back to article Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro

Apple has updated its MacBook Pro notebook line, adding a slightly faster processor and more memory for the cheapest models. The company said the update will double the memory for models Apple describes as "entry-level" MacBook Pro Retina screen notebooks. The systems will retain their starting price of $1,299 and will now sport …

Still too expensive

50% off would have been nearer the mark. The fact they are now throwaway units and the fact they are all glued together does nothing for me.

I could get a similarly specced Win machine far cheaper that is both repairable and to a point upgradeable.

Nice try Apple but no cigar, maybe no coincidence but the Apple store in Aberdeen seems to have about 6 punters in it at any point (and they are just teenagers using the free internet .....)

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Re: Still too expensive

I don't know.

Lightweight, fast Windows notebooks aren't cheap either. Apple has gone further in losing weight by using glue, but the other reason seems to be to do with recycling - heat the thing and it falls apart, no screws needed.

The question is, how important is weight and screen resolution in a notebook computer? For people who are very mobile, it could be very important indeed. But they are probably quite a small minority. If I was part of that minority, I would probably live with the downsides. As I'm not, I have a bit fat Windows machine that does everything except go all day on a battery.

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Re: Still too expensive

Where can we find these similarly spec'd Windows machines? You can find machines for half the price with lower specs, but when they are comparable the price difference isn't much.

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Re: Still too expensive

@djstardust: How will you run OS X on that cheaper Windows laptop?

Apples/Oranges.

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How will you run OS X on that cheaper Windows laptop?

By installing Linux and a faux fruity desktop.

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Re: Still too expensive

users don't use operating systems, they use applications.

when you are using photoshop, facebook, etc it doesn't matter a fuck to most users what the OS is.

most have only the absolute minimum knowledge of a file system, etc - all they need to do is click on an app to start it.

The reason osx sells is because of the 'ilife' (as was) suite - that's what users USE.

microshaft, still don't get that. I couldn't believe when I got a windows 8 laptop last year*, that it still couldn't open a .mov file from my camera with mediaplayer.

out the box users get all the basic apps they need - email, browsing, video editing, photo editing, messaging and can even get into music editing.

out the box windows users 9x out of 10 get a piece of shit laptop which has been loaded with crapware, none of which is actually useful and slows the thing to a crawl - leaving the user having to work out how to get rid of the shite, or end up paying for norton AV and god knows all what... and still leaving them trying to edit their videos with the world's shittest video editor.

None of this was anything to do with what OS is on the machine, and everything to do with the diametric apposite approach each company takes to packaging and marketing there product.

stu (100% osx since 2007)

*it now runs osx.

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Re: Still too expensive

I remember the good old days of Mac vs PC trolling. No matter what Apple produced, you would always find it was far too expensive for what it was, and somebody invariably had an equivalent no-brand Windows PC which was 17x more powerful and cost but thruppence.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Still too expensive

Where can we find these similarly spec'd Windows machines? You can find machines for half the price with lower specs, but when they are comparable the price difference isn't much.

Exactly.

People that are interested in Windows laptops are less willing to pay a premium, hence the high-end Windows laptop market doesn't have the same economies of scale that Apple products do. This means that often times the direct Windows equivalent (if such a thing even exists), in terms of build quality (tried and tested alloy frame), aesthetics AND performance (IPS Retina resolution level screen etc.) actually costs more than the MacBook.

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FAIL

Re: Still too expensive

"microshaft, still don't get that. I couldn't believe when I got a windows 8 laptop last year*, that it still couldn't open a .mov file from my camera with mediaplayer."

Oh dear, oh dear.

You know that a .Mov is an Apple format?

Try opening a wmv file with a Apples default player....same result.

You need to add a codec or alternative media player to get either to work.

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Re: Still too expensive

just use vmware and a mavericks image, which can be found next to a ship,, aahh har me harties. takes about 5 minutes after you download the image

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Re: Still too expensive

"microshaft, still don't get that. I couldn't believe when I got a windows 8 laptop last year*, that it still couldn't open a .mov file from my camera with mediaplayer."

...maybe because .mov is Apple Quicktime format. Worst trolling ever. Back you go...

