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The weekend saw Mark Gurman reporting on his understanding of a revised 2023 Mac Pro plan by Apple. Essentially, he believes Apple to have abandoned plans to make the machine the ultimate Mac, relying instead on user expansion options to unleash the full potential of the machine.
In a sense, that’s a return to the original concept of the first-generation Mac Pro way back in 2006 …The first Mac Pro
Leaving aside the technicality of whether the 2005 Developer Transition Kit counts as the first Mac Pro, the official launch was in 2006.
The unique selling point of the machine was not that it was an incredibly powerful machine at the point of purchase, but rather that it could be configured to meet the specific needs of different customers.
The actual Mac Pro spec which Apple used as the main focus of its marketing was a rather modest one – and actually less powerful than the Power Mac G5 it replaced – but the company emphasized the expansion capabilities over the base power.
If you needed modest power but a ton of storage, no problem – add all the drives you need. If graphics performance was key, add the most powerful graphics cards. And so on. The idea was that Apple sold you a solid and flexible platform from which to customize the machine to your exact needs.The Mac Pro we don’t talk about
2013 saw the replacement of the tower case format with the infamous “trash can” design. This effectively took the opposite approach, presented as the most powerful Mac in the line-up, but offering limited expansion possibilities.
While somewhat well-received at the time, Apple’s subsequent neglect meant that the machine gradually grew more and more outdated, and is now widely viewed as a mis-step by the company.The third-generation Mac
By 2023, Apple had returned to a tower design based on an updated version of the original Power Mac G5/1st-gen Mac Pro design.
With this machine, Apple aimed to offer the best of both worlds: enabling users to spec-up a phenomenally powerful machine at the point of purchase, combined with excellent expansion possibilities (albeit with some Apple-esque quirks).Previous expectations for the 4th-gen Mac Pro
With the overdue switch to Apple Silicon, the company was originally expected to continue the path set by the 3rd-gen machine: a Mac Pro which would be by far the most powerful model in the Mac line-up as standard, while also offering excellent user-upgrade options.
As recently as October, Apple was reported to be testing a 24-core CPU, 76-core GPU, 192GB memory spec – and an earlier report suggested that the plan could be an M2 Extreme chip offering a 48-core CPU, 160-core GPU, and 384GB RAM.Newly-reported 2023 Mac Pro plans
However, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said over the weekend that Apple’s plans have now changed.
Apple has apparently scrapped plans to make a new Apple Silicon Mac Pro with a high-end “M2 Extreme” chip featuring 48 CPU cores and 152 GPU cores […]
Complexity and cost concerns seem to have shelved those plans. Gurman still says Apple is preparing to launch a new Mac Pro with an M2 Ultra inside, with a design that enables expandability of some components, like RAM and storage.
This is essentially back to the original Mac Pro concept. Instead of the most powerful Mac on the planet, you get a box which you can turn into the most powerful Mac on the planet. Notably, as my colleague Benjamin Mayo pointed out, the revised expectation would in some ways make the machine less powerful than its predecessor.
It’s worth pointing out that 192 GB RAM will still be significantly less than the 1.5 TB of RAM supported by the current-generation 2023 Mac Pro. It’s also unclear how the 76-core GPU will stack up, as the current Mac Pro can be theoretically configured with four internal graphics cards.If correct, this is understable
If the report is correct, I can understand why Apple would make this decision. The impact of the pandemic and global chip shortage has led to the company struggling to keep up with demand for its mass-market products. In this environment, how much sense does it make to allocate valuable Apple Silicon production capacity to a new super-chip with such niche appeal?
Financially, the Mac Pro as a product at all probably makes little sense for Apple. Sure, if you max out the spec, Apple sends you a bill for a cool $52,847.98. But by the time you factor in all the development time it takes to create such a machine, for such a tiny number of sales relative to any other product in the line-up, I find it hard to imagine that the company makes much money from it.But would still be worrying
But this brings us right back to the reason why the Mac Pro exists at all. First, it’s a “halo” product which shines a light on the whole Mac range. Second, by giving major movie studios and top-end commercial photographers a machine which meets their incredibly demanding needs, Apple has helped establish the Mac platform as a whole as the default choice for video and photo pros as a whole.
So while the Mac Pro may not be important to Apple as a source of revenue, it remains important for the symbolic and practical role it plays in establishing the Mac as king in key sectors which bring in a whole heap of revenue for the Cupertino company. Any compromise on the power of the machine could do more harm than might at first appear.
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A new study has found that some of the apps that voters have used for election information may be potentially misleading, and even pose a security risk.
