Apple’s October Event: The good, the bad, and the boring.

Apple’s October Event: The good, the bad, and the boring.

Make no mistake: I don’t hate Apple. I’ve admired their sense of style, simplicity, and ability to “just work”. But the most recent Apple Event, the one that occurred just last Tuesday, honestly could’ve been better. So, before I start sounding like an Apple hater, let’s go through the good, the bad, and the boring of the most recent Apple Event.

The good:

  • The new iPad, known as the iPad Air, brings a thinner and lighter design, while still keeping the battery life, screen resolution, and even better performance than the iPad 4, or new iPad, which is now the old iPad, or…you get the idea. The smaller bezels would bring lots of screen room, and the new 64-bit A7 chip could mean more powerful apps for the iPad in the future.

  • The new iPad Mini, the iPad Mini with a Retina Display (creative name, huh?), brings an amazingly sharp 2048×1536 screen resolution, along with the A7 Processor. It also brings Apple’s premium design style along with it.

  • The new Mac Pro, barrels through with powerful hardware: an Intel Xeon E5 processor, which can bring up to 12 cores of computing power, 12-64 gigabytes of DDR3 RAM, dual AMD FirePro GPUs, and PCIe-based flash storage. It packs all of this into a 9.9” tall body with a 6.6” diameter, and yes, I said diameter, because this thing is cylindrical. New, huh?

  • The new MacBook Pro features Intel’s new Haswell chip, which means improved battery life. It’s also thinner and lighter than the original.

  • OS X Maverix is available as a free upgrade, supporting versions as far back as Snow Leopard. It brings new features such as a tabbed file manager, and the ability to reply to an iMessage when you get the notification.

The bad:

  • The iPad Air does not bring the TouchID which is in the iPhone 5S. They probably left it out because the difficulty it takes to produce that sensor could be an issue, but otherwise, why leave it out?

  • The iPad Mini with a Retina Display costs $399: that’s as much as the iPad 2, which Apple is still selling. But $399?! There are 2 things I’ve always liked about 7” tablets: their price and size. The new iPad Mini defies these pros by being sized at 7.9” and costing $399. I know Apple’s supposed to be the BMW of consumer electronics: I understand. But when compared to the ASUS Nexus 7, which only costs $229 dollars, it seems like Apple’s going to go through the whole Mac thing again, when their products are great, but ignored for their price tag.

The boring:

  • Other than the new processor, the new MacBook Pro barely has any new features to talk about.

  • The iPad Air is like most product upgrades in general: thinner and lighter with upgraded components. There’s a lack of new features. But then again, most people don’t buy the iPad for its features, right?

Of course, all these products aren’t for everyone. The new Mac Pro’s specs are absolutely overkill for the average consumer, and it starts at $2999 anyways, so I can’t see the average consumer buying it anyways. But graphics designers will definitely drool over this powerful workstation, since it can support up to three 4K displays.

That iPad Air isn’t for everyone, either. If you own the old iPad with a Retina Display, the iPad Air gives you little reason to upgrade. The new form factor will require a new case, the thinner and lighter design may be better, but it isn’t worth giving up on your old tablet.

If you’re one of those people that wants a compact tablet, this iPad Mini is a maybe. When it comes to upgrading, it isn’t worth it. I doubt you’ll be able to tell the difference between the old Mini’s display and the Retina Display unless you put them side by side, which you probably won’t. That 7.9” screen makes it a little harder to hold in one hand, so if you want a glorified eReader, the cheaper Nexus 7 will do you more good.

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iNews: Apple’s new 64-bit chip is a look to the future

With the recent release of the Apple’s iPhone 5S, there has been a lot of buzz over 2 new features: TouchID fingerprint scanning and Apple’s new A7 64-bit processor. If you don’t know what 64-bit means, this article on eHow has a pretty good explanation. Anyways, the whole 64-bit thing seems to bother a Qualcomm exec. The executive said it was a “marketing gimmick” offered “zero benefit”.

Well, that’s not exactly true.

There are three popular predictions about what that new A7 processor could mean. They rumors go something like this:

  • Apple is gearing up for an ARM-based Mac.
  • Apple wants to make an iOS based Mac (yes, that’s a rumor)
  • Apple is aiming for the Post-PC era

Let’s go down these rumor lists and their credibility, shall we?

First, the ARM Mac. Since it’s Apple, we have no idea whether or not they’re going to do it. But since it’s a computer, that could backfire badly. First of all, ARM processors perform good, maybe even great, but compared to an Intel or AMD x86 processor, they’re pretty low end. The Macbook Air’s jaw-dropping 14-hours of battery life with an Intel processor is absolutely ground-breaking and with an ARM processor, it would get significantly better. But the problem is, the Mac is a computer. Computers have always been known for whipping out performance that creams just about any mobile processor out there. I’m not saying computers are necessarily better or more popular.That’s not true. But in the end, will a modern ARM processor be able to withstand full Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, or Visual Studio? I don’t think so.

But that brings us to the next rumor: the iOS based Mac. Um…why? Sure, iOS devices are pretty popular. But most iPad or iPhone owners don’t own or plan to own a Mac. Where Apple stands as lord of apps in the mobile world (more or less), the Mac is the poor cousin. If Apple brings in an iOS based Mac, it could flop hard. Many Mac owners use it for things like photography and filmmaking, and iOS is weak with productivity in general. The iOS based Mac would appeal to consumer markets, but few consumers can actually afford a Mac.The only Mac users I know are either photographers or college students, who need to get real work done, which is where iOS fails.

However, the final rumor seems to make sense. The idea of the Post-PC era is that PCs will become obsolete, niche devices. Mobile devices would, however, take over consumer markets. The arguments of the people against Post-PC are usually:

  1. “The screen is too small”: Believe me, I understand. In an era where most laptops come in 13-15” models and where desktop monitors are usually 22” big, a 10-inch tablet screen is kind of sad. And that onscreen keyboard tends to take up a significant amount of screen space, so with programs where we need extensive typing, the screen size will be an absolute nightmare.
  2. “Touch screens are uncomfortable to use”: This makes sense; a touch screen isn’t exactly an ergonomic breakthrough. But if you look at the way people hold tablets nowadays, it isn’t as uncomfortable as you might think. But if the tablet OEMS pay attention the first argument, that large screen will make it a little harder to hold.
  3. “They’re underpowered”: Up to now, yes. The A7 processor is barely comparable to a modern Core i5 or i7 chip, but that could soon change. This is technology: never say never. If you had said to someone in the 90s that their cellphone would soon be able to host a full web browsing, they would laugh. But the 64-bit A7 is a start. This will probably make way for more powerful mobile processors in the near future.

Do you agree or disagree with me? Do you think Apple is up to something else with their new A7? Tell me in a comment below! I’d love to hear it.