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back to article Apple to uncloak new iPads, iMacs at October 15 event?

If you're a follower of Apple product rumors you know that the slimmest of evidence is enough to get the grapevine a-buzzing – and Monday's report that Apple is planning to hold an event on October 15 to announce new iPads, iMacs, and maybe more is as anorexic a bit of speculation as they come. The French website MacGeneration …

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A laptop with the guts and screen of an iPad seems so obvious I'm surprised they don't already do it. Especially with all the renewed focus on touch screen computing...

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Anonymous Coward

Touch screen desktops have really worked out for Microsoft?

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K
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WTF?

Can't Cook.. Stupid Cook..

This would be the most stupendous act of stupidity ever..

Apple moved to Intel was for reliability and compatibility... this would be akin to moving back to PowerPC.

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Re: Can't Cook.. Stupid Cook..

I'm not so sure.

ARM is in pretty much everything consumer-related but PCs these days, particularly smartphones and tablets - IE what are becoming primary computing devices.

A mainstream OS going ARM could pave the way for ARM moving into the desktop arena.

IIRC, AMD are working on 'desktop class' (Multi-core, 64bit, 2ghz) ARM CPUs for UMPCs are they not?

(just done some googling - yup: http://www.geek.com/chips/amd-will-start-selling-arm-chips-next-year-1570409/ - apologies for the non-reg link...)

Curiouser and curiouser. Could Apple switch from Intel to AMD for it's ultramobile PC platforms?

Steven R

(About as accurate and well informed as most of the rumour sites)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Can't Cook.. Stupid Cook..

Yeah and I'd buy it because then I can load Windows RT on it......

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Anonymous Coward

@Steven Raith 2013-09-16 22:03 Re: Can't Cook.. Stupid Cook..

"ARM is in pretty much everything consumer-related but PCs these days, particularly smartphones and tablets - IE what are becoming primary computing devices."

But there is no one standard for ARM based machines, it's fragmented as there are different configurations of the ARM cores with added hardware, i.e. System-on-a-chip, SOC. Moreover, some of these SOCs have proprietary technologies. So it would be naive to expect that software that runs on one ARM-based platform will run on all the others. Most phones contain ARMs but is it straight forward to run the same software on all of them, e.g. run apps for the iPhone on Androids and vice versa? Answer: no (except for the hobbyist who wants to hack, but most of us dont have time for that). There is hardware lock-down and appstore eco systems and different software stacks to contend with too.

With a x86 PC at least you could say that a program can run on many other various variations of this platform.

But perhaps what you are saying may still happen, because users may not need to care about the hardware, after all intel are looking to compete with ARM's traditional market as much as ARM are with Intels.

So, perhaps healthy competition in the hardware market, but less portability of software you buy, and everything is tending towards services anyway where you dont own the software. So perhaps even less value to the consumer - going back to app store lock-in.

All not very interesting.

What perhaps might be more interesting is if Apple bought Leap for motion gestures and embedded this in a kind of 3d web cam, leap frogging the touch frenzy hype, as after all jobs himself didnt think much of touch screen laptops and ergonomics wise "gorilla arm" (aches). What better to make gestures in mid air rather than have to reach. It would also mean that Apple dont cannibalise their own market for iPads.

Windows 8.1 out soon. Wonder if this launch will coincide with OS X mavericks to steal thunder?

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Re: Can't Cook.. Stupid Cook..

"A mainstream OS going ARM could pave the way for ARM moving into the desktop arena."

Agreed, except Apple aren't going to be so concerned about the desktop. They sell many times more MacBook Airs than iMacs. But I expect you intended your remark to encompass notebooks as well in the PC paradigm. I used to be a MacBook Pro user, I still do development work but now have a MacBook Air for when I'm away from my desk and it performs just great.

Through the iPad, Apple are seeing the value of the sealed appliance. The support/warranty repair costs are far lower. ARM chips are of major benefit for battery life and portability. I expect we will see even thinner 64but ARM powered Airs, with no moving parts (no cooling required), limited to running AppStore apps. Such will present all the sealed appliance benefits of the iPad. The average business user still in need of a full keyboard and "windowing" OS will lap them up and this is why Apple are making Pages, Numbers and Keynote free. They want to make the ultimately simple office user solution and sweeten the blow that it won't run MS Office. Giving these apps for free sends the message, there is a highly polished and usable alternative sitting waiting to be used (far superior to office if the power features VBA, referencing and Excel pivot tables are taken out if the equation) They will enticing the customer to risk trying an alternative which are plenty good enough for most users (though personally any spreadsheet lacking pivot tables and WP lacking referencing is a no no for me).

