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Using Apple’s Magic Trackpad 2 With Desktop Macs

Trying to use your new Magic Trackpad 2 on your Mac desktop? Well if you’re having trouble then let me be of assistance. The Magic Trackpad 2 requires you to be using a Bluetooth 4.0-enabled Mac desktop with OS X v10.11 or later. Obviously this means that not every Mac is going to be able to take...

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Could the Release of the Xeon E5 Chip Series Pave the Way for a New MacBook Pro Update?

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 02-03-2012

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Intel Xeon processorMany reports believe that the Sandy Bridge E server chips, better known as the Xeon E5 series, from Intel are set to debut this week. There are lots of rumors that the chips have been in the distribution channel for a couple weeks now which means that manufacturers using the chips will be able to launch seamlessly with the actual release of the chips. One such company is Apple.

Nobody who “has the chips” has been permitted to release benchmark tests yet as that honor is being restricted to next week. However, the Xeon E5 series will definitely be a much improved version over the ones currently found in Apple’s highly popular MacBook Pro, a device that hasn’t seen an update since the middle of 2010.

Aside from Apple, other companies, like Dell, have already started announcing new products that are based on the new Xeon E5 series which means that Apple could very well be ready with an all new MacBook Pro update in the very near future.

In addition to that, Apple is likely to take advantage of the E5-2600 series 6-core and 8-core chips. These chips would most likely be used in the company’s dual-processor MacBook Pro devices with the E5-1600 series quad-core and 6-core chips focused on Apple’s low-end, single-processor models.

The new processors aren’t the only things coming out that are vital for a brand new MacBook Pro upgrade. However, there have definitely been far fewer specific MacBook Pro rumors over the past couple of months. A recent report did claim that the company is planning to switch to Nvidia graphics in the next update, moving away from Apple’s current AMD partner.

The main thing that will determine if we see a new MacBook Pro update is, of course, whether or not Apple thinks the line is worth keeping in production. Apple was reportedly questioning last year whether to discontinue the model or not, examining if the MacBook Pro should continue offering the professional-level workstation since sales have been down thanks to a shift towards notebooks.

What do you think? Would you want a new MacBook Pro with the Xeon E5 series chip or do you think it’s time for Apple to retire the trusted device in lieu of something a little more fresh?

Source: MacRumors – Mac Pro Update Now Possible with New Xeon E5 Chips Next Week


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Apple’s MacBook Air Shines Amid Global HDD Shortage

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 06-12-2011

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2011 MacBook AirA global shortage of traditional, spinning hard disk drives (HDDs) has, coincidentally, come at a time when Apple’s flash-based solid-state MacBook Air is one of Apple’s most popular products. The large success of the redesigned netbook has come with “fortuitous timing” in the face of HDD shortages according to Evercore analyst Rob Chira. Chira believes that Apple is largely insulated from the ongoing component constraints that were caused by flooding in Thailand.

The MacBook Air only features NAND flash for storage, primarily relying on solid-state hard drives as opposed to the more traditional spinning hard disks. NAND memory has been completely unaffected by the floods in Thailand, events that have since put over 600,000 people out of work.

In addition to his previous statement, Chira also believes that the ongoing hard-drive shortage will create an influx of MacBook Air copycat Windows-based devices also using solid-state drives in 2012. Specifically, Chira sees PC makers gravitating towards Intel’s ultrabook design specification, which aims to capitalize on the popularity of Apple’s thin-and-light MacBook Air concept.

However, Chira expects Apple to counter this by refreshing its Air lineup in the first half of 2012 and also believes that Apple’s hoard of money will also allow it to leverage “some unique NAND engineering/supply vs. vanilla (solid-state drives).”

Recent rumors have also hinted at the possibility of Apple adding a 15″ model to its MacBook Air lineup in the early parts of 2012 and that the company is supposedly looking to expand its lineup as the ultraportable notebooks now represent 28% of Apple’s notebook shipments.

As far as Chira is concerned, Apple is in a strong position concerning Macs featuring traditional hard drives as well. He believes that Apple was the fastest hardware maker to react with hard-drive suppliers, putting the company in an advantageous position in the chain of supply.

This opinion also comes a matter of days after AppleInsider reported that build-to-order iMacs with 2TB hard drives had an estimated shipping time of 5 to 7 weeks. The shortage of high-capacity drives for Apple’s all-in-one machine could also be the first sign that the company is indeed being hit by the global shortage as well.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, recently expressed concern about the hard drive shortage during his company’s quarterly earnings conference back in October. While Cook was “certain” there would be an industry-wide shortage of hard-disk drives, Cook said he was “not sure” at the time of exactly how the situation would affect Apple.

Source: Apple Insider – Apple’s MacBook Air has ‘fortuitous timing’ in face of hard drive shortage

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New Thunderbolt MacBook Air Sees Strong Sales and Stock-Outs

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 02-08-2011

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Apple Thunderbolt MacBook Air
Sales of Apple’s new Thunderbolt MacBook Air have resulted in some locations running out due to increasingly high demand. This seems to be due, in part, to consumers being quick to embrace the refreshed thin and light notebook.

Recent reports from multiple analysts have indicated that the new MacBook Air has seen a very strong demand in the U.S. Demand has been so high that analysts have reported stock-outages of certain models in different locations.

According to analyst Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities, “Overall, we sense a bit more of a preference for the higher-end 11-inch models but the 13-inch also seems to be popular. Netting this out, the MacBook Air has truly redefined the laptop computing market, in our view, and we expect this momentum to continue.”

Many of Apple’s own resellers do not have the MacBook Air in stock, which is just further evidence of the high demand. These new MacBook Airs, with the second generation Sandy Bridge processors and new high-speed Thunderbolt port, were released last month. Like older models, these new ones start at $999, however, the discontinuation of the white MacBook makes the 11.6-inch MacBook Air the only sub-$1,000 notebook.

