At CES this week, we’ve seen a wide array of unique gadgets, some great electric vehicles and whatever this thing is. Shrinking bezels with more screen are certainly all the rage this year, and 17-inch laptops are back in the limelight.
Perspective: iPad Pro blew past Microsoft Surface as soon as Apple could make enough of them, IDC says
It may not surprise you, but Apple’s new 12.9-inch iPad, which many would have you believe is the company’s first to compete directly with detachable and hybrid tablets/laptops, outsold Microsoft Surface and other detachable tablets, according to the report:
Ever since I upgraded from an 11″ MacBook Air to a 13″ Retina MacBook Pro, I’ve been hunting for the perfect hybrid computer and camera bag — a compact backpack that could hold my laptop, DSLR, lenses, and accessories at the same time. Six months ago, I covered several MacBook/camera bags from Incase, including the DSLR Sling Pack I’ve loved for years, and larger “Pro” options for bigger laptops. Each hybrid bag makes different compromises: for my needs, the Sling Pack’s too small, and the Pro bags are too large. But users of 11″ MacBooks might find the Sling Pack “just right.”
Seeing potential in a new alternative, I jumped at the opportunity to test Booq’s upcoming Slimpack ($195), a MacBook-sized evolution of its earlier iPad/DSLR backpack $145 Python Slimpack. Booq makes excellent bags, but apart from offering a multipurpose camera/headphone compartment in Boa Flow, it hasn’t taken a deep dive into the camera-laptop hybrid category. While the new Slimpack’s laptop compartment is just a hint too small for the 13″ MacBook Pro and iPad Pro I’m currently using, it’s right-sized for 12″ or smaller MacBooks, as well as 10″ or smaller tablets, any of which can be paired with a full-sized DSLR, three or four lenses, and accessories. Bundled with a rain shield and Booq’s standard Terralinq loss recovery protection system, it’s a very nice bag, and one I would certainly use if I switch to a 12″ MacBook next year…
While Apple may have waited for the iPhone 5s before it introduced Touch ID, it’s been working on the technology since shortly after the launch of the original iPhone. A patent first filed in 2007 was finally granted today, and includes the use of a fingerprint sensor in laptops – though the drawing Apple used to illustrate the concept seemingly dates back even further than 2007!
A finger sensing apparatus may include a finger sensor including an integrated circuit (IC) substrate, an array of finger sensing elements on the IC substrate, and match circuitry on the IC substrate for performing final finger matching. […] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an electronic device in the form of a laptop computer including a finger sensor and enhanced security in accordance with the present invention.
The patent also covers use in desktop computers, aka the iMac today, embedding the sensor into the keyboard …
Eventually, pocket-sized cameras will compare in low-light performance to today’s large and expensive DSLRs. Although pro photographers will have moved on by then to even more powerful large cameras, the vast majority of people will see no need to carry big, heavy lenses and camera bodies around. The iPhone’s ascendance demonstrates that “eventually” is at least foreseeable, even though it’s not happening in the near term.
Serious photographers won’t be giving up their DSLRs any time soon, and in fact will be toting plenty of camera hardware — many times, along with a laptop — to any event or destination important enough to photograph properly. Over the years, I’ve learned that the “ideal bag” for my personal needs is one that can hold my camera, several lenses, and whichever MacBook I’m using. Having hunted for the ultimate carrying solution for both computer and photo gear, the best solutions I’ve found are made by Incase.
The bag I’ve used actively for the last three years is Incase’s DSLR Sling Pack ($90, above left), and incredibly, it looks virtually identical today to when I first started using it. The DSLR Sling Pack is perfect for 11″ MacBook Airs and 12″ MacBooks, plus a big camera body with three lenses. But since my 13″ MacBook Pro barely fits inside its zippered compartment, I’ve been struggling with whether to replace the bag. That’s why I’m checking out two larger models today: the DSLR Pro Sling Pack ($170, middle), and traditional DSLR Pro Pack ($150, right). They’re large enough for up to 15″ MacBook Pros and have more room for DSLR gear, as well. Which is right for you?…
The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display may have the highest resolution screen in the world today, but it seems Apple will have to up its game next year if it wants to retain that title: 8K displays are expected to arrive sometime in 2016.
The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has announced Embedded DisplayPort standard version 1.4a, which uses a new compression standard to support higher resolution panels, together with greater color depth and faster refresh rates. The new standard allows manufacturers to pipe around four times as much data to displays to support panels with resolutions of up to 8K.
The standard will also benefit machines with lower-resolution screens by enabling displays to be thinner, and extending battery-life in laptops by reducing the power required to transfer data to them.
