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Apple Myths Debunked — And Confirmed!

They’re listening to you over your mic. They’re slowing down your phones. Force quitting apps saves battery. Charging destroys battery. Steve Jobs would never… Antenna-gate was overblown. Apple hates Nvidia. Myths, misconceptions, misinformation about Apple… it spreads faster than an Android Virus… Kidding. Or am I? Because there’s no such thing as malware on Mac… or is there? Never mind reading it in black and white, we see it on Facebook. People doing their own research. Retweeting at the speed of social. But what’s even real… and what’s just really, really fake?

I’m Rene Ritchie, I’ve been interrogating Apple for almost a decade and a half, and I’m going to debunk some of the juiciest iPhone and Mac myths on the planet… and maybe just confirm some of the biggest ones as well!

MYTH: Social Media Apps are Listening In on Us

Social Media apps like Instagram are just so damn good — as-in-creepy — at showing us ads for things we talk or text about some people think they simply have to be listening in, spying on us through our iPhone mics. And no… but pretty much because they just don’t have to.

It’s been investigated a bunch of times and no one’s found any evidence to support it. Which is actually pretty compelling because Facebook’s been caught doing other creepy stuff like spying on the apps we use to figure out which to buy or copy. And recording us and uploading those recordings for analysis an exploitation on their servers would be such a big battery and data hit it’d be pretty easy to catch as well.

But they already track us like… the Military in a MrBeast video, through their apps and across the web, they know who we’re connecting with through their social graphs, and they even get our IRL transactions through data brokers. So, they basically have full-on behavioral profiles on all of us, which… forget predictive, border on precognitive at times. Also, we only really remember the super creepy ads anyway, and filter out the dozens of dumb ones we see all day, every day. So that just enhances fuels all the stories.

But it’s also exactly why Apple’s been building features like App Tracking Transparency and Private Relay into their products.

MYTH: Apple is sabotaging older iPhone

Apple is secretly slowing down our older iPhones to annoy us into upgrading to new ones. That’s something that bubbles up especially when new versions of iOS and iPhones hit all the world, all at once, and everyone’s Spotlight search and photo indexes are rebuilding and updated versions of Apps and libraries are downloading for a good day or two.

Also, when Apple decides not to push some of the most intensive new features to some of the oldest phones, because they think it’ll legit thrash performance, they get accused of withholding to force upgrades, so there’s some damned if you do, damned if you don’t at work there as well.

But, because Apple makes iPhones that can last 5 or more years, and provides iOS updates for up to 5 years, and as batteries and processors age out, and software and apps get heavier, bits rot, junk builds up in the Other truck, people complain and conspiracies spread. Even if fresh batteries and clean installs can take a lot of that load off. And, newer phones with faster processors and bigger batteries run everything smoother for longer by comparison. Because obviously.

But this really came to a head a few years ago when Apple was accused of secretly throttling performance on older phones. See, the year before, Apple found out their increasingly high performance chipsets were causing brown outs on phones with worn out batteries. Basically, if the processor spiked, and the battery couldn’t meet demand, the phone would shut down to prevent damage, and you had to plug in to reboot it, which could be super inconvenient or even dangerous. So, Apple fixed the reboot hassle, but also throttled those processors on worn out batteries to prevent spikes, which would prevent the brown outs. But they didn’t explain it well, or that a battery replacement could fix it, and they were hella aggressive about the throttling, and nobody even remembered it happened until a year later when Geekbench and Reddit exploded it all over the net.

Apple apologized, provided super-cheap battery swaps, added a switch for people who preferred the potential of a brown out to the constant throttling, and built better battery management software to greatly reduce the potential for it occurring on newer phones.

MYTH: Force Quitting Apps Saves Your Battery.

Some people insist on force quitting every app, all the time, thinking it’ll save battery life or increase performance. Others insist you should never, not ever force quit any app. The truth is, most of the time, force quitting apps actually wastes battery life. iOS doesn’t work like a traditional operating system, not like Windows, Android, even the Mac. It has no concept of swapping or paging memory out to SSD. So, apps stay in memory, in RAM, in a suspended state until you go back to them, and they wake up, or iOS needs that memory for something else, and so jettisons the oldest apps on the stack to make room for the new ones.

The exact same lack of swap is also why having 16 GB on an iPad Pro doesn’t mean you can have bigger apps, it just means you can have more big apps in memory for longer. But that’s another video.

Now, waking an app takes far less power than launching an app, so if you make it a habit of force quitting all your apps, just killing them to watch them die, you’re forcing iOS to relaunch them all from scratch each and every time, which takes more power.

The only exception is if an app goes rogue, doesn’t shut down properly, and leaves processes just churning away. Usually a super thirsty social network app like Facebook or cross-compiled game like Pokemon Go. Then you’ll feel your iPhone get warm and literally see your battery drain. In that case, just force quit away. Check battery usage in Settings if you’re not sure which app to yote, or if you’re desperate and don’t have time to narrow it down, go ahead and force quit everything so you can call that Lyft or whatever it is you need to do to be safe and sound, and then narrow it down the next time. Just don’t do it unless it’s an emergency, and never don’t ever make a habit of it.

MYTH: Charging destroys your battery

Batteries are fuel and using them depletes them. But some people believe if you don’t micromanage your charging, plug in long before it gets to zero and plug out way before it gets to 100, you’ll deplete them way way faster. And here’s the thing, I’ve talked to the actual battery engineers and testers at the actual companies that make this stuff, and they’ve taken all of that into account already.

Basically, there are really only three things that damage lithium-ion batteries: Exposing them to heat, keeping them in a high charge state for any length of time, and storing them at a low charge state for an extended length of time.

iOS will gate against excessive heat by cutting the brightness, throwing a temperature warning, and eventually shutting down, but point is — don’t leave your iPhone out in the sun on a hot day, like on your dashboard or pool side table, and don’t leave it on heater in winter, like in car dock mounted on a hot air vent. Cold it can recover from when it warms back up, but heat causes permanent damage.

For high and low charge states, Apple manages that by kinda lying about the percentages. 0% isn’t really 0%. Your iPhone will shut down a while before it actually discharges completely. If you do plan on storing your iPhone for a long period of time, charge it halfway before turning it off, but otherwise you’re fine. For high charge state, if you leave the setting on, iOS will idle it at 80% and only go to 100% based on machine learning algorithms that figure out when you’ll actually need maximum charge, like right before you typically leave for work in the morning.

Now, you still might be able to reduce gross charging cycles by micromanaging when you plug in and out, but you’re exchanging mental health for charging health, and losing time and convenience for what might amount to a few percentage points or a not very expensive battery swap a few years down the line. Especially when you consider impact like from drops or ambient heat can erase any and all effort you put into micromanaging at any time anyway.

MYTH: Antenna Gate was Overblown

Back in the Jurassic period, when BlackBerry and Palm still roamed the earth, Apple had a problem with the iPhone 4 — You could kill the cellular connection by putting your finger on the gap between the antenna bands on the bottom. In typical counter-conspiracy fashion, some people then and now think this was exaggerated, even all made up, that there was in fact no unintentional network pause play button.

Partially, because it just seems so ridiculous now, and because de-tuning and attenuation kept being conflated back then. See, you could attenuate pretty much any phone by wrapping your ugly meat paw of mostly water around it and disrupting enough of the antenna to interfere with the signal. But, the iPhone 4… that you could also de-tune by placing your capacitive flesh finger right on that naked stainless steel bridge spot.

Cases prevented both, but not everyone used a case and if you happened to be in an area with poor cellular service or signal strength, which wasn’t exactly uncommon back then, the drop could be enough to kill your reception.

But yeah, anyone could objectively see the de-tuning by going into Field Test Mode by typing 3001#12345# into the dialer and then just measuring the drop.

Apple ended up giving away free bumpers, which insulated the antennas from our death touches, and engineered full fixes for de-tuning with the Verizon iPhone 4 and, half a year later, all versions of the iPhone 4s.

Since then, antenna systems have gotten way smarter and more advanced, and RF transparency, way more sophisticated — insert your mmWave jokes here — so neither is really a problem any more anyway. But it sure as hell was back then.

MYTH: Apple Overcharges

The Apple Tax is a passive aggressive — or just aggressive aggressive — way of saying people want Apple products but wish they were less expensive. See, other companies typically offer a range of price points, from budget to premium. They have options with worse displays. Slower SSDs. Lower performance chipsets. Less durable materials and build quality. Sometimes supported by ads or other business goals. And Apple doesn’t do that. They’re not Toyota where you can get the Lexus version if you want. They’re BMW or Porsche, where that’s the only version. Even if every once in a while they throw out a Boxter.

And because enough of Apple’s customers are super satisfied with those premium products, Apple hasn’t been forced to sell at near zero margin or produce budget versions, the way many other companies have. And when Apple dabbled with it, like the iPhone 5c, or the crappy HD in iMacs, it’s been largely rejected by the market in favor of older premium products, like the previous few generations of iPhone, or with updated internals, like the iPhone SE or baseline iPad or MacBook Air.

Now, Apple’s margins actually stayed pretty much the same for many, many years after Steve Jobs. Hardware margins even went down as design started spending more on chamfered edges and 3D Touch layers, engineering wanted the latest technologies first, like 7 and 5 nanometer processes and endlessly more custom silicon, and marketing felt it critical to invest in more expensive parts like OLED and 5G. Which one of the main reasons Apple is now so all-in on services, because those margins are way, way, way higher — I mean, not makeup or fashion higher — but they do lift everything else up.

If you want Apple stuff but just can’t or won’t pay Apple prices, it’s still going to make you hella mad, and there’s no getting around that. But, if you go beyond simple up-front cost, and factor in how long Apple hardware typically lasts, how often you get software updates, all the free software, and the typically high resale values, the total cost of ownership on Apple products can end offering way more value than way cheaper alternatives. And there’s no getting around that either.

