Apple’s new range of MacBooks have something particularly new inside them: the Force Touch trackpad. No longer hinged like previous Apple laptops, the new trackpad houses a “Haptic Engine”, outputting tactile feedback that will let you “feel” what’s happening on-screen. iFixit’s taken a closer look at how Apple did it, and while the trackpad is no longer hinged, there are now four spring mounts underneath. That haptic engine? A load of wires coiled around a magnetic core, which makes that all important vibrational feedback.
There are no moving parts to the mechanism, as Apple noted in the presentation this week, instead everything’s all done through magnets fitted underneath the pad. iFixit reckons that strain gauges inside the metal supports are how the trackpad is able to detect force. There might be a learning curve to the new trackpad, but then, there’s also a learning curve to reading iFixit’s teardowns too — find the rest of the details here.
Dead set on snagging one of those extra-slim MacBooks, but won’t make the leap until you have an easy way to back up your files? LaCie has your back. It just unveiled a new version of its Porsche Design Mobile Drive that uses the same USB Type-C port as Apple’s latest portable (and eventually, other computers), saving you the hassle of using an adapter just to offload that photo project or back up to Time Machine. It’s not quite a dream storage device, though. You’ll still need an adapter (thankfully included) to hook up to regular USB devices, and there’s no passthrough port. Unless you get a hub, you’ll have to choose between powering your Mac and expanding your storage. If that’s no barrier, though, you can get the Mobile Drive in the second quarter in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB models. Pricing isn’t available yet, but the regular USB models cost $80, $100 and $150 — it won’t be surprising if the USB Type-C versions are in that ballpark.
Filed under: Storage
Other World Computing today announced the launch of new 1 TB (960 GB) solid state drive options for 2010-2012 models of the MacBook Air.
Priced at $549 for the drive alone or $579 for a package including tools and an Envoy enclosure to repurpose the original drive for external storage, the new 1 TB option complements existing 120, 240, and 480 GB options for the various MacBook Air generations.
With Apple’s move to PCIe-based SSDs beginning with the 2013 MacBook Air, OWC has yet to launch new SSD upgrade kits for the latest notebooks, but the company has promised it is hard at work on kits for these machines.
Those of us who try to bring the handy two- and three-finger trackpad gestures from a MacBook over to a PC laptop are usually treated to digitus interruptus. But during TechEd, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore said that Windows 10 will have new three finger gestures (not to be confused with salutes) for PC trackpads. Swiping up and down will bring up the “Task View” to minimize and restore active windows, while left and right gestures will switch between apps. Sound vaguely familiar? On a MacBook, three-fingered left and right swipes let you change virtual desktops and apps, while up and down gestures reveal OSX’s Mission Control — a decidedly similar feature to Task View.
The new features reinforce the fact that Microsoft wants to put some emphasis back on the humble trackpad and away from its beloved touchscreens. With Windows 8.1, it made a concerted effort to improve poorly-regarded PC trackpads by working with Intel and Synaptics. While some might decry the new gestures as being a bit more than paying homage to Apple, it will certainly make it easier for users to switch from Macs to PCs. If you’re curious to try the new features, you’ll have to wait — they’ll be available in a future Windows 10 Technical Preview build.
Source: Channel 9 (Silverlight required)
Siri might be making her way to a Mac near you. According to a patent application filed in February and released today, Apple’s considering bringing the iPhone personal assistant to its desktop OS. The 92-page document details how you’ll interact with Apple’s “digital assistant,” a term that occurs 574 times in the patent app (the name Siri never makes an appearance, however). According to the document, a desktop version could pair Siri’s current actions with more complex functionality, such as file and system management. After calling on the assistant by using a specific gesture on the touchpad or clicking an icon in the dock, you could use it to send emails, find images or YouTube videos on the web, print documents or copy and “hold” multiple files. As TechCrunch notes, there’s no reference to such an assistant in the Yosemite beta preview, so it’ll probably be at least another year before Siri (or her better-equipped equivalent) arrives on the Mac.
