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27-inch iMac gets a major update (apple.com)
340 points by arafsheikh 86 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 598 comments

Solid spec bump. Interesting how much emphasis they put on the camera, speakers, and mic; makes total sense in the age of Zoom.

I’d also speculate this means iMac won’t be the first computer getting Apple Silicon. I wonder if it will be the last?

What’s the consensus guess now? Perhaps a new MacBook Air with good performance but the real “breakthrough” is > 12 hours battery life?

It will almost certainly be a low end macbook. In fact, there's a non-pro 'macbook'[0] that already exists which would be perfect, it was discontinued a year ago, but used ultra-low power CPUs. In fact when they were talking about them (prior to release) they thought they would have ARM CPU's back then.

They are fanless and have a 5W thermal envelope, which fits in with the current A12X too.

The major criticisms of the design at the time was: Butterfly keyboard, the Single USB-C port and the speed of the device (Intel CORE-M is truly, truly painful). But for a $600-$700 machine with an ARM CPU? that's insanely competitive, and is in-line with the "basic" macbook branding.


Optics dictate that Apple show the superiority of the new silicon, and it wouldn't want it immediately pigeonholed as something like Surface X, a compromised curiosity.

Apple's been consistent about ~10 hours of battery life for a while. They've hit their spec and think that most people don't need more in typical usage. So they'll be able to shave battery volume down to continue their trend of thinner without sacrificing other specs.

The recently discontinued MacBook was a vision statement that the hardware could not quite reach, much like the first MacBook Air. Here, I think that statement realized would be a MacBook Pro that is as thin as that MacBook, and is still notably faster than the current MacBook Pro.

I see no need for a standalone Macbook to negatively portray Apple Silcon.

"Macbook" is the heart of the entire PC portable line for Apple. "Macbook"is the grounding of the brand itself.

I think Apple will release the Macbook as the first Apple Silicon machine because of the optics of confidently putting the hardware at the symbolic heart of the entire portable line.

I do not think the 12" that was discontinued should be thought of also as where the machine will be picked up in terms of form factor. This is not how Apple behaves, when tech shifts or they don't like where they left off, they change direction. (i.e. the Mac Pro trashcan -> modern Mac Pro)

Apple Silicon will allow Apple to reintroduce the Macbook as a compelling machine addressing many customer types. This base machine would pave to eliminate the Macbook Air and redesign the Macbook Pro.

With a few models of Macbook and Macbook Pro the portable product line will be simplified and clean up the confusing price / feature / performance comparison problems that exist today.

To the skeptics, Apple Silicon is about thin laptops and fat margins. It makes no sense for Apple to reinforce this. Apple's silicon team is exceptional, and they should prove it.

And they will, delivering thin, light, long-lasting laptops, with high performance and the fattest of margins. The only people they need to prove themselves to are shareholders, and this is gonna do the trick.

In many ways the same was true in 2006.

To differentiate the laptops with Apple CPU's, I guess they use a different name like "iBook".

> But for a $600-$700 machine with an ARM CPU? that's insanely competitive, and is in-line with the "basic" macbook branding.

I'm skeptical Apple's introduction of their high performance CPUs exclusively on a low end device. A super light/ high performance 12ish inch machine seems right up their ally, but they don't want the new CPU associated with being a low-end "Intel Pentium Gold" type device.

There might be a lower end ultra-thin laptop released, but they are going to go big and push out a high performance CPU right out the gate. They didn't launch their 64 bit A series CPU on a secondary device, they won't launch this on a secondary device either.

I've heard rumours of a low end 12" MacBook, along with a 13" MacBook pro targeting developers as launch devices. No idea if it's true, but it would certainly make a lot of sense.

I don’t know if they would actually do it, but that would be an awesome way to launch: one category-defining device in terms of portibility and performance, and one super high end device to create a halo effect around the new processors

Yes, this would be a good strategy. The "low end" one would likely ship with the same CPU as the next-model iPad. The higher end one would be their new shiny high performance designed-for-MacBook CPU.

With the Intel release they also released two devices at the same time (MBP and iMac, and other models quickly followed).

I’d assume them to do the same: a high end (MBP?) and low end device (MB? MBA?); that’s where ARM will shine first (mobile: battery life; maybe even integrating a modem with esims).

Desktops will follow later.

>I'm skeptical Apple's introduction of their high performance CPUs exclusively on a low end device

You can group the Notebook Shipment into a few Categories, $1000+, those are nearly all MacBook. With the remaining going into Gaming Machine ( Which is now being rebranded into Content Creation Machine )

You have the absolute low end, Netbook style that are $300, those are not what Apple targets and they are actually competing with an iPad.

You have vast majority of the Notebook in $300 to $600. Considering the lowest MacBook offering at $699, is just the same play as iPhone SE at $399.

It is just $100 more than the median of average Smartphone selling price, and it would attract enough number jumping to Mac platform all while sucking out the oxygen for the other PC vendors.

I don't think it'll be particularly low-end.

If you look at the history of the MacBook and MacBook Air together, it's pretty clear that Apple expected to eliminate the MBA as a product category years ago; to just have "MacBook" and "MacBook Pro" categories. This was probably due to them believing Intel's roadmap for chip releases, such that they thought they'd be able to hit MBA-like performance targets in the MacBook's form-factor. But Intel's roadmap didn't pan out, and so Apple had to turn around and build more MBA-form-factor devices to hit those performance targets. Eventually, the MacBook went so long between releases that they just eliminated it, and redesigned the MBA a bit to cater more to the people who liked the MacBook form-factor (without really making the MBA any lighter, just smaller-seeming.)

All the MBA computers since 2015 "should have been" devices with a MacBook form-factor and MBA-level performance. Right now, that'd mean an ultralight with a CPU matching or surpassing the performance of the https://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=Intel+Core+i7-1060N... (which is the highest-specced option for current MBAs.)

Such a computer, if released today, would be impressive, no? It would redefine the MacBook (Air) category to be Apple's primary Mac product line, satisfactory for almost all workloads (in the same way that the iMac has been redefined to be the primary desktop Mac, satisfactory for almost all workloads.) In that world, the MBP would be relegated to halo-product status, akin to the current positioning of the Mac Pro. In Apple Stores, you'd have three differently-sized MacBooks, and then an MBP off in a corner where looking at it for too long summons an Apple Business representative.

I don't see how that's not already "going big" or "making a statement." It'd demonstrate that their Apple Silicon chips can eat Apple's own lunch, with their new mid-range Apple Silicon devices beating their old high-end Intel offerings in price:performance, even before Apple Silicon high-end chips get designed to truly replace them. The Intel MBPs, even brand new, would be immediately branded as a "legacy" category, outmoded even before replacement, only to be purchased if necessary for a specific business use-case.

(Before you suggest: no, I don't think Apple would be Osborning their Intel products if they did this. Businesses and freelance professionals would, for the time being, still have plenty of such "specific use-cases" for an Intel-based MBP. Apple also has lots of enterprise customers locked into long-term upgrade contracts, so part of the demand for the tail end of their Intel-MBP pipeline would be fixed/inelastic demand.)

Maybe not exclusively, but it would make more sense as users of their more 'budget' machines likely won't be put off by its inability to run Windows and running existing Mac software more slowly due to emulation (unless it's been recompiled in the latter half of 2020).

Edit: Thanks to the replies letting me know that Rosetta is still a thing. I somehow forgot. Updated.

> inability to run existing Mac software (unless it's been recompiled in the latter half of 2020).

You will be able to run existing MacOS software on the new hardware under emulation. The Dev kits run emulation fairly well on a 2 year old iPad CPU so I would expect whatever new hardware they release will as well.

Existing Mac software should "just work" due to Rosetta.

Most Mac software should be ready with an Apple Silicon recompiled version when or soon after they ship. Apple has been showing how easy it is for most software to retarget the new chips will very little work.

Existing Mac software will run under emulation with Rosetta 2.

the 12" macbook is my favorite laptop of all time. Mine is the 2016 version and it's starting to feel dated and I'm hoping that they rerelease this on the new silicon first. I'll be smashing the buy button the day it's out.

I think my favorite computer was my late-2010 MacBook Air. It was such a departure from the big & clunky Windows laptops I'd owned up until that time. And of course I have fond memories of my first computer, an IBM PC Jr (although I really wanted the 2nd disk drive, and copying floppy disks with only one drive & 128kb of RAM was suboptimal).

The Air series we’re solid machines for a good while until they stopped updating them. It was such a good price/performance/portability balance that I didn’t miss having a Pro machine for a few years there, even doing relatively heavy tasks like photo editing and development.

I have a 2019 Macbook Pro now. The only reason I bought it was a friend really needed a computer any computer, and I gave her my 2014 Macbook Air. I bought the pro because it's a bit nicer for mobile development & running VMs.

I recently found a pic of my friend holding up my Air that I had just got delivered at the office. She has this look of awe on her at how thin the thing was.

I still have that Air. Love that thing.

I think Airs are the ideal machine for the majority of the population that just needs to reliably accomplish basic tasks. It's probably the cheapest if amortized over its lifetime.

At least until iPads can do everything laptops can.

Mine is a Macbook pro 2012 and it is still phenomenal.

2yrs ago, my screen used to flicker. I contacted everyone and they said 'change motherboard' and Mac support people were like buy a new laptop. so I kept the laptop in cupboard for a few months and I open it to check if it works, had decided to sell it and buy a new one and viola, it was working perfectly fine.

~5yrs with no issues.

2012 mbp15r, maxxed out specs at the time (16GB DDR3, 500MB SSD), daily driver for eight(!) years, and has maybe 5 tiny dead pixels as the only sign it's the worse for wear. Current gig requires use of client-provided 2019 mbp16r with approximately the same size, weight and perf. I don't hate it, but it's hard to believe my ancient personal box is about as capable. They really don't make em like they used to.

>I don't hate it, but it's hard to believe my ancient personal box is about as capable

Exactly my point. The funny thing is, I bought the 2012 model at half the price of the new models and I have 0 complaints about it. No fancy keyboard issue, no fancy thermal issue. Nothing.

and to think that since then, they've made more problems than laptops!

They really don't make them like they used to. I just want a better battery backup that's it. I get 6-8hrs because I did a lot of research about how Li batteries drain (it is best if you do not let it drain below 50% because Li batteries' lifecycle depends on the high-low charge discharge cycles so if you keep discharging battery to 0% then you're scrwed in a few years)

I'll buy the 2012 model again, if this one dies out, but won't ever buy the latest models.

I have the non-retina version of the 2012 and it is still going strong. Battery is still fine, screen has nothing wrong with it, and I upgraded the RAM to 16GB as it only came with 8, then shoved in a 1TB SSD to replace the incredibly slow 750GB hard disk. Dual boots to Windows 10 and all is great! I honestly don't know what I'm going to do when it breaks because I don't like the work MBP I have (2016 too) and I don't like the direction macos is going. I'll really miss this 2012.

