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Archive for the ‘Product News & Updates’ Category

by Tom Nelson

Every summer, Apple announces a new version of the Mac OS (now called macOS) at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Along with highlighting what’s new and improved in the operating system, Apple provides its developers with a beta version of the new macOS, followed up in a few weeks with a public beta for everyone.

The public beta of the macOS is popular, with many Mac enthusiasts participating in the beta program to both try out the new OS, and try to help Apple find bugs before the final release in the fall.

Since the public beta is open to any Mac user, you can join the beta program and participate in the fun of discovering all the new features, as well as one or two new bugs. In fact, it’s kind of fun to track down a bug and report it to Apple. If you want to participate in the beta, you’ll find information about how to do it at the end of this article.

But before you hop on the beta bandwagon, there are some important steps to take to keep your Mac safe and trouble-free during the beta process. Forgetting these steps can lead to disastrous events, including having your Mac lock up or fail to boot, as well as loss of data, and for those of you who rely on your Mac for your work, loss of income.

Even though the above may sound terrifying, it’s actually pretty easy to put safeguards in place to ensure participating in the Apple beta program is, for the most part, a fun undertaking.

Get Your Mac Ready for the Apple Beta Program
This article is going to concentrate on what you need to do to safeguard your Mac while you participate in the beta program. I won’t be covering how to install the beta version of the macOS, mostly because I’m not a member of the super secret Apple developers group that has early access to the most secret of secrets.

Heck, at this point I don’t even know what the name of the new macOS will be. If you have a guess you would like to share, add it to the comments below. Once the beta is released to the public, the Rocket Yard will be posting a full install guide to help you with installing the beta.

In the meantime, you can get ready for the macOS beta with these tips to keep your Mac safe during the beta program.

Read more on Rocket Yard, The MacSales.com Blog

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by Tom Nelson

The new macOS Sierra made a number of changes in managing a Mac’s storage. Perhaps the biggest announcement was the hint at a new file system, APFS (APple File System), to replace the 30-year-old HFS+ that we all know and put up with.

HFS+ and HFS (a slightly earlier version of the Hierarchical File System) was an update to the MFS (Macintosh File System) that originally shipped with the Mac in 1984.

Both file systems were created back in the days of floppy disks, which were the primary storage medium for the Mac, when spinning hard drives were an expensive option offered by third parties.

In the past, Apple has flirted with replacing HFS+, but APFS seems like it’s the real deal. Here’s why.

Optimized for Today and Tomorrow’s Storage Technology

Did I mention that HFS+ was implemented when 800 kb floppies were king? Current Macs may not be using floppies, but spinning hard drives are beginning to seem just as archaic. With Apple emphasizing flash-based storage in all of its products, a file system optimized to work with rotational media, and the inherent latency in waiting for a disk to spin around, just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

APFS is designed from the get-go for SSD and other flash-based storage systems. Even though APFS is optimized for how solid-state storage works, it will perform quite well with modern hard drives as well.

Read more on Lifewire: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

The 2009 Mac Pro (model identifier MacPro4,1) was introduced in March of 2009, and was discontinued with the arrival of the 2010 Mac Pro in August of that same year. The 2009, 2010, and 2012 versions of the Mac Pro are still sought after as they represent the last truly user-expandable Macs.

They offered easy access to the interior, where users could add RAM, access four built-in drive bays, and easily add or change PCIe expansion cards, including graphics cards.

 macprodrivetray1

Photo © Coyote Moon, Inc.

They also offered access to the optical drive bay, which many used as a fifth storage bay. The processors were mounted on easily removable trays, and could be upgraded by the end user.

However, the 2009 version of the Mac Pro has a few things going against it. While the processors could be upgraded, they require the use of special Xeon processors that have no metal lids. This was done so the mammoth heat sinks could be attached directly to the CPU die. Finding compatible processors can now be a bit of a scavenger hunt.

On the plus side, there is a firmware hack available online that can allow the older 2009 Mac Pros to make use of 2010 or 2012 Mac Pro processors.

With the above as a bit of a background, let’s take a look at the original buying guide for the 2009 Mac Pro.

Read more on Lifewire: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

October is typically an important month in Mac history. It marked the first release of the Mac PowerBook models in 1991 and this October it marked a fundamental change in the portable Mac lineup: the introduction of the new MacBook Pro in 13-inch and 15-inch models, sporting the new Touch Bar and Touch ID.

macbookprotouchbar

Image courtesy of Apple

The new MacBook Pros have some amazing new features, but they’re also shaking up the entire MacBook product line.

Gone is the 11-inch MacBook Air, leaving the 12-inch MacBook as the smallest of the MacBooks when measured by screen size. The MacBook Air 13-inch remains in the lineup, but only as a low-cost entry point into the portable Mac family.

Read more on Lifewire: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

In all the operating systems running on all of the computers in the world, there is likely nothing easier than performing an upgrade install of macOS Sierra on a Mac. While not quite push-a-button-and-go, it comes close.

DefaultDesktopSierra

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

So, you may be wondering why there’s a need for a step-by-step guide to performing an upgrade install of macOS Sierra. The answer is a simple one. Readers like to know in advance what to expect from the macOS Sierra install process, and, since the name for the Mac operating system has changed, whether that also means there are any new requirements for the install.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

macOS Sierra, the first of the new macOS systems, includes the ability to create a bootable installer on a USB flash drive, or on a drive you have connected to your Mac.

The advantage of the ability to create a bootable installer of macOS Sierra can’t be overstated. It allows you to perform a clean install, which completely replaces the contents of your Mac’s startup drive with a brand-new, fresh install of Sierra.

macOSSierrabootable

Image courtesy of Apple

The bootable installer can also be used to install macOS Sierra on multiple Macs, without having to resort to downloading the installer app from the Mac App Store each time. This can be a pretty nice feature if you have a problematic or slow connection to the Internet.

OS X and macOS have had the capability to create install media for quite a while, but this isn’t widely known, for two reasons. First, the command to create the bootable installer is well hidden within the installer that’s downloaded from the Mac App Store; and secondly, the installer you download has a really annoying habit of automatically starting up once the download is complete. If you then click the install button, you’ll find that the installer you downloaded is automatically deleted as part of the normal installation process, preventing you from using it to create a bootable macOS Sierra installer of your own.

Read more on About: Macs.

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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.

macOSSierraSiriRedSox

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.

macOSSierraMacBook

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

WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) 2016, the annual gathering of Apple developers in San Francisco, will hold its legendary keynote event June 13th at 10 AM (PDT), in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. This is a change from past keynotes, which were held at the Moscone West Convention Center.

WWDC2016

Image courtesy of Apple

The move of the keynote to the Civic Auditorium is likely being done for both the size of the prospective crowd (the auditorium can hold 7,000 people), and the size of the announcements that will be made during the keynote.

The last time Apple used the Civic Auditorium was for the “Hey Siri” event in 2015.

The point being, using a large stage for the keynotes should mean some big announcements are coming from Apple, so here are some of the top rumors for WWDC, in regard to the Mac product lineup.

Read more on About: Macs.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple released the 2016 12-inch Retina MacBook with an eye on improving performance, by using faster CPUs and faster graphics, and providing longer battery life. It also added a color, offering the 12-inch MacBook in Silver, Gold, Space Gray, and now, Rose Gold.

MacbookRosegold

Image courtesy of Apple

While there have been changes inside and out, the second generation of the MacBook remains mostly a speed bump, which will likely be viewed as a nice improvement for those who were already considering a MacBook, but won’t sway those who are looking at other members of the Mac lineup.

Read more on About: Macs.

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