Under The Microscope

Archive for October, 2021

On The Much Improved State of Macintosh Hardware

Back in mid-2018, there wasn’t a single Macintosh computer that was free of major drawbacks or otherwise ridiculously out of date. After yet another disappointing WWDC, I took to my keyboard to air some grievances, with a lengthy complaint entitled “On The Sad State of Macintosh Hardware“. That post was written out of a deeper frustration with Apple’s failure to keep the Mac product line current.

A little over three years later, it’s time to do the opposite. With Apple’s announcement of new M1 Pro- and M1 Max-based MacBook Pros, they are more than halfway through their transition from Intel to their own Apple Silicon chips. The state of Macintosh hardware is now much closer to “Jubilant” than “Sad”.

Beyond the spectacularly powerful new CPUs, I want to make note of the more pragmatic improvements that have happened. Apple in 2018 was at the height of their quest to remove every port, selling a MacBook that offered a pitiful single USB-C port (which was also needed for charging). Other laptops were besmirched by TouchBars and faulty butterfly keyboards. Apple is not a company to change its mind lightly, but nevertheless they’ve corrected every single one of these missteps.

I’m not sure who exactly deserves the credit at Apple for all these improvements, but my hat is off to you, whoever you are.1 In 2018, we couldn’t recommend buying a single current Macintosh model. Now? You almost can’t go wrong. That turnaround deserves a round of applause.


  1. Whoever it is, I’m guessing their name doesn’t rhyme with “Ronnie Five”.

Grab Our Latest Versions for MacOS 12 (Monterey) Support

Apple’s official release of MacOS 12 (Monterey) won’t be arriving until next week, but our software is already compatible with the new OS. As you can see on our helpful Status page, all seven of our major Mac apps now have compatibility with Monterey. Just make sure you’ve got the latest versions of Airfoil, Audio Hijack, Farrago, Fission, Loopback, Piezo, and SoundSource, and you’ll be good to go on Monterey.

Be Cautious When Updating Your Mac’s Operating System

We always urge caution when updating your Mac’s operating system (and not just when it comes to beta releases). Apple has made the process of obtaining the latest version of MacOS very easy in recent years, but OS upgrades still come with a lot of changes under the hood that can cause conflicts. If you have any sort of mission-critical setup, taking your time in updating is a wise course of action.

While all of our software is now compatible with Monterey, more testing with the official release is still needed to check for changes from Apple’s earlier betas. It’s likely we’ll have additional updates in the coming weeks to fix issues that crop up. Taking some time before you update will allow kinks to be worked out and save you a lot of headaches.

A Note for Airfoil Users

Our home audio streamer Airfoil does have a few minor known issues on Monterey. The new OS includes a feature which makes your Mac appear as an AirPlay receiver, capable of having audio streamed to it. When this feature is enabled in the Sharing System Preference, Airfoil can see and send to your Mac just fine, but there are some rough edges.

We’re currently working on updates to improve things there. Of course, you can also run Airfoil’s free companion app Airfoil Satellite for Mac. This is our recommended way of turning your Mac into an AirPlay receiver. It even works on MacOS 11 and lower to boot.


That’s it for today. If you’re already on Monterey, or planning to update shortly, just make sure you have the latest versions of our apps. Beyond that, as always, stay tuned for further updates.

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