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Apple March 2019 announcements

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I read some posts that attempted to predict what Apple is trying to "pull off" with its streaming video service. Seemed to be agreement that Apple wanted to be the one-search, one-click interface for video choice, meaning a user would search for "House, MD" on the Apple interface, and Apple would offer up a play button without the user (necessarily) knowing which service provides the stream.
This would gut Netflix, which has worked to build a brand and acquire media to serve. Not sure it would matter as much to Amazon, which provides "Prime Video" as a side-benefit,
Actually that would just be "keeping up with the Jones" with Prime Video. Amazon's video service allows you to subscribe to other services - Britbox, HBO, etc. through just one interface. It is kind of like Apple's 'single sign on', only using one account that you are already signed into.

Similarly with the FIre Replay box, its guide puts OTA TV content in the same guide as other stuff you have access to. Tivo is similar with their new interface.

The TV app on iOS and macOS will get upsides, but the synergies for AppleTV will be much higher. That is a move to an interface that is oriented more directly over the shows than the channels. (As Netflix is skewed their focus into creating content, they have been shifting into becoming a channel and away from the shows without a channel. )
... but it would be very different than Roku, which, while providing some ability to search out titles, then links to the streaming service app rather than trying to subsume "Netflix" or "Amazon" et al inside a Roku app.
Roku is even more deeply entrenched in channels, as pragmatically, that is what their apps are called. They, too, are incrementally working to un-silo stuff a bit.
It would likely also "hurt" those streaming services which aren't willing to share sign-up and subscription revenue with Apple, as linking a Netflix account that's not signed up through Apple would surely be more cumbersome than linking accounts paid through Apple.
As long as Apple doesn't hamstring "single sign on" (and/or make it easy to enter account info just once), that really shouldn't be much of a problem. As much as folks want to break up channel bundling into 100% a la carte, that is probably not going to happen. Even if you chop all the programming into 10,000 individual pieces, you'll still need an organizer to hold all that stuff - 1 or 2 organizers, because all of it isn't going to land in just one container (the same forces that brought bundling aren't going to go away completely).

Keeping track of multiple accounts is no harder than what a password manager does. Signing up through Apple or not, they'd be using the same service API to get the index of shows/content. Billing for your account and your account aren't the same thing (even in signing up through the system that Apple runs).

The problem is more for folks who offer the same content as Apple offers for buy/rent/stream. If there are redundant sources, and it is harder (jump to browser, click and sign up) versus TouchID/FaceID with Apple, then that is a problem. If your service is the only way into a show that folks really want to watch, that overhead is probably not a problem (except for the somewhat chronically lazy).

I think Netflix's problem is more akin to the problem Amazon is running into of piling way too much stuff into a single subscription. That is just bundling, with different flavored icing spread on top. If you bundle up way too much stuff, then some folks will start to question where is the money going (even more, if costs steadily creep up).
 




It's worse than that. Intel's Thunderbolt 3 chips come in three varieties: 1-port/2-lanes, 1-port/4-lanes and 2-ports/4-lanes. The Mac Mini (and I assume other recent Macs) uses the 2-port/4-lane chips - there are 2 chips, consuming 8 lanes, driving 4 ports.
The variety of chips to be used in host computer systems isn't that wide. The 1-port controller is for peripherals, not host systems. (e.g., dongles and "dead-ender" devices that cap a chain). Small, self-powered dongles: 2 lanes. Self-powered "dead-ender" devices: 4 lanes. Neither one is an option for a Mac.
So, even though each Thunderbolt 3 port can theoretically have 4 lanes of PCIe,
Not bidirectionally and concurrently. Can they transport what comes in directly to what goes out? Yes. (Thunderbolt controller is in part a switch.) However, that is different from on/off loading to/from the Thunderbolt network out through the Thunderbolt controller.
in actual practice, you can't use all of that bandwidth at the same time - each pair of ports is limited to 32 Gbit/s of aggregate PCIe bandwidth.
On/off the network, yes. Crosswise through the network, technically no. There would need to be some host-to-host traffic that wasn't all pointing at a central "hub" target, but Thunderbolt can transport more.
Apple could have used the 1-port/4-lane chips, to let you max out all four ports, but if they did that, there wouldn't be any lanes leftover for other devices.
I'm not sure Intel allows the 1-ports to be used that way in hosts. However, it is impractical space-wise, too. The single-port controllers are the same size as the duals. There are some incremental price differences (but likely that involves turning off features to get to the lower cost).

