Posts Tagged

Pro

Apple announces new iPad Pro, MacBook Air

Apple has announced both its new iPad Pro with 3D camera and a new Magic Keyboard-toting $999 model of its MacBook Air, introducing both new products with a press release, rather than the March event it was originally expected to hold.

The new iPad Pro

Apple’s new iPad Pro offers a whole bunch of new features, including a LiDAR scanner and – as expected — trackpad support in the form of the new backlit Magic Keyboard.

The new pro tablet holds an A12Z Bionic chip, a far speedier version of the processor it put inside the iPhone XS series of smartphones. The company had been expected to use an iPhone 11 processor. Both 11-inch and 12.9-inch models are available with Wi-Fi and Cellular options also on sale.

The new MacBook Air

Available from $999, the new MacBook Air dismisses the butterfly keyboard in favour of the new Magic Keyboard now used in Apple’s MacBook Pro models.

The new system has twice the performance of the most recent MacBook Air and offers twice as much storage as before.

This is a developing story, check back for more information.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Apple’s plans for four new iPad Pro models emerge

Life continues during the crisis that grips the planet. It now looks more likely than ever that Apple plans to introduce new iPad Pro models, and these new machines promise a lot, particularly in the run-up to WWDC 2020 (Online).

The March event that wasn’t

There’s no doubt that Apple has scrapped any plans to hold a big launch event in March, meaning any announcements it had intended to make will be dribbled out using press releases.  

Up next would have been the new iPhone 9 (also available in Pro), new iPad Pro models, a new MacBook Air with a new and improved keyboard and more, possibly including the newly introduced PowerBeat 4 range.

There have been claims the iPhone launch has been delayed as Apple’s global supply chain shudders on the impact of the coronavirus, but it also appears the company will introduce new Apple tablets.

  • A regulatory filing at the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) describes a new iPad model (A2229) that will run iPadOS 13. The EEC requires that company’s register new electronic devices in advance of release, so this is pretty strong evidence of imminent launch.
  • The second piece of data as reported here is more compelling. Apple’s Chinese website published a new iPad Pro user manual (in Chinese, now removed) which describes new 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pros in both Wi-Fi and Cellular versions. Model numbers include the A2229 listed by the EEC, along with A2228, A2231 and A2233 models. This follows 9to5Mac’s discovery of leaked code, which also suggests new models.
  • There also claims that iOS 13.4 which includes support for universal apps may ship this week, potentially also including software support for new Apple devices.

What to expect from the iPad Pro refresh?

None of these leaks tell us much about these new machines, other than their size and the existence of both Wi-Fi and Cellular versions, but here’s what we think we know:

  • The inclusion of a rear triple-lens camera as used in the iPhone 11 Pro.
  • This will likely be a 12MP f/2.0 camera with telephoto, ultrawide and standard lenses.
  • 3D depth sensing as well as time of flight.
  • Introduction of the mysterious U1 chip, also features in iPhone 11.
  • Powered by the superb iPhone 11 A13 Bionic processor, which delivers better performance than many laptops.
  • Improved network connectivity (Wi-Fo, Cellular) thanks to a new antenna technology.
  • Potential of a new display technology, though there is confusion as to what – OLED or miniLED, which suggests thinner devices and better battery life – though this may be later in the year.

The new iPads may hint at Apple’s approach to putting one of its own A-series chips inside a future Mac model, and will certainly be capable of running any future iPadOS that may be part of that journey.

There have been claims the company plans a new Smart Keyboard for iPads equipped with a built-in trackpad – could this be some form of Mac/iPad hybrid? An improved Apple Pencil with additional functions may appear. These speculations alone will generate some interest among Apple users.

The new machines may also appeal to a new demographic. They may be all the PC required for some enterprises now moving to upgrade their ancient Windows 7 machines, particularly at a time during which work has become more remote and more mobile.

iPhone 9 release now later this year?

Apple had been expected to introduce iPhone 9 devices this month, but this may be delayed. Smartphone sales are reportedly down across all markets while Apple’s retail stores outside of China are now closed “until further notice”.

Originally expected in March 2020, continued supply and logistical problems, economic meltdown and the evaporation of global consumer confidence means introduction may now not take place until later this year, with iPhone 12. It seems it plans two iPhone 9 models, the iPhone 9 and iPhone 9 Plus. Like the iPhone 11, these are expected to field A13 Bionic chips and biometric authentication.

All the same, the indications are that Apple wants to try to maintain market activity with new product introductions during the current emergency, but the wider economic and desperate human consequences of current events remain to be seen.

While analysts believe the company will still see recovery when it introduces 5G iPhones later this year, short-term prospects remain relatively gloomy and Apple must do what it usually does in tough times, dig deep and keep inventing.

Also read:

As a contribution to events, I’ve been attempting to create a useful and wide-ranging guide for remote workers and the enterprises that employ them, please take a look:

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Why every enterprise needs Apple’s Pro apps team

Apple’s Mac Pro delivers plenty of power for its price, but its tight integration with macOS means pro users also get the kind of performance they need.

