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Positive sign for 4K iMac in 2014? (Dell 28" 4K monitor $699)


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#61 of 80 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted July 30 2014 - 01:37 PM

I don't think this is reactionary on Intel's part: they have quite a few other customers than Apple, not to mention they're the current darlings of the DIY PC community. I think that Intel just has a yield issue, whenever you change manufacturing processes to become smaller, more power-efficient, and yet still deliver a more powerful CPU...well if it was easy they'd just do it all the time! :D

 

Apple has always been about controlling the ecosystem, hardware and software. They were forced to go to Intel when the PowerPC chips weren't able to deliver the speed and power that Apple wanted, so they went with the 800lbs gorilla who was also beginning to embark on their aggressive Tick-Tock updating calendar of every 12-18 months providing a new tick (die shrink) or tock (new architecture) CPU and chipset. That was about the pace of improvement that a company like Apple would want.

 

Early on, Intel was adhering to this aggressive schedule, and even giving Apple either custom versions of chips, or providing them with chips earlier than their other customers, or both. Now they're clearly getting their chips about the same time as everyone else, and couple that with the broadened time lag between Haswell and Broadwell going on 24 months, and you can see why Apple may be a bit frustrated with Intel. Especially since Apple have now launched several new product lines since the transition to Intel (iPhone, iPad) which are now on a 12-month update cycle. I think Apple would like their notebooks and desktops to be on a similar upgrade trend (it makes for a nice predictable bottom line, which is important to investors). 


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#62 of 80 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted July 30 2014 - 07:08 PM

If it's coincidence its a bad coincidence for intel.  Everything I see from Apple leads me to believe they want to control their full stack on both desktop and mobile, the sooner they jettison the intel architecture the sooner that can happen.  Intel was HUGE for Apple, but if they don't continue ticking and tocking and Apple's ARM investments continue to improve it's just a matter of time.


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#63 of 80 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted July 30 2014 - 11:32 PM

I don't think it's going to be that easy Sam. All of the current compilers for Mac OSX code are optimized to run on Intel's architecture. When they moved away from PowerPC, they had to rewrite all that code for Intel. It's not a trivial undertaking. And in 2006 there were much fewer people using Macs and much fewer companies writing software for Macs (which would also have to be rewritten/recompiled for new ARM architecture). Remember when Jobs pulled the transition to Intel off, the iPhone, iPad and iOS didn't exist. Blackberry ruled the "smartphone" world. To even think about developing a tablet would be akin to a "bag of hurt" (sorry Steve, I'm still bitter about lack of blu-ray support).

 

The Mac ecosystem, user base and development group has grown exponentially in that time. Part of the reason of the initial Intel transition's success is that they were moving a much smaller developer and user base than they'll have to move today. Not to say they couldn't do it, but that it would be a much more massive undertaking than in 2006-7. And even then I think their OSes contained code for both PowerPC and Intel until 2010 (thus OSes were bloated).

 

Here's a little primer on ARM vs. Intel: http://www.howtogeek...-compatibility/


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#64 of 80 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted July 31 2014 - 07:36 AM

Wait, step back a second Carlo and realize you are making a huge assumption: That OSX will continue to be the -only- desktop/laptop OS. I'm not so sure that's true. I believe there is room for an iOS laptop too today, with desktop class ones to follow. Will it happen? Dunno but things like Cyclone make it more possible:
http://www.anandtech...ecture-detailed

As Rene Ritchie asks:

It's fun to speculate — would an ARM-based Mac run iOS or OS X? If the former, could it emulate the latter so it could run OS X apps? If the latter, would it be powerful enough to emulate Intel to run apps not ARM-ready at launch? How would Windows Bootcamp be maintained, if indeed its still a desirable feature to offer?

http://www.imore.com...-arm-based-macs

Never say never.

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#65 of 80 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted July 31 2014 - 07:54 AM

Sam, for my needs, I use a lot of third party software that is made for OSX, that even if a new desktop/laptop OS emerged, there is no guarantee these programs would ever be ported over to the new OS, and even if they did, we'd be years away from that happening (the third parties would want to see critical mass achieved in terms of sales of the new OS).