MYTH: Apple Hates Nvidia

Apple used to use Nvidia graphics cards. And then they didn’t. Much to the consternation of Cuda-stans everywhere. And yes, there was an incident, a defect Apple felt Nvidia failed to take responsibility for, and that caused some Tay Tay level Bad Blood.

But, ultimately, these are two hugely successful companies with two very different agendas. Nvidia wants to reduce PCs to commodity front ends for their massive graphics cards, so it doesn’t matter who you buy your box from or how you build your rig, it just has to have Nvidia inside and you’re golden. And Apple wanted to reduce GPUs to commodity cores for their Metal framework, so it didn’t matter which cards they sourced, they’d all just work with macOS. But where AMD was willing to let Apple do what they wanted, including bypassing everything and going straight to the lowercase metal if and when they wanted to, Nvidia was absolutely not.

In hindsight, now that Apple’s switched to M1 silicon, it’s easy to see why they wanted what they wanted. Apps that used Metal did in fact just work on M1, even the Intel versions, even under x86 emulation. And now Apple can focus on making better GPU and more specific accelerators, and profit. But it’s hard to fault Nvidia for being so… Nvidia about it either, even though going on a year later you still can’t so much as sell an organ for a 3090.

Because, when you have two companies that hugely successful, powerful, and, yeah, bull-headed, neither is going to flinch until the market hurts or motivates one or both of them enough to force it.

MYTH: There’s No Malware on the Mac

The idea that Macs don’t get viruses dates back to the days of Windows 98 and XP, where Microsoft had almost complete dominance of the personal computer market… but hardly a lick of security built into their operating system. And since malware is an economic crime, where bad actors want to hit the biggest target at the least expense, they cared almost nothing about the Mac, which not only had better-for-the-time security thanks to its BSD UNIX foundations, but also just nowhere nearly an install base worth bothering with.

Now, Windows security has steadily improved over the last decade, and thanks to the iPhone and iPad, Apple’s profile has risen considerably. Also, the types, goals, availability, and distribution methods of malware have evolved. Especially the growth of the internet, which has made adware and especially phishing a problem for everyone, because it really doesn’t care what OS you have. It just wants your accounts.

And you can see the effect of all of this just by looking at how much effort Apple’s been putting into hardening the Mac over the last few years. Everything from XProtect, which is their constantly updated Malware scanner, to Gatekeeper, which can prevent non-App Store or signed apps from installing, to sandboxes, secure boot, and read-only system volumes to mitigate against malware-level tampering.

But it’s never been not truer, so Apple has to keep tightening up those blast doors and we have to make sure we don’t open them back up every time a fake free app or dodgy porn link slides into our DMs.

Steve Jobs would never

Ritchie’s law — pretty much any time someone says “Steve Jobs would never do that…”, you can find several examples of Steve Jobs doing pretty much exactly that. The only major exceptions that come to mind is letting the Butterfly keyboard stay on the market as long as it did, given how fast he killed the G4 Cube and reverted the buttonless iPod shuffle and wide-body iPod nano. It’s just hard to see him not Mobile Me flame throwering that thing within a year… 18 months max.

But Steve was Steve and Tim is Tim and that was then and this is now, so either way it’s still one of the laziest logical fallacies to drop on any particular argument.

For actual insight into how Steve Jobs actually ran Apple, check out Ken Kocienda’s Creative Selection: Inside Apple's Design Process During the Golden Age of Steve Jobs… Ken helped build the Safari Web Browser, the iPhone keyboard, and Apple Watch Faces, and he details how Steve set up small teams, assigned direct responsibility, and insisted on intense focus to produce… amazing results.

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M1 Pro vs M1 Max — The Ugly Truth

Ok, real talk. I haven’t seen this many comments, tweets, chats, DMs, just questions and confusion in general about anything since 8GB vs. 16GB on last year’s M1 Macs:

Should you get the M1 Pro or M1 Max MacBook Pro

And yeah, because despite all the reviews, all the recommendations, all the benchmark LARP, it still seems just super hard, really an inconvenience to get a simple, straight, easy to understand answer. Well, I’m Rene Ritchie and I’m going to give it to you. Right now.

I think the reason 8GB vs. 16GB was so confusing last time was because M1 was only in ultra-low power Macs and people who would normally buy higher end Macs were desperate for M1, didn’t want to wait, and were trying to figure out if they could fit into the more widely available 8GB models.

And I think the reason for M1 Pro vs. M1 Max is so confusing now is broadly the same. Those higher-end chips are only in MacBook Pros right now and people who would normally by iMacs or even Mac Pros are desperate for Apple Silicon, don’t want to wait, and are trying to figure out if they can fit into a laptop for now.

And because, in a way, it’s simpler than the old Intel i5 vs i7 vs i9 with Iris integrated or AMD discrete graphics, and the reputation M1 has built for punching just way, way above its weight, and, honestly, 2021 being as awful in its own way as 2021, especially in terms of how much everything costs, I think people really do want to figure out if they need to go Max or can save some money and with the Pro.

And it doesn’t help that every second tweet is from someone saying how awesome or terrible the battery life is, because they don’t realize surfing the web in safari hits so different than rendering video in Premiere Pro. Or if there’s a memory leak, or if you’re stuck on Intel emulation in Rosetta and the app never bothered to update for Metal, or any of a dozen other things or context.

So for people who really just want to know which MacBook Pro they can use as a bridge machine for the eventual iMac or Mac Pro, or pros looking to switch to the MacBook Pro for the first time and wondering how much they really need to spend, well, here’s the honest answer.

If battery life is the absolute most important thing to you, if you need to be able to use your MacBook Pro away from main power, a lot, the added size and weight isn’t an issue for you, because you just need your laptop to last as long as it can possibly last, get the 16-inch M1 Pro.

It’ll save you $200 to $400 bucks off the cost of an M1 Max, or let you put that money towards more RAM or a SSD instead.

The 16-inch has a bigger battery, so you have more potential power to begin with, and a bigger thermal envelop, so it doesn’t get as hot and there’s even less change the fans will have to power up. The M1 Pro also has fewer transistors, in other words, fewer graphics cores, fewer media engines, and potentially less RAM to light up, which means it uses less power as well. It does have a bigger display to drive, but all in all, the combination of bigger battery, bigger thermal envelope, and less silicon, makes it the battery life champ.

Of course, if you do light up all the transistors in M1, like rendering video with a ton of effects applies, with screen brightness all the way up, on a shoddy Wi-Fi connection, on a hot Arizona day, you can still kill even the 16-inch battery pretty quick. That’s why I keep saying potential. Battery is fuel and a bigger tank is just a bigger tank. The more and faster you go, the more and faster it’ll go.

Now, if performance is the absolute most important thing to you, if time is literally money, or far more precious to you than money, and the faster your can get through your work, or the more work you can can get done any given day, is everything, than get the 16-inch M1 Pro Max.

The CPUs are mostly all the same. Mostly. And I’ll get to the exceptions in a binned-down minute. So, if you’re doing music with a ton of plugins, for example, or anything CPU bound, it won’t really make a difference. But the M1 Max has up to double the GPU cores, which means it’ll just tear through any heavy graphics work, from 3D modeling to textures, transformations, effects, and more, and double the Media Engines, so H.264, HEVC, and ProRes will render almost literally twice as fast. And while they’re rendering, because they’re on the Media Engines and not CPU or GPU bound, you can still use that CPU and GPU for other work. If you have time. Because so damn fast.

Because the 16-inch has a bigger thermal envelop, those extra GPU cores have more room to breathe before they start saturating the cooling system, and the 16-inch even has a high power mode so you can unleash the fans and the cores to get the most performance possible, at least within the limits of physics. I’m not going to say it’s like hitting nitro on that fuel tank, all the speed but all the drain. Because I honestly don’t know enough about racing to land that particular analogy. But I’m not not going to not not say it either.

So, what about the 14-inch models, if you really need to save some extra cash or you just need something smaller and lighter to carry around, or work on planes, train, busses, and in coffee shops, hotels, and venues?

Well, they have physically smaller batteries and smaller thermal envelopes, so even though they have smaller displays to drive, they still offer less potential power. There is a binned down 8-CPU and 14-GPU version of the M1 Pro for the 14-inch, which means even less silicon that can be lit up, so even less drain even if or when fully lit. The also a low power mode in macOS Monterey that reduces overall draw, so you can get even more time on the battery you have, if you’re not doing anything too demanding or intense. That’d be the best bet if you want or need the 14-inch but battery life is still critical to you.

And if you want or need the 14-inch, don’t care about battery life, but do want as much performance as you can get, the M1 Max is absolutely, positively, still a monster even in the smaller thermal envelope. You can’t go as long between charges, of course, but you can still get a ton done.

Just remember, Macs are built like… aluminum bricks. They typically last 5 or more years. So don’t just think about what present you needs today. Consider what future you, or whomever you give, hand-down, or sell off to will need tomorrow. You can get batteries replaced if and when they age out. You can hang external storage off a USB4 port. You can’t add or takeout RAM or swap an M1 Pro for an M1 Max chipset, or vice versa. If you have limited cash on hand, of course, only ever get what you can afford. But if you’re at all flexible, don’t just consider up-front cost, think carefully about long term value.

Like on Twitter or in comments, you may see people warn you away from the 14-inch M1 Max. And I for one got the 16-inch Max for all the reasons I just went over. But you know who got the 14-inch M1 Max? Apple’s VP of Silicon, the guy who helped create it, and Apple’s VP of Mac Product Marketing, the guy who helped spec it all out, because they want the power and the portability, and everyone knows their own workloads the best, so seriously, ask all the questions you want, but make sure you do you and get what you need.

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Apple 2022 Mega Preview — iPhone 14, Apple VR, M2 MacBook Air, More!

iPhone 14. MagSafe iPad Pro. Mac mini Pro. iMac Pro. Mac Pro. New AirPods Pro. Just… so much Pro! But also, new MacBook Air. iPhone SE 3. Apple Watch SE 2. Apple Watch… Extreme. And maybe, just maybe, Apple VR.

