back to article Apple gives world ... umm ... not much new actually

When Microsoft revealed its Surface Studio last year , more than a few observers looked at its 28” touch screen and accompanying Dial touch wheel and wondered whether Apple could offer something similarly startling for workstation-class users. The answer to that query appears to be a solid “no” because Apple's new “iMac Pro” …

  1. AMBxx Silver badge
    Windows

    Sign of a mature market?

    Not sure if this is just a sign of a mature market or if Apple have just run out of ideas.

    Did they get it right first time with iOS, so now just need minor tweaks?

    I'm sure similar discussions were held about Blackberry and Nokia at their peaks too.

    If something dramatic is going to shake up the market, it doesn't look like it will come from Apple. I'm pretty sure it won't be from Microsoft either, regardless of how clever their dial thingie is.

    1. djstardust

      Re: Sign of a mature market?

      Sign of Apple giving customers as little as possible for as much money as they can get.

      Apple are a greedy corporation that focus only on margins and profit. The customers are just an inconvenience to them.

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Sign of a mature market?

        Sign of [insert_company_name] giving customers as little as possible for as much money as they can get. <br />[insert_company_name] are a greedy corporation that focus only on margins and profit.

        Welcome to the beautiful world of "businesses", "share prices", "investors", and "dividends". You will notice that apple is not all that more expensive than the competition, when you take build quality into account, plus, they come with macOS.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Sign of a mature market?

          @Hans1 and macOS is good, because? I had to drop OS X on my iMac and switch to Linux and Windows 7, because Apple stopped bringing out security updates for Lion a couple of years ago and that is the last version of the OS that runs on the hardware, Microsoft on the other hand will continue to support the Apple hardware for another 2 years.

          As to build quality, I still have an Acer notebook from 2004 and a Sony from 2010. Both are still running (and the batteries are still working), the Sony got an SSD upgrade and is still fast enough for most day-to-day tasks. My iMac sits somewhere in the middle, it is a late 2007 model.

          1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

            Re: Sign of a mature market?

            @Big_D "I had to drop OS X on my iMac and switch to Linux and Windows 7, because Apple stopped bringing out security updates for Lion"

            Well maybe you should consider updating your machine. Lion was RTM in July 2011, FFS. And if your hardware only supports up to Lion, it's at least 9 years old.

            1. big_D Silver badge

              Re: Sign of a mature market?

              And? My Acer notebook is from 2004 and that still runs a supported version of Windows. Like the iMac, it isn't my main machine, but it is still used for some tasks.

            2. Rainer

              Re: Sign of a mature market?

              I've got an iMac from 2008. It runs El Capitan. A bit slow, but it's still OK to watch youtube and basic surfing.

              I wouldn't want to open my inbox with it (it has 2m mails or so).

              It can't run Sierra, though. But El Capitan is good enough for most use cases.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sign of a mature market?

            It's pretty easy to get Windows 10 working on old 20"/24" iMac 2008 onwards. The irony that Windows 10 work better on older 2008 macs. The Windows drivers need to be gathered and extracted from newer iMac Bootcamp 5.1/6.0 installs, but it runs fine, as long as your Nvidia graphics card doesn't have signs of fatigue (common).

            The drivers for ATI Radeon HD 2600 Graphics seem to work best on these older models, but Nvidia seems pretty stable, if the graphics card is 100%, but that isn't often the case on machines this age.

            Haven't bothered with trying "forcing" to get macOS Sierra running. If I can't do this with original files, I don't bother. I wouldn't trust 'those hacks' to force it. El Capitan is pretty good still, so not really an issue.

            It's annoying Apple go the route of absolute blocking of new macOS installs, rather than just warning it might not run properly, because often it's only a small hardware change required, i.e. upgrade of the Network card and it would be compatible. (upgrading the Broadcom Network card from BCM94321 to BCM94322).

            Apple should really be proud that their classics 2008/2009 24'' imacs (there isn't really any direct replacement either) are still running and kept out of landfill, not forcing machines into landfill for no obvious reason, forcing users down routes of attempting malware ridden "software fixes" to support macOS Sierra.

            Would be nice if it became just a warning, instead of an absolute block on install, for High Sierra. Listening Apple?

            1. Rainer

              Re: Sign of a mature market?

              You can recycle them for free.

              You can fill out a form on their website and they'll send you a box.

              So, technically it's not landfill ;-)

              1. CommodorePet

                Re: Sign of a mature market?

                > You can recycle them for free.

                Sure, as long as you now realize you effectively leased the computer, you never bought it.

          3. FIA

            Re: Sign of a mature market?

            I had to drop OS X on my iMac and switch to Linux and Windows 7, because Apple stopped bringing out security updates for Lion a couple of years ago and that is the last version of the OS that runs on the hardware,

            That does make it over 10 years old. That's not an unreasonable lifespan, is it? I have similar age imac as a second pc and it is annoying that more and more apps won't update, however in the grand scheme of things that doesn't seem unreasonable as it's due to lack of investment by a company I've given no more money to. I feel I got my monies worth to put it another way.

            Microsoft on the other hand will continue to support the Apple hardware for another 2 years.

            They'll continue to support the OS, If a security update broke an Apple specific driver I doubt they'd provide a fix.

            [...] My iMac sits somewhere in the middle, it is a late 2007 model.

            Are you sure? if it is you should be able to upgrade to El Capitan.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sign of a mature market?

              Over the weekend I pulled out my old Mid 2009 White Polycarbonate MacBook from a cupboard. I brought a new (and crappy) battery from Amazon as Apple no longer sells them and a 256GB SSD. I threw the old 120GB hard disk back into a drawer and charged the battery up.

              I downloaded El Capitan for free from the Apple App Store (I was lucky and I'd downloaded it before, otherwise you're looking at a torrent) and installed it via a 32GB SSD drive acting as a USB drive.

