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.
Road warriors who carry a MacBook may already have Apple’s world travel adapter kit, or even Twelve South’s PlugBug for that extra USB port; but both products require swapping plugs for different regions. Konnext’s OneAdapter Twist, however, caters to the slightly lazier travelers: It’s essentially a chunky all-in-one travel adapter that sits atop any MacBook charger, though it also works just fine by itself. To switch plugs, simply twist the ring in the middle until it clicks. There’s also a 2.4A USB socket (PlugBug’s is only 2.1A), and if you need more, you can slot an optional three-socket USB hub in between. The OneAdapter Twist won’t be launching until June for around $29 to $39, but for now, we have a quick demo video of a prototype after the break.
Filed under: Peripherals
Been waiting for a MacBook Air refresh? Breathe easy, friend, because one has arrived — well, sort of. Cupertino has quietly updated its online store with a familiar looking ultraportable, matching last year’s model almost spec for spec: 4GB of RAM, 128 or 256GB of flash storage, a 1,440 x 900 resolution display, Intel HD 5000 graphics and a slim wedge frame with all the trimmings — Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 ports and a SDXC card reader. The laptop’s processor, on the other hand, has been upgraded: We’re still talking about Intel’s Haswell architecture, but the standard 2014 MacBook Air now boasts a 1.4GHz Core i5 CPU. That’s only a hair faster than last year’s 1.3GHz processor while idling, but it also has a higher Turbo Boost speed (2.7GHz compared to 2.6GHz) and could well have better efficiency too, by virtue of the fact that it represents the best of what Intel’s fabs are currently capable of. The other big change is in the price, as these new units are $100 cheaper than the ones you could pick up yesterday. If you were looking for some Retina action, however, or a major step-change in battery life, then that’s probably still some way off.
Source: Apple UK
As was initially reported last week, Apple’s updated MacBook Air may launch this week, possibly as soon as tomorrow.
Shipments of new 11 and 13-inch MacBook Airs are currently arriving in Apple Stores across the country, according to 9to5Mac, with plans to put the computers on display beginning tomorrow morning.
The MacBook Air refresh is expected to be minor and could arrive with little fanfare. Updated MacBook Air computers may include a slightly improved Haswell processor with a small speed boost and few other changes.
Tomorrow’s 11-inch and 13-inch Airs are codenamed J41A and J43A, respectively, and their SKUs are simply a variation to the current MacBook Air SKU labels. For example, the entry 13-inch MacBook Air of today is known as “MD760LL/A”, while this week’s refreshed version is known as “MD760LL/B.” It’s unclear if Apple will even promote the updated Airs.
Though Apple is planning just a minor MacBook Air refresh for this week, the company is also said to have a second 12-inch MacBook Air in the works that will be released later in the year.
The 12-inch MacBook Air is expected to feature some major design changes in the form of a slimmer chassis without fans, a Retina display, and a buttonless trackpad.
It is unclear when the tomorrow’s updated MacBook Airs might make their first appearance, but it is possible Apple will take its online store down tonight in order to update inventory ahead of an in-store release tomorrow.
The White House won’t be going it alone as it brings US classrooms into the internet era through its ConnectED initiative — it just revealed that a host of technology firms will also lend a hand. Apple plans to donate $100 million in iPads, MacBooks and software to underprivileged schools, while Autodesk and O’Reilly Media will give away free software and content. Microsoft, in turn, will heavily discount Windows to lower educational PC prices. Carriers are getting in on the action, too. AT&T and Sprint have both pledged to offer free wireless broadband to schools for multiple years; Verizon isn’t giving away service, but it will donate up to $100 million in cash and other commitments. The combined efforts aren’t going to fix the American education system by themselves, but they could create a level playing field for schools across the country.
[Image credit: Johan Larsson, Flickr]