I replaced my 2012 15" MBPr after 5 years with a 2017 only because it kept overheating and throttling, but in day-to-day use, the performance difference was really hard to notice. Biggest difference was probably in graphics performance when using an external display.

I recently sold my 2016 Macbook (loved the device, the form factor, it was great — but the thing was becoming horribly slow and was starting to drive me nuts). Got an iPad Pro (2020 + the keyboard) instead. Don’t know what I was thinking... :) Guess I wanted to try it out and see if it could work (and torture myself a bit). The iPad pro is fun, great device for browsing on the sofa, and the keyboard is good for emailing and such. But multi tasking still sucks, apps in the background get killed or take forever to refresh content, etc. I’d go back to a Macbook but one that doesn’t take a second to swap between tabs in Firefox.

I have the 1.0 from 2015. Solid machine.

Butterfly keyboard still works flawlessly and even feels different from the butterfly on my work 2017 MB Pro which has worn out and misses keys.

But the 12” form factor gets too hot and CPU is weak even for browsing with just 20 tabs. But I’ve also been developing on it just fine.

And to me, it’s probably the most beautiful physical Apple product in past decade or so.

It just seems that they could juice up the power in the MacBook Airs a bit and then there wouldn't be enough of a gap between an Air and Pro to justify having the normal "MacBook" in between.

That said, the current Airs are still pretty weak on processing power and if they're not going to juice them up then a middle option would be welcome. Plus it would be a good proving ground to launch ARM with a model that's not currently available new.

I have a 2020 Air and it's pretty great but I recently saw it struggling when there's graphics-heavy stuff, namely driving a 5k external monitor while on video calls.

I also have a 2016 12" Macbook and love it. It's my full time personal machine, having replaced an older iPad and MBP. I love the form factor and weight, but I like it more than an iPad due to having an actual keyboard and ability to run real software.

As you say it's getting a bit long in the tooth and I've been lamenting that there's really no replacement for it. I've been holding out hope that apple silicon will change that.

I really like it's size. When I had to buy a new laptop a couple months ago, I was really disappointed that there wasn't an updated option.

I agree, still running a 12" 2015, it's an incredible machine that just doesn't feel as though it has been replaced. Makes the Pro and Air feel like heavy weights.

Yes I love the form factor, no fans, it’s beautiful, light and still very usable. (2016 model)

what were the thermals like?

2015 base spec:

Though it never gets “too hot”, it does slow down perceptibly. Eg, a single YouTube or Netflix tab.

gets a little hot but I have the m7. Not too bad! Fanless is a big plus

The 12-inch Macbook is my favorite Mac, despite I have multiple MacBook Pros and a MacPro! Although people might find it strange. It's simple, beautiful, extreme on the design, and also extremely slim, light, and quiet. I'm pretty sad that they've discontinued this product, I hope they'll bring it back with an Arm processor.

It's almost as heavy and as thin as the iPad, but it is a full-sized computer with a full-sized keyboard. I can play with Emacs for 20 hours writing and scripting without charging.

Also another unpopular opinion - I also love the butterfly keyboard of the 12-inch Macbook, it's quite uncomfortable but once I get used to it, I feel I can type pretty fast and it feels good. It feels firmer than the old Macbook Pro because the latter feels a little bit shaky. It also feels more clicky than the later Macbook Pro with the butterfly keyboard. It seems to me they have received too much criticism on the butterfly keyboard so they were trying to make it less edgy, but that made it lost the characteristics as well, thus they withdraw butterfly keyboard eventually.

I have a later 2017 revision of that one, never really had an issue with CPU speed. Mine has RAM maxed to 16Gb though, perhaps that helps. It's a great machine: a real computer but with iPad pro dimensions.

I’ve been force-feeding myself the new iPad Pro with magic keyboard as my primary laptop for the past few months (why? So I can experience what kids are largely experiencing these days, and empathize). It’s definitely a “real computer”, just optimized in a different way than I’m used to. Doesn’t feel like a budget computer either, it’s incredibly powerful for something that uses less than 18 watts and has no fan. IPadOS has some rough edges but they’ve been getting quickly smoothed out.

I am so tempted to go buy an iPad Pro, demoting my Mac to a development-only machine.

Everything on iPadOS just seems more refined, more fluid and more fun than on MacOS. Everything from 120 Hz display, to instant waking from sleep, to battery life that is actually consistent. The overall user experience just seems lightyears ahead of the Mac, assuming your workflows are compatible with the software limitations.

If you have the cash, I'd suggest you do it. I bought one kinda on a whim and I don't regret it at all. It's pretty much replaced my ThinkPad.

iPadOS is indeed more refined, but not all of it - there's a fair number of very specific things that are a total PITA on the iPad but a breeze on my desktop Mac. That makes doing serious work on the iPad a little challenging, though it's still possible, but for most serious work I still use the desktop. But for almost anything else, I prefer the iPad's mobility and UX. It's the best drawing tablet, ebook reader, web browsing and netflix machine I've ever had, all in one.

Well I very much need Emacs and Unix-like environment for work, so iPad doesn't quite cut it. That said I've got a 11" Pro: mostly as a portable second display via Sidecar for MB12 but also some pen-based apps like Sketchr3d. It's nice and if you have a workflow that suits it, no doubt it's usable.

Get a cloud VM and Blink.sh, an SSH/mosh client. You can totally have a Unix environment on the iPad. It's limited, but still pretty powerful.

Pretty sad to see people touting this as a workaround solution.

It's still a workaround - possibly the most basic one for any kind of thin client there is. I want a consistent IDE as well and right now, you can't run vscode properly on an iPad.

I'm still hopeful that future apple silicon macs will be able to do local development with more grunt than current macs. I guess we'll see.

Yes you can. Look at code-server.

And yes, for doing development on the iPad basically everything is a workaround, but that doesn’t automatically make it worthless. Neither does the fact that it’s basic. I don’t get your criticism.

Well aware of code server. Again if your making a bunch of work around, it gets in the way of actual work.

With your rational, I could do development on my phone as a thin client.

> Again if your making a bunch of work around, it gets in the way of actual work.

Yes. But it’s not getting in the way that much.

code-server is exactly what you were asking for, an IDE on iPad. You’re moving the goalposts here and not even specifying why and where to.

> With your rational, I could do development on my phone as a thin client.

No. You’re taking my argument ad absurdum. I’m saying the tradeoff isn’t that bad on iPad. That says nothing about phones.

Web IDES have been around forever. They don't qualify as a real IDE. I'm not moving the goal posts. You're making them bigger to fit your needs.

Then, contrary to what you said previously, VS Code never was an IDE in the first place because it's an Electron app, it's built on web tech.

That also means there's literally zero difference running VS Code in the browser vs. the electron app save for the browser toolbar (which Safari hides if you add a bookmark to the homescreen, which also nets you an app icon. At that point this "workaround" gives you exactly the same experience as a native app. Not sure what issues you're still seeing there.)


I'm talking about local vs remote development. Can you even spin up a webserver on an ipad to run codeserver? Or does it rely on an external webserver to run and build your application.

If you know what a thin client is, then you're effectively describing that for an iPad. Anything is a thin client - even your phone.

Until we live in a remote first world with everything built with that experience, you're just describing another type of platform like this: https://gitpod.io/#https://github.com/eclipse-theia/theia

Except you've made it a DIY thing and claiming that it's a the solution for doing development on an iPad which is clearly false.

> Except you've made it a DIY thing and claiming that it's a the solution for doing development on an iPad which is clearly false.

Why not? You're basically claiming that solely because it's remote it's completely unfit for development purposes. That doesn't really make sense to me. Especially with VS Code being an Electron app the browser version is equivalent to the desktop app.

Just to be clear, I totally concede that there are certain tasks where you do run into limitations, e.g. handling files is rather a PITA, but other tasks like plain coding are perfectly fine. And if you can save the former type of work for your PC then an iPad plus code-server is actually not going to cause you any trouble with workarounds.

I'm sure it's possible, but just as you say - limited, so I see little point.

It's no question that a "real" Unix system is more powerful, but a VPS has been surprisingly usable to me. Many commandline tasks are more enjoyable on the iPad than on my desktop. The rest, I just fall back to my desktop. Try it - you might be surprised how powerful it is.

Thanks for the tip, I might try it at some point, would need the keyboard folio first tho.

Am no stranger to bizarre setups. Have used remote shell on Palm PDA with foldout keyboard over IRDA via cellphone GSM modem; now this was cumbersome setup. Had Agenda VR3 Linux PDA and coded on it. It's really comfy with mb12 now tho and I like network independence.

I code on the planes all the time, somehow it's really easy to get in the flow. So I like how this setup works on the foldout tray and without network to count on. Doing tons of field work too. In late January had to code for 6 hours with my ass on a tunnel tarmac north of Trondheim. Though of course most of the time I work within network range.

The "best" CPU that comes in that lineup is the Intel Core i7-7Y75.

I have a GPD P2 Max[0] which also has 16GiB of ram and a Intel Core m3-8100Y...

Not to brag but my CPU does seem to bench higher[1][2], and for me it can be painfully slow at times.. Though perhaps the OS is doing me no favours (Sway+Arch/Chromium)

[0]: http://gpd.hk/gpdp2max

[1]: https://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare/Intel-i7-7Y75-vs-Intel-...

[2]: https://askgeek.io/en/cpus/vs/Intel_Core-m3-8100Y-vs-Intel_C...

I think the 12" 2017 model with the i5 was the best one. The i7 got a little hot, and the m3 was pretty slow. The i5 (I'm still using it today and it works great) doesn't suffer from heat issues nearly as bad as the i7.

I've used some fanless Ideapad before this with Core M as well, let's just say there is no comparison. With that one a tiling WM was very much a necessity.

My office PC is a very generously specced desktop, but for user interaction tasks like coding, browsing etc there is no appreciable difference with MB12.

> Intel CORE-M is truly, truly painful

No, it wasn’t. I used to ru Xcode, iOS Simulator, World of Warcraft, League of Legends on the fanless MacBook with 8 GB of RAM just fine enough.

Lightroom or Ableton are almost impossible to run on a CORE-M. It's painful specially after a 10/15 minute editing session when the fans kick in and not only you have to deal with a noisy laptop but also your CPU gets underclocked and switching between your full screen Lightroom or Ableton back to Chrome sometimes takes more than 30 seconds.

WoW and LoL are very lightweight compared to pro image or sound editing software, specially because they are doing a lot of the heavy stuff in your GPU.

Even the Mac Pro is also kinda bad with that software to be honest, specially if you spend more than half an hour using it, because of the thermal issues.

You can both be right. Machine defects, or just aging, can cause the battery to expand and internals to coat with dust - causing thermal throtting, excessive fan usage, and significantly worst performance, after even just a year or so.

