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Apple Launches New Magical Trackpad, 12 Core Macs 432

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oh-oh-oh-its-magic dept.
theappwhisperer writes "The Magic Trackpad is basically a larger version of the MacBook Pro touchpad, with 80% more surface area for all your swiping and pinching. The entire surface acts as a button, so it's also a possible mouse replacement. And all of the expected gestures are here: two-finger scrolling, pinch to zoom, fingertip rotation, and three- and four-finger swipes. You can enable and disable gestures at your discretion from System Preferences." They also launched 12-core Mac Pros coming in August.
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Apple Launches New Magical Trackpad, 12 Core Macs

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  • More magic? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:02AM (#33045148)
    Honestly, I find this "magic" marketing strategy to be a complete turnoff.
  • by Robotron23 (832528) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:05AM (#33045192) Homepage

    As others have noted here in the past, the number of processing cores do not a powerful computer make. A lot of the time with both laptops and PCs the cores are entirely unused. You could get a finely made quad-core which is standard fare nowadays, and have it work much faster than a six or dozen core system like these Mac pros.

    Since processing is largely a duopoly of AMD and Intel, both have been guilty of marketing their hardware by highlighting the core numbers. Yet it's the architecture, pressure under strain, among other things that actually equate to performance.

  • Re:More magic? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ari_j (90255) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:06AM (#33045214)
    More of a turn-off than i-everything? Honestly, if you're going to pick an Apple product naming issue to complain about, 'magic' is always going to be striving for the silver medal.
  • Re:So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:07AM (#33045238)
    No desk space required ... but it will probably retain most of the disadvantages of other trackpads while adding a bit more usability.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:11AM (#33045308)

    You seem to be under the mistaken impression that the majority of people on Slashdot actually understand technology.

  • by DavidpFitz (136265) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:13AM (#33045338) Homepage Journal

    As others have noted here in the past, the number of processing cores do not a powerful computer make.

    For sure; but this is aimed at people who are would be rendering video on their desktop or other CPU heavy creative tasks (e.g. Photoshop on massively high resolution images).

    This isn't aimed at your average Mac user, or even your 'power-user' - it's aimed at people who need huge amounts of CPU every now and then.

  • by ironring2006 (968941) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:17AM (#33045398)
    If you think you can get by just fine on just a quad-core, then you're not the target market. Simple as that. I get by just fine on my entry level MacMini. There won't be a huge volume of sales of the 12 core systems, but there exists a market (however relatively small) that needs every bit of computing power they can get. They're also the ones willing to invest in the software architechture to get the most out of the hardware.
  • by rimcrazy (146022) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:18AM (#33045412)

    Hey, I'm a Apple Fanboy but this is just a screw job. No SATA III, No USB 3.0 ????

    I need a good platform for my 3D work and was hoping that there might be something making the new MacPro's worth waiting for but not this.

    Just priced a nice Win 7 system from Newegg and me thinks for work I'm switching back. This is just absurd.

  • Re:More magic? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mini me (132455) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:21AM (#33045488)

    You don't have to make love to the product. If the product is useful to you, buy it. If not, do not buy it. Who cares what marketing has to say?

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:22AM (#33045510) Homepage Journal

    It depends on how you define "power." If it's in terms of the number of calculations per second the computer is capable of doing, then of course more cores equals more power. The question is whether you're going to be running software that uses that power. The sterotypical "I just want to surf the web and read e-mail" low-end user isn't going to, but then, that guy isn't in the target market for this machine.

    In bioinformatics, many of the problem we work on are "embarrassingly parallel," and I can guarantee you that I'd have no problem keeping all 12 cores on this machine busy. But scientists are a tiny niche market, of course. Presumably the new Mac Pro is mainly being pitched, as previous machines in the lines have been, to graphics and video pros. Can Photoshop and Illustrator and Final Cut use an arbitrarily large number of cores efficiently?

  • by AdmiralXyz (1378985) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:25AM (#33045570)
    Three points:

    1. More cores means lower clock speed, by necessity, because it means more power consumption, so you have to turn down the frequency to keep the TDP the same. This doesn't mean you have to get cheated out of clock speed though. You will note that Apple is not forcing you to get the 12-core version: 8- and 6- core versions are available at higher speeds.

    2. What you need out of the architecture depends on what you're doing. Many Mac Pro customers are doing embarrassingly parallel workloads like 3-D rendering, where increasing your cores increases your performance almost linearly. That's a way better tradeoff then a couple percent of performance from a higher clock rate. Or, if that's not what you're doing, you can get the faster chips, see above.

