Yes Virginia, Apple does listen... Sometimes
2018-10-31 11:57:46

Color our waxy-selves surprised at the product announcements at yesterdays "More in the Making" special event. We were totally ready to bash everything announced; but don't worry, we don't like everything. There's always room to find complaints.

Mac Mini

The Mac Mini has been long overdue for an upgrade. Gingers get more love than the Mac Mini has since its introduction. But yesterdays update is certainly welcome. It included the usual processor upgrade along with the ports-du-jour. We were ready to scream from the bell tower about soldered RAM, but surprisingly a crow flew into our mouths.

As we were finally coughing the last of the feathers up and gaining our footing we found that Apple was including a 10Gig copper option on the Mini for only $90 US. Dizziness set in again; is this April Fools? Are we in an alternate reality? Who cares about innovation as long as Apple gives people what they want.

On the good side, Apple has gone back to DIMM based RAM. The previous generation had only two configurations 8Gb or 16Gb. If you bought a Mini with only 8Gb of RAM, you were stuck with that decision and had no ability to change later on. Apple has regained some sanity and gone back to DIMMs. The base includes 8Gb of RAM, but can be upgraded to 64Gb. This is where we started to feel light-headed again.

The ability to have 10Gb Ethernet as a BTO is a very welcome sight. While we would still like to see Apple offer SFP+ ports instead of RJ-45, although the inclusion of 10Gb gives us hope for the yet-to-be-seen Mac Pro. Additionally, for Apple to offer 10Gb at a very affordable $90 instead of a $300 premium is a welcome change. At that price everyone should order their Mini with 10Gb Ethernet.

On the processor side, Apple has gone back to quad-core processors with options for hex-core up to 3.2Ghz 8th Gen Core i7. The Mac Mini is once again a desktop replacement and iMac contender by adding your own monitors. Speaking of displays, the new Mac Mini also supports up to three 4k displays. If you need more graphics horsepower, the Mac Mini also supports eGPU's.

Not all is good news though. Apple's flash based storage is soldered to the logic board. There is no way to upgrade later. If you run out of storage space, it's either a new computer or an external drive. A replaceable storage medium would be a welcome sight, we are overall impressed with what Apple put in the Mac Mini. Makes us wonder if they have actually started listening to people.

iPad Pro

We've sat back and watched the iPad grow and morph over the years from pad to the plethora of options that are available now between the mini to the pro. But like the mini, there are both good and bad things about the new iPad Pro.

Getting rid of the huge bezel that has surrounded the iPads is a welcome sight. We are guessing that Apple has an edge-to-edge screen on the books and will be released within the next year or two. This iPad Pro is certainly a step in the right direction. Now if they can just figure out a way to do edge-to-edge without a "notch".

We also like the sharper edges of the new iPad Pro over the more rounded edges. The rounded were sometimes hard to grasp or keep hold of with our fingers constantly wanting to slide off and loose grip.

The new pencil and keyboard also appear to have been well thought out, although they start to make the iPad Pro look almost 'surface-like'.

Everything that we like about the new iPad Pro is thrown away though on our one hated item - that huge lens wart on the back. We have hated these warts ever since they started appearing on the iPhones, and now we have them on the iPad's. They seem to be spreading. Just like that wart they are.

In our opinion there is no engineering or design reason for these warts, other than wanting to state how thin the device is without having to measure from the lens. This is similar to building a four-story building and calling it the tallest in town when you throw a 1000 foot antenna on top of it.

MacBook Air

There is really only one word to describe the new MacBook Air: Why. Then Entire MacBook line is getting so jumbled and confusing that we really wonder why the Air continues.

When the MacBook Air was first introduced it was lighter, smaller, fewer ports and more expensive than the regular MacBook. The times they have changed. The MacBook Air is now heavier, larger, has more ports and is generally less expensive than the MacBooks.

Apple has completely confused the products and needs to get rid of one of the three lappy lines. Either get rid of the MacBook or the Air. It really makes no sense to have both anymore. The new Air does add some cool stuff, like TouchID, but that doesn't justify its own product name. Apple could very easily combine the MacBook and Air into one line. At the low end you can offer the i or m3 processors with smaller screens, with i5's and larger screens at the top.

Maybe their long term goal is to deprecate the original MacBook line since it was last updated (at the same time as the Air) in June 2017, but they should have done it with this latest announcement.