back to article Apple's launch confirms one thing: It's determined to kill off the laptop for iPads

It may seem counterintuitive to use the launch of a new Apple laptop to argue that the company is trying to kill off laptops altogether but that is exactly what's happening. Today, Cupertino announced a revamped version of its beloved MacBook Air – a lightweight laptop designed in 2010 that hasn't been touched since a small …

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  1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

    Would they allow it if...

    She named the album Norman There's a Village in Austria Named Fucking Rockwell?

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Would they allow it if...

      Really? Awesome! All we get on our side of the Pond is places like Intercourse (Pennsylvania) & ToadSuck (Arkansas). You folks get all the good ones! =-)p

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Would they allow it if...

        Indeed. It's pronounced "fooking", apparently, and the good burghers of the town got so sick of Anglophone tourists stealing their roadside signs that a few years ago they resorted to painting the town name onto a large boulder instead.

        (This is from memory, so if it's wrong, bite me. I could look it up on Wikipedia but that would be cheating.)

        1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: Would they allow it if...Indeed. It's pronounced "fooking"

          As it is in Bradford.

        2. Nattrash

          Re: Would they allow it if...

          And then you're just talking about names of towns and villages...

          So what about family names? Ever met this (former) German minister?

          Christina Schulze Föcking

          https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina_Schulze_F%C3%B6cking

      2. RegGuy1
        Happy

        Re: Would they allow it if...

        There's always Twatt, which seems appropriate as we are talking about Apple.

        1. Admiral Grace Hopper

          Re: Would they allow it if...

          Whenever life takes me to Driffield, I always smile as I pass through Wetwang.

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: Would they allow it if...

            "Whenever life takes me to Driffield, I always smile as I pass through Wetwang."

            It's a pity the River Piddle doesn't pass through it, but it's a long way away.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Would they allow it if...

              Not impolite, but apropros in an IT mag, is this French village: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DloNTEnW4AAeA9d.jpg (perfectly SFW, in case you're worried)

              1. DJV Silver badge

                Re: Would they allow it if...

                Not impolite, but apropros in an IT mag, is this French village: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DloNTEnW4AAeA9d.jpg (perfectly SFW, in case you're worried)

                Yes, but do visitors find it unexpectedly inaccessible at apparently random times?

          2. Wincerind

            Re: Would they allow it if...

            And then there's always Penistone near Barnsley.

            1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

              Re: Would they allow it if...

              Would be rude not to mention 'Lickey End' just North of Bromsgrove.

              1. Korev Silver badge
                Childcatcher

                Re: Would they allow it if...

                Not to mention Wankdorf just outside of Bern.

                I've been living in Switzerland for years now and it still makes me smirk - maybe I'll never grow up...

                1. hoola

                  Re: Would they allow it if...

                  I recall great hilarity when my youth orchestra went to Germany, on the way from Rotterdam to Hitzacker, possible near the Belgian border with Germany there where a bunch of signs for Wankum.

                  For a coach full of teenagers that was fun. The trip is also memorable for a tape of "Monty Python, Live at Drury Lane" that was played more or less continuously.

              2. BostonEddie

                Re: Would they allow it if...

                French Lick, Indiana. Known for it's many honeymoon resorts.

            2. JassMan Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Would they allow it if...

              Reminds me of the old northern joke from my youth. If Typhoo put the Tea in Britain, who put the C**T in Scunthorpe?

            3. Wiretrip

              Re: Would they allow it if...

              ...and Shitterton in Dorset, which also has the River Piddle, so all, erm, bases covered.

          3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Happy

            There's a place in Ayrshire called "Dufus"

            Still puts a smile on my face.

            Growing up there, not so much.

          4. Zuagroasta
            IT Angle

            Re: Would they allow it if...

            The much more Nietzschean Oberwang https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oberwang also comes to mind...

        2. TonyJ Silver badge

          Re: Would they allow it if...

          "...There's always Twatt, which seems appropriate as we are talking about Apple..."

          Not that far from Scrabster which is a place that somehow seems suitably named.

          Stopped over there (Scrabster) a few years ago on the way to the Orkney's to dive Scapa Flow.

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: Would they allow it if...

            Don't forget Nob End and Bell End!

            Brown Willy

            Spunkie

            Twathats

            Cockermouth

            Minge Lane

            Fanny Barks

            Sluts Hole Lane

            Scratchy Bottom

            Butt Hole Road

            Shitterton

            Finally, pronounce this house address aloud! 4 Kinell Street

            1. The Onymous Coward

              Re: Would they allow it if...

              The most distinguished online trolls reside beneath Tickle Cock Bridge, Castleford.

