Ladies and gentlemen, that little cylinder on the right is the next generation Mac Pro.
At WWDC 2013 today, Apple VP Phil Schiller remarked “Can’t innovate anymore, my ass.” This is a jab to the people who have been, for a while, been playing at Apple’s apparent lack of any major hardware or software announcements since Fall last year. But here’s the proof: with the aid of Moore’s Law, they have achieved another breakthrough in engineering never before brought to a mass-market machine.
I remember seeing the announcement for Power Mac G5 at WWDC 2003. The original designs were centered around getting rid of the massive amount of energy used by the then-chart dominating G5 chip (a product of a collaboration between Apple, Motorola, and IBM). Hence, the designers made a relatively huge, aluminum enclosure, with the trademark cheese grater perforations on the front and the back. To top it all off, they strategically placed nine computer-controlled fans (yes, nine) inside it, as well as flat plastics to route the air around. Later iterations of the machine (with faster CPUs at 2.5GHz, the original ran at 800MHz) used water cooling to dissipate that huge amount of heat.
With all the remarkable engineering that went into that machine, it was the heyday of the GX-processor era at Apple. The transition to Intel CPUs at WWDC 2006 provided the engineers with a giant leap in thermal headroom as the Intel Core microarchitecture used in the Xeon processors used in these newly-baptised Mac Pros proved to be extremely power efficient, that it required much less cooling, as well as the much better power efficiency of the other components, like the drives and the graphics.
Fast forward to 2012. Apparently, many were became worried that the Mac Pro— and the Pro desktop segment— was nearing its end due to the discontinuation of the Xserve. To further aggravate the anxiety, Apple never actually gave the Mac Pro attention that much anymore since the Nehalem CPU architecture-based refresh in 2009 and Westmere in 2010. A simple nod in the graphics department, and it was stuck in the AMD Radeon 5000-series. The aging FireWire 800 ports are still there, despite the fact that they have been rallying Thunderbolt (a standard they produced in collaboration with Intel, which is up to five times faster than Firewire), even USB 2.0! One guy, apparently frustrated with this lack of upgrades, emailed Tim Cook, and his response was an enthusiastic “surprise” for 2013.
And here we are. WWDC 2013. With all the things announced, none was people more enthusiastic for the redesign of the Mac Pro (unless you factor out iOS 7, which is the ultimate star of the show). But then, there’s something charismatic about this machine, being the bearer of the title “most powerful Mac.“And yes, it’s a stunner.
The enclosure itself is of profound beauty. It’s made of extruded aluminum. According to Apple, at 1/8 the volume of the previous generation, this machine performs up to twice as fast on average. Arriving this fall, it will feature up to a 12-core Intel Xeon E5 processor based on either the Ivy or Sandy Bridge architecture, two AMD FirePro workstation-class graphics, 1866MHz of DDR3 ECC RAM (amount unspecified), as well as PCIe-based SSD storage (2.5X faster than SATA). The size is achieved by using a triangular heatsink (called Thermal Core), which evenly distributes heat around the machine and is now aided by one giant, acoustically tuned cooling fan at the top. For I/O, it features six Thunderbolt 2 ports (providing capacity for three simultaneous 4K-video displays), four USB 3.0, two Gigabit Ethernet, and HDMI 4.1 out. It also has a motion sensor to light up the ports for easier access when needed. As a plus, it will also be one of the first Macs to be manufactured in the U.S. There’s no mention of pricing yet, but it will be available this Fall with the also-newly announced OS X Mavericks.
So much 10 years can bring.
Oberes Alpgut 1 in Winterthur by Peter Kunz Architektur
An intense ‘inner-outer-inner’ texture of rooms.
ID Lamp by Mïxcv
Their forms are more or less determined by their functions.
"1. push yourself to get up before the rest of the world - start with 7am, then 6am, then 5:30am. go to the nearest hill with a big coat and a scarf and watch the sun rise.
2. push yourself to fall asleep earlier - start with 11pm, then 10pm, then 9pm. wake up in the morning feeling re-energized and comfortable.
3. erase processed food from your diet. start with no lollies, chips, biscuits, then erase pasta, rice, cereal, then bread. use the rule that if a child couldn’t identify what was in it, you don’t eat it.
4. get into the habit of cooking yourself a beautiful breakfast. fry tomatoes and mushrooms in real butter and garlic, fry an egg, slice up a fresh avocado and squirt way too much lemon on it. sit and eat it and do nothing else.
5. stretch. start by reaching for the sky as hard as you can, then trying to touch your toes. roll your head. stretch your fingers. stretch everything.
6. buy a 1L water bottle. start with pushing yourself to drink the whole thing in a day, then try drinking it twice.
7. buy a beautiful diary and a beautiful black pen. write down everything you do, including dinner dates, appointments, assignments, coffees, what you need to do that day. no detail is too small.
8. strip your bed of your sheets and empty your underwear draw into the washing machine. put a massive scoop of scented fabric softener in there and wash. make your bed in full.
9. organise your room. fold all your clothes (and bag what you don’t want), clean your mirror, your laptop, vacuum the floor. light a beautiful candle.
10. have a luxurious shower with your favourite music playing. wash your hair, scrub your body, brush your teeth. lather your whole body in moisturiser, get familiar with the part between your toes, your inner thighs, the back of your neck.
11. push yourself to go for a walk. take your headphones, go to the beach and walk. smile at strangers walking the other way and be surprised how many smile back. bring your dog and observe the dog’s behaviour. realise you can learn from your dog.
12. message old friends with personal jokes. reminisce. suggest a catch up soon, even if you don’t follow through. push yourself to follow through.
14. think long and hard about what interests you. crime? sex? boarding school? long-forgotten romance etiquette? find a book about it and read it. there is a book about literally everything.
15. become the person you would ideally fall in love with. let cars merge into your lane when driving. pay double for parking tickets and leave a second one in the machine. stick your tongue out at babies. compliment people on their cute clothes. challenge yourself to not ridicule anyone for a whole day. then two. then a week. walk with a straight posture. look people in the eye. ask people about their story. talk to acquaintances so they become friends.
16. lie in the sunshine. daydream about the life you would lead if failure wasn’t a thing. open your eyes. take small steps to make it happen for you."
This is the single most inspiring thing I’ve read in a week.
I redesigned the PRISM PowerPoint slides. Because they were terrible. Now it’s secret government data surveillance — with a smile!™
Emma Watson arriving at Nice Airport in France - May 14, 2013