« The Good and Bad of the New MacBook Pro | Main | Around the Web on a Monday »

Friday, 28 October 2016


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

It all depends on what you do and what you use. My pro cameras used Compact Flash cards, and I've never had a computer, either desk-top or notebook that has had a built in Compact Flash card reader. No big deal.

When I arrived in Hollywood, in the early 1970s, radio mics were nothing new. A little later, ear prompters were in use to feed actors their lines. This is all old technology. I often get the cable, between the 3.5 connector and my earbuds, caught on something. I'm so glad that wireless has finally arrived—I wonder what took them so long??

Yes, I was able to watch the Bloomberg video. Thanks for providing the lonk.

"Apple did away with the headphone jack .... What's the advantage there?"

To make the phone thinner, which is an Apple obsession. Thin is fashionable. Thin also means the camera lens is very close to the sensor, making larger sensors impractical.

The headphone jack wasn't removed to make the phone look better - it was removed because the connector takes up a lot of internal space in the phone that is better used for battery, OIS, or other components.

Having things built-in isn't always elegant or practical. Knowing that you like stereo equipment, wouldn't you then agree that a one-in-all system would be better than a discrete set of components? No.

If one component fails, the entire system fails, there's no fall back. Simple things can be built-in, but more complex things sometimes need to be discrete and able to be added or removed as necessary.

Is this really practical: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOhjPMUSneI ?

Possibly the removal of the headphone jack is in the interests of better weather sealing?

Or it may be a solution in search of a problem.

I'm torn between the two... lol

Being a bit cynical - getting rid of the SD card slot makes for one less potential problem, one less FAQ on the website, one less variable to control for.
Thought it was interesting that Lowy still had a camera bag over his shoulder during parts of the iPhone shoot. I get decent DNG files out of my G4, haven't felt compelled to move to an iPhone but do miss the wide range of apps available for Apple devices.

While we are at it, could designers please do away with light gray type on a gray background. Elegant maybe, but unreadable, especially for old eyes like mine.

Dear Sir,

I was in the same predicament recently as you are. I replaced my 27`i Mac with a late 2014 mini, 3.0Ghz, i7, 2 Tb SSD.
I bought a second cheaper Monitor. I am happy with my new setup. If you are seriously into printing, a calibrated monitor is a must. The iMac monitor will not do. The Money saved I spent on a expert set up.

Yours sincerely

Alois Mueller

IIRC, the headphone jack was done away with to add a second speaker to the iPhone and with the assumption that Bluetooth headphone and earbuds would soon be replacing hard-wired ones.

“I just think it's much more elegant to have things built-in.“

So the BoomBoxes of the 1980’s were the best stereos ever?

The earphone jack removal from the iPhone 7 was driven by several consideration (explicitly noted or not), among them:

- Easing improved weather sealing
- Opening volume for other features, including another speaker, space for battery (specs note up to 2 hrs more time per charge compared to previous model)
- Increasing use of wireless devices reduces absolute need for analog audio out.

In the short term, it's mildly to moderately annoying, which is why Apple included a Lightning earphones an a Lightning to 3.5 mm headphone jack adapter in the box.

Remember when the first iMac offered only 2 USB 1.1, an audio, ethernet and RJ-11 modem port? The cries of woe about missing ADB/serial/parallel/SCSI/... ports on the machine?

As for the new PowerBook Pros...

The missing SD slot is more annoying than anything else, on the other hand, I still use cameras with CF cards, and I've always had to use an external reader for those (I don't count the PCMIA CF card reader I got for an earlier Mac Book which never really worked properly at all).

That said, the switch to USB-C ports makes a lot of sense in the long term, since they support charging, power, PCIe, Thunderbolt 3, displayPort, USB 3.1 Gen 2, ... (Heck, even a pair of 5K external monitors if you get the 15"). With adapters, you can have HDMI, VGA and Thunderbolt 2, to boot.

Last year, the USB Group and Thunderbolt Group decided to go all out and settled on the USB-C connector for 'em all, deprecating older USB connector types as time passes; this may have been a major driver for the changes in ports offered, too.

"What's the advantage there? Do any customers really think the iPhone 7's appearance is improved by the lack of a little hole in its side?"

You haven't recovered your good humor. You've just moved from rage to petulance.😃

In a few short years, we'll be laughing at 'old' photos of silly looking people with wires dangling out of their ears and getting tangled into everything. We'll wonder why anyone ever thought that made any sense.

For those interested in good design The Design of Everyday Things (ISBN13: 9780465050659), by Donald Norman, is a must-read. It's become almost a standard reference.


Apple's new logo.

As you know, there are two kinds of people in the world—those who divide everything into two kinds, and those who don't.

