Opinion: Why I’m not the target for the new ultra-portable MacBook, but most MacBook Air owners are

new-macbook

Mark Gurman nailed it, so there were few surprises for 9to5Mac readers in yesterday’s launch of Apple’s new, ultra-portable 12-inch MacBook. But one thing we didn’t know for sure then was whether the new machine would be a cut-down, entry-level MacBook or a high-spec premium one.

The answer, we now know, is neither–or both. It’s cut-down in some respects, specced-up in others. A lower-spec CPU, but more RAM and SSD storage. A lower-spec GPU, but a higher-res screen. It loses Thunderbolt, but gains USB C. Clever things done with battery space and power-efficiency, but potential gains in battery-life wiped out by the smaller, thinner form-factor.

It makes for a slightly odd positioning in the line-up …  Read more

Apple’s 12″ MacBook gets new USB-C power, VGA, USB, and HDMI adapters

usb-c

Alongside the newly-announced 12″ MacBook, Apple today announced its first collection of USB-C accessories designed to expand the abilities of the ultra-thin laptop’s single data and power port. The smallest is a USB-C to USB Adapter ($19), which converts the MacBook’s USB-C port to standard USB “to connect devices such as your flash drive or camera” or “a “USB cable for syncing and charging your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.” It supports USB 3.1 Gen 1 for data… Read more

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.

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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. Update: it did.

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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