This is Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Touch ID & more!

“The Mac is more than a product to us. It’s a testament to everything we do and create at Apple,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook at today’s “Hello again” Mac event as he unveiled long-expected updates to Pro notebooks. The new MacBook Pro has, as rumored, a programmable OLED touch bar substituting the function key row, called Touch Bar.

There’s also a Touch ID sensor powered by a new Apple-designed T1 chip. Like its predecessor, the new MacBook Pro comes in 13 and 15-inch flavors and each is available in Silver or Space Gray finish. hello again event macbook pro compare

The notebooks have a 2x larger trackpad with ForceTouch haptic feedback (46 percent larger on the 13-inch MacBook Pro and twice as large on the 15-inch MacBook Pro) and are driven by Intel’s latest Skylake chips with faster graphics. The iconic glowing Apple logo on the lid is gone, however, like on the existing twelve-inch MacBook.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro weighs in at three pounds, almost half a pound lighter than the previous generation. It’s seventeen percent thinner and has 25 percent less volume than the previous-generation MacBook Pro.

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The 15-incher weighs in at 4 pounds, is fourteen percent thinner and has twenty percent less volume. The biggest news is the new Touch Bar feature. Touch Bar, as mentioned, provides one-touch access to all of the functions previously provided by dedicated hardware function keys, and then some more.

hello again event macbook pro touch bar

When you’re multitasking, Touch Bar shortcuts change depending on the app being used. It’s great that Touch Bar provides autocorrect suggestion when typing on the keyboard, has a dedicated Siri button and even suggests emoji replacements.

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In fact, it provides a dedicated interface for browsing all your emoji by category, frequently used and more—by way of swiping. In other apps, Touch Bar lets you create new tabs, manage your windows and more.

In Photos, as another example, a photo strip is rendered on the Touch Bar so you can quickly select an image to work with. You can even rotate photos, make color adjustments and more, right on the Touch Bar.

hello again event macbook pro customize touch bar

In the Finder, you can customize any toolbar features like the screenshot control to appear on the Touch Bar simply by dragging an item from the toolbar down until it drops on Touch Bar. And when customizing Touch Bar, the icons wiggle like on iOS.

Touch Bar has controls for iWork apps, iTunes, Terminal and other Apple apps, with a developer API available to enable custom shortcuts in third-party apps.

Both machines have a second-generation Touch ID with sapphire crystal protection. With a fingerprint scan, customers can unlock their Mac, switch user accounts and authenticate Apple Pay purchases on the web. “Touch ID enables a quick, accurate reading of your fingerprint and uses sophisticated algorithms to recognize and match it with the Secure Enclave in the new Apple T1 chip,” Apple said.

hello again event macbook pro touch id

The Mac’s Touch ID sensor is powered by a brand new Apple-designed chip, called the T1, which has a Secure Enclave to support strong security and privacy like on iPhone.

Compared to the previous generation, the new MacBook Pro’s Retina screen is 67 brighter, has 67 percent greater contrast and gives you 25 percent more colors while consuming thirty percent less power than before.

It is the first Mac notebook display to support a wider color gamut. Both new machines have four Thunderbolt 3 ports providing a whopping 30GB/s bandwidth and allowing users to drive a 5K display and power their MacBook Pro with a single cable.

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The new Thunderbolt standard is port-compatible with USB-C (also known as USB 3.1 Generation 2), meaning all your USB-C devices can be connected to the new MacBook Pro’s Thunderbolt ports. Thunderbolt 3 also supports the DisplayPort 1.2 video interconnect standard.

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Any of the four Thunderbolt 3 ports can be used as a USB-C charging port. In fact, any of the four Thunderbolt 3 ports can be Thunderbolt 3, USB-C or Display Port without any adapter, or become HDMI or VGA with an adapter.

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The 13-inch model comes with either Intel’s dual-core Core i5 or i7 with a 2,133 MHz memory, integrated Intel Iris graphics with 64 megabytes of eDRAM that’s two times faster on average or 103 percent faster in gaming and 76 percent faster in video editing and 3D graphics. The SSD in the 13-incher provides a throughput of 3.1 Gb/s.

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As for the more powerful 15-incher model, it’s powered by Intel’s sixth-generation quad-core Core i7 processor with faster 2,1333MHz memory and discreet Radeon Pro graphics that’s part of AMD’s new 14-nanometer Polaris architecture. You can outfit the graphics card with up to four gigabytes of dedicated video RAM.

