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Wednesday, 04 January 2017


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I'm with you. I am a late converter to Apple. When my last PC died a few years ago, my computer expert said, "It's time to switch to a Mac. After all you have an iPhone and an iPad." So i got, on his recommendation a higher end Mac-mini and he put in as much RAM as it would hold. It has an SD reader, inconveniently placed on the back and on;y a few USB ports. I got a powered bus and gained 9 slots and added one more by getting an Apple keyboard with two USB ports. And it is all he promised. I love the Apple eco-system and it is a robust little silver hockey puck. But.....now I worry about my future with Apple. The new Minis have been emasculated and the twelve core monster has no appeal. I don't want a laptop in my office. With no more Apple monitors I am beginning to think that Apple is slowly, one little piece at a time, getting out of the computer business. Sad, I don't like PCs.

They should either do what you suggest, put me down for a medium, or, once more, let other people, who care about computers, build desktops for them.

And I say, Amen to that. My feelings exactly. And maybe a pro version of OS X that does not keep changing what already works well

Are you orthodox Apple OS, or is building your own PC off the table? It's pretty easy and satisfying to do.

Apple seems to have neglected the high-end enthusiast desktop for a few cycles. Meanwhile, PC desktops are holding their own marketwise due to more gamers using as primary platform, and WIN 10 has improved.

I built this Lightroom-targeted rig in a few hours: http://pcpartpicker.com/user/abearman/saved/#view=L8ZBD3

Yeah, I went through this a few months ago and settled on the iMac 27, the only one that has a port on the back to upgrade the RAM myself. I went for minimum RAM, 250 SSD and the upgraded video card. I ordered 32GB RAM from Crucial at a YOUGE savings.

It seems the iMac is the only option out there for working stiffs right now. I don't know what I'll do the next time around if they continue to lock out the users.

So, you can hook up your favorite monitor to the iMac and have as much visual real estate as you can handle. Me, I'm muddling through with an old 17 inch studio monitor hooked up to it. It works well, renders video faster than real time and handles as many raw files as I can throw at it.

Good luck!

Another Mike

You either need to come to the darkside of Windows are build a Hackintosh http://www.hackintosh.com/

Well what do you expect? Buying a computer from what has become a phone company. Computers, especially desktop computers, are not what they are about.

You sound like such a candidate for a new Windows PC. Or, even better, Linux....

I think it is obvious that Apple ceased to be computer manufacturer a few years ago choosing to focus on phones and tablets. I'm in need of a new laptop and desktop and for the first time I'm seriously contemplating buying Wintel. I don't want to spend mega bucks on mediocre performing machines crippled by a design aesthetic that prevents you using them for real work.

You realize, of course, that you are describing the PC universe when you ask for a reasonable computer?
BTW, can you explain why I can comment from Internet Explorer and not Thunderbird?

Good lord, Mike, you've lost it! Here's poor Timmy slaving away for your good and you reject his beautiful offer? Just because it is useless??? Can't you be reasonable?

Talk about ungrateful.

I'm an MBP user. Now he brings out an MBP that demands a dongle so I could use the USB stuff I used to plug straight into the computer. I want a super sleek MBP and a bagful of dongles?

I have to say, though, the USB ports on my 2010 15" with the superb hi-rez matte screen are becoming unreliable, and the built-in SD card reader had pretty much died, so it was almost a relief when I spilt my tea on the keyboard the other day and despite my best clean-up efforts, the return, shift, "n" and "h" keys stopped working and I was forced to shift to my emergency 2010 13" MBP. First I did the back-ups I haven't done for weeks (took all day!) then unbuttoned both and swapped the 15"'s SSD into the 13" and the 13"'s hybrid HDD into the 15".

I will have to get out that old big screen packed under the bed, though -- editing lots of photos on the 13" is a pain. How did I survive back in the day with a 9" B&W screen? produced whole magazines and books on it!

And buggered both arms with the stupid giant mouse.

Oh -- and I run X.6.8. I'm not into iOS which Timmy boy (and his mentor before him) wanted us to use instead of a real working OS for a working computer!

Cheers, Geoff

You know what you need to do.
Satya is his first name if you need an introduction.....

By the way, forgot to mention in re books: Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible. Should ppeal to both sides of your reading -- a very factual novel.

Cheers, Geoff


Did I hear someone say PC? sorry.

How dare you ask Tim Cook to give up his arrogance! Ain't gonna happen. But hurrah for trying.

I think Apple's ultimate goal is a completely sealed super sleek something-or-other with no openings of any kind for anything (uh, power maybe). The programs and hardware you "need" will already be inside and communication to the outside world is wireless (so forget those silly SD cards, of which you have 2 dozen).

I feel your pain. This was my blog a fortnight ago, on the topic of laptops and phones, with depressingly similar observations regarding the so-called MacBook "Pro": http://www.andrewj.com/blog/2016/mojo-not-within-normal-operational-parameters/.
It has to be said, I avoid the desktop problem by running with an Alienware Aurora, by no possible measure the smallest desktop (it's **** huge), but designed to be the "most upgradeable" desktop and still taking everything I can throw at it at eight years and counting...

I "grew up" computationally decades ago on Dell Windows machines in the corporate world. My wife, a retired teacher, was addicted to (as I refer to it) Apple Crapple at her workplace, where pusher Jobs succeeded in hooking many others too.

Over the years I've forced myself to learn how to deal with her Mac laptop, but hate it. Everything is counter-intuitive and clumsy. Windows, by comparison, feels like it's intended for work, with an efficient file management system. Exactly what you seek. Dell too seems compatible with your customization desires. After the graphics card in my eight year old Vostro 1710 died recently, I replaced that laptop with a new Dell workstation. Every aspect is exactly what I wanted and specified. Cheaper than Apple too. Try it, you might like it. :-)

"Apple has cast itself as a "lifestyle" company to such an extent that it has forgotten that some of us need computers for, um, work."

Truer words were never spoken. Apple seems more intent on selling pretty products to folks that use their laptops for surfing social media at Starbucks, not for real work. I heard recently that Apple will also be dropping all it's networking products, as well.