I first heard this, many years ago, as ‟there are two kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary arithmetic and those who don't.”

For those of us of an "older" generation, you may remember Olivetti computers and typewriters. I believe some of the designs made it into MOM's industrial design collection. they were very modern and avant guard but utter crapp for engineering and a complete pain to use.

The Best of All Worlds
The Designers and Italian, the Engineers are German and the Cops are British.

The Worst of All Worlds
The designers are British, the Engineers are Italian and the Cops are German.

Design is best seen in the eyes of the beholder. That said, my late 2013 MacBook Pro with 16 gig of Ram is very nice, still works and with a chunky SSD drive, useful.
Knew the October 27 announcement by Apple would mess the playing field, so ordered on a good deal even for here in Canada, a
new 27 inch iMac, and loaded it with 32 gig of Ram. Purchased it for scanning colour slides and using Lightroom. Thing is have been too darn busy doing other things for the last 8 weeks, so it still sits in the box, along with the RAID backup system; maybe one of these days I'll get to use the device. And the new Nikon Scanner purchased six years ago and not yet opened.
So yes buy what is currently available, the new items will have bugs and may well not be as durable as something that's been available for a period.

I run a 27" iMac with a self calibrating Eizo screen attached. Having two screens available is a massive help, I am a graphic designer/photographer who does a lot of retouching.

In any case, design or not, it remains a very bad idea to depend on software that can only run on one brand of hardware. Sooner or later it is going to put you into trouble.

I purchased a new 27" iMac with 64k (actually 8k and added the rest from OWC) and with the biggest and fastest everything else from B&H in July 2016. It runs and prints (using ImagePrint) great. I did purchase a usb hub and a few My Book Studio HDs which ended up cluttering up my desk, but it is still nicer than the massive Dell I run in another room. I have printers and scanners on wheeled carts, and anyway you slice it, being a digital photographer/artist causes us to use many different peripherals and plug-ins inside and outside our creating machines. My iMac is still prettier, quieter and faster than my Dell hands-down.

@Chris Kern, that should be "there are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary arithmetic and those who don't.”

By removing something like the headphone jack, Apple spurs the market to create a plethora of wireless headphones. By next year we'll have our choice of dozens, from cheap to high end.

Apple's not only designing the product but the entire marketplace.

You can argue what they've done to music marketplace has been negative, but for most casual consumers they created a safe and easy place to find a wide variety of music that's vastly more convenient than going to a record store or hunting around shady websites like Napster.

Same for photography, video editing, graphic design, and other industries... Apple hasn't been first, best, or positive for many of the artists. But it has made access and capability available to the widest audience possible.

I don't like many aspects of Apple's software user interface, iTunes is a mess, etc. but compared to the alternatives they still win out. What else would Samsung, Dell, and Microsoft have to copy?

The hidden side to the apple ecosystems that they now mostly own their repair pipeline - which means they see very directly the damages to their equipment. A very big complaint against iPhones from day one has been water resistance - the gains from the 6 to 6s was good, but headphone jacks are very hard to make waterproof. So, out goes the headphone jack - and in goes a barometric stabilizer, as the phone is now airtight to a point that it has to have a dedicated vent to measure air pressure. And it gets closer to the ideal no wires world apple design wants. Is it too early? Likely yes, but for most purchasers, they use the included headphones. and for everyone else, put the included adapter on your headphone/etc and it's mostly forgotten.

The 16GB max RAM on the MacBook Pro is nonsense, tho. I sorta get taking the SD card reader off - wasn't a very Apple inclusion in the first place, and it was very useful, but - the line you mentioned about built in items surviving the aging of a device rings true in the revers - machines with built-in zip drives looked old, quick, after those left the market.

I ordered a new mbpro the first day. I would have liked an sd slot, but I'm not giving anything up--my current machine was one of the last mbp not to have a built in sd reader, so I never enjoyed that convenience--skipped right over it. Besides, I use both cf and sd, so a combined USB device was always needed.
I ordered a couple of converters to USB-a and such, and as long as the ports work as advertised I am looking forward to another long and flexible period with the new computer. Better be, for the price. I'll likely curse the next iteration with the kaby lake processors I wish shipped in the new one... but that wasn't really Apple's fault.
Incidentally, I got an iPhone 7+ too, and the lack of headphone jack per se has not been a problem. The waterproofing otoh has already come in handy, as has the better speakers.
Apple does act unilaterally in deciding what we get the n our devices, but though it sometimes has frustrated me I don't think it ever felt like a mistake in the long run. And it clearly isn't caprice, or simple aesthetic arrogance--they weigh these decisions, including factors they share with us and ones they don't, in pragmatic and functional terms. It is just that once they make a decision, they tend to celebrate that decision in terms of the aesthetic dividends, and not rehash the rest of the argument in public.
It can feel infantilizing, but it does make sense from their perspective. The thing is, at the end of the day they will make a better decision than I do most of the time--and I don't care to put the energy in to do it myself just to have the satisfaction of maybe doing better the other 5% of the time.
It's a bit like manual vs auto exposure... except in this case, despite the fact that cameras these days make remarkably good decisions, I do care enough to put the energy into the decision myself.
And at the end of the day I'd rather be focusing my energy on getting photos than on getting computers or phones...

