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Archive for the ‘Product News & Updates’ Category

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Bluetooth and Wi-Fi based connectivity features, and a whole new file system that will replace the venerable but quite outdated HFS+ system that Macs have been using for the last 30 years.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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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.

MacbookRosegold

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.

OSXElCapitanDock

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’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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