I loved my macbook (failed to survive a rainstorm, alas) and wrote a ton of code on that supposedly non-pro machine while traveling all over the world. I hope it does reappear as an apple silicon machine.

However I suspect that if they can they’ll start with a “pro” machine that beats Intel specs as their first out of the gate, to demonstrate that it’s not a compromise option.

I primary drive the latest version and its my favorite mac to date (and I have the pro + imac + ipads + iphones). I have found that if you have a little bit of patience for loading, everything works just fine and the form factor beats everything for real work on the go.

If they are really creating an ARM macbook, this will be a great product and this chassis is definitely the right one to start with.

> Single USB-C port

Are their hubs yet that can turn one USB C port into several? Or do they still only turn one USB C port into several USB A ports?

A couple years ago what I read was that the hold up was that this required more complicated chipsets that would not be available for a few months and would be expensive. More recently, I've read that this won't happen until USB4.

"Why can't I find a USB-C hub with multiple USB-C ports?"


Yes, my girlfriend works with a 2 TB port macbook pro and has a dock like this: https://www.webhallen.com/se/product/313438-ALOGIC-USB-C-Doc...

She uses it with a USB keyboard/mouse and PS4 controller and an external 1440p screen.. works without issue.

That appears to only have a single C port.

It's a strange thing, you can get these super complicated docking stations with all sorts of different ports, but can't get a 4-port hub that's only usb-c connectors.

At least neither tzs nor I have found such hubs.

Googling “usb-c to usb-c multiport hub” gives me plenty of hits, for example https://www.sitecom.com/en/usb-c-hub-4-port/cn-386/p/1881: “Turn your USB-C port into 3 ultrafast USB-C ports and 1 USB-C Power Delivery Port”

Oh wow, thanks for that link, I have never come across that!

Also, when I google with your phrase, there are no hits like that on the first page. I wonder if google is customizing my searches away from what I want...

The CalDigit TS3 Plus Dock has two USB-C ports and one Thunderbolt 3 port, not counting the port for the computer itself. [0]

(To be clear, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 ports have the same form factor and Thunderbolt 3 is downwards compatible with USB-C.)

[0] https://www.caldigit.com/ts3-plus/

This is the only way you can end up with >1 USB-C port, afaik. It's not currently possible to split USB-C like USB-A, so the only way you can get a second USB-C port is if you have a Mac and use a Thunderbolt dock.

This one works great but it gets hot as hell and if you want to use the USB hookups to charge devices, forget it, they only offer a trickle of charge

Completely misread your original comment, I apologise.

You are right, I do not see them.. I wonder if that's for a particular reason. :\

Doesn’t this still only have one usb-c?

I just wanted to point out, Butterfly Keyboard on MacBook wasn't much of a criticism at all. It was trade off that is possibly worth it in the name of the thinnest Notebook.

Butterfly Keyboard get most of its criticism when it moved to MacBook Pro, Because now you are putting up with a keyboard that ~50% of the people find it to have worse typing experience at the expense of a possible ( or not as we have seen other vendor capable of doing without it ) 1mm decrease in thickness.

Personally I still want the old 1.5mm Scissor Keyboard.

This is the laptop I have been using for 5 years now. As a web developer it is amazing that this 5year old mini laptop can drive a 4K screen through usb-c but driving too many stuff at once does slow it down a lot. Thinking about switching to the new iMac right now.

Agreed, and I want to add one prediction (which is maybe just a hope):

It will have a SIM card slot, and get at least 12 hours of battery life while using LTE.

This would be a truly compelling product, filling a niche Apple has tried to inhabit a couple of times, with the distinct possibility of getting it right this time.

With tethering, I'm not sure I want a SIM card in my laptop! If nothing else, AT&T will charge me extra for that (I'm already paying extra per month for my Apple Watch to have LTE connectivity).

Whilst I don't take my phone running because I can use my Watch for music and can make calls on it while out, I don't think I'd ever be somewhere with my laptop and no phone.

The problem with that is that MacOS has no concept of “low data mode”. If it has a connection, apps are going to use it. You can deny apps from being able to use data over cellular on iOS. Also, well behaved apps will usually give you an option to either not use data or in the case of streaming apps, use less data.

What you say is true.

It is also true of tethering, which is quite popular.

Now, I can tether my phone to my laptop. Indeed I did so fairly often, before global house arrest.

But this is true of my iPad as well, and I opted for the cellular model instead. I'm glad I did, it's a better experience, hands down, especially when I'm traveling and want to conserve my phone's charge rather than burn it at maximum.

But if you felt differently, Apple sells a WiFi only iPad, you could simply not pay the extra for the cellular model when checking out. This would almost certainly be true for this imaginary Macbook as well.

I wouldn't buy it at all, I'm a professional developer with mild presbyopia, and purchased the standard-fancy model of the 16". But if I were an incoming freshman again? Bet I'd be pleading with my parents to get the cellular model.

Unlike a touchscreen, an LTE modem doesn't demand any changes to a desktop operating system to provide a good user experience. Again, tethering. Cell bandwidth gets cheaper every year.

The Mac mini and MacBook will be first

The Mac mini is a vital part of the lineup, but it is so much of a utility computer. That's why they utilized it for the Developer Transition Kit. It's hard to market it since it's nearly invisible on a desk and there's no Apple monitor that is reasonable to pair with it. For 'Apple Silicon' for xmas, one would assume several notebooks and maybe something like an iMac with a built-in display.

Interesting how much emphasis they put on the camera, speakers, and mic

People realized how crappy the camera (an well mic) was on Macs compared to other computers now that we are all video conferencing. Its sad that every PC user with a Logitech looked much better.

Plenty of Mac users with a logitech as well ;-) works just fine.

It may work fine, but its slightly absurd to need a better webcam for a recently made 2k USD laptop

Few if any laptops have decent cameras. This is partially because until recently most users didn't actually care that much, but also for practical reasons; modern laptops have very slim lids, so you can't really fit decent optics (a phone is a good bit deeper).

Thanks for pointing out the size - didn't quite think about just how much thinner lids are than phones. That is certainly a very real limiter

For comparison, the MacBook Air has about 2-3mm of usable space in the lid for optics + sensor. The iPhone has something like 7 or 8mm. For lens design and the ability to have a very slightly larger sensor, that's a huge difference.

> modern laptops have very slim lids, so you can't really fit decent optics (a phone is a good bit deeper).

What about the iMac?

What are you talking about? My $3k Dell, and $3k Lenovo have horrible cameras.

It seems like you own a lot of expensive laptops.

You realize where you're posting, right?

Work in IT long enough and it's not hard to use a lot of hardware:)

And that's even more absurd

Right, but having an integrated camera that is absolutely awful completely defeats the point of having that there in the first place. It really noticeable when you Facetime with someone on an iPhone and you compare the video quality of the two.

> having an integrated camera that is absolutely awful completely defeats the point of having that there in the first place

This is a ridiculous statement considering the camera we're talking about is 720p. The current camera is indeed better than "no integrated camera at all" and is perfectly fine for video calls with your family, or even for work, since you're probably sharing your screen and your coworkers don't need to see every pore on your face.

Which is riddiculous, because if they can fit good front camera in iPhone they should be able to do that in the much bigger device, like laptop, right?

Probably not, at least for the laptops. The phone is a lot thicker than a laptop lid.

I'm sure they can, but for some reason they didn't. It's fun to speculate, but apply Hanlon's Razor and Occam's Razor; it's unlikely there is some evil corporate scheme at play, and it's highly likely that the reason is very simple.

Perhaps they never got the levels of feedback that drove them to upgrade it. Perhaps it has to do with internal designs of using an USB 2.0 bus or something that now has to be changed to a CSI or MIPI style interface that first has to be processed by something like the T2 before it is a readable data stream for the standard Intel architecture.

They probably won't be able to fit the exact same iPhone module, the optics (Be it plastic or glass lenses) are too deep, but you could probably do with a better sensor for sure. Some manufacturers tried to 'fix' this by putting the camera below the screen which gives it a bit more space because you can then use the hinge area for the components; but now you end up looking at someone's chin all the time.

We simply don't know.

An iPhone is much deeper than a laptop lid. Perhaps they'll have to redesign the lid not to taper at the edge to provide more space for a better camera.

Or instead, use multiple tiny crappy cameras plus software to interpolate a good picture out of them.


The camera on my iMac Pro is better then the Logitech C920 I was using with my older Trash can Mac Pro. I have a much better mic that I use so not sure about the built in Mic on the iMac Prov

The original Apple FireWire webcam was very good, with a large, motorized lens. Despite boasting higher resolution, I doubt many modern webcams are as good, especially integrated ones.

You can still judge the macbook cameras by looking at the images they deliver. They're bad, really bad. I suspect that apple's laptop guru / team moved to iPhone and never got backfilled, leaving the macbooks with budget flat cameras from 2007 or something.

High quality cameras have been around since ~2015 even on midrange smartphones. Why can't laptops get one of those? Is there a supply issue?

Compare the thickness of the lid of your laptop to that of your phone.

There is your answer - Physics is a harsh mistress!

I doubt there's a good reason. That's why I'm considering bad reasons like "it fell through bureaucratic floor-cracks."

I had that camera. It was better than its contemporaries, but definitely not as good as even the mediocre built-in cameras today.

Here's an article with screenshots: https://www.macworld.com/article/3018431/in-praise-of-the-gl...

How awesome would an updated iSight be today? You could fit an APC-C sized sensor (1.6x crop DSLR) with a 22mm f/2 pancake lens for some insane bokeh. Probably at around the $300 price point. Sure would be easier than hooking a "clean HDMI" DSLR or mirrorless into a HDMI input/USB adaptor...

Especially if the camera could compress the stream in-body so you don't have to blow up your CPU/GPU to get a good 60fps HD video signal like you do using a mirrorless/DSLR.

IMO YMMV etc but wide lens distortion can drag down what people would call “image quality”. 50 or 85 would work better for portraits if you can afford the distance.

I'm guessing they will go right to the meat of things and upgrade one of their MacBook Pro models. That is right up the "Performance per watt" avenue which Apple claims their new silicon is best for. They are going to want to squash any rumors that these don't perform well right off the bat so I don't think they are going to be conservative here.

For similar reasons, I don't think the iMac was ever slated to be the first Apple Silicon machine. The desktop form-factor just doesn't highlight the benefits of the new architecture the way a laptop does. Since they sell a lot more laptops than desktops, it's likely they don't even have a desktop specific CPU ready at launch time. That'll come next year or maybe even 2022 towards the tail end of their 2 year launch window.

Yes, they need at least one Apple Silicon machine, which demonstrates that it is competitive for absolute CPU power and of course as a machine for all the developers. They do need not only a testing machine, but should be doing the development itself on an Apple Silicon machine. That is, why I would consider the rumor about a 13 or 14 inch MB Pro with Apple Silicon for highly plausible. The 16 inch would then follow later, with an even beefier CPU.

