Archive for the ‘Hardware’ Category

MacBooks and ports

March 10, 2015 1 comment
The new MacBook

The new MacBook

The big news from Apple’s announcement of the new MacBooks today is the single USB-C port. This could be the beginning of the end for not only MagSafe power connections, but thunderbolt too (although presumably Thunderbolt will remain on high-end devices such as the Mac Pro since it has 20Gbs of throughput compared to USB3’s 5Gbs).

Using USB-C connectors looks like it might finally enable single-cable docking station like functionality for Mac laptops, either through canny third-party manufacturers offering USB/display hubs and chargers or through display manufacturers offering one-cable USB-C connections that can charge your computer, pass audio/video to the screen and offer USB/Ethernet hubs too. For example, the Thunderbolt Display may end up being a USB-C Display instead (5K let’s hope!).


New Apple Tablet

January 19, 2010 Leave a comment

Name that slate

I confidently predict, based on Apple’s new invitation (see below), that the new Apple Tablet will be called … :


And while I’m at it, let’s say it will be able to be used as a drop in graphics tablet replacement for a computer as well as a standalone app.  And Apple will have finally cracked handwriting recognition for real this time and made it usable.

Alright, why not, here’s the more ridiculous ones:

  • 3D without having to use glasses
  • Full support to use it as a input device (touchpad/keyboard) for a computer
  • Support for detecting objects placed on it (nicked from the Microsoft Surface)
  • Great frisbee action
  • Apple will start using it straight away in retail stores


Not that anyone will believe me in the light of recent suggestions, but straight after I blogged about it being iPalette I thought “it looks like canvas… could the name be Canvas?”

Categories: Apple, Hardware Tags: , , , ,

FireWire gone from the MacBook

October 21, 2009 1 comment

AppleThe love affair between the MacBook and FireWire is over

I recently predicted that FireWire would eventually be replaced by Light Peak on all Macs, and that FireWire was only back on the MacBook temporarily. Little did I know then that only a couple of days later Apple would announce the new MacBook and kill off FireWire so quickly (on the MacBook at least).

It’s a shame, I shall miss it. The fast peripheral bus is dead, long live the fast(er) peripheral bus!

MacBook peripheral predictions

October 17, 2009 Leave a comment

AppleFirewire makes a (temporary) comeback?

Last year I speculated about the future of Firewire on the MacBook and came to the conclusion that the most logical path for Apple would be to build firewire into the Ethernet port via the new Firewire specification IEEE1394c.

Apple may have taken this in a new direction entirely (which frankly we should all expect from Apple by now!), if reports of Light Peak, the new peripheral bus from Intel are to be believed.  More on that later.

Firewire has now been reinstated to the MacBook line, albeit in a roundabout way.  Firewire 400 is still available on the white plastic MacBook which was the only surviving member of the old MacBook generation that wasn’t transitioned to the new Unibody enclosure borrowed from the MacBook Pro.  Those MacBooks paid the price for their svelte looks and lost their FireWire ports in the process.  Apple has now reinstated Firewire in the form of Firewire 800 to these and rebranded them as the new 13″ MacBook Pros.

So here’s the situation.  Once more every Mac has Firewire (apart from the freak of the family, the MacBook Air).  Although I haven’t had personal experience with the new models, presumably once more every Mac has Firewire Target Disk mode (once again excepting the freak).

So is Firewire back for good?  I don’t think so.  I think Apple was frankly surprised at the backlash to losing Firewire (especially after it was dropped from iPods with only a little angst) on the MacBook, and that was part of the reason to its comeback.  But I believe it will only be a temporary measure, until Light Peak replaces it.  When I first heard about Light Peak I was amazed that we didn’t have a peripheral bus based on fibre optics already, and that no-one seemed to have thought of it before.  I firmly believe that the future will be in wireless peripheral communication, but wires aren’t going away any time soon.  If we have to have wires, why not have one small, high capacity connection that can carry all types of communication now that fibre optic has matured to make cables flexible and durable enough for this purpose?

My only concern is that Light Peak will be developed as a master/slave architecture that will make technology like Target Disk mode and daisy chaining (that makes Firewire great) impossible to implement.  Its multi-device, multi-protocol design would most probably make that unlikely though.

MacBook Air Target Disk Mode

January 22, 2008 2 comments


Target Disk mode is such a useful thing to have on a Mac.  In fact it’s the number one I think when dealing with problematic PCs … “If only I could put this thing into Target Disk Mode”.  The MacBook Air is a worrying development because of the lack of firewire it would seem TDM is not an option.  Of course this could be easily solved by Apple creating a USB TDM.  Rob Griffiths from MacWorld reports that an Apple rep told him there would be no such thing on the MacBook Air.  Has anyone had a go with rebooting the MacBook Air and holding down the “T” key to see if it still has the firmware capability of booting in TDM?  Or at least whether it has the option in Startup Disk in the System Preferences. Surely USB TDM is not that different?  As I understand it TDM goes back to SCSI anyway and was ported to Firewire – if Apple is insistent on replacing Firewire with USB surely it is only a matter of time?

Categories: Apple, Hardware Tags: , ,

MacBook Air: Ugly (keyboard)

January 17, 2008 1 comment

Apple Logo
No-one could deny that the MacBook Air is a thing of beauty.  And that having a full size keyboard with backlighting is great.

But why oh why is it that butt-ugly black?  Why not MacBook Pro grey like the rest of it?

MacBook Air

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iPod Touch upgrade charge forced by iPhone agreement?

January 17, 2008 Leave a comment

Apple LogoRegarding the $20 charge for the iPod Touch software upgrade that gives it the same apps as the iPhone: Am I the only one that thought Steve looked a little uncomfortable when he said the price, like it was something they’d had to put in but he wasn’t happy about it? Here’s my take – the real reason they’re charging for the upgrade is because it violates some terms of the agreement with AT&T for the iPhone. That’s why the iPod Touch didn’t get those features in the first place. AT&T put their foot down and told Apple that if they’re going to bring out an almost iPhone clone iPod that AT&T get no sniff of the profits from that it would have to be a “downgrade” from the iPhone to encourage consumers to get the iPhone instead. Obviously they didn’t consider the lack of the cellphone a big enough draw card to stop people forgetting about the iPhone and getting an iPod Touch instead. AT&T saw their profits from the iPhone being pilfered by Apple via the iPod Touch and made it clear they weren’t going to stand for it. But obviously Apple feels strongly enough about it to do it – so maybe the $20 goes straight into AT&T coffers to compensate them for their loss?

Categories: Apple, Hardware, Thoughts Tags: , ,