#372 Microsoft Surface Tablets, is Apple a Meanie, CompanionLink Software, Why is the Mac Pro Still Important

Bart’s newly revamped scripts to watermark images are now available at bartb.ie under the FreeBSD license, my thoughts on the two new Microsoft Surface tablets. In Dumb Question Corner, Alison from Scotland asks whether Apple is just being a big meanie discontinuing support for some older devices. Honda Bob comes back for a cameo appearance to talk about solving a Windows to iOS syncing problem with CompanionLink software. In Chit Chat Across the Pond Tim Verpoorten of surfbits.com gets back to his microphone to talk about why the MacPro is still important.


Hi this is Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast Mac Podcast, hosted at Podfeet.com, a technology geek podcast with an EVER so slight Macintosh bias. Today is Sunday June 24, 2012 and this is show number 372

I’m really excited about today’s show. I’m going to give you my impressions of the newly announced Microsoft Surface tablets, we’ll answer a dumb question from Scotland from another Alison, then we’re treated to a guest appearance by the Intergallactically Famous Honda Bob. Finally in Chit Chat Across the Pond we have none other than Tim Verpoorten from Surfbits.com to talk about why someone might need (or want) a Mac Pro.

But first an update. Last week on the show Bart walked us through the logical thought process he used for watermarking his images. In that discussion we talked about his scripts that he makes freely available, and he said that they were from 2008, and mentioned that he hoped to update them in a few weeks. He’s ahead of schedule, he did the updates and has them available at a link in the shownotes to bartb.ie under the FreeBSD license. Dorothy is already using them and mucking about with MacPorts and such so don’t let her be the only one to have all the fun.

Microsoft Surface

Microsoft announced two new tablets this week called the Surface. You know I’m not a huge fan of Windows 8, but these new products look pretty interesting. To refresh your memory on Windows 8 – there’s actually two versions, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows RT. Windows 8 Pro runs on Intel processors and gives you both the new Metro UI (the live tiles) and a fully functioning Windows desktop environment that will run all Windows programs. Windows RT runs on the ARM processors and gives you the Metro UI, and a very limited desktop environment. You’ll be able to run Microsoft Office 15 on the desktop but third party developers will not be allowed to develop for the desktop environment.

surface with touch cover matching turquoiseThe Surface comes in two models – Surface Windows RT and Surface Windows 8 Pro, matching the operating systems. The RT Surface is almost exactly the same dimensions as an iPad – .09mm thinner and 24 grams heavier. The Surface Pro is about 40% thicker than an iPad and weighs 44% more. The Surface is made of a made up material called VaporMg, some super special form of Magnesium, hence the Mg in the name. Sounds like a name Apple would make up, sounds super cool and like we should have heard about it before if we’d paid attention in those incredibly boring Chemistry lectures in college.

The Surface is a 16:9 wide aspect ratio, designed for better movie watching – no black bars. Steven Sinofsky, head of the Windows team for Microsoft, did the demonstration of Windows 8 running on the RT Surface, and while he tried to keep his cool, he did get frustrated when Internet Explorer crashed while he was doing the demo. He tried to cover it up by holding it towards his shirt while he talked and fiddled with it, but finally he had to run behind a table and grab another one. In a Steve Jobs demo someone would have been drawn and quartered for that. Not very impressive in my opinion, and I was very shocked to see that no one in the press even thought that was worth mentioning. Perhaps I enjoyed it a little bit too much. I was also pleased to see that every person demoing the surface had to tap the little sliver on the side at least twice to get a running application to come on screen – the same thing I’ve been complaining about with Windows 8. it’s too small of an area and it’s not responsive. Glad it happens to them too.

One of the things that excited Sinofsky the most was that there’s a kick stand built into the device. I guess that’s cool, I have invested in different covers and stands to make my iPad stand up at just about that angle. I had to take issue though when he said that the .7mm thick stand adds ZERO weight and thickness. Um, doesn’t it add .7 mm? What the kickstand doesn’t do for you is allow you to set the tablet at an angle comfortable for typing. Sinofsky also said that the 22 degree angle was perfect for video chat, that it would frame your face perfectly. Wouldn’t that be highly dependent on what surface you placed the Surface?

