Give your old Mac software eternal life

It’s been a long time coming, but having your Mac tell you that some of your apps will stop working brings some immediacy to the issue: If there’s a 32-bit Mac app you rely on to get work done, and it’s no longer being updated, on forthcoming versions of macOS it will only work with compromises, and ultimately it won’t work at all.

Don’t fear the death of your old software, my friends. Your current long-in-the-tooth favorites, and old friends you said goodbye to years ago, can live on and still be useful, thanks to the miraculous digital afterlife known as virtualization.

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iMac at 20: The reaction after the 1998 iMac introduction

I was working at home when I got the message: The entire Macworld editorial staff needed to gather in a conference room in a couple of hours. Apple had announced something huge and we needed to react immediately.

It was May 1998 and I was working as a features editor at Macworld magazine—and in those days, magazines were superheroes and websites were their plucky sidekicks. Monthly magazines had a relatively leisurely schedule, but the day the iMac was announced, Macworld was in the midst of “close”—the one week where we finalized every single page in the magazine, back to front, and transmitted them to our printing press in the midwest.

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5 takeaways from Apple’s record second-quarter 2018 results

We shouldn’t be surprised anymore. It seems like almost every quarter, some report appears that calls into question the ability of Apple to keep on a roll with huge revenue numbers, massive profits, a big pile of cash, and yes, big iPhone sales. And almost every quarter, Apple bats away those reports and reveals numbers that make Wall Street lose its mind.

Well, it happened again. Amid numerous reports that Apple was slashing its purchases of components it uses in the iPhone X, Apple announced... a record financial quarter, with $61.1 billion in revenue. iPhone signs were pretty good, and other parts of the business were even better. Since this federally-mandated disclosure of data (and the accompanying hour-long conference call that Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri have with select financial analysts) offers one of our best views into how Apple’s business is doing, it’s worth looking at the most interesting things to come out of Tuesday’s results.

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iOS Plus: Imagining a Mac that runs iOS apps

Inspired by a Bloomberg report that Apple may introduce a way for iOS apps to be converted to run more easily on macOS, a couple of weeks ago I came up with a list of iOS apps that I’d like to see on the Mac.

After Apple’s recent Chicago event to launch the new iPad, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke to an Australian writer and told him that rumors of merging the Mac and iOS weren’t true. I was maybe ten feet away from them when this happened, and it was a media scrum—not the kind of place where a CEO does anything but restate the existing company line. (In the same conversation Tim Cook literally said “I use everything and I love everything.”) I’m not entirely convinced that Apple’s long-term approach to its platforms is to keep the Mac alive long enough for iOS to evolve so that it’s able to painlessly replace it.

But what if we take Tim Cook at his word? Any Mac-iOS merger would probably be many years from now, so regardless, if the Bloomberg report is true, Apple will be pushing the iOS and macOS app worlds closer together much sooner. What does that mean for the Mac, and how we use our Macs every day?

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QuickTime Player 7: Goodbye to Apple’s brushed-metal dinosaur

It was minor news last week: In another step along the transition to 64-bit apps, Apple began warning users of 32-bit apps that these apps would need to be updated or they will stop running. The warning was news, but this is actually a story long in the making. Last year, Apple warned Mac developers that 32-bit apps would stop running “without compromise” this fall with the release of the successor to macOS High Sierra.

The writing’s been on the wall, more or less, since all the way back in 2009 when Apple began its 64-bit transition with the release of Snow Leopard. But the move to 64-bit apps will have casualties, namely a whole generation of apps that are no longer being updated, but are still used every day by Mac users. No software is forever—who out there is still writing with Microsoft Word 5.1?—but when you lose a whole generation of apps at once, it’s a bit more noticeable.

Apple’s warnings to users about 32-bit apps are also intended to get users to prod the developers of their favorite Mac apps to get going with their transitions to 64-bit versions. Ironically, the warnings don’t appear for apps from one particular company: Apple itself. Hold-outs using Final Cut Pro 7 won’t be warned that their app will cease to “function without compromise” with this fall’s OS update and will probably stop running altogether in about 18 months.

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iOS apps that need to be on the Mac

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who has a great track record of reporting Apple scoops, wrote a few months ago that Apple was working on a new approach to app development that would let developers “design a single application that works with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad depending on whether it’s running on the iPhone and iPad operating system or on Mac hardware.”

Accepting that Apple could change direction at any time and that this project—code-named Marzipan—might not even be announced this year, it’s an intriguing possibility. Obviously iOS has a much more thriving app store than the one on the Mac, so if Apple could make it easier for iOS developers to deploy their apps on the Mac, it might help the platform thrive. Merging the approach to developing apps on Apple’s two platforms also may make sense in light of the report that Apple may be replacing Intel processors with Apple-designed ARM processors in future Macs.

A lot of rumors and speculation, to be sure. But let’s go back to the root premise of this entire story: The Mac could be improved if it was much easier for iOS developers to bring their apps over. Which got me thinking, what iOS apps do I use today that I wish were on my Mac?

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Why the next Mac processor transition won’t be like the last two

This week’s report from Bloomberg that Apple is planning on moving the Mac to its own chips starting in 2020 is the culmination of years of growing speculation about the future of the Mac. I’ve been impressed by Apple’s use of ARM chips in new Macs while being skeptical about the prospects of a full transition.

But if we accept the Bloomberg report—and it’s from reporter Mark Gurman’s sources, which are generally excellent—it’s time to shift from speculating about whether or not Apple would do this and start to analyze why the company would make this move, and what form the transition might take.

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