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Linux

Re: Still too expensive

> aesthetics AND performance

PC users simply have different values. They aren't interested in an overpriced overpowered fashion statement. They buy stuff for what it does for them, not how it makes the next guy jealous.

So the Apple-centric sensibilities are much less likely to come into play.

A PC user is much more likely to find that the pretty little thing under performs. They're more likely to do "real work" either either because they are power users (Linux) or have access to more interesting an potentially rather obscure (Windows) apps.

Then there's games. At which point the Intel GPU is just sad.

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Devil

Re: Still too expensive

...and you know what the kicker is?

It will be much easier for the Windows user to augment his system video player with plugins then attempting to do the same thing on a Mac.

You can run VLC on both platforms but that's kind of a cheat.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Still too expensive

We'll done. You managed to trot out the big clichés in a Mac vs PC argument.

Different values? CHECK.

Fashion? CHECK.

Real work(tm)? CHECK. (No, the quotes don't make it less inane)

Power Users? CHECK. (Linux? Free yards and hobbyists only, surely)

Obscure, Windows only apps? CHECK.

Games? (Check)

I've accused you many, many times of be boring, obviously on different threads and with different user names. Now you are just sad.

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Re: Still too expensive

Microsoft have a 'not invented here' approach to media: They will only support their own codecs plus (Somewhat reluctantly) mp3, and that only because they can't really ignore it. .mov is an apple format.

It's really a big problem with HTML5 video. Firefox and other open source browsers cannot support h264, or the mp3 or aac audio codecs, because they are patent encumbered. They do support some open standards, VP8 (Which probably has lurking patents, but it'll have to do) and Vorbis audio. At the other side, Microsoft and Apple will happily include support for h264 (they own the patents), mp3 and aac - but they won't support VP8 or Vorbis. Not because they can't, but because it would make no business sense: They make a lot of money from h264, and see no reason to support a free competitor that cuts into that revenue. As a result, anyone who makes a website with html5 video needs to include at least two video files: One for Firefox, and one for IE/Safari.

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Re: Still too expensive

"Oh dear, oh dear.

You know that a .Mov is an Apple format?

Try opening a wmv file with a Apples default player....same result."

funny enough, 15 years in the video industry means, yes I do know that.

Show me a camera that saves to wmv format numpty ?

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FAIL

Re: Still too expensive

Both Microsoft and Apple try to shove their own suite of programs down the throat of their users but somehow the Apple experience is rated higher and people are prepared to justify a little price premium for it. Apple has the advantage of supporting a more limited range of hardware which affords it better control and integration with its software. Still how can someone deal with using iTunes on a daily basis is beyond me: here's one piece of bloatware that I cannot stand and yet appears to be the gateway to all things Apple...

The truth is that the low end Apple packages have become more attractive and affordable lately compared with what PC OEM can offer at nearly the same price: battery life, screen quality, weight and integration with other pieces of branded hardware definitely show Apple as leader.

Users may not be concerned with what OS their machine runs but when the OS becomes an hindrance to doing basic stuff then suddenly a 100 quid more for a little piece of mind or ease of use seems like a trivial expense, especially for parents. Microsoft truly killed a whole upgrade cycle when introducing Windows "hate" and I can see Apple earning some market shares as a result of that.

Still I'm unlikely to switch as long as a decent video game rig from Apple costs an extra 1,000 quid more than a Windows PC.

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Depends on what it is for...

We bought a Macbook 13.3 inch for 999.99 CDN and they threw in a $50 gift card -- Net $949.99CDN == 874.84 USD == 516.60 GBP.

I am a PC bigot, but it is what my daughter wanted, so I gave it a chance. After taking a long look, it compared pretty well to PC counterparts -- a bit pricey, but it is a premium item. Check the resale on Apple stuff and it is pretty much a wash for value. You can actually sell used iPhones and Macbook Air computers. On balance, I would have chosen this myself. It is very light, easy to carry around, the battery lasts literally for days and like it or not, it is nice-looking.

There is, in this case, no contest at all. My daughter *really* loves this notebook. She *hated* her PC notebook even though it was about as powerful. In a pinch, she can actually just RDP into our server and use Windows if she needs to. She gets the best of all worlds.

