October 22, 2021

The Dalrymple Report: MacBook Pro M1, Voice Plan, and AirPods

Apple held its special event this week releasing new MacBook Pros with much faster M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. Dave and I talk about the new computers, as well as digging into the newly announced Apple Music Voice Plan. The way that Apple positioned the plan doesn’t make a lot of sense to either of us. Finally, we talk about the new AirPods, a really nice set of headphones that rivals and in some cases surpasses the AirPods Pro.

Follow this podcast

BetterHelp: I want you to start living a happier life today. As a listener, you’ll get 10% off your first month by visiting our sponsor at BetterHelp.com/dalrymple.

Join over 1 million people who have taken charge of their mental health. Again, that’s BetterHelp.com/dalrymple.

October 21, 2021

iPhone ProMotion in SloMo: 120hz vs 60hz

This is an absolutely fantastic look at ProMotion at work. Gives you a true sense of the difference in scan lines on various iPhones and apps.

Follow the headline link to read the Anandtech take on CPU performance and power efficiency. I’ve never doubted that in those categories, the M1 chips would win, hands down.

What really interests me is the GPU performance. The original M1 stands toe-to-toe with traditional laptop GPUs, but falls well behind a PC desktop with a discrete GPU. Not a slam on the M1. That’s just to be expected with an integrated GPU.

But this from Anandtech:

Apple’s GPU performance is claimed to vastly outclass any previous generation competitor integrated graphics performance, so the company opted to make direct comparisons to medium-end discrete laptop graphics. In this case, pitting the M1 Pro against a GeForce RTX 3050 Ti 4GB, with the Apple chip achieving similar performance at 70% less power.

And:

While the M1 Pro catches up and outpaces the laptop competition in terms of performance, the M1 Max is aiming at delivering something never-before seen: supercharging the GPU to a total of 32 cores. Essentially it’s no longer an SoC with an integrated GPU, rather it’s a GPU with an SoC around it.

And:

In terms of performance, Apple is battling it out with the very best available in the market, comparing the performance of the M1 Max to that of a mobile GeForce RTX 3080, at 100W less power (60W vs 160W). Apple also includes a 100W TDP variant of the RTX 3080 for comparison, here, outperforming the NVIDIA discrete GPU, while still using 40% less power.

This is no small thing. If Apple is able to go head-to-head with a traditional, discrete PC GPU in terms of performance, that does change things. GPU performance, especially for gaming, is the reason we still have a desktop PC in our house. Though a fast GPU does not trivialize porting and running PC games on a Mac (perhaps via Rosetta 2 or via an M1 port), it is a necessary first step.

And we’ll soon know how true those performance claims are as the graphics benchmarks start rolling in. From this first such report:

The M1 Max looked pretty good beside the GeForce RTX 3080 Mobile or Radeon RX 6800M. Apple’s chip outperformed Nvidia and AMD’s GPUs in some workloads and stayed within a small margin in others. The M1 Max’s power efficiency was the most impressive feat, considering that the GeForce RTX 3080 Mobile and Radeon RX 6800M conform to TDP ratings of 160W and 145W, respectively.

Looking forward to more benchmark results, and hearing from experts on any caveats. But so far, so good.

On Monday, Apple showed it heard user complaints about the MacBook Pro, returning the SD card slot (UHS-II at 300 MB/s+), dropping the Touch Bar, and bringing back the long requested MagSafe connector with a new woven cable and its reassuring green power indicator.

In another sign of Apple hearing the madding crowd, the macOS 15.1 developer beta has restored the old Safari tab design, eschewing the poorly received bubble tab design that came with the latest macOS and iPadOS releases.

Great to see these changes. Feels like Apple has turned a corner, dialing back from the “we know best” position to allow a whisper of “what does the customer want?” in its design process.

Mark Gurman, Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. will begin to force unvaccinated corporate employees to test for Covid-19 each time they want to enter an office, a move that tightens its virus protocols while still stopping short of a vaccine mandate.

The new requirement will also apply to employees who decline to report their vaccination status to Apple, the company told employees this week. Vaccinated staff will be required to take rapid tests once per week.

