15-inch MacBook Pro gets latest Intel chips, better battery life, and a lower price

Apple's MacBook Pro line has now gotten an entirely expected upgrade to current-generation Intel CPUs, just in time for the holiday shopping season. In our hands-on initial testing, these new 13-inch and 15-inch models look and feel just like the previous generation, but the promise of longer battery life, somewhat improved performance, faster Wi-Fi, and lower starting prices is enough to make this a significant overall update...

Read the full story here... Source: CNET

The Advantages of Multimode Laptops

When you look for a new laptop, you often look for a series of things such as the speed of the processor, the software provided, along with the Internet connectivity that willgive you the best browsing experience. Some people look for the latest release from the biggest name, others look for the best product they can buy according to their budget – it’s all down to personal choice and circumstance. 

We all want our lives to be as flexible and ‘free’ as possible, rather than having to live a structured life governed by working hours and other restrictions. The same is true with the products we buy – we want them to be tailored for us. Short of going into the research and development departments and presenting a series of requests, we can’t have it all our own way, but at least with laptops we know that there are tablet laptop hybrid spec computers that can be made as comfortable and user-friendly as possible.

These ‘multimode’ machines developed by the likes of Lenovo allow users to love the screen, the keyboard and even the stand, to the most comfortable position to provide the best all-round experience. Some have as many as four different methods of using the devices, so you can have it one way for doing your work, another for playing games and other positions to play your music and let your friends control the playlist (at your peril!).

Being user-friendly is key to the design of a successful laptop or tablet, enabling users to get the best experience from the device they’ve chosen. Many devices are purchased with a preference in mind such as doing work away from the office, playing games or browsing the Internet; but if you can’t use the device in the way you want to, you’re not going to be impressed. With a multimode machine, however, you can literally put it anyway you want so that you can feel comfortable working or playing and enjoying using your device so much people wonder if you ever put it down!

The touchscreen capabilities also make them particularly popular, allowing users to swipe and tap exactly what they want to use or do and they’re away without having to wait for it to boot up. All in all, this makes for a much more pleasant experience for the user as they literally have everything they’ll ever need right at their fingertips.

New Report Summarizes Display Rumors for Future Apple Devices

Apple is shaking up the display market with a multitude of upcoming product debuts and enhancements, according to Korean site ET News. The site summarizes several known product rumors that will impact display manufacturers, including larger iPhone and iPads, an OLED iWatch, and IGZO displays for its MacBook lineup...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

Apple Wins 'Brand of the Year' Awards in Smartphone, Tablet, and Computer Categories

Marketing research firm Harris Interactive has awarded Apple the title of “Brand of the Year” in the categories of smartphones, tablets, and computers, as first reported byVentureBeat. The distinction comes after a poll asking 38,500+ Americans about the perceptions of their favorite brands, in which Apple was placed above other competitors such as Hewlett-Packard, Amazon, Samsung, and HTC. 

 "Americans continue to give Apple brands strong ratings," says Manny Flores, Senior Vice President at Harris Interactive. "And while their Consumer Connection scores are strong within their respective categories, what really stands out is that in all three of the categories Apple brands are measured - Computer, Tablet and Mobile Phone - its Brand Momentum scores are in the top 30 of all 1,500 brands evaluated in the study, showing that consumers see this as a brand of the future.

These awards come after BBC reported about a survey done by marketing group Added Value (AV), who claimed that Apple’s brand has become “less inspiring” among consumers.

Source: Mac Rumours


Apple to Adopt IGZO Displays for Future iPads and MacBooks?

Apple is planning to expand its adoption of IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) displays to reduce the energy consumption of its mobile devices, reports etnews.com.

According to industry insiders, having decided to apply the IGZO method to displays for MacBook, Apple is talking with LCD panel manufacturers, such as Sharp and LG Display.

IGZO is a semiconducting material that has forty times more electron mobility than the standard amorphous silicon that is used as the active layer of an LCD screen, allowing for higher resolution displays, better reaction times, and less power consumption. 

The report suggests that in addition to expanding to IGZO displays for the MacBook, Apple is also planning to use them in the iPad. Apple is said to be relying on Sharp for the displays, and last year news surfaced that Sharp had already begun mass production of IGZO displays that could be used in future Apple products. 