Putting Metal to the Mac Pro

When Apple announced Mac Pro, it told us that the big names in graphics and video had already or were about to adopt the Metal graphics API framework.

It is fair to say that Apple did its bit to encourage this when it announced plans to deprecate OpenGL and OpenCL, but big names including Adobe, OTOY, Blackmagic Design, Autdesk, Pixar, Foundry and others followed its lead.

Jules Urbach, the CEO and founder of OTOY, stressed his company’s animation industry standard application, Octane X, had been, “Rewritten from the ground up in Metal for Mac Pro, and is the culmination of a long and deep collaboration with Apple’s world-class engineering team.”

Apple’s Pro apps team

Apple hasn’t only explored engineering problems for its high-end Macs. It has also explored what problems its pro users face getting things done.

One small illustration of this approach in Mac Pro is the inclusion of an internal USB slot for dongles. Pros had been concerned these get broken and stolen when left poking out of machines.

To help it identify where improvements can be made, Apple has teams of professional users who help it explore real workflows.

As I understand it, these teams comprise relatively loose groups of professional users working in the real world, creative pros working inside Apple, and groups from the company’s own development teams.

Their mission is to figure out how Apple’s solutions can be improved to help professional users get things done. They look for hardware, software and synergistic improvements that can be made.

More of what you need

Their feedback is why Apple is now able to stress that Mac Pro delivers things users have wanted for years, such as expandability, RAM upgrades and so on.

(I can’t help but observe that professionals in the creative markets have always wanted this. Way back when I attended the launch of the Power Mac G4 all those things were also on the list.)

Apple’s teams also look at how the platform can improve different workflows.

People talk about the pro market as some form of homogenous entity, but that’s not what it is. Photographers need something different than film editors; music creatives use different tools than animators.

They have different needs.

Apple’s Pro Apps team seek out pain points and try to mitigate them.

The evolution of Metal from a graphics layer for iPhones to an API across all Apple’s platforms is a good illustration of this.

Metal now drives everything from the workflow of a video animator or musician to the end user experience of someone accessing that work.

You have to put the user first

In a sense I think it is true to say Apple had to focus on high-end users to help the Mac survive. The new age of computing is pervasive.

Mobile devices handle many of the tasks consumers once used Macs and PCs for, which means those PCs that do get sold are either great for really complex jobs, or cheap machines for trivial tasks.

With iPhones, iPads and wearables cannibalizing the computer market, Apple had to find a way to make Macs relevant in a mobile age.

You can see it as a digital transformation project, if you like.

New technologies changed Apple’s market and in order to survive that change the company needed to focus on its customers and change itself.

It’s a lesson for any enterprise:

In any industry, successful digital transformation requires firms invest the time it takes to ensure digital deployments meet real needs, rather than introducing complexity. You don’t make your workforce more productive by making their lives more complicated.

Which is why every enterprise needs the equivalent of a pro apps team devoted to identifying where friction in existing business processes exist and figuring out technological solutions to improve them.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Apple’s ‘Pro Mode’ is made for Mac professionals

Apple’s focus on the needs of professional computer users for its Macs and iPads ‘for the rest of us’ continues on news the company is developing a new ‘Pro Mode’ that pushes more performance for some apps.

The PC market will become a high-end market

Apple is focused on pro users because it recognizes that this section of the PC market will be the bulwark against wholesale replacement of computers with mobile devices.

Year by year, mobile systems are becoming increasingly viable alternatives for a growing quantity of the tasks PCs and Macs have traditionally handled.

An iPhone or iPad is all the computer required by many users, as the billion or so iOS devices currently in use prove.

This leaves a shrinking space for low-cost budget PCs and suggests the most robust part of the market is to be found in high-end systems.

That appears to be what Apple is betting on as it prioritizes Mac revenue growth – and this is also why the number of Mac units sold is less relevant than before, given so many PCs are replaced by mobile devices, or even low cost, low profit PCs.

It’s about how many Macs are sold into the more robust and less subject to mobile device replacement professional markets.

Apple’s pro Mac offerings are designed for those markets that are most resistant to replacement by mobile devices: music and movie/video production; games and interactive experience development; professional photography; architecture and design; scientific research and so on.

Such users will benefit from Apple’s purported Pro Mode, as they will be able to accelerate application performance for the tasks that most matter to them.

What is Pro Mode?

Pro Mode sounds a little like an on-demand overclocking technology.

As reported by 9to5Mac, a reference to it is included in the latest macOS Catalina 10.15.3 beta and it is described as something that can be turned on or off on demand by users.

The beta tells us that when in ProMode:

“Apps may run faster, but battery life may decrease and fan noise may increase.”

The beta seems to suggest that fan speed (and Pro Mode) will remain active overnight if not manually switched off.

The latter makes sense in some instances, such as when leaving your Mac to handle challenging rendering tasks overnight.

The report suggests the mode is aimed particularly at MacBook Pro users, citing improvements in the thermal design in the latest devices.