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Graphics on the 15-inch MacBook Pro is up to 2.4 faster than the previous-generation MacBook Pro with 60 percent faster gaming, 57 percent faster video editing and 130 percent faster 3D graphics. As for the SSD, the 15-inch MacBook Pro can be outfitted with up to 2TB FusionDrive while the SSD provides a throughout of 3.1 GB/s.

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Last but not least, both new MacBook Pros have an all-new speaker design with twice the dynamic range of the previous generation. Battery? You get a ten-hour battery life.

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The machines are available for pre-order today from Apple.com, Apple retail stores and authorized resellers, shipping in 2-3 weeks. The standard 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.9 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 chip with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz, 8 GB RAM, 256GB SSD, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, Touch ID and Touch Bar costs $1,799.

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The flagship 15-incher with a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 chip with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5 GHz, 16GB RAM, discreet AMD Radeon Pro 450 graphics, 256GB SSD, four Thunderbolt 3 ports, Touch ID and Touch Bar will set you back $2,399.

hello again event macbook pro prices

For MacBook Air fans, Apple has created a 13-inch MacBook Pro model without Touch Bar and Touch ID and with the familiar row of function hardware keys. That machine, priced at $1,4999, ships today.

It’s powered by a 2 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 chip with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz, has 8 GB of RAM, integrated Intel Iris 540 graphics, two Thunderbolt 3 ports rather than four and comes with 256GB SSD.

The current MacBook Air continues to be available without a hardware refresh. Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at apple.com/macbookpro.

By the way, this week mark’s 25th anniversary of Apple’s first notebook, the PowerBook, which defined the modern notebook with a matrix-dot display and a keyboard-forward design that created room for a trackpad and other features.

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Macbook Selfie Stick – Is It Real?

Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like – a Macbook mounted on a selfie stick. No, we don’t know what these people are smoking. But before you start questioning all of the humanity, we can calm you down – this selfie stick is not for sale.

What you see is actually an art project poking fun at society’s obsession with selfies and vanity.

The artists behind the project are Moises (Art404), John Yuyi, and Tom Galle. The photos below show them using their bizarre contraption in New York’s Time Square and Washington Square Park.

No artist statement is provided but the project is self-explanatory. We only hope that there won’t be any actual Macbook selfie sticks for sale anytime soon. Or ever.

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Microsoft unveils the Surface Pro 4, Surface Book and new Lumia Smartphones!

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Software giant Microsoft today announced its next-generation Surface Pro laptop/tablet hybrid, the Surface Pro 4. Designed to take Apple’s upcoming $799 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the $899 Surface Pro 4 offers updated hardware and software features like Windows Hello, the Cortana personal assistant, and of course Windows 10.

The thinnest and most powerful Surface yet, the Surface Pro 4 features a larger display than its predecessor, fitting a 12.3-inch display in the same physical footprint as the older twelve-inch device, making the laptop/tablet hybrid compatible with the existing crop of keyboard accessories on the market.

Microsoft also designed a brand new stylus to go with the Surface Pro 4. They’re calling it the Surface Pen and it’s extremely sensitive at detecting 1,024 levels of pressure.

Surface Pro 4

As mentioned, the new Surface Pro 4 features a 12.3-inch PixelSense 3:2 aspect ratio display in the same physical footprint as the older twelve-inch device. At only 8.4 mm thin and weighing in at 786 grams (1.73 pounds), the new Surface is thinner and lighter than its predecessor.

The PixelSense screen has five million pixels at a resolution of 2,736-by-1,824 pixels at 267 pixels per inch. The contrast ratio is 1300:1. Each display has been individually calibrated to achieve a hundred percent sRGB color.

The new Surface, rated with up to nine hours of battery life for vide playback, is driven by Intel’s sixth-generation Skylake processors (Core m, Core i5 and Core i7), with Microsoft claiming the device to be one-third faster than its predecessor and up to 50 percent faster than Apple’s MacBook Air notebook.

The gizmo runs Microsoft’s Windows 10, which can run both desktop and tablet applications, as the Surface was designed to be a tablet that can replace your laptop.

Check out Microsoft’s rather nicely done promotional video below.

If you can’t see the video embed, watch it on YouTube.

