So as every Mac pro user now knows, Apple finally realised that they needed to do something.
Well I say ‘do’, but they didn’t really ‘do’ anything, they just ‘said’ something to 5 journalists.
Existing MacPro has been sort-of speed bumped.
New Mac Pro is planned, ‘but not this year’.
New iMacPro is planned for ‘this year’.
Mac Mini isn’t cancelled.
New monitor is planned to go with this new MacPro.
I’m of course very relieved, as I was seriously kicking the tyres on a Windows set-up come August, but Apple isn’t out of my, or other people woods just yet.
First, they have to deliver. I would say that Apple’s answer for the professional Mac market is as important as Apple’s answer to the entire tech market all those years ago when they released the Bondi Blue iMac.
They could still fumble and lose this entire market.
Secondly, they need to understand that professionals aren’t just after a new Pro Mac, they are after a commitment and an ecosystem for professional Mac users.
They need to have an updated version of the hardware, even before it’s released.
They need to have the ability to expand it themselves if they need to – the number of niches that this hardware services is too great for Apple to cover them all.
That little Bondi Blue iMac was a success not because of how it looked or what it did or did not have, but because they updated it roughly every 6 months.
Thirdly, they need to understand that the philosophy that governs the non-pro parts of their product lines, needs to be different for the professional Mac user.
We don’t care about form over function, or even function over form – we care about the balance of both.
The cheesegrater Mac was a perfect example of this. It looked wonderful, but the innovation was inside that metal enclosure – it really is a sight to behold.
The beauty was the innovation of the cooling fans, the ease of upgrading ram, hard drives etc.
This was seemingly forgotten when Apple released the Trash Can Mac Pro.
Fourthly and finally, my big worry and the link to the article above.
This meeting is a desperate attempt at damage control.
Why didn’t this meeting happen last year, why now? What’s changed?
This was a PR meeting where 5 carefully chosen people were prepped beforehand on what they could or could not ask – I’d love to hear about that discussion.
At that meeting, we didn’t see Tim Cook or Jony Ive. I know they don’t usually get involved, but this whole debacle hints at a company that’s split about it’s future.
Jony Ive is AWOL, and as a designer I call into question his entire tenure at Apple is simply smoke and mirrors. He keeps saying that design ‘isn’t just how it looks but how it works’, but example after example show that he doesn’t think like this.
Then there’s Tim Cook – how does this announcement sit with the CEO of your company telling anyone who will listen that you don’t need to use a PC anymore, now Apple sells the iPadPro?
Phil Schiller on the other hand is looking more and more like someone who is struggling, and not at all agreeing with the direction of Apple.
He had to stand on stage and sell us that shitty LG monitor, the MacBookNotPro and give us the ‘courage’ excuse for removing the headphone jack from the latest iPhone.
He was the person who convinced those inside Apple that they needed to make bigger phones because Samsung was eating their lunch. The ‘customer want what we don’t have’ presentation shows this.
This smacks of division and an almost civil war at Apple, where differing factions fight within a company to make sure that ‘their baby’ succeeds, regardless to what the customer actually wants.
All of this would not be so bad, if it were not for Apple’s competition.
Microsoft is steaming ahead, getting it’s house in order, listening to it’s customer and supremely focused under it’s new management.
Apple needs to do the same.
Not much to say about this picture really.
I’d let it speak for itself, but upon seeing some of the tweets from ordinary people that accept this kind of advertising and the attitude that it’s based upon, let me say a couple of things.
If Fiverr think we are ‘do-ers’, and are OK with working like this, then Fiverr are fuck-ers’.
Why don’t all us do-ers tell the talentless part of the population to fuck off and go and do it themselves?
If ‘do-ers’ have to literally work like this to compete, then they won’t do it. They’ll just give up this job and go and do something else more rewarding, like shovelling shit for a living.
But hey, the talentless gibbons running Fiverr don’t care. They’ve figured out a away of exploiting talented people to the point only the worst and most desperate can survive.