I’m Rene Ritchie and this… and if you thought 2021 was Apple-packed… just wait’ll we get a load of 2022!

Ok, so… Apple mostly holds events in Spring. Mostly. Last year April, year before canceled, year before that, March… for Oprah. But Spring 2022 could indeed have more than a few highly-anticipated new and updated devices on deck.

Last year it was a purple iPhone 12, so maybe a purple iPhone 13. That or the long-rumored orange… I wouldn’t say no. Also, with the original iPhone SE debuting in the spring of 2016 and iPhone SE 2 in the spring of 2020, Apple could be speeding up that schedule and going with iPhone SE 3 as soon as spring of 2022. But with nowhere nearly as big of an update. Just swapping out the Intel LTE modem for a Qualcomm 5G modem, and the A13 chipset for an A15. But, yeah, no idea how they’re going to manage battery life with all that new iPhone 13 silicon in all that same old iPhone 8 shell…

Too soon for an AirTags update, but maybe, finally AirPods Pro: The Next Generation. They launched in 2019, about 8 months after AirPods 2. But now we’re on on AirPods 3… so, carry the 8… divide by zero, and it sure feels like time. Same great active noise cancelation, new smaller stems, more like Beats Studio Pro. But with H1, Apple’s original headphones chip, or are we finally going to see H2?

We got the A12Z iPad Pro in the spring of 2020 and the M1 in the spring of 2021, which is faster than the 18 month cycle they were on before. So, if M2 is good to go, we could see a new iPad Pro for third spring in a row. And that would include better single core performance, up to two extra graphics cores, ProRes Media Engines, same great mini-LED on the front but now with MagSafe on back. Maybe MacBook plug style, maybe iPhone puck style, but either way, with full-on structural integrity so I don’t have to watch any more unboxers or tear-downers bend any more iPads not ever again. And I’ll have my full preview for the 2022 iPad Pro up soon, so hit that subscribe button and bell like they stole your Ronin suit. Or whatever.

If Apple wants to roll out all the M2, all at once, like they did with M1 at the end of 2020, we could also see the redesigned MacBook Air… or just MacBook… Depending on how Apple wants to brand it. I vote the latter. The original Air and original 12-inch MacBook both debuted in the first half of their respective years. But Apple isn’t nostalgic. They’re operational. They’ll announce what they want to announce as soon as it’s ready to ship. And that means yeah, M2, but also mini-LED, MagSafe, and an all-new, all-white bezeled design. Maybe alongside an M2 two-port MacBook Pro as well. Just… update all the ultra-lower power things.

Last year we also got the new 24-inch M1 iMac, but what many of us are still waiting for is the newer-than-new 27- to 32-inch iMac please brand it Pro. Mini-LED display, nano-texture option, more ports, and M1 Pro, M1 Max, and maybe even a dual M1 Max chipset option. Because what every pro needs is a little workstation built right into in their display. Speaking of which, there are still rumors of a new, way less than $5 thousand dollar, stand included, Apple display on the agenda, but nothing to indicate it’s any time soon. But please, I need it.

Fast-forward to summer, and Apple’s annual world wide developers conference, WWDC should hit us first week of June. Biggest question is whether or not it’ll be the first in-person event since the fall of 2019, you know, just before the world started ending. But as with 2020 and 2020 jr., we’ll have to wait and see if we actually get a for-real 2022 yet, or if it’s just 2020: Let There Be Carnage. The second biggest question is whether Apple will announce or even just tease the next Mac Pro. That’s what they did in 2013 for the trashcan and 2019 for the revenge of the cheesegrater. Same modular design, but instead of Intel Xeon and AMD Navi blast furnaces in the belly, dual or quad M1 Max instead, for even better performance… and no water cooling needed. That, and the Mac mini Pro with the new design and M1 Pro and M1 Max inside would make every developer in the house — or at home — supremely happy. Along with iOS and iPadOS 16, tvOS 16, watchOS 9, and macOS… a little help Craig? Um… No

Now, some WWDCs, like last year’s, there’s no new hardware. Others, like 2017, there’s, well… all the new hardware. Most years, it’s mixed. And there have been rumors of a more powerful, more gaming focused Apple TV, a hybrid Apple TV HomePod for home theater, and a hybrid HomePod and iPad for kitchens and bedrooms. The Apple TV would have an A14 or better and an Apple-designed gamepad. The HomePod Theater would have room-filling — and shaking — Atmos and spatial audio. The Home… Pad would have a display and Center Stage for full-on family FaceTime fun. But if and where any of that is on the actual roadmap for next year or the year after, we’ll have to wait and see.

Assuming Apple and the world stays on track, new iPhones in September should be fully back to being just the safest bet in tech. And that means iPhone 14. Which is expected to be another redesign, this time even more iPhone 4 than iPhone 5, deleting the iPhone mini, but adding a new iPhone Biggie… like a Max but non-Pro. So, goodbye slightly less expensive small phone, hello much less expensive big phone. And with hole punches instead of notches so you can still tell the Pros apart. But tiny process node for the A16 chipset — presumably TSMC’s brand new 3 nanometers, just in time for Kang and the Quantum Realm. Also, better cameras, of course. Of course. Of course. And maybe a port. Maybe no port. Just hopefully something, anything, that can pull ProRes way, way faster than still 2012-era lightning. Because… damn.

There’ll be an Apple Watch Series 8, but also an Apple Watch SE 2. Six to five and pick’em which one ends up having that flat-edged design that was all over the digital papers last year. And, maybe, a ruggedized Apple Watch Extreme for those who need even more watch for even more on-the-job or cross-country action.

October used to be iPad and Mac month, but for the last couple of years we got iPads in September. Air and Gen 8 in 2020, then mini and Gen 9 in 2021, so this year maybe Air and Gen 10? That’s how Apple seems to be rolling now. A16 on board, maybe even mini-LED, because Apple seems not just intent, but full on content to push that out across the line. Except to the baseline iPad, that should stay non-mini-LCD, but maybe with the rumored size boost to 10.5 inches.

As for Macs, whatever Apple doesn’t manage to push out earlier in the year should close out at the end of the year, at the very outer limits of Tim Cook’s promised two-year transition. And that just leaves Apple’s augmented virtual mixed reality headset. Apple’s… vision… so to speak.

Now, the original iPhone and iPad were both shown off at January events, so the hardware wouldn’t leak and, in the iPad’s case, developers could get a head-start on porting their apps over to the bigger screen. The original Apple Watch debuted in September, much later in the year but for essentially the same reasons. So, it really just depends on timelines. When exactly Apple thinks the product will be stable enough to demo, and how long thereafter they think it’ll take to ship.

My guess is that, if not WWDC, it’ll be late in the year, because that’ll give Apple the most time and the world the most opportunity to return to normalcy, at least enough for an in-person event to really show off the next big thing. Then, whatever new frameworks they snuck into iOS 16 will be ready for primetime building for the new device, and either the whole entire fall, or whole entire winter to get ready to launch.

That way, when we all get our hands — and faces — on dual 4K lenses, spatial audio, M3 and R1 or whatever Apple calls the Reality chip, rOS, or whatever Apple calls the Reality Operating System, and all those sensors and pass-throughs, there’ll be apps aplenty to support it. FaceTime RoundTable, Fitness+ Classes, TV+ Theater, Music+ Concerts, Apple Arcade in actual VR arcades, the whole stack.

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M2 MacBook Pro (2022) Leaks — Faster but what else?!

The MacBook Pro… but not the recent M1 Pro and Max models, the M1 regular model, the 2-port model, but with a next-generation M2, maybe a Mini-LED display, maybe even a new design. Like… the MacBook Pro having a love baby with the MacBook Air design. Again.

I’m Rene Ritchie, hit subscribe so you don’t miss any of my upcoming 2022 previews, and then, yeah, we gotta talk about this!

So, back in November of 2020 when Apple announced the first wave of custom silicon Macs, it was all about ultra low power, entry level, getting M1 into the existing enclosures of the MacBook Air, Mac mini, and 2-port MacBook Pro.

That’s the MacBook Pro that was first released back in 2016, the one Phil Schiller said was for people who wanted something just a little more than the MacBook Air. Including a Retina display and a better-than anemic Intel Y-Series chipset. And, poetically, without a Touch Bar back then, but the only one remaining with a Touch Bar now…

It was meant for a new wave of customers, of people for whom Pro was less Mac Pro as in professional and more AirPods Pro as in premium. Maybe coders or designers with lighter workloads, maybe photographers or videographers always on the go, maybe just hipsters or founders who coveted the pro brand but didn’t need all the pro power, size, and weight that traditionally came with it. Whatever. It just made the word Pro… more accessible, affordable, and to some, more infuriating than ever.

But, it legit let those who wanted an ultra-light that could sustain performance and last on battery just a little longer than a MacBook Air, and didn’t want to pay full price for a MacBook Pro Pro, just… get their goldilocks on.

And now it’s time for Round 2. More specifically, M2. Now, I’ll get to what that means in a minute. Because the actual reports are… kinda thin. Like, thinner than iPhone 6 thin. But with the M1 iPad Pro and M1 Pro and Max MacBook Pros going mini-LED… and the M2 MacBook Air rumored to be going mini-LED as well, I think chances are good the M2 MacBook Pro will go mini-LED right along with them. Because having the worst display in the line-up right in the middle of the lineup… would just make the kind of sense that doesn’t. And I’ve already got a whole entire video up previewing the M2 MacBook Air, so I’ll drop a link to that in the description below the like button.

As to 120Hz ProMotion adaptive refresh rate… probably not. Apple seems to be keeping that feature for serious pros, at least for now.

Notch? Maybe? The combination of the distinctiveness and the ability to have both smaller bezels and a bigger camera is a winner in every way but aesthetics. And I’m still here for it. As long as we get that better 1080p camera. Otherwise, f the notch. Let it burn. Right along with the Touch Bar, as I imagine it will.

