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It is simply unacceptable to expect businesses to continue paying a premium for systems that look cool but have a significant likelihood of hardware problems from a company that has demonstrated a multi-year indifference to actually resolving the underlying issues.
Excellent summation, truly hits the nail on the head. The quoted text should be pinned to Tim Cook's forehead so he sees it every morning in the mirror.
 


I'm sure there are many reasons for Apple's falling sales, but just maybe they could look at their offerings and understand they're not giving consumers what they want. Phones, iPads, Macs and watches are all just incrementally updated, and Mr Cook seems to think they will fly off the shelves.
I wonder how much of this maliase is due to Cook abdicating to Mr. "thinner, thinner, thinner", who is an artist and not an engineer or usability expert.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I wonder how much of this maliase is due to Cook abdicating to Mr. "thinner, thinner, thinner", who is an artist and not an engineer or usability expert.
There may also be some contributions from "Mr. Bean Counter" to this issue, as thinner products reduce shipping costs (and might reduce some material costs, as well).
 


Apologies in advance for this cry from the heart....
I am 100% with you. Indeed, if Windows 7 were still the standard, I might not have gotten a new Mac at all. I do not appreciate Dongle Hell, incompatibility with my monitor (oh, but don't worry, shutting off FileVault will fix it!), the near impossibility of getting Apple to take said incompatibility seriously, constantly searching for (and buying new) dongles for each generation of computer, and now... having to stay where I am or pay various companies thousands of dollars for all-new software when the old stuff works just fine.

I did not upgrade my laptop past the "good keyboard" generation; if it fails, I have to buy a used one.

That said, Windows is still problematic... my favorite being trying to install Win7 or Win10 onto an HP laptop whose drive has been erased, from CD or USB, and being told that it can't install because it doesn't have the right CD or USB driver... while running from the CD or USB....

I tried going to Linux, but while it looks great, each flavor I try just isn't ready for prime time in key ways. It's partly the software interchange issue, but it's also the numerous things that can and do go wrong, with mysterious and very complicated solutions.

Apple has gone way too far into “styling and design,” when, with their larger market share, they can be serving a wider range of customers. Maybe we're not typical, maybe those of us who want minitowers or good keyboards are exceptional, but they have large enough scale that they should be able to provide for all of us.
 


I wonder how much of this maliase is due to Cook abdicating to Mr. "thinner, thinner, thinner", who is an artist and not an engineer or usability expert.
My favorite example of this was the changeover made in the iMac (I think it was the move from the 2011 model to the new, "thinner" 2012 model). Mr. thinner, thinner, thinner's great invention. I can hear the conversation now...

Thinner: "Hey Tim, I have a new better iMac design - it's really great, you will faint over this one."
Tim Cook: "Super, what is it like, Jony?"
Thinner: "We made it way better, Tim. We removed the ethernet port, we replaced that pesky 3-1/2" 7200rpm hard drive with a teeny5400 rpm drive, and we got rid of that ole stupid DVD SuperDrive. Who named that thing anyway? Oh, we also glued it shut to keep small children out of the iMac and anybody from messing with our memory."
Tim: "Wow, Jony, that sounds great, but not quite enough for me."
Thinner: "Okay, Tim, ready for this - Ta Da - it is now thinner!"
Tim: "Now that's what I'm talkin' about. Just what a desktop computer needs. Nice job, Jony."
 



Jose Hill's post is excellent and parallels my experience quite closely.

My personal feeling on the current state of Apple hardware is that I fail to see how you can call a MacBook Pro a professional machine when they removed all the onboard I/O in favor of the modules on the outside... and locked us out of the modules on the inside. The only "pros" they pleased by making things thinner were "road warriors"... completely forgetting that most people on the road are actually going somewhere to work and would appreciate not having to carry a second bag full of dongles.

In the past two weeks, I've done something I never thought I'd do: I "Gazelled" my PITA 27" iMac that never worked well from the beginning (and Apple could never catch/diagnose) and got a small-but-more-capable Windows PC, and I ditched my iPhone for an Android model.