The coolest thing they showed though, and it actually overshadowed the device itself, was the Touch Cover. This is a very thin cover at 3mm that has a keyboard built in. The keys depress a mere 1.5mm. It was awesome. People who yawned at Windows 8, who checked their watches at the kickstand and the VaporMg material, audibly gasped with delight when they saw the Touch Cover. And I was amongst that group of gaspers. The cover snaps on and off with a magnetic connection, looks essentially like a laptop with the kickstand holding the Surface up. I can’t wait to get my hands on the Touch Cover to see how the typing actually is. Evidently they didn’t let reporters touch it which is a big concerning. I actually really like Microsoft mice, and if their keyboards had worked on Macs back when I used a separate keyboard with a desktop, I’m sure I would have bought them too. I think this Touch Cover could be awesome.

In a very Apple move, and I mean this as a compliment to Microsoft, when you attach the Touch Cover to your Surface, the background color of the Metro UI changes to match the color of the Touch Cover. Now that’s the kind of detail Apple would do. Except…in the photo they showed, the color is not quite the same…

Then they showed off the Surface Pro. Like I said it’s around 40% thicker than an iPad, but this bad boy has a quad core Intel Core i5 – like what you get in an iMac for cryin’ out loud! They showed off how it had a cooling vent all the way around so that no matter how you held it, your hands would burn…no, just kidding, no matter how you held it you wouldn’t be blocking much of the ventilation. It will be interesting to see if that works. After all the excitement of the Touch Cover, then they showed a second keyboard case called the Type cover, which is essentially a “real” keyboard. Sinofsky said with the Touch Cover it was dramatically better than typing on glass, but then with the Type Cover he said he was as fast on it as on a full sized keyboard.

So they’re trotting around with this rather thick tablet by today’s standards, flipping around in the Metro UI, but what he did next almost made me wet my pants. He plugged it into display port to a big monitor…and opened LightRoom! It was crazy! At that moment I saw the future. No longer will we lug giant laptops around, we just carry this little tablet, plug it in to a real monitor and get to real work. Sorry but I loved it. I tried not to Chris, but I did.

I can’t keep the love fest going though, let me say a couple more snarky things to cleanse my palette. I loved it when the presenter went through this elaborate description of the screen resolution – describing it as have such small pixels that at a normal viewing distance you couldn’t distinguish between them. He had to use 128 words because he couldn’t just say Retina Display. I know it’s a marketing term invented by Apple, but I still thought it was funny how hard he had to work to not say it.

They demonstrated a pen stylus, which to me was a major fail. The presenter brought up a PDF and tried to write on it, but the tablet saw his wrist coming and started scrolling all over while he tried to write. Almost immediately after that, since his speech was memorized, he was forced to talk about the amazing wrist awareness on the Surface, that it knows what’s the pen and what’s your wrist. Yeah, that was really sad.

The punch line to the demo was that they didn’t have pricing, and they didn’t have a delivery date. They didn’t want to say when Windows 8 was coming out, so clearly they couldn’t say when Surface would come out. But they did say that the Pro version would be priced “like an Ultrabook” – so get close to a thousand dollars ready to spend on a tablet kids. Oh wait, I spent over 900 on my iPad after tip and tax and AppleCare…

The most disappointing thing in the presentation to me was when they said that the Pro version would not be coming out until three months after the RT version. That’s ridiculous! Why in heck would that be? They’re being cagey about when this year Windows 8 is coming out saying “in the fall”, which means it’s more than 3-5 months away, so we have to wait for 6-8 months to get our hands on the Pro model! ARGH. if you’d like to read some badly formatted specs with a horrible grammar error (they wrote antennae instead of antennas, everyone knows that antennae are on bugs), I put a link in the shownotes to the Microsoft Surface spec sheet.

Dumb Question Corner

Alison from Scotland writes:

Hi Allison

My late 2006 MacBook Pro made the cut for Lion but misses out on Mountain Lion. It seems this is because I have ATI graphics and the next revision saw the switch to Nvidia. Are Apple just being meanies or is there a valid technical limitation? I don’t get ‘Save As’ and improved iCloud support because of my graphics chip, seriously?

