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Some thoughts on the 2018 Macbook Pro

I have been a Macbook Pro owner since 2011. I bought a 15″ model then, another one in late 2015, and my third iteration landed in my lap last week. Unsure of the experience I would have, I took the plunge and snagged a 2018-era 15″ Macbook Pro with Touch Bar. I wanted to jot down some of my thoughts after a week of usage every day.

On the plus side, I actually enjoy the keyboard. I know not everyone does, and I think I might be in the minority, but as a light typist, the short travel keys actually feel really good. They’re a bit loud, but not so much that it bothers me.

The slightly smaller form-factor is also nice, too. I had started to think that a 15″ might be too big for my needs, especially after staring at the massive bezels for the last 3 years. Now, I’m back to thinking it’s just fine. 

The onboard storage is stupid fast, benchmarking at something like 2500MB/s for both read and write. Hot dog. 

The Touch Bar is strange. I never noticed until after getting this unit that I liked to rest my hand where the now-touch-sensitive Escape key sits. I’ve hit it a few times on accident. I have since corrected my ways, but it was definitely a bit of a surprise. As far as the rest of the touch bar goes, I’m still unsure of its ultimate value. 

Touch ID is super fast and is a great method for accessing the computer from a locked state. 

Battery life is pretty dang good, too. I spent an average day of work and managed to crank about 7 hours out of it with no care about how I was using the device or micro-managing its energy consumption. If I had spent more time dimming and throttling, it’s not unreasonable to have expected 9 or 10 hours. 

Weight is fine. It’s definitely lighter than my outgoing 2015 model. I haven’t had an opportunity to push the graphics card in any way. I spent 99% of my time on Integrated. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Getting into the USB way of life has been hard, though once I got my Thunderbolt 3-enabled dock up and running, I joined the “single cable club.” I’m also now a member of Dongle Town, too, so it seems like a wash.

Overall, I’m super happy with my purchase. 

iPad-Pro_11-inch-12inch_10302018

Recap of Apple’s Updated Hardware from Today’s Event in Brooklyn

Apple announced a host of updated bits of hardware at today’s event in Brooklyn. Here’s my recap on the important bits. Let’s dive right in, or jump to:

Mac Mini

Mac Mini Desktop setup display 10302018

The last update to the Mac Mini was in 2014, and it was underwhelming to say the least. Today’s announcement is a welcome refresh to those who still enjoy the small-form-factor Apple desktop computer.

Tech Specs

  • Processor: The Mac Mini comes in two main flavors, a 4-core 3.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i3 and a 6-core 3.0GHz Core i5 (with Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz). Both can be upgraded to a 3.2GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz.
  • Memory: 8GB of 2666MHz DDR4 SO-DIMM memory is standard and both can be upgraded to 16, 32, or 64GB respectively.
  • Storage: Depending on the model, storage options start at 128GB or 256GB of PCIe SSD storage and can be upgraded to a max of 2TB.
  • Graphics: No configurability, just the Intel UHD Graphics 630 chip. Definitely not for gaming.
  • Ports: This new configuration starts with saying goodbye to some ports and hello to some others on the back of the metal desk platter of a computer. From left to right, expect to see:
    • Power
    • 1x Ethernet
      • 1GBase-T or 10GBase-T
    • 4x Thunderbolt 3 (40gbps) / USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 (10gbps)
    • 1x HDMI 2.0
    • 2x USB-A 3.0 (5gbps)
    • 1x 3.5mm headphone jack
      • below USB 3.0
  • Wireless: 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0.
  • Displays: Up to 3 4K displays using a combination of Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI or one 5K and 4K display using the same port combination.

Mac Mini side ports 10302018

Pricing

The Mac Mini starts at $799 and can climb to $4199, depending on configuration. It’s available to pre-order now.


Macbook Air

MacBook Air family 10302018

We haven’t seen the MacBook Air receive a meaningful update in even more years than the Mac Mini. Until today, it rocked a 1280×800 non-retina display (and if you really want to punish yourself, you can still buy it). This version keeps the hard function keys but brings over Touch ID (and the T2) chip from the MacBook Pro line.

Here’s what’s up with the new model:

Tech Specs

  • Processor: 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz.
  • Memory: 8GB of 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory, upgradable to 16GB.
  • Storage: Depending on the model, storage options start at 128GB or 256GB of PCIe SSD storage and can be upgraded to a max of 1.5TB.
  • Graphics: No configurability, just the Intel UHD Graphics 630 chip. Definitely not for gaming.
  • Ports:
    • 2x Thunderbolt 3 40Gbps (USB-C 3.1 Gen 2, unto 10Gbps) ports.
      • Both support charging.
    • There’s also a headphone jack.
  • Wireless: 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2.
  • Display: 13.3″ 2560×1600 Retina display without TrueTone. This is the same size and resolution as the 13″ MacBook Pro.
  • Battery: Up to 12 hours on the Web, 13 hours of movie playback, 30 days standby thanks to a 50.3 watt-hour battery and a 30-watt USB-C power adapter
  • Colors: Gold, Silver, Space Gray

MacBook Air Keyboard and Ports 10302018

Pricing

The MacBook Air starts at $1199 and can climb to $2,599, depending on configuration. It’s available to pre-order now.


iPad Pro

iPad Pro with attached Apple Pencil 2nd-generation

The 3rd-generation iPad Pro comes with a host of design changes that weren’t a surprise to anyone following the rumors. The home button is gone and in its place is an edge-to-edge display (with no notch!) and Face ID support.

