Custom Silicon Macs will Usher in the Next Generation of Creative Professionals.

On November 10th, Apple officially unveiled it’s custom silicon Mac computers. For nearly a decade, Apple has been dependent on the slow progression of Intel chipsets. Like other PC makers, Apple has designed their laptops and workstations around Intel’s specifications. Apple’s dependence on Intel timelines bottlenecked its ability to innovate and fully customize the macOS experience. Apple has designed it’s custom chips for it’s iOS devices for years now, and now that the technology is mature, it was finally time to bring this technology to the Mac.

The chipset that will be making its way to Macs this year is the M1. The M1 uses a 5mn process and utilizes eight cores. Four of those eight cores are high-performance cores, and the other four and efficiency cores. The chips will intelligently swap between the high performance and efficiency cores on the fly for specific tasks to maximize these new machines’ battery life and performance.

The performance and efficiency of these chips are the main stories here. Apple is introducing these chips into a new MacBook Air, a MacBook Pro, and a Mac Mini. Apple claims their MacBooks will receive drastically improved battery life and unparalleled performance, especially for optimized apps to work with the M1 chip.

The power of Apple’s chips isn’t a mystery. Devices like the iPad Pro and iPhone have continually blown away the competition in performance and streamlining workflows. Some creative professionals use the iPad Pro exclusively to edit high-resolution videos in record time.

Though I believe Apple’s claims regarding performance and battery life, I would hesitate for a creative professional to rush out and purchase Apple’s latest offering. I would recommend letting reviewers test these machines, run them through their paces, and see how quickly compatibility and optimization come for apps they may depend on.

Apple is continuing to be competitive with their pricing for their new devices. The MacBook Air still starts at a reasonable $999 with 256GB of storage to start. The Mac Mini starts at a very competitive $699, meaning the bar for entry for capable Mac desktops is the lowest its ever been.

These new Macs are going to usher in the latest generation of creative professionals. The substantial performance gains, unified coding experience across macOS and iOS, and reasonable price points will encourage first-time Mac buyers and seasoned professions to invest in Apple’s new hardware within the next few years. Apple silicon is going to be huge, and custom silicon will be the future of computing. Luckily, Apple has a massive head start.

Microsoft Gives Up Windows in Favor of Android for its 2020 Foldable Phone

This week at their annual press conference, Microsoft unveiled a wide variety of devices for its customers. Unsurprisingly the company showed off its latest laptops and tablets, which, as you would expect, are running the latest versions of Windows. In a surprise move, however, Microsoft announced it is launching a new phone during the holiday season of 2020. This phone is going to be a new type of dual-screen foldable device Called the Microsoft Duo. What’s more surprising that Microsoft launching a new phone? Well, this phone won’t run a mobile version of Windows. (Microsofts own OS) The Duo will run Android OS.

This isn’t Microsoft’s first attempt to capture a portion of the smartphone market. Their brand of Windows phones was a commercial failure. This failure was due in part to the companies inability to convince developers to make apps for their mobile version of Windows.

This time Microsoft has a different strategy. Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, said “the company needs to meet customers where they are. The predominant operating system for smartphone users is Android, and it makes more sense for Microsoft to utilize this Open source platform for their devices.

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Photo Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft does have the advantage of utilizing the world’s most used Operating system. Microsoft, however, has to contend with other Android phone manufacturers who are well established and have a proven track record of producing high-quality phones with innovative designs. The design of the Microsoft Duo, in my opinion, already looks dated. Though its dual-screen design isn’t widespread, it’s very thick bezels leave much to be desired. The design of the Microsoft Duo might have customers thinking the device is obsolete upon arrival.

Even though the Duo will use Android OS, Microsoft still needs developers to update their apps to utilize the dual-screen setup in innovative ways. Microsoft announced this phone so early for that very reason, so developers can start thinking of ways to bring their apps to the Duo. As the Duo is still in development, it will likely be midway through 2020 before we get more information like specs and camera information.

Questions About iOS We have After WWDC.

