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Posts tagged ‘MacBook’


Apple is reportedly putting Mac development on the back burner

Apple only released one substantial update to its entire lineup of Mac computers in 2016, and what a controversial update it was. To many outsider observers, the last year made it feel like the Mac is far from a priority at Apple — and a report from the reliable Mark Gurman of Bloomberg backs that up. According to Gurman’s anonymous sources, the Mac team just isn’t a priority with Jony Ive’s design team, the company’s software team or senior management at large. Additionally, both technical challenges and the departures of key members of the Mac team have also slowed things down.

Perhaps the most notable example Gurman gives comes from the new MacBook Pro. Originally, Apple engineers wanted to use the “tiered” battery system found in the 12-inch MacBook to get more capacity into the new MacBook Pro lineup. But the new battery failed some key tests prior to launch, so Apple had to revert to an older, more standard battery design that resulted in worse battery life as well as disorganization and scrambling as the company pulled in engineers from other teams to get everything squared away. Gurman says this affected development on other parts of the Mac lineup.

It’s a pretty big black eye for Apple, as many reports and reviews have noted how the MacBook Pro’s battery life is just not up to par with its competition and doesn’t represent what most expect when spending so much money. In fact, since the computer launched, Apple pushed out a software update that removed “time remaining” estimates from macOS (the company claims the MacBook Pro’s battery functions as expected, but that the OS is just not showing proper battery life estimates).

Speaking of macOS, Gurman reports that there’s no longer a dedicated team for developing the Mac’s software. There’s just one big software team that works across iOS and the Mac. That makes a lot of sense given the close ties between the systems that have developed in recent years — but it also means that iOS gets the lion’s share of resources. That’s reasonable given the iPhone’s massive importance to Apple’s bottom line, but it’s still bad news for those of us who like seeing continued Mac innovation.

It’s not just on the software side — Jony Ive and his design team are also visiting with the Mac team much less and not reviewing nearly as many concepts as they used to. This might explain why the spec bump that the 12-inch MacBook received earlier this year was so minor. Originally, Apple had planned to add a second USB-C port and Touch ID, two additions that would have been most welcome. But instead Apple added a rose gold color option and a slightly faster processor.

Of course, Apple maintains that it’s business as usual for the Mac. “We have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that,” CEO Tim Cook said recently in a company Q&A session that Bloomberg reported on. But the fact that Apple’s own employees are questioning the company’s dedication to it’s former flagship product has to say something about what’s going on in Cupertino.

Source: Bloomberg


Apple drops its iconic startup chime from the new MacBook Pros

Aside from the ports that didn’t make the cut, there’s something else that Apple’s taken away from its new MacBook Pro family: the startup chime. Yep, it’s taken out the F-sharp chord that accompanies the boot-up whirr of previous MacBooks, and that’s at least partially because the late-2016 MBPs (all three of them), will turn themselves on and boot up when you open them. So while the power button still turns the machine off, there’s no need to use it to turn it on.

This means your new MacBook won’t blare out said startup chimes when it’s opened up in public places or mid-meeting. According to Apple, the automatic start-up (as in, not from sleep mode), kicks in when you start up your MacBook Pro by opening it or plugging it in, when connecting it to power while the lid is open, and even when it’s closed if you’ve connected the machine to an external display.

Pingie, which discovered the change in Apple’s support notes, added it brings (at least part of) the MacBook series in line with the rest of the Apple product family: there’s not startup noise on iPhones, iPads or the Apple Watch. And here’s all those startup chimes, all in a row:

Via: Pingie, 9to5Mac

Source: Apple Support


The Engadget Podcast Ep 12: Surface Envy

Managing editor Dana Wollman and senior editor Devindra Hardawar join host Terrence O’Brien to talk about the value of the Esc key, the Nintendo Switch and the impeding Gilmore Girls resurrection. Then they’ll relive Microsoft’s big Surface event and dig in on future of Twitter… and whether or not it even has one.