  • Sizes: 11″ and 12.9″
  • Processor: Apple A12X Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture, Neural Engine, and Embedded M12 coprocessor.
    • 8-core CPU
    • 7-core GPU
  • Memory: Unknown, probably 3 or 4GB.
  • Storage: Both sizes have the same storage options:
    • 64GB
    • 256GB
    • 512GB
    • 1TB (new for the iPad Pro line)
  • Camera (rear): 12-megapixel, f/1.8 camera. Looks like it’s the same as the iPhone XR.
    • Records video at up to
      • 4K resolution and 60 frames per second.
      • 1080p 30/60/120 fps.
      • 720p 30/240 fps.
  • Camera (front): 7-megapixel f/2.2.
    • Records video at 1080p resolution at 30 or 60 frames per second.
  • Ports:
    • One USB-C.
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11ac dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
    • 80MHz channel width and MIMO support.
  • (optional) Cellular:
    • UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC‑HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
    • Gigabit-class LTE (Models A2013 and A2014: bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 29, 30, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 66, 71)
    • eSIM
    • Nano SIM
    • Assisted GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS
  • Display: Liquid Retina Display
    • 11″: 2388 x 1668 resolution at 264 pixels per inch
    • 12.9″ 2732 x 2048 resolution at 264 pixels per inch
    • P3 wide color gamut
    • TrueTone
    • 600 nits brightness
  • Battery:
  • Both models come with an 18W USB-C charger and have a reported 10 hours run time.
    • 11″: 29.37-watt-hour
    • 12.9″: 36.71-watt-hour
    • Cellular models have a reported 9-hour run time.
  • Colors: Gold, Silver, Space Gray

IPad Pro versatility monitor 10302018

Pricing

The 3rd-generation iPad Pro starts at:

  • $799 for the 11″ model (Wi-Fi only; $949 for WiFi+Cellular; max $1,699)
  • $999 for the 12.9″ model (Wi-Fi only; $1,149 for Wi-Fi+Cellular; max $1,899)

and is available to pre-order now.


Apple Pencil (2nd Generation)

It’s cool to see the Apple Pencil get some love. As a first-generation Pencil owner, the changes they’ve made are quite welcome, but some of them aren’t noticeable unless you’re also using it with the 3rd-generation 11″ or 12.9″ iPad Pro.

  • Touch surface that supports double-tapping.
  • Magnetic attachment, charging, and pairing to 3rd-generation iPad Pro.

The 2nd-generation Apple Pencil is available to pre-order now for $129.

GrayKey iPhone Box Reportedly Cannot Unlock iOS 12 Devices

In a not surprising turn of events, it’s reported that the GrayKey box used by law enforcement to brute-force their way into your phone does not work with iOS 12 devices.

From Forbes:

Multiple sources familiar with the GrayKey tech tell Forbes the device can no longer break the passcodes of any iPhone running iOS 12 or above. On those devices, GrayKey can only do what’s called a “partial extraction,” sources from the forensic community said. That means police using the tool can only draw out unencrypted files and some metadata, such as file sizes and folder structures.

I consider this a net win. This is what the court system and warrants are for. 

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Apple CEO Tim Cook is Calling for Bloomberg to Retract Its Chinese Spy Chip Story

From John Paczkowski and Joseph Bernstein over at BuzzFeed News:

“There is no truth in their story about Apple,” Cook told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview. “They need to do that right thing and retract it.”

“I was involved in our response to this story from the beginning,” said Cook.

“I personally talked to the Bloomberg reporters along with Bruce Sewell, who was then our general counsel. We were very clear with them that this did not happen, and answered all their questions,” said Cook. “Each time they brought this up to us, the story changed, and each time we investigated we found nothing.”

In addition to disputing the report itself, Cook also took issue with the lack of evidence he said Bloomberg supplied to document its claims. Cook said the reporters never provided Apple with any specific details about the malicious chips it is alleged to have found and removed. He added that he thinks the allegations are undergirded by “vague secondhand accounts.”

This story is getting so damn strange. Listening to the most recent episode of The Talk Show with John Gruber, Gruber mentioned his theory that this is more of a plot by folks within the Trump Administration to paint China in a bad light as a move to bolster the trade war with the country.

This quote at the end made me chuckle:

Meanwhile, companies that might possibly be among the 30 alleged to have been compromised are doing all they can to steer clear of the story. “We investigated and we found nothing,” an executive at one Fortune 50 company told BuzzFeed News. “Please leave us out of this. We weren’t mentioned and I don’t want us to be. I don’t know what the fuck is going on here.

Happy Friday!

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Apple’s New Data Privacy Tool

Apple revamped their Privacy page and launched a new privacy/data management tool. Now, everything you need is in one place

Apple's Privacy portal

This is exactly how it should be done. Every tech company should be putting in the effort to make data management this easy for their users.

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Johnathan Lyman
Kenmore, WA,
United States
 
blogging, design, technology, software, development, gaming, photography