Apple Updates MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Today Apple refreshed the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar line. Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros with Touch Bar have been updated. The 13-inch sports 2.3GHz quad-core 8th Generation Core i5 processors,Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 graphics, and 8GB of RAM. The 13-inch with Touch Bar is configurable with a 2.7GHz processor and up to 16GB of RAM. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar still starts at 256GB of storage and can be configured with 512GB, 1TB, or 2GB. The 13-inch model starts at $1799 and goes up to $3699, at the top end.

The 15-inch model has a bit beefier specs. The 15-inch sports a 2.2GHz 6-core 8th Generation Core i7 Processor, Radeon 555X with 4GB of video memory, 256G of storage, and 16GB of memory. The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar can be configured with a 2.9GHz 6-core processor, 32GB of RAM, a Radeon Pro 560X, and up to 4TB of storage. Yes, 4TB. The price ranges from $2399 to $6699 for a fully loaded model.

All 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models come with four Thunderbolt 3 ports, a brand new T2 processor, which supports “Hey Siri”, and the Retina Displays are now True Tone displays. The biggest question is the keyboard. The 2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar has a third-generation keyboard, which is quieter than previous models. It is presumed that the new keyboards will not experience the same issues as the previous models, but that is not known yet and only time will be able to tell us for sure whether or not they are improved.

These are the first True Tone displays on a MacBook Pro. True Tone is a screen technology that will look at the colors in the room and it will automatically adjust the color profile so it will look best in all lighting conditions. True Tone already exists on the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, the 2nd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and the iPhone X. It is good to see True Tone come to the MacBook Pro line.

There are a couple of other things to note. The first is that the old 2015 MacBook Pro that Apple was selling, is no longer available. Similarly, 13-inch MacBook Pros without Touch Bar have not been updated. These are still the same as before. Similarly, there have not been any other laptop updates.

Along with the new MacBook Pros, there is also a new external graphical processing unit (eGPU), the BlackMagic eGPU. The BlackMagic eGPU has a Radeon Pro 580 graphics processor with 8GB of GDDR5 memory, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, four USB 3 ports, and one HDMI 2.0 port. This is $699 and will work with any Mac that has a Thunderbolt 3 port.

It is good to see Apple update the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. The specs will definitely be welcome, in particular the 6-core processors in the 15-inch models. The ability to choose up to 4TB of storage and 32GB will be great for those users who need that much storage and memory. If you really need the external graphical processing, it is great to see new hardware for those users as well. You can order the 2018 MacBook Pros today.

Apple’s App Store Celebrates 10 Years

Time does surely fly, it seems like only yesterday that Apple unveiled the iPhone App Store to the world. The exact date was July 10th, 2008. At its launch the App Store had 500 applications, which seemed like so many at the time. Today there are millions of applications.

It is very likely that without the App Store, Apple would not be the company the it is today. It is not to say that the iPhone itself would not have been somewhat of a success, but it is without a doubt that the ability for third-parties to provide applications for users to download.

There are many things that have been said about the App Store, be sure to check out Apple’s coverage from many who have been instrumental in the success of the App Store.

Source: Apple Newsroom

Apple App Store and iTunes Store Availability Changes

One of the biggest problems in today’s interconnected world is that there are those who are highly motivated by getting financial information from individuals. Many of these individuals use different means of getting this information. One way to be able to combat this is by having the companies who are storing financial data protect it.

One of the ways that these companies can do this is by removing older connection protocols and older software. Apple is making some changes with their older software versions. Apple has begun emailing individuals who are affected. From their support article:

On June 30, 2018, Apple will implement changes to continue to ensure your financial data is protected when you make purchases on the iTunes Store or App Store. As a result of the changes, you will no longer be able to change your Apple ID payment information from devices using the following versions of Apple software:

  • iOS 4.3.5 or earlier
  • macOS 10.8.5 or earlier
  • Apple TV Software 4.4.4 or earlier

If you’re using one of these versions on your device and need to change your payment method, update your device to the latest version of the software.

This change does not meant that you cannot access your content, you still can. But if you need to update your payment information you cannot do it on your older devices. I did not get an email, but I guess that is because I have not used any of the older operating systems recently. Maybe it is just me, but I am all for having companies better protect our financial information even if that means that you cannot use some older devices to change information.

Source: Apple Support.

MacBook and MacBook Pro Keyboard Repair Program

Late on Friday Apple announced that they are creating a Keyboard Service Program for a range of their laptops. There have been many reports of users having keys that stick, letters not being shown, or a key that gets repeatedly pressed even if you only press a key once.

The list of affected computers are:

  • MacBook (Retina, 12-­inch, Early 2015)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12­-inch, Early 2016)
  • MacBook (Retina, 12-­inch, 2017)
  • MacBook Pro (13­-inch, 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (13-­inch, 2017, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports)
  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2016)
  • MacBook Pro (15-­inch, 2017)

If you have one of these laptops and are experiencing any of the keyboard issues, you can contact Apple, or Apple Authorized Reseller, and setup an appointment. If you have already paid to have your keyboard fixed, you can get a refund.

It is good that Apple has recognized that this is an issue but this is not new. This has been going on for over three years and this way overdue. What is worse is that if you got any dust under the keys, they would stop working and the “fix” to use compressed air at a 75 degree angle is not acceptable for most users.

I hope that any future updates to the keyboard will not have these issues, but there have not been any updates since last summer. Only time will be able to tell if this was a small time-frame where laptop keyboards were problematic or if this is an on-going issue.

Source: Apple.

George Carlin

Today marks 10 years since legendary comedian George Carlin has died. Even though he has been gone for an entire decade, many of the thoughts and musings that he espoused still remain true and still entirely appropriate. Here are a few of my favorite bits throughout the years.

Modern Man

Euphemisms

Incomplete List of Impolite Words

Golf Courses

And as a bonus, his most famous skit:

Seven Dirty Words

As a special bonus, this one has some major parallels to today, even though it was recorded 30 years ago.

The world is worse off place without having him here. I often wonder what he would say about the current state of things in the world. Alas, we shall never know. Thanks for all the great comedy George.