Apple has released a new entry-level MacBook Pro that is likely to woo MacBook Air users looking to upgrade without pushing the budget too hard.
In a slightly confusing move, Apple has launched various different models in its new MacBook Pro family. If you’re interested in MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, then be sure to check that out too.
Can a MacBook Pro, without Apple’s new all-singing all-dancing Touch Bar, still excite? We got a closer look following the launch of the new range at the Apple Event in October.
Apple MacBook Pro (2016): Exterior design
Coming in silver or grey, the new entry-level MacBook Pro 13-inch model features the same exterior design as the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. It is considerably smaller in size than the previous 13-inch MacBook Pro (which is still be available) weighing 1.37kg and measures 14.9 x 304.1 x 212.4mm.
In real terms it is 3mm thinner than the previous MacBook Pro making it roughly the same thickness as the base of the older model. It is lighter too, around 200g, thanks to a reduction in the physical battery in the chassis.
- Apple MacBook Pro (2016) vs Apple MacBook Air: What’s the difference?
- Apple MacBook Pro (2016) vs MacBook Pro (2015): What’s the difference?
Gone is the glowing Apple icon on the back – it’s about saving space and battery power – and gone is the menagerie of ports and connections down either side.
Yes, like the new MacBook launched in 2015, which Apple describes as the Genesis to this model, the MacBook Pro entry-level model features just two Thunderbolt 3 sockets and a headphone socket.
There is no Magsafe power charger, no SD Card reader, no HDMI socket, no USB, or DisplayPort options. The removal of these ports is to save space and in many cases, if you want to use existing cables or devices, you’ll need a range of new cables or adapters.
Apple hopes the move will spearhead an industry movement to away from the multitude of different cable offerings, will mean that in the future you can serve a number of connection needs with little effort. All of these connections types – DisplayPort, HDMI, USB, etc – are supported on each Thunderbolt 3 port.
As we’ve found with the MacBook that ditched the sockets to adopt USB Type-C, it is possible to embrace a port free life, but you will have to make some compromises along the way.
Overall the design is very smart, especially the space grey model. It still retains the core design ethos of the MacBook Pro range of recent years, but manages to incorporate elements and lessons learnt from the 2015 MacBook. It isn’t a radical design change like the Lenovo YogaBook or the Surface Book, it’s a familiar evolution of the MacBook.
Apple MacBook Pro (2016): Opening it up
Raise the lid and you immediately notice Apple has redesigned and re-engineered the MacBook Pro here too. With the entry-level model you don’t get the Touch Bar or Touch ID unit, but you do still benefit from the new tighter keyboard, a much bigger trackpad, better speakers, and 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution display which claims to be 67 per cent brighter than the previous model. Side-by-side it certainly feels brighter and more colourful than the older MacBook Pro.
The keyboard is stiff like the smaller MacBook model with a very small amount of travel. If you are using a 2015 MacBook Pro you’ll immediately notice the difference. Everything is much more “stable”. We’ve also noticed that each key now gets its own individual LED backlight for greater light control and the move to a tighter keyboard has also meant that the keys are physically bigger too.
Beneath the keyboard is a much bigger (almost twice the size) Force Touch trackpad which is as long as the iPhone 7, but wider. It is noticeably larger. Like the previous MacBook Pro and MacBook, it doesn’t move and comes with haptic and 3D touch support. It’s very nice and very responsive and ultimately gives you a lot more space to interact.
The keyboard is now sandwiched between two speakers that run the height of the keyboard and deliver a louder, clearer, cleaner noise which is considerably more rounded and bassy than the previous outings. That’s achievable because Apple has changed the speaker technology moving away from bouncing the sound off the display, instead placing the direct firing speakers either side of the keyboard.
This model doesn’t come with the Touch Bar or Touch ID and instead delivers a no frills traditional row of Fn keys as you will be familiar with on all MacBook models previously.
Apple MacBook Pro (2016): At the core
It’s not just about the exterior, the internals get a refresh too with new processors, new graphics, and faster storage.
The starting model which we’re using features a 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1GHz, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD storage. It will cost £1,449 making it a very pricey upgrade from the £900 12-inch MacBook or £949 MacBook Air, but you are getting a lot of powerful tech for your money. You have to ask whether you need all that extra horsepower, screen technology, and size reduction.
