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Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Someday, there will be an 'Xcode' for iOS that will allow developers to work entirely on iOS (Swift Playgrounds is already starting to get us there). But I don't see it stopping at just 'Xcode for iPad' - Apple could very likely introduce its own 'build-code-as-a-service' thing, which would allow developers to easily develop on an iPad locally, but the actual compiling, packaging and distribution of binaries would be all handled by Apple...
That's interesting perspective, and I can easily imagine something like this:
  • Apple introduces/adopts an innovative new way of programming apps for its "ecosystem" (think HyperCard, LiveCode, Visual Basic, but something newer).
  • Your code is stored in Apple's cloud (think Github, now owned by Microsoft).
  • Apple "compilers"/processors helps you write, run, and debug your code in the cloud (e.g. in virtual machines) while doing security checks and preparing the software/product for Apple distribution.
  • Apple leverages its untold billions of intimate customer details, along with its AI technologies, to prioritize software and developers within its system for maximal profit.
  • Apple leverages its billions of customers, its own software, its App and iTunes Stores, and all the advertising channels involved in those to sell and profit from an ungodly amount of content created by others.
  • Apple adds new media businesses (video, periodicals), and their advertising channels and influence, to its existing Apple Music, Apple TV, iTunes, App Store, etc. to market more powerfully than it ever has before.
Why not? Talk about trillion-dollar companies...
 


For me, the thing that will signal that macOS is going away will be when Apple releases a version of XCode that runs on some other OS. You've got to develop your iOS apps somewhere, and right now Apple would really prefer that you buy a Mac in order to do so. If XCode is released on Linux or Windows, that will be the signal that macOS's days are numbered.
Not the remotest chance of that happening. All the high-end work Apple is doing rests on macOS. Look what Apple does when it realises it has a critical dependency on some external product/resource – it makes its own in-house to remove the dependency. Look at what they've done in the field of microprocessors. And now they're looking to eliminate a dependency on Qualcomm and Intel by designing their own modems. Can you see a company like that making itself beholden to Microsoft? And why bother jumping to a Linux distro when you've already got a fantastic Unix platform? Remember, Darwin (the core of macOS) is an open-source distro in the same vein.

Apple will never make development of their own platform dependent on a 3rd-party OS because all its development would be critically vulnerable to the actions of the OS provider. It's already been down that road with compilers - the only viable option for a long time was Metrowerks CodeWarrior. But that locked Apple into the capabilities of CodeWarrior and restricted forward planning and/or radical changes. CodeWarrior was also sold to Motorola and the Intel portion subsequently to Nokia, eliminating the scope for macOS development in CodeWarrior.

macOS is the bedrock of Apple R&D – the company is sunk without a general-purpose computing OS. I think they would maintain it even if they didn't sell machines based on it, but the fact is that it's also a very profitable. Many companies would kill to have something that lucrative, but we tend to forget that given the iOS market is so large. [Not to] fear, macOS is here to stay.
 


macOS is the bedrock of Apple R&D – the company is sunk without a general-purpose computing OS. I think they would maintain it even if they didn't sell machines based on it, but the fact is that it's also a very profitable. Many companies would kill to have something that lucrative, but we tend to forget that given the iOS market is so large. [Not to] fear, macOS is here to stay.
This is actually my view as well. In my drive to be concise, I left out the bit where I think that they will never stop making Macs and that worrying about it is pointless, since iOS apps need XCode, and XCode needs Macs. So if you don't hear rumors about XCode on Linux/etc., then worrying is a waste of time.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple will never make development of their own platform dependent on a 3rd-party OS because all its development would be critically vulnerable to the actions of the OS provider.
I think that they will never stop making Macs and that worrying about it is pointless, since iOS apps need XCode, and XCode needs Macs. So if you don't hear rumors about XCode on Linux/etc., then worrying is a waste of time.
"Never" is a long time.... I'm pretty sure Apple will move from Xcode to something entirely different for an entirely different type of "apps" in the future (say, A.I. "apps" that we can't even imagine at the moment), just as it moved from Integer BASIC on the Apple II to the Lisa Workshop to 680x0 assembly language (and Forth!) with early Macs, then Pascal, then Objective C with OS X and now Swift, while making drastic jumps in hardware from early Motorola CPUs to PowerPC to Intel and now to ARM, and changing development systems over and over along the way and mixing in some emulation software, too, at times.

