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Microsoft is now a braver, more innovative company than Apple (mashable.com)
357 points by ssuda on Oct 31, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 282 comments



Microsoft is innovative because you can now purchase a dedicated hardware peripheral for some software feature the touchscreen was designed to replace.

Let's completely forget that Microsoft 'upgrades' your OS without your permission, spies on you, embeds ads into the Start Menu, and their OEMs like Lenovo will listen in on everything you do at the hardware level. In my opinion, these are actual reasons a company should completely fail and dissolve.

I'll stick with Apple who, though not without faults, works hard to:

- build quality machines that seemingly never wanes in performance while provide enduring support that make them last so much longer than their competitors that it shifts the arithmetic when comparing the YoY cost of their wares to their competition

- secure the integrity of my machine and my privacy

- deliver industry-leading user experience

Apple isn't perfect. The 1st-gen Magic Mouse (I haven't tried the 2nd gen) is utter garbage. Some iOS 10 UX are inconsistent and flawed. They probably should have included a USB-C - Lightning cable in with their new iPhones.

But let's all calm down. Apple is still a cut above. USB-C connected peripherals will likely storm into the marketplace. You'll probably get the new MBP. If you really can't handle the dongles, get the 2nd to latest version. It'll last you more than 4 years easily. If you're the type to get a new model every year: either you work very closely with the MBP hardware itself or you need to re-examine your life.


> spies on you

Any reason to believe MS does this more than Apple does?

> their OEMs like Lenovo will listen in on everything you do at the hardware level.

MS making their own hardware looks to be at least partially a response to that.

> - build quality machines that seemingly never wanes in performance while provide enduring support that make them last so much longer than their competitors that it shifts the arithmetic when comparing the YoY cost of their wares to their competition

Again, this really isn't the advantage it used to be. MS first-party surface hardware is really high quality.

> But let's all calm down. Apple is still a cut above. USB-C connected peripherals will likely storm into the marketplace. You'll probably get the new MBP. If you really can't handle the dongles, get the 2nd to latest version. It'll last you more than 4 years easily. If you're the type to get a new model every year: either you work very closely with the MBP hardware itself or you need to re-examine your life.

Apple has long offered an excellent direct user experience but extremely poor interoperability. You're still not allowed to run their OS in a VM or on third-party hardware, nor develop programs for Apple systems on non-Apple systems - and if you want a different configuration than the very limited choice Apple gives you, tough. There's plenty wrong with MS but I feel like they're at least somewhat open to alternatives if I don't like their way of doing it. Apple is very much "our way or the highway", which is not where I want my software to be.


> > spies on you > Any reason to believe MS does this more than Apple does?

I can't speak for Windows since I don't use them, but I do run LittleSnitch on Mac (network monitor) and I don't really see requests to Apple I would not expect to see.

Of course that doesn't mean they couldn't send collected data with other information they sent, but it doesn't seem likely (a lot of effort for something almost nobody cares and optics are much worse when/if it would come out).


Or is it? I use LittleSnitch too, and my Mac does A LOT of shady requests.

Every time I use Spotlight! Everytime I log in.. heck, even the keyboard service has to make internet requests!


Here you go:

  # Privacy: don’t send search queries to Apple
  # Safari
  defaults write com.apple.Safari UniversalSearchEnabled -bool false
  defaults write com.apple.Safari SuppressSearchSuggestions -bool true
  # Spotlight
  defaults write com.apple.spotlight orderedItems -array \
     '{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "MENU_WEBSEARCH";}' \
     '{"enabled" = 0;"name" = "MENU_SPOTLIGHT_SUGGESTIONS";}'
Also turn off Dictation in System Preferences > Keyboard > Dictation. I'm guessing you're smart enough to already have disabled Siri.

Voila! More privacy.


The fact that such hacks (which really aren't known beyonds developers) are necessary makes a very loud statement.


No, the few things these switches are toggling are nanoscopic in the grand scheme of things, and the data sent are only that necessary to implement an ostensibly useful feature.

Compare to the shit that Windows 10 collects, and the comparison isn't even remotely close.


They're not necessary at all. They're available, but really you shouldn't care about them unless you're very paranoid. These settings are basically the equivalent of telling your computer "I don't ever want to search the internet unless I manually navigate to google.com (or whatever) and do the search there". Because that's what you're doing, you're disabling the internet-enabled search functionality.


You can go to group policy (gpedit.exe) in Windows 10 pro to switch off most of privacy related settings. There is a good description written for every settings.


It wasn't always the case, but you are now allowed to run macOS in a VM on Apple hardware.


So you still need their HW, not that useful.


Source on this? A quick google search didn't turn up anything


It's right there in the macOS EULA http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/macOS1012.pdf, Section 2.B.(iii):

"[...] you are granted a limited, non- transferable, non-exclusive license: [...] (iii) to install, use and run up to two (2) additional copies or instances of the Apple Software within virtual operating system environments on each Mac Computer you own or control that is already running the Apple Software, for purposes of: (a) software development; (b) testing during software development; (c) using macOS Server; or (d) personal, non-commercial use."

This section was first introduced in the EULA for OS X 10.7.




Look in the marketing for any of the VM vendors (I installed 10.12 in Parallels a couple of days ago)


> You're still not allowed to run their OS in a VM

Yes you are, for several years now(I realize this was not always the case). You can find the explicit allowances for doing so by searching for "virtual machine" in their license:

http://images.apple.com/legal/sla/docs/macOS1012.pdf


So, based on what I just skimmed by searching for "virtual", it's exactly what I remembered: You're allowed to run a VM of OS/X only on licensed OS/X?

Amusingly, this is the method that most hackintosh-style OS/X VMs work - by taking the config from a OS/X version of VMWare Workstation and adding it to the Windows / Linux install.

However, that's no longer licensed (and to me, the main advantage of running a VM here is to be able to test stuff in OS/X when I don't otherwise have access - i.e. on a Windows machine).


> that seemingly never wanes in performance while provide enduring support that make them last so much longer than their competitors

Dunno, I bought a top-of-the-line rMBP in late 2013, and the anti-glare coating has come off from the screen -- Apple didn't honor the warranty (this is Europe). I sold it because it was crap to use, then some months later Apple confirmed that it is a widespread problem and they will replace the screens for free. (Except in e.g. Hungary where the official dealers didn't give a crap, because the 1 year warranty was over.) Also it had problems with overheating and wifi.

On the other hand, I had a bulky, unsexy HP Zbook G2 that had a GPU problem after 2 years. HP guy came to my house with a new GPU, disassembled the laptop on my desk, put the new GPU in, run some diags and left. In 24 hrs. I sold this one and it is in service at one of my friends, rendering in 3DSMAX 12 hours a day.

Anecdata, I know.


ZBooks are good machines. We run HP Zbook 17s (have a G2, but about to get a G3). Battery life is horrible on the 17" model, but running lots of VMs and other demanding tasks is a breeze.

64GB DDR4 ECC, Quad core Xeon E3-1575M processor, NVIDIA Quadro M5000 (really overkill for my work, but fun to have), etc. It's a real professional machine. Just can't be touched by anything Apple makes.


I had a MBP a few years ago. I installed the Boot Camp beta. When it went out of beta it locked up with no ability to change the configuration or installed OSs. The solution was to upgrade (30$) to the latest version of OS X. Which meant I lost all the software that came with the laptop since I didn't want to pay for it again.

I had an iPod touch. When I was using it on a certain network it couldn't hit the NTP servers. This set the time to 1970, and I couldn't change it manually due to some integer overflow bug. Trying to scroll those wheel things to the current date, it would start skipping 30 years forward and backward. The time not being set meant I couldn't use the app store, upgrade the OS, etc., rendering the device useless.

I'll stick to Linux and Android. At least I can fix those when they break.


I own a perfectly fine iPad 1 and can't use apps for it anymore because Apple said so. This really irks me, at least let me install the latest usable version.

The iPad is still working nicely, but the behavior by Apple just sucks.


If you first add the app to iTunes for PC/Mac, then it lets you install the last compatible version of the app on your iDevice!


wow, thanks. I'll try this.


It's absurd they don't say that anywhere, but it works :)



Running Windows :(


Follow the iOS instructions. You can install older versions of apps directly from the App Store on your iPad by going into the Purchased section. It will prompt you to install the last compatible version.

If you're trying to do this with an app you haven't previously purchased, you'll need to purchase it directly on iTunes, and then it will show up in the Purchased section of the App Store on the device.


> When I was using it on a certain network it couldn't hit the NTP servers. This set the time to 1970

This doesn't make sense. No device resets its time to 1970 when it can't hit NTP servers.



That video is showing someone (presumably you?) scrolling through the date picker. It does not appear to provide any evidence to support your claim that the device resets to 1970 when it cannot get a response from NTP. As I said before, literally no device would ever behave that way, because not being able to get an NTP response is not a particularly uncommon occurrence (it happens any time you don't have internet), so any device that reset to 1970 would be extremely obviously broken as literally every single person would hit this many many many times.


> You'll probably get the new MBP. If you really can't handle the dongles, get the 2nd to latest version. It'll last you more than 4 years easily. If you're the type to get a new model every year: either you work very closely with the MBP hardware itself or you need to re-examine your life.

I did try my hand at an apple machine for awhile. Bought one of their "high quality" laptops. Used it until multiple keys broke - the < key angled sideways when part of the hinge broke, and the capslock key literally snapped in half. There are less extreme measures to discourage me from macro and template metaprogramming...! I've never had a laptop break that fast before or since. They wanted me to leave the entire laptop with them for weeks to replace the keyboard, IIRC, so I passed and just used the exposed membrane for awhile.

Since then, I've turned down a free MBP at work. I'd exhaust the max memory linking. I want a sane, tactile keyboard. They didn't splurge enough on the SSD to fit my projects on. The display isn't even 4K. I'll be forced to dual boot if I try to use it as a laptop. It's overpriced - and while an overpriced iPhone dongle for iOS development may be necessary, I'd much rather have a Mac mini and have the difference spent on more 4K monitors, more RAM, more SSD space, and more cores for my PC build.

I've finally gotten around to retiring my 2009 PC build this year. Admittedly, I replaced the motherboard once when it failed, and upgraded the RAM, but that's still doing better than a dead-out-of-the-gate MBP I'm afraid. Which is a shame - I'd like more competition for my money.


I bought the first 13" Macbook Pro with the Thunderbolt port, expecting the whole world to switch to Thunderbolt in a couple of years. It was predicted that there would be Macbooks in the future with only Thunderbolt ports, as it could connect to everything.

Guess what, that didn't happen. It became a high-end niche market. Not saying that that's where USB-C will be going but I have a bad feeling about this.


No, USB-C will be standard. What happened to Thunderbolt is what will happen to Lightning. USB-C is here to stay, and they should've put it in iPhone 7 as well.


Why should they have put it on the iPhone? People keep saying that, but nobody's actually given a good reason. It's not like you're going to be plugging any of your Mac peripherals into your iPhone. The only actual reason anyone seems to have is "so you can plug your iPhone into an Android charger", but that doesn't seem very compelling to me (do I even want to trust an Android charger?).