- Apple MacBook Pro (2016): Release date, specs and everything you need to know
We haven’t yet had the chance to put the new MacBook Pro through its paces in terms of performance, but first impressions are that it is no slouch. We’ll be updating this preview as we delve deeper into the device, including whether or not, even though it has a physically smaller battery, the device is just as capable of lasting 10 hours on a single charge.
The entry-level MacBook Pro delivers a flagship laptop design from Apple that many will be happy with, without getting caught up in the new Touch Bar and Touch ID option.
The looks, design, new keyboard and trackpad are all lovely. The screen is delicious too, certainly in comparison to the MacBook Air, making this a great entry-level (if you can say that for a £1449 laptop) machine.
It would have been nice to have Touch ID, regardless of the Touch Bar, and the lack of port options may give you some headaches. Talking to MacBook users over the last year, ports are something you do learn to adapt to. Whether that fits into your existing workflow or not is a different question.
If you must have all the latest new toys, you’ll want the more powerful MacBook Pro with Touch Bar model, but for many, including those looking to upgrade their ailing MacBook Air, this will be a fantastic option if you can stretch your budget. This definitely looks to be a worthy upgrade from the MacBook Air.
Apple has just announced the 2016 MacBook Pro, representing the first major overhaul of the company’s ubiquitous laptop since 2012. There have been screen changes, processor upgrades and a bit of weight loss over the years, but the new model is completely new.
- Apple MacBook Pro (2016) with Touch Bar: Thinner, brighter, faster and very touchy feely
- Apple MacBook Pro (2016) vs Apple MacBook Pro (2015): What’s the difference?
The 2016 model is much, much thinner than before, thinner than the MacBook Air at its thickest point in fact, but to achieve that, Apple has had to remove an awful lot of ports and connections, ones that you’ve grown to know and love. Apple shows no mercy in the search of thinness.
Now, if you want to connect anything to the MacBook Pro (2016) you’ll need to via any of the four Thunderbolt 3 ports – there’s two ports on the 13in MacBook Pro without Touch Bar.
That means you can’t simply plug in your USB devices, including your iPhone or SD cards, or devices that use HDMI. If you want to do anything with the MacBook Pro, and considering you’ve bought a Pro, you’re probably going to want to, you’re going to need an awful lot of adapters.
Fortunately, Apple’s store is now bursting with the things, but they don’t come cheap. A 1m USB-C to Lightning cable to connect your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch will set you back £25, but if you want 2 metres, you’ll need to part with £35.
Apple ships each MacBook Pro (2016) with a 61W USB-C power adapter and a 2m USB-C cable, replacements of these cost £69 and £19 respectively.
If you want to transfer photos from your camera to your MacBook Pro you’ll need an SD card to USB-C adapter, SanDisk has one on the Apple Online Store for £45.
If you want to connect any other USB devices, a USB-C to USB adapter will cost you £19 and a USB-C to Thunderbolt 2 adapter costs £49.
Not cheap then, but when it comes to Apple you don’t tend to expect anything less. It’s unfortunate Apple has gone down the route of removing what will likely be vital ports for a lot of Pro users.
If you buy one of everything on this list, not including the 3m USB-C to Lightning cable, you’re look at £226 worth of cables and adapters. Or you could combine almost all the ports you’d need into one box and get the OWC USB-C dock for £170. Just saying.
The gauntlet has been thrown down. Microsoft has updated its top-spec Surface Book, while Apple has updated its MacBook Pro, putting in a new Touch Bar feature.
These two laptops square up, both pushing innovative features, trying to pull you to Windows and macOS respectively and claim the cash in your pocket.
But how do they compare head-to-head? This is the Surface Book vs MacBook Pro breakdown, comparing those 13-inch models.
Surface Book vs MacBook Pro: Design
- Surface Book has a detachable display
- MacBook Pro offers OLED Touch Bar
Microsoft introduced the Surface Book design in 2015 and although the model updated in 2016, it still looks the same, offering that proper keyboard, that innovative hinge that will let the screen sit at any angle, as well as offering a detachable 13.5-inch display.
