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DFG

Here's a comparison between a maxed-out 2018 MacBook Pro 15" and a maxed-out Dell XPS 15:
The link is very interesting, thank you. It is very strange to me that the Dell throttles both CPU and GPU when on battery power. I am not a Windows expert so I don't know if that is a setting that can be changed somewhere. Personally, I would hate it. But that's Windows, not a hardware problem.

OTOH, I really like the 15" Dell XPS. It's arguably a better laptop than the MacBook Pro--and a lot cheaper.

I looked into installing hacking macOS on it. Unfortunately, the internal/discrete GPU switching mechanism does not work under macOS, so you can't use the (great) GPU. This is a no go in my opinion. It would be Ok on the 13", though.

That leaves Linux as the only viable OS for me.
 


One of the biggest problems with a touch-screen on a desktop (or a laptop where the screen is mostly vertical) is that you are forced to hold your hand in an unnatural position, which ends up hurting over time.
I don't think anyone suggests that one should be forced to use the touchscreen. I personally have never used it on my Windows machine - and it works fine without using it. But for those who wish to use the feature, its absence is notable.
The first thing my child tried to do when they were tall enough was swipe the TV to change the channel.
This is the point: increasingly, touchscreens are the default expectation of users, and the absence jarring. Not for me (and probably for a lot of other 'old school' types), but I see it with others, and I know some who have simply said they won't buy a portable computer without it. Apple's losing sales and mindshare.
Re multiple SIMs - Apple's use of eSIMs seems like a much better approach then the cumbersome "put this teeny tiny little card in my phone" bit.
Does Apple support more than one eSIM being active at the same time? If not, then not the same thing. Even if cumbersome physically to change them out, Android supports this seamlessly; it's a very useful feature. It is increasingly ubiquitous in markets where unlocked phones dominate.
 


Note that pointing at a screen to point something out is something practically everyone does. Just look at your screen and how many smudges there are. It may be the Apple is overthinking the idea of touch, because they think it needs to be full-featured.
One of the things that irritated the heck out of me in my office life was people touching my display when pointing to something. I spent a fair amount of time cleaning off their greasy little deposits. What I wanted to do was smack their hands. The residue is one of the things I like least about using my iDevices. So a touch interface for my laptop is not a feature for which I am pining, unless someone comes up with a foolproof oleophobic coating. Touchable screens seem to be a bit better than they were when I got my original iPad Mini 6 years ago. My iPhone 7 gets touched plenty, but seems somewhat more resistant to oily buildup.
 


He also mentioned that Windows 10 has a tablet mode.
Yes. When enabled, you get the UI that was introduced in Windows 8. It's pretty nice on a tablet but really aggravating with keyboard and mouse.
I don't think anyone suggests that one should be forced to use the touchscreen.
But you know that some mainstream apps (Adobe and Microsoft, I'm looking at you here) will not take the time to ensure that every touch-based feature has a mouse/keyboard equivalent. You will effectively be forced to use a touch screen (and buy one if you don't have the hardware), if you want to take full advantage of the app.

This is much like how, in the early days of the Mac, there were plenty of apps that made other unwarranted assumptions - like assuming every color screen was at least 640x480 resolution, or determining hardware capabilities based on model numbers instead of using the Gestalt Manager, or assuming that every Mac has a "control" key (Pluses and earlier did not).

I'm actually surprised we haven't yet seen major apps that require a TouchBar for some functionality, even though Apple has been extremely clear about the fact that there should never be any such requirement in an application. (Maybe this won't happen until Apple ports it to the rest of the product line?)
 


One of the biggest problems with a touch-screen on a desktop (or a laptop where the screen is mostly vertical) is that you are forced to hold your hand in an unnatural position, which ends up hurting over time. You can point at a screen and perform a few one-finger gestures, but anything more robust, like dragging, pinching and the like quickly result in wrist pain.

This was discovered a long time ago with light pens. A "light gun", with the pen barrel mounted on top of a grip works a bit better, because you can hold your wrist in a more natural position, but that's even more unlike a touch-screen than a pen.

Touch interfaces work on tablets because you typically have them lying flat (or hold them in a mostly-flat orientation), which is far more comfortable on your wrists. You could have the same effect on a laptop if you open the display all the way so it lies flat, but that can put the screen at a very awkward (and glare-prone) viewing angle, especially if there's a keyboard in front of it.

All this having been said, I think Apple should develop touch APIs for macOS, in order to support those users and situations where it would be appropriate, like a laptop folded flat or some future "convertible" laptop that can hide the keyboard.

The danger here is that it could easily lead to developers that drop their keyboard/mouse interface altogether in favor of touch, which would end up breaking on systems without the hardware and would be difficult for users with (for example) vertical desktop screens or projectors to work with. Apple could create rules for the App Store, but unlike iOS, that's not the only way to get Mac software - meaning we could guarantee that this problem will happen if the APIs are ever developed.
I agree wholeheartedly. I wrote about this and other ergonomic issues in "The hidden danger of touchscreens", a piece I wrote for InfoWorld (not to be confused with InfoWars!) more than six years ago. Although some of the hardware and software is no longer with us, I believe that it still applies.
 


