Happy Hour Podcast 015 | Refreshed Macs, Apple Watch update, and the end of Apple’s rumored TV plans

happy-hour1

Apple has slightly refreshed the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, added a more affordable Retina 5K iMac, and an iPhone related surprise. Along with that, we have a new Watch OS update and sad news about Apple’s rumored TV plans. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed…

Read more

Some waiting for iMacs have been given a free upgrade to Retina, but is that a good deal?

imac

A Redditor awaiting delivery of a non-Retina 27-inch iMac ordered before yesterday’s announcement of the new Retina models has reported being given a free upgrade by Apple.

You may not have heard, but we just announced the new iMac with Retina 5K display. Since your order has yet to ship, we automatically upgraded you to the new iMac with Retina 5K display.

Since the old price of the non-Retina model he’d ordered and the new base-model Retina machine are the same – $1999 – it’s likely that Apple has offered the same deal to others in the same position. But is this necessarily a good deal … ?  Read more

15-inch MacBook Pro with Force Touch, and cheaper $1999 27-inch Retina iMac, officially launched

mbp-15

Yesterday’s report of a new 15-inch MacBook Pro with Force Touch trackpad, together with a new 27-inch iMac, have been confirmed via an official announcement by Apple.

Apple today updated the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display with the new Force Touch trackpad, faster flash storage, longer battery life and faster discrete graphics, delivering even more performance and capabilities to the MacBook Pro line. Apple also today introduced a new $1,999 configuration of the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display featuring a breathtaking 14.7 million pixel display, quad-core processors and AMD graphics, and lowered the price of the top-end iMac with Retina 5K display to $2,299.

While the upgrade to the latest Broadwell Haswell processor doesn’t show a speed-bump, Apple says that the flash storage is 2.5 times faster and greater power efficiency provides an extra hour of battery-life …  Read more

Report: New Force Touch 15-inch MacBook Pro & 27-inch iMac arriving Wednesday

mbp15

French site MacG, which has a very decent track-record, cites “reliable sources” as stating that a new 15-inch MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac are going on sale on Wednesday. (Update: We are now told their sources don’t know whether it’s the Retina or non-Retina iMac.)

Apple updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro back in March, the most notable update being the inclusion of the Force Touch trackpad fitted to the new 12-inch MacBook. The machine also got 5th-generation Intel Core processors, the base model running at 2.7GHz, configurable to 3.1GHz, and Intel Iris Graphics 6100 GPU.

While the site had no specific details, it’s likely the 15-inch model will likewise get CPU and GPU bumps, alongside the Force Touch trackpad …  Read more

OS X 10.10.3 brings enhanced 4K support (including 12-inch MacBook), adds 5K Dell for Mac Pro/iMac

4K-displays-Sharp-Dell-LG-01

Apple has expanded support for 4K displays in its recent OS X 10.10.3 release and officially confirmed specifics for using 4K displays with its new 12-inch MacBook.

While previously Apple only officially supported certain Multi-Stream Transport (MST) displays at a refresh rate of 60Hz, it now says that “most single-stream 4K (3840×2160) displays” are officially supported at 60Hz as well following the recent OS X Yosemite v10.10.3 update. That should mean support for a lot more inexpensive 4K displays that don’t include DisplayPort’s Multi-Stream Transport feature.

A full list of Macs that will support Single-Stream (SST) displays with a 60Hz refresh rate include: Read more

LG publicly claims Apple will release ‘iMac 8K’ with 8K screen this year

Screenshot 2015-04-06 07.52.01

Last week, Apple’s biggest display partner LG Display published an explainer on 8K (7,680 by 4,320 resolution) screens, claiming that the specification is the future of display technology. LG has already demonstrated 8K monitors at CES in Las Vegas, and notes that the panel boasts 16 times the number of pixels as a standard Full HD screen. Strangely, however, LG’s document explicitly says that Apple is working on an 8K version of the iMac (emphasis ours):

It has become clear that Japan is planning to launch an 8K SHV test broadcast and then promptly restructure the UHD service. Apple has also announced that they will release the ‘iMac 8K’ with a super-high resolution display later this year. Korea is also preparing to offer an 8K service demonstration at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. LG Display displayed a new beacon of the 8K era by revealing their 98-inch 8K Color Prime Ultra HDTV at CES 2015.