The device incorporates a fingerprint sensor on the keyboard, has the 0.4mm-thick Gorilla Glass 4 covering the front and runs a Microsoft-designed ‘G5’ chipset which controls the Surface’s responsive touchscreen. Built-in flash storage can be upgraded from the base 128 GB to up to one terabytes while the memory varies by model at 4 GB, 8 GB or 16 GB.

Wireless stack supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO and Bluetooth 4.0. Other hardware features include a five-megapixel front camera with 1080p video capture, an eight-megapixel sensor out the back with auto-focus and 1080p video capture, stereo microphones, stereo speakers with Dolby audio, one full-size USB 3.0 port, a Mini DisplayPort and a microSD card reader.

A handy side-by-side comparison of the Surface Pro 4 features versus those of previous Surface models is available at the official website. More about the Surface Pro 4 is available in Microsoft’s fact sheet.

Surface Pen

The all-new Surface Pen is bundled with the Surface Pro 4.

It can detect 1,024 levels of pressure so it’s more sensitive and accurate then before. The Surface Pen has an eraser on one end and attaches magnetically to the side of the Surface Pro 4 when not in use.

Microsoft Surface Pen image 001

A dedicated button on the stylus lets you invoke Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant. A built-in battery provides “all-year battery life,” according to Microsoft.

Last but not least, an all-new Type Cover (sold separately) is available for the new Surface, featuring a redesigned mechanical keyboard, an optional fingerprint reader and backward compatibility with the existing Surface Pro 3 devices.

Pricing

Here’s what the Surface Pro 4 will cost you:

  • $899—128 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM M3 with 4 GB of RAM
  • $999—128 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i5 with 4 GB of RAM
  • $1,299—256 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i5 with 8 GB of RAM
  • $1,599—256 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i7 with 8 GB of RAM
  • $1,799—256 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i7 with 16 GB of RAM
  • $2,199—512 GB 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i7 with 16 GB of RAM

These are estimated retail prices so actual retail pricing may wary.

Availability

The new Surface Pro 4 and the new accessories are available for pre-order in select markets October 7, 2015. The Surface Pro 4 starts at $899 and is scheduled to ship on October 26 in Canada and the United States, with additional markets to follow. The Surface Pen is provided in a variety of colors.

Microsoft Surface Book image 008

In addition to launching the new $899 Surface Pro 4 with the Surface Pen stylus, Windows giant Microsoft has another highly-popular Apple product in its crosshair: the MacBook Air.

Billed as “the ultimate laptop,“ the Surface Book is another hybrid device from Microsoft. Featuring an accurate, responsive stylus, multi-touch support and a high-resolution 13.5-inch optically bonded screen that detaches easily from the keyboard, the new Surface Book promises to offer best of both worlds.

Surface Book hardware

The Surface Book is driven by Intel’s sixth-generation Core i5 and Core i7 processors with up to twelve hours of video playback. The 13.5-inch PixelSense display at 267 pixels per inch with improved touch latency and parallax is “natural and fluid to write on,” according to the Redmond firm.

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In terms of graphics, the baseline Surface Book configuration uses Intel HD graphics 520 but you can optionally upgrade it to discrete Nvidia GeForce graphics with dedicated 1GB of DDR5 video memory and hardware-acceleration for video editing, fast rendering and immersive gaming.

Microsoft Surface Book vs MacBook Pro slide

For those wondering, that 13.5-inch 3:2 aspect ratio screen maxes out at an astounding 3,000-by-2,000 pixel resolution. Contrast ratio is 1800:1 and the display can detect up to ten simultaneous touches at once. Like on the Surface Pro 4, each Surface Book screen has been individually calibrated to achieve 100 percent sRGB color.

If you the embedded video won’t show, watch it on YouTube.

Next, the front-facing camera has five megapixels and supports 1080p video capture (you can use it to log into Windows with the Hello facial recognition feature). An eight-megapixel camera on the back is also capable of capturing 1080p video.

In terms of connectivity, the Surface Book is 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 compatible. Other features include a full sized, backlit keyboard, up to 16 GB of memory, and the same Windows Hello and Cortana software features provided by Windows 10.

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We should also mention that Microsoft’s new notebook/laptop hybrid sports stereo headphones, dual microphones and microphone jack built-in, in addition to the front-facing stereo speakers with Dolby audio. The computer packs in ambient light, accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer sensors.

Microsoft Surface Book image 005

In terms of I/O, the Surface Book has two full-size USB 3.0 ports, one Mini DisplayPort, a single full-size SD memory card reader and the Surface Connect for power and docking (base and clipboard).