I’m no UI expert, but in my opinion the Reality Distortion Field has always distorted easy-to-learn/easy-to-remember/already-learned/habitual into “intuitive.”

Anedoctal evidence: mother-in-law just got her first smartphone (an iPhone); its use is not intuitive
I was doing "bleeding edge" multimedia development back in the early 1990s, and a lot of our customers wanted interactive sales & marketing tools with a lot of details and specs built in. This led us to start using hidden UI elements – "Move your cursor over this graphic or to this corner to reveal a hidden menu for more detail on this product."

After two or three projects, we stopped doing that because the salesmen using the tools simply were lost and could never remember which hidden menu did what, or even where the "secret spot" was in the first place. It was far from intuitive, in other words. From our (developer) perspective, it was pure UI genius. From the user's perspective, it was broken. We started calling it "user hostile design."

Every time I install an iOS update, it's "Déjà vu all over again."
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
One of the things that irritated the heck out of me in my office life was people touching my display when pointing to something. I spent a fair amount of time cleaning off their greasy little deposits.
A former coworker was particularly adamant about that same thing, and we were doing support work that involved frequent visits by people who would stick their fingers into the screen, which had a matte coating that highlighted the effects. Ironically, though, his keyboard wasn't at all clean, in contrast to the pristine condition he kept his screen in.
 


A former coworker was particularly adamant about that same thing, and we were doing support work that involved frequent visits by people who would stick their fingers into the screen, which had a matte coating that highlighted the effects. Ironically, though, his keyboard wasn't at all clean, in contrast to the pristine condition he kept his screen in.
I was using an Apple 20” MultipleScan CRT, and the crappy overhead lighting really highlighted any crud on the screen. My current home display is a lovely 24” wide-gamut, matte-screen NEC. If someone tried to touch its display surface, there would absolutely be hell to pay.
 


I own an Acer V5 that came with a touchscreen. (I bought it in spite of that feature.) The only time I have ever used the feature is when doing some sort of short-term explaining with the trainee looking over my shoulder. For my use, on the other hand, I find the touchscreen worse than useless, as I don't want to keep cleaning the fingerprints and smears off my screen. Touchscreen on my phone? Yes. Tablet? Yes. (But the necessary on-screen keyboard on any touchscreen phone or tablet really sucks.)
 


One of the things that irritated the heck out of me in my office life was people touching my display when pointing to something. I spent a fair amount of time cleaning off their greasy little deposits. ...
Amen. When I first experienced this on the old Mac Pluses it drove me batty. I kept a bottle of Windex and paper towels near my desk to clean up after people smeared my display with their greasy fingers. I still keep the Windex and paper towels close by, I added microfiber cloth for plastic covered displays. In the 30+ years I've used Windex it damaged only a single display's coating. It was some off-brand and past its prime.
 


Amen. When I first experienced this on the old Mac Pluses it drove me batty. I kept a bottle of Windex and paper towels near my desk to clean up after people smeared my display with their greasy fingers. I still keep the Windex and paper towels close by, I added microfiber cloth for plastic covered displays. In the 30+ years I've used Windex it damaged only a single display's coating. It was some off-brand and past its prime.
Pointing with your fingernail toward the screen instead of your finger print is something I learned to do as a youngster visiting art galleries. Docents would freak out if you pointed at a painting as most people normally do, especially if you were close to the art. I just carried that concept to computer screens and modeled that behavior to others. Seemed to help reduce skin-to-monitor contact.
 


Back in 2010 Steve Jobs dismissed touchscreen notebooks as "ergonomically terrible." He also said:

"If you see a stylus, they blew it.” -Steve Jobs, 2010

In a different time and life, I designed touchscreen museum media kiosks. Made a point of having large, legible, and carefully worded "tiles" to touch, well before Microsoft introduced "tiles" in the Windows 8 "Metro" UI, which it sabotaged with annoying "flashing tiles" and, in my very brief experience, "ads in tiles?"

I put my iPad 1 in Apple's 30-pin keyboard dock / easel to better use Pages and Numbers. I found the frequent necessity to reach over the keyboard and touch the screen to choose menus was "ergonomically terrible" and returned the dock.

I have no trouble using phone and small tablet touch-screens, ones I can hold in one hand and "drive" with the other.

ChromeOS began as a keyboard / pointer UI that Google is struggling to make touch-friendly. Reviews of the new Acer Chromebook Tablet 10 show there's a long way to go. Hard to "type" a Gmail when the on-screen keyboard rolls up and covers half the screen.

