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    A PREMIUM TECH NIGHT OWL LIVE EXPERIENCE! Welcome to Tech Night Owl+! For a low monthly or annual subscription fee, you will receive access to an ad-free higher-resolution version of The Tech Night Owl LIVE and other exclusive content. For more information and simple signup instructions, click here.

    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: In a special encore presentation of a previous episode, we feature outspoken podcaster and commentator Kirk McElhearn. After Kirk mentions seeing a performance in a Shakespearean play by Ian McKellen, the subject turns to pop culture. Kirk isn’t a fan of super heroes, well except for The Shadow, an old radio and pulp novel character featured in a 1994 movie that starred Alec Baldwin as the titular character. Gene and Kirk discuss who might play the character if it was brought back. With Apple CEO Tim Cook making positive comments about the future of the Mac mini, the discussion moves the future of the cheapest Mac. The apparent backorder situation with Apple’s new flagship smartphone, the iPhone X, is also discussed. Gene mentions a published report that some iPhone X preorders might have been delayed because customers put freezes on their credit reports as the result of the hack at Equifax that impacted 143 million Americans.

    You’ll also hear from longtime Mac peripheral maker Larry O’Connor, of Other World Computing. Larry will give you the down and dirty details about upgrading Macs with new drives and RAM, and the fact that many recent Macs cannot be upgraded. He’ll also explain why he believes that Apple will eventually support more drives with APFS, especially Fusion drives, and about an app his company is developing that improves the efficiency of such drives, which combine a traditional hard drive with an SSD. A Fusion drive delivers most of the performance of a true SSD at a fraction of the cost. The discussion will also include the price of Apple upgrades, when available, and some of the products Larry’s company is working on, such as a 4TB SSD, and  peripherals to enhance new Macs equipped with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3. And what about the possibilities of the forthcoming iMac Pro, and the promised Mac Pro refresh?

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — December 9, 2017

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    Another Slant on Google iPhone Searches

    December 14th, 2017

    The other day, the Night Owl posted a column suggesting that you can’t judge potential sales of a product on the basis of the number of searches recorded by Google. But it’s also true that high search volume certainly indicates that people are interested.

    At least when the product is finally available.

    So in 2016, speculation persisted about what Apple might deliver for a 10th anniversary iPhone, assuming such a thing would even happen. Even during the rumor run-up to the iPhone 7, some suggested you might as well not bother. Next year there would be something a whole lot better. It didn’t hurt that Apple decided to ditch the headphone jack, which kind of/sort of raised a ruckus for a while. But it doesn’t seem as if a significant number of potential sales were lost.

    After all, didn’t Apple provide a free adaptor so you could plug your wired ear buds or headphones into the lightning port? Well, unless you wanted to listen and charge at the same time, in which case you needed a more expensive combo adapter with both the headphone jack and a lighting port for the charger.

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    Apple’s Mac Christmas Present

    December 13th, 2017

    When Apple launched the iMac Pro at June’s WWDC, I have to admit I was surprised. I expected a regular old iMac with some higher-end configurations. There are versions of Intel’s Core chips with extra cores, and I thought Apple would choose them.

    What I didn’t anticipate was a new model with, essentially, the guts of a Mac Pro in an iMac case. But that’s precisely what Apple is giving us with the iMac Pro, which was promised to ship this month. The internal cooling system was revised to handle the expanded needs of 18-core Intel Xeon, AMD Radeon Pro Vega graphics and up to 128GB of ECC RAM.

    As I said, the guts of a Mac Pro, or at least one possible configuration of a Mac Pro.

    The new space gray computer with a chassis you expect in an all-in-one workstation, including four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, four regular USB 3 ports, an SDXC card slot and even 10Gb Ethernet for super-fast networking.

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    Sir Jonathan Ive and a “Renewed” Commitment to Apple Design

    December 12th, 2017

    Funny how some Apple critics are so often proved wrong.

    Take the claim that, when Sir Jonathan Ive became Apple’s Chief Design Officer in 2015, it was the first step on the road to leaving the company. Maybe he’d just gather up his family and return to the UK, or perhaps find another gig. In the meantime, other Apple executives reportedly took the lead in product design.

    Ive allegedly focused most of his efforts on finishing up the new Apple “spaceship” campus said, in part, to represent a memorial to the memory of Steve Jobs.

    In 2016, Apple delivered fewer new products than usual. The iPhone 7 was regarded as, at best, a subpar upgrade, although it did fairly well in sales. Macs were virtually ignored until the end of the year, except for a minor speed bump upgrade for the MacBook.

    The long-awaited MacBook Pro refresh was controversial. It was thinner, lighter, and the changes weren’t believed to represent a commitment to building a professional notebook computer. It was more about needless fluff, and don’t forget the Touch Bar. And what about such neglected products as the Mac mini and the Mac Pro?

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    Newsletter Issue #941: A Brief Close Encounter with an iPhone X

    December 11th, 2017

    I’ve written about the iPhone X for months. It is not on my shopping list for a near-term purchase, because I have bills to pay. But I’ve always had extended access to iPhones and many iPads. So it was high time that I spend some face time with Apple’s latest and greatest.

    The occasion came Friday when I met a colleague who bought one the very first week. He had plenty of time to put it through his paces and, as a power user, he made sure to type some notes about his early experiences. So when he handed it over to me for an overnight “visit,” I was able to consult them to compare his reactions to mine.

    Now as you know, the iPhone X’s edge-to-edge OLED display allows for a product that is similar in size to the regular iPhone 8 to incorporate a larger display. I had an iPhone 8 Plus on hand to compare the feel, and the iPhone X is not only smaller, but noticeably lighter. The former actually feels a tad heavy when I hold it in one hand, and it wears a little over an extended period of time.

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