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The Mac Platform Decline (milen.me)
183 points by milen on Oct 30, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 187 comments



I agree that the mac platform seems to have been neglected but Tim Cook isn't stupid, he knows that without developers the iPad isn't going to grow how he wants so I don't think this is the end of the Mac.

I think Tim Cook has ignored the Mac in favour of his favourite projects but in the meantime Schiller and Federighi have been making sure the Mac is in his periphery and fighting for resources.

I've chosen to view this update as the start of the uptick where we go back to regular updates (perhaps with a longer period than historically) and more exciting things to come.

I think the Mac Pro is over and the iMac will replace it with TB3 enabling external devices to take the workload of what Apple don't want to handle internally but other than that I hope we will see a strong line up in a couple of years and look back at this time as the trough.

That or Apple is over and I need to work out what computer I will use in 15 years as I can't stand Windows and Linux is a nightmare.

Also, I think the TouchBar looks pretty damn cool and I'll be ordering one as soon as I can.


>I think Tim Cook has ignored the Mac in favour of his favourite projects but in the meantime Schiller and Federighi have been making sure the Mac is in his periphery and fighting for resources.

Ah yes you heard the latest episode of ATP as well. Maybe if Marco repeats it enough everyone will believe it, which is kind of funny since this story [1] is on the front page right now.

I basically feel like I'm being gaslighted after reading all these hot takes about Apple and Macs.

[1] http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20161026-how-liars-create-th...


No one is lying here, it's speculation so not sure how that article relates. Marco never claimed it was an original thought, I'm pretty sure Gruber said the same a few months back after WWDC.

Either way, we can choose to see this update positively or we can be negative about it and stew on the fact that we feel ignored by Apple - the later always works out well.


The speculation doesn't even make sense because Apple is structured as a functional organization, not around product lines. Schiller and Federighi aren't in charge of Macs so they don't have to fight Cook for resources. When Marco claims (without any evidence) that Schiller or Federighi are the champions for the Mac internally, he's projecting his values on to them because he's created some narrative in his head about various executives.


Ah I see you've also read the stratechery article about apple's structure :-)

I think it's pretty clear from the WWDC Gruber interview panel that the execs who love the Mac are Schiller and Federighi but you're right that it's speculation. Either way, we can be negative and whinge or take this update as a glimmer of hope - because whatever we choose to do Apple aren't paying us any attention on HN!


They all read these comments silently, and I have a few friends who feel burned by all the negative press. Some have spent a really long time and many hours on this latest laptop.

There's definitely a camp inside the company who believe windows should take the pros back as they were burned by the whole Final Cut Pro rewrite fiasco. There's also a camp who want to see the MacPro continue on and understand brand mindshare is the most important thing for Apple.


I'm sorry your friends within Apple feel burned. Really, I am. I like my Apple products and would like to buy more... But however hard your friends at Apple worked on the new Macs, they're not the Macs we wanted.

We professional users didn't want to lose the SD card slot. We didn't want that awful butterfly fake keyboard. We didn't want to lose MagSafe.

Apple tends to lead from the front and force change, and that's fine. Sometimes you have to pull the floppy drives out of our clutches. But when this many people are telling you you're on the wrong path... You may in fact be on the wrong path.


> Windows should take the pros back

Did you mean one Apple camp doesn't want "pros", as defined by video editing? Is that because those users have already left, or are not worth keeping?


I wonder how many of your friends were around during the 2006-2011 MacBook Pro eras. There used to be a brief time when the 17-inch MacBook Pro line was the laptop vanguard, no exceptions. I remember just a couple releases after the first generation, I was wowing data center clients with these laptops before putting on my presentations as a traveling consultant. Mac OS X wasn't nearly as well-known back then as it is today.

The usual opener to me was why I was carting around a Mac (subtext left unsaid was why was I different than other vendors). I replied that it was the only out-of-the-box Unix CLI laptop that "Just Worked". That wasn't what got my clients to sit up and take notice; they only nodded and murmured that it made sense, and I got some tech cred out of that bit. What got them to sit up was when I ticked off the hardware specs, showed my demo environment in VMWare Fusion, and some would out loud exclaim what was going through everyone's head: holy crap, this Mac has more RAM than some of our smaller servers, and could actually run some of the smaller server loads under emulation, while in the native OS X I could have Microsoft Office, X11, and native Bash and a Mac GUI-friendly Emacs.

Then some of them jumped onto the ordering pages for their corporate laptop fleet's vendor and figured out that a comparably-equipped laptop from that vendor fully-tricked out like my MacBook Pro not only was priced like a CAD workstation (when it was even available, for a short period of time MacBook Pros were one of the very few laptops at all that could have its max RAM), but the non-Apple laptop ended up much heavier, bigger and in some cases more expensive...

Instant. Lust.

Every single client technical staff member I had this conversation with would have traded in their current corporate setup with what I had in an instant, switching costs of learning a new OS and applications be damned. Were it not for corporate policies and budgets preventing swapping bottom-of-the-barrel corporate fleet laptops with this techno-lust magnet, there would have been a stampede out of the conference room every time I had this conversation. The ability to model a small-scale version of a small slice of your work infrastructure directly onto your laptop was incredibly appealing to these IT technical staff, for obvious reasons.

This went on for several more generations, but the retirement of the 17-inch model put a stop to that reaction in the field. Going back through some of Jobs' keynotes for those generations of MacBook Pros, one might get a sense of how proud he was of just how singular an achievement it was back then to unobtrusively combine all those specs (hardware and software) in a beautifully-delivered package. He didn't harp upon it, but for anyone who was using it back then, you grokked it in an instant. It was Jobs' current iteration of a bicycle for the mind at that time.

I suspect a lot of the negative reaction your friends are seeing is the grief of stepping down from that pinnacle for the small, vocal group of users who were used to residing in that lofty perch, and actively used those capabilities. Withdrawal symptoms.

Not for me to say whether or not this is "right"; no one outside of Cook's inner circle are privy to Apple's go forward strategy, and only they know how this most recent generation release fits into that.

An off-the-cuff example of how this might in retrospect suddenly seem "right": next year, Apple releases an OS X that seamlessly checkpoint restarts any OS X application from a MacBook/Pro to any server in the cloud, optionally splitting the canvas drawing to the laptop as mostly-vectorized compressed streaming opcodes and all other operations run on the server. As long as you can reach a web page, and hit an Apple server or a proxy that you run, you can connect. The population of people who really need a tricked-out MacBook Pro with 32/64/128 GB RAM gets a lot smaller over the years with that available.

Myself, I buy my high-RAM workstation-class "luggable" elsewhere, and no longer hope for Apple to return to those days I described. I'll stick with an Apple laptop for macOS as my daily driver; the luggable mostly operates in headless mode.


> I've chosen to view this update as the start of the uptick where we go back to regular updates (perhaps with a longer period than historically) and more exciting things to come.

I want to think this, but after years they release a TouchBar and I still can't get 32GB of ram. /sigh

I think that people get too caught up in wanting revolutionary changes. Many would have been much happier with new MBPs being released regularly with Intel's updates and standard more/better RAM, screen, battery life.


Intel is responsible for the lack of RAM not Apple.


You can buy a dell xps 15 today that comes with: 3840 x 2160 display / 1tb pcie solid state disk / nvidia gtx 960m (crucial for developing cuda programs and prototyping deep learning on your laptop) / 32g ram. For $2340 (ten percent off coupon at the top of the page). I'm not sure if this link will work: http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/productdetails/xps-15-9550-la...

And this thing comes with regular usb ports and an hdmi port instead of usb-c nonsense so I don't have to immediately drop $250 in dongles just to keep the capabilities I already have.

My problem with a macbook is because you simply can't upgrade anything, you have to prepay for all the disk you want to use for the next 3-4 years. Add them screwing us on magsafe, and I would need $400 plus in extra chargers and dongles (hdmi/dvi/vga so I can connect to whatever random projector / tv I run into), etc. As some snark on twitter said, we should call our new giant kit of cables to make macbooks usable a courage of cables.

I just can't believe these people have the giant balls to roll out a $3k+ laptop that you can't connect an iphone 7 or iphone 7 headphones to without purchasing $50 in adapters.