Do I want one cable to charge my old macbook, one for my iphone 7 work phone, and one for my private pixel xl, or do i want one cable that can charge them all (the new macbook and the android phone now works)? or maybe 2 for a spare? And speaking of spares, I always have one extra at home to replace any that get broken. Having the same standard everywhere means I need only one spare. Instead of one spare per type.

> do I even want to trust an Android charger?

I don't know what this means. I'm reading this as "Do I even trust a USB-C charger", which you can safely do if you buy something that adheres to the standards. A lot of chinese knock-offs don't, but the point of standards is that you shouldn't have to care.


USB-C is supplanting microUSB ports just about everywhere, just like microUSB supplanted miniUSB. I don't understand why the iPhone isn't using it other than to allow people to use their iPhone 6 peripherals.


Lightning was first, there is a vibrant ecosystem in place around Made For iPhone accessories that use Lightning that a lot of existing iPhone users already own, the Lightning port and connector are smaller than USB-C which is probably useful in a few places (I saw someone suggest somewhere that the Apple Pencil wouldn't even be able to fit a USB-C connector), someone else also said that Lightning was designed to support the weight of the iPhone in a dock configuration but USB-C probably wasn't, etc. And there's not really any benefit to switching to USB-C besides being able to re-use Android chargers, which isn't something that Apple or most of their customers particularly cares about.


USB-C has a better chance, being effectively USB under the hood with a better connector. There were zero thunderbolt phones. I'm typing this comment on a Pixel with a C port.

90%+ released phones will have USB-C in late 2017 I wager. The alternative mode stuff may take a year or two to sort out though


There's a big difference between thunderbolt and thunderbolt 3/usb c. The former was proprietary by Apple/Intel, and very expensive, so no one else added it to their machines, and onlu very high end accessories included it. Usb C is the new standard that is already being adopted by most manufacturers, so I'm very confident it will spread quite fast. Not saying that launching a professional laptop in 2016 with just 4 usb c ports was a good idea though, but I guess they're really pushing for the standard to be adopted as quick as possible.


Thunderbolt 3 is still insanely expensive. The Akitio Thunder2 PCIe Box is $229.00, the Thunder3 Pcie Expansion Box is $299 and if you wanted to do a go-around by buying a converter, that's also $70 -- the StarTech.com Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt Adapter is $73.99. By economies of scale TB3 ought to be cheaper but it is not. Other docks are even more expensive, the Powercolor Devil Box is $375 and the Razer Core is $399 but only if you buy a Razer laptop otherwise $499. To compare, an M.2 to PCIe DIY solution from a noname company without warranty is roughly $100 so the $229 price is pretty OK. The TB3 box, however, needs to drop to half price and then we are talking.

And Thunderbolt of yore was not Apple only by far, HP, Dell, Lenovo all had mobile workstations sporting it. Heck, the Thinkpad T430s had it. Of course, it's all different now, practically all $1000 and over laptops have TB3.


I bought the first Macbook with a thunderbolt port 5 years ago and I bought my first Thunderbolt peripheral 2 months ago.

In those 5 years I've never seen anybody using Thunderbolt for anything other than connecting a monitor.


I use the thunderbolt to Ethernet adaptor sometimes. That's about it.


> spies on you

Enough with this rubbish claim, please. Everyone I've asked to actually substantiate it resorts to angry handwaving. How about you?

The telemetry collects crash and feature usage data, the same as macOS and all of the phone OSes does. You want that on because it tells MS where the bugs are. If you turn it off, you don't get to complain about bugs because MS has no idea you encountered any.


AIUI, Microsoft collects a ton of data. Apple doesn't. Apple collects crashes and some fairly basic (very anonymized) usage data, but it also asks you up-front during installation/setup whether you want to enable this kind of reporting. But from what I keep seeing people say on the internet, it sounds like Windows is constantly reporting data home to Microsoft rather than just sending crashes/bugs and other basic info.


I have no auto-telemetry activated in my OS. I've also deactivated it in my browser, Firefox, through the about:config settings. However, I am free to file a bug-report anytime I wish, as is anyone else. Referring to concerns about the contents of this telemetry as "rubbish" is every bit as potentially unreasonable as claiming to know precisely what it contains; unless you do – in which case you might provide some strong citations verifying the telemetry contents exclusively as "crash and feature usage data", and to be extra helpful, clear definitions of "feature usage" in that particular context.


This is about Innovation and this is something Apple really never was good at even though people threw the phrase at Apple all the time.

"Instead, the company is tremendously iterative which is a fancy way of saying that they’re good at making steady, small improvements over time." http://time.com/3712678/apple-innovation/ from 3/2015


"Let's completely forget that Microsoft 'upgrades' your OS without your permission, spies on you, embeds ads into the Start Menu, and their OEMs like Lenovo will listen in on everything you do at the hardware level. In my opinion, these are actual reasons a company should completely fail and dissolve." - an google and apple don't do this?


The general argument is that Apple, because their profit margin is in the hardware, has no motive to collect and sell personal information to advertisers. And in line with that, Apple has focused on the security and privacy features of their stack.

Google is, for better or worse, still an advertising company. Selling you a phone isn't how they make money; getting you to send information about yourself to them (in order to provide more accurate ad targeting) is how they make money.

Microsoft is caught in a weird place. Historically they've been dependent on OEMs to buy Windows from them and preinstall it, and OEMs have had such low margins that they have to pre-load the hardware with a bunch of spyware/adware in order to turn a profit. Microsoft could kick this by taking greater ownership of the hardware side and adopting a more Apple-style approach, and the Surface line seems to be an attempt to do this, but they aren't there yet.


>.... getting you to send information about yourself to them (in order to provide more accurate ad targeting) is how they make money.

This is a common and generally accepted interpretation of Google that I conjecture contrary to. To restrict such an unprecedented glut of data solely to marketing would seem prohibitively wasteful. Access to intellectual property[1], psychology/social trends, biometrics[2], political, economic, and myriad otherwise private/personal details, etc., collectively and individually comprise a colossal repository useful for predicting, manipulating and understanding (in entirely novel ways) all these very subjects. From intel (e.g. gov) to legislation (e.g. ALEC), the implied applications are many. Perhaps ads are the primary ostensive means of income for Google presently, but opportunity elsewhere abounds. And maybe I've got it all wrong and marketing is the root directory of humanity.

1. Considerations: Exchange of unencrypted prospective patent data pre-patent; google edu domains; unclaimed conceptual material, etc.

2. Voice, face.


When was the last time you took a walk and came back to your Apple computer threatening to restart in 10 minutes to update itself? This happened to me several times in Windows 10 ever since the Anniversary update which removed the option to have windows merely notify the user to schedule a restart (even for the "Professional" edition -- https://gbatemp.net/threads/windows-10-anniversary-update-no...). Eventually I got tired of MS insisting it be in the driver's seat of my computer and switched to Linux. Fedora 24 works quite well and is fortunately quite adequate for my usual needs.


Just leave notepad open with some unsaved changes in it; it will lock it from rebooting


It will? My gaming PC regularly restarts to install updates no matter what software I have currently running.


This argument attempts to compare the two firms on the givens, and not the difference.

The fact is that these were criticisms before last week, and nothing about those has changed - the issue is that one firm released a product which was significantly better than the offerings made by the other firm.

Providing this kind of argument is moving the goal posts


Anonymised telemetry reports are not the same as being spied upon. Anyway, Apple has the same kind of thing in iOS and OS X.


Is there any official documentation of what exactly is reported? For instance, what does Windows send to domains like ad.doubleclick.net? It's rather curious that Microsoft builds such extraordinary defenses against the user interfering with telemetry like hardcoding certain DNS lookups and tricking the user into thinking that the hosts file actually works (http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r30676597-Complete-Win10-blo...).


There's this Technet article, which also tells you how to dial it down or disable it: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/itpro/windows/manage/con...

I don't see the problem with ignoring the hosts file, if that is indeed what is happening. It's not really intended as a blocking mechanism.


Not to mention this article is based on a product targeted at a niche minority of users. Nothing with a 28" screen is the future of how non-artists use a computer. Microsoft is selling one just mainstream computer (the Surface Book), and despite being a fifth gen Surface device it launched with major firmware bugs that took months to resolve. Apple, unsurprisingly, is selling Macs about five times faster than Microsoft is selling Surface devices. It's selling iPads about 10-15 times faster. Not to mention Microsoft seems to have completely exited the phone market.

Maybe Microsoft needs less innovation and more bread and butter products for ordinary users.


Those macs, trace their history back to devices also targetted at this same niche of users, and after iteration lead to the macbooks you use today.


Your argument seems to come down to the idea that apple products are good investments. However, this isn't much use if they keep ignoring how their users use their computers. All I wanted was the same product line with 32 gigs of memory. Looks like I'll never get that computer. What's the point in investing heavily in a different computing future than you want?

Microsoft may not be any better on the software end of things, but at least they're doing interesting things with hardware, WITHOUT killing what works.


You'll get that computer in 2018 when the quad core intel chip that supports lpddr4 or whatever is out.


Do you honestly believe that the current macbook (note the 12" not the new pro) will not wanes in performance in the next 4 years as we have historically seen with the macbook air?

I ask because while my macbook air coming up to 3 years and feels almost like a brand new machine - the current 12" is actually slower than my air. Can i really expect that to have 4 years of solid performance updates on the macbook?

In that case should i expect my air to last me the next 4 years and do just well for a solid 8 years of great performance?


This seems a weird question. The Macbook being slower than your air doesn't mean that it won't be just as performant in 4 years, but no it won't be faster than a device that it isn't faster than now.

If the Macbook is fast enough for someone now, and their workload doesn't change, then yes, I'd expect it to be just fine for them in 4 years; just as the same can be said for the Air, or the others.


Thats kind of my point. Its been almost 4 years and apple hasn't made the devices (at the same price bracket) any more performant.

Will the software they make over the next 4 years stay at the same level of requirements and run just as smoothly as everything seems to run on my air after 3 years?

I am not sure that is the case looking at how the OS is moving and how they are treating performance.


As a fellow Air owner I feel exactly the same way. I like new toys but looking around between the macbooks and macbooks pro there's nothing I'd want to replace it with. To apple's credit the Air performs incredibly well and the only reason I looked into replacing it was because its 128gb SSD is a becoming a problem, so I'm using that as an excuse to upgrade into something newer and shiny but the only things I see that I'd want to replace it with are the surface book and the surface pro 4. I want to like the 12-inch macbook because of the form factor but I just don't want what in some ways is a noticeable downgrade.

If MS had that $650 discount on returning a macbook when buying their hardware in Europe, I'd have already jumped on it.


Not to invalidate your excuse, but if you need, you can probably upgrade your MBA's SSD. Installed an OWC Aura SSD in mine, it's is very straightforward.


I've personally had those OWC drives die on me four times now.


