MacBook Pro with Retina display: Problems in every dimension

MacBook-Problems-In-Every-Dimension

When Apple unveiled its first Retina MacBook Pro with the 15.4-inch model in June, it came with an all-new, slimmed down design, all-flash architecture, and its flagship Retina display with over 5 million pixels. Apple has built its reputation on quality, craftsmanship, and customer/user experience, but that hasn’t been the case with its latest lineup of MacBooks. What many consumers don’t know is that buying a new Retina MacBook means taking your chances with possibly receiving a unit that is subject to display defects, battery, graphics, and fan-related issues among other major stability problems. These widespread issues have received limited coverage in the press and many consumers claim Apple is failing to sufficiently address the problems by not informing consumers and employees.

Leading the reports of problems is one that causes burn-in or ghosting on the device’s display. The result is a support thread with over 364,769 views and, most recently, a class-action lawsuit in California that alleged Apple is failing to inform consumers of the issue. Users experiencing the problem eventually realized the source of the issue was with LG, one of Apple’s display suppliers for the new Retina MacBooks. Unfortunately, models with Samsung displays aren’t totally free from a myriad of other significant issues.

Apple described the image-retention problems on this user’s display as normal after two visits. The display was eventually replaced with a Samsung but continues to experience other display related problems. 

Problems at the Apple Store

Finally, after 4 LG screened rMBPs I give up!

The problems are severe enough that it’s affecting the buying experience for consumers, driving customers to opt for other devices, and forced me personally to stop recommending the machine. Not only is Apple not addressing the issues publicly, Apple retail employees and 9to5Mac readers confirmed Apple is failing to properly inform retail and repair staff of the problems… Read more

Add a portable Blu-ray player to your Mac (including playback software) for less than a SuperDrive

tl;dr: Buy a $40 Portable USB Blu-ray/DVD-R drive and $30 Blu-ray player MacGo for $10 less than an Apple SuperDrive and you get to watch/rip Blu-ray movies as a bonus.

bluray_player_system

With Apple having eliminated optical media from just about every product it makes, including the redesigned iMacs, Mac Minis, and Retina MacBook Pros, many readers will be considering whether they need to procure a separate external DVD reader for emergencies. Some folks store archives, have software installers, backups, or have vast movie collection on DVD – and then there is Blu-ray…

Apple’s remedy is the DVD SuperDrive that costs $79 (well, $70/$50 used if you know where to shop). The SuperDrive is an Apple-quality product and can be used as a boot drive for many Macs that need to be upgraded or repaired via DVD.

But perhaps we can get a little more for our $80?

Steve Jobs viewed Blu-ray as a “bag of hurt” from the “mafia,” and Apple would frankly rather you stick to the iTunes ecosystem for video watching. But there are many nice Blu-ray titles out there, and iTunes’ compressed 1080p content still doesn’t come close the video and sound quality of Blu-ray. So, for those thinking of dropping $80 on a SuperDrive, we think we have a better option:

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The Apple Store begins offering Retina 15″ MacBook Pro refurbs starting at $1869

From 9to5Toys.com:

Screen Shot 2013-01-04 at 9.47.36 PM.

This evening, Apple began offering refurbished Retina MacBook Pros at the online Apple Store at significant 15% discounts, yielding savings of over $500 on high end models (below). 15-inch Retina MacBooks normally retail at $2200 but we’ve seen them as low as $2,000 (which is also the EDU discount price).

Apple refurbished products are packaged and look like new and come with the same one year of AppleCare. See all of the best prices on Apple Products on our Apple product pages.

Thanks Jason! Read more

Apple’s Black Friday deals go live in US/Canada as third-party retailers offer even better discounts on Macs, iPads, iPods and accessories

Apple’s Black Friday sales started going live online earlier today in a number of Apple Stores around the world, including: Australia, New Zealand, Germany, United Kingdom, and more. Now, Apple’s deals for the United States and Canada are live with the expected $100 in savings on MacBooks and smaller savings for iPads, iPods, and select accessories.

