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Apple Oct. 2018 announcements

What one modern Mac would you most like MacInTouch to get for testing?

  • 2018 Mac Mini

    Votes: 35 79.5%
  • 2018 MacBook Air Retina

    Votes: 3 6.8%
  • 2018 MacBook Pro

    Votes: 5 11.4%
  • iMac 5K

    Votes: 1 2.3%
  • Other... (please describe)

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    44
  • Poll closed .
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Apple, Products, News
iFixit just posted their 2018 MacBook Air teardown. Important (to me, at least) points:
  • I didn't notice any secret diagnostic port for the storage (as with the iMac Pro - this may be a "feature" of using the T2 for the SSD controller). If the computer gets so messed up that you can't even use Target Disk mode, there won't be any mechanism (short of de-soldering the flash chips and the T2 and somehow getting them to work together on a new board) for extracting your files. This means backups (which are always very important) become extra important, since you can pretty much forget data recovery. Hopefully, it also means that any damage severe enough to prevent normal access will also make chip-level access impossible (because of a damaged T2 losing the encryption keys), so dumpster divers won't be able to get your files after you've given up. Of course, using FileVault in addition to the T2's encryption can protect against this if this "hopeful" guess turns out to be wrong.
Desoldering chips isn't likely going to work. That has the presumption that the T2 doesn't have an anti-tamper mechanism built in and that the desoldering process won't modify any data. FileVault on or off, the data is always encrypted on the T2 drive. What FileVault does is put another encryption key around the key used to encrypt the drive. If there is no "wrapper" key, then the T2 just decrypts on demand, but the data at rest is always encrypted using the key the T2 has. ...
 


It will be interesting to see how Apple handles issues with installing Linux on new Macs with T2 chips.
Thus far, the "can't run Linux" statements on the Internet seem to be circular repetition. Some have been partially retracted.

I'm looking forward to Ric and others here trying to install a Linux on a new Mini, both internally and on external boot. Probably need to try a version with the 3.18 Linux kernel, as that's what's (reportedly) necessary on the new NUC 8's that have a similar-generation Intel chip as the Mini, though with 4 cores instead of 6.
 


..I'm looking forward to Ric and others here trying to install a Linux on a new Mini, both internally and on external boot. Probably need to try a version with the 3.18 Linux kernel, as that's what's (reportedly) necessary on the new NUC 8's that have a similar-generation Intel chip as the Mini, though with 4 cores instead of 6.
I'd also like to hear the results of trying to boot Linux as a virtual guest within a macOS host.
 


I'd also like to hear the results of trying to boot Linux as a virtual guest within a macOS host.
I can't imagine that not working. In a VM environment, the guest OS is going to see the environment created by the hypervisor, not the physical hardware.

Apple's firmware, the T2 chip and other related hardware won't exist at that layer, having been replaced by VirtualBox/VMWare/Parallels firmware and a virtual storage device constructed from files stored on the host's file system.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
After spending an excessive amount of time on Apple's current Mac options, benchmark data, etc., here's a quick and dirty, personal 2018 Mac buying guide...
  • Cheapest, most compatible Mac? 2017 MacBook Air (look for < $700 sale price).
  • Reasonably priced power for general tasks but not heavy photo/video production (e.g. office use, development)? 2018 Mac Mini. For the best performance, pay for a larger internal drive, which will be significantly faster, as well as bigger. (Processor and memory upgrades are also available, and an external Thunderbolt GPU may accelerate media work.)
  • Very small laptop with decent power? 2018 MacBook Pro 13" (Get the Touch Bar version for its four ports and to avoid self-destructing drives. An external Thunderbolt GPU could accelerate media work.)
  • Laptop with built-in graphic and processing power? Get a 2018 MacBook Pro 15". (Its larger size accomodates more powerful hardware.)
  • Desktop with graphics power? iMacs typically have stronger processors and GPUs than laptops. Get an iMac with an SSD, so the storage isn't slow, and consider the 21" version, which is cheaper but still has power and flexibility and may feel faster, as it doesn't have to push around a 5K pixel load.
  • Maximal desktop power for heavy media production? Get an iMac Pro - they get discounted down to $4K occasionally.
  • Most bang for the bucks with the most flexibility and power at the expense of elegance or support? Consider Linux or Windows or hackintosh options.
 