No, the non-pro has very basic performance, because it is meant to be an entry level computer. Get one for your mum today, and she'll happily use it for 5+ years. Get a macbook pro for yourself, and the same thing should be the case.


> OEMs like Lenovo will listen in on everything you do at the hardware level.

Are you talking about this[0] (which seems inconclusive), or something else? All other spying incidents I see from Lenovo are software-based.

[0] http://www.geek.com/chips/spy-agencies-shun-lenovo-finding-b...


Buy windows 10 pro and shut down auto-updates? I've opted out of basically everything except auto-update because I want to latest release. The possibility of shutting down auto update is probably the biggest sellpoint of Pro and Enterprise editions nowadays, together with encryption.

Windows 10 don't really spy on me more than Apple or Google, but for those who complain there is always Linux that is the only real true alternative to opting out of being spied upon.

I run Windows 10 Pro and love it auto-updates is wonderful as a programmer also because I know people will get the latest version automatically.


Once a company is on the defensive like this, you know its actually dead in the water. The point still stands, the innovation is with M$ for now. Maybe Apple will come back with something years from now - maybe not.


Thank you for the comment. It's rare to find reasonable responses in AAPL vs MSFT discussions lately.


[flagged]


Please don't insult other community members like this here.


Preach!


Finally some sanity! The temper tantrum because it's not ticked everyones boxes was less surprising on Reddit, but I expected a little less drama here.


There's no real underdog now. Microsoft has a pretty consistent track record of looking at other companies making money, and making a microsoft version of that. Bing, xbox, azure, and zune are pretty obvious examples. Surface doesn't seem to fit that mold at all. They're giving every indication of doing something new.

I can't think of a real underdog right now. Apple had this sort of desperation to do something good, right now, or die. Microsoft can throw a lot of money at something and still be ok. The surface looks very good, and it's a unique vision.

I wish someone would found the equivalent of BeOS, and sell BeBoxes for it. A linux laptop with flawless hardware support. A slot for a stepper driver card would be pretty cool. Maybe a geek port, or maybe a clever way to integrate a breadboard or FPGA, or both.

Things feel really stable right now. Google will keep selling ads, Apple will keep cranking out consumer electronics, Microsoft will keep selling its windows/office pair to the universe, Amazon will keep getting better at logistics, and Facebook will keep growing the social graph. None of them are going to bet the farm on anything. And, really, they're all big clunky slow organizations they rebelled against.

I hope there will be a big wave of innovation, I don't think it's going to come from the big 5. But i'd agree, yes microsoft is some percentage more innovative than apple. Big, radical, disruptive, change the world ideas? No, none of the big 5 are capable anymore.


Microsoft is an underdog in mobile devices. Google is an underdog in tablets/desktop devices. Apple is an underdog when it comes to services. It's like rock/paper/scissors :)


It's really not. Google has 7 billion in cash. Every one of the big 5 could spend a couple billion to win a market. They can't. They are incapable of risking losing billions on an idea. They're not startups anymore.

I made a peer comment about google vs Tesla self driving cars that captures the essence. The point is, Google won't sacrifice ad sales to win at tablets. Apple won't sacrifice consumer electronics to win services. None of them are in a do or die situation that startups are in. The big five might see the problem, but they can't make the move. They're structurally incapable of taking the risk.


> Every one of the big 5 could spend a couple billion to win a market.

I promise you that Microsoft would happily dump a couple billion into the phone market to own it. Microsoft paid 7.2 billion just for Nokia, not counting the likely billions poured into the Windows Phone OS itself.

Disclosure: Microsoft employee


I'm not explaining myself well.

Consider fencing vs. sword fighting. In fencing, my goal is to turn on a little light when i touch your body with my epee. In sword fighting, my goal is to kill you. it's a gruesome analogy, and hard to really crystalize. The big 5 have something to lose. They fence. The little guy is sword fighting. Did you ever really feel like Microsoft would go out of business because they lost the phone market?

There is an umami to sword fighting. There's this whole other flavor that's hard to describe, unless you've tasted it. I know, it's kind of a bullshit argument. There's this visceral sense of impending doom that leads to brilliant or lucky moves. I don't believe a large, successful organization can really get that flavor. you can take fencing seriously, but it's still different than sword fighting.

I dunno. the best idea i have is to try playing poker. You have to face this horrible, awful feeling. You know the right thing to do, but it's so hard to do it. A good fencer will do the right thing. A sword fighter will do the right thing out of desperation.

I don't doubt Microsoft's commitment. I think they were committed at the wrong layer. Furthermore, i think their income level makes it impossible to see the layer to commit at.

My apologies if this seems crazy. It's hard to articulate.


> The big 5 have something to lose. They fence. The little guy is sword fighting.

This isn't just you not explaining yourself well. This is an entirely different claim. Your first claim was that the big companies "are incapable of risking losing billions on an idea" which is patently untrue.

This claim isn't as clearly untrue. It's just not meaningful. If you need billions to win, then the "little guy" need not apply. If only big players can afford to compete, then that's who will compete.

For the record, Nokia and BlackBerry and a number of other phone companies got to the point that they had nothing to lose, dumped in billions, and still lost the market. I think you vastly underestimate the difficulty of taking a major market from an established player.

> There is an umami to sword fighting. There's this whole other flavor that's hard to describe, unless you've tasted it. I know, it's kind of a bullshit argument.

Yes, that is a bullshit argument, partly because it's the whole "you couldn't possibly understand" thing that is in general a bad argument, but mostly because this claim means that you've been in a sword fight and literally hacked someone to death. I find this hard to believe.


Windows Mobile, Bing, Google+, Allo etc. show companies are willing to invest billions to win a market. But Google+, Bing and WM shows spending multi billions don't win you the market.


This is the first comment I've ever favorited on here. Not just because of how true it is, but mostly because it applies to so many startups I've seen that have taken a little risk, gotten a little reward, and totally locked up with risk aversion and failed.


I don't know where Chromebooks fit in that list, but they're very popular.


Ask a kid who's been issued a Chromebook for school. Everyone I've talked to complains about it being heaving, having a short battery life compared to their other electronics, and being very limited. I know "Chromebook" encompasses a wide array of devices, some with better and worse performance, but they're not a panacea for computing. Most are low performance devices.


There are good ones and crappy ones, yeah. But they sell very well, especially because they're so affordable, so saying Apple owns mobile and Microsoft owns desktops isn't a complete picture.


Oh... BeOS. Too bad I was born in mid 90s so I didn't get the chance to play with those systems properly. I read about them, a lot, and it seems amazing what does guys achieved with their system. They were really ahead of the curve in some aspects, but in the others... Oh well, it was OS for nerds and enthusiasts mostly.


Here you go, nerd. https://www.haiku-os.org/


I know about this, tried it few years ago, will do it again when I find enough free time to play with it in VM.


>No, none of the big 5 are capable anymore.

I mostly agree, but seen some of Google's acquisitions and what they're doing now? Boston Dynamics are making some huge strides in robotic motion.


Google are selling Boston Dynamics.


There is no question that every one of the big five will advance the state of the art. IMHO, google will create amazing technology around self driving cars, and likely a bunch of other stuff. They don't have the need, the urgency, or the hunger that Tesla has.

Ask a google engineer. they'll tell you Tesla is screwing up the market. Tesla is risking the existence of self driving cars ever happening. One big failure means massive lawsuits and regulation. That may be true. But it's clear, Google does not need the win. Google is unwilling to take the risks to make it happen. They're going the Xerox route.

And that's completely fine. Google has a lot to lose. They could easily be put in a situation where they have to pay billions, for years. They will get there eventually, they might even win. They're just structurally incapable of risking what Tesla can risk.


Google's entire talent pool for self-driving cars has left. They had basically the original CMU group from the DARPA challenges, but they've since gone.


Where/why did they go?


Sebastian Thrun went to Udacity, where he's started development on an open source self-driving car project (unlike Google's proprietary system), and Chris Urmson seems to have not announced any new projects at this point. I haven't followed details on some of the lesser known entities, but I wouldn't be shocked if they eventually gravitated towards Thrun's project.


I don't think big, radical, change the world tech ideas are going to come from the same type of technology startups they have come from in the past. It seems like the next generation of big ideas will come from infrastructure-heavy startups like Space X, Tesla/SolarCity, and Bezos' Blue Origin. There will probably be some potential Hyperloop opportunities as well.

All of these are huge, expensive undertakings. Making humanity distributed will be expensive and costly, but also transformative. Solving global environmental sustainability with solar power and energy storage, and revolutionizing planetary transport with hyperloop technology will also be hugely transformative. I don't see that happening without spending tons of money on infrastructure.


I've been reading all these Mac-related posts lately because I'm very seriously considering getting one. Why, you ask? Precisely because this:

> A linux laptop with flawless hardware support.

is hardly cutting it for me anymore, and I've used Linux for a very long time (basically, since Be Inc. was still around and BeOS was still being sold, since we're dabbling in nostalgia).

You can get a Linux laptop with flawless hardware support right now, really. In fact, I haven't looked over HCLs when buying a Linux laptop for more than five years now. Hardware support is realistically not a problem with Linux anymore.

What is a problem is the fact that, once again, we're going through one of those Let's Rewrite Everything phases and nothing works, for any serious, productive, professional definition of "works", not in Gnome land, not in KDE land, and thanks to the ever-encroaching XDG & friends land, not in fuck-it-i've-done-this-throughout-my-teenage-years-so-blackbox-and-a-bunch-of-xterms-it-is land.

It's great, it's the system that gives you the most control over your system, it's the one that doesn't spy on you and doesn't force you to buy overpriced hardware (look, I'm all for good design and thinness and whatnot but Powerbook G4s were a good bang for the buck, despite the funky hinges, not today's MacBook Pros), and I've grown so accustomed to it and so fond of it on a personal level that the thought of leaving it behind is unpleasant, and compensated only by the fact that I'll still be using it at work.

But I'm sick of nursing my system back to health after every other dnf update. Gnome 3 looks good and it's great to use, but it's a maintenance nightmare, since virtually everything breaks from one minor version to another. Plasma 5 is a step forward from KDE 4 but it still crashes and Kmail2 is still a nightmare. Mind-boggling bugs pop into existence with each new release.

Whenever I show the latest and greatest to someone (this week it was my screen going blank when switching virtual consoles, and if your next question is "why would you switch virtual consoles in 2016", the reason is that gdm was freezing and I wanted to restart it), they shrug and swear they've never seen it before on their system. Unfortunately, this type of thinking is so ingrained in our community (by "our community" I mean "Linux programmers") that I doubt we'll ever devise anything that will stay usable for more than six months.

This was all very fun many, many years ago, when I was in high school and I had a lot of free evenings and when, if something suddenly stopped working after an update or crashed or whatnot, my reaction was "whoa, cool, what's causing this" rather than "well, I'll think about how to fix this while I'm making dinner so that I can still have an hour of two to hack on something". This is not only no longer fun, it's not understandable. Fifteen years is a long time.