The Surface Book measures 312.3 x 232.1 x 22.8mm and weighs 1.516kg or 1.647kg for the top i7 Performance Base model.
The MacBook Pro has an all-new design that slims down the aluminium unibody, expands the Force Touch trackpad and gives a really slim display, which remains attached.
MacBook Pro measures 304.1 x 212.4 x 14.9mm, so it’s smaller in all directions than the Surface Book. It weighs 1.37kg, so it’s a good deal lighter too.
The MacBook Pro introduces a Touch Bar OLED panel, replacing the function keys at the top of the keyboard, dynamically changing depending on what you’re doing. There’s also a Touch ID sensor in the power button, allowing for Apple Pay payments online, and easy sign-in.
Touch Bar gives you dedicated controls that simply don’t exist on other devices, with a solution that’s adaptable and doesn’t require any touching on the display itself.
These laptops are different: MacBook Pro might be more compact and portable, but Surface Book offers a full touch tablet, so it’s potentially more flexible, if a little bulkier.
- Microsoft Surface Book i7 (2016): Not an overhaul, but certainly more oomph
Surface Book vs MacBook Pro: Display
- Surface Book: 13.5-inch, 3000 x 2000 pixels, 267ppi, touchscreen
- MacBook Pro: 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600 pixels, 227ppi
There’s a big difference in what you can use these displays for. Surface Book has an advantage, offering a detachable display that offers full touch, as well as supporting Surface Pen. That means that Surface Book will do things you’d need an iPad Pro for – here there’s a Windows tablet in the same package.
The Surface Book has a 13.5-inch PixelSense display with a 3000 x 2000 pixel resolution, 267ppi, with 3:2 aspect.
The MacBook Pro offers a conventional 13.3-inch Retina display with 2560 x 1600 pixel resolution, 227ppi, with 8:5 aspect.
The Surface Book is sharper and can potentially offer more detail on its display, although the MacBook Pro has always been a very good quality display and in this latest model, it boosts the brightness and contrast.
Which looks better is difficult to judge without getting them side-by-side.
Surface Book vs MacBook Pro: Hardware
- Both offer Intel Core i5 and i7 options
- Surface Book offers discrete Nvidia GPUs
Both the Surface Book and the MacBook Pro offer sixth-gen Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs. Both offer various RAM from 8GB to 16GB depending on your configuration.
The Surface Book starts with 128GB SSD, with options up to 1TB. The MacBook Pro starts at 256GB SSD, with options up to 1TB. Storage depends on the model configuration you choose in both cases.
When it comes to GPU, the MacBook Pro 13-inch offers Intel Iris Graphics 540 or 550, depending on the model you choose. There’s only the option for an AMD Radeon GPU on 15-inch MacBook Pro models, so the 13-inch model is a little weaker in the GPU department.
The Surface Book offers much wider options for graphics, with Intel HD graphics at the entry level, but also offering discrete GPUs, up to the Nvidia GeForce GTX 965M on the top i7 model.
At the entry level these two laptops might be close, but in the 13-inch size, Microsoft is offering more powerful graphical options than Apple does.
- Apple MacBook Pro (2016) with Touch Bar: Thinner, brighter, faster, and very touchy feely
Surface Book vs MacBook Pro: Connections and ports
- Surface Book: Two USB 3.0, SD card, Mini DisplayPort
- MacBook Pro: Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that the MacBook Pro has axed a lot of ports, moving to Thunderbolt 3 for everything – charging and all connections you want to make. In the short term, than probably means that not much will connect to it without an adapter.
That makes the Surface Book instantly more compatible with existing devices. Surface Book supports your old USB devices, you can put your memory card in it and connect to your existing monitor for example.
It’s not as simple as saying the Surface Book is better as a result, however. MacBook Pro still has connections and they are all versatile, supporting HDMI, DisplayPort, USB and so on, but all though the USB Type-C design. In some ways, that makes for better connectivity, it’s just that you probably don’t have any of those connectors or adapters yet.
For those interested in photography, the loss of an SD card slot is probably the biggest bugbear with the MacBook Pro. For things like other connections, changing cables won’t be a long-term hardship.
