Ars Technica reviews macOS 10.12 Sierra: ‘Once again plays second fiddle to iOS’

“Not to totally discount the Retina iMac (2014 and 2015) and the new MacBook (2015), but the rate of [Mac] change has obviously slowed. Apple isn’t even giving us ‘boring’ workaday component refreshes to keep up with new CPUs and GPUs as they’re released,” Andrew Cunningham and Lee Hutchinson write for Ars Technica.

“You could argue that year-over-year improvements in PC CPUs and GPUs have become so minor that it doesn’t make a huge practical difference, but that’s no excuse not to give Mac buyers the newest and best their money can buy,” Cunningham and Hutchinson write. “Especially not when that’s exactly the brand reputation that Apple has been cultivating over most of the last two decades.”

“Sierra is fine software, but after a couple years of parity, it again feels as though it’s taking a backseat to iOS, primarily because of its half-hearted implementations of major new iOS features like Messages and Siri,” Cunningham and Hutchinson write. “The Mac is still a fundamentally stable, solid, usable platform, but its hardware is no longer running circles around the rest of the PC industry. Apple could be doing more — let’s hope some of these long-rumored refreshes arrive sooner rather than later.”

Reams more in the very comprehensive in the full review – recommended, as usualhere.

MacDailyNews Take: More is coming. This year. Stay tuned.


  1. “More is coming. This year. Stay tuned.”

    MDN, I hope you’re right.

    HOWEVER, there’s been no indication your statement is true. AND, there’s a lot of evidence for it not being true.

      1. What have you seen? The hopes and dreams of Peter? The unending optimistic wishes of SteveJack?

        No press has any concrete news about the future Mac plans. Unsubstantiated rumors only.

  2. “No longer running circles round the rest of the PC industry” …. wait, ….. think …. isn’t the whole PC industry f…cked because everyone is going for mobile devices or premium Macs?

    When Apple inc. is ready, they will release the next iteration of products in the “Mac” category to take whatever remaining breath there is left in the PC industry!

    Remember, tech pundits are in the minority on this planet earth, together with the talking heads on Bloomberg and CNBC and “wise” anal… ysts on Wallstreet; most folks that buy gear from Apple inc. buy it because it all works seamlessly together (oh, and lest I forget, most of the above publicity seeking folks also have Gear from Apple inc, they just can’t admit it!!

  3. Tim Cook has allowed macOS to fall to second class status.

    Tim Cook has allowed virtually every Mac product to fall to second class status.

    Tim Cook has allowed virtually every Mac piece of software to either disappear or be dumbed down to second class status.

    FIRE Tim Cook!

      1. There is no doubt that the Mac has second class status. Everyone recognises that the hardware is now stale. The Mac used to be the fastest, most capable and glamorous machines. From that heady height, Apple now sells tech that is two to three years old at tomorrow’s prices.

    1. Don’t forget, iTunes used to be half decent until Jony Ive was switched from hardware to software. Since then, the simple elegance and functionality we knew under Steve Jobs has been abandoned for the sake of artistic expression. Every update is more a game of Where’s Waldo with the features. It just keeps getting worse and worse.

      1. Why are all the negative posts anonymous?

        Birdseed is obviously just another random handle of the one-man “Fire Tim Cook” movement.

        The other comments have some merit, but rely too much on hyperbole. Things are not as bad as some would make them out to be, nor as good as most would wish them to be. And that is no different from the Steve Jobs years. There were plenty of gripes back then, too. The stagnation of the PPC CPUs, for instance, which eventually led to the shift to Intel processors. People conveniently forget these issues and glamorize the past when it suits their objectives.

        I, too, wish that Steve Jobs were still alive and doing his magic at Apple. But, even if that were true, I believe that Mac fans would still be griping about a lot of things. When the goal is “magical,” people can be very critical.

        1. ‘Birdseed’ has a variety of fake niks and has been known (as much as one can know the antics of an anonymous coward) to multi-*DING* up his own excrement. Where’s my thesaurus?


          It’s too easy and too fun to make fun of this dolt. You just know he likes it. ‘Hit me again! Ooo!’

  4. Why Apple refuses to put HomeKit, iTunes University, a proper Podcasting app, HealthKit and such on Mac OS makes little sense. Same for using the Apple TV for a problematic HomeKit server instead of a Mac.

    Somewhere between the last Public Beta and the release Apple FUBARed HomeKit on my setup again. Foxing such configuartion issues would be much easier on a Mac.

  5. Electric prodding Apple into putting the latest CPUs & GPUs into new Mac releases is great with me.

    But it’s still fair to point at Intel as a CPU bottleneck. Moore’s Law is dead (for now), Intel is way off it’s release schedule, significantly faster and more capable CPUs aren’t being released fast enough for much of anyone to care.

    Nonetheless, we’d all like to see Apple make the effort anyway, rather than clearly treating Macs as ‘second fiddle’.

    1. Hopefully we’ll all feel better or at least be better informed sometime this month. I need a new iMac, my wife needs a new MBP. We’re waiting to see if we can buy them, the sooner the better. I hope they giveth rather than taketh away…

    2. CPU speed isn’t the only advancement that Apple has been falling 2+ years behind the curve.

      Moore’s Law isn’t a law, it’s a corporate mantra that becomes harder and harder to follow with each year. But don’t blame Intel when Apple is the one that just can’t be bothered to update it computer CPUs or GPU options more than once every 3 years.

      But it’s worse than that. Not only does Apple fall behind in chipsets, it can’t even implement multiple hot swappable internal drive bays in desktop computers, or PCI slots that would allow users to upgrade their machines with new features and capabilities when they needed to do so. Or supporting OpenGL or a dozen other standards that are required by professional computing.

      Cook cares only about iOS, a dumbed-down consumer grade phone OS. The Mac has been on minimum support since the day he took the helm and put a goddamn artist in charge of hardware and software design.

      1. I like all your points. But I have one question:

        Apple isn’t supporting OpenGL? My understanding is that OS X has used OpenGL since it was first released. Did something change? It’s Microsoft that doesn’t support OpenGL, quite deliberately in order that developers use their proprietary DirectX coding instead. Although, OpenGL can be installed and used on Windows if developers care to use it.

        (And of course I now go into research mode to look this up…)

        1. OpenGL 4.5 was released on August 11, 2014, over two years ago.

          Apple has not released a single Mac that supports anything higher than OpenGL 4.1, which dates to July 25, 2010. SIX EFFING YEARS AGO.

          Is this the kind of excitement Cook has for the Mac platform?

          After 6 years of complete Mac stagnation, I am now firmly in the camp of the Fire Cook campaign. We see that Cook won’t keep up with industry technology. Cook has plenty of resources and money to serve longtime Mac customers, but instead he ignores them. Each version of the Mac OS looks more juvenile, with poorer user controls. Cook instead focuses entirely on a second-rate walled garden iOS, putting enormous effort into stupid emoji in imitation of lesser social media. Cook attempts to sell an iPad Pro with a keyboard as if Microsoft Surface needed to be validated as a good enough option compared to the Mac.

          Today the Mac is far behind the rest of the PC industry in performance capability and versatility. The more Cook drives Apple to become the Bang & Olefson of the computer industry, the more leading computing users will leave the platform. <10% market share and no hope for improvement with Cook asleep at the wheel.

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