The personal blog of Stuart Breckenridge

Microsoft Surface Studio

The Microsoft Surface Studio, announced yesterday, is seriously cool kit:

  • a 28’ screen (4,500 x 3,000 resolution) that tilts to incredible angles, with wide colour support
  • up to 32GB RAM
  • up to a 2TB Hybrid Drive
  • up to a 4GB Nvidia GTX 980M1

It does make the current iMac design look a bit stale. Over to you Apple.

This is Microsoft Surface Studio
  1. It’s a shame they couldn’t fit in a GTX 1060+ series card. ↩︎


Magic Toolbar Appears in macOS Sierra 10.12.1

Update: It’s called the Touch Bar.

Juli Clover, for Macrumors:

macOS Sierra 10.12.1, released yesterday, includes hidden Apple Pay images that depict the brand new MacBook Pro with an OLED touch panel that’s set to be announced by Apple on Thursday, October 27.

I assume these are used as the tutorial images for the Magic Toolbar and Apple Pay, similar to those that are included when configuring the Magic Trackpad.


Website Updates

I’ve been slowly migrating my site between domains and in the process I decided to add a few new features.

Safari Pinned Tab Icon

I have no idea how popular Safari pinned tabs are, but I figured that if you do use them, you may as well get to see a decent image that distinguishes the site from others.

Safari Pinned Tab

Apple News

Again, no idea how popular Apple News is outside of Australia, the U.S., and the U.K., but if you do use it, it’s available via this link.

Facebook Instant Articles

For any of my posts that don’t contain code, they’ll also be available via Facebook Instant Articles on mobile devices. Talking of Facebook, here’s a link to the website’s public page.


No New iMac at October 27th Event?

Benjamin Mayo, for 9to5Mac:

Reliable Apple analyst KGI has published a report on Saturday outlining their predictions for Apple’s Mac roadmap ahead of the media event on October 27th. The report says that Apple will launch three new MacBooks at the event, a new 13 inch MacBook, a new 13 inch MacBook Pro and a new 15 inch MacBook Pro.

It goes on to say that new iMacs and the Apple external display will not be shipping this year; those should be expected in the first half of 2017.

This would be unfortunate for those waiting for a new iMac.

Aside: is iMac as a brand name sticking out like a sore thumb? There are no other — and haven’t been for some time — desktop products with i in the name.


Magic Toolbar: Switching Between Functions

Update: It’s called the Touch Bar.

It seems all but confirmed that the new MacBook Pro will feature a Magic Toolbar: a dynamic touch-screen replacement for the static function row of a keyboard. The mock-ups certainly look impressive.

If it works as rumoured — with the function row changing depending on the application in use — I’m wondering how a user will switch between the application function row and the standard function row to, for example, adjust the screen brightness or volume. Will it add a delay to a process that currently doesn’t have one?

It is different, but is it better? We’ll find out in short order.


Hello Again  

After what seems like an eternity, Apple are finally announcing some new Mac hardware on October 27th. I’m up for a new MacBook Pro.

Add it to your calendar.


The Grand Tour: Teaser Trailer  

Jonathan M. Gitlin, at ArsTechnica:

Last night, a trailer featuring Messers Clarkson, May, and Hammond hit YouTube, giving us a preview of what to expect when the first episode arrives on November 18th.

The trio decamped to Amazon following Clarkson’s sacking by the BBC after the Top Gear star’s bad behavior became too much to excuse. But the Beeb’s loss is Amazon’s gain if the trailer is anything to go by. Or, as my colleague Lee Hutchinson put it, “Just like how Kirk, Spock, and McCoy were the main magic of Star Trek, the main magic of Top Gear was its three hosts.”

The show’s name should give you a clue to the format—it’s a series of around-the-world adventures in some very cool cars, with plenty of banter and ribaldry along the way.

I’m excited. However, until Amazon announce how it will be broadcast to non Amazon Prime countries, I’m just going to assume it’ll be the most illegally downloaded show since the beginning of the internet.


No Evidence Required  

Dash, the popular API documentation app, was removed from the App Store yesterday with Apple accusing the developer of manipulating App Store reviews1. As Apple has offered no evidence, it is only an accusation, and a baseless one at that.

In Apple’s world they don’t have to provide proof, they don’t have to listen to appeals, and their decision is final. As Brent Simmons eloquently describes the situation:

While this is legal, and within Apple’s rights, it’s not what we’ve come to expect from a moral judicial system. No matter what the context, we expect that the accused see the evidence against them, we expect avenues for appeal to be made available, and we expect proportional penalties.

This has to change.

Update: It appears that Apple did have good reason to remove Dash, though, according to the developer, this all happened due to an account that a family member was using that he had paid for. Very strange.

  1. In other words, paying for positive reviews. ↩︎


FFI List v1.3.2  

Today, I released v1.3.2 of FFI List. This is a minor release that includes the September 24, 2016 FFI database.

This next update will be in January, 2017.


Apple Software Cycles  

Matt Gemmell:

Courage is apparently what it takes to remove a headphone port, according to Phil Schiller. I can only imagine which laudable value might lead to slowing down, making the upgrade cycle biennial, and focusing once again on quality and dependability above all.

For macOS, moving to a two-year update cycle would be beneficial. Handoff, Apple Watch unlock, the entirety of iTunes, amongst others, could all do with a bit longer in the oven. (Not to mention the inevitable Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office issues that occur — and take significant time to resolve — with each macOS update.)