The Apple Store is back online with Apple Watch, the new MacBook, and more

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 2.50.15 PM

The Apple Online Store is back online after going down for Apple’s Spring Forward event today. The upcoming Apple Watch is now listed on the store, allowing users to create their own look and see how much it will cost them ahead of the pre-orders and live in-store previews start next month. Watch bands and accessories are also listed, though they won’t be available until April.

The new MacBook is also on the store, though custom configuration options don’t seem to be showing up just yet.

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

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

Apple launches Repair Extension Program for 2011-2013 MacBook Pros with video problems

Following a number of complaints from consumers regarding graphics issues with Apple’s 2011 MacBook Pro, the company today announced a replacement program to remedy the issue for customers still experiencing problems.

The affected models include 15- and 17-inch MacBook Pros built in 2011, as well as 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros built in 2012 and early 2013. MacBook owners who believe they may have one of these machines can check their warranty coverage on Apple’s website to determine whether they are eligible for a repair under this program.

Read more

Rumor says Touch ID coming to MacBooks and Magic Mouse/Trackpad for Apple Pay, but there are roadblocks

Screenshot 2015-02-17 10.53.37

When Apple develops a new technology or feature for its hardware, it typically rolls it out on one product then expands it to the rest of the line. For example, Touch ID launched for the iPhone in 2013 and made its way to the iPad with the iPad Air 2 in 2014. For 2015, Touch ID may make its debut on the Mac, according to a rumor from website apple.club.tw. According to the blog, which published legitimate photos of iPad Air 2 Touch ID and A8X chip components last fall, Touch ID will come to Macs this year to enable Apple Pay functionality…

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

Opinion: Does the minimalist 12-inch MacBook Air design represent the future of MacBooks?

comparison-copy

While we’ve been expecting the 12-inch MacBook Air for quite some time and some of the details have long been rumored, the design exclusively revealed in Mark Gurman’s report has raised eyebrows throughout the tech world. Especially the most dramatic element: the reduction of the ports to just one multifunction USB-C socket, a headphone socket and a pair of microphones.

The $64,000 questions are: will this ruthlessly cut-down approach prove workable—and is this a design unique to this one machine, or does it represent the future of all MacBooks … ?

Read more

Apple’s next major Mac revealed: the radically new 12-inch MacBook Air

SilverGray copy

Apple is preparing an all-new MacBook Air for 2015 with a radically new design that jettisons standards such as full-sized USB ports, MagSafe connectors, and SD card slots in favor of a markedly thinner and lighter body with a higher-resolution display. Sources within Apple, who have used internal prototype versions of the upcoming computer, have provided in-depth details about the machine, and our exclusive artist renditions of the revamped MacBook Air provide the first close look at Apple’s first major step in mobile Mac computing since the Retina MacBook Pro launch in 2012.

Read more

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

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

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.

Read more

2011 MacBook Pro GPU complaints not going away as petition reaches 18k signatures

gpu

Update: Repair Extension Program…

Long-standing complaints that the 2011 MacBook Pro suffered from a manufacturing fault resulting in GPU glitches and failures don’t appear to be going away, as an online petition calling for Apple to fix or replace affected machines reaches more than 18,000 signatures.

To:
Timothy D. Cook, Apple Inc
Craig Federighi (Apple Inc) (Apple Inc), Apple Inc

Replace or Fix All 2011 Macbook Pro with Graphics Failure

The petition notes the premium spent to buy Apple laptops, and says that Apple’s only response to date has been to ask owners to pay for an extremely expensive logic board replacement …  Read more

KGI: 27″ Retina iMac ready to roll, 21″ next year, iPad Air 2 supply constrained, iPad minis to see minimal updates

imac-apple-2014

KGI has published a new research note indicating that the 27″ model of the new “Retina” iMac will begin shipping before the end of this year. However, according to the note, a 21-inch version which is currently in development will not be released until the beginning of 2015, probably alongside other products “early 2015″ like the Apple Watch and Photos for Mac.

With regards to the iPad Air 2, KGI says that constrained supplies are likely, with a possible initial shipment of only 7-9 million. Compare that to the original iPad Air, which kicked of sales with 12 million units. The iPad mini will be updated, but the changes will be more conservative than those coming to the Air. A 12.9″ iPad is also said to be in development, though no timeline seems to have been set for its release.

Read more