Source: USPTO (PDF)
Your worst fear, confirmed: Engadget‘s staff laptop of choice is the MacBook Air. Other than the massive checks we each personally receive from Apple (har har), it’s our go-to laptop because it’s light, fast, and great for the kind of work we do. It doesn’t hurt that it looks sweet with stickers as well, of course. And after Apple highlighted users’ proclivity for decking out their MBAs in a recent video (seen below), the world of laptop decal sellers was suddenly cast in the spotlight. That spotlight resulted in a lot of new buyers, according to a report on MacStories. Quite a few more, actually. One of the venders MacStories spoke with saw orders increase by 400 percent since the ad aired, and page views jumped from a typical 500 per day all the way up to a peak of some 4,500 last week. If you dug any of those stickers, well, our sister site TUAW searched out links for where to buy those 74 decals. And while a majority of those depicted are easily found online, for those that aren’t, the site scoured Etsy and other places for suitable stand-ins. Now for the hard part: picking out the perfect decal.
Ben Gilbert contributed to this report
Modbook, the company behind those aftermarket Apple tablets, just launched a Kickstarter campaign for its latest product, the Modbook Pro X. After paying a pre-order price of $1,999 today, backers will be able to convert their own Retina MacBook Pros into a tablet beginning early next year. The conversion incorporates the laptop’s original hardware, with components shifted from the lower half of the computer to just behind the 15.4-inch 2,880 x 1,800-pixel LCD.
The Modbook Pro X supports pen input with 2,048 pressure levels, along with tilt and rotate functionality. You can also interact with the device using the rear-mounted shortcut keys or the detachable keyboard stand, both of which will be available for an additional cost. And, since your Apple warranty won’t be valid, you can purchase a three-year warranty through Modbook, which provides complete coverage for the first year free of charge. If you’d prefer to avoid supplying your own MacBook, you’ll also be able to pre-order a complete device from $3,999 and up, depending on the model.
Source: Modbook (Kickstarter)
After rumors surfaced yesterday about an incoming MacBook Pro refresh, Apple’s store went down earlier today, and now, hey presto! New MacBook Pros. The updated models haven’t changed significantly, but look to be better equipped to handle the next version of OS X due in the fall, Yosemite. All 15-inch MacBook Pro Retinas now have 16GB of RAM standard instead of 8GB, and the priciest model will get a new 1TB PCIe-based SSD. All the larger Retina models will also get bumped by 200Mhz to the latest 4th Core-i7 CPUs, with the top-liner getting a Core i7-4980HQ, which hits the magical 4.0GHz mark. Surprisingly, Apple has stuck with NVIDIA’s GeForce GT-750M for its top model with discrete graphics rather than updating to the latest GeForce GT800M series. The upside, however, is that the price for that model has dropped by $100 to $2,499 (or £1,999 in the UK).
The 13-inch models, meanwhile also got memory and speed boosts. The minimum amount of memory now available on the entry level 13-inch MacBook Pro is 8GB instead of 4GB, and all 13-inch models also got a 200MHz CPU speed bump. Despite the performance tweaks, Apple has kept the same pricing across the board, apart from the aforementioned discrete graphics model. All of that should keep MacBook Pro fans happy, particularly those grumbling about the meager 4GB of RAM in the base models. We imagine that Apple wasn’t upgrading the memory out of sheer generosity, however. There are a lot of new tweaks in Yosemite, including a new look, Spotlight search, widgets, a new version of Safari and more — so any extra space won’t hurt.
Following in Tim Cook’s footsteps, Apple’s SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue is auctioning his time to benefit the National Association of Basketball Coaches Foundation. Cue is widely known as a huge basketball fan, and has been seen at many basketball games, including those of his favorite team from Duke University, his alma mater.
In an auction on CharityBuzz, Cue is offering a one hour lunch meeting at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters and a 13-inch 1.4Ghz MacBook Air with 256 GB of storage, a $1,199 value. The meeting is valid for two people, with lunch included, at a mutually agreed upon date.