- Here’s how much the new MacBook Pro will cost you in new adapters and cables
Microsoft Surface Book vs MacBook Pro: Price
- Surface Book: $1,699 (256GB)
- MacBook Pro: $1,799 (256GB)
The starting price of these laptops doesn’t tell the whole story. The older Surface Book at $1,349 comes with half the storage of the MacBook Pro’s starting point, so we’ve picked the 256GB model instead, where the pricing is close, with the Surface Book a little cheaper.
However, because of those powerful GPU options, the top Surface Book, with Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD and an Nvidia GPU will cost you $3,299. The top MacBook Pro, with Core i7, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD will cost you $2,899.
Although these devices occupy different spaces – Apple is more conventional but offers that unique Touch Bar, Microsoft is more versatile with touch and tablet mode – they’re both gunning to be the best 13-inch laptops around.
Whichever you choose, be prepared to be a pretty penny for them.
The Surface Book is available to order from the Microsoft Store. The MacBook Pro is available to pre-order from the Apple Store.
This is the new MacBook Pro. But it’s probably not the one you were hoping to read about. What I have here today is the new entry-level 13-inch model — the one without the multi-touch Touch Bar you’ve surely heard about by now. No, this is for all intents and purposes the Pro that replaces the MacBook Air. (The Air is still on sale — for now — but unless you have an inflexible budget, you should buy the new Pro instead.)
As a refresher, the new Pro weighs the same as the Air, at approximately three pounds, but has a noticeably smaller footprint. It also has the Retina display you always wished you had on the Air. There are some other differences too, including a much larger touchpad, a redesigned keyboard and a new selection of ports: just two Thunderbolt connections and a headphone jack. Oh, and it has a new price: The 13-inch Pro starts at $1,499, a bit more than you would have hoped to pay for a refreshed Air.
The laptop is shipping now and on display in Apple Stores, so there’s nothing stopping you from getting hands-on today. For my part, I received my test unit yesterday evening, which means I am in no way ready to publish a full review. But I am ready to give you a first look. Join me.
Let’s start with the design: Holy moly, is this thing small. I noticed it right away, just because my normal work laptop is a MacBook Air, which means I’m used to something much larger than this. The difference is especially obvious if you stack one machine on top of the other. Though both have 13.3-inch screens, the new MacBook Pro has a much smaller footprint — it’s shorter and less wide. Truly, trimming down that humongous bezel from the Air makes a world of difference. Just ask Dell, whose compact, 2.6-pound XPS 13 paved the way for laptops that take up shockingly little space. Basically, if you can achieve a nearly bezel-less screen, you can then squeeze it into a much smaller chassis than you would otherwise.
The MacBook Pro also weighs about the same as the Air: 3.02 pounds versus 2.96. And that underscores another reason the Air should probably be given the axe. It was once a featherweight feat of engineering; now it’s heavier than competing Windows machines (the XPS 13 being just one example), and it weighs the same as Apple’s once-heavier Pro line. All that said, three pounds is still plenty portable, especially if you’ve bought MacBook Pros in the past and are used to toting around something heavier. For those of you who are upgrading, this will feel like an improvement.
At 14.9mm thick, the Pro is also 12 percent thinner than the Air, though that’s not quite as obvious, just because the Air has a wedge-shaped design that gets narrower at the end. Thinner is generally good, so long as the battery life doesn’t suffer. In this case, it also means thinner ports. (Though let’s face it, Apple likes to get rid of legacy ports, so it would have done that even on a thicker machine — and did, on the 15-inch Pro.) Where there used to be several full-sized USB connections and an HDMI socket you’ll now find two Thunderbolt 3 ports, along with a headphone jack. If you choose one of the higher-end MacBook Pros, you’ll get four Thunderbolt ports.
Either way, be prepared to un-learn some old habits. Gone is the MagSafe power adapter, though you can at least charge out of any Thunderbolt port now. You’ll also need a dongle for any accessories requiring a full-sized USB connection. Out of the box, you cannot charge your iPhone off this.