I briefly owned Google's i5 Pixelbook. In "laptop" mode I found no benefit from touch over the excellent trackpad. And touch requires that "ergonomically terrible" reach over the keyboard to press a tiny UI element on a very high-res screen. Imported Android apps do use touch, but thin and light as it is, the Pixelbook's too big, heavy, and awkward to use as a tablet and not helped by the rotation sensor going wonky as the device is moved from laptop to tent to tablet modes, and from portrait to landscape orientation.

The challenge Google faces in turning ChromeOS, which iterates very rapidly, into a touchscreen-capable OS at least hints at the difficulty of making macOS and its many applications "touch friendly." (Speaking of which, we have a couple of Wacom Tablets graphic artists here shelved to return to mouse input.)
 


in my opinion touch screens are most useful on hand-helds, somewhat useful on laptops, and useless on desktops. Raising my hand to touch a desktop display would be tiring. Hand-helds and laptops both have their screen easily within reach of a hand. Anecdotal: At a job I used an original Microsoft Surface Pro. I never used its touch screen.
I've been issued touch screen laptops at my job for the past 3 years. I tried it for about 5 minutes. In Windows. Most software for business is not adapted for the touch screen. The Office products have "Touch mode" vs. "Mouse mode." But all that does is spread the choices out a bit on the top ribbon. It's not nearly as easy to use, and I use an Apple Magic Trackpad, so I do prefer touch to a mouse. But not on my PC laptops. I love using an iPhone, so I think the key is that the entire interface and all software have to be designed for touch for it to work. And then there are all the previously mentioned ergonomic issues of hand position, screen smudging, etc.
 


The first thing my child tried to do when they were tall enough was swipe the TV to change the channel.
This is the point: increasingly, touchscreens are the default expectation of users, and the absence jarring. Not for me (and probably for a lot of other 'old school' types), but I see it with others, and I know some who have simply said they won't buy a portable computer without it. Apple's losing sales and mindshare.
Interestingly, the first thing I thought when I read Manny's post was that the child is going to get really tired, really fast of getting up from the couch to go swipe the screen every time he or she wants to change the channel.There is a case for remote control of screens.

I know Manny's point is not necessarily that we should have touch-enabled TVs (although I imagine the inevitable touch enabled TV will be a boon to TV marketing if not consumers). But maybe we need to get used to the idea that not everything that's flat and displays data should respond to touches, or we're all going to be paying for a lot of rarely used touch screens.

Note that pointing at a screen to point something out is something practically everyone does. Just look at your screen and how many smudges there are.
As with others on this forum, you won't find many finger smudges on my screens. If the smudges on your screens are from you or co-workers touching the screen to point things out to one another, then a touch enabled screen may actually cut down on smudges, as you will become reluctant to touch the screen lest you inadvertently change what's on it: Imagine someone wants to point out a problem with a Photoshop image by touching the screen and your brush tool is still enabled.

It may be the Apple is overthinking the idea of touch, because they think it needs to be full-featured.
I don't think you can overthink touch. By just enabling touch on Windows without thinking things through, Microsoft first released an interface with elements so small it required a stylus to be usable. Then when the usability drawbacks became apparent, it foisted a completely different interface on users with Windows 8. It caused widespread rebellion in the enterprise, as well as at home, and cost them a lot of good will among its users.

Apple seems to be taking the approach of first making familiar iOS interfaces and features available on the Mac: e.g. LaunchPad at first and now the ported iOS applications that will be available on Mojave, as "how you do it" prototypes for other developers.

If and when a touch-enabled Mac is introduced, it will be an evolutionary adaptation of the already existing touch interface: Touch Bar, Multi-touch trackpad, etc., and will, hopefully, have a ready ecosystem of touch-enabled applications that will take advantage of it.
 


Back in 2010 Steve Jobs dismissed touchscreen notebooks as "ergonomically terrible." He also said:
"If you see a stylus, they blew it.” -Steve Jobs, 2010
In many respects, that was the Reality Distortion Field at play.

If you take such a statement at face value, then Apple did a whole lot of back-peddling when they introduced the Pencil - and many people said just that.

Of course, he never meant to say that a stylus-like device is never appropriate for any situation. He was trying to compare the iPhone's finger-based touch interface with the stylus-based interfaces used by Palm and Windows Mobile at the time.

And as a long-time user (and still a fan) of Palm devices running PalmOS, I can say that Steve was most definitely stating a personal opinion for marketing purposes. I never had a problem with Palm's stylus interface. I could write extremely fast using Graffiti, and I didn't need to buy special touch-screen gloves to use it in the winter.

In many respects, I would love to use a PalmOS device (stylus and all) with a modern multi-core ARM processor for my phone/PDA activities today.
 