I won't lie... I have some work to do get things whipped into shape. But I'm willing to go through that headache in lieu of putting up with overly "designed" hardware and software. This was a huge step for somebody who has used Apple computers since 1981 and been an iPhone user since the earliest of days.

Apple brought this on themselves. I'm sure they won't miss me, but they might miss my money. They've stolen the joy I used to have with their products. My little collection of Apple computers will be replaced with some other hobby, I'm sure. It's just too painful to see those wonderful little machines from back then and recall the excitement they engendered. I'm just going to move on and explore other things instead.
 


I think Linux can make sense for organizations that are almost exclusively based on G Suite or one of the alternative Office software suites (like LibreOffice), but once they reach a certain size, they inevitably start feeling pressure to adopt a certain number of Microsoft Office licenses because of network effects.
When Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 went EOL, I removed it from our systems. Our Macs now have NeoOffice, a recommendation I think came to my attention from Ric responding to a persistent print format problem in LibreOffice [OpenOffice] on Mac. Linux systems come with LibreOffice. We do exchange complex documents with attorneys, some who work for us, some representing other parties, and although they're almost all on Word (there may be a few on WordPerfect?), we've had no issues we couldn't solve by just being very clear that "We don't do Word." Funny how that gets people to be helpful when you're paying them.

Recently, I've read that Kingsoft's WPS Office (Windows/Linux) may be even more compatible with Microsoft Word and Excel than LibreOffice. I've not tried it.

Different view: my wife's last IBM Thinkpad came with Red Hat Linux pre-installed. All the IBM clients she serviced were Microsoft Office shops, and the accountants and database administrators with whom she worked used Access to download chunks of giant databases. They used Excel macros to further process data and prepare reports for management. She had to get permission to re-image her new laptop with Windows and Office, so she could do her job.
I wonder how much of this malaise is due to Cook abdicating to Mr. "thinner, thinner, thinner"
Remember those Pixar Lamp iMacs? Mine happened to be the second worst computer I ever owned, unreliable, buggy, just shut down for no reason. That aside, I loved the form factor with the pivoting 17" screen I could adjust to any angle, pull close, push back. The little round speakers were great, too. But it was freakin' heavy. Had to be. Pulling that arm holding the monitor around meant it had to have a weighty base. And it came in a huge box.

Tim Cook was a China supply chain guru brought in by Steve Jobs to streamline Apple production. That meant closing Apple's US factories and outsourcing manufacturing overseas. Apple gear doesn't come in by boat, it comes in by air freight. That means Apple isn't holding expensive inventory in shipment or in warehouses.

Replacing designs such as the Pixar Lamp iMac and cheesegrater Mac Pro saved enormous weight and space. "You can never be too rich or too thin," attributed to Wallis Simpson, was long applied to upscale products like watches and the original Razr cell phones. Thin's stylish. Thin's fashionable. Thin sells. Jony Ive may be the public face of "thin," but it's Tim Cook's supply chain logic that mandates "thin" as a policy. Not sure why that translates into systems with so few ports - the latest Dell XPS 13 has:
  • MicroSD card reader
  • USB-C 3.1 with Power Delivery and DisplayPort
  • Headset jack
  • two Thunderbolt 3 ports with Power Delivery and DisplayPort (4 lanes of PCI Express Gen 3)
I tried going to Linux, but while it looks great, each flavor I try just isn't ready for prime time in key ways. It's partly the software interchange issue, but it's also the numerous things that can and do go wrong, with mysterious and very complicated solutions.
While Windows and Mac have a range of interchangeable, commercial, applications, a switch to Linux isn't seamless. There's just some software for which there's no desktop Linux replacement for Mac or Windows options. That said, I've not had any "mysterious and very complicated" Linux problems. That's probably because I've been setting up standard, new, Intel-based systems with Intel WiFi, Ethernet, and Intel graphics. That avoids a lot of potential issues which come with trying to re-purpose older hardware.