In many other ways, the MacBook Pro looks and feels similar to the previous generation. It’s made of unibody aluminum, available in silver and Space Gray. Though the 500-nit display is 67 percent brighter than the previous-gen Retina panel, with 67 percent higher contrast and 25 percent more colors, the resolution is the same, at 2,560 x 1,600 (a pixel density of 227 ppi). It’s lovely, especially with those tiny bezels and skinny metal frame around the screen. Particularly for those of you who have only ever owned the Air or an ancient MacBook Pro, you’re in for a treat.
The keyboard is both the same as before, and also not the same. As I said, this is the version of the MacBook Pro that does not have the OLED touchscreen stretching above the keyboard. That means the physical Escape key has lived to see another day — as have all the other Function keys, including brightness and volume controls.
So the keyboard looks the same. But then you touch it. Under the keycaps, Apple went with the same “butterfly” mechanism that it first introduced on the 12-inch MacBook. That means these buttons are shallower and less pillowy than on the last-gen MBPs, but still manage to be a lot springier than they look. I felt a little sour at first, giving up my old keyboard design (I don’t love change), but so far I’m typing away at this very story, and I’m not making many typos either.
As for the Force Touch trackpad, it’s 46 percent larger than before, making it nearly as big as Apple’s Magic Trackpad accessory. It’s more than enough space for the basics — stuff like scrolling and pinching to zoom. I’ll be curious, too, to see how it fares in more professional-grade use cases, like video and photo editing. More on that some other day.
All the stuff we’ll save for our review
There’s a reason I’m not calling this a review. There’s so much I haven’t had time to test! Apple says the battery life on both the 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros can reach 10 hours. I’ll be sure to investigate that claim. Apple also stepped up to sixth-gen Intel Core processors across its lineup, with faster solid-state drives promising read speeds of up to 3.1 gigabytes per second. Oh, and I specifically didn’t mention the speakers earlier either. I’d like to listen to my very large, and very eclectic, Spotify collection before weighing in on the audio quality.
Given that the Pro has always been aimed at power users — and has a starting price to match — I don’t want to give the performance short shrift. And benchmarks are just the beginning too; real-world use matters as well. So give me a few days to live with this thing and I’ll be back soon with a full review. In the meantime, what’s the over/under on how long Apple waits before killing off the 13-inch Air?
Photos by Edgar Alvarez
Facebook has “borrowed” a lot of ideas from Snapchat lately, including the concept for Instagram Stories and Facebook Live selfie filters. In perhaps its most audacious move yet, the social network has started testing a new camera that lets you take selfies and videos with filters, effects and masks, which you can then share with friends in your News Feed. If nobody replies within 24 hours, they’ll disappear.
Of course, those tricks pretty much make Snapchat what it is, and Facebook now has very similar ones in the heart of its app. While the test is just limited to Ireland, if Zuckerberg & Co. adopt the features widely, it’ll mean that Facebook’s 1.4 billion monthly users will be able do a lot of the things that used to make Snapchat unique.
Facebook purchased its filter technology from MSQRD back in March, but so far, has only used it in Facebook Live with Rio Olympics and Halloween-themed masks. The company also launched Prisma-like filters lately, with more advanced blending options than the original. Now, both types of technology have been integrated in the new camera, at least in a limited test.
Even while Facebook’s user base is growing, sharing of images and other personal content is on the decline. By contrast, Snapchat has dramatically increased photo and video sharing aided, no doubt, by all the fun ways to mash it up. The company famously declined Facebook’s $3 billion offer to buy it out, something many people thought crazy at the time. However, it’s now better at monetizing its content, and figures it could make up to $1 billion in revenue next year.
It’s not just Samsung that has problems with combusting batteries, as NASA’s office of Safety and Mission Assurance has just revealed. The body has announced that NASA centers have seen at least four major explosions and a number of close calls over the last decade. The latest crisis was a fire at the Jet Propulsion Lab that wiped out one of DARPA’s RoboSimian droids before a test.
Admittedly, the inquest has found that actually this was the fault of the test engineers, who forgot to enable a power management system. But one thing that becomes patently obvious is that, as lithium-ion batteries become ubiquitous, there’s a looming safety issue. NASA found that none of the personnel that tried to tackle the blaze knew how to fight the fire, and the proper safety equipment hadn’t been installed. Now that you know that NASA is ill-equipped to deal with battery fires, imagine how well you’ll do when that smartphone, tablet, laptop or hoverboard goes up in flames.