We should also get MagSafe back, because Apple seems to be all-in on that, all-around, going forward. And hopefully that means in addition to the two USB4, or combo USB-C / Thunderbolt 4 ports. Because going down to one, like the old 12-inch MacBook Nothing, would just make it a non-starter, a game-stopper, for way too many people.

HDMI and SDXC… like anything above and beyond those two ports… just doesn’t seem likely though either.

Back to M2. Where M1 was based on the iPhone 12’s A14 generation silicon, M2 should be based on the iPhone 13’s A15 generation silicon. And that means, what we’re looking at, is even better performance and efficiency. Where the M1 cores are a… song of Fire and Icestorm, M2 should be getting Avalanche and Blizzard.

Specifically, 4 Blizzard efficiency cores, though they offer over 20% higher performance as well. And 4 Avalanche performance cores, which are over 10% faster, but also considerably more efficient.

They’re still 5 nanometer, though probably the second-generation TSMC N5P process, and still ARMv8 instruction set, but out of the three major improvements offered by ARMv9, only the new matrix multipliers sound like they’ll be anything even remotely novel or useful to Apple in any way. So what that all means is processors that are still ultra low power but that can run cooler, so they can sustain heavier workloads longer.

The G14 graphics cores, well, they’re on average 20% better core-for-core, but in the relatively tiny iPhone 13 thermal envelope, they can throttle hard.

The MacBook Pro is nowhere nearly that tiny, and is also reportedly going from 8 GPU cores in M1, to 10 GPU cores in M2. And that could mean a 50% improvement overall, if not more.

So, anyone doing any amount of graphics work would be in for just a much better time.

And A15 also includes ProRes Media Engines for the iPhone 13 Pro. Similar to the ProRes media Engines Apple added to the M1 Pro and M1 Max this past October.

The M1 MacBook Pro already had H.264 and H.265, aka HEVC, custom encode/decode blocks, but if Apple doesn’t keep those exclusive to the higher-end Pros, and brings them over to the low-power models as well, that could be a real advantage to anyone who does a lot of video but just can’t afford or just doesn’t want to carry around a lot of MacBook Pro yet.

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M1 Pro / Max — Apple’s Intel-Crushing Silicon Power Explained!

2 ice storm high efficiency cores. Up to 8 fire storm high performance cores. Up to 32 G13 graphics cores. 16 Neural Engine cores. With up to 64 GB of unified memory and 400Gbps bandwidth to keep it all fed. A new display engined not just to drive XDR displays, but multiple XDR displays, a third thunderbolt and USB controller for more I/O, a new media engine for super fast, ultra efficient H.264, HEVC, and ProRes encode/decode. Up to 57 billion transistors. And maybe, just maybe, our first glimpse at what’s coming next for the iMac Pro and full-on Mac Pro.

I’m Rene Ritchie, hit subscribe so you don’t miss the next video, and this… is the M1 Pro and M1 Max deep dive!

Scalable Archiecture

X as in Extra

Apple’s been making ‘extra’ — as in extra but also as in just totally extra — versions of their custom chipsets almost since forever. Their first SoC, or system on a chip, was the A4 in the original iPad and iPhone 4, followed by the A5 in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4s. Now, an SoC just means most everything is integrated into the same die. So, instead of having a silicon… platter… with CPU over here, GPU over there, memory on the left, controllers on the right, you have a silicon sandwich with all the cores, all the features, all stacked together. There are a ton of advantages to this approach, which I’ll get to in a minute, but one of them is scalability. Not just generation over generation, as new architectures and processes are introduced, but even within the same generation as extra cores and extra features get added.

Enter the A5X

Where the OG A5 had dual ARM Cortex A9 CPU cores, dual Imagination PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU cores, and 512 MB of package-on-package RAM, A5X kept the same CPU but escalated the GPU to quad core PowerVR SGX543MP4, doubled the size of the memory interface, and the amount of RAM… to 1 GB… but shifted it off-package, which, I don’t know, maybe could be something again in the future…

Apple needed those extra GPU cores and memory to power their first-ever tablet-sized Retina display for the iPad 3 aka The New iPad. Even though, turned out, only barely, and Apple ended up having to get the iPad 4 and A6X out just 6 months later. And let me know if you want to hear more about that whole story in the comments!

A6X was similar to A5X, keeping the same dual CPU cores, though this time, they weren’t ARM Cortex designs but Apple’s first custom Swift CPU cores, and it took the A6’s triple core PowerVR SGX543MP3 GPU to a quad-core PowerVR SGX554MP4 GPU, and the memory to quad-channel.

So, A4, but no A4X. Then A5X and A6X, but no A7X. That’s right, Apple stuck with their first 64-bit chipset, the A7, in its origin forme not altered forme, for the first iPad Air. The iPad Air 2 though, yeah, that got an A8X. Instead of dual Typhoon CPU cores, it had three. And instead of a quad cluster customized PowerVR Series 6XT, it had an octo cluster, and again with an external RAM module. 2GB worth.

There was also an A9X and an A10X, the latter of which was part of the first generation to use Apple’s fused version of big.LITTLE, or performance and efficiency cores. Triple Zephyr e-cores and triple Hurricane p-cores, to be exact, along with 12 customized PowerVR GT7600 GPU cores.

No A11X, because by the time the iPad Pro came around, Apple had fallen into less of an every 12 months and more of an every 18 months cadence for upgrades, but yes A12X. Which was the big one, because it most directly set the stage for everything that would come with M1.

Bargain Binning

A12 was Apple’s second generation Bionic architecture, which unlike the paired Fusion architecture before it, could use any or all cores separately or together. In other words, multicore wasn’t just 2 e-cores or 2 p-cores, it was the 2 e-cores plus the 2 p-cores. All 4 cores together, like Voltron.

4 Tempest e-cores and 2 Vortex p-cores to be exact, along with 4 custom G11 graphics cores, and 8 neural engine cores, or ANE. Also, custom encode/decode blocks for H.264 and HEVC, which I’ll get to in a minute because they’ll become a much bigger deal with with the M1 Pro and M1 Max as well. And, Apple’s increasingly secret sauce — their performance and, soon, machine learning controllers.

A12X kept the same number of e-cores but doubled the p-cores to 4, and almost doubled the GPU cores… almost. See, at the time, Apple announced 7 GPU cores on the A12X for the 2018 iPad Pro, but it turns out there were actually 8 cores, Apple was only making use of 7. They didn’t start using all 8 until the A12Z, the second iteration of that SoC, for the 2020 iPad Pro.

A12X also had 4GB of integrated RAM for most models, but 6GB for the highest tier model, which required it to support 1 TB of storage. A12Z, though, had 6GB for all storage tiers. And all of this, from binning to memory levels, were all things we’d start to see really play out for the M1… but especially for the M1 Pro and M1 Max.

Which, no surprise, because the A12Z also just so happens to have been the chipset they used for the Apple Silicon Mac dev kit — the iPad guts in the Mac mini case intended to help get apps ported over and ready for M1.

And yeah, there was no A13X. Even though Apple introduced the A13 for the iPhone 11 back in September of 2019, they were still perfectly happy to ship the A12Z for the iPad Pro and Dev Kit in 2020.

Same way there was no A14X… because it essentially became M1… and even though Apple introduced the A15 for the iPhone 13 back in September of this year, Apple was likewise still perfectly happy to ship the M1 Pro and M1 Max for the new MacBook Pros just one month later. And wow are they extra. Like triple X as in Extra.

M1 Pro & Max CPU

M1 is more than just A14X with new branding, of course. It has specific silicon IP for the Mac. But that didn’t stop Apple from following up on the A12Z iPad Pro with the M1 iPad Pro. Because the architecture was and is so broadly similar between the generations. 4 e-cores, 4 p-cores, 8 GPU cores, but 16 ANE cores now instead of the 8 on A12X and Z. And fabbed, or fabricated on Taiwan Semiconductors’ 5 nanometer process. Giving it even greater performance efficiency.

Instead of A12 generation Tempest and Vortex cores, M1 has A14 generation Icestorm and firestorm cores for the CPU, which provided a really good balance between that efficiency and performance for Apple’s initial wave of ultra low power Macs — the MacBook Air, 2-port MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and redesigned 24-inch iMac. A whole line up, from iPad Pro to iMac non-Pro, ultra-long lasting portables to ultra-low thermal desktops. Talk about your scalable architecture.

But with M1 Pro and M1 Max, Apple wasn’t as concerned with ultra low power. What they needed to deliver was ultra high performance. So, instead of 4 e-cores, they dropped those down to just 2. Bigger batteries and adaptive refresh rate displays would offset any real differences there anyway. And then they bumped the p-cores up from 4 to 6 or 8 for the M1 Pro and a solid 8 for the M1 Max.

The 6 p-core version in the M1 Pro being a binned down version. Same as what Apple did with A12X and even M1 on the GPU side. See, when monolithic chips like Apple’s SoCs come off the fab, especially on leading edge process nodes like TCMC’s 5 nanometer, there can be defects and some of the cores can be non-viable. If you just throw away every chip without a full set of perfectly functional cores, you end up with a lot of waste, which means low yield, low volume, and a high price per remaining unit. But, by keeping the ones with only 7 out of 8 GPU cores, or 6 out of the 8 p-cores, they throw away fewer chips, which means a better yield, which keeps volume up and prices down per unit. Then Apple passes on some of those savings to people who are fine buying less cores if it costs them less money.

So, yes, both M1 and the binned down version of M1 Pro have 8-core total for the CPU. But where M1’s 8 cores are the sum of 4 e-cores + 4 p-cores, the binned down M1 Pro’s 8 cores are the sum of 2 e-cores + 6 p-cores.

In other words, instead of 4 Toyotas and 4 Ferraris, you’re getting 2 Toyotas and 6 Ferraris. Which is more Ferraris.

And then the regular M1 Pro and the M1 Max both have 10 cores total for the CPU. The sum of 2 e-cores and 8 p-cores, or 2 Toyotas and 8 Ferraris. Which is even more Ferraris.