The split between host controller and peripheral controllers will probably grow even wider with USB4. That likely will create even more narrowly targeted peripheral controllers that just do one-device solutions well at a lower price (and, more likely, as "dead enders").
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple seems to have a lot of trouble keeping its documentation up to date:
Apple Support said:
Install memory in an iMac
Get memory specifications and learn how to install memory in iMac computers.
...
Published Date: January 2, 2018
Pathetically, Apple, with its mammoth cash hoard and more than 130,000 full-time employees, still hasn't managed to update this critical document for a product defined months ago. Meanwhile, OWC is already advertising 2019 iMac 5K memory upgrades.
 


Apple will be hosting another show on March 25 for media members it is inviting to the Steve Jobs Theater...
Although this has not shown up on the rumors sites, it wouldn't be surprising to see a new Apple TV show up at either this presentation or at WWDC (later if there are more application mods involved).

They have stopped selling the A10X in the 10.5" iPad Pro, so it wouldn't be surprising to see them hitch the Apple TV to something else with something newer (A12X). The presentation will highlight the "show" services on multiple platforms, but Apple has their own "TV" (and is weaving their services with other folks' IPTV offerings). We'll see if Apple TV is balanced against other TVs or if Apple spends more time pointing at other folks' TVs.
 


So Thunderbolt 3 has a maximum of 40 Gbit/s, but at most it gets 4 lanes, for 32 Gbit/s. From this info, depending on the controller, you may only get 2 lanes (16 Gbit/s). I'm not seeing the advantage over Thunderbolt 1 or 2, especially considering the cable confusion and the necessity of dongles to connect anything.
Depending on the controller. I don't think Apple uses the low-power controller (2 lanes of PCIe 3.0 for one port - 16Gbit/s PCIe bandwidth). From what I've seen on the Mac Mini teardown, they are using the 2-port/4-lane controller. So you can get 32 Gbit/s of PCIe bandwidth from a single port, as long as the other port sharing the controller chip isn't trying to use PCIe bandwidth at the same time.

But this is only talking about PCIe bandwidth. DisplayPort bandwidth is separate from PCIe (comes from the GPU). So a docking station with many different kinds of ports (or a daisy-chain of devices) might be able to use the full 40 Gbit/s of bandwidth - the video output would consume DisplayPort bandwidth (a function of the resolution and refresh rate of the display), and the other ports/devices (e.g. Ethernet, audio, storage, whatever) would draw from the remaining bandwidth via one or more PCIe lanes.

Additionally, the chips are smart enough to properly multiplex the ports. So if you have two high-performance devices (e.g. SSDs) attached to two ports that share a single chip, there may not be a slowdown, depending on your usage. If you are generally only accessing one at a time, each can have the full bandwidth. If, however, both are being accessed simultaneously (e.g. some RAID configurations), then there may be some reduced performance as they contend for the chip's shared bandwidth. (If you find this happening and you have more than two Thunderbolt ports, then you can probably just move one of the devices to another port so it will be attached to a different chip.)

Regarding Thunderbolt 1 or 2, note that they are based on PCIe 2.0, so a chip that uses four lanes will max-out at 16 Gbit/s of PCIe bandwidth per chip (plus DisplayPort bandwidth, of course).
 


... Regarding Thunderbolt 1 or 2, note that they are based on PCIe 2.0, so a chip that uses four lanes will max-out at 16 Gbit/s of PCIe bandwidth per chip (plus DisplayPort bandwidth, of course).
In addition, Thunderbolt (TB) 1 and 2 only support DisplayPort (DP) versions 1.1a (up to two channels of those). The early TBv3 implementations suport DP 1.2. The newest instantiations support DP 1.3/1.4 (although can't get two full bandwidth 1.4 channels down the v3's network). The two 1.2's brought 5K on a single cable capability. It should bring 6k3k screen on a single cable also.

