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  • The new iMac desktop has gone ultrathin and lost functionality.

    Home Forums Outside the box The Junk Drawer The new iMac desktop has gone ultrathin and lost functionality.

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      • #2371844
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        OK, I am putting this in “the Junk Drawer” because I can’t think of a better forum, right now.

        The ultrathin new iMac is Apple’s most used desktop and an all-in-one device (not counting the external keyboard and mouse or touch pad that need to be plugged in or else connected via BlueTooth), except, in this new model, for the power supply, that is an old fashioned “brick” to be plugged in, because otherwise it would get in the way of ultrathinnes; there is also the Mac Pro, that is for heavy computing use and comes without a monitor, that one is not where the issues under consideration here are to be found.

        In today’s edition of the Washington Post there is an article titled:

        The New Ultrathing iMac Lost a Lot More than Size”

        By Geoffrey A. Fowler, Washington Post technology columnist.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/06/16/apple-imac-thin/

        As this newspaper is paywalled, but sometimes non-subscribers can read some of its articles, I am posting a link to it here, because I think is a very good commentary on the current folly of making everything in the world of personal computing devices super thin, something on which Apple, as usual, is running well ahead of the pack. But the pack is relentlessly following its strides.

        Just in case, I am excerpting somewhat more than usual from the article:

        Apple’s newly redesigned iMac measures just 0.45 inches thick. That’s a hair thinner than the original iPhone. It’s thin enough to wedge under a wobbly table.

        But to make a desktop computer that incredibly slender, something had to go. Unfortunately, left on the chopping block were some capabilities you might actually want in a $1,300 desktop computer.

        Gone are the large-sized USB ports many of us still use to plug in gear. Gone, too, is the ability to later upgrade your memory. This iMac is no longer even an all-in-one computer: Apple had to move the power supply to an external brick like on a laptop.

        An obsession with thin design has taken over consumer tech, and Apple is its leader. For you, that affects a lot more than just style. Going thin shapes what a device costs, what it’s useful for, how long it will last and what kind of impact it might leave on the environment.

        Even if you’re not in the market for a new iMac, this computer is a case study in the strange priorities that shape so much of the technology we use.

        ……

        The glue [RAM, SSD, etc. are all glued-in] isn’t new on this version of the iMac, but it “would be so much easier if they just had a couple of screws,” said iFixit senior editor Sam Goldheart.

        Overall, iFixit gave the new iMac a repairability score of 2 out of 10 — one notch lower than the previous model. Apple, of course, offers its own repair service. But you at least deserve the right to repair your own tech.”

        …..

        ” The new iMac “is less and less a computer, and more of an appliance,” said Wiens. “Computers are complex, and you need hardware flexibility to deal with problems that come up. Apple has systematically removed all of those options.”

        This is partly a philosophical divide between Apple and people like Wiens. Turning computers into appliances can simplify them: You don’t need to know about what’s going on if it just works.

        But Apple’s appliance mind-set is also self-serving, because it means we have to keep buying new stuff. You may already have a box of old iPads and iPhones you aren’t using after upgrading. Now you can add an iMac to the pile.”

        These choices have an impact on the Earth, too. Apple touts the new iMac as being “better for the environment” because it uses some recycled materials. But the biggest environmental impact Apple could have is designing its hardware to be repaired and reused, rather than thrown away.

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Mojave & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. Intego AV and Malwarebytes.

        • This topic was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by OscarCP.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2371851
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Apple could have is designing its hardware to be repaired and reused, rather than thrown away.

        All Apple devices can be repaired and reused and are sold at Apple stores (and elsewhere) as certified refurbished devices.

        Apple can support its devices for 7 years with hardware components and software updates due only to the fact that you can’t repair your own tech.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2371921
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Actually I didn’t write “write” that: it is from the excerpt I copied from the WaPo article so anyone who cannot get to see the article, as the WaPo is mostly paywalled, could get an idea of that is in it. As Alex points out, at the root of all this is that Apple has largely removed the ability of owners of Macs and “i”-gadgets to expand or repair these by themselves. This is particularly galling in the case of a Desktop, something the iMac is supposed to be, that has always been the one computing device with the most upgradable hardware.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Mojave & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. Intego AV and Malwarebytes.

        • #2372026
          Ascaris
          AskWoody MVP

          All Apple devices can be repaired and reused and are sold at Apple stores (and elsewhere) as certified refurbished devices.

