Archive for the ‘macbook pro’ tag
In the constant cycle of tablet and smartphone news, the seemingly minor upgrade to Apple’s MacBook Air barely made headlines. That’s not really surprising, especially after the announcement of the Retina ready MacBook Pro. A next generation Intel CPU and graphics processor, USB 3.0 ports, and more flash storage don’t sound all that impressive.
In reality, this iterative update makes the MacBook Air the perfect laptop.
Same on the outside, shiny on the inside
Generally considered the premier Ultrabook (though it’s not officially labeled one), the MacBook Air is an excellent laptop that offers a near-perfect balance of size and power. It remains the thinnest and lightest 13” and 11” Ultrabook on the market.
I liked last year’s 13” model so much that I bought one, and still find the design and power superb for most personal and work applications. But what’s remarkable about the 2012 model — and this has nothing to do with Apple — is the performance boost gained solely from Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge chipset.
Last year’s MacBook Air ran on the then-new Sandy Bridge i5 processor, and my model was the top-of-the-line i7 with 4GB of RAM, priced at $1,800. The latest unit drops the price by $100 and offers the updated i5 or i7 at faster clock speeds while also doubling the RAM to 8GB. For less money, this year’s stock MacBook Air outperforms last year’s high-end model by 150% for nearly every application. (The 13-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,199 for a 1.8Ghz i5 processor and 4GB of RAM.)
Aside from the internal components, little has actually changed with the MBA. It uses the same heat dissipation techniques, the same basic architecture, the same display, and the same keyboard. There are a few differences, like improved viewing angles and increased brightness on the glossy 1440 by 900 display, as well as better color accuracy, something the 2011 model has serious trouble with. The keys are also slightly elevated for a deeper feeling keyboard, which is more comfortable to type with. Put the two models together however and anyone would have trouble knowing which was newer.
Improved enough to all but eliminate the problems
Stress the laptops, however, and there’s a world of difference. Pull up 20-30 YouTube clips; try streaming several bandwidth- and processor-intensive videos; run intensive applications like Adobe Photoshop with dozens of photos; boot capable games like Half-Life 2 or Flash-hungry titles like The Binding of Isaac…and the 2011 model’s fan will scream bloody Mary, the left side of the keyboard will heat up to around 100°F, and you’ll need headphones and a hard surface to keep going. The fan gets extremely loud and the keyboard gets way too hot. On the 2012 MBA the same thing can happen, but it rarely does.
That is to say, the overheating and loud fan hasn’t been fixed. This newer model is susceptible to both. With enough stress the left side of the unibody shell will overheat and become uncomfortable to type on, especially if you’re out in the sun. The fan can still stir up a hailstorm of noise. But thanks to the improved performance of Ivy Bridge, it’s nearly impossible to run enough everyday applications to stress the Air to that point. Except for intensive games like Half-Life 2, the 2012 MBA remained calm, cool, and pleasant to use. No matter how many browser tabs, office applications, or how much media you have running, the MacBook Air performs flawlessly.
Using the new Ivy Bridge chipset has another exceptional benefit from the higher performance: battery life is greatly improved. On the 2011 MBA battery life ranged from 4-7 hours, and usually closer to the lower side of that if running streaming video or stressful applications. That is boosted to 5.5-8 hours on the newer MBA, which is a remarkable upgrade for an identical 50-watt-hour battery. And because heat is rarely a problem, I averaged closer to seven hours of battery life per charge. (Protip: Use an extension like FlashBlock to disable Flash on any MacBook Air model for a big bump in battery life.)
The perfect ultrabook
In so many ways, the latest MacBook Air is a dream come true for anyone interested in upgrading to a thin, light, and still powerful laptop. Better performance, an improved display and keyboard, greatly improved battery life and thermals because of the performance boost…all for $100 less than last year’s model. Throw in USB 3.0 and the laptop is officially future-proof.
Products like the MacBook Air 13” (2012) make iterative updates like internal components so much more pertinent than evolutionary upgrades. The only downside? People who purchased last year’s model will want to upgrade because the performance boost makes all the difference in the world. If you barely stress the 2011 model now, then hold fast. But if you find that your MacBook Air screams like a banshee and has the average lifespan of a fruit fly, upgrading will be costly, but worthwhile.
Photos: James Pikover/VentureBeat
Apple’s next-generation MacBook Pro represents a marriage between the design of the whisper-thin MacBook Air and the power of the previous MacBook Pro. But it’s the feature that sets this notebook apart ? its high-resolution Retina display ? that makes this new notebook decidedly more “Pro” than “Air.”