Why 6 or 8 p-cores for the M1 Pro instead of 7 or 8 like the GPU cores for the regular M1? It might just come down the realities of the fab, or it could have to do with the 8 p-cores actually being 2 clusters of 4 p-cores each. Also, each clusters has their own 12MB L2 caches, and each cluster can dynamically clock their CPUs independently, meaning a single active core on each can go all the way up to 3.2GHz, two cores can cut down to 3.1GHz, and 3 or all 4 cores, down to 3GHz. Sacrificing a little serial speed for a lot of parallelism.

The 2 e-cores are clocked at 2Ghz, but get the same 4MB of L2 cache that the M1 has for its 4 e-cores. On top of all that, where M1 has 16MB of system level cache, M1 Pro has 24MB and M1 Max, 48MB of SLC.

So, each individual e-core and p-core are the same, meaning any single core task will perform the same on M1 or M1 Pro or M1 Max. Like driving any one individual Toyota or Ferrari. But there are more p-cores even on the binned down M1 Pro, and many more on the regular M1 Pro and the M1 Max, meaning any multi-core task will run just that much faster. Because so damn many Ferraris. And that’s not even counting the improved memory system, which I’ll get to in a minute.

And that’s the first way Apple’s M1 Pro and M1 Max feel so fast. Just the overall speed of the cores. Everything gets done faster.

But because they’re all still Apple cores, not Ferrari’s, and those cores that have to fit in the tiny thermal envelopes of iPhones and the relatively small thermal envelopes of iPads, even the performance cores are still widely efficient. Which is just the starkest of contrasts to the previous Intel chipsets, which just… chugged power rather than sipped it, and hit thermal max pretty much at startup, only to ramp up and down… incessantly, constantly, thereafter.

At just 30 watts, fully fired, inside the relatively roomy chassis of the MacBook Pro, the M1 Pro and M1 Max CPUs can sustain… pretty much indefinitely.

And if you’re worried about battery life, you can turn on the new low power mode in macOS to maximize the efficiency. Conversely, on the 16-inch MacBook Pro, because the even bigger thermal envelope, you can turn on high power mode. That lets the fans and chips loose, so you maximize the performance.

It’s a cool idea made possible precisely because M1 architecture is so cool.

M1 Pro & M1 Max GPU

Carrying on the theme, where M1 had 7 or 8 slightly tweaked A14 generation G13 GPU cores, M1 Pro has 14 or 16 of those GPU cores and M1 Max… 24 or 32. And that’s just… such a ridiculously massive escalation. To help put it in context, M1 had 16 billion transistors. M1 Pro has 33.7 billion and M1 Max… a brain-blowing 57 billion, with all those GPU cores being a significant part of that budget.

But Apple’s always leant heavily on the GPU for everything from interface acceleration down to the literal core graphics and core animation, to things like the old OpenCL and the new Metal APIs.

And doing it this way, Integrated vs. discrete in a laptop, really turns out to be more than just an implementation detail. Especially when you’re talking SoC sandwiches rather than old fashioned board platters.

Because, Apple is keeping the CPUs fed with 16 to 32 GB of LPDDR5 memory on the M1 Pro and a whopping 32 to 64 GB on the M1 Max. Which, yeah, sure, isn’t anything new or novel for a MacBook Pro CPU, but because of the SoC architecture, that RAM isn’t just for the CPU, it’s a massive memory pool that’s also available to all the other compute engines, including the GPU. That’s compared to the traditional board architecture where the GPU might have 8 GB of dedicated VRAM if you’re lucky, 16 at the highest end, highest performance. And here it gets up to 64 GB. Which is just unheard of on a laptop.

And to keep that all fed to the GPU, Apple’s opened up on the memory bandwidth. All the way up. M1 is doing 70 GB/ps. M1 Pro is doing 200 GB/ps, and M1 Max… a jaw-dropping 400 GB/ps. And you guessed it, because of the unified architecture, the CPU and other compute engines also get access to all that bandwidth, which is also unheard of. Just… unheard of things all the way down.

It’s the second way M1 Pro and M1 Max feel so damn fast — the instant responsiveness afforded by that unified memory system and overall architecture. It makes the Mac feel as utterly instant as the iPad, even more utterly… instant-er now.

Also, where a company like Nvidia essentially abstracts away the computer into an interface for their CUDA cores, Apple’s Metal frameworks abstract away the GPU instead, so anything written against previous Intel or AMD graphics will work on M1, Pro, and Max GPUs, and because Apple’s GPUs are so damn good, chances are they’ll just work better. Massively better.

And even though M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max vary so much in capability, scalable architecture means they present as very, very similar targets to developers. I mean, Apple had to do a ton of work with the fabric that brings together and binds all these core and all this RAM, but anything already written for M1 will just fly on M1 Pro and… go full on orbital on M1 Max.

And again, because these GPU were designed for performance through efficiency, and have to scale from the iPhone 12 to iPad Air to iPad Pro to MacBook Air to MacBook Pro to iMac, they still only just sip power.

Even firing CPU and GPU and… basically everything… the M1 Max flat out uses slightly less power than the 100 watt baseline on an Intel Alder Lake CPU, which can also reach over 300 watts when overclocked — as much as a giant hellicarrier looking Nvidia Ampere card.

Put those two things together, and even in a desktop, where Intel + Nvidia would require near-cryogenic levels of cooling, Apple could easily throw multiple M1 Max dies into even smaller, thinner enclosures and still offer ridiculous levels of performance.

And you better believe I already have a video up on just exactly that, linked in the description below the like button.

M1 Pro & Max Media Engines

I’ll get to the media engines in a supremely hot second, but in addition to the GPU, the M1 Pro and M1 Max have a third USB and a third Thunderbolt controller, which not only lets them power more ports than the original M1, but more displays. Up to two 6K displays with the Pro and three with the Max, in addition to a 4K TV over HDMI.

That is HDMI 2.0 not 2.1, which has much higher bandwidth. But it’s because when these chips were being specced out a couple years ago, HDMI 2.1 was even less of a thing than it is now, and Apple figured that I/O bandwidth should go to a third Thunderbolt port for more Pro-centric displays, rather than faster HDMI for then bleeding-edge TVs. Same with the SDXC card slot. Feel utterly free to quibble in the comments about that, but they’ll eventually just amp up the I/O in a future generation.

Now, those media engines.

Apple’s been adding custom encode and decode blocks to their silicon for years. And, honestly, hardware acceleration for video playback isn’t at all uncommon. Video transcoding has been a little more hit and miss, but not by much. And over those years, Apple has added support for H.264, the original 1080p standard, and H.265, aka HEVC, the 4K standard. Also Google’s alternative codecs, including the current VP9.

Apple even switched from the original T1 chipset in the Mac, which was a repurposed S2 system-in-package from the Apple Watch, to the T2 chipset, which was a repurposed A10 Fusion, in part because Intel failed to deliver H.265 encoding in a timely fashion, and Apple’s iPhone older iPhone chip could just do it faster and way more efficiently than leaving it CPU or offloading it completely to some of the GPUs.

That’s why Apple Silicon Macs don’t have T2 or T-anything chips any more. Everything that Apple had to work around Intel to provide, including secure enclaves for Touch ID, and now Neural Engines for machine learning acceleration, all the custom controllers, and yeah, the media engines, are all already built into M1. Because where T2 was an A10… M1 is an A14. And that’s how Apple silicon and SoCs work.

So, M1 has those A14 media engines for H.264 and HEVC, among other things. But what M1 Pro and M1 Max add are ProRes video engines.

Which is… not exactly a first. When Apple introduced the current Intel Mac Pro back in 2019, they introduced a reprogrammable ASIC card along with it. Branded Afterburner, it was a ProRes and ProRes RAW accelerator that could handle up to 12 streams of 4K or 3 streams of 8K.

Then, just a couple months ago, Apple introduced the A15 Bionic for the iPhone 13, which for the iPhone 13 Pro included an extra G14 GPU core and… a ProRes media engine. That’s what lets the iPhone 13 Pro shoot ProRes 422 HQ, including a new storage controller than can write those massive 6GB per minute files to the SSD without skipping a frame.

Now, Apple’s also brought those ProRes engines to the M1 Pro and M1 Max, which is super interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, because it means Apple isn’t restricting features to specific IP generations. In other words, A15 generation ProRes Engines can show up on A14 generation M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets. Apple cares less about abstract numerical branding sequences and more about delivering the capabilities they need to deliver in the most economical, efficient, and performant way possible.

Or as the silicon team says, their one job is to run iOS and macOS and apps faster than anything else on the planet, constrained only by time and the thermal envelope of the device, and the rest is all just implementation details.

Second, because moving them off an ASIC board like Afterburner and putting them on the SoC is again like moving them off the platter and putting them in the sandwich, so they have the same immediate access to that huge pool of unified memory and bandwidth. Which just makes them even faster.

Third, that Apple is putting such a focus on video capture and production this year. Because these new engines let you not just capture ProRes on your iPhone 13 Pro, but edit it with jaw-dropping speed and efficiency on your MacBook Pro.

Forget 12 streams of 4K on Afterburner, M1 Max can handle 30. And just sit down with your 3 streams of 8K. M1 Max can handle 7.

That’s thanks to M1 Max not just having one ProRes encode and one ProRes decode blocks like M1 Pro, but two of each. And two H.264 and H.265 decode blocks as well.

And sure, Apple could have continued doing ProRes on the CPU, like they did with Intel Macs in the past, but moving it to dedicated silicon meant they could do it faster, with less power draw, and in a way they left the CPU free for other tasks.

And that’s really important. Because, prior to M1 Pro and M1 Max, when you went to render ProRes, it could thrash the CPUs, meaning anything else you tried to do at the same time was maple syrup on snow slow — I’m Canadian, you know what I mean — and made the render slower as well. Like almost untenable. Now though, you can hit render, and only the ProRes engines get thrashed. You can keep working away on the CPU as if nothing else is happening. Almost like you have a second Mac ready and waiting for you while the first one’s off exporting your video.