All Surface Book models ship bundled with the Surface Pen stylus.

Surface Dock

The new Surface Dock is available, too. Compatible with the Surface Book, Surface Pro 4 and Surface Pro 3, it transforms your device into a desktop PC by plugging in your dock with the SurfaceConnect cable.

Microsoft Surface Dock image 002

The Surface Dock features two Mini DisplayPorts, one Gigabit Ethernet port, four USB 3.0 ports, one audio out port and an external power brick.

Pricing

The following Surface Book configurations are available:

  • $1,499—128 GB 6th generation Intel Core i5 with 8 GB of RAM
  • $1,699—256 GB 6th generation Intel Core i5 with 8 GB of RAM
  • $1,899—256 GB 6th generation Intel Core i5 with 8 GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processor
  • $2,099—256 GB 6th generation Intel Core i7 with 8 GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processor
  • $2,699—512 GB 6th generation Intel Core i7 with 16 GB of RAM and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processor

These are estimated retail prices so actual retailer pricing may vary.

Availability

The Surface Book will be on sale in Canada and the United States on October 26, like the fourth-generation Surface Pro and Microsoft’s refreshed accessories lineup. The Surface Book can be pre-ordered in select markets October 7, 2015.

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Today Microsoft announced its latest Windows-powered phones, as well as two new members to the Surface family.

The new Lumias are the first devices to ship with Windows 10 (mobile), which represents a massive step forward for Microsoft. What’s all new? Let’s jump in and find out.

Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950XL

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The new Lumia 950 and 950 XL are Microsoft’s new flagship phone offerings, and both are quite impressive on paper.

First, the 950 is powered by a Snapdragon 808 hexa-core processor with a 5.2-inch WQHD display, 3GB RAM, and 32GB storage (and microSD). The 950XL scales things up a bit, offering the same amount of RAM and storage, but bumping the QHD display up to 5.7-inches and trades out the 808 for a octa-core Snapdragon 810.

Both phones share the same rear 20MP sensor with OIS, USB Type-C ports, Qualcomm quick charging, and the same basic sensors you’d expect. Microsoft also says the phones utilize a form of liquid cooling to help eliminate (or reduce) any potential heating issues.

The new Lumias also support Windows Hello, which will use face-scanning tech via the camera to login users; this is not anything particularly innovative for those over at Camp Android, but a first for Windows (phone) users.

In many ways, the new Lumia 950 and 950 XL look a lot like typical Android devices when it comes to the spec sheet. The big difference, of course, is on the software side. Forgoing Android, Microsoft’s latest devices jump from the Window Phone 8 over to Windows 10 Mobile.

The new platform looks a lot like WP8 did, but offers quite a few under the hood and UI improvements that help it feel much more polished than past iterations of the Windows phone-centric OS.
With Windows 10 Mobile, you’ll now find an integrated store that combines the Windows 8/10 (desktop/tablet) store and the Windows phone store into one. That means just about any universal app should play nicely with a Windows-powered phone, though traditional Windows .EXE programs obviously won’t work.

Probably one of the coolest software tricks for Windows 10 (mobile) is known as Continuum. Basically, this feature lets you experience a full Windows-like experience, complete with a desktop screen and a start menu when plugged into a bigger monitor. The experience isn’t completely like Windows 10 (more like Windows RT with the looks of 10), and so you are limited to what apps will work. That said, any universal app for the Windows store will play nicely, as will programs like Microsoft Office.

So how do you hook up your phone to a bigger screen? This can be done either by connecting a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse and wirelessly streaming to a compatible display, or there’s the Display Dock. The Display Dock is an optional accessory that plugs into the 950 or 950XL and includes three USB ports, including Type-C, as well as a Display Port and an HDMI port. The presence of USB means you’ll be able to use just about any keyboard or mouse, as well as USB drives for extra storage, and other USB powered accessories. No word on its pricing just yet.

Both the Lumia 950 and 950XL are expected to arrive this November, priced at $549 and $649, respectively.

Microsoft Lumia 550

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Designed to compete with budget offerings in the Android world, the Lumia 550 is a 5-inch device that is powered by a Snapdragon 210 with 8GB storage. Other specs include a 5MP rear cam, 2MP front cam, 8GB storage with microSD expansion, and a 1905 mAh battery.