              Installed first time, loaded up some parental controls software and gave it to my two young daughters to use in their bedroom (hence the parental controls). It won't (easily) run Sierra as Apple has made that a little more difficult. I did manage to get Sierra installed but my particular version of Macbook wasn't a very good candidate for Sierra as the brightness controls didn't seem to work. To be honest El Capitan isn't a bad system and so went back to that.

              It runs well for an eight year old laptop, the keyboard (surprsingly) is fine, the SSD makes a big difference, the new battery is till a load of crap as all of the cheap ones are. 4GB is adequate for my kids needs, I did ponder putting Linux on it, but decided on OS X as they really need Office. Since Office 365 Home is £55/year for five computers and we have five computers, thats £11 a year, thats 20p a week. I'm not arguing with MS over two pints of milk a week.

              Whilst I'd like a new Macbook (I'm typing this on a early 2013 Macbook Pro Retina), my current Macbook is fine. It runs XCode, Genymotion, Affinity design stuff, Office 365, SQLite, it gets used for hours every day and still looks like new for a four year old machine,

              Whilst Apple may have moved from innovation to iteration, it still makes pretty good products that work for quite a considerable time. They're not cheap, but the quality still seems to be there.

              (Other products may also be good)

        2. John Bailey

          Re: Sign of a mature market?

          "Welcome to the beautiful world of "Apologist fanboys", "religious zealots", "astroturfers", and "consumer fashion victims". You will notice that apple is not all that more expensive than the competition, when you take over engineering and general bad design into account, plus, they come with macOS."

          FTFY

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sign of a mature market?

        > Sign of Apple giving customers as little as possible for as much money as they can get.

        Cost of iOS 11 update for mobile devices released since 2014: £0

        Cost of macOS High Sierra update for Macs released since 2009: £0

        Looks more like customers getting new features for no outlay, for many years to me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sign of a mature market?

          Just look at the CPU lineup in the laptops.

          Always well behind the curve, using cheaper chips (but never cheap as chips) for increased profit margin.

          Took them more than 1 year after Intel released Skylake to release new laptops with that chip. By that time the competition were dishing Kaby Lake-based machines.

          USB C for Macbook Pro in Last year's release? USB C - my a**e. And no, not because of the peripherals but for the ability to carry external battery and have 14-16 hours with no mains outlet. What do they do - add USB C to the ghastly Macbook (non-Pro).

          Innovation (last year)? Some dubious touch-scroll bar cum FN keys. If they were so concerned about the touch capability they better release touch screen (not that I m going to use one).

          P.S. All the above written on Macbook

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sign of a mature market?

            "Took them more than 1 year after Intel released Skylake to release new laptops with that chip. By that time the competition were dishing Kaby Lake-based machines."

            I hardly see this as an issue. Intel recently went full mad at releasing new stuff with no new value vs. old stuff, every 8-10 months now, and quite frankly, after Haswell, there's hardly any reason to put the new stuff vs. the old.

            1. big_D Silver badge

              Re: Sign of a mature market?

              Well, Kaby Lake was rushed out of the door due to design flaws in Skylake... So, instead of skipping Skylake completely and going with the "fixed" Kaby Lake, they decided to not only release a superceded chip, but one known for its design flaws, especially in the power management area.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sign of a mature market?

              True - 14nm for 14nm. So what?

              However if I pay top dollar (pound, actually) I expect decent components, not something which is already 1 year old. Just so that they can even further squeeze their overinflated margins on the hardware.

              And this is not only Kaby lake vs Skylake.

              Do yourself a favour and look at the CPUs of every Macbook release vs release date of the CPUs for the last few years.

              Liking Macs doesn't mean I am mug who will look at Tim Cook's mouth and believe that every new marginal improvement is supposed to be revolutionary.

              P.S. big_D - couldn't have said it better than you! Shows the attitude Apple have towards their customers.

        2. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Sign of a mature market? @AC

          Cost of macOS High Sierra update for my iMac? A new iMac... In fact, the price was due when Mountain Lion came out... I bought a Windows PC instead.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Sign of a mature market?

      Windows Mobile 10 is way ahead of iOS in many ways. It lacks apps and support from third parties, but it shows what Apple could have done.

      iOS is probably the most backward mobile OS at the moment. It lead the pack half a decade ago, but that is a long time in IT and the competition have overtaken it in most areas.

      I used to use iOS, but after having used WP8/WM10 and Android, I wouldn't go back.

      I currently have a Nexus 5X and a Lumia 950. I prefer the 950, but the apps I use most (Fitbit & WhatsApp) are poorly written under WM10 (Fitbit loses its Bluetooth connection once a day and needs to be re-installed, WhatsApp took to randomly waiting a few days, before telling me, that I had waiting messages).

    3. wolfetone

      Re: Sign of a mature market?

      "Not sure if this is just a sign of a mature market or if Apple have just run out of ideas."

      They've gone from Sierra to High Sierra.

      10.14 will probably be Low Sierra.

      10.15 will probably be Where's Sierra.

      10.16 will probably be Ford Sierra

      10.17 will probably be Ford Sierra Cosworth.

      10.18 will probably be Desperately Seeking Sierra

      So yeah, I think they've ran out of ideas.

      1. Bangem

        Re: Sign of a mature market?

        "10.18 will probably be Desperately Seeking Sierra"

        Genius sir!

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Sign of a mature market?

          Que sierra, sierra.

      2. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge

        Sierra

        Treasure of the Sierra Madre

        "Badges! we don't need no stinkin' badges"

        1. D@v3

          Re: Sierra

          Bring me the head of Sierra Garcia.

      3. WallMeerkat

        Re: Sign of a mature market?

        They're an American company, so probably GMC Sierra. The Ford was called Merkur XR4Ti over there.

        1. Chemical Bob

          Re: Sign of a mature market?

          "They're an American company, so probably GMC Sierra."

          Or, for those who remember Oldsmobile, Cutlass Ciera (I *know* it's not spelt the same)...