Apple Developers are really, really upset at the disapperance of the Function/Esc keys on the 2016 Macbook. Also, the new Macbooks (can't really call them Pros anymore) are getting slammed from every corner for poor battery life, no expandability, 16 GB memory limits, and basically the same level of performance that was available in 2010.

Consumer Reports, in their review, stated that given the issues around the new MacBooks, they cannot recommend *any* of the new models.

All this is due, as far as I can tell, to Apple execs having their heads firmly up a place that can't be described in polite company. From all appearances, they simply do not care about customers needs any more. Steve Jobs must be spinning in his grave.

You want a computer from a fashion company?

I honestly find Windows 10 to be an excellent OS. It's rock-solid stable and a pleasure to use. (I used to use Mac.)

I believe it is possible to install and run Apple OSX software on a (configurable) Windows desk top machine.

I saw the trend and switched to Windows 5 years ago. Don't miss the Mac. The big PC makers' professional lines are where the reliable, powerful computers are if you are not into building your own.

"...If you ask me, Apple should ditch the Mini, ditch the Pro..."

They should bring back the previous version of the Mac Pro (i.e, Mac Pro5,1).

I have mine loaded with drives in all four internal bays, plus multiple external drives, plus upgraded RAM. The GPU and CPU are easily upgraded as well.

The reason I will stick with macOS is because underneath the GUI is Unix. I run many Unix programs so the Mac suits me. If Apple fails to deliver, however, I see Linux in my future. Or a hackintosh.

Fortunately, both my Mac Pro and MacBook Pro do not need to be replaced. I'll wait on the sidelines and see what happens.

After DOS/Windows for decades (I did start out on a Commodore !) I've toyed, over the last couple years, with the idea of moving to Apple to simplify things. But their recent products (and prices) coupled with the relative inoffensiveness of Windows these days has me committed to staying the course. (I have an iPhone ... I like my Kool Aid in moderation). People I work with who have imbibed are becoming disenchanted. Even with iPhones. (Tim Cook should be thanking Samsung for its flaming batteries !)

Beautifully done, Mike.

The Quadras were nice but in my opinion the finest working computer Apple ever produced was the IIci. It was elegant, expandable, sturdy. If they put new guts into that case (suitably Ive-icised but stay away from the ports, Bub) they’d have a hit.


I think it is silly to try to get you to either a) buy a Windows machine, or b) build a hackintosh. I've spent my time using Macs of various sorts, even owned some for awhile, but they just aren't for me; and Windows machines aren't for you. Nothing wrong with either of us.

That said, you've hit on a problem that Apple has created for themselves. I honestly don't understand why they have created such artificial limits on certain segments of their established user base. High end content creators have a huge impact on the platform, but it seems Apple considers app developers the key demo for content creation, and those people, of course, are content creators. But by all accounts, Microsoft is stealing some of these niche users with their new Surface Studio, which is essentially a decent computer in a gorgeous package, which happens to include the functional equivalent of a Wacom Cintiq screen.

All I can suggest is to stand by. I mean, Apple *has* to announce *something*, right?


I switched from PC to Mac years ago and have loved it. My second MacBook is a 2012 MacBook Pro with 16 GB of RAM (self-installed) and a 1 TB drive. It's been great, but some ports are getting finicky, keys are sticky etc. I was waiting patiently for the new MacBook Pros until I took a close look at what they were offering or, more to the point, not offering. I haven't been impressed. In fact, I've defected. I've switched to a Dell machine that offers me the RAM I want and a sufficiently sized SSD (including upgradability) for about half the price I would have paid for a MacBook with similar specs. AND it has a touch screen not just a touch bar and immediately useable ports without adapters. At the price, it is a very serviceable bridge machine until Apple gets serious about offering workable choices--or maybe longer. . .

It's Professional and Enthusiast users that Apple has purposely abandoned. Most Professional Software has been ignored or eliminated. Apple wants to make only stuff that sells in volume.
They seem to view higher end more specialized machines as a distraction.
The stuff they make is very good, and fulfills the needs of the customers they really want. They pay lip service to high end users but their actions have made it clear that those users are an annoyance.
Each succeeding OS version gets more iOS-like. They want your Data and Photos in their cloud where they can charge rent to keep it secure for you.
For many people, Apple's vision is fine,-----just not for folks like us. Our demographic skews 'old' Apple wants young.

Creatives were the one group that never left Apple, one would think that the cost of accommodating us into the future would be a rounding error on Apple's balance sheet, but even that price seems more than Apple thinks we are worth.
There are a lot of discussions like this on the Web, Apple knows they are there. Consumer Reports gave the new MacBook Pro a 'Not Recommended'
The ball is in Apple's court, they could make a lot of this right very easily. I genuinely hope they will, If I had to bet, I'd bet they won't.
I hope I'm wrong

Just go a new very expensive MacBook Pro 15" for my boy and it is so much to pay the dongles. Even buy two to get one for hdmi and another one for Ethernet. They do not sold any others in Chichester. And queuing paying and a man in front just talk endless about these dongles.

Doggies doggles and doggles.

But to be fair as Tom hogan said it is a future you have to deal with.

Well, got a 360 camera for xmas gift. Love that but ... It got a Usb-c cable which I have to keep very close to my chest. I can count the future (the usb-c one) I personal have - exactly one. That is it. Not even Iphone has Usb-c to lightening cable.


But then may I say you are wrong to talk about that box which I have got in those days of mac. No. Absolutely not. The problem of Apple is not they sell too little varities but they sell too many.

If they fix that and go back to the Steve simple 4 then one best per category could be enough. We hang on ok. May be we need more than 4 categories, just not car please.

The problem is they do not do well in any of those category and even worst as tom has said they have unsolved the problem Steve has solved. My list is longer than tom's - the magnetic power, the hole to keep ththe thing safe (a lock hole is minor but), the non-existence of surface studio and surface pro like, the missing of powerful GPU (or egpu box if you have to have outdated cpu and gps), ...

All the innovation is out and away from Apple. It is not working.