I am a PC bigot from way back, but the Apple value proposition is surprisingly better than it might seem.

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Re: Depends on what it is for...

Have to agree, resale and the fact that it is at the spec of a similar windows machine, does level the playing field.

Mine is no my desk under a pile of paper, haven't used it this month, really must give it more attention, but I like my old Linux desktop(it's like slippers :-) and the last time I was going away I knew I had to get a ropey local fishing boat to my destination, took the chromebook, I get drenched but the chromebook was ok and if it wasn't well, $199 against $2,300 mac book, yep, no contest :-)

I like the mac book, it is a great bit of kit light weight, looks good, good battery, no upgrade path, don't care, can sell it for a good price and upgrade and not loose much and get CPU, Memory, Battery & disk upgrade all at the same time.

My Windows laptop, HP Elitebook cost a lot of money in its day, not worth jack shit now, mac book of that vintage still has value.

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Re: Depends on what it is for...

Even after the 4-5 years or so that Apple no longer supports it and you cant update it? And the compatible software gets smaller and smaller...

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Linux

Re: Depends on what it is for...

"Even after the 4-5 years or so that Apple no longer supports it and you cant update it? "

Well, it's EFI and Intel... Run Linux on it. At least with Apple's desktop offerings, you can run alternative OSes on it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Depends on what it is for...

My 2007/8 17in MBP runs Mavericks + Photoshop CS so what are you complaining about?

AFAIK, Only the very first Intel models can't run the latest OSX simply because they have 32bit CPU's.

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Re: Depends on what it is for...

My iMac has a 64-bit processor, but Apple only installed a 32-bit EFI, so Lion is as far as it goes. It also only support 3GB of RAM... It now takes around 3 minutes to boot OS X (around 45 seconds to boot Vista on BootCamp)...

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WTF?

Re: Depends on what it is for...

@RAMChYLD

Well, it's EFI and Intel... Run Linux on it. At least with Apple's desktop offerings, you can run alternative OSes on it

....as opposed to not being able to on Windows pc's?

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Re: Depends on what it is for...

just wait till she smashes the screen on it.....resale value will be about zero, new screen will be approaching the cost of the unit if not more....youll understand then

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Depends on what it is for... @psychonaut

just wait till she smashes the screen on it.....resale value will be about zero, new screen will be approaching the cost of the unit if not more....youll understand then

Here's an analogous comment that's equally as ridiculous.

"Think you're flash with that Ferrari do you? Just you wait till you smash it into a brick wall at 100 mph! Resale value will be zero and the repair bill will be equal to the cost of the car, if not more!"

Sounds like a case of sour grapes, I'm afraid...

PS Smashed laptop screens are a very rare occurrence, especially so for ones ensconced in bullet-proof alloy casings.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Depends on what it is for...

My early 2008, white macbook is at Lion, the highest it can go. But it runs excellently and, with an SSD instead of the trad. disc, so fast that I am delying replacing it for another year. Other than >Lion I have yet to find any software (compiled for OSX) that will not run on it (all right, Rosetta stone, but not needed that since I finally upgraded from the free, student editon of MS Office I acquired for a prevous power book). Mac Ports and various sites are full of the usual free software that all seems to work and Apple are still delivering updates for security issues.

My ancient TP21, on the other hand, is struggled under the sheer weight of a fully patched XP and refused to boot after a UBUNTU update improved it.

So, for those very rare occasions when Windows would be useful, I run VMbox or whatever the free stuff from Oracle is called, in which I have got both Windows and Linux VMs (actually, deleting the Linux, prefer BSD).

So, what am I saying? With the big exception of upgrading beyond Lion, tell me what software does not run. My usage does include compilers, Python, Perl etc.. Done some Java through Eclipse.

I have played with W8 and, despite the nay-sayers, it seemed a vast improvement on the vagaries of XP. I work with W7 all day. Well, it is Windows.

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Headmaster

What child needs a macbook pro?

Is school too hard for an MBA?

Hold on a minute... isn't school designed for training people? What's the point of setting up an educational system... and then getting a machine to solve the problems?

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FAIL

Re: What child needs a macbook pro?

You see for a few thousand years the dominant species on this planet has been devising tools to make its life easier and maybe even solve some problems.