So this attitude doesn’t just hurt them, it hurts their customers as well.
A very sad post from Daring Fireball, something that Apple-based pro’s have known for a long time, but daren’t say it out loud.
Apple is moving away from the pro market and giving it to Microsoft and their OEM’s.
Thing is it would be so easy for Apple to own this market end to end, they certainly have the cash resources, but they obviously can’t be bothered.
Apple just isn’t an answer for the pro market anymore, the battle isn’t even being fought.
I always thought that Apple would go down fighting, I never thought they’d just give it up.
Within 5 years or so there won’t be any more MacPro’s and there also won’t be Mac professionals either.
The little black box has had a rough ride in recent times.
It’s morphed from one thing to another, Apple seemingly flailing around trying to find something that sticks.
Not much has.
I own an entry level version 4, and I’m not really that happy with it.
I’m from the UK, so a lot of what is printed in the press about the Apple TV in the US doesn’t really apply to me, but the UK version doesn’t fair that much better.
The device is really buggy.
I have to routinely restart it to play iTunes content (I get the “ready to play in 2 hours 24 minutes bug).
Also home sharing is fubar’d. Turning it on destroys my entire home network, both wireless and wired, mandating a router and modem restart.
The aerial screensaver thinks I’m an American vampire – and live in a permanent night state in San Francisco.
The selection of apps is woefully sparse and is infrequently updated.
The BBC had to be shown the way to create an app for it and the other commercial channels, whilst they are on the iPhone, don’t seem interested in the Apple TV.
The main reason for this is AirPlay.
Apple have made such a good job of this that it discourages developers from doing more work to create a TV version.
Hence there’s no Amazon, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 apps.
Gaming would be fun, if Apple would allow the 5-10 iOS devices in my household, TO BE CONTROLLERS.
Then there’s the remote.
I didn’t really understand the problem, until I tried to use one.
In a previous article I ranted about how Apple’s designers aren’t as good as they say they are because they are more concerned about how something looks rather than how it works.
This remote not only looks awful, it’s a nightmare to actually use.
Siri? I’ll admit it’s well done, and certainly the most successful implementation of it.
But in comparison with other verbal assistants it still falls short.
So what can be done?
For me personally, if they could get the UK channels to sign up, I’d be pretty happy.
However you can run these channel’s iOS apps on a jailbroken ATV, so why doesn’t Apple just do that and let the apps flood in?
It seems like an easy win to me.
The buggieness I hope is sorted with an update, but this is The New Apple, so you never know.
Apple’s design issues run much deeper than the Apple TV, a fundamental shake up is required here.
Apple’s problem with the Apple TV is its scale. It’s simply trying to do too much, too soon.
The consumers problem with the Apple TV is that it has to do different things in different regions.
I want Channel 4, somebody else might want pro-games, somebody else might want DVR capabilities.
The point is you can’t please everyone, it needs to do a small number of things and do them really well.
There is one thing they can do that would help enormously though:
Sack Eddy Cue – he’s is Totally Valueless.
The chance to actually hear, nothing.
Douglas Adams wrote about a creature that discovered the ability to read people’s minds.
A great achievement you’d think, until they realised that they could hear every thought inside every single one of their colleagues minds 24/7/365.
The only way they could blot this out was by talking. Constantly. About. Everything.
As Douglas observed the main thing they talked about was how noisy their world had suddenly become.
A lot like the internet – it’s hard to listen to silence.
Everybody communicates, constantly.l about every single thing that comes in to their heads.
Just like those creatures, every single thought is broadcasted to anyone who will listen 24/7/365.
This is mirrored at work, partly because current business thinking dictates we all work in open plan, collaborative, noisy environments.
It’s hard to find anyone who works any other way now.
But study after study shows that it’s wrong – just like this article from fastcompany.com.
- The silence between noises actually produces more of a calming effect than the music, even if it’s ‘relaxing’ music.
- Noise stops the brain from working and processing information.
- Studies in mice show that silence allows the hippocampus (memory) grow new brain cells.