      4. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: Sign of a mature market?

        I'm going to start making washing lines for ocean liners' laundries.

        That'll be a High Sea Airer.

        1. Chemical Bob

          Re: High Sea Airer

          Alternatively, Hi-C (tm) Error.

      5. macjules Silver badge

        Re: Sign of a mature market?

        .. and not forgetting that 10.18 will run on the new 50" iPads

        Q: When are you going to bring out professional computers or displays Mr Cook?

        A: STFU and have an extra inch on your fondleslab.

        1. djstardust

          Re: Sign of a mature market?

          My 2009 Mac Pro has Windows 7 ultimate running on it and it's sweet as a nut.

          I removed the Apple HDD completely and it only now has a SSD with Windows on it.

          That was really the end of excellent Apple hardware. It all turned to shit after that.

      6. Al Black
        Unhappy

        Re: Sign of a mature market?

        So Steve Jobs is really dead, then?

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Sign of a mature market?

          I miss the old x-serve. A proper powerful 1U solution, with dual-PSUs and very easy servicing. :(

    4. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Sign of a mature market?

      Not sure if this is just a sign of a mature market or if Apple have just run out of ideas.

      Steve Jobs is gone. He was the one who had the ideas. Jobs was the one who changed the world and how we interact with our phones.

      The old fart that's taken over is just enjoying the fruits of Steve Jobs' creative mind.

      Unless someone can come up with something big, something new, Apple has just hit the apex of their glory.

    5. Ilsa Loving

      Re: Sign of a mature market?

      It's a sign that Apple is now being run by a pointy-haired MBA that has no vision beyond maximizing dongle revenue.

  2. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Meh

    What is so great about the surface pro ? Look, I have yet to see anyone using touch input, yet ...

    As for comparing Apples to Lemons, HP Z2 comes with an i3 at the mentioned price AND does not even have decent Ethernet, maxes out at 32Gb RAM... might as well compare to the venerable raspberry pi.

    Ohh, and don't think for one second I am an Apple fanboy, hey ... as long as they solder RAM/storage, I will shop elsewhere ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Look, I have yet to see anyone using touch input, yet ...

      Touch input on a productivity laptop I agree with. Pen input, on the other hand, is amazingly useful for some applications. It is also something Microsoft got right pretty much right from the day one, and is still doing right more than 15 years later.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      "What is so great about the surface pro ? Look, I have yet to see anyone using touch input, yet ..."

      Yet again RTFA

      ...WWDC When Microsoft revealed its Surface Studio last year ,.....

      Surface STUDIO, not Pro.

      https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/store/d/surface-studio

      1. Mark 65

        Seems a pretty limited use case. Most media professionals, especially in photography, will be using Eizo ColorEdge level monitors, Wacom style tablets of varying sizes and not putting grubby fingers on the screen like in the MS site photos. I don't blame Apple for not bothering with a touch screen.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          " don't blame Apple for not bothering with a touch screen."

          Yup, touching a designer's screen is totally verboten. It is however a good way to really piss the off

        2. robin thakur 1

          It is a pretty limited use case indeed. As snazzy and interesting as the colour dial thingy looks in MS's PR videos I can't really see many people using them because designers don't really like to change their workflows especially not to something which is proprietary and new fangled (unless Apple release it)

          Microsoft having suddenly decided to start targeting creatives post SP3 with more useful pens and the dial thing and it is viewed skeptically by most. As somebody else noted above, touching the main screen is still a big no-no in design circles and you can add Cintiqs and Wacom pen Tablets to any computer which will work a lot better in a way that the industry has been using for decades and is a known quantity...

    3. cream wobbly

      Yer HP Z2?

      I mean, the top Jags aren't to my taste either. If I had that sort of money I wouldn't be buying one. But I also wouldn't fool myself by comparing it to a Fiat 500.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        I'm with Hans - it's odd the article compared a Surface desktop with the upcoming iMac Pro - sitting between their respective releases has been new CPUs from Intel, which also have a bearing on maximum RAM available within a thermal design range. This stuff should be fairly objective and clear cut.

        The subjective (or rather harder to quantify objectively) stuff is the ergonomics... One could have a workflow that involves using a stylus and a mouse and keyboard. A case could made for either using a separate tablet for the stylus input (I.e iPad Pro + iMac), or for integrating the stylus input into the desktop (I.e Surface). I suspect that software support (both 3rd party and native OS support a la Continuity) could well be a deciding factor. Other stylus input options are available!

        I find these interesting questions. It's a shame to gloss over them just for the sake of oft-repeated snark.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    In slight fairness to Apple...

    They've finally remembered the iPad and updated iOS to make better use of it. The demos did look pretty slick (as demos usually do), but we'll see come autumn. The new iMac Pro is truly a beast in svelte clothing; I'm not sure many people really want to rack mount Apple kit anyway, so nowadays a super-powerful an all-in-one makes more sense. Sure it uses the same screen as the standard iMac - but they've further improved the screen, and it's brilliant, probably best-in-class. And High Sierra has some good changes under the hood.

    But the 'Siri everywhere' bit leaves me cold, as does the HomePod speaker, as does the continued fiddling with the deeply ugly and dull Apple Watch. The augmented reality support could be cool, but you know that somehow it'll mostly end up being used to insert adverts into your photos.

    But Cook's Apple is a very different company to Jobs'. For all his talk, I don't feel that Cook truly gets innovation or has any sort of vision like Jobs did. Jobs brought us the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone. Cook, the deeply dull Apple Watch and the identical looking Apple Watch 2. There wasn't so much cheering at this year's event, and even the (presumably paid for) whooping sounded rather forced. A lot is riding on the iPhone 8. Come September, we'll know.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: In slight fairness to Apple...

