Happy iPhone 14 Pre-Order Day to all who celebrate it. Good luck with your pre-orders and I hope that you get the model and color you are looking for!
This year, I plan on ordering the iPhone 14 Pro Max with 256GB of storage in the Silver finish. I also will be ordering the Forest Green leather case.
iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro pre-orders begin at 8:00am Eastern, 5:00am Pacific. Sales begin next Friday, 9/16.
This year’s iPhone pre-orders are off to a rough start this morning. While trying to place our pre-orders, my Dad and I both experienced trouble with the Apple.com website and the Apple Store iOS app. For starters, the Apple Store didn’t update until about 8:10am for us. Then, once the store finally did open, there were problems trying to process the pre-orders. By 8:12am, my local Apple Store was offering pickups at 10:30am, having slipped from 8:00am to 10:30am in just a few minutes of pre-orders starting. Once the online Apple Store iOS app started working again, it took multiple attempts to process my order with my Apple Card that was pre-authorized on Wednesday.
All-in-all, I was able to get my pre-order placed for the iPhone configuration that I want, but at the cost of my annual 8:00am “launch party” at my local Apple Store. I’m a little miffed that I’m not getting my iPhone when the store opens, but at least I’m getting my iPhone on launch day! Even if it is at 1:30pm.
On the way back home, I stopped over to see my Dad and try to help him get his iPhone 14 pre-order setup. By 2:30pm, all of the website and credit card processing issues were fixed, but his iPhone will be shipping to the house by October 17. Not exactly what we were hoping for.
Earlier today, I was skimming the space news in the Apple News app for macOS. Most of the time, I read Apple News on my iPhone 13 Pro Max.
While reading a USA Today article about the James Web Space Telescope (JWST), I decided that the text was uncomfortably small, and I wanted to make the printer easier to read.
But I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Unlike the iPhone version of Apple News, on macOS, the font control appeared to be missing.
Let’s take a look at Apple News on iPhone.
As you can see in the screen captures above, the iPhone version of Apple News has a prominent double A icon in the article header (on the left) that allows you to control the font size (on the right). Tap the larger capital A and the font gets larger. The smaller capital A decreases the font size.
Now, let’s take a look at Apple News on macOS.
Look at all that open space in the the window and toolbar controls region!
The important thing to note here is that the macOS version of Apple News is essentially the same version of Apple News that runs on the iPad. This is due to a behind-the-scenes technology called Mac Catalyst. In short, Mac Catalyst apps are a quick way for developers to release their iPad OS apps for Macs that have either an Apple Silicon M1 or M2 CPU in them.
Here’s the same article as it appears in Apple News on iPad.
Looking at the controls region at the top of the screen, again, there is a lot of open space! Knowing that the iPad has the font control clearly visible in the article header makes the lack of a double A font control on the Mac even more frustrating. As an Apple One subscriber and Apple customer, I felt like I was doing something wrong.
It took me an embarrassingly long time to find the answer: Use the Command and Plus or Minus keyboard shortcuts!
Option 1: Use the keyboard
To use keyboard zoom control shortcut, hold down the Command key (on either side of the space bar) and then press the Plus key or the Minus key on your keyboard to enlarge or shrink the print size.
This keyboard shortcut has been around for a long time in macOS and Windows web browsers. When in the browser, this is a muscle memory reaction to make things readable. I use this shortcut on NYTimes.com all the time.
Option 2: Use the Menu Bar
If you have a hard time remembering keyboard shortcuts, there is an alternative – the View menu. It’s easy to forget about the macOS menu bar if you use iOS and iPadOS devices all the time. Outside of the Apple News app window, use the View > Zoom In or Zoom Out commands to increase or decrease the font size in the Mac Menu Bar all the way at the top of the Mac screen.
If you want to revert back to the article’s default text size, you can either use the Command + Shift + 0 keyboard shortcut or the View > Actual Size menu command.
I get it, application and OS platform maintenance is hard. Apple is trying to upgrade developer tools, manage macOS, iOS, and iPadOS on annual scheduled with new features, and, I hope, keep application feature parity. That’s supposed to be the whole point of Catalyst. Write one app and easily package it to run on iPad and the Mac. My small font control gripe shows how there are still holes in Apple’s plan. If Apple can’t, or won’t, keep application parity, how are customers supposed to stay on top of the differences between the same Apple application on different Apple platforms?
And that is the real problem. Customers should never feel that they are doing it wrong.
After buying a replacement Apple //e earlier this year, I wanted to find and Apple Disk II Controller Card and at least one Disk II 5.25″ floppy drive.
