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Friday, October 17, 2014

Initial Thoughts on Yosemite, the High-End Retina iMac and the low-end Mac Mini

Yes, I can finally say it now. I have used the Yosemite Betas and I like them. I made them my main operating system on my 2012 Mac Mini and 2014 MacBook Air. I only experienced problems with the last Beta, #6, when it caused video artifacts on a second monitor. When I install the final version of Yosemite, I'll check it out with the second monitor to see what happens and report back to you. 

I can see the influence of iOS 7 & 8 on the desktop of Yosemite. The icons changed from the photorealistic ones to representational vector drawings. This makes the icons resolution-independent, but I am sure some people will want the old ones back.

I look forward to seeing the SK iMac at the Apple Store. I feel confident that many people will see it, fall in love with it, and won't leave the store without it. I'm sure we'll see YouTube videos of people literally dragged out of an Apple Store crying because they can't have the high-end iMac.

I also see that Apple intends to compete in terms of price. The new low-end Mac Mini strikes me as a clear blow against Windows computers. The salesperson can say, "Well, would you rather have a Mac with the same hardware specs at the same price as the Windows 8.1 model? After all, the Mac has the latest and greatest operating system on it right now, while you'll have to wait until sometime next year for Windows 10 to come out. The Windows computer may not plug right into the flat-screen TV you have unless you buy another adaptor. Ours plugs right into the extra input jack on the TV with just a cable."

The iPad and iPad Mini will also give Apple competitive advantages in tablets at both ends. Apple's hold on the high-end will continue with the thinner than ever iPad Air 2. Apple covers its options with three models of the iPad Mini. The low-end iPad Mini 2 will go head to head with Android tablets at the $299 price point.

Apple won't cover the real low-end tablet market, because the consumers of that are parents with minor kids. Who break stuff you give to them.

I looked at the Dell Web site to see what they offered against the new iMac. Uh, touch screen, anyone? As I have written before, when you look at the movie Minority Report with its futuristic touchscreens, Tom Cruise or Colin Farrell or whoever else uses these devices stands up to use them. They don't lean across the desk to touch the screen. That's not how human beings work.

You go to IKEA or Staples or other stores that sell office furniture, and their show room displays assume the user sits down at the desk to look and not touch the monitor. So until standing desks become a lot more popular, I see a limited future for touch beyond specific niches. These niches include ringing up customers in restaurants.

As for reviews today. I can recommend you look at Arstechnica's range of reports, from a hands-on look at the SK iMac to how to make your own Yosemite installer. You can either install the latest version of DiskMakerX or copy and paste a Terminal command. In either case, it's simple to make one for yourself and save yourself the trouble of downloading 5 Gb again and again.

Also look at today's They go into who should and who should not move to Yosemite.

I'll release information as to the apps I have covered at this blog. These apps include "Chubby Bunny" Classic-On-Intel OS 9 emulator, the Tangerine music streaming software and how it works with iTunes 12, Synergy and how to share your mouse and keyboard between various operating systems.

As for the Flavours appearance customization app, it doesn't work in Yosemite. John Siracusa covers what you can do to change Yosemite's appearance.

Why You Don't Want to Change to Yosemite from Snow Leopard

If you use Snow Leopard 10.6.8 or before AND depend on apps such as Microsoft Office 2004, Appleworks 6.2.9, Quicken 2006 and older versions of Adobe apps; then you DON'T want to change from Snow Leopard or before to Yosemite.

You don't want to switch operating systems because the Intel versions of Snow Leopard, Leopard, and Tiger all included the Rosetta software wizardry allowing old apps written for the PowerPC (G3,G4,GS) processors to run on an Intel processor. The increased speed of the Intel processors made up in many cases for the performance hit caused by Rosetta.

To see if you have an older app, just click on it and press Command + I to open up an Information
window. At the top, you'll see what type of app it is. If it says "PowerPC," you have to run it on Snow Leopard or below. Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, and Yosemite only work with Universal or Intel apps.

If it says "Universal," it uses the app format Apple designed so that apps would work in both PowerPC and Intel environments. Microsoft Office 2008 uses that format.

If it says "Intel" then it only works with Intel processors.

Check the Web site for crowd-sourced information on apps and which versions of OS X they work with.

Finally, if you want to use apps specifically written for Yosemite and need to retain Appleworks for archival purposes, then DUAL-BOOT. Of all the systems I've used-Windows, Mac, Linux-Mac has the easiest way to shift between the flavors of OS X that you need. So just install OS X 10.10 Yosemite on an external hard drive and continue to use both.

My Thoughts on Windows and OS X and how it will play out.

My admittedly limited perspective on the duopoly between Windows and OS X comes down to this. Each has found its strength and will capitalize on it. They won't let the other go unchallenged in its areas of strength; but they won't waste a whole lot of capital trying to wipe out the other.

Apple has the lead when it comes to mobile computing devices. In terms of mobile phones, tablets, and now presumably watches, Apple makes the most money. They don't necessarily sell as many units as Android does; but a lot of Android stuff just isn't that profitable. Apple can't pay its Chinese vendors with reams of sales volume statistics. It needs cash, cold hard dollars.

When it comes to enterprise business, such as outfitting large corporations with software from top to bottom, Microsoft has the lead. Their new management wants to emphasize software-as-a-service. Hence you have "Office 365" subscriptions, not a box with a disk and a label with the serial number on it.

Windows also has the lead in games. Games is a niche business, but people will plunk down ridiculous sums just for the latest graphics card. And the graphics card will work with Windows and the latest shoot-em-up gorefest. Unless you have an MacPro or built your own Hackintosh, you lack the option of swapping out components. Thunderbolt, alas, is some time away from offering the convenience ofthe PC's internal expansion bus slots. The latest games on Macs and iPads lag behind their counterparts on Windows by months, if not years.

Looking at the Dell site, I noticed their Alienware subsidiary brought out the Alienware Alpha, a customized gamer PCthat they want to make as easy to use as a console game. Apple TV's ability to put your iPad or iPhone's game on a big screen via AirPlay is the closest thing I've seen to specific gaming hardware from Apple.

And I'm off to download OS X Yosemite, the For Real version and see how it works with my second monitor.

Tom Briant
Editor, MacValley Blog 

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