And:

Apple retail store employees, meanwhile, will have slightly different rules. Unvaccinated staff will be asked to test twice per week instead of each day they come to work. Vaccinated workers will also need to take a rapid test each week.

Slowly but surely, Apple is tightening its vaccine stance, from booting antivax apps from the App Store, to requiring employees to report vaccination status, to these new testing requirements.

October 20, 2021

Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica:

Between ongoing supply chain issues, chip shortages, and pent-up demand, Apple’s new MacBook Pros were always going to be hard to get. They’ve been up for preorder for less than 24 hours, and if you order one now, you probably won’t get it before November or December.

But the new laptops aren’t Apple’s only in-demand product: The shipping times for Apple’s $19 microfiber Polishing Cloth have also already slipped back into mid to late November. Unfortunately, this means that your compatible iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, and iPods will need to remain unpolished for at least a month.

This reads like an April Fool’s column or the sharp sardonic wit of The Macalope.

But no, this is a real thing, the high end polishing cloth that shipped with the original Pro Display XDR. And the bad news is, it’s now slipped even further, to mid-December.

Here’s a link if you just gotta have one.

Follow the headline link for Michael Potuck’s head to head to head to head comparison of the four current MacBook Pro models (the still-selling Intel model, the 13″ M1, and the brand new 14″ and 16″ M1 Pro/Max models).

At the very least, scroll through the various tables to get a sense of what has changed, including things like external display support, built-in display brightness, and battery life. Lot’s of great detail here.

World’s longest Lightning EarPods

More from the Apple hackery “Will It Work?” channel, on a mission to create the longest Lightning EarPods possible using only the iPhone’s battery power.

Real world Twitch streamers stunt for Apple TV+ Invasion

Apple:

Watch Twitch streamers BoxBox, xChocoBars, 72hrs, Joe Sugg, Emiru and more as their live feeds got invaded by aliens. What started with a sudden nosebleed, quickly got even weirder when eerie distortions began to take over. The day after it was revealed that it was a stunt for a new Apple TV+ series, Invasion.

Smart marketing stunt for the team behind the coming Apple TV+ sci-fi series, Invasion. The first episode drops this Friday.

October 19, 2021

The new MacBook Pros will begin arriving next week, but thankfully, we don’t have to wait that long to get an answer. Linda Dong, an Apple designer, has confirmed on Twitter that the macOS pointer travels behind the notch, allowing users to essentially hide the mouse pointer from view.

That’s an interesting way to do it. It was either that or the mouse would go around the notch. I’m sure there will be complaints either way.

Apple began its “Unleashed” event with a music video featuring A.G. Cook, and a host of famous sounds from Apple’s history. Here’s what was used – and which shot in the video was reversed.

I thought this was a fun way to start the event.

All the videos from yesterday’s Apple Event

First off is “Start Up”, a song made by A. G. Cook from 45 years of Mac startup sounds. It played at the open of yesterday’s Apple Event, and really set the stage for what was coming later in the show.

Here are the sounds used in the video:

iMac G3 Startup, MacBook Pro Startup, AirPods Case Closing, iOS Alert, HomePod Minimum Volume, iPod Click Wheel, Note Alert, Email Whoosh, MagSafe Charger, Night Owl Ringtone, HomePod Nope, HomePod PingPong, Mac 2020 Alert, Empty Trash, Message Sent, Message Received, HomePod Device Identify, iPhone Keyboard, Airdrop Invite, Mac Sosumi, Apple Pay

Next up is “Pro Apps. Pushed to the Max”. I love the complexity of the elements throughout this video. I’ve watched it a few times, just to home in on specific scenes and the powerful special effects I assume are all done on one of the new MacBook Pros. Pay special attention from. about 1:19 to 1:50. Look at all those elements and transitions. Amazing stuff.

Next up is the HomePod mini intro, with those vibrant new colors, the new AirPods video, and the real star of the show, the video showcasing the brand new MacBook Pros. And last up is the event itself, if you did not get a chance to watch it, or want to watch it again.

October 18, 2021

Apple:

Apple today unveiled the completely reimagined MacBook Pro powered by the all-new M1 Pro and M1 Max — the first pro chips designed for the Mac.