On a related note, do you think it’s no longer possible to future-proof your devices? When I replaced my iBook with the MacBook Pro I opted for the most powerful model and resisted the very tempting Black MacBook. It was a good investment until now and after 5 and a half years and a gratis repair last year I can’t complain too much. On the other hand I have a 64GB original iPad 3G. It hasn’t worked well since iOS 5 so I’m not surprised iOS 6 won’t be available. That doesn’t stop me feeling a little aggrieved! I expected to get 3 years good use out of it before thinking about an upgrade. I’m considering an 11inch Air as a compromise for my two obsoleted devices but I find myself approaching the purchase completely differently to the past. I’m considering last year’s model and getting by with less storage than I opted to have nearly six years ago because I know I need to start planning and saving for a replacement. There will be no repairing and upgrading this time. Have we reached a point where we shouldn’t expect to have a useful machine beyond the end of AppleCare? Also, Mac prices might have fallen but is ‘The Apple Tax’ greater than ever given you have iOS devices and a Mac (or two) to keep functioning, up to date and compatible with each other?

Sorry, I think I’ve ended up thinking out loud but it’s overwhelming how much it would cost to upgrade my Mac, iPad and iPhone so they’d all work with the latest OS X and iOS and work seamlessly together with iCloud.

I’m hope you can find someone who can answer my dumb question. It’s really bugging me!
Many thanks from cold, rainy Scotland. Ali

woohoo – Scotland! I hardly ever hear from anyone from your wonderful country.

Ok, enough gushing, let’s think this through.

I think there’s a couple ways to look at this, and I’d like to suggest an alternative thought process.

I think you’re torn between two worlds. You want to be on the cutting edge of technology and be frugal and smart with your money and get the longest life out of your hardware. Those two things might not be able to live in the same universe.

Let’s think about a few things:
When iOS 6 comes out, your first gen iPad will still work exactly as it does today.
When Mountain Lion comes out your Macbook Pro will still work exactly as it today.
So if you go with the frugal plan and hang onto your laptop, you’re in great shape! a laptop that is five and a half years will be able to run an operating system that is still under updates and secure. Is that really that bad? You can still run the productivity apps, have access to the nearly new Mac App Store, use your printers…you just can’t run an operating system 5.5 years newer than your hardware. In fact, I applaud your decision to buy top of the line.

Now I can’t for the life of me explain why a graphics card won’t let you upgrade, but it still is amazing you can still run Lion.

Now let’s see if that logic works with the iPad. You have a 64GB Gen 1 iPad, and you said it doesn’t run well under iOS 5. I’m thinking a wipe is in order. I gave my son my 64GB Gen 1 iPad and he wiped it and it works perfectly under iOS 5 for him. The basic steps (but read up on this to verify) you connect and do a backup first. Then do a reset to factory condition. and finally do a restore from backup. Or blow off the restore from backup and reload your apps from the app store (purchased items). Make sure your photos are in Photostream or pull them off using Image Capture before you do that though! Oh, and if you care about saved games there’s all kinds of juju you have to do to keep those.

personally I think a device we paid $839 for before taxi should be able to run the latest operating system, so this one is pretty tough to swallow. I don’t understand why the iPhone 3GS is able to run iOS 6 but the first gen iPad is not?

1st Gen iPad came out in April 2010
3GS came out in June 2010, just 2 months later

1st Gen iPad is a 1 GHz A4
3GS is an 933MHz ARM A8

1st Gen iPad has 256MB of RAM
3GS also has 256MB

So 2 years old, the same or better specs, and yet it’s not possible to run iOS 6 on the iPad 1st gen. So the answer to your dumb question on this is yes, Apple is being a big fat meanie. That would mean that the iPad is a terrible investment but the Macbook Pro is a great investment!

Honda Bob and His Syncing Problem

Hello, this is Honda bob, and I had a problem syncing my Microsoft Outlook calendar with iTunes.

On my IBM Laptop PC, I was running Microsoft Office 2010 Outlook. I-Tunes had just updated to version 10. I syncing my i-phone everyday like I usually do, and it was about a week later, after missing a couple appointments, I noticed that some of the appointments I had made on my laptop were not getting synced with my i-phone calendar app. Some of the appointments I had made using my i-phone were not making it to my laptop either. After experimenting with several settings on i-tunes, i-phone and Microsoft Outlook, it became clear that they were just not going to sync. I tried restoring the i-phone and also uninstalling and reinstalling Microsoft Office 2010 to no avail. Still not syncing.

A call to Apple help line offered several suggestions that I had already tried, so I made an appointment with one of the Genius employees of the Apple store in Cerritos. After patiently listening to my problem, they were stumped also, so I was referred to someone else in the store who was better versed in Microsoft products. After going through several employees there, it became evident that they didn’t know what the problem was either, but insisted it was not an Apple problem and referred me to Microsoft.

