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Dan Moren for Macworld
June 22, 2018 6:01 AM PT
Even before Tim Cook took the stage, there was little expectation that this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference would focus on anything other than software. But now, with it in our rearview mirror and a new iPhone announcement likely not far down the road, questions have turned to the future of Mac hardware.
Rogue Amoeba co-founder Quentin Carnicelli stirred up some discussion this past week by examining Apple’s current Mac lineup, and pointing out that, with the exception of the new iMac Pro, none of it has been updated in over a year. (The most egregious case being, of course, the Mac mini, which is closing in on four years without a revision.) That’s prompted some clamor that Apple should commit to yearly updates of its computer platform, just as it does with the iPhone.
There are a few things that have probably conspired to bring the state of Mac hardware to the point that it’s at now. Perhaps what we’re seeing is a perfect storm: a confluence of events, any one of which might impact a model or two in Apple’s product line, but which, when combined, put us in the current situation.
June 21, 2018 7:32 AM PT
The show’s back with a full crew as we take turns adding value to the show. We discuss the current state of Mac hardware, the ergonomics of touchscreens on iPads and Macs, and neither Lex nor Dan can figure out how John hasn’t played Pocket Run Pool yet.
By Dan Moren
June 21, 2018 6:38 AM PT
One thing missing from Apple’s WWDC keynote—and from the March education event before that—was any news about the company’s AirPower wireless charging mat, first announced at a media event in September of last year with a release date of sometime in 2018.
Writing today for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman says that the accessory may finally appear in September, and chalks the delays up to technical problems:
An executive at an Apple partner that manufactures third-party wireless chargers for iPhones, who asked not to be identified, said that the multi-device charging mechanism is challenging to build because it likely requires different sized charging components for the three types of devices, which would all overlap across the mat.
These technical challenges jibe with what I’d heard, secondhand, at WWDC. 1
What remains peculiar about this episode, however, is the fact that Apple announced this product before it was ready to ship. This has become a trend more recently with Apple: the Apple Watch, AirPods, HomePod, even the forthcoming Mac Pro—the company has become much more willing to pre-announce products. That’s resulted in risks, too: the AirPods and HomePod were both delayed from their original release targets.
However, the AirPower takes this to the extreme. While the AirPods and HomePod were delayed by a couple months each, likely due to either being able to manufacture the products at scale or last minute software adjustments. The AirPower, by contrast, seems to not even be in production yet, reinforcing the idea of challenges with the device’s engineering.
Nor is this a case like Apple’s software releases where the company wants to give time for developers to adopt new features introduced in releases that won’t appear for several months. There’s no software developer component to the AirPower.
So, why? Why introduce the AirPower before it was ready to ship in the first place? Apple has been selling third-party charging pads in their stores since it added wireless charging capabilities to the iPhone line last year, so it wasn’t as though there was no way to use the feature without the AirPower. Perhaps it wanted to put a stake in the ground and encourage people to wait for the AirPower? (Although with no firm release date or price point, that was going to be a hard sell.)
I don’t have a good answer to this question; this seems to be a rare misstep from Apple on a product that, let’s be honest, is hardly going to have the impact of a new iPhone or Mac. Either the AirPower team was mistaken about how ready the product was last fall (or how hard the remaining engineering would be), or the readiness of the product was misrepresented to Apple leadership. Because it’s hard to imagine Phil Schiller getting up on stage to announce an accessory he knew wouldn’t be available for a year.
We may never have a really good answer to this question. At best, you might expect an offhanded comment at its release about how difficult it was to get the execution right and how impressive the result is, but no company ever really wants to admit it made a mistake.
It will be interesting, however, to see if this has any ultimate impact on Apple’s recent strategy of pre-announcing some of its devices. Might the company be a little cagier in the future, a little more conservative? I doubt this will have any impact on a major product such as the next iPhone—Apple’s not about to take risks with its bread and butter. But it might be one reason that hardware was nowhere to be seen at WWDC: when there’s nothing ready to go, you don’t want to make any promises you can’t keep.
June 20, 2018 10:10 AM PT
This week on the 30-minute show that doesn’t have a laugh track, Dan and Mikah are joined by special guests Tiffany Arment and Joe Rosensteel to discuss how Apple will sell its TV service, our favorite E3 announcements, controlling smart home devices from smart speakers, and AMC’s MoviePass competitor. Plus, our favorite bagel flavors in any and all contexts.
Jason Snell for Macworld
June 20, 2018 9:16 AM PT
It’s been almost exactly a year since Apple hired two executives from Sony Pictures Television to lay the groundwork for a new, premium Apple video service. In the intervening 12 months, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg have staffed up their operation with heavy hitters from the television programming and development world, and Apple has since bought at least 18 original series, an animated feature, and of course, an overall deal with Oprah.
