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WWDC 2020 Round-Up

The World Wide Developer Conference is an important part of Apple's cult. The keynote serves as sermon to their most faithful followers. A little thing like the apocalypse isn't going to make Apple miss this important occasion in their annual liturgy. Not even when they have absolutely nothing to show off.

Not even a new Apple Watch

I'm amazed by the breathless coverage that has come out of this event. It really is a testament to Apple's marketing department. They showed nothing. It was an hour and a half of nothing. Not even a new Apple Watch. Yet somehow the zealots are in rapturous ecstasy today.

iOS 14: Now with more Google Features!

The only things they did show coming in iOS 14 are features you've already had on iOS devices for many many years, thanks to Google Translate and Google Maps!

macOS on ARM... but not your ARM.

The one piece of news that did come out of the one hour and thirty-seven minute presentation was that macOS can now run on ARM chips. Learned readers will note that the iPad and iPhone run ARM chips, so surely this means that macOS can run on iPad Pros now right? Right? Nope.

I've wanted macOS on an iPad since the iPad 1, but instead Apple have decided to go the other way with this. Soon you will be able to play shitty mobile games on your Mac. Now people will finally have to stop making fun of macOS for not having any games. Apple are doubling-down on this, as they further announced that they will be moving away from Intel-based Macs over the next few years.

Apple claim that there are performance improvements in their desktop ARM, over conventional Intel chips. While this is a possibility, it seems like an improbability. Designing CPUs at the modern nanoscale we're at now is non-trivial. Intel are inside of everyone's PCs and servers, because Intel are the only ones really good at it. Okay, fine, AMD does alright too. Intel and AMD are the full list of companies that have demonstrated an ability to produce top-tier chips. While a lot of progress has been made in ARM space, I'd be dubious of any claims that they are matching even AMD's performance. Claims that they are beating Intel are asinine.

There are a lot of knock-on effects from switching CPU architecture. Will you be able to get an NVIDIA GPU in your new Mac? If not, you're fucked if you want to edit video in Adobe Premiere without CUDA cores. Now buying a Mac for the family could have a lot of potential unforeseen consequences. Perhaps your daughter will fall behind in her programming classes because she can't do Machine Learning at the speed she could on an Intel/NVIDIA PC. Now she can't get a decent job, because all the other kids with Intel-based PCs automated hers away. She tries to self-medicate through the depression and degradation of her situation, but becomes a drug addict. All because you picked a Mac.

Reader Comments 22

Apple’s era of innovation died w Steve Jobs. Everyone knows this...
June 23, 2020  | person_outline Matt B
“ Now she can't get a decent job, because all the other kids with Intel-based PCs automated hers away. She tries to self-medicate through the depression and degradation of her situation, but becomes a drug addict. All because you picked a Mac.”

And this is why we love you, Tim. You look out for the little gal.
Tim, I greatly appreciate your work on this site. However, the only thing I can discern from this set of awful takes is that you're trying to bait people into an argument. I actually have several friends like this: who are dead set against anything Apple may do to an extent that surpasses any of the relentless positivity I've heard out of the apologists.

MacOS on an iPad? They would never do this, and why would they? The masses can barely touch the capabilities of any of the desktop OS's - can't keep track of 3 open windows at a time - putting it on a tablet is a retrograde step Apple would never consider.

Apple's chips have been outperforming Intel's chips for years now. In the everyday tasks most of us do, our iPhones handily out compute-muscle even the new Mac Pro. Do they have the capability of a Xeon yet? Not quite - but it's a forgone conclusion that they will in years to come. Intel has been dragging their feet on progressing their chips and roiling the entire PC market for years with their missed deadlines and inability to get to a 10 nm process - much less get past it. Intel is being ushered into the dust bin by AMD and Apple. Not to even mention the huge power gains and cost savings of switching away from Intel.
June 23, 2020  | person_outline toots
I assure you I'm never trying to bait anyone into anything. Especially not an argument. Arguing on the Internet is the most pointless pastime. I welcome your criticism, and defense of Apple's position.
On June 23, 2020 - @toots said:
Tim, I greatly appreciate your work on this site. However, the only thing I can discern from this set of awful takes is that you're trying to bait people into an argument. I actually have several friends like this: who are dead set against anything Apple may do to an extent that surpasses any of the relentless positivity I've heard out of the apologists.

