The new high-end MacBook Pro and “thermal throttling”

[VIDEO] A new video is making its way around the net, under the title “MacBook Pro 15 (2018) – Beware the Core i9”. The video (embedded in the main Loop post), is a reasonably measured analysis of one specific new MacBook Pro model, the highest end, spec’ed with a 2.9GHz 6-core Intel Core i9 processor.

Before we get into the video at all, the issues Dave Lee raises are specific to this configuration. I’ve seen not seen anything to make me believe the over-throttling Dave encountered occurs on lower-spec’ed models. Per usual, ping me if I’ve missed anything, or if you see someone encountering this issue with, say, a 2.6GHz 6-core i7.

On to specifics:

Dave runs an Adobe Premiere render on Mac and Windows, the Mac using the i9, and the Windows machine using an i7. Under high load:

  • The Windows laptop (Intel i7) runs at an average clock speed of about 3.1GHz, temp of ~87°C
  • The MacBook Pro (high end i9) runs at an average clock speed of 2.2GHz, temp of ~90°C

In this specific case, with this specific configuration, with this specific i9 chip, the MacBook Pro runs hotter and slower under intense load.

Dave then sticks his MacBook Pro in the freezer and repeats the experiment, and the thermal throttling is significantly reduced, as the Mac no longer has to throttle performance to keep the machine from overheating.

I’d be very interested in seeing this experiment repeated by other folks. Thermal throttling is not the villain here. It’s about the ability of the Mac itself to dissipate heat efficiently. Once the chip heats up, that’s when thermal throttling kicks in.

Watch the video, draw your own conclusions.

Samsung’s latest snarky swipe at Apple

[VIDEO] Samsung’s latest ad continues their tradition of focusing on iPhone, rather than on their own product, typically with a heaping helping of snark.

This ad, embedded in the main Loop post, is no different. The core statement is:

“So the ten doesn’t have the fastest download speeds”

That swipe at the iPhone X is based on this Samsung press release, with the headline New Data from Ookla Shows the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are the Fastest Phones Ever.

From the release:

The Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ are the fastest smartphones on the market, with download speeds that are up to 42% faster than the closest competitor’s newest devices, according to Ookla®, a leading mobile data speed analyst.

And from the fine print:

Analysis by Ookla® of Speedtest Intelligence® data for iPhone X/8/7 for Feb–April 2018 comparing mean download speeds weighted averages on major nationwide carriers’ 4G LTE network results.

Not sure how scientifically rigorous the comparisons are, but I definitely agree that Samsung has the snarkiest marketing, by far.

2018 MacBook Pro Geekbench 4 scores

John Poole, Primate Labs:

Apple announced updated 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros last week. Let’s take a quick look at the performance of these new laptops using Geekbench 4 results from the Geekbench Browser.

For those unfamiliar with Geekbench 4, it is our cross-platform CPU and GPU benchmark. Higher scores are better, with double the score indicating double the performance.

Note that Geekbench scores tend to improve over time, as startup tasks like iCloud syncing tend to eat CPU time when a machine is first configured. Once those “one time” tasks are completed, usually after a few days, they no longer skew the results.

Benchmarks like these offer a nice way of comparing apples to apples when you are considering a move from one machine to another. If your workload includes very specific, repetitive, high-intensity tasks (such as audio or video rendering, for example), you might want to seek out benchmarks comparing results for those specific tasks.

Sharecuts is creating a community for sharing Siri Shortcuts

Sarah Perez, TechCrunch:

With the upcoming release of iOS 12, Apple is introducing a new app called Shortcuts that will allow users to build custom voice commands for Siri that can be used to kick off a variety of actions in apps. While some apps will directly prompt users to add a Shortcut to Siri, the new Shortcuts app will offer more shortcut suggestions to try, plus the ability to create your own shortcuts and workflows. Now, there’s a new resource for shortcut fans, too – Sharecuts, a directory of shortcuts created and shared by the community.

The site is still very much in the early stages.

Shortcuts is an incredibly important addition to iOS, an evolution to the app architecture that gives you finer grained access to an apps functionality.

Sharecuts is a playground that lets you download useful Shortcuts built by the community but, in my mind, Sharecuts brings something more important to the table:

If you have the Shortcuts app installed, jump to the Sharecuts page (and bookmark it for later reference) and tap one of the Shortcuts. When it opens, you’ll be able to see, and change, all the elements that make up that Shortcut. To me, this is an invaluable learning tool, a wonderful community resource.