      They've finally remembered the iPad

      But the Mac Mini seems to be the red haired stepchild of Apple's line up. They were neat little home machines, especially the unibody models up to 2012 which let you upgrade memory without hassle. Now Mac Minis are under-powered, over-priced and looking very stale. Apple should either produce a sensible update or put people about of their misery by announcing that Minis are dead.

      1. WallMeerkat

        Re: In slight fairness to Apple...

        I've had 2 Minis - a G4 and an i5. I remember back in 2005 they were seen as the "headless iMac".

        They were a nice little machine, use your own screen or take it in to the main TV, something you can't do with an iMac.

        But they do seem to be forgotten. Possibly because they're the "cheap" Mac.

        With the iMac Pro effectively replacing the Mac Pro, it looks like all Mac products will now either take 'i' or 'book' form, with no more screenless macs.

        1. thegroucho
          Devil

          Re: In slight fairness to Apple...

          There is no such thing as 'cheap' Apple products.

          1. cream wobbly

            Re: In slight fairness to Apple...

            There is no such thing as 'cheap' Apple products.

            And equally:

            There is no such thing as 'poor value' Apple products.

            The lowest-spec Apple device is still a good device. If it doesn't meet your needs, you're a sample size of one. There are hundreds of thousands for whose needs it would easily meet. Personally, I run a Mac Mini for movies only. I don't need the machine to do much beyond play DVD media from the external disk, and pull down a big stream from Amazon Video into an HTML5-compliant browser, then push it out the back through an HDMI cable and HDCP stripper so I can watch HD on my projector. Since that one's getting old, I'm going to look into the latest ones.

            Windows and Linux still don't have proper DVD player and using one browser.

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: In slight fairness to Apple...

        Apparently, the headless Mac's will come in 2018. Again, apparently, there is a lot of redesign going on.

        As you said, the Mac Mini was once a nice little box especially the i7 version. HP don't want to sell their versions here at the moment which given the spec really sucks.

        The 27in iMac has a delightful screen. That may temp me to get one 'when the boat comes in'.

        In the meantime, my XEON (8 core, 64Gb) Hackintosh + Dell 4K screen will do nicely.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: In slight fairness to Apple...

          How much do you need to redesign a Mac Mini, apart from undoing the stuff that they did to the 2014 model.

      3. qwarty

        Re: In slight fairness to Apple...

        I could use a new up to date Mac system for cross-platform software development. I was hoping to see a new Mac Mini - I've no use for a desktop screen limited by the lifetime of the processor etc. Having got used to the benefits of a touch screen no way am I going to spend £1000 on a basic laptop with no touch input.

        So, as an independent developer I'm stuck. Best bet seems to wait until end of the year to see if Apple finally get their act together and meanwhile focus on Android and Windows.

    2. Wibble

      Re: In slight fairness to Apple...

      There wasn't so much cheering at this year's event, and even the (presumably paid for) whooping sounded rather forced.

      More like the politburo listening to Kim Jong wotshisface; applauding when told.

      Looking for innovation with Apple nowadays is like looking for intelligence in a Trump tweet.

    3. cream wobbly

      Re: In slight fairness to Apple...

      "I'm not sure many people really want to rack mount Apple kit anyway, so nowadays a super-powerful an all-in-one makes more sense."

      We rack mount high-end workstations. If Apple sold rack-mountable ones, they might be under consideration. But then we'd be running a real OS, not some vintage reissue hipster crap.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In slight fairness to Apple...

        > But then we'd be running a real OS, not some vintage reissue hipster crap.

        Please help me with this one... FreeBSD, Gentoo, some handcrafted distro by your fair hands... surely you're jesting and it couldn't be Windows? No, no - nobody would suggest that.

  4. cb7

    Groan

    Literally. In the last fancy iMac I worked on, the i7 chip was clocked at 2.6GHz instead of the 4GHz the same chip runs at in my own PC.

    And if you asked the machine to do anything remotely demanding, the fans literally groaned as they spun up to keep thermal throttling at bay. I was shocked and horrified at the inelegant noises this £2.5k pile of Apple shit made.

    1. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

      Re: Groan

      Bollocks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Groan

        Can't speak for the OP but we've had many issues with iMacs - especially around cooling and the fans creating a lot of noise trying to keep it cool - and we're not in a warm location.

        Due to the issues and the fact that it is an all in one, the expansion options aren't good, we got some Mac Minis instead paired with a decent screen. Lot less to go wrong and easier to replace if it does.

  5. wolfetone

    Just one question

    Will the new version of MacOS fix the wifi bug Sierra introduced? The one that basically meant my lovely Mac Mini's wifi went from 40Mbps download to 1Mbps?

    And no, plugging it in to the network via ethernet is not a fix, and no the router I use isn't the problem as all the other devices on the network are fine with my wifi.

    It was Apple's update that broke it, and I hope it's Apple's next update will fix it.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Just one question

      The answer is probably "yes" but prepare for new bugs. Apple has an unfortunate history of using major OS releases to fix bugs they introduced in a previous minor release as a way of forcing users to update. I can't remember a single recent release where this wasn't the case.

      Anyway, be thankful you've just got problems with WiFi that have a chance of being resolved. Apple's record on Bluetooth is frankly awful.

      1. wolfetone

        Re: Just one question

        I'm happy enough with that.

        I'm not a Mac user, and the only reason I have the Mini is to do the odd bit of development work. But when I "upgraded" to Sierra I've just had a load of problems. The fact that the solution is to change some settings on my router, well it didn't leave me very happy considering all the Linux laptops I have run perfectly on the wifi.

        Roll on whenever it's released.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Seems like Google features from 2013

    Indoor maps, lane guidance for maps, Siri contextual responses, and pretty much everything else in IOS11 is just a copy of what Android has done for years.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems like Google features from 2013

      Apple will do copying right.

    2. Andy 97

      Re: Seems like Google features from 2013

      Yes, and their maps are ok (ish) too.

  7. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Cook is an accountant. These 'updates' show what happens to a company when run by the bean counters rather than the innovators.