And:

The new MacBook Pro also features a stunning Liquid Retina XDR display, a wide range of ports for advanced connectivity, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, and the best audio system in a notebook.

And:

Its all-new aluminum enclosure optimizes internal space for more performance and features. The enclosure is precisely machined around an advanced thermal system that can move 50 percent more air than the previous generation, even at lower fan speeds. The thermal design enables MacBook Pro to deliver phenomenal sustained performance while staying cool and quiet. And because of the efficiency of Apple silicon, the fans never even have to turn on for most tasks users perform every day.

And:

The new MacBook Pro also comes with a Magic Keyboard that is set in a double-anodized black well, which elegantly highlights the backlit glyphs on the keys, and features a full-height function row. Physical function keys — including a wider escape key — replace the Touch Bar, bringing back the familiar, tactile feel of mechanical keys that pro users love.

And:

For the first time, MacBook Pro offers a stunning Liquid Retina XDR display. Featuring the mini-LED technology used in iPad Pro, the Liquid Retina XDR display delivers up to 1,000 nits of sustained, full-screen brightness, an incredible 1,600 nits of peak brightness, and a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.

And, perhaps most importantly:

Both models feature three Thunderbolt 4 ports to connect high-speed peripherals, an SDXC card slot for fast access to media, an HDMI port for conveniently connecting to displays and TVs, and an improved headphone jack that supports high-impedance headphones. MagSafe returns to MacBook Pro with MagSafe 3, featuring an updated design and supporting more power into the system than ever before. MagSafe 3 makes connecting a charge cable quick and easy while protecting MacBook Pro. Additionally, fast charge comes to the Mac for the first time, charging up to 50 percent in just 30 minutes. With M1 Pro, users can now connect up to two Pro Display XDRs, and with M1 Max, users can connect up to three Pro Display XDRs and a 4K TV, all at the same time. For wireless connectivity, MacBook Pro also features Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.

To be clear, all the Thunderbolt ports support charging (so you can use your existing chargers in a pinch), but the new 140W MagSafe power brick is what brings the fast charging.

Also worth a look: Apple official new MacBook Pro marketing page, which is full of well presented details.

Interested in buying a fully loaded 16″ MacBook Pro? A model with M1 Max, 64GB unified memory, and 8TB SSD storage will set you back $6,099 and won’t get to you before mid-December (as of this writing).

The 14” MacBook Pro starts at $1999. The 16” MacBook Pro starts at $2499.

The low end 14″ and the mid-priced 16″ are still available for delivery next week. All other models are pushed out to November at the earliest.

Apple:

The CPU in M1 Pro and M1 Max delivers up to 70 percent faster CPU performance than M1, so tasks like compiling projects in Xcode are faster than ever. The GPU in M1 Pro is up to 2x faster than M1, while M1 Max is up to an astonishing 4x faster than M1, allowing pro users to fly through the most demanding graphics workflows.

And:

M1 Pro and M1 Max include an Apple-designed media engine that accelerates video processing while maximizing battery life. M1 Pro also includes dedicated acceleration for the ProRes professional video codec, allowing playback of multiple streams of high-quality 4K and 8K ProRes video while using very little power. M1 Max goes even further, delivering up to 2x faster video encoding than M1 Pro, and features two ProRes accelerators. With M1 Max, the new MacBook Pro can transcode ProRes video in Compressor up to a remarkable 10x faster compared with the previous-generation 16-inch MacBook Pro.

And:

M1 Max features the same powerful 10-core CPU as M1 Pro and adds a massive 32-core GPU for up to 4x faster graphics performance than M1. With 57 billion transistors — 70 percent more than M1 Pro and 3.5x more than M1 — M1 Max is the largest chip Apple has ever built. In addition, the GPU delivers performance comparable to a high-end GPU in a compact pro PC laptop while consuming up to 40 percent less power, and performance similar to that of the highest-end GPU in the largest PC laptops while using up to 100 watts less power.