As anyone who reads up on Apple would tell you, this statement from LG Display is not accurate: Apple has not announced an iMac with an 8K display and has not publicly indicated that one is coming this year…

Read more

Spoiler alert: We’ve read the screenplay for Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs biopic and it looks fantastic

fassbender-rogen-jobs-woz

While we haven’t gotten many details about the Aaron Sorkin-penned screenplay based on Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography, we have previously learned that it will focus on three separate days in the life of the Apple co-founder, with each 30-minute act taking place just before a major product announcement. We also know that Michael Fassbender will star alongside Seth Rogen, Michael Stuhlbarg, Kate Winslet, Perla Haney-Jardine, and Jeff Daniels.

Today we got our hands on a copy of the screenplay (or at least a February 2014 draft of it) which reveals what many already may have already suspected based on previous reports: the three products Jobs will unveil during the biopic are the original Macintosh, the NeXT Cube, and the iMac.

The film opens with… (Read more)

How-To: Boost your Mac’s speed and prolong its useful life with easy RAM upgrades

imacram

As I’ve spotlighted over the past month, the best way to dramatically speed up an older Mac is to replace its old hard drive with a new solid state drive (SSD). The process is super-easy on MacBooks and Mac Pros, surprisingly manageable on iMacs, and challenging on Mac minis, yielding 3X to 5X speed boosts. But there’s another option that can speed things up with relatively little effort or expertise: upgrading your Mac’s RAM.

RAM upgrades are easy and cheap. You can expect to pay $90 or less for enough (Mac-safe) RAM to run OS X Yosemite without hiccups, or $180 for enough RAM to guarantee you won’t need more for years. Installing RAM generally doesn’t void your Mac’s warranty, and except for several models, the only tool you’ll need is a small screwdriver. Below, I’ll walk you through your best options.

Read more

How-To: Update your old MacBook, Mac mini, or Mac Pro hard drive with a fast SSD

macssd

My Mac is now silent. After installing a solid state drive (SSD) with no moving parts, the drone of my iMac’s hard drive and fans has given way to such an absence of sound that I only hear the high-pitched squeal of my office lights.

My Mac is now fast. Even with 400GB of available space, OS X Yosemite’s constant hard drive accessing had brought my quad-core, 3.4GHz Core i7 machine to its knees. Now I’m seeing five times the hard drive speeds, apps are loading instantly, and my iMac feels as responsive as the MacBooks and iPads that beat it to the SSD game.

Last week, buoyed by (finally!) reasonable SSD prices and a desire to try a DIY project, I walked through the steps to replace a prior-generation iMac’s hard drive with an SSD. Similarly excited readers have pointed out that older MacBooks and certain other Macs are also easy to upgrade… but at least one Mac (surprise: the Mac mini) is not. So below, I’ll show you some great SSD options that you can install yourself, ask a tech-savvy friend/repair shop to handle for you, or choose as external solutions.

Read more

How-To: Now’s the right time to swap your old iMac’s hard drive for a fast new SSD

imacopen6

If you bought your iMac 3-5 years ago, there’s probably nothing so seriously wrong with the hardware that you need to consider replacing the machine. Sure, the new iMac with 5K Retina Display looks a little nicer, but at a steep $2,499 starting point, it’s still a luxury, not a necessity.

Yet there’s something you can do for $200 to $500 that will radically change your iMac’s performance: install a solid state drive (SSD) in addition to or instead of its original hard drive. SSDs use high-speed memory chips rather than the spinning platter mechanisms in traditional hard drives, achieving up to 5X benefits in speed while requiring no moving parts. Five years ago, SSDs were both expensive and limited in capacity, making them unlikely components for most Macs. Today, high-quality, capacious SSDs can be had for reasonable prices, and they’re surprisingly easy to install in iMacs. With limited expertise and only three tools, I swapped out my old hard drive for an SSD in roughly 30 minutes. Here’s how I did it, and – if you’re up for a quick do-it-yourself project – what I’d recommend for you.

Read more

Apple adds refurbished Retina 5K iMac to online store, prices start at $2,119

apple-imac-5k-retina

Apple has recently added the 27-inch iMac with Retina display, originally released in October 2014, to the refurbished section of its online store. Currently, the baseline 5K iMac with a 3.5 GHz quad-core Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, a 1 TB Fusion Drive, and an AMD Radeon R9 graphics processor will cost you $2,119 refurbished from Apple. That’s $380 – or 15%- off the price of a new model.

Read more

Apple to widen pre-release iOS testing by roping in retail employees

ios

Apple will begin providing select retail store employees access to upcoming versions of iOS in order to widen its pre-release testing program, according to multiple sources. The program will begin in the near-future with an upcoming iOS release, perhaps version 8.2, which is slated to be released alongside the Apple Watch

Read more