At some point, we won't have Macs, and we won't have Xcode. The question is when that will happen (and how).

On the hardware side, Cloud Macs are already a thing that Apple is promoting, and there's no technical impediment at all to virtualizing Macs - and Mac development - anywhere in a cloud on all sorts of servers and hardware platforms. (Only Apple licensing is forcing macOS to run on Apple hardware.)
 


I believe [that] ignores a major problem the Mac has right now, which is people not writing software for the Mac. Of the 4 major platforms, iOS, Android, Windows, and macOS, macOS is the weakest.
And unless Apple drastically changes how they are running the Mac App Store, that will never change.
 


"Never" is a long time.... I'm pretty sure Apple will move from XCode to something entirely different for an entirely different type of "apps" in the future (say, A.I. "apps" that we can't even imagine at the moment), just as it moved from Integer BASIC on the Apple II to the Lisa Workshop to 680x0 assembly language (and Forth!) with early Macs, then Pascal, then Objective C with OS X and now Swift, while making drastic jumps in hardware from early Motorola CPUs to PowerPC to Intel and now to ARM, and changing development systems over and over along the way and mixing in some emulation software, too, at times.

At some point, we won't have Macs, and we won't have Xcode. The question is when that will happen (and how).

On the hardware side, Cloud Macs are already a thing, and there's no technical impediment at all to virtualizing Macs - and Mac development - anywhere in a cloud on all sorts of servers and hardware platforms. (Only Apple licensing is forcing macOS to run on Apple hardware.)
The fear I'm hearing on this thread is not that the world of computing will change beyond recognition in the distant future, but that in the very near and foreseeable future Apple is going to wind down macOS and force us all into an underpowered, inadequate mobile world. That makes no sense in practical or business terms.

Apple has stated clearly this is not the case. And making itself critically dependent on a 3rd party doesn't reflect anything else Apple has done for a very long time. Note the succession of processors and languages listed above; they progress from something outside Apple to something owned and driven by Apple. It now seems highly likely that they will drop Qualcomm and Intel for modems in phones etc, and there's a distinct technical possibility that they will drop Intel for all processors and use their own. These moves show a company that prizes independence, and Apples business practice is based on the approach.

The facts are:
- All Apple's R&D is founded on macOS
- Anything supplanting macOS would have to be at least as capable
- Apple has repeatedly emphasised the importance of macOS to itself and its customers
- macOS is hugely profitable
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
And making itself critically dependent on a 3rd party doesn't reflect anything else Apple has done for a very long time.
No one was making that argument, as far as I can see, although FileMaker Cloud is dependent on AWS, and Apple buys critical cloud services from third parties, as well as non-Mac data center hardware and internal business software, and Apple uses third-party open-source software extensively. Then, of course, Apple's entire manufacturing capability is based on third parties, such as Foxconn and Samsung.
- All Apple's R&D is founded on macOS
How do you know that? Do you know what Apple is doing internally? It's quite possible that some of Apple's secretive R&D is not founded on macOS. Pretty enclosures may get designed with Apple Pencils on iPads, and I'd be surprised if all of Apple's circuit design work takes place on Macs, for example, let alone all of Apple's services infrastructure and future product R&D.
 


Not the remotest chance of that happening. ... macOS is the bedrock of Apple R&D – the company is sunk without a general-purpose computing OS. I think they would maintain it even if they didn't sell machines based on it, but the fact is that it's also a very profitable. Many companies would kill to have something that lucrative, but we tend to forget that given the iOS market is so large. [Not to] fear, macOS is here to stay.
... or at least a platform which enables what macOS enables (plus future fun possibilities, as Ric noted) will exist.

I don’t care really whether they call it a Mac or an iPadProWithMouse or whatever.

I would care - very much - if the only development suite was cloud-based. Then they’ve grabbed my technological goolies the way the loathsome Adobe’s subscription model has grabbed my camera's tender bits. Which is why I think I’ll be Luminar, not Lightroom, quite soon...

If they went that route, I’d be over onto some Linux-y thing PDQ.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I doubt this would ever be the case, but if it ends up going that way, I am out of here. Those two apps keep me on Macs. Basically, everything else I can fake on Linux.
But how hard is it to imagine Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X running on a new, super-powerful Apple ARM-based computer in a new version of iOS?

