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

A Couple of Mac Updates

The week before a World Wide Developer Conference can sometimes have new items become known. The release for these is because the items will not be discussed at the WWDC keynote. This year there are two hardware updates and a service update.

16-inch MacBook Pro Graphics

The first update is for the 16-inch MacBook Pro. There is a new graphics option available. You can now configure a 16-inch MacBook Pro with an AMD Radeon 5600M with 8GB of HBM2 memory. The other options available are all GDDR6 memory. The difference with the HBM2 memory is that it has more bandwidth available and ideally suited for Artificial Intelligence and advanced computing, like Machine Learning. Typically, HBM2 is more expensive than GDDR6 and this new option will cost you $800 to add to a 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Mac Pro SSD Kit

If you are using the high-end of the high-end, the Mac Pro, there is a new kit for you, the SSD Kit. The SSD Kit for the Mac Pro will allow you to swap out the internal storage on your Mac Pro. The SSD Kit comes in 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB kits. Once you have purchased your SSD Kit you can see how to install the new SSD with Apple’s support article.

Apple Card Payments

When you want to go and purchase that new 16-inch MacBook Pro, you may want to be able to use your Apple Card and finance it. Previously you could finance an iPhone over 24 months, but now you can finance other products as well. You can finance a HomePod, AirPods, and the Apple TV for six months, or an iPad or Mac for 12 months. When you do this, you get the Apple Pay Cash right up front.

Closing Thoughts

The inclusion of the new hardware options will be great for pro users who can benefit from the options and can significantly enhance their productivity. For those who may not be able to utilize the hardware, you can use the monthly payments option on your purchase of a Mac, iPad, HomePod, or AirPods, in addition to an iPhone.

Source: TechCrunch

Categories
Apple blog MacBook Pro

Apple Updates 13-inch MacBook Pro

Today Apple released a refreshed 13.3-inch MacBook Pro. Amongst the changes are a new keyboard, increased base storage, and new processors. Let us look at these in detail.

Across the Board Changes

There are four different configurations that Apple presents on their page. There are the two lower-end models and two higher-end models. A majority of the changes only apply to the higher-end models. However, there are changes that have occurred across the board.

The first change is that the keyboard mechanism has gone from the butterfly mechanism back to a scissor switch mechanism. As you might expect, Apple has decided to name these keyboards “Magic Keyboards”. The Magic Keyboard is the same type introduced with the 16-inch MacBook Pro. This means that it has 1mm of travel, an inverted-T arrow configuration and a physical escape key.

With the 13-inch MacBook Pro getting a new keyboard, there are no current products that have the Butterfly keyboard mechanism in them. The 13-inch MacBook Pro was the last model to still have the butterfly keyboard.

The second change that is across the line is the base storage. The lower-end models have gone from 128GB and 256GB respectively, to 256GB and 512GB respectively. The higher end model similarly gone from 256GB and 512GB to 512GB and 1TB respectively.

Those are all of the changes that have occurred across the board. The higher-end models have seen some additional changes. Let us look at those now.

Higher-end Model Changes

In addition to the base storage and keyboard changes, the higher-end 13.3-inch MacBook Pros have seen additional changes, including memory speed and processor changes.

The processors available for the higher-end MacBook Pros are the 10th generation Intel processors. Both models come with a 2.0GHz quad-core processor that can go up to 3.8GHz with turbo boost. These can be configured with a 2.3GHz 10th generation Core i7 that can go up to 4.1GHz with Turbo Boost.

With the processor update, the speed, and type, of memory has changed. These higher-end models now have LPDDR4X memory that runs at 3733Mhz.

The faster memory in conjunction with the processor upgrades will allow, according to Apple, “ up to 80 percent faster performance over the previous generation 13-inch MacBook Pro for 4K video editing, faster rendering, and smoother gameplay.

The last big change with the graphics is that you can connect it to a Pro Display XDR for full 6k resolution, which will be good for those who have a Pro Display XDR monitor and would like to connect a MacBook Pro to it for displaying something.

Closing Thoughts

The updated 13-inch MacBook Pro are available to order today and start at $1299 for the base model with 256GB of storage and the 1.4GHz Quad-Core 8th-generation processors. If you are a student, you can get a discount and the price starts at $1199 for the base model. They will begin shipping this week.

If you were holding off on purchasing a new MacBook Pro until Apple refreshed them, then now is the time to buy.

Source: Apple.com

Categories
Apple Mac MacBook Pro

Apple Announces the 16-inch MacBook Pro

Yesterday Apple unveiled a replacement for the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro, the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The 16-inch MacBook Pro takes form factor of the 15.4-inch model and enhances it. The 16-inch MacBook Pro still comes with a Touch Bar.