After returning home, I called Microsoft and explained the problem. John was very attentive and offered to allow me to download another updated version of Microsoft Office. This new version was supposed to get rid of this particular problem. After uninstalling again and reinstalling the new version, it still would not sync.

Calling back the next day, and explaining the situation again, Elennila there referred me to a blog reference to this particular problem she had heard about outside of Microsoft. This blog was referring to a program called “Companion Link” from CompanionLink software. This program was supposed to sync any device with any device, without going through i-tunes. So without anything to lose, I purchased the program for $49.95.

I downloaded the program and the first thing it directed me to do was download an app on my i-phone called “DejaOffice”, also from CompanionLink Software. After going through the setup process to get both devices to communicate through my wi-fi link, and telling it what to sync, the sync started. FINALLY. When it finished a few moments later, I found that it had synced EVERYTHING accurately: contacts, calendars, tasks, and notes! I was impressed.

Hopefully I won’t be missing any more appointments from now on.

You can find HDA Bob’s Mobile Service at hdabob.com, you can email him at [email protected] or call him at (562)531-2321.

Bluemango Learning

If you’ve never gone over to the Bluemango Learning website and checked out their videos, you might want to do that. The reason I recommend them is because they’re not sales video, they don’t say “Clarify is neato!” or “ScreenSteps rocks!” Instead, they talk about great documentation. Two of my favorites are right on the home page at bluemangolearning.com. The first is called Docs That Rock: Scope and Detail, the second is more of a contrast video called “What if your GPS acted like most user guides?
which illustrates how bad documentation can really hurt cause huge problems. Even if you don’t think you need ScreenSteps, watch these videos and learn something for free. Check them out at bluemangolearning.com.

Chit Chat Across the Pond

This week’s guest is Tim Verpoorten from surfbits.com. You can find Tim on Twitter @surfbits or email him at [email protected].

Main Topic – What’s the big deal about the Mac Pro?

Remember Allison, I’m not an Engineer, I do not know tons of specs when it comes to performance, so keep the conversation to non-engineering subjects. It’s more about how you were brought up in computers. I started on PC’s back in the late 80’s and early 90’s building my own from scratch. I like the ability to add cards, memory, multiple hard drives and multiple optical drives. I like as many ports as possible and always work under the assumption that you never have enough memory or storage space. I think that this generation of new Mac users have never wanted or knew they might need to expand their Macs, they just assume you buy a Mac from Apple and thats the way you use it until it’s time to buy a new Mac. These users will never want, need or care about a Mac pro.

In the 6 years that I’ve had my Mac Pro, I’ve:

  • Updated video cards twice
  • Increased storage space from 250 gigs internally to 4 TB internally.
  • Added an eSATA card
  • Added Bluetooth and wireless support
  • I have a Drobo and 2 external FW800 drives attached
  • Just recently I added an SSD drive
  • And I now have 16 gigs of RAM

Allison mentioned an external SSD brought to her attention by Steve Mindala, a 250GB external SSD from U32 Shadow for only $279 at Amazon vs. a 1TB HDD Seagate Goflex with Thunderbolt for $270 on Amazon.

Lots of angst about the fact that Apple only does speed bumps on the MacPros for the last couple of years, but why don’t people just get the iMac?
27″ max has:
3.4GHz Quad Core i7
16GB of RAM (32GB from OWC)
1 hard drive bay
single graphics card (1GB)

Mac Pro max has:
12 core 2.4GHz Xeon
64GB of RAM
4 hard drive bays
Multiple graphics cards (1GB each)

The Mac Pro is still Apple’s most customizable Mac. In an era where the company has begun using proprietary screws to keep casual DIYers from tampering with their own Macs, the Mac Pro has an easy-to-access case with three free hard drive slots, three empty PCI express card slots, and an extra optical bay. It has two gigabit ethernet ports, built-in Wi-Fi, five USB ports, four FireWire 800 ports, two Mini DisplayPort connectors, and a dual-link DVI connector.

So who needs this kind of power?
Obviously the video and audio and gaming professions. Not John Q Public that is using FCPX or iMovie to make YouTube videos of his home movies, but anyone making a living off of these needs the power of an i7 and Thunderbolt, and the expandability of a Mac Pro. Even hard core gamers, besides the game developers want to max out their video and their CPU’s in order to get the very best graphics, speed and details from their games. They’ve been doing that on the PC side of things for years.

