Hardware Stories January 12, 2014

Apple now shipping the Mac Pro to Europe once again, after EU ban of old model

Since March, the old Mac Pro has not been available to buy in Europe as changes in regulations meant that the old Mac Pro no longer complied with EU law. In particular, the large exposed fans of the Mac Pro were the main reason behind the ban — the amendment required fan guards and minor changes to electrical ports.

With the design of the new Mac Pro, Apple once again complies with regulatory requirements. Via MacGeneration, customers in Europe are now receiving shipment notifications with delivery as early as January 14. According to Apple’s online store, customers ordering today should receive their Mac Pro in February.

Hardware Stories January 9, 2014

The $50 smartwatch will be here by the summer, says Archos

When a whole new category of technology arrives, you can usually rely on tech-heads to get excited about them even if the mass-market doesn’t. So far, though, smartwatches don’t seem to have made as much headway as many expected. When a confirmed gadget addict like me is left wondering why I’d want one, something somewhere is wrong.

But where functionality hasn’t persuaded many of us, perhaps price will. Archos is planning to launch a basic smartwatch in the summer for just $50, a price it may be hoping will lead people to stop asking ‘Why?’ and instead ask ‘Why not?’.

Don’t expect too much tech for your fifty bucks: what it will buy you is more of a dumbwatch than a smart one. All it will do is relay notifications from your phone and allow you to control music playback. Oh yes, and tell the time. The display, too, is low-tech: a 1.55-inch non-capacitive e-ink screen.

The styling also looks pretty crude. But for $50, it’s almost cheap enough to try one out just to see whether the idea of a smartwatch grabs you.

Archos also plans a color model with 1.8-inch capacitive screen for $100 and an aluminum-cased version for $130, but these won’t be available until later in the year.

Hardware Stories January 6, 2014

Hardware Stories December 19, 2013

Apple starts selling black Thunderbolt Cables alongside new Mac Pro

The new Mac Pro is not Apple’s only new blacked-out product: to go with the new pro machine, Apple has released black versions of its 0.5 meter and 2 meter Thunderbolt cables. These cords have Thunderbolt ports on either side, and they work well for transferring data between Macs, connecting to hard drives, and connecting to various other Thunderbolt 1.0 or 2.0 peripherals. Apple is still selling the white cords, and the longer version is $39 per cable and the shorter is $29 (try Amazon for some less expensive options).

Update: Continuing the black theme, the Apple stickers that come with the Mac Pro are black (see above):

Apple releases software update for new Mac Pro to fix reliability and graphics issues

Only hours after the new Mac Pro became available for order (and months before you’ll be able to get your hands on one), Apple has released an EFI software update for the machine. The update is said to resolve multiple hardware-related issues:

This update is recommended for all Mac Pro (Late 2013) models. This update improves system reliability during reboot, resolves an issue with memory self-test, and improves graphics power management when using Boot Camp.

On Apple’s website, only a few hours since it went on sale, delivery estimates for the Mac Pro have slipped to February next year.

This morning, the store opened with delivery estimates of December 30th with some variants quoting a January timeframe. Now, it appears the initial allocation has sold out as Apple’s website now reports February shipment for all models.

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