 

Also, Apple's first-party apps didn't fare well in the transition to iOS. Garageband, iWork, etc. all still work way better on OSX than on iOS, and iOS is several years mature at this point, and Apple has a vested interest in putting those programs out on iOS, in a way that third party companies won't for any new hybrid iOS. 

 

You're right, never say never, and Apple has in the past never worried about disruption of user base, but I would argue that 2006-7 Apple is very different from today's Apple. For one thing, the user base back then was considerably smaller. Again, pre-iPhone/iPad/iOS. For another, Tim Cook is a much more conservative leader than Steve Jobs. The irony though is to make a big change, it's better just to rip the band-aid off all at once rather than a slow peel, but I think the company has gotten too big, and the leadership more conservative, that they won't opt to do that. It's one thing when you're still an "up-and-comer" with a user base that is small but fanatical and will go with you anywhere you go, and a whole other thing when you have hundreds of millions of users worldwide, and any major disruption in user experience could result in a backlash that is hundreds of times greater than what it would have been nearly a decade ago.


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#66 of 80 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted August 03 2014 - 01:59 PM

JLG flip flops and says he was wrong, ARM IS coming to the desktop/laptop family, it's now inevitable.

http://www.mondaynot...he-end-is-nigh/

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#67 of 80 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted August 04 2014 - 09:56 AM

The main thing that Apple has to show they can overcome is the issue of having to recompile all of the software and OS for the ARM chipset instructions. That was the biggest hurdle for the PowerPC to Intel transition. As Faizal Majid mentions in the comments of that article, the speed and performance advantages of Intel over PPC was such that even with Rosetta PPC emulation, the PPC apps ran at comparable speeds, while the native Intel programs which were slowly coming out benefited from the transition. Even then Mac had to support both PPC and Intel for four years. I don't think ARM has the same speed and performance advantage over Intel that Intel did over PPC. And Apple isn't going to go cold-turkey and say "okay starting in 20XX all programs must run on ARM" or cut their product line in half "all pre-20XX Macs run on Intel and run all programs pre-ARM, and all post-20XX Macs run on ARM, use a new OS that runs only on ARM, and only devs who have created ARM-compatible programs can play in that environment". That would be the fastest way to see Macs market share shrink.

 

Apple's long-standing comment on how iOS and OS X will not merge also works against the possibility of an easy ARM transition. If Apple were to reverse that stance and force devs to start working on iOS versions of their apps now, I could see an ARM transition in 3-5 years.

 

But also let's not forget the inroads that Apple has been making into the business sector. In their last keynote they trumpeted how many Fortune 500 companies are using Macs. In my rather conservative industry, at our most recent annual convention many people in our industry told stories of how they forced their IT departments to support both Macs and iOS devices. Apple would undo years of hard work penetrating that particular marketplace by forcing an ARM transition, unless they can make it smooth like the PowerPC to Intel transition. That would require an ARM processor that had a performance advantage over Intel to allow it to run Intel programs in emulation at the same speed, while being able to run native ARM programs and OSes.

 

Not saying it couldn't happen, but that it would be a big transition requiring quite an institutional cost in terms of programming and R&D time. I'm sure Apple is crunching the numbers, figuring out internally if that's worth it.


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#68 of 80 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted August 04 2014 - 07:11 PM

All very true.  Could be emulation layers, could be a clean break like iOS was, could be anything.  Your concerns are valid but we simply don't know how it will go down but it seems the aspirations are there.


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#69 of 80 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted August 04 2014 - 07:29 PM

Sam, I completely agree about the aspirations. Apple has always wanted to have complete control (or as much of it as possible) of hardware and software. My only point is that even Apple has to factor in logistical constraints to making that happen. It was hard enough to overcome to do PPC to Intel (I was one of those who vividly remember that), and that was with a much smaller userbase and almost no corporate market penetration. They are in a very different world now.