The site expects IGZO MacBooks to appear in the first half of 2014, but does not note when an IGZO iPad might make an appearance. Apple is expected to release a new, thinner fifth generation iPad later this year. 

Source: Mac Rumours


Apple Testing Software Update to Address 2013 MacBook Air Wi-Fi Issues

Last week, it was reported that a growing number of owners of Apple's new MacBook Air were experiencing Wi-Fi issues, with users reporting problems such as dropped connections that require a restart in order to reconnect. It was reported earlier this weekthat Apple has been replacing affected machines and collecting the defective units in order to examine them as part of the company's investigation into the issue. 

As noted by AppleInsider, Apple is now sending out invitations to certain MacBook Air owners asking if they wish to participate in the company's AppleSeed customer software seeding program for the purposes of testing a new "MacBook Air WiFi Update 1.0". While Apple does not specify in its invitation exactly what problem the software update is designed to address, it presumably focuses on the connection issues being reported by users.

 You have been selected to join our AppleSeed program. If you accept, we will provide you with a pre-release version of the MacBookAir WiFi Update 1.0 to install and use. 

While trying out MacBookAir WiFi Update 1.0, we ask that you provide us with your feedback. Our program includes a bug reporting system for our participants. If you wish to be a seed volunteer and help Apple release high-quality software, follow the instructions below.

Beyond the connection issues, Apple's OS X 10.8.4 public release and OS X Mavericks beta also appear to have a software issue that prevents machines supporting the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard from taking advantage of the faster speeds for file transfers. It is, however, unclear whether Apple will address this issue for current MacBook Air owners through this software update in testing or through a separate update such as the upcoming OS X 10.8.5 update.

Source: Mac Rumours


Apple Announces New MacBook Airs with Haswell Processors and 'All-Day' Battery Life

At today's WWDC keynote in San Francisco, California, Apple announced new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs, which have been designed with battery life in mind. As expected, the new Airs use Haswell processors that offer enhanced performance and significantly improved battery life, but feature no cosmetic changes. 

With the new Haswell processors, The 11" MacBook Air will now have nine hours of battery life while the 13" MacBook Air will have a stunning 12 hours of battery life.

In addition to Haswell processors, the new MacBooks feature 802.11ac compatibility, with support for the "Gigabit WiFi" 802.11ac specification. Gigabit WiFi offers speeds up to three times as fast as existing 802.11n wireless networks. 

The 11" MacBook Air starts at $999 with a 128GB hard drive and the 13" MacBook Air with a 128GB hard drive starts at $1099. Apple's MacBook Airs are available today from Apple's Online Store and at retail locations.

Source: Mac Rumours


Pricing Leak Suggests MacBook Air Release at WWDC, Retina MacBook Pro Update Shipping Later?


 9to5Mac has received information from a source that suggests the MacBook Air updates that are expected at WWDC will ship soon after the keynote, perhaps with updated AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule wireless base stations that support a new, faster wireless standard.

These leaks line up with a report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who said in April that the MacBook Air update expected at WWDC would ship very soon after the event, while the Retina MacBook Pro would ship later due to production bottlenecks on the advanced displays.

The site also says it received pricing for three new accessories that could be new AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule models. If accurate, these would likely support the new 802.11ac-wireless standard.

As we wrote in our WWDC rumor roundup earlier today, the notebook updates are likely to be the hardware highlight of WWDC, with new MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro models announced.

Expected upgrades include a shift to Haswell processors, a possible slimmer design for the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, a new full HD (2.0-megapixel) FaceTime camera on the Retina models, and a dual-microphone system on the MacBook Air. 

Source: Mac Rumours


Acer unveils Aspire P3 Ultrabook convertible

Acer brought a whole bunch of folks out to NYC for a global press conference and made sure the attending press got their money's worth. In addition to outing the unique convertible R7, the company unveiled the Aspire P3 -- its first convertible Windows 8 Ultrabook. The screen can be angled forward to use as a traditional (ish) laptop or completely folded down in slate mode. As you can see in the image, there's even a place to clip on a stylus. Acer wasn't too forthcoming with specs during the presentation, but we'll be sure to dig up those specifics when we get our hands-on (which should be coming shortly)...

