One For The Money, Two For The Show,…

WWDC is just around the corner, featuring some 10.8 (dubbed “Mountain Lion”) excitement, maybe some iOS 6 news, and possibly some hardware upgrades, although I have my doubts about cluttering the developer conference with hardware announcements.

But since it’s coming I decided to have a glance at Mountain Lion, to be at least able to follow the discussions. Now, it’s true I haven’t changed my setup in a while: my traveling companion is a late 2008 black MacBook (boosted in RAM and hard drive as time passed) that’s way more than a match for its current counterparts in terms of development. And to my mind, once it’s equipped with a SSD drive (which I can swap in very easily, by the way), it’s going to be somewhere between 20 and 40% slower than its 4-years-younger rivals. Yep.

The only thing that dramatically improved these past few years are the graphics and the core redundancy. Since I don’t play on my macbook, and can wait the extra 20s it will take to finish compiling my biggest project (I tested), I feel confident this puppy will follow me a little bit more.

But! Not so fast! 10.8 won’t run on it. Wait, what? For a frickin 20% penalty, I get to buy a new laptop in which I can’t change the hard disk, upgrade its RAM, or get an extra battery? Apparently so.

The official reason is that it won’t run in 64 bits. Wait, what? It does too! It runs 64bits programs like a charm.

“No no no, you don’t get it, it won’t boot in 64 bits. That’s why we won’t support it”. Wait, what? Windows 7 boots it in 64 bits. So does Linux. What’s the game here?

So, for my laptop, not only do I have to shell out 2k euros, but for features that I don’t care about (I have a console for gaming purposes, thank you very much), and at the expense of features I actually need (given that I work a lot with video, my hard drive has a life expectancy of a couple of years, tops). OK, well… For my laptop, I might actually get convinced, given the fact that it is pretty banged up. But that’s vanity, not technical.

And it gets worse with my trusty Mac Pro. 4 cores, 8GB of RAM and some pretty good video card (for gaming… sold that way, anyway), but still no go. The same “it won’t boot in 64 bits” shenanigans.

Except, we are absolutely not in the same game, price-wise. I can’t replace my Mac Pro with an iMac. I have 4x2TB of storage in there, plus a boatload of things connected to the myriad of available ports. So I would have to replace it with a new Mac Pro. If it ever gets announced, the thing I will need will cost something like 4k to 6k. That’s a hell of a lot for a tiny teenie booting issue that got fixed on both b1 and b2 beta releases of the OS, but that got closed on the b3 for no obvious reason.

I get that Apple is a hardware company, and needs to sell hardware. And in the past, every time my computer slowed to unbearable speeds, I upgraded my hardware gladly. But this is not it. If someone forces you to do something for no other reason than “because we say so”, there’s a good chance of a backlash.

Oh and by the way? VMWare Fusion allows me to run 10.8 in a virtual machine… on these two computers. And the speed is decent too. So I hope Apple continues behaving like the good guy, and does not start using wrong tactics for commercial reasons. They have the money (that I gave freely and abundantly over the years), they can afford it.



  1. So I hope Apple continues behaving like the good guy, and does not start using wrong tactics for commercial reasons.

    When XCode 4’s install process was switched to the iTunes store they dropped Snow Leopard after supporting it for roughly one year. That change occurred on a version boundary, so they had an opportunity to make something up in the release notes explaining why a “more advanced” OS might be necessary. Didn’t even bother – you’ll upgrade your OS because we say so, and your computer with it if necessary.

    In the old days of apple (long before osx) they built normal computers full of normal components, but labelled everything differently and used specifications that were incompatible, though merely “different” from PC equivalents. In order to work on their hardware (as a “qualified” technician) it was necessary to sign up for one of their expensive training courses, which included signing a non-disclose.

    Welcome to Apple’s business strategy since forever. Your rights as a consumer are contrary to their ability to make a profit and they’re not even slightly afraid of you noticing.

  2. Get your facts straight, man. No one likes a troll.

    Back in the day, you say. Well, I was working for Apple, back in the day, as you put it, and the hardware was indeed different. One might even say better. That’s something that can be argued both ways, I guess. Saying it’s the same hardware under a different label, though, is a falsehood, and kind of insulting to people who worked with it and made it.

    I see your point about OS upgrades, and it’s true that we were forced to upgrade to Lion in order to use the newest SDK. However, very few computers were left out of the Lion transition. Therefore, it was a matter of shelling out 29 bucks — albeit for an inferior OS, for some. It is truly different to have a massive hardware upgrade for no good technical reasons.

    As for opening my eyes on Apple’s strategy, the simple fact that I took the time to voice my objections publicly and at length, and using my own name to do so, gives me some credibility that cannot be gained with a 3 lines comment on someone else’s post. It also shows I hope things will improve on that front.

    Yes they pissed me off with that move. However, I know that if I don’t want to play the game anymore, no one forces me to do so. And we have quite a long history together. I choose to believe it’s a misguided decision rather than an “it’s all rotten anyway” approach, which leads nowhere.

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