Tuning your iOS 12 notification behavior on the fly

Tim Hardwick, MacRumors:

As part of its digital health initiative in iOS 12, Apple has introduced some improvements to the way app notifications can be managed, enabling users to more easily reduce the number of daily distractions their iPhone or iPad throws their way.

One of these new features is called Instant Tuning, which allows you to quickly adjust the future behavior of app notifications whenever they appear in the Lock Screen or the Notifications Center. Here’s how to make the most of it.

This is a short read, talks through an interface that is relatively hidden, but useful and easy to get to. Good stuff.

The great Apple keyboard cover-up

iFixit:

Here’s an inflammatory take for you: Apple’s new quieter keyboard is actually a silent scheme to fix their keyboard reliability issues. We’re in the middle of tearing down the newest MacBook Pro, but we’re too excited to hold this particular bit of news back:

Apple has cocooned their butterfly switches in a thin, silicone barrier.

First things first, this is indeed an inflammatory take, joining countless other headlines lambasting Apple and the MacBook butterfly keyboard.

But, the thing is, it looks like Apple has, indeed, addressed the problem. That thin, silicone barrier looks designed specifically to keep dust and crumbs from embedding themselves beneath the key press mechanism.

Not sure why Apple never came right out and said, “Our bad, we missed the dust problem with these keyboards, but we’ll fix it.” Is this lawyer-driven? A concern about class-action lawsuits and liability?

No matter, it seems to me that this 3rd generation keyboard is the fix. I’ve typed on it and I am comfortable with the feel and sound. Until I bring one home, I’m not sure how I will feel about the Touch Bar and the soft escape key, the boxier arrow keys, but I do like the keyboard feel and feel optimistic that the dark days of dust breaking the keyboard may just be behind us.

There’s a nice video embedded in the iFixit article that walks through the problems with the keyboard and shows the silicon membrane, up close. Apple keyboard cover-up. Get it?

Apple’s pursuit of the Emmy Award

HBO has an amazing, 17-year-long streak of getting the most Emmy Award nominations. But that streak is now busted, a sign of the changing times.

In this year’s nominations, announced last week, HBO got 108 awards, but Netflix got 112. In the streaming video space, that’s major news, a real changing of the guard.

When I first tweeted about this, I wondered when Apple would get their first non-technical award. Turns out, Apple has several awards/nominations in the bank already.

Check the main Loop post for the link. Ping me if you know of any Apple nominations or wins that I’ve missed. […]

How a sneaky furniture expert ripped off the rich and tricked Versailles

Vanity Fair:

In June 2016, Bill G. B. Pallot and Charles Hooreman, rival antiques dealers in Paris, became the two most famous men in the French art world. That was when Pallot admitted to the police that he had masterminded the forgery of at least four chairs purportedly built in the 18th century for France’s royal household and, in a series of transactions via third parties between 2009 and 2015, sold them to the Palace of Versailles.

I love a good caper story. This one has, perhaps, my favorite lines of all time:

“I licked the chair and voilà,” he says. “I could taste the fraud.”

That line makes this story simply irresistible.

Austin Mann’s real-world 2018 MacBook Pro review

Austin Mann is a photographer who regularly puts Apple gear through its paces, often in remote and beautiful locales.

Austin got his hands on one of the brand new, 2.9 GHz, 32GB, 4TB MacBook Pros. From his review:

I’m deep in the mountains and wasn’t able to run many side-by-side speed tests, but I did manage to set up one test and the results were surprising.

The test was simple: convert a 4K Mavic Pro video file to 1080p H.265 (HEVC) using QuickTime Player (File > Export As > 1080p > Check “Use HEVC”).

I have three different MacBook Pros, all on macOS 10.13.6, all running QuickTime 10.4, all with the original file on the internal drive and exporting to the internal drive. Here are the results:

  • My daily MBP until I discovered these results: 2.3 GHz i7 MacBook Pro (15″, Late 2013, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD) = 1980 seconds (33 minutes)
  • Top-of-line 2016 MBP: 2.9 GHz i7 MacBook Pro (15″, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD) = 99 seconds
  • This top-of-line 2018 MBP: 2.9 GHz i9 MacBook Pro (15″, 32 GB RAM, 4 TB SSD) = 24 seconds

Those are some impressive results. Obviously, you’ll have to pay for the privilege, but if you are considering a purchase, this is a nice data point.

There’s lots more in Austin’s review. Take a look.