White attributed a lot of the MacBook Air’s success to the timing of its release. He also noted that this device will keep Apple in the minds of consumers even without a new iPhone available at the moment. White also believes that Apple will have the best technical back-to-school lineup this season and for the holidays. “In our view, successful Apple launches are key in driving the halo effect that drives incremental demand for other Apple products.”

Even though the new MacBook Air has found immediate success, White expects adoption of the new Thunderbolt connector to take more time. The $49 price tag of the Thunderbolt connector cable combined with the lack of available accessories seem to be barriers to the adoption of the technology at the present time. However, White expects that to change over time.

Source: Apple Insider – Strong sales of Apple’s new Thunderbolt MacBook Airs result in stock-outs

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Apple Decks Out New MacBook Pros

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 27-02-2011

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Apple MacBook ProHey, all you Apple junkies, guess what?! Apple has just unveiled their new Apple MacBook Pro family! Aren’t you excited!? Well, I’m sure you are excited but I am also sure that you knew this day was coming. Apple has a tendency to revamp their stuff periodically and this time they are turning their attention to the MacBook Pro. Now compared to Apple’s latest attempt at revamping the MacBook Pro, there are a ton of updates, and serious ones at that.

The rumor about all three of the new models getting the new Sandy Bridge Core i5 and i7 Processors from Intel is most definitely true. These laptops will also be getting AMD Radeon HD 6000M graphics, so say goodby to NVIDIA. FaceTime HD Cameras as well as some extremely fast Thunderbolt I/O transfer speeds are also included in Apple’s new MacBook Pro family.

The new family includes two new 13-inch models, two 15.4-inch models and one 17-inch model. These new models are pretty much identical to the previous ones, aesthetically speaking. They still have the same aluminum body that everybody seems so attached to. The only visible difference is the addition of the Thunderbolt connector which promises up to 10Gbps data transfer speeds and is based on Intel’s highly anticipated Light Peak technology. One other major addition is the new FaceTime HD camera which offers triple the resolution of the previous iSight MacBook Pro cameras and supports full HD video calling.

Here are some more details on the three different models:

13-inch MacBook Pro – Both models are available with either Core i5 or Core i7 processors with the lower end models starting at $1,199 and featuring a 2.4GHz dual-core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 320GB hard drive. If that doesn’t quite do it for you, then you can upgrade to the next level that comes with a 2.7GHz dual-core Core i7 processor and a 500GB hard drive, but this one will cost you a little more with a $1,499 price tag. No AMD graphics are available on these models but you may get Intel’s ne HD 3000 integrated graphics, which is now more powerful than ever.

15-inch MacBook Pro – The Core i7 processor is your only option on the 15-inch models but you also get AMD Radeon HD 6000M graphics. If you go with the $1,799 model, you can expect to pay for a 2.0GHz quad-core Core i7 processor, AMD Radeon HD6490M graphics with 1GB of VRAM and a 500GB hard drive. The higher-end $2,199 model gets you a faster 2.2GHz Core i7 chip, AMD Radeon 6750M graphics and a 750GB hard drive. You can also get 128GB, 256GB or 512GB options and it appears that the graphics switching will remain the same as in the previous models, automatically switching between GPU and IGP based on what you’re doing.

17-inch MacBook Pro – The patriarch of the family is the powerful 17-inch model. The 17-inch model has the same specs as the 15-inch one for the most part, but for $2,499 you get the same 2.2GHz Core i7 processor, AMD Radeon 6750M graphics and a 750GB hard drive. You can also deck this laptop out with some of those other hard drive options listed with the 15-inch model.

You can order any of these models on Apple’s store right now so I know you all are excited about that!

Source: Engadget – Apple refreshes MacBook Pros with Sandy Bridge processors, AMD graphics, Thunderbolt I/O tech, and HD cameras

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Apple Continues to Use Old NVIDIA Chipsets Despite NVIDIA Leaving the Market

Posted by zduncan | Posted in Computer | Posted on 21-12-2010

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An Xbitlabs report that surfaced back in November provided quotes from Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of NVIDIA, about the company’s permanent exit from the chipset business. The quotes are as follows:

“We are not building any more chipsets; we are building SoCs now. We are building Tegra SoCs, and so we are going to take integration to a new level. The chipset business has not grown largely this year because we have not really been expanding the sales of it.”

The fact that NVIDIA had exited the chipset business due to ongoing litigation with Intel over licensing is not news. However, there had been rumors that the issue would be settled. The above quote came before reports of a possible settlement between Intel and NVIDIA in December. That particular settlement discussion led to speculation that NVIDIA’s comeback to the market of chipsets could help boost processor speeds in future MacBook Air devices as well as MacBooks in general.

Huang, on the other hand, had this in particular to say about Apple’s business, “The second thing is the MCP89, the latest generation of Intel chipset that we built was just a really wonderful piece of engineering and the work that we did with Apple was great, and they are going to continue to use that for some time.”

The chip mentioned above, the MCP89, is the chipset that has been used in older MacBooks as well as the all new MacBook Air. Apple’s use of this particular chip from NVIDIA limits their choice of processors to the last generation Core 2 Duo.

This tradeoff gives Apple the ability to incorporate the faster integrated graphics cards from NVIDIA in their low-end devices. According to Huan, Apple plans on continuing to use these older chipsets for quite some time.

High-end MacBooks are essentially unaffected due to the fact that they have the privilege of incorporating not only the latest Intel processors but also the discrete graphics cards from third party manufacturers. This tradeoff in particular is only going to affect Apple’s low-end devices.

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