The Cmd-Z Edition Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Mac Pro Lives, by John Gruber, Daring Fireball

Apple is currently hard at work on a “completely rethought” Mac Pro, with a modular design that can accommodate high-end CPUs and big honking hot-running GPUs, and which should make it easier for Apple to update with new components on a regular basis. They’re also working on Apple-branded pro displays to go with them. [...]

These next-gen Mac Pros and pro displays will not ship until next year. In the meantime, Apple is today releasing meager speed-bump updates to the existing Mac Pros. The $2999 model goes from 4 Xeon CPU cores to 6, and from dual AMD G300 GPUs to dual G500 GPUs. The $3999 model goes from 6 CPU cores to 8, and from dual D500 GPUs to dual D800 GPUs. Nothing else is changing, including the ports. No USB-C, no Thunderbolt 3 (and so no support for the LG UltraFine 5K display).

Apple Pushes The Reset Button On The Mac Pro, by Matthew Panzarino, TechCrunch

Specifically, as mentioned a bit above, it was the unique triangular design of the Mac Pro’s thermal core that proved to be the limiting factor. Because it was designed to carry roughly balanced loads of heat on all three sides, it just wasn’t equipped to take on the task of supporting the now incredibly popular single massively powerful GPU configuration.

Simply put, it wasn’t built for one of the three sides of the triangle to get super hot.


“The Mac has an important, long future at Apple, that Apple cares deeply about the Mac, we have every intention to keep going and investing in the Mac,” says Schiller in his most focused pitch about whether Apple cares about the Mac any more, especially in the face of the success of the iPhone and iPad.

“And if we’ve had a pause in upgrades and updates on that, we’re sorry for that — what happened with the Mac Pro, and we’re going to come out with something great to replace it. And that’s our intention,” he says, in as clear a mea culpa as I can ever remember from Apple.

Mac Pro Is Getting A Major redesign…Next Year, by Lance Ulanoff, Mashable

While we’ll have to wait until 2018 for the Mac Pro rebirth (“Want to do something great…that will take longer than this year to do,” said Schiller), iMac fans can expect a significant update this year, including some new configurations designed specifically for Pro users who already fans of the all-in-one design.

One thing no one should expect on the next iMac or Apple’s upcoming Pro Display, though, is a touchscreen.

Updates And Bugs

iOS 10.3.1 Includes Bug Fixes And Improves The Security Of Your iPhone Or iPad, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

The release notes don't specify what it fixes that wasn't addressed in the wide-ranging iOS 10.3 update released just a week ago, but we do know that this new update includes bug fixes and improves the security of your iPhone or iPad. Specifically, according to the more detailed notes on Apple's security page, 10.3.1 addresses a buffer overflow that could be exploited to execute code on your phone or tablet's Wi-Fi chip.

PDF Problems Continue In 10.12.4, But Primarily Affect Developers, by Adam C. Engst, TidBITS

Nonetheless, users continue to have problems, particularly with large or encrypted PDFs in Preview and other apps that rely on PDFKit for their PDF-related functionality. Nothing seems to be as severe as the OCR text layer deletion bug that 10.12.3 fixed, but if you experience trouble with Preview, try a different app.


Apple Reimbursing Customers Who Recently Purchased Now-Acquired App Workflow, by Juli Clover, MacRumors

Apple today began sending out emails to customers who purchased popular automation app Workflow in the last few weeks, letting them know that they'll be receiving a refund for the purchase price of the app.

iPad (5th Generation) Review: The Best Value In Tablets Today, by Rene Ritchie, iMore

Would I buy the iPad (5th Generation) — henceforth iPad 5 for efficiency — or recommend it to anyone like me? Not unless there was an urgent need for an extra, cheap tablet to keep in a camper or for car trips.

But would I recommend it for parents, grandparents, kids, or non-tech nerds who just want an inexpensive internet or app device with a big enough screen, easy enough interface, to buy for the first time or upgrade after a long time?

That's the question that needs answering, especially for people who still haven't gotten into computing or online, or have held onto previous generation iPads long enough that they're starting to need a replacement.

