eXtensions - Wednesday 18 July 2018
eXtensions - The Wednesday File (66): New Macs; and Changes to Working Methods for iOS Users and for Me
By Graham K. Rogers
One of the interesting finds in the iFixit teardown was that Apple has put some silicon feet round the base of each key and this certainly makes it quieter, but also reduces the risk of dust entering and crumbs becoming stuck under the keys. Although the keyboard redesign is thought by many to be overdue, this cannot be fitted to older Macs that had keyboard problems.
The better processors in the new Macs which took a long time coming from Intel, have made some people believe more that the time is due for Apple to produce its own processors. When the A-series first came out, I realised that should Apple make these available for desktop and notebook use, they could include features that no one else would be able to develop for months. We saw that on the iPhone with the Secure Enclaves for fingerprint ID and later Face ID and there are there was also the leap to 64-bit computing on iOS devices that sent everyone else into a panic. If only the computers would go that way. Michael Simon (MacWorld) has some valid points on this longed-for development, but this is not something we are likely to see for the next year or two, at least.
I also suggested a while back that as well as the MacBook Pro, we should expect updates to iMacs and other devices, and there is a recent rumour that the Mac mini could be due for its 4-year refresh. The one in my office just chugs on and deals with anything I throw at it.
I sometimes edit photographs on the iPhone. Although the screen is a little small for really accurate work, I am able to make some general improvements. It is of course much easier to work on a larger screen, so the iPad is a good alternative to a small-screen Mac, such as my 13" MacBook Pro.
I recently bought one of the latest iPads. I was of course tempted by the iPad Pro, but ended up with the series 7 model, with my decision swayed by the point that I can also use the Apple Pencil with this. When I made the order online, I added that to the list. For some reason, the two items were delivered separately (a day apart) which is not as efficient as I would expect.
After a couple of weeks with the new iPad, which is indeed faster than the iPad Air 2 I already had, I realised that the older iPad was redundant. As it is a couple of years old, it is a waste of time trying to sell it, so I gave it to a student. There was a catch. Some of my Mechanical Engineering students were taking a summer course on Electronics. They have problems with the concepts, but all engineers must learn this sort of thing these days, along with programming. The teacher of the course and I came to an agreement that I would donate the iPad to the student who came top of the mid-term exam. I must admit I was a little surprised to see who the winner was - not one of my best students last semester - but maybe he will improve from now on.
Unedited RAW image in Photos
When I installed Capture One on Monday evening, I began to import images to the application, starting with my 8 Aperture libraries on a 2GB LaCie disk. Before going to bed, I brought in the earliest two of the libraries: the process is not totally straightforward with the way Apple put this together, but my purpose is less using these early images, but archiving them so that they are accessible now that Aperture has given up the ghost. The images stay on the external disk, but a database (for each library) is added to the Pictures folder on the Mac.
When I have all the Aperture libraries, I will start work on the SSD with the RAW files from the D850. Again, I will leave them on the disk, perhaps deleting some eventually. When I import them into Capture One, I will try to organise them better than I have them now: month by month. It should be possible (according to a video on the Phase One site) to have them put into sub-folders. If not, I will begin that process of organizing when I start using the camera with Capture One instead of Photos.
Edited RAW image from May 2009 in Capture One
Apple of course is a prime example of this and a couple of illustrations are worth considering. On my Facebook account, a writer asked me about the rumour that the iPhone X was to be discontinued, adding, "but what does that actually mean?" My response to that was that the pundits had probably run out of ideas, but I also wrote,
I have been following and writing about Apple since about 2003 and so much comment (particularly post-iPhone arrival) is either a desperate attempt for hits, or (particularly with certain Asian and US sites) an attempt to influence share price. That the iPhone will evolve is probably a safer view and if that means a model change, so be it; but the end of the iPhone X sounds as if a terrible mistake has been made and Apple must sweep it all away. Some need to examine the technology fully (FaceID, TouchBar) before making uninformed comment".
I do not know the source for the question about the iPhone X being discontinued, but it would not surprise me if it were Bloomberg, Fortune or Digitimes, each of which tends to time such rumours as the next quarter approaches (Q3 2018 is 31 July).
In the comments above I mentioned the TouchBar, one of the most-maligned features that Apple has introduced in the last few years, particularly by those who have never used it, or by those whose experience is limited to around 5 minutes. Initially only supporting Apple applications, a few 3rd party developers soon joined in. Its use does not necessarily come naturally or instantly (like learning keystrokes for certain apps instead of using menus). I found there has been a slow integration to my workflows, whether it be browsing or running through Photos libraries.
Last week, for example, I was editing a thesis which needed hundreds of corrections. I began to find that instead of having to retype wrongly entered words, just putting the cursor over a word would show suggestions in the TouchBar. With just a tap, the fix was done, just like I do when typing on the iPhone. This saved me a lot of time.
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)
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