- Studies show that productivity increases by 23% in more silent workplaces.
This isn’t the only study, it’s common knowledge that current office trends decrease productivity.
So why do business do it – there must be a reason.
Why do cold, heartless, profit-driven companies who want to squeeze every bit of productivity from their people, put up with 23% less productivity?
It must benefit someone – somebody’s productivity is increased by this arrangement, but it certainly isn’t you or I.
So what are the results of the workspaces they favour?
- We are all forced to work collaboratively
(so no individual is responsible for ideas and innovation)
- We are all forced to hear everyone’s opinion or point of view.
(so everyone’s opinion is valid, facilitating the above)
- Meetings are held in the open – no closed doors.
(so no individual can have hidden agendas or opinions)
- You, as an individual, don’t have a ‘space’ that’s your own.
(so no individual can cement themselves in a department)
- Everybody’s job roles are interchangeable.
(so no individual is allowed to grow in their role and become indispensable)
- No hierarchy is allowed.
(so no individual can rise through the ranks because of aptitude)
- No managers are tolerated.
(so no individual can jeopardise the upper echelons of the business)
So the benefit of reducing productivity by 23% is to discourage independent thinking individuals.
Those difficult people, who don’t do things the company way, those people who charge their own paths, regardless of the toes they tread on.
Those people who know they’re right and everyone else is wrong.
You could say they’re the crazy ones.
A very long, but rewarding article about what led up to the release of the iPhone.
Some great quotes in here and it shows that Apple really was betting the farm on this product.
I very much doubt now that Steve is gone, there is anyone with the drive and foresight to do this again.
But with most of the world’s money in their bank account, they shouldn’t need to do that.
However, out of the entire article, one thing stood out for me – and it’s nothing to do with the iPhone per se.
The second iPhone prototype in early 2006 … was made entirely of brushed aluminum. Jobs and Jonathan Ive, Apple’s design chief, were exceedingly proud of it. But because neither of them was an expert in the physics of radio waves, they didn’t realize they created a beautiful brick. Radio waves don’t travel through metal well. “I and Rubén Caballero” — Apple’s antenna expert — “had to go up to the boardroom and explain to Steve and Ive that you cannot put radio waves through metal,” says Phil Kearney, an engineer who left Apple in 2008. “And it was not an easy explanation. Most of the designers are artists. The last science class they took was in eighth grade. But they have a lot of power at Apple. So they ask, ‘Why can’t we just make a little seam for the radio waves to escape through?’ And you have to explain to them why you just can’t.”
This surprised me, (and it also must be a very stressful job being an engineer at Apple.)
A good designer should know all this.
A good designer should understand every aspect and limitations of what they are designing, before they put pen to paper.
A good designer is not concerned with just how it looks, BUT HOW IT WORKS.
I’m semi-quoting Mr Ive here.
It seems that the designers at Apple, who in most cases trump all other influences, aren’t as good as they say they are.
They are just concerned with how things look, not how they actually work.
Jony Ive let the designers under his control waste time in designing something that could not exist in the real world.
That’s not an industrial designer, that’s an arrogant artist with no concern of how the products he designs are used.
Does that ring any bells?
In three posts, all that’s wrong at Apple.
- A bad, short-sighted decision
- which led to a show-stopping quality control bug
- which then led to an embarrassing withdrawal from stores
Pathetic. Sorry to say this but Steve would have painted the walls with whoever’s responsible for this.
It reminds me of the MobileMe debacle, Steve went apeshit and even openly criticised the people responsible at the iCloud keynote launch and in an email here:
Steve Jobs summoned the entire MobileMe team for a meeting at the company’s on-campus Town Hall, accusing everyone of “tarnishing Apple’s reputation.” He told the members of the team they “should hate each other for having let each other down”.
I doubt anyone is hating each other at Apple today – far to confrontational for Tim’s style.
I’m sure they will all get around a table and come up with a solution.
They’re not in a ‘blame culture’.