And to see why they’re willing to spend their transistor budget like this, I have a whole entire video up for you with Apple’s VP of Silicon and VP of Mac Product Marketing where they explain just exactly why. Link the description below the like button.

But it’s the third way M1 Pro and M1 Max just devastate on speed. Yes, it’s the pure performance of the cores, and yes it’s the utter responsiveness of all that unified memory and bandwidth, but it’s also those off-core features that are essentially giving us multiple parallel pro workflow engines in one.

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iPhone 13 Three Months Later — Love/Hate Review

In this video I’m re-reviewing the iPhone 13 Series — mini, no modifier, pro, and pro max — all of them, everything I’ve been testing since just after Apple announced them almost 3 months ago. And I’m going to tell you what I’ve come to ALL-CAPS LOVE most… and a more than a few things I kinda low-key hate.

And MacBook Pro re-review is coming up next, so Falcon punch that subscribe button, and let’s go!

Love 1: Battery Life

Battery life on all these iPhones 13 is.. sick. Just ridiculous. Obscene. Borderline offensive. Even the iPhone 13 mini, which in the previous generation was a daily driver simply because it could not, would not last into the night, can now pretty much go until the evening without a redline, that is, if you really are only using it as a tiny, actual phone phone. You know, you work all day on your main Mac, so the last thing you want to do is keeping working on your phone. It’s just for messaging and keeping you connected on the go.

And then there’s the iPhone 13 Pro Max… well, that’s not just an all-day and all-nighter any more, it’s damn close to a weekender. A binger. Just rack up Hawkeye or the Book or Boba and let it play through the day. Of course, sure, if it’s your primary computing device, if you’re doing a ton of camera work, or playing a bunch of heavy games, you can still kill it in a few hours. Screen super bright, all the radios screaming, GPU on fire, that sort of thing. But for daily, mixed use… you now legit get a couple of days.

And for the regular 13 and the 13 Pro, they’re in between both those extremes. The 13 for those who want something a little bigger and longer lasting than the mini,, and 13 Pro for those who want something a little smaller but still just as capable, if not quite as monstrously long lasting as the Pro Max.

And all of that is thanks to bigger battery, sure, but also a colder, more efficient A15 chipset and, on the Pro models, an adaptive display that doesn’t just ramp up to 120Hz but all the way down to 10Hz. Which is like going from chugging pints to… barely sipping espresso.

So, with the iPhone 13, you really do get the fastest ultra-mobile chip on the planet, with enough overhead for half-a-decade or so of software updates, and the first, proper, no compromises on brightness or color management or anything, high refresh rate display, plus the best battery life in the business, what’s not to love? Well…

Hate 1: No Fast I/O

Apple went an added ProRes 422 HQ video to the iPhone 13 Pro. That’s their professional, high-quality video codec, the one used by ARRI and BlackMagic, the one that can record up to 4K30 at… get this… 6GB per minute. No, that’s not a verbal typo. 6GB per minute. Meaning a 3 minute ProRes clip will killing word like 18GB of storage. And I’ve got a whole entire video up already breaking down just exactly how it ProRes works and why and when you’d want to use it, and I’ll drop a link to it in the description below the like button.

Suffice it to say, it’s a staggering amount of data, which Apple addressed just fine at the write stage with A15’s new… fast… like speed-force fast storage controller and SSD system. So you can get those massive ProRes files recorded to your phone without dropping so much as frame.

But getting them off again… not so much. Now, I’m not even going to get into a debate about USB-C vs. Lightning. Nerds clearly want the standardization of USB-C, and the mainstream… well, if you try to change their cables again, they will cut you. Me, personally, I’ve already said I want Thunderbolt, no matter how ludicrous the idea of stuffing those controllers into something as space constrained as an iPhone might actually be. But, end of the day, USB-C and Lightning are just physical plug shapes. That’s what all the USB A, B, C letters define. The physical plug shape. That’s it. And that can be dongled for days. But the numbers, like 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 3.1… The numbers which define the speed. And shape is nowhere nearly as important as the speed is here.

USB-C can handle Thunderbolt-like USB-4 speeds of up to 40Gb/s anyway, like on the iPad Pro. But even just USB 3.1 Gen 1, speeds, 5 Gb/s, like the iPad Air would be a welcome relief at this point. Because the current Lightning protocol, with very few exceptions, is capped at USB 2, or just under half a Gb/s. Let me repeat that. Half a gigabit per second. Which is like trying to empty a river with an eyedropper. And if Apple can manage ProRes 4K60 next year, or Dolby Vision 8K60, it’s only going to get worse. For real, because for everyone, including Apple and Pros, these devices are way more cameras than phones now anyway.

Apple is rumored to be working on an ultra-fast wireless transfer protocol for a future, portless iPhone, maybe as soon as the next version. Which is fine. Terrific. But, like Battlestar Galactica and the Matrix, Pros typically prefer the reliability of hardlines. Whether that’s USB-C or Lightning 2, again I don’t care. I can deal with the plugs. But there’s nothing any of us can do about the lack of speed. Which is why, if Apple could get Pro Res-capable media engines and storage controllers built into the iPhone 13, it’s beyond frustrating they couldn’t get just as capable an I/O controller built in to support the feature as well.

Love 2: Camera

The camera system on the iPhone 13 series is really well rounded and just overall really well done. Obviously, the Pro models have more features than the regular models, but all of them have terrific wide angle cameras, now with in-body image stabilization, or IBIS across the line, and even better ultra-wide angles as well.

I do have a few issues with them. You still can’t toggle HDR video in the Camera app the way you can Live Photos, resolution and frame rate, and you still can’t choose to AirDrop the SDR version rather than the HDR version, again the way you can Live Photos and metadata. Which has caused just a ton of problems for a ton of people, especially given the ongoing lack of maturity in a lot of HDR workflows. And the 3x jump on the Pro telephoto camera can be… really aggressive, requiring a lot of sneaker-de-zoom to properly frame. I really do think it’s time for Apple to start looking at bigger sensors, pixel binning, and even periscope zooms to truly fill on the last, long gaps in camera capabilities here.

Other than that, though, it’s a dream. Especially the new Macro Mode on the Pro models. I just keep wanting to Macro everything.

I’ve been using a Pixel 6 Pro for the last few weeks as well, just for fun, and Google’s ability to reduce every photo down to it’s bits and rebuild them as a really good Pixel-style photo is legit terrific. But they all end up looking like they came out of the Pixel factory with that Pixel look, cool and sharply reassembled.

Where Apple kind of lets the iPhone camera still be a camera. It’s not the big glass of a Samsung or the big compute of a Google, but a really good balance of both. And because of that A15 image signal processor and how fast it can round-trip through all the compute engines, from GPU to neural engines to ISP and back again, it still feels the most like a camera to me. The most instant shutter, most real time, most what I see is what I get. Not like the computer is spitting out an image for me, but the computer is helping me get the image in front of me.

I didn’t stick with a Photographic Style. I dig that Apple’s experimenting with the equivalent of digital film, and also giving people who like more opinionated processing, something more Pixel or Galaxy like, the option of setting it or forgetting it, but I’m still team hashtag no filter, and I enjoy boosting sat and crushing black my own damn self.

Cinematic Mode I think is super interesting but also just a beginning. I think Apple’s desire to make it available across all iPhone 13 models kept it from taking advantage of Pro-specific hardware features, like LiDAR, which means just like early version of Portrait Mode photos, it needs a lot of light to really be its best. But like early versions of Portrait Mode, you can just tell that in a year or several from now, it’s going to be way, way more flexible and useful. Especially the core technologies of changing bokeh and focal point in post. And especially especially when the world has fully stopped ending and I’m out and about more so I can cinematic all the things beyond this studio.

Hate: Scratches

Overall, Apple’s done a great job with iPhone durability. Combined with those years and years of not just security but full on software updates, from resale to trade-in to hand-me-down to just plain keeper, it just makes the value so much more than the cost, even on the higher priced models. That’s especially true with the new flat sides, which combined with the ceramic shield material on the front, and the enhanced ion-exchange glass on the back, makes the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series more resilient to breaks and cracks than ever.

Which is legit fantastic, given they’re still so damn slippery they can fall off any even slightly non-level surface faster than just about anything. That anything being the Pixel 6 Pro, by the way, which can fall of an even level surface almost as fast as the lubed bullet that was the Nexus 4. Yeah, I said it.

And I totally get that hardness and strength aren’t the same thing. Just ask a diamond and a hammer. For crack resistance, you want a certain amount of flexibility to absorb impact, which is the exact opposite of what you want when Zak jerry-rig goes medieval with is Moh’s scale. And yes, you can put on a high topped case and a screen protector if you really want to keep your iPhone just beyond pristine. And of course, if given a choice, preventing breaks is better than preventing scratches because broken displays are way more problematic and harder to live with than scratched displays.

But all that said, all that granted, all that conceded, it’s still just too damn easy to scratch an iPhone display. Where the Apple Watch sapphire crystal displays manage to be both break and scratch resistant. Albeit for a hefty increase in price. Something Apple previously just couldn’t make work at iPhone display size and scale.

So, I don’t know what the answer is here, but if the material magicians at Apple could figure out some way to make the glass backs of the iPhone way less slippery, maybe that’d reduce the amount of drops enough to rebalance the break vs. scratch materials equation. Because while it’s way easier to live with a scratched or screen protector shellacked iPhone display, having t do either still sucks.

So, which iPhone 13 should you get? Well, after using them all in rotation and thinking about it a lot for the last 3 months, here’s where I’ve landed:

Get the iPhone 13 Pro. The combination of battery life and camera system for its size is simply remarkable. I’d recommend the 13 Pro as anyone’s default, anyone’s starting position.