And:

Both M1 Pro and M1 Max are loaded with advanced custom technologies that help push pro workflows to the next level:

  • A 16-core Neural Engine for on-device machine learning acceleration and improved camera performance.
  • A new display engine drives multiple external displays.
  • Additional integrated Thunderbolt 4 controllers provide even more I/O bandwidth.
  • Apple’s custom image signal processor, along with the Neural Engine, uses computational video to enhance image quality for sharper video and more natural-looking skin tones on the built-in camera.
  • Best-in-class security, including Apple’s latest Secure Enclave, hardware-verified secure boot, and runtime anti-exploitation technologies.

There’s a lot to process here. The claims are bold. Looking forward to seeing the real-world results, benchmarks, video reviews. Most interesting to me will be the GPU tests. Can a new MacBook Pro with M1 Max compete with a desktop PC with a high-end discrete GPU? Or does that remain an unfair comparison?

Apple:

Apple today announced the third generation of AirPods featuring spatial audio, delivering advanced features and a magical experience in a new contoured design. By combining the power of the H1 chip with an Apple-designed acoustic system, the new AirPods use computational audio to deliver breakthrough sound with Adaptive EQ. Users can enjoy spatial audio featuring Dolby Atmos in Apple Music, movies, and tv shows, along with dynamic head tracking, across Apple devices.

And:

The new AirPods are resistant to sweat and water, and feature a force sensor for easy and intuitive control of music and phone calls. The extended battery life enables up to six hours of listening time and up to 30 hours of total listening time with the convenient charging case.

The new AirPods list for $179. Order them today, in your hands a week from tomorrow (Oct 26).

Apple:

Apple today introduced HomePod mini in three bold new colors — yellow, orange, and blue — giving users more ways to express their personality and style in any space.

And:

HomePod mini will be available in these new colors, along with white and space gray, with color-matched details throughout, including the tinted touch surface, mesh fabric, volume icons, and woven power cable, starting in November for just $99.

Follow the headline link to get a sense of the colors.

Apple:

Apple today updated Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro with powerful new features for creative professionals, and optimizations that take full advantage of the power and performance of the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips in the all-new MacBook Pro. Professional video editors using Final Cut Pro on the new MacBook Pro can perform tasks never before possible on a Mac, like the ability to play seven streams of 8K ProRes or color grade 8K HDR video with the new Liquid Retina XDR display — a first for any notebook. Final Cut Pro also introduces a new Object Tracker that uses machine learning to automatically detect faces and objects, and match their movement to create beautiful, cinema-quality titles and effects on any Mac.

And Logic Pro?

Logic Pro, Apple’s pro music creation software, now comes with a complete set of tools for authoring spatial audio music — allowing anyone to mix and export their songs in Dolby Atmos for Apple Music. And musicians can use up to 3x as many plug-ins for recording on the all-new MacBook Pro with M1 Max. Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro are Universal apps that build upon the breakthrough performance and pro capabilities of macOS Monterey, and both are available today on the Mac App Store.

And:

Spatial audio represents the next generation of sound with its revolutionary audio experience and true multi-dimensional sound and clarity. Now with a complete set of mixing and rendering tools, Logic Pro allows anyone to author their songs as Dolby Atmos music files compatible with Apple Music. Musicians, producers, and mix engineers can expand their stereo projects to the surround channels supported by Dolby Atmos, using new mixer and panner controls. In addition, 13 plug-ins within Logic Pro — including Space Designer, Limiter, Loudness Meter, and Tremolo — have also been updated to take advantage of this new creative capability. Once the songs are published to Apple Music, listeners will be able to enjoy the immersive audio experience on their devices with spatial audio support. With the new MacBook Pro, musicians get workstation-class performance for creating massive spatial audio mixes, can quickly load large sample libraries, and can use up to 3x more plug-ins for recording.

I imagine all the studios are jumping to order these. As I write, I’m watching delivery dates of the loaded machine slip and slip. As I hit Publish, we’re already pushed back into late December.

Apple:

Apple today announced the Apple Music Voice Plan, a new subscription tier for Apple Music designed around the power of Siri. The Apple Music Voice Plan offers subscribers access to the service’s catalog of 90 million songs; tens of thousands of playlists, including hundreds of brand new mood and activity playlists, personalized mixes, and genre stations; as well as the award-winning Apple Music Radio — all through Siri for just $4.99 per month.

