Apple News, Part Two: Mac Pro and Macbook Retina!

We’ve already discussed Apple’s new iPad models that were unveiled on Tuesday, so let’s jump into their new offerings for desktop and laptop users!

So…the new Mac Pro = WHOA. It’s pretty incredible, and is consistent with Apple’s trademark “smaller, faster, stronger, BETTER” approach with new devices. It’s sleek new design consists of a shiny black cylinder that takes up only 12% of the space that the previous generation’s boxy tower did, and has such a slick and modern look that it’s hardly recognizable when you compare it to what you’re used to seeing. Check it out:

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Gizmodo has dubbed the new Mac Pro “the ultimate work station,” and who’s not looking for THAT?! They also call it “a beast of a machine,” but don’t worry– the new Mac Pro won’t eat your face, it just has the power and speed to make it a computing beast. With between four and twelve cores and up to 12GB of DRAM, it’s 256GB “solid state” drive is what actually makes it TEN TIMES faster than a typical hard drive. (If you’re confused about solid state drives– they use non-volatile NAND flash memory, which just means there are no moving parts. Because there’s no actuator arm and read/write head that’s trying to seek out data on a hard disk drive, the solid state drive is lightning quick in reading and writing data.)

The new Mac Pro has Fire Pro graphics supporting 4K of video output, and comes standard with the new Mac OS X 10.9. It has four USB ports, six thunderbolt ports, and two ethernet ports of 1GB each. You’ll see it soon, as it will be shipping sometime in December.

For laptop users Apple has unveiled what they say is the best Macbook they’ve ever had. Weighing in at 3.46lbs it’s lighter and slimmer than the previous models, and it brings battery life up from seven hours to nine– an impressive jump for a machine that Apple says has a 90% faster performance than it’s predecessors.

The 13in MacBook Pro Retina features a dual-core 2.4ghz i5 “Haswell” chip, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid state drive, and stunning Iris graphics. The 15in model features a top of the line i7 “Cystalwell” chip, 8GB of RAM and a whopping 512GB solid state drive, which means that for around the same cost as the previous 15in MacBook Pro you’re DOUBLING your storage. This model also has integrated Iris Pro graphics, but can be combined with Nvidia Geforce 750M graphics augmented by 2G of video memory for ultimate performance.

Check in with Simply Macintosh soon to see these fabulous new products and decide which one is best for you!

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Apple News: Two New iPads Coming In November!

Yesterday’s news from Apple definitely delivered a lot of what had been predicted, but also dropped some nice unexpected extras. The biggest surprises are a totally amped up iPad mini, as well the surprising news that the OS X Mavericks update will be available at no cost; according to Mashable, Apple’s free release of OS X Mavericks signifies a huge shift in Apple’s business model with a renewed focus on ground-breaking hardware. (More on the Mavericks update here later, as well as the new Mac Pro and MacBook Pro!)

If slick mobile device updates are what you were looking for with yesterday’s announcements you should absolutely take note of the two new iPad releases expected in November. (No pre-orders have been announced at this time, BUT you can take advantage of Simply Macintosh‘s waiting list so you’ll be on your way to getting your hands on them when they’re received in-store).

The new iPad Air stands up to all the buzz that had been generated, and then some. All models will be losing some significant weight– the Wi-Fi iPad Air will be losing almost a third of the weight of the iPad 4, ending up at exactly 16oz, and the Wi-Fi/cellular models will be only a half ounce heavier than that. According to Apple these are officially the lightest full-sized tablets in the world; that’s no small feat, and people who log serious time on their iPads at home or on the go will certainly notice the difference. iPad Air is also 20% slimmer than previous models, with a new flat-backed design similar to the iPad Mini, and is losing an inch of width while still maintaining a 9.7 in screen. Apple has cut down the bezeled edges you’re used to seeing here, also mimicking the design of the Mini, and the result is a great new streamlined look. As far as it’s insides, iPad Air will feature a speedy dual-core Apple A7 processing chip as well as the new M7 motion coprocessor that was debuted with the iPhone 5S in September; the good news is you won’t be losing any battery power here and can still expect 10 hours of battery life connected to Wi-Fi. Although some of the rumored camera updates haven’t made their arrival here, you will find the addition of a 3X zoom while recording video.

As far as the iPad Mini, it’s gotten a major overhaul– it’s been given a stunning retina display that is DOUBLE the resolution of the previous model. It also packs a faster processing chip which will deliver speeds up to 4X faster than what the Mini is used to, and Wi-Fi speeds twice as fast, all without sacrificing any battery life; as with the iPad Air you’ll still get up to ten hours of time while connected to Wi-Fi, or while watching movies and listening to music. For all of the iPad Mini Retina’s fabulous new upgrades you’d be hard-pressed to see the difference in it’s appearance until you took a look at the new high-res screen; it’s keeping it’s feather-light 0.7 lb weight and maintaining it’s same dimensions. Honestly, the Mini didn’t need any cosmetic updates, so this is no big surprise. The improvements in screen resolution and processing speed are so vast that it will still feel like a brand new device.

Also of note is that Apple has finally redesigned their smart covers to now include the option of a smart case offering full edge and corner protection for both the iPad Air and the Mini Retina, which is an absolute must when taking your iPad on the road.