Hence why things like an Apple-blessed LG monitor is ‘tarnishing Apple’s brand’.
The people responsible for the decision to not produce their own display and to choose a 3rd party, ought to be ashamed of themselves.
They are dragging Apple’s once good name through the dirt.
Dirt by association.
This is terrible.
This is from Apple’s review section of the store:
I bought a couple of LG UltraFine 4K Displays.
One of them was broken. Very frustrated because of zero quality control.
Today I had got replacement. And do you know what? The new monitor has totally different color temperature! Color profile exactly the same, but one monitor has “white” shade of white color and another one has “yellow” shade of white color.
Have you promised P3 99%? You even can’t provide the same color temperature.
Totally disappointed, have to return.
The one thing you need your hardware to do as a pro, is have reliable colour control.
The first issue I had was intermittent connectivity with the built in speakers. Sometimes they would work fine, other times the speakers could not be recognized by my MBP. After hours with customer service (both LG and Apple), no resolution was reached. I exchanged the monitor for another and with the second monitor the speaker issue was fixed. Unfortunately, with the second monitor I experienced issues with a non-responsive computer after waking it from sleep mode that required unplugging then reconnection of the USB-C cable from the monitor to the computer.
Dropped connections are a Windows thing – not anymore.
The failing to wake from sleep issue has made this useless. The entire reasons i bought it was for the convenience of being able to leave my MacBook plugged in and charging via the single cable but every time i open the MacBook I have to unplug and plug the monitor back in, sometimes 5-6 times before it wakes up.
You have to UNPLUG THE MONITOR and replug it to make it work.
And one unbelievable report from MacDailyNews comment section:
I have this monitor I am looking at it as I type this. I love the look but it sucks. It only wakes from sleep about the 1/2 time. It doesn’t have a power button so I have to unplug it from my MacPro and replug to get it to wake up, which removes all my disks. I’ve been hoping for a patch that will fix it but I’m really starting to hate it.
If this is experience is prevalent across lots of users (and the monitor gets 3 out of 5 stars on Apple website), it shows that Apple couldn’t give a damn about the user experience.
This doesn’t sound like a long term product, it sounds like a stop gap, until they get around to making a proper Apple branded monitor, or more likely exiting the desktop market entirely.
Apple gear is supposed to be for users that want quality, fulfilling the promise of ‘it just works’, and who don’t mind paying extra to get that.
This product fails on every level and is a total insult, to not only pro users, but all users who defend Apple.
Apple’s solution to all this is to ask LG to please fix the problem. You know what Apple?
LG DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR PROBLEM.
As a contrast I still have 4 of these monitors:
They’re built like tanks, work like trojans, and with colour correction hardware produce excellent, reliable colour to this day.
They are over 10 years old. They are the oldest pieces of Apple equipment in my studio.
Whoever was responsible for this display, clearly doesn’t work at Apple anymore.
Can I ask the last person to leave Apple who knows what they are doing, please turn out the lights?
So this is what Apple’s future is – a vaporous, content-free, air headed ‘game show’ where a serious job is trivialised into nothing more than a contest.
Featuring 4 of the most ‘culturally influential’ people that they could throw some of those Apple Billions® they have in the bank at – Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gary Vaynerchuk, and will.i.am.
Switch your brain off, turn your social on.
There’s obviously a market for this tripe – the TV is full of it.
I just thought Apple was above all this, maybe a bit more refined, thoughtful, measured.
Leading the way, rather than following the popular herd.
Meanwhile on the ever increasingly excellent Netflix is a fascinating documentary series on what it is to be a designer – Abstract.
This programme is highly recommended – it gives everyone a serious, level-headed, but entertaining look inside the design process across several disciplines.
This is the sort of thing Apple ought to be producing, taking what it means to be an Apple user and well, abstracting it out.
Getting the message of the brand out there to the viewing public – well what the brand used to stand for.
I know Planet of the Apps is ‘just content’, but it’s Apple-sactioned ‘content’ and will be linked to the brand.
