I was wondering how long it would take for someone(s) to wake up regarding the ongoing need for multiple physical speakers. I’m no audio guru, but I have raised a family and put money into an IRA for 30+ years working in and with audio. Make no mistake, what has been done with one speaker is nothing short of great, but for home use you’re almost always going to want at least two units to provide a true listening immersion. Virtual surround sound is amazing, but still doesn’t provide the real-world experience that actual speakers, properly located, are going to provide. Using some rocket-science math, one speaker will indeed do a wonderful job creating a stereo-like experience, but again, still will not equate to the same experience as with two speakers. I’ll bet that the HomePod is going to have very good basic sound reproduction, and, will do a stunning job creating a stereo-like and/or virtual surround-like listening experience – but – to get the full benefit of the product in a, sit-down-and-listen-from-one-specific-area-(repeatedly), experience, as with a home entertainment scenario, you’re definitely going to want two. Now, with two HomePods, and if $$ is as much of an issue for you as it is for many people [read that as, me], then I’m kind of excited to split the difference and experience how well two HomePods might create a surround sound-like experience for those of us on tighter budgets. Deeper reading on Apple’s website leads me to believe that the HomePod is developed to be used as a matched stereo pair as well as a stand-alone system, unlike most of the portable wireless speakers out there. What would be really amazing is to see the HomePods enabled to receive 5.1 or 7.1, and be able to coordinate that many real speakers, wirelessly. For now I look forward to hearing what these little gems will do.
Logic X/APFS/macOS High Sierra
It was a winning weekend of tracking audio for approximately fifteen hours of live television broadcasting and internet streaming. A few of the programs were only half a dozen tracks, but most of the programs were talking-head panels or full blown music programs requiring 15-20 audio tracks. Beginning this week all of the audio, including dialogue, will be sweetened, fixed and where necessary, re-recorded, with the final output laid back to fully post-produced video. I have done this sort of thing for years, but what made it a bit of a nail-biter this year was that I decided to upgrade to macOS 10.13, alias, High Sierra. Hopefully it does not need to be said, but in case it does – yes – I was runnning a fully redundant tracking system on a completely different workstation. In the end, Logic X and High Sierra came through with flying colors.
I have always preferred to use Apple’s Logic X for this sort of thing, in fact, for audio tracking and post production, Logic X has pretty much negated the need for ProTools. Make no mistake, ProTools is a fine product and unarguably an industry standard, but it turns out that Logic X does just about everything ProTools can do and does it less expensively and is much more elegant to maintain and keep upgraded. All of the plug-ins I need are available in both ProTools and Logic X and in environments where audio and video are going to remain locked from recording through post, Logic really is a much more elegant tool. It’s a bit odd how Apple has clearly marketed their professional audio product to home musicians and electronic music composers, but the truth is, it makes the cost and, honestly, hassle of installing and maintaining ProTools pretty much unecessary.
As for the the OS update: Personally I look more for what’s going on under the hood of Apple’s upgrades and updates, for both hardware and software, and this year Apple’s new file system, APFS, represents what I think is going to be one of the most important core upgrades in quite some time. (And in case this needs to be said, I would not leap to upgade workstation to OS 10.13 in mission-critical scenarios. Give it time and for sure, wait until the ProApps system libraries are updated, which some think will be sooner than later.)
As for Logic X, I do continue to have some oddities with getting logic to function properly with incoming timecode from an external source, or the timecode stamps on incoming Video with audio. What’s weird is that these issues seem to be related to the relative time of day, so Logic will lock to TC just fine up to a certain time of day and after that I have problems getting it to lock properly, and these issues are 100% repeatable. I’ve already done some tech calls to Apple and they are assuring me that they can get the issue resolved – let’s see what happens. I’m thinking one reason issues like this slip through the cracks is that there’s not enough industrial/pro use going on at the level ProTools has, so little but important things get by.
That’s all for now, just wanted to give a report on taking the plunge in a critical production scenario with macOS 10.13 and Logic X. Please leave comments in any form – praise, reprisals, objections, rebuttal and funny faces – below.
Apple TV Not “Finished”
Today’s entry is a partial response to a comment on a recent 9to5Mac blog post. The commenter was reacting to the the fact that, the Apple TV, the latest one, is being delivered without Siri being able to search music, and the poster categorized Apple as being a joke because of this. I think the poster is on to something, but it’s a little bigger than maybe he realizes.