MacOS on an iPad? They would never do this, and why would they? The masses can barely touch the capabilities of any of the desktop OS's - can't keep track of 3 open windows at a time - putting it on a tablet is a retrograde step Apple would never consider.

Apple's chips have been outperforming Intel's chips for years now. In the everyday tasks most of us do, our iPhones handily out compute-muscle even the new Mac Pro. Do they have the capability of a Xeon yet? Not quite - but it's a forgone conclusion that they will in years to come. Intel has been dragging their feet on progressing their chips and roiling the entire PC market for years with their missed deadlines and inability to get to a 10 nm process - much less get past it. Intel is being ushered into the dust bin by AMD and Apple. Not to even mention the huge power gains and cost savings of switching away from Intel.

I couldn't agree more!!!
June 23, 2020  | person Ghostrider
Don’t take the bait!

Tim might think he needs his snark quota in before the end of the month. Even if that’s true, we still shouldn’t let him go through such bad faith statements as though this were a John C. Dvorak column in the late 1990s. Next, he might slip in some conspiracy theory (as he did with his “Jonesing”, a couple of years ago). Even worse, he might start playing mindgames with himself and gaslight everyone in the process!

What’s sadder is that Tim could miss opportunities to offer his actual unique insight on some parts of the Apple-focused musicking ecosystem he’s been covering for a while. He still has plenty of original and appropriate things to say based on his tireless work covering an ecosystem he then claims is based on a cult. We need his voice on things which matter and aren’t said in those rage-fuelled groups spread across the online space.

Which is why taking the bait on this strange attempt at a rant is likely not good for the site even if it brings him a few minutes of smirk.
June 23, 2020  | person_outline Zenas Hopson
geekbench 5 tests:
2020 ipad pro - single core 1118, multi core 4625
2020 13 inch MBP i9-9900K - single core 1227, multi core 4506
iphone 11 pro max - single core 1326, multi core 3391

and the 2020 ipad pro doesn't even have the A13 chip.

the argument that the apple CPU's aren't powerful enough is ridiculous and has been for a while.
June 23, 2020  | person_outline Carl
Go and get yourself a dumb PC, Tim. It's the same old unnecessary and pointless discussion we've had when Apple went Intel 15 years ago. Time for something new...
June 23, 2020  | person vaikl
By the by, there are plenty of reasons to criticize Apple, to point out flaws in what they’ve announced, and even to warn musickers about upcoming issues. We rely on Discchord for such things.

For years now, even the most enthusiastic users of Apple products and devs dependent on Apple’s ecosystem have been really vocal about all sorts of things. A well-known example is Accidental Tech Podcast. Their WWDC coverage has quite a bit of passionate critical content, especially about macOS 11.
https://overcast.fm/+R7DWP8eMI/1:37:07

Of course, there are also very valid concerns about Apple’s strongarming devs through its “position of power”. Not only does that help the European Commission’s case against Apple but coverage among Apple enthusiasts tends to side with devs. Certainly, the ATP hosts have voiced strong opinions about Apple needing to shift the way it deals with those issues.
https://hypercritical.co/2020/06/20/the-art-of-the-possible

We haven’t had as much of a coverage of those issues in the musicking apps ecosystem, partly because the business models here are mostly about “buying apps out right” (as opposed to IAP and subscription).

Those are all about ways Apple messes people up, especially devs. Not directly related to anything announced during the Worldwide Developer Conference.

The jury’s still out (or not yet formed, in some cases) as to whether or not Apple will “do good” with devs anytime soon. Since there are many indie devs in our little niche, that can be quite relevant. If we want our scene to be sustainable, we all need to balance our diverse interests as users, devs, Apple employees, and Apple shareholders. There are times when Apple responds more directly to the last ones and we all end up suffering (including shareholders who may get upswing temporarily yet might lose out in the long term).