It took me a while to find a reasonably priced used Apple Disk II controller card and Disk II floppy drive on eBay. The card and drive needed a good cleaning before I tried to use them. While there was dust in the floppy drive, the read/write head was still remarkably clean. The card had a bent pin 1 on the drive 1 connector. I carefully bent it back into position. I used 70% Isopropyl Alcohol to clean the card and some DeoxIT D5 in the Apple //e’s expansion slot to ensure a good contact between the card and the computer.
One thing that I did learn was that I was unable to have both a Disk II controller card and the newer Apple I/O controller card, for use with the Apple DuoDrive, in the same machine. To get my Apple //e to boot from the Disk II controller card, I had to remove the Apple I/O controller card before the computer would boot properly. While you apparently can’t mix and match these two types of 5.25″ Apple controller cards, you can have two Disk II or two Apple I/O controller cards installed at the same time. Just not one of each. In my experience using the //e back in the mid-1980s, you either had two Disk II drives or a single DuoDisk drive. You never mixed the two systems.
Disk II History
The Disk II system for the Apple II, II+ and the //e offered users improved data transfer rates over cassette tape-based storage systems and allowed for the direct access of a file by name, according to the 1982 version of the Disk II Installation manual.
According to the Disk II article posted on Apple2History.og, Apple CEO Mike Markkula wanted a faster way to load programs on his Apple II. Steve Wozniak set out on the task of creating a custom disk drive controller board. Steve Jobs brokered a deal with Shugart Associates to sell Apple stripped down versions of the SA-400 disk mechanism.
The Disk II Floppy Disk System, consisting of a Disk II controller card and a Disk II floppy drive, was made available for pre-order at a cost of $495 in June of 1978. Once Apple started shipping the Disk II, the price increased to $595.
A single Disk II controller card was able to drive up to two floppy drives. The drives received power from the controller card which is plugged into an expansion slot on an Apple II-series motherboard.
Early versions of the Disk II system were able to store up to 113.75 KB when using Apple DOS 3.2.1 and earlier. With Apple DOS 3.3, the version of DOS that I use with my Apple //e computers, Disk II was able to write 140 KB disks. Apple provided a 13 to 16-sector conversion utility to upgrade disks for use with newer versions of Apple DOS.
This Public Service Announcement (PSA) deals with early generation iPod music players. If you own a first generation iPod with Scroll Wheel (2001), a second generation iPod with Touch Wheel (2002), or third generation iPod with Dock Connector (2003), you need the FireWire charging brick and a FireWire to Dock Connector cable or the FireWire/USB-A to Dock Connector dual-headed cable. The combo cable was pretty crazy: You connect the FireWire end into the charge brick and the USB-A end into your Mac or Windows PC so you could sync and charge your iPod at the same time.
When Apple announced that they were retiring the last iPod, the 7th Generation iPod touch from their product line up, like many of you, I pulled out my old “Classic” and “Touch” iPods to take a stroll down Memory Lane.
In my May 11 iPod look back, I was trying to charge my third-generation iPod with Dock Connector, I was doing so from an Apple USB-A charging brick. It wasn’t until I pulled out my FireWire charger and cables was I able to wake up my oldest iPod from it’s slumber.
My new Mac Studio is here and I am setting it up with a Dell UltraSharp display while I am still waiting for the matching Studio Display to arrive. I’m also thinking about what I can use my iMac for as it’s second act. Maybe it will get setup in one of the kid’s rooms when they go back to school in the fall.
With an update or two, my iMac still has a bit of life left in it if you don’t mind the discoloration around the edges of the display. Steve published a video published on his Mac84 YouTube channel back in March about using and older second hand Mac and running it as your main computer. In short, for not a lot of downsides, you can run an older computer and save a ton of money if you aren’t the kind of person who needs the latest and greatest. Steve was providing a counter-argument to Karen Haslam’s MacWorld UK piece titled Why you shouldn’t buy a second hand Mac.
Earlier this year, I adopted a used 2011 Mac mini that I purchased from Free Geek Twin Cities. With shipping and some extra RAM, the who thing cost me about $200. So why would I buy an 11-year old Mac that can only run macOS High Sierra (v10.13.6) and spend money on new RAM? Well, I didn’t have one in my collection yet, but that’s not really a good reason.
No, I decided to by a used Mac mini because I wanted a Mac that I could use a home server of sorts. New Apple Silicon Mac minis are too expensive. So are other used recent models (2014 – 2018). Originally, the starting price for the 2011 Mac mini was $599, according to the July 20, 2011 press release. I just wanted a machine that I could hang an hold hard drive off the back of serve out files and host a local copy of media files of old TV shows that I had on DVD in the Apple TV app on my iPad Pro. I also turned on the content caching feature to try to help out on software update days when I have to download OS updates and then install it on multiple devices in the house.