    And no, I don't like Apple but at least they used to force Android and Microsoft to pull up their socks.. Nowadays, I feel everyone is just getting complacent.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      They are, but also because of the saturation, of both features and units deployed, any improvements in the market are hard to come by. Samsung's (hardware) tactic has been the "throw everything we can and see what sticks" kind of approach which has been quite successful in many ways. Apple's approach has been to refine existing technology so it's usable by an end user, which has worked very well for them but they have limited to the expensive end of the market given their marketing and dependency on full stack control. Google's approach has been great, both in software and hardware, just a little directionless as there are too many u-turns and product abandonments along the way - it's been very successful but is, in some ways, comparable to Samsung's "see what sticks" approach. Microsoft were late to the party as ever and produced something that was marred by "design by committee" and while it has some good points, these are heavily outweighted by the number of bad points and the poor 3rd party/developer support which is also the result of an even more savage abandonment process that Google have.

      So we have an industry where the cost of entry is very high, the ability to differentiate is quite low and the potential rewards from such changes are equally low. It's a market that's now largely in the evolutionary stage of progress compared to the opportunity for innovation of even a few years ago. I'd like to be proved wrong of course...

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Samsung are indeed crazy with the hardware, but poor at software. If it weren't for the fact that Android is available to them, I'm unconvinced that they could pull together a whole OS stack from scratch and sell it in vast numbers. Tizen isn't exactly compelling... I don't think their Android mods are worth a damn either.

        Apple's approach has been nakedly commercial. Whilst they have refined their products for keep the users of those products happy-ish, they’ve completely abandoned a whole class of user who really matter (the people who develop, power users, etc).

        For example in the world today there isn't a single Mac that you can put a high end NVIDIA GPU inside. Lots of people use CUDA these days for all sorts of applications. There's a ton of work going on out there that you cannot do on a MAC.

        Google are pretty hopeless on the software strategy front, in my opinion. Only now with Project Treble are they beginning to fix that, effectively turning Linux into a microkernel OS so that hardware and software updates can be independent of each other. This might be radical for Linux and Android, but it is decades behind everyone else. All the problems in the Android world originate in that misguided and careless design decision to use Linux because it's "free" and "trendy". If they'd decided to roll with, say, FreeBSD or QNX that'd have allowed them to avoid all this craziness with updates, etc.

        That so much money has been made by companies that have made such poor technical decisions shows how uneducated the vast majority of the market is... the cost is that now they have no way of expanding the markets they sell into. No power user will buy Apple. Samsung have no compelling software to differentiate themselves. Google cannot get people to fully commit their entire souls to their databases because no one fully trusts anyone to keep their Android fully patched, etc.

  8. Kristian Walsh

    Workstation with disposable screen...

    Apple is calling this a "professional" system, but it's not. A professional system in the markets that Apple still has presence in will usually have multiple, colour-calibrated displays attached to it. Each of those displays probably cost more than the $5000 Apple is asking for this all-in-one unit. Bundling the monitor with it is nuts: it's just getting the customer to pay more for something they didn't want and won't use..

    Realy, how hard is this for Apple? All they've got to do is look at their own website in Wayback Machine and find the "XServe" product from the early 2000's. Update the CPUs, and make one of those. It'd fit neatly into the rack with the dedicated disk-array holding the enormous asset files the user is working on.

    (I've seen the rubbish-bin Mac Pros in use, and they quickly turn into a rats' nest of cables and external storage devices)

    This, like all of Apple's current range, is a product for hobbyist users. Nothing wrong with that, but to say that it's a solution for professional customers is naive at best, and insulting at worst.

    1. PhilipN

      Re: Workstation with disposable screen...

      Thumbs up for the mention of the XServe. I picked mine up at a tiny discount since it was the last batch. Built like a tank, runs like a dream, and I shall probably keep it going forever - mainly backup, for which I almost forget it is even there. I think I'll access the screen remotely tomorrow and have a play with it for daily work.

      Sure it should be rack-mounted : I keep mine in its own enclosure because the fans are too noisy. But that is re-assuring, and intermittent, because Time Machine only wakes it up to do a backup.

  9. applebyJedi

    Look at the pretties

    The problem with Apple now, is that it's so busy employing Ives to make things look pretty, they forget (don't care) what people actually want. Everything is a compromise, can I live with only 256gb ssd, can I live with only one USB 'c' port? Forget about that, look how pretty and shiny it is.....

  10. Milton

    Apple 4P

    Apple's Piss Poor Price/Performance as always. Yes, I understand that some people are willing to pay lots of extra cash for the pretty, shiny bits, or because the thing bears an icon of half-chewed fruit, but will any of those purported "power users"—who are presumably tech-savvy, with some common sense—calculate just how much quality kit and processing horsepower they can get elsewhere, for that same eye-watering price? Or even, a lot less? (And it would be easily maintainable, upgradeable kit, at that.)

    I have under the desk, right now, an 8-core 5GHz 32Gb beast driving a 4k monitor and two supplemental displays thru a 3Gb GPU, paid for by my then-employer three years ago at well under *half* of Apple's $5k. It is not pretty. It will never double as modern art. It isn't even particularly energy-efficient, its brain being AMD. It is a warm, drab, knobby, utilitarian lump of a workhorse.

    But it consumes all before it, day after day, year after year, upgradeable at the twist of a thumbscrew, never faltering, one look at it being enough to have you ask ... why, why—pretty or not—*why* would you pay Apple prices?

  11. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    The price is US$4,999 for starters. By way of contrast, HP Inc's Z2 Mini workstation starts at $694, a price that buys you a machine that can't match the Pro for RAM, storage or core count and doesn't include a screen. But can be bought today.

    So if HP's offering doesn't include a screen, doesn't match the Pro for RAM, can't compete on core count and doesn't have the same storage, what the actual f**k is the point in comparing it? You might as well compare the iMac to a Big Mac for all the sense this makes.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      A bit of a strawman comparison if such is possible. While the Apple devices are often, but not always, poor when comparing the hardware specification and price with alternatives, comparing one to something that is not comparable is a bit pointless.