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#70 of 80 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted August 05 2014 - 05:39 AM

Agreed, but I think they are also a -braver- company now too, more assure of their beliefs and willing to make hard choices and clean breaks. We'll see!

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#71 of 80 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted September 15 2014 - 08:34 AM

Keep hope alive!

http://9to5mac.com/2...4k-performance/

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#72 of 80 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted September 25 2014 - 07:18 PM

Mac Mini dudes keep hope alive too!
http://www.macrumors...october-update/

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#73 of 80 ONLINE   DaveF

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Posted September 27 2014 - 06:03 AM

Mac Mini dudes keep hope alive too!
http://www.macrumors...october-update/

 

Oh, Sam Posten, how you toy with my emotions.


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#74 of 80 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted September 29 2014 - 08:31 AM

Oh Apple, how you continue to toy with my emotions...
http://www.macrumors...na-imac-27-amd/

Might be just in time for a Christmas present to myself...
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#75 of 80 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted October 07 2014 - 09:40 AM

Can only hope these are used:

http://venturebeat.c...aming-desktops/

http://www.theverge....0m-announcement


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#76 of 80 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted October 07 2014 - 10:39 AM

One can only hope, Sam. That's why I say that both the specs and price have to be right to get me to spring for them on Day 1. While I absolutely want 4K (or more, retina iMac rumored at 5K) on my next desktop, I also need a graphics card that can drive it properly. I'm not a PC gamer so I don't need the GPU to get 100fps at 5K resolution, but I also don't want a subpar experience when watching movies, or doing moderately graphics intensive tasks on Adobe CC.


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#77 of 80 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted October 17 2014 - 09:12 AM

So you're telling me there's a chance... :D

 

Since the other Apple event threads are now being closed for consolidation, thought I'd just update this. Although ironically a 4K iMac never came out. A 5K one did!  :P

 

Here are my next steps. First, I need barefeats.com (and the Apple early adopter community) to benchmark and prove to me that the new AMD R9 M295X 4GB GDDR5 card that Apple is using as a CTO option can properly drive the 5K screen. Not crazy FPS gamer resolution and refresh rates, just for moderate video editing and heavy photo editing. Assuming it passes muster, I will be buying a CTO 5K iMac with the CPU max upgrade, GPU max upgrade and 512GB of flash HD, no traditional spinning HD inside the machine thank you. The iMac is a PITA to get serviced if a traditional HD breaks down, and if it does it's usually outside of the Applecare 3 year warranty anyway. Also external SSD solutions are getting cheaper, and now having installed a 1TB SSD in my 2010 MBP I can't ever conceive of going back to traditional HDs even if it's a "fusion" drive.

 

I've officially decided against getting the new Mini for a simple reason. No quad-core option. My most used music creation programs and photo editing programs perform much better with more cores. My next machine will have a minimum of 4 cores with hyperthreading (so 8 virtual cores). That's non-negotiable given my workflows.

 

Time to get the word out to all my family and friends that the best Christmas gift for me will be an Apple gift card.  :laugh:


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#78 of 80 OFFLINE   Sam Posten

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Posted October 17 2014 - 09:47 AM

I wish you all the best Carlo.  I am gonna stick with my 27" and wait for the spec bump and my wallet to recover.  I do think Apple was a bit disingenous comparing this to $3k 4k TVs when the Dell is available at $700, but that's Apple.


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#79 of 80 ONLINE   DaveF

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Posted October 17 2014 - 01:37 PM

I wish you all the best Carlo.  I am gonna stick with my 27" and wait for the spec bump and my wallet to recover.  I do think Apple was a bit disingenous comparing this to $3k 4k TVs when the Dell is available at $700, but that's Apple.

I didn't understand that either. Or: You can pay $3000 for a 70" 4k display...or $2500 for a 27" screen that has no video inputs! What a deal!


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#80 of 80 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted October 17 2014 - 04:52 PM

Final nail in the Mac Mini coffin for me: soldered-on RAM. Not user replaceable. The good thing is that now my upgrade path crystal clear. 


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