I don’t think that Apple’s presenting an unfinished product makes them a joke, exactly, I think it makes them a symbol of the need for some general reforms that are needed throughout the computer software and hardware industries. (Especially software.) You see, the problem is that, we’ve all acclimated to receiving, using and re-buying, products that aren’t finished. Additionally, we buy products that in some way(s) or another become foundational to our daily existence, and there is little legal or ethical culpability from the companies that develop and sell us these products. Anything that can be construed to be a “computer” running “software”, inevitably comes with a warning that basically says, we [the company] are not responsible for anything that goes wrong in your life’s journey as a result of using our unfinished product. These were really the first independently funded, kickstarter-like campaigns.
This hand-washing was started with the advent of software development and was a way to ensure that the industry could self-perpetuate by radically reducing the possibility that a single large incident, or a bunch of smaller ones, could create a scenario that would shut down further development. Said a little more succinctly, all users agree to become perpetual beta testers and nothing has changed since the software development paradigm was begun. (Initially I think most were aware of what was going on and were willing to go along because many realized the potential impact for good of software development over the long haul.)
If this isn’t enough, we technically don’t own the software we use, we just have a license to use it for or own purposes in the context of what the software was created to try and do for the end user. As a consumer, professional and personal, I want to buy computing products that are completed – finished. I’ve seen this happen a couple of times and it feels weird because there’s no communication from the developer when development is completed, and no big news splashes on TV or in the blogosphere. It feels like I’m missing something I’m owed, but alas, the product is complete, even if there is something more that can be done there really is no purpose served, and in the end, it doesn’t feel weird because it is, it feels weird because I’ve been conditioned into this merry-go-round of upgrading.
We consumers have enabled a system that allows developers and manufacturers to compete with each other at our expense and with virtually no culpability. Change is long overdue and by now I don’t believe that the industry would really suffer much at all by the occasional and inevitable law suite. It might also lead to more time between new releases [as opposed to never-ending upgrades], but again, our universal dependence on computing technology, by now, will ensure the continuation of hardware and software advancements, and perhaps, at a slightly less insane and sometimes, expensive, pace.
Actually, it’s not a joke, it’s a rather serious matter and Apple is only following business-as-usual practices that it, along with many other, big and small developers, created at the advent of the computer/software industry, to help ensure that personal computing would continue to develop and become ever-more entwined in the fabric of our lives. That part has obviously worked very well, but maybe, just maybe, it’s time we started advocating for some foundational reforms in the way computing technology is delivered to us. After all, we pay for it.
Got my 6S last week [upgrading from 5S] after doing a lot of reading, mostly from iMore. For me performance is everything with all computing devices, big or small, desktop or hand-held, and it became clear to me that the 6S(+) hardware was going to offer everything that is possible with the technology this year – and I am not dissapointed. This thing is fast and the 3D touch is absolutely a game changer for human interface with machines, and, almost all of the developers of the utility apps that I use and need are moving quickly to take advantage of the power and interface upgrades of the new hardware and iOS. This time I decided to get my phone from the Apple Store and I’m trying the new-every-two method. I’m a Verizon customer, (out of contract – yay!), and at the Apple sales person’s recommendation I called Verizon, and, long story short, they knocked $20/month off of my phone bill, per month – which offsets the $40/month iPhone payment by 50%. Wow! Who woulda thunk. Okay, enough fun, gotta get back to work. Thanks, iMore, for the 6S reviews!
Where @asymco, in writing about greatness, achieves it.
— Horace Dediu (@asymco) September 29, 2015
I’m pretty much with the sentiment here, have been since 1985 (no, not 1984). However, there’s one place Apple did cave – (apologies for my less eloquent verbage), a BIG phone. And, not just that they did big, but that they left small behind. One of the very few areas that Samsung got Apple to bend. I really do not believe that Apple would have stopped making a “small” phone if the pressure hadn’t been on from iPhone users who were getting slowly, but steadily, envious of the big phones. Even I finally buckled and traded my 5S in for a 6S, not becuase I wanted big, but I needed the power and functionality. Praise be to your Diety of choice it doesn’t feel as big as it seemed it would, but, it’s definitely bigger, and again, the thing that’s irkesome and disappointing is not that they did BIG, but that they abondon small. In almost every other way I have embraced the Apple mind-set for mobile computing and the long forgotten standard of shear quality that used to be a part of the fabric of American manufacturing, and that Apple, almost single handedly, carries on. Dear Apple, size matters, BIGGER is not always better, and I still love you.
