eXtensions - Wednesday 7 November 2018
eXtensions - The Wednesday File (80): Apple Announcements, Products and Implications; Cameras and Phones - Red, Yashica, Nikon and iPhone (Amended)
By Graham K. Rogers
As is widely reported elsewhere, the products were an updated MacBook Air, a long-overdue Mac mini update and two new iPad Pro models, with an improved Apple Pencil. The MacBook Air was first announced in 2008 and that was the last time I saw Steve Jobs. He famously brought the computer out of a manila envelope as testament to its size, although some people miss the relevance of that.
With the most recent update to the MacBook Air, which had 2 USB-C Thunderbolt 3 ports, some are now questioning the need for a MacBook, particularly in the light of the iPad range. Apple is never worried about cannibalizing: losing sales on one line to make sales on another. Each product may have its own particular niche group.
MacBook Air - Image courtesy of Apple
I still have the SD card adapter for the iPhone, but this is not so convenient for my Nikon D850 as I use the XQD card mostly. When I tried the output and deliberately used the SD card, images were imported to the iPhone and I was able to edit them. There were a couple of problems because of the size (about 95MB each), but I now see that Darkroom, which I prefer for editing RAW on iOS devices has been updated and handles these larger files without problem these days.
Mac mini - Image courtesy of Apple
There is some thought that this Mac mini might point the way to a new Mac Pro, but I think this is far-fetched. However, I saw several photos of the journalists looking at the products in New York and the Mac minis were stacked: four or five high. These devices and user intentions are different (or should be), although the new Mac mini will handle some larger monitors, so some productive work can be done on these. There are two versions: one with the 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor (27,900); and the other with 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor (38,400). As the Buy buttons are still grayed out here, I am unable to see pricing of upgrades: memory and processors.
Looking at the specifications, for the latest Mac mini release, it seems as if Apple has dropped the bottom of the range, which is a shame as this was initially billed as an entry machine. In its G4 specifications, I bought three of these and they performed flawlessly, as has my current one: three years without a single glitch. My choice then was the middle of the range (I referred to this as my Goldilocks model), at 23,200 baht. Back then, I upgraded to the 256GB SSD and 16GB RAM. With education discount (about 2,000 baht), the final cost was 35,008 baht.
Although I would certainly add more memory to the original 8GB, I doubt if I would order a larger SSD. As I store data on an external disk that is permanently connected, that extra SSD space was wasted. I also have a second disk attached for Time Machine backups. With this new version is that there are processor options, including 6-core chips, right up to the maximum offered. It will be interesting to see how much these upgrades will be.
At the end of last week, orders for some of the new products in the USA and other countries were marked as Preparing to ship. As the Buy buttons here are all still grayed out, we will have to wait for this. I anticipate that some of the delay may well be due to the necessary authorisations from the government here (anything with wireless tech needs this) and Apple tends to wait for the products to be available elsewhere before worrying about Thailand. There may also be a delay related to the new Apple Store: to make sure that there will be products few have seen when the shop opens.
I was probably wrong there as the main reasons for the difference are the respective exchange rates: with the Pound on shaky ground and the Baht relatively strong against the dollar, the price difference was around 2000 baht. It was always cheaper to buy things here than the UK with the VAT (20% against 7%), but now currency makes another difference.
Needless to say, Apple was doomed, with one report from Victor Dergunov (Seeking Alpha) calling it "The Demise Of A Growth Era". Advice: one swallow does not a summer make. This is standard for Seeking Alpha whose contributors seem to me to have little understanding of what Apple is, applying only the ideas that affect industry in general.
The beginning of this week has been hit and miss with one analyst downgrading the Apple price (after the stable door has shut) and Warren Buffet buying more shares. Then a report from Nikkei send the shares down again when Apple decided not to take up spare capacity for the iPhone Xr. The suppliers had met what Apple had predicted, but the necessary spare capacity in case of an unexpected run on the device is no longer needed: which equals failure?
As I have commented before and has now been confirmed by Daniel Eran Dilger (AppleInsider) even when the figures are (or were) available, their predictions were often significantly wrong which, like many other speculation about Apple, harms the share prices and inevitably damages the company and its investors: Gartner and IDC "served up incorrect data as fact, but also used the bogus figures to reach entirely false conclusions about Apple's Macs in the global PC market". He also notes, in the light of Apple's change on reporting figures that of those manufacturers cited by the two research groups, "none apart from Apple publish verifiable data on their actual shipments". Smoke and mirrors. But Apple.
Sounding a note of doom, John Martellaro (MacObserver) commented hours after the Q4 2018 financial report: "It takes awhile [sic] before a trend in sales becomes definitive. The Mac's downward sales for each Apple fiscal year are showing a trend now". This was just after Apple announced it was no longer publishing sales figures, and in the same week that two new Mac models were announced after a long period without many updates. I would have waited a few days before thinking about writing that, or perhaps longer to see how the new Macs were received.
He claims that he did not realise how fast it would spread via the fledgling internet, but one by one, servers and nodes were crippled and everyone realised just how vulnerable they were. Some of those holes were patched, but more and more come to light as time passes. I still know people who set up their computers to use the Return (Enter) key as the password. Morris is now teaching at MIT.
The disappointment may not be quite on a par with my Yashica Y35 experiences which I recounted at the weekend, but like any camera, sooner or later a couple of good shorts might be possible. I shall persevere with this although I have other, better cameras to play with too.
I checked a number of others only to find the same. When I looked at the camera, it was showing UK as the timezone. After I reset this manually, I checked back and realised that the Nikon Bridge app on the iPhone that I use for geo-locations on the camera was also set (rightly) to supply the correct time. As I had not used this since I returned from the UK, the app had not been able to reset the camera.
When I took some more photos at the weekend, I saw them in the Import library, but not the main one. Mystery. I checked the metadata of one image and saw that instead of November, the month was set for October. They were all in the library mixed up with some of the UK shots. Fortunately there is a batch feature in the Image menu of Photos that gives options for not only dates and times, but also Time Zones too. Apple has met people like me before. Once these had been changed, I also checked the camera: sure enough, I had fixed the time, but not the month.
WD SSD with USB-C and LaCie USB-C disk drive
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. After 3 years writing a column in the Life supplement, he is now no longer associated with the Bangkok Post. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
For further information, e-mail to
Back to Home Page