Macworld September 2020

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United States
12 Issues

in this issue

6 min
the most invisible and influential eras in apple history

I wrote my first story about Apple in 1993, meaning I’ve been covering Apple for 60 percent of its existence. Lately, I’ve realized that beyond a few major milestones, most people don’t really remember Apple as anything but a technology titan. But the two very different Apples of the 1990s and early 2000s are worth remembering, rather than losing them in a hazy muddle that begins with Steve Jobs leaving Apple and ends with the arrival of the App Store. I’ve tried to categorize the history of Apple into six distinct eras where the company’s approach and position were remarkably different, with special attention paid to the two most undersold eras in company history. THE HOBBYIST ERA (1976-1982) You know the story. Two guys named Steve built a company in a garage in…

4 min
the mac never left, but it’s about to have a comeback

There’s never been a more exciting time to be a Mac user. And I say that as someone who’s been one for nearly 30 years now, ever since my dad brought home a Macintosh LC in 1991. I lived through the transition to PowerPC, the dark years of the nineties, and the move to both Mac OS X and Intel processors. Through all that time, the Mac has remained my workhorse. But in recent years, it often seemed as though the old stalwart had been overshadowed by the flashier iPhone and iPad lines, relegated to an afterthought in Apple’s mind. After this year’s WWDC, however, the Mac is looking more like the Apple product that’s poised to have a huge impact. As we consider the calendar of the next couple years, there is…

5 min
the switch to apple silicon: will the touch bar survive?

The arrival of Macs running Apple silicon isn’t just about faster, more-power-efficient processors. It’s also an opportunity for Apple to reinvent Mac hardware using lessons learned from the iPhone and iPad. Apple can take this time to also reconsider some Mac hardware decisions of the past decade, most notably the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro. While some users swear by it, the Touch Bar generally seems to have been received with indifference or scorn. Updates over the years have done almost nothing to improve it, making me wonder if even Apple has truly embraced the thing. By the end of this year, Apple will begin rolling out those new Macs. Sooner or later, the Intel MacBook Pro will be replaced with a model running on Apple silicon. Here’s the big question:…

3 min
what you need to know about thunderbolt 4

The USB Type-C connector is wonderful in many ways, but its ubiquity among modern computer interconnects has made it home to a host of confusing standards and capabilities. When you see that connector, you never know what you’re going to get: Is it USB 3 or 3.2? Maybe the upcoming USB4? What is the maximum speed? Does it have Power Delivery? Can I hook up an external display, and to what resolution? How fast is it? Layer on top of it the Thunderbolt 3 standard and its optional specifications, and it is hard to know what will work with that Type-C connector and what won’t. Intel has a new standard, Thunderbolt 4, that it hopes will help cut through the confusion. It doesn’t bring faster speeds (the maximum is still 40Gbps) or…

2 min
apple promises net zero carbon emissions by 2030

In July, Apple unveiled an ambitious plan to make its entire business carbon neutral by 2030. Apple’s “corporate emissions” are already carbon neutral, but the impact of its offices and datacenters are small compared to all the products it makes and sells. This new goal encompasses the entire business, including the manufacturing and sale of all of its products, the supply chain for them, and even product end-of-life. Given all the global companies involved in the supply of parts for Apple’s products, it’s a very ambitious goal to achieve in just a decade. However, it’s worth noting that carbon neutral is not the same thing as zero carbon. Carbon may be produced somewhere in Apple’s business, as long as the company makes up for it elsewhere. For example, if the manufacturing…

3 min
dropzone 4: excellent menu-bar utility supercharges mac drag and drop

Drag and drop has been integral to the Macintosh user interface from the very beginning, one of the few elements to remain relatively unchanged since the original hardware was unveiled in 1984. And with good reason: It’s not easy to improve on what works so well. But just because UI pioneers Jef Raskin and Bill Atkinson nailed it more than 35 years ago doesn’t mean there aren’t still ways the drag and drop experience can be more efficient. Out of all the software installed on my iMac, there are only a handful of apps I use consistently, day in and day out. Dropzone is among them, and the latest 4.0 release makes the core functionality of this powerful shortcut utility free for everyone. To use a sports analogy, if drag and drop was…