The Flame Wars Leaderboard



Winning %

Mona Lalwani
Christopher Trout
Dana Wollman
Devindra Hardawar
Chris Velazco
Cherlynn Low
Nathan Ingraham
Michael Gorman

Relevant links:

  • Apple unveils a thinner MacBook Pro with an OLED ‘Touch Bar’
  • The Switch shows desperate Nintendo is the best Nintendo
  • The first official Netflix ‘Gilmore Girls’ trailer is here
  • Windows 10 ‘Creator’s Update’ arrives free of charge next spring
  • The new Microsoft Paint lets you share terrible 3D doodles
  • Microsoft passes on updating the Surface Pro
  • Microsoft’s big-screen Surface Studio is an engineering marvel
  • Twitter will fire around 350 employees in hunt for profits
  • Twitter promises ‘meaningful’ safety updates next month
  • Does anyone want to buy Twitter?
  • Twitter’s troll problem likely killed Disney’s bid

You can check out every episode on The Engadget Podcast page in audio, video and text form for the hearing impaired.

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The Morning After: Friday October 28th 2016

Apple’s big MacBook event introduced a new family of Pro machines, with nary a mention of the MacBook Air. The company also expelled standard USB 3.0 ports in its new range, replacing them all with (USB-C-shaped) Thunderbolt 3.0 ports — but hey, at least there’s a fancy OLED “Touch Bar.” Meanwhile, Turkey’s government shut down internet across 11 cities in the Kurdish area of the country, Oh, and Twitter killed Vine.

There’s still a headphone jack.Apple’s thinner MacBook Pro comes with an OLED touch strip, different ports again.


An even richer Retina display, more processing power, and a smaller model along with it: Apple’s newest MacBook Pro (like its newest iPhones) is a possibly divisive upgrade for the company’s faithful. The new OLED Touch Bar on the 15-inch model had some compelling use cases from Apple, but we’re still waiting to see how it all handles during a review.

Dongles for days.Your new iPhone and new MacBook will need a new cable to connect to each other.


Apple went all in on Thunderbolt 3.0 for its new MacBook Pro. But while it’s evolving its ports , it also just made every iPhone owner who wants one of these computers buy a new dongle. Sold separately.

Just ask first.The FCC has some new privacy rules to help protect your data from internet providers.

If internet service providers want to collect data about what you do and where you go on the internet, they’ll have to ask first, thanks to some new rules approved by the FCC today. That’s a change from before, when ISPs only had to offer a way to opt out of tracking behaviour like browsing habits, app usage and location or financial data. Expect to see an updated TOS from your internet provider any minute now.

Is this what a modern TV guide looks like?The Apple TV gets a guide, but it’s missing something.


Finding something to watch on streaming services isn’t quite easy enough, even with that new Siri Remote, so Apple’s TV solution is … TV. Really, that’s the name of its TV guide app, which detects the services you’re signed into and lets you browse through their content all in one place. TV works on the iPhone and iPad too, but at least so far, it doesn’t work with Netflix or Amazon. We’ll see if that changes before it launches on Apple TV in December.

Gone in six secondsTwitter killed Vine because it doesn’t fit


Twitter announced that it’s killing its six-second video app in the next few months. There are many reasons why, but perhaps the strongest is that it didn’t really fit with CEO Jack Dorsey’s vision of “the people’s news network.”

But wait, there’s more…

  • Watch Apple’s MacBook event in less than nine minutes
  • The original emoji character set is going to MoMA
  • Turkish government cuts off internet access in 11 cities
  • Alphabet’s experimental companies are getting better and losing less money

(Lead image credit: @Darth)


The writing is on the wall for MacBook Air

Apple hasn’t updated the MacBook Air since 2015 and it’s not going to any time soon. Instead, the company today phased out the $900, 11-inch MacBook Air. Only the $1,000, 13-inch MacBook Air remains available on Apple’s store, and the company has instead gone all-in on the new line of MacBook Pros.