Anyway the distraction of trump will and actually is here to come. The revenge of the Sith is fine. We can still have rogue one and the force is with you and one with the force etc. But really having those robots to manufacture product in USA would be a priority just like building the Death Star. It does not solve the problem.

As regards to try solving customer real problem ... what is that. A few key boxes, enable VR, hand painting, large touch screen, powerful rendering machines etc. One can pay extra to live in a good universe but only if it is good. It does not explode so far I know. But that is not the reason why we live in that universe. Come on Apple!

Been waiting almost 8 months for the new MacBook Pro to come out. Now seriously considering a Dell for the first time in 20 years.

Mike, I feel your pain and to share it to a degree. I am dedicated to Apple computers. Owned them since 1983. At work I often was forced to us PC's running Windows and found them to be too unstable to count on as my work computer on a daily basis. Too often Windows would let me down while my Macs were much more reliable. But the last few years I find myself wishing Apple would build a work horse computer much like you desire. My current desk top is a 2 year old 27" iMac and I find it takes care of 99% of my computer needs and as a photographer I find the beautiful display meets my needs. I do not need a different monitor (read non-Apple) to do my work. I just updated my 3 year old Macbook Air to a last year model Macbook Pro and I love it. I agree Apple possibly made a bone-head move in redesigning the new MacBook Pro with less ports available. (note to Mr. Ive) A dongle does not make an Apple computer sleek or beautiful. Still, I am a LONG way from moving from Apple to a PC windows machine. I am thinking about bringing my 7 year old Mac Pro up to date with new SSD drives and maybe upgrading the RAM. I love the design of that beautiful Aluminum tower. Plenty of bays for expansion.

It's not a Mac, but here's a computer that checks a lot of your boxes: https://www.pugetsystems.com/serenity.php

I've been buying computers from this outfit from the time they were a recent start up and the CEO delivered and set up the computers himself. I've never had anything but good experiences with them, and the hardware they assemble and sell. Every time I upgrade I think that I will switch to a Mac (I like Apple products and we have a bunch of them) but when I do the comparison of cost vs performance, I end up buying another computer from this outfit. By the way, they don't sell cheap computers, but when it comes to value they are hard to beat.

Oh, I feel your pain. I'm beating my head against the wall this week over the same thing.

Nine years and some change ago, I promised myself that I'd built my last pc. It was good for the photography I did then. It's been barely adequate for a few years now, and since it can't talk to the latest SD card file system, or my latest Epson printer, and isn't safe to have on the internet*, it's done. I'd promised myself I'd buy a Mac mini when it "died".

Except, as your community has noted, you can't upgrade their RAM. And, can they even drive a 4k or retina monitor? The old Mac Pro's, the delightfully upgradeable ones are either affordable, but almost as old as the computer I'm replacing, or really expensive (for me. After all, nine year old computer, right?) And the laptops? They are so...small. And expensive. And now they have all these weird disadvantages? I'd hoped ipads would move forward, and I could do work on one of those, and sync to a mini or something, but it looks like they'll never stop hiding the filesystem from us, so that's a dead end. The future of Mac personal computers looks kinda dim from here.

If I do go Mac, then when that hardware dies, I'll be in the same position, only moreso. It's not as though they are going to get cheaper, after all. I'm not sure if the ease of use outweighs the possibility of having to switch operating systems twice.

Meanwhile, in windowsland, I do basic tech support for family and friends. Let me tell you this about Windows 10: I run Windows 7 on the work laptop.** I do most of my housecalls on Windows 10. My "favorite" bug was a bad patch that knocks you off the internet if you reboot. You can't get back on, unless you use a usb drive to bring over the relavant fix, or, alternatively, you drop down to a command line and run ipconfig.exe. Yes, that's right, fixing things at a DOS prompt. (Sure, technically it's a simulation of MS-DOS, but really, the experience is the same as it was thirty-five years ago!)

Is this really emblematic of Microsoft's current software quality problems? Yes and no. They did pull the offending patch quickly, so kudos to them. However their new patch-early-and-often approach leads to mandatory reboots at unforseen times, and occasional spontaneous driver rollbacks. I think they do a good job, but I don't trust the stability of their OS. I just have a bad feeling about it. I don't relish the thought of a forced reboot during an expensive print job, or during a fiddly masking layer. I don't like the thought of drivers being "updated" on a system that I spent a week color profiling.

There's more of course - I need to decide if editing 4k video is on the horizon. If it is, how much does that constrain my hardware choices? Do I want to stick with a strictly desk-bound computer? And so on. This shouldn't be a hard choice, but it is, for the same reason that it's harder than ever to pick a camera system: the technology is rapidly crossing over from bi-annual leaps forward, with room for savvy enthusiasts to score genuinely good deals in exchange for a little elbow grease, to a new paradigm of mass market, immutable slabs and a handful of specialized machine tools. Right here at the junction, there's still a little wiggle room for clever hobbyists, but the easy choices have vanished.

Is this like that moment in the fifties, where consumers were awash in non-interchangeable lens rollfilm cameras, and if you wanted lots of lens choice you had to stick with both the precision and disadvantages of sheet film cameras?

Thanks for reading all that, Mike.

*it runs Windows XP, which was new more than fifteen years ago! Runs it well, too, especially since it doesn't need any antivirus whatnot, since it's not plugged into the internet.

**okay, Windows 7 does have an update bug of it's own that prevents the installation of updates, but aside from that, how did you like the play, Mrs. Lincoln.

I've never owned anything Apple, so I have no idea what all this angst is about. But then I'm not a creative. ;)

All I know is that I'm holding on dearly to my early 2011 17" MacBook Pro and my 2011 (?) aluminum MacPro with all their glorious ports and many other respective thoughtful features. Unless or until Apple regains its sense of design purpose I've no plans to relinquish these machines for any reason less than armed assault on my home.

Good luck with your plight, Mike.

hidebound - adjective - hide·bound \ˈhīd-ˌbau̇nd\ having an inflexible or ultraconservative character

When it comes to technology living in the past can be a real bummer.