My Mac mini runs really well and just sits quietly in the background until I need it. I did notice that occasionally it would drop off the network. I run this Mac without a keyboard or mouse, I access it over the network using Edovia Screens, which is one way I that I find that it’s off the network. That problem was easily fixed by using the Energy Saver control panel to schedule a daily reboot at 2:00am – a time that no one in the house would be using it. If you want more flexibility about when things happen on your Mac, and you don’t mind using the Terminal app’s Unix command line interface (CLU), can use the launcherd service (crontab on other Unix or Linux systems) to write and schedule all sorts of tasks to fit your needs. For me, I was happy with the Energy Saver control panel. (I used to manage production Linux database servers at work. While I can write shell scripts and schedule them with crontab, I just dont’ want the extra hassle on my home machines.)
So, where does this leave us? Speaking personally, I’m happy with my adopted Mac mini. It’s small and easily lives inside my downstairs entertainment center along with an old Blue-ray player, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii. It does what I need it to do, and it’s service life was extended meaning that it won’t end up in a landfill anytime soon.
If you are looking for an inexpensive option for a computer for home use needs like surfing the web, sending email, and productivity documents, a used or refurbished machine is a great way to go.
Many computers have a long service life after they are no longer manufactured. Re-using old computers and gadgets is good for your wallet, helps the planet, and saves you money. That sounds like a good deal to me.
With a loving tribute to the iPod touch, Apple gives their handheld music player line of products a well-deserved send off. In the Update posted to the Apple Newsroom page, Greg Joswiak is quoted as saying:
“Music has always been part of our core at Apple, and bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impacted more than just the music industry — it also redefined how music is discovered, listened to, and shared,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Today, the spirit of iPod lives on. We’ve integrated an incredible music experience across all of our products, from the iPhone to the Apple Watch to HomePod mini, and across Mac, iPad, and Apple TV. And Apple Music delivers industry-leading sound quality with support for spatial audio — there’s no better way to enjoy, discover, and experience music.”
Apple’s iPod line ran from October 2001 until May 2022. In the fall of 2007, Apple released an all screen iPod touch based on the iPhone that was released just three months earlier.
When the original iPod was released, I was using a Diamond Rio PMP300. Back then, I was still using a Mac part time, but the focus of my work was moving quickly toward Windows 2000 and Windows 2000 Server. Having an MP3 player that could plug into a parallel port seemed like an advantage. The Rio may have been cheap, but the 2001 Mac-only iPod was a much more elegant product.
Over the years, I had purchased several iPods, starting with 2003’s third-generation white iPod. I loved that thing. I took it everywhere with me. A couple of years later, my fifth generation (2005) white iPod with color screen and H.264 video play back, took over riding shotgun with my Palm Treo.
It was 2007’s iPod touch – released just a few months after the original iPhone – that was a game changer. The first iPod touch brought the paradigm shifting awesomeness of iPhone to those of us who were not on AT&T/Cingular or simply wanted the iPhone without the phone. That fall, I packed my young family into the car, drove an hour away to the nearest Apple Store at the time, and bought one. As a consolation prize, my wife and I took the kids to the Rainforest Cafe that was in the same mall.
The iPod touch and a 2006 while MacBook running an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, were the two devices that switched me back to being a Mac first home user. (I still have to use a Windows PC at work.)
I loved and used my iPod touch all the way up to the fall of 2011 when I was able to finally purchase an iPhone 4S on Sprint (now merged with T-Mobile).
My girls, now iPhone Pro users themselves, both received various iPods over the years, but it was their iPod touch models that were used the most.
For me, these was something exciting about being always able to have your favorite music, movies, TV shows, and games with you all the time. If I could find a free Wi-Fi hotspot, being able to jump on the “real” Internet with Safari and check email with Apple Mail was just so much nicer that using Palm’s Blazer web browser and email client on my Treo.
I’m glad that the iPod touch line ran for as long as it did. Today, in my opinion, the base iPad model takes over for the iPod touch with a much larger screen and a rich feature set. On hearing yesterday’s news that iPod touch was being discontinued, I almost insta-bought one of the 32GB blue and white iPod touch models. I wanted to add it to my iOS museum right next to my original first generation iPod touch. I still might.
While it is nice to take this moment and think about iPod touch, and what the iPod line meant to me, I love my iPhone 13 Pro Max. It can do everything that the iPod touch could so and so much more. I will always have fond memories of the iPods that I used – just like I do for my Apple //e and Macintosh SE, but in the world of personal gadgets, we are always looking forward to the next great thing that will put a dent in the universe.