I'm sitting here hoping linux gets usable fast enough that I'll have something to transition to. I need a unix-ish box that was working power management/audio/the ability to plug into whatever random projector or tv I encounter and assume it will work.

edit: just to be clear, my complaint really isn't about pricing of macbooks. I mean, cheaper is better, but I'm comfortable spending $3k on a laptop. I just need a laptop that has 32g or more of ram, and that connects to my peripherals without hundreds of dollars of dongles that I have to carry around. That laptop better last 3-4 years though. If Dell can profitably sell the above for $2400, apple should be able to very profitably sell the same specs for $3200.


But what's the battery life like on the Dell?

Edit: Googled for "Dell XPS 15 9550 battery life". Results do not look good.

Seems clear the 16GB limit is an Intel limitation. In order to achieve 32GB (like in the Dell XPS 15) they had to use DDR4, which is not as energy efficient as LPDDR3. Skylake only supports LPDDR3 at a max of 16GB. Kaby Lake only supports LPDDR4 in their ultra-low power chips. Comparable products (Surface Book, Dell XPS 13) also max out at 16GB.

In order to get 32GB of ram in the ultrabook category we're going to have to wait until Intel adds LPDDR4 support to their mobile-class processors (Cannonlake? Icelake?).


There is a law that says you cannot put battery more than defined amount while traveling in flights. It is obvious that if laptop has high end specs then it will lose power quickly. Maybe this is the reason Apple did not upgrade their hardware performance wise (just a speculation).


Eh, I don't really care, though I could see how this could be a problem for some people. But I rarely do more than 4 hours of work away from a wall.

And the macbook pro battery life tests are a joke -- 10 hours as claimed, as long as you don't use your computer. Under actual use beyond light web browsing, it's 4-5 hours. Eg watch a youtube video or run intellij or run even one core at 100%.


Totally in agreement. I'll give Linux another try on my rMBP to see if the HiDPI issues have been resolved yet. A quick search shows that MySQL Workbench still has issues:

https://bugs.mysql.com/bug.php?id=48867

If that's the only software I use that has problems I can probably deal with that though.


The annoying part with Linux on rMBP's for me isn't the display - it's the fact that my palm rests on the trackpad and causes all kinds of issues that macOS is immune to.


Does Linux not support palm detection on MBP touchpads, like it does on regular Synaptics touchpads?


Does your rMBP come with a discrete GPU?


Yes,

NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2048 MB


>And this thing comes with regular usb ports and an hdmi port instead of usb-c nonsense

Just to clarify for the readers: it's got two regular USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C port, so it's got current compatibility and future proofing.

Ironically enough, if you have a Dell XPS 15 and an Android phone and you travel a lot, you should get an Apple Macbook Pro charger, because said charger would allow you to charge both items.



Sixth and seventh generation Intel mobile core platforms support more than 16gb. The fourth generation platform used in the previous MacBook pro did not.


I think that was also partly apples fault in the exact processors that selected. I've got a third gen (ivy bridge) in my laptop that supports 32gb fine. http://ark.intel.com/m/products/70846#@product/specification...


Totally different TDP.


How come everyone else is at 32GB now?


Several sources such as [1] are reporting that the 16gb RAM limit was chosen "to preserve battery life".

I lend little credence to that idea, given that what people are asking for is at most an optional upgrade for some minority fraction of customers that prioritize 32gb RAM over other considerations.

[1] http://www.theverge.com/2016/10/28/13460496/apple-macbook-pr...


> I've chosen to view this update as the start of the uptick where we go back to regular updates (perhaps with a longer period than historically) and more exciting things to come.

I'm just curious as to what brought you to that conclusion? Was something said?

The last few years I've been sitting around kicking dirt waiting for an OSX convertible type of machine, I know there's never been any talk of it, but I figured if anyone could make it correctly it'd be Apple.

I've given up at this point. It almost feels like I was suffering from Stockholm syndrome looking back at it.


Why were you sitting around waiting for a convertible when they've said on the record multiple times they were never going to make OSX touch based? All the way from Steve Jobs to the CNET interview with Schiller, Federighi and Ive.


Hey now, Apple also said nobody wants a stylus and that no one's going to buy a "big" phone!


Stylus for main input ≠ Drawing stylus.

One is overshadowed by multi-touch while the other is needed by professionals among others.


Pure hopeful speculation based on listening to Gruber, Marco (ATP) and Leo Laporte


This recent round of updates made me consider what I need from a "work" machine. For me, it comes down to three items:

* Can I code on this machine? This means at minimum three tasks: write, deploy and test code. This also connotes a lot of things, including but not limited to access to a non-unobfucated file system.

* Can I view all file formats easily and successfully? This includes formats like XML and json which are not typically meant to be viewed by a human.

* Can I use and move freely between several web browsers? This also connotes a lot of things, including but not limited to access to browser extensions, console, etc.

The answer to all these questions is "Yes" for Mac/Win/Linux and solidly "No" for iOS. Which, is too bad, because I'd love to use something like an iPad Pro for work. But Apple has placed several software based restrictions on iOS which, above and beyond other hardware restrictions (lack of multiple monitors, poor selection of input devices) add up to there being no reasonable way to get "work" done on the platform.

I don't see myself as a power user, either: Apple seems completely stuck in a time where all users needed was access to a decent office suite and the ability to email and print in order to "do work".

That's not an adequate description of "work" any more, but apparently no one has told Apple.


As a software developer, the thought of using ipad or any iOS device as a work machine sounds utterly laughable to me. In fact, I don't even use it for play/reading device, because it's too restricted, for work - it's not even in the same galaxy (no pun intended :). I admit, I may not be a typical user - but come to any software conference and you'll see a lot of people like me.

What worries me more is that it seems like the Apple laptop line - which has captured a lot of developer segment by having the right combination of polish, power and flexibility - now seems to begin the move away from the power user and towards the same segment iOS devices are serving. They start to remove features and restrict power and flexibility to add more polish. And that's where our ways will be parting.

My last two work machines were Macbooks, but it looks like the next one won't be.


> XML and json which are not typically meant to be viewed by a human

XML and json are meant to be viewed by a human. Those are visual encodings a contrario to binary encodings.


Agreed. When someone says "not meant to be viewed by a human" I think protobuf or png, not XML/JSON.


Meant to be viewable by a human, but not viewed by most humans.


> Apple seems completely stuck in a time where all users needed was access to a decent office suite and the ability to email and print in order to "do work".

They're like a corporate IT department that refuses to allow its users to install the programs they need to get work done.


Nothing has changed here. You're just defining "work" differently than Apple. You're looking at programmers, they're looking at the whole. Programmers always needed access at a lower level. Others rarely did. 95%+ of the world's digital output can or at least could be done on an iPad with a keyboard. If anything the number is rising. I no longer need access to an (installed) office suite. A web browser will do.

So in some way you can consider yourself an extreme power user, but please don't walk around telling doctors and lawyers and journalists that what they do isn't "work", because it doesn't involve a compiler and JSON.


Nobody says lawyers or journalists or road workers or electricians or barbers or Macdonalds cashiers don't work. However, Apple products in the past were well-tuned to work needs of many software developers, IT workers and other such professionals, for which there's a lot of evidence if you visit any suitable conference, for example. But, it looks like recently Apple has been de-emphasizing the importance of this use case, which would mean the above mentioned professionals may want to look for a platform better suited to their needs.


Agreed on all counts, though if you are coding, reading XML and JSON, and switching between multiple web browsers, you are the creme de le creme "power user", no?



I think most of the statements in the article are true, the problem is there is not (right now) a superior alternative. Yes, Microsoft is trying with the surface, Linux I'm sure has come far, but there is simply not any alternative that can realistically compete with the Mac platform right now. There is simply no pressure on Apple to dedicate further resources to this area, because there is not much for them to gain. It sucks for users of their products, but probably great for stockholders.


As a current macOS user and a former Ubuntu user, I actually feel that my experience with Ubuntu was better than macOS, not worse. Among the features I liked: a decent window manager built in into Unity and free file-system snapshots using btrfs. And I was using a ThinkPad, which was less expensive, more rugged, and would not try to impersonate a leafblower every time you ran a nontrivial computation on it.


Linux is already superior for developers. You servers all running Linux, all dev tools are first released in Linux, everything just work with most hardware.

For professional like video editing, photography, CADs, audio etc Windows is better when you can buy better hardware for the same price as Mac.