Here is almost all the hardware I want in a laptop (I'd prefer another two USB 3.1 ports). The larger pixels of the display on the 17" help my old eyes. I wish it were 3840x2400 (1920x1200) like Apple's 17"; the extra 120 pixels allow viewing remote computers and virtual machines at a full 1920x1080.
Ars Technica said:
ThinkPad P1 workstation puts a Xeon with 64GB ECC RAM into a 4lb Ultrabook
The ThinkPad P1 looks like a 15-inch Ultrabook, 0.7 inches thick and under 4lbs, but inside, it has a mobile Xeon processor, up to 64GB of ECC RAM, and as much as 4TB SSD storage. A discrete GPU, up to the Nvidia Quadro P2000, drives that display (either 1920×1080 300 nit, 72 percent of NTSC, or 3840×2160 400 nit 10-bit-per-channel supporting 100 percent of the Adobe color gamut and touch). It has a good selection of ports—two Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C, two USB 3.1 generation 1 Type A, HDMI 2.0, mini-gigabit Ethernet (with a little dongle), 3.5mm headset, and microSD, and it has 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5. The battery is a substantial 80WHr.

If that's still not enough—if you really must run dozens of virtual machines while on the go or need to work with huge 3D models—then the P72 may be of interest. This bumps the screen up to 17 inches (though otherwise the same specs as on the P1), the weight up to 7.5lbs, and the thickness up to 1 inch. But the GPU spec goes up to the Quadro P5200, memory goes up to a monstrous 128GB of ECC, and internal storage tops out at 6TB, with a 16GB Optane accelerator. Connectivity is better than the P1, too; there's one more USB 3.1 generation 1 Type A port, the Ethernet port is full-size, and there's also a mini-DisplayPort 1.4 port. The battery is bigger, too, at 99WHr.
... Lenovo didn't supply us with price or availability information, but we imagine that fully specced machines will cost "a lot."
 


In many respects, that was the Reality Distortion Field at play. If you take such a statement at face value, then Apple did a whole lot of back-peddling when they introduced the Pencil - and many people said just that. Of course, he never meant to say that a stylus-like device is never appropriate for any situation. He was trying to compare the iPhone's finger-based touch interface with the stylus-based interfaces used by Palm and Windows Mobile at the time. And as a long-time user (and still a fan) of Palm devices running PalmOS, I can say that Steve was most definitely stating a personal opinion for marketing purposes. I never had a problem with Palm's stylus interface. I could write extremely fast using Graffiti, and I didn't need to buy special touch-screen gloves to use it in the winter. In many respects, I would love to use a PalmOS device (stylus and all) with a modern multi-core ARM processor for my phone/PDA activities today.
I wonder when you can just move your finger(s) in the space in front of the screen and above your keyboard and thus have a touch interface without moving your hand towards the screen. Or some other small device that you put on your finger like a decoder ring. Or if your screen is a hologram in front of you. Maybe we will all be wearing goggles and dispense with screens all together.
 


I must confess to going into our local electronic supplier on the weekend and looking at their range of PC laptops. They certainly have come a long way. I was impressed with the screens, specs and hardware functionality - particularly the flip to touch pad. As much as I dislike Windows, I must say Microsoft have done a decent job munging the laptop and touch device technologies together. And all those lovely ports without a dongle or dock in sight.

From a price perspective, there are some very reasonable offers around too. I have yet to see a Surface Book 2 in the flesh, but it breaks the tradition of PCs being cheaper than a MacBook Pro. When I compared prices, it was at least as much, if not more, for a similar configuration vs. a MacBook Pro. A shame, as the removable screen is definitely a point of difference over all the flip models from Dell, HP etc. and would be one thing that would seriously make me consider a switch.

I've told management I intend buying a new Windows machine purely with the intent of testing for the future. It will be a sad day if our company switches away from macOS, but there are a lot of things happening at Apple these days which don't inspire confidence in the Mac's future. I even looked at Android phones as we were leaving the store...
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I've told management I intend buying a new Windows machine purely with the intent of testing for the future.
I learned today about Windows 10 Professional's Hyper V feature, which a friend is using for heavy VM work with better performance than things like VMware and VirtualBox. There's no equivalent for the Mac, as far as I can tell.

(I also learned that his thin Dell laptop runs the fans a lot and doesn't have the impressive cooling of Dell's thicker gaming series of laptops, which I like.)
 


In many respects, that was the Reality Distortion Field at play. ... [Jobs] never meant to say that a stylus-like device is never appropriate for any situation. He was trying to compare the iPhone's finger-based touch interface with the stylus-based interfaces used by Palm and Windows Mobile at the time.
I was going to post that it was Jobs’ bitchy blast at the blokes who left 'his' Apple because they could see a better way of doing things and built the Palms, in my equally bitchy opinion :D

... I never had a problem with Palm's stylus interface. I could write extremely fast using Graffiti, and I didn't need to buy special touch-screen gloves to use it in the winter. In many respects, I would love to use a PalmOS device (stylus and all) with a modern multi-core ARM processor for my phone/PDA activities today.
To this: a very loud and resounding hear, hear! I still use my no-longer-a-phone-'cos-'they'-turned-off-2G-in-Oz Treo 650. It is still in daily use, battered and bent, because it is simply the easiest, fastest entry and only trustable alarms reminder I can find.