Eventually populist shows like this will damage the brand.
Apple used to be the choice of the designer (and still is in most cases), but we look at what Apple is morphing in to and it saddens us.
I would assume it saddens Jony, but I really think he doesn’t care anymore.
Still at least they’re not doing something even worse, like maybe a pointless, gum-flapping celebrity strangling a cat in a car with another pointless, gum-flapping celebrity, obsessed with the sound of their own voice.
Ahh right. I see.
From the article:
“The new building features open floor plans and few traditional offices”
So the staff who are crap at their jobs can hide behind those workhorses that do all the work.
“management must be at a vice president level or above to get a formal office”
So that those same staff can then leapfrog over those silent hard-workers and grin at them from shiny, quiet offices.
“The new campus will include bench seating, long work tables, and open cubicle spaces, potentially irking employees used to quiet office environments”
So that nobody can take credit for any one task (even though it’s usually the hard work of one, quiet person that creates ‘innovation’), and that person cannot then rise through the ranks, jeopardising the roles of senior management.
“Apple’s presentations to the city of Cupertino have indicated that the open floor plan designs are conducive to collaboration between teams”
A word created by those who have never created anything in their entire life, but have found that if they stand in the same place where that creation is happening, it will be assumed by management that they were part of it.
You know, what I’ve found over the years is that the only reason executives love this fashion of open plan, collaborative workplaces is so that no-one stands out.
No single person can be attributed to creating something, and rise above the rest.
We’re all winners.
We’re all a team.
All working ‘collaboratively’
And because no one stands out, no single person can rise to executive level and make those executives look dumb.
It’s a protective response by senior management who know that they aren’t fit for the job, but they don’t want the investors to know about it from a bright, innovative, hard working person. Just ‘yes men (or women)’ here please.
Steve Jobs ‘secret sauce’ was in part, all about people, small teams of smart people and one person in that team where the buck would stop.
Tim’s Apple doesn’t sound like that, it sounds like every other large company I’ve heard of.
“A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.”
It looks like Apple’s going to be full of B & C players, but at least they will all work collaboratively.
Maybe they’ll get around to figuring out how all those engineers who’ve now left Apple, who created the MacPro managed to do it.
I’m sure they will all get around that long work table, pull up a bench and nod, like they’re understanding what’s actually going on.
Do you know what? I really don’t like that shade of blue today, can we make it 3 pixels lighter?
Customers really don’t care about your brand.
Or your extensive research.
Or your targeted direct mail campaign.
Well, 89% don’t, which may as well be all of them.
The only thing you need to remember is that the most important thing is too make your advertising memorable.
Remember – the first place your customer sees your advertising, is alongside dozens of other brands in the newspaper, or on the doorstep of their home.
Your first priority is to get them to notice you.
The only way you do that, is to make your creative memorable.
The creative idea has to be the most important part.
Not the data, or the sales analysis, or the channel you’ve chosen.
I have tried to explain this to managing directors, marketing executives, operational leads, sales executives and any number of very important people, for many, many years.
None of them listen.
They’re more concerned with the fact that they don’t like that particular shade of blue.
Or that picture just doesn’t communicate value.
Or that the design isn’t the right balance between masculine and feminine, whatever the hell that even means.
Or the logo isn’t big enough.
Or there’s too much white space.
Or that picture is just too many millimetres to the left and it’s a critical business need, to move it to the right, just a little.
What I’ve deduced over the years, is that running a company is hard – it’s really difficult to motivate your buying teams to purchase goods that your customers want to buy, at the right price, quantity and with the perfect profit margin, or to motivate your sales staff to recruit more customers, or to sell more of your goods.
It’s far simpler to concentrate on tiny, easy to change details that have absolutely no connection with actual sales success, but give you the illusion that you’ve made some really important business decisions today.
“Thrilled to spend some time with the incredibly talented @JulienFournie, whose exquisite new collection was created with iPad Pro.”