I wouldn't be surprised to see the 13/14 and the 16 inch both released this year.

That would mean 2 significantly different 16" MBPs in the same year. My thinking here is that it would be quite odd if they released a 14" MacBook Pro which is faster than the more expensive current 16" model.

The 16" was just refreshed and requires both a very beefy cpu and gpu. Not sure Apple will bring that with the first iteration. The 13" MB Pro has an integrated GPU, so that sounds more like a first step for Apple. Also, I think the Intel version of the 16" will stick around for quite a long time, might even be the last Intel machine sold in parallel to Apple Silicon, as developers and many others might require an Intel-based machine.

How can Apple say their new CPUs are the best/ fastest... but aren't good enough to ship in their flagship laptop?

This first launch is going to be the most scrutinized & criticized Mac Apple has launched in years. Apple knows this and they are going to put a beefy CPU in their new machine to silence the critics. If they can't beat Intel performance at launch, what are the chances they are going to be able to beat them a year down the line?

And since it would be quite weird to have the smaller MacBook be the better/ faster iOS development machine, it seems like the 16" is pretty likely. Maybe not launch day, but within the first few months at the latest.

They might keep the Intel based MacBook around and sell them at the same time, but I doubt it will be the only 16" MacBook they sell for long. It just doesn't make any sense.

That is the reason why I think at least one of the MB Pros will be available on Apple Silicon from the start, I am just not sure they will start with the 16", as they would have to replace a dedicated GPU for that machine.

You are massively underestimating the performance of Apple's GPUs. They can beat the 5600M.


> I am just not sure they will start with the 16", as they would have to replace a dedicated GPU for that machine.

Why? The 2015 15" came with an integrated GPU option (and that was by far the most popular SKU, AFAIK).

Because one important feature of the large MB Pro is the availability of a dedicated GPU making it a decent graphics machine when connected to an external screen. I am certainly stressing the GPU of mine :)

My thinking is this is exactly the use-case Apple needs to prove they can compete with and arguably the case where they should shine. With ARM's much better thermal characteristics, Apple should be able to get much better graphics performance.

It's certainly the tougher nut to crack.

Worth noting that the very first Intel Macs released in January 2006 were the MacBook Pro and the iMac. At the time the MacBook Pro came in 15”/17” sizes, now after multiple generations they’re 13”/16” machines. The iMacs were 17”/20” machines as opposed to the 21.5”/27” machines they are now.

The rest of the PowerPC line was brought to Intel within the calendar year, and iMacs and MacBook Pros received an additional refresh replacing the Core Duos with Core 2 Duos later in the year.

At the time I remember thinking the release cadence for which models they transitioned over made perfect sense. You could make a strong argument for them to follow a similar roadmap this time around because while Macs have changed substantially since then, each Mac’s place within the lineup has not changed very much, although a MacBook Pro and a new ultra-thin MacBook around the same to show off the advantages of Apple’s chips on both sides ends of the performance per watt spectrum wouldn’t surprise me.

Man, this will put a lot of us in a quandary. Buy this knowing the Apple Silicon is coming down the pipe or wait it out. I am disappointed no obvious changes to cooling have been made. Current i9 models can really spin up the fan as a number of owners have stated it one of the loudest Apple computers ever.

Nano Glass is around $500 up charge which does not seem bad but I seem to recall it has special cleaning requirements so be careful if you have family or friends who are touch prone.

SSD upgrade from 512 to 1TB is reasonable as well, around $200

> SSD upgrade from 512 to 1TB is reasonable as well, around $200

Reasonable for Apple maybe, but for $200 you already get a pretty decent 1TB retail SSD.

Crucial P1 NVME 1TB is around 100 Euros in my neck of the woods so charging twice that for an 512GB upgrade is bonkers in my book but clearly I'm not the intended customer base.

I guess for companies flush with cash where every employees salary is in the six figure ballpark, the price of Mac configs don't raise any eyebrows in the list of expenses but at least in all companies I've worked so far if I'd have suggested we buy Macs, the bean counters would have had a fit.

That Apple ssd is almost twice as fast as that Crucial.

> I am disappointed no obvious changes to cooling have been made


I own a 2017 5K model with an i5 and the terrible cooling is my only gripe with it.

It's totally fine for bursty workloads, but once you get into a light sustained workload (eg: music production) temps go to +70ºC and the fans become quite annoying.

As for the nano glass, I ordered an anti reflective screen protector from a local Dutch supplier. It works fantastic on my 16". I do programming though, no color-sensitive photo or video work.

Consensus is that the first ARM devices will be 13.3-inch MacBook Pro and a new redesigned 24" iMac, based mostly on Ming Chi Kuo's report from just before WWDC2020.


I think this means iMac will be one of the first computers getting Apple Silicon, otherwise it's weird that they're updating the 27" without updating the smaller iMac.

There have been rumors about an updated smaller iMac which will shrink the bezels and basically look like an ipad pro on a stand, with a screen size increase to 24" and Apple Silicon, coming either later this year or early 2021.

I do wonder why separate the smaller and larger iMacs lifecycles, maybe because the desktop-level Apple Silicon chips aren't ready yet? That would make sense especially if they're aiming to replace the AMD GPUs even on the top of the line larger iMac and use integrated graphics there too.

I can imagine two priority devices for them to feature from the start:

- A super-lightweight 12" Macbook-like device that lets them demonstrate how Apple Silicon opens up new categories and form factors: small, powerful and amazing battery life

- A developer machine (MBP or similar) will be necessary. There are precious few DTKs out there, and they need more developers to be running Apple Silicon. I can't imagine them not shipping this in the first wave.

IIRC the iMac and the PowerBook were among the last computers to get an update after Apple announced that they were switching to Intel, and they were also the first computers to get Intel processors.

So this probably doesn't mean anything in that regard.

There is a lot of speculation that they might have a replacement MacBook 12” at launch. It would be a good fit. That one is not listed in any of the stronger rumors though.

The strongest rumors are for a MacBook Pro 13/14 and a 24” iMac. The 24” iMac suggests that they will switch to new designs with the new chips.

I don’t think that Apple will restrict their new chips to just a little MacBook. It would make it look like that is all they can do. They are going to want to come in strong and have a range of chips on different machines. Some with high efficiency and some with high performance. They seem confident and I suspect they will pull this off.

I think the MacBook they had discontinued is rumored to be making an Apple Silicon powered return.

There's no 'intel' to support that as far as I'm aware though, just sensible speculation.

Maybe a 2-in-1 windows competitor? (eg; Surface, Yoga, etc).

Their new iPad Pro took a big step in that direction with the keyboard, but it still doesn't have macos and mac apps.

Not sure whether they'd position it more as a "Macbook Touch" or "iPad Mac"...

There should be at least one mid-range machine coming out early, so that the developers have really a machine they can work on. Also, Apple needs to demonstrate that they can make some powerful CPUs beyond what they do already for the iPhone and iPad. So the rumor of the smaller MB Pro sounds plausible, the 16" would be migrated in a second generation of Apple Silicon, likewise the large iMacs and the Mac Pro.

The performance of their chips is good enough that it wouldn't make much sense not to update everything once silicon availability is assured. It would be ridiculous to keep their iMac slower than their Macbook Pro.

I’m sure there are practical product development and supply chain reasons they would not be able to release an entire line of updated macs at the same time

MacBooks and iMacs are not direct competitors - one is a laptop, the other is a desktop computer. You can have up to 128 GB of RAM, 8 TB of SSD, and a beefy GPU in an iMac, something I bet won't be available on ARM for some time.

Finally they ditch spinning media on the base models.

Also notable, the rumored iPad-like style changes are conspicuously absent, these look pretty much identical to the older iMacs.

Otherwise this looks like a decent bump all around. Notably, the iMac Pro also got some love (though not too much it seems?)

Massive upgrade for people working at companies whose IT refuses to buy anything but the cheapest model.

> Massive upgrade for people working at companies whose IT refuses to buy anything but the cheapest model.

In my experience, the companies who always buy the cheapest model tend to avoid Macs entirely. The big place I see the base iMac popping up is at schools.

IT does not set the budget for users computers. Managers do.

If it where up to IT everyone would have beefy computers as the most frustrating calls are "My computer is slow."

Still only 8GB RAM though, a bit of a bummer.

Yeah, and upgrading to even 32 GBs is SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS.

I get that it has to be soldered on or whatever, but I'm looking at faster RAM on Newegg right now, in brand names, single module DDR4, for ~115.

I really wanna buy Apple stuff, but stuff like this continually keeps me away when I finally get to the Buy page.

The 27” models have user-accessible DIMM slots in a compartment on the back, so you’re ok to get that RAM from Newegg or Crucial. That’s what I will be doing.

Soldering on is cheaper than not. It costs more because of the vendor lock-in value-based pricing.

But that doesn't apply to the 27" Mac which has non-soldered slots.

It’s crazy. Even though my work laptop (https://www.cnet.com/reviews/dell-latitude-e6500-review/) was considered high end in 2010. My company ordered it for me because of some Windows CE development I was doing. It had 8 GB RAM.

They gave me the laptop when the company went out of business. It was my Plex server until last year.

I thought iMacs have an easy way to upgrade the RAM no?

Only the 27-inch iMac has user-upgradable RAM.

Depends which model. Some require taking the screen off, which unlike earlier models is taped on and some have soldered in RAM. Until someone has seen a hole in the back or has torn one down you just don’t know.

A friend of mine upgraded his 21 inch one out of the box because Apple RAM pricing and turn around is terrible. However he damaged the screen ribbon cable at the same time. Happens a lot.

You can upgrade the RAM in the 27” yourself. There’s a door on the back, which gives acces to 4 SODIMM slots.

The iMac Pro is starting to seem pretty redundant even with this slight spec boost.

If you upgrade the new 27" iMac to the same specs, you can get a faster machine than the base model $4999 iMac pro for $900 less - it's a faster clock speed 10-core processor, better performing GPU with Radeon 5700 XT 16GB (as opposed to Vega 64 8GB), and same 32GB RAM and 10Gb ethernet and 1TB SSD for that price.

The iMac pro has even further upgrade options that the iMac doesn't, but still, I wouldn't expect a $5k non-upgradeable pro machine like that to be underspecced. It'll also be interesting to see some teardowns of the new iMac and compare actual benchmarks between these machines, the iMac Pro might still have better thermals that lets the cpu/gpu perform better in the real world.

Particularly when you consider they didn't even add the anti-glare display upgrade to the iMac Pro. It seems likely the iMac Pro will go its entire life with only this one small processor bump before it's retired.

They probably decided having a iMac Pro was pointless when it could just be the upgraded iMac.

It made sense for a little while before the iMac screens were upgraded to 5k.

5K iMac was introduced in 2014, several years before iMac Pro. I think the point of iMac Pro was to fill the gap while the new Mac Pro was in development.

