Intel is a monster, or at least it has been. For nearly three decades Intel has owned the desktop-class and server semiconductor markets. Ever since the DOS PC emerged Intel gained rapid traction into desktop computing. While others, such as AMD, constantly struggled to meet demand, Intel understood capacity and high yields were key to market dominance and never left PC manufacturers wanting. No one had a better silicon fabrication process in the industry. Intel's marketing was equally brilliant. Before the tag line "Intel Inside" no one really knew or cared much about microchips used within a computer. After all, the only interaction a user had was with a keyboard, mouse and display. Suddenly, everyone was asking for a computer with Intel inside.
Intel was so confident of their own ability to shape the future based on their self-serving direction, they no longer needed to own a large portion of ARM, so they sold it off as it was useless for the long term. Intel also decided there was no need to quickly move to 64-bit processors. Intel failed to understand they had built, and were living in, their own arrogant reality distortion field. But AMD knew it, and 2003 stunned the industry by offering their 64-bit backwards compatible 32-bit, Athlon processor. It saved AMD as a company and Intel suffered it's first major stumble. Mobile computing arrived soon after, with Apple commissioning Intel to design a processor for their secret handheld needs. Intel balked, finding it a financially useless pursuit. Thus, Apple launched iPhone with an ARM processor. Due to Intel's blunder, the mobile world runs almost entirely on ARM designs, with Intel nowhere to be found other than under piles of failed ATOM processors. Today Intel finds their bread and butter personal computer market about to be shaken like never before by Microsoft, and quite likely, Apple.
If one visit to Apple Park and Steve Jobs theater wasn't enough fun for journalists this year, they may be getting a second opportunity to visit in November. For those who were not invited the first time (Leo Laporte), this may be their opportunity to gain their first-ever access.
Apple's first Steve Jobs Theater event left some wanting more. The Apple Visitor Center wasn't quite ready for, well, visitors, and the ground are still not completed. On the product side, Apple still has more to reveal before the year is over.
On Tuesday I wrote an article with the premise that Microsoft, from their marketing arm to product offerings are mirroring Apple amazingly well, surpassing Cupertino's technologies in many ways. Immediately, Apple apologists were decrying the Surface Studio as a wannabe, gimmicky iMac, and that the price was unjustifiably high.
Yesterday Apple launched the all-new MacBook Pro, with innovative touch bar, complete with built-in Touch ID. The new technology looks well refined and thoroughly thought out. Touch bar makes sense in hundreds of different use cases and the rest of the MacBook was given highly effective refinements throughout. Apple may have stemmed any creative pro tide away from it's notebook shores with the new MacBooks, but there is still trouble within Apple's desktop offerings. The competition knows it and is attacking in full force.
Apple's Mac lineup has been languishing over the past few years, and their may be valid reasons as to why. Perhaps Apple been preparing to migrate away from Intel to their own A-series processors? Or would iPad's be ushering in a new area of computing relegating Mac's to back of the line? Any number of rumors have given chase as to why Apple's overall Mac lineup has become extremely stale, but it appears Apple is staying firmly Intel for their next generation processors, and thus a slew of long overdue Macs should should be unveiled during an October special event.
Apple is planning a major Mac invasion of new technologies, but it does not explain why this has been long overdue. Two big distractions may have been causing Apple's innovative Mac engine to sputter on 3-cylinders the past few years.
Here’s a quick run down what of what I think we will see today with Apple’s Special Event
April 24, 2015. It was to be a big day in Apple’s history, and a big day for Tim Cook to show the world he could match the brilliance of his predecessor Steve Jobs. Apple Watch was finally available for sale. It was Cook’s first new product category and it was fully under his direction and guidance. The result? Yawn.
Apple Watch is cool and works well within the Apple eco system, but it wasn’t a must-have item, and yet Apple spent abundant resources on bringing this gem (pun intended) to market. Products that suffered in Apple Watch’s development wake have been iPhone, iPad, iOS, Mac and OS X. It seems under Cook Apple can really only fully focus on one item at a time, which is exactly where Apple is today.
OS X has been my favorite OS since its launch way back in 2001. I find it easiest to use and most flexible for what I need to do. That said, like a best friend who has all sorts of great qualities, there is always one or two things you wish you could tweak and make different. Here is my main issue with OS X. For many this may seem mundane but far too often this causes me an “Oh Shoot!” moment, and there is an easy fix.
Around the time of OS X Mavericks, OS X lost its 3-D look and became more of a “flat” OS like iOS. Many people did not like this. For me it was not too big of a deal, but one artifact that came about during this transition was being able to easily distinguish between an active window (the one you are working on) and inactive windows.
Apple’s Mac lineup is stale, and that is putting it mildly. The Mac Pro is now a staggering 2 1/2 years into its lifecycle without a single upgrade. The MacBook Air has seen almost no changes, save for incremental processor updates since 2010. The iMac form factor has not changed since the fall of 2012. The newly minted MacBook and MacBook Pro's have seen only slight incremental upgrades this past year, and the Mac mini is a mere afterthought. What's going on?
The only significant new release to Apple’s Mac lineup has been the MacBook (of which I use and love), in April of 2015. It recently received a slight Intel processor update. Wow... In fact, all Apple has been keen to do the past few years is release Intel processor updates to products, with the MacBook Air still living in an ancient design, with what can now only be described as a horribly low-resolution display. Apple’s Mac lineup has become a cash cow with little invention, but that may be about to change.
Call it a sophisticated workstation, call it a silent powerhouse or video editing marvel, but now-a-days, do not call it relevant. Apple has again let its cutting edge flagship Mac Pro tower languish into obscurity due to a lax approach to updating, reminiscent of predecessors. How relatively lax you may ask? Since its release on December 13, 2013, the Mac Pro has had not three, not two, not one, but zero updates — as in none.
The good news, according to financial site The Motley Fool, is that the long overdue refresh may be arriving soon. Today is supposedly the day Intel will release its 14nm "Broadwell EP" lineup. As workstation class chips go, the Broadwell-E looks to be impressive as ever, sporting up to 10 cores per processor, with an overall 18% raw speed increase. But Intel has seen delays with this processor refresh, and as of yet there has been no press release for the processor. Will Intel suffer upon us yet another delay, thus delaying the Mac Pro update?
Sometimes you can learn just as much about a company by what is not said as opposed to what is said. Case in point is Tim Cook & Co.’s most recent special event held this past week. At the special event we were dazzled by an updated iPhone line and a new iPad Pro size. Like a magician, Apple said, “Look over here!” However, what one product line — product category — did Apple not talk about at all, as if it didn’t even exist. Macs.
Every model in the Mac product category is now over a year old — even their newest items. Some Macs, like the Mac Pro are now over two years old. It seems like the Mac line-up has been relegated to cash-cow status and therefore Apple is putting as little effort (aka little money) into Macs as possible and reaping as much margin and cash as possible. Or is something else afoot?