There is no reason to by Mac when most hardware is terribly outdated and you don't know when next upgrade will happen.


Sure all the plumbing gets released on Linux first like the compilers, interpreters libraries etc. But also being a Unix, mac is never far behind.

The biggest problem with Linux for me is that as soon as you get to interactive tools, whether it is IDE's, text editors, asset organizers, GUI designers etc it starts to suck big time.

There are lot of nice GUI applications which are integral to my development work. Not everything is some Unix command line thing. I love looking up documentation in Dash. I think fine tuning of pixels and details is awesome in little tools like Pixen. I write all sorts of development notes in Ulysses. I do file diffs in Kaleidoscope. I do UML diagrams or stuff for presentations in Omni Graffle. I look at SQLite databases in Base. You got so many excellent well designed interactive GUI tools for all sorts of development tasks, like Paw for interacting with REST services. You got a lot of excellent GUI git clients like GitX, Tower and GitUp.

I never see this rich environment of specialized GUI tools on Linux. Sure on the command line side it is better, but given the shared Unix heritage Linux and macOS are not that far apart on this point as say Linux and Windows.

macOS is a nice cross breed between the good sides of Linux and Windows. You got all the Unix geek stuff combined with a rich selection of GUI application.

If macOS goes down the drain, I'll switch over to Linux, but there will be a lot of things I will miss.


I'm doing web dev on macOS. Tried to plan how I'd work on Linux desktop if I ditched Mac and it doesn't look that bright actually.

- I basically can't stand the usability linux desktop environments. But this is subjective.

- Our designers use a lot of mac software. I sometimes need to work with Sketch, Photoshop etc. Even if it's in read only fashion.

- Our team lives in Slack. Turns out these is no decent slack app for linux and I'd have to use the web app. No thanks.

Development generally requires collaboration with other people. I can't see myself easily working with non developers on a Linux desktop. I run Linux servers because only the developers touch them.


> - Our team lives in Slack. Turns out these is no decent slack app for linux and I'd have to use the web app. No thanks.

the slack app for other platforms are made from the web app (Electron).


Yeah but they are integrated (native notifications, file access, a window that does not go away with the browser or tied to it, decent looking chrome etc). When I need to use it that much I prefer an app, even if it's a shell actually.


Exactly - just about the ideal sort of desktop application right now is a web app running in a dedicated web view. You don't worry about accidentally closing it with the rest of your browser or navigating away from it, but you still have the awesome-ness of a web application.


If you're using it that much, perhaps you should re-think how good it is for your productivity :)


Eh, people said the same about Gmail but that no-install email client turned out to be wildly successful.


Give it a rest - web applications running in generalized browsers make awful desk-tray applications. The mac & windows Slack app is great - all of the power and connected-ness of a web app without all of the annoyances of accidental web browser navigation.


Well Sketch and Photoshop are more design less dev so there's not much of a choice for those people.

Have you tried ScudCloud on linux?


1. Have you tried https://elementary.io/ ?

2. PDF? I know it's not ideal.

3. Slack for Linux is in beta, but I've been using it for six months without issue: https://slack.com/downloads/linux


I hear there are preferences, yes.

The only think outside of purely subjective matters is Photoshop. Our designers use SVGs/PNGs for read-only purposes.


If that's true why do I see so many developers using Macs?

Desktop Linux is a mess and always has been. The problem is structural. The people making it don't have any profit motive to make it better. They're all either volunteers having fun or subsidised by server products.


> If that's true why do I see so many developers using Macs?

Because, until recently, Apple catered to professional users. The openly hostile act of soldering of RAM, addiction to thin, and buggy OS releases, etc. are relatively new developments in Apple hx.

> Desktop Linux is a mess and always has been. The problem is structural.

I posit that all OS's are a mess. Some are messier than others but most of them are filled to the brim with bugs... macOS definitely included.


> The people making it don't have any profit motive to make it better

While I won't disagree if you claim Desktop Linux wasn't nearly at the level of polish as OS X Snow Leopard was, I think you've got a completely wrong diagnosis here.

Both because there can be motives other than super-high salaries and because quite a lot of them do actually have financial motives to make it better.

And having seen how the development goes on behind the scenes for KDE, I would disagree outright that the developers of KDE lack seriousness or dedication.

On the other hand, Windows Metro was made by people with profit motives.


Dont know i switch to arch linux and i3wm last year on my mbp and i dont want to go back. Same goes for the newest mbp in its current state i will buy another brand probably a surface when my mbp dies.


>If that's true why do I see so many developers using Macs? There are lots of developers who use Apple hardware with linux. Even Linus (at least as of 2012)! http://www.cultofmac.com/162823/linux-creator-linus-torvalds...

> Desktop Linux is a mess and always has been. The problem is structural. The people making it don't have any profit motive to make it better. They're all either volunteers having fun or subsidised by server products.

It sounds like you are saying there is a direct relationship between the quality ("betterness") of software and a profit motive to create that software and that there is no profit motive to make Desktop Linux better. I see two flaws with that argument:

1. You posit that there is zero profit motive to make it better, then there should be zero quality of the Linux Desktop. Certainly, you can't be saying that there exists nothing worse than Desktop Linux, even conceptually.

2. This argument, if I understand it correctly, also implies that it's impossible for an application to be "better" or "good" that has no profit motive. This would include all of the open source utilities, text editors, programming languages, compilers, games, emulators, and other applications - many of which ship with every single Mac on the market.

Those two reasons make your argument logically inconsistent, I think.

But, even if your argument were logically consistent, I believe that there is a profit motive to make it better. Some people, including myself, derive non-monetary profit from building something useful and we find that the open-source model allows us to collaborate on these things because they are too complex or time consuming to do alone. The fact that there actually exists a profit motive makes your argument factually inconsistent as well.


My argument is not logically inconsistent, but it may be a bit tricky to see why.

Firstly, I did not argue that quality is a pure function of potential profit. I said there's no profit motive to make desktop Linux better than it currently is (my view is that desktop Linux has been at a pretty constant level of quality for the last decade, which I'm sure some will argue with, but that's been my experience). That's a slightly different argument which I'll elaborate on in a moment.

Secondly, the fact that Macs ship with open source software doesn't invalidate my point. The popularity of MacOS X amongst developers can largely be summed up as "it's UNIX but with large parts replaced with proprietary components". What's left is whatever wasn't relevant to the consumer/pro-designer market segment, mostly a collection of command line tools. The other open source stuff (Apple's own code) was very much directed by the profit motive and open sourced secondarily, as a part of a product strategy.

There are two problems with the volunteer/subsidised-developer model that shine through when using desktop Linux. And in case you think I'm a clueless idiot who doesn't know what he's talking about, I've used desktop Linux for many years and even did contribute open source work to it about 15 years ago (I had patches in a few well known desktop projects). Eventually I became disillusioned because of these two main flaws:

1) Volunteers avoid boring work i.e. fixing bugs in other people's software.

2) Subsidised developers and volunteers lack any incentive to discard flawed ideologies and convictions

The second is the most important. The first problem can be addressed through Red Hat style cross subsidisation. The second results in massive, glaring weaknesses that developers rationalise as strengths rather than swim against established dogma.

Some examples of crap that is simply not tolerated in desktop operating systems built by people seeking profit but is/was often rationalised away as a strength in Linux: the audio server situation, completely messed up software distribution model, lack of support for proprietary kernel drivers, flaky backwards compatibility, general hostility to proprietary userspace apps, a bizarre insistence that anything important be written in C, refusal to work with any kind of content industry that wants DRM ... lots of policies that Linux users have just learned to accept as futile to argue with that Apple and Microsoft don't have the same hangups about. And the end result is, guess what, Macs just work a whole lot better.

I'm painting with a broad brush. The profit motive is just an incentive, a nudge, it's not an iron law. Apple and Microsoft have their own weird ideological hangups, especially in recent years, and they could really use a whole lot more competition. The Linux community has overcome entrenched attitudes a few times in the past - GNOME 2 and systemd are good examples of that. But overall the Linux community suffers far from more self-inflicted wounds that they're psychologically incapable of changing and without any financial incentive to do so, these things just fester for decades.


I am finally seeing this as clearly as I saw my move from PC to Mac in 2005/06. Linux is far superior for developers, I agree... especially backend type people. As I understand, Avid and Premiere are the video tools of choice for serious pros. FCPX is called the "wedding video" maker? I don't really know, as I am not a pro videographer.