Just want to share a little anecdote for those considering an upgrade to one of the current iPhones. I was in St. Louis this last Sunday on some other business and decided to stop by the Apple store and look at a new phone – long story short, I upgraded from 5S to 6S last, and after some wrangling, finally got everything up and going – and, it turns out to be a very important upgrade for me, especially from a performance standpoint
I do want to elaborate on the, “wrangling”, a bit: I was using Beta 9.1/2 on my 5S and the new 6S I brought home was running 9.0. So, I was, initially, not able to restore my 5S backup to the 6S because iTunes would not allow me to restore an image from a later iOS – it took me a little while to figure out what to do, (I admit I can be a bit slow sometimes), but, I finally decided I was okay with installing Beta 9.1 on the new phone, went back to my Apple beta program email and followed the instructions to get the new 6S upgraded to iOS 9.1 beta. Now I’m able to smoothly restore my 5S backup to my 6S. In the meantime there have been a few apps that don’t want to run at all or have acted irraticaly – simply deleting and reinstalling them has fixed these problems.
My wish is that Apple would take us beta testers into account when we want to upgrade our hardware. In retrospect it makes sense that Apple would provide safeguards for its users, but, I wish they would spell it out, up front, don’t just hit me with a screen that says I can’t restore because the new device has an older iOS version – be aware that I’m using a beta of the iOS that is beyond the current stable release and spell out this fact for me, then give me on-screen instructions on what to do. Would’ve saved me a couple of hours of frustration. Even so, the final outcome is, in a word – AWESOME!
If you’re a performance oriented user and you’re upgrading from 5S or a previous version of the hardware, I would suggest that, looking over the latest iPhone iterations is definitely worth your time.
— 9to5Mac (@9to5mac) September 4, 2015
This tweet reminds me that, about eight years ago I finally decided to sell several old Macs I had been hanging on to just because I couldn’t bring myself to let them go. I sold a MacPlus, an SE30 with an upgraded video board and a Color Classic. Remember that one? The sales went through eBay and I figured if I cleared $10 or $15 after expenses I’d be able to live with that. Long story short I reaped the following returns per machine, (headsup, nowhere near as dramatic as the Apple I).
Just FYI, each machine was fully functional and sold with its original boxes.
Well, that went so well that ten months later I decided to gather up all of my softeware and see if I could make a couple of bucks on that. It’s software right, old software, albeit with original manuals, floppy discs, etc. Still, it was software and I figured I’d be lucky if I broke even. I ended up with a couple of 40lb. boxes worth of software and related material and prepared my eBay add. It was a seven day run and for the first three days nada, zippo, notta thing – which is what I figured was going to happen, but again, I just couldn’t bring myself to simply throw it in the trash. Day four – a bite … Day five – another bite. As often happens with eBay bidding processes nothing else happened until the wee hours of the morning of Day seven and then all hell – uh – heaven, broke lose. During the last three hours bidding often would go $20 and $30 dollars at a single jump right up until the closing bell went off. The winning bid went to a lady from Martha’s Vineyard who apparently ran a vintage computer museum with lots of Macintosh memorabilia. My net profit on those two boxes of ancient software was $500.00!
So, between the hardware and software sales I easily made more than I origianlly paid for any single item. No, it wasn’t 1/2 a million or a million, but it still made my year, and reminded me that I have rarely been sorry that I’ve purchased any Apple product, even to this day. Apple is a good long-term investment whether you do it through direct purchases, or Wall Street investing.
— Alex Gollner (@Alex4D) August 23, 2015
I’m sorry but seriously – Just put a detachable keyboard on it and face the fact that you’ve got a laptop there – not an iOS device. I’ll even overlook the fact that Microsoft’s already done it – the detachable keyboard – and trust that Apple will get it right. What’s the point? With the work that’s undoubtely going to get done on such a device, a keyboard is only inevitable. Make a MBP and add touch screen, and you’ve got a complete – um, portable computer. The iPad Pro is going to be a laptop with touch screen + keyboard – simple as that.
— iMore (@iMore) August 22, 2015
I think the published list covers all the realistic ones I can think of. It might be worth Apple’s time to at least consider providing a USB port that allows for Amazon Fire and Google’s thing, just to make it more hub-like. The big ones for me are, way better performance, (let’s get more precaching of screens and etc.), and 4K. And, as always, if Apple continues down the “streaming” path, please still allow purchase as you go without subscription required – please.
New Apple Music TV commercials puts the focus on finding new artists http://t.co/akpG0OGb6H
— John Callaham (@JCalMN) August 17, 2015
No subscriptions for me. Looks good though, and I think Apple’s approach, implied in the new commercials, will go a long way to getting new artists discovered. … I’m simply not going to do yet another $10/month subscription … to anything, and I’m beginning to clean out the few that I have. The day I completely lose access to Apple media content because I’m forced to have a subscription … well, it’s going to be a sad day indeed.