I've been messing around with Windows on an old laptop I have around. Windows 10 is pretty slick (maybe it doesn't seem so impressive to you, but please realize that the last time I used Windows routinely, it was Windows 2000) but the *nix-style usage is too ingrained in my brain by now. However, I'm not really looking forward to having to wrestle with my OS for privacy, nor do I trust Microsoft with my computer-related well-being on a ten-year period -- and, being a programmer, I guess it's understandable that "computer-related well-being" is a pretty big deal to me.


So, if you're willing to drop 2k on an experiment, i'd say go for it. I'm leery of the new models because i use vim, and my fingers get cold and sweaty. Touch devices don't respond perfectly and i have fear about `esc` working reliably.

I've gone through my own versions of your frustrations, but i'll spare you the war stories.

my 2 cents. macos is bsd, hacked up in odd ways. if you want to edit something in /etc, you're doing something wrong. It's a little off putting figuring out where stuff is. /Library/Frameworks is common. There's no C compiler, without installing (part of) xcode.

You've got 2 choices for package management. macports is a shared nothing approach, everything is compiled against libraries compiled to /opt/local/. Or homebrew. brew tries to share everything with the built in libraries. Just be consistent, i lost some time to libiconv, postgress and haskell the other day. If i'd been consistent i'd have avoided the problem entirely. I've never used brew seriously, but lots of people like it. I swear fealty to macports.

The biggest loss for me was no tiling window manager (although i think some hacks exist to get the same effect).

osx is different. it will trip you up from time to time. a whole bunch of stuff is reliable in ways that were not reliable for me in linux. (take that with some salt, i haven't used linux as my desktop in quite a few years, and i think things have come a long, long way).

If it sucks, you can always go back to linux. That touchbar support might take a while to work right though, and no esc key till it does. ctrl-] will probably be your friend.

You're looking at a different set of tradeoffs. you're a programmer, odds are very good everything you want is there. You can always run a VM if you get stuck. But it's not all sunshine and rainbows. I do think rainbow free days are a little less frequent than either windows or linux, so it has generally been a win for me.


I had (well, I still have it) a Mac Mini and used it between 2007 and 2009. I was pretty dissatisfied with its performance (then again, that was around the time when Tiger got obsolete and the Leopard moved in, and the Mini was already slow and old by that time) but, overall, I think it's the most productive platform I used, short of my old WindowMaker setup which has aged too much to be useful by now.

So I know what to expect right now. Frankly, what I'm afraid of is that I don't know what to expect next year. 2K for an experiment is ok if I could run it for three or four years. Right now, it looks like if Apple has a document called "Roadmap for Mac Computers, 2016-2020", there's a good chance that it's a four-page summary of another document called "How to convince all our customers to just get an iPad already for fun and profit".


The hardware is solid. I have zero complaints about build quality. You are not obligated to upgrade to the latest OS (but you probably should...). I feel really comfortable saying you can get 4 years out of a mbp. If you really need the out, just in case you need to install windows or linux, wait 2-3 months, just to make sure other people have done it reliably.

There is always risk it's not the "optimal" choice, but it's certainly not the "wrong" choice. MacOS is fine. If you hate it just install something else. (but the brand new stuff might be flakey under windows/linux for a while)


Thanks! It's reassuring to hear this sort of things in the middle of the current zomg MPB bad rage.


Just read this thread and I'm also comfortable recommending the hardware for three or four years easily. Also, the top level comment describes a small amount of what I went through about 10 years ago that made me switch back to Apple, though I built a hackintosh instead of a laptop.


I hear you. I used not to mind spending hours looking into issues in my Linux when something broke. Not anymore. I just want to actually spend my computer time doing stuff that I want to do (i.e. programming) and not messing with the system. I still love my Linux dearly but I'm just not willing to put infinite amount of time into it. My new laptop runs Win7 Professional out of the box and I'm not even sure if I'll actually replace this with Linux since generally speaking everything just works and setting up the Linux and getting all hibernation/suspends, keyboard lights etc. to work is just painful.


The part that I find increasingly unpleasant (and unsettling) is that, overall, the quality of the entire experience has been declining.

Four years ago, suspend/resume was pretty much a solved problem on regular, run-of-the mill hardware. It worked out of the box, hardly needed any tuning, hardly had any performance problems. It was messy when it was introduced but by 2011 or so, we pretty much took it for granted.

Nowadays, it feels like the year is 2003 again (only I have a lot less hair so it's a weird kind of 2003). I bring my system out of suspend and the text on my desktop icons is corrupted (!?) and some network connections are mysteriously failing (this one is particularly nasty, and I have no idea what to trace it to; ICMP works fine, but TCP connections to some systems just don't work anymore because the SYN/ACK never gets to me. I initially thought this was my ISP doing something funky with their routing, but alas, my Windows laptop doesn't have this problem).

And this isn't really new and shiny hardware that would sort of understandably have these problems, it's a five year-old desktop.


Yikes. I'm sad to see that stuff backsliding.

Back when I used Linux, my solution was to avoid the desktops entirely. I used i3 with Debian. That kept things simple enough so I could understand them. That meant no niceties like a display manager. Back then I could explain the differences between startx and xinit, and I could compile kernels. The desktops were way too complicated to fix if they broke.

I tired of the whole thing after doing my USA income taxes through fill in PDFs because there is no commercial Linux software. I didn't want a browser based solution. I bit the bullet and bought a Mac.

It is the best computing decision I ever made. Proprietary software is readily available and works. Free software is available through Macports. It's Unix when I need it, but when I want a GUI it always works. I spend much less time fixing broken stuff.

I miss my Thinkpad keyboard. Also, since Mac is an expensive proprietary platform, bugs in free software take longer to fix. For instance the GHC Haskell compiler currently has issues on Mac OS Sierra and it will take awhile until they fix that.

However there are many things on Mac that I could never get in Linux, such as the awsome trackpad and Duet, which gives me a cheap second monitor via an iPad.

My days running Linux on hardware are over. If I really want Linux I will get a Mac or even a Windows machine and then run Linux in a VM.


> Back when I used Linux, my solution was to avoid the desktops entirely

I used to do that for a very long time, too, but it's getting unpleasant. A lot of things get upset if you don't have a "proper" session running behind the scenes. It requires me to learn more about xdg and systemd than I can learn without giving in to existential dread about my profession, and frankly, it's a shame to see decades of progress in the GUI go wasted on me just because the Linux community won't get its act together.

In some ways, I think I'm more or less like the proverbial dinosaur in this regard. Virtually no one developing for Linux cares about the desktop anymore. The Linux "community" is, increasingly, a bunch of huge hardware manufacturers, automotive consortiums and a few companies with large datacenters to run. This is where the money -- and most of the development effort -- is. Most of the people who were interested in, and could meaningfully contribute to usability-related efforts and desktops have long gone to web or Apple land.

Edit: in fact, I think virtually everyone I know has moved to macOS, OpenBSD or Windows. Can't blame them.


>> Back when I used Linux, my solution was to avoid the desktops entirely.

My experience is that Linux works better on the desktop in general. Laptop's on the other hand have always given me trouble.

Overall it's sad to see that the "year of the Linux desktop" is always 10 years from now and it's realistically speaking never going to happen.


JWZ's comments about "cascade of attention-deficit teenagers development" look very apposite here, sadly. The "Linux desktop" that's succeeded is Android, which is also a mess in different ways. Everything other than bunch-of-xterms-and-a-browser will ultimately be updated into nonfunctionality.


It's completely spot-on; I remember the Gnome 1-to-2 transition and it was exactly like what we have today. Except that Gnome 2 was not as big as Gnome 3, so the transition took a little less time, and its interface wasn't so radically different from Gnome 1, so it didn't generate as much rage (it also helped that uttering the words "brand presence" on the mailing lists would usually get you flamed, but I digress).

Gnome 2 actually turned out to be a lot better than Gnome 1, but it took a long time, and the unpleasant thing is that when it finally became polished enough not to be annoying on a daily basis, it enjoyed about two years of quality life before the CADT wheel started spinning again. I'm sure Gnome 3 will eventually be a lot better than Gnome 2 (it already is, in a lot of ways, but it's hard to enjoy it when it keeps crashing and when you have to tweak it for days after every update).

At least on the GTK side, things are actually starting to look a little better (the GTK team has a long-term roadmap, for instance).


Tried using ubuntu xenial directly from Windows 10? https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/commandline/wsl/install_gui...


The betaness there is problematic :-). The whole thing still has trouble with X11 applications, for example, but it's definitely something to keep an eye on.

The nice part about OS X is (or, at least back when I last used it, was) that it's a convincing enough Unix underneath. As far as I can tell, there is no direct equivalent for e.g. launchd, the *nix-ish frontend isn't really integrated, it's more like an additional layer.

This is ok for what I guess is 99.99% of the people who use Windows and need to use the occasional Linux program/bash script/whatever. I'm in the other category :-).


imho there's stagnation in hardware computing as well as mobile phones. It seems the fastest innovation is either in electric cars (both USA/China) or in machine learning.


I would agree with that. A lot of these big companies have been around for a while and rose to power as PCs became prevalent in the average household, or when internet access proliferated and became part of everyday life.

The idea that small startups will usurp large companies in nature industries is folly. Examples like Uber aren't valid because fundamentally it's a different kind of company based on technology. A better comparison would be what are the chances that a small startup, competing in the same market as Uber, will take over that industry or change the landscape dramatically?

For PCs what we have is what we see right now in terms of companies and choices.


Lot of people in this thread crapping on Microsoft. I don't know that Microsoft is more brave or more innovative than Apple yet, but I know one thing, they are more brave and innovative than Microsoft five years ago. That's all that matters.

While I'm sure the grand plan is to eat Apple's lunch, they seem more focused on being better than themselves. I think they are onto something with the Surface line, they just need to keep iterating it. They also need to introduce a Surface product that the average consumer can afford--even Apple has done this with the Air line and the non-Pro line.

I have a MacBook now, but I'd love to go to a Surface Studio. If they can work to get up-to-date hardware in all of their offerings, and provide a $1k Macbook Air equivalent, along with a sub $2k iMac equivalent, they'll win.

Microsoft also has one other major hurdle. They lost a ton of ground they were gaining because they chose to force upgrades to Windows 10. I can actually get why they did this from a corporate perspective (Less OSes to support, therefore more money freed up to do other things), but as a user it sucks. They have to build an update to 10 that wins over the people they lost. They have to come out and say "Yes, we want your telemetry data, but we aren't going to force you to give it to us, so from now on, it's opt-in".

As far as Apple goes, I think they know they aren't innovating at the same pace. I think the headphone jack, the escape key, and touch bar are them trying to figure out how to innovate without Steve Jobs. I think Jony Ive is capable, but he needs room to fail to learn. Steve Jobs talked a lot about how as a company, you produce a lot of failures for each success. Steve Jobs was just much better at having many of those failures never see the light of day.

Either way, I don't care who the most innovate company is. I'd rather see them all trying to innovate, because the good stuff they come up with can only benefit the consumer.


> Steve Jobs was just much better at having many of those failures never see the light of day.

