Modbook announces $4k 15-inch pen-based OS X tablet built w/ new Retina MacBooks

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Following up the last Modbook Pro tablet the company is currently selling made from a converted mid-2012 MacBook Pro, today Modbook is back with the announcement of a 15-inch ModBook tablet that uses the new Retina MacBooks Apple just refreshed this week as its guts. For those of you unfamiliar with the company, it first started making OS X based tablets by converting Apple laptops and adding pen input capabilities as far back as 2007.  Read more

Intel launches updated Haswell chips, likely to appear in upcoming MacBook Pro spec bump

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Intel has debuted the next generation of its Core i5 and i7 processors, according to a report from CPU World. Each of these updated chips sports a 200 MHz speed boost over its previous incarnation, which can currently be found in the MacBook Pro lineup. It’s likely that these processors will be found in a spec-bumped version of the MacBook Pro later this year.

The current series of MacBook Pro processors are available at clock speeds of 2.0 GHz (in the lowest-end 13-inch model) up to 2.6 GHz (in the top-of-the-line, built-to-order 15-inch model). The next-gen models released this week range from 2.2 to 3.0 GHz, which will provide a decent speed boost to each model.

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iMac reportedly getting a spec bump next week, but no Retina model yet

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According to a new MacG report, Apple is planning to debut a spec bump for the iMac lineup next week. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear these will be the Retina iMacs that have appeared in recent OS X beta builds. Instead, it seems we’re only due for a slight processor speed increase, with each model gaining only 100 MHz.

The report speculates that the new models could include a new and improved Thunderbolt 2 connection, but there doesn’t seem to be any confirmation of that at this time. MacG accurately predicted the most recent MacBook Air refresh, so it’s a safe bet that these iMacs are coming next week. We’ve heard similar whispers at 9to5Mac as well.

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Opinion: It’s time to bring back the mobile professional’s workhorse, the MacBook Pro 17

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Many of us were deeply disappointed when Apple discontinued the MacBook Pro 17. While the Retina MacBook Pro 15 introduced at the same time offered higher resolution, sometimes there’s just no substitute for physical screen size. Photographers and videographers in particular loved the combination of the sheer size and the option of a matte screen.

I loved mine enough to immediately sell the three-year-old one I owned at the time in order to replace it with the last model made, to maximize its useful life. I still love it enough that I’ve just laid out a thousand bucks on a 2.5-year-old machine to fit 2TB of SSDs, giving it the best of both worlds: lightning-fast performance combined with huge storage that allows me to have all my files with me when I travel.

There may not be too many others who’ll follow my admittedly extravagant example, but I do think it’s time for Apple to revisit its decision and bring back the mobile professional’s workhorse …  Read more

Apple extends education pricing to iPad, offering discounts of $20-30

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If you’re eligible for education pricing, iGeneration noticed that the discounts available on Macs through the Apple Store for Education have now been extended to iPads. The discounts are modest, ranging from $20 to $30, but it all helps.

Education pricing is available to pretty much everyone working or studying in higher education: students, faculty, staff – even parents of students – as well as employees of K-12 schools.

Discounted iPad prices for the base spec 16GB wifi models are:

  • iPad mini: $279 ($20 off)
  • iPad mini with Retina display: $379 ($20 off)
  • iPad Retina display (4th Gen): $379 ($20 off)
  • iPad Air: $469 ($30 off)

The discounts appear to be rolling out internationally, already available in some countries but not yet all.

If your college belongs to the Apple on Campus program, the same modest discounts on iPads appear to be available, in contrast to the significantly better discounts offered on Macs.

As always, we recommend tuning into 9to5Toys to find the absolute best prices on iPads and all other Apple gear. For example, we recently featured a 16GB iPad Air for $400 ($100 off), 16GB Retina iPad mini with LTE for $355 ($174 off), and a 64GB iPad mini (1st gen) for $349 (orig. $599).