Using obsolete power hungry programs will bring a computer to a stop. I've heard good things about ON1RAW, I use Affinity Photo and I also have a copy of Ken Rockwell's favorite, Athentech Perfectly Clear. Modern software allows you to do your culls using a tablet—in some cases you can do 90+% of your work on a tablet.

Many people rail against USB3 and Thunderbird3, then complain how slooow their computer is (while using dongeled old-tech USB). BTW is it true that there are many people requesting a SCSI dongle? 8-)

Steve Jobs said: If you don't cannibalize yourself, someone else will. So ,no Apple doesn't cripple their computers.

If Apple is becoming a life-style company, why do they continue to update Final Cut ProX, Motion and Compressor (professional video editing software) and Logic ProX (a DAW).

Ah, so soon we forget! Most of us switched to MACs because Windows was buggy, took forever to boot up, had more backdoors for malware and upgrades were worse than root canals.
I went to the Apple website and loaded up a Mini w 16G ram, 2TB fusion drive more video ram and it came to $1399. Choose your own keyboard and mouse.
I read so many articles now that get mired in minutae - splitting hairs on specs, angsting ove how it would be such a grear product if it just had "something" - c'mon, nothing is perfect except you and me, but sometimes I' not sure about you.....

I was in the exact same predicament last year, Mike, and ended up abandoning Mac for Intel's version of the Mini, the oddly named Skull Canyon. Quad-core I7 cpu, up to 32GB RAM, support for ultra-fast SSD (NvME, faster than SATA), Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, and, lo and behold an SD card reader on the front. Add Win 10, simmer for 20 minutes and Bob is your uncle.

I do have to roll up my sleeves a little more frequently to deal with drivers and stuff, but otherwise the machine hums.

For anyone spending most of their days in Adobe's Creative Suite and a web browser, the OS hardly matters anymore and the transition is quite easy.

I'm with Bob Keefer on this one. Darktable On Linux (instead of Lightroom on Windows), on a self-built box tailor-made just for yourself (because, ah yes, *you* built it). It's fun and all I'd ever need. And best things in life are free, aren't they?

How about a nice keyboard with big curvy keys, not those little flat things! And a big fat mouse, too.

Don't listen to me, though... I'm still using a stalwart trio of G4's running 'legacy' software on OS 9. The only Mac I have that's plugged into the internet is this 2008 MacBook.

The 21st Century. I'm getting there. I love my new R-D1!

Totally agree. One the other hand, cameras and software have reached a level that the cycle of upgrades may very well be slowing way down for me. I don't need more features with Lightroom to develop my photos, as long as my cameras are supported (currently the Fuji X-pro2 and X-T2). For the first time since film days, I feel I've reached a level of satisfaction with the camera in terms of resolution and features. My only need is for storage to accommodate more image files.
However, Apple has taken a step away from computers that appeal to me by crippling them as work tools. Need the ports, need the flexibility- Don't want or need thinner computers with more dongles and no flexibility in upgrading in the field for memory or storage. It's a total fail from my perspective. Too bad as I love the integration between devices, but they are forcing a disconnect for me.

Apple is adrift. Here's an interesting sidebar:

I feel like your post, substituting model names, could have been written in the late '90s and it would already have made perfect sense.

I second the iMac suggestion. Screens are gorgeous , the processors chew through Lightroom and photoshop pretty speedily. You can save a bundle if you buy a late 2014 or 2015 model as a refurb through the Apple Store and get AppleCare. Use https://refurb-tracker.com to get alerts when a machine is available.
Just make sure you get an i7 chip and at least 1gb of memory on the graphics card, 2gb is better.

One advantage of a custom-configured Windows PC is the availability of graphics cards whose GPU processing chip greatly accelerates heavy-duty Lightroom and PhotoShop operations. I'm not sure whether affordable Mac units have that capability. It definitely speeds up 64 bit Adobe products more than a faster CPU on the main board.

The Beatles started the Apple Corps which had an Apple as a symbol. Steve Jobs had possibly never heard of them as he used almost the same name and symbol. This led to legal conflict.
When Jobs took over for a second time they came up with Aperture which I and many others used for its whole life. It completely met my needs with a few apps on the side. Then they stopped upgrading it and that was that. I would say that it was significant, along with some other graphic programs in re-establishment of Apple.
They see their role though as continually looking to the future and not responding to customer needs. E.g. I would still be happy with Aperture.
Besides the hack that t hey are now pushing towards a basis of iPad computers, they are also pushing customers into using iCloud. This means that literally your files spin off into space and a vague location. It also means that you are committed to pay more and more, forever, to cover the cost of this and support Apple's profit.

I've been a Mac user for a long time, but as my aging iMac has developed a graphics card problem (coloured patches on screen which sometimes write to images - suspect corrupt VRAM) I'm waiting to see just how committed Apple is to the desktop platform. So far less committed than myself as a customer it seems.

A change of platform should be application driven - Photography wise, is there the same or equivalent software that will produce equal or better results in a similar productivity workflow. Assuming the underlying OS can get out of your way and just let you work.

If I had the budget, I'd be very tempted by the Surface Studio Pro and an Abobe CC Suit of tools. YMMV.

Face it, Mike, you want a PC...

Not just Apple - look at the card reader on this object of desire: https://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msusa/en_US/pdp/Surface-Studio/productID.5074015900

I just finished moving my main machine which is a PC - there are two monitors, an external drive, an external sound card/midi interface, a network connection (for another bunch of stuff including LAN for two printers and so on, an extended usb cable for tethered shooting, a couple of dongles and a few loose usb cables so I don't have to scrabble around behind it to occasionally connect things like the film scanner, my phone, IPad, legacy drives and so on. Next I need to connect a camera and mic for Skype. Fifteen separate items are connected to the mains power.

I used to maintain telephone exchanges - handy for cable management!

A few years ago, I built my own shoe-boxed-sized Windows PC. I'm not a natural at DIY and didn't much enjoy the experience, but I got what my research told me I needed. And so far, I've had a machine that can take anything Photoshop et al can throw at it and which is fully expandable too. Colour management, printing, backups and so on - it's all fine. I think I'll be doing the same again when I need a new workhorse, albeit reluctantly. Apple seem happiest these days posturing with sheikhs and oligarchs. So many Apple users tinkering with older machines sound like mountain men stocking up and reinforcing their log cabin as the weather turns down - winter is coming!