If you've got Mac-scale storage, processing power and screen size, how much does it matter what the rest of the OS looks like, as long as your app does what you need it to do?

Apple is already selling keyboards for the iPad, and it functions as a trackpad - the only thing missing is a mouse, which would be trivial to add but would need iOS updates if Apple deigned to support mice.

But we're heading towards a voice-based future, in any case, past the keyboard, then the mouse, then touchscreens, into the future of Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.
 


How do you know that? Do you know what Apple is doing internally? It's quite possible that some of Apple's secretive R&D is not founded on macOS..
What we know is that iOS, tvOS and watchOS are all developmental subsets of macOS, and macOS is crucial to their support and forward momentum. I'm certain there are other new things in the pipeline, but it's a stretch to say that what we see at the moment from Apple spells doom for the macOS (which seems to have been a popular theory for many years now).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
What we know is that iOS, tvOS and watchOS are all developmental subsets of macOS, and macOS is crucial to their support and forward momentum. I'm certain there are other new things in the pipeline, but it's a stretch to say that what we see at the moment from Apple spells doom for the macOS...
I agree that it's unlikely that macOS will soon vanish or that Apple will immediately stop making Macs. I think the concern is the gradual erosion that we've all witnessed in the quality and consistency of the Mac's OS (especially its user interface) and the lack of commitment of Apple to the platform, given the long-moribund Mac Pro, the long delays in updating the Mac Mini, and the continued sale of years-old designs as new computers, etc. Those hard facts are not exactly signs of vital commitment from the company to the Mac OS and Mac hardware platform, and Apple didn't even acknowlege the 35th anniverary of the Mac this year.

This is all happening in the context of i-devices and media/services taking over Apple's business (after the company dropped "Computer" from its name), such that Macs have dropped to only 10% of Apple's revenue, and I don't think anyone believes that the Mac business is growing, rather than declining.

But this all started with the question of Xcode running on non-Mac platforms (along with Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X). Can you guarantee that
  • Apple won't introduce a powerful ARM-based computer?
  • Apple won't port Xcode to it or run it in emulation?
  • Apple won't push/support developers more towards iDevice, Siri, and media development vs. Mac app development?
If Apple does do that (and/or does so for Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X), I think it would be hard to argue that it doesn't portend the "end of the Mac" as we've known it for the past 35 years.
 


I agree that it's unlikely that macOS will soon vanish or that Apple will immediately stop making Macs. I think the concern is the gradual erosion that we've all witnessed in the quality and consistency of the Mac's OS (especially its user interface) and the lack of commitment of Apple to the platform, given the long-moribund Mac Pro, the long delays in updating the Mac Mini, and the continued sale of years-old designs as new computers, etc. Those hard facts are not exactly signs of vital commitment from the company to the Mac OS and Mac hardware platform, and Apple didn't even acknowlege the 35th anniverary of the Mac this year.
On the other hand we have rumors of a new Mac Pro and 16-inch Macbook Pro.

On the other, other hand we have the [thermal paste] defects in the Mac Mini 8,1 coupled with its non-upgradability, and the fact that they could have made it much faster with better cooling of the same processors.
 


But how hard is it to imagine Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X running on a new, super-powerful Apple ARM-based computer in a new version of iOS?
But what about the heavy-duty creative apps that are not made by Apple, such as Pro Tools, Media Composer, Premier and After Effects? It's nice for the Apple apps, but what about industry-standard apps? If Apple were to move to ARM-based systems, they would lose even more creative professionals as companies like Avid and Adobe either (a) take time to port their apps or decide to abandon Apple and just keep developing for Windows.

The fact of the matter is, in industries like Post Production, which were traditionally nearly 100% Mac-based, you are already seeing an influx of Windows systems as people grow more and more impatient with Apple not having a serious "pro" desktop. What Apple seems to forget is that this was their main audience for decades, and whether they want to admit it or not, in the end you have to get your work done... and Apple has provided few hardware options that allow that over the past 7 years. Just the peripheral/connection needs alone preclude using the current Mac Pro with its paucity of expansion options. That's why so many post houses still have cheesegrater-era Mac Pros and are buying new Windows PCs.