When do you need 12 cores?
It is also the most powerful Mac hardware to run OS X Server on the market. When it comes to sheer computational ability — the ability to support up to 12 cores and 64GB of RAM — are the crucial complements that the Mac Pro brings to the table. The Mac Pro has never been a machine for every Mac user. The Mac Pro serves as a high-end and very configurable Mac, a high-computing solution, and a server. Most users won’t push it to its limits, but for those users or organizations that do, it’s crucial part of Apple’s lineup.

What software takes advantage of 12 cores?
CAD programs, video apps, Adobe’s suite, many if not most high end graphics, video and audio programs.

What would they have to do to the MacPro to make people happy?
Ivy Bridge , Xeon E5
Updated PCI slots and speeds
Faster graphics cards
Updated Optical Drives
Built in eSATA ports

That’s going to wind this up for this week, many thanks to our sponsor for helping to pay the bills, Blue Mango Learning at bluemangolearning.com makers of ScreenSteps and Clarify. Don’t forget to send in your Dumb Questions, comments and suggestions by emailing me at [email protected], follow me on twitter at @podfeet. I contribute a fair amount over on Google Plus nowadays so just search for me by name if you want to circle me up. If you want to join in the fun of the live show, head on over to podfeet.com/live on Sunday nights at 5pm Pacific Time and join the friendly and enthusiastic NosillaCastaways. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.

15 thoughts on “#372 Microsoft Surface Tablets, is Apple a Meanie, CompanionLink Software, Why is the Mac Pro Still Important

  1. […] See original article: #372 Microsoft Surface Tablets, is Apple a Meanie, CompanionLink … […]

  2. George from Tulsa - June 25, 2012

    In her job as Associate Superintendent for Technology at at Seattle area school district, my sister just dodged a nasty bullet. With a one time only large fund to allocate, Apple had been pushing iPads. Maybe the sad story of my orphaned iTouch 1 had some influence? Anyway, they just said no, and aren’t now hung with a lot of expensive, orphaned, iPad 1s.

    Apple wants schools to replace textbooks with these things. Putting the schools at Apple’s mercy. At least old paper can be thrown in the furnaces to burn for heat. Old iPads can only be sent back to China to recycle . . . if they can be unglued apart.


    It was nice to hear HondaBob. I’ve had a similar conversion program to the one he reviewed when I had a Sony CyberShot Phone I wanted to connect to iCal. Versions changed, and before long the conversion author (he does have to make a living) required I buy a new version.

    That’s when I discovered the wonder that is Google Calendar.


    Mike Potter from “For Mac Eyes Only” Podcast, Allison’s guest a couple of weeks ago in the Great File Save As Debate, mentioned recently he has a Mac Pro Tower 1,1 that won’t run Mountain Lion. Still a really powerful system that as Tim mentions can be thoroughly updated, but orphaned by Apple.

  3. Donald Burr - June 27, 2012

    I have this “discussion” with my less tech savvy friends all the time. And, what I say to them is, “You’ve gotta draw the line somewhere.” With every new iOS upgrade, they keep adding new API’s and functionality to the system, that requires the necessary hardware muscle to back it up. And a lot of times this leaves older devices out. With every revision of the iOS hardware, there are differences, some not necessarily as obvious as others, or listed on a spec sheet.

    I’m not surprised that Allison (the one in Scotland) has trouble running iOS 5 on an iPad 1. We as well as our friend Kevin had loads of trouble with it. For us, it was really lethargic performance: the thing would often gel for a few seconds, scrolling between screens was noticeably jerky, etc. My friend Kevin has it even worse: frequent crashes. In both of our cases, a nuke and pave did NOT get rid of the problem. I’ve also seen very sluggish behavior on an iPhone 4 as well as a 3GS. My suspicion is that the older hardware in the iPad 1 and iPhone 4 is just at the cusp of what iOS 5 needs hardware-wise. I have a *cough* friend who has iOS 6 and says the thing is all but unusable on a 3GS. I’m really surprised that Apple decided to officially support the 3GS. Oh wait, I meant: My friend is really surprised that Apple decided to officially support the 3GS. Still, it runs at least.

  4. George from Tulsa - June 27, 2012

    Attention Donald Burr:

    I paid $900.68 for a 64 GB 3g iPad 1 on June 29, 2010.

    It is not (quite) two years old.

    It works fine on iOS 5. Quite well for what my daughter does with it, which is (mostly) the LexisNexis® Law School Q&A Series. That, and Netflix and HBO Go.