It is still the best note-taking / detailed arch.-drawing / long-text writing device (not) on the market, on which I can take silent lecture notes with any 'stylus' using a more refined model (MobileWrite) of the Graffiti pointer actions-to-text-not-squiggly-graphics, which inputs text on the screen (inputs after the fashion of the venerable Pitmans Shorthand), without taking my eyes off the lecturer or display. As with real shorthand, you can easily interpret mistaken text interpretations of my inputs later. I don’t use the basic Palm interface, instead use a super-set Finder equivalent called DateBook6, by Pimlico Software. Now re-written to Android, but the underlying OS there hasn’t the tools or clarity for the developer to build an equivalent app. The Palm OS is now known as WebOS (according to Wikipedia, webOS is well used today).

And a usage note: if you lose your fitted Palm stylus, you go buy a pair of 3.5mm bamboo knitting needles, shorten the top end to 115mm, and make a smoothly rounded 1mm tip. It projects above the case, and is super easy to grab the knitting need head quickly.

How many screens have I broken? Zero, in spite of countless drops, drop kicks and bounces. A resistive response screen is a soft deformable outer clear layer over two crosshatch layers of super-fine invisible wires at 90° to each other that are deflected to touch together. If I recall correctly, there are 400 wires per inch, nearly 16 per mm. Those screens bend, not break. Cheap in the long run. That means that a 'touch' on a Palm screen produces a pixel-datapoint smaller that current hi-definition computer and touch-screens can, I suspect. Precision inputting.

I check the tech stores about every 6 months to see whether there's anything on the market yet to equal the Palm usability but still go home to give my old work-horse an affectionate pad.

< /”living-nostalgia for what works better but few know of it now, it seems” dribble>
 


I learned today about Windows 10 Professional's Hyper V feature, which a friend is using for heavy VM work with better performance than things like VMware and VirtualBox. There's no equivalent for the Mac, as far as I can tell.
It is not fleshed out into a polished user level solution, however, at OS X 10.10 Apple put some hypervisor support into the OS: the Hypervisor Framework - and some others built tools on top of that: a FreeBSD fork of bhyve called xhy.ve and Veertu's Anka.

Apple hasn't put in the work to try to replace/remove VMWare, Parallels, and VirtualBox from the market. The vendors may/may not find the framework useful (their 'homegrown' kext solutions may be a better - or pragmatically essential - fit to their apps).

This may be a framework that Apple started with some long-term intent to flesh out in some way but got sidetracked along the way. An App Store app that ran in a virtualized sandbox would be something like Windows 10 (Enterprise) is going to get: Windows 10 to get disposable sandboxes for dodgy apps - perhaps not dodgy ones, but something Apple wanted to run in a 'container'.

Apple tracks a fair amount of stuff from FreeBSD (and BSD distributions). This looks to be an attempt to remotely ride in the wake of Byhve with some minimal-effort additions to macOS. If it "took off" rapidly, then they'd catch some of that momentum. It is a useful tool in their toolbox even in this limited form.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
It is not fleshed out into a polished user level solution, however, at OS X 10.10 Apple put some hypervisor support into the OS: the Hypervisor Framework - and some others built tools on top of that: a FreeBSD fork of bhyve called xhy.ve and Veertu's Anka.
I was aware of Veertu, and even played briefly with what they had previously, but both of these seem to be messes from a consumer point of view currently, while Hyper V on Windows Pro is apparently straightforward (though I haven't used it myself).
 



DFG

Just today I stumbled onto this, a way to run macOS in emulation under Linux:
Kholia said:
OSX-KVM
Run El Capitan, macOS Sierra, High Sierra and Mojave on QEMU/KVM. No support is provided at the moment.
Potentially very useful for people who want to move away from Apple hardware towards a Linux OS but still want to retain the ability to run legacy macOS applications.

I would be very interested in a review of how well it works.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Just today I stumbled onto this, a way to run macOS in emulation under Linux...
FWIW, my friend running Hyper V in Windows 10 Pro says it's feasible to run macOS in that system.

Meanwhile, it looks like QEMU runs on Macs (via MacPorts or Homebrew), and here are some very interesting notes:
E-Maculation wiki said:
Installing Qemu for OSX

Qemu can run PPC Mac OS 9.0, 9.1, 9.2 and PPC OSX 10.0, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4 and 10.5

Requirements

Qemu program
Disk images for the PowerPC versions of Mac OS or OSX you want to install
 


Just today I stumbled onto this, a way to run macOS in emulation under Linux.... Potentially very useful for people who want to move away from Apple hardware towards a Linux OS but still want to retain the ability to run legacy macOS applications. I would be very interested in a review of how well it works.
I have been wanting to do exactly this for about 1.5 to 2 years. I've asked around if anyone had ever tried running VirtualBox within Linux and installing Snow Leopard Server or El Cap or similar, but I've never gotten a response.