CAD is bad JOKE on Mac and Adobe stuff runs on (almost) everything.

I have an Asus win10 tablet with a wacom stylus that I bought for $140 on ebay. It is actually pretty darn neat...


   but there is simply not any alternative that can realistically compete with the Mac platform right now
I think you forgot to add two important words: for me. Other beg to differ for a variety of reasons.


This is true. I figured that was implied since I'm a random person pontificating on the Internet.


Yeah, and as a developer it really behooves me to be able to run Xcode and the iOS simulator. Plus every team seems to use Macs nowadays, and it certainly helps to be on the same platform as everybody else.

Finally, I already have a couple apps in the App Store that I'd have to abandon if I switched to something else. So I'm kinda stuck.


"It will be a switch from iOS developers using Macs at home to them using PCs at home and having a "work Mac" for commercial development."

This is exactly what gave rise to the Mac and OSX in the last 10-15 years. People worked on Windows PCs "at work" but had Macs for personal development. Now I'm witnessing the exact same scenario play out now that Apple is the market behemoth amongst power users and developers. Do I think Microsoft will simply win everyone back? Not at this moment. They could keep stepping up their game and possibly do so. Or the collective energy people were spending on macOS could be spent on (finally) making Linux-on-desktop a viable option that doesn't require inordinate amounts of fiddling with drivers and configuration files.

Time will tell but I'm already pretty sure my next laptop will be a Dell XPS or Razer Blade.


There could be a third option "soon"; Fuchsia, the new OS Google is developing. From what I see, it seems like a modular OS running Flutter apps, with Material Design as the system's UI.

Google has folks who worked on BeOS, Danger, iOS, ChromeOS and Android working on this new OS.


quite a list! a question that begs being asked: did they intentionally not hire anybody that touched windows or was it by chance?


This was just from the top of my head. I doubt they would refuse to hire ex-Microsoft employees.


The Linux subsystem on Windows seems promising too, and it may fill the same gap as the Mac OS X BSD backend when Apple transitioned from OS 9 to OS X. I'm curious to see what MS does with it, and I wonder if it could possibly win back a lot of Mac developers.


The two things Microsoft needs for me to switch back after 10 years with a Mac are:-

1. Really good Linux sub-system support.

2. A clear story with regard disabling all telematics and phone-home monitoring in Windows 10.

If Microsoft could get its privacy stance sorted out in an upfront way I'd seriously consider them.

Personally though I'm not happy with current reassurances about privacy protection in Windows 10.


> now that Apple is the market behemoth

I thought Windows/PC was still much larger than Apple in the computer market?


Yes but it's been steadily declining. I guess I should have added an asterisk and said "Amongst power users/developers" since those are almost exclusively Mac now (from my observation, YMMV)


I imagine you are living in a Mac bubble.

On our main building, which has four floors, there are exactly 4 Macs.

On two of the customers sites I visit regularly, with several hundred people on the respective buildings, only iOS developers have Macs, and they aren't that many on site.


It really varies; among many SF Bay Area companies, PCs are rare sights for the past 5-7 years. Go into any Bay Area coffee shop, for example.

Now in London, Tokyo, Chicago, Austin, Seattle, Toronto or New York it's probably more balanced, but I see plenty of tech companies that are Mac standard.

I work for a global software and services company of over 2500 people and I'd say maybe 5% are running PCs with windows or Linux, the rest are on Macs. (And we aren't specialist iOS developers).

I'm not sure what the share is in Salesforce, Amazon, Google or Facebook or the like, probably over 30% at least.


I can tell you that in Europe it surely doesn't look like that.

Companies like Salesforce, Amazon, Google or Facebook and similar are the snowflakes of Fortune 100.

There are plenty of other companies out there, and for the large majority software development is a by product, not their main business.


"for the large majority software development is a by product, not their main business."

And this is why software companies are slowly taking over many other industries. :-)


Wow, I really liked that article. I thought it articulated some really important insights, first that Apple could reasonably be seen as abandoning the core computer user market, and second an acknowledgement that the market they are leaving in favor of the consumer market is probably immaterial to their current business model.

It is clear that there are two "kinds" of users of computation platforms, the "apps only" users and "developers." It is also becoming clear that "content creators" (graphic artists, writers, video producers, Etc) are seen more and more as "apps only" users rather than developers as well, even though their content tools are very demanding on the platform.

If they are correct and the market is segmenting, then I think you can expect to see "artist workstations" emerge as a category with tools wrapped around a computer to help in their content creation, I think that certainly became true of synthesizers which have "workstations" as a category distinct from instruments you might play on stage or in a studio setting.


Apple is fighting too many competitors at the moment. It used to just be Microsoft, but Google's dominance in smartphones and slow but constant pressure in tablets and "good enough for most people" laptops is causing the company to lose focus.

Microsoft also traditionally didn't have a credible hardware story, giving Apple a complete vertical integration story. Now both major competitors are vertically integrating (Microsoft with Windows + Surface and Google with Android/ChromeOS + Pixel).

I think Apple is having to choose where they're going to focus and tbh, the Mac line is a smaller line of business for the company. If you simply don't use a laptop/desktop at all, then nobody cares that you can't connect your other devices cleanly to it, your other devices are your primary computing devices.

Microsoft doesn't have a good story on the phone front, but it's not inconceivable that they'll try again with a shrunk down surface line if the it proves successful enough.

Google's desktop story is also incomplete, but they're moving rapidly towards something if they ever stop having OS confusion.

The iPad Pro is large and powerful enough that it basically can be the "good enough for most people" computing device. And they have a cohesive ecosystem from small to large in the iDevices.

There's no significant future for Apple with the Mac line and the company is allergic to commodification in ways that their competitors aren't (and that's where that line is heading). Apple is more likely to keep playing with iDevice sizing and software than to continue dedicated serious resources to keeping the Mac line alive.

I'm not calling it a deathwatch yet, but it's clear it's a backburner line of business for the company.


The problem with the iPad Pro is that it is still an iPad. Look at the metrics of iPad sales[1], down 15% or so. There is no compelling reason to upgrade iPads on a year over year basis for most people that have them. Everyone else bought a Kindle or Asus or <insert tablet> here for $100 and called it a day.

[1]https://techcrunch.com/2016/07/26/iphone-ipad-and-mac-sales-...


This seems to speak to a larger problem for Apple of identifying their "Pro" markets and going after them. The iPad Pro seems to do a reasonable job targeting visual artists in the hardware, but the software isn't there yet.

Notionally speaking, what would a Pro work environment look like using tablets? I'd argue that Pro software tends to be hard to use and complicated -- but highly efficient in that domain, and this has been a struggle for Apple to get...and fundamentally there should be some kind of solution for cobbling together several iPads and a couple peripherals into some kind of workstation, where the iPads can do dual duty as both reconfigurable low-latency interfaces and displays for various parts of a pro-oriented workflow.

Or at the very least offer real support for pro workflows with a Mac as the main computer and the iPads acting as interfaces.

You sort of see some of this in things like DJ setups [1], but you'll notice none of these solutions lets you just use more iPads as additional screens/interfaces.

I write music as a hobby, and I wouldn't even know what to do with a single screen for it, and I feel cramped on two. I'd love to be able to get a tablet device, connect it to "the studio" and now it handles EQ or provides some virtual knobs, or gives me a spectrogram or something. And the system just sort of makes it work. A half dozen interfaces/displays would be great.

I also enjoy photography, why not have one display showing a gallery, one showing the before edits, and one showing what I'm editing, with one or two providing common edit controls?

But this interconnecting magic is simply missing.

1 - https://www.algoriddim.com/hardware


There's another problem with the iOS ecosystem: it is very difficult for app developers to make money: no trials, no way to reach customers, poor discovery, and other well documented challenges. This does not bode well for the future of Pro-grade software on iOS, in contrast to macOS.

http://www.cultofmac.com/451594/we-made-our-app-free-and-tha...


> Apple is fighting too many competitors at the moment. It used to just be Microsoft, but Google's dominance in smartphones and slow but constant pressure in tablets and "good enough for most people" laptops is causing the company to lose focus.

The too many competitors I don't buy. The question about where their products are positioned in the market is imho. a valid one.