In the end, the entertainment we are consuming on our Apple TVs is largely not made with Apple apps. For instance, Netflix actually requires a Pro Tools session to be submitted as part of the delivery assets. And Pro Tools runs just as well on a Widows system as it does on a Mac. But if Apple makes it hard for Avid (or Adobe), we content creators have no choice but to buy the systems that allow us to keep working, making our deadlines and feeding our families.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
But what about the heavy-duty creative apps that are not made by Apple, such as Pro Tools, Media Composer, Premier and After Effects? It's nice for the Apple apps, but what about industry-standard apps? If Apple were to move to ARM-based systems, they would lose even more creative professionals as companies like Avid and Adobe either (a) take time to port their apps or decide to abandon Apple and just keep developing for Windows....
That's an excellent point and perspective, which raises the question with any new Apple-ARM system of emulation/virtualization to support existing Mac apps (and possibly even software from other platforms, whether Android, Chrome or Windows).

We've been through this in past Mac architectural transitions, where apps rewritten for the new architecture gained performance improvements, while others with less commercial support and viability fell by the wayside.

Apple's current hardware direction embraces AI/machine learning operations, which overlap a lot with graphics and image processing, and we've seen rapid development there on the iOS platform. But I'm actually not sure at all that Apple has any technology that would facilitate emulation/virtualization on ARM - that's a big question for me.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Some timely news/rumors:
Ina Fried/Axios said:
Apple's move to ARM-based Macs creates uncertainty
Apple is widely expected to move its Mac line to custom ARM-based chips in the coming years.

What we're hearing: Although the company has yet to say so publicly, developers and Intel officials have privately told Axios they expect such a move as soon as next year.
  • Bloomberg offered a bit more specificity on things in a report on Wednesday, saying that the first ARM-based Macs could come in 2020, with plans to offer developers a way to write a single app that can run across iPhones, iPads and Macs by 2021.
  • The first hints of the effort came last year when Apple offered a sneak peek at its plan to make it easier for developers to bring iPad apps to the Mac.
Why it matters: The move could give developers a way to reach a bigger market with a single app, although the transition could be bumpy. For Intel, of course, it would mean the loss of a significant customer, albeit probably not a huge hit to its bottom line.
Hot Hardware said:
Intel Expects Apple Will Shift To Custom ARM Mac CPUs In 2020

... the writing is already on the wall respect to Apple's looming CPU architecture shift. Earlier this week, a separate report indicated that Apple is working on a project called Marzipan that will enable developers to create universal apps that work across Mac, iPhone and iPad platforms using a single binary. Starting this year, Apple is expected to give developers the ability to port iPad apps over to the Mac (iPhone support is expected the following year). Finally, in 2021, the public will be given access to these universal apps that will work across all of Apple's major computing platforms.

... With that being said, any transition from Intel to Apple's own homegrown processors wouldn't happen all at once. We might see the company start at the low-end with the MacBook, then make its way up the product line with the Mac Mini, MacBook Air and then MacBook Pro families. However, this is all just speculation on our part as to what Apple has in store for its future hardware.
 


On the other hand we have rumors of a new Mac Pro and 16-inch Macbook Pro.
There were some 14" and 16" laptops revealed at CES 2019 in January that essentially were larger screens stuffed into smaller bodies - the relatively widespread "war on bezels" that seems to be extremely popular. A MacBook Pro 16" wouldn't so much be a return to a "bigger" platform role that the 17" option used to play. There is a good chance that the same system thinness and approximate overall circumference of the MacBook Pro 15" would stay, so probably will end up with the exact same set of ports (and the price would stay quite high, since removing the bezels and keeping the camera, antenna, etc. will require a more expensive solution).
On the other, other hand we have the [thermal paste] defects in the Mac Mini 8,1 coupled with its non-upgradability, and the fact that they could have made it much faster with better cooling of the same processors.
I think that misses the forest for the trees. The bigger strategic move Apple made with the Mini is moving it to a substantially higher price point. It isn't being aimed at the "switching out your ancient Windows PC box" user base at a highly cost-conscious price any more. While there is some overlap with a subset of the previous buyers of Minis, Apple is looking for a different set of customers with the new Mini.

While the entry Mac Mini is still about $200 under the older 2017 (but sold new) MacBook Air ($799 vs $999), the gap is much smaller now. For anyone who needs a new keyboard, screen, and trackpad/mouse the MacBook Air is probably more affordable (especially if using Apple peripherals).

