Grand Central Apple Store Unionizing

Reed Albergotti writing for the Washington Post:

Workers at Apple’s flagship Grand Central Terminal retail location in Manhattan have begun to formally collect signatures to form a union, according to a newly-updated website launched by the organizers, setting the stage for a showdown between the iPhone maker and the employees who sell them.

The organizers, who have dubbed themselves “Fruit Stand Workers United,” say they voted Feb. 21 to affiliate with Workers United, a national labor union that has supported the successful unionization efforts of Starbucks employees around the country, according to the site. People involved in the organizing effort told The Washington Post that they have endured months of efforts by Apple to convince employees that unionizing is a bad idea, accusing the company of “union busting” tactics. Now, they are handing out signature cards to would-be union members.

Very exciting news, happy to see these workers countering the anti-union message from Apple and I love the name.


Apple’s World-Wide Developers Conference Announced for June 6th-10th

Returning as a mostly online-only event, Apple’s WWDC is coming back on June 6th to 10th. At the pre-recorded developer-focused infomercial on the 6th we should find out about new operating system features that will come out in the Fall and potentially new hardware as well.

Notably, the logo for this year’s event almost looks like an application icon for the Apple’s Swift programming language. Could be something to do with improvements in developing in Swift on the iPad. Could be something else.

Either way, I plan to write about the infomercial on the 6th. You can find out more about the development focused activities for students and others at WWDC 2022 here.

apple development

Homebrew Package Manager Founder Turns Crypto Grifter

There have been a variety of third-party command-line package management utilities for Mac computers that all really make the Mac’s terminal a good place to get things done with modern packages since Apple doesn’t provide a package management system for the command line like other Unixes do. MacPorts, Fink, and the newest and I think likely to be the most popular is HomeBrew. There are plenty more out there, but those are the ones I’ve used in the past. Some of these package managers can even run on top of other operating systems, HomeBrew can run inside of Windows 10 (and 11’s) Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL).

Max Howell was the original creator of HomeBrew and has now started a similar new project called Tea, announced with a blog post, Max calls Teabrew2” and points out the obvious problem of open source software projects not paying bills despite enormous companies relying on open source software and then turns that to Web3 (crypto currency grafting the web with the blockchain grift) as the solution:

While learning about web3 I bought and sold a few NFTs. The process was mostly uninteresting except for when I sold one and saw the automated, unavoidable 10% royalty enforced by a digital contract (with no need for a legal structure) that compensated the original creator for secondary sales. I felt the sting of inspiration.

web3 enables indirect compensation.

I wondered if we could apply this concept to helping distribute value to open source.

The Tea homepage claims that:

Like its predecessor, brew, tea is the base of the developer stack—seated beneath the tools that build the Internet.

This is a terrible mistake. Crypto currency grifters would no doubt love to turn desperate people like open source software developers into suckers to buy in so the grifters at the top of the pyramid can cash out. Fortunately, at least one member of the Homebrew team has indicated that Homebrew has no connection to this pyramid scheme. Hopefully Tea will fail to gain any traction after this initial round of 8 million dollars in the pump phase of the scam. The dump phase could be even sadder than open source developers getting screwed over by the companies that exploit their labor.

Note: All links in this post lead to so as not to encourage anyone to join the pyramid scheme that is Web3, NFTs, and cryptocurrencies. 

apple video games

Mac Source Ports Collecting Games on Modern Macs

MacOS has changed in the past few major versions to start requiring that applications be signed and notarized in order for them to launch at all. Mac Source Ports’ developer Tom Kidd noticed that some source ports for games weren’t updated to pass through Apple’s system and put together a project to provide signed and notarized builds of these source ports for modern Macs running Intel processors and Apple’s M1 system on a chip lineup so that the games aren’t lost to time.

There are already over 40 games on Mac Source Ports from more than 20 source ports, I recommended checking it out if you’re on a Mac and looking for classic games to play.


Everything Announced at the March 8th, 2022 Apple Infomercial

Apple aired yet another pre-recorded Apple Informercial. Surprisingly, the event started without mentioning the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. Supposedly Tim Cook was wearing colors that matched the Ukrainian flag.

Here’s everything Apple announced.

Apple TV+ gets Friday Night Baseball

Tim Cook opened the infomercial by talking about awards that Apple’s subscription service has received. Just as ever, this makes no sense and seems to have nothing to do with Apple except that they’re the ones pumping money into this to boost the income they take in from subscriptions. Apple getting two MLB games on one night only exemplifies this. The presentation format will probably be technically great, but more exclusivity locking people out of games is dumb as hell and isn’t something Apple needs to do. Major League Baseball is also currently in a team-owner imposed lockout because the owners are babies who will still be rich if their teams don’t play.

Green Color Options for the iPhone 13 lineup.