          If Apple decides it wants to, and often for prices that fit with its “you should just buy a new one” marketing strategy. Oftentimes simple repairs are priced at just below the price of “a new one” when third party repair costs much less (if somehow Apple’s efforts to stymie third party repair shops failed), or perhaps Apple will simply decide not to repair your unit at all. And if you do successfully get it repaired at a third party place, Apple might later roll out an update to brick the unit, or send out an update to make older products artificially slower than they would have been.

          Apple has softened its stance a bit recently, but I would guess this is more of an effort to appease the “right to repair” crowd than anything else.

          Apple deserves credit for (reputedly; I haven’t used it myself, so I am going by reputation) making a desktop OS that is more coherent than Windows, and I would certainly give it a try if Apple were to offer it for sale for non-Mac PCs, but their business practices around repair for their hardware products leave much to be desired. They did not become the wealthy company they are by being consumer friendly. They’ve even put DRM chips into Lightning cables to prevent people from using cheaper aftermarket cables!

           

          Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.22.4 User Edition)

      • #2371885
        RetiredGeek
        AskWoody MVP

        The Good the Bad & the Ugly!

        Good: it makes computing more accessible to the masses.

        Bad: not upgradeable, locked into what Apple provides (App Store), not user able serviceable, bad for the environment (yeah, you may be able to buy refurbished items but how many actually go this route, both people and devices?)

        Ugly: the price of the unit, service, software. Accessories you can no longer attach and have to replace. The Apple TAX is alive and well and feeding Apple’s coffers.

        FWIW.

        May the Forces of good computing be with you!

        RG

        PowerShell & VBA Rule!
        Computer Specs

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2371924
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Retire Geek wrote: “Bad: not upgradable, locked into what Apple provides (App Store), not user able serviceable, bad for the environment

          There are ways to get around some of that, for example to use a connectors’ hub, these days of a conveniently small size, with several different ports (USB-A, Ethernet, HDMI) and just one cable to connect the hub to the Mac. But still a fair question is, I think: “why is that even necessary?” And one of the worst things mentioned in the article, is the inability to use an old iMac as an external large screen monitor, because that was possible until this new model, and now Apple has, who knows why, removed this functionality.

          So, as it also says in the article, the iMac that runs into some hardware problems , or cannot keep up any more without a RAM, or the internal mass storage device upgrade, is destined to the place where discarded old iPhones are kept in the house out of nostalgia for the days when these things were alive and well and actually useful.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Mojave & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. Intego AV and Malwarebytes.

          • #2372062
            Ascaris
            AskWoody MVP

            The good news is that we, the customers, have the power to change this if we wish. The bad news is that so many of us don’t wish! There would not be the plethora of expensive but disposable tech items out there if people didn’t buy the bit about them being status symbols. The masses put up with it, so we all have to put up with it (at least to a degree). Our choices are limited by the choices made by the teeming hordes of consumers who outnumber us and can reliably be herded into whatever corral marketers want them in.

            It’s not just Apple that does this, of course. Old Jaguars (the cars) were notoriously unreliable even when new. In typical fashion, they attempted to turn it into a plus. A family member asked someone (many years ago) connected with Jaguar if they were really as unreliable as everyone said.

            “Oh yes,” came the reply. “This wouldn’t be your only car, would it?”

            Apple seems to be taking the same approach. They are positioned as luxury goods, and the idea seems to be that if you can really afford to live in Apple land, you can afford to buy new iThings frequently, and should do so without complaint (and in fact be glad to do it, because it shows you can afford it). “What’s the difference to you, Mr. Moneybags, if your very expensive tech device broke and the repair will cost as much as a new one? That’s not going to be a problem for someone of your means, is it?”

            For ordinary users who want the “just works” bit Apple promises, the bit about it being expensive now when you buy into the ecosystem as well as down the road, so that when you have to keep buying essentially the same thing over and over, is a bit much to swallow.

            The reaction of many Apple fans is unlike what you would see for just about any other company’s customers. If Dell, Lenovo, Samsung, Asus, HP, or Acer provide a bad experience, either with the product or the support for it, people will become irate and some will vow never to buy that company’s wares again. Some of those actually mean it, and all of these companies know this.

