Categories
Apple Apple Silicon Mac

Apple’s “One more thing” event Recap

Today Apple held their “One more thing” event. This is the third event in the last two months and as expected, this event focused strictly on Macs, specifically their Apple Silicon Macs. There was also a brief mention about the operating system needed to run the Macs, macOS Big Sur. Let us start with a brief look at macOS Big Sur.

macOS Big Sur

Back at their World Wide Developer Conference in June, Apple unveiled the next version of macOS named Big Sur. macOS Big Sur features an all new design that is heavily inspired by iOS and shares many of the same features as iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. The big feature with macOS Big Sur is that it includes the ability to run iOS apps and iPadOS apps natively, but only on Macs running Apple Silicon. Because this was such a monumental shift, the version number of the operating system changed from what would have been 10.16 to 11.0.

In today’s stream they provided a release date for macOS Big Sur, and that day is this Thursday, November 12th, 2020. There is still time to pre-order my e-book, macOS Big Sur for Users, Administrators, and Developers from Apple or Amazon for $3.99 each.

Apple Silicon Macs

Today Apple unveiled not one, but three Macs running Apple Silicon. Before Apple introduced these though, they talked about the chip that powers these Macs, the M1.

M1

Apple has been designing their own custom silicon for over a decade with the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. They have brought this knowledge and experience to the Mac with the M1 chip. The M1 will power the first-generation of Macs running Apple Silicon.

The M1 has an 8-core CPU with four high-performance cores and four high-efficiency cores. According to Apple the CPU will have up to 3.5x faster performance than previous Macs. The high-performance cores will only be used when when they are needed. For instance, if you are editing video or doing any computational intensive tasks.

However, if you are doing some less intensive tasks, like editing a note or reading email, the more power-efficient cords will be used instead. This efficiency will allow even longer battery life, because the power-efficient cores can be utilized instead of the high-performance cores.

A CPU is great at some tasks, but one area where it not the best is when it comes to graphics. For those tasks, there is the 8-core graphics processing unit.

Many of the features found in Apple’s other devices will now be present in the M1, like the 16-core Neural Engine. This will let machine learning tasks scream more than ever.

What is needed to make all of this work together is some memory. The memory architecture of the M1 is unified. This means that the CPU, GPU, and Neural Engine can all access the same memory areas, which makes transferring data between the different processors. This unified memory architecture is what is used throughout Apple’s other devices.

Now that we have covered the M1 chip, let us look at the three Macs that Apple released. These are the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac mini. Let us look at each of these starting with the MacBook Air.

MacBook Air

The MacBook Air is Apple’s thin and lightweight laptop that is great for a majority of users and is great for everyday tasks. This is also the best-selling laptop that Apple sells. This is likely due to its starting price. On the topic of price, the MacBook Air has a new starting price of $999. There is another configuration that starts at $1249. Both of these models have

  • Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU and 16‑core Neural Engine
  • 8GB unified memory
  • Retina display with True Tone
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Touch ID
  • Force Touch trackpad
  • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
  • Wi-Fi 6

The difference between the two models is with the GPUs and base storage size. The $999 model only has 256GB of storage included and a 7-core GPU. The one few core is done in order to keep down the cost. Meanwhile, the $1249 configuration does come with an 8-Core GPU and starts off with 512GB of storage. Both models can be configured with 16GB of memory, a 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB storage options.

The MacBook Air also now supports the P3 Wide Color that has been present on iOS and iPadOS devices for a number of years now. P3 Color allows better representations of colors when looking at photos and videos.

One of the more noticeable changes with the MacBook Air that comes as a benefit of the M1 is more battery life. According to Apple you can get up to 15 hours of browsing the web and 18 hours of video playback. This is an improvement six hours of video playback, as compared to the previous MacBook Air. Here are some improvements that Apple states you will get with the MacBook Air:

  • Export a project for the web with iMovie up to 3x faster. 
  • Integrate 3D effects into video in Final Cut Pro up to 5x faster. 
  • For the first time, play back and edit multiple streams of full-quality, 4K ProRes video in Final Cut Pro without dropping a frame.
  • Export photos from Lightroom up to twice as fast.
  • Use ML-based features like Smart Conform in Final Cut Pro to intelligently frame a clip up to 4.3x faster.
  • Watch more movies and TV shows with up to 18 hours of battery life, the longest ever on MacBook Air.
  • Extend FaceTime and other video calls for up to twice as long on a single charge.