I'd love to pick up a Dell gaming laptop and run Mint on it and then run El Cap or similar in emulation to use Mail, Contacts, and Calendar, as I have been unable to find a workable combination of those available natively in Linux. This would be become my business laptop.

I would still need to go back to a Mac (online or offline) to use Logic X and FCP X, but I don't need them every day, so it would be doable.
 


I have been wanting to do exactly this for about 1.5 to 2 years. I've asked around if anyone had ever tried running VirtualBox within Linux and installing Snow Leopard Server or El Cap or similar, but I've never gotten a response.
It's not VirtualBox, but VMware Workstation runs in Linux, and it's not all that difficult to get macOS running in a virtual machine. Amazing what a little time and patience can do. Sierra, El Cap and Snow Leopard VMs run in Workstation here.
 


It's not VirtualBox, but VMware Workstation runs in Linux, and it's not all that difficult to get macOS running in a virtual machine. Amazing what a little time and patience can do. Sierra, El Cap and Snow Leopard VMs run in Workstation here.
It is of course very subjective, but how "fast" does it feel for you compared to the host OS itself?
 


It is of course very subjective, but how "fast" does it feel for you compared to the host OS itself
Just my opinion: it's fast enough to be totally usable. However, this all depends on what you want to use the VM for and what applications are most important to you.

My own experience was initially to do a 'proof of concept' for myself. I wanted to see if it was feasible to run my rather large video library housed on external drives through Plex in a VM. The Plex apps for Apple TV and Roku devices would then access the library. PMS is running on the El Cap VM and has been superlative. No complaints at all. I've had 3 TVs accessing the library at the same time without a hitch.

The Sierra VM was a clone of my Mac Mini, renamed and given a new UUID. Most apps run without a problem, and I haven't seem a significant slowdown. Then again, I'm not using it for any heavy processor-intensive work, although I have converted a few videos with Handbrake to see how it fared. It was slower than the Mini but not unreasonably so. Maps doesn't function at all. Not a deal-breaker for me. This VM also runs iTunes for the TV shows and movies bought from the Apple Store. No problems sending the video out to the Apple TV. Downloads of purchased videos are slightly slower on the VM, but again, not unreasonable.

This all started several years back because I was not happy with the current generation of Apple hardware. Time hasn't improved that. I had considered building a hackintosh but in the end decided against that route.

And more recently I'm not pleased with the direction that the OS has taken but have many years and dollars invested in software designed to run on the macOS. I'm not giving it up completely, and the VM is one way of making that happen.

I still have and use a late 2012 Mac Mini and a mid-2012 MacBook Pro. I'll keep the Mini running as long as possible, but I'm moving to a PC in the near future for my next laptop, because Apple's current lineup has nothing appealing to me. In addition, the wife's 2011 13" MacBook Pro will be left behind by Mojave, so now seems like a good time to make the switch.
 


Just my opinion: it's fast enough to be totally usable. However, this all depends on what you want to use the VM for and what applications are most important to you.
Wow, that's great to hear! Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. As I said in my first post, I would not be using it for anything high-intensive, like video editing, but if the three interconnected apps I use all day for business will work, I'm in good shape.
It's not VirtualBox, but VMware Workstation runs in Linux...
Have you tried VirtualBox, or did you go straight to Workstation?
The Sierra VM was a clone of my Mac Mini, renamed and given a new UUID.
How were you able to rename the UUID?
I still have and use a late 2012 Mac Mini and a mid-2012 MacBook Pro. I'll keep the Mini running as long as possible, but I'm moving to a PC in the near future for my next laptop, because Apple's current lineup has nothing appealing to me. In addition, the wife's 2011 13" MacBook Pro will be left behind by Mojave, so now seems like a good time to make the switch.
Your story is pretty similar to mine. I have two 17" 2011 MacBook Pros that won't last forever. They are fast enough for me for FCP X and Logic X, but I can't go to Mojave either.

Sorry for all the questions, but this is exciting for me. Which flavor of Linux are you using and have you tried? I tried many and ended up liking Mint (which is supported by VMware Workstation Pro). Thanks again.
 


Wow, that's great to hear! Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. As I said in my first post, I would not be using it for anything high-intensive, like video editing, but if the three interconnected apps I use all day for business will work, I'm in good shape.
I don't foresee any problems for you using those apps.

Have you tried VirtualBox, or did you go straight to Workstation?
I tried VirtualBox seems like ages ago. Wasn't up to snuff and had some problems with USB 3 peripherals as I recall. I was introduced to Workstation back around version 6 and have been using it or Fusion since then.

How were you able to rename the UUID?
Renaming is a good idea regardless to keep the distinction between your physical Mac and the VM. My setup is decidedly different than yours will be. All my VMs are running on desktops. While I can sit at the physical machines and sometimes do, I frequently access everything including the VMs from the laptop.

Instructions on changing the UUID for the VM can be found here:
I used the not-recommended method, and it turned out fine.