While Apple’s deals are in line with what we expected from previous years, most of these products can be found even cheaper through third-party retailers today. We have put together a list of all the Black Friday prices on the U.S. Apple Store below. Next to each item, you’ll also find the lowest price that we could find from third parties—most of which provided an even better deal than Apple:

-iPad with Retina display | From $458 (Save $41)
Best Price: BestBuy from $439
-iPad 2 | From $368 (Save $31)
Best Price: BestBuy from $339
Alternative Best Price option: eBay Daily Deals from $339 (16GB WiFi)
-iPod touch | From $268 (Save $31)
Best Price: Best Buy from $294+$50 gift card
-iPod touch 4th generation | From $178  (Save $21 )
Best Price: Best Buy from $194 +$50 gift card
-iPod nano | From $138 (Save $11)
Best Price: Best Buy from $144 + $20 gift card

-MacBook Pro with Retina Display | From $1,598 (Save $101)
Best Price: Amazon from $1,593
-MacBook Pro | From $1,098 (Save $101)
Best Price: Amazon from $1,024
-MacBook Air | From $898 (Save $101)
Best Price: Amazon from $893

Check our Apple Product pages for the lowest prices across the board as well as 9to5Toys.com for the latest updates. More Apple comparisons coming, below: Read more

Apple opens its first eBay store for a trial with select refurbished products

Seth Weintraub and Danny DeSilva contributed to this post.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been posting links to a mysterious Apple refurbished store that appeared on eBay about a month ago and has been hiding in plain sight ever since. Labeled only “Refurbished Outlet” with hidden corporate information and nothing in the way of contact information or a traceable backend, the store gets impressive 99.7-percent positive reviews from buyers. But, there is no information on where devices are coming from.

We thought Apple might be testing the waters to sell refurbished products directly to customers through eBay, and it seems that’s exactly what is happening. We discovered that this is in fact an Apple-run Store within eBay. It is in trial, and it could open the door to much bigger things. No one would go on the record at eBay, however.

Aside from the image fonts above, which are an uncharacteristic wreck, there are many telltale signs of Apple’s direct involvement. Just like Apple’s own refurbished products, the “refurbished outlet” products all have the following:

  • Full one-year warranty
  • Returned to like-new condition
  • iPads/iPods include a new battery
  • Received complete burn-in testing
  • Original OS re-installed
  • Repackaged with manual and cable
  • Final quality inspection by Apple

The prices on the products are also identical to the Apple Store’s refurbished prices across the board (below) Read more

Apple announces ‘fourth-generation iPad’, starting at $499

Apple has refreshed its third-generation iPad line today, as expected, with a semi-minor upgrade that includes a new Lightning connector, but the company also included some upgraded internals in what it is calling the “fourth-generation iPad.”

“It is a power house,” said Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Philip Schiller while on stage at the event.

The fourth-generation iPad features faster performance with dual-core A6X and quad-core graphics. It also has a 5-megapixel iSight camera, expanded LTE chipset, front-facing camera with FaceTime and 720p video capture, ultrafast two-times Wi-Fi, and Lightening connector.

Additional specs:

  • Next-generation ISP
  • Double CPU performance from A5x
  • Double graphic performance
  • 10-hour battery life
  • LTE support
  • Colors: black and white

This is the first time Apple has unveiled two versions of the 9.7-inch iPad in one year. The fourth-generation iPad is priced at $499 for the 16 GB model and $629 for the 16 GB model with 4G LTE.

Go to 9to5Mac’s full coverage of the fourth-generation iPad for more information about carrier options and the discontinuation of the third-generation iPad. 

An image gallery is below.

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Apple unveils 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display starting at $1,699, ships today

We had many of the details for the 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro ahead of today’s unveiling, but Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Philip Schiller just confirmed the device’s specs and pricing. As we told you earlier, the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro comes in two base configurations (with a third 2.9GHz dual-core i7 upgrade option available) and gets many of the enhancements that the 15-inch version received. Schiller noted that the device is 20 percent thinner than the previous generation 13-inch MacBook, and it includes a 2,560-by1,600 Retina display with 29 percent higher color contrast and 75 percent reduced reflection.

Apple also announced that the device would start at $1,699 for the base configuration, and it will start shipping today. Apple also showed a second configuration would be offered for $1,999. Both options below are configurable to a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i7.

