MacBook Pro December 2, 2015

AAPL: 117.34

-0.96
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MacBook Pro November 30, 2015

AAPL: 118.30

0.49
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Trying to predict the future of technology is a risky endeavor at best, and never more so when attempting to do it with one of the most secretive companies in the field.

But never let it be said I don’t ‘fess up when my predictions don’t pan out. Two years ago, I reckoned that the MacBook Air and Pro ranges would have merged by now. When the MacBook Air was first launched, it made a lot of compromises to fit into that slim casing. But over the years, the Air got more powerful and the Pro started to make similar compromises in pursuit of a sleeker form-factor. Both went SSD, both went non-upgradable RAM, neither had an optical drive, neither had an Ethernet port.

It seemed to me then that the differences between the two ranges would continue to dwindle until there was really nothing to separate them. But as things turned out, Apple had one surprise in store for me …  expand full story

MacBook Pro November 11, 2015

AAPL: 116.11

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I’ve long recommended the MacBook Air to friends who want something a little more capable than an iPad but don’t need their machine to do any heavy lifting. But recent experience has now led me to go rather further …

I’ve written at length about why I’m doggedly sticking to my four-year-old 17-inch MacBook Pro as my main machine. The tl;dr version is that I really like working on a large screen, and I also like having all my files on board when travelling – something I can do because I upgraded it to 2 x 1TB SSDs.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that it fell victim to the GPU problem that has afflicted a number of 2011-2013 MacBook Pros. The first symptoms were everything slowing to a crawl when connected to my 27-inch Thunderbolt display, followed by random crashes and then the characteristic graphics distortion that confirmed the logic board as the culprit.

The good news was that Apple would fix it free of charge under its Repair Extension Program. The bad news was that it would take a week, during which time my second Mac – a Mid 2013 11-inch MacBook Air usually used exclusively as a mobile writing device – would have to take over all its duties. I wondered how well it would cope …  expand full story

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MacBook Pro October 30, 2015

AAPL: 119.50

-1.03
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After a rough start and a mixed early experience, I did finally press the button on Apple Music – a decision I’m grateful for at present as my main Mac is away for repair. This diary piece is as much about that experience as Apple Music, but I will get to music, I promise …

I love a large screen on a laptop, so have stuck doggedly to my 17-inch MacBook Pro, despite the fact that it’s now four years old. It’s a maxed-out late-2011 machine that has been very heavily upgraded over the years, with 16GB RAM and 2TB of SSD storage, and consequently still offers decent performance.

Until recently …  expand full story

MacBook Pro October 23, 2015

AAPL: 115.50

1.74
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When Microsoft launched its first full-on laptop, the Surface Book, it made a big point of claiming that the machine was twice as fast as a 13-inch MacBook Pro. Benchmark tests by PCWorld show that this claiming is misleading, though the dedicated graphics card available in certain models does pay off for some uses.

The site’s tests showed that in pure CPU benchmarks, the MacBook Pro was actually slightly faster than the Surface Book. This remained true for Geek Bench 3 tests, which simulate real-life usage …  expand full story

MacBook Pro October 19, 2015

AAPL: 111.73

0.69
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Earlier in the year, a small-but-not-insignificant number of Apple customers complained about screen issues with their new Retina MacBooks and Retina MacBook Pros, specifically cases where the anti-reflective display coating leaves marks and stains on the screen, ranging from small corner blobs to large patches.

Several months later, Apple seems to have acknowledged the issue and launched a Quality Program to replace affected users’  hardware. The Staingate Facebook page now includes many reports of people successfully sending their MacBooks in for repair at Apple Stores. The existence of the program was first reported by MacRumors.

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