In the latest round of Linux updates (Ubuntu 19.04 versions, Fedora 30), setup of even proprietary graphics cards has been automated. I've noted substantial ease of setup improvements in Linux installs from 2015 to present. But that's on 100% Linux systems. Trying to set up your own partition scheme, and even dual booting, can get more complicated. I just let the installer have its way with an entire SSD, and in minutes I have a working install ready to go.
 


Jose Hill's post is excellent and parallels my experience quite closely.
... and I ditched my iPhone for an Android model.
Ditto on both points. Aperture loss is a big deal for me, and I made my first step into Android a couple of years ago, when the one main feature I cared about - plus-size screen - would cost literally twice as much on iPhone, plus Android had some other features (dual SIM) that are useful to me. The iPhone features I lost (mainly learning a new OS) were minor to me.

Overall it's close to five years since I last bought new Apple hardware out of my own pocket. I used to average one or two major products a year (not including Airports, which obviously I'm not buying anymore, either). No compelling products on offer at a reasonable price, plus, for me, dongles are a serious pain.
 


There may also be some contributions from "Mr. Bean Counter" to this issue, as thinner products reduce shipping costs (and might reduce some material costs, as well).
Mr. Bean Counter is not the only one that may be happy. Mr. Green will be pleased as well, because thinner and lighter products require less raw materials and energy to produce, package and transport. It's a double advantage.

That is, unless they make the products so thin that they become fragile and break sooner, of course.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Mr. Bean Counter is not the only one that may be happy. Mr. Green will be pleased as well, because thinner and lighter products require less raw materials and energy to produce, package and transport. It's a double advantage.
Mr. Repairman, Mr. Recycler, and Mr. Upgrader might disagree about the wisdom and ecological impact of thin, glued-shut products that are inaccessible, unrepairable, and non-upgradable.
 


When Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 went EOL, I removed it from our systems. Our Macs now have NeoOffice, a recommendation I think came to my attention from Ric responding to a persistent print format problem in LibreOffice [OpenOffice] on Mac. Linux systems come with LibreOffice. We do exchange complex documents with attorneys, some who work for us, some representing other parties, and although they're almost all on Word (there may be a few on WordPerfect?), we've had no issues we couldn't solve by just being very clear that "We don't do Word." Funny how that gets people to be helpful when you're paying them.
Those of us who depend on people paying us for our written products can't be so insistent on not doing Word, although I did manage to persuade a book publisher that I was not going to waste my time learning LaTeX when they could convert files from the previous edition into Word.

I do virtually all my magazine writing in Nisus Writer Pro, and submit RTF files that the editors turn into Word. Many publishers use change-tracking for quality control, which can be done in Nisus but not as well as in Word. Once you get into fussy little details of fonts, symbols and, especially, equations, for the final version of an article, I find it pays to work in Word. So far, I've been able to stay with Word 2011, but eventually I expect I will have to 'upgrade' to the current version.

Word is pretty much required for self-publishing to get the fine points of typesetting correct, although I have heard of people using other software, especially for text-only ebooks.
 



Word is pretty much required for self-publishing to get the fine points of typesetting correct, although I have heard of people using other software, especially for text-only ebooks.
Of course I can't find it now, but I heard a podcast interview with an author who uses LibreOffice to submit manuscripts to publishers.

I also heard Bob LeVitus ("Dr. Mac") interviewed on Episode 53 of the Mac Power Users podcast. Host (and also author) David Sparks is all about automating workflows, markdown, etc. Prolific author "Dr. Mac" is all about producing finished books and columns by sitting down, avoiding distracting influences, and typing in Word.