Sometimes people continue relationships far beyond the point at which they start bringing more misery than joy, based on memories of what used to be, and what they hope will come back.

I had a 605. It was good. It was the last Apple I owned.

Cut the ties, buy a PC.

Have you read this blog post from a former employee? Sums it up nice:


The Apple computer you're looking for is called a "PC". It uses an Apple operating system called "Windows".

Apple is rapidly being known more for the things it removes over the things it innovates.

I prefer to work with a desktop computer so last year I bought a 27" iMac. I also had to buy a device to use CD/DVDs. And a USB hub. If I had not already owned one, I would have also needed a card reader. I really like the Macs I've owned over all the previous Windows-based computers I've owned but, c'mon....

When my iMac 2011 27" started to go I built a Hackintosh as I was not content with the Apple offerings. The new Mac Pro had been released if it was the same form as the previous one then the base model would have been ordered. There are things I was never happy about with the iMac, the inability to have easily added hard drives, add cards to take advantage of new interfaces, upgrade the CPU and GPU if needed further down the road and mostly the Screen being glued to the PC. It is the last one that makes me laugh about the idea that they are being green as possible. So following a buying guide my machine is running OsX with the main photo library, movie library and music etc internal, 3 SSD drives for OS and programs, a recovery clone of the OS drive and a Lightroom library drive, max ram and so on. The box might be a boring black box compared to the shiny shiny sleek looking Apple boxes but I have 6 cables hanging off the back; 2 monitors, Keyboard, Card reader, USB to Spdif box, before I had 1 less screen but multiple hard drives the back was a mess. For what it would have cost to get a similar spec iMac I was able to add a 4 bay network storage device with change left over. If they released a reasonable i7 box with 4 or 5 drive bays and upgradable ram etc I would buy it. The box has been just as stable as any working mac I have had and Im not gentle on it.

Hi Mike - I think a lot of Mac owners feel your pain. Timmy has promised that "Great desktops" are on the way so one option would be to wait and see what's coming down the line. Something else to consider if you need something now would be to buy a used Mac Pro (3,1 to 5,1) which are going for a song these days. Unless you're doing heavy duty video editing one of these circa 2008 - 2010 systems will be more than enough and buy you some time to consider your options and see what Apple offers in the coming year. I checked Craiglist and there's a Mac Pro 3,1 listed for $400 - add an SSD and you're good to go (https://fingerlakes.craigslist.org/sys/5903775894.html). Just a thought. Enjoy your blog a lot - all the best.

Apple removes New York Times app in China
Company says it will not offer news site in app store because it has been told by Beijing it is in ‘violation of local regulations’

(From The Guardian)

My late 2010 Mac Pro is running smoothly although I need to replace all my back up drives.

I do see a day of reckoning in the future, however. I really hope that apple sees fit to revamp the "pro" line and bring it back to something like the tower configuration.

Your suggestion is also a good one I think. Pro models to fit the needs of different pros.

Give me some pricing tiers with video and processor choices and the ability to expand the internal storage with multiple drives and I remain a happy and loyal Mac guy.

I was going to make a comment along the lines of "If you want to have it your way, you want a PC" but that seems to be the consensus from the comments already. And I seem to have made the comment anyway.

[I absolutely don't want a PC. If I weren't happy with my car-buying choices, would you suggest a bike? I don't want a bike. I want an Apple. :-) --Mike]

I should mention that if you walk into any graphic design studio you will only see iMacs. This is true of almost any business (commercial art galleries for example) or organization that likes/runs Macs.

I have no doubt that the main reason this is so is the built-in monitor. For those making the purchase decisions, the ability to buy an all-in-one makes their lives a lot easier. It doesn't hurt that the iMac has become powerful enough to suit the needs of the vast majority of users.

Although there is a vocal group out there who want something different from apple, I wonder how big it actually is.

Mike wrote, "I Just Need It For Work."

But what do you mean by "work?" Your statement of need should say what you want it to do. What software must it run? How big are the files you will be working with? Do you need local backup? Does it need to be portable? Performance specs.

Physical specs can/should be limited to the monitor(s) and things you touch like keyboard, mouse, trackpad, touchscreen and stylus. And of course it has to fit into your workspace.

Above all, for someone who uses it to make a living, it must be reliable, repairable and functionally replaceable (in an emergency) by something you have on hand such as your old computer.

Personally I gave up on numerous small wrong things with mac os x and a lack of Mac computers with functionality I want from them. I just switched back to PC for photo editing and some other duties. Despite of being off the shelf product from major pc company it is more than three times less expensive than comparable Apple laptop and twice less expensive than somewhat comparable Mini. It is proved to be a great move so far.

Ok, still using a 2010 Pro quad core, added 2T drive for Time Machine, 12 Gig of RAM, and it works like a champ. Take the side cover off every year or two and blow off dust and keep going. La Cie 27inch monitor same age. You might try getting a geek to build up a good Mac for you and never have to worry about it again.

Steve Jobs gave us what we didn't even know we wanted. Tim Cook on the other hand...

A whole new set of subjects to write about if you switch over to the new creative computer company... Microsoft. Subjects include how to manage change and all that entails followed by tidbits of surprise for the things that are better.

Another vote for going Hackintosh. At this point, its the only way to get a high-performance desktop Mac, as the Mac Pro is so far out of date it isn't worth using, and the iMac has too many laptop parts, and no way to do internal upgrades.

I feel your pain. I have had Apple computers since the mid 80's as well as iPhones, iPads, etc.. One of my kids, having been weaned from toddlerhood on Apple computers, ended up working for them. I also have an NEC monitor which is now running off of a mid-2011 Mac Mini which I have upgraded to 16 GB of RAM and an SSD. By the way, it does everything I want it to do without any issues including PS work. I am writing this on a mid-2013 13 inch MBA. I am not going to be replacing either of these computers any time soon.