If the iPhone 13 Pro is just too much money for you, even with trade-ins or upgrade plans or over however many years you typically keep your phone, then get the iPhone 13. You lose the adaptive refresh display, the telephoto camera, macro mode, LiDAR, and a few other bells and whistles, but you still get a ton of iPhone for a little less cash.

If you really only want to use your phone as a phone, you want it to fit in your change-pocket or clutch, and being productive when you’re away from your Mac or iPad is the last thing you want, get the iPhone 13 mini. Hell, if you love you some small phone, there probably won’t be an iPhone 14 mini, so grab the 13 mini and hold on long as you can!

But if you do want all those Pro bells and whistles, the biggest display possible, and the longer battery life currently available, like the iPhone is your primary computing platform or just your on-the-go everything, than get the iPhone 13 Pro Max. And if you intend to shoot a lot of HDR video, especially ProRes, seriously consider the 1 terabyte model. Because, damn.

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M1 Max iMac Leaks Are Pure Pro Fire!

Apple’s working on a new Pro-level iMac that’s bigger, more powerful, and maybe more expensive. Like the 24-inch M1 iMac having a love baby with the 32-inch Pro Display XDR. Here are all the latest leaks, rumors, and reports, and my analysis and reaction to them!

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How Apple will DESTROY Facebook Metaverse

Mark Facebook thinks augmented and virtual reality are so critical to humanity’s next stage of collective… digi-evolution that he just changed his name to Mark Meta, dialed his emotion chip all the way up to… 2, and went very publicly Wreck ‘Em Ralphing through a range of absolutely uncanny experiences… from gaming to gathering to meetings to… well, thankfully not matings. But you get the idea. After having missed out on owning mobile, and consequently having his apps subject to the privacy policies of iOS and the constant intermediation of Android, he simply doesn’t want anyone, any… thing, coming between his Oculus-fronted Horizon harvesters and our data… all of our data.

But, according to Morgan Stanley, Tim Apple’s own VR & AR projects are getting ready for liftoff, and they’re likely to leapfrog what every other company, including Meta has in mind.

Now, I think Morgan Stanley’s has gotten a quad major part of this story just completely wrong here, but I’ll get to that in a second. Because the instant Facebook bought Oculus, my first thought was — well, Facebook in my browser, I can kill the tab any time. Facebook on my phone, I can kill the app. They’re only ever one quick click or flick from out of our lives. But Facebook on my literal face… a Face-hugger-book, so to speak… well, that’s not so easy to kill. Likewise, App Tracking Transparency, Privacy Labels and Reports, Private Relay, everything I spoke about in my last video, everything that can prevent Facebook from creeping on me through my Apple products. Because Oculus is a Facebook product, and you better believe they’re not offering us any of that. No, owning the platform means they own everything. Including everything we do on the platform. No matter how personal, how private. It’s data harvesting… god mode. That’s why Meta, nee Facebook, is seemingly willing to give the headsets away for close to cost. They’re not the product, as the saying goes.

Just get Quest II and future hardware into as many hands and onto as many heads as possible, as cheaply and quickly as possible, and then backfill all the software and services on top of it. Like… I think someone called it AOL in 3D… Ask your parents. Anyway, that way, all the connections we make feed their social graph, all the actions we take train their behavioral profiles, all the things we buy get tracked and taxed by their marketplace, and all the things we see get overlayed with their ads. Oh, hey, look, honey, hanging over our kids school, paper towels are 50% off... with proof of conspiracy theory! Woohoo! Sorry. Kinda.

All so that they can own that next evolution of the internet — what Facebook is calling the Metaverse. Which, swear to Jobs,
Sounds like revenge branding from the cringe marketer who failed to make Cyberspace at all popular… like three years after going online stopped being even remotely nerd chic.

Now, Apple’s plan… Apple’s plan is almost the exact opposite of Facebook’s. No new company names, no CEO in Wonderland videos, and absolutely no VR or AR headsets or glasses, not yet. It’s been more of a slow software and frameworks burn. Because Apple can get all of that out and test driven by those billion plus iPhones in our pockets and iPads in our backpacks, y’all.

That is, if Apple doesn’t totally screw the landing, the way they did last time, but I’ll get to that in a second.

Because they already have ARKit, their beyond solid augmented reality framework, and more recently, Object Capture, which lets you easily scan IRL objects into virtual ones, and share their USDZ files as easily as… animated JIF GIFs. Those are the obvious bits. The critical components for getting everyone from developers to creators on board… hell, pre-boarded.

But Apple isn’t just priming the power users, they’re boiling the mainstream as well.

Making an avatar for VR or AR may seem weird or awkward, unless you’ve already spent the last 5 years playing with increasingly sophisticated Memoji, and are well past being perfectly comfortable with your own digital self.

Having the world around you constantly ingested and understood by computer vision might seem disorienting even off-putting, if you hadn’t had LiDAR on your iPad or iPhone, or played with any of Apple’s event or product demos.

Watching a TV Show or movie or sporting event or concert in a virtual theater might feel lonely or isolated, if you hadn’t already tried it out through SharePlay with your friends and family. Except, instead of being PiP’ed onto each-other’s screens, you’re sitting next to each other in the virtual theater, in all your memoji glory. Snacking on real popcorn though, because the virtual kernels taste like ozone. Just trust me on that.

And instead of FaceTime Group Calls in Brady Bunch Boxes, sorry, Insta Grids, we’re all Memoji’d around virtual tables or picnic blankets or whatever, with spatial audio making it sound like we’re exactly where we look like we are.

Even Live Text and object recognition, and yeah, I’m just running the board on the last couple of year’s of WWDC announcements now, but even Live text and object recognition are all about bringing really real reality into the virtual and augmented one, the computational one, where we can act on them, riff on them even.

And the list just goes on and on and on.

But here’s where I think Morgan Stanley got it wrong — VR and AR aren’t a product, and certainly not a singular one. They’re a human interface, like screens, and they’ll exist across a range of products, like screens do across Macs, and iPhones, and Apple Watches. There’ll be overlap, for sure, but the VR headset is going to start off as a… next generation of Apple TV, all about experience and immersion, where the AR Glasses are going start off like a next generation Apple Watch and AirPods, all about enhancement and convenience.

The VR headset comes first, just like the Apple TV came first, because the tech is just much closer to a solved problem than the AR glasses. And it’ll be expensive at first. Especially if rumors of ultra-high-density, 8K displays, and M2 Pro Max class chipsets pan out, with all the scanners and sensors imaginable baked in, if any of those rumors are true. $2K, $3K, whatever.

It’s an early adopter play. Something for people who’d much rather pay MacBook Pro-level prices for a bleeding edge personal display than a couple hundred bucks and change for a shared living room box. But like every Apple product, the early and premium versions help pay down the technology so Apple can push it down to the more popular and mainstream versions.

But here’s the key — it’ll also let Apple move all the existing services, everything they’ve gotten primed and ready from the Apple TV to the… Apple Vision headset or whatever they end up calling it. Not just TV+ shows, but Fitness+ with SharePlay for group workouts. Apple Music concerts. Apple Arcade arena games, and everything from every entertainment, and education, and health and fitness, and game developer and studio on the iOS App Store who wants to be part of the rOS App Store.

Which, yes, Apple can’t afford to screw up the way they did the tvOS App Store, with the absolutely stupefying last-minute mandate that everyone had to use the Siri remote and On-Demand Resources, causing every major studio to hit the breaks on their iPhone-good-will fueled plans from the platform and just wait and see… the wait causing there to be nothing to see. It’s an own-goal the Apple TV still hasn’t recovered from, and if you want to see a video on that debacle, just let me know in the comments.

Either way, any way, hopefully, just all the lessons learned by now. Because Facebook is going for the commodity hardware play, has network effect on their side, every big blue, Insta, WhatsApp, and Messenger user in their pockets, and will likely be paying through Mark’s positronic nose for content and creator deals. They’re going to go all out. Microsoft too, because they had mobile and lost it. And Google who no doubt wants to keep the position they have with Android every bit as much as Apple wants to keep the one they have with iOS. Maybe even Amazon, because we all know they love their… interestingly shaped hardware.

But the truth is, Metaverse, like Web 3.0, is in its very nascent, most molten of tech nerd and grifter-fueled states right now, and it’s probably not going to end up being anything like what the hustlers and dreamers want to sell us all now. Just like the iPhone and Android made the internet mobile, and that created the opportunity for everything from WeChat to Uber to TikTok to Pokémon Go to VoiceOver, this all will simply make the internet virtual, and that’ll create the opportunity for everything that comes next.

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M2 MacBook (Air) Leaks Will Melt Your Brain — And Wallet?!

Apple’s working on a new MacBook Air that’s thinner, lighter, faster, way more colorful, but also maybe more expensive. Like the 12-inch MacBook having a love baby with the OG iBook.

According to a plethora of recent reports, Apple is getting ready to ditch the wedge-shaped MacBook Air that launched a 1000 ultrabook imitators, and go with something even slimmer, sleeker, and flatter. An M2 MacBook Air. Maybe as soon as March or June of 2022.

Why didn’t they do that with the M1? Because it takes Apple a couple years to develop and ship a new industrial design, and the Mac team was busy with the new 24-inch iMac and 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros, so they decided to stick with the existing enclosures for the first wave of M1 Macs, including the M1 MacBook Air. And that existing exclosure was all about containing a super hot, super hungry, super anemic, Intel Y-series processor. And fan. Yeah.

Which is hella ironic, given Apple went to Intel in the first place in order to make Macs like the Air, something that was just Ralph Wiggum level unpossible with the old PowerPC chips. But Apple was still left working around display limitations, performance limitations, design limitations, for years. Because, plot twist, making the dream MacBook Air with Intel inside was still pretty unpossible. As evident by the power and battery life boost we all got late last year based only on the M1 transplant.