In the wake of poor iPad sales, and the lacklustre sales of the iPadPro in particular, Tim Cook is talking up the iPadPro on Twitter, showing everyone that there is someone who’s using it and nothing else to create their, well, creations.
Apple certainly isn’t giving up on their mantra that the Mac is the past, and the iPad is the future.
Except he’s not actually saying that is he?
He’s saying that the iPad isn’t the future – it’s the now.
You can ditch all those old doorstop PC’s and iMac’s, and MacMini’s with your silly mice, hardware keyboards and ‘pointers’, and do all that on an iPad.
Except you can’t – not yet.
I can’t give up the Mac and I bet you can’t either.
Pro apps, access to file systems and other storage media, larger screens etc, these are all things that are lost on Tim.
I’m not saying that at some point a rich multi-touch OS on a huge screen isn’t part of our future, I know it’s coming.
But to neglect the computer system that you’re trying to replace (the Mac), whilst your replacement has serious shortcomings is arrogant, shortsighted and plainly a bad business decision.
We need a ‘cross-over’ period where the Mac and iPad coexist, until the iPad is the computer system we all want it to be.
We can’t simply put our Mac’s on eBay and turn to the iPad. At least not yet.
A great article concerning a common issue in home computing.
We all have a lot of data, so the question arises, should we store this locally, in the cloud or on a server like device on the network.
Running a small studio with 5-6 designers, opening huge files all day, a simple networked Mac file server has been my solution.
But it’s never been an easy set-up, and Apple, to their discredit have never helped me get to a simple solution.
For years I survived by sharing files on an old G4 Quicksilver MacPro with the rest of the Mac users.
Slow, but simple to set up and very reliable.
But then an Apple reseller convinced me to buy Apple’s then server solution, a MacPro RAID 5 with Snow Leopard Server.
It promised a lot, but it never delivered.
Not at least, until I gutted it, and set it up for my needs.
Firstly it was set up with the OSX Server software. I never figured out its quirks and eccentricities.
It flat out didn’t work reliably until I restarted the server software several times, in as many weeks.
Files would fall out of sync or disappear.
The network time machine backups failed regularly.
Error messages galore, impenetrable help documents.
After months of trying, I decided to simplify everything.
I copied everything off it, installed a PCIE SSD card, installed the client OS on it, erased and reformatted the RAID, rebooted and copied the work back.
I then had a Mac that serves files reliably and quickly, and I backup the bejeezus out of it.
But even though I have good backup (even off site), sooner or later it’s going to fail, so the paranoid design studio manager in me is searching for an alternative.
So what’s currently out there?
Well nothing from Apple, that’s for sure. Apple left the server market a long time ago, and never really got back into it.
After the XServe, came MacPro server, then Mac mini server, then nothing.
Other than the atrocious macOS server software.
Apple track record with the server market, at least in terms of servicing that market to the ‘it just works’ crowd, is zero out of ten.
So what’s left?
- Networked attached storage.
- A big SSD or RAID drive connected to a spare Mac.
- Rely on macOS’s SMB stack to connect to the Windows network.
None of these are a suitable solution for me.
The problem is I need as few points of failure as possible along the curve to my files.
By that I mean the setup had to be as straightforward as possible so that no software update or system malfunction stops the users getting to their files.
This is why the current set up works.
No arcane server software (like MacOSServer) to go wrong, it’s just the client OS.
No weird hardware that runs its own proprietary middleware that one day decided not to work, like networked attached storage.
No relying on separate departments who may update something or decide to change a setting which has the side effect of blocking access.
Apple’s track record on the server front is bad, but their SMB implementation is even worse, I can’t rely on it.
So I’m at an impasse – my only options are to upgrade the SSD to 1 terabyte in an old Mac Mini (the same one that was sold as the Server version, it just came with the client OS), and purchase some old MacPro SAS drives as spares, if I can find someone who sells them.
That way I have some sort of solution, but Apple – you are really trying my patience and you’re leaving me with more and more reasons to jump ship entirely to Windows.