Apple tends to leave last years product available at a somewhat lower price to measure what pricing the market bears. This works well for a continuous change of conditions. Such strategies can end up in local optima - high margin niches that are shrinking.

On the iOS side after moving upwards all the time Apple recently came out with the iPhone SE - a powerful device in a less fancy package with smaller screen - to complement the portfolio on the lower end. On the MacBook side such discontinuous thinking seems to be missing. Even more worrying they are not lowing prices for the older architecture enough to properly gauge the demand on the lower end side.


> think you can expect to see "artist workstations" emerge as a category with tools wrapped around a computer to help in their content creation

It's already emerging. Did you see the Surface Studio and the cute little knob that they demoed by using it to change colors in a paint program? That presentation was basically Microsoft looking at artists with sexy bedroom eyes, like Apple used to a decade ago. I'd be carrying a Surface 4 Pro around in my bag right now and leaving my Air/Wacom tablet at home if the Surface's NTrig stylus worked properly with Adobe Illustrator.

Next month Wacom's supposed to release their MobileStudio Pro, which has similar specs and a nice cushy Wacom pen instead of a shitty hard NTrig stylus. Which I think a hell of a lot of artists are gonna try out; their previous efforts in this space were overpriced, overweight, and underpowered, but this one looks good in the specs.

There is also supposedly a new generation of styli coming out soon that will all adhere to a single standard, so an artist can go buy a Surface clone from whoever and feel confident that she can also go buy a super-nice stylus, the same way a programmer can feel confident they can get a super-awesome keyboard if they want that. Surface clones are not being marketed to artists, but we are definitely ogling them if we have the funds, and as prices drop more of us will probably end up with one.


I see a lot of parallels of Tim Cook's Apple to John Sculley's Apple. Tim Cook's, like John Sculley's, is focused on immediate short-term bottom line improvements rather than long-term investments. John Sculley kept staying the course, and Tim Cook is doing much of the same. If anything, the most recent iteration of MBP is sidelining serious developers and content producers.

So yes, Apple's bottom line is growing. Lots of revenue are being made from iCloud subscriptions to Apple Music. Steve Ballmer was very good at improving Microsoft's bottom line too. But they lost search, music, and cloud at the expense of chasing revenue.


Off the top of my head, I remember Apple under Sculley/Amelio* as

- proliferation and fragmentation of Apple hardware

- licensing of the OS to other hardware makers

Under Cook,

- Apple processors

- improvements in manufacturing (materials, component integration, energy efficiency)

These seem to be much longer-term projects than what was happening under Sculley. What are you thinking of in particular in terms of "immediate short-term bottom line improvements" under Cook?

In terms of revenue, there have been increases in revenue from services (which includes iCloud and Apple Music)[0], increasing from 3.4 to 5.8 billion USD from 2013 Q1 to 2016 Q3. That's about 20% (eyeballing from "Apple Revenue by Category" chart) of iPhone revenue. I'm not sure how this necessarily ties in to the Sculley/Cook parallel though. At first blush, it doesn't look like services is increasing at the expense of other categories.

[0]: https://sixcolors.com/post/2016/10/apple-financial-results-l...

Yeah, we're going from Jobs to another CEO, so there are changes. I don't see a lot of other parallels, though.

* Edited: After reading linguae's comment, I realized I was misremembering Sculley for Amelio, lumping it all into a "post-Jobs" era.


Apple processors and improvements in industrial engineering happened before Cook took the helm. You could argue those were under Jobs's watch...

And yes the increase of revenue in services is safe, stable bet. But offering music and email and image storage doesn't seem to be be groundbreaking services to me.


Agreed that there's overlap with the hardware improvements under Jobs and Cook.

Also agreed that Apple's services aren't groundbreaking. I mentioned them only in response to "Lots of revenue are being made from iCloud subscriptions to Apple Music." I generally don't think much of iCloud other than being frustrated with contact syncing, and don't use Apple's email and image storage at all. I find Apple Music annoying and iTunes software horribly frustrating.


I have a different view regarding the John Sculley era. It was under Sculley where the Mac transformed from a sealed box to an expandable machine when the Mac II was released in 1987. Under the Sculley era there were many impressive Macs, such as the Macintosh SE/30, the Mac Color Classic, the Mac IIfx, the Macintosh Portable, the Macintosh Quadra, and the original PowerBook. In my opinion, the hardware was wonderful during the Sculley era. What dogged Apple from the latter half of the Sculley era until the purchase of NeXT during the Gil Amelio era was the inability of Apple to buckle down and ship a successor to the classic Mac OS (look up the history of Pink/Taligent and Copland). Apple's hardware didn't start suffering until 1995 when Apple had a disastrous year (the infamous PowerBook 5300 exploding battery scandal, the much maligned Performa 5200/6200 series, Apple's inability to release an OS that successfully competed against Windows 95, and the rise of Mac clones that ended up hurting Apple's marketshare).

The John Sculley era was largely one of investment in the Mac, although the unfortunate thing was the failure of the Pink/Taligent project, which could have given Apple an advanced operating system as early as, say, 1993 or 1994 had development gone better. Unfortunately I can't say the same about the Tim Cook era, where the Mac has transformed from a platform dedicated to creative professionals, power users and developers to a platform that caters solely to casual users and doesn't provide the performance, upgradeability, and expandability that long-time Mac users need. Also, under Tim Cook the Mac has increasingly deviated from the longstanding Apple Human Interface Guidelines that made the Mac such a pleasure to use all these years. While the Mac experience is still miles ahead of Windows and many Linux desktops, it's increasingly not the same as it used to be.


I don't know. R&D has seen big increases[1] (from around $3B under Jobs to now around $12B) in spend under Cook. I don't know that doing that lines up with a "focus on immediate short-term bottom line improvements rather than long-term investments".

[1]: http://www.aboveavalon.com/notes/2016/5/11/apple-rd-reveals-... (linked for the graphs, not the article's hypothesis)


Nokia's R&D spending in 2007 was 5.64 billion EUR, while Apple spent 0.78 billion USD in the same year.

If anything, exploding R&D expenses may be a sign of an unfocussed product organization.


This kind of stuff always gets me thinking a lot. It is very mysterious how some companies can spend such enormous amounts on research and still seem to get very few innovative products in return.

Gets you really thinking about, what exactly is the nature of innovation and research?

Our society as a whole is inherently focused on quantity over quality when it comes to something like research which so obviously is about quality. Science is getting measures as number of patents issues, amount of GDP spent on research etc. And these things becomes goals and targets by themselves.

Nobody seems to stop and ask whether quality research and discovery is actually happening or whether we are getting patents for the right kind of things.

This quantification and reducing everything into a number is a disease which I think is destroying much of what is good about our society.


People certainly ask these things. It's a large part of what a quality MBA is about (dissecting why strategy matters).


Microsoft, I'm sure, also threw a lot of R&D money at things. I just think the money under Jobs's Apple was directed more wisely.


Looks[1] like from it went from $7B in 2004, to $11B in 2014 when ballmer left. So a 2x increase in 10 years vs over a 5x increase in 4 years.

Regardless, I still don't think that jives with the claim that Cook is focusing solely on short term returns. The "concern" about increased R&D outlay, by some big shareholders during earnings calls, has even been interesting to hear. The responses by Cook et al. have seemed pretty consistent too -- we are focusing on lots of long term projects.

[1]: https://www.statista.com/statistics/267806/expenditure-on-re...


As an outsider you can only tell if the R&D money was spent wisely in retrospect.


I would say the same of insiders. Outsiders can judge this better than insiders due to independence (tunnel vision and company pride sometimes get in the way).


Perhaps. The point is we'll find out in 5-10 years if the R&D money spent today was a good decision (and sooner for future iterations of the existing product categories).


I keep seeing people say things about how the Mac is sidelining serious developers and content producers, but I haven't seen any actual argument as to why this is so. Can you explain?


TouchBar killed the tactile ESC key. People using vim or BootCamp and/or Linux, Windows, VMware, or Photoshop are in for a more difficult ride. So instead of having access to ESC/Func keys, we can type emoji or use Apple Pay.

The hardware on all Macs are updated on a very infrequent basis as mentioned in the article. GPUs sold with machines today are often the same as ones sold years ago.

Apple killed their external monitor option.


I really think too many people are making a big deal of the TouchBar. I'm a vim user, and when the first rumors of it surfaced earlier this year I switched ESC to capslock and after a day or so adapted just fine.

