Macintosh Blab, 12-23-23

    Part of my normal morning browsing schedule is to look at the forums at, and I’m bemused at how dead the forums are. The excitement after the Halloween announcement of the new m3 chips has bloomed and faded, and now nobody has anything to say about anything.

Maybe it’s due to the decline in Macintosh sales. It’s not because Macs are bad computers, it’s the same for all computer-makers. Apple’s sales have declined less than the other guys’. The market is saturated. Everybody bought a computer during the pandemic so they could work at home. Computers these days are fabulously powerful and last for many years. And they are cheap. Thirty years ago, a computer with the specifications of my Mac Mini would have cost ten million dollars. In 1993 dollars, to boot. How much is that today…$21 million, sez

     Apple’s main cash cow is iPhone, but their phone technology may have plateaued. Their tub-thumping about the new features in the latest phones haven’t increased sales. I don’t know anything about the newer iPhones, but reviews seem to be saying there’s nothing remarkable about the new models. Tailfins on late-1950s cars. They have to bring out a new model every September.

     Apple’s attention seems to be all on their internal frenzy to bring their video headset to market. Not that we can see any of the frenzy.

     The fabulously secretive company is supposedly going to unveil the Vision Pro in February. All we’ve heard so far is tales of features being dropped because of expense and/or technological roadblocks. Retail price: $3,500.

     Google’s failed Google Glass headset cost $1,500 and that price seemed outrageous. There are plenty of other headsets available but they’re dedicated to gaming.

     I tried a couple VR headsets at Softec meetings in San Luis Obispo. I walked around inside a VR version of Starship Enterprise, I wore a VR glove and watched a miniature deer prance up and down in my palm and felt every hoofbeat.

     The technology was all ponderous and the headsets were uncomfortable. This experience persuaded me that VR would remain a niche industry and that AR, augmented reality, is what will be the breakout product. We’ve already seen AR bloom with the Pokemon Go game, in which Pokemon characters interact with your actual surroundings as long as you view them through your smartphone’s camera.

     Amazon makes a pseudo-headset in which you mount your smartphone, a headset made of cardboard.

     The ideal for the AR headset is the Terminator View: anything you look at can have identifying text appear, anybody you look at can be identified, signs in foreign languages can be seen as translated into English, etc.

     A heads-up display of constant information about your environment. Constant hands-free contact with your computer universe overlaying the real world around you.

     Sounds great, if it’s like a pair of sunglasses you could walk unnoticed through a crowd while wearing them. But it’s like this:

     And the photos Apple releases don’t show the cord leading to the battery pack strapped to your waist–a battery that lasts only one hour.

     The headset we want (incorporated into lightweight normal-looking glasses) is beyond our technological grasp at this moment. Apple has had to concede some technological ground recently…Apple was going to build their own modems for iPhones but now that project has been shelved and iPhones will continue to use Qualcom 5G modems until at least 2026.

Apple’s attempt to develop its own in-house 5G modem has been stymied by issues resulting from the iPhone maker underestimating the complexity and technical challenges of the task

     Maybe copywriting is the same way: companies underestimate the complexity and technical challenges of the task.