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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-01-31, 14:38

There's just too much goofiness, overlap and inconsistency in Apple's lineup, period. And in areas where there isn't, then the naming/positioning/marketing is just screwy. Been this way for quite some time. Long gone are the days where I could easily explain, in mere minutes, the lineup or options available to a friend, relative or co-worker asking for my advice on a purchase.

I miss those days, on so many levels. I knew things would eventually be quite different in the years following October 2011, but damn...
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2020-02-03, 04:07

The thing I never liked about "MacBook" is the lack of symmetry.

MacBook Pro, Mac Pro. OK!
MacBook Air, …Mac mini??
MacBook, iMac?

Not sure why they wanted to kill brands like PowerBook and Power Mac but not iMac. (PowerBook was called that even before the PowerPC era, but I guess at that point, the association had stuck?)

But it's kind of a nerdy pedantic problem. I think the lineup has improved a ton just in the past year: they ditched the confusing don't-call-it-Air-MacBook, they made all MacBook Pros have similar rough attributes (Touch Bar, …), they brought back the Mac Pro, they had just brought back the Mac mini properly, and they've even started to fix the keyboard.

The bigger work is to be done on the software side, I think. They seem to have a hard time scaling their software engineering teams and instead end up with an unwitting tick-tock cycle — features followed by fixes. That needs to change.
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Frank777
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto
 
2020-02-03, 14:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
...I think the lineup has improved a ton just in the past year: they ditched the confusing don't-call-it-Air-MacBook, they made all MacBook Pros have similar rough attributes (Touch Bar, …), they brought back the Mac Pro, they had just brought back the Mac mini properly, and they've even started to fix the keyboard.
I think Ive's departure has loosened the reins on product design, freeing teams from having to worry about shoehorning things into ever-tighter spaces.

The fact that they grew the MacBook Pro (ever so slightly) and fixed the keyboard bodes well for the future.

The more I think about it, the iMac Pro may be the product to watch. If they fix the RAM conundrum (which is that you can't add RAM later and almost no-one can afford to use much of the capacity at purchase) and add screen rotation using the hinge from the high-end display, the iMac Pro will become one of the most sought-after products in the lineup.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2020-02-03, 16:19

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
… If they fix the RAM conundrum (which is that you can't add RAM later …
This is not a thing. iMac Pro RAM is very much upgradeable. It's not easy to get to*, but it can be done.

*This is what needs to be fixed.

Boise State! … Boise State! … Boise State!
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Frank777
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto
 
2020-02-03, 17:45

Quote:
Originally Posted by kscherer View Post
This is not a thing. iMac Pro RAM is very much upgradeable. It's not easy to get to*, but it can be done.

*This is what needs to be fixed.
I must not have been paying attention. I thought the complaint with the iMac Pro was that RAM wasn't upgradable.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-02-03, 21:36

It isn't. Well, not in the easy, user-friendly little hatch way like the 27" non-Pro iMac has, and that's weird/unfortunate. The 21.5" and the 27" Pro are sealed shut to regular mortals, but the regular 27" model retains the little access door. There's no consistency/rhyme or reason on this so you can't chalk it up to a "pro vs. not" issue or a size (21.5" vs. 27") one. You'd think a 27" iMac with "Pro" in the name would at least be as RAM accessible as its cheaper, non-Pro cousin.

But Apple still sells notebooks with "Pro" in the name that come stock with 8GB RAM (even when the larger one comes with 16GB...what's that saying? That the 16" is more Pro-er/deserving than the 13"?), so, again...just weird, arbitrary specs across models of the same family, etc.

This is the kind of stuff I wish Apple would address in 2020. There should be 16GB stock in all MacBook PRO models, regardless of size, and either make the entire iMac lineup's RAM user accessible again (including the 21.5"). Or, at the very least, make the iMac Pro easily upgradable. At least at that point they can say "well, we have more wiggle room in the 27" models to make that happen; and that's a nice little perk you'll enjoy by stepping up to the larger models"** or whatever. They've allowed it in a much-cheaper 27" model for years, even after the Faux Thin from a Certain Angle™ redesign of late 2012 (seven-plus years ago! ) where user access to the 21.5" was done away with.

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2020-02-03 at 22:06.
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Frank777
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto
 
2020-02-03, 21:44

I have the regular 27", so I didn't know changing the RAM in the iMac Pro was even technically possible.
(I put an SSD in my 27" which isn't for the faint of heart either.) It will be interesting to see which way Apple goes.

If the Ax chip overperforms, can they put a $2900-$4000 Mac Pro variant on sale for mere mortals?
('Midrange Mac' advocates will have a heart attack.) The iMac Pro would then go away and hang out with the 20th Anniversary Mac.