The MacBook Air comes in the same three colors, Silver, Space Gray, and Rose Gold and are available to order today and arrive next week. Next, let us look at the other 13-inch laptop, the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

MacBook Pro

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is a popular model of Mac used by many creatives. The 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at the same $1299 price. For that price you get the following:

  • Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine
  • 8GB unified memory
  • 256GB SSD storage
  • 13-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • Magic Keyboard
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Force Touch trackpad
  • Two Thunderbolt / USB 4 ports
  • Wi-Fi 6

Just like the MacBook Air you can upgrade the memory to 16GB, the storage to 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB. To go with all of this the 13-inch MacBook Pro

Apple is touting just how fast these machines are with these improvements:

  • Build code in Xcode up to 2.8x faster.
  • Render a complex 3D title in Final Cut Pro up to 5.9x faster. 
  • Fluidly design intricate game scenes in Unity Editor up to 3.5x faster. 
  • Perform ML tasks in Create ML up to 11x faster.
  • Separate out beats, instrumentals, and vocal tracks from a recording in real time in djay Pro AI, thanks to the amazing performance of the Neural Engine. 
  • Play back full-quality, 8K ProRes video in DaVinci Resolve without dropping a single frame. 
  • Compile four times as much code on a single charge, thanks to the game-changing performance per watt of the M1 chip.

The Thunderbolt and USB 4 ports do provide the ability to run the Apple Pro Display XDR at its native 6K resolution, should you find yourself in that situation.

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro is available to order today and begins arriving next week.

Mac mini

The last Mac to discuss is the first desktop to get Apple Silicon, the Mac mini. the Mac mini is a very versatile machine that is used in a variety of situations. These can range from a simple home computer, to a server, to a portable rendering station. The Mac mini now also comes with the M1 and a new price point. The Mac mini now starts at $699, which is $100 less than before. For that $699 price you get the following:

  • Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine
  • 8GB unified memory
  • 256GB SSD storage
  • Gigabit Ethernet

You can customize the Mac mini with 16GB of memory, or you can upgrade the storage to 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB options. One of the reasons that people opt for a Mac mini is the variety of ports. The Apple Silicon Mac mini includes Thunderbolt/USB-C 4 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, 2 USB-A ports, a gigabit ethernet port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.

There are a couple of other changes with the new Mac mini. The first is that it is no longer space gray, instead it is back to being silver. While this is cometic, it may be a deterrent for some users. The second change is that there are some ports that are no longer on the new M1 Mac mini. The number of USB-C ports is half of what the Intel-based Mac minis had; the previous model had four. While for most this may not be a problem, is can be problematic for some users. The other port that has changed is the 10-gigabit ethernet option. That is not available on the Apple Silicon Mac minis. It is likely that the choice for the 10-gigabit ethernet was a very niche option, it is something to note.

Apple is also providing some statistics for the improvements for the Mac mini over the previous generation. These include:

  • Compile code in Xcode up to 3x faster. 
  • Play a graphics-intensive game like “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” with up to 4x higher frame rates. 
  • Render a complex timeline in Final Cut Pro up to 6x faster. 
  • Take music production to new levels by using up to 3x as many real-time plug-ins in Logic Pro.
  • Magically increase the resolution of a photo in Pixelmator Pro up to 15x faster. 
  • Utilize ML frameworks like TensorFlow or Create ML, now accelerated by the M1 chip.

The new price point for the Mac mini will make it very attractive for some users. However, the lack of 32GB or 64GB options may be a major factor for some users.

Closing Thoughts

Today’s event was quite short, 45 minute in total. Even though it was a shorter event, it was entirely focused on the Mac and Big Sur. macOS Big Sur will be available as a free update starting this Thursday.

While many expected a MacBook Air, the inclusion of a 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Mac mini to all be introduced at the same time shows that Apple is well on its way with Apple Silicon.

Macs with Apple Silicon are new and not everybody will want to, or will be able to use the new devices. Therefore, Apple is still selling Intel-based Macs for two of the Macs released today; the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Mac mini. It is not known how long this will go on, but it is possible to still get an Intel-based Mac for each of these models. The MacBook Air is only available using the M1 chip.

The three new Macs are available to order today and will begin shipping next week. Customized models may take longer, depending on the choice of options.