Generally, as PCI-e and DP moved forward over last several years, Thunderbolt stayed just that much faster in order to encapsulate and transport those other two with minimal latency. That may not track going forward as DP 1.5 (or whatever the name) makes an extra large leap forward. TB is probably not going to track PCI-e 4 (or 5) very tightly either (those two shrank on distances... very similar impacts would befall TB also if sticking primarily with copper wires). There is a bigger market demand for "more affordable" TB than in blowing past PCI-e 4/5 in a bandwidth race, which would probably push costs up.
 


Amazon has the iMac Pro discounted to $4649, which might not be a bad option vs. a high-end iMac 5K, offering more Thunderbolt ports, better graphics, more powerful CPU, faster flash storage (1 TB!), and better memory (ECC RAM). This beast should be a real workhorse. (I'm kind of itching for one.)
Another advantage of the iMac Pro is noise levels. Its fans don't sound like a jet plane during processor- or graphics-intensive tasks, whereas the iMac 5K sounds like a wind tunnel.

It's not all great though. The iMac Pro memory is not user-upgradeable like the iMac 5K 27".
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Another advantage of the iMac Pro is noise levels. Its fans don't sound like a jet plane during processor- or graphics-intensive tasks, whereas the iMac 5K sounds like a wind tunnel.
That's an interesting observation. The 27" iMacs I've seen have been wonderfully quiet, but I haven't spent a lot of time with them nor pushed them particularly hard. Are you talking about one specific computer? (If so, what's the configuration, exactly?)
 


That's an interesting observation. The 27" iMacs I've seen have been wonderfully quiet, but I haven't spent a lot of time with them nor pushed them particularly hard. Are you talking about one specific computer? (If so, what's the configuration, exactly?)
My experience is with the highest end 2014 iMac 5K. It's totally quiet until you play video in Chrome, export video out of FCP X or when doing certain things in Lightroom (e.g. creating previews or flipping through images).
 


Storage in the new iMacs is pretty lame. There's apparently no T2 chip involved, and Apple doesn't even tout high-performance SSD storage, like it did for the iMac Pro and MacBook Pro, suggesting that the newest iMacs are... not all that great in storage performance. (I'd love to see Fusion and SSD benchmarks, if anyone has the opportunity to run some.)

I think it's shocking that Apple's still selling hard drive-only configurations with all of macOS's anti-hard drive optimizations. I mean, how much does a measly 24 GB of fusion flash even cost the company? I bet it’s less than a dollar....
My experience with a Fusion drive in anything newer than Sierra is simply awful. Heck, even Sierra is marginal. Might as well just have a spinning hard drive. When my clients ask me about a new iMac, I always recommend an SSD upgrade. Anything other than that is guaranteed to disappoint. I agree that Apple should be pilloried for even offering a spinning hard drive as a boot device. The proper drive offerings should be:
  • 256GB SSD (standard)
  • 512GB, 1TB, 2TB SSD (CTO)
plus 2.5-inch 1TB, 2TB, 4TB spinners and SSDs (CTO). Yes, two internal drives CTO... and the second (2.5") SSD pricing should be more in line with quality SSDs like the Samsung 860 EVO.

As much as I like my 2015 iMac (which I bought as a leftover for $1000 under list), I can buy a Dell XPS desktop with Core i9-9900K 8-core 3.6GHz (what Apple appears to use in the iMac) for about $2200 with 32 GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and 2TB spinner. Add in a top of the line 27" Viewsonic display (same res) for under $500 for a total of $2700. Apple charges $3200 (and no extra internal hard drive).

Not a bad delta? I can get inside the Dell with an amazing technology they call a removable panel. My blue G3 had a nice door. Remember the door? Jony Ive would like you to forget it.
 


Apple's price probably wouldn't be $45 - at least $70. It isn't going to be a generic drive, it will be an Apple-labeled drive.
That's Apple's own stupidity... there's no practical reason why they need their own SSD design when the rest of the world uses a much less expensive standardized design that works just as well. Only reason they do it is to try and prevent users from being able to upgrade/repair their systems, thus requiring the purchase of a whole new machine.
Talk of 'impending doom' if we don't have an SSD in an iMac probably won't move Apple all that much.
No, but a drastic decrease in sales due to people opting for the much less expensive and much more upgradable all-in-one offerings from Dell or HP might. I just converted a user over from an iMac to a Dell AIO running Windows 10. For a business environment, It's no comparison... the Dell is way better in almost every respect (aside from Windows 10...).
 