The Mini is on desktop class CPUs now, but it isn't trying to completely overlap the iMac in capabilities. (The iMac made the desktop CPU transition more than several years ago and didn't get to where it is now in one leap.) The Mini will probably move with new tech and as the iMac moves.

The MacBook is not addressing the same user space it was 10 years ago, either.

Apple isn't trying to sell to exactly the same set of folks they were 10 years ago. The user base has changed also. It isn't just unilaterally Apple [that's changing].
 


What Apple seems to forget is that this was their main audience for decades, and whether they want to admit it or not, in the end you have to get your work done... and Apple has provided few hardware options that allow that over the past 7 years.
I get the feeling that most users (not specifically SteveCT I quoted here) expect this kind of loyalty to be reciprocal - it's not; Apple is a company, not your BFF. *

Anything that might get in the way of generating value for their real customers (investors) will get the chopping block - be it Xserves, AirPorts, iPods (non-touch), monitors, gold watches, small form-factor iPhones, or even the Mac itself, those pesky loud consumers be damned (and we Apple users can be a loud bunch).

As Apple pushes to get more and more of its main revenue from services, expect more things to get dropped.

(*One could be argue that "treating your customers well" deserves loyalty, or is a sign of reciprocal loyalty, but the way Apple has handled issues from Antenna-gate to the butterfly keyboard flaws and right up to current hardware issues fails to show much loyalty from Apple in my eyes.)
 


But what about the heavy-duty creative apps that are not made by Apple, such as Pro Tools, Media Composer, Premier and After Effects? It's nice for the Apple apps, but what about industry-standard apps? If Apple were to move to ARM-based systems, they would lose even more creative professionals
Apple no longer care about creative professionals - they make way too much money from millennials using Instagram and Facebook to care about people who use Premier and FCP to make a living. Make no mistake, Apple is not the 'creative'-targeting company it was 30 years ago. Their sole target now is bundles of cash.
 


DFG

The facts are:
- All Apple's R&D is founded on macOS
- Anything supplanting macOS would have to be at least as capable
- Apple has repeatedly emphasised the importance of macOS to itself and its customers
- macOS is hugely profitable
More facts:
- There is no longer a macOS group inside Apple (!)​
- macOS has been stagnant for the last 2-3 major releases. What's the biggest feature in Mojave? Dark mode. LOL.​
- For 98% of users, anything supplanting macOS would not need to be as capable. It's us, the "pro" users on MacInTouch, who need a powerful desktop OS. It has become clear that Apple doesn't care about us anymore​
- macOS market share growth has stopped, just when Apple stopped innovating in macOS.​
- Apple has gone from "the computer for the rest of us" to the "Burberry of computers." It has also moved towards a proprietary walled garden model.​
- macOS is only profitable in the sense that it convinces people to spend significantly higher prices for Apple hardware. How long can that continue if macOS doesn't innovate anymore?​
 


More facts:
- There is no longer a macOS group inside Apple (!)​
- macOS has been stagnant for the last 2-3 major releases. What's the biggest feature in Mojave? Dark mode. LOL.​
I don't know about #1, but I disagree that macOS is stagnant. I believe there is a lot of internal work going on to convert everything to a Swift-based foundation. This is probably one of the factors causing so many regressions in recent releases. Some things got better (performance improvements, which is seen especially in iOS 12; bear in mind that iOS and macOS share a lot of libraries). Other things got worse (especially with regards to network related issues).

Unfortunately, it is taking them more than one release to replace the plumbing, while we would prefer they get it all done in one go.
 


But this all started with the question of Xcode running on non-Mac platforms (along with Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X). Can you guarantee that
  • Apple won't introduce a powerful ARM-based computer?
  • Apple won't port Xcode to it or run it in emulation?
  • Apple won't push/support developers more towards iDevice, Siri, and media development vs. Mac app development?
If Apple does do that (and/or does so for Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X), I think it would be hard to argue that it doesn't portend the "end of the Mac" as we've known it for the past 35 years.
The processor macOS runs on is completely irrelevant - it can already be compiled for multiple targets and has been like that since Apple 'adopted' Next. And the first step in the process is making Xcode et al produce native code for the target process. That means all applications (including Final Cut and Logic Pro) become native to that platform at the next build (or can be built to multiple targets). And because the frameworks macOS is based on are designed for portability, this will require almost no effort from developers (as opposed to the previous classic Mac OS).