Not even that. A lot of his failures saw the light of day, we have just forgotten about them. The same we will do with the current ones.

This, BTW, applies to all companies. To reach this point the Surface line has gone through a lot of mediocre products and bad decisions, we just don't think about them anymore. And Windows 10 still has some serious pain points that need to be worked out, specially on the Surface line with touch interfaces.


I agree completely, you articulated that way better than I could.


Ah, if only that worked for OSS stuff like Gnome.


OSS runs by different rules. It's more about how many Devs can you attract you your project. The number of users is less important in a sense, though that usually has an effect on the number of Devs contributing to a project.

So Gnome and KDE need more Devs to become better, and people only have so much spare time, which is why having corporate backers is also critical to projects.


To me, its different philosophy, I never consider Apple very innovative technically. they have always been (even with jobs) more innovative on product strategy and marketing. Iphone wasnt the first of its kind, nor its Ipod. However, They have always choose the correct package for a stable technology that fits the mass.

Buying Iphone, Ipod, IMac, or air its more of a fashion statement than a Technical one, and coding does look cool on Mac, and time may be changing, but most people that i know who code on Apple product arent your typical computer science, nerds with no art back ground kind of coders.


> Apple product arent your typical computer science, nerds with no art back ground kind of coder

The art background comment is funny. I don't really know what all my colleagues studied in school, half of them probably don't remember. But I work with a lot of backend distributed systems people, very little visual UI type work. Most of us use macs because of unix. And that's important because we deploy to Linux. While not the same exactly, it's close enough to build comparable tools between both.

Apple has hands down, the best portable Unix on the market. They should play to that audience more, rather than just a side note.


I would also like to add, Microsoft are and had been innovative, they may not making some digital woman who you could talk to on the phone, but how to make OS more efficient and take the advantage on all the new hardware, how to fit windows this giant monsters on all the new hardware, in itself is pretty amazing.


> Windows this giant monstwe

Yeah. Honestly, I don't want Windows. What I want is a really solid durable hardware platform for running Unix. One day maybe I will try a surface with Linux, I wonder if MS has crippled that or not. Anyone know?


Can just use ubuntu xenial directly from Windows https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/commandline/wsl/install_gui...


yeah, I know about the Linux compatibility in Windows. But I don't want Windows ;)

So Linux is good enough for me, but on the Laptop there are still many issues, like waking from sleep. Apple has an excellent product, but on the day that I decide that I need to switch, then I'll probably also try to contribute to help fix the Linux issues.


Surface is a bigger innovation than anything Apple has released in the last half-decade in virtually all aspects.


Opt-in will never happen for things like this. There are just too many people who don't care. Look at the rates of organ-donors when comparing opt-in to opt-out.

I'd be happy if they made things opt-out. As in you can opt out of them. I just had a miserable time getting my default documents folder to not be the onedrive folder so things stopped saving there and microsoft stopped complaining about me being over my pitiful 5GB.


I'd be happy if they made things opt-out.

I tend to agree. Windows 10 is better in some respects than earlier versions and worse in others, but right now most of those don't matter very much. The forced updates, forced telemetry, and emphasis on online services make it a non-starter for small businesses like ours. I've given up even feeling Schadenfreude when I read reports of friends or colleagues who have moved to 10 and then lost something due to a bad update or untimely reboot. Now I just feel a general sense of disappointment mixed with concern about what we'll order in future when we can't conveniently buy new machines with Windows 7 preinstalled any more.

Sadly, I don't anticipate any change in direction for Microsoft as long as Nadella remains at the helm. He clearly has a vision for how the future of Microsoft software and OSes is going to be, and it's clearly backed by the board who put him there, and a traditional desktop OS would seem to be in conflict with that vision. And at least for now, the business as a whole seems to be doing OK with this emphasis on services, even with the unpopularity of Windows 10.


Reboots after update have been moved to a "Yeah, remind me later -wink- -wink-" popup, kinda like Windows 7 handled them. I'm not even in a country where we get first in line the big updates (Anniversary update took a couple of weeks to reach me, and it was a bit messy because the f*cker took like 4 hours once it decided to get installed ¬¬ ).


> I have a MacBook now, but I'd love to go to a Surface Studio. If they can work to get up-to-date hardware in all of their offerings ...

The problem isn't so much the hardware but the OS. I have awful memories of Windows. I suppose it has gotten better, but I wonder if it's a realistic replacement to Mac OS X? Essentially, I want something that just works and where I can use common unix tools. Maybe the new Unix subsystem + an X server will do it.

Concerning the new MBP, I don't mind the touch bar or the specs but they are really expensive (esp. in Europe). If they don't get cheaper, I may try a windows machine.


> that just works

To me that is a very tired phrase for Apple users. I don't begrudge anyone's preferences, until they force everyone else to jump through hurdles to get their machine to work the company's network and technology stack. I see IT guys almost every day being absorbed by people who claim to be more productive on their Mac. Every OS seems to work as well as the person using it. I prefer Linux on my Chromebook, but I don't expect hand-holding, and will break out the Dell when needed.


When this comes up a lot of my time is spent trying to tell this to people. Why don't I have a Dell XPS? It's faster and has more memory and bla bla.

The computer is a useful tool only when it has an OS. What you run on it is as important as the hardware itself. The combination of Hardware and OS is what makes the tool what it is, and comparing them each separately doesn't make any sense in my opinion.

And that is where Apple wins for me currently. I spend a lot of time in the terminal, and Windows just doesn't have that unix base that I'm comfortable with. Sure I can get a terminal on it, but it feels like a program I'm running, not actually being in control of the machine.

Linux is my real fallback option, but then I don't get paid to worry about wether my local backups are working OK, or why my laptop won't sleep or wether my GPU is working etc.

I don't think Apple is going in the direction that will benefit a lot of developers, but they've got a long way to fall before they become a second choice for me.


>And that is where Apple wins for me currently. I spend a lot of time in the terminal, and Windows just doesn't have that unix base that I'm comfortable with.

It literally runs native Linux with Windows subsystem for Linux:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Subsystem_for_Linux


Windows 10 is really nice. Built a csgo machine and it just is a smooth OS. It's that happy seamless widnows xp vibe all over again, but prettier.


One big issue is still the 260-character path-name limitation. Deep source directories choke on that, especially if you copy them around for backup, etc.

You end up abbreviating class names in the file names and mess up searchability.

You end up using single letter directories like 'C:\b\' instead of 'C:\backup\', etc. as workarounds. It all feels very MS DOS.


It looks like that's one of the things that they've finally, finally fixed (but only if you turn it on): https://mspoweruser.com/ntfs-260-character-windows-10/


yeah, and break all apps that use the old 255 char win32 api's.

another thing to note is that it requires the windows insider preview, which in my experience required auto reboots every few days. very frustrating so I had to revert....

Switching off of Insider Preview is a TERRIBLE experience of it's own: You can't actually revert back. you either have to restore from backup (which isn't mentioned when you switch to insider preview mode) or wait for the next mainline release, which may be 6+ months away, and you have to MANUALLY TRACK when insider syncs with main and then switch to main during the window in which they are matched.


If it is only fixed if you turn it on, it isn't really fixed yet IMO. You can't make public projects rely on it, etc. without turning off a big percentage of your users.


This limit never existed in the NT kernel, it's a Win32 SubSystem limit that can be workarounded with \??\ at the beginning of the path


Windows no longer has that limit since a decade at least.


I hit this on windows 8. So, there might might be a workaround, but it's still an issue for most users.


The limit is enforced unless an application ops out of it.


> They also need to introduce a Surface product that the average consumer can afford--even Apple has done this with the Air line and the non-Pro line.

The Surface Pro 4 costs $150 less than a comparable Macbook air.

https://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/Microso...


If you want the comparable one (i5, 128 GB), they cost the same. You get a much better screen on Surface 4, but a bigger one in the Macbook.

Also, Surface price doesn't include a keyboard.


The telemetry data will continue to harm them so long as it's a mystery. They need to say what's in it. Maybe one of the EU data protection commissioners or an alert PCI-DSS auditor will ask the right question with legal force.



I totally agree. Even if it's harmless data, they need to let users opt-out while explaining what the data is and why it's being used.


>They lost a ton of ground they were gaining because they chose to force upgrades to Windows 10. I can actually get why they did this from a corporate perspective (Less OSes to support, therefore more money freed up to do other things), but as a user it sucks.

Why does this suck for users? This is actually one of my favorite aspects of W10.


>They also need to introduce a Surface product that the average consumer can afford

They're trying to directly compete with their partners. Budget laptops are where literally everyone else they partner with focuses.


MS does not have an iMac equivalent yet, but you can get an Air-equivalent Surface Pro for $1100. It does have some drawbacks over the air (which I guess has been merged into the regular MacBook now), but also has a number of advantages.


Microsoft has almost always been a more innovative company.

Microsoft Research alone is enough for this to be true.

Surface is a very very very old brand/moniker that goes back almost a decade at this point - originally a tech demo of a table that you could interact with in various ways. They explored touch, VR and all sorts of alternative interfaces before anyone else. They took a stab at PDAs around the same time as Palm (which was also an insanely innovative company). Their developer tooling is really innovative, the CLR itself, their IDE integration.

Hell the NT kernel was/is a really innovative piece of technology - it's driver model still completely stomps what is available in Linux/Mach.

Apple was never more innovative than Microsoft, they just executed way better. Jobs might not have been a technical or even design genius (though plenty of both worked for him), but he definitely was a business genius that really understood the value of crisp execution and marketing.

I say all of this as an Apple user, that also happens to be a fan of the technical and innovative achievements of Microsoft and as someone that contributes to and relies on the OSS/Linux/GNU stack. I have a horse in every race but at the end of the day you can't dispute that Microsoft is the clear innovation powerhouse remaining with IBM/HP/Bell Labs mostly winding down in comparison.


> Microsoft Research alone is enough for this to be true.

MS Research is a brilliant department but it is (was) completely disconnected from the main business.

And yes, NT driver model is super robust.


Is Microsoft more innovative, or is Microsoft simply more publicly innovative? Apple (and tons of other companies, for that matter) simply don't make hay out of their R&D efforts until they have something sellable to announce.


I don't think so.

If one is to assume R&D spending it roughly equatable with "non-public" innovation than historically Microsoft is more innovative than even Google, let alone Apple. This assumption may be weak but I think it would at least be somewhat correlated.


> Hell the NT kernel was/is a really innovative piece of technology - it's driver model still completely stomps what is available in Linux/Mach.

can you elaborate on what you mean by this?


The central premise is that Apple isn't innovative anymore. Let's look at the technologies Apple has materially advanced over the last few years.

* Custom screen technology leap-frogging 4K displays directly to 5K, at a full-system price below that of a 4K screen alone from competitors at the time.

* wide colour gamut screen tech putting them several years ahead of the competition.

* Brand new screen digitiser technology in the iPad Pros that also puts them several years ahead of any of their competitors.

* 3D Touch technology nobody else even appears to have a path to implementing because it requires such close design integration with the hardware and software.

