Friday Morning News

Apple’s iMac Pro is now available to order. The base configuration comes with an 8-core 3.2GHz Intel Xeon W processor, with 32GB of DDR4 ECC RAM, 1TB of Flash storage, and AMD’s Radeon Pro Vega 56 graphics card with 8GB of RAM. The price might be a tough to swallow $7,299 in Australia, but it compares favourably to the US list price. Still, there’s got to be some kind of market for an all-in-one, pro-level machine that’s non-upgradeable, and The Verge says that if you’re planning to buy an iMac Pro, you should really know what you’re buying it for, more so than any other Mac.

The iMac Pro webpage on Apple’s website confirms the presence of a custom T2 chip for enhanced secure boot capabilities. The T1 chip was introduced with the MacBook Pro along with the Touch Bar, and the T2 now integrates several previously discrete components for improved security across a number of aspects on the machine. There’s a new Startup Security Utility within the version of macOS that ships with the iMac Pro, which provides a GUI to configure secure boot options.

Other iMac Pro tidbits include the fact that Space Grey accessories, such as the Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse, will only be available for purchase with your iMac Pro, at least for the time being. Apple has also launched their own Thunderbolt 3 cable alongside the iMac Pro — their first since adopting the USB-C standard on any of their machines — which will cost you $59.

To give you something to do with the computing power of the new iMac Pro, Apple has released updates to its suite of pro apps. Final Cut Pro X gets support for 8K video editing and new VR video editing workflows, while Logic Pro X has better parallelisation to take advantage of the high number of cores in the higher iMac Pro configurations.

AppleCare for the new iMac Pro is a steal at just $199. Despite the high price of the iMac Pro, Apple hasn’t updated the price of AppleCare for iMacs (which would be somewhat unfair for regular iMac owners) or introduced a new AppleCare product specifically for it. Even with comparatively cheap AppleCare, that might not matter so much in Australia, where Australian Consumer Laws now provide up to a three year warranty, thanks to a new internal document which tells us about expanded ACL coverage for Macs. It’s a shame that only Macs get the benefits of 36-month ACL coverage; the same coverage for iOS devices would have been great.

Apple is giving US$ 390 million to Finisar, an American company playing a part in the production of Apple’s TrueDepth camera system. Finisar manufactures vertical-cavity surface emitting lasers used in some part of the TrueDepth camera system, and the cash will allow the company to build a new manufacturing facility in Texas. Apple COO Jeff Williams says Apple is prepared to invest more than the US$1 billion already allocated to its Advanced Manufacturing Fund.

Apple’s US iOS feature availability page has been updated with new sections for indoor maps of malls and airports, but there’s such section on the corresponding Australian page, suggesting that this is a US-only feature for the time being. Presumably, indoor maps will work provided you’re in one of the locations that supports it.

Apple released iOS 11.2.1 and tvOS 11.2.1 yesterday, restoring HomeKit sharing functionality that Apple intentionally broke after they rolled out a server-side fix for unauthorised HomeKit accessory access. The first public beta of iOS 11.2.5 has also been released, with a weird version number — I don’t remember the .2.5 of anything recent from Apple.

Apple’s latest tutorial video shows you how to Apple Pay with the iPhone X. In case you haven’t already figured it out, it’s a double-tap of the sleep/wake switch, a glance to authenticate with Face ID, and you’re good to go.

There are heaps of great iOS game releases lately, even if they are ports of popular titles already on other platforms. The iOS version of Fez is a great excuse to buy a MFi controller, Playdead’s Inside is a great spiritual successor to Limbo, and the first three episodes of Life is Strange remain true to the vision behind the series.

Notable Replies

  1. I was wondering how much difference it makes if you bought a top spec iMac instead.

    If you take the top spec iMac, add in 32GB of RAM, i7-7700k and a 1TB SSD you get to $5,689 ($1.6k cheaper).

    While there is a range of other benefits, the two big ones are CPU and GPU:

    GPU: Radeon Pro 580 vs Vega 56
    That’s 50% to almost 100% better performance on the iMac Pro.

    CPU: i7 7700K vs Xeon W-2145
    This is a little harder to find info on, but it looks like about +25% (although worse in single core work).[]=3084&cmp[]=2874

    So for 28% more money, it looks like you probably get that back in performance gains… but as was said, do you actually need it? (besides it’s sexy colour and black accessories)

  2. kyte says:

    LOL. I suspect that need will have very little to do with the purchase, for those who can afford it… They will get it just because they can.

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