Happy Hour Podcast 015 | Refreshed Macs, Apple Watch update, and the end of Apple’s rumored TV plans

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Apple has slightly refreshed the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, added a more affordable Retina 5K iMac, and an iPhone related surprise. Along with that, we have a new Watch OS update and sad news about Apple’s rumored TV plans. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed…

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DisplayMate: Apple Watch has ‘excellent’ display, but Ion-X glass bests sapphire in light tests

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Screen technology analysis firm DisplayMate, best known for comparing the display performance of phones, tablets, and laptops, today published an extensive report on the screen inside the 42mm Apple Watch. Describing the screen as “excellent,” DisplayMate’s Dr. Raymond Soneira also explained the relative benefits of the Ion-X glass found in the $349+ Apple Watch Sport versus the Sapphire Crystal used in the higher end Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition models, notably praising the lower end model’s glass as superior across a number of tested categories. Read more

Review: Can you actually use the new 12-inch MacBook for work?

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Early reviews of Apple’s MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015) have framed it as an expensive prototype from the future — a notebook that will someday be the standard, but one most people aren’t ready for yet. Despite that classification, the new MacBook is extremely tempting if you’re in the market for a new computer: it’s more portable than even the MacBook Air, it’s the first Mac available in gold and space gray finishes, and it has a trackpad with a new feature called Force Touch.

But can you actually do work on the 12-inch MacBook? That’s the $1300 question everyone is asking. I’ll unpack my experience below …

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12-inch MacBook review roundup: The future of the notebook, but USB-C, keys and speed are issues

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We originally reported that Apple was preparing to release a redesigned 12-inch MacBook in January and the company made the device official during its Spring Forward event. The 12-inch MacBook doesn’t go on sale until tomorrow, April 10th, but reviews have already started pouring in today.

The all-new 12-inch MacBook has been completely redesigned and is the thinnest MacBook Apple offers. The laptop sports a 2304×1440 resolution display and is just 13.1mm thick at its thickest point. To get the laptop this thin, Apple made compromises and those compromises have made many potential buyers worry. The new MacBook only features a single USB-C port, with Apple encouraging users to use adapters to fulfill their other needs. Performance concerns also arose when benchmarks allegedly emerged from the laptop showing performance on-par with that of a 2011 MacBook Air. You can read our roundup of all the 12-inch MacBook reviews below:

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Apple’s 2015 MacBook Pro and Air models now at US retailers Amazon, Best Buy, MacMall, B&H and others

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Refreshed 2015 MacBook Air and Pro models are now available at major US retailers following their announcement at Apple’s Spring Forward event on March 9th.

Currently, Amazon has all of the new MacBook Air models in stock and ready to ship, from $899. The new MacBook Pro models are also listed on Amazon as well, although supply is currently more limited. 2014 versions are discounted.

B&H offers $5 off and no tax at the time of purchase outside of New York on the new MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros as well as a free copy of Parallels. 2014 versions are discounted.

MacMall also offers $5 off the new MacBook Airs and Pros and tax only in a few states. 2014 models discounted.

Meanwhile if you want to get your hands on one today, Best Buy offers free site to store on the new MacBook Pro/Airs which will have stock varied by location. 2014 models discounted.

If you want to save some real money, 2014 models are seeing deep discounts at 9to5toys. At the Apple Refurb store you can pick up some heavy discounts on previous models while extraordinary savings are available at B&H and Best Buy on 2014 models including a student deal that chops the 2014 models down to $750 .

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Apple adds refurbished Retina 5K iMac to online store, prices start at $2,119

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Apple has recently added the 27-inch iMac with Retina display, originally released in October 2014, to the refurbished section of its online store. Currently, the baseline 5K iMac with a 3.5 GHz quad-core Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, a 1 TB Fusion Drive, and an AMD Radeon R9 graphics processor will cost you $2,119 refurbished from Apple. That’s $380 – or 15%- off the price of a new model.

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The tl;dr version of early iMac with Retina 5K display reviews is TAKE MY MONEY [Review roundup]

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The early reviews are out for the iMac with Retina 5K display, and the tl;dr version is: if you can afford it, buy it.

Everyone of course agrees that the key market for the machine is video professionals (beating even the base-model Mac Pro in benchmarks), the 5K resolution offering the ability to display full-size 4K video while still leaving enough room for editing tools.

But while the new iMac may be overkill for more mundane tasks, reviewers also agreed that the display is so good that even if you don’t need one, you’ll still want one …  Read more

Apple announces 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display starting at $2499, 5120×2880 screen resolution

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Apple has just announced a brand-new Retina 27-inch iMac. Apple is spreading Retina displays across the lineup, with the iMac leading that charge. This is the highest resolution screen in the world, according to Apple, with 14.7 million pixels. This is a 5K display — more than seven times the pixels of a HDTV. The screen builds on the technology Apple built on the iPhone and iPad, but to a whole new scale.

The iMac is just 5mm at its thinnest point, maintaining the same thinness as the previous generation, despite the massive leap in pixel density.

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Opinion: What can we expect from a Retina iMac, and who will buy it?

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Desktop fans have waited a long time for a Retina iMac, but it now seems pretty clear the wait won’t last too much longer. Our sources told us last month that the machines are “in the late testing phases,” and the rumor is that the machine will have a 5K display, with a resolution of 5120×2880 – exactly double that of the current 27-inch iMac.

We may even have identified the specific display Apple intends to use: a 27-inch 5K panel announced by Dell is looking like a very plausible candidate. This panel would provide a pixel density of 218 PPI, about the same as that of the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro …

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