  12. WallMeerkat

    Back to the 90s

    I'm started to get reminded of the mid 90s, when Apple, having ridden high on the Mac for the past decade, was starting to see sales decline as PCs became cheaper and Microsoft brought out a (comparitive to DOS) usable UI in Windows 3.x. They ran out of ideas, put Macs into various shaped boxes, but at times it looked like the company might go the way of Commodore, Acorn etc. into the history books.

    Jobs, having went away to Next and learnt a few things, came back and shook things up. Gone were the PC aping beige boxes, in with translucent all-in-ones with - shock horror - no floppy drive! And new fangled USB instead of various ugly serial/parallel port connectors. A product man, the "portable jukebox" iPod followed, then years later the iPhone/iPad and we know the rest.

    He is no longer with us, who will rescue Apple from itself? Riding on the laurels of iPhone/iPad but no longer showing any real innovation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Back to the 90s

      People constantly whine about "lack of innovation" but who is showing innovation in the PC space, or the smartphone space? No one is, because both are mature markets, with incremental updates to capabilities but nothing revolutionary. Sure, Samsung has a new gimmick or two each year, but is a screen that wraps around the edge of the phone, or 'retina scan' that can be trivially fooled using a selfie innovation? Does it improve the user experience enough so that you say "wow, I can never use a phone that doesn't have this ever again?"

      The time for innovation is when there are major compromises in usability in the current options, where a rethink of how things work or applying technology in a novel way can remove those compromises. Like how "smartphones" used to have keyboards with microscopic keys, browsed the web via WAP, had clunky processes involving proprietary cables or IR to load apps that did almost nothing and were dog slow at doing so. Like when PCs used to have 1.4 MB limit for easily moving stuff around, needed expansion cards for basic functionality like networking or graphics, always ran at full power even when doing nothing, and so on.

      I'm not saying innovation isn't possible in those spaces, eventually someone will solve a problem we didn't even know we had. But currently no one else is doing it, so slagging on Apple for not doing it either is a bit silly.

      1. Baldrickk Silver badge

        Re: Back to the 90s

        The problem is less that they are not being innovative, but that they are also lagging behind, or worse, devolving their products.

        As people have been saying, you don't go to apple now for 'pro' needs, you find a good solid workstation instead, because apple's gear doesn't cut it anymore. I mean, not being able to upgrade the memory? really?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Back to the 90s

          Well the Mac Pro coming in 2018 should fix that, but this is perhaps more a symptom of the Pro market being such a small segment. Granted, they lag behind sometimes by not updating their lines to the latest CPUs, but with Intel not even squeezing 5% more performance between generations, what are you really missing out on?

          These days, what percentage of people ever upgrade the RAM in their PC or laptop? A low single digit percentage, I'll bet. Time was when you could replace CPUs in laptops, but I doubt there are many such laptops anymore. Granted, the pros are the ones most likely to want to do this, so I'm not really defending Apple but they've always pushed in this direction so its like its out of character for them.

          I still think they might start using their ARM SoCs in the Mac line - an A10 with a laptop style power budget could beat any Intel CPU with an equivalent power budget, and the A11 should be even better. With Microsoft now supporting full Windows on ARM, and building in x86 emulation for Win32 apps, I think they really go that way next year.

  13. MacGuru42
    Big Brother

    another year..another...meh..

    its been the same thing for many a year now, as I have vested interest in this, running a Mac support / consultancy co, I long for the innovation (and the SJ reality distortion field..taken with a pinch of LSD / too many Apples) of yesteryear..

    But those days are gone, I highly doubt we'd be seeing Buzz Lightyear watch faces and a 'return of the leather iPad case' if SJ was on the stage.

    My customers would really like a truly pro Mac, I'd like a proper pro Mac, but an iMac Pro is not that, thats a very niche Mac for those with deep pockets and no need for a properly calibrated display.

    There were rumours about a new Pro Mac, that was modular... and what do we hear.. that the iMac Pro will have 'no user upgradeable memory'... so you have to budget at purchase for your potential needs in 2-5 years.. all very silly and all very not 'Pro'. Still, I'm sure people will want them and buy them and I'll do my best to provide my clients with the right Mac for their needs (unlike some).. but we wait for another year.. with the hope they take the guts of the iMac Pro and put it back in a normal box.... or will it be another meh?

    and then they come out with some speaker thing....

    High Sierra is nice though.. :)

  14. RobThBay

    iOS can multitask???

    "Apple promises iOS 11 is better at multitasking".

    Didn't apple make that same promise with iOS10 (and the previous version)?

  15. Richard Boyce

    Mac mini

    It's nice that my 2010 Mac mini is still running, but the main reason is that Apple still can't manage to offer a quad core replacement. When it fails (likely to be its hard drive), it will get immediately replaced by a PC, not a £1,200+ quad core iMac with a fixed landscape-oriented display. I'm not in the market for a computer that is expensive furniture first and computer second.

  16. rh587 Silver badge

    The price is US$4,999 for starters. By way of contrast, HP Inc's Z2 Mini workstation starts at $694, a price that buys you a machine that can't match the Pro for RAM, storage or core count and doesn't include a screen. But can be bought today.

    By way of contrast... a machine that can't compete on speed, RAM, storage, connectivity and for which you need to buy monitor(s) and peripherals is cheaper than the Apple. And I am supposed to learn what from that comparison?

    Come now, I know I'm reading El Reg but contrasting a machine which tops out where the Apple starts and then mentioning that it's cheaper? Well durr! You can do better than that.

    Knocks about lack of touch-screen are also misplaced. If you haven't got a clever hinge like the MS Surface Studio to bring the unit down to a draught-board position, then touch on a vertical monitor is just horrible (and thus pointless).