Remembering Jobs' Dictum that what is left out is just as important as what is put in, by restricting loadable software to the AppStore, swathes of average joe user annoyances evaporate, Viruses are even less of a problem than the vanishingly small problem they currently are on OSX, user fucked configurations will be almost wholly eliminated, the otherwise rough edges of an x86 transition to ARM will be made entirely smooth (all software downloads from the AppStore so the user just gets the 64bit ARM version as has no need to be any the wiser).

Of course open source advocates and those who only feel safe if they can access every file in the filing system will hate, hate, hate it and with good reason (though it should be hated no more than Chrome OS, where everything is taken away to a sealed server).

I even expect they will have no folders in the filing system, but just the tagging feature as implemented in the latest OSX. We have grown used to folders, but when you stand back from it, they are a usability nightmare and there's certainly no need for the average Joe to see system folders.

Microsoft will probably be forced to have to supply Office to the AppStore or risk seeing a whole swathe of additional users fall out of the ecosystem in addition to those they are losing to Google Docs.

Suddenly also the effort Apple have invested in creating fully compatible, full featured web versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote makes complete sense (where previously it seemed to be a bit of an unexpected weird development out on its own). They can export to Office, but even better if when you share an editable file with someone, they have full edit access to it in the original application. Suddenly Office dependency is shattered for a very large swathe of users and will only remain for Pivot table and macro using VBA warrior users.

And is will be another substantial diminishment of Microsoft, where Office hegemony will really get knocked back. A free, simple to use, highly polished Office suite free along with your high quality loveable-compared-with-a-PC (for the average Joe) svelte beautifully built machine, versus bloated buggy software MS have to charge big for, because it is a revenue cash cow the company relies on (yes if you edit references at the same time as have the navigation pane open in Word, you will still within two hours have a quite possibly irretrievably corrupt document an inexcusable bug that has been present for multiple versions of Word). No wonder MS are trying fast to be an integrated full stack solution provider. Trying but too late.

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Re: @Steven Raith 2013-09-16 22:03 Can't Cook.. Stupid Cook..

> With a x86 PC at least you could say that a program can run on many other various variations of this platform.

When x86 computers first came out they were all significantly different. Some were S100 bus systems, others were single board, others boxed in different ways. The IBM PC was just another way of doing this. They could all run CP/M-86 or MS-DOS because the makers wrote an appropriate BIOS (even MS-DOS on IBM-PC had a stub loadable BIOS that interacted with the ROM BIOS) and other drivers.

Certainly the IBM PC ROM BIOS eventually became the standard way to build x86 computers but this took some years (while you may have been in nappies, perhaps).

The only reason that a 'program can run on many other various variations of this platform' is because it became (mostly) one platform. However there are many variations that will stop a program running such as variations in x86 CPUs: 8088, 80186, 80286, 80386, 80486, Pentium, PII, AMD_64 in many varieties.

What caters for compatibility is the BIOS and the drivers.

With ARM it is just the same. However, in general, the manufacturer's drivers are built into their version of the system and are not separately available. But then that can be true of x86 systems too.

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Anonymous Coward

Better get my credit card ready......

Finger print readers all the way round I think.

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Some interesting responses...

...to my late evening musings. Nice one chaps!

As for ARM being fragmented, as noted above, X86 was to a degree as well (and lets not talk about SSE compatability in the early days of the Pentiums) - it took PCs to get saturated (IE everyone buying them as a domestic appliance) to get some degree of standards going, as well as broad comapatability - fallback modes etc.

ARM is slightly trickier between versions, but if ARM can get it's IPC up in the same way x86 did, then software emulation of some features may make up the slack - much as software SSE, awful tho it was, worked for a while before everyone started using certain features. I'm well aware that it's just not possible with many parts of the ARM infrastructure (you can't emulate a deeper intruction pipeline, natch) but you get where I'm coming from.

