I’ll probably never get a real response to this.

to: tcook@apple.com
from: hello@bcarr.me
re: Real MBP upgrade?

Any chance Apple will ever get around to shipping a real MacBook Pro that isn’t afraid to trade power for battery life? Say, something with a desktop-class Nvidia 1000 series chipset, like other manufacturers are providing?

I mean, either that or being able to install OS X on PC hardware would be great too. I’d pay for that privilege.

I love Apple and my MacBook Air is the most solid Apple product I’ve ever purchased, but I’ve been thinking about upgrading for awhile now, and paying nearly three grand for a MacBook Pro that’s graphically less powerful than the refurbished Acer laptop I bought nearly a year ago for $900 hurts my soul too much to commit to.

— Brad

I bought (what should be) a refurbished MacBook Pro for less than a grand.

I got tired of waiting for Apple to ship a reasonable laptop with a discrete graphics card and started looking at PC alternatives. I recently pulled the trigger on a refurbished unit from Acer.

I’m not sure why I waited.

My new machine may only have a 4th generation quad-core i7, 16GB of memory, and a 2TB hard drive but it’s got a powerhouse mobile graphics capability in its Nvidia GTX 960M. It runs actually runs CS:GO at 1080p60 with at least a hundred frames to spare. It even renders ArmA 3 at a playable level, with a consistent framerate in the 50-60 FPS range at the same resolution.

It’s conceivably portable, even. The battery life is reasonable enough considering it’s powering a 17″ screen and enough computing power to handle most of what I’m looking for when I absolutely need to use something other than my phone.

Even if the design of the laptop’s casing isn’t up to Apple’s standards, it’s got to be more powerful than most MacBook Pros are today (at least the configurations priced south of three grand). And that realization is a shame.

My main computer until now, a MacBook Air, was a consistent champion considering how underpowered it was, but one thing I always preferred about it was the snappiness of how everything seemed to be thanks to a built-in SSD and modern low-power processor. For what I paid for it, I definitely think I’ve gotten value out of it.

The Acer I picked up is signaling to me that it’ll be giving more value than I could have hoped for.

The best way for Apple to get into esports isn’t by throwing money at it.

This post originally appeared on Esports Observer, edited for publication by Internet cool guy @AlphaFerg.

While catching up on the last couple of days worth of Reddit threads posted to /r/esports, I came across a link post to someone posting on LinkedIn about esports. “Apple & eSports: A Perfect Match.”

For the most part, it’s a typical breakdown of how Twitch is positioning itself as the ESPN of streaming video services, but it varied heavily when it suddenly proclaimed the game-changing value Apple could potentially command with a microscopic $500m cash infusion into esports via a simple, five-step process:

  1. Buy a popular team, like  Cloud9, by offering them a king’s ransom in salary.
  2. Develop and produce events like The International, with prize pools that dwarf The International, to be held in Apple-built viewer temples that don’t presently exist.
  3. Completely buyout AMD, Hitbox, and any game developer that Apple wants in order to secure hardware and software ecosystems.
  4. PROFIT!

The urge to write off his post as a fantasy for fantasy’s sake increased as I read on, but for some reason, I couldn’t let it go. It didn’t help that it was written by a corporate officer of a no-name esports organization networking on LinkedIn like he’s looking for a new job. It made me want to reply — even after verified Internet cool person and known esports pundit Chris “keekerdc” Schetter dispatched the entire idea.

In response, the author reiterated his belief that Apple should just throw nine figures into esports. He then suggested that Amazon, Facebook, and Google, could use similar strategies to get in, despite the fact that they already have!

In my response, I decided to go out on a limb and create my own ideal scenario for Apple, framed much more realistically. It all centers around one core idea:

Apple is a hardware company. Apple’s machines don’t esports as well as Windows PCs can. All that Apple needs to do is make its Mac gaming products competitive with Windows ones. It’s that simple, and more importantly, it’s not impossible.

My suggestion on how they do that? Ditch Intel integrated graphics across the board, buy up all the miniaturized graphics cards Nvidia can make, adding them to every single SKU they possibly can, and then throw that $500m at Microsoft to port DirectX to Darwin and iOS. While this would veer away from Apple’s tendency towards battery efficiency and power consumption, instead of performance, it would be a great first step towards making gaming on their products more feasible.