If that doesn't work for you may I suggest you take this rock and try to open a can of beans with it?

More seriously kids should be taught how to reframe problems to work best with the tools they have to hand via logic and deductive reasoning and methods to check the tools output for accuracy. The actual solving of the problem can be left to the tool as long as the kids know the basic approach to solving the problem they don't have to solve it themselves.

Or perhaps you would prefer if we brought back slide rules and log tables?

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Re: What child needs a macbook pro?

A slide rule and log rule is a tool. So only working out in the head is allowed.

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FAIL

Re: What child needs a macbook pro?

@P.Lee.

Square root of 254715884574445885.57415854 * 156941 / 3.2554455

No machines allowed., after all, your schooling taught you to do this didn't it?

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Re: What child needs a macbook pro?

Square root of 254715884574445885.57415854 * 156941 / 3.2554455

No machines allowed., after all, your schooling taught you to do this didn't it?

Actually, yes, unless "machine" is all encompassing enough to include a pencil or even a stick writing in the ground. It isn't even difficult - long multiplication, long division, a simple decimal search for the root - none of that is difficult. It might take a little time but it's an unrealistic problem - how many real world problems run to 26 significant digits? Working to five figures would be less than 10 minutes work for 99.999% accuracy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What child needs a macbook pro?

Go on then. Proof need though...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What child needs a macbook pro?

The answer depends on how many DP or SF you want to calculate to.

Can confim that this took under 12 minutes, by hand. No tools other than some pen and paper.

As long as you've been taught how to calculate square roots (and where you bother stopping with the decimal places already...) and how good/fast you are with multiplication and division you can solve the equation.

Allowing for the fact that I only went to a few DP for the square root, 24330666226083.784 3DP

Note: Cube root would have been harder but not significantly so.

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giving kids crapple products is child abuse

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Anonymous Coward

Computers in Schools?

IMO there is no place for laptops / PCs / computers in schools - especially in primary education. This is the time for core-skills learning, and learning *how* to learn - the brain is a muscle and it needs exercise to develop it, using a computer to *research* your homework on google doesn't do that.

Making computers available to school kids has all the advantages of giving them Mobility Scooters to help with sports, MP3 players to learn music, watch an action movie to learn about chemistry and physics (explosions, car smashes). Most schools use computers as a *learning-aid* to keep kids with difficult behaviour *entertained* to enable those kids who want to learn a chance of doing so.

Similarly, most kids with portable computers (laptop/tablet/smartphone) will take every opportunity to view stuff you'd rather they didn't or abuse their *friends*/be abused on bacefook.

Nothing of value is taught by schools on computers, since few if any teachers have any actual IT skills beyond Powerpoint, so again kids have no real understanding of how computers work, how to code programs, how to analyse data, how to write intelligibly. Hours of class time is eaten up by trying to get laptops working after being messed up by the previous class and the current teacher lacking the IT skills to quickly resolve problems.

Computers do not belong in the school room since the 1980's where their primitiveness forced their users to develop a keen understanding of *how they worked*. Computer SW is so well developed now that it prevents any form of constructive / analytical / creative thinking and is therefore a barrier to learning. In any case, we all know that whatever computer or apps a 5/6/7 year old is using today will no longer be available in any recognisable form in 10-15 years time, so why waste time learning stuff that will be long gone by the time they actually need to use them in their adult lives.

In further education as a tool to accelerate learning and develop content for people who have already developed the skills to exploit PCs, then absolutely there is a place for IT.

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WTF?

Re: Computers in Schools?

Let me guess, power looms and spinning frames should also be removed from the work place as they are de-skilling the workforce?

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Re: Computers in Schools?

He kind of has a point, though hasn't made it very well. This obsession with putting laptops in front of every primary school kid can detract from actually getting on and learning.

That said, being given one of the coveted slots to play The Crystal Rain Forest with a partner on a Friday afternoon was a serious sweetener for the Primary school version of me to work hard. There was a Wizard of Oz text adventure as I recall. Those early RM games were great puzzle solving activities. Yes, there were non-computer based ones that we could do as a group - and we did - but variety is the spice of life and an hour on a computer each fortnight was no great detriment to our education, quite the opposite. Of course, those were the pre-95 days when the school had precisely two RMs (the Normal and the "CD-ROM") and few had a computer at home, so getting a go was a big deal to an 8 year old.