Reviewers are floored by the high-resolution Retina display on Apple’s next-generation MacBook Pro, but remain put off by the $2,200 entry price.
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Apple Brings Facebook Integration to Mobile and Desktop OS (Inside Facebook)
Apple announced Monday at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that iOS 6 will be released in “the fall” and it will include Facebook integration and OSX Mountain Lion, which allows users to sign in once and easily post back to the social network. Similar to Apple’s Twitter integration, iOS 6 offers the “tap to post” option directly from iOS 6, and sharing from Photos, Safari, Maps and other applications. VentureBeat The Facebook integration, interestingly enough, even extends to iTunes and the App Store. In iOS 6, the App Store will feature Facebook “like” buttons, and users will be able to see which applications their friends like. PC Magazine Apple introduced a revamped Maps app for iOS 6 that ditches Google Maps in favor of an in-house offering developed in Cupertino, Calif. It will replace the Google Maps app that currently comes pre-installed on all iOS devices. ZDNET The long keynote by Apple execs was long on new products, the most impressive being the new MacBook Pro. The 15.4-inch retina display pushes the portable line into the high-performance realm, with powerful components packed in a MacBook Air thin frame. The Huffington Post Siri in iOS 6 will come with several new knowledge bases: Users will soon be able to ask their iPhones for sports scores, games’ scheduled start times, historical information about athletes, restaurant information and reservation availability, movie times and reviews and actor and actress and director filmographies. Apple’s strongest, most dazzling weapon in the war to differentiate its iPhone from all those other smartphones just received a fresh stockpile of ammunition. VentureBeat As a group, iOS developers scraped together a grand total of $2.5 billion between last year’s WWDC and Monday. The company announced that third-party developers for its platform had earned $5 billion to date — that’s double the $2.5 billion figure touted at last year’s event. continued…
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WWDC rages on in San Francisco, but the keynote — and all the major news announcements from Apple — have come to a close.
Here are the big talking points from Apple’s developer conference this year:
- Behold, a new MacBook Air is born. And lo, it cometh with Ivy Bridge processors and a 512GB solid-state drive.
- The MacBook Pro got skinnier and prettier with a Retina display.
- Some other new MacBooks are a lot more affordable than the Retina-display model, and they include those crazy quad-core Ivy Bridge processors, too.
- The iPhone’s Game Center has now arrived on the Mac, as well.
- OS X Mountain Lion has 200 new features. Here are the really important ones.
- Looks like Apple has been taking notes from Google when it comes to browser wars. Safari’s updates are quite Chrome-esque.
- Finally, it’s iOS 6 time!
- iOS developers are practically printing money — $2.5 billion since last year’s WWDC, in fact.
- iOS 6 will bring a whole new maps program with some pretty slick features.
- Siri also got some much-needed fixes and cool upgrades.
- Apple gets obscenely snuggly with Facebook in these new social-mobile integrations. Great news for iPhone addicts who are also Facebook addicts.
Now, if you’re the more visual sort of learner, we’ve also got a play-by-play in photos. Here’s how the keynote went down:
Filed under: VentureBeat
As expected, Apple has announced a refresh for its popular MacBook Air thin-and-light laptop, with the new model pumped up with higher CPU power and larger hard drive. The announcement took place at WWDC 2012.
The last MacBook Air was already a striking and powerful machine. Now it will include the option to add a 3.2-GHz Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge processor and a 512GB flash-based hard drive. It will also add in USB 3.0 slot, which is 10 times faster than USB 2.0. Graphics will be 60 percent faster.
The 13-inch MacBook Air models will run $1199 and $1499, while 11-inch models will run $999 and $1099.
Unfortunately, the new MacBook Air does not feature a high-density Retina display. If you want that, you’ll have to look at the MacBook Pro with Retina display, which costs $2200.
Take a look at the 11-inch MacBook Air model specs below:
And here’s a look at the 13-inch MacBook Air specs:
Developing post. Refresh for updates.
Top photos: Heather Kelly/VentureBeat, Bottom photo: The Verge
Filed under: mobile
Apple Unveils A Redesigned .71-inch Thick MacBook Pro, “The Most Beautiful Computer We Have Ever Made”
Phil Schiller took to the WWDC stage today to announce Apple’s new hardware. After breezing through updates to the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, he wowed the crowd with, as the it said on the screen, the next generation of the MacBook Pro.
