Apple now selling iPads, iMacs and friction-stir welding

Apple's Phil Schiller showing off the guts of the new iMac - or possibly the starship Enterprise Credit: ITworld/Phil Johnson

Based on yesterday’s announcement, Apple has a new marketing strategy: uber-nerdly geek speak

Love Apple or hate Apple, you gotta admit that their product announcements are something to see. They know how to put on a show, and seeing what new device or product update they’ve come up with is only half the fun; the other half is in seeing how they make the announcement. There’s always something interesting to notice or pick up on, if you look hard enough. Each one is kind of like a Where’s Waldo? drawing.

Sometimes it’s something subtle. For example, during last month’s iPhone 5 announcement, Apple’s marketing or PR folks decided that each speaker should go with an untucked shirt. We don’t know why, but it was noticeable and weird.

Yesterday, during their event to announce (among other things) the new iPad mini, I noticed a new theme, this one perhaps for a more obvious reasons: uber-nerdly geek speak.

Now, of course, every Apple event involves lots of geek speak. But I’m not talking about the usual, computer-based stuff like gigabytes, dual-core processors or even retina displays. I’m talking about serious physics, materials science and even nuclear engineering geek speak. 

Not sure what I mean? Consider the following technology that they said was used in the newly redesigned iMacs:

  • Fusion Drive - Are you telling me that this sucker is nuclear?! Well, no. It’s a new type of hybrid drive that transparently combines a 128GB solid-state drive with a 1TB or 3TB hard disk drive. Sounds awesome partly because of the combined speed and storage capacity it offers - and partly because “fusion” still sounds futuristic and cool. Isotopes!  
  • Friction-stir welding - It’s not often that new computer specs have me running to Popular Mechanics for a better understanding, but Apple did just that yesterday. Apparently this method, which is used by NASA and SpaceX to weld parts of their rockets together, is now also used to join the base of the iMac to the display. Was it really necessary to toss this term out there? No. Was it attention grabbing? You bet!  
  • Kepler grahics - Those of you who didn’t cut or sleep through high school physics may recognize the name Kepler. For those who did, just know that, somehow, almost 400 years after his death, he’s helping to make your iMac display better than ever. Thanks, Johannes!  
  • Plasma deposition - The new thinner iMac display is partly the result of plasma deposition - whatever that is. Even after reading the Wikipedia page on it I still don’t know what this means. But who cares? It sounds cool! Count me - and others - in!  
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