The Social-and-Societal Edition Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Apple Vision Pro Evokes Deep Ambivalence, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

First, I want to explain what it is, both in terms of how we talk about it and its physical construction. Then I’ll segue into thoughts about what you can do with it and for whom it’s best suited. Finally, I want to explore some deeper social and societal issues surrounding a device that enables the wearer to experience a different reality than those around them.

A Developer's View Of Vision Pro, by David Smith

I’m going into developing for this platform knowing that economically it might not be (initially) a gold rush. I view it far more as a long-term investment in my future business rather than something which needs to pay off right away.

Apple’s Vision Pro Strategy Is Starting To Look A Lot Like The iPod, by Michael Simon, Macworld

Like the iPod, it makes sense to price Vision Pro so high. With the first version, you want to showcase the best possible tech, and in the case of the Vision Pro, it needs to blow people away. Apple will sell some Vision Pro headsets for sure, but its main job will be to make people want one—so when the cheaper model arrives they’ll rush to buy one. Just like the iPod mini.

Apple TV+ 'Monsterverse' Show Filming In 3D For Vision Pro Viewing, by Tim Hardwick, MacRumors

According to ScreenTimes’ Sigmund Judge, the live-action Godzilla and Titans TV series that’s based on Legendary’s Monsterverse franchise has been shooting in a three-dimensional format supported by Apple’s newly announced headset, based on conversations with people familiar with its production.

New Mac Studio

M2 Ultra Mac Studio Review: Who Needs A Mac Pro, Anyway?, by Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica

There will always be people who are upset about the appliance-like, non-upgradeable nature of Apple's desktops, especially in the Apple Silicon era, where basically nothing inside the machine can be upgraded after the fact. Upgrading components used to be an easy way to squeeze a few more years out of an aging Mac Pro tower, and in an ideal world, it would still be something that Apple supported and encouraged.

But even the Mac Pro can't really be upgraded in that way anymore, which makes the M2 Ultra version of the Mac Studio the one that most pros should buy. It's expensive—it's hard to spend $4,000 on a consumer desktop PC, even one with a top-tier CPU and GPU in it—but what you get is a powerful-but-tiny Mac that's quieter and more power efficient than any PC you can buy or build.

Apple M2 Ultra Mac Studio Review: It Shreds Through Photo And Video Edits, by Jaron Schneider, PetaPixel

It’s incredible to me how fast this computer handled the Lightroom Classic tasks, and is a testament to both the M2 Ultra’s capability and to Adobe’s optimization for Apple silicon.

In Premiere Pro, it’s a closer fight but the M2 Ultra still wins. Overall, its score is well above the competition and it only loses to the NUC Extreme in the RAW video score.

Editors who work in Apple’s Final Cut will be even happier. I have watched this computer chew through nine simultaneous 4K and 8K video streams and play them all back at their full resolutions, simultaneously. It then was able to export a two-and-a-half minute, 4K video that used these same streams in less than 30 seconds.

New MacBook Air

Apple MacBook Air 15-inch Review: Exactly What Was Asked For, by Monica Chin, The Verge

Using this device on a day-to-day basis does not feel particularly different from using the 13-inch Air. The keyboard and touchpad and trusty webcam notch are all the same. The biggest difference to report — and this will come as no surprise — is the screen. The 15.3-inch panel is large, especially with its slightly taller than 16:10 aspect ratio. It affords, frankly, much more space than I would ever know how to take full advantage of. I can comfortably use two windows side by side; on the 13-inch Air, I might have to zoom out a notch or two. Big screen devotees, you’ll be thrilled.

The second big difference is the weight. The 13-inch Air is 2.7 pounds, and the 15-inch Air is 3.3 pounds. There is just over half a pound of difference, and it is noticeable. While the 15-inch Air is a world lighter than its larger 16-inch M2 Pro cousins, it is significantly chunkier than the 13-inch Air.

15-inch MacBook Air Review: Sometimes Bigger Is Better, by Jason Snell, Six Colors

To counteract the extra power draw of the bigger screen, Apple has increased the size of the Air’s battery, but all that does is make the battery life of the two models identical. There’s also a bit extra space in the 15-inch model’s case for a more expansive speaker system. (When I compared it to the 13-inch model, I noticed some differences, but they were extremely subtle.)

On Listening

Evaluating Apple AirPods Pro 2 Hearing Protection And Listening, by Nicky Chong-White, Jorge Mejia, and Brent Edwards, The Hearing Review

The study results show that the active noise cancellation technology in the AirPods Pro 2 earbuds effectively reduces ambient noise levels by, on average, 27 dB across frequencies, reducing the risk of noise-induced hearing loss. In addition, the AirPods Pro 2 showed substantial improvement in low-frequency attenuation compared to its predecessor, making for a safer and clearer listening experience. With effective hearing-related features such as ANC and automatic reduction of harmful noises combined with additional features previously evaluated, such as personalized amplification, and microphone directionality, the AirPods Pro offers considerable benefits for those seeking to protect their hearing and have clear audio experiences in noisy environments.

It’s Time To Let The Noisy World Back In, by Lauren Larson, Wired

Training myself to tolerate noise, and annoyances in general, is part of a long process of exiting the bunker I built around myself during the worst months of the pandemic. I’ve been experimenting with letting more sounds in. I try to jog without my headphones once or twice a week; I run along a creek sometimes, and its babbling is pleasant and summery, less repetitive than the creek sound offered by Noisli. In May, I purposely left the baby white noise machine at home on a trip to West Texas (where, truth be told, there was no noise anyway) and I have stopped having breakfast with it. I try to focus on the morning birds, the wind in the trees, and other woodland niceties.

I would love to live without needing the illusion of control over my surroundings—to dance in the breeze like an inflatable tube man. Unfortunately, you can’t force yourself into an entirely new personality. But you can take off your headphones.


‎Where Respect Is Due, by Apple

We’ve always had the utmost respect for the user. Every internal decision about look and function answers the questions “What does the customer need?” and “How can we help them be more productive?” (Not “How can we give them what they’re asking for?” because that isn’t the right question to answer.) The Macintosh was introduced to help anybody do great things. It’s something we believe in completely.


New Mac Pro Has 'Product Of Thailand' Label, Final Assembly Still In USA, by Joe Rossignol, MacRumors

Apple’s new Mac Pro has a “Product of Thailand” label, but final assembly of the desktop computer still takes place in the U.S., according to an FCC filing.


[T]he label indicates that final assembly of the Mac Pro will continue to be based in the U.S., even if manufacturing is largely in Thailand. All other Macs are fully manufactured and assembled in Asian countries.

Bottom of the Page

My policy is not to install beta operating systems (and firmware) on the one and only one devices that I own and use daily. And because even though I do have multiple Apple devices, I don't have spare devices for each product category, my policy basically means I don't install betas at all.

But I am intrigued by the new Adaptive Audio on AirPods Pro. On paper, and in keynote videos, this sounds great. I guess the test for me is whether it can filter out all the engine and track and human noises in subway trains, while allowing station announcements coming through. Not that I have recently missed my station, but silently counting number of stops in my head is getting less and less cool.


Thanks for reading.