There is a change that cannot be expressed in words. To quote from Apple’s press release,

The 16-inch MacBook Pro introduces a completely redesigned six-speaker, high-fidelity sound system designed to bring musicians, podcasters and video editors the most advanced audio experience ever in a notebook. New Apple-patented force-canceling woofers use dual opposed speaker drivers to reduce unwanted vibrations that distort sound. As a result, music sounds more clear and natural than ever before, and the bass can go half an octave deeper. An upgraded high-performance mic array delivers a 40 percent reduction in hiss and an improved signal-to-noise ratio that rivals that of popular professional-grade digital microphones, delivering super-clean recordings that capture even the quietest details.

One of the biggest, and most needed, changes is the keyboard. The old style keyboard which was introduced in 2016 has been replaced with a Magic Keyboard. The mechanism that you type on was previously a butterfly switches. This has been replaced with the traditional scissor switches. This change should reduce the overall issues that have affected the keyboards, but only time will be able to tell if that is really the case.

The keyboard has two additional features that many users have been asking for. The first is a physical escape key. Many developers will be glad to see this key return, as they are constantly using it. The second keyboard feature that many users have wanted is the “inverted t” arrangement for the arrow keys. The return of inverted-t arrangement will allow users to easily identify which key they are pressing.

One thing that has changed, but may be more of a subtle change is the new screen. The screen is larger than the previous model and has a P3 Color Gamut, still 500 nits of brightness, but it does have a resolution of 3072 by 1920. The screen will also now support a wider range of refresh rates. The supported rates are 47.95Hz, 48.00Hz, 50.00Hz, 59.94Hz, and 60.00Hz.

There are two models of 16-inch MacBook Pro. The first comes with a 2.6GHz 6‑core Intel Core i7 processor and the AMD Radeon 5300M graphics card, 512GB of SSD storage. The second model comes with a 2.3GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 processor and the AMD Radeon 5500M graphics card with 4GB of memory and 1TB of storage.

These are configurable to a 2.4GHz 8-core Intel Core i9 processor and an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with either 4GB or 8GB of memory. The possibilities for upgrading the storage have increased as well. You now have the options of a1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB SSD.

There have been some reviews of the new 16-inch MacBook Pro. Most notably from Marco Arment, John Gruber, and Rene Ritchie. There is one last thing, Jonathan Morrison was able to sit down with Apple’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, Phil Schiller to discuss the MacBook Pro.

As mentioned earlier, the 16-inch MacBook Pro model replaces the 15.4-inch model. The new line-up consists of the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The 16-inch MacBook Pro is available for order today starting at $2399. The second model starts at $2799.

It is good to see Apple providing the features that their professional users want in devices. Hopefully, this is just the first step in making their laptops even better.

I am not sure if I will end up getting one at some point or not. My early-2015 MacBook Pro is still working, but is limited in terms of storage space, time will tell. If I do end up getting one, I will be sure to review it.

Source: Apple

Categories
Apple Mac macOS

2018 MacBook Pro Thermal Bug

I did not write about this last week when it happened, because it appears as though there is a barrage of negative stories about Apple and with everything going on the world, who needs additional stories to get riled up about. Last week Dave Lee posted a video that showed that the Core i9 model of the 2018 MacBook Pro was throttling down its CPU under heavy loads. If you were to buy one of these computers, you would expect it to work really well, regardless of how much load the computer was under.

When the video was released many were skeptical that this was actually the case, and if it was indeed the case, that it was a design flaw with the MacBook Pro. It appears as though it is not a design flaw, but in fact it is a bug with the new 2018 MacBook Pros. Here is Apple’s statement:

Following extensive performance testing under numerous workloads, we’ve identified that there is a missing digital key in the firmware that impacts the thermal management system and could drive clock speeds down under heavy thermal loads on the new MacBook Pro. A bug fix is included in today’s macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 Supplemental Update and is recommended. We apologize to any customer who has experienced less than optimal performance on their new systems. Customers can expect the new 15-inch MacBook Pro to be up to 70% faster, and the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to be up to 2X faster, as shown in the performance results on our website.

This means that it is not the hardware itself that was the issue, but in fact it is software related. It is good to see that Apple took this seriously and found the cause of the issue. This bug affects the 13-inch models as well as the Core i7 and Core i9 15-inch models. It is highly recommended that you get the supplemental update to fix the issue. You can download it via the Updates tab in the Mac App Store, or by downloading it directly from Apple’s support page.

Via Six Colors.