple, notwithstanding my earlier post citing my multi-platform experience or even older posts criticizing Apple. Port-wise, I wasn't thrilled with the loss of FireWire, nor even of ADB or SCSI back in the mists of time. But I got over being upset and made the transitions. Despite prior investments in external storage devices, the transitions have always been significant improvements.

I do wonder how well you keep up with Apple's technology, however. In an earlier post, you said "There are some interesting things going on in that space and the price point is far lower", and in another, you pointed out how, when you bought your current Dell, you claimed (or seemed to claim) Apple was using Sandy Bridge. You cited Dell's Sky Lake as meeting your needs. However, Sky Lake was launched in August 2015 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skylake_(microarchitecture)), and Apple hadn't used Sandy Bridge in its MBPs since 2012 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Macintosh_models_group... -- the Wikipedia entry hasn't been updated to the 2017 MBP's use of Kaby Lake). Perhaps you mixed up Sandy Lake with Broadwell? While Apple does tend to lag Intel's releases, it's not by that much, given that Apple doesn't have a rolling release schedule.

Still, apart from the lower costs, you cite "interesting things going on in that space" while requiring old hardware like USB type A ports and mistakenly thinking Apple uses only single button mice. It's your choice, of course, to prefer old USB type A ports over Apple's use of Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, or to prefer 1990's-style three button mice over Apple's Force Touch trackpads with multi-touch gesture support and position-sensitive (left-right) "button" support. But I think that many of us think Apple charges reasonably for "interesting things going on" in their own space, e.g. sometimes the leap between processor generations is not so interesting as the introduction of other, newer technologies.

-awlabrador
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I wrote:

Perhaps you mixed up Sandy Lake with Broadwell?

Sandy Bridge. Let it not be said that I claim not to mistype things.

-awlabrador
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Apple sells iPhones that you can’t plug into your new MacBook without an adapter. And that bugs me.

This was one of the things that bugged me (and still does) when I got my work laptop last year -- they could at least have included 1 adapter with the laptop as a bone for people making the transition.

dsbrady
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Let me know when you can reconfigure that port back to a USB type A port.

I know I'm a bit late to this, but personally, I will happily pay a little more to have a transfer rate of 40gbps over a TOP rate of 10gbps.

Kathleen
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I know I'm a bit late to this, but personally, I will happily pay a little more to have a transfer rate of 40gbps over a TOP rate of 10gbps.

The newer USB speeds are nice. I use it when I can. (I'm using one right now!)

But I have dozens of gizmos around the Fire house and at client sites that have Type A connectors. Some of these devices belong to clients and partners. Some of them came with other Apple products. I don't have a choice to simply walk away from the format.

And, overall, I resent the unilateral decision on Apple's part to walk away from the world's most popular connector format. Yes, there are bridges and dongles that can bridge the gap. I resent spending more money to make a very expensive laptop useful to me. Especially when you consider that, for my applications, the Mac is nowhere near twice as good as the Windows competition.

I also understand that the Apple Faithful view the last paragraph as blasphemy. Which is why I stopped replying to this thread. Whatever. You do you.

Regards,

- HCF
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I also understand that the Apple Faithful view the last paragraph as blasphemy.

Those who responded to you in this thread and many who post on this board have up-to-date experience with Windows machines, not to mention those of us with additional extensive experience as developers, system and network administrators, scientists, and other engineers on multiple operating systems and multiple hardware platforms going back decades.

To use phrases like "Apple Faithful" and "blasphemy" to dismiss as pseudo-religious fanaticism the well-founded technical choices of those with such background is to betray your own profound lack of understanding. We're not your clients.

-awlabrador
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And, overall, I resent the unilateral decision on Apple's part to walk away from the world's most popular connector format. Yes, there are bridges and dongles that can bridge the gap. I resent spending more money to make a very expensive laptop useful to me. Especially when you consider that, for my applications, the Mac is nowhere near twice as good as the Windows competition.

I also understand that the Apple Faithful view the last paragraph as blasphemy. Which is why I stopped replying to this thread. Whatever. You do you.



I don't completely disagree, but I don't completely agree, either. For the most part, the only way any progress has been made in the computer industry has been when Apple has been "heavy-handed". The only reason we have HTML5 is because Apple refused stay in old "industry standard" of Flash (something that came out in the 80s IIRC) on the iPhones.

I may not always LIKE the fact that they have eliminated some old industry standards, but I love the fact that they make things move forward.

Kathleen

BTW, for me, I was not pleased at first, but then I realized I really did not need it that much anyway.
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I may not always LIKE the fact that they have eliminated some old industry standards, but I love the fact that they make things move forward.

Heh, despite your protestation, you might be accused of blindly following whatever Apple does.

I went through various Apple-driven transitions, as did we all. At those times, I resented the loss of ADB, SCSI, Firewire, etc., given my prior investments in hardware, but now, I'm glad I did, every single time. Having been through transitions in the past makes it easier, for me, to accept transitions now and in the future. OTOH, I accepted the loss of floppies and optical drives pretty easily. I think the opportunity to get rid of piles of floppies, CDs, and DVDs has been pretty enticing.

Changes to iCloud/.Mac/MobileMe were a bit more difficult, since I had lots of content created on things like iWeb, for example, and while I can easily copy data between Firewire, USB3, and Thunderbolt drives, the loss of services without an upgraded alternative left me either high and dry or without an easy transfer to something newer. I do note with more than a little satisfaction that iDisk, the loss of which I thought was a bad idea, was eventually returned in iCloud Drive -- this despite another poster here telling me I should just follow Apple's choices, which are the wave of the future, etc.

-awlabrador
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Heh, despite your protestation, you might be accused of blindly following whatever Apple does.


That's funny. I wonder how many people thought I was "blindly following whatever Apple does" when I post this:
http://boards.fool.com/with-competition-from-google-home-by-...


If you want to think I "blindly following whatever Apple does", that's fine, but I simply like seeing the industry move forward, and the others do not seem to be very eager to move forward.

Kathleen
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That's funny. I wonder how many people thought I was "blindly following whatever Apple does" when I post this:
http://boards.fool.com/with-competition-from-google-home-by-......


I was being ironic. Or sarcastic, or whatever the correct word is.

It used to be that we had a much higher proportion of fanboys or cheerleaders on this board who'd follow Apple no matter the cause. I admit I was probably one of them back in the Mac vs. Wintel days, Windows 95, etc., when Apple had to fight the "beleaguered" label, though I like to think that my opinion was more reasoned than "Microsoft sucks" -- e.g. http://boards.fool.com/so-the-question-is-which-computer-is-... , which is out of date but which I still think reflects Microsoft programmers' mentality in terms of software design.

But over time, much of the activity on this board has evaporated for various reasons -- we had a whole thread on it once at http://boards.fool.com/board-shift-32583249.aspx?sort=whole#.... Those of us left here who are regulars have been in it long enough to post our likes and dislikes concerning Apple, with well reasoned arguments, and the long experience from the regulars here is more than enough for me to respect various opinions, even if I have a different opinion.

But, I still see the occasional opinion leak through that we, here, are part of some sort of "cult" of Apple -- that we're the "Apple Faithful" who take anything not pro-Apple as "blasphemy". That's not a view that I respect.

-awlabrador
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