Schiller proudly proclaimed that this is the most beautiful computer they have ever made. It’s thinner than my finger he said. It’s about as thin as the Air, weighs only 4lbs and packs a retina display. Plus, even though it uses a quad-core Intel Core i7, Apple promises fantastic battery life.
The screen itself is 15.4-inches with a 220 ppi at 2880 x 1800. That density allows Apple to proclaim the screen as a retina display — a first for a notebook. There are 5,184,000 total pixels, which is the most in the world on a notebook. Plus, Apple managed to reduce glare and reflection by 75%!
“Everything inside has been reinvented,” Shiller said. It packs an Intel Core i7 CPU, up to 768GB of flash storage and an Nvidia Kepler GPU, the GeForce GT 650m. The new Intel chips allow for USB 3.0 as well and joins Thunderbolt on the side of the new model. Apple claims 7 hours battery life with up to 30 days in standby.
With all these new goodies, Apple decided to cut the optical drive. This will be the first MacBook Pro without an optical drive.
This models starts at $2199 for a 2.3GHz Core i7, 8GB of RAM and GeForce GT 650 but of course can skyrocket once upgrades are selected. It starts shipping today, June 11th.
“It’s simply the best computer we’ve ever made,” Schiller said in closing, and without even touching the new model, I’m sure he’s right.
Lenovo rolled out its latest notebook today. It is, in a word, spectacular. The Chinese company proves time and time again that Apple isn’t the only company capable of producing class-leading designs. Lenovo’s 14-inch X1 Carbon shown here by Engadget is everything an anti-MacBook Air should be. If there was ever a true MacBook Air competitor, or, if you will, a notebook that lives up to the ultra part of the Ultrabook name, it’s the new Lenovo X1 Carbon.
This Lenovo X1 Carbon is a refresh of last year’s X1, but it’s more than just a spec bump. The computer is mostly all-new and manages to weigh less than the older version even though it packs a larger, 14-inch 1600 x 900 screen. Packed inside the carbon fiber chassis is an Intel Ivy Bridge CPU, optional 3G connectivity, and Lenovo’s Rapid Charge feature that promises to refill the battery to 80% in just 30 minutes. Lenovo has yet to announce the price or release date, but don’t expect this notebook to have a low price tag. The current X1 starts at $1000, but can quickly climb north once options are checked.
Lenovo took the reins of IBM’s personal computer division in 2005. The company wisely changed very little concerning the notebook design. A ThinkPad from 2004 looks very similar to a ThinkPad of today save for a few millimeters trimmed here and there. Everything from the logo placement to the trademark red pointer nipple is in the same spot. Even the casing’s color is the same. But overtime Lenovo’s designers have kept up with the Joneses and added chiclit keyboards, button-less touchpads, and the like. Lenovo changed the minor things while still maintaining the ThinkPad’s trusted identity. Meanwhile the rest of the PC industry seemingly fired their design staff and instead bought a photocopier and a MacBook Pro.
It’s hard to look at the rest of the PC notebook scene and not see Apple’s influence. The latest Dell XPS is a Dell-ified MacBook Pro. Vizio’s first notebooks are exact copies of the MacBook Air. Samsung’s latest ultrabooks might as well say MacBook Air instead of Samsung under the screen; they are nearly the same thing. Toshiba, once a staple in the PC world, is even using Apple’s trademark design cues to attempt to bolster sales. HP is the worst offender though. The original HP Envy was a blatant MacBook Pro ripoff when it debuted in 2009 and several generations later it is still hard to deny the influence. HP’s latest model lines still use the MacBook Pro’s design as a springboard.
Companies often deflect questions concerning similar designs by saying something about how there are only so many ways to design a thin laptop. That’s pure malarkey and they know it. Design is what sets products apart. It’s the great differentiator and often wins out over even price. When Art. Lebedev Studio introduced the Optimus Maxiums keyboard in 2006, it was instantly praised for it’s forward-thinking OLED keys even though it was projected to cost north of $2000. Design wins when done well and first. History does not care about the clones.
While Lenovo is in the minority, the company is not alone at designing notebooks without Apple’s help. Asus knows how to make a good looking kit as well. A designer at Dell clearly managed a sort of coup with the company’s first ultrabook, the XPS 13. Sony does it model after model, seemingly designing its notebooks in a vacuum, void of any external distractions as they look like nothing else.
