A Pivotal Year for the Mac Platform

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This is going to be a pivotal year for the Mac platform and my relationship to it.

First up is the Mac Pro.

While I’ve owned Apple laptops since I switched to Mac OS X full time, I almost always had a tower computer as my main hub. I love towers. I love loading them up with hard drives and upgrading the RAM and graphics card after a few years of use. Even after I would have upgraded to a new tower I’d usually make use of the old tower as a backup or media server of some kind.

Things changed in 2011 when I was ready to buy a new tower but Apple hadn’t updated the current lineup in any significant way. At the time I decided to go with a loaded 27-inch iMac instead. In general it was a nice machine but did have some faults, heat and dust buildup being the most problematic. I had AppleCare so Apple replaced the overheated graphics card, twice, for no extra charge and I’m sure they would de-dust during the install as well. When AppleCare was up, so were my yearly cleanings and in time the iMac would start to run hot again. Seeing as how Apple has added no dust cleaning features to the current iMac design, not even a simple filter on the air vents, I don’t think I can buy an iMac or an iMac Pro again.

My desktop dreams lay with the new Mac Pro design we’ve been told will come this year. 🤞

Next, is Marzipan.

So, Swift is a curious language. My biggest complaint can be summarized to say Swift is schizophrenic. It wants to be everyone’s best friend. It can do object oriented programming, it can do functional programming, it can do “protocol oriented programming”. It lacks strong opinions.

In day-to-day work, using Swift, a strongly typed, functional leaning, complier driven language, to execute UIKit which is built in Objective-C, a dynamic, object oriented language which loves runtime changes feels clunky at best and flat out bizarre if you came into the ecosystem without appreciating the strange tale of how we got here.

My hope has and continues to be that Apple is working on a replacement for UIKit (and AppKit?). A new UI framework that has functional design patterns and is learning from what we see out in the web world right now. When I saw the Marzipan announcement, my hopes started to sink. If the longterm goal is a new framework, why the hell are we adding desktop metaphors to UIKit?!? It just seems like more duck tape and not the clean solution I want and we deserve. I’ll hold off on hard criticism until we see a proper developer preview, most likely coming this summer. Regardless, I really hope the Mac OS starts to see some love. I feel like its been stagnating for many, many years now.

Finally, we have the AX processor, and potential Intel to ARM switch.

Apple’s decision to design its own mobile processors for the iPhone and iPad product lines has turned out to be an extreme success. As has been widely reported, the recent processors we see in the new iPad Pro product line rival desktop class Intel chip performance and rumors of a potential desktop architecture change are very strong.

This has very wide implications, many upsides but some downsides too. I have developer concerns. I have consumer questions. I have industry curiosities. Not to mention, what does this mean for my Mac Pro?

Lots of questions. I look forward to the answers.