During a product event today, Apple revealed the 13-inch MacBook Pro — and the other 13-inch MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar. These two models join the existing MacBook Air in Apple’s 13-inch lineup. In fact, Apple compared the lowest-end MacBook Pro (the one without the Touch Bar) directly to the 13-inch MacBook Air, noting that the new model is lighter, thinner, more powerful and has an upgraded Retina display.

Considering it’s been nearly two years since Apple updated the Air, the comparison wasn’t exactly surprising. The whole bit was a way for Apple to demonstrate that the Pro can function as an Air — it’s 13 percent smaller than the 2015 model, after all — and to say that the company hasn’t forgotten about its cheapest line of laptops.

However, that’s exactly where things get tricky: price. The lowest-end MacBook Pro costs significantly more than the Air, which runs $1,000. The 13-inch MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar starts at $1,500. This means there are no more sub-$1,000 laptops in Apple’s lineup.

Ahead of today’s event, competing reports argued that Apple would reveal either a 13-inch MacBook Air or a 13-inch MacBook. Apple’s last update to the MacBook Air was in 2015 and even this year’s new, 12-inch MacBook was just a slight upgrade from the 2015 model (unless you’re really into rose gold).

The shiny new MacBook Pro comes in three flavors: 13-inch without a Touch Bar ($1,500), 13-inch with a Touch Bar ($1,800) and 15-inch with a Touch Bar ($2,400). The Touch Bar is an OLED strip above the keyboard that offers different tasks depending on which application the user has open.

Click here to catch all the latest news from Apple’s “Hello again” event.


UK pricing for Apple’s new MacBook Pros

So, Apple’s “Hello Again” event is over, and it turned out to be a little lighter than first thought. The company announced a new all-in-one guide for Apple TV, as well as Minecraft hitting the little box before the end of the year. The new MacBook Pro lineup was the main reason people showed up, though. They are thinner and lighter, with brighter screens and improved performance, though they seem to have misplaced standard USB ports. The new OLED Touch Bar with Touch ID that replaces the function keys is the big addition to the top-end 13-inch and 15-inch models, offering contextual controls based on what program you’re using at the time (where supported, of course). We know what you’re here for, so we’ll cut to the chase. What’s the damage?

13-inch MacBook Pro £1,449 £1,749 £1,949
15-inch MacBook Pro £2,349 £2,699

There you have it. All models are available to preorder today from Apple, with the standard 13-inch MBP shipping almost immediately. Any Touch Bar model, however, will take roughly 3-4 weeks to reach your doorstep.

Also, fun fact: The cheapest MacBook Pro is now £200 more expensive than the model it replaces, or £300 more if you’re springing for a 15-inch display. That’s just the start, though. Mac Mini prices have risen from £399 to £479, the Mac Pro has jumped from £2,499 to £2,999 and the 4K and 5K iMacs have both been given £300 markups. Thanks, Brexit?

Click here to catch all the latest news from Apple’s “Hello again” event.

Source: Apple


The 13-inch MacBook Pro vs. the competition: Small but effective

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a revamp of the MacBook Pro, and this year’s models are definitely a big change thanks to the new OLED touch bar. Meanwhile, rival companies have been busy releasing machines that are increasingly more powerful, slimmer and even a bit sexy. We’ve highlighted some of the more outstanding small and light machines on the market here to see which slim chassis brings the most thunder under the hood.

