• apple,  ipod,  ipod touch

    Apple Retires iPod touch, Bringing the iPod Line to a Close

    iPod touch 7th-generation, credit: Apple, Inc.

    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.”

    1st Gen iPod touch (L), 6th-Gen iPod touch (C), and the iPod 5th-Gen (R)

    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.

  • apple,  apple silicon,  m1 max

    I Bought a Mac Studio and Studio Display

    Mac Studio and Studio Display at my local Apple Store

    After my comin’ in hot Mac Studio rant last month, I finally broke down and ordered a Mac Studio and Studio Display.

    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.

  • apple,  lifestyle

    Stay Foolish

    Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs overlooking Apple II computers

    In 1976 Apple Computer, Inc. – now officially Apple, Inc. – was founded on April 1 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne.

    It seems fitting that Apple would get its start on April Fool’s Day given the “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish” quote that is often associated with the late Steve Jobs.

    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.

    Source: VitoaBrusci.net

    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.

    Stay Foolish, indeed.

  • apple,  classic mac os,  mac se,  vintage

    Mac SE Restoration Reassembly Video

    Mac SE motherboard, source: A. Grassia

    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.

  • apple,  imac,  mac studio,  studio display

    Apple Silently Kills the 27-Inch 5K iMac After Mac Studio Announcement

    Mac Studio and 27-inch Studio Display, source: apple.com

    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.

    Update:

    Mac Studio only ships with a power cord in the box, source: apple.com

    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.

  • apple,  archive,  filemaker pro,  software,  vintage

    Installing and Archiving FileMaker Pro 2.1v3

    I have been in the IT field for over 25 years now. Interestingly, one of the applications that I have used almost daily for that entire time is Claris FileMaker Pro. Over the years, the company name changed from Clairs to FileMaker and back to Claris again. The one constant is that FileMaker has always been FileMaker.

    As a help desk technician, I deployed and supported FileMaker Pro on Macintosh and Windows PCs. As a server admin, I deployed, managed, and upgraded FileMaker Server and the databases they contained.

    So, it is only natural that when restoring a Macintosh SE with System Software 6.0.8 installed, that FileMaker Pro 2.1v3 be installed to go along with it. The Disk Copy floppy disk images that I found were either of 1.4MB floppies – which my SE can’t read – or 800k floppies that did not work for one reason or another (i.e.: corruption or a bad image file).

    I ended up purchasing an original copy of FileMaker Pro 2.0v2 on a set of four 800kb floppy disks from eBay. Then, I found and downloaded the 2.1v3 updater from a University of Michigan software archive. With a working set of disks and the 2.1v3 updater in hand, I was able to install FileMaker on my little vintage pal. Using a Power Macintosh 7200/120 with a 1.4MB Apple SuperDrive, I created my own disk image archive in Disk Copy 4.3 and 6.3.3 formats suitable for use on vintage hardware like mine, or in a Classic 68k Mac emulator.

  • apple

    Peek Performance Wish Casting

    Earlier this week, Apple announced the Peek Performance spring product launch event scheduled for Tuesday, March 8. Happy #MARCHintosh2022 to us!

    I love watching these keynotes on my 5K iMac with the lights turned down low with a bowl of popcorn. Corny, I know.

    Clearly, Apple has gone full on Dad Jokes with the tease for this month’s event. But can we really infer what might be launched soon based on the trippy colors and the words “peek” and “performance”? I don’t really think so, but I’ll wish cast while we wait for the official product announcements.

    Accessories

    It is a pretty safe bet that we will get new iPhone cases and Watch bands in new spring-y pastel colors. Apple has been fairly clockwork with these semi-annual releases. They may not even get any screen time with Apple opting to just post the new products on the website and in stores backed with a press release in the Apple Newsroom.

    iPhone SE

    The iPhone SE, with updated internals, has also been heavily rumored for release later this month. The current iPhone SE was released back in 2020 and two years feels about right for a spec bump.

    But and iPhone and some accessories an Apple event does not make.