I don't know that I really need any of the things TouchBar offers, but it seems to be unreasonably vilified without no one actually using it.

For me the key issue is the performance, which no amount of key remapping can solve.


I'm just wondering how one will install certain OSes if the Func keys aren't usable during OS install in Boot Camp. I don't remember being able to remap an installer hotkeys easily. Maybe Apple doesn't want that demographic, or perhaps we'll have to connect a USB-C keyboard.

Boot Camp drivers are also terribly out of date.


At this point I'm starting to assume that people are acting in bad faith when they pretend that the toolbar somehow turns to emoji mode when you're working in a terminal or rebooting or whatever.

I do this because all of Apple's material has focused on it's context-sensitivity and configurability. Here's a screenshot of function keys: http://images.apple.com/v/macbook-pro/j/images/overview/touc...


No, my point is Apple is pushing consumer's uses such as typing emoji above the developer's needs, such as pressing ESC. Yes, you certainly still can "press" ESC, but I suspect I won't be used to the touching a screen sensation when reaching for the ESC key without looking at my key plate. I'm very aware of the contextual TouchBar.

Yes, I'm sure the Touch Bar will useful for the consumer demographic. However, there are many of us who are much more effective with the keyboard rather than using a touchscreen or a mouse.


Here's an idea of how it could be incredibly useful for the l33d professionals: https://twitter.com/VilleImmonen/status/792840677021351936/p...


It's nice to see some ideas being played with but I think there are two issues with that image.

1. The Esc key isn't butted against the edge of the touch bar. Because it's not always in the same place means it's hard to press without looking down.

2. The same is true for the run tests shortcuts. I'll miss the f keys less than Esc but things like test shortcuts, I find, are best committed to muscle memory.


Boot Camp has already been addressed though. The function keys will be shown and since Touch Bar is running WatchOS it should be easily possible to show them without drivers.


I read that there is an independent ARM processor controlling TouchBar. Is there solid proof the TouchBar reverts to Func keys when no OS has initialized/rendered keys to the TouchBar?



I was looking at that article as well. I read that as confirming how the Touch Bar will work under Windows in Boot Camp. GP is asking a different question: how will the Touch Bar work for non-Windows OSes, in particular during the boot or OS initialization process itself?


> Apple killed their external monitor option.

You can drive two 5k displays with the new MacBooks, and they ask me to tell you they're fine. The just need a bit of time to think things through.


This seems weird.

Sure you can argue about the tactile nature of the escape key being important, but the soft versions are still available.

The hardware update statement is simply not true of all Macs. The iMac has been regularly kept up to date. It is true of the MacBook Pro, but they have just released a new design, and we can expect them to incrementally improve it as they have done in the past after a new design is released.

Who cares about Apple not selling an external monitor when they are readily available from other vendors?


> Sure you can argue about the tactile nature of the escape key being important, but the soft versions are still available.

From the screenshots released, the Esc and other keys have been centred in the middle of the bar. This means that the Esc "key" now moves depending on context.

That might still be fine for "hunt n' peck" typists but it's a real pain for touch typists as it will kill our muscle memory.

If the screenshots and product videos are to be believed it means Apple either didn't consider heavy console users or considered them but deprioitised their needs. Neither of these is a good thing for me. :(


Look at all the screenshots of the Touch Bar. Many of them have the Esc key present. And you must be seriously out of touch if you think it's a deal breaker.

Also it's rumours that Apple killed their external monitor option.


It's a dealbreaker for me.

I was considering switching from years of buying Thinkpads to getting some Apple hardware. One of my big beefs with Lenovo is that they keep redesigning the keyboards, steadily making them worse from my perspective. But the Esc key thing kills it for me. Partly because the escape key location is baked into my brain, and I want it to be a physical key with tactile response. And partly because this is a sign to me that they are likely to keep screwing with the keyboard in a way that makes it better for whomever they're targeting but worse for programmers.


I think people are complaining because apple no longer sells an external monitor of its own.

I might be an outlier, but I don't care too much about the Escape key - I think the on screen one will probably work just as well for me - I am annoyed however at the net removal of two ports, inclusion of just one USB A port would have been enough to make me happy - that one USB A port would be enough to make up for the loss of Magsafe and HDMI. I also don't like that I now need a bevy of adapters to do everything I did before without any adapters at all.


Because serious developers require computers with more horsepower (CPU, GPU, memory, etc.) than Apple is providing?

16GB is nowhere near enough for my work. And I can't seriously justify buying a iMac or MacPro at this point when their hardware is so out of date.


Not arguing, just curious. What type of work are you in?


I am building a next generation database system.


Sounds interesting! What system are you currently using? What limitations are you running into? What do you envision the system running on in production?


If you mean my development computer, I use a 2012 rMBP with 16GB RAM. For production we generally run on EC2 or GCE.

The biggest limitation is RAM, but in the near future we may start using the GPU too. Between the database, middleware above the database, an IDB, a web browser, etc. macOS decides to start compressing pages rather aggressively when I run unit tests. If the IDE gets compressed, pretty much the only solution is to restart.

I could switch to Linux development, but aside from Linux laptop support generally being poor, macOS just works so I can spend more time working instead of fighting with my computer's configuration. Still, I am very seriously considering getting a Linux desktop in the near future, because I'm just tired of waiting for Apple.


Thanks. My development machine is a 2015 13" MBA/8GB. I'm pretty satisfied with it as a development box. (Though I do need to figure out some performance issues in my integration test suite). Of course, it sounds like your development needs are quite different than mine :)

I wonder what the next round of iMacs will look like. If you're looking at a desktop system anyway, perhaps they'll be available with larger memory options. As I understand it, the memory limitation on the new MBP is due to the chip choice, which in turn was chosen with energy efficiency in mind. That shouldn't be a driving factor in the iMac. But then again, when will the next rev of iMacs come out?

I hope you're able to find a system that suits your needs!


I'll sum up the points I've seen for the 2016 Macbook Pro.

1) No esc key or fkeys. These are pretty important for vim, and vim is the defacto editor on most Linux systems. If you want these keys, you have to accept the lower end dual core CPU and no discrete GPU.

2) 16GB of RAM, not really enough for running multiple VMs. 32GB has been common for years from other manufacturers. Phil Schiller responded that this was to conserve battery life.

3) Skylake. This CPU is old. Kaby Lake has been shipping since late August. It's a bit of a stretch to call a laptop "premium" or "pro" when it ships with the last generation hardware.

4) GPU. Same gripe. NVidia is the undisputed leader in GPUs. Shipping a Radeon which is half the speed of a comparable NVidia offering is really disappointing.

5) Magsafe. They removed Magsafe in favor of USB-C charging. Great for Apple repair and replacement sales, not so great for end users.

6) Price. Everyone expects to pay some premium for an Apple, but this round is really excessive. They've made it worse by axing the lower priced Macbook Air line, so the least expensive model available now is a $1299 Macbook, and that's an even older 5th generation Broadwell CPU model they've been selling for nearly two years now.


> 1) No esc key or fkeys. These are pretty important for vim, and vim is the defacto editor on most Linux systems.

Ooohhh, I can already see the angry complaints from Emacs users.

More seriously though, vim doesn't rely on F keys at all. (The only default function mapped to an F key is F1 for help, which is only there to assist newbies AFAICT.) The F keys are useful as a blank slate for one's own mappings, though, so a lot of individual vim users (me included) might be upset about their favorite functions gone.

The F keys are of much bigger importance in Xcode, where F6/F7/F8 are the default bindings for stepping during debugging. (I cannot comment on this myself as I'm from the printf-debugging camp, but a lot of people pointed to this concrete function in HN commentary in the past few days.)


> 4) GPU. Same gripe. NVidia is the undisputed leader in GPUs. Shipping a Radeon which is half the speed of a comparable NVidia offering is really disappointing.

This one is understandable - the AMD 450/455/460 all fit within a 50W TDP. The Nvidia 1060M is at 80W... way too high. The 1050M should be 50W, but it won't be out until early 2017.

The timing of all of this seems weird to me. Since Apple already waited so long to release this update to begin with, would it have killed them to wait just a bit longer to be able to integrate Kaby Lake and the mobile Nvidia cards?


This makes no sense.

