Apple says fix incoming for 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro trackpad & keyboard issues, offers interim solution

Apple-iPad-event-2013 2013-10-22 at 1.29.08 PM

Apple has published a new support article detailing an issue with some new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros that debuted alongside the iPad Air earlier this month. The issue can lead to the computer’s keyboard or trackpad becoming unresponsive.

There have been numerous reports of the issue in a 67-page thread on the Apple support forums. Apple’s statement:

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Thinner, lighter, FASTER: Early benchmarks show 50-65% improvement in MacBook Pro’s Iris graphics

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Macworld’s benchmarks

…less expensive, better battery life too

Apple’s relentless improvement iterations continue unabated. Macworld’s early benchmarks on Apple’s new base model 13″MacBook Pro with built in Intel Iris Graphics are in and show huge speed gains in graphics performance:

The most impressive improvements in the new laptops came courtesy of the new Iris graphics. Compared to the HD 4000 graphics in the early 2013 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, the Iris graphics posted between 45 and 50 percent higher frame rates in Cinebench r15’s OpenGL tests and the Unigine Valley Benchmark. Unigen’s Heaven benchmark showed the new systems with about 65 percent improvement in frame rates over the earlier model.

Iris Graphics also support displays up to 4K at 24Hz, a first for Apple’s entry level Pro laptops.

CPU performance improvement is slight but the Intel Haswell architecture adds a few hours of (Apple’s estimated) battery life while the machine actually got thinner and lighter. Meanwhile, Apple loaded up faster 802.11ac Wifi and speedy Samsung PCIe SSDs up to 1TB and Thunderbolt 2.0.

Price? Dropped $100  to $1299. (we are already seeing discounts/tax advantages in our Products section). Read more

New Haswell MacBook Pro teardowns beautiful but prove almost non-repairable by mortals

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MacBook Pro 13

Teardowns of the new  13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models reveal lots of shiny technology, but with the machines following the construction lead of the MacBook Air, it’s no surprise to see IFixIt giving both models low scores for repairability. The extreme difficulty in removing both battery and trackpad mean both models get even worse scores than the Air, at just 1 out of 10.

As with the Air, RAM is soldered directly to the logic board, so if you think you may need more in the future, take a deep breath and pay Apple’s price for the 16GB upgrade as there is no way to upgrade it later. IFixIt also draws particular attention to the difficulty of replacing the battery,

The lithium-polymer battery is glued rather than screwed into the case, which increases the chances that it’ll break during disassembly. The battery also covers the trackpad cable, which tremendously increases the chance that the user will shear the cable in the battery removal process.

More details and photos below the fold …  Read more

Apple Store goes down for updates in run-up to launch event (Update: iWork on iCloud goes down as well)

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As always in the run up to a launch event, the Apple Store has been taken offline for updates ahead of today’s iPad-focused event. Apple has also taken down iWork for iCloud, promising that it will be back in a few hours with “great new features.”

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Additionally, Apple has updated its homepage with a promo for the event …  Read more

Apple will be live-streaming today’s launch event on web & Apple TV

events

Apple will be live streaming today’s launch event, first revealed by the Apple Events channel returning to Apple TV, the icon displaying the theme for the event and a message saying “tune in at 10 am for the live stream.”

The event will also be streamed on the web when it begins at 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern. As usual, live streaming requires Safari 4 or later on OS X v10.6 or later; Safari on iOS 4.2 or later. Streaming via Apple TV requires second- or third-generation Apple TV with software 5.0.2 or later.

Details below of what we’re expecting to see …  Read more

Tune in Oct. 22 for new iPads, Mac Pro details, MacBook Pros, and Mavericks

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Apple’s next event is upon us, and it’s likely to be action-packed. As Apple says: it has “a lot to cover.” So besides the speculation that rings in from the word cover (new Smart Covers, anyone?), Apple has some new tablets, computers, and software to discuss. Read our full roundup of what to expect (and not expect) on Tuesday, October 22nd, from Apple:

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Report: New MacBook Pros on sale Oct 24/25, iPads Oct 30/31, Mac Pro Nov 15

Image: techbeat.com

Image: techbeat.com

French site MacG, which has an imperfect track-record, claims to have been given the dates on which the new MacBook Pros, iPads and Mac Pro will go on sale. The claimed dates are:

With Apple’s media event scheduled for 22nd October, this would put the MacBook Pros on sale very quickly indeed, just two or three days later.