So, enter M2, Apple’s second generation silicon for the Mac. Now, I’ve already done a whole entire dedicated video on M2 and M3, and I’ll drop a link for that in the description below the like button. But, long story… slightly less long, we should be looking at even better performance and efficiency. That is, if Apple sticks to pattern, which they always do just exactly until they don’t. But the worst case scenario is A15-generation silicon — 4 new Blizzard efficiency cores, which are way more powerful. 4 new Avalanche performance cores, which are quite a bit more efficient. And a whopping 9 to 10 new G14 graphics cores, which will just blow the thermal envelopes off the place.

And in a completely different way than what I expect we’ll see in the next iMac Pro, so you’ll want to hit subscribe so you don’t miss that video next.

But yes, that’s along with next generation neural engines, imagine signal processors, the whole shebang. And who knows what other features Apple will slip into that chip to even further optimize them for ultra low power Macs. But the bottom line is, M2 should be even faster than M1, especially at those everyday tasks, and should be able to sustain that performance longer, at least on the CPU-side, even a smaller chassis. A smaller, more colorful chassis. And, yeah, one that doesn’t require having to cram Intel inside.

More on the silicon in a minute, but the whole “smaller” part is something Apple’s been going back and forth on for a decade now. There was the 11-inch MacBook Air from 2010 to 2017, and the 12-inch MacBook not-Air, just… nothing… from 2015 to 2019. RIP.

The problem with the 11-inch Air was that Apple just couldn’t keep the Intel inside it, not with the demands of modern amenities like Retina displays. The problem with the 12-inch nothing was that Apple couldn’t get the price down, not to that $999 sweet spot that made the Air so popular.

That’s what prompted the 2018 MacBook Air, which, sure, the 2018 iPad Pro still laughed at, like Mark Hamill joker laughed at, but which also ended up being the target for the 2020 mother-of-all M1 upgrades.

But that was the silicon jab to set up the redesign upper cut for 2022, the one that’ll ditch the wedge for Apple’s current, flatter, more retro-future chic design language, but for the Air specifically, even a little more retro. Just like the new MacBook Pro design has a real… PowerBook vibe, the new MacBook Air design is rumored to be getting positively… iBook jiggy with it.

Which should, yes, mean the return of colors, according to Jon Prosser of Front Page Tech, maybe even the full taste-the-rainbow of the 24-inch iMac. Something we haven’t seen with Apple laptops since the iBook. But also, white bezels, something we just saw with that iMac. And if that isn’t enough to infuriate every commentor on the net, a notch as well. A notch, according to Ty98, but still no Face ID, according to Mark Gurman of Bloomberg.

White because iBook nostalgia and differentiated, and according to Apple on the iMac, it better fades away into home and school environments. Notch because it’ll let them Thanos-snap most of the top bezel away, and fit a 13-inch display in a 12-inch chassis. And no Face ID because the infra-red camera, flood illuminator, and dot projector still don’t all fit into lids this thin. But everyone really wants them to, so fingers crossed that changes ASAP.

The biggest question I have is will the RGB camera be the glorious 1080p we just got with the M1 iMac and M1 Pro Max MacBook Pros, or ye old 720p-as-in-potato cam of old?

The display is reportedly going to be mini-LED, according to Kuo Ming-Chi of TF International, like the latest iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, which should mean Apple’s outstanding 10-bit pipeline spatially and temporally dithered to an 8-bit panel. Whether it has as many local dimming zones as the MacBook Pro, we’ll have to wait and see, but either way, anyway, it should make for the first HDR, high dynamic range, MacBook Air.

Doesn’t sound like it’ll be getting the up to 120Hz adaptive refresh rate of the new Pro, though, not according to DylanKT on Twitter. And, while that means no battery savings on the 24Hz end, it also means less of a price hike, Which we’ll get to in a second as well.

And yeah, I’d love, all-caps love, a 15-inch MacBook Air as well, because some people want or need a bigger screen, but don’t want or need to pay a Pro premium to get it. Sounds like Apple has that on the back burner still, but if Tim Cook’s pivot tables can figure out a big screen iPhone 14 non-Pro Max, maybe we can hold to hope for a big screen non-Pro MacBook as well?

MagSafe is coming back, pretty much according to everybody, and hopefully in addition to the current double USB-C / Thunderbolt ports. Because going back to one port like the 12-inch MacBook would just… suck. Like, I get the beautiful dream of a fully wireless machine, or the iPad-like singularity of one-port-to-rule-them-all, but it’s still a dream and the reality of Mac life is that… it’s not an iPad. It’s purposefully, intentionally not an iPad. And ports are a big part of that not-an-iPadness. Even if all of us know they’re both going to end ups on the same exact side, right?

Then there are the media engines. The MacBook Pros have H.264, H.265, and ProRes accelerators on the M1 Pro and Max, but the A15… the A15 that M2 will likely be based on, well… that also has those accelerators. It’s how the iPhone 13 Pro is doing ProRes. Would Apple bring them to the MacBook Air, so it can better handle heavier video editing workloads?

Here’a another question — would Apple bring 5G to the MacBook Air, and would they do it now? So far, Apple’s been content to let macOS tether to iOS for cellular. But they’ve started integrating better power-savings into macOS, and better silicon, so could better connectivity be next? Or… hear me out… does Apple wait another year or two until they’re ready to start shipping their own custom modems, and then not only would they be better integrated into the chipset, and way more efficient, Apple would also only have to pay the obscene licensing fee for Qualcomm’s patents, and not the downright offensive rates they demand for dedicated chips.

Which could help keep costs down, because this isn’t going to be an entry level MacBook Air. The M1 is going to hold onto that place in the lineup for at least another year or two. No, this is going to be a premium MacBook Air experience. Full of new and expensive parts that Apple’s going to want to pay down as fast as possible.

Because that’s been the pattern as well. The OG manilla envelope MacBook Air started at $1800 for the platter version, but went to over $3000 when fully decked out with an SSD. The second generation 13-inch started at $1300 but eventually fell to that $999 sweet spot over time. At least until the 3rd-G jumped back to starting at $1200, but again settled down $999, which is where the M1 sits now. Leaving room for M2 to start on top of it, until it comes down in a couple or few years as well. You know, circle of tech life.

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WOW! New Apple Self Service Repair Program!

Apple wants to give me, you, us — everyone — access to genuine parts, tools, and training so we can have the option to self-serve our own repairs… if we so choose. But…

Wait, what?

Because, according to chief-operating officer, Jeff Williams, who you may remember from product announcements like… the Apple Watch, this is all about creating greater access to Apple genuine parts and giving customers even more choice if a repair is needed.

But is is really? I’ll link the full announcement in the description below the like button, but let’s just break it down first.

This is an all-new, all… you.. self repair service. Which means, if you’re happy fixing your own devices, if you prefer it even, like, if you know what a pentalobe screw is, Apple will ship you the parts, the tools, and the how-tos, and you’ll be able to complete your own repair. That’s right, no more Tony Stark, in a cave, with scraps.

Which is major, because Apple, famously — infamously — kept every manual secret and every part locked down for… forever… until now. It’s like a new day dawning. Or at least starting to. Maybe!

Here’s how it’s work — you’ll go to the Apple Self Service Repair Online Store, review the repair manual to make sure you feel safe and comfortable with the process, and when and if you do, you’ll order the parts and tools you need. Apple’s legendary logistics should ensure a plentiful supply of everything is available pretty much always, so they’ll ship it all out to you and, when you’re done installing the new hotness, you’ll send the old broken back to Apple for a credit on your order. That way Apple can refurbish or recycle everything and anything they can, while you, me, MrBeast, and the rest of us keep working on #TeamSeas!

Now, this is very much a first step, so there are some important caveats: The Self Service Repair program is starting off in early 2022, in the US, and with iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 displays, batteries, and camera modules, which are the most common and frequent repairs. It WILL be expanding though, to other countries, other parts, and other products, most immediately the M1 Macs, over the course of the next year and more.

But to start, that’s 8 models of iPhone, including minis, Pros, and Pros Max… Pro Maxes? And over 200 parts and tools, with more to come.

And it really, truly, seriously is meant for the high-order bit techno-mechanic nerds out there — you know who you are — those of you who can strip and refit an iPhone in the field, in the dark, under stress fire from family or friends, faster than Linus can plug the latest water bottle. So, just be realistic about your skill level and if you’re more… diner than cook, just take your device to an Apple Store or trusted repair center, and save yourself a ton of extra effort and expense.

Because this ain’t Ikea. 3 screws left at the end aren’t ok, and jokes aside, Lithium Ion batteries aren’t anything to screw around with, not ever. So, if at all in doubt, go to a store or arrange to ship it out. Because qualified repairs are also available by mail.

But, personally, I really do love this, especially from a privacy perspective. Too often too many self-proclaimed repair gurus are flippant if not downright negligent about privacy, literally saying things like — if you go to a doctor, you can’t be afraid to drop your pants. And, well, sorry, doctors have years of certified training, are licensed, regulated, and get their malpractice sued off if they violate us or their oath. Our phones contain our entire lives on them, and trusted first and third party repair shops aside, the more we can keep our devices in our own hands, the better.

Now, all of this is also part of a multi-pronged approach from Apple, starting with making Apple devices more… unbreakable to begin with. From Ceramic Shield on the iPhone 12 and 13 to crack-resistant crystal on the Apple Watch Series 7, to stainless steel and aluminum meant to last way, way longer than plastics. But we don’t have any vibranium or adamantium or uru on this planet, at least not yet,

so Apple is also expanding guidelines around the usage and disclosure of 3rd party… parts at repair centers, so customers have more choice, but it’s informed choice. That, and Self-Service repair, means when something needs fixing, there are now more, better options to get it fixed.

So Self-Service repair, means when something needs fixing, there are now more, better options to get it fixed.

Will it make every right to repair and consumer protection advocate Elf-style smiling is my favorite level happy? Probably not. Will it address regulation of both vendors and indie repair shops, nope. Will have to wait and see how all of this plays out over the next year? You bet. But it does represent a fairly sizable turn of… never mind Apple’s ship, but their carrier group, and that ain’t nothing.