The Apple Watch is absolutely a long term play. Right now it's a fraction of what they want it to be ie. the saviour of the health care industry. And given the regulatory requirements of playing in this space you need to play the long game.


How will a watch "save" health care?


Presumably by constantly monitoring whatever biometrics you can gather from the wrist, thus detecting anomalies sooner than annual checkups would.


I was a PC user my whole life, since the days of DOS and PC Tools, until I made the switch to Macs in 2011. The last time I used Windows (10) was last year when I was stuck with a PC for 2 months.

I don't feel the Mac is in decline at all.

Although the new MacBooks are out of my budget for now, there is still nothing that makes me want to go back to PCs/Microsoft. I still remember the almost daily frustrations I had with Windows, some of which continue to plague it to this day. It remains a massive, kludgey hodgepodge of inconsistency. Even if Windows wasn't bad in my opinion there really isn't anything bad enough on the Mac side to make me switch.


I agree it worries me. I've been with the Mac since OS X came out. The focus on more professional users like myself seems to have started a decline beginning with Snow Leopard.

Of course I understand the rational. It is a small chunk of Apple revenue now, but can't there be some solution to this?

What if they simply outsourced the professional products to other companies? I know the clone makers was a disaster for Apple, but they can do it smarter this time, by specifically only allow the clones to sell computers at the high performance and high end. The consumer grade computers and laptops should be Apple only.

Fortunately for me I see that a lot of Linux distros have gotten a lot more OS X like over the years to if I got to switch there are actually systems out there which somewhat resemble what I am used to.

Still Linux simply doesn't have the same breath of quality desktop applications available as the Mac today. Every time I use Linux I get reminded that while I might be able to get all the functionality I need, it is too often served up in a package or UI which is extremely kludgy and poorly thought out.


> From where I'm standing, Apple are redefining (shrinking) their target audience for the Mac platform. If you feel left out by the latest updates and the neglect on the desktop, it's simple as Apple deciding not to serve your segment's needs. I know that it can feel quite personal to Mac devotees, like me, but it's simply business and strategy.

How does this work? Can someone please explain to me how Apple can neglect macOS if all iOS/watchOS/tvOS app development needs to happen on macOS?

I'm with you however on the fact that Apple has seriously disappointed me with the latest launch. I was hoping to finally get a much better, powerful notebook and an accompanying iMac. I feel very sad that the legacy left behind by Steve Jobs is being destroyed so badly.

If this is truly the decline of Apple as I'm starting to think, at the very least, Apple should open-source macOS.


> How does this work? Can someone please explain to me how Apple can neglect macOS if all iOS/watchOS/tvOS app development needs to happen on macOS?

precisely because you are forced to use macos to access the lucrative ios market, they can get away with a lesser experience for developers. (Note that I'm not saying this is what is happening, just saying how that would work; although I often feel like they are indeed leaving the pro/advanced user market behind)


For iOS devs, you don't need that much RAM fortunately, since xcode takes about ~2-4GB ram itself for large projects. But the tooling is not great and it's annoying to run CI systems with them. iOS dev is definitely geared towards small team projects.


I bought an SE rather than a 7. Size is a better fit for me and I still use the audio jack. A lot. So Apple had an upgrade path for me.

But with the new MacBook Pro, they cut out USB-A. If they'd kept it on the entry level model, that'd be my upgrade path. Instead, I'll eek out maybe a couple more years on my current MBP.

BTW, I'm not sure at all why they ditched MagSafe. They did all this and kept the RCA port. Now that's a head scratcher.

On the plus side, I'm a big fan of the T1 Secure Enclave processor.


I think the losses of Magsafe and the 3.5" headphone socket will go down as the point Apple finally lost it. Magsafe was such a perfect example of Apple doing small innovation, utterly brilliantly; if they've ditched it purely to save half a millimetre off thickness, it's all the proof I need that the lunatics have taken over.


> I think the losses of Magsafe and the 3.5" headphone socket will go down as the point Apple finally lost it. Magsafe was such a perfect example of Apple doing small innovation, utterly brilliantly.

I agree 100% with magsafe. I am hoping a 3rd party (like the breaksafe but recommended by apple) comes up and fills the void. If not, I am not entire sure what my next upgrade will be. I may wait another 5 years!

Magsafe has saved me a whole bunch of times, which I have seen echoed in many other comments across the other threads over the past few days. I know some peoples comments were that the threads frayed. But surely they could have come up with Magsafe 3 with better cable shielding?


Magsafe was genius but had known reliability issues on the long run, making charging increasingly finicky with time.


Agreed, if there is one thing that Apple are absolutely appalling at its power supplies. The amount of power supplies I've bought over the years, at £60 a pop is about 7, for two laptops over 7 years! And they ALL fail in the same way, with the either mag safe end fraying and sparking! or the cable cracking and exposing wires at the power block end (because of the stupid design decision to force a right angle bend when wrapping the cable around the pop-out cable hooks...)


You guys are hilarious.

I just picture you back when the iMac was first released without, god forbid, a floppy disk drive or ADB ports.

The fact is that just like before in a year from now when all peripherals support USB-C we will herald Apple as a visionary once again.


Yeah - but probably 2-3 years. USB took that long to catch on.

I detect a whiff of hyperbole in everyone postings on the subject. The sky is not falling. That said, I am annoyed at the net loss of two ports - just one USB A port would have been helpful.


It was also missing SCSI! How can I possibly connect all my external SCSI drives without all kinds of annoying adapter boxes? No one will ever buy this crap!


Can't agree with you more! The lunatics have indeed taken over.


> BTW, I'm not sure at all why they ditched MagSafe. They did all this and kept the RCA port. Now that's a head scratcher.

It makes sense to me: we'll have RCA ports long, long after MagSafe, USB and FireWire are nothing but memories. As long as man has two ears, we'll have RCA ports.


Does it still have the mini-toslink optical fiber connection inside the headphone jack? They've had these since 2005. Could be a reason to keep the headphone port.


Is it too much to ask to wait until we get the actual machines in our hands and use them for 30 days before deciding our verdict? Maybe they suck. Maybe they don't.


You don't need a "hands on" nor 30 days to realize 16gb of RAM isn't going to be enough for the CAPEX of a $2500 to $4000 dollar machine over the span of (hopefully) 3+ years. That is just one example... there are many more.


Pfew, I may not believe how professional you are if you had just used the word "price" instead of "CAPEX".


You are right... In my defense, it is not only "funner" to say the same thing differently, but sometimes drives the point home "more better."


That's very (p/f)unny, . Please don't let people like me take the fun out of funding for you, and inform me if you ever start a religion, cult, country, CAPEX LIMITING INVESTMENT SCHEME(TM) or hummus-based fast food chain,


The one upside of this MBP generation is that it will force Apple to milk every last drop of performance in future macOS updates.

(I'm still running 10.11, hope 10.12 is still stable)


The main premise here is "Apple did not update its desktops in a while, so they don't care about this". I think this is inaccurate - according to http://www.macrumors.com/roundup/imac/ , they do plan to update them, but are still waiting for Intel to produce the necessary chips.

Also, I seem to remember reading pretty much the same thing before the Mac Pro was launched (which was apparently 1046 days ago...).

So yes, desktops are becoming less important, but no, I don't think Apple will drop them any time soon.


As a datapoint, I'm a very long-time Mac User (started with an LC) and have used Macs heavily in scientific computing. A Mac Pro was my go-to machine for a very long time. But when my lab got a grant to buy some new workstations? The Mac Pro wasn't even on the list being considered.


I also don't think Apple will drop them, but for pro users the lack of updates is a serious problem. It's not like they couldn't have bumped the spec a little every year to keep people happy. People were rightly frustrated by the lack of updates before the Mac Pro was launched, and I think many thought the launch was a signal that Apple took the Pro market seriously. The lack of updates since then serves as another reminder that you can't depend on Apple to deliver up to date hardware in that market.


There's a basic premise this article gets wrong: that there is a tradeoff between the Mac platform and the iUniverse. That's just not true, at least not on the 5-years plus timescales that we've been hearing these complaints. The most valuable company in the world can certainly afford staffing the Mac division with what they had back in 2000 or so or whenever people believe they were at their best. And the Mac business is without doubt profitable and that's the only thing that counts. We're not even talking about "innovation" issues anyway, where Apple may be constrained by not cloning SJ or JI. Note people don't want innovation (no floppy, no headphone, no F9) but rather simple grunt work like updating the chipsets.