With the additions of the new iPad Air and revamped iPad Mini with retina display to the iPad family there are now a multitude options for the meticulous shopper looking for the perfect device. Stop into Simply Macintosh to meet with a knowledgeable salesperson and figure out what would work best for you, your family, and your lifestyle– and if either of the new iPads are what you’re hankering for, they’ll be happy to get you set up on their waiting list.

All Aboard The Gossip Train!

Nobody– and I mean nobody– likes to speculate more on big announcements and new products than the world of Apple fans does. It’s a fun game, as Apple typically lives up to the hype that builds before these big events, and they really deliver with their well-timed announcements. Speculation addicts are in luck, as there’s some big stuff coming this week: Apple has announced an event on Tuesday October 22 in San Diego at 10am Pacific Time (which for those of you as easily confused by time zones as I am will be 1pm EST), and it’s expected that there will be some fantastic things unveiled. If the tagline on the media invitations means anything– “We still have a lot to cover”– we’re in for some great new products and upgrades. The murmurs are mostly about iPad upgrades, but are there’s also whispers about the new Mac OS X Mavericks update and a possibly redesigned Mac Pro. Let’s talk gossip!

If we take a look at what we’re hearing about a new iPad we’re talking thinner, lighter, smaller, but most importantly- FASTER. Design wise we can likely expect a larger version of the iPad mini; a smaller frame/bezel which will significantly cut down on device size while maintaining a 9.7 inch screen. We should see some faster “guts” and improved RAM, and for those of use who have been kvetching about iPad 4’s negligible photo quality MacRumours says “{iPad 5} is also reported to include an 8-megapixel rear camera with a larger aperture, providing better picture taking capabilities in low-light conditions.” Three cheers for saying goodbye to grainy, low def photos! Some of the more fringe rumors have suggested that iPad 5 may have a touch ID fingerprint sensor, but this conjecture remains unsupported as of now.

As far as a new iPad mini, most of the chitchat out there points to very little change in design but likely the addition of a retina display screen and, as with it’s larger iPad cousin, an improved rear camera and larger aperture, which will again make for vastly improved photos in low-light conditions. I’ll say it again– cheers to no more grainy low-def photos!

As far the OS 10.9 Mavericks update I’ll go into much more detail soon but for now suffice it to say you can likely expect OS X 10.9 Mavericks to introduce tons of new features, many aimed at extending battery life and enhancing speed, but many to also offer a new streamlined visual appearance. According to MacRumors, “Apple has promised 200 changes in Mavericks, including both minor cosmetic updates and major performance enhancements.” That’s not nickels and dimes; that is some MAJOR change. You can expect new iCould Keychain password functions, better Safari performance, and some integrated apps that have been long awaited by Mac users: you’ll *finally* be able to access and use iBooks from your Mac device, and the new update will also include a maps app. Look for a post later this week that will go into a lot more detail about the exciting changes you’ll see!

Desktop users who have been (im)patiently waiting for updates to the MacPro will finally find what they’re looking for with Tuesday’s unveiling, which was preceded by a MacPro sneak peek in June. MacRumors states “The new Mac Pro will take advantage of Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge E Xeon E5 processors, maxing out at 12 cores. Unlike the current Mac Pro, however, the redesigned machine will only have a single CPU with no room for a dual-CPU configuration. That Xeon CPU will be supported by ‘blazing fast’ memory, a four-channel DDR3 memory controller running at 1866 MHz. The setup will offer memory bandwidth of up to 60 GB/s, twice that of the current Mac Pro.” Blazing fast?! Never a bad thing! Additionally, “Apple’s new Mac Pro will use all-flash storage, an expensive proposition but one which offers significant benefits in the way of speed. With PCI Express flash storage, the Mac Pro will be able to support data transfer speeds of up to 1250 MB/s up to 2.5x faster than SATA flash drives such as those found in a number of Apple’s other Mac products. The Mac Pro’s flash storage will also be as much as ten times faster than 7200-rpm SATA spinning hard drives commonly used in the current Mac Pro.” The prospect of flash storage that’s ten times faster than the current MacPro is nothing to scoff at. As far as wireless connectivity MacRumors also states “The Mac Pro naturally includes support for the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, which is supported by Apple’s new AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule base stations, as well as the company’s new MacBook Air introduced in June and iMac launched in late September. The new Mac Pro will also include support for Bluetooth 4.0 connections, allowing for wireless communication with a variety of devices,” which users awaiting Bluetooth capabilities will likely be thrilled to see.

For laptop users the new Retina MacBook Pro (which is expected in early October) will see vastly improved battery life, as well as huge leaps in integrated graphics thanks to Intel’s “Iris” processor. Also in the works is larger flash storage and faster wi-fi, as well as a hugely improved 2.0 megapixel Facetime camera.

Updates to the Mac mini, while long awaited, haven’t generated much buzz in the Apple rumor mills. We’ll have to wait until Tuesday to see if and what is being offered in that arena.

MacRumors makes mention of a “wild card” announcement that could possibly be related to a major overhaul to the current Apple TV hardware, although there’s been no concrete evidence or leaks to back that up.

All in all, Tuesday looks to be a huge day for Apple users of all kinds; whether you’re a mobile device lover looking for a brand new iPad, a desktop user who’s been waiting for what feels like FOREVER for a MacPro update, or a software junkie holding their breathe for the Mavericks update, it seems that there will be something for everyone.

Stay tuned to Simply Macintosh for info on Tuesday as soon as it’s available!

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