The iPod touch seventh generation will be the final product in the iPod line. You can still buy one, starting at 32GB for $199, from Apple and authorized resellers while supplies last.
I’m still more than a little sore that Apple cancelled the 27-inch iMac rather than have it make the jump from Intel to M1 CPU. I really don’t like that I am going to be spending more than double of what I paid for my iMac. My 2015 iMac has been a great machine and I really love it. My M1-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro is also a fantastic machine and I was really looking forward to working on a large screened M1 iMac.
By all accounts, the Mac Studio is going to be a great machine when it arrives in July. (My Studio Display arrives a few weeks earlier in late June.) The configuration I ordered is the base model M1 Max CPU with 10 CPU cores, 24 GPU cores, and 16 ANE cores. I bumped the RAM up to 64GB and the SSD up to 2GB.
That’s a lot of machine. I can comfortably fit all of my stuff on a 2TB SSD because I’m doing it now on a 2TB Fusion Drive. With Mac Studio, I am doubling my RAM at 64GB from the 32GB on my iMac. It’s a $400 option, but I like to run Windows and Linux virtual machines and I think that 32GB is just too tight for all of the Mac software that I have running and have enough RAM left over to run one or two virtual machines. My main driver for the 64GB of RAM is the hope that Microsoft will offer a legally supported way to run Windows ARM on an M1 Mac.
I really don’t like having to spend the money on Mac Studio and Studio Display. Don’t get me wrong; it is a great machine, and I will enjoy using it for years to come. But I’m a simple IT guy. I won’t be writing a single line of code in Xcode. I’m not a graphic artist making incredible artistic pieces. I’m not composing music or creating breath-taking cinematography. I want to tinker around with virtual machines to play with operating systems and databases. I want to run emulators. To have a legal way to use Windows and Windows Server, Visio and Project. (Microsoft, that’s your cue! It’s time to release the retail SKU for Windows on ARM.) In other works, what I really want is that mythical Mac that sits between the M1 iMac and Mac mini and the Mac Studio.
Maybe, one day we will get there. The rumor mill suggests that the M2 Macs are on their way, possibly later this year. There’s also a larger screen iMac that is rumored for next year. But there will always be a new thing right around the corner.
What I want is a machine that has enough techie without making me feel bad about buying it. But I know that I’m going to love it. Starting in July.
As it just so happened to turn out, my career in the information technology field started today too. At 8:30am on April 1, 1996, I showed up to work, clutching an Apple PowerBook 100, not sure what to expect. Just like someone traveling down that country road Jobs spoke about on the back cover of the final issue of The Whole Earth Catalog.
In some small way, I’m glad that Apple and I can share this date. The Apple //e sparked my interest in computers and that interest grew into a satisfying career for my family and I.
A few weeks ago, I learned of a retro computing community event called #MARCHintosh. I decided to turn my Macintosh SE restoration project into a #MARCHintosh2022 video. I had been toying around with the idea of making a video – something that is outside of my comfort zone – and post it. You can watch in on YouTube now.
I think the hardest part about the restoration project was to get two working Sony 800k floppy disk drives. I needed to disassemble, clean, grease and lubricate the drives. Something that I have never done. If you are used to working inside a computer, you will be able to handle a floppy drive restoration project of your own. While I didn’t film any footage of my floppy restoration efforts, there are several good videos already on YouTube that do a much better job of explaining the entire process from start to finish.
Overall, I am very happy with how my Mac SE restoration project went. I chose to reconfigure my Mac SE as a two floppy drive model. It is unclear to me if my second-hand SE came from the factory as a two floppy model or as a FD/HD model that more common in the late 1980s. New hard disk replacement options, including the SCSI2SD bridge board allowed me to install the double high two floppy drive cage into my Mac while still being able to tuck the SD card to SCSI bridgeboard away inside the case giving me the best of both worlds: an unusual dual floppy Mac SE with a SCSI “hard disk”. I was happy to remote the third-party Microtech faceplate and MFM hard disk. It has been interesting to relive what it was like to use System 6.0.8 as an operating system. So much is the same, and yet, so much is different at the same time. This has been a fun and nostalgic project to have worked on.
I think by comparison, making the video was equally as challenging. Calling me an amateur YouTube video maker is a generous categorization of my skills. I am glad I made the video. I feel like each one is better than the last. Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes, but better use of the iPhone camera, microphones, lighting, and a good backdrop don’t hurt either. I’m sure that I will try making a few more shorter unboxing style videos and a follow up Apple //e video in the future.