Actually, the iMac Pro was going to be the only “Pro” Mac until they had a change of heart.

I reckon the redesign will come when they push new lines with ARM


The rumor that they would redesign for Intel didn't make a ton of sense.

The MacBook Pro design had a major pain point so they needed to push an update for their "final" Intel MBP. The iMac design is a touch dated, but has no significant flaws (at least none which Apple intends to fix).

Yet they are still pushing 8gb of RAM as stock unit - which was OK in maybe 2016.

It’s offensive

Where do you see the updates for the iMac Pro?

2nd paragraph from the bottom of the release:

> iMac Pro now comes standard with a 10-core Intel Xeon processor. Designed for pro users who require workstation-class performance, iMac Pro features Xeon processors up to 18 cores, graphics performance up to 22 teraflops, up to 256GB quad-channel ECC memory, and a brilliant 27-inch Retina 5K display.

I think just a bump in the base CPU and maybe the graphics? There is a reason it's buried deep in the PR.

not really an update, but the base model has now 10 cores instead of just 8.

I'm always interested in the differences between Apple's Intel OEM CPUs and the ones Intel lists in their catalog. There is no 10th-gen Core i9 CPU that exactly matches what Apple is selling here. In the iMac Pro they are installing a Xeon-W part that has almost twice as much cache as the standard part (43MB vs 25MB). They're not saying how much cache is in the new 27" iMac.

I'm picturing some binning shenanigans on Intel's part and Apple doing enough benchmarks to pick a minimum amount of cache. Or maybe Intel offered them something with odd specs that they have too many of?

Actually is it just marketing shenanigans instead? Are they adding the L2 and L3 together to get their advertised cache size?


Yes. It was one of the common misconception that Apple had different parts / spec due to its cache size.

Usually it comes down to either not being socketed or as with the cheese grater mac Pro's the CPUs lacked the integrated heat spreader. Sometimes it's cache or clock variations, but usually it's more along the lines of the chip packaging that differs.

The one thing I keep missing on my 5k iMac is some form of video-in. Would be great if I could connect my MB Pro to it and use the iMac as a display. Perhaps even in a window and all mouse and keyboard events to the window get passed to the connected MacBook.

I researched why the 5k iMac doesn't have video-in, and it seems that the reason is that the display has so many pixels that it needs to pieces of hardware to drive it. Getting the timing and color calibration and what-not clearly wasn't going to happen externally, so rather than have a suboptimal experience they just took video-in out. There's also the issue that few video cards can drive that resolution.


There are external 5k displays on the market, including one that Apple has sold.

Which external 5k displays are on the marked except the one that Apple has sold and alledgedly LG has discontinued?

Those problems are typically rectified in a year or so. Presumably the hardware should last longer. Perhaps the antiport faction got their way.

Yeah my 2008 iMac had this functionality, and I was supposed/bummed to hear they got rid of it a few years later. I’d think Apple would keep the feature around, if only to make it easier for people to buy both a Mac laptop and Mac desktop. My wife would totally use one at work if it were easy, and I’d love to have one for us at home. But instead we just get laptops with fans that come on all the time, and SSDs that are far too small.

This one kills me. With COVID, I'm now stuck working from home. I literally spend all day staring at my work Macbook Pro's small screen with a glorious but unused iMac screen sitting five inches behind it.

Same here - using my MacBook Pro when working from home. I was very fortunate though to get me a Dell 2415Q in January. While not being quite as good as the iMac, it is a good "retina" screen. Can only recommend it.

Previously, I would sometimes use screen sharing to use the desktop of my MacBook onto my iMac, but due to its slow speed, that is only an emergency measure.

Any experience on 24" vs 27" for the same 4k resolution?

The large the screen, the less the resolution in ppi gets. I have seen a 28" 4k screen at a mac - much more fuzzy as the pixels get larger. Actually, to get the same ppi as in the iMac, you would need a 22" 4k screen. So the 24" works in scaled mode, which gives about 2300 horizontal points, this is still reasonably sharp.

Why don't you work on your iMac?

Many people are only able to work on machines provisioned by their companies. Even if you could get your home iMac provisioned during Covid, you may be wiping out all your personal data and now you are dedicating a machine you paid for to your company.

It's my personal machine and I can only use work-provisioned computers for (entirely reasonable) security reasons.

Cmd-f2 on your iMac (while plugged into your MacBook over usb-c), will allow you to use your iMac as an external display.

This doesn't work on iMacs after 2015 to my knowledge. Do you have any reference, that Apple brought the feature back?

I use Luna Display[1] for this. It is a bit laggy and some keyboard shortcuts are broken. But it let me use my 5K iMac (and it's keyboard) as a second display for the MBP.

It is a shame that iMac does not provide normal video input.

[1] https://shop.astropad.com/

This is the reason I went Mac Mini + LG 5k display.

It's much more expensive but I needed to be able to hook in my work laptop to a 5k display while working and switch easily to my home setup with a single cable when I want to.

Ended up being perfect! It's paying off big time with COVID and WFH.

I had a Mini before the iMac, but the Mini had the problem of the lacking GPU. Also, at the time I got the iMac (2015), the Mini was really falling behind. The iMac gave me a quad-core i7 and a GPU. I wished the Mini was available with hardware comparable to the 16" MB Pro. (8 cores, GPU)

If Apple only offered a desktop class Mac, I would even start thinking about the pro display.

In some ways the outlook for the Mac is much better today than it was a couple of years ago.

But I agree it does suck that you can't get a decent desktop that's not an all-in-one iMac. Users have been asking for it for years, and Apple's response was "Fine, you want upgradeability? Here's the entire kitchen sink with terrible base specs for $6000. Oh that's too expensive for you? Guess you're not a real pro after all so shut up and buy the consumer level products we sell you."

It's maddening. If they put an i9 and non-ECC RAM in an upgradable desktop, I wouldn't have built my PC. And as the other commenter said, I'd maybe even consider the new display.

Too bad for them. They're missing a huge chunk of the market.

Have you considered an external GPU?

Only looked briefly at it. Combining the tiny Mini with a huge external GPU seems a bit off, and unfortunately, for all the size, they don't integrate any storage space. Also, currently the Mini doesn't offer good CPUs. Anyway, I will wait now with my next purchase till there are good Apple Silicon offerings.

For me, the eGPU setup is not worth the benefits. I am also waiting for Apple Silicon to streamline my setup.

I have a MacMini + eGPU. Every time I (re)boot the machine I have to remember to remove the remove the eGPU: Otherwise I cannot enter the filevault password. This is super annoying since the machine seems to have crashed every time I want to use it (even without an eGPU).

Previously I used the eGPU with an 13” MPB and the experience was annoying in different ways: Simply unplugging the eGPU kills the programs using it. Every time I wanted to “undock” the MBP I had to remember to click to remove the eGPU from the MBP: otherwise half the programs running are killed/not responsive.

re/ the Mac Mini + eGPU + File Vault = no reboot... Really? Brutal!

I was just yesterday looking at a new Mac Mini and a couple of LG 5K monitors (and, thus, the Apple Store eGPU). And I use File Vault. Because Apple.

So is this a known reboot problem? I want to run this Mac Mini as an always-on server for home media when logged out.

Any Apple support links on this?

There you go: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208544

> 1. If you have a Mac mini (2018) with FileVault turned on, make sure to connect your primary display directly to Mac mini during startup. After you log in and see the macOS Desktop, you can unplug the display from Mac mini and connect it to your eGPU.

It might not be more expensive in the long run because now if your Mac Mini needs an upgrade you can only switch the Mac Mini and keep the display which is cheaper than a new iMac.

You know, there are a few key features about macs that have made them much better computers.

Target disk mode. Target display mode. Boot from an external drive using option. Boot from the network.

And you know the "decision makers" don't understand how much nicer it makes the computers to administer. (understand in the sense they would defend them for real in a feature-cutting meeting) Instead we get dongles.


Can't you boot from an external drive (time machine backup) using option, on Catalina? I was under the impression booting from external USB was how you would format the mac.

I don't know about time machine. I suspect you might.

To be clear, I wasn't saying they were taking out the option boot-picker.

I was saying these lesser known features - although they will never be used by a general audience - make the mac significantly easier to administer for people who have been using macs for years and know what they're doing.

I will say I'm glad you can upgrade an older system to a new usb-c style thunderbolt machine using target disk mode - but the dongles/cables to achieve this feat are ridiculous.

Yeah, and once something goes wrong with the iMac you could still use it as a monitor.

I had one of the appropriate era, and ultimately, the display went.

(After roasting several drives, thermal management was not a high point on those machines)

oof, that is brutal. I just ordered one and assumed it would support it. My imac from way back in 2012 supported it and with connectivity only improving since then it never crossed my mind that it wouldn't support it.

I think that went away with the jump to 5k. I remember some intent to readd it when possible, but I haven’t seen it yet.

Actually, my research shows that the 2009 iMac was the last one that offered this functionality, which is described in 2009 as "27-inch models also support input from external DisplayPort sources (adapters sold separately)."

This matches my recollection that my 2008 iMac had this feature, and the one my wife got in 2012 did not.

2009 Tech Specs: https://support.apple.com/kb/sp696?locale=en_US

2010 Tech Specs: https://support.apple.com/kb/sp588?locale=en_US

Apple brags about their custom timing controller a minute into the original 5k iMac intro vid:


This is most certainly why video input does not exist. What's ridiculous is they clearly figured it out to support the LG 5K display which is the exact same panel and over TB3 which the iMac fully supports.

More likely Apple dont supply it since it ruins the aesthetic of the back having so many ugly ports. I mean, they've also done questionable things for aesthetic reasons like putting the USB port at the back, the power button at the back, the headphone jack at the back. All these ports need to be facing the user, not behind the screen (I have an iMac 2014, so this is speaking from experience). I honestly believe that an artist determined that iMac cannot be used as external monitor.

Just say "No" to the product. I'm not making the same mistake again.

It made sense on the original 5k because display port at the time didn’t support enough bandwidth for 5k output.

Right. But now that all Macs support even 6k output, there is no longer a justification. Also, they could have allowed target display mode in a lower resolution or in a window on your iMacs desktop, if they had tried hard enough.

“SSDs across the line with quadruple the storage”

1/4 TB of storage in the $1800 model, 1/2 TB in the $2300 one. Ugh. (So before the lower-end one had 64GB? [Edit: Nope, 1 TB Fusion Drive, thanks smnrchrds!] That would be FULL just from installing the one game the press release mentions.)

What kind of magic fairy dust SSDs are they using that you can't have a sensible amount of storage space at those prices? Looking at the upgrade options (which aren't even available for the lower-end model), they charge $300 per TB.

Don’t buy a desktop computer with non-user replaceable/upgradeable disks. In an air form factor I can buy the argument that it saves 50 grams or one mm of thickness. In a desktop it’s just ridiculous. Having any other standard than 2.5” or nvme is silly, and ideally a desktop even in the iMac form factor should have at least one empty 2.5” slot.