More on Apple’s AirPods World Cup branding coup

The video embedded in this tweet shows the Brazilian soccer team on their journey, last month, to get to the World Cup. As you watch the video, keep your eye out for AirPods. They won’t be hard to spot, which is the point.

https://twitter.com/CBF_Futebol/status/1002901686141243392

There are many examples of this, no matter what team you follow. And, as I pointed out in this post, this is one of the few times that the inability to show a product logo (all logos from non-World Cup sponsors must be covered up) makes no difference at all to that product’s recognizability.

A real branding coup. [H/T Matt Abras]

A patent that offers insight into the complexity of Apple’s AirPower charging pad

About a month ago, Serenity Caldwell was a guest on episode 224 of John Gruber’s The Talk Show. About 4:30 in, the topic turned to Apple’s AirPower charging pad.

I’ve been thinking about the long delay since the original AirPower announcement (back in September, almost a year ago) and yesterday, on Twitter, someone mentioned a recently discovered European patent, covered in this Patently Apple article and pointed me to the Serenity Caldwell Talk Show appearance as well.

First things first, take a look at the patent article and scroll down to the second picture, which highlights what Apple calls an Inductive Power Transfer (IPT) System. From the description:

In order to ensure maximum power transfer efficiency to the Apple Watch, an Inductive Power Transfer (IPT) director such as IPT director unit #208 may be provided. The IPT director unit may function to direct the IPT field of the inductive power transmitter for receipt by the inductive power receiver of the Apple Watch.

The idea would be to have these table hockey bumpy things redirect power from the charging mat to be able to charge items that might not sit flat. One perfect example of this is an Apple Watch with a links band, or any band that does not open completely to allow it to lay flat.

This is a terrific solution. But (and this is pure speculation), this may be part of the reason we do not yet see an AirPower in the wild. As Serenity says in her Talk Show interview, Apple appears to be going far beyond what is necessary to simply charge an iPhone. There’s the complexity of the IPT system to transfer power to add-on devices to charge an Apple Watch.

There’s also the goal of communicating the charging state to software, so your iPhone can tell you the current charge of each device on the AirPower.

All this is speculation, but it’s not hard to see that Apple doesn’t want to ship yet another simple induction pad. As Apple does, they want to ship something special, something uniquely Apple.

One question I’d ask is, if Apple could do it all over again, knowing what they know now, would they still have made the AirPower announcement back in September? And, if not, what wires were crossed that caused that early announcement?

Bloomberg: Adobe to launch Photoshop for iPad in strategy shift

Bloomberg:

Adobe Systems Inc., the maker of popular digital design programs for creatives, is planning to launch the full version of its Photoshop app for Apple Inc.’s iPad as part of a new strategy to make its products compatible across multiple devices and boost subscription sales.

And:

Adobe’s chief product officer of Creative Cloud Scott Belsky confirmed the company was working on a new cross-platform iteration of Photoshop and other applications, but declined to specify the timing of their launches.

Key here is the word “full”, as in, the same version of Photoshop on both Mac and iPad.

As to timing:

The software developer is planning to unveil the new app at its annual MAX creative conference in October, according to people with knowledge of the plan. The app is slated to hit the market in 2019, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private product plans. Engineering delays could still alter that timeline.

Big news for Creative Cloud users. Presumably, you’d be able to share assets between the two platforms. Being able to edit an image, seamlessly switching between the Mac and iPad versions of Photoshop, all while having access to the same color schemes, icons, brushes, etc., would be a huge win.

Will Apple let you swap your recently-bought 2017 MacBook Pro for a 2018 one?

Ben Lovejoy, 9to5Mac:

Apple managed to keep the lid on its plans to update the MacBook Pro yesterday. It was clear that it would need to support the latest Intel processors at some point, but nobody knew the launch date.

Which would be annoying, to say the least, if you’ve recently bought the 2017 model. The question is, will Apple let you exchange it for the 2018 one … ?

The answer, as in many things, is ‘it depends.’

If you bought a MacBook Pro within, say, the last month, I would definitely give this a read. Might just help you snag a brand newest machine.

Apple’s Shortcuts will flip the switch on Siri’s potential

Matthew Cassinelli, TechCrunch:

It’s undeniably convenient to get facts by speaking to the air, turning on the lights without lifting a finger or triggering a timer or text message — but so far, studies have shown people don’t use much more than these on a regular basis.

People don’t often do more than that because the assistants aren’t really ready for complex tasks yet, and when your assistant is limited to tasks inside your home or commands spoken into your phone, the drawbacks prevent you from going deep.