Another big step would be to get more esports titles on Mac platforms. Some developers — Blizzard springs to mind, here — have historically committed to leaving no mainstream computer gamer behind and including Mac OS X users in their product releases for years.

But other developers don’t have that same mindset, especially due to the current approach many of them have: emulating their games via CrossOver. The Mac audience is usually so small that there’s no net positive reason to devote development time or capital to port an entire game over to Mac. Unlocking the performance needed for esports while running the game through a translation layer like CrossOver is a very large task.

Then, there’s Aspyr, who currently serve a niche by porting top game titles to Mac with a white-label version of CrossOver to the Mac. It’s just not enough.

Bottom line? No serious esport ecosystem can really exist on Apple hardware currently, unless it runs Windows. DirectX and graphics drivers for Windows put games and the engines that run them on a whole other level in the realm of performance. Even Blizzard seems to have recognized this in the process of developing a brand new engine for its Overwatch—which isn’t coming to Mac anytime soon.

DirectX, and by association Windows, ends up with the lion’s share of games developed, because DirectX is an institution for facilitating graphics capability. Porting an esports title like League of Legends to Swift—Apple’s programming language—just to run natively with Metal—Mac’s DirectX equivalent—just for Mac users? I could see a cadre of Riot developers porting the game engine as a part of one of their routine internal hackathons, but I don’t think it’ll ever see a genuine release.

So there you have it. Apple’s most profitable route into esports is easy: let esports start to develop natively on Apple products. But the steps to get there are so complicated—and run so counter to Apple’s ongoing parallel development to PC—that it would take a serious shift. And, that would have to happen during a time where Apple is focusing increasingly on iOS growth, not OS X.

Of course, there’s always the option that Apple could throw money at Tencent to push Riot into porting League of Legends into a universal iOS app.

Then, however, Tencent would have to allow Apple to have 30% of the revenue from in-app purchases. The odds of that happening are infinitesimal for Riot—or any other esports company, for that matter.

Re: A Thing about a Watch

This post is a response to A Thing about a Watch and originally appeared on Medium.

I wish I could put the URL of this post on a card and then hand that card out to every person who inquires whether or not the Watch is “worth it.”

Before, I had been answering with a variation on the theme “your milage may vary” but this post is pretty much how I look at using my Watch with two differences — first, I assume Siri dislikes the southern accent and second, I disable all sound alerts.

The result is that I can ignore my phone in any situation and not feel compelled to check it. The important updates tap me on the wrist. Acting on notifications is short and sweet. And then I’m back on to being a relatively normal human being.

Whelp–my ideal Apple Watch is a bit more than I’m willing to spend.

I understood the rumors starting to leak about the prices for the Apple Watch and Watch Edition being a bit higher than expected.

The $10k price for the Edition models shouldn’t be surprising anyone. The ideal Edition customer isn’t going to be interested in the technology, they’re going to be more interested in the visual look and the gold composition of the watch.

But a grand for my ideal steel face/steel link Apple Watch? Yikes.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 2.51.24 PM

Looks like I’ll probably be aiming for one of these instead:

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 2.54.29 PM

That’s not really a bad thing–especially if they all contain the same level of hardware and support. It’s more of a fashion tax above all else, really. I can go without looking fashionable and still be a decent human being.

Or just mix and match the two together and upgrade the band later on? I’m not sure. I guess I’m going to have to get my hands on one to see. In any case, it’ll more than likely end up being an early birthday present for myself.

Apple did a thing yesterday. I want an Watch.

You know what they announced already. It’s news. iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The Apple Watch. The Apple Pay system.

Yeah. All of that is fine and dandy. But oh boy, Apple has a way making things. And I want to sign up for one of these immediately:

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 8.15.53 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-10 at 8.16.27 AMScreen Shot 2014-09-10 at 8.23.32 AM

I know the battery life not being disclosed at this point is a huge deal, but I DON’T REALLY CARE, I JUST WANT ONE. PLEASE. IT LOOKS SO NICE AND IT MEANS I DON’T HAVE TO UPGRADE TO AN IPHONE 6, AND I WOULD REALLY LIKE ONE, APPLE. PLEASE.