Tag: MacBook Pro

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Your Older MacBook Pro Is More Valuable Than You Think

If you’re a recent MacBook Pro buyer, Apple just did you a huge favor—something that may be lost on new MBP buyers, who are in for some sticker shock. The entry-level for the cheapest, newest 13-incher is $200 or $500 more than its predecessor, depending on whether or not opting for the newfangled Touch Bar and Touch ID. That’s $1,499 or $1,799. Yikes. MBP 15 is a $400 price hike, $2,399, for current tech.

But if you already own MacBook Pro, particularly the 13-incher released in March 2015 or the larger model two months later, Apple increased the laptop’s value by not accelerating its depreciation. No kidding. That’s because the new entry-level SKUs are the same as before. 

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Apple’s New Mac Family is Frightening

The Mac laptop line, following today’s new announcements, looks lots less like Apple and more like Compaq—where Tim Cook worked much earlier in his career, incidentally, long before the original IBM PC clone-maker’s demise. Confusing. Complicated. These are apt descriptions that might just send the ghost of Steve Jobs skyward on either—take your pick—Halloween or Day of the Dead.

Among Apple cofounder’s first tasks when returning to the chief executive’s chair in 1997: Simplifying product families. Jobs cut the deadweight, surprising many people by killing off Newton, for example. Complex product lines define Apple under successor Cook, by contrast. 

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How Much Storage Does My Mac Need?

The question nags as I prepare to review TarDisk Pear flash memory expansion. The doohickey is available in 128 or 256 gig capacities for either MacBook Air or Pro. It fits neatly and snuggly into the SDXC card slot, which is required; color and finish match, too. Windows users must look elsewhere, though, and many may be glad to. The tech lists for $149 and $399, respectively. But, hey, the Apple fan club is accustomed to paying more for everything.

I will test TarDisk Pear on my 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, 3.1GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and 256GB SSD. I recently, and unexpectedly, filled up the hard disk with photos and podcast raw recordings. (Hehe, using Chromebooks for so long spoiled me and my awareness of such things.) Doubling storage, particularly with San Diego Comic-Con coming in 14 days, could prove useful for editing audio, pics, and video on the laptop. But is it necessary or contrivance? 

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Flickr a Day 317: ‘Jacky’

Are you feeling lucky? We come to our third Friday the 13th in 2015 (there is but one next year). The other two were in February and March on Days 44 and 72. Good photographers make their own luck, as Teymur Madjderey did the last time there was Friday 13th in November, 2009, while traveling in southern Germany (he lives in Cologne, which is his hometown).

“This was taken in a very nice hotel in Karlsruhe”, he says, “in  the Hotel Der Blaue Reiter. Gotta get back there at some point and discover the other great rooms they have”. Our runner-up better shows off the room. Teymur used the same model for both photos. He shot self-titled “Jacky” using Nikon D3 and 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. Vitals: f/5.6, ISO 400, 1/200 sec, 29mm. 

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Microsoft Surface Book is all about You

That grinding against wood and dirt you hear is the sound of Steve Jobs rolling over in his grave. Microsoft is back! And badass! Today’s Surface event in New York City outclasses Apple by every measure that matters: Aspiration, innovation, presentation, and promotional marketing. Microsoft proves that it can build end-to-end solutions—hardware, software, and services—as good as, and better than, the company cofounded by Jobs. Even more importantly: Present the new wares well. Today’s event was exceptional.

But there is a shadow looming in the brightness that will matter to some Microsoft customers and not to others: Cost. Surface Book, for all its seeming greatness, is a budget-busting laptop for the majority of potential buyers. The low-cost config, at $1,499, comes with 6th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 128GB storage. To get the discreet graphics demoed today, with i7 chip, 8GB memory, and 256 SSD, you will spend $2,099. Doubling RAM and storage raises the price to $2,699. 

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Origin Story

Sometimes the Internet community surprises me. My last post, “Apple, How Did It Come to This?” is why. Everyone creating content everywhere wants to know the magic formula for generating reader response. The pageview-obsessed seek the golden ticket that consistently means clicks. Me? I write obsessively. It’s like breathing—a necessary and unavoidable act.

The “Come to This” post garnered quite a bit more attention than I expected, in part because of its origin. Some of the activity is Twitter, but more of it occurred on Google+ overnight. The post is an adapted Plus response to a comment to a shared BetaNews story that I wrote based on something else I posted first on Google+. Confusing, isn’t it? I’ll explain in linear fashion. 

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Apple, How Did It Come to This?