I read some posts that attempted to predict what Apple is trying to "pull off" with its streaming video service. Seemed to be agreement that Apple wanted to be the one-search, one-click interface for video choice, meaning a user would search for "House, MD" on the Apple interface, and Apple would offer up a play button without the user (necessarily) knowing which service provides the stream.
This would gut Netflix, which has worked to build a brand and acquire media to serve. Not sure it would matter as much to Amazon, which provides "Prime Video" as a side-benefit, but it would be very different than Roku, which, while providing some ability to search out titles, then links to the streaming service app rather than trying to subsume "Netflix" or "Amazon" et al inside a Roku app.
It would likely also "hurt" those streaming services which aren't willing to share sign-up and subscription revenue with Apple, as linking a Netflix account that's not signed up through Apple would surely be more cumbersome than linking accounts paid through Apple.
I have a number of Rokus with subscriptions to Netflix, Prime, and YouTubeTV. I've also added other (free) channels. Totally satisfied.

I would expect Apple's service to be, as you've implied, an extremely dumbed-down interface. Apple has finally realized that the Apple TV is no longer a "hobby", now that cord-cutters are becoming mainstream. Some (many?) of the cord-cutters are confused by multiple channels. Maybe that story about Steve saying "I got it!" on his deathbed (allegedly referencing his view of the Apple TV interface) is true.

However, where I expect Apple to fail is in original content; Apple is not "edgy". There's a true story about Back to the Future; when Disney was approached to finance the film, they declined, because it was a horrifying story about a boy dating his mother. Go figure...
 


I would expect Apple's service to be, as you've implied, an extremely dumbed-down interface.
I've noticed Amazon offers paid channels within Prime Video on my Roku. Today I decided to check out how they work, and it's pretty simply click to subscribe to a channel, and it's charged to the payment method you've posted with Amazon. Still, they're channels, and those who want to catch up on Game of Thrones will want the HBO channel that's just a click away and I presume frictionless, i.e., no new account that requires setup with user ID and password that must be tediously entered with a remote.

Didn't stop to research what kind of deal Amazon has with premium channels, though I'm presuming Amazon gets a cut and may even get paid for preferential placement?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
A preview of Apple's upcoming announcements:
Recode said:
Apple’s plan for its new TV service: Sell other people’s TV services

,,, One thing Apple won’t do is unveil a serious competitor to Netflix, Hulu, Disney, or any other entertainment giant trying to sell streaming video subscriptions to consumers.

Instead, Apple’s main focus — at least for now — will be helping helping other people sell streaming video subscriptions, and taking a cut of the transaction. Apple may also sell its own shows, at least as part of a bundle of other services. But for now, Apple’s original shows and movies should be considered very expensive giveaways, not the core product.

That is much less exciting than “Apple Takes on Netflix in the Streaming Wars,” but it is an accurate description. Even worse for people interested in exciting narratives: Apple has already been helping people sell video subscriptions and taking a cut of the transaction for years.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
The Verge has some interesting reporting on Apple's change from a computer company to something different:
Chaim Gartenberg said:
How Apple makes billions of dollars selling services
Breaking down Apple’s new focus — from Apple Music to accounting tricks

... Apple’s services business brought in over $10.9 billion during the most recent quarter, setting records in “every geographic segment” in the process, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Cook also said that Apple is on track to double its services business from 2016 to 2020. Last quarter saw a 19 percent increase year over year.

It’s a substantial figure compared to Apple’s other business segments: services already brings in more per quarter than the Mac ($7.4 billion last quarter), iPad ($6.7 billion), or the collected “Wearables, Home, and Accessories” group of products ($7.3 billion). And that balance will likely only continue to shift as Apple starts to push services harder and introduces new services to which people can subscribe.

So what’s already bringing in all that services revenue, and how healthy are those businesses? ...
 


For those who have existing fusion drives, the spinning disk is a standard SATA drive, is it not? I cannot find answers on the internet, but if my 2015 iMac's spinning drive fails, can I not replace it with a SATA SSD in either the 3 1/2" format or a 2 1/2" format with a frame? My iMac fusion drive uses a 7200 RPM 2TB disk paired with the larger SSD. Another 2015 iMac in my office has the smaller SSD paired with a 1TB, 5200 RPM hard disk. In all cases, replacing the spinning hard disk with an SSD would be an improvement, especially for the 5200 RPM disk.