While searching the Internet for the author interview, I found this (below), showing use of LibreOffice far beyond my own. While it's focused on LibreOffice, it might have useful information for any aspiring author.
Fritzheit said:
Authoring Novels with LibreOffice
I finished the first draft of my first novel in 2005 using OpenOffice. Since then I've written two more novels and more than a dozen short stories. I switched to LibreOffice in 2010 after Oracle Corp. acquired Sun Microsystems. (For a brief overview of my story writing process, see my writing process.)

Briefly, the following article will detail how to use LibreOffice to write a novel from an editing perspective (without going into the creative aspect), starting with word processing and finishing with PDF files suitable for submission or creating a POD, as well as e-book files ready for publication via Amazon.
 


Empty space for cooling air to circulate inside a computer doesn't add weight. A laptop that's thicker doesn't necessarily use more material or add weight, as perforated air-grilles could replace solid sides.
But it requires more material to package it. That does add weight and requires extra raw materials. That packaged item also takes up more room, which means that fewer fit in a given volume of shipping. That in turn means more shipments, which costs more energy. I will gladly give you that this is a tiny amount per item, but given the humongous amount of stuff that Apple ships, it does add up.
 


Empty space for cooling air to circulate inside a computer doesn't add weight. A laptop that's thicker doesn't necessarily use more material or add weight, as perforated air-grilles could replace solid sides.
It may, however, require more packaging for the product. It may only be fractions of an inch, but it all adds up. Larger packaging may mean a lower number of units per a given shipping container. Both weight and package dimensions are of equal importance in this regard. Just try calculating the shipping costs for a large box containing only packaging peanuts across country. The dimensional weight of the package well exceeds the actual weight of the contents.

Otherwise, I am with you, George. I have long railed against the "thinner and lighter" design ethos of Apple these last years. That, along with the lack of choice. With Dell, HP and others, I have choices where there are clear differences between the model lines.
 


To take a breath and a step back, I just got a brand new "corporate-grade" HP laptop from my employer. And I have to say: I hate it. The Bluetooth works with some headphones, but not others. The included wireless mouse (with its non-standard, non-rechargeable battery) uses a huge USB dongle that lights up on mouse movement, which is annoying at best. The keyboard feels flimsy, and I constantly hit the Home key instead of Backspace, since it's in a column of keys to the right of the keyboard.

And think Windows devices don't mean carrying additional dongles and cables? Well, there's my wireless keyboard dongle, the aforementioned mouse's giant dongle, the DisplayPort to HDMI dongle, because HP's own DisplayPort didn't work consistently with HP monitors (or I could just carry a nice VGA cable!), the giant power brick with enough cable to plug the laptop into another zip code...

Then there's Windows 10, which I like over Windows 7, but still annoys me with its barrage of useless notifications.

Finally, I can't tell you how many times someone on my small technical team has sent their laptop back for repair, or in a conference call, someone says, "Shoot - my laptop just shut down..."

I certainly can't defend this as all things Apple being perfect, but at least Apple - for better or worse - is trying to get away from some of the annoyances I've described above.
 


But it requires more material to package it. That does add weight and requires extra raw materials.
Both weight and package dimensions are of equal importance
I just maxed out a 15" MacBook Pro (i9, 32GB RAM, Vega 20, 4TB) at the Apple Store: $6,649, before tax.

It ships in the same box as the "intro" $2,399 15" i7. The 2TB SSD takes up no more shipping space than the base 256GB SSD. And the profit margin Apple gets from selling that 4TB drive (buy now, or never) has to be staggering. They get to keep the 512GB that's "stock" in that model, then sell users the 4TB for $2,800.

Well and good, but even after the embarrassing "fix" required to take the original 2018 i9 out of the freezer for its own good, those computers don't deliver the performance they could, and that their price would justify, because they have to throttle to keep from self-basting. Saw today a suggestion the butterfly keyboard issues aren't grit, but heat....

Yes, my point about the Tim Cook supply-management-driven design "policy" agrees that Apple saves money from thinner and lighter.

Note it is Apple, Inc., that's saving money, and that's an example of Apple, Inc.'s interests diverging from its customers'.
 