  • 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache
  • 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache

Some of the device’s specs—that Apple is now listing on its website— are below: Read more

Apple shows off new iBooks, available today

Apple CEO Tim Cook is live on stage at the company’s special media event in California, and he just announced a new version of iBooks.

News and features:

  • 400 million iBooks downloads
  • Continuous scrolling
  • Better integrated with iCloud— purchased books show up on shelf
  • Fantastic new ways to share — tap favorite quote and share on Facebook and Twitter
  • Supporting over 40 languages— new Korean, Chinese, Japanese
  • Available today, free download

Education news and iBooks Author:

  • iBooks textbooks reinvent the textbook full screen gorgeous layouts, interactive
  • Textbook available for 80 percent of high school
  • 2,500 US classrooms with iBooks textbooks
  • Publishers can now take own fonts and provide custom look
  • Multitouch widgets
  • 94 percent of fortune 500 is testing or deploying iPad—seeing similar in smaller business

Read more

Photo of tweaked full-sized iPad shell with new, smaller Lightning port?

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The authors of blog Apple.Pro have posted a photo of what appears to be the shell for the upcoming tweaked third-generation iPad with a Lightning port. No other changes appear to be shown in this image. That is in line with expectations of this being a very minor refresh. Apple.Pro is known to have a fairly reliable track record when it comes to sharing images of parts for upcoming Apple products.

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Apple announces iPad mini media event for Oct. 23

Image via Engadget

Apple officially announced a media event for the much-rumored iPad mini scheduled for Oct. 23. Apple sent out invitations to the press today, as noted by The Loop. The event will kick off at 10 a.m. PST in San Jose’s California Theatre, as opposed to one of Apple’s usual venues. An Oct. 23 unveiling of the new 7.85-inch iPad would likely signal an early-November launch and international rollout leading up to the holidays. Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported Apple’s supply chain in Asia has kicked mass production of the iPad mini into full swing.

As we reported earlier this week, Apple will also unveil its 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display at the event alongside a refreshed Mac mini. We also showed you SKUs earlier today that hint at 24 new iPad models and refreshed iMacs.

Pricing for the iPad mini has been the biggest source of debate, with some analysts claiming Apple is not “cutting corners” on the iPad mini’s design despite trying to compete with pricing of 7-inch competitors from Amazon and Google. Yesterday, Bloomberg reiterated earlier reports that Apple is having production issues with the iPhone 5 related to scratching on the device’s aluminum back. With delays and shortages still making an impact on supplies of the iPhone 5, analysts have also suggested initial supplies of the new iPad will likely be constrained.

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Why build a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro and not a Retina MacBook Air?

We were initially skeptical about reports of a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, but we are obviously believers now that we have received word from very reliable sources that they are due in just over a week. Why were we skeptical?

Apple already has an incredible form factor in the 13-inch MacBook Air. So, why not simply give it a Retina Display? Read more

LaCie announces re-engineered USB 3.0 products for new MacBooks including ruggedized USB stick

LaCie introduced the RuggedKey this week. It is an IP-54 water and dust resistant USB 3.0 key that provides speeds up to 150 MB/s and a bumper that offers protection from “heat, cold, and 100-meter drops.” The RuggedKey is now available in Apple stores or from the company directly starting at $40 for 16 GB, but LaCie also announced today that it updated its entire USB 3.0 portfolio with optimizations specifically for Apple’s latest lineup of MacBooks. LaCie said it re-engineered its USB 3.0 products for Lion and Mountain Lion by taking advantage of USB-attached SCSI Protocol support in Ivy Bridge Macs:

Thanks to UAS (USB Attached SCSI Protocol), people with the latest Macbook Air, Macbook Pro and Macbook Pro with Retina Display will experience maximum USB 3.0 performance… Everything from cables and USB keys, to professional RAID storage solutions have been re-engineered for advanced performances. LaCie’s recently announced RuggedKey achieves top speeds up to 150MB/s in 32GB of flash memory – making it one of the fastest USB keys on the market. LaCie’s popular Rugged Triple, and Porsche Design P’9223 and P’9233 have also been optimized for Mac and are available in Apple retail.

On top of Apple stores, the redesigned lineup of LaCie USB 3.0 products is available through LaCie stores. The company’s full press release is below:
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