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch
Surface Book i7
Dell XPS 13
HP Spectre 13.3
$1,499 / $1,799 / $1,999
$2,399 / $2,799 / $3,299
$800 / $1,000 / $1,150 / $1,300 / $1,400 / $1,650 / $1,850
$1,100 / $1,170
11.97 x 8.36 x 0.59 (304.1 x 212.4 x 14.9 mm)
12.30 x 9.14 x 0.90 inches (312.3 x 232.1 x 22.8 mm)
11.98 x 7.88 x 0.33 inches (304 x 235 x 15 mm)
12.8 x 9.03 x 0.41 inches (325.12 x 229.36 x 10.41 mm)
3.02 pounds (1.37 kg)
3.63 pounds (1.65 kg)
2.7 (non-touch) or 2.9 (touch) pounds (1.2 or 1.29 kg)
2.45 pounds (1.11 kg)
macOS Sierra
Windows 10
Windows 10
Windows 10
13.3-inch IPS LED
Touch Bar with integrated Touch ID
13.5-inch PixelSense touch
13.3-inch InfinityEdge touch or non-touch
13.3-inch BrightView LED / IPS LED
2,560 x 1,600 (227 ppi)
3,000 x 2,000 (267 ppi)
1,920 x 1,080 (166 ppi) / 3,200 x 1,800 (276 ppi)
1,920 x 1,080 (166 ppi)
Intel Core i5 (2.0 GHz) / Core i5 (2.9 GHz)
Intel Core i7
Intel Core i3 (2.4 GHz) / Core i5 (3.1 GHz) / Core i7 (3.5 GHz)
Intel Core i5 (2.5 GHz) / Core i7 (2.7 GHz)
8 GB
8 / 16 GB
4 / 8 / 16 GB
8 GB
Intel Iris Graphics 540 / 550
Intel HD Graphics 620
Intel HD Graphics 620
256 / 512 GB
256 / 512 GB / 1 TB
128 / 256 / 512 GB
256 GB
Thunderbolt 3 (x2) / Thunderbolt 3 (x4)
USB 3.0 (x2), Mini DisplayPort, SD card reader
USB 3.0 (x2), Thunderbolt 3, SD card reader
USB Type-C (x3)
802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2
802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0
802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1
802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0
54.5 WHr, 10 hours / 49.2 WHr, 10 hours
16 hours
60 WHr, 18 hours
38 WHr, 9.75 hours

* Specs listed are for default configurations and do not include upgrade options available at checkout.

Click here to catch all the latest news from Apple’s “Hello again” event.


Meet the MacBook Pro’s new Touch Bar with TouchID

Apple has announced its newest line of MacBook Pro notebooks, and true to the leaks, it comes with an OLED strip instead of function keys. As the company’s Phil Schiller notes, function keys are a decades-old technology that shouldn’t really have a place in a laptop from 2016. In its place, the company is adding a retina display touchscreen (with multitouch) that it’s calling the Touch Bar. As well as contextual menus that change depending on what app you’re in, the power button on the far right now doubles as a TouchID sensor.

These contextual menus will alter depending on what software you’re using, so when you’re inside Mail, you’ll get dedicated send buttons in the strip. In photo editing, you’ll get basic tools including a rotation slider for making minor adjustments. Of course, should you still require the old-fashioned function keys, that’s still possible too — you just have to hold down the Function key. In the demo so far, it looks as if the escape key will remain a fixture on the top left, which will be handy for those would mourn its passing.

Users will also be able to customize their Touch Bar with specific shortcut keys that relate to specific features. For instance, if you wanted to have a screenshot capability right in the keyboard, you can simply by clicking and dragging that icon to the bar. In many ways, the Touch Bar cribs from iOS, since it offers similar buttons that you will have found on the iPhone and iPad — like FaceTime answer controls.

Apple is also talking about how this new technology will make your computer (and, by extension, your personal information) safer. After all, you can now unlock your MacBook Pro with your fingerprint, which is held in a piece of hardware called the T1 chip. That’s the iPhone-esque secure enclave that, the company promises, will keep your identity and payment details safe from nefarious attackers. TouchID will also enable multiple users to keep their partitions on the device separated, useful for budget-conscious businesses.

This is a developing story. Please press refresh to learn more.

Click here to catch all the latest news from Apple’s “Hello again” event.