* mobile processor designs putting them years ahead of any of their competitors in yet another technology category.

* A new variant of iOS (Watch OS) that's now powering two completely different product categories.

I venture to suggest that the death of innovation at Apple is being declared somewhat prematurely.


> Brand new screen digitiser technology in the iPad Pros that also puts them several years ahead of any of their competitors.

What technology are you talking about?

> mobile processor designs putting them years ahead of any of their competitors in yet another technology category.

Are you talking about the A10 Fusion? It's the fastest single-core processor, but according to https://www.pcper.com/reviews/Mobile/Apple-iPhone-7-and-7-Pl... the Snapdragon 820 has a faster GPU and the Kirin 950 a better mutli-core score in Geekbench. So I wouldn't say that their mobile processor design is years ahead (it's more that iOS doesn't need more than two cores and therefore they can really optimize single-core performance).

> A new variant of iOS (Watch OS) that's now powering two completely different product categories.

How is this any different than Android Wear?


>What technology are you talking about?

The way the pen and screen work together, and the screen sandwich layering that significantly reduces parallax between the pencil tip and image.

Regarding processor tech I was mainly thinking of the move to 64bit and secure enclave which completely out-manoeuvred the competition.

I'm not saying Apple is the only company innovating, Android Wear is a credible and innovative alternative that's holding its own in the market.


> Regarding processor tech I was mainly thinking of the move to 64bit and secure enclave which completely out-manoeuvred the competition.

Why is the move to 64 bit so important, but the move to 4 cores isn't? I don't really see why 64 bit makes sense for < 4 GB RAM devices and I also bet that no one can really tell the difference performance wise.

This is also the first time I hear about Secure Enclave. TouchID isn't that secure anyway (https://www.ccc.de/en/updates/2013/ccc-breaks-apple-touchid), so I really don't care how the fingerprint is stored.


Pass codes aren't perfectly secure either. Someone can see you type it in, or infer it from finger smudges. If your criterion for accepting a technology is perfection in all circumstances you're not going to find many technologies that satisfy it.


It's not the addressable memory that is important about 64bit, but the modern instruction set that came with 64bit that makes the processor faster.


it depends on what qualifies as "innovation". The bar you set is so low that literally every new "feature" (Reversible iphone connector!) can qualify.

Watch OS has nothing innovative about it that Android Wear doesn't already have, and is not taking off in the market.

3D Touch is a technological marvel but a useless feature for usability. It hasn't taken anymore than Samsung's "hover over the phone" touch has.

I can't comment on the colour gamut tech or the screen digitiser tech, but what exactly is Apple doing there that is leaps and bounds ahead of other display/tablet manufacturers? Do you have any links that compare these?


> * Custom screen technology leap-frogging 4K displays directly to 5K, at a full-system price below that of a 4K screen alone from competitors at the time.

It's literally just a rebadged LG display.


Does Microsoft make their own displays? How is this relevant?


"3D Touch" is something thar was in the Nokia E6-00 in 2011. Force-feedback touchscreen is not new, and much like capacitive touch-screens I suspect it was R&D'ed by Synaptics and Apple happened to be their first mass-market customer.

Apple can use their formidable logistics (few variants bought in huge quantities for several years) to be first-to-market with these improvements. The same logic probably applies to their Hi-Def smartphone/laptop screens, I don't think they made fundamental R&D in that space, but signaled early to manufacturers they were ready to pay for them. This makes them appear as innovators, while allowing their competitors to offer cheaper alternatives a few months later (where they invariably outdo Apple spec-wise after a year or so, so clearly the tech is coming from the manufacturers, who were just waiting for their next-gen to become economically viable). That is no small feat, and has a positive impact for the industry, but I would not call that innovation.


Would you mind elaborating on points 3-5 for me?

I haven't heard about #3, I guess I don't understand 3D Touch's hardware specs enough to know what you mean with #4, and I just don't believe #5.


Apple's ipad pro/pencil is better than the previous industry best (Wacom) by a wide margin. It's more sensitive, better ergonomics (narrow diameter, not plastic), much lower initial activation pressure. Paired with a much better display in a more portable package at similar price to a Cintiq companion. Professional artists are flocking to it in droves.

From my facebook feed where I follow artists from AAA game companies: Blizzard, EA, 343, etc.


Interesting. I'll have to give it a try. I've been against a screen + drawing surface combo up till now, my Intuos Pro has met my needs pretty well. But I'm always down for more precision.


Do you get all your tech knowledge from marketing material?

And what is specific to Apple about wide color gamut displays? These types of displays have been common for years.

Apple didn't invent 5k screens.


Are any of these displays on tablets/laptops? No, they aren't because they usually require bulkier CFL backlights.

Apple also didn't invent the micro harddrives in their iPods. So what?


Actually yes, this was the main reason I moved from apple. I was looking for a new laptop and apple still used a 1400 something resolution as a standard with a 1600 something as an upgrade. Most windows oems used full HD panels at that time and some of them 99% ore more adobeRGB. I was forced buying an ugly laptop because apples screen tech was years behind, even now the air has a ugly and very cheap low resolution panels.

Apple was really good at making basic consumer ideas work not at inventing stuff. Most inventions (by apple, MS) are based on older ideas. Don't get the invention religion anyway, who cares if apple was first or not. Just use wat you like


Are the 5k displays actually Apple's? It would be a strange move to exit the monitor business if they actually pioneered some new display technology.


None of the standard connector specs has the bandwidth to support a 5K signal at the same level of quality, so they can only do it in an all-in-one system until the public standard connector tech catches up.


This is only half true. Current external 5K displays require two DisplayPort cables.


this is just Apple wanting to be being ahead of the standardisation curve again... a la ADC (Apple Display Connector).

How many ADC monitors are out there now??


They're working themselves there, it still feels like parts of Microsoft haven't caught up. Windows 10 comes to mind, and other areas that still seem painfully behind the times. It would be nice if Microsoft made some Windows Components that are open sourced out of the box, like full disk encryption software. I've personally moved to Linux for over a year now because it meets all my needs without getting in my way. Linux has come a long way, but Windows 10 feels like it's pushing me away. There should be a minimalist / developer centric version of Windows that has no ridiculous services on or even installed on the OS, has sane update installation (once a month or so is fine, unless critical). Maybe even turn the old dated Windows Update into the same style as a Linux package manager if that's possible enough for Windows. There's also two different Windows Update screens and they each fight each other.


Is Microsoft even trying to fix updating? IMO there is no problem with updating in it self, I update Arch everyday. The way Windows takes so long to install updates AND the way the PC becomes unusable for that time are both horrible.


> here should be a minimalist / developer centric version of Windows that has no ridiculous services on or even installed on the OS, has sane update installation (once a month or so is fine, unless critical).

The LTSB edition.


Which is available only to enterprises. Microsoft won't sell it to end customers or SOHOs.


Sure, but since when has that been an obstacle ...

My home PC has a license for W10 Pro, but I run LTSB instead. Trading less "features"/more power over my OS of LTSB with a possible improper licensing violation is a gray area I'm willing to admit and apply.


I'm curious, what leads you to believe there's two different Windows Update screens?


In Windows 8 at least, you had a "desktop" Windows Update accessible from the control panel and a "modern" Windows Update accessible from the Start Screen.

From memory they beefed up the "modern" one then ditched the "desktop" one in Windows 10 sometime around the Anniversary Update.


I've used Windows 10 since just after RTM and it's only ever had one Windows Update tool. Could well be it was present in the beta releases?


Correct, did not know it got removed for the Anniversary Update. At least they're cleaning up the OS, which is odd, they should of done that before the OS was released in my opinion.


If you've upgraded there is the Windows 7 version.


I wonder how much propaganda do we read every day ? Tip: A lot.

I think that almost every piece of information which is not pure art or mathematical formulas - is some sort of propaganda..

Meaning someone somewhere is pushing his own agenda, directly or indirectly.

It is strategically wise for Apple competitors to put out all kinds of negative articles right now.

Apple does something unpopular - use that as a lever to swing the opinion - that's when some customers fall into your own nets.

After all, competition is not messiah - they desperately want to push their own products and inflict as much damage as possible to the top dog, which happens to be Apple right now..

I don't know about this particular article, but I'm just saying - I've seen so much negativity and wining about the MacBook Pros - that the "pro" people are left behind, there's no ESC key and so on - I'm really curious to actually try it for myself..

What if I like it ? Is that a strategy too ?

I find it harder and harder to believe anything on the Internet now, because it's all twisted and bended and distorted.. It's a war out there and the battlefield is our minds.


I agree with you that we are constantly bombarded with propaganda, but a lot of the backlash is coming from long-time Apple users such as myself, who feel that Apple is no longer making computers for us. And you know what? That's perfectly fine, they're a business and are catering to the high end where the margins are best.

The proof is littered all over HN and Reddit where blog posts all begin with the same defense, "I"ve been using Macs since... and have bought Apple since this, this and this."

Personally, I wish there were a company selling a generic looking, uni-body notebook, similar in aesthetic and price to the new Xiaomi laptop. If some company could optimize hardware like that specifically for Linux, from the ground up, then maybe I could ditch this aging mid-2011 Macbook Air running Linux.


> ...but a lot of the backlash is coming from long-time Apple users such as myself, who feel that Apple is no longer making computers for us. And you know what? That's perfectly fine, they're a business and are catering to the high end where the margins are best.

I don't even think Apple is catering to the high end here. If they were, the new MBP would be shipping with a lot more horsepower. It seems like they are catering to the casual user who is happy to pay a premium to have a slick-looking Apple product but doesn't actually have demanding computing needs. Many college students would fall in this category.

The high-end buyers that would pay a premium to have a powerful Macbook to do serious development or multimedia computing have been left out in the cold.

Maybe there are enough of the casual buyers that Apple thought it made more sense to cater to them than the professionals. But Apple easily could've made a machine that catered to both markets if they had better vision.


I should have probably clarified that 'high end' was referencing the luxury goods crowd, not high end professionals.


I agree in that I wish there were better generic Linux laptop alternatives to Apple but I find something very distasteful about a company like Xiaomi.

They're not quite passing off their goods as Apple's but they're not far off it.

Apple's current vision might not be my current vision but at least it's authentically theirs.


I agree with this as well and regret having bought a Xiaomi phone despite its great value. This is the reason I will not be purchasing this laptop.


I've also been using Apple computers since Apple II. I've had every Apple PC, iPod and iPhone and I've been a loyal fan and loved it.

But these are just words. Actually, I just lied, but you would have probably believed me, because, why would I lie in a comment ? Well, why not ? :) I got my first ever Mac in 2008 and I've only owned an iPhone 5 and 6.

So truth and falsehood on the internet is very cheap - it costs nothing to write something outrageous - and people would probably not even notice it.

Being paid to write a lie ? Easy money...

But I totally agree on the need for an open source alternative to Apple.

I'd also like to see an open source version of UIKit..

With Swift being open source, I think people are already working on it. You'll have an army of iOS devs ready to build cool Linux applications in their favourite language, using familiar UI concepts. I'd love to get involved into something like this ;).


