Introduction

It has been a busy year for Apple, although one could argue it has been more of a busy few months. The yearly updates for most of Apple's products now occur in September and October, and as a result we've seen the release of a number of new products and services in a very short period of time. On the hardware side we have the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the iPad Air 2 and Mini 3, the iMac with Retina 5K display, and a preview of the upcoming Apple Watch. The software side has arguably been even more exciting with the release of iOS 8 and its first major update iOS 8.1, OS X Yosemite, and Apple Pay. 

The theme this year appears to be integration and the power of a software and hardware ecosystem. Apple has always had some level of integration between iOS and OS X. As time went on, both operating systems began to share a core set of applications like Reminders, Calendar, and Notes. The iPad extended this even further by bringing the iWork and iLife suites to mobile. iCloud also played a key role in integrating both systems, by synchronizing documents and photos between all of a user's devices. However, the launch of iOS 7 with its visual and functional enhancements left many of the shared features and applications on OS X feeling left behind.

OS X Yosemite brings with it a massive visual overhaul, on a scale even greater than what we saw with iOS 7. This makes sense, as OS X is an operating system for desktops and laptops which makes it inherently more expansive and complex than iOS. Although OS X is not nearly as popular as iOS in terms of user base, the fact that the redesign changes some visual elements that have existed for over 14 years makes it quite a monumental moment in Apple's history. These changes finally unify the visual styles of both operating systems, which were once united but split with the launch of iOS 7.

The integration of these two operating systems goes far beyond a common type of visual design. OS X Yosemite and iOS 8.1 also include new features that allow them to work together in unprecedented ways. Features like Handoff blur the borders between the iPhone, the Mac, and the iPad by allowing you to continue work you began on one device on another. SMS and call forwarding takes communication abilities that were typically reserved for the iPhone and brings them to every device.

There's a lot to talk about, and it all begins at the aesthetic level with the new design of Yosemite.

A New Design For OS X
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  • p_giguere1 - Monday, October 27, 2014 - link

    Apple offers the max RAM the motherboard can support (16GB) at purchase.

    The only reason you might want to upgrade RAM yourself is to buy the 8GB RAM model only to tell yourself "I'll upgrade to 16GB down the road when RAM gets cheaper". You might save something like $100 by doing that as opposed to ordering 16GB RAM right away.

    So essentially, what you're complaining about is the equivalent of "The 13" rMBP is $100 to expensive for me", correct? Would you not complain if the price dropped $100? Not only would it be equivalent financially, but you'd benefit from 16GB RAM right away and wouldn't have to deal with the RAM upgrade process. Or is this more of a matter of principle?
    Reply
  • Cheesetogo - Monday, October 27, 2014 - link

    Apple does not charge market value for RAM. Reply
  • ant1pathy - Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - link

    Nor do they for the raw aluminum that the frame is made of. No company charges market value for their materials, that's what makes them a company. Reply
  • name99 - Monday, October 27, 2014 - link

    Enter a coherent argument, not a random series of rants.

    Are you upset with every phone vendor because they solder their RAM? Are you angry that you can no longer change the tubes in your TV set? Are you livid that you can't open a Chromecast and change the flash storage?

    The fact that people could change their RAM on PCs was a weird temporary anomaly of the PC world; it will go away because of the inevitable laws of physics, just like the ability to change your FPU has gone away and the ability to change your GPU will go away soon. Soldered RAM uses less power (relevant today) and can be run at higher frequencies (relevant tomorrow). What Apple is doing will be done by every vendor in three years because physics demands it.
    Reply
  • LostAlone - Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - link

    But soldered components are blatantly anti-consumer. The ability to change units is not just for power users who like to upgrade, it's critical for being able to service units. Things break sometimes, and being able to fix that yourself is pretty important. How would you feel if your car needed you to call a qualified Honda technician to change a flat tire?

    And no, the ability switch around components is not just a temporary thing. That is how systems exist and have done literally since the dawn of the personal computer. The first generation of home computers were sold as kits that you physically had to assemble yourself, chip by chip.

    Ever since then ever generation of hardware has been built around interoperability and upgrading. The only places where you get soldered on CPUs in the PC market is in embedded systems and similar super-low powered systems like many Atom boards that come with the CPU attached. In every other non-mac system you can swap out parts.

    Look at standards like SATA and PCI-Express - They exist specifically so end users can expand a barebones system over time; add a USB 3.0 card or an SSD hard-drive to an aging machine to extend it's life, or add a RAID card and totally repurpose the system into a server. These are important choices. The ability to do more with your hardware than just what it was capable of doing in the box is central to what being a PC user is. You can do more. I still use my ten year old PC as my headless network file server, because I can, because I have the option to do that.

    So no, fixing your own PC isn't going anywhere, nor is upgrading. Sorry. Not happening. I cannot imagine why you would think otherwise. Just because Apple does something doesn't make it a good thing, and scrabbling around to find reasons to justify it when in fact what they are doing is flipping consumers the bird and declaring that they don't think you are smart enough to fix something yourself.

    Ever since Apple gave up and OSX became just a different operating system running on stock PC hardware they have been trying anything to convince people that they are somehow getting something magically better, even though it's literally the exact same hardware. The fact that they STILL refuse to sell the OS separate to the hardware, even when that hardware is just normal every day PC components that they have assaulted with a soldering iron, is just wrong. It's part of a brand image that still relies on a lot of good will from the days when Macs actually were something different. Well, they aren't. And most users would be radically better of installing OSX onto another manufacturers PC.

    The way that Apple handles their desktop and laptop exo system sucks. Don't apologize for them.
    Reply
  • ex2bot - Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - link

    Whatever your platform of choice (esp. Apple), itis inadequate and ill-advised. Thus I urge, nay, command you to immediately adopt my preferred platform as the obvious technically and morally superior choice. I'll be watching.

    You have been warned.
    Reply
  • sunnohh - Friday, October 31, 2014 - link

    12 years as a computer tech and I left to become a stock broker because I could very clearly see that everything should be soldered onto a single component. It's physically faster, tremendously increases reliability (no ram and cpu to unseat), and makes business sense for Apple or anyone serious about making money selling hardware. The industry is moving away from add on tointegrated components Apple isn't the only one: virtually every major manufacturers hi end ultra books are built exactly this way.

    As computers get faster and more integrated, replace and throw away is the only valid model. Upgrading hardware is nothing more than sentimental; replacing hardware is more economical.
    We live in a throw away culture and computing is the ultimate disposable; mores law necessitates this.

    Just ask component manufacturers they'll tell you this is happening; their sales prove it.
    Reply
  • Buk Lau - Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - link

    phones have soldered ram because of form factor. you really think you can fit a SO-DIMM slot inside a case that's less than a quarter of an inch? where did you get the fact that soldered RAM uses less power and can run at higher frequencies? so you are saying your soldered ram can beat 3000mhz DIMM ram? your "physics" seems very out of place Reply
  • monopodman - Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - link

    It's funny because I consider retina MBP one of the first Apple laptops actually worth buying compared to top competitors even regardless of OS X vs. Windows.... I'm totally fine with 16gb of RAM (and I don't care if it's soldered as long as it makes motherboard smaller due to easier routing) or built-in battery (I'd rather have one with higher capacity fit into a smaller and lighter enclosure). Reply
  • appliance5000 - Friday, October 31, 2014 - link

    dunno - running an entire heavy graphic oriented system of an 11" air - faster than the old mac pro. Pretty amazing - though I agree regarding difficulty in upgrading -what's acceptable with a laptop is not so much with a desktop.

    On the other hand the new macpro is a beast and you can add stuff to it to your heart's delight.
    Reply

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