    Peek and Performance

    So, what’s up with “Peek” and “Performance”? I don’t expect that we will get a sneak peek at hardware that isn’t ready for launch. I am not expecting an AR/VR headset or the newly redesigned Mac Pro sporting a new M-series CPU. I think those things will be held back until this summer’s WWDC. Those items will be geared toward developers anyway.

    How about the redesigned 27-inch iMac? My Magic 8-Ball says, “Try again later.” If you want Apple to make a nice product at a particular price point, forget it. I expect Apple to slap “Pro” in the name and then jack up the price. The 24-inch iMac is the new consumer iMac, while the 27-inch, or larger, iMac will become the new iMac Pro and start somewhere in the $3,000 price range. I expect iMac Pro to be unveiled alongside the new Mac Pro later in the year.

    What I am wish casting “Peek” and “Performance” to hint at are new MacBook Air and iPad Air models running an M2 Apple Silicon CPU. That should give both models a nice speed boost and give Apple the opportunity to catch iPad Air up to the advances that iPad mini received last fall.

    Since we’re wish casting, is it too much to hope for that Apple finally releases an “affordable” 27 to 32-inch display that isn’t the Pro Display XDR and it’s $1,000 stand? I would happily pay $1,800 for a nice Apple display to go with a new MacBook Pro or M2-infused Mac mini. But we all know that won’t happen. If and when Apple releases a new stand along 27-inch display, I expect it to be $2,800 – $3,200. Still less than an XDR, but not exactly “affordable” considering what you will likely spend on a new 14-inch MacBook Pro.

    It is Marketing, After All

    If Apple’s plan was to lure me into watching Tuesday’s event, the get the point. I’ll be staying off the Internet as much as possible Tuesday until I am able to watch the event when I get home. The question is, after watching, will I be enticed to use my Apple Card? Checking back in with my Magic 8-Ball, all signs point to “Yes”.

  • apple,  apple //e,  lifestyle,  vintage

    Welcoming Home an Apple //e

    Apple //e with Apple Disk II 5.25-inch floppy drives and green screen Apple Monochrome Monitor

    From January 1983 to November 1993, Apple sold the Apple //e personal computer. It was wildly popular with consumers, educators, and even business professionals. Over the Apple //e’s service life, it saw no less than three major revisions – the original //e, the //e Enhanced, and the //e Platinum – and four motherboard upgrades.

    For me, it was my first introduction the world of computing and set me on a course to be a life-long Apple fan and IT professional. My parents bought me a second-hand Apple //e in the late 1980s as an upgrade to my first computer, the V-Tech Laser 128, an Apple // clone.

    After letting mine go, I still had a soft spot in my heart for the //e. And, while I no longer had my Apple //e, I remained a fan of that early computer and continued to count myself as a member of Team Apple // Forever.

    Now, years later, though the magic of the worldwide garage sale website that is eBay, I officially belong to the Apple //e owner’s club again. I am so excited to have one of these popular computers once more that I posted an unboxing and walkthrough video on YouTube.

    Welcome home little buddy.

  • apple,  imac,  ipad pro,  iphone

    2022 Apple Shopping List

    Source: Apple, Inc.

    Now that the holiday season has wrapped up, it is time to look ahead to the new Apple gear that I will be looking to purchase in 2022. By the looks of it, 2022 is going to be an expensive year.

    iPhone 14 Pro Max – $1,300

    Like clockwork, Apple is expected to release the next iteration of the iPhone, which we all expect to be called iPhone 14. This year, I am planning on getting another Pro Max edition. I would really love to have a Pro Max iPhone that is closer in color to the Blue iPhone 13. To my eyes, under my home and office lighting, the Sierra Blue of the iPhone 13 Pro Max looks more like battleship grey than blue under all but the sunniest of direct sunlight. In typical Apple fashion, I am expecting to have to buy at least one new Apple Leather Case, as the latest rumors suggest that iPhone 14 will have a different camera bump.