    Now if all that happened when Apple “orphans” an iOS device is the device didn’t get new iOS features, such as Siri, or Apple’s port of Tom Tom Maps, that would be okay.

    But it isn’t okay because, at least in my experience, already installed APPs phone home, and stop working if they’re not updated, then can’t be updated since the device is running an “old” iOS. Then there’s Bart’s comment: Apple doesn’t even provide security updates for old versions of iOS.

    MAYBE the iPad I gave my daughter will run long enough for her to graduate next year. MAYBE it won’t.

    How many millions of iPad 1s did Apple just sell and orphan? Look out landfills, here they come.

    $900.68, two years. Not petty cash. Not reasonable.

  5. Donald Burr - June 27, 2012


    My original point still stands. The hardware device you hold in your hands is finite. In some cases (like for desktop computers), you can perhaps augment them somewhat — extend the inevitable as it were: put in more memory, a bigger/faster hard disk (or SSD), etc. If you’re lucky enough to have a Mac Pro, you can even put in a faster graphics card (as Tim Verporten said he did in CCatP). You can’t do this with mobile devices — even Android devices are like this; at best you can maybe put in a bigger SD card. You can’t swap in a faster CPU, or an upgraded graphic system.

    Software, on the other hand, is infinite. As long as there are coders out there who get brilliant ideas for new features, or a way of coding an existing feature in a better/more efficient/etc. way. Then there are also us users to satisfy, constantly clambering for more features/flashier graphics/interoperability with social network X/etc.

    Unfortunately, trying to fit an infinite thing into a finite thing doesn’t work. Something’s gotta give. You need a new device.

    I hear you crying “But that’s not fair!” Well, whoever said life was fair?

    Now I will grant you that Apple’s unwillingness to provide security updates to previous versions of iOS is reprehensible. Apple, after all, still sends out security patches for Snow Leopard; and when Mountain Lion comes around, I would wager that they would do the same for Lion (and stop patching Snow Leopard). This is reasonable. You can’t support every single version of every single product and OS that you make (even if you have the kind of monster cash that Apple does); the farther back you go, the cost in terms of money and engineers increases exponentially. But with all the piles of cash they’re sitting on, Apple could afford to at least support one version back of iOS.

    And lest you think Apple is alone in this, they’re not. Microsoft’s recently announced next version of Windows Phone OS is going to require, among other things, a dual core processor, which means that people who bought their shiny new Windows Phone devices (including the much lauded Nokia Lumia 900) are now out in the cold. And Android users have had to face the pain of badly (mis)managed upgrade cycles for years.

  6. George from Tulsa - June 27, 2012

    Nope, Donald, your point does not stand.

    Apple could (there’s certainly plenty of unemployed Americans and even less expensive crews in Bangalore) keep updating at least the “security” of its old operating systems. The underlying code of OS X goes way back to Unix, having passed through Steve Jobs failed NEXT on the way to Apple, so the security updates from 10.0 through 10.8 can’t be SO different they can’t be programmed.

    Increasingly, those of us who buy Apple (and I bought about 20 Apple computers in the last two years) are being pwned by Apple’s upgrade cycle. Macs are already expensive, when they have to be tossed out at Apple’s whim, well before normal hardware death, they become TOO expensive.

    I’m “running” 21 Macs. Two won’t upgrade to Lion as they’re Core 2 but not Duo. Four might upgrade to Lion, but while they work fine on Snowie, I doubt they’d be satisfactory on Lion, and I’m not sure their graphics cards would work on Mt. Lion.

    The rest are newer, and would upgrade, in theory, but there’s absolutely nothing they’re doing that “needs” a new OS or new software. Eleven are public access machines in a library. Last thing those need is a live connection to the App Store or iCloud. In fact, it is a great comfort to be able to wipe and install public machines from a DVD.

    Windows Phone. Nope, the current ones won’t be updated. But that’s not a big deal — unless Microsoft follows Apple’s lead and (1) doesn’t provide security updates; and (2) blocks apps that were already installed from working.

    Android upgrades have been mangled, not by Google, but by carriers defending their bloatware and, probably, hoping to force customers to toss perfectly good phones that require contract extension. Give Apple credit for keeping carrier crud off the iPhone.

    Android? There’s a secure path for Android users who care. Root and update at will. Most probably don’t care. The core “Google” apps like Gmail, Calendar, and Messaging will work on the phone until it expires from old age.

