Opinion November 13

AAPL: 112.34

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I posted my first impressions of the iPad Pro yesterday, and having spent much of the past 24 hours mostly using it rather than my MacBook, I now have more of a sense of why Tim Cook thinks it could be a laptop replacement.

While most reviewers dismissed that, and I would certainly join them in doing so when thinking of you or I, it’s easy to forget that we are not normals. We want the power of pro apps, and the ability to do plenty of multitasking. We’re a very different user case to the average non-tech user who rarely ventures further than email, web, chat and a bit of light photo-editing.

I’ve said before that when non-tech friends ask me for advice on which laptop to buy, I quiz them on what they want to do with it and often end up recommending an iPad and keyboard instead. With the increased screen size of the iPad Pro, I can see myself doing that even more often in the future. Sure, it’s expensive for what it is, but it’s a hassle-free, flexible device with the option of built-in LTE. For many, that makes it a better option than a MacBook.

In my usage so far, I’ve been impressed by quite a lot, have some grumbles – and have two key concerns about the possibility of the device replacing my much-loved iPad Air 2. Let’s start with the good news …  expand full story

Opinion November 12

AAPL: 115.72

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Apple’s fourth-generation Apple TV has been available for two weeks now and after using it using it exclusively for all my media consumption, I’ve gathered a handful of thoughts. When Apple announced the device back in September, I was perhaps more excited for it than I was the iPhone 6s. And rightfully so. Tim Cook touted the new Apple TV as the future of television, using superlatives that seemed extreme even for Apple. The device had been a long time coming, too, which further contributed to the hype in my mind that surrounded the release.

As someone who had incredibly high hopes for the fourth-gen Apple TV, what do I think of it two weeks later? Let’s discuss…

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This could be dangerous to my wallet. The last time I ordered an Apple gadget, confident that I wouldn’t be keeping it, I turned out to be wrong. Very wrong.

My view of the iPad Pro before mine arrived was very clear: this was a corporate device. It’s going to be great for carrying around lots of A4 documents to view at almost full size. It’s going to be a fantastic presentation tool for one-on-one meetings.

But I didn’t see it as a consumer device. It does nothing a standard sized iPad can’t do – though I was sure my colleague Dom was going to be right in describing it as a killer Netflix machine.

But will it, like the Watch, win me over in my arbitrary one-week trial … ?  expand full story


Opinion November 11

AAPL: 116.11

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I’ve long recommended the MacBook Air to friends who want something a little more capable than an iPad but don’t need their machine to do any heavy lifting. But recent experience has now led me to go rather further …

I’ve written at length about why I’m doggedly sticking to my four-year-old 17-inch MacBook Pro as my main machine. The tl;dr version is that I really like working on a large screen, and I also like having all my files on board when travelling – something I can do because I upgraded it to 2 x 1TB SSDs.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that it fell victim to the GPU problem that has afflicted a number of 2011-2013 MacBook Pros. The first symptoms were everything slowing to a crawl when connected to my 27-inch Thunderbolt display, followed by random crashes and then the characteristic graphics distortion that confirmed the logic board as the culprit.

The good news was that Apple would fix it free of charge under its Repair Extension Program. The bad news was that it would take a week, during which time my second Mac – a Mid 2013 11-inch MacBook Air usually used exclusively as a mobile writing device – would have to take over all its duties. I wondered how well it would cope …  expand full story

Opinion November 10

AAPL: 116.77

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One of the things Apple’s retail head Angela Ahrendts said in her interview with Fast Company‘s Rick Tetzei is that Apple had made the decision to back away from Black Friday sales because “being good to your employees will always be good for business.”

Rather than extending store hours for Black Friday events, or just turning the stores into even more crowded places during what has increasingly turned into Black November rather than just Black Friday, Ahrendts decided to give staff a break. That’s great and should be applauded but why not just do an online sale? Do the computers need the time off too?

Even more curious, Apple, who controls US retailer pricing, seems to be letting every US retailer knock huge amounts off of all Apple products for Black Friday…
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Feature Request is a new regular 9to5Mac series where authors offer their opinions on how to improve popular hardware or software products.

Apple’s AirPort wireless routers aren’t cheap, but many people — including me — keep buying them because they “just work” most of the time. Connect an AirPort Extreme or AirPort Express to your cable modem and you’ll get a consistently great wireless connection across all of your Macs, iPads, iPhones, iPod touches, and accessories, as well as non-Apple products. But the AirPorts could do more, and Apple knows it. Four years ago, the company was openly working on some cool next-generation router features that apparently didn’t wind up in its devices. These days, with Apple TVs and AirPlay streaming at the peak of their popularity, Apple’s routers need to be smarter about streaming high-bitrate video and audio. Here’s how AirPort routers should take the next steps forward…

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