You can compare previous product launch discussions on reddit/hn yourself and gauge the feelings at the time.

Furthermore, you can see the products yourself and decide what is a major improvement for yourself - without needing to relate to what someone says on an article.

It bears to remember that this is microsoft, the company which until 2012, had no hardware product of its own.

I use a surface today, and the new studio which was launched is a poor product because of its graphics card which is substandard compared to whats on the market now.

But its still a significant step ahead, and all these changes are happening along side getting one core together. The braver company today is Msft.


Isn't it was business and politics have always been about ?


Of course they have ! The difference is that now we have all this technological means to spread the messages faster and to an wider audience.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBma82g3Uag Young Steve warned us about the risk of having "toner heads" running tech monopolies. So weird that it was Jobs himself who picked this guy to be his successor just as they were becoming the biggest corporation in the world.


IMHO, Apple removing headphone jack and legacy ports is exactly the kind of things that opposite of having "toner heads" running the company. If "toner heads" are really running Apple they will be scared taking the risk and moving forward because they know it will hurt sales. If "toner heads" are really running Apple they will not take the risks of creating a new interaction model with unproven reception among customers.

I love Apple for this and I am buying the new Macbook Pro tomorrow. :)


The headphone jack is not a legacy port. It is the single most impressive industrial design for a port in history. That's the reason it lasted so long and also the reason it will outlive any wireless nonsense apple brings out to increase their landfill impact.


Speaking for myself, I hate headphone cables. They always get knotted up when stored away, and they're always getting caught on things while I'm wearing the headphones.

I'm looking forwards to when wireless headphones are more ubiquitous and cheaper.


Sure, headphone cables are a mess. So use wireless ones instead. For me; not having to ever charge my headphones far outweigh that hassle. As well as any issues with pairing and sound quality.

> I'm looking forwards to when wireless headphones are more ubiquitous and cheaper.

So wait for that before you remove the port. Otherwise we're just trading 3.5mm cable hassles for Lightning adapter/cable hassles.


>>> I'm looking forwards to when wireless headphones are more ubiquitous and cheaper.

> So wait for that before you remove the port.

Err, I was stating my personal opinion on wireless headphones. I'm not Apple.

Obviously people have different preferences on removing the port. I'm glad that it will help push the availability of wireless headphones, and speed up their marketplace penetration.

> Otherwise we're just trading 3.5mm cable hassles for Lightning adapter/cable hassles.

Again, for my own situation, I wouldn't have any Lightning adapter/cable hassles.


Personally, I don't want another thing to charge. The robustness and simplicity of the analog port still win in my book.


Wireless will never have as good of a sound quality as wired does, however. It's a trade-off.


I don't have any specific knowledge about this stuff, but how could that possibly be true?

If quality is just a matter of sending enough information through then why could wireless never be enough?


It's just that you will always have a better connection and be able to send more over a wire. cat5/6/7 vs. wifi, wired vs. wireless power, etc.

Surely you've seen a speed difference with a wired internet connection compared to wireless?


The issue is really: how much do you need to be able to send before you reach the limits of human hearing (our ability to distinguish any differences), and will wireless be able to cater to that or a reasonable approximation to that?

> Surely you've seen a speed difference with a wired internet connection compared to wireless?

yeah, but note also that what I was responding to was you saying wireless would never have as good of a sound quality. "Never" is a long time.


That's a good point. If we are talking about the quality being indistinguishable to humans, it is probably possible at some point. Although I will probably stick with wired for a long time, as I have a nice wired headset, and I don't like the thought of my headphones not being charged!


He talked pretty specifically about the marketing and sales departments taking over the company?

Is there any shred of proof that this has happened at Apple? How has their marketing budget developed over the last few years? Was replacing all the ports with USB-C a typical sales/marketing decision?

Maybe Apple has changed, but not in the way Steve talks about here if you ask me. The only thing that is relevant in that video is that Apple has indeed come to the point where they've gotten a very big monopoly-like position. And they're struggling with finding a new innovation/product which is as big a success as iPhone was. But I don't think they've changed how they've organized the company. It could just be that they haven't found the right opportunity yet. You can't force innovation.


And Microsoft is now being run by a techie product guy.


I don't think he expected anything more than what's currently happening to Apple. I think, on the contrary, Steve picked Tim knowing full well that it was the best card he could play for the company, being aware that since "his" Apple would fade away anyways, he might as well have an operations genius run the show to keep Apple burning until all that's left are ashes.


Steve Jobs, like everyone, said and did many things over the course of his life that can be seen as contradictory. When they're around to explain they can often give reasonable explanation for why there are exceptions or how their thoughts about something developed.


The word "brave" still feels laughable in the corporate context. At most, a company has calculated it wants to take a larger risk.

"Brave" probably makes sense in the context where a company is ready to literally bet it all on something they believe in when they're in a sustainable position.


Apple has for a very long time been a marketing and branding innovator. Jobs recognized something important: branding and marketing matters more than technology, but the technology has to be good enough to support the branding and marketing efforts. So he took the company in a direction that was quite clever: wait until the tech was good enough to wrap in a marketable package, then blitz the market with it suggesting they'd been the technology driver the entire time.

It has worked fabulously. Just look at the number of people who think Apple innovated computing at any level: from portable music to smart phones to displays and on and on. These days you're a "tech geek" if you have a couple of Apple devices in your kit. This phenomenon has almost nothing to do with innovation in technology but quite a lot with their marketing efforts to present themselves as fashionable technology innovators.

In the last 20 years or so there aren't very many technologies Apple has actually innovated on that didn't already exist in some form or another, just without the Apple Marketing Magic behind it.


No doubt really. I would have left my MBP and bought a Surface Book 2 had their OS not spied on me or the hardware had perfect Linux support.


Curiously, one of the things I'm rather liking about Windows 10 is that it now has an Ubuntu module in it... Back at the end of my PhD I switched from a combination of Windows and a Linux server, to a Mac, largely because of bash on Mac. It sort of feels like Windows has started to one-up them there too. (Though it's still prettier on a Mac)

Some of the cool stuff from HCI labs in the early 2000s seems to be arriving in products on Windows faster than on Macs too (tangibles, large touch displays, etc).

It seems to me that Apple is somehow now missing the "obvious plays". They put a bunch of effort into Siri, but were late putting it on the Mac. They put a bunch of effort into multi-touch; but Macs are now just about the only notebooks without a multi-touch screen. They put a bunch of effort into the Pencil to make it low-latency for artists; but you can't use it on a Mac. Another obvious play was to make it so you can plug in the ipad and use it as a secondary display with pencil support, but it took Duet Display to do that for them so they've never been able to promote that you can do that.

Perhaps they bet single-mindedly on the tablet replacing the computer, and were caught out when the tablet market saturated and started getting eaten by phablets? Either way, it seems to me they've found themselves left with an anaemic laptop product pipeline.


I know it's not perfect but: https://www.reddit.com/r/SurfaceLinux/

It seems people manage to get it going, some have forked the Kernel to provide top notch support, I just wish it were baked into Ubuntu out of the box.


Not so fast. Let the respective products come to market. Armchair visionary technologists have already spelled death of Apple and Resurrection of Microsoft. Not so fast.


To be fair, Apple's last 3-4 Quarters have been huge consecutive disappointments, and this line up was their last chance to turn that around I believe. And they've clearly failed. Who will pay $1,500 on a laptop that has second-grade components, a rather standard keyboard, etc. etc.

Heck, Asus' Zenbook 3 line costs around $1500 and it has the best possible components, better screen, better keyboard, better everything.


> Who will pay $1,500 on a laptop that has second-grade components, a rather standard keyboard, etc. etc.

People that really like macOS and have no other choice. I'm not happy with the new hardware at all, I can see other alternatives that Id be much happier with but then Id have to use Linux or Windows on the desktop. So either I put up with it and stick with Apple or change my OS too, against my will. Neither option is a particularly good one, so it comes down to lesser of two evils. They've put us in a bit of a bind.


I have spent twice the money you stated for a new MacBook Pro 13". I'd say, the primary point is "it just works". I know, once it's been delivered, I'll install a couple of tools, transfer some files and it will work. It won't get slower, it won't crash, the hardware won't break. And I don't have to waste time keeping that thing alive.

Maybe I was just lucky with my previous Macs but that's the experience I've had in the last years.


The latest iPhone literally cannot plug into the latest MBPs. The MBP also lacks the chip the AirPods need to work smoothly. I think it is safe to say "just works" is officially dead at Apple.


You can retire the AirPods argument.

The W1 chip is in the AirPods, the device that it connects to doesn't need to have a W1, the only requirement is OS support, that includes Macs running Sierra.

Under system requirements: "Mac models with macOS Sierra or later"


Ha! That's a good point, though.

> The MBP also lacks the chip the AirPods need to work smoothly.

Could you elaborate a bit?


The Mac is hugely visible, but accounts for a small portion of Apple's bottom line - just $6 billion out of $49 billion in revenue for Q416.

Financially speaking, Apple is now the iPhone company. They could release a Mac Quantum with holographic storage and still disappoint investors.


Without developers running macos, there are no new apps for the iPhone. The high end market are the trendsetters, and if Apple doesn't want them they will end up as 'cool' as Microsoft was in the 00's. The iPhone will be the phone your grandma has.


People don't make iPhone apps because they have Macs; they buy Macs so they can develop iPhone apps.


Yeah I don't know. I mean it's great that Microsoft is starting to actually being able to bring innovative products to market rather than staying at the concept stage. Panos seems to infuse that part of Microsoft with some great leadership and design ethos. They are are on an upwards trajectory while Apple can be seen as being on the down slope.

But Apple has and still is doing some great things when it comes to innovation. The taptic engine is a great addition, so was touch 3D, Touch ID, and a few of the other things they've introduced. The problem with Apple is more that they now seem to lack some judgement and vision together with a putting the bottom line before everything else.

That could be perceived as "braver" than Microsoft if it weren't for the fact that Microsoft isn't exactly throwing money at problems either any more, but seems to keeps things more focused and picking its battles. Overall though the competition is great and will lead to better products.


"Apple used to be focused on making their devices better, now they're just focused on making them even thinner" - Some guy on Reddit

I don't claim to know a whole lot about the design of Windows, but what would be the possibility of seeing them become POSIX compatible at some point?


You can even pipe between Windows and Unix commands on Windows these days https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/wsl/2016/10/19/windows-and-...


I'm sceptical about Microsoft innovations, especially adding touch screen to laptops and AI/VR, but at least they're still interested in desktops, unlike Apple and Google that are thinking that everyone need only Instagram and Clash of kings.


I thought this was going to be about OSS, Linux on Windows, S2016 docker containers, etc. That's where MS has been moving in an innovative direction. Instead it's making gross over-predictions based on the release of a very large tablet.


I think it would be fair to say that Apple is not that great anymore and Microsoft sucks less. However Apple is still a better choice for many pro consumers. For example Microsoft/Windows doesn't have avb support.