Android users were found to be the most at risk, with 95% of the offending apps on that platform.
Some of the apps were found to originate from countries with looser privacy regulations than the US.Issues Discovered in Problem Apps
Of the 182 election apps scrutinised by cybersecurity firm RiskIQ, it was discovered that 152 were fraudulent or malicious. This means that although these apps claimed to be authorized by the government or state, they were nothing of the sort.
The report found that 87 of these fraudulent apps were based in the US, but many were found to be from countries with different standards of privacy regulation, such as China and Panama. While it’s relatively easy to raise complaints against the US-based apps, those from outside the US are likely to prove much more difficult to take action against and remove.
Only 1.2% of the fraudulent apps found originated from the main online stores such as Google Play or the Apple App store
The RiskIQ findings also reinforce the message that you should only download apps from the official store for your device. Only 1.2% of the fraudulent apps found originated from the main online stores such as Google Play or the Apple App store. The vast majority came from other sources, such as smaller app stores with poorer security measures.
Android users were found to be the most at risk from fraudulent election apps, with the platform attracting 95% of the fraudulent apps.
The end result of downloading one of these apps is that the user could be fed misinformation, potentially from foreign agents looking to disrupt democracy, or could even have their device compromised and their data stolen.Identifying Malicious Apps
While these figures may seem alarming, with a little precaution, it’s possible to protect yourself, and your devices, from rogue apps like these.
Only use the official app stores
As this study demonstrates, it’s much harder for malicious apps to exist on the official platforms such as Google Play or the Apple App store. There are tighter security regulations, and those that are found to have security issues are removed quickly. That’s not to say that these stores are infallible, but they are certainly the most secure place to download apps.
When you install an app for the first time, it’s likely that you will be asked to accept certain permissions. This is perfectly usual. However, keep an eye on exactly what the app wants to have access to. If you can, decline all permissions, but if the app states that it needs certain ones to operate, sense check the request. Don’t accept any permission requests that you don’t feel comfortable with.
Suspicious data usage
One of the giveaways of particularly aggressive malicious apps is that they can chew through your mobile data, as they steal your information. Check on how much data your apps are using. If you spot any that seem high, especially when not being used, treat with suspicion.
Check the App Developer on the Store
It always pays to do a little bit of your own research if you’re really not confident that an app is legitimate. All apps on the official app store (we’re only using official ones, remember?) will list the developer. Take a look at the other apps they provide, as well as a Google of the company, just to put your mind at rest.Protecting Yourself Online
We live a large chunk of our lives online, and that’s never been truer than in the past year, with many of us working, socialising, shopping and entertaining ourselves using the internet more than ever before.
This increase in internet use hasn’t gone unnoticed by scammers and hackers, and there is evidence that we’re seeing more cyberattack than ever before. The FBI Cyber division has stated that complaints are up 400%, and Interpol has called the rise in cyberattacks on corporations and governments ‘alarming’.
Luckily, there are measures you can take to protect yourself when online. Anti-virus software can identify and stop any malicious viruses before they infiltrate your device. Another great method of online defence is a VPN. No longer the reserve of cyberpunk fiction, VPNs have become a valuable tool for any internet user. Some businesses are actually insisting that their workers use a VPN when connecting to their internal systems, aware of the level of protection that a VPN affords.
We’ve tested VPN software, and know that the best ones can mask your identity online, offering excellent protection, and all for a just a few bucks a month.
POV: Unionizing BU Grad Students Would Be a Mistake There are better ways to secure our rights
Following the National Labor Relations Board ruling this past August that graduate students at private universities who work as teaching or research assistants are employees who have the right to unionize, Graduate Workers Forward (GWF), a movement of faculty and graduate student workers spearheaded by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), has started to organize at BU, seeking to represent the graduate student employees who make up some of the University’s 14,150 graduate students. While laudable, this effort is misguided. Unions are a powerful option for change, but there may be better, more tried methods for graduate student employees to realize their goals. The choice for organizing needs careful consideration lest its costs outweigh its benefits. BU is such a case.
To evaluate unionization at BU, we must ask whether its current treatment of graduate employees is fair, and if not, whether change is possible. While unions address these concerns, so can other organizations, including the Graduate and Professional Leadership Council (GPLC) at BU. There are differences between a union and the GPLC. GWF claimed in a publication (sent by e-mail to the graduate student community in October) that a union can negotiate a contract while the GPLC cannot, presumably making the union superior. This is a half-truth, betraying ignorance of the GPLC’s structure. While nothing forbids the GPLC from negotiating a contract, it has no need of one. The GPLC, being integrated into the University, can serve graduate demands without one.
