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Archive for the ‘Product News & Updates’ Category

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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by Tom Nelson

Apple recently updated the entire 2015 iMac lineup, including the first 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display. The 27-inch iMac lineup, however, got the best of the updates. The non-Retina iMacs are gone from the 27-inch lineup. If you’re going big, you’re going Retina; at least, that seems to be Apple’s take on the matter, and I tend to agree.

iMac27Retina2015

Image courtesy of Apple

Ever since the 2014 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display was released, we knew that, just like the MacBook Pro lineup, which kept non-Retina models for the short term (in the 13-inch models), in the long term, Retina was the direction Apple would go across the entire product space.

So, besides the all Retina lineup, the 27-inch iMac received some significant updates that will please anyone looking to squeeze out more performance.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple recently took the wraps off a new 2015 21.5-inch iMac lineup that uses new Broadwell-based processors, faster Intel integrated graphics, and, as expected, a new Retina 4K Display model, finally bringing Retina image quality to the smaller of the iMacs.

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Image courtesy of Apple

The new 21.5 iMac lineup is divided into three basic configurations: a baseline and a mid-level model, both with the standard 1920 x 1080 display used in previous generations, and a high-end configuration that includes the Retina 4K display, with 4096 x 2304 pixels.

Processors

It’s been a long wait, but the 21-5-inch iMacs will be configured with Broadwell-based processors from Intel. On the bright side, the Broadwell chips will provide a nice boost in overall performance, when compared to the older Haswell-based iMacs. But I’m a bit surprised that the newest Skylake processors, which Apple incorporated into the 2015 27-inch iMac, weren’t included; this would have allowed Apple to just skip over the Broadwell family.

I imagine the issue was cost, as the Skylake processors are still very new, and continue to command a bit of a premium in price. However, let’s not get too wrapped up in the processor’s name, when what’s really important is how well the new iMacs will perform.

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by Tom Nelson

OS X El Capitan once again sets the upgrade install as the default method of performing an installation. This means if you start downloading the El Capitan installer from the Mac App Store, and get up to have some tea, when you come back, it’s very likely that you’ll be looking at the El Capitan installer screen waiting for you to click the Continue button.

As tempting as it may be to get on with the installation, I recommend quitting the installer at this point, and taking care of some setup details first.

ElCapitanDesktop1

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

What You Need to Run OS X El Capitan

El Capitan was announced at WWDC 2015, and will go through a public beta process beginning in July 2015, finishing with a public release on September 30, 2015. Before you decide to participate in the public beta, or install the new Mac operating system once it’s released, you should take a look at which Macs will support the OS, and what the minimum specifications are. You can find out if your Mac is up to snuff by taking a look at this guide:

OS X El Capitan Minimum Requirements

Once you have determined that your Mac meets the requirements, you’re almost ready to proceed with installing the new system. But first, you need to take a few preliminary steps to ensure that your Mac is ready to successfully install the OS, and that you’ll have a trouble-free installation process.

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by Tom Nelson

El Capitan was officially announced at the 2015 WWDC. Along with basic information, such as that the newest version of OS X would once again be available for free, and that there will be a public beta available starting in July, Apple also touched on a few of El Capitan’s new features. But they didn’t have time to mention all of the new features.

So, here’s a list of 5 new features I’m looking forward to that may not have gotten a lot of play at the WWDC keynote address.

MacBookElCapitan

Image courtesy of Apple

Photos for OS X

The talk around the WWDC is that Apple has opened up Photos to developers to write third-party extensions. This should allow Photos to support a wide range of new capabilities, including third-party editors.

Think of it this way: If you really prefer to edit images in Photoshop or Pixelmator, but you like the image management capabilities in Photos, you may soon be able to have your cake and eat it, too. All that would be needed is for the developers of your favorite image editing app to write a Photos extension that would launch their editor with your selected image.

Of course, these third-party Photos extensions won’t be showing up for a while, but when they do, Photos may become my go-to imaging system.

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by Tom Nelson

First up at the WWDC 2015 keynote address was OS X, which was a bit of a surprise as we’re used to seeing Tim Cook start the show by presenting a rundown on how well Apple is performing. Instead, Tim just told us it’s doing great. If you follow the company, you know that may be considered an understatement.

MacBookElCapitan

Image courtesy of Apple

OS X El Capitan is the new name for OS X 10.11. Although I predicted the name would be Mojave, El Capitan is a fine moniker.

As expected, El Capitan concentrates on performance and stability. But we knew Apple wouldn’t stop there, and there are a handful of new features and user interface changes.

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by Tom Nelson

WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) 2015 will take place from June 8 to June 12, and as expected, rumors are flying about what will be announced at the big event.

AppleWWDC2015

Image courtesy of Apple

WWDC has always been a bit of a mystery in terms of product announcements. With the show’s emphasis on Apple developers, we can almost always be correct in predicting that Apple will announce new versions of iOS and OS X at any WWDC event.

Trying to figure out what additional product announcements will be made is a bit like being a fortuneteller with a foggy crystal ball.

But this year is a bit different; there are a few new products that seem so likely to be announced that a crystal ball isn’t necessary. So, let’s start our list of WWDC predictions with the most likely to occur, and work our way down to those that are a bit far out.

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by Tom Nelson

As expected, Apple released updates to the 15-inch MacBook Pro lineup, as well as new versions of the 27-inch iMacs with Retina 5K display. In a bit of a surprise, Apple didn’t update to the newer Intel processor family; it stayed with the older Haswell lineup instead of moving to the Broadwell family. This could be a pretty good indication that Apple is just fed up with Broadwell and all the production delays, and will likely wait for the next product cycle (Skylake) from Intel.

imac5K2015

Image courtesy of Apple

15-inch MacBook Pro Updates

The 2015 version of the 15-inch MacBook Pro includes technology we’ve already seen in the new 12-inch MacBook; specifically, the Force Touch trackpad, with its haptic feedback system that provides a tactile pressure that simulates the way older Mac trackpads moved with each click, all with very little physical movement.

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by Tom Nelson

Apple has released the seventh update to the OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 beta program. This update is for Apple developers, as well as those of us participating in the public beta program of the new version of Yosemite.

OSXYosemiteCraigFederighi

Image courtesy of Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

This latest update carries the build number 14D130a, and includes bug fixes and a request from Apple to spend time testing both Safari and Mail.

Photos, included as part of the Yosemite beta, has seen many of its known issues fixed, with only a thumbnail viewing issue that occurs for imported Aperture image libraries remaining. Photos has been moving through the beta process quite smoothly, and appears to be on course to provide a nice replacement for iPhoto. Aperture users, though, will probably find the Photos feature set too limiting for pro level work. But we won’t be sure until the public release of the new version of Yosemite and the Photos app.

Read more on About: Macs.

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