However, fast forward a few years and when I was using Autograph for my GCSE Maths coursework it didn't detract because I already knew how to graph a function on paper. I'd been doing it since we started separate science classes in Year 5. There was no gain to be had by me spending an hour doing that when I can rapidly plot multiple functions in autograph. But I understood what the software was doing on my behalf.

Likewise, submitting essays digitally allows much easier/quicker editing and writing for a student. It's also a lot easier for a teacher to copy-paste into a plagiarism-checker. Just because something is handwritten doesn't mean it wasn't plagiarised from somewhere.

It's wrong to say computers have no place in schools, but equally I think they've become overly pervasive. I did GCSEs just when a few kids started to have laptops, and by the end of A-Levels a lot had something they could bring in for writing up coursework. The school didn't have wifi by then though so the computer labs were the only source of internet access.

Even then though, I know one guy who spent all his A-Level Physics classes playing Half-Life, and someone I met at uni a couple of years younger than me reckoned a friend had become a reasonably senior Wikipedia Editor off the back of the stuff they'd done during lesson time when the teacher was at the board and had no idea if you were actually working or doing something else behind the screen.

There's a balance, and computers are best suited as a tool to speed something up and make the most of lesson time once they've learnt how to do it by hand.

I recall seeing a program lamenting the death of traditional skills and they visited a stone masons where everyone was workign with power tools - rotary sanders, etc. Looked very modern and industrial, but every apprentice had spent their first 12-18 months with a hammer, chisel and glass paper learning how to work stone properly before they were allowed the power tools as labour saving devices to apply their skills more rapidly and efficiently.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Computers in Schools?

I work in IT at a school, and there have been issues in the past with our aggressive measures to block games. It upset a lot of teachers, because they were using those games to keep the troublemakers quietly amusing themselves. If the class clown is happily playing Flappy Bird clone flash games and then suddenly finds the window closed, they'll start kicking up a fuss, dragging their friends over and generally being disruptive. This results in the teachers then coming to complain to the IT staff about 'interfering in lessons.'

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Unhappy

Your kids no longer get an 'education' at school.

They purely learn how to memorise what's on the exam.

It's not about educating and producing socially aware human beings. It's all about getting the school's stats higher.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Your kids no longer get an 'education' at school.

Down vote, because you are right and it is sad :(

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FAIL

Re: Your kids no longer get an 'education' at school.

And how has that changed in the last 30 years? I crammed for all my exams, a lot of stuff needed to be learnt by rote so whats changed?

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Re: Your kids no longer get an 'education' at school.

Ask a teacher, they'll tell you. They don't enjoy their jobs.

Teacher - "Oh that's an interesting result..shall we take a moment to discuss how this might have happened?

Kids - "Will it be in the exam?"

Teacher - "Well no but I thought it might be fun to investigate..."

Kids - "Nah...move on!"

Since the introduction of GCSE it's all gone downhill from there.

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Re: Your kids no longer get an 'education' at school.

Cramming is a learning process, you disseminate, analyse, organise and relay information back in an intelligible and ordered form - not the best, admittedly, but better than nothing. At the very worst, cramming forces the learner to excercise their brain-muscles if only for short-term benefit.

Copy'n'Paste from other peoples work found on google demonstrates no learning or understanding - only the ability to replicate - you might as well be a robot, you understood nothing, you contribute nothing, you gain nothing. Complete waste of everyone's time and energy, but you will get your *tick-in-the-box* that todays *learning-culture* expects.

There's an awful lot of dogmatism in teaching and very little questioning of 'perceived wisdom' - ie like: 'Computers are a valuable teaching aid' (they're not), like: Students are visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners (there's no such thing), like: Learning by rote is bad.

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Re: Your kids no longer get an 'education' at school.

Take a look at James Paul Gee http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Paul_Gee,

New Technologies, New Social Relationships and Learning

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zq6h5_NUPB0

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Entry level 15 incher

So the £1599 MBP has no dedicated GPU and only Intel Iris? Is that due to thermal issues or just Apple taking the pish?

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