Or is the plan to have regular pros adopt the iMac Pro?

I have to admit, user-serviceable RAM and screen rotation would pull me upward from the regular iMac line.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-02-03, 22:11

It's technically possible in the same way it is for the 21.5" model. It's doable, but it's certainly not for beginners/tinkerers, there are about 6,800 screws of various sizes/types involved (1,100 of which you'll never get back into the right place ), suction cups, stuff disassembled/detached, etc. I watched a video at OWC and it says, right up front, that it's the maximum difficulty level, takes an hour or so and should really be done by authorized, experienced professionals.

OWC sells RAM for the "non-upgradeable" 21.5" iMac and 27" iMac Pro, but I noticed Crucial does not. They don't seem to be as comfortable with encouraging you to break stuff.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2020-02-03, 22:18

Most of the difficulty lies with the display, which is held on with glue-stickers. It requires a fancy cutter to slice through to remove the display, and a no-jerky-the-display-off approach to remove the cables connecting the display to the logic board. Then the complete removal of the MLB, install the RAM bits, and then reassemble, which requires the installation of a new glue-sticker kit.

The 3rd-party glue-sticker kits are not as strong as Apple's, by the way, and can release when you least expect it, resulting in the display falling out, thus ripping the cables and destroying either the MLB or the display or both!

Even the Apple service part version of the glue-sticker bits must be installed correctly or they, too, can fail.

No, it is not easy. But it is doable. And if you break things while doing it, you get to buy new ones, because the warranty does not cover your tinkering.

Boise State! … Boise State! … Boise State!
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-02-03, 22:53

Exactly. No sane, life-having person wants to deal with that hassle (and possible warranty-voiding)! So either a) put the access hatch back to make it easy like it once was, or b) sell the 21.5" BTO RAM at the online store for a more reasonable, competitive price. The numbers they're asking are a little ridiculous.

Pick one. Because it's supremely jerky, IMO, to do neither, as is currently the case (and has been for seven-plus years now).

They're basically punishing those who prefer the 21.5" model. At least owners of the 27" iMac can get online at all the usual joints and track down a great price to upgrade their RAM anytime they want. Buyers of the 21.5" must pay Apple's nutball, inflated BTO RAM prices, on the day of purchase, to get anything beyond the stock 8GB. That's beyond irritating.

And they've never thrown buyers any sort of "we'll meet you halfway and be a little more reasonable" bone on this front.

"Hey, guess what? We're gonna weld it shut and bend you over the table. You're welcome!"

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2020-02-03 at 23:11.
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Brave Ulysses
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
 
2020-02-03, 23:44

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
I think Ive's departure has loosened the reins on product design, freeing teams from having to worry about shoehorning things into ever-tighter spaces.

The fact that they grew the MacBook Pro (ever so slightly) and fixed the keyboard bodes well for the future.

The more I think about it, the iMac Pro may be the product to watch. If they fix the RAM conundrum (which is that you can't add RAM later and almost no-one can afford to use much of the capacity at purchase) and add screen rotation using the hinge from the high-end display, the iMac Pro will become one of the most sought-after products in the lineup.
Neither of those limitations are what prevents me from buying an iMac Pro. I doubt they are for most potential buyers. It’s entirely about price
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Frank777
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto
 
2020-02-04, 01:51

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brave Ulysses View Post
Neither of those limitations are what prevents me from buying an iMac Pro. I doubt they are for most potential buyers. It’s entirely about price
Well yeah, what stops me from buying the new Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR is also the price tag. Same goes for a private jet.

You're either in the machine's target market or you're not. An iMac Pro costs $6299. in Canada. If that came with a screen that rotates and I knew I could fully utilize the system's RAM capabilities eventually, I would lease it for my small business.

I believe there are a lot of us in the 'traditional Pro' market who run Adobe CC and Final Cut and a bunch of other software that could use a bump from a regular iMac to a beefier model. It is hard for me to envision a scenario buying an iMac Pro for anything but business/scientific use. The classic iMac is such a great machine for consumers and education.

But I think if you use it to generate income, the iMac Pro, with a few tweaks and maybe a small price decrease, could be a really 'business-friendly' Mac.
At least for smaller-scale 'media creation' businesses, not to run spreadsheets.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2020-02-04, 03:44

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
It isn't. Well, not in the easy, user-friendly little hatch way like the 27" non-Pro iMac has, and that's weird/unfortunate. The 21.5" and the 27" Pro are sealed shut to regular mortals, but the regular 27" model retains the little access door. There's no consistency/rhyme or reason on this so you can't chalk it up to a "pro vs. not" issue or a size (21.5" vs. 27") one. You'd think a 27" iMac with "Pro" in the name would at least be as RAM accessible as its cheaper, non-Pro cousin.
It’s unfortunate. My guess is they ran into space constraints. (Which, frankly, are self-imposed. Nobody needed the iMac Pro to be this thin.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
But Apple still sells notebooks with "Pro" in the name that come stock with 8GB RAM (even when the larger one comes with 16GB...what's that saying? That the 16" is more Pro-er/deserving than the 13"?)
Effectively yes. It also has a much beefier CPU and GPU.