Sources: Apple

Categories
Apple Mac

Apple Updates MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

Today Apple released updates to the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro. Let us look at each, starting with the MacBook Air.

MacBook Air

When it was introduced in 2008 it was the lightest laptop Apple had made to date. It famously fit into standard manilla envelope. Since then, the MacBook Air has been a favorite of many Apple laptop purchasers. When it was first introduced it was more expensive than other models, like the MacBook, but it was intended to be lighter than any other laptop. The form factor of the MacBook Air remained largely unchanged until last year when Apple introduced the new MacBook Air with an all new design similar to the MacBook Pros. Apple kept the older 13-inch MacBook Air around, because it was $999 and that is a great price point.

Today’s MacBook Air updates builds upon last year’s model and adds a couple of features. The first is the screen has been updated to be a True Tone display. A True Tone display allows you to see colors even better than before.

The second change the storage options available. Last year you could get 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1.5TB of storage. These options have been modified. the 1.5TB option is gone and has been replaced with a 1TB option instead.

The last big change is that the price has dropped $100. This means that the base model MacBook Air now starts at $1099. This is still $100 higher than the old-style MacBook Air. If you are a college student you can get a MacBook Air starting at $999, so you can still get the price, but you have to be a college student.

The other items are still the same. The screen size, color options, and weight all remain the same. Now let us look at the MacBook Pro.

MacBook Pro

The 13-inch MacBook Pro has seen a bit more of a change than the MacBook Air. The Pro is designed to be the device that those who need a bit more power will purchase. The MacBook Pro has seen some big changes.

The first of these changes is that now all 13-inch MacBook Pro models include the Touch Bar. Previously, only the higher end models would include the Touch Bar. The inclusion of the Touch Bar means that all MacBook Pros now come with the T2 security chip. Having a T2 security chip results in better security, like having encryption for your SSD automatically enabled. This is definitely a welcome one, for those security minded individuals.

The second change is the processor. There are four starting points for the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The two less expensive models now have a 1.4GHz 8th generation Intel processor. The previous models were 2.3GHz, which may seem like a downgrade in terms of speed, and it might be. However, the new MacBook Pros are quad-core processors with 128MB of eDRAM. The previous models were dual-core with 64MB of eDRAM. These can be configured for a 1.7GHz processor.

With the processor upgrade, the graphics on the base-models have also been updated. It now has an Intel Iris Plus 645, instead of the 640 that last year’s models had.

The storage within the MacBook Pros have also changed. You are now able to configure the base model with 128GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB drives. Previously these topped out at 1TB. The option for a 2TB drive will definitely be welcome for some users.

Other Changes

There have been a couple other changes which are worth noting. The first of these is that the 12-inch MacBook is no longer for sale. With the 13-inch MacBook Air being released last year, the MacBook was a bit of an oddity. The screen size was smaller, it did not have Thunderbolt and it had not been updated since 2015. Some may be sad to see it go, but who knows what will happen in the future.

The second change to be discussed is pricing for upgrading storage on all Macs. With today’s updates, the price of storage has changed. Prices are now at least $200 less expensive than they were before. A drop in price for storage is always welcome and should result in some opting for larger storage for their Macs. This change applies to all Macs, not just the newly released MacBook Air and MacBook Pros.

Closing Thoughts

Today’s updates are solid updates. The new MacBook Air includes a True Tone display and is cheaper than last year’s model. With the price drop on storage, you may be able to get more storage for less than before, which is always good to see.

The base-model MacBook Pros now includes the Touch Bar, 8th generation Intel processors, and you have more storage options than before.

If you are in the market for a new Mac, now is the time to purchase. This is particularly true if you are looking for a laptop for college, because you get an extra $100 off.

Source: Apple

Categories
Apple Mac

Apple Event Roundup: Macs

Today Apple announced held their October event, “There’s More in the Making”. This was held in Brooklyn, New York. Apple announced a bunch of new products. Let us look at each of them, starting with the Macs.

MacBook Air

Back in 2010 Apple unveiled a brand new product, a very thin, very light, and all-flash laptop. They named it the MacBook Air. Since its introduction it has been the same general shape. Today Apple unveiled a brand new MacBook Air. The new MacBook Air sports an 8th Generation Dual-Core Intel i5 processor that runs at 1.6GHz. with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz.