Via: Popular Mechanics
Christmas may be the “most wonderful time of the year,” but Halloween is the high holiday of sexy costumography. If you want to stand out from the legions of alluring nurses, librarians and teachers, take some inspiration from the most seductive subject of all: internet memes! Show off your switchblade skills with a slinky Crab with a Knife costume, rock some socks as a toothsome hipster Ariel or just melt hearts with a sultry Doge outfit. There’s no meme too obscure, no reference too random that you can’t add your own sexy spin to it. Except maybe Pepe the Frog.
Planning to dress up as a meme this Halloween? Share you pics with us on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #Hallowmemes
Mobile wallets aren’t just for getting in and out of Starbucks that bit quicker. In several parts of the world, many people rely solely on mobile wallets for all their financial needs. These are particularly prevalent in Kenya, for example, where 58 percent of adults manage their money with mobiles. And we’re not talking about smartphone apps and contactless payments here, but simpler systems like M-Pesa that work on feature phones and verify transactions via SMS messages. These are entirely reliant on the presence and performance of mobile networks, though, which a project called DigiTally is trying to address with a SIM sticker that lets users make and receive payments when there’s no network connection whatsoever.
Born out of the University of Cambridge and supported by a grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, DigiTally is a new type of mobile wallet that can be installed on even the simplest of phones by way of SIM sticker that sits over the standard contacts. This effectively adds DigiTally as a SIM service. While users still need to visit somewhere to add money to their DigiTally wallets, transactions don’t need to be authorized over a mobile network. Well, not immediately anyway.
Users make payments to each other simply by exchanging eight-digit verification codes between their mobiles, and the transactions are instantly reflected in both of their balances. Say this occurs where there is no mobile signal. Whenever the two users next get a connection, the transaction history is uploaded to a server and account balances re-synced.
The idea is not only to enable mobile payments in areas with no cell coverage, or where congestion is such that SMS-based systems are slow, but also to cut costs for users. As the system isn’t reliant on text messages, savings could be made there, as well as bundling transactions to reduce associated fees. DigiTally has already been successfully trialled earlier this year in Nairobi, Kenya, and the plan is make the project open-source in early 2017.
Via: New Scientist
Source: University of Cambridge
George “Geohot” Hotz, PlayStation and iPhone hacker extraordinaire, has canceled production on Comma One, a $1,000 aftermarket add-on that he said would allow some cars to operate semi-autonomously. He claimed the tech was “about on par” with Tesla’s Autopilot and it used cars’ video feeds to navigate the roads. It was due to start rolling out at the end of this year. But, after receiving a special order from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today, Geohot decided Comma One wasn’t worth the paperwork.
Geohot said on Twitter that the special order opened “with threats” rather than an attempt at dialogue. “Would much rather spend my life building amazing tech than dealing with regulators and lawyers,” he tweeted just before officially canceling the Comma One. “It isn’t worth it.”
The comma one is cancelled. comma.ai will be exploring other products and markets. Hello from Shenzhen, China. -GH 3/3
— comma ai (@comma_ai) October 28, 2016
The letter and special order sent to Geohot by the NHTSA outlined the administration’s role in overseeing the safety of motor vehicles and asked for detailed answers to 15 questions about how the Comma One would work.
“We are concerned that your product would put the safety of our customers and other road users at risk,” the letter said. “We strongly encourage you to delay selling or deploying your product on the public roadways unless and until you can ensure it is safe.”
The NHTSA asked for Geohot to submit his answers by November 10th. The one line that could reasonably be construed as a threat, as Geohot called it, was the following: “If you do not timely or completely respond to the Requests in the Special Order, you may be subject to civil penalties of up to $21,000 per day.” The letter closes with contact information for a member of the NHTSA legal staff.
When Geohot revealed the Comma One in September, we were impressed but understandably skeptical. His company, Comma.ai, seemed to be moving remarkably quickly — perhaps that’s because Geohot skipped some of the standard paperwork.
Source: Scribd, @comma_ai