Read the full story here. Source: Engadget 

Intel: New Windows 8 Intel Notebooks to Cost As Little as $200

The PC industry is in a sharp decline as consumers gravitate more towards smartphones and tablets. Intel hopes to change that trend, largely blamed on Windows 8 itself, by introducing its new Bay Trail processors that will enable low cost Windows 8 machines. How cheap? Budget-friendly enough that notebooks will be able to compete with sub-$200 priced tablets from Amazon, Samsung, Google and other manufacturers.

“If you look at touch-enabled Intel-based notebooks that are ultrathin using [the new] processors, those prices are going to be down to as low as $200,” Intel CEO Paul Otellini said, according to a recent article from CNET. It might be easy enough for Otellini to promise those prices, especially as he plans his exit from Intel next month, so we’re going to remain skeptical until we hear manufacturers say that they can deliver on those promises.

After all, touchscreen displays themselves can cost more than $200, add in memory, a hard drive, a graphics chip and other components and you’re looking at a rather expensive device. Look at the smartphone industry, for example, where it’s common to find an off-contract flagship smartphone for $650. Still, we do know that it’s possible to create low-cost devices if you’re willing to take a hit at the point of sale. Amazon says it breaks even on its Kindle Fire devices but makes money once consumers enter its ecosystem and begin to buy eBooks, music, videos and applications.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Twelve South Releases BookBook Case for 15" Retina MacBook Pro

South Carolina-based accessory maker Twelve South has released a new version of its BookBook case, this time for the 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display. The case matches those available for the iPad and iPhone, as well as existing ones for the 11" and 13" MacBook Air models. The 13" MacBook Pro with Retina fits into the existing case designed for the 13" MacBook Air.

Designed exclusively for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina display, BookBook is a totally unique case for the thinnest of MacBooks. Weighing as little as 13.5 ounces with an ultra-thin profile, this handmade, genuine leather case offers heavy duty protection. Two hardback covers, reinforced corners and a cushioned spine offer solid impact protection. The inside of the case is lined with a velvety soft, chocolate brown, padded interior for added protection.

BookBook cases for the 11" and 13" MacBook Air models and the 13" and 15" MacBook Pro with Retina Display are available for $80 from Twelve South's website.

[Source: MacRumors]

Google’s Chromebook Pixel is a Premium Chrome OS Laptop That Starts at $1,299

That mysterious Chromebook Pixel laptop we saw is real and it costs $1,299. That’s a hefty price tag for a device with only 32GB of storage (the 64GB model with LTE is $1449). But the screen… the 12.85-inch (3:2 aspect ratio) display has 4.3 million pixels with a 2560 x 1700 resolution (239 ppi). For comparison, the 13-inch MacBook Pro’s screen has a density of 227 ppi.

Google says the Chromebook Pixel “is a laptop that brings together the best in hardware, software, and design to inspire future innovation.” The screen itself has a 0.55mm layer of touch-enabled Gorilla Glass, allowing users to swipe and tap just as they would on a tablet. Google is simply taking that familiar tablet experience and transferring it over to the Chrome OS environment on a 3:2 screen it says is “designed for the web.”

Even though it has 32GB of onboard storage, Pixel owners will get 1 terabyte of Google Drive cloud storage for free for 3 years, so this is still firmly a cloud device. Whether PC users are still willing to only live (or mostly) in the cloud is up for debate. And beyond that, whether they’ll be enticed over to Google’s Chrome OS environment for a high res screen is a hard sell.

The Pixel body is engineered from machined aluminum with “nothing extraneous to distract you.” That means vents are hidden, screws are invisible and speakers are discretely tucked away. Google said there’s also a “piano hinge” for easy opening and closing, which also augments Wi-Fi and acts as a heatsink.

Full Pixel specs include a dual-core 1.8GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB DDR3 RAM, up to 5 hours of batter, Bluetooth 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, mini display port, and 2-in-1 card reader (SD and MMC). This is a full-powered laptop, and not a $200 “additional” machine as Chromebooks have traditionally been. However, for $1200 starting out, there are plenty of other machines you can buy with more robust software.

You can purchase the Chromebook Pixel now from the Google Play store, and it’ll ship in 3-5 days.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]