They do seem to be abandoning the "Non-professional but high level enthusiast" portion of their desktop market, which I agree is a mistake. With the proliferation of GoPro cameras, drones, and high megapixel cameras there are lots of folks out there doing video and photo editing at home or in small businesses who need some configuration flexibility but don't have the $$ for a Mac Pro. The dongle thing with the new MBP reminds me of the old Henry Ford adage for Model T where the customer could have "any color they want as long as it is black".

As a die hard Apple enthusiast, I think the even more concerning thing is that since the death of Steve Jobs they haven't introduced a single new product reflecting disruptive innovation (the iWatch was already in the pipeline), but rather continue to produce iterative versions of their existing (admittedly very good) products. Like the IBM of mainframe yore, they will soon be ripe for disruption by another technology from another company (a la work of Clayton Christensen--1995). Nothing holds the market nor the fashion world forever.

Mike, Apple follows it's gurus take on the world and praticality takes a back seat to appearance. Sir Jonathan Ive and company are designers first and have taken Apple into the fashion house, complete with "runway" type product announcements, scripted videos and a backstage courtyard of celebrities. Apple now seems more interested in a "look at me, I'm so cool...and expensive too" approach. What irks me the most is that Apple builds most of it's products in Asian mega-factories at pennies on the dollar.
The New Yorker has an article on Mr. Ive worth reading. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/02/23/shape-things-come

I absolutely don't want a PC. If I weren't happy with my car-buying choices, would you suggest a bike? I don't want a bike. I want an Apple. :-)

Ah, the power of addiction. Jobs isn't spinning in his grave, he's smiling from it. :-)

I'm afraid your analogy doesn't work. A Windows PC is just as capable (actually more, but let that slide for the moment) a computational system as an Apple machine. Bicycles are unable to haul four or more passengers plus cargo, but cars are. Invalid comparison.

[But the fact is, I don't want a PC. All my other devices are Apple. My computer has to speak Apple. All my software works on Macs. Everything I'm used to is the way Macs work. I've been using Macs at home and at work since 1984. That's 33 years. I absolutely have no interest in switching to PCs. Period. End of sentence--that kind of period. You're going to have to take my word for this, Sal! :-) --Mike]

Mike, I am an Apple User since the Mac+. (A good intro line for Mac Users Anonymous!) I can't say I have liked everything i've had to put up with, but consider them infinitely better than PC's (tried one at work, got rid of it quickly). Windows is a replica of Mac OS, a little more cumbersome to me, but basically a copy of the graphical user interface invented at Xerox and developed for mortals at Apple. Apple is focused on the mainstream - thats where the big profits are. Like Kodak (used to be) they offer products for the point-n-shoot iPhone/iPad millenials who turn things over every couple years. Why offer computers with lots of ports, dvd drives, etc? Everything can be obtained/stored in the Cloud! Even Adobe, the professional photo software is Cloud-based! Get with the Times, don't rain on Apples Parade! Buy a Mac Pro if you want a professional computer - that's why they named it that! I wonder how many Mac Pros are sold at the exorbitant prices they demand. We had one in the lab where I worked to run programs a super computer would previously have been necessary. Looking at the Apple refurbished site the Pros presently all date from 2013. Have they sold any new since then? The gap between a basically competent computer, like the 21 inch 2012 iMac I'm writing this on and the Pro is huge. I think Apple is on the same road as Kodak. They have a Pro model that is beyond the reach of a lot of professionals and most serious enthusiasts, while offering what they perceive as good enough (read "profitable") for the masses. Face it, Tim Cook is a song-n-dance "suit", not an innovator, certainly not a visionary unless you are talking corporate profit and stock share price. My only question is what is the best powered multi-port hub to buy?

One major problem with switching to a PC from a Mac, or even to a Mac from a PC, is that all of the software one has come to reply on, and become familiar with, now has to be replaced. That can be a very high cost in addition to the initial costs of switching hardware, assuming that replacements are even available. For me, I'll keep buying used Macs from OWC as long as I can...

You know, there are other companies that make computers that aren't Apple. They run Lightroom, Photoshop, and other applications very well, and are available in a variety of form factors.

You took a bite of the apple, now you have to suffer for it.


This has been an Apple thing from the very beginning. Remember the Apple II. No mass storage. No monitor. And all for the low price of $999.99.

That first Apple II made me a CP/M, then DOS, then Windows user forever.

Remember the Osborne Executive?

I am in both camps. My mobile world is iPhone, iPad and MacAir. My main workstation is a custom built (more than 7 years ago) Windows workstation and am surprised that I have no current need to upgrade or replace any time soon (for performance reasons).

I am interested to know what software that you find essential in the Mac world which is not available on Windows. (Yes really curious).

I have no issues with interoperability between my iphone, ipad and MacAir.

I recently wanted to buy a MacMini for use as a music server to a high end Audio system in my living room. I was horrified to discover that I would not be able to upgrade any components later. A serious black mark against Apple in my view.

I am seriously sympathetic to Mike's dilemma, but I would not reward Apple for this behaviour by compromising on your basic needs.

Personally, I plan to solve my current requirement with a non-apple solution and would be seriously suprised if I will purchase an Apple replacement for my MacAir when that comes due for replacement.

All these people saying get a PC. Only one commenter discussed the issue of PCs constant upgrading and needing to reboot, even in the middle of a job. I have used PCs extensively and they stink, constantly a hassle.
Apple owns an operating system that may of us rely on, I feel it is, what's the word, their responsibility? to deliver a viable computing environment.

I consider myself a practical guy who wouldn’t pay $200 for a pair of jeans when there was a Macy’s store selling Levis in the same block. However, the successes of Apple as a fashion accessory seem to be creeping into PC territory.
For the past five years, my primary computer has been a mid range Toshiba laptop, which I hooked to a 21” NEC monitor when I wanted to fiddle with my photos. However, recent issues caused me to go shopping.