To make this position clearer, let’s examine what the aims of a union are and what the GPLC has accomplished. The GWF claims in the same document that it will provide pay raises, increased benefits, and employment stability, but these have already been achieved without it. In the past four years, unfunded PhD positions have been eliminated. We experienced an increase of funding packages from four to five years, with one year free of teaching and the option for a second for research. Travel grant money has increased. BU established a dissertation writing fellowship and moved to increase pay for graduate students to achieve interdepartmental parity. The student health fee has been eliminated and concerns of pregnant grad students have been addressed. Among others. Aren’t these achievements the same things the union is promising?
More concerning, given the opacity hostility creates, graduate students risk demanding money that other students, perhaps minority or poor students, require. BU’s pot is limited, and without cooperation, the administration will withhold information allowing a representative organization to understand how its demands deprive others. In the current representative structure, there is access to a holistic picture, allowing an understanding of how arrangements impact the entire community, restraining personal avarice.
It is not an insignificant fact that the administration at Boston University concurs with these arguments. In its official notice regarding its position on unionization, sent on December 18, the University provost signaled both her willingness to work with the GPLC and her opinion that a union represents a material and negative change to the relationship between the University and its graduate population. While this should not in and of itself be enough to argue against unionization, it is significant considering the goodwill and success we have had through exploring other options for engagement with the University administration, such as the GPLC. It is just another sign of what we have to lose.
There is a lot of rhetoric surrounding unionization. Much of it is emotionally powerful, particularly as it relates to the idea of strength. The GWF claims that as a union, it will negotiate as “equals.” That it will extract agreements from our University. That graduate students will have power. Given what they have already accomplished, are they not already equals? Or better yet, partners? Are they not already negotiating? Have they not already received results free from the costs of money and animosity? What, then, will the union provide that graduate students do not already have? There is certainly romanticism behind organizing labor and a union appeals to emotions in ways the GPLC cannot. This has its own value, but is sentiment worth what graduate students stand to lose? Do they really gain, either materially or emotionally, by giving up the comity they already have? These are the questions that must be answered and in answering them, it cannot but be seen that a union loses.
Jeffrey Bristol (GRS’18), a doctoral student in anthropology, can be reached at [email protected].Explore Related Topics:
CDC explains why nursing homes will still be on lockdown post-vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccines designed to help protect the public against the SARS-CoV-2 virus and eventually bring the pandemic to an end are rolling out now in the US and elsewhere. Elderly individuals are at the greatest risk when it comes to the virus, and so it’s no surprise that nursing homes are among the first to deploy the vaccine. Don’t expect these facilities to open their doors to the public anytime soon, however.
The rapid development and release of a COVID-19 vaccine is an incredible success for public health, but many questions still remain — as well as general confusion and misinformation regarding what the vaccine can and cannot do. The CDC explains on its website that while the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect against catching the deadly disease, it doesn’t work immediately.
The mRNA vaccines deployed in the US and elsewhere do not contain the live virus behind COVID — rather, they are designed to essentially ‘teach’ your immune system to identify and target the virus, a process that takes a few weeks. For this reason, if you happen to come in contact with the virus right before or soon after getting vaccinated, you can still get sick because your body wouldn’t have had enough time to build immunity.
In guidance published last week, the CDC offered its recommendations to nursing homes and long-term care facilities on how they should proceed with post-vaccine life — and, to put it simply, not much will change, at least initially. In addition to the risk of infection in the few weeks immediately after the vaccine, the CDC notes:
Because information is currently lacking on vaccine effectiveness in the general population; the resultant reduction in disease, severity, or transmission; or the duration of protection, residents and healthcare personnel should continue to follow all current infection prevention and control recommendations to protect themselves and others from SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of their vaccination status.
Nursing homes and similar facilities have generally been closed to visitors for months and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. Though preventative measures like hand washing and wearing masks can reduce the odds of passing on the virus, they’re not perfect and the individuals who reside at these facilities are often in the highest-risk group.
The CDC goes on to explain:
While this guidance is intended for long-term care facilities, it could also be applied to patients in other healthcare settings. These considerations are based on the current understanding of signs and symptoms following COVID-19 vaccination, including timing and duration, and might change as experience with the vaccine accumulates.
When will you finally be able to visit your friend or relative in a nursing home or long-term care facility? There’s no clear answer at this point and any loosening of restrictions will likely take place not only on a state-by-state basis, but also on a facility-by-facility basis. In the meantime, many facilities have acquired tablets and are helping residents video chat with their family and friends to ease the pain of distance.
