what has happened to apples computer plan?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by greg fripp, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. greg fripp macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2016
    bovey tracy,devon.uk
    I am waiting for a new iMac, but have noticed a big tear in apples computer plan.
    no new Macs, no gossip on why nothing appearing, no usual gossip on why anything not apparing either.
    come on, macrumors, do your stuff and help readers!
    comets from others welcome...
  2. cynics, Mar 31, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017

    cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    We are all in the dark just as you are.

    Tim Cook was asked this question a couple months ago and he was quoted saying...

    "Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we’re committed to desktops. If there’s any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that."


    Plus they invested quite a lot into APFS. So it would appear they have long term plans for the Mac line.

    Personally I'm not especially excited with the hardware availability right now anyway. Kaby Lake was less than incremental. There isn't a Ryzen CPU that fits nicely into the Mac line up. AMD's Vega is upcoming and it still doesn't look like Apple is considering nVidia...even if they were the mobile 10 series would really be pushing the TDP limits of the iMacs cooling design. Reasonable reason to redesign the iMac but what do I know right?

    The next die size decrease across the board from AMD, nVidia, and Intel is probably where Apple wants to (needs to) be. Especially with the iMac, the components need for cooling are on the bleeding edge of exceeding the designs capacity for cooling those components.

    This is the problem with using the same design year after year. The first iteration will work great because the system was designed for those components but when new components are released they might not be a perfect match. And while Intel (or others) might offer the same performance in a cooler operating package Apple might not be able to use it because they need to upgrade...not have the same performance as the previous year. And if the better performing CPU (for example) is a couple TDP higher then we potentially run into cooling issues.

    Example, i7-4771 used in the 2013 iMac had a TDP of 84w. The 2014 i7-4790K had a TDP of 88w and ran into throttling under certain conditions. Now we have the 2015 6700K with a TDP of 91w and slightly revised cooler (I believe) and it doesn't typically throttle but can easily max the fan trying not to.

    TL;DR : I want them to take their time and wait for components that perform better and work better in their designs OR just redesign the Macs to accommodate for what is available. What I don't want is a downgrade for aesthetics or noise.

    EDIT : Added Cooks exact quote and source.
  3. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    "what has happened to apples computer plan?"

    You mean... they still have one...?
  4. ApfelKuchen, Mar 31, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2017

    ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    This is a basic truth, though a particular design can grow in efficiency and effectiveness for generations before change begins to chip away at the fundamental assumptions underlying that design. Change is all but inevitable, but change is not easy.

    Consumers makes contradictory demands. They want new, exciting features every year, but they want them in familiar forms. "Bring back the cheese grater!" Apple took a risk on a radical redesign of the desktop workstation, and the chorus of hate was remarkable.

    Please, let's not rehash the pros and cons of that design. My point is simply that the bigger the change, the less likely it is to be embraced. Take a look at the Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum for more examples.

    People deride thinness, yet it is an almost inevitable outgrowth of miniaturization. The acuity of the human eye doesn't change, the size of the human hand doesn't change, so the dimensions of keyboards and displays tend to dictate two out of the three dimensions of a laptop (or all-in-one desktop) case. Meantime, the bulk of the interior components continues to shrink - Flash blade vs. SATA drive, anyone? (No less two SATA drives, when you count the DVD drive.) And while "more (battery) power" would please some, the battery life of today's laptops is double or more of what it was not so long ago.

    I'm not worried about Apple's commitment to desktop/laptop computing. Overall, it's a shrinking market, but Apple's proven ability to grow market share in the face of that decline is proof that there's plenty of life left. However, most of that growth is coming from mobile device users who are switching from PC to Mac in order to enjoy greater integration of mobile and desktop, not from "power users." As the average power of entry-level computers rises, the need for power desktops falls. The company's offerings are likely to reflect that reality.
  5. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    It's just a shame Intel ran into so much trouble with their 10nm process (not criticizing them because I can't even imagine how difficult it is). It may have blind sided Apple who would expect newer CPU's to be faster AND have a lower TDP or at least the same TDP. And if that would have been the case we likely would have seen small changes that most everyone would embrace like you mention.

    I certainly wouldn't expect the successors of todays CPUs to use more power 4 years from now. Sure ~25% faster at a 8% higher TDP is better overall (comparing Apples use of 4771 and 6700K) but really limits Apples options for the future.

