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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 #1013: Apple’s M1 Macs: Must You Wait?

    December 29th, 2020

    If you’ve used Macs for a long time, say over 25 years, you might recall the original processor migration. Then it was the journey from Motorola 680×0 chips to the PowerPC, said to be the ultimate processor. But it wasn’t such a friendly change.

    For one thing, just about every app you used, even those from Apple, hadn’t made the trip to the new processor. So they had to run in emulation. So they’d run, more or less, about the same as Macs using the 68030 CPU, such as the IIci or the IIx. If you were upgrading from a Quadra, for example, using the 68040 CPU, you lost the performance advantage till the apps were updated.

    Now if you weren’t using Macs way back then — or weren’t even around — no worries. Most of this should be pretty clear anyway. Apple as “vintage” for several years), and a Late 2014 iMac (which has just been declared “vintage”).

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    Newsletter Issue #997: So Is Your Intel Mac Going to Self-Destruct?

    June 24th, 2020

    In announcing a two-year transition from Intel Inside to Apple Silicon, has Apple killed potential sales of new Macs?

    Is that even possible? Or are the tech pundits getting just a little bit beside themselves with logic and reason?

    Now the news about Apple’s third processor switch wasn’t surprising. It had been predicted for several years, and Intel’s delays in reducing die size and making CPUs faster and more power efficient haven’t helped. It meant that your spiffy new Mac wasn’t very much better than the one for the previous year, or the year before that.

    In turn, Apple boasts that A-series CPU performance has increased 100-fold in the past decade. I’m not aware that today’s MacBook Pro’s performance is 100-fold faster than the 2010 model, the one that’s still in regular use over here.

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    Newsletter Issue #995: Does Apple Really Want to
    Alienate Customers with ARM on a Mac?

    June 14th, 2020

    A lot of what passes for tech journalism — or mainstream journalism for that matter — fails to recognize the history behind a matter. So for several years, as Apple produced faster and faster custom ARM-based CPUs that vanquished competing silicon, there has been growing speculation that the Mac will get them next.

    On the surface, it makes plenty of sense sense. In recent years, Intel has begun to hit the wall in improving the performance of its own CPU. Its efforts to build mobile processors haven’t gone so well. At one time, the low-power chip that came to be known as Atom was considered as a possible contender for use in the iPhone, or perhaps other Apple mobile gear.

    It never happened, and Intel’s efforts to move from its core competency – PC processors — haven’t gone so well. For a time Apple even bought billions of dollars of baseband modems for iPhones from Intel, but the company hasn’t been able to scale up to 5G. In the end, Apple settled a simmering series of lawsuits with Qualcomm to buy its hardware instead.

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