Yup. I've had my 2015 5k iMac apart a couple of times, and it's not for the faint of heart. Screen is glued on, takes a few hours, and for certain tasks the entire computer has to be taken apart. Nothing like the drive swap on my mom's ancient 2008ish (?) iMac where you just suction cup the screen off and the drive is right there.

I accidentally ordered the 'wrong' iMac (256gb SSD) which turned out to be the right option because the fusion drives seem to have issues. Had a 2TB SSD hanging off the back for the past 6 months until i finally went to install it internally. Sadly, if you didn't order your machine with a SATA drive, it doesn't have a SATA Cable -- hence having to disassemble the entire thing to get to the plug on the logic board that lets you add a drive.

I don(t disagree but really a 1 TB nvme ssd is around 100e now, there is no reason for this kind of storage limits.

There's a great reason for it: profit! Apple knows their customers will pay because they don't have a choice - their computers are bought for them or their software only runs on macOS.

> So before the lower-end one had 64GB?

No, the lower end ones came with "Fusion Drive", that was 32-128 GB of SSD merged with a 1TB HDD presented as a single disk.


The audacity they had selling spinning drives for personal computing in 2020.

Meh - my Mom's iMac has the 2TB fusion drive and it works surprisingly well. When I dual boot it into bootcamp with Windows you can tell the SSD caching is not there; it's pretty obvious. Sticking a 32GB SSD (formatted NTFS) and dedicating it to readyboost helps a bit, but it's still no where near as effective as fusion under Mac OS. Obviously being pure SSD would be better, but when she got it almost five years ago that much SSD - even third party - would have been cost prohibitive and it's still pretty expensive to get 2TB as all SSD.

I’ve been very happy with the 3TB Fusion drive in my 2014 27”, it’s hugely more performant than a bare hard drive. I’ll probably be getting a new one with a 4TB SSD, but that will make the new machine over a grand more expensive than my old machine was. These new SSDs had better be zippy.

They dropped down to less than that in the middle, almost completely negating their benefit since everything something you needed would always end up on the slow spinny drive :/

> What kind of magic fairy dust SSDs are they using that you can't have a sensible amount of storage space at those prices?

The kind where Apple can make a 300% or more margin, knowing that people will still pay.

Don't think Apple have ever sold SSD upgrades at anything remotely resembling competitive $/TB prices. Clearly they don't need too because people still buy their machines.

As I see it it's basically price discrimination.

Apple wants a certain profit margin for the model as a whole. Yet for customers who will never pay prices that will give Apple that full margin, they offer a model at a low price point with a compressed margin, but with a painful aspect that will encourage customers who can pay to go with a higher priced unit — here, the painful thing is the small SSD size.

So the idea that the minimal-SSD model is somehow the "real" price and Apple is selling SSD space at an exorbitant markup, isn't quite right.

You could almost think of it as Apple offering a discount if you'll go with the smallest SSD, so they can capture more of the market while still keeping their average profit margins high.

If Apple charged "competitive $/TB prices", the small-SSD option would likely be more expensive, rather than the larger-SSD options being cheaper.

Perhaps that's true for people who buy personal Macs, but in several companies I've worked for, the companies that buy Macs for work almost always use the smallest SSD option: you don't need a lot of local storage, since most files will be in company-managed storage systems.

Sure, there will always be customers for whom the low-price option is perfect.

Outlet malls are another form of price discrimination, as they offer lower prices for those willing to travel further to get the lower prices. But there will always be some people happen to live next to the outlet mall.

If people want to "cheap out" they can always get it with the base storage and hang a big thunderbolt drive off the back. It basically performs the same as if it was built-in, at a much lower price. One can get the entry level 27 inch imac and add storage and RAM to get a high end config on the cheap (graphics excepted).

To add to that, it allows them to advertise that "prices start at..." and give an unrealistically low price, which is manipulative, to be sure.

I think it's simpler than all that: any FRU gets a 5x price hike.

The iMac competes via its 5K display and having macOS in general. Remember that Apple’s comparable offerings for this tier display were priced at $1299, in the same price range as many 5K displays.

The $1800 price point isn’t hard to grasp once you consider the display.

EDIT: I previously compared to / referenced possibly sub-$1000 5K monitors, but it seems the ones I was looking at in that range were actually 4K.

It’s like buying a 5k display and getting a subsidized computer. There’s ~1 5k monitor on the market today (LG)?

I wonder how expandable this is? Buy the bottom end machine with the CPU you want and upgrade SSD and RAM? I would imagine SSD is upgradeable but RAM soldered onto the mobo?

27" iMacs have typically featured 4 memory slots in an easily accessible panel on the back:


And https://www.apple.com/imac/specs/ (click 27-inch) says

> four SO-DIMM slots, user accessible

Thanks. Hopefully the SSD is accessible too. I have a ~2010 iMac 27" and I had to pull of the front glass of the monitor and disassemble half the computer to replace the HDD with an SSD. That was a gigantic PITA.

I think the SSDs on all the T2 computers are built-in to the mobo — the T2 is the disk controller — so not even a removable card on the back side like the iMacs models up to now.

On Apple laptops "SSDs" are also soldered PCIe flash memory chips or something like that, so maybe on this very thin desktop computer they will also be doing that.

and it's interesting, hard to find a 5k "retina"; was looking at this, but other than the hard to find (these days) LG model, everything from the usual suspects (dell, etc) gives you some gigantic screen at a lesser DPI...

Apple NVMe disks are fast as hell - faster than any other single disk else I’ve used, outside of the dell NVMe disks we have in some of our servers that cost like $3000 each. I can also trash whatever disks Apple is using for years without ever running into failure, whereas I’ve blown out the wear leveling on plenty of “affordable” SSDs.

> people still buy their machines

Sure, but more would buy at lower prices.

That said I don't doubt that Apple has researched this a zillion ways, and this price point is there for solid reasons.

Apple intentionally prices a lot of customers out of their market. Their monetary strategy relies on it, oddly enough. If they sold to more people, they’d run into many more issues being seen as a monopoly.

Tim Cook spelled it out pretty clearly to Congress when he testified last week; Apple does not have majority market share in any market they’re in. Not in smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, or wearables. And they don’t want to have more market share. The inflated prices and being seen as a “luxury brand” is a great way for them to continue making a huge profit while restricting market share to the point that they can skirt around most monopoly law.

The downside there is to maintain growth, they need to continually push into new markets, which they’ve been doing about once every 5 years (desktops -> laptops -> phones -> tablets -> wearables -> automotive/AR?)

>Apple does not have majority market share in any market they’re in.

That is his spin. iOS has majority market in US ( over 50% ), and iMessages etc. So it is not a niche.

Of course he would like to use Shipment, Brand or whatever other matrix to prove. Although congress seems to be dump enough ( or not ) to not act those questions.

And that is speaking from an Apple Fan.

I imagine they also reduce their support resources, and improve their customer retention, by pricing where they do. Low-cost shoppers are going to be hard to retain.

"Veblen goods"?

> Sure, but more would buy at lower prices.

Well, sure, that's just the law of demand. If Apple's goal was simply to ship the most products as possible in the short term, they would sell them for a penny until they ran out of money.


My only point was that "people still buy" is not much of an argument.

In hindsight, I didn't contribute anything of value to the discourse by that...

"People still buy and Apple is wildly successful" is a pretty decent argument though.

Same can be said about other exclusive brands.

But isn't it great to show that you can afford Apple?

The only ones that had anything close to reasonable prices were the 2012-2013 MacBook Airs. The base one came with 128GB(which was decent at the time) and upgrading to 256 or 512 wasn't a lot more than those drives cost at retail.

Throughout its history, Apple went back and forth between reasonable memory upgrades and ridiculous memory upgrades. They seem to have settled on a general trend recently - if the user can do it, like in a Mac Pro or iMac, charge a ridiculous amount. If it's not user accessible memory, like in a portable, charge a more reasonable (but admittedly still on the expensive side) for memory upgrades.

I bought a tricked out iMac last year and the only thing I didn't upgrade was the memory. Got 32 GB from Other World Computing at the same time for a much more sane price.

They learned their lesson and made storage, RAM, etc. non-user replaceable in newer versions. You used to be able to buy a Mac from Apple and upgrade its RAM at a reasonable price on your own. Not anymore.

The iMac and Mac Pro has user upgradeable RAM.


You are right. But you used to be able to do that to any Mac. And I fully expect the ARM Macs to get rid of this feature. Though I would be happily surprised if they don't.

I don't expect them to, but I don't not expect them to, if that makes sense -- it feels like an "all bets are off" kind of thing to me. The industrial design of the iMac is likely to finally change when it goes ARM, and it doesn't strike me as impossible that they'll make it slightly more open, or at least not make it worse.

On the one hand, Apple loves to eliminate options and lock things down, both for quasi-defensible reasons like simplifying product lines and for less defensible ones like increasing profit margins (and making everything obsessively thinner, like they're in the grip of some industrial design anorexia). On the other, their most recent hardware design changes have often shown response to customer complaints (e.g., replacing the butterfly keyboard with an improved iteration of the "Magic" keyboard) -- and, if they really intended to lock down the Mac like iOS, the move to ARM and the sweeping UX changes in macOS Big Sur would almost certainly have been when that happened. The fact that it hadn't happened makes me considerably more skeptical it's going to. (I'm also more skeptical now that iOS will ever be allowed to blossom into a full general-purpose OS, but that's a different topic.)

As an aside, I'm not sure whether adding the T2 chip would make it more complicated to use a third-party SSD. It's my understanding they function as the SSD controller and do some kind of wonky things, but I am not taking the time to look that up and could be completely wrong. :)

I feel like they are taking a page out of consoles, at least if the iPad's influence is to be felt on future Macs. Relatively rigidly defined hardware specs and the apps are designed to take that into account.

On the 27" iMac, the memory upgrades are able to be done easily by the user. The 21" Models require taking it to an Apple Store to do so. I believe the iMac Pro also needs to be taken apart in order to upgrade the RAM.

The difficulty of lugging a 27" machine around is probably the only reason they make it user upgradable.

New MacMini is upgradable as well. I just put 32GB in mine.

but SSD is soldered on motherboard though. previous models allowed to change storage..

Franky I don’t think people upgrading their own machines ever played into this.

I suspect the vast majority of people who pay for the upgrades are businesses or consultants where the Apple upgrade price is fairly negligible compared to cost of their professional time.

If you’re someone who didn’t want to pay the Apple premium before they took user upgrades away, it seems a little unlikely you’ll be happy to stomach them after. Rather you would just do without (of course there will be some who do upgrade, but I suspect they’re in the minority).

> I suspect the vast majority of people who pay for the upgrades are businesses or consultants where the Apple upgrade price is fairly negligible compared to cost of their professional time.