            Many Apple fans, though, will defend Apple and make excuses why it was okay for Apple to treat them poorly or to make their iThings difficult to repair, in what appears to be a form of Stockholm Syndrome. It’s almost like how the snooty waiter at a fancy French restaurant is an expected part of the dining experience (while a rude waiter at any other restaurant would drive customers away). They’re too invested in the Apple ecosystem and mythos to ever consider not rewarding the company for selling high-priced goods with planned obsolescence. That is always a risk when one company is the sole manufacturer of the hardware for the entire platform as well as the operating system.

            Group "L" (KDE Neon Linux 5.22.4 User Edition)

            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2371894
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        I have got to thinking, of late, that my next Mac is going to be a Linux laptop.

        From the Washington Post article, this is how thin the new “ultrathin” iMac is:

        Screen-Shot-2021-06-16-at-1.37.44-PM

        This is the link shown in the picture above, covering most of the article contents. Maybe those interested will be luckier with the video than with he article  …

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/06/16/apple-imac-thin/?utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most&carta-url=https%3A%2F%2Fs2.washingtonpost.com%2Fcar-ln-tr%2F33b4ad5%2F60ca23989d2fdae302812a6e%2F5f0610bd9bbc0f3a78cb642a%2F24%2F70%2F60ca23989d2fdae302812a6e

         

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Mojave & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. Intego AV and Malwarebytes.

      • #2371934
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        As this newspaper is paywalled

        Paywalls are dead :-). I wrote this before, just install the ‘bypass-paywalls‘ Chrome/Firefox addon/extension.

        • #2372012
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Alex: Well, yes, I have tried this with FireFox and it works. And it seems so illegal that, just in case, I am going to go right now to the local Police Station and confess.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Mojave & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. Intego AV and Malwarebytes.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2372024
        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        It looks like the legality of using the “Bypass Paywalls Clean” application recommended by Alex further up in this thread is a maybe:

        https://www.theregister.com/2020/07/21/cookie_clearing_chrome_extension_dmca/

        In an email to The Register, Naomi Gilens, EFF Legal Fellow, expressed skepticism that cookie avoidance might be actionable. “People [in the USA] have a First Amendment right to browse the Internet anonymously, so it can’t be a crime to lawfully use software that allows anonymous browsing, even if news sites don’t like it,” she said.”

        Whether that interpretation would immunize the creation of software built to bypass a paywall may have to wait for actual litigation. Perhaps it’s best just to hedge and call such code a privacy extension.

        (Sorry, I don’t know where else to put this comment on this important topic that came up here.)

        Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Mojave & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

        MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
        Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
        Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. Intego AV and Malwarebytes.

      • #2372063
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Alex: Well, yes, I have tried this with FireFox and it works. And it seems so illegal that, just in case, I am going to go right now to the local Police Station and confess.

        🙂 🙂

      • #2372064
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        It looks like the legality of using the “Bypass Paywalls Clean” application recommended by Alex

        I don’t know what ‘Bypass Paywalls Clean’ is. I use ‘Bypass Paywalls’.
        I look at Bypass-Paywalls the same as using uBlock Origin to block ads.
        I am not in the US and don’t care about US DMCAs.

        • #2372187
          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Bypass Paywalls Clean is the name of the application available for FireFox that the FF people say it is OK.

          In any case, whatever it is that is used to defeat paywalls is on shaky legal grounds. The only thing going for it is that those with the power to punish people for using it, should some judge agree it is punishable, thus “making new law”, they have not been paying much attention to this issue.

          Because this is a very important issue that is not about the bad design of Macs hardware, but has to do with the existence of an informed citizenship that is vital to the very existence of democracy (as the motto of the WaPo says: “Democracy dies in darkness”), I am offering to continue this discussion in a new thread in a different forum.

          Ex Windows user (Win. 98, XP, 7) since mid-2020. Now: running macOS Mojave & sometimes, Linux (Mint)

          MacBook Pro circa mid-2015, 15" display, with 16GB 1600 GHz DDR3 RAM, 1 TB SSD, a Haswell architecture Intel CPU with 4 Cores and 8 Threads model i7-4870HQ @ 2.50GHz.
          Intel Iris Pro GPU with Built-in Bus, VRAM 1.5 GB, Display 2880 x 1800 Retina, 24-Bit color.
          Waterfox "Current" and (now and then) Chrome. Intego AV and Malwarebytes.

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