Opinion: Does the Apple Watch Edition signal future luxury-model iPhones, iPads and Macs?

luxury

Back in April of last year, when a luxury model of the Apple Watch was still a vague rumor, I wrote an opinion piece in which I expressed the view that Apple could indeed pull this off. I went further, and suggested that it could even create an entire range of luxury versions of its existing products, from iPhones to Macs.

Ten months on, with the Apple Watch Edition now real, and the general expectation that it’s going to cost several thousand dollars at least, I thought it was time to revisit that idea. Is a luxury model of the Apple Watch a one-off, or does Apple see this as the first step toward Edition models of its complete product range … ?  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.

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

firmware

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

Mac Pro monitor review: The best 4K & UHD monitors for Mac

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So Apple didn’t release a 4K (or 5K) standalone Retina display alongside the new 5K iMac, but you can’t hold off any longer on a shiny new display for your Mac Pro. I found myself in the same predicament not too long ago and decided to put a number of displays to the test in recent months. 4K might offer 4x the resolution of your standard 1080p display, but for the short time they’ve been around, they’ve also cost about 4x as much as the alternatives. The good news: There are a few Mac Pro compatible 4K displays (and UHD alternatives) finally starting to hit more reasonable price points just as recent OS X updates fix some issues early adopters first had with the higher resolution displays.

I’ve been testing Mac Pro compatible displays from Dell, Sharp, Samsung, LG, and others that are officially supported by Apple, and put together a list of my thoughts and top picks for those planning on picking up a new Mac Pro this holiday season. Despite my tests being done mostly on a new, stock Mac Pro, these picks stand for Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook users as well.

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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

TwelveSouth announces BookArc for Mac Pro, a chrome-plated horizontal desktop stand

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TwelveSouth, makers of various popular Mac and iOS device accessories, today announced a new BookArc product for the Mac Pro. Much like its BookArc products for MacBooks and iPads, the BookArc acts as a desktop stand that allows the Mac Pro to lay horizontally opposed to its usual upright orientation.

As pointed out by TwelveSouth, the horizontal mount cuts down the roughly 14-inches vertical height requirement to 7.5 inches, allowing Mac Pros to fit in rack mounts and other places the computer normally wouldn’t fit. In a rack mount, for instance, that means 5 rack spaces when using the BookArc opposed to approximately 8 spaces for the vertical Mac Pro.  Read more

The tl;dr version of early iMac with Retina 5K display reviews is TAKE MY MONEY [Review roundup]

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The early reviews are out for the iMac with Retina 5K display, and the tl;dr version is: if you can afford it, buy it.

Everyone of course agrees that the key market for the machine is video professionals (beating even the base-model Mac Pro in benchmarks), the 5K resolution offering the ability to display full-size 4K video while still leaving enough room for editing tools.

But while the new iMac may be overkill for more mundane tasks, reviewers also agreed that the display is so good that even if you don’t need one, you’ll still want one …  Read more

Refurbished 2013 Mac Pro models now available on Apple online store at 15% discount

Mac Pro

After first showing off the latest Mac Pro at WWDC 2013 and launching the professional-class desktop computer last December, Apple’s certified refurbished online store is now carrying discounted models for the first time.

The 2013 Mac Pro, which is the only Mac computer manufactured in the United States, ordinarily starts at $2,999 for the base model configuration, but customers looking to save on that cost can now get the same configuration for $450 less at $2,549. A variety of other configurations are available in refurbished models with discounted price tags ranging up to $7,479… Read more

Apple paid out over $3 billion to small businesses last year through SupplierPay program

Mac Pro

Apple’s operations chief said today that the company paid out over $3 billion to small businesses that supplied Apple with parts for its products in 2013. That money was split up between around 7,000 different suppliers as part of the SupplierPay program started by the White House.

SupplierPay is an extension of a federal program called QuickPay that required the government to issue payments to small business partners within 15 days of billing in an attempt to promote economic growth. With SupplierPay, the program is extended (optionally) to private businesses like Apple.

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Apple releases new cheaper iMac with low-end processor, priced at $1099

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As rumored last week, Apple has today released a new model of iMac. These machines are considerably cheaper than their predecessors, priced at $1099. Previously, the cheapest iMac SKU was priced at $1299 (which is now the mid-range model).

The cheaper iMac features a 1.4 GHz dual-core i5 CPU, which represents a significant worsening in performance over the previous base model of iMac, which featured a processor clocked at 2.7 GHz.  The CPU does Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz however, which does make up some of the difference.

Aside from the CPU, the hard drive has also been cut to 500 GB. The new model also features a lower-end integrated graphics chip. All other iMac models continue to use either Iris Pro integrated graphics or dedicated Nvidia cards. Otherwise, the internals of the new machine are unchanged.

Apple’s Press release below…

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A year after being announced, you can now get a Mac Pro within 24 hours

Mac Pro 24 hours

While you still may not be able to walk in to an Apple Store and expect to walk out with a 2013 Mac Pro, the $3,000 and $4,000 base models of Apple’s professional desktop are shipping within 24 hours of ordering for the first time since its launch in late December last year. This includes shipping to Apple Retail Store locations for pickup. Apple, of course, previewed the latest Mac Pro model at WWDC 2013, exactly one year from yesterday, but it only promised then that it would begin shipping later that year. Availability has since proven to be a challenge for the ‘assembled-in-USA’ Mac line… Read more