Right now the new Lenovo X1 Carbon is the only notebook I would get save a MacBook Air. I would opt for this Windows machine over a current gen MacBook Pro. I’m not loyal to either operating system anyway. The Lenovo gets everything right including integrated 3G wireless and high resolution 14-inch screen. But that might change once Apple rolls out its next iteration of the MacBook Pro that’s said to have a thinner design (no optical drive), a super high resolution screen, and an Intel chipset with an Nvidia GPU. That said, even if the next MBP is a sort of wunderkind, Lenovo will continue to find success and fans as long as they stay the course and produce notebooks like the X1 Carbon.
Two weeks ago, the excellent Building Windows 8 blog posted an in-depth look at the upcoming operating system’s new file system, ReFS. It reminded me of the promise of so many years ago that OS X would be changing its file system from HFS+ to ZFS. Not a promise many remember or even cared about at the time, but it was, in fact, important.
ZFS support was dropped amid development and legal problems, but Don Brady, who was heading up the file system transition team at Apple, left to pursue it independently. And now he’s releasing a piece of software, Zevo, which finally adds ZFS support to any Intel Mac running 10.6.6 or later.
Most of you are probably wondering why you should even bother about something as invisible to the average user as the file system. It’s a fair question, and the short version is that HFS+ has its roots in very old computing practices (think PowerPC processors running OS 9) and is missing some features that are becoming more critical every year. The long version is here in John Siracusa’s 10.7 review on Ars Technica, where he breaks down feature by feature where HFS+ falls short.
Zevo comes in four flavors: Silver ($20), Gold ($40), and Platinum (no price yet), plus a Developer edition that isn’t fully detailed yet. Each adds more features, but many basic benefits of ZFS are there to begin with, like bit-level error detection. Unfortunately, you can’t boot from a ZFS volume right now, so you’ll need to create a ZFS partition and keep your data there. This isn’t surprising, but it is a little disappointing. It’s not the full conversion people were hoping for, but only Apple can provide that, and they don’t seem to want to.
Should you buy it? You should probably at least ask your IT guys. But it’s nice to see this little gem of geekery resurface after so many years in limbo. If I get a new MacBook Pro this year (a high-res one, naturally), I might just stick this on there for kicks. At this price, it’s really not much of a hit, and it’ll be great for my cred.
I suspect we’ll have to start picking and choosing our Apple rumor posts carefully in the coming months as the speculations begin flying fast and free, but until then a bit of gossip portending the next year’s changes won’t hurt anybody.
iLounge is hawking some intel from their “most reliable source,” who claims to have the inside scoop on Apple’s upcoming revisions. It’s nothing mind-blowing, but it might be enough to make you unconsciously start saving money.
The MacBook Pro redesign we’ve heard about before. Other sources have it rolling out in March, but supply line data is unreliable unless bulk orders are indicated. The flatter, more Air-like redesign is practically a certainty at this point. The question is a few of the system details: storage (I’m guessing hybrid), processor (Ivy Bridge and a discrete GPU), ports (two Thunderbolts, one USB, one Ethernet, one SD), and optical drive (none).
Most interesting to me personally is the report that the iPad will be a little thicker, in order to allow for the extra lighting necessitated by the high-resolution screen I’ve been crowing about at every opportunity for almost a year now. Any indications of this mythical high-definition screen are welcome, as I think it will make the device a far, far better one for all kinds of tasks, consumption and creation. The increase in thickness is said to be only 0.7mm, so still thinner than the original iPad by several millimeters. Whether this change is too much for iPad 2 accessories is probably a case-by-case thing.
More suspicious is the report that the iPhone will be getting a size bump to a 4″ screen, making the device as a whole 8mm longer. Not only that, but it’s supposed to hit in the Summer. Now, Apple has worked very hard for years to make the iPhone an iconic device, and part of that is its size, now petite compared to many Android phones. But in a case like the iPhone, Apple doesn’t feel pressure from outside. Or at least it would never admit it. Jobs (probably channeling Ive) was always very vehement about the design choices they’d made with the iPhone and iPad: lots of testing went into it, and 3.5″ and 9.7″ were the perfect sizes. But four years on, it could be that they must acknowledge changes in the market (towards streaming media consumption, for instance, and photos) and the benefits of a larger screen. Still, 4″ is rather a big jump, and the resolution question is also a factor.
One thing I am optimistic about is the metal case, reportedly aluminum. The original iPhone was a wonderful piece of human-centered design and the backs developed a beautiful patina. We need to bring that back. And Apple has probably had enough shattered iPhones to last them for a while.
No doubt these rumors will be corroborated or contradicted in the coming months, and we’ll sound our own sources as well. None of these items are set to break cover for a couple months, at any rate, so there’s plenty of time for evidence to appear.