It takes a long time to make TV shows, so we might not see the fruits of Erlicht and Van Amburg’s work until 2019. (Forget about “Carpool Karaoke” and “Planet of the Apps”, which were a product of Apple’s television prehistory, when the company was just dipping its toes in the waters rather than cannonballing into the deep end.) But because the entertainment industry is even leakier than Apple’s hardware supply chain, we learn the details of Apple’s content deals pretty much as soon as they’re made. What remains in Apple’s control is the big picture about where all the stuff it’s buying is going to live, who’s going to see it, and what it’s going to cost.
June 18, 2018 2:53 PM PT
Apple has said that it’s not merging iOS and macOS, but that sneak peek of iOS apps coming to macOS opens up a lot of questions about just what the Mac might look like in five years. Jason’s optimistic, but Mac users may be in for the biggest changes to the platform since the introduction of Mac OS X nearly two decades ago. Also, what’s up with no new Mac hardware announcements? And just when you thought you had a handle on Apple’s unannounced video service, here comes Oprah!
By Dan Moren
June 18, 2018 10:53 AM PT
If you’re the kind of person who constantly has to refer to their calendar whenever somebody asks if you’re free at a specific time, then the brand new WhenWorks, the latest venture from BusyMac co-founder John Chaffee, is something you might appreciate. It’s a combination app and web service that lets you easily schedule appointments with people.
When you download the app and create an account, you’ll be able to create various types of events (meetings, phone calls, lunches, etc.), setting information like how long the event is, when your availability window is, and how long you want between events. WhenWorks then generates a link to your page on their website that you can send out to your invitee and let them select a time that works with your existing calendar. (It integrates with Apple’s iCloud calendars, Office 365, Google Calendar, and Outlook.com.)
You can also add pre-event questions for your guest (such as a phone number or contact info about where to reach them). When they select a time, the event will automatically be added to the calendar of your choice.
Overall, WhenWorks is a simple idea that’s well executed in an attractive app. I’ve been playing with it for the last week or two leading up to its release. It does currently have some shortcomings, primarily among them the inability to schedule events for more than two people, but if you need to schedule a lot of one-on-one meetings and appointments, this could be a huge timesaver.
If you want to give it a whirl, you can download a 14-day fully featured free trial of the app from the App Store. After the trial expires, you can still schedule up to 5 events per month for free; a $5/month subscription unlocks unlimited events.
Dan Moren for Macworld
June 15, 2018 6:26 AM PT
It’s easy to emerge from Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference with your head spinning. There were so many announcements last week that it can be hard to sort through all of them—and even more of them are now coming to light as the beta versions of Apple’s next updates are installed by developers and aficionados around the world.
But I thought I’d take a moment to note my favorite small enhancements in each of the company’s four major upcoming platforms. Oftentimes, we focus on the big ticket items: macOS Mojave’s Dark Mode, or iOS 12’s Siri Shortcuts, for example. But it’s in these small features where Apple’s attention to detail is apparent, especially in how they help users save time and use their devices more efficiently.
June 14, 2018 7:33 AM PT
This week, on the irreverent tech podcast that features between two and three panelists a week, we’re still discussing WWDC announcement fallouts, but we discuss macOS’s Dark Mode, the possibility of USB-C on the next iPhone, and then—after we get rid of Lex—a weird security vulnerability recently patched in macOS. Also, what to expect from a possible fall event?
June 13, 2018 10:08 AM PT
This week, on the 30-minute tech show that features its fair share of betrayals, Dan and Mikah are joined by special guests Jeremy Burge and Jean MacDonald to discuss our favorite delightful WWDC announcements, whether Memoji are here to stay, the Apple news we didn’t get last week, and whether everyone should go a conference like WWDC. Finally, we propose our own solutions to IHOP’s rebranding nightmare.
Jason Snell for Macworld
June 13, 2018 8:48 AM PT
We’ve heard it straight from Apple: macOS and iOS aren’t merging together. Instead, Apple is going to bring the iOS app platform to the Mac in 2019. The result will likely be a macOS platform that’s still the Mac, but with a much heavier influence from iOS. Last week I suggested that this makes me question the long-term viability of the Mac, but it’s also possible that Apple’s moves will lead to a world where I stop dreaming about a laptop that runs iOS because it just won’t be necessary. It all depends on how much all that iOS-originated software will change the Mac in the next few years.
Jason Snell for Tom's Guide
June 11, 2018 5:13 PM PT
All the rumors said that Apple was going to take it easy this year, scaling back on the ambition of its software updates in order to focus on improved performance, stability and security. Those three items are definitely at the top of the feature list for iOS 12, due this fall, but this is anything but a snooze of an update for iPhone users.
In fact, iOS 12 may change the way we interact with our iPhones more than any previous iOS release since the App Store arrived ten years ago.
June 11, 2018 12:33 PM PT
It’s time to reflect on WWDC week, so Jason and Myke are joined by special guest developer James Thomson. We discuss our first impressions of the iOS 12 and macOS Mojave betas, the future of Mac apps in and out of the Mac App Store, and what new features are now at the top of James’s priority list as a developer.