The phone is priced at $139 and will arrive in December. Judging by the spec sheet, Android alternatives like the Moto G need not get too worried by this one. While the specs aren’t bad for the price, they aren’t exactly amazing either. Additionally, some of the cooler Windows 10 features like Continuum aren’t mentioned, so we doubt the phone is powerful enough to support it.

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Reversible USB 3.1 Type-C coming in July!

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Apple in late-2012 debuted the then new Lightning I/O as a replacement for the aging, decade-old 30-pin Dock connector. One of its most compelling features: the symmetrical design allowing the cable to be inserted with either side facing up.

I reckoned at the time that the industry would scramble to replicate Apple’s innovation. Sure enough, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group last December unveiled a new USB Type-C specification with much smaller, twice as fast connectors and cables.

You guessed right, USB Type-C is reversible so the new cables and connectors can be plugged in without worrying about the orientation. Leaked straight out of the world’s top contract manufacturer, Foxconn, the first renders give us a glimpse into the USB’s new Type-C, coming this July…

As pictured top of post, the proposed standard uses smart design where there’s no top or bottom as the plugs are symmetrical – that is, the same at both ends of the cable.

As reported by The Verge, USB Type-C is intended to replace both the regular USB and the smaller Micro USB with one universal standard. Featuring a markedly smaller footprint, the Type-C connector is similar in size to the existing USB 2.0 Micro-B.

In addition to up to 10Gbps bandwidth – twice as much versus the 5Gbps available on USB 3.0 – and the reversible design allowing you to plug in the cable without worrying about its orientation (again, much like Apple’s Lightning), USB Type-C supports scalable power charging thanks to between three and five amperes, up from 1.5A on USB 3.0.

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Pictured above: a reference notebook design for USB Type-C connector.

And like Lightning, the much thinner design of USB Type-C (in the range of Apple’s Lightning cable size) will make possible even thinner smartphones, tablets, ultra-thin notebooks and so forth.

The bulkiness of the existing USB 3.0 and lack of advanced features are exactly the reasonswhy Apple couldn’t simply adopt USB 3.0 on iOS devices and instead had to engineer the tiny Lightning I/O.

However, due to the changed design of Type-C connectors and cables as, your existing USB plugs and receptacles won’t work with the new USB Type-C. Expect a whole cottage industry to blossom around new-to-existing cables and adapters.

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group says the connector design scales for future USB bus performance so Type-C ports and connectors should remain unchanged in the years to come.

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The design and the full specifications should be finalized in July so expect to see USB Type-C implemented and adopted later in the year across a variety of devices and OEMs.

Apple’s Mac family currently uses USB 3.0.

If history is an indication, we expect Apple to eventually adopt the new Type-C plugs across its lineup, starting with Macs. Curiously enough, the Lightning-to-USB cable which ships with every iPhone, iPod touch and iPad still uses USB 2.0.

If Apple chooses to update the cable to use the emerging USB Type-C, it will be reversible on both sides, how cool is that?

Introducing iOS7: The mobile OS from a Whole New Perspective!

iOS7

All-new design.

iOS 7 started with a desire to take an experience people love and make it better. To make it even simpler, more useful, and more enjoyable — but still feel instantly familiar. The design of iOS 7 is beautiful because it’s all of those things. And it’s the start of a new chapter for iOS.

All-new features.

Control Center, AirDrop for iOS, and smarter multitasking are just a few of the great new features in iOS 7. And all your favorite apps have been enhanced to make everything even easier to get to and use. So with iOS 7, not only is your device more capable, you are, too.

Control Center

Notification Center

Multitasking 

iTunes Radio

Photos

AirDrop

Camera

Safari

Siri

Mail

Weather

Messages 

NOTE:

  1. Panorama format is available on iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, and iPod touch (5th generation). Square and video formats and swipe to capture are available on iPhone 4 or later, iPad (3rd generation or later), iPad mini, and iPod touch (5th generation).
  2. Filters in Camera are available on iPhone 5 and iPod touch (5th generation). Filters in Photos are available on iPhone 4 or later, iPad (3rd generation or later), iPad mini, and iPod touch (5th generation).
  3. AirDrop is available on iPhone 5, iPad (4th generation), iPad mini, and iPod touch (5th generation) and requires an iCloud account.

iOS 7 will be compatible with:

iPhone 4, 4S and 5.

iPod 5th Generation.

 

iPad 2, iPad Retina and iPad Mini.