If your planning an upgrade to an iMac, I would hold off until next year. They are late for an upgrade, which should come in early 2017.

If you are interested in a MacBook Pro you should read this article:


The ThunderBolt 3 ports are not necessary all equal. Compromises were made to incorporate the new "Touch Bar" at the expense of some of the port performance.


I, for one, did use Aperture and found it to be an outstanding program for organizing and most of my editing. I thought they had changed and liked it better than the newly emerging Lightroom at the time; I should have known better. Photos is absolute merde. I still don't really like Lightroom and I have been struggling since updating to El Capitan. Apple really does suck when it comes to software and cloud; given their resources, it's really hard to understand why--must be the corporate mindset or something. That said, I really like their hardware and OS's. With Aperture I think I've finally learned my lesson about paying for any of their software. Wish there were better options for some of their free software and cloud that we all rely on however, I keep using them for the convenience integration into the ecosystem....

I understand the rationale for changing ports, but the Apple store not selling hubs, docks or adapters for thunderbolt was baffling. Why adopt a standard and the not support it. To just say you should connect wirelessly means that they are putting in ports that they don't want used. There's no logic in this at all.

Really cynical? Regular headphones cost $2 on ebay. How much do Apple-branded headphones cost?

Apple has been on a long campaign of building interdependence between devices and software. Ask any app developer about the woes of trying to co-develop for iphone and Android: Apple have created a language that does as much as possible to minimize possibilities of code sharing. Apple is one of the most egregiously anti-competitive corporations on earth, and it works: the mark-up on Apple hardware compared to PC is extroadinary.

Yet at the same time they have created the myth of Steve Jobs as an amazing humanitarian (although he appears to have been a rapacious ego-maniac) and Bill Gates (who is busy giving away 80% of his fortune while leveraging governments to do something for good) as the quintessence of evil.

It's quite an achievement.

I've been an Apple/Mac user for quite a few years. Not a fanboy, mind you. It's just that I've found the ecosystem has worked quite well for me and I have enjoyed the bonus of a higher level - at least in relative terms - of general security versus both the PC and Android platforms.

However, I find that I'm growing increasingly annoyed by Apple's cynical approach to hardware. Just one example: I think dropping the headphone jack from the latest iPhones is intended to force you to buy another piece of hardware from Apple while being fashionable for the fickle gadget freaks.

But I don't want another device (wireless headphones) to charge... and I don't want to have to mess with dongles to use my existing headphones. I have an iPhone 6s and it's fine. But I may be keeping it well past the two-year mark (I kept my iPhone 4s for four years) and when it's done I may have to think long and hard about whether I really want or need another smartphone. I certainly wouldn't miss the monthly bill for my data plan.

I'm no luddite. In fact, I've generally been an early adopter most of my life, at least if I could afford it. But I don't live on my phone, either... and things like Apple's move here deserve pushback.

Just a word of caution about the imac 5k, Mike. I have one and run both Lightroom and Capture 1. Both are really rather slow on this machine,even with 16GB RAM. Apparently the extra pixels are the problem. There doesn't appear to be any fix (per browsed forums on the issue)

I think apple are probably doing the right thing and could go further for most users. I suspect people who connect anything beyond a printer to their laptop, regardless of whether wired or wirelessly, are in the minority.

Solving the port issues... here we go...
13 port external Thunderbolt 3 dock:

I design products for living and I can tell you from years of experience that taking away a feature from a product is extremely hard. To make a case that you are doing it for aesthetic reasons is even harder. I value Apple's leadership to have the "courage" to let these product decisions go through. Apple is often the first company to let go of old standards. People always whine about it initially but then better solutions emerge. Letting go of the headphone jack on the iPhone will pave the way for voice driven interfaces and letting go of the sd card reader will hopefully push the camera companies to give us better wireless transfer solutions.

You have mentioned you were looking at older MacBook Pros or considering building a Hackintosh. In my humble opinion, you should try the new Mac Book Pro in a store and see if you want to give up what it offers for an SD card slot.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007