    Not so for iOS or older Macs. Apple uses its update cycle to kill ’em before their natural death.

    Visit MacRumors Forum Thread # 1321726 for insight as posting links here is troublesome.

    What’s the life of an iPad? I read lots of comparisons of the cost of $499 iPads with $15 iBooks Textbooks with paper textbooks that last five years. Comparison suggested the iPad was a better deal.

    Sucker bait, especially if it has to be junked in 2.5 or 3 years because Apple orphaned it.

    Which, of course Apple has not done for the 3gs iPhone, offered at $0 (plus expensive contract) as an entry drug into the iOS ecosystem.

  7. Donald Burr - June 27, 2012

    “Apple could (there’s certainly plenty of unemployed Americans and even less expensive crews in Bangalore) keep updating at least the “security” of its old operating systems. The underlying code of OS X goes way back to Unix, having passed through Steve Jobs failed NEXT on the way to Apple, so the security updates from 10.0 through 10.8 can’t be SO different they can’t be programmed.”

    Believe it or not, we actually agree on this point. HOWEVER, it’s not as simple as “let’s forward port all the security fixes starting with 10.0.” Yes, Mac OS X is based on UNIX; however it has picked up a LOT of additional code along the way. And I’m not talking about basic OS level (kernel, etc.) code; I’m also talking about GUI, frameworks, shared libraries, utilities, etc. Untangling all of this (especially when one piece of code interacts with another, or interacts with a particular kind or revision of a piece of hardware) to port the “correct” changes forward (or backward) is no small feat. It’s a lot easier when the versions you’re trying to deal with are “close” to each other (e.g. back porting 10.7 Lion fixes to 10.6 Snow Leopard); but as that distance widens, the task becomes exponentially more difficult (and costly both in terms of time, money and other resources). And it’s an error prone process. As an example, whenever Apple comes out with a point release to OS X, you will inevitably hear of somebody having problems with it (kernel panic, fails to boot, yada yada). Sometimes it’s a lot of people, in which case we can conclude that Apple has royally screwed up. But, even when 99.9^ of the user base has no problems whatsoever, there’re always the outliers. You simply can’t account for the gazillions of combinations of hardware and software out there in the world.

    I think ultimately that we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this point, because I think we’re looking at it from very differing points of view. You’re seeing it from the perspective of a user with limited resources (i.e. money). That is completely understandable. I, on the other hand, am looking at things from a developer’s perspective. With each new OS release, Apple gives us new “toys” (APIs, technologies, etc.) to play with. And the users see this, and demand (in no uncertain terms) that we continue to “up our game” by making use of these technologies to bring “the shiny.” And, much as we would love to continue supporting older products and technology, the act of supporting older code becomes an increasingly laborious, costly and error-prone process as the versions increase. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere.

  8. Donald Burr - June 27, 2012

    (PS: I apologize if I sound cranky. Ironically, I’m having an eerily similar discussion with the other people involved in one of the projects I’m working on, and I may have taken out some of my frustrations in that venue out in this thread.)

  9. George from Tulsa - June 27, 2012

    Nope, Donald, you don’t sound cranky.

    And you’re absolutely right, I’m a user with limited resources, i.e., money.

    If one of us is cranky, it’s me. $900.68 for an iPad that’s been orphaned at not quite two years old does that.

    Developers, customers, Yin and Yang, two sides of a coin?

    As a Developer, you’re about to see 15 million iPad 1s exit Apple’s ecosystem. Surely I’m not the only ticked off owner.

    There’s clearly some “fanboi” instinct that leads Apple’s customers to junk their iPhones and buy new every two years, even though doing so means extending an overpriced cell contract.

    Maybe that same “fanboi” love will keep customers coming back for every generation of iPad.

    Then maybe I’m not the only one of the 15 million buyers of iPad 1 ticked off enough at its premature death to swear, “never again.” I wouldn’t be here ranting if Apple had supported it into a “natural” graceful hardware death, maybe even long enough to justify one battery replacement. But, no, it’s an orphan, and even if it still sorta’ works for a while, not worth a new battery.

