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

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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

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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…

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

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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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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

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Security researcher rewrites Mac firmware over Thunderbolt, says most Intel Thunderbolt Macs vulnerable

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A security researcher speaking at the Chaos Computer Congress in Hamburg demonstrated a hack that rewrites an Intel Mac’s firmware using a Thunderbolt device with attack code in an option ROM. Known as Thunderstrike, the proof of concept presented by Trammel Hudson infects the Apple Extensible Firmware Interface (EFI) in a way he claims cannot be detected, nor removed by reinstalling OS X.

Since the boot ROM is independent of the operating system, reinstallation of OS X will not remove it. Nor does it depend on anything stored on the disk, so replacing the harddrive has no effect. A hardware in-system-programming device is the only way to restore the stock firmware.

Apple has already implemented an intended fix in the latest Mac mini and iMac with Retina display, which Hudson says will soon be available for other Macs, but appears at this stage to provide only partial protection…  Read more

Jeremy’s holiday gift guide: Mac, iPhone & iPad gear you can trust

Holiday Gift Guide 5My first post for 9to5Mac is on a topic near and dear to my heart: best-of-breed Apple products and accessories. Why should you trust me? I’ve been a professional product reviewer for 23 years and an Apple user for 28 years. Last week, I finished an 11-year stint running the editorial side of iLounge, the leading Apple product review site, where I tested literally thousands of Apple accessories from every major company on the planet. Readers have praised my reviews as accurate and insightful, and I always put my readers’ needs first when testing new products.

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Hyper’s Black Friday: $50 off the world’s only external MacBook battery, $10 battery packs (Reg. $50), $2 iPad cases (Reg. $30), much more

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Hyper, the brand behind a number of popular Mac and iOS products we’ve reviewed in the past, is today offering its best deals ever for Black Friday. The sale includes big deals on external battery packs and other iOS accessories including the world’s only external MacBook battery.

Some of the notables: A $10 3600 mAh battery pack (Reg. $49), a $20 7200mAh battery pack (Reg. $70), and up to $50 off the company’s external battery for MacBooks. Head below for the full list of deals.  Read more