And:

In Apple’s ecosystem, you have Siri on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, HomePod, CarPlay and any Mac. Add in Shortcuts on each of those devices (except Mac, but they still have Automator) and suddenly you have a plethora of places to execute all your commands entirely by voice.

And:

Even more important than all the places where you can use your assistant is how — with Shortcuts, Siri gets even better with each new app that people download.

And:

Shortcuts opens up those capabilities to Siri — every action you take in an app can be shared out with Siri, letting people interact right there inline or using only their voice, with the app running everything smoothly in the background.

Hard to overstate just how important Shortcuts is to Siri and to the Apple ecosystem. Rather than the ability to simply launch an app, Shortcuts gives you the ability to get inside your apps, accessing data and launching functionality exposed by the app’s developer. This is the power of AppleScript, but for voice and just made for Siri.

Terrific article by a former member of the Workflow team. Shortcuts is based on Workflow, the app Apple acquired last year, and is being rolled out in private beta now.

ARKit used to reenact famous horror scene from The Ring

First things first, The Ring is one of my favorite horror movies of all time. I read the book (translated from Japanese into English), then saw the movie. Loved both.

In case the title doesn’t click for you, this is the movie where the girl with long black hair obscuring her face crawls out of the TV set. Still with me? Here’s the tweet with embedded video.

There’s something beyond a simple video reenactment here. Imagine apps that let you enter a world previously limited to the pages of a book or movie screen. You could roam the halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, spy on a meeting between Cercei and Tyrion Lannister, or hitchhike the galaxies with Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect.

Looking forward to more of this sort of thing.

18 Siri commands for HomePod AirPlay 2 users

Jonny Evans pulled together a list of Siri commands made possible by AirPlay 2. The language is subtle, scan the list to get a sense of the possibilities. Good stuff.

The winner of the World Cup is Apple

Mike Murphy, Quartz:

FIFA has pretty strict rules around what it calls “ambush marketing,” where a brand pays players to wear or use its products before or during World Cup games, even though that company has not paid to be an official World Cup sponsor. It’s why any player you see wearing Beats headphones before a game, for example, has the company’s logo taped over.

Apple is not a World Cup sponsor, so no Apple logos on any player gear. But check out all the photos. Even without a logo, there’s no mistaking those AirPods. Apple’s design work here is so distinctive, no logo is needed.

Apple updates MacBook Pro with faster performance and new features for pros

Apple:

The new MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar feature 8th-generation Intel Core processors, with 6-core on the 15-inch model for up to 70 percent faster performance and quad-core on the 13-inch model for up to two times faster performance — ideal for manipulating large data sets, performing complex simulations, creating multi-track audio projects or doing advanced image processing or film editing.

And:

Additional updates include support for up to 32GB of memory, a True Tone display and an improved third-generation keyboard for quieter typing.

There are new 13-inch and 15-inch models, with up to 2TB SSD on the 13-inch model and up to 4TB SSD on the 15-inch.

Also new to MacBook Pro is the Apple T2 chip, first introduced in iMac Pro. With the Apple T2 chip, MacBook Pro now delivers enhanced system security with support for secure boot and on-the-fly encrypted storage, and also brings “Hey Siri” to the Mac for the first time.

On the 15″ processor:

6-core Intel Core i7 and Core i9 processors up to 2.9 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.8 GHz

On the 13″ processor:

Quad-core Intel Core i5 and i7 processors up to 2.7 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 4.5 GHz and double the eDRAM

And:

The new MacBook Pro is also part of Apple’s Back to School promotion starting today and available to college students, their parents, faculty and staff through the Apple Education Store. The promotion includes a pair of qualifying Beats headphones with the purchase of any eligible Mac or iPad Pro for college, as well as education pricing on Mac, iPad Pro, AppleCare, select accessories and more.

Here’s a link to the US Higher Education site.

The new models are available today and start at $1,799 and $2,399 respectively.

Apple posts three brilliant short films about soccer, all Shot on iPhone

[VIDEO] If there’s one line that ties these three videos together, besides the fact that all three were Shot on iPhone, it’s this line:

Soccer is my passion, it’s what I love the most.

These three videos, embedded in main Loop post, are wonderfully worth watching, especially if you have a little footy in your soul.

Apple Music just surpassed Spotify’s U.S. subscriber count

Digital Music News:

Apple Music has more paying subscribers in the United States than Spotify, according to confidential details shared with Digital Music News this morning.

The source, a US-based, major distributor, shared a report detailing the subscriber tallies of several streaming music services, including Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, and Sirius XM. That report now ranks Apple Music as first in the United States.