Effectively, the description seems to show systems that can optimize system performance in order to rouse more power and performance from specific apps, but does so on an ad hoc basis, enabling users to pick when to fully exploit the potential. (ie. When the system is connected to power).

Apple’s pro app teams

There has long been demand among Mac users for ways to safely optimize the power and performance of Macs beyond the box spec. At one time, the Mac market included companies (such as the still active Sonnet)whose sole focus was to make components that could boost Mac performance – effectively upgrading existing Macs.

Many Mac users may also have made use of software overclock tools designed to push system performance beyond official specifications.

The problem with such tools being that in some cases this made systems unstable or may even have caused damage, as the heat generated by overclocked systems exceeded the ability of the Mac’s thermal systems to maintain safe temperatures.

(A long time ago, I witnessed people point desk fans at overclocked Macs in an attempt to prevent them automatically shutting down when they get too hot).

Apple has teams of Mac users it works with in order to understand what its professional users need, and this on the ground knowledge now informs decisions it takes when designing new Macs.

This is particularly evident in the new (modular) Mac Pro.

With this in mind it seems quite possible that Apple is developing Pro Mode in answer to requests from those high-end users it works with, who sought some way in which to safely maximize Mac performance for specific high-end tasks.

It will be interesting to see how Apple positions this new software feature (if it ever ships), particularly in light of the new MacBook Pro models it is expected to introduce this year.

It will also be interesting to see if the company includes this capacity within the Mac mini, which is seeing use in pro markets for some demanding tasks.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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Apple’s ‘Pro Mode’ is made for Mac professionals

Apple’s focus on the needs of professional computer users for its Macs and iPads ‘for the rest of us’ continues on news the company is developing a new ‘Pro Mode’ that pushes more performance for some apps.

The PC market will become a high-end market

Apple is focused on pro users because it recognizes that this section of the PC market will be the bulwark against wholesale replacement of computers with mobile devices.

Year by year, mobile systems are becoming increasingly viable alternatives for a growing quantity of the tasks PCs and Macs have traditionally handled.

An iPhone or iPad is all the computer required by many users, as the billion or so iOS devices currently in use prove.

This leaves a shrinking space for low-cost budget PCs and suggests the most robust part of the market is to be found in high-end systems.

That appears to be what Apple is betting on as it prioritizes Mac revenue growth – and this is also why the number of Mac units sold is less relevant than before, given so many PCs are replaced by mobile devices, or even low cost, low profit PCs.

It’s about how many Macs are sold into the more robust and less subject to mobile device replacement professional markets.

Apple’s pro Mac offerings are designed for those markets that are most resistant to replacement by mobile devices: music and movie/video production; games and interactive experience development; professional photography; architecture and design; scientific research and so on.

Such users will benefit from Apple’s purported Pro Mode, as they will be able to accelerate application performance for the tasks that most matter to them.

What is Pro Mode?

Pro Mode sounds a little like an on-demand overclocking technology.

As reported by 9to5Mac, a reference to it is included in the latest macOS Catalina 10.15.3 beta and it is described as something that can be turned on or off on demand by users.

The beta tells us that when in ProMode:

“Apps may run faster, but battery life may decrease and fan noise may increase.”

The beta seems to suggest that fan speed (and Pro Mode) will remain active overnight if not manually switched off.

The latter makes sense in some instances, such as when leaving your Mac to handle challenging rendering tasks overnight.

The report suggests the mode is aimed particularly at MacBook Pro users, citing improvements in the thermal design in the latest devices.

Effectively, the description seems to show systems that can optimize system performance in order to rouse more power and performance from specific apps, but does so on an ad hoc basis, enabling users to pick when to fully exploit the potential. (ie. When the system is connected to power).

Apple’s pro app teams

There has long been demand among Mac users for ways to safely optimize the power and performance of Macs beyond the box spec. At one time, the Mac market included companies (such as the still active Sonnet)whose sole focus was to make components that could boost Mac performance – effectively upgrading existing Macs.

Many Mac users may also have made use of software overclock tools designed to push system performance beyond official specifications.

The problem with such tools being that in some cases this made systems unstable or may even have caused damage, as the heat generated by overclocked systems exceeded the ability of the Mac’s thermal systems to maintain safe temperatures.

(A long time ago, I witnessed people point desk fans at overclocked Macs in an attempt to prevent them automatically shutting down when they get too hot).

Apple has teams of Mac users it works with in order to understand what its professional users need, and this on the ground knowledge now informs decisions it takes when designing new Macs.

This is particularly evident in the new (modular) Mac Pro.

With this in mind it seems quite possible that Apple is developing Pro Mode in answer to requests from those high-end users it works with, who sought some way in which to safely maximize Mac performance for specific high-end tasks.

It will be interesting to see how Apple positions this new software feature (if it ever ships), particularly in light of the new MacBook Pro models it is expected to introduce this year.

It will also be interesting to see if the company includes this capacity within the Mac mini, which is seeing use in pro markets for some demanding tasks.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





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