Sorry for all the questions, but this is exciting for me. Which flavor of Linux are you using and have you tried? I tried many and ended up liking Mint (which is supported by VMware Workstation Pro). Thanks again.
Asking questions is how we learn, and that's partially (at least in my mind) what MacInTouch is all about... learning. I've used/tried various distros over the years - Ubuntu, Mandrake, Yellow Dog Linux (probably showing my age on those two), OpenSUSE, Fedora, PCLinuxOS and many more, including a couple of forensic distros for my previous employment position. Most of these ran in virtual machines except for Yellow Dog, which was installed on a old PowerPC Mac. Some (including the forensic distros) ran from a USB stick. Today I've settled on Mint for my desktop PC.

As a FYI... Workstation can't install the macOS out of the box. You'll have to 'unlock' Apple-compatible VMs. Further information can be found by searching for "Unlocker for VMware Workstation." And finally there are a few tweaks that need to be added to the vmx file before you power on the VM for the first time.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Rogue Amoeba has posted a blog entry On The Sad State of Macintosh Hardware...
It looks like Apple may finally update its most moribund, neglected Mac models (apart from the Mac Pro, which is due for an update next year) in the face of falling sales (although I'm concerned that Apple may continue its uncompetitive, luxury-pricing strategy):
Mark Gurman and Debby Wu (Bloomberg) said:
Apple Is Planning a New Low-Cost MacBook, Pro-Focused Mac Mini
Apple Inc. will release a new low-cost laptop and a professional-focused upgrade to the Mac Mini desktop later this year, ending a drought of Mac computers that has limited sales of the company’s longest-running line of devices, according to people familiar with the plans.

The new laptop will look similar to the current MacBook Air, but will include thinner bezels around the screen. The display, which will remain about 13-inches, will be a higher-resolution "Retina" version that Apple uses on other products, the people said.

... Apple is also planning the first upgrade to the Mac Mini in about four years. ... it’s popular with app developers, those running home media centers, and server farm managers. For this year’s model, Apple is focusing primarily on these pro users, and new storage and processor options are likely to make it more expensive than previous versions, the people said.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
New iPhones are coming, too (and I'm worried that Apple will drop the iPhone SE - my favorite and the most competitively priced):
BGR said:
A new leak probably just revealed preorder and release dates for Apple’s 2018 iPhone lineup
As you’ve likely heard by now, Apple this year will reportedly release three brand new iPhone models. At the high-end, Apple will introduce a 6.5-inch “iPhone X Plus.” At the low-end, Apple will introduce a 6.1-inch iPhone with an almost-edgeless LCD display. And right in the middle, there will of course be a second-gen version of last year’s iPhone X. With September right around the corner, we’re only a few weeks away from Apple formally unveiling its 2018 iPhone lineup to the world.
Plus new Apple Watches:
Mashable said:
New Apple Watch models are likely coming soon
Apple is probably preparing to launch new Apple Watch models, according to a new filing in the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) database. The filing, noticed by French outlet Consomac, lists a total of six new Watch models, all of which will be coming with Apple's upcoming watchOS 5 operating system for wearables.
 


I'm worried that Apple will drop the iPhone SE - my favorite and the most competitively priced
So am I. I own an iPhone SE and I bought it specifically because of its smaller size. It fits in my pocket comfortably. I find the other models simply too large. I even would have chosen the SE if it would have been more expensive than some of the other iPhone models.
 


New iPhones are coming, too (and I'm worried that Apple will drop the iPhone SE - my favorite and the most competitively priced)...
Apple has about 1% share in India. From a global perspective, they really don't have a competitive model in more than a few countries (only gets worse if the US dollar increases substantially). Strategically, they need an affordable model, as they can only retreat so far into fewer, more expensive phones.

If they drop the SE, they'll put something else in its place. I'm not sure they have $100 to shave off the iPhone 6s. There may be more fans of the headphone jack than of the approximately 0.4 inch height and width savings. If they can't, then perhaps something designed specifically to be less that is some blend of the SE and 6s. (Classically, though, they have just sold 'old' designs for less ... cheaper by doing less engineering and fully amortized R&D.)

However, the easiest thing for them to do is drop in some minor tweaks. They could bump the processor to A10, replacing A9 - so, same processor as current iPad and also the iPhone 7, which should get a price cut as iPhone 6s leaves. Between those three, there is substantive volume. Upgrade the Touch ID button (SE still has gen 1 of that), and a very small chance a minor update on radios (to match what A10 typically shipped with in an iPhone 7), if the older radios are harder to get at this point. But the frame is frequency-tuned to those iPhone 5 frequencies, so cheaper to stay.

