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Mike Kreuzer

Mostly ARMless

12 November 2020

Yesterday Apple announced its long foreshadowed ARM powered Macs. An OK seeming MacBook Air, a somewhat underpowered Mini that might work well as an ARM test machine, and a bewildering 13" Pro which seems to be just the Air with a fan and the useless touch bar. The predicted low end machines I guess.

Things have moved on. RAM used to not be upgradeable because it was glued down before, now it isn't upgradable because it's part of the CPU. The machines may also be a bit faster too, but we won't know by how much until paying customers test them because the comparisons to "a popular PC" given so far have been meaningless. That's probably uncharitable, I'll keep an open mind.

The main problem with developing for Apple's hardware was never really about the hardware though, the main problem was and remains Apple itself. (My 2016 MacBook Pro which is now on its second logic board and third keyboard notwithstanding.) This week's app developer frightening exercise centred on iSH, an iOS app I can't believe got approved in the first place. Its developers were told it would be dropped from the iOS app store the very next day, with quick backpedalling once the Twitter complaints mounted. It seems a very large risk to base any kind of business on, no matter how great the hardware or how terrible the competing operating systems. Very large.

For now Big Sur looks better but not great if you change the desktop background from it's garish comic-book default, and while only the low end ARM chips are out it seems nothing much will change, for me.