    Apple has in the past stepped back on aesthetics on barely noticeable levels for added functionality. For example the iPhone 6 is thinner than the iPhone 6S and its doesn't bend as easily. In the iMac adding a bit more curve to the back could add quite a bit of space for a larger heatsink probably. Doing away with HDD entirely could give a ton of room. Or only offer then higher end CPU's with SSD so it can be manufactured with better cooling capacity. I'm just shooting these ideas from the hip, I realize there is a lot more too it from design to marketing to revenue (a 1500 dollar CPU option because it requires an SSD is a tough sell).
  6. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    I don't think change/new models can be dictated by CPUs alone. However, short-term product refreshes have traditionally been driven by CPUs, so that expectation drives topic threads like this one. We've been conditioned to the notion that, "There's a new model just around the corner," expecting that, if we buy last year's model, we'll quickly be left in the dust.

    For decades, there was a race between software and hardware - no sooner did a new CPU come out then developers found ways to soak up all that additional power. However, both hardware and software have plateaued. Software feature sets have matured to the point where it's harder to stretch the boundaries. Bandwidth costs for web-delivered software and the lessons learned writing code for mobile devices have placed a premium on code efficiency that also pays off in reduced need for growth in internal storage, RAM, etc.

    It's likely the calm before the next storm, but I expect the next storm to be driven by changes to the human/machine interface, just as the previous storms were (character-based to GUI, keyboard/pointer-centric to touchscreen). We know what they'll be - more AI, heavier graphics processing hardware to support AR and VR, a move from pointing devices and touch screens to interpretation of far-more-variable body movements... The question is, to what degree will these capabilities be integrated into the traditional PC, and to what degree will new computing devices optimized to that interface erode the market for traditional PCs?

    I just have a feeling that when Tim Cook promises great new things for the Mac, it has nothing to do with the next generation of Intel processors.
  7. JMacHack macrumors 6502

    Mar 16, 2017
    Basically Apple's been stretching their resources over a lot of product lines without expanding their workforce, and because iOS devices are to top sellers, they naturally take priority.

    Combine this with incremental changes in CPUs, and performance that's negligibly better than the previous gens, and intel's slow release schedules, and you get longer update cycles.

    However, there's been multitudes of changes in GPUs these past few years, CUDA and Vulkan immediately come to mind. And they've been increasing performance by leaps and bounds compared to CPUs. But AMD's release schedule has been slow as well, so implementing new graphics chips would take a lot of time. Update cycles get even longer.

    Then there's the physical limits of the hardware that Apple uses, like how the nMP has trouble with heat when running full-blast, or the fact that the iMac's slim case limits heat discretion there as well. This also means they're limited on how much power they can stuff into a particular machine before it melts itself. (This isn't really an excuse, they should design their hardware with better heat dissipation properties in the first place)

    On top of all this, they have to maintain the apple ecosystem, which means maintaining iCloud, iTunes, App Store, Apple Music and so on.

    There's simply too many product lines. Back when Apple only offered a few computers, an iPod, and an iPhone, they could spend more time on each one, making it better. Adding stuff like TVs, Watches, multiple different iPhones, Watches, iPods, iPads, and spending time maintaining the walled garden as it gets bigger is stretching the company to its limit.
  8. thedeske macrumors 6502a

    Feb 17, 2013
    Saving a few new "Toys" for the grand opening of The Steve Jobs Theater?
  9. Mildredop macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2013
    I used to update my laptop every year to 18 months, but I'm currently on my three year old MacBook Pro and see no reason to update. I want to, I can afford to, but I just don't see anything on offer that is worth bothering.

    I honestly think Apple don't see traditional computers as a part of their future strategy. I don't see tablets as being a part of my future strategy.