I guess everyone has their horror stories about their {Mac/PC/Linux} machines. I own and use all three platforms.

Linux (Mint in my case) is lovely and works reliably, although apps for photo management and editing are not to my liking; seems like too many contributing-geeks demanding many similar functions, whereas a commercial developer would have resisted the feature creep and released something svelte and efficient. For email and Web use with some LibreOffice thrown in, however, it's fine. Older Macs that can't upgrade to Mojave are also perfect candidates for Mint; you can keep 'em running securely for years (as long as the video hardware doesn't fry).

macOS (Sierra on my 2015 iMac and 2014 MacBook Pro) works fairly well, although Finder issues (e.g. can't eject removable media) are common. Very rarely do I encounter a system freeze - maybe once every 6 weeks (but I am doing some data recovery things with my iMac, so I can't get angry; bad hard drives do tend to wedge the Finder).

Windows 10 (on a 2015 HP Envy 750), SSDs, 24GB RAM, and an Apple 23" Cinema Display (really!): I mostly run Lightroom on this box, along with Affinity Photo and Luminar. Gee, I have those apps on my iMac, too. They work pretty much the same (although the latter two still need a bit of tweaking from the developers for the Windows platform). Email and Web use are fine and reliable.

I believe Apple doesn't want me as a customer any more. I won't buy the MacBook Pro trash and recommend to everyone they avoid the MacBook and MacBook Pro like the plague. iMacs are still fairly good, although repair is a nightmare, but, when that T2 chip arrives in the iMac like the alien face-hugger it is, I'm out of here. Sorry, Apple.
 


Like Barry Levine, despite wanting for several years to upgrade my 2013 MacBook Pro, I have refused to buy the butterfly keyboard versions. Why would anyone pay such exorbitant prices for a machine that has such a high risk of being defective and requiring a ludicrously expensive repair when out of warranty?

I don't know how much longer I am willing to wait for a redesign with a reliable keyboard to come on the market (since Apple refuse to even acknowledge their mistake, it is hard to judge if they have even given it any priority - 2020, 2021, 2022, or will they simply double down with ever thicker membranes?).

Silly, I know, but as a bit of a technophile, it sticks in my craw that due to Apple's pathetic offerings, my 10-year-old son has a better laptop than me, having had to purchase him a Windows machine to be school-compliant. Whenever we are working side by side, I look longingly at his machine - with its latest-generation processor, ability to turn into a tablet, stylus support, thumbprint reader, USB-C ports - and I wonder at the inertia that keeps me in Apple's orbit.
 


It's really interesting reading this discussion but it begs the question: Does anyone actually like Apple (or what they're doing) any more? It certainly doesn't sound like it.

What a huge fall from the years of the reality distortion field where they could do no wrong and their users were the greatest evangelists in the tech world.
 


It's really interesting reading this discussion but it begs the question: Does anyone actually like Apple (or what they're doing) any more? It certainly doesn't sound like it.
As has been discussed many times previously here on MacinTouch, we readers are no longer Apple's target market. Apple now makes their money from iPhones and, to a lesser extent - at least for now - iPads and services. Because of the prices of Macintosh computers, we're not quite a rounding error on Apple's books. But we Mac users certainly are not who Apple perceives as its future customers.
 


It's really interesting reading this discussion but it begs the question: Does anyone actually like Apple (or what they're doing) any more?
Yes.
It certainly doesn't sound like it.
Yes, it certainly does not.
What a huge fall from the years of the reality distortion field where they could do no wrong and their users were the greatest evangelists in the tech world.
Characterizing Steve's reign as being all good is certainly an application of the "reality distortion field". Did you survive the me.com transition or the iBooks transition or countless other incidents along the way from System 6? I did all that while using and supporting Windows from 3.1 forward. (Well, in truth, I skipped Windows 8.)