I recognize that the SATA interface limits throughput. I know that in my older iMacs, replacing a spinning SATA hard disk with a SATA SSD made a large improvement in the performance in the older iMac, even when the interface was 3 Gbps instead of 6 Gbps.

Note that in the iMac with the larger SSD and the 7200 RPM spinning hard disk, the only time that low speed is really noticeable is when I am using Parallels running Windows 10. I suspect that the combination of Windows virtual hard disk file size and my infrequent usage of Windows results in the Windows hard disk file sitting on the spinning hard drive. On my 2015 MacBook Pro with a 2TB SSD, Parallels Windows is quite fast.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
For those who have existing fusion drives, the spinning disk is a standard SATA drive, is it not? I cannot find answers on the internet, but if my 2015 iMac's spinning drive fails, can I not replace it with a SATA SSD in either the 3 1/2" format or a 2 1/2" format with a frame?
iFixit reports that the 21" iMac 4K uses a standard 2.5" SATA drive.
iFixit said:
iMac 21.5" Retina 4K Display 2017 Teardown
– The standard 2.5" SATA hard drive is fully upgradable—though you can't add a blade SSD thanks to an empty pad on the logic board.
EveryMac.com has details on all models:
EveryMac.com said:
Apple iMac "Core i5" 3.2 27-Inch (5K, Late 2015) Specs
This model is equipped by default with either a 1 TB (7200 RPM) hard drive (MK462LL/A) or a 1 TB "Fusion" Drive, which combines a 24 GB SSD and a 1 TB hard drive (MK472LL/A). It has a Serial ATA (6 Gb/s) connector for a 3.5" hard drive.

At the time of purchase, Apple offered a 2 TB "Fusion Drive" (which combines a 128 GB SSD and a 2 TB hard drive) for an extra US$200, a 3 TB "Fusion Drive" (which combines a 128 GB SSD and a 3 TB hard drive) for an extra US$300, a 256 GB SSD for an extra US$100, a 512 GB SSD for an extra US$400, or a 1 TB SSD for an extra US$900.
 


If you find yourself saddled with a spinning hard drive in an iMac (late 2012 or newer) and want to improve performance dramatically, you don't actually have to open up the machine. The USB3 ports on the iMac are quite fast and, if you put a 2.5" SSD into a USB3 case (or buy an already built USB3 SSD) and clone over the installation using Mike Bombich's Carbon Copy Cloner, you end up with a reasonably fast machine.

You may either set up CCC to clone back to the internal as a bootable emergency drive or simply wipe the internal hard drive and make it a Time Machine backup. After witnessing certified Apple techs destroy iMac screens attempting to remove them (that pesky double-faced tape!), this is my recommended upgrade for clients who decided to go cheap when they bought their iMacs and, too late, realized how poorly the machines run with spinning hard drives.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
The USB3 ports on the iMac are quite fast and, if you put a 2.5" SSD into a USB3 case (or buy an already built USB3 SSD) and clone over the installation using Mike Bombich's Carbon Copy Cloner, you end up with a reasonably fast machine. ... After witnessing certified Apple techs destroy iMac screens attempting to remove them (that pesky double-faced tape!), this is my recommended upgrade for clients who decided to go cheap when they bought their iMacs and, too late, realized how poorly the machines run with spinning hard drives.
And it's cheaper, too.

Apple internal 256GB SSD: $200
SanDisk T5 250GB SSD: $72

Or go with Thunderbolt 3 NVMe for better price/performance than Apple’s upgrades:

Samsung X5 500GB SSD: $248
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Still no update to Apple's iMac memory document... five days after the new model introduction. (I'm actually starting to wonder at this point if this could be intentional manipulation of customers.)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Mark Gurman, who has consistently reported accurate information about Apple plans, describes Apple's momentous business move from computers and hardware into services and media businesses:
Bloomberg said:
Apple's Reinvention as a Services Company Starts for Real Monday
When Apple Inc. boss Tim Cook takes the stage at the Steve Jobs Theater in Silicon Valley on Monday, he will usher in a new era for the world’s largest technology company.