During this year’s WWDC, Apple debuted its future for its various operations systems. Highlights included iOS 13, MacOS Catalina, and the debut of Apple’s newest operating system iPad OS. While Apple revealed a great deal about these upcoming software releases, there are still many questions we have about the operating systems themselves, including how they will affect existing devices, and to what degree the new features will be implemented.

iOS 13

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Photo Credit: Apple

My biggest question about iOS 13 is regarding the new Dark Mode. I wonder if Dark Mode will present “true blacks” on OLED devices such as the various iPhone X models except for the XR which uses a liquid retina display which is an LCD. When I say a “true black,” I mean pixels being entirely turned off while using dark mode. If this is the case, I iPhone X(s, Max) could see gains in battery life because fewer pixels have to be illuminated and thus are saving energy. Older iPhones and the XR will of course not be able to achieve true blacks dude to the nature of LCDs, but I’m sure the Dark Mode will still be much easier on the eyes, there however just won’t be any battery savings. 

TvOS 

As a gamer, you can imagine that I was excited at the announcement that the Apple TV would natively support PlayStation and Xbox One controllers. This is fantastic news as I have been highly reluctant to purchase one of the expensive MiFi controllers that were compatible with iOS and TvOS. As I already own multiple PS4 controllers, I now feel empowered to try out more games on my Apple TV. I am, however, more curious about the support Playstation and Xbox controllers will have with iOS, Mac OS, and iPad OS. The Nintendo Switch is one of my favorite gaming consoles due to its very portable nature, other devices I always have with me are my iPad, my MacBook, and my iPhone. I have never liked only having a touch screen for gaming inputs, and I know I could have purchased one of those MiFi controllers, but as I said, I already have enough controllers at home laying around. A few years back, I bought Final Fantasy 7 and Transistor on iOS, but I just didn’t want to play with touch controls or buy a new controller to play them. But now I have the option to play both of these games on my Switch. I historically haven’t had a problem with double dipping on games, when they release on a platform that is more in line with my play-style, and I’ve been on the fence about purchasing these games on Switch. But now my decision will depend on if I can natively use my PS4 controller with my iPad because in that case, I will stick with those games on iOS. 

iPadOS 

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Photo Credit: Apple 

 

Year after year, changes to the software experience on iPad had stolen the show at WWDC, and this year was no different. This time, Apple defined a new pedigree for the software experience on iPad by giving the device its own operating system. iPadOS is the new name of the software that will now power iPad Devices. At this time, iPadOS isn’t a significant departure from the iOS experience on iPad but is different in a few key ways. A notable update is that multitasking is now improved on iPadOS. Multitasking has been improved by allowing better window management and allowing multiple windows of the same app to be displayed. Two of the most desired features that I wanted for iPad (https://iphonetennismatch.com/) are finally making their way to the tablet. The First feature is one that Apple omitted from their presentation, but none the less is present in iPadOS and will for many vastly improve their iPad workflows. That feature is mouse support on the iPad. This feature won’t be immediately apparent as Apple wants you to primarily utilize the iPad’s touch screen to navigate menus and apps. The support for mice and trackpads will be found in the accessibility section of the settings app and can be toggled on or off. It has been confirmed that Apple’s own Magic Mouse and Trackpad will be compatible with iPads on iPadOS. The cursor will be the same found In the assistive touch function found in iOS. Whether or not Apple will add a proper cursor or be more forthcoming on the addition of this feature will remain to be seen.  The Second feature that I anticipated coming to the iPad was the adoption of native support for using an iPad a second display for the Mac. Apple did publicize this feature during its keynote, and they called this feature “Side Car.” It has been confirmed that this feature can be used via USB-C and a wireless Bluetooth connection. There are however questions on whether older iPads that use a lighting cable will be able to utilize the Side Car feature, or if older Macs will be able to interface with newer iPads using this feature as well. According to some sources, All iPads that can support iPadOS will be able to use the Sidecar feature with Macs that can install MacOS Catalina. I do hope that this is the case as it wouldn’t force current Mac and iPad users to upgrade their devices to take advantage of this feature.