There’s a whole discussion to be had about those iPadOS and iOS apps working on Macs. A lot about this isn’t clear, yet. For instance, will dev be able to prevent their apps from running on a Mac, allaying their fears that it’d destroy a significant part of their Mac sales? More specifically for Discchord’s audience: will it be possible to use the AUv3 plugins we bought for iPadOS in Logic Pro X? While I seriously doubt it, the very thought of this possibility is giving me some hope. Especially since there are now signs that Apple might release touchscreen Macs.

There’s something potentially exciting for our beloved devs. There’s also something scary. We don’t know enough to determine which way things will go, but it’s an important consideration to keep in mind. And it can be addressed thoughtfully.
For the good of the ecosystem.

We all know Tim doesn’t care about macOS. He’s been quite upfront about that. In fact, we also realize that Tim doesn’t care about iPadOS apart from its ability to host those apps we care about. Once Android gets enough of a musicking ecosystem, Tim is likely to shift his coverage away from the iPad. I would say, this might happen even if the Android apps in question remain less powerful than the iPad ones. (It’s also quite interesting that there’s so much of an iPad focus in this ecosystem as opposed to iPhone. There are many more iPhone users around than iPad ones yet this scene is mostly about iPad. If iPhone musicking had ever become more of a thing than iPad, my guess is that Tim would have been even less interested.)

So, Tim, it’s ok to vent, once in a while. Doing it through your site might even bring you a few more views. “Let’s add rage to it!” Ok, ok, sure, fine, it’s your site.
It’s just sad for those of us who use iPads (and related devices) to make music. We’re a small niche but we’re quite strong in some ways. We’ve already lost some sites and Apple’s unconscionable decision to kill the affiliate program has made it harder to get independent coverage which remains useful and viable. We still have some Facebook groups and web forums. While these don’t really need to fuel the same kind of strong emotion as clickbait, interactions in these other spots may also become pretty heated, sometimes.

I thought we were here to make music.
Put another way:
“If you hate Apple so much, why don’t you divorce it?”
I remember living through the transition from PPC to Intel-based OS. And all that Rosetta business. It was pretty dumb. That said, and in hindsight, it all seemed fairly necessary.

I'm not in any hurry to have my laptop be more like my iPad. On the contrary, I'd like it to go the other way.

There are many points in the experience of tech users, where the things that we value in the equipment are abandoned in favor of the things that technophobes like, or in favor of features that seem flashy but are actually less effective.

What matters most to me is what the developers want/need. Because at some point, my audio/MIDI interface (which is older) won't have a working driver on some new system. At some point, the developers of my beloved DAW will go bankrupt because they: A. can't compete with Logic Pro, B. can't keep up with a new OS every goddamn year, or C. can't rewrite some vast program to comply with new hardware. D. have to have Apple take their slice from the App Store, E. any other related challenges that come with a new CPU platform and OS.
On June 23, 2020 - @Enkerli said:
Put another way:
“If you hate Apple so much, why don’t you divorce it?”

I actually quite like macOS. I think it is the prettiest posix OS, and appreciate the effort they put into making it so. The new notifications and stuff that they showed yesterday looked great. I'm not sure why you think I don't like macOS, when I'm complaining that they aren't giving me it on iPad. Hell, I've gone to great lengths to pull off Hackintosh installs, and getting Catalina to run in a VM required unspeakable acts that I gleefully obliged.

I'm "okay" with iPadOS. They've finally got enough built-in features that I can't be bothered to jailbreak it anymore. I haven't jaikbroken anything since iOS 9. My major gripe with the iPad now is 4:3 displays. I just finished up a tutorial series for a secret Android thing and I loved the 16:9 so much. It feels more productive and professional. Other than that, I'm pretty content with my iPad and iPhone.