A South African pilot appears to have taken the name of his MacBook Air a little too literally, managing to drop it from the light aircraft he was flying when the canopy flew open. The MacBook, along with his flying license and logbook, fell 1000 feet into the fields below–but amazingly survived the experience.
Admittedly it didn’t emerge entirely unscathed. Pilot and Reddit user Av80r reports that the unibody casing was bent, the glass trackpad shattered and the cooling fans were damaged, but the screen remained intact and the MacBook continues to work …
Just like its phones, tablets and set top boxes, ‘leaked’ Xiaomi laptop looks exactly like an Apple MacBook Air (Updated)
Xiaomi has definitely been growing fast in emerging markets, but until now the company has focused mostly on stealing as much of Samsung’s Chinese smartphone market share as it can. According to Gartner’s most recent numbers, the company rose in Q3 to take a spot in the world’s top 5 smartphone manufacturers. But the company has other products beyond just smartphones, and now it has apparently begun working on a new Mi-branded laptop—and, to no one’s surprise, it looks just like a MacBook Air.
Indiana Jones meets bike messenger meets business briefcase is how I’d describe Intrepid’s $369 Journeyman messenger bag. My carrying case of choice over the past 3 months has been this hybrid satchel/briefcase that you carry like a messenger bag comfortably on your back with a big strap holding it up firmly but comfortably across your chest…
Los Angeles school district revisits failed plan to give students iPads, this time without the iPads
The school district that attempted to rollout iPads to its students last year—only to scrap the entire plan when the students proved too smart for the technical limits placed on the devices—will once again try to place technology in the lives of its students. This time, however, the iPad won’t be an option.
Officials said that many of the students weren’t comfortable on the Apple tablet, citing the screen size difficulty the students had doing all of their typing on the touch screen as one of the factors. This year’s lineup of tech tools includes a number of Windows-based laptops from various manufacturers, and the Microsoft Surface tablet, which sports a detachable keyboard.
The program will cost the district no more than $40 million and will operate in 27 different high schools. The contract has not yet been finalized but is expected to be very soon. Once it is, students and educators will test five different laptops (and the Surface tablet) to determine which ones should be used in the future.
Worldwide, iPad shipments in Q1 fell 16% year on year to 16.4 million and accounted for 80% of Apple’s total PC shipments. Despite this, Apple continued to lead the global PC market. Its share fell both sequentially and year on year from 20% to 17%, due chiefly to the increasingly competitive tablet market.
With many consumers buying tablets in place of laptops, the approach taken by Canalys in combining the two arguably makes more sense than separating them out as other companies do. Tablets now outsell laptops, with desktops the poor relation.
Consumers, and increasingly businesses, are continuing to adapt, with tablets acting as disruptors and finding their place as desktop and notebook replacements. Apple’s ecosystem and the recent launch of Office for iPad should ensure it is well placed to remain a leader for some time.
Worldwide, tablets now account for 41 percent of combined sales, laptops 38 percent and desktops 21 percent.
Update: Here are the specs…
Apple is preparing to launch a refreshed line of MacBook Air laptops as soon as tomorrow, according to multiple sources. These sources say that shipments of new MacBook Airs have begun arriving in large quantities to Apple Stores across the country. Another source adds that Apple Stores are scheduled to re-arrange the placement of Macs in stores to focus on the MacBook Air tomorrow morning…
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Wednesday that there have been 13 reports that the battery caught fire. One consumer suffered a serious burn on the leg.
Best Buy Co. is voluntarily recalling both black and white ATG lithium-ion replacement batteries for the notebook computers. The batteries were sold online or shipped to customers through its Geek Squad services from September of 2008 through June of 2012 for about $50.
Best Buy said it is contacting customers to ask them to return the batteries for replacement or for a Best Buy gift card. Company spokesman Jeff Shelman noted that Best Buy is only one of many retailers that may have sold the batteries.
The model number “MC-MBOOK13B” is on the label of the black battery and “MC-BOOK13W” is on the label of the white battery. The ATG logo is on both.
Best Buy’s official statement switches the “U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission” with “reports from consumers”:
After receiving reports from customers of these lithium ion batteries overheating when charging, we believe the right thing to do is to contact our customers and ask them to return the product for replacement or for a Best Buy gift card. While we are only one of many companies that may have sold these batteries, we feel they are a potential fire and burn hazard and want to keep our customers safe.
This recall involves both black and white ATG lithium-ion replacement batteries for MacBook Pro notebook computers. Model number “MC-MBOOK13B” is on the label of the black battery and model number “MC-BOOK13W” is on the label of the white battery. The ATG logo is on both batteries.
The firm has received 13 reports that the battery caught fire, including one report of a serious burn to a consumer’s leg.
Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled battery, remove it from the computer and contact Best Buy for a replacement Apple brand battery or a $50 Best Buy gift card as a full refund. Best Buy is contacting its customers directly.