They run into thermal constraints there.

They used to solve this in thickness: the 12-inch PowerBook was a fair amount thicker than the 17-inch to accommodate for the lack of horizontal space. I guess the sales numbers say that people who want that just go for the 15 anyway?

(RAM will improve. The next 13-inch is likely to get Comet Lake, and with it, LPDDR4. That should allow them to bump it up. This is one of the weird things where Intel has been lagging for years, even behind mid-tier phones.)
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2020-02-04, 04:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
You're either in the machine's target market or you're not. An iMac Pro costs $6299. in Canada. If that came with a screen that rotates and I knew I could fully utilize the system's RAM capabilities eventually, I would lease it for my small business.

I believe there are a lot of us in the 'traditional Pro' market who run Adobe CC and Final Cut and a bunch of other software that could use a bump from a regular iMac to a beefier model. It is hard for me to envision a scenario buying an iMac Pro for anything but business/scientific use. The classic iMac is such a great machine for consumers and education.
Don't underestimate the 2019 Coffee Lake iMac. Sure, it still has the old cooling system, so the Pro will do better on sustained loads.

But for a lot of tasks, the iMac will not only be significantly be cheaper, but also faster. You can configure it to eight cores at just $2,699 compared to the iMac Pro's $4,999. And that CPU will be 16% faster in single-core and even slightly faster in multi-core. It's really only when you need workloads with ten, fourteen, eighteen cores that the iMac Pro starts destroying the lesser iMac, and odds are you don't have that kind of workload. (And if you do, consider if it'll also run on a GPU, in which case an eGPU solution might actually be cheaper and faster!)

So if you're considering the base model iMac Pro, think again if that's a good deal. The (overdue) 2019 iMac upgrade made it a far worse deal.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-02-04, 06:24

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Effectively yes. It also has a much beefier CPU and GPU.

They run into thermal constraints there.

They used to solve this in thickness: the 12-inch PowerBook was a fair amount thicker than the 17-inch to accommodate for the lack of horizontal space. I guess the sales numbers say that people who want that just go for the 15 anyway?

(RAM will improve. The next 13-inch is likely to get Comet Lake, and with it, LPDDR4. That should allow them to bump it up. This is one of the weird things where Intel has been lagging for years, even behind mid-tier phones.)


I’m not technically savvy enough to understand how any of that means the 13” Pro can’t/doesn’t come with 16GB RAM stock? They allow one to BTO to that amount, all I’m saying is in 2019-2020, a Mac with the word “Pro” in its name should come with that amount out of the box. At least the two pricier 13” models at $1,799 and $1,999.

Once you get above $1,500, and dealing with these specific models with that word in their name, 8GB stock just seems a bit chintzy and 2016, IMO.

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2020-02-04 at 06:57.
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chucker
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: near Bremen, Germany
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2020-02-04, 09:00

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post


I’m not technically savvy enough to understand how any of that means the 13” Pro can’t/doesn’t come with 16GB RAM stock?
It doesn't, but it does mean that they can't then offer a 32 GB or more BTO option on the 13-inch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
They allow one to BTO to that amount, all I’m saying is in 2019-2020, a Mac with the word “Pro” in its name should come with that amount out of the box. At least the two pricier 13” models at $1,799 and $1,999.

Once you get above $1,500, and dealing with these specific models with that word in their name, 8GB stock just seems a bit chintzy and 2016, IMO.
Sure.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-02-04, 10:01

Re: the no 32GB option in the 13”, that’s been the case all along. And people know there are already a few trade-offs (processor, graphics) if you opt for the 13” over the 15”. There doesn’t have to be a step up beyond 16GB if it isn’t physically/technically possible due to the limitations of the board or whatever.

It would be nice if that could be an option some day on the 13”... but in the meantime I think there would be way many more happy with a stock 16GB than those bummed that there’s no 32GB to go to. The former doesn’t cancel out the latter. If Apple is keeping it at 8GB just so folks feel like they have something else to step up to, I would respectfully request that they knock it the hell off. There would still be BTO options for the processor and storage.

Making the 13” (at least the two higher-end models) come with 16GB is a fingersnap type of thing, if someone suddenly decided it should be. No technical hurdles or concerns to make that one small thing happen. I’m sure it’s coming too, now that the 16” has it.