Is it unrealistic to expect a particular variant of ARM - say (to pick a variant out of the air) ARM15 - to become the dominant 'desktop/laptop' variant and start to get serious optimisation over the course of a few years? In the way that Atom went in netbooks and Core went into desktops/laptops, even though they're seperated technologically by a massively wide gap?

As I say, not suggesting I know better than anyone else, just thinking out loud, because it's interesting.

Steven R

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Re: @Steven Raith 2013-09-16 22:03 Can't Cook.. Stupid Cook..

But there is no one standard for ARM based machines, it's fragmented as there are different configurations of the ARM cores with added hardware, i.e. System-on-a-chip, SOC. Moreover, some of these SOCs have proprietary technologies. So it would be naive to expect that software that runs on one ARM-based platform will run on all the others. Most phones contain ARMs but is it straight forward to run the same software on all of them, e.g. run apps for the iPhone on Androids and vice versa? Answer: no (except for the hobbyist who wants to hack, but most of us dont have time for that). There is hardware lock-down and appstore eco systems and different software stacks to contend with too.

With a x86 PC at least you could say that a program can run on many other various variations of this platform.

This is an OS issue, not a CPU/SOC issue.

The whole idea of an OS is that it abstracts the hardware. All the different variations of hardware components become, largely, irrelevant.

An x86 desktop is a collection of different pieces of hardware. There are different motherboards, graphics cards, network cards etc. For the vast majority of applications, it doesn't matter. They just work, because all this complexity is handled by the OS (and drivers).

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Re: @Steven Raith 2013-09-16 22:03 Can't Cook.. Stupid Cook..

This.

Programmers typically write to an *API*, not to the bare metal of each machine. Switching to another architecture could easily be as simple as a recompile for most apps, while games and other hardware-pushing applications might need some additional tweaks to take account of differences in OpenGL features. The PowerPC >> Intel switch was pretty damned painless and was achieved in less than a year. For most developers, it really was as simple as selecting "Intel" from a drop down "Build target" menu.

The iPhone 5s uses a very different ARM core to the 5c and earlier iPhones: as one of the developers they wheeled onto the stage said, it took a mere two hours to support the 64-bit ARM processor, and it's probably fair to assume it was mostly a recompile, with some minor tweaks to low-level code to help it take advantage of the wider registers and data bus.

Even a version of OS X with iOS app support isn't that difficult to imagine: iOS apps could simply open up into a 'Space' in landscape mode. I suspect it would also make sense for Apple to bump up their "TouchBook Air" displays to 'retina' resolutions too, as the 11" MacBook Air's display might prove problematic. iOS developers will simply have one more aspect ratio to contend with (16:10, as opposed to the iPad's native 4:3), but this is hardly a showstopper.

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Re: @Steven Raith 2013-09-16 22:03 Can't Cook.. Stupid Cook..

Cool beans, kids - I'm overthinking this a bit, I think. :-)

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Re: expect that software ... will run on all the others

Apple doesn't care about other manufacturers' hardware compatibility - they sell their software on their hardware.

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Re: Can't Cook.. Stupid Cook..

It would be really difficult to manage a different CPU architecture on one segment of it's PC line. You'd have to run current apps in emulation (something like Rosetta) with the performance hits that involves and get developers to target two different architectures for the foreseeable future. All emulation, all the time, on systems that are constrained in CPU performance, RAM, and storage is asking for a really bad user experience. Apps that are 50% larger (to accommodate the duplicate binaries) complicate things even more.

Speaking of those binaries - a quick bit of gooleing seems to indicate that ARM CPUs are bigendian. Endian issues made file compatibility between Apple and Windows versions of the same program occasionally problematic.

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Re: @Steven Raith 2013-09-16 22:03 Can't Cook.. Stupid Cook..

Applications use a lot of hardware-specific code to improve performance. Unless the OS adds an emulation layer that will keep those apps from working. You won't end up with the kind of performance you get from current VM hypervisors in those cases. Those benefit from the emulated VM architecture and the hardware being the same, so the machine code doesn't need to be translated instruction-by-instruction.

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Anonymous Coward

When was the last time they did a "one more thing" announcement?

Seems like years ago.

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Change processor architectures again? Aren't there still Mac fans out there pissed off about the move to Intel? That's not that long since.

