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

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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

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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

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

Apple seeds first beta of OS X Mavericks 10.9.4 to developers

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Just a couple of weeks after releasing OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 to users, Apple has seeded the first beta of the upcoming OS X 10.9.4 to developers. We first reported that Apple was nearing a release of OS X 10.9.4 in beta to developers. It’s unclear what changes are in store with the new system, but hopefully it fixes the many headaches that Mac Pro users have been facing since 10.9.3’s release earlier this month. No word on when 10.9.4 will go public, but it is interesting that this Mavericks release will be in beta in tandem with OS X 10.10‘s beta release next week at WWDC. Thanks, D!

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Pixelmator 3.2 revamps the Repair Tool, adds locked layers, 16-bit support for all Macs and more

Pixelmator 3.2 Quick Overview

The Pixelmator team is relentless, releasing significant updates to the application every few months. Version 3.2 (codenamed ‘Sandstone’) is no exception and can be downloaded from the Mac App Store now. Codenamed Sandstone, this iteration adds a majorly-revamped Repair Tool, 16-bit channel editing for all Macs (not just the Mac Pro) alongside a whole bucket of other improvements.

The Repair Tool now uses color-correction to match repaired areas seamlessly. It also has clever smarts that mean you don’t have to precisely select an object anymore, the software will remove the whole object automatically. Pixelmator will also try its best to infer the structure of the background area, for a more natural final edit.

The Repair Tool now has three different options, Quick, Standard and Advanced. Quick is meant for small blemishes, whereas Standard and Advanced tackle the removal of larger objects from a scene. It’s not exactly clear under what circumstances you are supposed to change mode, so I chose ‘Advanced’ every time in my testing and the results were fantastic. It’s sort of like magic. You can see an example of what this is capable of after the break …

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OS X 10.9.3 breaking Mac Pro graphics card compatibility with critical video editing apps

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Apple’s new expensive line of Mac Pro computers seem to be causing a headache for a tiny fraction of the Mac userbase. According to several professional video editors who have contacted us or posted information to various online forums, the recent OS X 10.9.3 update is breaking compatibility between some Mac Pro graphics cards and video editing applications such as Adobe Premiere Pro and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve…

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