    27-inch iMac – $3,200

    My 2015 27-inch 5K iMac has served me well while I was using it for classes to complete my Bachelor of Science in Information Technology degree. As time marches on, and software becomes more demanding, the Intel i5 Quad Core 3.3GHz CPU is starting to show its age and the display has developed a magenta boarder all the way around the screen that becomes visible with a while background.

    It is unclear at this time whether Apple is going to release a 27-inch iMac running an M1 processor or if it is going to release a 27-inch iMac Pro running either an M1 Pro, M1 Max, or M2 processor. Since the 27-inch iMac wasn’t refreshed at the same time as the 2021 24-inch iMac, I’m erring on the side of Colleen Novielli bringing us a new iMac Pro in 2022. That machine is going to be expensive. The only previous iMac Pro, an Intel Xeon machine, started at $4,999. I’m hoping that a spec’ed up machine for my needs, which, admittedly are not exactly in “Pro” territory, will be in the $3,200 range and come with a base model M1 Pro CPU, 32GB of RAM, and a 2TB SSD.

    Mac Upgrade “Plan B”

    If a 2022 27-inch iMac or iMac Pro is released and the price is over my expected $3,200 budget, then things will get a little messy. Do I stick with my 2020 13-inch MacBook Pro? Do I trade that unit and my iMac in and get a 14-inch MacBook Pro with an 8-core M1 Pro CPU, 32GB of RAM and a 2TB SSD? What about a monitor? Will Apple finally release a first party 27 to 32-inch display that is reasonably priced? If not, there is a good chance that a Dell UltraSharp 4K 32-inch display is in my future. Or do I skip the laptop all together and just go with a Mac mini or, possibly a Mac mini Pro? Either way, whatever I end up doing on the Mac front, it’s going to be expensive.

    iPad Pro – $1,000

    Last year, I tried to get Apple to replace the battery in my 2017 10.2-inch iPad Pro. I use that device all the time and the battery is showing its age. Since the start of the pandemic, the use of my iPad Pro has only increased. However, the Apple Genius I was working with said that they couldn’t replace the battery for the out of warranty price of $99 that is listed on the Apple website because the battery test came back stating that my battery was only degraded to 82% and not below 80%. The cost to replace the battery when it wasn’t below 80% was $599. I still love using my iPad Pro, but I call Tim Cook a not nice name each time I have to plug it in to recharge.

    If the 11-inch iPad Pro gets the same or improved Liquid Retina XDR display with 10,000 mini-LEDs with deep inky blacks, I will insta-buy the 256GB model with a Smart Cover.

    All the Rest

    For now, I am still very happy with my biggie HomePods and one HomePod mini. The mini makes a good kitchen HomePod, but the sound that comes out of it just can’t compare to the rich sound that comes out from my stereo pair biggie HomePods. I am also more than happy with my Apple TV HD and my Series 5 Stainless and Series 6 Aluminum Apple Watches.

    I would like to see a $2,500 Apple first-party display for ‘normal’ people, but we all know that any display that Apple releases that is not the Pro Display XDR won’t sell for under $3,000, which is a shame in my opinion. The LG Ultra Fine display has lousy reviews.

    I have long been waiting for Apple AR glasses, ever since the first attempt by Google with their Google Glass pilot which didn’t go too far. We might get our first glimpse of Apple’s long rumored AR/VR headset, but the rumored cost for that thing is in the $3,000 ballpark. Way too high for this year’s spending spree, so I’ll continue to wait for either the prices to come down on a headset or Apple’s AR glasses to ship. Oh, and the glasses should come with support for prescription lenses on day one. I’m not getting any younger waiting for all this marvelous gear to be released.

  • apple,  imac

    iMac G4 Turns 20

    My iMac G4 15-inch running Mac OS X 10.2.8 Jaguar (2002)

    This weekend, the iMac G4, lovingly referred to by fans as the iLamp, turned 20. It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago we were using the iMac G4 at the office. I guess time flies when you’re having fun!

    Happy Birthday Lil’ Buddy!