... I do not believe Apple or Apple products and services are perfect. In fact, I have had many disagreements with some changes made by Apple, but I will continue to beta test, submit feedback and bug reports, and do whatever I can to support my clients. Overall, macOS and iOS are still easier to use and support than Android and Windows. The rate of updates to OS and applications is an order of magnitude less for macOS as compared to Windows. The security and other updates for iOS continue far longer than most Android updates. And, in spite of the me.com transition woes and lack of documentation from Apple, the Apple iCloud ecosystem provides more seamless integration for most users than that found in any other OS/device environment....
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
As has been discussed many times previously here on MacinTouch, we readers are no longer Apple's target market. Apple now makes their money from iPhones and, to a lesser extent - at least for now - iPads and services. Because of the prices of Macintosh computers, we're not quite a rounding error on Apple's books. But we Mac users certainly are not who Apple perceives as its future customers.
But it's important to remember that Mac customers are very much an equal Apple target and market for the company's services businesses (along with Windows and Android customers...). And I also think we'll see some Mac products next month at WWDC (though I doubt their prices will be competitive).
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
It's really interesting reading this discussion but it begs the question: Does anyone actually like Apple (or what they're doing) any more?
I have to admit that my feelings about Apple have changed, and I feel that the company has gone from the true genius of the original Macintosh user interface and programming to a company that is disturbingly abusive:
  1. As a quintessential example of abusive behavior, you can't say "no." Apple won't let you stop its very forceful demands for confusing and problematic "upgrades", Apple ID, iCloud, and 2FA (with its Apple device dependencies), its invisible A.I. "photo analysis" daemon, and various forms of advertising, and you can't even remove unwanted Apple apps.
  2. Apple's pricing for memory and storage upgrades is abusive.
  3. Apple's confusing hide-and-seek user interfaces are abusive.
  4. Apple lies to customers in Apple Stores are blatently abusive.
  5. Apple "stonewalling" on product defects is extremely abusive.
  6. (Apple's treatment of developers and partners also offers examples of various abuses.)
But my greatest frustrations in recent years have come from trying to support family members hijacked and confused by Apple's forced, manipulative and unwanted updates that change user interfaces and security procedures and create all kinds of problems that can take many hours and much pain to sort out, especially with iPads, which are inaccessible remotely, along with lacking such basic features as email group addresses.

#abuse #appleabuse
 


It's really interesting reading this discussion but it begs the question: Does anyone actually like Apple (or what they're doing) any more? It certainly doesn't sound like it. What a huge fall from the years of the reality distortion field where they could do no wrong and their users were the greatest evangelists in the tech world.
After Steve left Apple, and Sculley tried the "Pepsi treatment" at Apple (fill the store shelves with as many minor variants to push out the competition - that didn't work), I would say that Apple survived in spite of its management, not because of it.

Today, with the Macintosh moribund and the iPhone costing more than many people will pay, Apple relies upon its Services. Apple had better make sure whatever they offer in Services will work outside of their walled garden, because there are lots of folks who won't pay for Apple hardware.

I'm not excited about Apple in the TV space. News? Got it elsewhere. Entertainment? Lots of great choices. Apple can't be edgy any more. That stopped with that one commercial in 1984. Now they are a caricature of themselves.
 


It's really interesting reading this discussion but it begs the question: Does anyone actually like Apple (or what they're doing) any more? It certainly doesn't sound like it.
This is not truly a new experience. For many years (before the latest fiascos) I have said that I like Mac computers in spite of Apple, not because of them. Their operating systems (from Mac OS 7 on through about Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) were the major reason that I used (and enjoyed using) the computer. Since we used Windows at my work, my standard answer to people was that "I use Windows at work because I have to, I use a Mac at home because I like to."

Over the last few years that is becoming less true, and now that I am no longer working, I don't have the same access to the resources that I had at work and so have lost connection to the Windows world. I may have to reacquaint myself with that world if Apple continues on their wayward trajectory. While it would take some reinvestment in software, the savings in hardware (and increased performance and repairability) would most likely make up for that cost.
 


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