October 26, 2016

MALPASS | Today’s Keynote and You

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Today is Apple’s Keynote Event, where they release all their new products, which means I get a whole new set of things to be angry about. Am I being a little preemptive considering that no specs have been officially announced? Probably, but it’s really either this or another political column people, and personally if I have to write one more line dedicated to this election I am going to vomit. Plus, it’s midterm time and I haven’t even gotten my Halloween costume in order, so just let me unwind with a little Apple bashing.  Just to prove that I’m not a total hack, I’ll stick to the rumors that have been all but officially confirmed.

So far, everything points towards this week’s keynote will be all about the Macbook and its new hardware. About time too, Apple’s famous laptops haven’t gotten a significant hardware update in four years. What exactly will be under the hood is still very much up for debate. Most rumors point to either Intel Kaby Lake or Skylake as the next processor, either of which would be a substantial upgrade over current models. Even if you don’t need to use CAD while you’re mining Bitcoins, better processors mean better battery life, and I think it’s safe to say that’s something we all need. As far as GPU is concerned, not a whole lot has been said, but as someone who’s been managed with Intel HD 4000 for the past four years, anything will be an improvement.

Another murmur going around is that Apple will replace the function keys (that top row of buttons with F1-10 in the subscript) with a touch screen OLED bar. I go as far as to say this is a definite, since a new set of photo leaks show what appears to be exactly this. Personally, I don’t know how to feel about this feature. My first instinct is it sounds gimmicky. The function keys have served me just fine, and what’s to become of the little “fn” button on the bottom left corner of my keyboard? Alongside this will supposedly be a fingerprint reader a la the Touch ID feature found in the iPhone. While I love this feature on my phone, I don’t foresee Touch ID adding any sort of comparable convenience to unlocking my computer when I have a full keyboard and three years of elementary school typing lessons under my belt.

Most divisive is the potential loss of the standard USB 3.0 port. Considering that Apple just made what I consider to be the dumbest design flaw in removing the audio jack from the iPhone, I was all set to call this their second stupidest move. After all, who has devices that use USB-C, their likely replacement? I don’t even know what a USB C plug looks like. However, call me a hypocrite considering my previous column on the iPhone, but I am tentatively onboard. Do l like change? Obviously not, especially when that change involves shelling out more money. However, there are some advantages here. USB-C is small enough to be used on devices as small as phones, but more importantly it is not technology owned by Apple. Meaning, there will be no problem finding cheap-ass third party wire replacements and adapters. Sure, it could catch on fire, but hey, if the savings are good enough I’ll throw those dice. Plus, if USB-C spreads to all our devices, Apple or not (which it likely will), it could spell the end of proprietary chargers.

Much as it surprises me to say it, based on current predictions I have very little to be upset about (a little disappointing). The Macbooks are shaping up to be competitively powerful, which is really all anyone can hope for at this point. Still, predictions are just that: predictions. I have little doubt in my mind that there will be something to complain about. Then all will be right in the world.

Soren Malpass is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at skm94@cornell.edu. Sorenity Now appears alternate Thursdays this ­semester.

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