However, the iPad and Mac Pro dates do not make as much sense. Apple has typically launched its new iPad models on Fridays (or Saturday for the original version), making it unlikely that the new tablets would hit store shelves on a Wednesday or Thursday (as the MacGeneration report claims).

As for the Mac Pro, that machine is a built-to-order computer, so perhaps it would be difficult to pinpoint an actual launch date for that product. MacG also happened to have claimed that Apple’s event would occur today, so that does not add much credibility to these new claims.

Below is what we’re expecting to see for each product …  Read more

Like iPad 3, new iPad mini could be technically thicker to fit Retina Display

Space Gray iPad mini 2 casing (via Sonny Dickson)

Space Gray iPad mini 2 casing (via Sonny Dickson)

One of the most exciting new features of the upcoming iPad mini successor is perhaps the long-rumored Retina display. Apple has been developing a Retina-version (Apple’s term for the crisper display found on iPhones, the larger iPads, and some MacBook Pros), but the company has been reluctant to ship it due to cost, hardware size, and battery-life concerns. Though for October 22nd, it sounds like Apple has an iPad mini with Retina display ready to go.

But, it could potentially have a very minor trade-off: some extra thickness and width that will likely not be noticeable to the human eye. Just like the the full-sized iPad went thicker (and heavier in that case) to accommodate the much higher-resolution Retina display, the iPad mini could slightly bulk up to fit the new display, according to Macotakara. At a conference in China, the website went hands-on with some purported cases for the next-generation iPad mini. These cases fit a device with a thickness of 7.5mm and width of of about 0.2mm wider than the current iPad mini…

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Review: 29-inch 21:9 Philips Brilliance 298P4QJEB LCD monitor creates new MacBook/Desktop opportunities

I’ve been curious about the 21:9 display format since it started to creep into mainstream displays last year. Originally developed to display cinema grade movies natively, computer users are now snapping these up to give themselves a sort of wide ‘Bloomberg terminal’ without the break (and the swivel between displays).

I received the Philips 298P4 29-inch 21:9 display a few weeks ago and have set it up as my display at my desk.  It has an unusual 2560×1080 pixel display which is the same amount of pixels across as traditional 30 inch 16:10 displays or 27-inch 16:9 displays (like Apple’s 27-inch iMac or Thunderbolt Display). The 1080 pixels high however matches up with a typical 1080P display. I didn’t use it like a traditional desktop computer or with a laptop off to the side.

For me, I saw an opportunity to add a display on top of my Retina MacBook Pro whose keyboard/trackpad layout I find more usable than anything else out there including Apple’s Wireless Keyboard/Trackpad combo. The Philips’ stand (and this is the key part) allows the display to grow over the top of even the 15′inch Retina MacBook Pro so that I can continue to use the MBP keyboard and display even while looking up (for much improved posture) at the Philips display. It is also great for watching movies while working :D, unless productivity is a priority.

For this it was great, but how was the quality of the display?

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MacBook Air refresh looks set for WWDC, potentially with faster Wi-Fi

Screen Shot 2013-06-05 at 1.08.25 PM

Apple appears set to release new versions of its MacBook Air notebook computer at next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, according to information provided by a source. Earlier this week, we reported that Apple is planning to release four new Mac models at WWDC, and we narrowed this down to either new MacBook Pro with Retina display models or MacBook Air models.