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Linux

Actually...

Apple has been using Intel chips for quite a few years......since January 2006.

They usually slap in an older generation chip than what's available in the PC market. 95% of Apples users have zero clue that its a PC in Apple clothing. Fine clothing though.

This CPU transition is not really news (more like an Of course), but since Apple loves to make a big deal about a CPU upgrade to pump up the people who have just finished paying off their credit card from their last apple mac upgrade purchase.

The real question is......will Apple use the same shells that have been used over the past 2 generations of Macs?

Best wishes,

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I know a couple people who still grumble over the move to PowerPC

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68040

The Motorola 68K was such a cool processor. It didn't even need a heatsink (well, at first anyway).

And Quadras rocked!

Bloody PowerPC chips.

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Re: 68040

Nerr. The 6809, now that was a chip. A genuine mul instruction.

No dragon icon. *sniff*

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Anonymous Coward

Fandroids, start your engines

and get those hate glands working overtime.

This will be your last opportunity until the new year to pour scorn and hatred upon Apple.

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Re: Fandroids, start your engines

It's never the wrong time to hate Apple.

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Facepalm

@Sloppy Crapmonster

Nice to see someone live up to their name - with what they write...

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Re: Fandroids, start your engines

Let me fix that for you:

"It's never wrong to hate Apple."

Case study: I downloaded the iOS 7 GM seed, double-clicked on it - and nothing happened. Well, it installed itself into XCode. Aghhh!!!! I'm just a dumb PC user: I expect everything to sort itself out. Could it not tell I wanted it installed on the connected iPhone? There weren't any instructions on the download page. There was no menu option in XCode or iTunes. I had to google the secret handshake. And when I eventually installed it, it stalled at the T&C because I skipped the password stage... "It just works"? My arse.

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Re: Fandroids, start your engines

PC users are too stupid to head over to the official iOS dev site (publicly available), search for install iOS and then the how-to guide (even as a video appears). Found in 1 minute.

https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/recipes/xcode_help-devices_organizer/articles/install_ios.html

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Re: Fandroids, start your engines

It appears Brewster's Droop strikes again...

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Re: Fandroids, start your engines @AC

"PC users are too stupid to head over to the official iOS dev site (publicly available), search for install iOS and then the how-to guide (even as a video appears). Found in 1 minute"

It just works?

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JDX
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An updated iPad is nice news but not really big news, since they don't even number the iPad series themselves! iPad4 is already so damn fast too.

An updated iPad mini is probably the most interesting thing here, though I still expect it to be a repackaged iPad4.

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A Bigger iPad Would Be A Laptop

A 13-inch iPad or larger would be a laptop or convertible by default. It would be too big and too heavy to hold casually, so it would be used like a laptop whether there was an attached keyboard or not. But with any chip less powerful than the A7, it would not run games or sophisticated productivity apps well.

Apple need not create an iPad Air, just putting an A7X in a 13" iPad would attract both the peripheral makers and software developers to port their Mac OS apps. I would really hoist Microsoft on the horns of a dilemma - support the iPad 13 with Word, Outlook, etc, or miss out on the fastest growing laptop in history. But if they do support it, the Surface is toast. That could take Windows Phone and Windows 8 with it if they can only sell their OS on desktops.

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Linux

Re: A Bigger iPad Would Be A Laptop

It depends on the OS used. If its Apples IOS7, then there are already MS Office 'APPS'.

An ipad laptop would simply mirror the innovative concept of a Chromebook IMO.

We shall see.

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I think making the Surface toast would suit Apple just fine

I've posted about this below, but a bigger iPad would tell me one thing-that Apple are gunning for the market of Windows 8 tablets: people interested in using large tablets for document viewing, graphics and productivity in general. Makes sense in a way, if you can't or won't compete on price with Android and there's a rather inept competitor targeting the high end above you it must seem reasonable to target their market next. And Apple's huge graphic designer fan base would be very interested.

Snag is that many of those users want two apps running at the same time or one running in the background all the time with meaningful processor consumption like a data processing engine. iOS 7.5 with mini-apps like a music player or a news feed on the side of the screen like Windows 8, anyone?

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My prediction?

The new Gold iPad!

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Re: My prediction?

My prediction is 5 cheap looking plasticky ones.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: My prediction?

