MacBreak Weekly 322

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MacBreak Weekly
Episode 322

MacBreak Weekly 322: First Nerd Problem

Apple introduces the iPad Mini and updates their line of computers.




Apple Event Announcements

  • iBooks 3
    • Continuous scrolling, support for more languages
  • iBooks Author 2.0
    • Support for portrait-only books and embedded custom fonts
  • 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display
    • Dual-core Ivy Bridge chips, HD 4000 graphics, 2560x1600 retina display
  • Updated Mac Mini
    • Ivy Bridge chips (quad-core now available in the non-server model)
  • Redesigned iMac
    • Thinner enclosure, quad-core Ivy Bridge chips, nVidia Kepler GPUs, optional "Fusion Drive" (HDD+SSD, with OS X determining what to put on each), no more optical drive
  • 4th Generation iPad (9.7")
    • Same as third-gen iPad, but with A6X chip and Lightning connector
  • iPad mini
    • 7.9" 1024x768 display (163 ppi), A5 chip, Lightning connector, starts at $329 for 16GB Wi-Fi model

Discussion of Apple Announcements

iBooks / iBooks Author
  • LL: Thought the event was going to focus more on education, but not much time spent on the iBooks announcements.
13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display
  • LL: Uses Intel HD 4000 graphics only, so it's not a potential desktop replacement like the 15" Retina MacBook Pro
  • AI: The activity on hackintosh boards suggests there are lots of people who still need the upgradability of a tower-based desktop; Apple moving to thinner, less-upgradable MacBooks and iMacs may legitimize the idea of building a hackintosh even more.
Redesigned iMac
  • LL: Surprised at the level of redesign
  • RR: Message boards in China predicted a lot of the new iMac's components and design ahead of time
  • AI: Since desktops don't have to worry as much as laptops about reducing weight/bulk, Apple is making a design statement by removing the optical drive from the iMac
  • DM: It's just the edges that are thin; Apple's PR photos are at angles that hide the bulkier middle part of the enclosure
  • RR: Friction-stir welding (used for the enclosure) has its roots in aerospace engineering according to Apple (iMac Design page).
  • LL: Screens aren't retina, but are now individually-calibrated
  • RR: Lots of PC makers are taking design cues from Apple, so Apple has to keep pushing their designs forward to stand out.
  • LL: Fusion Drive is optional; Ivy Bridge chipset has support for Smart Response Technology (SRT), which Apple could be leveraging for the Fusion Drive. The maximum SRT cache size is 64GB though (the Fusion Drive has 128GB), so Apple may be using a custom OS-level approach.
iPad mini
  • LL: iPhone 5-like enclosure, narrower bezel on left and right
  • LL and DM surprised at Apple's direct comparison between the iPad mini and the Nexus 7. Apple usually doesn't make such direct comparisons.
  • AI: A $250 entry price would have endangered a lot of the non-iPad tablet market. By pricing at $320, Apple maintains a premium price and leaves the more affordable tablet market intact.
  • RR: $329 is an odd price... $299 would have had a much greater psychological impact for consumers. Still, it was good for Apple to focus on copious amount of iPad-optimized software to justify the premium.
  • LL: Does the non-linear pricing of iPod Touch and iPad mini make sense?
    • DM: iPod and iPad are different classes of device
    • RR: iPod sales are declining over time, while iPads are increasing, so it makes sense for Apple to introduce a more-affordable model in its growing product segment.
  • AI: Internally, iPad mini is essentially a shrunken-down iPad 2
  • DM: Continued selling of iPad 2 could introduce some confusion
  • LL: iPad mini runs Siri, while iPad 2 does not, despite having the same A5 chip.
  • LL: Good overview of iPad mini at MacStories
Fourth-generation iPad
  • RR: Surprising they called it fourth-generation, even though it was just the A6X and Lightning connector that changed.
  • RR: The A5X-based iPad did struggle compared to the iPad 2 in certain situations because of the need to drive a Retina Display. The fourth-gen iPad should address those cases.
Scott Forstall didn't present at today's event
  • LL: Is Scott's absence significant because of iOS 6 Maps?
  • RR: Scott usually presents more about iOS, which didn't get an update, so his absence isn't too surprising.

Other news topics

Windows 8 goes on sale this week
  • Leo asks: Is Windows 8 significant for Mac users?
    • RR: Good to see new ideas from Microsoft, but execution is inarticulate. Going to hold off to see reviews and how new devices operate in the wild.
    • DM: Microsoft has not done a good job of clarifying the differences between Windows 8 and Windows RT, which could spell trouble if consumers have expectations that aren't aligned with what each version does or supports.
    • DM: Contrast with Apple's approach, with a limited number of SKUs (though the current transitions with the iPads and MacBooks does begin to introduce some confusion).
"Infinity Blade: Dungeons" Delayed

  • LL: Ironic that a game used to demonstrate the third-gen iPad still isn't released by the time Apple removed the third-gen iPad from the market.
TweetBot for Mac Released

  • Costs $20 (due to Twitter restrictions), but the panel agrees it's well worth it.
  • RR: I want to be able to pay Tapbots enough so they keep upgrading and improving it. Older Twitter clients from years ago had a similar price range (e.g. Tweetie before it got bought by Twitter).
  • LL: Celebrities are using Pheed, Twitter competitor, because they can charge fans for access to their feeds.
USPTO invalidates Apple's "rubber band" patent

  • Based on prior art from AOL and... Scott Forstall?? (Leo: "He's really in trouble now!")
Samsung to no longer provide LCDs to Apple

MacMania 15 Cruise

  • Lots of geeks (including Leo, Don, Allison Sheridan, and Sal Soghoian) and a solar eclipse!

Picks of the Week

  • Don's pick: PopClip for Mac by PilotMoon. $4.99
    • Replicates iOS-style Cut/Copy/Paste popovers on the Mac
    • Supports extensions for things like dictionary lookups and translation


  • Leo heard from Scott Bourne, who wants to be back on MacBreak Weekly!
  • Don's iOS Newsstand publication, ScreenCasts Online Monthly, should look great on the iPad mini. Don uses MagCast for creating it and has a screencast for how to use it on YouTube.
  • Watch TWiT Specials #141 for coverage of the Apple Event as it happened.


Production Information

  • Edited by:
  • Notes:
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