BTI Corp., of Las Vegas
We’ve reviewed and enjoyed a number of TwelveSouth products over the years. We were intrigued by the hollowed out book idea with the company’s original BookBook case for the MacBook Air and since it has brought out similar hand distressed leather BookBook cases for other Apple devices, like the iPhone and iPad mini. While maybe not the ideal option for Apple’s anti-skeuomorphic cheerleaders, I found the stark contrast to Apple’s sometimes cold industrial design a nice juxtaposition.
I tend to not use any skins, covers or cases when using my MacBook on a day to day basis. I slide my MacBook into a laptop pouch built-into my backpack or use a standard laptop case when on the go, and rarely do I actually leave the MacBook in the case when in use. A case was necessary for protection when traveling, but for me the average soft or hard plastic laptop case never quite does the pricey, Jony Ive designed Apple hardware inside justice. BookBook is different…
Google’s new Chromebook Pixel Thinks Different about vertical touch surfaces, puts touch on the display
The rumors were true: Google just announced the Chromebook Pixel. It’s a 12.85-inch touchscreen Chromebook with a 2,560-by-1,700 display that packs in “the highest pixel density (239 pixels per inch) of any laptop screen on the market today.”
Let’s start with the screen. This Chromebook has the highest pixel density (239 pixels per inch) of any laptop screen on the market today. Packed with 4.3 million pixels, the display offers sharp text, vivid colors and extra-wide viewing angles. With a screen this rich and engaging, you want to reach out and touch it—so we added touch for a more immersive experience. Touch makes it simple and intuitive to do things like organize tabs, swipe through apps and edit photos with the tip of your finger.
As for the chances of Apple ever making a touchscreen notebook, Steve Jobs made it very clear at the 2010 MacBook Air refresh event that Apple did “tons of user testing” and concluded “it doesn’t work. It’s ergonomically terrible.”
We’ve done tons of user testing on this and it turns out it doesn’t work. Touch surfaces don’t want to be vertical. It gives great demo. But after a short period of time you start to fatigue, and after an extended period of time your arm wants to fall off. It doesn’t work. It’s ergonomically terrible. Touch surfaces want to be horizontal. Hence, pads.
The new 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is either out of stock, coming soon, on pre-order, or experiencing delayed shipping on almost every retail website, but it appears one seller is offering the latest Cupertino notebook on eBay—for roughly $1,700 more than Apple’s asking price.
The above eBay deal comes with same day, free shipping and includes insurance (if this is even considered a deal). Another eBay listing offers the base model MacBook Pro for $3,199 USD, but another $95.80 USD is required for USPS priority shipping from Canada.
It is probably safe to say these puppies are in high demand, as evident by the exorbitant price markups.
Good ‘ole Walt Mossberg from The Wall Street Journal warned readers today about not buying a new laptop this spring:
Apple is overdue for redesigned laptops, especially in its MacBook Pro line, and it is a good bet that new, possibly heavily redesigned, models will begin appearing later this year. Current Macs will likely be upgradable to Mountain Lion, but if you buy now, you’ll miss out on the likely new hardware.
Check out what else he predicted in the video above, or go read his full-length WSJ post.
From the Toys section:
The Apple Store offers price drops on select factory-refurbished unibody MacBook Pro notebooks in its Special Deals section, with prices starting at $899. It’s among the best selections we’ve seen from Apple in several weeks, and combined with free shipping, most systems at lowest-we’ve-seen prices. Sales tax is added where applicable. All come with a 1-year Apple warranty, the same as new Macs. Items are removed from Apple’s site when they sell out. Notable laptops:
- Refurbished MacBook Pro MC374LL/A Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz 13.3″ for $899
- refurbished MacBook Pro MC700LL/A Core i5 Dual 2.3GHz 13.3″ for $1,019
- refurbished MacBook Pro MC375LL/A Core 2 Duo 2.66GHz 13.3″ for $1,019
- refurbished MacBook Pro MC372LL/A Core i5 2.53GHz 15.4″ for $1,439
- see all refurbished MacBook Pro laptops at The Apple Store
A prototype of Apple’s first portable Macintosh has just been posted for sale on eBay. The device is said to have not been intended for sale and is clearly marked as a prototype unit with a label stating “this device is a demonstration unit only. Production units will comply with all applicable Federal Rules and Regulations.” The device itself is in “perfect condition” but does not power on. By perfect the seller means the outside as the inside contains a defunct acid battery.
The Macintosh Portable is the basis for the laptop computers we use today. It ran on a rechargeable battery , included a screen which flipped shut and had an input device. In the case of the Macintosh Portable is was a trackball. More photos of the protoype device are at eBay.