      3. herman Silver badge

        Re: Would they allow it if...

        The poor Yank weenies - Canada has the politically incorrect Cochrane and Balzac, eh.

      4. BostonEddie

        Re: Would they allow it if...

        Alas, there is no longer a Pennsylvania town named Blue Ball. It is now Blue Bell.

  2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    "as fast as the fastest PCs."

    Pull the other one, it's got bells on!

    Your mobile, low voltage components will be inherently less powerful, slower, & throttled as to keep the heat to a reasonable level, whereas a full desktop grade chipset will run at full power until either it or the fans seize up.

    Your mobile chipset throttles back, downshifts, & plays "These boots were made for walkin'", my desktop upshifts, puts the peddle to the floor, & cranks up "I can't drive 55!" so it can sing along.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: "as fast as the fastest PCs."

      Relax, we don't know the context of the "as fast as the fastest PC" quote - the exec might have describing the speed of performing a particular quick task in Photoshop or iMovie or something. Desktop CPUs haven't been getting much faster at single thread tasks in recent years anyway - because they've been fast enough, focus has been on improving energy efficiency and or just adding more cores.

      What Apple actually displayed as a bullet point was 'Faster then 92% of the notebook computers available last year" which Anandtech find very plausible:

      Apple mentioned during the keynote that the new A12X is more powerful than 92% of the available laptops in the market, which isn’t very surprising given the performance levels we saw on the A12.

      - https://www.anandtech.com/show/13529/apple-announces-new-ipad

      1. Steve Todd

        Re: "as fast as the fastest PCs."

        @Dave 126 Desktop CPUs haven’t been getting much faster at single threaded tasks in recent years because Intel et al have run out of things they can do to make them faster. Clock speeds have hit limits imposed by the switching speed of silicon vs power consumption. All the optimisations they can think of are implemented (a modern CPU uses a huge number of transistors). Fabrication process improvements have slowed to a crawl. They’re left with stuffing more cores onto a chip and adding custom hardware for specific tasks like video encoding/decoding

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

          Re: "as fast as the fastest PCs."

          It will probably work fine for most users, but I run rather heavy (and well parallellised) image processing code, like stacking 44 1,000-frame 6Mpixel monochrome uncompressed videos (250+ GB of data) to create 44 6 Mpixel panes to stitch into a 100+ Mpixel lunar mosaic. I would be very curious to see how much time that takes on the iPad Pro. On my laptop it takes some 12 hours, on a Core i7 desktop it is quite a bit faster.

          Regarding the MacBook Air: no SD-card slot is a definite deal breaker for me. If I want to transfer a lot of photos from my camera to the laptop, popping the SD card into the laptop is the easiest and fastest way by far

          1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

            Re: "as fast as the fastest PCs."

            but I run rather heavy (and well parallellised) image processing code

            How much of this can be done by the GPU? I suspect that RAM and bandwidth might be the limiter here, but, yeah, I suspect it will run significantly slower if at all on I-Pad than it does on your current hardware.

            I've nothing per se against the I-Pad route (for many tasks a suitable replacement for a notebook), except that I do want full control of the OS so that I can install my own libraries. Wonder if there will ever be a version of IOS that gives us a terminal and sudo?

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: "as fast as the fastest PCs."

          @ Steve Todd

          Quite right, there have been technical challenges, and Intel's difficulty in moving to a smaller process size has been well reported. My point largely stands though; being 'as fast as the fastest PC' [at some tasks] isn't that high a bar. The amount of money Intel throws at solving their technical issues is determined by the market though, and if gamers are advised that most games don't benefit from anything faster than a Core i5 (since the game engines have evolved with GPUs) then the demand for high end CPUs isn't as high as it might otherwise be.

          1. Steve Todd

            Re: "as fast as the fastest PCs."

            @Dave 126

            Intel have a huge budget to work on improved Core and Xeon CPUs (don't forget, they share the same architecture, and business users would snap a significantly improved version up). If they could throw 100% more transistors at the design and make each core even 20% faster then they would do it in a heartbeat. They have AMD breathing down their necks, and AMD are getting close to the same performance per clock cycle. The limiting factor for single threaded performance is clock speed (diminishing returns have long since cut in over improving the design logic), and the max clock speed hasn't changed much over the last three or four process sizes. Yes, you can make the chips go faster, but at the cost of serious heat.

