Opinion: It’s time to bring back the mobile professional’s workhorse, the MacBook Pro 17

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Many of us were deeply disappointed when Apple discontinued the MacBook Pro 17. While the Retina MacBook Pro 15 introduced at the same time offered higher resolution, sometimes there’s just no substitute for physical screen size. Photographers and videographers in particular loved the combination of the sheer size and the option of a matte screen.

I loved mine enough to immediately sell the three-year-old one I owned at the time in order to replace it with the last model made, to maximize its useful life. I still love it enough that I’ve just laid out a thousand bucks on a 2.5-year-old machine to fit 2TB of SSDs, giving it the best of both worlds: lightning-fast performance combined with huge storage that allows me to have all my files with me when I travel.

There may not be too many others who’ll follow my admittedly extravagant example, but I do think it’s time for Apple to revisit its decision and bring back the mobile professional’s workhorse …  Read more

Analyst: Apple plans to release cheaper iMacs, 8 GB iPhone 5s at WWDC [Update: "Nope"]

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KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has made a few more predictions about what we’ll see from Apple in the near future. According to a new KGI research note, Apple could potentially release cheaper versions of the iMac and iPhone 5s during its developer conference next week to accompany its software announcements.

Earlier today new references to an unreleased iteration of the the iMac appeared in an OS X developer preview, likely indicating the impending release of a new model. It’s quite possible that this could be the cheaper iMac referred to in the report. Despite the rumored upgrade, KGI has revised its iMac shipment estimates down, citing a slow PC market:

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References to new iMac model discovered in OS X 10.9.4 developer preview

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OS X users digging through today’s beta update to the system have discovered what appears to be a reference to an as-of-yet unannounced version of the iMac. The model, dubbed iMac 15,1 could be shown off next week at Apple’s WWDC conference, where we’ve heard that there will likely be some new hardware announcements.

More specifically, the following lines were added to a power management file in the new beta:

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Slipping shipping times may support analyst prediction of new, cheaper iMacs launching at WWDC

imac

Slipping shipping times for iMacs on Apple’s site may support a timeline released last month by KGI Research analyst Ming-Chi Kuo indicating that new, lower-cost iMacs could be launched this quarter.

Apple usually quotes 24 hours for delivery of standard-configuration iMacs, but is currently showing 3-5 business days across the range. Increased shipping times are sometimes an indication of lower or sporadic stocks, which tend to precede the launch of new models. With WWDC just one week away, that would be a logical time to announce them …  Read more

Rumor: Apple working on ARM-based Mac variants with larger trackpad built into keyboard

Mac mini mid-2011 (Apple Thunderbolt Display, MagicTrackPad)

MacBidouille is the source of an interesting new rumor [translation] that Apple is currently experimenting with new ARM-powered Mac variants that include a Magic trackpad built into the system’s keyboard. The company is also reportedly working on a new version of OS X that will be compatible with these ARM machines.

According to MacBidouille’s sources, Apple is developing three new machines with this configuration: the aforementioned iMac and Mac mini as well as a 13″ MacBook, presumably a MacBook Air. The iMac and notebook are both said to have “4 or 8″ quad-core arm64 processors, while the Mac mini has only four.

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Opinion: Why the upgrade cycle means the ‘Apple tax’ is lower than it seems

Photo: mashable.com

Photo: mashable.com

I’m sure most of us have at some point had Windows- and Android-using friends ask us why we pay the ‘Apple tax’ – the price difference between an Apple product and what they perceive to be an equivalent competitor product.

A large part of the answer, of course, is that the competitor product isn’t equivalent at all. You can’t compare a MacBook with its premium materials, build-quality, high-spec components, screen quality and aesthetics with a low-end Windows laptop with plastic casing, low-spec innards and cheap and cheerful display. No more than you can compare an iPhone with a budget ‘droid. When you do genuine like-for-like comparisons with truly equivalent products, the Apple premium shrinks considerably.

But to get an accurate idea of the effective purchase cost, you also need to take into account both the replacement cycle and resale value …  Read more

Apple building support for driving 4K displays at ‘Retina’ resolution, 60Hz output from 2013 MacBook Pros

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4K display running at “Retina” resolution on 10.9.3

Earlier today, Apple provided developers with the first beta for the upcoming release of OS X Mavericks version 10.9.3. Apple did not disclose any new features coming in 10.9.3, but we have discovered that the update includes notable enhancements for users with Macs connected to 4K-resolution monitors. With 10.9.3, Mac users can now natively set their 4K monitors to run the Mac operating system at a pixel-doubled “Retina” resolution.

The new settings, which appear nearly identical to the settings on a standard Retina MacBook Pro display, can be seen here on a 10.9.3 Mac connected to a 4K monitor:

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Apple loses key iPad, Mac operations VP Rita Lane to retirement

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 8.45.55 AM

Rita Lane, Apple’s vice president of operations for the iPad, Mac desktops, and Mac accessories, has retired from the company, according to her public LinkedIn profile. As vice president of operations, Lane was in charge of the supply chain and manufacturing for iPads, computers like the iMac, and Apple’s Mac accessories.

Due to her position, Lane was likely instrumental in the iPad’s rapid growth as a product and emergence in society over the past few years, making the departure a significant loss for Apple. However, the company likely has other experienced operations managers who could fill Lane’s role. Her exact successor is unknown…

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Opinion: Will the next Mac mini be a lot more mini than ever before?

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When it first launched in 2005, the Mac mini was almost unimaginably small. The original aim of the machine was to convert owners of desktop Windows machines. Because those people already owned monitors, keyboards and other peripherals, selling them just the computer itself would enable them to switch to Mac for far less than the cost of buying an iMac.

The typical Windows desktop box of that era looked like this:

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A system unit that measured just 6.5 inches square and only 2-inches thick was an incredible feat of engineering. Today, however, it looks rather less impressive …  Read more

Apple continues Mac’s 30th birthday celebrations with special window displays

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A tip we’ve received from an Apple Store employee indicates that Apple will be putting up celebratory LED window displays at Apple Stores, showing a stylised ‘3’ and a ‘Happy birthday, Mac’ message. iPhones and iPads in the window will reportedly be removed. The graphic came via special SD card.

Boxes of special t-shirts have arrived for the occasion (photo below the fold) …  Read more

Apple takes over its homepage to celebrate 30 years of Mac, with accompanying video, timeline and poll

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In addition to interviews with the press, Apple is celebrating 30 years of Mac with a full-bleed graphic on its homepage, which links to a minisite that plots how the Mac evolved over the years. The message says that Apple made the Macintosh with a promise to get “the power of technology .. in the hand of everyone”. “This promise has been kept.”, it reads. The dedicated minisite depicts a (scrollable) timeline of the major models of Mac since 1984, spanning the PowerBook, the iMac and ending with the Retina MacBook Pro and the brand new Mac Pro.

See the accompanying video after the break.

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“Small, fast and in a league of its own” – the early Mac Pro verdicts are in

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Audiovisual professionals may have had a very long wait for a new Mac Pro, and that wait may not be quite over, but from the early hands-on reviews it seems they’re unlikely to be disappointed.

The real performance of the machine is currently only being seen with Final Cut Pro, which Apple optimized to take full advantage of the dual GPUs, but it’s a near certainty that Adobe and others will follow this example.

With a price tag of anything up to $14,000 if you completely max it out, this is not a machine that will be seen gracing too many living-rooms, but for those earning their living from audio and video and where time is money, the early hands-on reviews suggest that the Mac Pro lives up to its promise …  Read more