Apple can shift processors and compile everything they have to native code without you even noticing. And they can make it a no-brainer for everyone else to do the same. It makes absolutely no difference to the functionality (or continued existence) of macOS. I would welcome the processor shift if it allowed us to escape from Intel's stagnation.
 


- There is no longer a macOS group inside Apple (!)​
Citation please, so we can see what you're talking about.
- macOS has been stagnant for the last 2-3 major releases. What's the biggest feature in Mojave? Dark mode. LOL.​
Most visible features added in Mojave here:
I'm really pleased with it - we get more changes in one release than I've seen in Windows since XP. And there's lots more that's exciting from a developer perspective. Dark mode always leads in marketing because it's great eye candy.
- For 98% of users, anything supplanting macOS would not need to be as capable. It's us, the "pro" users on MacInTouch, who need a powerful desktop OS. It has become clear that Apple doesn't care about us anymore​
No - pro users, including Apple itself, are the primary reason for macOS existing. Jobs described the need for different parallel computing experiences back at the release of the iPad. Apple's development, both internal and external, cannot exist without a pro platform and there's no way it will make itself dependent on Microsoft for that.
- macOS market share growth has stopped, just when Apple stopped innovating in macOS.​
macOS marketshare has been flat since practically forever. The biggest changes were the downward slide in the 90s and the restoration when Jobs returned. But it never really changed since then, and I don't think anything Apple does will change that. Microsoft users are almost totally locked in, and Apple with get nowhere trying to change that.
- Apple has gone from "the computer for the rest of us" to the "Burberry of computers." It has also moved towards a proprietary walled garden model.​
Real examples please - how am I in any way restricted on macOS? Personal experience is that I can do as much as I always have in the past.
- macOS is only profitable in the sense that it convinces people to spend significantly higher prices for Apple hardware. How long can that continue if macOS doesn't innovate anymore?​
Macs have always been a premium product and people have griped about it as long as Apple has existed. Value for money hasn't changed – my only gripes are that Apple is gluing everything in and I don't like my MacBook keyboard.
 



Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Citation please, so we can see what you're talking about.
A quick Google search returned a number of articles related to this:
Bloomberg said:
How Apple Alienated Mac Loyalists
... In the Mac's heyday, people working on new models could expect a lot of attention from Ive's team. Once a week his people would meet with Mac engineers to discuss ongoing projects. Mac engineers brought prototypes to Ive's studio for review, while his lieutenants would visit the Mac labs to look at early concepts. Those visits have become less frequent since the company began focusing more on more-valuable products like the iPhone and iPad, and the change became even more obvious after the design team's leadership was shuffled last year, according to a person familiar with the situation.

In another sign that the company has prioritized the iPhone, Apple re-organized its software engineering department so there's no longer a dedicated Mac operating system team. There is now just one team, and most of the engineers are iOS first, giving the people working on the iPhone and iPad more power.
 



Macs have always been a premium product and people have griped about it as long as Apple has existed. Value for money hasn't changed – my only gripes are that Apple is gluing everything in and I don't like my MacBook keyboard.
My issue with Apple and macOS is pretty simple. The computers are being built either non-upgradeable or extremely difficult to fix or upgrade (glued batteries, soldered RAM etc.). So much for being environment-friendly.

The OS is becoming more difficult to navigate, with hidden commands the most egregious example. These are not the intuitive computers we originally purchased, when we got large manuals included with the computer, but they were not needed to operate the computer. Now we get computers with no manuals and hidden settings and menus.

For an example, with every new release of iTunes I have to search for hours to find formerly easy-to-find menu items, or change it to look something similar to what I had in a previous version. I'm sticking with iTunes 12.6.5, since it is remotely similar to what I had in the past (once I spend hours resetting hidden commands and settings).

I realize computers and components are more complicated, but these folks at Apple are even violating (or have thrown away) their own user interface guidelines, the guidelines that set the gold standard for computer usability.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
iPhones took over from Macs in Apple's money machine, and iPads were a thing, but even iPhone and iPad sales are slowing now (while Apple Watch and Apple TV aren't providing the kind of revenue Apple's shareholders demand), but if Apple sells new hardware to a bunch of the billion+ iPhone owners, that could generate some more cash, The Verge suggests:
Jon Porter said:
Report claims that Apple could begin production of iPhone-powered AR glasses this year

Apple could begin production of its long-rumored augmented reality glasses as early as the end of this year, noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said.

