A teardown of the new iPad Pro shows that while Apple’s magical slab of glass is just made up of hardware after all, iPads remain resolutely difficult to repair. Like many iPads that have come before it, the new iPad Pro has liberal use of glue throughout, and while some components like the new USB-C port are modular and can be replaced easily enough, you still probably won’t want to go through the rigamarole of taking off the display and glass to do it yourself.
IFixit’s teardown of the 2018 MacBook Air (are we calling this thing the Retina MacBook Air, or what?) shows us many similarities to Apple laptops that have come before. And so it should, given that this year’s MacBook Air update is mostly about it getting features other Mac laptops have had for years now, including Apple’s latest butterfly keyboard, Force Touch trackpad, and Apple’s T2 security chip.
The good news is, the battery in the Retina MacBook Air can be replaced separately. Previous MacBook and MacBook Pros have required entire top case replacements including keyboard and trackpad whenever a battery replacement was required, as pointed out by MacRumors, due to Apple gluing the battery into the top case. While the battery in Retina MacBook Airs is still glued to the top case, Apple will be providing Apple Stores and Apple Authorised Service Providers with the tools necessary to remove and reinstall a new battery.
Reviews of the 2018 MacBook Air and 2018 Mac mini are out, and even though both have a storied history, we’ll start with the Mac mini. Marco Arment uses the Mac mini as many people do, as a home server. Arment says there’s almost nothing worse and almost everything better about the new Mac mini, which is the ideal Mac update. The form factor is the same, which he says is the right tradeoff for the performance and ports the Mac mini now offers, all of which is enough to move the Mac mini more into general-purpose desktop territory than relegating it to home server duty. It’s a fantastic little computer.
John Gruber’s review of the new iPad Pros starts off by telling us about impressive CPU performance that’s on par with the latest MacBook Pros in both single and multi-core benchmarks. The new Apple Pencil is great, improving on all the ways that the original was such a breakthrough product in the first place, and the size reduction of the 12.9-inch model makes it more attractive if you want an iPad to use on the couch, even if it’ll likely be the most expensive couch computer you will buy.
The usual conference call with investors wrapped up Apple’s quarterly financial results last week, with Six Colors having the full transcript of what Apple CEO Tim Cook and co had to say. In short, it was another record quarter for Apple financials, off the back of a higher average selling price for iPhones, record services revenue of over US $10 billion and 27% year-on-year growth. As pointed out by AppleInsider, Apple execs also discussed emerging markets and the difficulties associated with them, as well as the potential impact of almost every foreign currency decreasing versus the US dollar over the past 12 months, if not more.
Every month, we’ll be bringing you a selection of warily waterproof, if slightly longer, reads about the wonderful world of Apple. Sometimes they’ll be commentary on how iPhones are hard to use, in-depth technical deep dives on iPhone camera minutiae, or what developers think the Apple TV needs to succeed as a gaming platform. All I know is, bring your own Instapaper account, because this is Good Reads.
- Joe Clark says iPhones are hard to use. He provides numerous examples of obscure features and curious design decisions that make iPhones hard to use for anyone with even minor accessibility needs, all gated by near-impossible burdens of knowledge that mean only the most switched-on Apple enthusiasts, the people that follow and watch Apple keynotes where features are demonstrated, know how to use everything. Even then there’s probably still things you or I don’t know about. While I’m inclined to agree with the general gist of what he’s saying, I wonder: what technology product with over a decade of history doesn’t have some kind of usability problem? And how much of these “problems” he brings up aren’t specifically iPhone issues (although it may certainly exacerbate the issue), but ones more applicable to technology in general?
Very advanced, very tuned-in people learn about, and learn how to use, new Apple features by watching them being demonstrated onstage during Apple keynote events. Then there’s everybody else. […] With an alleged one billion “iOS devices” in use over a decade, Apple’s mistakes are the butterfly effect writ large. Anything that people could get wrong, or simply not know about, will be gotten wrong or will go unknown by tens of millions.
Apple’s fourth quarter final results tell an all-too-familiar story. The company made US $62.9 billion in revenue, with $14.1 billion in profit. The Apple press release has their financials in plain text, otherwise there’s the lovely graphs from Six Colors which make Apple’s financial results much more digestible. The iPhone continues to account for more than half of Apple’s quarterly revenue, with services setting a new record of $10 billion in revenue, about 16% of Apple’s overall quarterly revenue. Given that the analyst conference call is still ongoing at time of writing, we’ll get to that on Monday.
After every Apple event, there’s so much news it’s hard to know where to start. I must apologise, because I am absolutely going to miss stories that you think should have been covered in the news, but I promise I’ll try and get to everything over the next few days. But let’s start with MacStories and their overview of the new iPad Pros. The return of a straight-edge design reminiscent of the iPhone 4 gives us a look at what the future of computing looks like, and apparently, that future has magnets. 107 of them allow accessories such as the new Apple Pencil to connect, as well as the Smart Keyboard Folio case. Hands-on impressions talk up the edge-to-edge display and reduced footprint of the 12.9-inch model, although people continue to point out non-backlit keys as the main negative of the keyboard case.
Earlier this month Apple Design Chief Jony Ive talked to Wired at their 25th Anniversary event. At the time, reporting on the event focused on what Apple are doing and the extra features they’re adding to their products, all in an attempt to curb the phenomenon known as smartphone addiction. Like recent profiles of Ive have touched on, Wired’s piece now tells us the story of unpredictable innovation, or the idea that when companies upend entire industries, “change is rarely foreseeable, and seldom unambiguously good”. In an age where we’re just realising what the impact of the internet is having, it’s something worth keeping in mind and thinking about.