Yes exactly. The premium on my time has been gradually edging out in my priorities. I'd rather pay a little extra to have something already there than spend the same amount in my own time instead. It's a fair tradeoff. "But there's not much time involved, it's a ripoff," say many. But there is time involved for people who don't regularly upgrade computers. Figuring out what to buy, the best place to buy it, then the process of doing the upgrade yourself (if it's possible) is not a trivial amount of time unless you do this often enough.

Let's say you can upgrade a hard drive in 2 hours total, which is conservative -- the total time of researching what to buy, reading how to install it, ordering it, opening the package, putting in the drive, configuring the stuff you need to do, if necessary. Even at two hours, for my wage, that's about $200 of my time. I'd rather just spend the $200 or even a little more to not deal with it. And in reality, for me at least, it would take more than 2 hours of my time all-in anyway.

One example, just so you know how much you are being ripped off... Yes, this is actually a trivial amount of time even if you do it once a decade.

Last time I checked buying 32 GB of ram for the imac was about $175, apple took $850 to upgrade from the base 8 GB to 32 GB...

Replacing them wouldn't take many minutes.

(Or - you could buy 64 GB for $350 (something apple didn't even offer, I guess the uint32 would overflow)).

And realizing that $850 is effectively for 24GB, because Apple was already compensated for the 8GB in the base price.

Upgrading RAM is much easier than upgrading storage, since storage is stateful and backups are never quite right.

That doesn't apply on a new machine.

Upgrading the RAM on a Macbook used to be a five minute process: Order "macbook ram" from the online retailer of your choice, pop out the battery using a coin, slide the RAM into the slot. Done. Anybody could do it.

Why do their customers tolerate this?! I know some people love Apple (their hardware does look great), but this is extremely annoying.

Because not everyone can be a computer nerd.

Apple has put a huge amount of real effort into direct outreach and support of their customers, really.

Microsoft chased business.

Apple chased people.

Google is chasing its own tail.

For the markup over the retail price of the SSD, someone else does the installation, validation, built dumb stupid restore and backup services to boot.

Dell? Lenovo? Microsoft? Still ramming bloatware down your throat and persona non grata in malls or shopping centers, or wherever a digital nomad might be roaming.

Apple built a hardware and software ecosystem for normies. Free from the Machiavellian incantations of pretentious experts with their opinions on memory layouts, how big their data is, when people just want to edit and backup files.

People think the markup is worth it to avoid IT people. Can’t say I blame them. Have you worked with the “professional” level IT crowd? Alpha bro sausage fest and foot fungus eaters.

That’s why people pay the markup.

>Have you worked with the “professional” level IT crowd? Alpha bro sausage fest and foot fungus eaters.

I work at a network security company and a very small percentage fit your ignorant stereotype of them. Overall its the best group of people I have met in my entire life.

You run into way more "Alpha bro sausage fests" when you hang out with "normies".

I agree with your overall idea, but not your sentiment. I think that plenty of computer nerds use Macs. It's still a popular platform for software developers and computer enthusiasts. There's no need for gatekeeping between "normies" and "computer nerds."

You seem to be really angry at people who make choices different from yours. So much sarcasm and contempt for others here.

Anyway, if you want to get into it... Microsoft dominated the consumer market in the 1990s. The same people you say who were not nerds and didn't care ... Didn't care to get an Apple machine either, they got whatever everybody else got, which were Wintel PCs. Most didn't care if something else had a nicer design or UI or was friendlier or more efficient. It was Win9x almost everywhere.

I think this negates your "Microsoft went after businesses" hypothesis somewhat. They had total domination everywhere, and maybe got a little lazy or complacent and the lead eroded, at the same time Apple got Jobs back and grew as a consumer brand due to iPod etc. But Microsoft is still a major force outside of techie circles.

> Microsoft dominated the consumer market in the 1990s.

Microsoft dominated everything in the 1990s. Apple more or less lost it all.

> Most didn't care if something else had a nicer design or UI or was friendlier or more efficient.

Macs weren't very good in the 90s. They weren't fast, they weren't pretty, and they were quite expensive. The original iMac changed that in a fairly big way. It was more affordable and a lot more approachable than pretty much any other PC on the market and non-business consumers loved it.

Every successive generation of the Mac has shaved of just a little bit more of the consumer end of the PC market. Then the iPad came along and completely crushed the low end Netbooks. So now Apple has much of the mid-low end consumer space with the iPad and the upper end of consumer space (and a big chunk of professionals who have the choice) with the Mac.

Microsoft still truly owns corporate PCs and gamer space though.

Microsoft is definitely not a major force outside of tech circles.

Apple alone sells about the same amount of phones+tablets than all of the personal computers sold in the world (https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-01-1...) and it only has 13% market share.

The PC market is tiny compared to the mobile market.

I used to build gaming PCs for myself and friends, salvage laptops from parts picked up at auction, etc. But I'm no longer interested in doing that. I'd much rather just buy the computer I need and not fuss with it. I think both of those "modes" are completely valid, and it's great that there are many options on the market for people in both groups.

Is it perhaps "annoying in theory" that I couldn't upgrade my Mac's hardware if I wanted to? I suppose so. But I'm never going to want to do that, so I don't experience any practical annoyance. I suspect my experience matches the overwhelming majority of Apple's customers and potential customers.

> But I'm never going to want to do that, so I don't experience any practical annoyance.

It seriously looks like finding an excuse.

Before switching to Macs I used to build my own machines. You want to know how many times I upgraded any of them? Never. Seriously, I specced them out quite generously and never needed to, they lasted as long as I intended them to. Now I’m a Mac user it’s the same thing. I’ll spec out a 27” with plenty of headroom and Ill be done.

> You want to know how many times I upgraded any of them? Never.

I did it several times. Seriously, upgrade is advantage. Some of Apple fanboys can deny it, but better to have that possibility.

And Apple SSD specs in 2020 makes me laughing. But I'm not whining, you want mac - be ready to pay premium price or spend time with hackintosh. It's just business.

Oh come on, Toms Hardware did a roundup of desktop SSDs a few months ago. The iMac drives beat all but one of them, the Sabrent Rocket and that comes in at £750 for a 4TB card.

So sure Apple storage is pricey, and if you’re willing to compromise on performance you can get something that looks equivalent for a lot less, or something actually equivalent for a bit less. But there are a lot of other things about Apple gear you can’t get anywhere else full stop, at any price.

But Apple is supposed to be marketed towards people who don't care about specs.

Why did it suddenly become important in your example?

According to who? Everybody cares about value for money. Specs aren't the only reason a product is valuable though, of course. I pay a mark up on Apple gear because of the value I get from the software and customer service, but I still need effective tools and that means up to scratch spec-wise.

Because it’s the only supported way to run macOS

It is indeed annoying and expensive. I still prefer their OS/hardware combo over anything else on the market. YMMV.

Apple supports their hardware (both repairs and software updates) for much longer than anyone else ever. While I have no qualms about opening up my Dell desktop, I wouldn't dare touch a laptop. Laptops, even before Apple soldered the components in, were extremely fragile. My Sony Vaio for example had a broken key and the only option was to replace the entire keyboard.

In essence, I'd rather go with a company that will fix my hardware even if they charge me for it. Rather than a company (like HTC/Sony) where I have to wait many many weeks if at all and software upgrades cut off in under two years.

But apple laptop repairs are basically the price of a new machine, and they've had severe quality problems for a few years.

May as well but a new Dell every 2 years for half the price

And give up MacOS, Photos, iMovie, Time Machine, a bunch of Mac only apps and those 5K displays? Yeah.... not happening.

I agree it is. I still build all my desktop PC's for myself. I've been doing it for over 20 years, and will do so in the future. Back in the day you could really upgrade Mac's. I had a PowerMac 7500 in which I had upgraded the CPU, storage, memory and Video Cards, even the older MacPro's you could do this. I think you can upgrade the CPU's on the newer Mac Pro's although, it's a decent amount of work to do so.

I have tried linux on a laptop and the battery life was abysmal (it was an older Thinkpad X1). With macos (which I don't particularly like) I get a solid dev experience and reliable battery life. Plus, their hardware is untouchable IMO.

I have a linux desktop that works well, but I can't always work on it unfortunately.

Well, here's my reasoning why I'd happily pay Apple the price for the upgrades: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24052506

I can't remember the last time I upgraded the memory/disk in one of my computers. It really is a non-issue for the majority. There are other issues that are much more important to me.

Apple SSDs have been historically leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Apple started using SSDs driven by PCIe while consumers were all using SATA. Jacking up the price was justified.

Not anymore. Fast NVME drives are commonplace. Unless these drives are again significantly faster than the competition, which I doubt, that's just Apple doing their thing and not adjusting fast enough.

Maybe. Also part of the RDF. I've met many Apple people who seem to believe that even today, high end Dell laptops etc. are all still SATA.

Apple's drives are no longer faster. They're fast. But high end PC drives are just as fast (and usually 1/3 the price).

HN clearly isn't the target market. When HN frets about how it isn't suitable for them, it's just a lot of meaningless bluster and noise.

Though let's be real here. I have a 2018 MBP with 256GB of storage. I have XCode, the XCode beta, Logic Pro, virtually the entire Adobe gamut of software, brew and a massive selection of brew packages, every browser, IntelliJ, GoLand, and just a tonne of crap.

I've used about 150GB. As fair disclosure I have a USB 3 1TB 970 Pro in an enclosure that I use for the occasional massive file download, purely because I'm paranoid about flash exhaustion, though by the system metrics I'm still at less than 1% wear.

Yeah, someone buying this for their kid to do their homework is going to be completely fine with 256GB. Though it's worth noting that the next option is just $200 more and gives you a faster process and 512GB. The lowest end one is just the one to frame the value, and presumably isn't their recommendation.

I agree that Apple has focused its attention exclusively on the consumer market... and that's a problem.

Developers write code for platforms that they're using. This is what drove adoption of Apple hardware in the early 2ks (a POSIX that runs MS Office!), which in turn set set the stage for the iPhone and iOS.

Unlike then, Apple now has a good grip on the consumer market: Not targetting iOS with a mobile/tablet release is a bad idea, regardless of whether or not devs are familiar with it. But OSX? There are a few areas where it's still has strong devotees: Color management in OSX is still fantastic, creating a lot of loyalty among artists, photographers, etc... It's still technically a POSIX, so it's still attractive to developers.

In short, OSX is not targetted at consumers. When someone needs a "computer" for their kid to do their homework, that's increasingly going to be an Android/iOS device.

For a platform to survive, it needs a healthy developer community. A developer community needs incentives (e.g., market-share or devs already using the platform). Right now, what are the incentives for OSX devs?

Not entirely sure if you intended to reply to my comment, however just to clarify I'm saying that this particular machine isn't for developers or hackers. Apple has different machines for different markets.