As well, and again depending on each states’ regulations, some nursing homes are allowing limited in-person visitation during select hours in cases where the facilities go 14 days without any COVID cases. These visits typically require strict social distancing, COVID screening, masks, and similar protective measures to help keep everyone safe — and, as you’d expect, they remain controversial, with some believing they’re still too risky.
A new Kuo report suggests that Apple may for the first time sell an iPhone without a charger this year. It follows an earlier report that the iPhone 12 box will lack a second standard iPhone accessory: a pair of EarPods.
Both moves would save Apple money, and by more than the cost of the accessories themselves. As my colleague Benjamin Mayo noted, this would reduce the size and weight of the iPhone box, which would reduce Apple’s freight costs…
Apple’s argument for both moves would undoubtedly be that it’s better for the environment. If everyone has existing headphones and chargers, then including them with every iPhone is a wasteful manufacturing process and creates electrical waste. Those cheaper freight costs mean more iPhones per aircraft, reducing carbon emissions.
I’m on record as supporting a move to omit EarPods.
Back in the days of iPhones with 3.5mm headphone jacks, I’d long argued that it was silly including EarPods in the box. It made sense back in the iPod days, when the idea of a portable music device was a relatively new concept; it made no sense when anyone who listens to music on the move already has a pair of headphones.
Four years [after the removal of the headphone socket], we’re back in the situation we were with 3.5mm headphones. Most iPhone owners upgrade their phones at least every 3-4 years. That means that by the time the iPhone 12 comes out, most of them will already have at least one pair of Lightning EarPods — and a great many of them will have bought either AirPods or some other wireless headphones. Once more, the majority of the EarPods that come in an iPhone box would not be used
While some 60% of you agreed with me, more than a third disagreed, offering perfectly reasonable arguments. Some pointed out that EarPods can break, especially when used by kids, so it’s always handy to have spares. Others said that even if they use wireless headphones, they can run out of power, so it’s handy to have a wired backup. Some stash a pair of EarPods in each of the bags they use so they always have a pair to hand.
Opposition to the idea of selling an iPhone without a charger is even stronger.
Of all the cheap, lousy ways to save a buck…
I get not including earbuds, but I think a charger in the box is still worthwhile for another new iPhone. I mean, you can never have enough chargers, right?
I don’t care how many chargers you think the average person has, it’s a dumb idea.
I should say that personally I won’t care much. I almost exclusively charge wirelessly, and have three wireless charging stands: by the sofa, on my desk, and by the bed. When I travel, I use my MacBook Pro as a charging hub.
But I work from home. If I spent a lot of time on the move, I’d take the “redundant array of free chargers” approach, sticking a charging brick and Lightning cable in each of my bags, so I could plug in when required. If I needed faster charging speeds than wireless chargers provide, I’d have a bunch of wired chargers dotted about the apartment. I’d be very much in the “you can never have too many chargers” camp.
I do get where Apple is coming from. If you live in a world where there are always wireless chargers on tap — at home, in your car, in the office, in coffee shops across Silicon Valley — then a power brick might seem something of a quaint throwback to an earlier age. Apple may very well genuinely believe it’s an environmental waste.
But that is not yet the world in which everyone lives. This will be the right move at some point, but in my view, we’ve got a few more years to go before we get there. And that will probably be the point at which the iPhone goes portless anyway.
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Sprint has reported a move into profit, posting a Q3 profit of $383M, contrasting with a $767 loss in the same quarter last year. The carrier reported that it sold 1.4M iPhones, representing 28 percent of its total smartphone sales of 5M.
While its decision to start carrying the iPhone clearly helped it reduce defections to other carriers, it still reported a net loss of 313,000 customers in the quarter. CNET reports that the carrier appears to be finding itself squeezed in the middle, between Verizon and AT&T at the top end and T-Mobile at the bottom.
But as the nation’s third-largest carrier by subscriber, Sprint finds itself in a bind. The company can’t compete with the reach and resources of larger Verizon Wireless and AT&T, which are locking up the high-end, premium customers. But on the low end, T-Mobile has gotten more aggressive with one promotional offer after another and now boasts an LTE network that covers more areas than Sprint.
Full results below the fold …
Financial results in the enclosed tables for 2013 include a predecessor period from July 1, 2013, through the closing of the SoftBank transaction on July 10, 2013, and a successor period for the three months ended September 30, 2013. In order to present financial results in a way that offers investors a more meaningful calendar period-to-period comparison, we have combined the current year results of operations for the predecessor and successor periods. In addition, information provided with respect to forecasts of financial measures is provided on a combined basis. The enclosed remarks are in reference to the unaudited combined period unless otherwise noted. For additional information please reference the section titled Financial Measures.