            The reason that an i5 is the recommended CPU for gaming is that the single threaded performance doesn't get much faster the higher you go up the range. Most games offload a huge amount of the work to the GPU, but then modern GPUs are very highly parallel so it's not a like-for-like comparison. Game writers work within the limits of what is available, and what their target audience can afford to buy. Most games therefore include a quality configuration setting that adds or removes eye candy, trading against CPU/GPU performance. Try your i5 at 4K extreme settings.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: "as fast as the fastest PCs."

      plays "These boots were made for walkin'",

      You don't geddit. Wrong song reference. The process which you are observing is described in "Summer Wine" by the same songstress. Just Tim Cook offering you the wine. Listen carefully for a description of where you will end.

    3. MercenaryGman

      Re: "as fast as the fastest PCs."

      How many VMs can I run on one of these iPad Pros?

      The iPad Pro can't carry my desktop workstation's jock strap. The Apple marketing machine needs to put down the crack pipe and slowly back away.

      1. overunder

        Re: "as fast as the fastest PCs."

        Apple doesn't like to be put in the poor section until their advertising needs to compare it's products to the poorest ones. 92% of the sub $200 laptops, how much is an ipad?

      2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: "as fast as the fastest PCs."

        How many VMs can I run on one of these iPad Pros?

        While I agree that you do have a point, how many people need to use lots of VMs? I suspect that people who really do need a lot of VMs are probably fairly flexible about their choice of host OS. Anyway, as I'm sure you're aware, VM performance is heavily I/O dependent and I think that's going to be the bottleneck here (along with the performance hit if you need other architectures). But could such a device be okay assuming it comes with a good SSH client to your VM park?

        My biggest worry with all this is trying to force people to abandon local file systems. Yes, it's convenient if you do work with multiple devices that the relevant files are easily available on them all, but it's not worth the risk of them not being available because you have a shitty internet connection.

    4. Martin
      Happy

      Re: "as fast as the fastest PCs."

      Whenever I see this sort of comparison, it reminds me of the old Citroen 2CV advertisement.

      FASTER THAN A FERRARI.

      Travelling flat out at 71.5mph, the Citroen 2CV will easily overtake a Ferrari Mondial travelling at 65mph.

    5. Michael Habel Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: "as fast as the fastest PCs."

      The worst thing Van Hallen ever did was to relapce Diamond Dave with Sammy Hagar.

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Meh

    Future ARM laptops

    At the rate Apple are going, they're just going to be an iPad in a MacBook case.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Future ARM laptops

        I'm watching all of this with interest, including Chromebooks. My laptop was fast enough for the level of CAD work I was doing years back, provided I didn't mind waiting a few minutes for a render (which I only rarely needed to do). Therefore any new machine has not been a necessity, and I can watch these platforms - iPad Pro, Win 10 on Surface, Chromebooks - develop with disinterst.

        Back in the day I had no choice over my platform - CAD software essentially dictated I used an Intel Windows machine.

        Features that were available but exotic a few years back, such as good stylus support, high Res displays, external GPUs, an alternative CPU architecture - are now or are becomming mainstream.

        What my mobile workstation may be in a few years time I really don't know. It would be interesting if Photoshop or a similarly polished and featured alternative was available for ChromeOS.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Future ARM laptops

          Autodesk already have a full 3d cad running in the browser.

          The nice thing about apps running in the browser is that they get to charge you monthly for access to your own data. Much better than hoping that you upgrade to the new desktop app every 2 years

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Future ARM laptops

            > Autodesk already have a full 3d cad running in the browser.

            Exactly. So do OnShape, using a desktop or Android app as a client. This is important because if it works as advertised I'm no longer tied to any platform - a Linux laptop or Chromebook becomes a viable option. Even MacOSX doesn't have all the main CAD packages available for it, such as Solidworks ( which package a company uses is often determined by its clients and suppliers).

            It's worth noting that CAD (unlike video editing with its high IO demands) is suited to being run in the cloud - its descended from the mainframe / terminal model, multiple engineers may be accessing the same model simultaneously, and models hold commercially sensitive information that's best not held on laptops floating about the place.

            Whilst charging customers per month is appealling to CAD vendors, it does open the door to competition who might charge per task, or per hour, which would work out cheaper for smaller companies for whom CAD is only a part of their work flow.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Future ARM laptops

              "It's worth noting that CAD (unlike video editing with its high IO demands) is suited to being run in the cloud"

              Speaking as an experienced design engineer, there's a lot of IO on big CAD models. You can take my machine with 3 SSDs, 26 cores and 128GB of memory from my cold, dead hands.

              1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Re: Future ARM laptops

                > Speaking as an experienced design engineer, there's a lot of IO on big CAD models. You can take my machine with 3 SSDs, 26 cores and 128GB of memory from my cold, dead hands

                The model is big, but it can worked on remotely - the only data travelling between your terminal and mainframe (or cloud) is user input and video output. Indeed, for bigger models than your's (think of visual effects studios) a render farm of clustered resources is used.