The chief executive officer is expected to unveil streaming video and news subscriptions, key parts of Apple’s push to transform itself into a leading digital services provider. The company may even discuss a monthly video games subscription. Likely absent from the event: Any new versions of the gadgets that have helped Apple generate hundreds of billions of dollars in profit since 1976.

It’s a particular challenge for Cook, who took over after Jobs died in 2011. The current CEO is an expert in hardware supply chains who spent years wrangling eager component manufacturers in Asia to assemble the company’s blockbuster iPhone. Apple’s newer partners -- Hollywood studios, movie stars, newspapers and magazine publishers -- are more wary of working with tech giants, or have already teamed up with rivals like Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.
 


Mark Gurman, who has consistently reported accurate information about Apple plans, describes Apple's momentous business move from computers and hardware into services and media businesses:
The move was actually less than momentous when it was first announced to us in Apple Education Sales. "Sell service!" was the mantra back in 2000 and 2001 - a lot more profit than selling hardware. Anyone who was paying attention then saw the handwriting on the wall.

I've been chewing on this for a number of years, and I think it's time I said it (but who cares what I think, eh?). If we should even care about Macintosh hardware, Apple needs to spin off the Macintosh Division so there may be someone in charge who even cares as much as we do.

I'm not suggesting any sort of Chinese Wall to hobble the ability of Apple to make their services work seamlessly (although even that has been a partial disaster); rather, that the "Macintosh Company" be tasked with making insanely great computers (and that doesn't require insanely expensive ones with cr*p keyboards that require a $700 repair when they get a speck of dust under the keys and can't be reliably used by touch-typists nor even those of the "hunt & peck" persuasion).

Any Mac design that can't be easily opened for RAM upgrade or a hard drive swap should be abandoned. Any reasons why this can't be done are simply excuses used to justify designs that are not insanely great but just insane. Oh, one more thing: Jony Ive, you're fired.
 


A brief question: for the newly-refreshed iMac models that were released last week, will they only run with Mojave and newer versions of macOS? Or can one run them with Sierra or High Sierra?

I'm sure they come with Mojave installed, but I wondered if there was a chance I could run an older macOS version on them (natively, i.e., not in a virtual machine.)

I've checked the Tech Specs, but they don't state this explicitly. Thanks in advance!
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
A brief question: for the newly-refreshed iMac models that were released last week, will they only run with Mojave and newer versions of macOS? Or can one run them with Sierra or High Sierra?
As they use newer-generation CPUs and hardware, I don't believe they will be able to run pre-Mojave versions of macOS or OS X (and they may even need a newer version of Mojave than the current one).
 



Still no update to Apple's iMac memory document... five days after the new model introduction. (I'm actually starting to wonder at this point if this could be intentional manipulation of customers.)
Or simply just a reflection that there is nothing particularly new here in the 2019 models that is different from the 2017 ones. It is relatively straightforward processor tweaks (and probably a swap to a new pin-compatible chipset: 300 series PCH). It is being labeled "new" primarily by the new processors in the sockets/pads that were already there.

All 27" 5K retina sections of the document point to the same area for "instructions". Physically, there are likely zero changes to the process. The only change is the DIMM's rated clock speeds, which are in the specs for the device.

They capped the new Mac Mini at 64 GB along with these new iMacs. Even the "TBD" placeholder that OWC has maxes out at 64 GB. (There doesn't seem to be anything bigger than 16GB SO-DIMMs, so 64GB is the practical limit.)
 


They capped the new Mac Mini at 64 GB along with these new iMacs.
Which strongly implies that 32GB SO-DIMMs exist (at least for Apple to purchase from its suppliers), since you can BTO a Mac Mini with 64 GB. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that you and I can buy these SO-DIMMs today, but it would be reasonable to assume that they will be available at some time in the future.

The 64GB maximum on the Minis is a limit of the CPU and/or core-logic chipset from Intel. The 2018 Mac Mini uses one of three CPUs: i3-8100B, i5-8500B or i7-8700B. All three have a maximum capacity of 64GB.

The reason for the limits on the new iMacs is far from clear, however.

