There are interesting features tags and the new calendar as well but those aren’t items that I will be using on a daily basis. I sincerely hope the power efficiency improvements will be noticeable on my Macbook Air.
Of course Apple is exploring the possibilities of utilizing their own ARM based CPUs; that’s a no brainer when you have your own CPU team. Why wouldn’t you consider it? But I also know Apple won’t go down that path if Intel keeps ahead of Apple’s own efforts.
The bullet point benefits (energy & cooling efficiency) of moving to an ARM processor for their Macbook Air is tempting but if they’re sacrificing performance for these gains. However, it’s going to be really tough for them to stand up on stage and sell the loss of x86 compatibility and performance.
Maybe it isn’t a viable option now but maybe it will be viable in a few years. Who knows? This could also be their passive aggressive way of lighting a fire under Intel’s bottoms and convincing them to be more aggressive with their pursuit to low power, high performing chips.
I’m a lover of solid state drives and flash memory. So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to see this post dedicated to Apple’s Fusion Drive solution.
It turns out that the Fusion Drive isn’t like Intel’s Smart Response Technology at all, it’s more like what I’ve been doing with my solid state drive and my 1TB Western Digital drive. I’ll let AnandTech explain it:
That 4GB write buffer is the only cache-like component to Apple’s Fusion Drive. Everything else works as an OS directed pinning algorithm instead of an SSD cache. In other words, Mountain Lion will physically move frequently used files, data and entire applications to the 128GB of NAND Flash storage and move less frequently used items to the hard disk. The moves aren’t committed until the copy is complete (meaning if you pull the plug on your machine while Fusion Drive is moving files around you shouldn’t lose any data). After the copy is complete, the original is deleted and free space recovered.
So in essence, it’s just OS X is shuffling files around based on usage; trying to get the most frequently used files into the 128GB solid state drive. I’ve been doing something similar but manually. I’ve used SteamTool to temporarily move Steam games onto my SSD in order to take advantage of quicker access times. Apple essentially that concept, automated it and makes it invisible to the user.
It’s a sound idea in theory but I have questions which I suspect AnandTech’s future in-depth review of the new iMacs will cover.
How many accesses does it take before a file is moved over to the SSD?
When does the shuffling of files happen? During idle? At a set time?
If there is space on the SSD, will an application or file stay on the SSD or will it be regulated to the HDD after a period of time has passed without a single read or write to it?
These stop gap solutions are interesting but they’re simply stop gap solutions. I cannot wait for the day when 1TB SSDs are at $100. By then, all this shuffling will be nothing more than distant memory. But for now, it makes for interesting discussions, I guess.
Today’s Apple event was chalk full of new products and even contained a couple of genuine surprises.
Let’s start from the top.
13″ Macbook Pro w/ Retina Display
The rumors were right, Apple were planning to announce a 13″ version of their expensive (yet pretty) “next generation” Macbook in the autumn. Starting $1699 may seem reasonable in comparison to the $2199 15″ version but it’s still very pricey when you consider the underlying hardware.
The lack of a quad-core CPU is tolerable but the lack of a dedicated GPU solution is baffling to me. Intel’s HD4000 integrated graphics aren’t going to fare so well at the native resolution of 2560 x 1600. And what’s with the paltry 128GB SSD? Couldn’t they just throw in a 256GB drive for that price?
Both Microsoft and Apple made announcements pertaining to their latest operating systems launches.
Microsoft announced that Windows 8 will be released to manufacturing during the first week of August and it will be available to the masses sometime in October. I can’t say I’m looking forward to Windows 8 Pro with much enthusiasm but for $39.99 I’m going to take the plunge.
Coming much sooner, cheaper and with much more enthusiasm is Apple’s Mac OS X “Mountain Lion”. The Golden Master version of the OS was released to developers yesterday and will be made available to the masses some time this month for just $19.99. And that’s just $19.99 for ALL the Macs in my home.
This year’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference yielded so many news items that I dreaded writing up a round-up post of it. So instead I’ll send you over to Tested’s round up of Mountain Lion & iOS 6 and Apple’s own website for the new MacBook Pro.
MacBook Pro w/ Retina Display
A new line of Macbook Pros — both classic and Retina enabled — got the party started. The specifications are incredible. It’s as I envisioned it would be — a pure flash experience packed with the latest I/O ports and a kick ass display. I didn’t expect Apple to only debut a 15″ version though. It makes sense considering the potential manufacturing constraints of a the new screen and thin profile, but I would have liked to have seen a cheaper 13″ version. Perhaps next year?
The starting $2229 CAD price tag is hefty. Is it unreasonable? Perhaps not. Not when I examine the tech and craftsmanship crammed into that unibody.
$19.99 to upgrade all the Macs in my home? At what point do you give us these things for free, Apple?
Selfishly I only really care about Siri for iPad, the new Maps app and a handful of other features that they went over. I’m a fan of Siri — even if when she fumbles things up. So to see Siri integrated with sports and deeper into iOS guts pleases me.
Apple’s Maps application seems very complete for their first iteration. They finally included turn-by-turn navigation and even got Siri in there as well. I hope it all works as advertised because Google needs that kind of competition. After all, their maps have fallen behind in quality compared to other solutions like Bing Maps. But what can Bing Maps do to Google Maps? It takes someone like Apple to smack the search giant into action.