The MacBook Air comes with two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports. These are both along the left side of the machine. The biggest change to the MacBook Air is the brand new Retina display, which is the first time there has been a Retina display on the MacBook Air. The display is edge to edge and has a

The MacBook Air also comes with 8GB of memory standard and 128GB of flash storage. The memory can be configured up to 16GB and the flash can be upgraded to 256GB, 512GB, or 1.5TB.

The new MacBook Air starts at $1199, which is $200 more than the older MacBook Air, which is still on sale. The new MacBook Air comes in three colors, Silver, Space Gray, and Gold. You can order the new MacBook Air today, and it will ship next week. Let us now turn to another new Mac, one that has been a long time coming.

Mac mini

The Mac mini was introduced back in early 2005. At its initial release, and with subsequent updates it was positioned as an entry-level Mac that would be great for new Mac users to bring your existing keyboard, display, and mouse and replace your old device. The Mac mini has not been updated since October of 2014, so four years old. Today, that has changed with a brand new update.

The new Mac mini has all re-designed internals. This start with the all new flash-only storage options. These options are 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB.

To go along with the flash options, there are some additional memory options as well. 8GB is standard, but you can configure 16GB, 32GB, or even 64GB of memory.

The Mac mini comes in two models, the entry level, which sports a 3.6GHz quad-core 8th Generation Core i3 processor, and the higher-end model has a 3.0GHz six-core 8th Generation Core i5 Processor. Yes, you read that correctly, a six core processor. You can configure either model with a 3.2GHz six-core Intel Core i7 processor if you want.

There is one last configurable option. The Mac mini comes with a standard Gigabit ethernet port, but you can configure a 10-gigabit ethernet network adapter that is capable of running at 1Gbps, 2.5Gbps, or 5Gbps. This option does cost $100 more, but if you need it, you can configure it.

The last new feature of the Mac mini is the case. Since its initial release the Mac mini has been Silver in color. The new Mac mini no longer come in silver, it comes in Space Gray, and it only comes in Space Gray. The new color looks really good and will be welcome by man.

The new Mac mini comes with a slew of ports. In fact it has four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports, 1 HDMI 2.0 port, one ethernet port, one 3.5mm headphone jack, and two USB 3, traditional USB A ports. It also comes with 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0.

The new Mac mini starts at $799. You can order it today and it will ship next week.

The new MacBook Air and Mac mini are great updates to machines that have been a long time coming and will be welcome to users who are looking to upgrade their existing machines.

Categories
Apple blog

Macworld 2008 Keynote wrapup.

Today was the keynote for MacWorld San Francisco 2008. Steve Jobs announced several things today.. Here’s the run down:

Leopard has sold over 5 million copies so far, that’s 20% of them have upgraded their computers to Leopard. It’s the most successful launch of an Operating System that they’ve had.

Apple introduced a new product today, Time Capsule. To describe it, it’s basically an Airport Extreme wireless base station with either a 500 Gigabyte or 1 Terabyte hard drive built in. It will allow for syncing over Wireless, and will work with Time Machine wirelessly.

timecapsule_back.01.jpg

Just like the Airport Extreme it comes with gigabit networking on all of the ports, and 802.11N (draft). The prices are as follows. For the 500GB model it will cost you $299, while the 1 Terabyte model will cost you $499. You can pre-order today, and it will be shipping in February.

The Second thing that Steve Jobs presented was on the iPhone. Within the first quarter the iPhone has grown to consume 19.5% of the smartphone market. It has been 200 days since the iPhone started shipping and over 4 million iPhones have been sold.

The new release of the firmware (version 1.1.3) was released. The new features are…

– Maps with location push pins. This will allow you to keep track of favorite locations and subsequently move the pins around.

– Webclips are website bookmarks on your home screen. They will remember the location on the screen where you zoomed/panned to. You can create up to 9 of them.

– The ability to customize the home screen. You can click and drag the icons around on the screen, put different items within the dock.

– SMS to multiple people (No mention of MMS, but we’ll take what we can get). This should have been included in the initial release.

– Lastly, the ability to see the lyrics within a song. The lyrics are within the ID3 tags (if you’ve added them or used Harmonic to automatically add them).

The software update is available today as a free update to all existing iPhone users.