Last week, I sold my 2015 MacBook Pro to a New Yorker vacationing in San DIego and returned to using Chromebook Pixel LS, which I wouldn’t have guessed when buying the Apple laptop in June. From Day 1 the MBP felt slower in every way. I expected the Mac to be a creative enhancer, as had been my experience going back to my first in December 1998. The computer proved to be an impediment instead.

What’s missing in subtle but cumulative ways: Quality. The computer looks the same but doesn’t feel the same. My reaction to Apple Watch, which I also sold, is similar. Something is missing. There’s a glitchiness that is hard to characterize that is pervasive. Time is wasted, and creative flow is disrupted. 

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Measuring Apple’s Laptop Sales Success

Through the U.S. consumer retail channel, Macs notebooks reached rather shocking milestone during first half 2015, according to data that NPD provided to me today. You can consider this a first, and from lower volume shipments. By operating system: OS X, 49.7 percent; Windows, 48.3 percent; Chrome OS, 1.9 percent. That compares to the same time period in 2014: OS X, 44.8 percent; Windows, 53.1 percent; Chrome OS, 2.1 percent. The data is for U.S. consumer laptops.

While data junkie journalists or analysts often focus on unit shipments, revenues, and subsequently profits, matter much more. Looked at another way, Mac laptop revenues rose by 10.9 percent during the first six months of 2015, year over year, while Windows PCs fell by 9 percent, and Chromebooks contracted by 9.5 percent. 

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13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display (Early 2015) Review

Reviewing most any MacBook Pro is a pointless exercise, because this year’s model isn’t much different from the previous—or the one before. That’s why I typically buy refurbished rather than new. But I broke with that practice last month, after a sudden electrical calamity laid my wife’s laptop to rest. Fried and died it is. With Apple releasing new versions of iOS and OS X and launching a streaming music service, a summer sojourn seemed opportune. I lent my beloved the Chromebook Pixel LS and purchased a new MBP. She will never give up the Google laptop, BTW.

I wouldn’t call myself super satisfied with MacBook Pro, which feels slower than the last one used, which packed 2.6GHz Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD. Current: 2.7GHz Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD. The 2015 model has newer-gen Intel chip compared to the 2013 refurb. Could the difference be speedier storage? Perhaps it’s subjective recall, coming from the Pixel, which feels fast, with its 2.4GHz i7 microprocessor and 16GB memory. I have long asserted that Google’s target market is the MacBook Pro buyer, and that’s a recurrent theme you’ll find if reading further. 

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My Summer Sojourn: OS X 10.11, OS 9

Due to a rather startling accident, my wife’s laptop is no longer among the electrically living. She will use my beloved Chromebook Pixel LS for a few months, while I step back into the Apple lifestyle to test El Capitan and iOS 9. Eight days after Apple released developer previews, I finally am getting around to installing them, on 13-inch MacBook Pro and iPad Air 2. Whoa, I dunno about the new font!

The Mac is a new purchase. Our cameras and computers are all insured, and late last week I filed the second claim in more than a dozen years (the first replaced a hard drive, for $250, after my daughter dropped her aluminum MacBook during finals week two years ago). I grudgingly picked the 2.7GHz Core i5 MacBook Pro with Retina Display, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD. 

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Say, Hello, Sammy

Happy Caturday! For months, I have wanted to introduce you to the kitty who resides at local Mac dealer DC Computers. But Saturday comes, I forget, and is gone. Finally, I remember, while the sun still shines brightly overhead and Modest Mouse blasts form Chromebook Pixel LS. Mmmm, cat and Mouse (song “The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box“, BTW).

Sammy is about four years old, and she amazes me for her territorial confinement. During hot summer days, DC Computers cracks wide the doors and circulates the breeze blowing from the ocean, just 9 kilometers away. Sammy may sit inside, nose held up sniffing the air, but she doesn’t cross the threshold into the bustling parking lot. She never ventures outside.

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The Measure of Chromebook’s Success

Last year, I disputed ridiculous assertions, based on widely misquoted NPD data, that 2014 would be “year of the Chromebook”. It wasn’t. But that designation does belong to 2015—at least in the United States. Measures: Number of new models; adoption by K-12 schools; and overall sales, which are surprisingly strong. Read carefully the next paragraph.

Through U.S. commercial channels and retail, Chromebooks accounted for 14 percent of laptop sales last year, according to NPD, which released data at my request. That’s up from 8 percent in 2013. Commercial channels, largely to educational institutions, accounted for about two-thirds of 2014 Chromebook sold. Year over year, sales soared by 85 percent, and the trajectory continues to climb.