Today, we have received specific pricing for the aforementioned SKUs, and the price-points correspond to Apple’s current pricing for the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models. We have yet to receive pricing information that points to the imminent availability of new MacBook Pros (as some had hoped), but perhaps the next refresh to Apple’s Pro portables will arrive in the coming months. Supply constraints to the Retina MacBook Pro line seems to imply that…

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Review: LandingZone’s Secure MacBook Air dock – adds Kensington Lock, Ethernet, USB ports in seconds

I’ve been using the $99 LandingZone 2.0 LITE 13″ Secure Docking Station for the past couple weeks to dock my MacBook Air when I use it at my desk. Until now, when I got to my desk, I would manually plug in MagSafe power, USB hub and sometimes audio jacks – which isn’t a huge pain, but it did add time time and clutter to my workflow.

LandingZone, which started as a Kickstarter project but is now in full production, has a complete solution in a white plastic/steel dock that allows you to secure your MacBook Air, and within seconds, have Ethernet, a 4 port USB hub, power and MiniDisplay Port outs ready for use. Read more

NVIDIA introduces GeForce 700M Series GPU, prime fits for the next high end iMacs/MacBooks

NVIDIA-GeForce-graphics-GPU-700M

NVIDIA announced a new series of notebook GPU’s today branded as the 700M series. Introduced today are five new graphics cards in total, and NVIDIA said they would be available in a long list of laptops over the next few months. The five new graphics cards include two options aimed at the “mainstream segment”, the 720M and the 735M, while the remaining three, the 740M, 745M, and 750M, will be “for the performance segment” of the market.

700m-lineupThe graphics cards are being touted by NVIDIA to “maximize performance and experience,” but they also more power efficient than their predecessors. Because the 700M Series is notebook-only, expect these to be less powerful than a desktop version of the 700 Series that may be announced sometime in the future.

Helping our new 700M chips reach such lofty levels of performance is GPU Boost 2.0, a GPU innovation that extracts every ounce of available computing power from the graphics processor. Before GPU Boost, GPUs were held back by synthetic benchmarks that pushed chips and power usage to the limit, far beyond the levels typically seen when playing games. This ‘worst case scenario’ forced us to throttle GPUs, leaving spare performance on the table when playing games.GPU Boost resolves this problem by monitoring power usage and temperatures, enabling the GPU to use every last ounce of performance without exceeding safety or comfort limits.

While the press release from NVIDIA said the new GPUs will be available in nearly every notebook maker other than Apple, it is possible these GPUs will be seen in the next-gen MacBook Pro with Retina Display. The current 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display sports a NVIDIA 650M GPU, as does the high-end 21-inch iMac model, so an upgrade to the 700M series only makes sense.

The full press release is available below.

New NVIDIA GeForce 700M GPUs Squeeze Every Drop Of Performance Out Of Notebooks, Automatically

Monday, April 1, 2013

NVIDIA today announced five new notebook GPUs which deliver a trifecta of technologies that seamlessly and automatically maximize a consumer’s notebook performance and experience.

With no effort or input from the notebook user, the technologies work in the background to save battery life, enhance performance and enrich the visual experience — providing the best notebook experience the GPU can deliver. They include:

New NVIDIA GPU Boost™ 2.0 technology, which intelligently adjusts GPU clock speed to maximize graphics performance.

NVIDIA® Optimus™ technology, which enables extra-long battery life by switching the GPU on and off so it runs only when needed.

GeForce® Experience™ software, which adjusts in-game settings for the best performance and visual quality specific to a user’s notebook and keeps GeForce drivers up to date.

“There is an elegant simplicity to NVIDIA’s GeForce 700M notebook technologies,” said Rene Haas, vice president and general manager of the notebook business unit at NVIDIA. “You use your notebook how you want, and GeForce makes your experience awesome.”

Incorporating all three of these technologies, the new lineup of NVIDIA GeForce 700M GPUs includes GeForce GT 750M, GeForce GT 745M, and GeForce GT 740M GPUs for the performance segment, as a well as GeForce GT 735M and GeForce GT 720M GPUs for the mainstream segment.

NVIDIA GeForce 700M GPUs are available today. Every leading notebook manufacturer will be introducing notebooks with GPU Boost 2.0 technology, including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba.

More information about the GeForce 700M family of notebook GPUs is available at http://www.GeForce.com.