I don't have any coherent theory. I'd say it's a combination of:

- Mac Pro: possibly waiting for something that then didn't turn out as expected? It's a segment that may actually be obsolete in that anything you can't do on an iMac happens on a cluster? I mean – what's there besides video editing and chrome compiling, two things the iMac is absolutely capable of.

- MacBooks: There's a minority complaining very loudly, who just! can't! work! professionally(!!) without 32GB of RAM and F7 – and they're real professionals by the way, not like those unprofessional hipster-wannabes.

Meanwhile, there have been quite a few advances but it's just not exciting any more: SSDs have had the most significant performance impact since the Pentium. Battery life has reached the point of diminishing returns (as has battery durability). Retina displays are on the level of vector fonts in terms of UI improvements. No idea about wide-gamut colors, but I certainly thought "why didn't this catch on 16 years ago?". A modern Apple trackpad is the hoverboard my fingers have been making memes about for a decade. Build quality and durability at the highest they have ever been, and if IFixIt complains, it's because YouDontHaveToAnymore.

Software is a different story maybe, but a large part of that may just be that it's solved. It's a stable, safe, fast, pretty OS. The Apple applications have seen a bunch of stumbles, indeed. But even Photos does what I actually need and there are alternatives for all of them.


Yahoo finance says they're doing well. If this is a sign of decline then most companies would be happy getting such results.

https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/AAPL?ltr=1


Yes. And Microsoft was doing extremely well during Ballmers reign, and BlackBerry was doing extremely well for many years after iPhones release.

Current revenue doesn't necessarily say anything about future decline, you need to look deeper than that.


Exactly. Current revenues for Apple are a result of decisions they made years ago. You can't look at this quarter's numbers to evaluate decisions made today.

If anything, Apple's fat profits are a danger sign. That kind of money attracts people who like spending lots of money. It removes any need for discipline. It discourages innovation, because people are afraid to do anything that might disturb the giant cash pipeline.


Easy fix, bring macOS to non Apple hardware.


I think we will see Apple runing macOS on their own ARM chips long before we see them opening up for whitebox installs.


I think that's one thing that would actually make sense. Maybe they're more open to the idea now that they're publicly supporting and advertising third party displays. (edit:spelling)


What? When have they not supported 3rd party displays?


They've always supported third party displays, but this is the first time that I recall that they've included third party displays in an Apple event / presentation. To me, it's a pretty sure sign that an external 5K display from Apple isn't immediately forthcoming (else they would have announced it now and not mentioned the LG display).



They tried that before, it wasn't a win for them in the end.


I don't think "easy" is the way to describe that endeavour. Ever tried a hackintosh?


Hackintoshing is incredibly easy now. You can grab a build off of reddit that works perfectly. The issues lie in when you use hardware that has never been in an Apple, for instance there's no Kaby Lake support until Apple releases something with KB.

The most common issues if you don't buy all Intel/Nvidia are the wifi and BT which can be alleviated by $10 usb receivers. Touch screen of course is a no go.

Clover, the latest Hackintosh installer is very easy.


>> Ever tried a hackintosh?

Yes, I've been running a hackintosh for several years now. It works flawlessly. What point are you trying to make?


Years ago it wasn't working perfectly :D


I really just want an upgrade for the MBA.

There's finally a few Windows machines that don't look like complete dogshit, but I don't know how to connect to multiple exchange servers in Outlook.


Speculation time: What if the big master plan is an Apple Compute Cloud? It would be a public cloud that can run all your favorite resource-intensive macOS apps.

Then you could actually run Xcode and VMs and machine learning on your iPad Pro, because it runs on the cloud instead and the iPad is just RDP'd into your cloud account. The need for a separate Mac product line would then be obliterated entirely.

Within that theory, the disappointing update can be explained as the Apple Compute Cloud being delayed, so they had to scramble something together quickly.


Its not just the mac but the entire product line. Unfortunately Jobs did not do a good job of finding a sufficient replacement prior to his health issues getting the best of him. - Round edges on the iphone6 - protruding lens on the iphone6 - removal of 3mm headphone jack on iphone7 - forcetouch keys on the new macbooks - video cam on the pro


Sorry, but Steve Jobs also released lots of products with rough edges like that. (Remember "antennagate"?)

I think we won't see how Apples management really works until there's a new product space that Apple entirely misses, and I don't think we've seen that yet (it could be AI, VR, or something entirely different we haven't thought of). If they miss that just like Microsoft did in the tablet / mobile space, then we can start comparing Tim Cook to Ballmer.


Steve Jobs died just over a year after antennagate. He had already been extremely sick for years at that point.


I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, but he was still CEO at that point (his biography has a section about how he dealt with the antennagate issue) after having made a recovery from the transplant.


My point is being sick may have affected his abilities.


I'm getting the impression that Steve didn't pick a replacement as such, just someone that would keep things ticking over until he recovered.


He certainly picked a replacement he believed in. He made very sure that Jony Ive had certain powers inside Apple. He didn't die overnight, and had plenty of time to consider how to set up Apple.

On the other hand, last time he picked a successor in the 80s he picked the wrong guy.


This is a poorly written article mainly complaining about the lack of an update to the Mac Pro product despite it's thesis that: > Apple, the MacBook Pro is not a pro-level computer. It’s simply not.

However, the article is indeed self-contradictory as it later goes on to say: > Who needs anything more than a MacBook Pro? The answer is a very small segment of high-demanding users.

So given that the main thesis that the Macbook Pro is not a professional machine is entirely unsupported, I argue that the Mac Platform Decline described in this article is not an accurate portrayal or reality.

Edit: Update The linked article even states the different thesis that the Mac _DESKTOP_ product line is doomed.

> Apple’s desktop Mac lineup is headed for the graveyard. Dead. Done. Over.[1]

[1] http://www.tedlandau.com/slantedviewpoint/index.php/archives...


To the pro users that need more power than what you get from a laptop, there's no compelling alternative from Apple today. Even the iMac has thermal throttling that puts limits on its performance.

I don't understand why you think the article is poorly written, but I certainly can understand and agree with the authors concern. I'm not sure how it's possible to not share that concern after the lack of updates to the desktop line.


It doesn't sound like a contradiction to me. A very small segment of users are 'pro-level' users.

Now yes, it isn't supported, but if you accept that as the reality then it is not contradictory.


I think the whole 'pro-user' description needs examined a bit. Tons of developers at companies use macbook airs which are far less powerful than the newest laptops.

Ex: Rob Pike uses a macbook air. Is he not a professional?

There's a huge range of needs even within the pro user camp and I'd posit that the majority of them will be well served by the new Macs. If you're doing game development I'd argue Apple hasn't made great machines for you in the past so I'd expect a continued miss on the portable VR front as well.

For those that are doing visual work - are current generation machines actually not powerful enough?


Nobody is claming that your're not a professional because you don't need a Mac Pro. Of course the majority of pro tasks will be served by the new Mac laptops. But that's not what we're discussing here.

For the ones that need more performance, it can be a dealbreaker to go so long without updates.

For the ones that have their needs are met today, there's a very clear signal now that if your needs ever grow, Apple won't be there to meet them.


I've found a Mac Pro to be an excellent machine for graphics work including large video editing projects that ground my Dell to a halt.


Those pro-level users were what kept Apple alive during the dark years but now that greener pastures have been discovered they can easily be abandoned.


If that's really the thinking inside Apple then they are being penny wise pound foolish. The pro users are the influencers. Losing video and photo editors is one thing, but if it eats into their developer marketshare than it will signal the beginning of a slow decline in apps which will significantly hurt iOS over the long-term, and likely be impossible to recover from given Google's leg up in services.

Frankly if the competition wasn't so shitty, I'd probably be jumping ship already, but Apple still has a considerable advantage in hardware quality and the overall Mac OS X ecosystem being way ahead of Windows on the Unixy stuff, and way ahead of Linux on the polish/interop stuff.


People don't buy iPhones for the number of _new_ apps anymore. I have a feeling Apple knows this. They already have a share of the market that they're not easily going to drop as long as they keep updating iPhones and marketing them accordingly. I'd say that Apple's focus has shifted, and therefore their long term strategy.

I don't see Apple being the place where the next generation general purpose operating systems will be built.




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