    It may be that I'll be tempted away to something else very soon.
  10. inhalexhale1 macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2011
    I wouldn't have a problem with a lack of updates, if Apple replaced them with lower price points on current models using older hardware.
  11. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia

    As in past years the 'late 2017' will arrive November/December.
  12. triptolemus macrumors 6502


    Apr 17, 2011
  13. Jack Burton macrumors 6502a

    Jack Burton

    Feb 27, 2015
  14. Count Blah macrumors 68040

    Count Blah

    Jan 6, 2004
    US of A
    I REALLY hate this excuse. MANY companies with a fraction of the workforce Apple has, can do much more. The truth is, Apple has purposely de-prioritized the Mac and purposely diverted resources from the Mac. There are more people working at Apple now, than there were when the iPhone and Mac were both being working on simultaneously(2008-2013) - Heck look at the shiny new HQ UFO.

    People are leaving ship, and the diehards who kept the company afloat in the VERY lean years - '96-'02 are the ones have left, on their way out, and/or advising friends and family to leave the sinking Mac ship.
  15. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
  16. Count Blah macrumors 68040

    Count Blah

    Jan 6, 2004
    US of A
    I believe you mean downgraded 2014 Mac Mini.
  17. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    Hell, Im using an mid 2008 map and don't see a huge need to upgrade
  18. Count Blah macrumors 68040

    Count Blah

    Jan 6, 2004
    US of A
    Depends on if there has been any new construction around you.

  19. Pakaku macrumors 68020


    Aug 29, 2009
    Apple waits on Intel before doing anything significant with computers. Meanwhile they're actively developing their own chips for iPads and iPhones. Why wouldn't Apple be more excited for iOS compared to OSX?

    Hackintoshes are still a thing too, and a far more fun option if you like building.
  20. deconstruct60, Mar 31, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017

    deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Apple is a function matrix organized company. Just because there are more folks working there doesn't necessarily mean all of the function units got bigger. (for example, could add more function units .... e.g., car electronics , different cameras without necessarily making the OS kernel team any bigger).

    One of Apple's dual edge swords has been the relatively fixed sized they have kept the industrial design team ( Ive and his merry band of elves). It gets them design language consistency across the whole product line. However, it is also a choke point. When they sent Ive off doing custom furniture/knobs/doo-dads for the new spaceship even more so.

    Personally, I think the Mac team just basically needs their own industrial design team. ( or Ive's division needs a radical shift in approach.... which seems unlikely personality wise. ). Trying to put the whole company through 20-40 folks is a choke point at the size Apple (and iOS product families) is at now.

    There are companies that throw far more money at much broader development, but how many get a better return on investment? Going to Apple with an argument of "you should use the tactics your competitors use to earn half as much money as you do now" isn't going to get much traction. Apple needs to better figure out how to scale what they are good at.... not ape what everyone else is in PC market is doing.

    This too seems a bit dual edged..... those folks don't seem to have adjusted to not being the center of resource allocation. At one point early on the Mac team 'hid' a Sony person even though Jobs had passed on the Sony 3.5" drive. ( it was the wrong call by Jobs, so they went around him. ). It is probably harder to get something out the door if the Industrial design team won't allocate resources but it isn't impossible. Have to go MacGuyver and simply work with what you've got. The Mac Mini and Mac Pro are just plain comatose. that is likely just lack of resource assignments. It is highly likely there was something that could have been done to shift/reallocate/etc those resources over a multiple year span is truly pressed for it.

    The folks who want to build boxes with slots don't fit anymore. Likewise the ones who want to work on the "hottest product in the company"..... Again that is a mismatch at this point with the reality of where the Mac is at in long term lifecycle.

    New "green field" projects inside of Apple seem to be able to break-out and run. Not sure if Macs can do a complete internal 'reboot' to a 'green field' status but the path the product managers are on isn't working coloring inside the lines are deeply entrenched now.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 1, 2017 ---
    Sigh, this have been covered in several threads before. Intel moved some of the power management features onto the CPU package. That is not an overall net increase in system TDP. it is just moving part of the TDP off the board and onto the CPU package. The CPU package has far more than just a CPU in it at this point. For the Mac laptop and desktop units there is a GPU and several other un-core functions present there now also.

    Yes Apple needs to make some adjustments, but the notion that Intel hugely backsliding on system TDP is deeply flawed. Apple gets NDA access to the adjustments Intel is doing so the notion that they were 'blind sided' by the changes is pretty weak.