What to expect from Apple’s ‘Hello Again’ event

Apple is sneaking in one more big product unveiling before 2016 comes to a close, and expectations for new Macs are running high. And how couldn’t they be? Aside from last year’s iMacs and the 12-inch MacBook, Cupertino’s computer lineup has gone largely untouched since 2015 — and there are numerous systems that have remained the same for even longer. But which Macs are going to get an upgrade on Oct. 27th? And is there a chance that other devices will get their moment in the sun? We’ve rounded up some of the more credible rumors to give you a sense of what’s likely in store.

Redesigned MacBook Pro

Martin Hajek's conceptual rendering of a MacBook Pro with an OLED touch strip

If there’s anything that could be considered a lock for the “Hello Again” event, it’s a refreshed MacBook Pro lineup. Apple hasn’t made any significant changes there since mid-2015, and some elements have stuck around for ages. The 15-inch models are still using the fourth-generation Core i7 chips they got back in 2014, for example, while the basic designs of both the 13- and 15-inch systems have remained largely the same since they were introduced in 2012. Even if you discount the rumors, it’s safe to say the MacBook Pro is long overdue for a makeover.

Thankfully, it sounds like you’re going to get just that. Numerous scoops (supported by a case leak from Cult of Mac) suggest that the new Pros are coming this fall, and will center around an OLED touch strip above the keyboard that adapts to the context of whatever you’re doing. You’d get media playback controls if music is playing, or app-specific shortcuts for tasks like video editing or web browsing. Also, Apple might introduce a fingerprint-reading power button that streamlines your sign-ins and online purchases through Apple Pay.

Those same leaks also hint that the MacBook Pros’ ports will be a mixed bag. Instead of the usual variety of connections, you’d get USB-C ports (with Thunderbolt 3 for some high-speed peripherals), a headphone jack … and that’s about it. You might need adapters for video output, SD card readers and other hookups that might have had native connections before. It could be an inconvenience, at least in the short term when USB-C peripherals are rare, but it would give you a more flexible computer in the long run. You wouldn’t have to buy a 15-inch system (or a hub) just to get more than two USB ports or worry about where you plug in an external display.

What’s powering these laptops is a tougher call. Intel did just introduce its first seventh-generation Core (aka Kaby Lake) processors, but the current versions are lower-power chips designed for ultraportables, not mobile workhorses like the MacBook Pro. Unless Apple can score higher-power parts, you may have to “settle” for sixth-gen Core CPUs. You could get improved battery life, though, and there are hints you’ll be able to configure it with up to a 2TB solid-state drive.

The graphics on the 15-inch model would definitely get a boost too. Rumors have it sporting AMD Polaris-based video that would help with creative work and the occasional round of gaming. Just don’t expect a 4K display, because the tidbits we’ve seen suggest that you’ll get the same screen resolutions (2,560 x 1,440 and 2,880 x 1,800) that you have now.

Whatever mystery is left comes down to the pricing. Will these systems carry any kind of premium over their ancestors? And will the base models have enough horsepower and storage to keep you satisfied? Barring last-minute revelations, that may have to wait until event day.

A 13-inch MacBook … or is it a new MacBook Air?

Apple MacBook

It’s when you consider other possible Mac introductions that things get tricky. There have been conflicting reports as to how Apple will tweak its lower-cost laptops, and both sides can make a persuasive case.

One rumor from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman (who has a solid track record for Apple scoops) has Apple releasing an upgraded 13-inch MacBook Air with USB-C ports. It’s not certain what else would be improved. A higher-quality display, perhaps? The current batch of seventh-generation Core processors would work in a new Air, at least, so performance could easily take a step forward. And like it or not, Apple may have to keep the Air current simply because it’s the only MacBook you can buy at a sub-$1,000 price point. Don’t expect the 11-inch Air to survive, as it’s supposedly being cut (it feels a bit redundant now, thanks to the 12-inch MacBook).