Desoldering chips isn't likely going to work. That has the presumption that the T2 doesn't have an anti-tamper mechanism built in and that the desoldering process won't modify any data. FileVault on or off, the data is always encrypted on the T2 drive. What FileVault does is put another encryption key around the key used to encrypt the drive. If there is no "wrapper" key, then the T2 just decrypts on demand, but the data at rest is always encrypted using the key the T2 has. ...
So is this simply Apple's version of what many modern SSDs (such as Crucial's M500) have been doing for some time? The data on the memory chips is always encrypted by the SSD's controller. Out of the box, that encryption key is unprotected, so no password is needed to read/write to the drive (and if you separate the storage from the controller you can't read the data because it's encrypted). Protecting the data is a simple matter of encrypting the controller's key with another key. And securely erasing the drive is just a matter of resetting the controller's key. No need to actually erase the data itself.
 


So is this simply Apple's version of what many modern SSDs (such as Crucial's M500) have been doing for some time? The data on the memory chips is always encrypted by the SSD's controller. Out of the box, that encryption key is unprotected, so no password is needed to read/write to the drive (and if you separate the storage from the controller you can't read the data because it's encrypted). Protecting the data is a simple matter of encrypting the controller's key with another key. And securely erasing the drive is just a matter of resetting the controller's key. No need to actually erase the data itself.
Unfortunately, recently disclosed security flaws demonstrate those passwords can be bypassed on at least several very popular SSDs from Samsung and Crucial (at least). A lot of people are walking around with much less security than they thought they had:
Solid state of fear: Euro boffins bust open SSD, Bitlocker encryption (it's really, really dumb)​
 



I have to decide in the next few weeks whether to tell a few friends to buy a new MacBook Air or something else. I haven't seen anything here about experiences, and I trust posts here a lot more than elsewhere....

One person said she wanted the larger screen of a 15" MacBook Pro, but when I pointed out the $1000 price increase, she changed her mind.

When I compare the new MacBook Air to the least MacBook Pro, the price difference is only $100. For that, you get faster CPU (which won't matter to them) and a better screen, which might.

Advice?
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I have to decide in the next few weeks whether to tell a few friends to buy a new MacBook Air or something else. I haven't seen anything here about experiences, and I trust posts here a lot more than elsewhere....
One person said she wanted the larger screen of a 15" MacBook Pro, but when I pointed out the $1000 price increase, she changed her mind.
When I compare the new MacBook Air to the least MacBook Pro, the price difference is only $100. For that, you get faster CPU (which won't matter to them) and a better screen, which might. Advice?
I think you have to ask why someone would want a new MacBook Air. A MacBook Pro is already smaller than the previous MacBook Air, and it's a lot more powerful and flexible than the new MacBook Air (as you move up to the 4-port version). If a low price is the object (or compatibility), then the 2017 MacBook Air is still being sold for a lot less money (as a refurb or sale item). For serious, long-term use, the MacBook Pro seems like a better bet than the MacBook Air (as long as you avoid the 2-port MacBook Pro's self-destructive drive).

Apple has a simple comparison tool, if that's helpful.
 


I think you have to ask why someone would want a new MacBook Air. A MacBook Pro is already smaller than the previous MacBook Air, and it's a lot more powerful and flexible than the new MacBook Air (as you move up to the 4-port version). If a low price is the object (or compatibility), then the 2017 MacBook Air is still being sold for a lot less money (as a refurb or sale item). For serious, long-term use, the MacBook Pro seems like a better bet than the MacBook Air (as long as you avoid the 2-port MacBook Pro's self-destructive drive).

Apple has a simple comparison tool, if that's helpful.
We ruled out the 2017 Air because it lacks the Retina display. We ruled out the 4-port MacBook Pro because it costs $500 more than the $1300 dollar machine with no benefits for these users. That leaves the new Air and the 13" Pro. Width and depth are identical, the Air is slightly thinner and an unimportant amount lighter. A new 13' Pro computer should not have the data loss issue.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
We ruled out the 2017 Air because it lacks the Retina display. We ruled out the 4-port MacBook Pro because it costs $500 more than the $1300 dollar machine with no benefits for these users. That leaves the new Air and the 13" Pro. Width and depth are identical, the Air is slightly thinner and an unimportant amount lighter. A new 13' Pro computer should not have the data loss issue.
You might want to keep en eye on Apple’s refurb store for discounts on that MacBook Pro then. (It looks like there’s $200 off currently on that model.)
 


If the laptop will be used outdoors or in places with a lot of ambient light, the Pro might be better. Yesterday, one of the staff writers at MacRumors posted that the new Air's display is not very bright.
 