    That said, I agree with the tenor. I would traditionally expect Apple to be the clever ones with things like the Surface Studio hinge, pushing the desktop/all-in-one form factor into new areas. They have completely ceded the initiative to Microsoft.

    1. Rainer

      They have a patent-sharing agreement. If they fancy, they can make a Surface clone and MSFT will not bat an eye.

      Well, there may be royalities involved, but except for a few fanboys, nobody will cry "Copycat".

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Apple could make a Surface desktop if they wanted, but they'd rather you use an iPad Pro in tandem with an iMac. For some workflows, it'd be the better solution for the user too (cost notwithstanding).

  17. Bob Hoskins

    Things fade

    Apple were never going to be the 'cool kids' forever. The bottom has fallen out of the mobile market like it did in 2001 - something new has to come along and change the market. There's a lot of solutions looking for problems - sooner or later someone will hit the right zeitgeist.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Things fade

      Well there's always the contraband market segment... for example smuggling phones into prisons. That would be the mobile-falling-out-of-the-bottom market.

      1. Bob Hoskins

        Re: Things fade

        Curved edges will herp there.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Things fade

      "The bottom has fallen out of the mobile market"? How so?? Because there it isn't seeing sales growth any longer? That can't happen forever, you know.

      Eventually something will come along to throw the smartphone market into chaos, like Apple did with the iPhone. But if you claim the bottom fell out of the mobile market in 2001 it was a long time coming before someone come along with that 'right zeitgeist'. So maybe you'll get what you're looking for in 2025 or so...

  18. JCDenton

    Don't care where is my PowerMac?

    I think it is good Apple has embraced "pro" users once again, albeit with some of last years hardware. But it's the iMac, a laptop shoved into a desktop form.

    Where is my new, actually upgradeable, Intel PowerMac?!?!?

    The Trashcan Mac was a failure, Apple really needs to recapture the truly professional environment once again. Their OS is much better than the latest Windows versions, but their hardware is ridiculously overpriced for what it is.

    1. Wibble

      Re: Don't care where is my PowerMac?

      The Trashcan Mac was a failure, Apple really needs to recapture the truly professional environment once again. Their OS is much better than the latest Windows versions, but their hardware is ridiculously overpriced for what it is.

      If only Apple gave a shit about the pro market. They just seem hell bent on getting out of the Mac market altogether; squeeze those pips for nearly twice the price they used to be even a couple of years ago. Little wonder they've a cash stash the size of most nation's GDPs.

      The WWDC used to be exciting, but now it's just a bunch of fanbois and no substance -- Buzz Lightyear appeared in the 1990's.

      Apple computers used to be so good, now they're just becoming as dull as you can get - and slower with each release of their operating systems as they add more and more pointless crap (Siri in a laptop, WTF?!?)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't care where is my PowerMac?

        The promised the replacement for the trash can Mac in 2018. They are already preannouncing the iMac Pro six months in advance - do you want them to announce something not available for a year?

  19. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    That's a big cellphone

    It seems that the desktop and cellphone convergence has hit the product design department. Apple's competing on their own imaginary set of important specifications and software features: pixel density, CPU cores, UI appearance, and the feel of the hardware. I find Apple's strange feature prioritization to be just as frustrating as Linux's crappy software, but at least the Linux system costs a lot less.

  20. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

    to be fair to our Fruity Overlords

    the Dial isn't as useful as it sounds, and that's coming from a drafting/CAD perspective.

    It *could* be a lot more useful but for the money and amount of applications and settings one is actually allowed to configure, well, even the MS store guy couldn't recommend it to me when I got my Surface Book a few months ago.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iMac Pro is NOT the replacement for the Mac Pro

    Re-read the announcement they made earlier this year, there were two things coming, and the iMac Pro is one of them.

    What I wonder is how the heck they're going to cool the thing in the iMac Pro form factor. An 18 core Xeon - even if Intel gives them cherry-picked parts with lower TDPs - will put out a lot of heat, as will the Vega. They must have using water cooling and ducting the heat around the entire body of the device to increase the surface area for cooling. It will be interesting seeing a teardown of that from Anandtech or whoever just to see how they manage this.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm happy with the update from WWDC

    I buy Apple because they provide the most consistent, secure and simple version of Unix.

    The hardware is beautiful. The support is seamless.

    In a free society, you're free to do what you want.

  23. John Savard Silver badge

    I Was Impressed

    I guess the old adage about a pessimist always having pleasant surprises applies here.

    Given past performance, I was expecting something almost completely ho-hum. Instead, Apple announced significantly improved and updated hardware for most, if not all, of its product lines. The Macintosh will once again be up-to-date instead of sadly out-of-date.

    Of course, exciting new products would be better. For me, though, it would be even better if Apple stopped being Apple (as if that's going to happen) and offered far more choice and upgrade options. So you could choose the CPU and the size of the monitor independently, and add of-the-shelf RAM whenever you felt like. Oh, and bring back OS 9 PPC and 68k emulation as a standard feature for new computer purchasers, while you're at it.

    That would make a difference. A touch screen? That doesn't begin to get me excited.

    Since that won't happen, even if Apple had decided to surprise people by switching to, say, the AMD Threadripper, I still wouldn't have been motivated to consider buying their products. Regarding, as I do, Apple as a lost cause, I am no judge of whether a WWDC is exciting or lacklustre.

  24. revilo

    good to have stability

    I like stability when it concerns operating systems. Too much "creativity" can be a disaster when it concerns operating systems. We have seen that on the linux desktop (unity) or also in Windows user interface paradigm changes. I want continuity. But innovation can be nice too: The file system change in High Sierra is very welcome for me as the case insensitive file system is an annouing relict from the past and it happens still sometimes, that syncing over from a case sensitive system breaks something. But maybe thats also which has to come slowly as changing to a case sensitive default could still break some programs. Apropos Laptops: I had hoped for a 1TB drive option for the 12 inch macbook. When rendering movies on apple pro res resolutionthe resulting temporary file is huge, so a bigger drive option would have been nice. Even the ipad comes now with a 500 Gig capacity, I would have expected the laptops to pony up.