However, a conflicting prediction from KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (who also has a good record) has Apple passing over the Air in favor of something else: a 13-inch version of the MacBook first launched in 2015. Little is known about what that would entail besides a likely Retina display, but a larger frame could allow for a beefier processor (not just one of Intel’s lowest-power Core chips), as well as additional ports. More than one USB-C socket, please! The question is, where this would fit in the lineup? Unless the 12-inch version becomes more affordable, a 13-inch MacBook could be priced well into MacBook Pro territory.

We wouldn’t rule either portable out at this stage, but history would suggest that the second option is more likely. Once Apple introduces a new Mac design at the heart of its lineup, it rarely revisits the old hardware. This is the company that’s still selling a four-year-old MacBook Pro to optical drive diehards, remember. Combine that with the Air’s aging circa-2010 chassis and it’s easy to see why Apple would want to move on.

Wild cards: New iPads, more Macs

What else could appear on Oct. 27th? You might not want to get your hopes up for new desktops. When seventh-generation desktop Core processors aren’t due to appear until 2017, an iMac revamp seems unlikely. Ditto the Mac Pro, which would depend on new Xeon E5 models. A fabled 5K stand-alone display may have to wait until the new year as well, according to rumors. About the only Mac desktop that could qualify for a near-term upgrade is the Mac mini, and any update (we’re not expecting one) could easily be limited to a low-key press release.

If anything beyond MacBooks appears onstage, it’s more likely to be iPads. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is approaching the first anniversary of its ship date, and it’s looking long in the tooth compared to the 9.7-inch model. We’re skeptical of purported A10X benchmarks, but Macotakara (which is sometimes accurate, but not always) hears that a 12.9-inch refresh is in the cards with the 12-megapixel rear camera and TrueTone display of its smaller sibling. The site even talks about a 7.9-inch iPad Pro with many of the features from larger models. Let’s also not forget that the iPad Air 2 is marking its second birthday. It’s old enough that Apple may see fit to either replace it or give it the ax, although there haven’t been any rumors so far.

Image credits: Martin Hajek; AP Photo/Eric Risberg; AOL


The Morning After: Monday October 24th 2016

Happy Monday. Over the weekend, we sampled smart-refrigerated wine, looked back on 15 years of iPod, and asked Amazon’s AI to fact-check politicians for us. Coming up this week: Apple’s MacBook event, some news from Microsoft, and a lot of companies reporting on their quarterly earnings — if you’re all about gross revenue and such.

‘schpensivePlum is the $1,500 smart wine fridge you can’t afford


Engadget editors run the gamut, from whisky connoisseurs to those looking for “whatever’s got the most booze in it.” We like the idea of Plum: a smart fridge aimed at making your wine taste the best it possibly can. It’ll even dispense it for you. (No, it doesn’t take wine boxes.)

Digital music was changed forever.The iPod: 15 years on


It’s been 15 years since the launch of the first iPod, the device that would lead to the iPhone, the iPad, iTunes music, and myriad other ways of taking our money. A lot has changed since then, but we all have a lot to thank Apple’s debut MP3 player for.

Compromises.Review: Razer’s latest gaming rig tries to deliver desktop gaming power and an ultraportable notebook

The Razer Blade Stealth gaming laptop has a powerful pitch: a portable, powerful notebook that could dip into the power of desktop-class graphics cards, changing it into a gaming powerhouse. Sean Buckley discovers that there are some caveats — most notably the poor battery life when the laptop is away from your desk.

Alexa is on it.Amazon’s talking speaker can now fact-check your leaders

The new Amazon Echo skill lets you fact-check any politician scrutinized by PolitiFact, or the Washington Post — if that’s your idea of a fun Monday morning task.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Samsung’s rushed Note 7 recall has had an effect on the Galaxy S8 — already
  • Finally, ‘The Last Guardian’ is ready
  • Elon Musk’s moon colony would rely on a lot of mining robots
  • Nintendo’s new console won’t play your old carts and discs
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