Speaking of Losing Daring Fireball, and Apple Missteps...

Speaking of Losing Daring Fireball, and Apple Missteps...

To follow up on the notes in my previous post where Apple really dropped the fucking ball – and other people, even fanboys, are arguing that Apple is provably losing it on multiple fronts – John Gruber points to an article called “Capitulation.”

Yes, I bought a new Mac Pro. For certain values of “new”. Hear me out, though, after the jump.

Why?

So, my last post was about my angst about replacing my 2008 Mac Pro tower, the best Mac I’ve ever owned. So what happened? Well, upon further reflection:

  • The idea of a 2012 Mac Pro, even the CPU-upgraded Ramjet aftermarket ones, fell off the radar because with Apple’s definition of obsolescence, that hardware will become unmaintainable as soon as 2018.
  • Similarly, someone pointed out that with the very idea of a third-party graphics card no longer in any of Apple’s shipping Macs, it could become difficult for the Hackintosh community to keep going. No idea if this is true, but it makes sense, I guess?
  • If I wanted a year-old iMac, or the new MacBook Pro, I could have bought either of those ages ago and wouldn’t be in this position.
  • Waiting isn’t really an option, with my 2008 machine not supported by Sierra.

I think my needs, for development and especially for video work (Motion and Wirecast, mainly) are best served by the Mac Pro. Even the pathetic, three-year-old Mac Pro, because what I want is lots of cores, silent operation, and expandability of RAM and storage, something the iMac and MacBook Pro can’t offer.

I’d been catching up financially for a while, and finally had a $4,000-5,000 budget to work with. What made finally pull the trigger, ironically, was Tim Cook’s ham-fisted, half-assed claim that desktop Macs remain strategically important to Apple. Marco Arment parsed this as suggesting the Mac Pro is likely dead within Apple, given the fact that Cook explicitly equated the concept of the desktop with the iMac and only with the iMac.

If Marco’s right, then the choice is either today’s Mac Pro, or no Mac Pro.

I know that I’m a long-term Mac user – and the OS frankly is a completely different beast under OSX than it was in the OS9 and older days, so much so that (as much as I loved some aspects of it), it would have died  a well deserved death languishing as it was before Jobs return. A lot of us would have turned to Linux or Windows, or both, without it. And yes, I know there are people who bitch about the prices – and it’s mostly unfair as Apple never targeted the bargain or low-end crowd. Yes, in the last few years the desktop and laptop hardware has languished, and it took a few years after Jobs came back to really get the combination of hardware and software fully up to par (~ 2003), but the time period in the middle, after Apple perfected their logistics chain, until Steve died, was some of the best bang for the buck you could get if you needed those features.
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Yes, there were cheaper computers, especially, though less so over time, if you were willing to assemble them yourself. Yes, you could get more RAM, faster processors, bigger screens, etc. for the price, but if you needed the array of connectors Apple provided, with a good screen, a good keyboard, a trackpad (on the laptops) that is still, frankly, generally unmatched even on “high end” windows laptops, in a solidly built enclosure that could take a beating, it was hard to beat apple kit at any price.

I know one exec who still insists on Macbook airs to run Windows for his personal use even though I’ve recommended Dell and similar options because – especially with a back injury he had at one point – he utterly values the size and slimness of them, and the reliability compared to the returns for some of the other office computers.

The laptop I’m typing this on, I purchased because out of the four options I looked at for Wintel-based machines with similar RAM, CPU, screen resolution, weight specs three years ago only one was marginally cheaper, the rest were more expensive than this Mac. And no, I’m getting around too much for a “portable desktop” brick.

This year, seeing the new Macbook Pro with the “active” function bar zone? I’m glad that I’m not buying a laptop this year, and either the prices will come back down over the next twelve months – I don’t need the price hike to effectively embed an apple watch in my keyboard – or I’m likely jumping ship when it comes time to get my regularly scheduled replacement.

My phone is free and clear, over two years old, and I’m not buying the latest iPhone because the issues with the lack of headphone jack and the non-mechanical home button, though not showstoppers, combined with the fact that my “6plus” is “fast enough”, mean I have no problem waiting to see what comes around the corner. Also, the current android offerings, though far better than they used to be overall, don’t impress me either. So I’m sticking with what I have.

In short, until I absolutely have to on both the phone and laptop fronts, I’m waiting to see if anything comes out that impresses me enough to either stay with Apple, or shift to MS/Linux. I already use Mint in VMWare roughly 20% of the time. And If I have to because something breaks?

I fully agree with the sentiment of that article’s title. Capitulation is exactly the right word.

About Last Redoubt

Ex nuke mechanic, jack of all trades.