Introducing “Trey”

I name my hosts after notable greyhounds. The new iMac is no exception. It’s Trey, named after Kiowa Sweet Trey, Nick’s sire and Crash’s sire. Crash is a friend’s hound pawcationing with us this week.

References

  1. Apple’s iMac user guide at the iBook store describes the basics.
  2. David Pogue’s “MacOS Sierra, the Missing Manual” explains how to make best use of a Mac running Sierra.
  3. There are no current manuals for High Sierra coming this fall.

Revision History

  1. Original issue

First Impressions of Trey

Packaging and Unboxing

Apple packed Trey cleverly in a trapezoidal box, an outer corrugated shipping box covering a similar pasteboard point of sale box. The boxes are designed to stack up nicely in an outer shipping container by putting one base up next to one that is base down.

It was a surprisingly easy procedure to open the boxes. Tamper evident paper tape closed the outer box at the top. Cutting the tape allowed the front flap to drop down and the top flap to fold over revealing the inner package and its carrying handle. Once freed from the outer packing, the pasteboard point of sale box is opened the same way. Flipping the top open gives access to the accessory tray holding your choice of keyboard and pointing device.

Opening the inner enclosure shows the foam shock protection which is easily separated from the machine. A non-woven fiber envelope encloses the machine. A film covering protects the screen finish and case finish. All of this is easily removed.

Commissioning

First Start

The only assembly required is to connect the power cable stored in one of the base foam pieces. On power up, the machine walks you through domain and timezone setup followed by user account setup. An important step in this process is to register the machine as a user of your Apple ID and iCloud account. This important step enables your iMac or MacBook to work with your iPhones and iPads and to use Apple Email.

Software update

Before migration, I ran a Software Update to get the machine up to date in case Apple had shipped it with an older version of the OS. While my machine was in route, Apple released a new update of Sierra so I installed it before moving over all of my user files and hand me down applications.

Incumbent Mac Account Migration

Once all of these  dialogs complete, it starts Migration Assistant. Migration assistant moves user accounts from your incumbent Mac to your new Mac. A PC Migration assistant does the same for those coming over from Windows.The process is simple but lengthy for the first user as Migration Assistant moves all of the system stuff (applications) on the first go. Later runs for additional users are quicker as the system Library and system Applications are only transferred once.

  1. On the incumbent Mac, log in to as the user to be transferred and launch Migration Assistant.
  2. Launch Migration Assistant on the new Mac.
  3. Pick the source and let her rip. You’ll have your choice of your current Mac or PC, or Time Machine.
  4. The account in use on the incumbent determines the user data to be transferred.
  5. The account in use on the target determines the user to be provisioned.

I did a direct transfer rather than using Time Machine. The initial transfer ran over night.

First Use

I opted for an i7 with 27 Inch 5K Retina Display. This configuration comes stock with 8 GB main memory, 2 TB disk memory (7200 RPM in this series) and a 128 GB SSD that forms a MacOS Fusion Drive when paired with the HD. OS launch and application launch are quite quick.

Hey Dude, it’s a Mac

The machine came with MacOS Sierra installed on it. It is much like El Capitan but with the rough spots sanded down. If you’ve been a long time Mac user, there are no surprises. Its not like the jump from XP to 7 or 10 in MS Windows land. But everything is evolved and just a bit smoother.

This is a current machine so it has the latest vector instructions, latest encryption support, latest video rendering support, and the latest OpenCL support. These last ones matter if you work with audio, video, and photos as many programs use the display device’s rendering cores for content manipulation. This was a factor in my choice of the high end Radeon 580 variant. It had the largest display memory (8 GB) and most rendering cores to keep the display moving smoothly while rendering video or manipulating images.

Having the latest vector instructions and hardware encryption support allows he Mac to participate in Air Play, Continuity, and Handoff. These capabilities allow your home Mac to pick up where you left off working with a MacBook or iPad/iPhone. They also let your Mac use your iPhone to make calls and to share its Internet connection when your home connection is out. They also allow the Mac screen to appear via AirPlay on another Mac, iPad, or AppleTV.

The Fusion Drive

The Fusion Drive’s SSD serves as a persistent cache for recently used files. The OS Core Storage service layers the SSD as an overlay on the HD. As files are read, the OS deposits them in the SSD. As files are written, they write first to the SSD and later to the HD. The SSD behaves like a persistent buffer cache living between the system memory buffer cache and the HD. When you next start your Mac, the SSD cache is primed and satisfies most reads. The second launch of an application or document happens from the SSD.

5K Retina Display

It is drop dead gorgeous. Apple gets first call on LG’s good 27 inch 5K IPS panels. The display is bright, contrasty, and relatively glare free in my environment. It faces a window free wall so there is no bright source of reflections to torment me.

If you’re a photographer, the 4K or 5K display is important to your work. The 5K display gives enough room for a 4 megapixel view of the image being edited plus room to show the image browser and edition tools in side bars. I’ve been using Capture One 10 on the new machine. CC Lightroom is headed to the pasture and maybe the slaughterhouse. That’s a coming story.