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Archive for the ‘News & Analysis’ Category

by Tom Nelson

One of our favorite pastimes is predicting what new Mac-related goodies will be coming down the pipeline from Apple. Let’s start with an obvious prediction: Apple’s Campus 2 will definitely open in 2017. Then we’ll finally be able to say the mothership has landed.

The nickname comes from the main building on the campus. It’s going to look as if a spaceship has landed and nestled itself into the surrounding terrain.

applecampus2
Image courtesy of Apple

Apple expects Campus 2 to be up and running sometime in 2017. I imagine Tim Cook would love to give a few tours of the facility after WWDC 2017 so the summer developer’s conference may be a soft deadline for a ribbon cutting at Campus 2.

Read more on Lifewire: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

The macOS Sierra release on September 20th, 2016 marked a few milestones. It’s the 13th release of the Mac OS, the fourth release of the Mac operating system based on place names (the previous naming convention involved cats), and the first with the new moniker of macOS instead of OS X.

In the roughly four months since it was released, Sierra has seen three updates that mostly addressed bugs and security fixes. Apple also released a fourth beta of macOS Sierra which, at least in beta form, includes a new feature, an unusual event for Apple, which rarely includes new features between major Mac OS releases (more on the new feature a bit later).

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

September 20th, 2016
Apple had already released multiple versions of the new macOS Sierra via both the developer preview program and the public beta program. Both beta systems are designed to give users the opportunity to work with a new OS, with the developer version being updated often and a bit more likely to have a few bugs. The public beta version tends to be more stable, but it still has the potential for bugs and crashes.

The first general release of macOS Sierra was meant to be stable, with few if any major bugs. Ah, the best laid plans…

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog

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by Tom Nelson

macOS Sierra will see its first public beta release in July of 2016, followed by a full release in the fall of 2016. Along with giving the operating system a new name, Apple is adding a lot of new features to macOS Sierra. This isn’t just a simple update, or a bunch of security and bug fixes.

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Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Instead, macOS Sierra will add brand new features to the operating system, including the incorporation of Siri, expansion of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi based connectivity features, and a whole new file system that will replace the venerable but quite outdated HFS+ system that Macs have been using for the last 30 years.

When an operating system encompasses such a wide range of new features and capabilities there’s bound to be a few gotcha’s; in this case, the list of Macs that will support macOS Sierra will be trimmed back by quite a bit. This is the first time in five years that Apple has removed Mac models from the list of supported devices for a Mac OS.

The last time Apple dropped Mac models from the supported list was when OS X Lion was introduced. It required Macs to have a 64-bit processor, which left the original Intel Macs off the list.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

The WWDC 2016 keynote kept to the script, providing previews of the four major Apple software platforms: watchOS, tvOS, macOS, and iOS. You may notice OS X is missing from the list, but only in spirit. As we mentioned in our WWDC 2016 rumor roundup, OS X underwent a name change to bring it into alignment with the naming conventions used for Apple’s other operating systems, transforming it from OS X to macOS.

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Image courtesy of Apple

The name change appears to be strictly a branding change, and not an indication of any merging (current or future) of OS X and iOS into a single monolithic operating system.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Early today, Apple revealed the newest version of the 12-inch MacBook, along with a minor upgrade to the 13-inch MacBook Air.

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Image courtesy of Apple

2016 12-inch Retina MacBook

Apple has released the next-generation 12-inch Retina MacBook. The new 2016 version of the 12-inch MacBook receives faster CPUs in the form of Intel’s Skylake family of Core M processors, faster GPU using the new Intel HD Graphics 515, longer battery life, with some reports suggesting up to an additional hour of battery time, faster RAM, and faster flash storage.

I guess we can say the keyword for the new 12-inch MacBook is faster.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple has released OS X El Capitan 10.11.4. This update comes on the heels of Apple’s “Let Us Loop You In” March media event, at which Apple showed off the new iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Along with the hardware, iOS 9.3 was released to the public, which required Apple to move forward with the El Capitan release to keep feature parity in the Notes application.

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El Capitan Notes Update

One of the new Notes app features is the ability to protect the contents of a Notes entry using a passcode.

In iOS 9.3, the passcode can be a password or a fingerprint. In OS X El Capitan 10.11.4, the passcode is a password you set.

Notes in OS X El Capitan 10.11.4 also added the ability to sort notes alphabetically, by date created, or by date updated; also, Notes can now import from many popular note-taking services, including Evernote.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple’s “Let Us Loop You In” media event focused on new Apple Watch bands, an iPhone SE, and an iPad Pro, plus iOS and tvOS updates. And as expected, the event didn’t have content directly related to our favorite product, Macs, although Apple will likely hold Mac events as the year rolls on. In the meantime, let’s take a quick look at some of the key announcements today, starting with new Apple products.

iPhoneSE

Image courtesy of Apple

iPhone SE

Surprising no one, Apple officially released the new iPhone SE. While the iPhone SE has impressive capabilities, perhaps the most important bit of information is that the new SE represents Apple’s commitment to having a modern iPhone lineup that encompasses both the classic 4-inch display size (iPhone SE), and the larger displays seen in the iPhone 6s products.

Apple will continue to sell the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, but these models represent older technologies, and customers upgrading or purchasing new will likely consider the new iPhone SE or the current iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus instead.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple sent out invitations to a media event it’s planning for March 21, 2016. The event will take place at the Town Hall Auditorium located on Apple’s Cupertino campus.

AppleWatch

Image courtesy of Apple

The use of the Town Hall Auditorium indicates a smaller scale announcement, one that will be attended mostly by those in the media that cover Apple, and not a large swath of users and developers. At the March event, Apple is expected to announce the following:

  • 4-inch iPhone SE
  • 9.7-inch iPad Air 3, thought to be named iPad Pro
  • New Apple Watch bands

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple’s Magic Trackpad 2 is significantly different from the original Magic Trackpad. It looks different and feels different, although it can come close to mimicking the feel of the original, if that’s what you prefer.

MagicTrackpad2

Image courtesy of Apple

The reason for the change, and the ability to mimic the original, is the incorporation of Force Touch and the haptic engine that can simulate the feel of mechanical clicking. But the Magic Trackpad 2 includes other new features as well.

Magic Trackpad 2: New Look, New Battery

If there’s a unifying theme for the new Magic peripherals released by Apple in October of 2015 (Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2, and Magic Keyboard), it’s the removal of the AA batteries that used to power the peripherals, and the addition of an internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery to supply power to the devices.

In the case of the Magic Trackpad 2, the new internal battery allowed Apple to redesign the original trackpad and eliminate the battery bump that used to house the AA batteries. This allows the tracking surface on the Magic Trackpad 2 to extend from the bottom edge to the top, where in the past it stopped short of the top, due to the battery compartment.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple’s updates to Mac peripherals continue to be magical, at least in Apple’s eyes; for end users, the jury is still out. The final results will be determined by how well the new Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2, and Magic Keyboard sell.

MagicMouse2

Image courtesy of Apple

Magic Mouse 2

Let’s start with the Magic Mouse 2, the second version of the Magic Mouse, which is by far my favorite of all the mice I’ve ever used. And I’ve gone through my share of mice.

The Magic Mouse 2 underwent a slight evolutionary change that centers around the battery and its performance. Gone are the AA batteries that the user replaced when the batteries ran low. Instead, the new Magic Mouse has an internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery that Apple says can provide up to a month of use between charges.

That’s about twice the amount of time I get on the rechargeable alkaline batteries I use in my current Magic Mouse.

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