I just hate Apple. Even if Android got their shit together, I would still cover iOS music apps!
I'm stoked about macOS on ARM. A desktop version of the A-series CPUs NOT LIMITED by whatever battery they can squeeze into a phone or tablet case will be ASTOUNDING. It's like the CPU team were just told they're finally allowed to run instead of walk.
This "rant" (especially its conclusion) was hilarious, my laugh of the day. Thank you Tim :)
I don't have an opinion regarding which processor to pick but aren't computers just a means to an end ? To me, this arms race is slowly becoming irrelevant. Don't we have enough "firepower" to devise anything we have in mind (musically talking) already ? I have a PC, an old iPad and an iPhone 6, a combo which gives me hours and hours of satisfaction (despite their kinks and all), and yet I haven't come to realize its full potential. To me (a casual musician), the limitation doesn't come from the hardware anymore...
June 24, 2020  | person Dandibot
@Dandibot said:

To me, this arms race is slowly becoming irrelevant. Don't we have enough "firepower" to devise anything we have in mind (musically talking) already ? I have a PC, an old iPad and an iPhone 6, a combo which gives me hours and hours of satisfaction (despite their kinks and all), and yet I haven't come to realize its full potential. To me (a casual musician), the limitation doesn't come from the hardware anymore...

You make a strong case for why used computers can be an excellent value. You get quite a bit of capability for your money. And finding the sweet-spot of a stable OS and hardware combination, along with versions of the software that run on it, and you can be all set. There are some security concerns, but those can be handled with careful back-ups, and drive maintenance.

I have noticed that my iOS device and its software are far less prone to crashes. They still happen, but not quite as often as on my Mac.

What worries me most about the Apple Silicone for Mac, and Big Sur is more that the Mac could become a walled-garden. I expect that people can and will find ways around it, but that's one of the things I treasure about my MBP, is that I can install and run software from a diverse range of developers, and Apple doesn't have to take one of their nuts.
I am angry at Apple for a multitude of reasons, and I am particularly irritated that this change in CPU architecture will probably kill lots of functionality for me (software, plug-ins, & drivers not yet killed by Catalina). It also means I’m probably going to be waiting another two years on buying a new machine (after the ten I’ve already waited, unless I buy another stop-gap used iMac), AND I definitely do still have to have TWO dogdamned computers now that Bootcamp will be killed off. I want to be able to play newer Windows-only games, but I don’t want to have to maintain two fucking computers and I don’t want some crazy-ass hard-core gamer rig.

Fuck; I hate computers with a passion, but they’re required for all of my hobbies! All this time I’ve been waiting for a Mac that I could use for both Mac OS and Windows gaming that won’t self-destruct due to thermal bullshit, and the current Mac Pro was a fucking kick in the crotch in terms of what Apple think of power users and poor people. So, yeah, fuck Apple for all that bullshit...

That said, I still think that Tim’s rant was kind of... out there. Sorry, Tim, I’m just not with you there. The conclusions you came to, and the way you wrote them... It sounds like your hate of Apple and their cultish customers (of which I’m certainly not a member) has you in a bit of an irrational state.
June 27, 2020  | person dysamoria
On June 27, 2020 - @dysamoria said:
That said, I still think that Tim’s rant was kind of... out there. Sorry, Tim, I’m just not with you there. The conclusions you came to, and the way you wrote them... It sounds like your hate of Apple and their cultish customers (of which I’m certainly not a member) has you in a bit of an irrational state.

The whole last paragraph was a joke. And apparently a failed one.
On June 27, 2020 - @Tim Webb said:

The whole last paragraph was a joke. And apparently a failed one.

It landed for those of us who know you. It was obvious satire and well-crafted at that. But, as with a good "Onion Headline", it has a kernel of truth, and can be mistaken for irrationality.
On June 27, 2020 - @Tim Webb said:

The whole last paragraph was a joke. And apparently a failed one.

I stand corrected :-) but the rest is still an unknown and you’re even more pessimistic than myself! :-D
July 01, 2020  | person dysamoria
On June 27, 2020 - @stub said:

It landed for those of us who know you. It was obvious satire and well-crafted at that. But, as with a good "Onion Headline", it has a kernel of truth, and can be mistaken for irrationality.

It’s amazing how real an Onion article can be...
July 01, 2020  | person dysamoria
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