Sway Review: Meditation Through Movement, by Jake Underwood, MacStories

The premise is that through movement and the ambient sounds and music being pumped into your headphones from Sway, you’ll be able to focus on the relaxed activity and calm your mind. With six different “levels,” Sway attempts to push you toward significant mindfulness habits by requiring you to accomplish a daily goal before unlocking the next level. If you miss a day, Sway will bump you back a level, so you have to complete it again.

Audiobus 3.0, by Federico Viticci, MacStories

Audiobus launched a major version 3.0 today and it comes with some deep changes. The MIDI routing system has been rewritten with support for Apple's Audio Unit Extensions, a built-in mixer, superior preset management, and a new feature that can launch audio apps in the background.

Twigo, A Surprisingly Good Calling App, by Appolicious

While calls between Twigo app users are free, calls and texts to other landline numbers are also possible but come at a cost which is typically lower than that of competing carriers.

Turn Your Face Into An Emoji With Memoji From Facetune, by Aldrin Calimlim, AppAdvice

With Memoji, your face turns into an emoji — that is, it’s animated à la Snapchat’s face filters, in comical imitation of the expression associated with your chosen emoji.


Life Without Interface Builder, by Zeplin

I’ve listed a ton of reasons why it would be a good idea to stop using Interface Builder but don’t get me wrong, there are use cases where it makes sense as well. Even though we miss it occasionally, we are currently happier without it.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and see if this fits your workflow as well!


Learning This 1 Thing Helped Me Understand Apple's Strategy, by Tim Bajarin, Time

When Apple first launched the iPhone in 2007, Phil Schiller, now the company’s senior vice president of marketing, showed me the original device. He turned it off, put it on the table and asked me what I saw. I replied that it was a block of metal with a glass screen. His reply? “It’s a piece of glass for Apple to deliver its exciting new software.”


So Apple’s playbook is actually pretty predictable: Hardware devices serve as a blank canvas for Apple to deliver its user interface, apps and services, which are the company’s true crown jewels. If there’s any mystery in the strategy, it’s only in the kinds of blank canvas it decides to make.

Computer Moves, by Andrew Blevins, Real Life

So I can’t help feeling that applying concepts like humiliation and shame to the act of losing to an algorithm is to engage in a weird sort of anthropomorphism: We imagine that we engage the computers as equals, that we actually care what they think of us when we lose. But it’s also to ascribe their unique brand of stupidity to ourselves, as if we too had only one definition of success.

It isn’t my intention to romanticize dependence on computers. I’ll admit I find it ugly and a little depressing that today’s chess masters must, like just about everyone else, spend their time hunched in front of screens. But I also find something liberating in the fact that by consistently beating us at our own game, computers have given us permission to lose at it.

A Year After Firewatch, by Colin Campbell, Polygon

With sales of more than a million copies, developer Campo Santo is now working on its next project: unannounced as yet. I sat down with writer Sean Vanaman to talk about the direction he wants to go in next, and how he feels about Firewatch one year after its launch.

One thing that becomes clear in the interview is that Vanaman likes to talk. The first thing he's happy to make absolutely clear is that there will be no new Firewatch game, although a movie is in the works. "Firewatch is done. I'm going on the record and saying Firewatch is done. Henry and Delilah will not be characters in a future Campo Santo game. I can say that without a shadow of a doubt. I think."

Debate Rages Over Controversial Copyright Standard For The Web, by Matt Reynolds, New Scientist

But security researchers are worried that using EME as standard could introduce hidden security flaws into browsers. Tampering with DRM systems is illegal under US and EU copyright law, so the concern is that researchers will not be able to properly check browsers for bugs.

“This is really bad security,” says Harry Halpin at the French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation. Instead of encouraging people to report security flaws so that they can be patched, standardising EME means every mainstream browser will include elements that independent researchers can’t inspect.

Bottom of the Page

Instead of slightly updating the Mac Pro, why can't the stop-gap measures also include updating the first-generation 2012 Mac Pro with modern internals too? I wonder when Apple uses the word 'modular' to describe the upcoming Mac Pro, how different is the meaning of 'modular' when compared to the first-generation Mac Pro.

Or is there some edict in Apple that says that there shall only be one and only one design for the pro line, and one design for the adorable line?


Thanks for reading.