According to MacObserver, the 2019 iMacs use a variety of CPUs with a variety of maximum RAM capacities. The 21.5" model uses one of four CPUs: i5-7360U (32 GB max), i3-8100 (64 GB max), i5-8500 (128 GB max), or i7-8700 (128 GB max). The 27" model uses one of four CPUs: i5-8500, i5-8600, i5-9600KF, or i9-9900KF, all four of which have a maximum of 128 GB.

But we also know that Apple is not advertising these limits on their tech specs page. The BTO maximum capacities are 16 GB for the smallest 21.5" (where the CPU goes up to 32 GB) and 32 GB for the other 21.5" models (where the CPU goes up to 64 or 128 GB). Similarly, they advertise the smallest 27" model as a maximum of 32 GB and the others as 64 GB, even though the CPUs all support up to 128 GB. The reason for the discrepancy is unknown at this time - maybe they will support more, but appropriate DIMMs aren't available at this time, or maybe there's something on the board that creates a limit. We probably have no way of knowing at this time.

I am surprised that they don't offer 128 GB for the 27" models, since 32 GB SO-DIMMs exist (the ones Apple puts in Minis that are BTO with 64 GB), but maybe the SO-DIMMs used on the Mini aren't compatible with the CPUs used on the iMacs.
 







Any Mac design that can't be easily opened for RAM upgrade or a hard drive swap should be abandoned. Any reasons why this can't be done are simply excuses used to justify designs that are not insanely great but just insane. Oh, one more thing: Jony Ive, you're fired.
Thirded. Or fourthed. Whatever. My admiration for Ive's brilliant designs has long been eclipsed by my horror at the seemingly casual way he's willing to compromise functionality for incremental design improvements. Really, the current MacBook keyboards would be literally the worst in the industry, even if they were reliable, which they aren't; and Apple's "thin at any cost" design mantra means that replacing a malfunctioning keyboard will cost you more than a new Dell laptop.

Apple's march towards hardware and relentless hostility to third-party service is one reason I went Hackintosh some years ago.

I'm desperately hoping the long-promised "modular Mac Pro" isn't something that's expandable only via Apple-proprietary "modules". But it would not surprise me if it were.
 


Thirded. Or fourthed. Whatever. My admiration for Ive's brilliant designs has long been eclipsed by my horror at the seemingly casual way he's willing to compromise functionality for incremental design improvements. Really, the current MacBook keyboards would be literally the worst in the industry, even if they were reliable, which they aren't; and Apple's "thin at any cost" design mantra means that replacing a malfunctioning keyboard will cost you more than a new Dell laptop.

Apple's march towards hardware and relentless hostility to third-party service is one reason I went Hackintosh some years ago.

I'm desperately hoping the long-promised "modular Mac Pro" isn't something that's expandable only via Apple-proprietary "modules". But it would not surprise me if it were.
David, I'd love to "do a Hackintosh", if I knew how, so any sort of link with appropriate hardware choices would be appreciated. As my apps of choices are cross-platform, the "PC" could always run Windows, and I'd manage.

I will bet $100 that whatever Mac Pro comes out of Apple will be completely, laughably overpriced and as proprietary as is possible, given that Apple doesn't (yet) manufacture RAM modules. Remember: Apple believes its mission is to sell products you didn't know you need and now can't live without. Like Athena from the head of Zeus, it will spring forth fully grown, wearing its battle armor. However, as Horace wrote: "Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus." Or, "The mountains are in labor, a ridiculous mouse will be born."
 


Perhaps missed with all the noise coming out of Cupertino on Monday was the release of macOS Mojave 10.14.4 along with the delta and combo updaters for the same.
 




I have a more simple and prosaic complaint: I would perhaps have replaced my family MacBook Airs (or is that MacBooks Air?) with newer computers some time ago, if they came with larger SSDs at a reasonable price, or allowed me to replace or insert an NVME drive.

I know from experience that the 128gig is too small for my uses, and 256gig barely enough. Apple may be proud that their SSDs are super-fast, but I'd be happy with the speed of standard NVME sticks. And right now, as it has been for ages, larger drives are still far too expensive.

It used to be worthwhile for me to update my Macs every two years or so (I'd pass down or sell the previous). Right now, my newest Mac is five years old, and there's no laptop computer Apple sells that I'd unequivocally recommend on price/configuration basis to non-Mac people on a budget. (And non-Mac people are always on a budget.)

For heavier computing I use a hackintosh, but it's not for everyone.
 


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