  10. Donald Burr - June 27, 2012

    I thought about it a bit more, and on further reflection, yes, the choice to drop support for the original iPad is definitely a contentious one. Obviously I cannot speak for Apple as to why they chose to do this. Was it a marketing ploy? Probably. Was it technically motivated? Maybe. Perhaps it was a little bit of both? iOS 5 on the original iPad isn’t quite as sprightly as iOS 4, and maybe iOS 6 really drags its heels when run on it. In time I’d wager that the jail breakers will prove me right (or wrong); surely someone out there has the idea to try and shoehorn iOS 6 to run on an original iPad, similar to how they got multitasking to work, albeit slowly, on older iPhones and iPod touches back in the 4.x days. Perhaps iOS 7 will continue to run on 2nd and 3rd gen iPads, since they are relatively close hardware-wise. Who knows?

    The funny thing is that, when a new iDevice or version of iOS comes out, the metrics still show a small but significant number of users running the older OS. There are still plenty of iOS 4.x devices out there; there are even some devices out there that are still running iOS 3.x. Hand me downs, educational institutions purchasing fleets of iPad 1’s for a bargain, etc. And, even though there may be no more OS updates, they still continue to serve a useful purpose. (iirc Allison said something rather similar in her Dumb Question answer) The software that they run now will largely continue to do so. Which is why most of us developers will continue to look over our shoulders even as we cast our eyes forward, and continue to support older iOS versions for as long as we can, grousing about it to anyone within earshot who will listen. 😉

    Finally, Apple hardly has the monopoly on phone fanboyism. “Across the pond” (forgive the pun) where Nokia reigns supreme, there are people who change phones as often as they change their underwear. (Perhaps more often even) There’s also the Android contingent, clamoring for the latest Galaxy Nexus Prime Deluxe LImited Edition or whatever the heck they choose to name it. Fanboyism knows no bounds nor nationalities.

  11. George from Tulsa - June 27, 2012

    Nokia still has fans?

    Please, buy my stock! I keep hoping Microsoft will put it and me out of our misery with a Facebook-like overpriced buyout!

    “even though there may be no more OS updates, they still continue to serve a useful purpose.”

    EXCEPT my daughter has to buy a new “LexisNexis Q&A Review” for each class. Could be a real problem if that’s not possible on the orphaned iPad 1 left behind on iOS 5.

    Which is how my $299 first Gen iPod Touch became a $299 remote for my also orphaned 1st Gen Apple TV.

    See a theme here?

    On the “fanboi” c’est moi front, did you blast right by my statement I’d bought about 20 Apple computers in 2 years? Let me tag on I’ve probably influenced nearly as many friends and acquaintances to “switch.”

    My own personal order for the “new” 2010 Air was placed the first weekend, and when the 2011 replacements arrived with less screen glare, I found an excuse to donate my “old” one to my son-in-law, and buy another.

    What’s scary is that I’ve had to lock up my credit card to keep from buying a 2012 Air. Hey, they have USB 3.0! And I have a USB 3.0 drive —

    Still, the extremely expensive and unrepairable Retina MacBook dims my enthusiasm. That’s Apple’s future, and it isn’t suited for businesses, individuals, or charities (such as I manage) that must get several years use from a computer investment.

    It’s one thing when the hardware dies of old age. It’s another when you want, but can’t buy, the latest software because your gear is old. But when lack of the latest shuts otherwise good gear down, it’s just wrong.

    And if influential Apple users and developers just let it happen without protest, then it will.

    Long-term, it isn’t good for users, and won’t be good for Apple.

  12. Alex in Arizona - June 27, 2012

    Enjoyed your discussion with Honda Bob about his syncing issues but it’s not unique to the iPhone. A friend of mine just got an Android phone to replace her Blackberry only to discover that it didn’t sync directly to her Windows Outlook, Calendar, Notes etc. She would have to go through Google which she refused to do. The solution, same as with Honda Bob. Deja Office and Companion Link. Since the common denominator is Windows Office, that’s who I’d tag with the problem.

  13. podfeet - June 27, 2012

    Alex- that’s REALLY interesting. I know when Honda Bob did his research it specifically called out an interaction with Office 2010, and one of the options he considered was reverting back to 2007. It was that “click to play” thing that was called out as having the problem. Thanks for the feedback.

  14. Josh - February 8, 2016

    Years have passed and people like me are stil having trouble with putting phone to work with Outlook. As now I only see a very few solutions: one is already mentioned above and the second one is AkrutoSync. Can anyone tell me what’s the difference between them so I don’t have to spend a week comparing two products?

  15. HaroldJ - September 28, 2016

    I have been using Sync2 for Outlook synchronization. You can check it at http://www.sync2.com/sync-outlook-on-multiple-pcs.aspx

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