    Part of the iMac's problem is that disconnect of fanatically trying to hide the vents from view. Because hidden behind the pedastal arm they are trying to put all the hot air out the middle of the back. Making that middle incrementally taller isn't going to help alot when there hot air drifting up to the top of the container. The disconnect in part is trying to pull warm-to-hot air down to expel it. The other components not in short distance to exhaust. The exhaust is tangential to the what the internal flows are going to trend to.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 1, 2017 ---
    Is there a tear in Apple's plan?

    Steve Jobs:
    "If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it's worth -- and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago."
    -- Fortune, Feb. 19, 1996

    When Microsoft (and mainstream PC industry) is busy shooting themselves in the foot ( Vista or extremely stuck-in-the-mud, 'race to the bottom' system designs ) Apple is happy to challenge MS. When MS has their stuff together and on a mission .... it seems a significant block of executives at Apple seem to circle back to this sermon by Jobs.
  21. greg fripp thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2016
    bovey tracy,devon.uk
    maybe we could hear maceumors thoughts please?
  22. WarDialer macrumors member


    Nov 22, 2015
    San Jose, CA
    In a recent developer survey about 70% of current developers were on the Windows platform. That includes a lot of front-end web development engineers (like me, now, I guess). I am clinging to my MB Pro, but its really showing its age and I may have to use my company issued Lenovo POS instead.

    The touch bar in the new MacBook Pro is so gimmicky, they basically took UI controls from the window and stuck them down on the edge of the keyboard where I have NOT been trained to look for them. It unintuitive and pointless. The whole point of a keyboard is you get muscle memory and Don't. Look. Down. Now suddenly they stuck a thin little display/control surface I have to actively lean forward and look at to do... the same things I was doing in the windowed UI before.

    Awesome. Glad they wasted all those hardware development resources on that. Not like we needed a new Mac Pro or 32 GB RAM in a laptop or anything to keep competitive with other development platforms. Nope.

    Apple is a consumer electronics company now. The MacBook and iMac are just vestigial organs left over from the old times. Its Tim Cook's show now, and by god he's going to do things HIS way (now that Steve Jobs is gone as the guiding force of doing things for doing them's sake).

    This is the Apple of the 90's all over again, but this time they have an actual Operations master on hand to show everyone how channel-stuffing inventory *should* be done. No more 15 different Mac models, there will be NO Mac models!
  23. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    While I agree with you it was a downgrade going to 2 core for many workloads the words new and downgrade aren't functionally similar so no that is not what I meant.
  24. Count Blah macrumors 68040

    Count Blah

    Jan 6, 2004
    US of A
    The 2014 Mac Mini was like the release of "new coke". Sure some people liked it, but the die hardship hated it. That company learned from its mistake after seeing all the negative pushback and lost sales - will Apple? I highly doubt it.
  25. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    Hm? In 2013 Intel had a very firm Tick Tock roadmap. They even still conveniently keep it on their own site.


    Even nice enough to coordinate around the globe based on their Tick Tock model "Intel design teams work in parallel around the globe to deliver coordinated technology advances inspired by the tick-tock model. A yearly product cadence moves the industry forward in a predictable fashion that can be planned in advance."

    Back in 2013 Intels 10nm process was slated for 2016.

    It wasn't until Feb 2016 in their 10 - K filing we new for sure they are moving away from that.

    Page 17

    And they are adding another Tock to their model for optimization. For those that don't know Tick (Process die shrink), Tock (Architecture improvement), so you see 2 years of the same die size.

    By the way I was completely wrong earlier because I didn't realize how far off the mark Intel actually was. Intels next release Coffee Lake is another optimization Tock using their 14nm process.


    So now we've gone from Intel firmly using a Tick Tock model, to Tick Tock Tock, now to Tick Tock Tock Tock. Due to low yields Cannonlake (10nm process) will only be available their in U and Y series which is ultra low power stuff (15 w) this year. So yeah....I apologize if I got anyones hopes up with bad news earlier, because its actually worse. But I'm confident we will see desktop Cannonlake CPU's in Macs by the end of 2018.

    Apple being blind sided is an under statement. Intel themselves didn't account for the problems they'd run into which is why they are repeatedly contradicting themselves.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 1, 2017 ---
    I agree. I was one of the many people that waited for the 2014 Mini and then didn't buy it. Lol.

    I do quite a bit of video encoding but was willing to use a lower powered CPU. However not a lower powered dual core.

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