... A new 13' Pro computer should not have the data loss issue.
Depends upon where you buy it from and how long it has been sitting in inventory at the retailer. ( Apple tends to have lower inventory than others, but other channels can be much longer). Apple might have cleaned out their inventory by June 2018, but I'd be surprised if Apple clawed back every single possible box back out of their retail partners' inventory to fix and resend.
Apple Support said:
13-inch MacBook Pro (non Touch Bar) Solid-State Drive Service Program
13-inch MacBook Pro units with affected drives were sold between June 2017 and June 2018...
Initializing with a dummy account, serviced (don't have to back up, if all it has is a clean install), and then one more customer initialization would work. A seller that also does authorized service might check the serial number for handing it over, but around this time of year most places are just trying to move lots of boxes (Black Friday); especially 'old' inventory.
 


FWIW: I’ve got an 11” mid-2013 MacBook Air with 250GB SSD, Core i7 processor and 8GB RAM, running High Sierra (no need for Mojave yet, I’ll wait for at least 1 update, if at all). I mostly do pretty pedestrian things - internet, email, docs, Keynote presentations, very occasionally some not-too-sophisticated video editing (iMovie) - and it all works fine, at reasonable speed. I was thinking of the new MacBook Air simply because it’s newer (newer CPU mostly). But since what I have is fine for me, and the newer Air’s specs are no great improvement, I’ve decided not to buy. The MacBook Pro would be truly much more capable, but most of that improvement would only be needed (or used) by someone who has much more high-end needs. For me, it’d be like having a Lamborghini just to drive to the corner store and back.
 


For me, it’d be like having a Lamborghini just to drive to the corner store and back.
Sadly, my 2012 MacBook Pro retina 15" was the hot model and now it's the Honda Civic—runs well, but not a screamer. Unfortunately, the new models aren't Lamborghinis, they are "strippies" in car jargon, lower-end components (CPUs, memory, and undersized SSD's unless you pop for robbery pricing on real capacity) and missing amenities like ports that would make the experience self-sufficient.
 


I had ordered an iPad Pro 12.9" 512GB/Space Gray/WiFi/Cellular on Oct 30th. It still hasn't shipped (the Pencil 2 was delayed then received 2 weeks ago). I've been in touch with my Apple rep, and they are "expediting" the order. I then checked with a colleague (in another dept.) and found they, too, have some iPads delayed.
Hmmmm.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I had ordered an iPad Pro 12.9" 512GB/Space Gray/WiFi/Cellular on Oct 30th. It still hasn't shipped (the Pencil 2 was delayed then received 2 weeks ago). I've been in touch with my Apple rep, and they are "expediting" the order. I then checked with a colleague (in another dept.) and found they, too, have some iPads delayed.
Hmmmm.
The online Apple Store shows current delays for that configuration:
Apple Store said:
iPad Pro 12.9" 512GB Space Gray WiFi+Cellular

Order today, delivers:
  • Dec 11 - Dec 13 – Fastest
  • Dec 13 - Dec 17 – Free
 


The online Apple Store shows current delays for that configuration:
I am in exactly the same situation as Ed. S. Ordered the same iPad configuration on Oct. 30. At first they said 2 to 3 week delivery. Then on day 23 got a new email from Apple saying delivery was going to be by December 15th. Have my new pencil and media adapter. I don't recall seeing this kind of situation before.
 


I haven't been in this situation in a while because the last few Apple purchases I made were refurbs, but I remember that when I've ordered new stuff that came to me directly from China via FedEx, the first stop in the USA was Anchorage, Alaska. Maybe the earthquake has disrupted Apple product shipment flows.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I haven't been in this situation in a while because the last few Apple purchases I made were refurbs, but I remember that when I've ordered new stuff that came to me directly from China via FedEx, the first stop in the USA was Anchorage, Alaska. Maybe the earthquake has disrupted Apple product shipment flows.
I don't think that explains it, considering the timing (and the fact that other Apple products, such as the new Mac Mini, have been shipping from China in the meantime).
Apple PR said:
New iPad Pro with all-screen design is most advanced, powerful iPad ever
... The new iPad Pro models, Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard Folio are available to order starting today from apple.com with availability starting Wednesday, November 7, in the US and more than 40 additional countries...
 


When I ordered the iPhone Xs Max per my dad's instructions, I saw the originating point being out of Ontario, California. I was expecting the iPhone would be coming from China.

(Side note: I hope it's not true that sales of iPhones are slow.)
 


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