And:

Users can subscribe to the Apple Music Voice Plan through Siri by saying “Hey Siri, start my Apple Music Voice trial,” or by signing up through the Apple Music app. Once subscribed to the Apple Music Voice Plan, users can request music be played across all of their Siri-enabled devices, including HomePod mini, AirPods, iPhone, or any other Apple device, and when using CarPlay.

And:

Apple Music is also adding hundreds of new mood and activity playlists created by Apple Music’s editorial experts that are fully optimized just for voice. Subscribers can ask Siri to “Play the dinner party playlist,” “Play something chill,” or even “Play more like this” for a truly personalized music experience. These new playlists are available to every subscriber of any Apple Music plan — and make using Apple Music, together with Siri, even better. Subscribers to the Apple Music Voice Plan will also have access to Apple Music’s entire lineup of playlists, including favorites like New Music Daily, Rap Life, Today’s Hits, Today’s Country, A-List Pop, R&B Now, and more.

And:

The Apple Music Voice Plan will be available later this fall in 17 countries and regions, including Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

That’s a significant discount from the Apple Music Individual Plan, which is $9.99 a month. The difference? The Individual Plan adds in lyrics, music videos, spatial audio, lossless audio, and support of non-Apple devices. This new Voice Plan offers a lot, and undercuts Spotify Premium, which is $9.99 a month.

Reddit:

My car (a 2010 Subaru Forester) had been stolen.

I did all the normal stuff one should do when your car’s stolen. I called the police and filed a report. They reported the car stolen but didn’t seem optimistic much could be done.

And:

I remembered then, after the dust settled, that I had put a spare AirTag in the sunglasses holder of my car. I’d bought a 4 pack and figured there might be an off chance it could potentially help me find the car. There’s millions of iPhones in Chicagoland too, so I figured the chances of it getting pinged were decently high.

Follow along as this Reddit user marks their AirTag as lost, and follows the pings to find their car. An interesting read, raises some questions about how far to go to get your stolen stuff back, what you’d do if you caught someone stealing from you and had them arrested.

Came across this on Reddit over the weekend. Officially, it is titled, “Obtaining service for your Apple product after an expired warranty”. But dig in, start scrolling.

This is a fantastic dive into a deep rabbit hole of obscure Apple products, like the Tape Backup 40SC, the External SCSI Hard Drive, the StyleWriter, and the UniDisk, just to name a few.

Enjoy, especially as you wait for this afternoon’s Apple Event and the new goodies Apple has up its sleeve.

Comparing photos from modern iPhone with photos from the original iPhone

I’m new to this YouTube channel, but they have some very interesting videos. This one explores the evolution in iPhone photography, from steady camera hardware/sensor changes to a focus on software, with the rise of computational photography.

Don’t be put off by all the fooling around in the video. There’s a lot of interesting stuff here. A few highlights, if your time is limited:

  • At about 3:30: iPhone life with that original interface, before the App Store existed. Only one page.
  • At about 4:27: All about “rolling shutter”
  • And, at about 12:18: The core of this video, comparing the old and the new

I enjoyed the whole thing. Obviously, you’ll want to watch this in 4K for maximum effect.

David Crookes, Tom’s Guide:

For more than 20 years, mobile devices have made use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) codes. They look like a series of numbers interspersed with hashtags and asterisks that you enter like a telephone number.

Secret codes seems a bit of a reach. But these USSD codes are definitely worth knowing about. Scan the post, just to get a sense of the functionality you can access via your dialer.

Excited for the macOS Monterey? So are we! Daylite is the only CRM and productivity app made for your Mac; it goes beyond the essential CRM experience or project management tool for small businesses. Daylite is compatible with Monterey and M1-powered Macs, seamlessly integrate with Apple devices and built-in Apple features you already use and love, with or without an internet connection. Direct Apple Mail integration so you and your team can capture all email communication in one place. And you can create opportunities, appointments and tasks in Daylite right from your Apple Mail.