    3. Yeah, architecture matters, but... the architecture's all the same? No matter which core count/frequency you get, they're all Xeon chips, they're all Nehalem. It's not like you have another choice. And for my money, Nehalem is a damn good architecture for workstation/server machines (laptops, less so, but it's still an improvement over Core 2).
  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:27AM (#33045612)

    Well, what about the 12-core Mac? I mean, the only people who are really going to be able to make use of that kind of power are the same type of people who look at Mac OS X as a friendly Unix that can run Matlab AND Photoshop, probably heavy on the Matlab. Maybe 3D animators, but I've known a few of those, and they were pretty on the ball in general. I mean, I see a 12-core Mac Pro and think back to the Mac Pro we had mixed in with the HP and Sun workstations in the FEL control room when I did an internship back in 2002, I don't think "web designer" or "philosophy major." Just saying.

  • Re:Editing images (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dzfoo (772245) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @11:40AM (#33045854)

    Just to be sure, the technology required to track fingers is much different than the one required to track a stylus, in power, complexity and components. For one thing, the stylus requires pressure or conductive contact, while the finger requires capacitive contact.

    Think about this, if it is all the same, how come phones are now including touch-screens instead of the old, tried-and-true stylus like the PDAs of yore? Perhaps it's because the technology has improved enough, and its cost lowered enough as to be practical.

    To say that a finger-trackpack would not be good for editing images just because older tools did not do it, is as short-sighted as saying touch-sensitive screens on phones are useless because they didn't used occur in smartphones before.

            -dZ.

  • by sarahbau (692647) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:19PM (#33046506)

    Except I think the 'e' in "eMac" stood for "education" rather than "electronic." It would be odd if Apple had sold the "internet" Mac for years before building an electronic Mac.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:24PM (#33046570) Homepage

    More like that what geeks think aren't that essential to selling computers. It's a bit like selling cars to race drivers (professional workers) or car mechanics (support people). They probably have some very different thoughts about cars than we do, and think the car commercials are quite silly. But the car companies don't care because there's a huge market of soccer moms and dads that need it for their commute and driving kids around. Just like there's a huge market of people that aren't very interested in computers but want to get stuff done using one. Even when it comes to choosing platform the fact that your geek prefers Linux/OpenOffice/Firefox/GIMP doesn't necessarily make it a good idea if your people are all experienced Windows/MS Office/IE/Photoshop users.

    Funny enough, if you try bringing your product to Linux you get nothing but hate burn. Try reading the comments to uTorrent coming to Linux [torrentfreak.com] and see what I mean. It's 95% "we don't want no closed source shit, too little too late, $torrent-app rules, fuck off". This despite being quite probably the best and certainly the most popular client on Windows, and lots of people might look more favorably on Linux if they didn't have to learn a new application. "Here's Linux, ditch all your old software, but trust me all that G/K stuff is much better" is a WTF to everyone but OSS zealots. For a platform that supposedly promotes choice, it's amazing how militantly hostile some are to giving you one.

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:27PM (#33046618)

    In a sense, the Mac Pro is the only "UNIX workstation" on the market today. There are tower machines made by Sun and IBM which can be used as such, but not sold as this.

    Supposedly, Autodesk is going to start getting their mainstream version of AutoCAD on OS X RSN.

    Of course, the question is why a Mac Pro over another x86 machine such as a Dell Precision? Multiple reasons:

    1: OS X tends to have lower latency than Windows out of the box (you can disable services in Windows to help things). This, combined with the fact that Macs do not need a CPU and I/O draining antivirus program resident 24/7 means that a Mac Pro can outperform a similarly configured Windows machine.

    2: Known quantity. Application makers have a far smaller number of combinations of machines and graphic cards they need to test and support.

    3: Piracy. Mac users tend to pirate a lot less, so there will be more paid seats sold.

    4: Support. At this level, it is assumed that the workstations come with premium support, so it isn't like the consumer market where Apple just puts the other PC vendors to shame. However, it does help having one vendor sell and support the OS and hardware.

    5: Education. Professors used to buy UNIX workstations because they needed them for SPSS, Maple, and other tasks. Because Apple gives a discount for universities, this means that Mac Pros will end up in the statistical computing labs.

    6: Security. This is debatable, but it can be said that UNIX is more secure than Windows, although the difference narrows if the Windows admin knows what he or she is doing. Since high end workstations tend to work on items that are crucial trade secrets, having solid security is a must.

