Wednesday Morning News

#1

Originally published at: https://appletalk.com.au/2019/03/wednesday-morning-news200319/

Updated iMacs are the order of the day. The same all-in-one design now features Intel’s 9th-generation Core processors for faster performance across the board. The 21.5-inch iMac gets Intel’s 8th-generation for 60% faster performance on the 21-inch model, while the 27-inch iMac gets a 2.4 times performance boost with Intel’s 9th-generation processors. AMD’s Radeon Pro Vega graphics also makes its way to the iMac for the first time, although if I’m not mistaken, there’s been a very minor price bump of $100 across the board, despite the base model iMac not changing at all.

Six Colors points out that the iMac’s new upgrade options close the performance gap between a high-end 27-inch iMac and the iMac Pro. New graphics and processor options allow you to spec an iMac to close to what a base model iMac Pro gets you in terms of performance, even though the latter still provides greater headroom and features the ability to run silently when under light loads. And if you’re not configuring your iMac for maximum performance, the base 27-inch models now come with six-core processors that should provide a little extra longevity.

In other upgrade news, Apple has quietly dropped pricing on SSD upgrades for the MacBook Air and Mac mini, as well as lowering pricing on the 64GB Mac Pro RAM upgrade (which was probably sorely needed, given that machine hasn’t been upgraded in literal years). And while we’ve already mentioned it this morning, the iMac Pro now has a new Radeon Pro Vega 64X graphics option and a hefty 256GB RAM upgrade, which will set you back a whopping $8,320 — over $1000 more than the cost of a base model iMac Pro itself.

Will Apple go for the upgrade trifecta with updated iPod touch devices tomorrow? MacRumors seems to think so, and given that new hardware releases two days in a row is a rare occurrence, maybe new iPods is more likely than not. But if the iPod touch does get an upgrade tomorrow, I worry for how long Apple is going to spend talking about their new video and news subscription services on stage next week.

Engadget tells us that yesterday’s new iPad mini and iPad Air support eSIMs, even though your favourite Australian telco doesn’t. They’re the first non-Pro iPads to do so, and for those looking to get access to cheap data overseas, I hear that there are a few different software options available for instant provisioning.

New code present in the latest iOS 12.2 beta says the release of Apple’s AirPower charging mat is imminent, which pegs it as an outside possibility for release at Apple’s event next week. I can see it now: Phil Schiller gets on stage and announces AirPower with some cheesy joke about being late, and we’ll also hear about AirPower at the same time. Or Apple could surprise us all and announce everything in the next few days.

Recode reports Netflix CEO Reed Hastings saying that his company will not be working with Apple when Apple launches its video streaming service. The quote quashes any rumours that Netflix would be included in an all-in-one streaming package from Apple, similar to one Amazon offers in the US that includes HBO and Showtime. It’s not completely unexpected, given Netflix never signed onto Apple’s TV show app, but gives us some idea of what the media landscape will look like once Apple is a player.

And according to Apple SVP of Internet software and services Eddy Cue, Apple is not interested in competing for exclusive rights to live stream sporting events, even though there’s somewhat interested in sports as a whole. I think that’s the right move for now — those kinds of events are best left to the media companies, and Apple, being a tech company, isn’t a good fit for that kind of activity.

New Apple patent applications tease the possibility of future MacBook Pros allowing data overlays over the keyboard and adjustable key resistance. It’s unlikely this kind of software trickery could extend to physical key travel distance, but being able to dynamically adjust the symbols on your keyboard (say, for keyboard shortcuts in a complex app like Final Cut or Photoshop) would be kind of cool. I’m sure Apple has more planned than just putting a tiny LCD in each key, though.

The Verge has an exclusive look at an original iPhone prototype, revealing pretty much all there is to know about the red iPhone M68 prototype. The bare-bones PCB and components soldered onto it looks a lot like some kind of cut-down PC, although the iPhone display haphazardly attached to one corner makes it more look like Frankenstein rather than an iPhone.

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#2

The iMac upgrades are nice and all but they are still rocking Fusion drives across the range unless you go BTO. Even then why, given the upgrade price, is the upgraded SSD not installed to compliment the spinning disk rather than in place of it? There isn’t even an option to have both SSD + spinning disk at all so if you want bulk storage you’re stuck with either a very expensive SSD or an external disk. Although I do concede that having a single disk is more in line with the Apple way of doing things so users don’t have to think about what goes where.

We have the now old 2017 iMac (purchased in late 2018) and have the fusion drive formatted as just a disk (I can’t for the life of me get it to split into SSD + spinning disk) and are booting from a USB-C Samsung T5 drive and it performs much better than the fusion drive ever did. I’d love to drop a 256GB or 512GB blade SSD inside but while I know it technically performs much better the risk and effort of the upgrade isn’t worth the real world benefits.

I still think it’s a real shame Apple haven’t kept the machine a little thicker and allowed access ports to upgrade/replace HDD’s along with the RAM (which is still user upgrade-able).

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