I looked at the HP Spectre (“Power never looked so thin. This is design and technology taken to a whole new level. Artisan materials and striking craftsmanship create an experience unlike anything else.”).
The Dell Inspirion XPS 13 (The world’s smallest 13” laptop with the world’s first virtually borderless InfinityEdge display—amazing both inside and out.”
To paraphrase Billy Crystal as his Fernando character, “It is better to look good than to perform well”.
I was turned off by the marketing of the Microsoft Surface Book (“lighter than the Macbook Pro!”, “higher resolution than the Macbook Pro!”), but the tablet feature intrigued me, so I took a look. The first thing I noticed was an SD Card slot (a plus for me), so I plugged in a card, and sure enough, it is a beautiful display. I bought it on the spot. This display is so nice, I haven’t even plugged my monitor in to do a side by side.
There are annoyances with Microsoft in general, and with the device specifically, but overall, this is a solid machine.
I only wish they stood on their own two feet, and extolled the virtues of their product without having to clone the appearance of a Macbook, and use Macbook comparisons to sell themselves.

On a completely side note, I recently sat down with a beautifully illustrated copy of Moby Dick, but couldn't finish it. However, I did walk away with a quote worth repeating-
“Better to sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunk Christian.”

Words to live by.

It feels to me like the market is rigged. Apple becomes less of a proposition with each generation (glad I bought the latest available MacBook Pro the day after a certain notorious referendum). Windows 10 feels unfinished. Then there's Linux (an OS I love and use every day, for engineering tasks), with no MS Office, no Adobe (no professional imaging software I can think of?) and a bunch of sad GIMPs.

Listen: I know you're averse to doing it, but a Hackintosh could be a good solution for you. If you can load film in a Leica, you can put together a PC. (Aside: using a medium format camera with interchangeable backs is filled with more gotchas than current desktop computer building).

https://www.tonymacx86.com/buyersguide/december/2016#CustoMac_Mini_Deluxe lists all the parts you need (note you only need one from each category) with amazon links. The same site has install guides: https://www.tonymacx86.com/threads/unibeast-install-macos-sierra-on-any-supported-intel-based-pc.200564/ that, if you build a PC from their lists, will work flawlessly. There are some options; you can go up in spec by scrolling down the page, all the way to the 'customac pro'. It's a decent solution.

New OWC/DEC MacBook Pro Expansion Dock shown at CES 2017:


BruceK wrote, "One major problem with switching to a PC from a Mac, or even to a Mac from a PC, is that all of the software one has come to reply on, and become familiar with, now has to be replaced."

The major (big ticket) software products I use -- Adobe Creative Cloud and Office 365 -- are subscription based so if you choose this method of payment changing operating systems is not a factor. A Capture One license is good for two computers so may also not be a factor.

This is clearly a strategic decision by Apple. Desktop boxes were commoditized many years ago. I don't have the reference handy, but the average net profit on the sale of a desktop PC is under $20. Seems like a reasonable move to get out of that market.

We've been using all-in-ones (iMacs) in our design firm for many years. Our needs are well beyond what most photographers require. In our experience the iMacs have been excellent; plenty powerful and extremely reliable, with a roughly 5-year lifespan and very few hardware failures. If you're wanting to stay in the Apple ecosystem, you might be better off selling your existing hardware and moving to a 5K iMac.

I've never understood the love of Apple products. All of my interactions have been horrible.

Perhaps the capstone was trying to generate some simple slides for a presentation using an original Mac, and not being able to figure out how to do anything in the stupid paint program. And there not being any documentation. I ended up doing those graphics in a command-line graphics program instead, which I could figure out, because there was documentation. (Apple was actively advertising their lack of documentation at the time.)

I had had a series of bad experiences trying to do something simple with a friend on a Apple IIc before that; sending text to a printer. So far as we and the documentation could tell, wasn't possible. Trivial on a CP/M system at the time, and DOS, and Windows.

At one job the designers all had Macs and the programmers had PCs, and we got to watch how much more trouble they had (with computers that cost twice as much to begin with), how bad the Internet performance was, and so forth. Plus problems with interoperability of software when we collaborated on work.

Not the biggest fan of Windows, but it's a relatively open system (I've been running native Emacs for decades and a full Linux utility set almost as long with Cygwin) that gets the job done. Basically the Adobe software bundle is what keeps me locked there, I might be running Linux or something otherwise, but the big-bucks desktop tools don't live there. I can deal with it, and don't have to spend the hours complaining about not being able to get the hardware setup I want (or software setup) that my Apple-using friends routinely spend.

All my Apple-using friends seem to be long-time users who can't conceive of anything else; no recent adopters. Makes some sense to me, established habits are hard to break.

Apple vs PC. Seems much like Dems vs Republicans. Neither side can understand why the other thinks their version is better. The only thing I can figure is that once a person picks a side, it is very hard to make a switch or even comprehend what the other side is saying.

I am guilty as charged. I read where someone has used PCs all their life and they tried a Mac and found it to be almost useless. A few years ago I had a job where I had to teach new users how to operate computers. Mostly application based classes, Word, Excel, Access, Photoshop etc…… I had to teach in two labs, one a PC lab and one a Mac lab. My experience was the Windows based PCs were much more prone to problems, both hardware and software / OS issues. It took 80% more tech staff time troubleshooting PC/Windows problems that it took for issues with Macs. This is just the opposite of what David Dyer-Bennet found to be the case in his experience. How is this possible. Only explanation I can come up with is once we are biased to one side of an issue, it is hard to change.

I run OS X and Windows (via Parallels) all day long all from a measly 13" 2.6 GHz i5 with "only" 8 GB of ram and a 500 GB SSD, with two external monitors (either a 30 in Dell and a 27in Asus at home) or two 24" Eizo's at work. I back everything up to a "pokey" 3gb USB 3.0 bus powered spinning HD that is partitioned for my two laptops and a photo disk, that is so small that I could lose it if I had a paperback novel around.

It's pretty rare for me to see a spinning ball and my fan's are almost never noticeable except when my 3D "MovingPhotos3D" screen save an admitted indulgence.

Frankly just like in the world of cameras most Macs are "good enough" to get the job done we just think we need more.