Daylite’s productivity-focused design helps you and your team get more done throughout the full customer lifecycle. From meeting prospects and winning business to managing the moving pieces on projects, all the way through to following up for referrals and repeat business, it’s all done in this award-winning Daylite CRM and productivity app. If you live by the mac, you’ll love Daylite.

Start your free 30-day Daylite trial today!

October 15, 2021

The Dalrymple Report: Apple event, Macs, and AirPods Max

Apple announced another event this week, which will happen virtually next Monday. Dave and I discuss what we think we be announced at the event, including a new Mac. We also talk about AirPods Max and what price point would make them more attractive to more people—or is price even the issue? We finish off talking about some of the shows we are watching on Apple TV.

Follow this podcast

October 14, 2021

Joe Rossignol, MacRumors:

Last month, FCC filings revealed that Apple Watch Series 7 models are equipped with a new module that enables 60.5GHz wireless data transfer. This module is not advertised on Apple’s website and is likely for Apple’s internal use only.

And:

It’s also worth noting that Series 7 models feature IP6X-rated dust resistance, so perhaps the diagnostic port’s removal helped with that to some degree.

Interesting. Surprised that Apple would get rid of that port. A sign that they might be willing to remove other ports?

John Gruber:

At a glance, all Apple Watches — from the original “Series 0” in 2015 to the new Series 7 models shipping this week — have more or less looked the same. Unlike any other product Apple has ever made, they really nailed the basic shape and look, the gestalt, on the first try. It was birthed as an iconic design.

This review is a joy to read, full of details that stem from someone who has lived with the Apple Watch since inception.

Worth the read, for the insight and for the prose. One highlight:

The knock on Series 7 is that there’s nothing new but a bigger display. But it’s a much bigger display. It’s the one new thing that everyone will notice, and it’s very noticeable. Nothing new but a bigger display is enough to establish Series 7 as a landmark new design.

Well said.

MKBHD on the Apple Watch Series 7

MKBHD starts the video by calling the Apple Watch Series 7 a Series 6S, meaning it’s a minor update.

But keep watching. He really dives deep into all the things that distinguish the Series 7 from its predecessor. This is my kind of review, highlighting the subtle details in a way that really makes it easy to see what I’m missing with my Series 6, easy to decide whether those details matter enough to upgrade.

Tim Hardwick, MacRumors:

In iOS 15, Apple added separation alerts to the Find My app, which let you know when you leave an AirTag or other Apple device behind. Thanks to an October 2021 firmware update, AirPods Pro now also support separation alerts. This article explains more about how they work and how you can set them up.

Nice writeup, easy to follow. Key bit is setting up a Trusted Location, a place you can leave your AirPods Pro behind without a notification.

Apple Support: How to multitask with Split View on iPad

Two audiences for this video:

If you are new to iPad multitasking, or if you’ve been confused by the interface, or support someone in one of these categories, the video below is a brilliant explainer.

If you are a regular user of the three dots Split View interface, the first half of the video will be old hat to you. But watch the video anyway, stick around for the second half. It dives a little deeper, into the subtlety of opening (in this case), multiple notes at once, organizing the notes you have open.

Another well done video from the Apple Support team.

October 13, 2021

Debby Wu, Bloomberg:

Apple Inc. is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units as prolonged chip shortages hit its flagship product, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The company had expected to produce 90 million new iPhone models in the last three months of the year, but it’s now telling manufacturing partners that the total will be lower because Broadcom Inc. and Texas Instruments Inc. are struggling to deliver enough components, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the situation is private.

This is big news. We’re already seeing this report impact the stock price of companies in the Apple iPhone supply chain.

Whether or not it’s related to this specific “chip crunch”, we’re also seeing shipping delays for orders of most new Apple product. For example, the iPad mini 6 is pushed out more than a month. The Apple Watch Series 7, which is still in pre-order, is pushed out more than a month in the best case, with many models out much further.

It remains to be seen how this will impact a new M1X MacBook Pro, assuming that’s what’s coming in Monday’s event. But if I wanted one, I’d definitely be ready to go as soon as that pre-order window opened.