These staggered, leapfrog updates within the same product category are frustrating in their own way because, in a perfect world, the 13” would’ve gotten the new keyboard and the other things the new 16” got and both MacBook Pro models would be sporting the new stuff, vs. a several months gap/wait. It’s almost as though they have trouble walking and chewing gum at the same time. Makes me wonder if they just throw all their personnel and resources on one model sometimes? Who knows. Maybe this 16”, with its screen, speaker, etc. changes required “all hands on deck”, and, as we speak, they’re now all working on the 13” (possible taking it to 14”, redoing the speakers, keyboard, battery design, etc.). If a really amazing 13” is released in the coming months, then I suppose it was worth the lag/wait.
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kscherer
The Ban Hammer
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
 
2020-02-04, 11:53

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
Don't underestimate the 2019 Coffee Lake iMac. Sure, it still has the old cooling system, so the Pro will do better on sustained loads.

But for a lot of tasks, the iMac will not only be significantly be cheaper, but also faster. You can configure it to eight cores at just $2,699 compared to the iMac Pro's $4,999. And that CPU will be 16% faster in single-core and even slightly faster in multi-core. It's really only when you need workloads with ten, fourteen, eighteen cores that the iMac Pro starts destroying the lesser iMac, and odds are you don't have that kind of workload. (And if you do, consider if it'll also run on a GPU, in which case an eGPU solution might actually be cheaper and faster!)

So if you're considering the base model iMac Pro, think again if that's a good deal. The (overdue) 2019 iMac upgrade made it a far worse deal.
This.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pscates2.0 View Post
If Apple is keeping it at 8GB just so folks feel like they have something else to step up to, I would respectfully request that they knock it the hell off. There would still be BTO options for the processor and storage..
Funny thing: The MacBook Air has no processor option. So Apple well knows that they can make a decision for buyers that makes sense even if there is no option to bump.

RAM is a profit center for Apple, and a large one. At the end of the day, there are certainly technical reasons for their decisions, but there are also profit motives. With laptops it's all about performance and reliability first, and profit second. With desktops the technical issues are trumped by profit issues. There is no technical reason that a trap door cannot exist over the RAM slots on 21" iMacs or iMac Pros, but it would be asymmetrical because the doors would be upper right/left from the back side and that wouldn't look good. So they bury them for "technical" reasons and take advantage of the customer.

Because people care what the wall-facing side of the computer looks like*.

*Some people do, but that number is very small. Maybe it's Hollywood?

Boise State! … Boise State! … Boise State!

Last edited by kscherer : 2020-02-04 at 12:05.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-02-04, 16:09

Yeah, I wish they wouldn't base their decisions so much on stuff like that. With Ive out the door, maybe that sort of thing will swing back to a more reasonable, middle ground where utility/function get a bit more consideration (and it isn't all just about "1mm thinner than the previous model". Nobody cares on desktops, especially when the iMac isn't a bloated wreck and nobody's asking for it to be made smaller.

I have a feeling he was the primary reason for some of that nuttiness and I'm glad he's gone, being totally honest. I think he lost his spark anyway back in 2011, so it's well past time for some new eyes, blood, ideas, thinking, IMO. I'm encouraged by what the 16" MacBook Pro represents, just on the keyboard front alone. Get back to proven designs/approaches that work. I'm hoping that's pointing to what we'll see on an updated 13" and other products.

Last edited by pscates2.0 : 2020-02-04 at 16:39.
  quote
Frank777
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Toronto
 
2020-02-04, 16:16

Quote:
Originally Posted by chucker View Post
So if you're considering the base model iMac Pro, think again if that's a good deal.
Yeah, I do get that. An upper-level iMac is pretty much all I need, but everyone doesn't always buy the reasonable choice.

If I'm going to be using my next computer daily for at least half a decade, I'm happy to step up to the overpowered option, provided that Apple throws in a (reasonable) way for me to upgrade the RAM, and also allows me to rotate the screen.
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pscates2.0
Mr. Farmiga
 
Join Date: May 2004
 
2020-02-04, 16:42

I keep forgetting that new display arm allows for that (rotation). Years ago I worked at a place and I had a monitor (was it ViewSonic?) that I could do this to. I was doing a lot of page layout/typesetting and it sometimes came in handy to just to see a long, vertical run of stuff. I didn't do it a lot, but it was a neat way to work once in a while, when it made sense.

I bet within 5-7 years, that feature will make its way down to all iMacs. Well, that's assuming the iMac even exists at that point. Apple might be out of the Mac/computer business - and there could be a 22" iPhone - by then.
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Send a message via Skype™ to PB PM 
2020-02-04, 17:33

One can hope by then that the Apple Watch will have taken over many of the phone functions, and tablets have taken the place of most other computer functions. Seems like the direction things could go away.
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