Coming out of yesterday’s Peek Performance spring 2022 keynote, Apple has killed the 27-inch 5K iMac. The 27-inch 5K iMac is clearly a victim of the Apple Silicon CPU transition. None the less, I am angered by Apple’s decision to kill the very machine that I was hoping to buy this spring. I really like my 5K iMac. But my Late 2015 iMac, purchased in the spring of 2016, is starting to get a bit sluggish when I’m running virtual machines, or when I have a lot of apps open, and there is the discoloring around the edges of the screen that I can’t unsee.
I went into yesterday’s event with an expectation that there would be a new M1-powered 27-inch iMac. I had an expectation of what I wanted to spend having gone so far as to add a healthy bump up in price for the ‘Apple Tax’.
After watching keynote, I was left feeling that Apple had an agenda with Peek Performance event. That agenda was to release more M1-based Apple Silicon Macs, yes, but to also continue the relentless push to raise prices and profit margins.
The new Mac Studio is the latest Apple Silicon Mac that comes in a 7.7-inch square that stands 3.7-inches tall. In essence, the Mac Studio is what you get when you cross a Mac mini with the 22-year-old Power Macintosh G4 Cube. The newest Mac is a tiny aluminum box that sits on your desk, tucked neatly under the new Studio Display. Naturally. The base model comes with a 10-core M1 Max CPU. On the high-end configuration, Mac Studio ships with a 20-core M1 Ultra rocket ship.
The Studio Display, a name that I really like, is the Apple branded answer to the disaster that is the LG UltraFine 4K and 5K displays. Studio Display is an amazing 27-inch 5K Retina display featuring a 5120 x 2880 maximum screen resolution. It has a 12MP ultra-wide FaceTime camera that supports Center Stage. A six-speaker array that includes support for Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos. All of this is powered by an A13 Bionic CPU built into the display.
Let that sink in for a minute.
The Studio Display is a 27-inch Retina display with an A13 Apple CPU and speaker array.
Networking and storage have been moved off device to the Mac Studio computer.
You need the computer and the display to get a large all-in-one computer.
Are you getting it?
This isn’t just one computing device. It’s two. If customers want to get what was once available in a single device two days ago, they now need to buy a $1,999 base model Mac Studio and a base model $1,599 Studio Display. Why charge $2,200 for a 27-inch 5K iMac when you can charge customers $3,800?
Are you getting it?
You need two devices now.
It’s all about Tim Cook’s margins, baby!!
In my opinion, you never buy the base models. You always dial the configuration tool up a notch or two to get the machine configuration that most customers should buy. When you add a 2TB SSD and 64GB of RAM to the base configuration, the total package price jumps up to an eye-popping $5,300! Thats more that double what I paid for my iMac in 2016.
So that’s what has gotten me annoyed with Apple. With the 27-inch iMac now retired, there is no longer an inexpensive large screen all-in-one option. Oddly enough, a Cook Doctrine playbook favorite, keeping the older thing around with a lower price tag, wasn’t deployed this time around. I find this double-insulting since I can still buy a new Intel Core i5 Mac mini today after the M1 Mac mini went on sale in November 2020.
The Mac Studio, I’m sure, will be a popular machine with people who can really use the processing power of M1 Max or M1 Ultra. If you place a pre-order for a Mac Studio today, it will arrive around May 20.
For me specifically, an IT professional and Apple enthusiast, $5,300 feels a bit too expensive.
But what about the “Plan B” option you were just talking about? As I mentioned back in January, without a replacement available, the options become messy top fill the hole in the Mac line up. This became apparent to me when I realized that the current M1 Mac mini tops out at 16GB of RAM. There are no option for a 32GB or 64GB Mac mini for running virtual machines on.
Yes, there are at least two rumors floating around that suggest Apple will release a 27-inch iMac or iMac Pro in late 2022 or 2023. According to the latest ‘prediction’ from analyst leaker extraordinaire, Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple will release a 27-inch iMac Pro.
According to Ars Technica’s Andrew Cunningham, Apple has confirmed that the 27-inch iMac has “reached end of life”.
Who are we supposed to believe? Apple PR or a supply chain leaker?
Basing computer purchasing decisions on rumors and what might happen in the future is, in my opinion, a fool’s game that only sets the buyer up for future disappointment
So, what will I end up doing?
In all likelihood, I’ll hate myself when I buy a Mac Studio and Studio Display. The pair are both really cool and expensive all at the same time.
Just in case you miss it when you are hit with sticker shock, the Mac Studio doesn’t include a keyboard, mouse, or trackpad. The keyboard is another $199, while the Magic Mouse is $99 and the Magic Trackpad $149. Unbelievable.