Apple has released updates for macOS, iOS, iPadOS, watchOS and tvOS – there are a tonne of security updates included with it particularly when it comes to the Webkit framework (link) as well as the firmware on my iMac and MacBook Pro both being updated to 418.104.22.168.0 – the firmware includes microcode updates for bugs found in the CPU and can be worked around via a microcode update (it gets loaded onto memory before the operating system starts). There are also a sizeable number of updates for drivers, kernel, imageIO and numerous other parts. Apple is already testing macOS 11.5 (along with iPadOS/iOS 15.7, watchOS 7.6, tvOS 15.7) – I just hope that by the time WWDC arrives that we’ll be seeing a renewed commitment to the Webextensions API by fully developing it beyond the bare essentials to at least make it compatible with Firefox – uBlock Origin coming back to Safari would be a godsend.
There are rumours that with WWDC this year Apple maybe launching a MacBook Pro refresh. When I heard the rumour I was sceptical since WWDC tends to be a software focused event with hardware being introduced as primarily focused on developers – the trash can Mac Pro was shown off as if to say, “yeah, we can innovate’ given there had been a 7 year gap since it was last updated. Another example would be the introduction of the AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule to give an insight into the direction Apple is seeing the industry is heading in – giving a hint to developers ‘be prepared for a change in how users consume your products’. That being said, it could be possible for a MacBook Pro and Mac mini refresh as to launch a chip that supports ARMv9 and wanting to get developers ready to take advantage of SVE2 when it becomes widely available in the Apple Silicon SoC’s when they start shipping.
This week Microsoft is having their Build 2021 conference with many promises of improvements coming to Windows 10 but nothing has been shown off at the conference which leads me to wonder whether we’ll be seeing a conference towards the end of the year dedicated to the changes in store for Windows 10. For me, who has been let down all to often, I wouldn’t put too much stock in the exaggerated improvements being promised having heard promises in the past but never delivered. If Google has “products that they keep killing off” then I think Microsoft has their own shtick with amounts to “start a product then get bored half way through only to give up and move onto something else” – the most recent example of that was Windows 10X which has since been mothballed – any opportunity to give Windows a much needed spring clean is undermined by a lack of leadership with some testicular fortitude from within Microsoft.
ARM has announced its ARMv9 microarchitecture (link) which builds on the earlier release of their ARMv9 ISA (which is the part that Apple licences since Apple has their own in-house microarchitecture). The interesting part is how this all fits into next year’s Samsung product release which will use AMD GPU as part of the Exynos SoC which will also hopefully make use of the new ARMv9 microarchitecture – there are also rumours of Microsoft working with Samsung on affordable Exynos based laptops and other devices as well. I think long term both AMD and Intel are in for competition coming from unlikely sources particularly if the cloud based future puts the focus by consumers on energy efficiency with all day battery life at the front and centre of which device to buy vs. which laptop or desktop is the super duper fastest computer on the planet.
I’m looking forward to seeing the the ARMv9 based Apple M series emerge – that’ll be the time I’ll decide to upgrade my MacBook Pro and iMac – I’ll upgrade my wifi access point to Wifi 6 because by that time all the equipment in the house will be Wifi 6 compatible (upgrading before then doesn’t make much sense plus upgrading later means one gets to benefit from a more mature technology).