And:

Both Apple Music and Spotify have more than 20 million subscribers in America, with Apple now a hair ahead.

And:

The data for 2018 also shows that Apple is experiencing a far stronger rate-of-growth in the United States, suggesting a wider lead over the coming months. Trial users were not part of the comparison.

Apple Music has been growing faster than Spotify for a while now. I can only imagine that the HomePod has added to that growth.

Overall, Apple Music scored 170 million streams of album tracks during the first week, while Spotify amassed an estimated 130 million.

The disparity strongly suggests that Apple is achieving far better user engagement, especially given Spotify’s extreme promotional push for the release. It also raises questions of just how ‘active’ Spotify’s 160 million active users are.

Apple Music, grinding away with steady advertising and the gravity of their ecosystem, slowly eating Spotify’s lunch.

How Smart TVs track pixels, communicate what you are watching to other devices, all to serve up ads

New York Times:

In recent years, data companies have harnessed new technology to immediately identify what people are watching on internet-connected TVs, then using that information to send targeted advertisements to other devices in their homes.

And:

Once enabled, Samba TV can track nearly everything that appears on the TV on a second-by-second basis, essentially reading pixels to identify network shows and ads, as well as programs on Netflix and HBO and even video games played on the TV. Samba TV has even offered advertisers the ability to base their targeting on whether people watch conservative or liberal media outlets and which party’s presidential debate they watched.

You might think this is nothing new, but this isn’t simply translating the current time and the channel on the screen to know what show is playing. This is actually analyzing the pixels on the screen to suss out the nature of the content. They can tell what video game you are playing, or watch you watching home videos, harvesting data and drawing conclusions all the while.

Have we learned nothing?

[H/T Robert Walter]

Apple launches iOS 12 Shortcuts app beta

The demos I’ve seen so far have been eye-opening.

Note that, currently, the beta is limited to developers. But one way to follow along is via Twitter. As usual with anything associated with automation, I turn first to Federico Viticci (@viticci on Twitter). Here’s just a taste:

https://twitter.com/viticci/status/1014975736367734784

I have to say, I am pretty excited about the possibilities here.

Using Apple Watch with Siri “Raise to Speak”

With the beta release of watchOS 5, a new switch appeared in Apple Watch settings (on the watch itself, Settings > General > Siri). Here’s a screenshot:

Jump to the main Loop post for my 2 cents […]

The moment a river cuts a new channel to the ocean

[VIDEO] Watch as the Black Rock River in South Africa slowly trickles its way into the Indian Ocean. Once the divide is breached, the trickle turns into a flow, then a torrent.

Part 1 embedded in the main Loop post. There’s a part 2 here.

1990, meet 2018: How far does 20MHz of Macintosh IIsi power go today?

Chris Wilkinson, Ars Technica:

I was browsing a local online classifieds site and stumbled across a gem: a Macintosh IIsi. Even better, the old computer was for sale along with the elusive but much-desired Portrait Display, a must-have for the desktop publishing industry of its time. I bought it the very next day.

It took me several days just to get the machine to boot at all, but I kept thinking back to that article. Could I do any better? With much less? Am I that arrogant? Am I a masochist?

Cupertino retro-curiosity ultimately won out: I decided to enroll the Macintosh IIsi as my main computing system for a while. A 1990 bit of gear would now go through the 2018 paces. Just how far can 20MHz of raw processing power take you in the 21st century?

If you are even mildly curious about this experiment, I urge you to follow the link. It does not disappoint. A geek’s delight, a worthy rabbit hole.

Microsoft Office and the macOS Mojave beta

Microsoft Office blog:

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneDrive, Skype for Business, and OneNote will install and run on macOS 10.14 Mojave. No formal support is available for Office when using a beta installation of Mojave, and you may encounter stability issues. Microsoft intends to fully support Office 2016, Office 2019 and Office 365 for Mac on 10.14 Mojave when Apple declares it generally available (GA) for all users.

It’ll run, but no formal support until the official Mojave public release.

Reddit thread on iOS features that make you happy or satisfied

A fun read, some things you might not know. My favorite:

How the clock app icon is actually the correct time. But more importantly that the second hand is accurate. It’s actually really useful to have a place to see the seconds.

If you’ve never noticed this before, find the Clock app on your iPhone. Yup, that second hand is live, a red line scooting around the dial.

But even better, make your way over to the app icon blob on your Apple Watch. The clock app icon in that blob also features a live second hand.

Details!