... It’s no secret that iPhones sales have slowed down in recent years, which has led to speculation that Apple will need to look elsewhere for its future revenue growth. One area for this could be accessories, where sales revenue has risen by 33 percent even as phone sales have fallen by 15 percent. An AR headset could be a useful accessory for Apple in the future, providing a new revenue stream even if people don’t feel the need to upgrade their phones.
Tim Cook has been very excited about the "profound" potential of Augmented Reality. (See also MacRumors' Apple Glasses coverage.)
 


That's interesting perspective, and I can easily imagine something like this:
  • Apple introduces/adopts an innovative new way of programming apps for its "ecosystem" (think HyperCard, LiveCode, Visual Basic, but something newer).
  • Your code is stored in Apple's cloud (think Github, now owned by Microsoft)
I hope not. Too often have I had to work under a time crunch coding in a place with zero network access (rebuild, test, deploy with USB drive).
 


Apple no longer care about creative professionals - they make way too much money from millennials using Instagram and Facebook to care about people who use Premier and FCP to make a living. Make no mistake, Apple is not the 'creative'-targeting company it was 30 years ago. Their sole target now is bundles of cash.
I find it hard to argue this point, and that is frustrating. We creative professionals have invested heavily in high-end Macs for decades, and we're having a hard time coming to terms with the ever-growing realization that Windows will be our future. It is very much the "talk around the water cooler". We're all watching the bravest of our colleagues and seeing how they handle the transition as they move to Windows.

I also think most of the audio manufacturers have seen this coming, too. Even the last "Mac only" audio hardware company has announced Windows (and Linux) support. The writing is on the wall. Which begs the question, who will be left to actually buy this new Mac Pro that will be released this year?
 


DFG

Citation please, so we can see what you're talking about.
Ric found the report I rememberd, an excellent piece by Mark Gurman, my favorite technology reporter.
macOS marketshare has been flat since practically forever.
Er... no. See here. macOS market share tripled between 2006 and 2012. It has remained stagnant since then.
Real examples please - how am I in any way restricted on macOS? Personal experience is that I can do as much as I always have in the past.
Mmhh... tried to use Nvidia GPUs in Mojave?
Macs have always been a premium product and people have griped about it as long as Apple has existed. Value for money hasn't changed – my only gripes are that Apple is gluing everything in and I don't like my MacBook keyboard.
Value for money has indeed changed. In the old days the premium went into higher-quality hardware. In the last few years the premium has increased a lot. Compare a 15" MacBook Pro with a Dell XPS 15, two very similar computers with almost the same internal components (except GPU and SSD). The Mac is $1000 more.
 


Value for money has indeed changed. In the old days the premium went into higher-quality hardware. In the last few years the premium has increased a lot. Compare a 15" MacBook Pro with a Dell XPS 15, two very similar computers with almost the same internal components (except GPU and SSD). The Mac is $1000 more.
"Value", in my humble opinion, should include:
  • free diagnostics and service at Apple Stores, often free repairs
  • overall ease-of-use / superiority of macOS vs. all other OS's
  • ability to run other OS's in virtual environment
  • solid security and privacy, both in the OS and Apple's policy
  • huge benefits of iCloud services and synching
  • top-notch hardware that should significantly outlast the competition
  • more I can't even think of at the moment... feel free to chime in!
Yes, nothing is perfect and we here at MacInTouch are a demanding bunch. But, big picture, I still will stick with Macs and Apple. The overall value is great.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
"Value", in my humble opinion, should include:
  • ... ability to run other OS's in virtual environment
I think that's actually better in Windows Pro, isn't it, with Hyper-V?
  • top-notch hardware that should significantly outlast the competition
You mean like this, and this, and this, and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this and this, for example? (Not to mention major software failures....)
 