Not Gold... Champagne!

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Anonymous Coward

Sounds like a fantastic idea

If OSX has been ported to ARM it could be a huge breakthrough.

Just think about it. A touch-screen Macbook could boot into OSX and iOS simultaneously. You could have one screen containing all your iPad applications and icons to launch them, and a separate screen with your desktop applications, which you'd have to switch between. There would be "app store apps" and "Mac store apps". You'd have both an iOS Safari browser, and a separate OSX Safari browser, one for each screen.

Hang on - I think I might have seen this before somewhere.

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Re: Sounds like a fantastic idea

Erm, iOS *is* OS X ported to ARM, with some clean up and adjustment to the GUI layer to make it work in a touch environment. Porting applications between the two environments is comparatively simple. Expect the two to converge to a greator or lessor degree over time.

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Re: Sounds like a fantastic idea

Porting apps either way is *not* simple, as the API sets are extremely divergent.

But the Anon was making a joke matching a joing OSX/iOS machine to the glorious wonder that is Windows8, so there's no point getting into tech details!

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JQW

iPods.

Apple haven't announced an update to the iPod range this year; there's usually an upgrade in September or October to the iPod Nano, just in time for Christmas.

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Re: iPods.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/09/11/apple_ipods_space_gray/ you mean these ones?

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Re: iPods.

Aren't iPods like sooo last decade now?

Most phones (with micro SD cards!) can do this whole music thing without that Spambot iTuna infecting your computer anyway. Or you can use cloud based music services too.

iPods = Sony Walkmans (Walkmens?) Fantastic idea at the time, now, MEH.....

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Re: iPods. - Not going to die...

Tell me where I can get a phone that can store 180gigs of FLAC/ALAC uncompressed music, as my iPod Classic can do for my car? My Chinese-sourced HTC One has 32gigs internal, and I can add a TF card for another 64gigs (and dual-SIMs)...and THAT'S the largest I know about (and is rather hard to come by and a bit expensive).

The other fact is that there is a huge youth market - many people buy iPod Touches to allow their kids to play iOS games on without running up a phone bill.

And is also a huge market for iPod Nano's and Shuffles for the gym and running set. There are places you don't want to take a £500 smartphone.

I just don't see iPods going away anytime soon...

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Desperation?

They need to do something .... their share price has taken a bit of a hammering since their last announcement.

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Anonymous Coward

still waiting

still waiting for the new Mac Pro (you know, the black drainpipe) that was announced in early summer.

time was when Apple announced, Apple shipped.... but hey, I'm just some old timer.

the 'usual' stuff will come out... new processor in iMac (yawn), another micro update to iPad (sleepy), perhaps a refresh of the MacBook line (getting rid of the useful features...so it'll be USB2 to go this time)...and a new

proprietary power connector so you need to update all your accessories. OSX Mavericks will come out and lose even more desktop functionality.... like the ability to drag and drop or somesuch 'revolutionary' feature (after all, they tried not having cut and paste on their phones until enough users complained!)

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Re: still waiting

To be fair, once they got around to code it the iOS copy&paste and text selection implementation is just bloody good. Much better than in Android (looking meaningful at my Nexus 7).

Seriously, an ARM-based MB Air in the form of a 12" iPad with a keyboard would totally work. OK, most apps are rather simple, but the needs of many people are simple too. Have you used an iPad with a keyboard? It even supports Emacs keycombos out of the box (carried over from OS X which inherited this from NeXTStep)!

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Re: still waiting

<quote> Have you used an iPad with a keyboard? It even supports Emacs keycombos out of the box (carried over from OS X which inherited this from NeXTStep)! </quote>

I have, but I didn't know about the Emacs combos! That's valuable information - which ones in particular? Emacs has an awful lot of combos - it wasn't known as Escape Meta Alt Control Shift for nothing!

Thumbs up for you (even if I would have preferred Wordstar combos!)

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Re: still waiting

I use an Apple wireless keyboard on the iPad and on Apple TV.

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Re: still waiting

"time was when Apple announced, Apple shipped...."

No, if they have something completely new then they have been known to announce it long before you could buy one. Remember the original iPhone? If its just an upgraded model then they don't want the Osborn effect to cut it so they ship quite close to the announcement.

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