  25. J. Cook Silver badge
    FAIL

    For the peeps whining about the iMac Pro to Z2 comparison, Go price out a similarly spec'd Dell Precision 5810, which is roughly the same class, spec wise, and you can get something *close* to an apples to Apple comparison. (ponder that the Vega is pre-release, AMD announced it at the same time as Apple said they'd be using it.)

    Also, 1 TB SSDs are freaking expensive still, that's a good chunk of the cost.

  26. nmc00001

    IPAD no more

    I finally got around to picking up a Surface Pro 4 last week, my ipad has sat on one of my office desks since I got it and I'll probably never use it again.

  27. Jim84

    Some ideas

    8k screen (like Dells)

    Cool tilting touchscreen (like Microsoft Surface)

    Wireless power, wireless display (to finally get rid of cables)

    Desktop tower mac pro

    Liquid cooling solution in mac pro tower

    ARM chips in macbook airs

    Intel chips, but also arm chips in macbook pros to run iOS apps

    Make the apple assistant speaker a bit bigger so that it is basically a B&W Zepplin competitor, not just a fairly silly microphone gimick like all the other assistant speakers

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some ideas

      I'm not seeing anything revolutionary about ARM chips, higher res screens and making massive speakers.

      It seems like no matter what they did, some people would be poking holes and crywanking about it not being good enough, proclaiming Jobs was the genius - like his career wasn't full of as much junk as wins. Yup he made some great choices unix in a Dieter Rams inspired computer, iPod, iPhone... possibly the iPad. He was alive for all their clouds failures, let's not forget his love for skeumorphism, OS X Lion...

  28. Mellipop

    Apple provides for developers

    Obviously you lot only looked at the consumer end. For developers there is a lot.

    Swift 4 is available. Yes, it's open source and that gives many eyes to make sure quality is high. Xcode 8.3 runs it now.

    Latest iPads can run the Swift Playgrounds and there is a developer kit to create packaged playgrounds.

    If you want to develop for future hardware, that's not a problem as you sling an external GPU via thunderbolt.

    CoreML and ARKit on iOS point to a future outside, and heads up.

    And what do you bitch about? That your old apple kit is not as shiny as a surface studio. Good luck lounging on your couches.

  29. whatevs...

    Man, chill out. Eventually you'll come to the same realisation as I have. The comment section of the Reg is full of keyboard warriors, whose actual IT literacy is that if a typical helpdesk drone. The majority of whom are Windows Fanboys by default, think computing was invented in the 2000's and more than likely basement-dwelling "gamers". They also like Android because it's "open" but don't really know what it means. Hygiene is also optional for most of them. When you next read a comment from one of them, adopt you best nerd voice and read it like that in your head, makes the whole thing much more fun! Remember also that the articles are written by journalists, whose job it is to get as many page views as possible so the adverts actually pay. This immediately negates any requirement for integrity.

  30. Halfmad Silver badge

    Microsoft are like the mad uncle

    In their shed banging out ideas, doesn't matter if most are awful you need to at least give them credit for trying some of their whacky sh!t. Every so often they come up with something clever and then someone else actually makes it useful.

    Apple have become incredibly safe and scared of trying out new things, they'll happily buy a company that's already done that - but rarely push any boundaries themselves.

  31. LaeMing
    Trollface

    But... But... Butt!

    High Sierra makes windows!

    http://www.highsierraglass.com/

  32. shokka9

    Just build a Hacky

    I'm no Apple fan boy, but I like some of their designs. I've owned all kinds of phones since 1996. I've had WinMo, Android, Blackberries, Symbian ,etc etc. I used to make ROMs for WinMo and went onto Android.

    But when I got my first iPhone, the 4. I stayed with Apple. They just work, and work well. I always run jailbroken phones, so I'm not as restricted as most, but I like it that way. Stock iOS is pretty boring, but it does the job.

    I've never owned a Mac, or Macbook, or any other iteration of an Apple computer. However, I have been running OSx (now macOS) since Leopard on my PCs. I currently run Sierra, and yeah, its cool. I much prefer it to Windows as it's much more efficient, doesn't have issues like a Windows PC. However, I dual boot between Sierra & W10 (for games etc).

    I'm still running an Ivy Bridge 3770K (oc'd to 4.2GHz), with my 32GB of RAM, GTX 1060, 2xSSDs (an OS on each), plus my storage HDDs. The thing is a beast, runs perfectly in Windows obviously. But runs perfectly in macOS. There is a myth that you need the latest hardware to run the newer versions on macOS. You don't, not all the time, especially if you run a hackintosh.

    You don't need to spend £5k on the iMac to be up to date. As other posters so eloquently state, Apple have the knack of giving us old technology at exorbitant prices. But Apple is not for tech savvy people (in my opinion), as they seem to be for people with too much money and want to look cool and be seen with Apple products. Yes, this is a generalisation, but on the whole I believe it to be that way.

    I also repair iPhones (easy job), but even Apple doesn't repair iPhones (other than screen & batteries), they built a robot to do it now. Everything on an iPhone can be replaced, but Apple would rather you bought a refurbished replacement. I've had clients who have taken iPhones to be repaired for screen damage, and Apple have 'broken' their handset during repair and charged them £280 for a refurbished replacement. That's one hell of a business model!

    It's almost impossible to break an iPhone during a screen replacement, unless you are seriously heavy handed and have no clue what you are doing...... these guys are supposed to be geniuses!

    I'm digressing; point is, build a PC, and install macOS. I run macOS on my HP Probook too. Why not?

    Not every PC can run macOS, but if you look at websites out there, you'll see it isn't difficult to buy the right hardware to run it.

    Just don't buy a computer from Apple!

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