03 April 2016

V12 Turbo Beetle

Imagine Volkswagen offers a new version of the Beetle, one with a turbo-charged V12 from Lamborghini, and for the exact same five-figure price (in €, let's say) as a fully equipped Beetle. The catch, as there would have to be for this kind of offer, is that the fuel tank is only a single gallon, putting this monster's range at around 20, if you adjust your settings to only use so many of those cylinders, at the expense of top speed and optimal acceleration. With that scenario in mind, let's talk about Apple.
I haven't owned a proper Apple product since 2005, that little gem being my Bondi Blue iMac, bought in 2000 and running OS 9. It had a 10GB hard drive. One day, around 2003, the drive took a dive and I had to scramble to save every last bit of it by way of about two dozen Zip Disks. When I took it in to get repaired, I was warned they wouldn't be able to replace the drive with the same size. I took a deep breath and asked how badly I'd be downgraded.
Luckily for my dignity, the gentleman behind the counter did not laugh, as so many lesser places might have. He politely explained that the smallest hard drive they offered was 30GB. Obviously, it was an aftermarket drive, one not directly endorsed by Apple, but compatible nonetheless. I chalked this up to having an older machine in a fast moving world.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and we've got commercials for storage expansion devices for the MacBook Air, a tiny and inconspicuous drive capable of doubling the Air's 256GB drive. There are similar options for the iPad and iPhone, but none of them are what would be called terribly practical, certainly not as seamless as the geekily-named Tardisk. They typically involve lugging around an external drive with some sort of wireless option that doesn't so much work in sync or tandem with the onboard storage as much as trailing it.
Recently, the iPad Pro was released, an admittedly impressive piece of machinery that makes me seriously consider it plus Pinnacle over a Mac Mini running Final Cut as an option for producing video content on a semi-regular basis. I mean, I'd get a decent video editing console and a tablet for drawing and painting in one singular package. It's practically perfect... Except a closer look at the specs reveal it as perfectly impractical.
Between the iPad Mini 3 (which I have currently) and the Pro, the difference in processing power is a mere factor of 2. Also, why is the 12-inch version only capable of 1080p video recording while the 9-inch one can pull 4K? Granted, video recording is a completely pointless feature on a tablet compared to a phone, but that's the rub, isn't it? All of these little compromises in areas that really aren't selling points in and of themselves add up to a goofy mess of a product line from a company we once lauded for taking bold and unusual risks. Now, they're just kind of dumb, shortsighted, and even naive. Of all the features to hold hostage behind the higher price tags, storage space should not be one of them. I could almost understand having an SD card slot on the upper tiers, not unlike microphone inputs on camcorders; it's not quite a prosumer feature, but versatility is often the first casualty of accessibility. However, there's still only built-in storage on the most tricked and pimped Pro. This strategy makes no sense because you're not really being rewarded for your larger investment. Apple, as a rule, has never done anything conventionally, and I doubt I'm alone in loving them for that (Cheap desktop computer? Fine, but we'll make it really small and adorable... Mac Mini). However, there's innovation, and then there's mud-flavored candy.

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