Is it bravery when you have no other choice? Microsoft is trying to "make the PC great again" because everything else they tried has failed. If the "Windows workstation" (oxymoron alert, I know, but it is the best way to think about PC vs smart devices) goes down, Microsoft goes down.

Compared to this amount of existential dependency, Apple continuing the Mac line is more like when Microsoft was still continuing their Flight Simulator despite already chasing much bigger prey in computer entertainment with the Xbox division.


> Is it bravery when you have no other choice?

If you're a student of - particularly - the last 50 years of tech industry history, then you understand there is always another choice: established tech companies have frequently chosen to stubbornly die off tightly clinging to their own past, rather than attempt something else. Microsoft was previously well on its way to that land of eroded or dead tech giants.


This Microsoft media push is becoming tiring. Surface Studio is an expensive touchscreen on a stand and for some reason it seems to be worthy of 20 articles a day, and dozens of articles 'spontaneously' wondering whether some mantle of genius has passed from Apple to Microsoft. Neither Apple nor Microsoft are particularly innovative companies. Microsoft is gradually moving from the general purpose computer OS business to the locked down appliance business that Apple pioneered, aiming for an unprotected flank (did graphics people really need Apple laptops? Nope - they'd probably like a drafting table with a tablet surface better), furiously press releasing its ass off, and unleashing the shills.

edit:

"Apple just handed Microsoft the keys to the kingdom"

https://www.cnet.com/news/apple-microsoft-macbook-pro-surfac...

How dumb do they think Mac users are? Pretty fucking dumb. I'm not sure they're wrong, but it's going to take a lot more than a touchscreen on a stand and a flood of credulous articles to make Microsoft cool.


So far at least; Candy Crush Saga has not repeatedly downloaded onto my Mac without my permission and installed itself into my Dock; as 'a suggestion'. In this respect at least; I will take the less innovative Apple every time. Microsoft have embraced and extended the Apple App store concept into something profoundly irritating; intrusive and annoying.


Right click on the "suggestion" and select "turn off all suggestions" from the menu provided


When has it not been? Apple for the most part, doesn't innovate. They take ideas and polish them to a mirror shine. MS actually does: they have a really strong research department, and did a lot of things that were unheard of when they did them.

Face it, Thinking Different has always been MS's ball. Them and the Unixes.


I feel like there aren't many professional artists on HN, but from that point of view, Apple have been criminally negligent of the industry that made them and MS have blown their doors clean off. It's a great time for artists, maybe not so much for anyone else.


Apple's ace is osx or macos as it's now called. Without this they would be struggling in the professional computing market. They are already starting to drop the ball on the hardware front. Luckily for them it will take far longer to destroy osx.


Will it take far longer? I don't know... if they continue this push of implementing mobile features on macOS, trying to make it more and more like iOS. This seems like it could be a very effective way of alienating even more pro users. To an extent it has already happened.

Seems like Apple has become unwilling to spend resources on features pro users want.


What, in your opinion, has Apple done to macOS to make it more like iOS that alienates pro users? Has any iOS-like feature of macOS actually prevented you from using macOS functionality?

I'm using Sierra and honestly haven't even noticed much difference from the previous OS except for the siri icon on my toolbar.


No, you’re right, it is not about a single iOS-like feature hampering "pro user functionality". It is the amalgam effect of Apple’s efforts of catering to the iPhone user, or the average Mac user, that alienates pro users. If you look at headline features for Yosemite, El Capitan, and Sierra, there is not a single "pro user" feature there, but plenty for your average Joe.

In short: the pro user segment is alienated by Apple’s seemingly indifferent attitude towards them, and the increased integration, or synergy, of iOS with macOS does not help in any way. Generally, pro and power users want flexibility, options, customizability.

Apple seems hell bent on removing choice. Pro users were alienated when they removed firewire connectivity, you need adapters and dongles for just about everything now, and it’s not like this will be remedied with the 2016 MBP is it? Then there is the sad thing that is Mac Pro... That is how Apple actually forced a lot of pro users onto hackintosh systems, as unbelievable as that sounds, but you can run a hackintosh and have a better, more flexible, more performant, macOS experience, than with the real Mac Pro...


I hope not but you're probably right. It's bizarre that a company with their resources doesn't want to dominate both consumer and professional computing markets.


Well, okay, I admit. That they finally decided to build own hardware IS brave (it's very expensive) and I think they will have success if they find consumers who need it. The Surface line still lacks streamlined designs, the products feel disconnected from each other. The only thing that connects them is Windows 10 and that's also their weakness at the same time. So much Microsoft wants me to love it, I just don't. Now that Microsoft build their own hardware, they should start re-thinking their software business. Office? Ugh.


I think Microsoft needs built it's own hardware. Windows isn't exactly a delight to use, but it's only made worse by the crappy hardware most people are running it on.

Currently my work laptop is an HP ProBook, and just as much to blame for my poor Windows experience as Windows it self is.


This is a bizarre comparison. The Surface Studio is not in competition with the MacBook Pro. It's closest analogue is something like the iPad Pro with a stand I guess. Apple will not be making a direct competitor to the Surface Studio because they aren't going to make a touch screen MacOS (the right decision IMO).

I mean the Studio looks nice if you're an illustrator but there's no obligation to compete with every niche product out there.

There are legitimate gripes with the new MacBook Pros (price mainly) but this article's premise seems confused.


Luckily the article does not say that the Surface Studio is in competition with the MacBook Pro. The author says that what Microsoft and Apple unveiled at their respective events heavily favoured Microsoft.


The author (along with many other articles) compares it to the iMac, though:

> The Studio (...) is what the iMac should be by now — a truly innovative, ultra-thin, 28-inch touchscreen.

That doesn't make any more sense to me. The iMac and MacBook Pro are both expensive, but they're "computers for the masses" - they're great machines for almost everyone. (Or in the case of the MacBook Pro dongles, they're equally frustrating for everyone.)

The Surface Studio, on the other hand, is a computer built for illustrators.

I agree with the author that Apple's presentation was terrible, and I can't get excited about the TouchBar either. But I don't think that building niche computers is the way forward.


> computers for the masses

At those prices, more like computers for the 1% - a niche almost as small as illustrators.


Far more 'for the masses' than the Surface Studio which is three times the price, though. And, of course, at those prices, three times is a LOT. Everyone seems to be of the opinion that home desktops 'for the masses' are on the way out anyway, so those who will be buying iMacs (if they continue to exist) in future are likely to be in the 1%; the Surface Studio buyers will probably be in the 0.1%, though.


>three times the price

It's only 30% more than the iMac of comparable size (which is last year's model, to boot)


> because they aren't going to make a touch screen MacOS (the right decision IMO).

I think a lot boils down to this.

People think "innovation" is making laptops into tablets. Seeing how many times Microsoft failed here, I agree that this is not the right decision.

Maybe Microsoft is starting getting it right with Windows 10. But they've failed so many times up until now, and it's still not clear that they've nailed it yet.

A key to good innovation, is to have the right innovation at the right time. Microsoft has tried to innovate by doing the same thing over and over, in different ways, until it succeeds. This may be fine for Microsoft, but it's in Apples culture to try to innovate by not innovating until they're sure they can get it right at the first try.


As a happy Surface Book user, I don't see how the Surface Studio is niche? I don't use the touchscreen that often, but it's great to have it - why would you ever not want touch to work? And there are some things that are a lot better on a touchscreen. In 5 or 10 years every desktop computer will look like the Surface Studio. At the moment it's a premium product (but so is everything Apple makes).


> In 5 or 10 years every desktop computer will look like the Surface Studio.

Disagree. Maybe a lot of 'home' desktops will, but there will still be a need for alternative form factors. In fact, I think desktop computers will look a lot more diverse than maybe they ever have in 10 years time. I think we'll have a bunch that look more or less like the Surface studio, for use by illustrators, graphic designers, etc. But we'll also have computers that are optimised for writers, developers, etc. These will have great keyboards. They'll probably have a smaller, non-touch screen (I certainly don't want a touch interface on my desktop, and I hope that option remains). I hope they'll all have really, really good screens that are as 'flexible' as the studio (or the old iMac G4).


But what illustrator/designer would choose to use a bad keyboard? And if we're already assuming a desk, I don't think any writer or developer would choose a small screen (and indeed today's "small" desktop screens are the same size as the "artist/designer-only large" screens of a decade ago). Nor do I think anyone would deliberately choose non-touch, since other things being equal touch sensitivity is purely an upgrade (and the surface book shows touch doesn't have to mean compromises on other aspects of the screen). At its current price point the Surface Studio only makes sense for those who really need its capabilities, but as a writer/developer I would absolutely use one if it were cheap enough.


I have many non-technical acquaintances who don't want 'the biggest screen possible' - at a certain size, screens just get too big for most people. In fact, 24" is probably about my personal limit - bigger than that, and I'm just going to be moving my head too much for comfort.

I definitely wouldn't want a touchscreen on a desktop monitor. Unless it was literally no more expensive or the only option - which, of course, may well be the case one day. Don't get me wrong, I do see the advantage of touch - the original iPad is probably one of the most usable devices I've ever owned - but it would be utterly wasted on a desktop for me. Again, maybe a family computer, but not one that I wish to work on.

I would also love a Surface Studio, as a toy. I'm sure it's still a great machine besides that, but I know I definitely wouldn't make good enough use of it - I'm just not that good an artist.


I don't make "good enough use of" most of my computer's features - I'm not really enough of a hardcore gamer for the graphics card, I rarely if ever need as much memory/CPU/etc. as the machine. I don't think I've ever used the SD card slot. Just like I don't think I've ever run my oven at maximum temperature, or driven a car at top speed. Once a tool reaches the point where it's cheap enough it's worth having a version that's a bit overbuilt.


In my opinion it's a niche because it's an expensive product aimed at illustrators. One of the main features is the pivoting stand that lets you use it like a drafting table. It's cool and all but why would someone who doesn't want to draw on it own one? Why doesn't everyone own wacom tablets?

Personally, I don't even use tablets anymore because I find it tedious to have to 1:1 drag over larger screen sizes. Works fine on a phone, but for anything larger a trackpad with an acceleration curve feels more efficient.


> It's cool and all but why would someone who doesn't want to draw on it own one?

They wouldn't, or only would occasionally. But that doesn't interfere with other use, and indeed a good adjustment arm that can hold the screen steady in a lot of different positions is something most users would appreciate.

> Why doesn't everyone own wacom tablets?

Because you buy them separately, and because they take up extra space if you're not using them.


>why would you ever not want touch to work?

If someone doesn't care about touch, then all it means is "I can't wipe dirt off my screen without clicking on things."


I like to have touch in my laptop because it makes scrolling pdf or webpages easy. It also makes annotating documents. I love to create mind maps or doodle too. If you ask why not on paper then I will say digitization saves environment and saves paper from getting lost.

Scrolling alone is the reason I will opt for touch display.

I am sure there will be more functions of touch with new future apps. Playing piano is one of them for an enthusiast for cheap.


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