As rumored the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro have new green colors. They look fine if you’re into green.

iPhone SE 2022

The new iPhone SE for 2022 Still has the same Touch ID home button and an older look with a big thumb area for the Touch ID home button and the speaker area at the top. Apple also said that the 2022 iPhone SE has an A15 Bionic. 6-cores for general processing and a 4-core GPU. Apple compared performance to the iPhone 8. The 2022 iPhone SE gets upgraded durability according to Apple with the same glass as the 13 lineup. It also gets 5G. The camera on the back is supposedly updated as well. As always, the professional photography Apple shows off is unrealistic for most users to expect out of the phone when the results aren’t typical for them. Cost starts at $430, about $30 more than the previous model of the iPhone SE. “Available on March 18th”

iPad Air 2022

The iPad Air is getting its first update since 2020. The 2022 iPad Air gets the M1 from last year’s iPad Pros, 8 cores for general processing, 8 GPU cores. Apple emphasized that the front camera is upgraded and gets the wide-angle center stage automated focus features for video calls. Apple also said the 2022 iPad Air gets 5G, and USB-C upgrades that deliver twice the performance over a wire. It seems like the main difference now between the iPad Pro devices and the iPad Air is the lack of a variable refresh rate display (Apple calls that feature ProMotion). Space Gray, Starlight, Pink, Purple, Blue. $600 at 64 GB and upgradable to 256GB of storage. March 15th release, pre-orders today.

Mac Updates: M1 Ultra

M1 Ultra. After the M1, M1 Pro and M1 Max, they’ve got another variation on the same bucket o silicon. M1 Ultra is two M1 Max chips with an interconnect that Apple is calling Ultra Fusion. Apple compared the combination to big discrete GPUs and CPUs and said it delivered similar performance with less power. Hilariously, one of the developers in a montage of people making use of the new chip talked of more people “…having a seat at the table” because apparently that’s what Apple’s often inaccessibly expensive products do.

Mac Studio

The Mac Studio is a new Mac Mini-esque device but with a taller profile. Two USB-C ports on the front next to an SD card reader. 7.7 inches square. 4 Thunderbolt-4 USB-C ports on the back, ethernet, two USB-A jacks. HDMI. The front ports are faster with the M1 Ultra chips. Apple compared the M1 lineup in the Mac Studio to chips in the top end Intel machines they still sell. Up to 128GB of RAM in the M1 Ultra configuration, and up to 8TB of SSD storage. Starts at $2000, M1 Ultra versions start at $4000. Pre-orders today. March 18th ship dates.

Post-event update: Base model has 512GB of SSD and 32GB of RAM for that $2k.

Mac Studio Display

The Mac Studio Display is 27 inches. It has a built-in camera at the top, unlike the Pro Display XDR which has no camera. The design is very clearly in the same ballpark as the Pro Display XDR. There are a variety of mounting options, VESA, height-adjustable, height-adjustable and tiltable. 5K resolution. True-tone. Has an A13 chip inside, and a speaker array. 3 USB-C ports, one thunderbolt port. Charges Apple laptops. Silver and Black color options for the mouse, keyboard, and trackpad that Apple says match the silver and black display but no other design updates to those input devices. The design experts at Apple still make users plug a cable into the bottom of the mouse to charge it. The Mac Studio Display Starts at $1600. Pre-orders today. March 18th ship dates. No price was mentioned for the cost of the different mounting options.

Post-event update: There’s a “Nano-texture glass” option on the store for $300 more. The base $1600 price for the regular glass includes a stand, or the VESA-mount option. It’s a $400 upgrade to get the tilt-and-height adjustable stand. The display is also definitely locked at 60hz as it ships, there is no support for variable refresh rates or what Apple calls ProMotion.

Mac Pro

The Mac Pro was mentioned, but for “another day.” That day will probably be the World-Wide Developer Conference infomercial.


These are good updates for high-end Mac users who needed something modular in-between the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro. As it is, almost no-one should buy the current Mac Pro. According to Apple, the Intel-based Mac Pro is outperformed by this new Mac Studio lineup of small computers so unless you need even more modularity (or x64 Windows) the Intel Mac Pro is not a good choice.

There were no updates for the 27-inch iMac, which is no-longer on Apple’s website, or they’re simply attempting to replace it with the 27-inch Mac Studio Display and Mac Studio combination. This will, of course, cost more than the previous 27-inch iMac which started at $1800, Apple now gets to bring the price for a 27-inch display and computer up to $3600. It will be a much more competent machine that Apple conveniently gets to charge exactly double the price for. There are still older (M1 and Intel) models of the Mac Mini around, so theoretically you could also pair the $1600 display with a $700 Mac Mini and it’ll cost $2300 before tax. This is the same event where they played a developer video talking about how more people will be able to have “…a seat at the table.” Apple’s products are technologically impressive, but their prices are getting higher despite switching to their own processors which they control the prices for.

Having a standalone monitor with roughly equivalent specifications to the now-retired 5K 27-inch iMac at a lower price than the Pro Display XDR’s $5000 (without a stand) is good, it is something a lot of Mac users seem to want. However, neither monitor includes a variable refresh rate when you can get that functionality at $300 from almost any other manufacturer and that’s pretty disappointing. 

I’m glad there is still a Touch ID-based iPhone for people who don’t want, or can’t have, facial recognition on their devices, but it would have been good to move the fingerprint reader to the sleep/wake button on the side if that were possible in order to open up more space and that might have made the higher price of this year’s iPhone SE a little bit more reasonable.