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    Newsletter Issue #1022: So Much for Apple Silicon Being Cheaper

    October 19th, 2021

    Forgive me for being naive about it, but I honestly expected Apple to be able to reduce the price of new Macs as a result of the switchover to Apple Silicon. You see, they no longer have to pay a third-party provider for those CPUs, and thus they should not have to concern themselves with prices that were high enough to ensure a profit for the manufacturer, Intel.

    Instead, the new 16-inch MacBook Pro starts at $2,499 for the entry-level model, $100 more than its predecessor with Intel Inside. With all the goodies, which include the 32-core GPU, 64GB of unified memory (shared by the CPU and GPU), and an 8TB SSD, it maxes out at $6,099.

    Now to be fair to Apple, there are no doubt billions of dollars in development costs to build the new Mac processor family even though it’s based on the existing lineup of A-series chips for iPhones, iPads, and the Apple Watch. So I’m not begrudging Apple’s right to cover its costs and earn profits, but those higher-end Intel chips aren’t cheap.

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    Newsletter Issue #1021: The Apple Hardware Updates We May Not Need

    October 17th, 2021

    Let me make one thing perfectly clear: This story doesn’t mean Apple’s hundreds of millions of customers no longer care about buying new iPhones. Or any other hardware from them. It doesn’t necessarily even apply strictly to Apple, although that remains the focus of this column. But it does show how tech companies have more or less surpassed what customers need to get stuff done.

    This is what I mean:

    Over the years, whenever I bought a new Mac — or a new iPhone — there would be a tremendous boost in performance over the previous model with just one exception. That was the first model with a PowerPC chip in 1994.

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    Newsletter Issue #1020: The Old Apple Complaints Mostly Fade Away

    September 23rd, 2021

    I wrote part of this article ahead of the September 14th media event where Apple introduced the iPhone [lucky] 13 and the Apple Watch 7. Although the former, days from shipping, garnered the usual favorable reviews, some were not so impressed. To them, the changes were largely “incremental” compared to the iPhone 12. It has a beefier battery, better camera performance, a slightly smaller notch and a little faster performance. It looks nearly the same, but will require a different case because it’s a tad thicker and has a larger camera bump.

    Except for battery life, I rather doubt most of you would notice much of a difference, and it’s likely people upgrading will be switching from Android or replacing a much older iPhone. Otherwise, paying more for some models may not make a whole lot of sense with discounts to be had on the iPhone 12.

    Some might suggest that this is an example of Apple losing its competitive edge. But it’s more about the fact that such a high level of performance has been achieved that it becomes harder and harder to improve things. Compared to all the expected possibilities, the complete elimination of the still-controversial notch would be the most effective move. Apple could sell an iPhone without one and it would probably succeed as much or more than most any other improvement.

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    Newsletter Issue #1019: The Road to Becoming Obsolete

    July 17th, 2021

    No, this article is not so much about electronic gadgetry than a personal observation, something that one might regard as inevitable. But I’ll pull through it.

    So over the years, I was always more or less at the front of the line in buying new computing hardware. Not that I had lots of money to burn, but I was able to juggle my finances in such a way as to be able to finance the latest and greatest gear from Apple.

    Now having current gear really didn’t help all that much with my productivity. After all, the actual performance boosts from year to year were generally fairly slight. Indeed, the 1994 introduction of the PowerPC chip was, for a while, a step behind. Almost all of the apps I used had to be run in emulation mode till they were updated — if they were updated. That meant existing basically two processor families behind. Apps launched slower, everything ran slower, and it wasn’t the chip matured, and apps came along, that things were improved noticeably.

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