WSJ footnote suggests 12-inch MacBook Air could be announced by Apple as early as Monday

Render: Martin Hajek (based on our reporting)

Render: Martin Hajek (based on our reporting)

Tucked away at the bottom of the WSJ’s report on the often-postponed iPad Pro was a single sentence that, if correct, suggests that Apple could announce the 12-inch MacBook Air as early as Monday.

While suppliers are gearing up to ship the new 12-inch MacBook Air in large quantities in the second quarter, Apple’s launch schedule remains unclear, the people said.

WWDC traditionally has been the end of Q2, so unless Apple plans another event specifically for the new model (not impossible but I’d think not), the most likely time to announce it would be during Monday’s Spring Forward event, expected to major on the Apple Watch. Since this is a new product, not an upgrade of a current product, Apple could use some ramping time between the announcement and the actual launch.

We’d caution however that supply chain sources, which is apparently the kind the WSJ is using, often guess early when it comes to shipping times.

We exclusively revealed details of the radical new MacBook back in January. Sources described a markedly thinner and lighter machine squeezing a 12-inch higher resolution screen into a casing narrower than the current 11-inch MacBook Air. The machine is also said to take a minimalist approach to ports–likely even just a single USB C port for both power and data–and to be available in iOS device colors as well as plain anodized aluminum. 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.

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Happy Hour Podcast 004 | Predictions and expectations for Apple’s March 9th ‘Spring Forward’ event

happy-hour

Episode 004 of Happy Hour is finally here and Apple’s March 9th “Spring Forward” event is right around the corner. It’s safe to say, we’re all pretty excited. What can you expect to be announced on stage at the event? Well, today we’re discussing the entire thing and getting into all of the details along with our expectations and predictions. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed…

Click here to subscribe on iTunes or listen to the episode embedded above.

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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

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.

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Review: ClamCase Pro case for iPad Air 2 – a premium keyboard case with a premium price

clamcase-pro-1

At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking you’re looking at some kind of ultra-small MacBook Air on the right, next to my MBA 11. It’s actually my iPad Air 2 in the ClamCase Pro keyboard case that combines all-round protection with a near-laptop-quality keyboard.

I’m testing here the case for the iPad Air 2, but there are other models for the iPad 2/3/4, previous iPad Air and iPad mini …  Read more

MacBook Air survives 1000-foot, 125mph fall from plane

Left, a Sport Cruiser aircraft of the same type; right, the MacBook Air after the fall

A South African pilot appears to have taken the name of his MacBook Air a little too literally, managing to drop it from the light aircraft he was flying when the canopy flew open. The MacBook, along with his flying license and logbook, fell 1000 feet into the fields below–but amazingly survived the experience.

Admittedly it didn’t emerge entirely unscathed. Pilot and Reddit user Av80r reports that the unibody casing was bent, the glass trackpad shattered and the cooling fans were damaged, but the screen remained intact and the MacBook continues to work …  Read more

Don’t cancel your ski plans, Apple’s not having an event in Feb.

Apple Introduces Two New iPhone Models At Product Launch

Contrary to a report from the often-reliable French blog iGen.fr, Apple is apparently not planning a media event late this month to introduce the Apple Watch or other new products, sources tell 9to5Mac.

Several media reports picked up the rumor today, repeating claims that Apple has planned an event for the last week of February, perhaps February 24. The blog speculated that the event could also include the introduction of the in development 12-inch MacBook we revealed earlier this year. Read more

Intel CEO says relationship with Apple strong amid rumors of Apple-designed Mac processors

Apple Intel

As we reported earlier this week, often reliable KGI is predicting that Apple will bring its in-house designed A-series processor to an entry-level Mac sometime in 2016 with TSMC and Samsung expected to fab the potential A9X and A10X chips, respectively. As the move to put non-Intel chips in the Mac lineup would be a departure for the company, CNBC asked Intel CEO Brian Krzanich about the chip-maker’s business plans with Apple… Read more

Review: Duet, the app that turns your iPad into a Lightning-connected Mac monitor

duet

I’m a big-screen fan. It’s the reason my primary Mac is still a 17-inch MacBook Pro, and why I have that hooked up to a 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display when I’m in my home office. When travelling, though, I have fewer pixels to play with. Sure, I could get a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, but I favor physical screen space over smaller screen elements.

There are existing apps out there, like Air Display, that let you use an iPad as a second monitor for a Mac, but they work via WiFi, which poses two problems. First, they often don’t work on WiFi hotspots, which you’re likely to be using when away from home. Second, even when they do work, there is an annoying amount of lag.

Which is where Duet comes in. Instead of using WiFi, it feeds the video signal from your Mac to iPad using a standard Lightning or 30-pin cable. Built by ex-Apple engineers, I figured it ought to be work well, so put it to the test …  Read more