There have been periodical rumors of an SE2. Some talked of removing the Touch ID and injecting a FaceID solution, but that seems highly doubtful if affordability is a priority. Apple seems to want to sell an SE. They just don't want to put much effort into the solution space. (The extra easy thing would be to just keep selling it as is.)
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
... a minor update on radios (to match what A10 typically shipped with in an iPhone 7), if the older radios are harder to get at this point
That brings up a big question: How long will Apple continue to use Qualcomm radios, and when they're gone, does that kill off a bunch of iPhone models?
 


That brings up a big question: How long will Apple continue to use Qualcomm radios, and when they're gone, does that kill off a bunch of iPhone models?
The Qualcomm radio problem is likely to solve itself real soon now.

The only reason for the Qualcomm radios is support for 3G CDMA, Verizon and Sprint's legacy network. 4G LTE is a common technology shared by all carriers.

Verizon has already started shutting down 3G on their network. They will be turning off the 2G and 3G (CDMA 1X, EVDO) network at the end of 2019. They are already refusing to activate any new non-4G-LTE devices on their own network.

Sprint hasn't yet announced a 3G shutdown date, and it is my understanding that Sprint still relies on 3G for voice calls (have they even rolled out voice-over-LTE yet?). It will be interesting to see what Apple does in order to accommodate Sprint customers if Sprint doesn't go all-4G with the rest of the industry.
 



The proposed T-Mobile Sprint merger is probably complicating matters.
That may not go through. Step Zero was getting those two to agree on how to merge. The bigger step, though, is somehow convincing the FTC/DoJ (the FCC is on an anti-consumer foot now, so that probably won't be hard) that this is a good thing.

Actually merging with T-Mobile would probably accelerate the switch over from CDMA. The debt of the merger would drive up the need to dump old frequency assessments even faster, and whatever collateral damage trickles down to the low-cost MVNO operators below won't matter as much, because there is one less major vendor to get service from. Sprint is a big MVNO host now. Merged with T-mobile, it would be even bigger.

It is mainly a matter of coverage. LTE phones work on Sprint, Verizon, and the MVNOs layered on top of them. It is outside of major metropolitan areas, and 'dead spots', where the 2G network is a fallback.

Besides, the major problem Apple has with Qualcomm is charging a percentage of the price of the phone for the modem. Since the iPhone SE is about 1/3 the price of an iPhone X, that price that Qualcomm is charging for that specific phone is not that big of an issue (given Apple's mark-ups). What has Apple peeved is that Qualcomm makes gobs more money as Apple pushes the average price of the iPhone higher. It gets in the way of their drive-prices-higher objective. For $280-399 phones, Qualcomm isn't that bad of an option. The performance for what they're paying is a decent tradeoff. As long as Qualcomm hands out a discount for older radios, the minimization of engineering probably pays off.

In the $100-280 range, the MediaTek-like options are the better fit. Apple could go with Intel or MediaTek. They just typically aren't as good/performant as the Qualcomm ones (just cheaper).
 


The Qualcomm radio problem is likely to solve itself real soon now. The only reason for the Qualcomm radios is support for 3G CDMA, Verizon and Sprint's legacy network. 4G LTE is a common technology shared by all carriers.
Intel now has CMDA, and MediaTek has had it for a while (Verizon phone in 2016). The reason for Qualcomm was two-fold, more than just CDMA. One, Qualcomm covered everything (not just US variants but they were the major first with a "one modem does everything" offering). That means it is simpler to make the phones. The hardware is the same, but the firmware has minor adjustments per carrier (or set of carriers). Second, they managed to get pretty good battery life (could afford to jump onto advanced fab processes early).
Verizon has already started shutting down 3G on their network. They will be turning off the 2G and 3G (CDMA 1X, EVDO) network at the end of 2019. They are already refusing to activate any new non-4G-LTE devices on their own network.
That's partially so they can reassign those frequencies to more LTE data traffic. Part of the problem for all of the carriers is not enough bandwidth if the average user data usage growth curves keep going up.
Sprint hasn't yet announced a 3G shutdown date, and it is my understanding that Sprint still relies on 3G for voice calls (have they even rolled out voice-over-LTE yet?).
Sprint is accelerating the VoLTE roll-out this fall (2018).

Merging Sprint and T-Mobile networks would take years (since they're rolling out 5G at same time, among other issues). One of the major mistakes Sprint made with the Nextel merger was that they waited too long to consolidate networks and infrastructure. It is one of the reasons they were one step behind. This will be easier, since the baseline tech Sprint and TMobile were both moving to is similar (just substantially different bundles of frequencies ).
It will be interesting to see what Apple does in order to accommodate Sprint customers if Sprint doesn't go all-4G with the rest of the industry.
4G is really a non-controversial issue. Sprint has deployed a substantive amount of 4G LTE. It is just a matter of turning off the voice/txt part. Most folks with smartphones aren't using them as classic phones. (Also a huge part of that likely is not the '4G' part but the substantive back-haul, that pushing all the voice to VoLTE means while at the same time offering up low-cost "all you can eat' data plans.) The 5G rollouts (for phones) are starting up next year on their competitors' networks.
 


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