Have lunch with Apple, Inc., Senior Vice-President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue at the Apple Headquarters in Cupertino, California, and bring home a 13-inch MacBook Air!
Eddy Cue is Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, reporting to CEO Tim Cook. Eddy oversees Apple’s industry-leading content stores including the iTunes Store, the revolutionary App Store and the iBookstore, as well as Siri, Maps, iAd and Apple’s innovative iCloud services. Eddy’s team has an excellent track record of building and strengthening online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of Apple’s customers. He is a 25-year Apple veteran and leads a large organization of amazing people.
Cue’s auction ends on Wednesday, July 16 and is currently priced at $9,500 with an estimated value of $10,000. The auction was first listed in June, but was noticed earlier today by 9to5Mac.
The National Association of Basketball Coaches Foundation is an organization that supports the charitable and education purposes of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). The NABC has been responsible for founding national literacy program Ticket To Reading Rewards and it operates the College Basketball Experience, a facility in Kansas City that includes the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
Tim Cook has previously teamed up with CharityBuzz twice, offering a coffee meeting in 2013 and a lunch meeting in 2014 for a collective $940,000. Tim Cook’s proceeds benefitted the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights.
There are some solid deals on Apple-related software and accessories this week due to the Fourth of July holiday in the United States, as well as some decent discounts on the iMac, MacBook Air, and Retina MacBook Pro.
Best Buy is running a four-day 4th of July sale offering $120 off of Apple’s entire lineup of iMacs. This drops the price of the new entry level 1.4Ghz iMac to $979.99. Similarly, B&H Photo is also offering the new iMac for $979.99. Best Buy’s educational discounts are still ongoing, offering an additional $150 off the iMac or any other Mac, making it the best choice for students with an .EDU email address.
While Best Buy is also offering discounts on the rest of Apple’s iMacs, there are better deals to be had from both Adorama and B&H Photo. The older 2.7 Ghz 21.5-inch iMac is available for $1,149.99 from Adorama, a discount of nearly $150. The 2.9 Ghz 21.5-inch iMac is available for $1,349.99 from both B&H Photo and Adorama. The lower-end 27-inch iMac is available for $1,659.99 from B&H Photo and Adorama, while the higher-end model is available from B&H Photo and Adorama for $1,879.99.
There are also good deals on the current-generation MacBook Air, which was updated in April. The higher-end 11.6-inch model is available for $999 from Adorama and B&H Photo, a discount of $100. Adorama is offering the lower-end 13.3-inch model for $899, also $100 off. Finally, Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo are all selling the higher-end 13.3-inch MacBook Air for $100 off at $1099.99.
Retina MacBook Pro
As for the Retina MacBook Pro, several retailers are offering $100 to $150 off most models. The 13-inch RMBP with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is $1,399 at Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo. The lower-end 15-inch RMBP with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage is $1,849.99 at Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo, while the higher-end model with 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage is $2,449 at Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo.
Buying from Adorama and B&H Photo gives the benefit of no sales tax in many states, as these two stores only charge tax in New York/New Jersey and New York, respectively.
As for accessories, Speck Candyshell cases for the iPhone 5 and 5s are available half off at $17.99 through Groupon, while Otterbox Defender cases are available for $14.99, a discount of $34. Select CaseMate cases are on sale as well for $6.99 to $12.99, as is the LifeProof nüüd case for the iPad mini ($39.99).
Many apps are on sale for the 4th of July. The original Infinity Blade is available for $0.99, for example, while Infinity Blade II is $1.99 and Infinity Blade III is $2.99. Journaling app Day One, normally $4.99, is free. Fantastical 2 for iPad is discounted to $14.99, and Scanner Pro is discounted to $2.99.
Before making a purchase of a Mac or iOS device, make sure to consult our Buyer’s Guide to find out if it’s a good time to buy. For example, because the MacBook Air was updated in April, the Buyer’s Guide indicates that now is a good time to purchase.
MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.