There are also 5 new applications for the iPod touch. These are already on the iPhone. They are: Maps, Mail, Stocks, Notes, and Weather. They will cost $20 for iPod Touch users (presumably through iTunes).

—Now, can somebody tell me why the hell iPod touch users should have to pay for a firmware update? iPhone users do not, and no previous versions of the iPod have had to pay for firmware upgrades. It seems a bit odd to me.

iTunes was the third thing on the agenda.

So far 4 billion songs sold (as of last week), there were 20 million songs sold in one day on Christmas day. New one-day record for iTunes. 125 million TV shows sold. 7 million movies. Both are way above competitors, but did not meet expectations of projected downloads.

A new feature is available, iTunes Movie Rentals. Touchstone, Miramax, MGM, Lionsgate, Newline, Fox, Warner Brothers, Disney, Paramount, Universal, and Sony are all on board, that is every major movie studio. There are currently over 1000 movies available for rental. New titles will be available 30 days after the DVD release. (This is so they don’t cannibalize DVD sales [for now]). You will be able to watch anywhere on your Macs, PCs, all current iPods and the iPhone.

The rules for rentals are as follows, once you rent a movie you have 30 days to start watching it. Once you start watching it, you have 24 hours to finish it. Then the rental expires.

You will be able to watch the rentals instantaneously (approximately 30 seconds). iTunes Movie Rentals launches today in the U.S. International will launch later this year. Software updates for iPods and iTunes will be forthcoming. the iTunes update is available now, you can get it here.

You ask, what about my nice new HD TV? Steve has taken care of that too…

Apple TV Take 2. You do not need a computer. You’ll be able to Rent movies from your Apple TV. DVD quality AND HD + Dolby 5.1 surround sound. You can listen or watch podcasts. You can browse through your photos from Flickr and Apple’s .Mac service. You can watch YouTube videos, Synching with iTunes (no mention of streaming). You will be able to also rent High Definition movies (Same resolution as DVD, 720 x 480p). They will cost $4.99. 100 titles are available today. You can also preview movies from the interface, and see what other users who have rented that movie have rented.

Photo screensavers can be retrieved from .Mac web galleries. (why not flickr?). You can purchase music right from Apple TV. The new Apple TV is a free software update for owners of the current apple TV. The New software will be out in 2 weeks. And Apple TV has a new price starting at $229 (down from $299). The 160GB Model is now $329.

The fourth, and final, thing: There’s something in the air. Apple introduced a new product called the Macbook Air (MBA). Apple thought 3 lbs is a good target weight, but there was too much compromise with the other features. The MacBook Air is 0.16″ to 0.76″ thick. The thickest part of the MacBook Air is thinner than the thinnest part of the Sony TZ. It fits entirely inside a envelope. The MBA has a Magnetic latch and a 13.3″ widescreen display (same as the Macbook). The display is LED backlit. There is an iSight built-in. MacBook-like keyboard, but with an ambient light sensor. There is also a Multi-touch trackpad. To move a window by double-tap and move. Rotate a photo by pivoting your index finger around your thumb. Of course, pinch-zoom (like on the iPod Touch and iPhone).

Detailed Specs:
1.8″ Hard Drive, in either 80 GB hard disk standard, or an option oif 64 GB SSD ($999).
1.6 GHz Standard, 1.8 GHz Option — Intel Core 2 Duo
Apple asked Intel to shrink the Core 2 Duo. Intel shrunk the processor by 60%. Paul Otellini stated the processor is as thick as a nickle and as wide as a dime.

45 Watt MagSafe, 1 USB 2.0 port, Micro-DVI, Audio Out.
802.11n + Bluetooth 2.1/EDR.
No optical drive, but a Superdrive accessory is available for $99.
There’s also software comes with the MacBook Air that allows you to “borrow” a Mac or PCs optical drive.
5 hours of Battery Life
2 GB Memory standard
$1799
Pre-orders today, shipping in two weeks

Environmental highlights: fully aluminum case (good for recycling), first fully mercury and lead free display, circuit boards are BFR free, retail packaging are 56% less volume than MacBook.

MacbookAir front view

Just a thought on my part, this is only one step away from a tablet mac computer. Just a thought.

In just the first 2 weeks of 2008, apple has updated the Mac Pro, introduced Time Capsule, software updates for iPhone and iPod Touch, Movie Rentals for iTunes, Apple TV software updates, and MacBook Air.