"Value", in my humble opinion, should include:
  • overall ease-of-use / superiority of macOS vs. all other OS's
  • ability to run other OS's in virtual environment
  • top-notch hardware that should significantly outlast the competition
Sorry, but I have a bit more skeptical a view than yourself, particularly as it pertains to the points listed above. I come to this opinion after decades in the technology profession in a variety of roles. While I am not going to bore everyone with a synopsis, especially at this late time of evening/morning, I would like to say:
  • Apple has routinely used lower-cost components on their boards, all the more so in recent times, when a fractionally more expensive part of superior quality would have been a better solution. Saving fractions of pennies does add up to more profit for Apple, but it also reduces the potential lifespan of their hardware. Other hardware vendors I have dealt with have been a bit more judicious in not trying to squeeze as much cost savings out of their designs. If we are paying top dollar, it would be nice to have some of that money going towards better components.
  • macOS is no longer superior in its ease-of-use, just slightly better, with features which are constantly changing or being deprecated or buried in hidden option-clicks and with little documentation.
  • While we currently have options to run other OS natively or via virtualization on a Mac, that may be going away. Apple's desire to control all facets of design and production will more than likely, in my opinion and ones I have seen noted elsewhere, lead it to start using their own ARM processors in upcoming Macs and to move away from Intel. The original Mac Pro 1,1 was released as an early development platform for the migration from PowerPC over to Intel. I am anticipating announcements at WWDC this coming June of a similar nature with the new Mac Pro - at least as a way to perform native iOS development. If you are developing software, you want to develop on the same platform you release your software on. Developing on an Intel Mac to deploy on an ARM iOS device does have disadvantages.
 




Apple financials show the company spent about $14.2 billion on R&D last year. (I'm guessing that the fraction used for the Mac platform was well under 1%.)
Interestingly, as a percentage of revenue, that's not even a particularly high amount for a tech company.

From a recent article on "Research and Development Costs on an Income Statement" (emphasis mine) :
  • Apple - The maker of the iPhone, iMac, and MacBook spends about $3.7 billion quarterly on research and development. That's about 4% of its quarterly revenue.
  • Johnson & Johnson - J&J spent $3.2 billion on R&D in the last quarter of 2018, one of its highest totals ever. (It spent more than 4 billion in the same quarter of 2017.) The company's R&D costs comprised more than 18% of its revenue in the 4th quarter.
  • Alphabet - Google's parent company spent a whopping $5.3 billion on R&D in the third quarter of 2018. That's about 15% of its quarterly revenue.
  • Amazon - The major online behemoth reported $7.16 billion in R&D costs in the quarter ending in September, 2018. That's about 13 percent of the company's quarterly revenues.
 


Interestingly, as a percentage of revenue, that's not even a particularly high amount for a tech company.

From a recent article on "Research and Development Costs on an Income Statement" (emphasis mine) ...
Don't forget that the phrase "R&D" is horribly... misleading. It turns out that, for many companies, a very large portion of R&D is "D" - development, or, in other words, the cost of turning out the next product. There's often very little "R."

If a company's R&D is a small percentage of its turnover, and if, like most, it does little "R", then the conclusion is that that company is an efficient generator of new products. This, to be clear, is a good thing.
 


Don't forget that the phrase "R&D" is horribly... misleading. It turns out that, for many companies, a very large portion of R&D is "D" - development, or, in other words, the cost of turning out the next product. There's often very little "R."
Yes, most companies' new product development (concept, design, prototype, validation, and verification) is placed in the R&D bucket, since they get a tax discount. The tax discount is applied if they meet the four criteria: new functionality, discover new information, requires some experimentation, and is technological in nature.

Very little pure research is done these days. It is just mostly incremental innovation. Most companies avoid risk by waiting for a start-up to develop something new then buy it out.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Intel has new CPUs, and some of these will presumably end up in Macs (e.g. the promised, but undefined, 2019 Mac Pro):
Ars Technica said:
Intel puts 8 cores, 16 threads, and a 5GHz turbo option in a laptop processor
The first processors to include Intel's ninth-generation Core branding came out last year with a limited line-up: just a handful of high-end desktop processors in the Coffee Lake family. Today, the company has unveiled a bumper crop of new ninth-gen chips. There's a set of H-series processors for laptops and a complete range of desktop processors across the Celeron, Pentium, and Core brands, from i3 all the way to i9.

The most exciting of these are the mobile H-series parts and in particular the top-of-the-line Core i9-9980HK. This is a 45W processor with eight cores, 16 threads, and 16MB of cache, with a base clock speed of 2.4GHz and a turbo speed of 5GHz.
 


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