Thursday, Aug. 16th
Related to the news today…
macstories.net: Third-Party Twitter Clients Remove Features as API Changes Loom:
The latest chapter in Twitter’s contentious relationship with third-party developers is coming to a close. In April 2017, Twitter announced plans to eventually deprecate certain parts of its API that third-party apps rely on.
Fast forward one year to April 2018, roughly 10 weeks before the scheduled API transition of mid-June. Twitter’s new API still hadn’t been made available to third-party developers. The Iconfactory, Tapbots, and other makers of Twitter clients created a website called Apps of a Feather…Stick Together to explain how the looming changes would affect customers. The ensuing uproar among users caused Twitter to delay the API transition until tomorrow, August 16, 2018. Although Twitter has not flipped the switch on the changes yet, apps like Twitterrific and Tweetbot have already taken steps to deal with the changes.
… I wanted to compare the app sizes of Twitter clients.
Tweetbot for iOS: 6.8MB
Twitterrific for iOS: 11.3MB
Twitter™ for iOS: 106MB
It appears that as employee count goes up so does app binary size.
More: Daring Fireball
Monday, July 23rd
Rory Prior of ThinkMac Software (via Michael Tsai ):
It’s hard to overlook the major changes Apple made to the App Store with iOS 11 – search results are now extremely low density. You can barely see two results on a screen at once on a 4.7″ device, so if you’re say 40 or 60 places down your visibility is near zero.
There's a big trend for lower information density even on big mobile devices. I do think there's an inherent irony to user's buying large phones and content similarly scaling up at a similar or even larger rate.
For a lot of things I think this is fine and generally makes content more accessible and legible. However, in the case of the App Store™ there are certain trade-offs that designers need to consider. One is that top search results likely get more conversions and thus even higher rankings and results just below top likely fall off the curve (and potentially out of profitability).
Wednesday, July 18th
YouTube Video Review of the Blackmagic eGPU
This confirms what I feared: the GPU is not replaceable. However, the enclosure and the price still seems reasonable considering all this. Sadly, it might also be the best Thunderbolt 3 hub available on the market (pricey, but at least it comes with a free Radeon Pro 580).
Update 7-19-2018: Macrumors Reviews The Blackmagic eGPU
Saturday, July 14th
Here’s an inflammatory take for you: Apple’s new quieter keyboard is actually a silent scheme to fix their keyboard reliability issues. We’re in the middle of tearing down the newest MacBook Pro, but we’re too excited to hold this particular bit of news back: Apple has cocooned their butterfly switches in a thin, silicone barrier.
That’s an interesting take (and an interesting solution if that’s what it is indeed). It would be much more reassuring if Apple could put aside all of the politics and say: “We have taken measures to improve the reliability of our laptop keyboards.”
The more cynical take (and I can be quite the cynic) would be that Apple has knowingly released a flawed keyboard on a brand new device. I hope this is not the case.
I, and many others, would likely want to buy a new machine with a “fixed” keyboard to replace a laptop with a known keyboard problem. After all, there's only a four year window for a free-to-the-user replacement.
More: The Outline
Update 7.19.2018: Macrumors.com Confirmed
Thursday, July 12th
Apple today updated MacBook Pro with faster performance and new pro features, making it the most advanced Mac notebook ever. The new MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar feature 8th-generation Intel Core processors, with 6-core on the 15-inch model for up to 70 percent faster performance and quad-core on the 13-inch model for up to two times faster performance — ideal for manipulating large data sets, performing complex simulations, creating multi-track audio projects or doing advanced image processing or film editing.
I‘m really glad that Apple is getting into a (mostly) yearly update cycle for their Pro laptops. I'm also glad that this speed bump has decided to use the new Intel quad core i5/i7 for the 13" and the six core i9 for the 15" laptops.
Interestingly enough, the marketing page for these laptops also mentions an eGPU enclosure.
Blackmagic Design has created an external GPU (eGPU) ideal for MacBook Pro.14 So you can have desktop-class graphics performance without giving up the portability of a notebook. Housed in an all‑in‑one aluminum enclosure, the Blackmagic eGPU is powerful yet quiet, charges your MacBook Pro using Thunderbolt 3, and has built-in I/O connections to drive both a Thunderbolt 3 display and VR accessories simultaneously. With the Blackmagic eGPU and MacBook Pro, you can accelerate pro apps, create VR content, and enjoy supersmooth gaming anywhere you roam.
The eGPU enclosure is made by Blackmagic. It features a Radeon Pro 580 GPU, 2x TB3 ports and 4x USB3 ports. It costs $699.
More interesting to me is the Razer Core X eGPU. It mostly is due to being given the choice of GPU that goes into the enclosure (is the Blackmagic case GPU removable?). Although with the Core X's base price of $250, after being paired with something like a Radeon Vega 64 (if you can even find one anywhere near MSRP) you will be well over the $699 price of the Blackmagic eGPU.
The Vega 64 seems to beat out the Radeon Pro 580 in most areas (except for price).
Today’s updates are indisputably aimed at genuine “pro” users. Only the high-end machines with the Touch Bar have been updated — the non-Touch-Bar 13-inch MacBook Pro (a.k.a. the MacBook Escape) and the just-plain MacBook are unchanged.
Damn. I'm not really sold on Touch Bar. I don't think it has enough advantages to warrant replacing the Fn key row. I think it would be great to make an appearance above a standard Fn key row... but that's not what Apple is selling. I'd rather get the extra watt hours of battery life that the non-Touch Bar model gets.
This update is a step in the right direction. However, I'm curious to see what the next iMac refresh will see now that the 15" has a six core i9 in it…
More: LaptopMag Benchmarks