                It's not for everybody, but in many circumstances a cloud CAD instance is suitable - plus you can rent more CPU/GPU power as you need it. Then of course there are the collaborative working methods common in many industries - colleagues need to work with changes you've made in real time, so having a model stuck on an individual workstation is not ideal (though there are ways of just uploading your changes rather than the entire model)

                By contrast, dumping a day's shoot of 4K footage up to a cloud is impractical over most broadband connections.

              2. DropBear Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: Future ARM laptops

                Being able to drag around the 3D model of sprocket (fine, three sprockets) in a browser window may be good enough for the 3D-printer-happy "maker" generation but is not something I would call CAD software. Meanwhile out here in the real world even proper, compiled executables running on desktop / laptop class hardware die a thousand deaths as soon as you try dragging a mere component of an assembly in an ever-so-slightly non-trivial design in a parametric CAD.

                The open source one I prefer is basically shitting bricks with a single assembly loaded simply because it happens to unluckily fall on the wrong end of the O(n^x) complexity involved in continually re-evaluating moving geometry - badly enough that it managed to get me to try to figure out whether that can be helped at all; and just so nobody gets the wrong idea, as anyone following the construction of the Marble Machine X should well know, its designer hit a brick wall not long ago splatting against the limits of Autodesk Fusion 360 running on real-world hardware.

                So 'scuze me if I need to lay down to properly laugh at any suggestions that browser-based CAD running on an ARM-class CPU is "good enough" in any sense of the word.

                1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                  Re: Future ARM laptops

                  >Being able to drag around the 3D model of sprocket (fine, three sprockets) in a browser window may be good enough for the 3D-printer-happy "maker" generation but is not something I would call CAD software

                  @Dropbear. I wasn't for a moment suggesting the CAD software run on ARM, merely that it doesn't matter if the *terminal* runs on ARM. The CAD model itself is running on a load of Xeon in the cloud ( or on your local network) the terminal just needs to accept user input and display the workspace.

                  Back in the nineties we were using CAD software on a UNIX mainframe accessed through X-Windows from a terminal - before it was practical for standalone workstations.

                  Conceptually this was no different to accessing computer resources on the cloud. The geographical location of where the model is being processed with respect to the user has absolutely *nothing* to do with how many components, sprockets or otherwise, can be in the model.

                  CAD can be very resource intensive, especially the kinetic simulations you're attempting. That's *exactly* why Fusion 360 and others work with Amazon Web Services - to bring you even more RAM and processing power than you can fit in your desk. The alternative is to buy your own CPU/GPUs, but then you have to use them enough to justify the investment.

                  Simulations, like renderings, are a good example of a task that doesn't require human input whilst then computer is crunching the numbers. Depending on which package you're using, you might find that it allows you to install clients on your other machines on your local network so that their CPU/GPUs can be harnessed to speed up the calculations.

                  1. Fenton

                    Re: Future ARM laptops

                    The latency will kill you when moving around a 3D wire mesh, the more complex the object the more the latency will kill you. I doubt the average browser will be able to cache the size of a typical CAD file

            2. Mage Silver badge

              Re: CAD ... is suited to being run in the cloud

              NOTHING is "suited" to the cloud except websites. That sort of cloud computing is sheer insanity on some many levels.

              I'll do MY computing on NON-rental SW, on a computer I own. I'll do backups not needing the cloud. I'll be able to work without internet and even for many hours with no power.

              Real cost, privacy, security, availability.

              "models hold commercially sensitive information that's best not held on laptops floating about the place"

              It's easier to control a laptop's privacy/access and location than a cloud service. I certainly don't trust MS, Amazon. Google etc.

              1. Dave 126 Silver badge

                Re: CAD ... is suited to being run in the cloud

                > Real cost, privacy, security, availability

                For an engineering company, the issues of cost, security and availability are *exactly* why they would want their CAD models to sit on their own cloud hosted on their premises, with engineers accessing them via a terminal, X Windows, a browser, whatever. This means their IP doesn't have to leave the premises, and isn't stuck on an individual workstation inaccessible to colleagues.

                You're a lone wolf, I get it, but most engineering projects involve professionals from various disciplines working together.

                1. JohnG Silver badge

                  Re: CAD ... is suited to being run in the cloud

                  "This means their IP doesn't have to leave the premises, and isn't stuck on an individual workstation inaccessible to colleagues."

                  ...and their IP is not on any kind of device where the manufacturer's cloud storage is the operating system default - like an iPad, Chromebook, etc.

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