Developers buy MBPs. Industry users buy iMac Pros (which starts at 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD, going up from there) or even the goofy Mac Pro.

"When someone needs a "computer" for their kid to do their homework, that's increasingly going to be an Android/iOS device."

Lots of people do the vast majority of their "computing" on pads and smartphones, but they still like a computer on the desk for..."productivity". For many of those people, this device is more than adequate.

It seems crazy. I bought a 2TB M.2 PCIE gen 3 drive not too long ago for 200 EUR.

These drives are so tiny now they could easy offer an expansion slot which is accessible to the user, like the PS5 will. I miss the early-2000s era Apple who would actually do something like that.

I wish there was a consumer level standard for NVME drives caddies like the ones that are emerging for servers.

Like this but for consumers. https://www.anandtech.com/show/11702/intel-introduces-new-ru...

At least Thunderbolt gives a theoretical 40 Gbps expansion option, if not as clean as having it built-in would be.

$100-$150 for an enclosure, so that's still going to be cheaper than Apple's markup.

Apart from the margin argument advanced in the comments (which I agree with) this TB3 machine can be upgraded with an external drive directly attached to the PCIe bus (that TB3 interface is faster than your disk Last time I checked so supposedly no performance issue).

You may not find this adequate (actually, I don’t like it either) but it’s not an unreasonable position to take.

Having worked in the hw biz not only do memory sockets add to BOM, they reduce reliability (statistically — not on any one machine, but over your installed base)

> 1/2 TB in the $2300 one

It's $2k for the 27" with 500GB.

How much is it to get a really good quality 5k display with a Dell?

> What kind of magic fairy dust SSDs are they using that you can't have a sensible amount of storage space at those prices?

I'm using 165GB of 500GB on my current system. Considering all the systems issued by work are configured the same and nobody complains about space issues, I don't think it's a big problem.

I'd take the 5k display over 1TB storage any time. Sadly my work issues laptops and not iMacs.

It's odd that you can't increase the storage for the £1799 / $2300 model. I don't think 256GB SSD is enough these days.

Personally, I am always inclined to buy my Apple products when travelling as most times it's a lot cheaper in the US or Singapore. I mean $2300 (incl. VAT) vs $1799+1.08=$1945 $350 cheaper.

> What kind of magic fairy dust SSDs are they using

I don't know about magic fairy dust, but Apple's SSDs are known to be phenomenally fast in benchmarks. $300/TB is compared to $200/TB aftermarket for a high end NVMe SSD. Is that markup? Yes, but it's not 300%.

When SSDs were the hot new thing yeah, apple had top end SSDs compared to the competition, but today... https://www.notebookcheck.net/Apple-SSD-AP1024-7171-Benchmar...

Apple uses a file system especially designed for fast file transfer speeds, and guess what benchmarks they're using to declare their SSDs superior? With newer M.2 drives like the 970 EVO or Sabrent Rocket Apple has no valid excuse for charging so damn much for storage...

> With newer M.2 drives like the 970 EVO or Sabrent Rocket Apple has no valid excuse for charging so damn much for storage...

Can you show any other major manufacturer that includes a competitive internal drive for significantly less? Because otherwise you're comparing very different things. Dell also upcharges $300 for a 1TB NVMe SSD.

"If I buy it separately and install it myself" isn't a valid market comparison. If you want to do that, then do it.


Many (most?) modern laptops seem to have an m.2 expansion slot. You could for a fraction of the price put in a 2TB SSD.

But it’s intel so presumably you could beat it on an AMD with PCIE gen 4 right?

Not presumably, definately, at least in benchmarks. Max transfer rates on a current model gen4 ssd can reach upwards of 5GB/second, but top-end gen3 model is faster at other things. The Samsung 970 pro is still the fastest nvme consumer disk in almost all categories, besides max transfer rate, due to its usage of 100% mlc, instead of qlc & mlc cache.

Can you get your friendly local repair shop to solder on a bigger BGA or are they DRM'd?

Are you sure the newer iMacs have soldered on storage? I was under the impression they use m.2 SSDs.

They don't. I wouldn't call it user replaceable, since it's difficult, but no soldering required.[0]

Many vendors (including Apple premium resellers) offer replacing the drives for whatever you like.

[0] iFixIt https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+EMC+2546+Bla...

Nice! You're right, that procedure is a bit yuck, but so it goes on macs these days.

Not clear if this will be possible with the 2020 model though, since it has the T2 chip.

Can it be high endurance drives?

My MacBook Pro has used 5% of its SSD endurance in 6 years or so? It has a 1TB SSD.

I'm not filling it up, but I'm not trying to optimize the writes or something?

For all of the handwringing over SSD endurance figures over the years, the fact of the matter is that normal use won't ever get close to using it up. The only people who ever really needed to worry about those figures were doing heavy data processing every day.

I actually do heavy data processing but not every day.

It can be hundreds of RAW images (50MB/image) or the simulation software I'm working on which can generate GBs of output in 3 seconds if I leave the wrong flags on.

In my other workstation I can actually see the big jumps of write accumulation when I do these tasks via SMART (I log the data periodically).

So mine was a honest question rather than covert fanboyism.

The Sabrent Rocket 1TB, a reasonable, fast $130 SSD, has an endurance rating of 1665 TBW. To have hit that rating, you'd have to have written 760 GB to it every day over those six years. At 5%, that's still 38 GB a day, every day.

If you were spending more to get better endurance, you could have just bought the 2TB version, which would have guaranteed 1422 GB/day.

(NB: SSDs suffer write amplification, so if you actually need 1.4TB of writes per day you should choose an enterprise drive instead.)

Endurance isn't a problem with SSDs for consumers, at all. Even QLC, which has significantly worse endurance than TLC, has plenty.

I'm not aware about the TBW rating of the Mac's SSD. I didn't drill into its SMART stats. Maybe I should do that. Home workstation's home is on a Samsung 860 Pro, 256GB version, which has 300TBW.

I have a slower storage tier on that computer for big files and archives so, it's only hammered when I really need that speed.

When I bought the Mac, 1TB SSD was top of the line. 2TB was not available for Mid 2014 Macs. Actually, I upgraded everything as apple could while buying it

I'm aware of the dynamics of SSD writes and TBW values. I personally don't write that brutally. Things get hot if I'm processing images or working on my software and need to see some detailed logs or interim results along the way.

If I was using my computer as an ordinary user, I'd not worry about it at all. My family's computer runs on much simpler drives and their write volume is nowhere near me.

I'm actually impressed that you're dumping that much data regularly on Apple's notoriously undersized drives.

My other workstation is a Linux machine. I use the Mac as the portable one so, they can replace each other at any moment's notice.

This is why I paid or a 1TB SSD on the Mac. I guessed that I'd wear it down faster but nope, that thing holds.

I would be interested in hearing more about how you log / see this - a real world case always beats benchmarks

Actually, my method is very simple. Every 10 minutes I log the Total LBAs Written attribute from the SSD to a log file alongside a long time stamp.

Periodically I graph the data with GNUPlot. There's a slight slope most of the time. In some regions there are jumps. These are generally when I seriously work with my software, generating logs and other output.

System is on another SSD and swap is on a high performance HDD so, they do not affect the graphs I'm getting.

That jumps helped me to catch two KDE bugs. One was an isolated case with akonadi. Other one was reported and possibly KRunner's bookmarks extension will see some more revisions to eliminate disk trashing.

Addendum: When I have spare time, I'd write a small HTML/JS file to get the data from log file and graph it interactively. A both fun and useful project.

The only constraint of price is that must be greater than cost. After that price is determined by what the customer is willing to pay based on the value they receive.

I realize that games these days are full of high detail world-building, but I shudder to think that 250-500 gb for an install is considered commonplace these days...

Yeah, entry level should be a 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM for any "premium" desktop in 2020. I'm sure some bean counter at Apple has calculated that arranging the options in this way makes more money for Apple per unit, but I can't tell you how many times I have looked at an iMac or Mac Mini and thought "that's a pretty good price", then add the correct amount of memory and disk capacity and noped right out of their website.

Schools need Macs at that price point or they can’t buy them .

Schools need Macs?

Schools don't need Macs... it would be the other way around iMacs need schools.

What do you mean by that?

Schools like buying Macs, and they don't particularly care about performance. The low-end iMac has always been a top seller to lower education because a kid isn't going to complain that their computer takes four minutes to boot.

Schools have historically liked buying Macs; I'm not sure how true that is anymore. Chromebooks have swept the schools, both because they're very cheap and because Google has, from what I've read, just terrific classroom management software compared to most competitors. More recently Apple has been pushing the iPad into education pretty hard -- competition from the Chromebook is arguably why the $329 iPad ($299 for education) exists. Macs are increasingly positioned as being for teachers and administrators, not students.

That doesn't explain "Schools need Macs at that price point or they can’t buy them ."

I'm not sure what kind of explanation you're looking for beyond "more expensive Macs will not be bought".

Maybe I misread the comment but it was a response to someone noting how expensive they were... so I read it as saying that they're supposed to be that expensive so schools would buy that. That seemed odd.

It's only rich schools that buy them, and most places that do would be better off without them.

Until you have to manage a lab full of Windows, then MAC becomes a much better value. With a Mac you don’t have to buy MS office, you get iWork. You also get iMovie, GarageBand and other Apple software that covers almost everything a typical school would need. And you never have to buy updates for either the OS or the other Apple software. You also have less malware to deal with.

Having worked at a school with labs full of Windows machines, the real cost of IT support is not to be discounted.

Maybe a Mac isn’t the best solution for everyone, but in the school environment, they’re great. Most schools have kids doing video projects, presentations, desktop publishing, etc. —- tasks for which an out of the box iMac can handle with aplomb and with minimal hassle or additional expense.

Sure there are probably FOSS alternatives, but if you are the computer lab teacher, the last thing you have time for is managing a lab full of temperamental Linux boxes and the multiple flavors of FOSS software alternatives that frankly, aren’t that good compared to what Mac gives you included. For example, what’s a FOSS version of iMovie that works so powerfully and intuitively?

Whole MS 365 suite is free for schools, even the windows licenses are free, so... What are you talking about?

I'm imagining this being said to the principal of a local rural school in, like, Ghana.

Spend $x now on Macs, or spend more later? I should hope that the principal of any school would understand basic math.

Spend later like looking for the one guy who has a Mac in the region and knows how to fix problem x? Or spending later like sending kids to extra courses because they have no idea how to operate the most common office suite on this planet? Spend later like taking that one broken device for a xxx km tour to the next Apple store? And so on...

I wonder how people here are unable to understand basic reality. Especially in third world countries.

Apple’s pricing makes sense when you realise they’re just a consumer electronics company masquerading as a luxury brand.

Most people can afford to buy an iPhone of some kind. $1000 monitor stands and expensive iMacs is what makes their brand seem luxury.

Yeah, iMacs don't really help there.

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