I also have 2011 (? too lazy to go look) 15in MBP with an 2.5 Ghz i7 and 16 GB and a screaming fast aftermarket 1TB SSD. This has my all time favorite Hi Rez matte screen option. I use this for occasional film editing, web work and software testing - this is my play machine, but could be a work horse for most people. I just like toting the 13 in more to and from home and work and on the road tucked in with a nice Sony A6000.

Lastly ignore the siren song of Windows and the world of hardware choice it involves. My impression is you just "want it to work" which is still something that is much more likely to be true on OS X over time than it is on Windows, though that situation keeps on improving.

New Mac desktops are coming, whether these are paper thin iMacs that everyone will either love or hate without ever having used one, or a new screen-less Pro model that has more horsepower than you need or want to pay for... and maybe a new mini that is Goldilocks good for you.

"Can't I get a medium-sized box (maybe the same size as the old Quadra 605 of sainted memory), with user-replaceable memory and space for more than one user-replaceable hard drive?"

Yes. It is called a PC. You can get them in any size, colour, form factor and combination of components to match your exact needs. And it will be very substantially cheaper than a Mac.

I hear you, and I can't say that I disagree in the broad terms, but the fact is that Apple hasn't made that computer in many, many years. Even the 4-core minis in 2012 had nothing but integrated graphics (the mini hasn't had a discrete GPU since the Intel switch over a decade ago). The "cheese-grater" Mac Pros were never designed to be "mass-market" machines, and I can't see Apple going back to anything like it. Even when it existed, there were calls for the "xMac" or "Mythical Mid-range Mac", much like what you're looking for. Will it happen this time? I doubt it, but we can hope - it would be interesting.

Much of Apple's issue right now comes down to Intel repeatedly missing ship dates. Apple decides to skip one generation due to very late shipment and wait for the generation following, only for that one to slip way behind, as well, and you end up with a Mac Pro that hasn't been updated in 3 years (doing something about the graphics cards would seem to have been more than justified, though).

I honestly think the Apple community is needlessly working itself into a lather over things that are, in the main, out of Apple's hands. Apple is not going to go back on the choice to make each generation thinner and lighter, but beyond that, it's all down to Intel. No support for more than 16GB of RAM in the most power-efficient chipset? Intel. No iMac update in 2016? Intel didn't ship the Skylake versions of the chips in the iMac until the very end of the year (and they're barely an upgrade, according to early reviews). I've already mentioned Intel's responsibility for at last part of the Mac Pro situation. Intel is busy trying to cushion their own landing as the PC market shrinks every quarter, putting more resources into products meant for the data center and less into consumer-facing products. The entire PC industry is basically in "maintenance mode", adding small things on the margins, raising prices on the better models, and trying to transition to earning more per unit (which Apple has already covered).

The new MacBook Pros, regardless of how you feel about the Touch Bar (the jury is still very much out, though not many miss the function keys it replaced), are beautiful machines. The 13" has a significantly smaller footprint, and weighs less, than the 13" MacBook Air, but is much more powerful and has a phenomenal display. While there have been odd battery life issues, some were helped by the latest OS update, and I'm sure other improvements will come in the future.

While there are certainly small groups of users that are having difficulty with the current lineup, they are great machines for the vast majority of users. While you may feel like you need four cores, the incremental improvements that Intel has made with each generation mean that current 2-core chips are almost as fast as 4-cores from not that long ago. I thought I needed 16GB of RAM, but I'm finding that 8GB is actually fine, especially with the blazingly-fast flash storage Apple is using (2+ GB/s reads, 1.5 GB/s writes).

Some complain about the move to Thunderbolt 3, but that always happens when things move to higher-performance standards (remember how much everybody was going to miss FireWire?). While there is short-term pain in needing adapters, in the long run, Thunderbolt 3/USB-C is a great standard that eliminates virtually all of the 20-year headache of the USB-A connector while giving massive performance and flexibility (particularly via Thunderbolt 3 - that port can do pretty much anything). Also, to be clear, it's the MacBook (no Pro) that only has one USB-C port - the Pros have either 2 or 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Personally, I'm moving from a 2014 5k iMac to a 13" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, and so far, I couldn't be happier. That iMac is a BEAST, but I've never felt any affection for it like I have with many past Macs (even smaller iMacs).

In your case, I would wait a bit for the iMac revision and take a hard look at the 4k 21.5" - you can get it with quad-core i5 or i7, up to 16GB of RAM and 512GB of flash storage (which may or may not change in the new models). Use the 4k screen for productivity, keep your current monitor for color-critical work. Fully-loaded, that configuration is currently $2299, and can sometimes be had at a savings as a refurb for a few hundred less (the update will probably feature a slightly higher clock speed and Thunderbolt 3, so the current model may be a better bet for your current needs).

It's depressing. I am pretty much ready to buy a new Mac, but it makes a lot more sense to just put another hard-drive (this time an SSD) into my 2010 Power-Mac (this will make 5 in there) and be able to boot either that with the latest OS or an older drive with 10.6.8.

Mr. Cook may be calling you for some advice ...

Apple CEO Cook’s 2016 Pay Lower as Tech Giant Misses Targets

Executives miss out on part of cash incentives as annual sales, operating profit fall short of goals


Sorry to needle you, but as a PC user always, I no longer feel Mac envy. Win 10 64 bit is good. Things just work. It's stable. There's a mass of software, you can change anything you like, the hardware is dirt cheap. I build my own PC the way I want it and choose any monitor, currently an Acer 27" 4K on Display Port.

Try this: http://www.redsharknews.com/post/item/3918-is-it-finally-time-to-move-on-from-the-mac

Maybe it's time to switch, Mike. It's not hard.

For the new Macbook pro's a much need add


very well thought out..

I have had my own PCs and laptops built the way I want and powered by Linux for many years. I'm an old fart not wanting to pay for an OS which is copying the best of the open ones anyway. Photography? The GIMP is great and free. True too for most of the other software needed to work.

Here is maybe a new computer for you to consider

I'd go with Puget Systems, they'd build pretty much anything you want, powerful and quiet.
And if thought of using W-system is absolutely unbearable - you could install ELementary OS on it.

Mac mini > The Mac > Mac Pro

That would be nice!

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