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), October 30, 2013 – Sprint Corporation (NYSE:S) today reported third quarter 2013 results including continued year-over-year growth in wireless service revenue for the 13th consecutive quarter. Quarterly net income was $383 million, operating loss was $398 million, and Adjusted EBITDA* was $1.34 billion.
“During the third quarter Sprint platform postpaid service revenue and ARPU once again hit record levels and we continue to make great strides in our 4G LTE rollout,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint CEO. “We expect our network investments will bring customers greater speeds and capacity and, when combined with our unique unlimited for life offers, will improve our competitive positioning.”
Sprint Platform Highlights
The company recorded best-ever Sprint platform postpaid ARPU and service revenue. Sprint sold nearly 5 million smartphones in the third quarter with postpaid smartphone sales mix reaching record levels. Sprint sold nearly 1.4 million iPhones® during the quarter of which 40 percent were to new customers. For the quarter, the Sprint platform lost 360,000 postpaid subscribers and gained 84,000 prepaid subscribers and 181,000 wholesale and affiliate subscribers.
Net Income and Operating Loss Include Transaction-Related Impacts; Adjusted EBITDA* Improved 5 percent Year-Over-Year
Quarterly net income was $383 million and operating loss for the quarter was $398 million. Net income and operating loss included pre-tax expenses of $217 million primarily related to the Clearwire and SoftBank transactions including fees, severance and exit costs. Additionally, net income included a one-time, non-cash, $1.4 billion gain, net of taxes related to the write-up of Sprint’s previously held investment in Clearwire.
For the third quarter 2012, net loss was $767 million and operating loss was $231 million, including pre-tax, accelerated depreciation of $397 million primarily associated with the Nextel platform shutdown.
Adjusted EBITDA* of $1.34 billion improved 5 percent year-over-year as growth in Sprint platform service revenue, network savings resulting from the Nextel platform shutdown and lower net subsidy expense were partially offset by the loss of Nextel platform revenue and transaction-related dilution including the impact from purchase price allocations of approximately $125 million and the inclusion of 100 percent of Clearwire’s net loss.
Network Vision Surpasses 26,000 Sites on Air
Sprint continued to make strong progress on the Network Vision deployment in the quarter and currently has more than 26,000 Network Vision sites on air compared to more than 20,000 reported with second quarter results. Additionally, Sprint began realizing significant cost savings from the shutdown of the Nextel platform including tower rent, backhaul and utilities.
As part of Network Vision, Sprint has launched 4G LTE in 230 total markets across the country and expects to provide 200 million people with 4G LTE by the end of 2013.
Sprint Continues to Lead with Innovative Plans
During the quarter, Sprint also continued its commitment to offer customers the best value in wireless by launching new Unlimited, My Way and My All-In plans featuring unlimited talk, text and data while on the Sprint network. Customers signing up for these plans are also eligible for the new Sprint Unlimited Guarantee, which offers customers unlimited talk, text and data while on the Sprint network, for the life of the line of servicei. Finally, Sprint began offering Sprint One Up, a new upgrade program that gives customers unlimited talk, text and high speed data while on the Sprint Network plus the ability to upgrade their smartphone every 12 monthsii.
Sprint’s Leadership Continues to Receive Accolades
Third parties continued to recognize Sprint and its brands in the third quarter. Sprint was recognized as an “Enterprise Trusted Advisor” within the new Nemertes Enterprise Trusted Advisor™ program. Boost Mobile once again received the highest ranking in the J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Wireless Purchase Experience Non-Contract StudySM, Volume 2. It was Boost’s second consecutive highest ranking for Non-Contract Providers and sixth J.D. Power award overall since 2011. Virgin Mobile was the top rated wireless carrier in the 2013 Temkin Customer Service Ratings.
Sprint also received top honors for its environmental efforts. The company was the only telecommunications company named to CDP’s S&P 500 Climate Performance Leadership Index, which highlights companies that demonstrate strategies committed to improving their impact on the environment. Sprint was also named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) North America, which tracks the corporate sustainability performance of the top 20 percent of the 600 largest companies by industry in the United States and Canada.
The company continues to expect 2013 Adjusted EBITDA* to be between $5.1 billion and $5.3 billion including the dilutive effects of the SoftBank and Clearwire transactions.
The company continues to expect 2013 capital expenditures of approximately $8 billion.
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