    7: Resale value. Mac Pros are priced competitively with other workstation class machines, so having the machines worth more when they are changed out at the end of an amortization cycle doesn't hurt.

  • by rimcrazy (146022) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @12:34PM (#33046718)

    I run Maya, FCP, Adobe Master Suite. I am a one person shop. I've gone back and forth between Win and Mac for the past 25 years and very knowledgeable on both systems. I have Shake but it is dead. Apple bought it and killed it. I compose using Toxik which comes with Maya. Most, if not all, available plug-ins for Maya run under Windows. Only some run under Mac. A critical one I currently use only runs under windows. I currently run under bootcamp so I can use that plug-in. Rendering time, especially in HD is a HUGE factor for my workflow. The speed difference between Premier Pro running their Mercury engine on a NVidia card vs FCP plodding along on my Mac is somewhere between 15 to 20 X. This is not trivial. Premier Pro is not quite as nice as FCP. I've used both and I know what they both can do but at that much price/performance tradeoff you can't ignore it.

    As far as scanning, I have AV on my WIn 7 side but I don't get email or surf the web on Windows except to get upgrades and support. I know where to go and what to do and not do. I can scan at night and there is no impact to me.

    Mac's are nice but quite frankly, the writing is appearing on the wall. I really don't think Apple much cares about that desktop market. The % of sales and profit to Apple is in the round off error of their annual report. If I was Job's I'd have killed it a while a go. I'm a Fan of Macs but in the end I need to get my work done. I'm not going to get Mac's just because their Mac's. They need to justify their existence to my bottom line and my production workflow. At the current direction and price-point I'm saying there needs to be some serious consideration of alternative options.

    I love Linux but I've done the VM and Wine bit and it's a joke when it comes to real 3D and video production. I have to run native and I have to have all my apps available to me all the time and I don't want it across a gaggle of machines. I use Linux servers for farm rendering and that works great. For desktop apps, no.

  • Re:More magic? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @01:18PM (#33047526)

    Honestly, I find this "magic" marketing strategy to be a complete turnoff.

    Agreed. I use the term magic when someone asks me how or why something I did worked, and it's complicated enough that I don't want to explain it. I say it's magic, we smile at each other, and each of us knows that it's complicated enough to avoid an explanation (if they say they really want to know, of course I'll explain it).

    I also use it when I have enough contempt for the person that I don't think they would understand even if I tried to explain it.

    So yeah, it's definitely a turn off when I see a company like Apple using it as a marketing strategy. It's like they assume we're stupid, and that's the only thing we can understand. But like someone else mentioned, I guess technical people are not Apple's target market. Sort of strange, but there it is.

  • by Space cowboy (13680) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @01:25PM (#33047662) Journal
    because $6k is for a 12-core machine, not a 4-core machine ?

    because the *software* is better ?

    because you'd be throwing away all that in-house expertise ?



    Or, maybe it's not for you. Your call, I couldn't really care less. I just don't think that $40 for a USB-3 port or two is any justification for that decision.

    Simon
  • Re:So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chrisxcr1 (1210984) on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @01:32PM (#33047838)

    What exactly is the benefit of this over a conventional mouse?

    For most of us there isn't much benefit over using a mouse. I think the real point of this thing is to train Mac users to use multitouch. Apple thinks multitouch is the next big thing in human-computer interaction and they are training us in baby steps to use it in progressively more complicated ways. If they change too quickly no one will be able to figure out all the various gestures and the touch idea will flop. First they added 2nd finger right click on the notebook trackpads then the iPhone touch UI, then added more gestures to trackpads again, then the iPad and now with this thing, multitouch for desktops. This is probably an intermediate step to something else. I don't know what the end result will look like but I'm guessing they know where they want to go and we're not there yet.

  • by TrippTDF (513419) <{hiland} {at} {gmail.com}> on Tuesday July 27, 2010 @01:53PM (#33048192)
    I did IT at an Ad Agency. I remember recommending we upgrade the art guys to 24 inch iMacs. These guys just used Photoshop and Illustrator all day, and the iMacs, at the time around $2K, were the perfect thing for them. When I took this plan to my boss, the final decision maker, he made me go with some crazy Pro setup instead- I think with displays the machines cost about $4K each, just for Photoshop and Illustrator.

    Why?

    Because they were more expensive, which equaled "better" in his eyes. You can't forget there are a lot of stupid people out there with a lot of money, and just figure that higher cost equals better product... Hell, look at Apple's entire product line- way more expensive than compatible Dell or HP products (though I do agree the Apple is higher quality.)

A LISP programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing. -- Alan Perlis

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