Tag Archives: computers

Apple makes Mac Pro available to order, ships in February

“The future of the pro desktop” is finally here. This week Apple made it possible for (wealthy) consumers to order the new and marginally improved Mac Pro through Apple.com. First announced at WWDC ’13, the Mac Pro comes configured in two ways: the base model, starting at $2,999, comes packed with a 3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 12GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory, Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM each, and 256GB PCIe-based flash storage. The speedier $3,999 model sports a 3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor, 16GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory, Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM each, and 256GB PCIe-based flash storage. From there these models can be further upgraded before checking out. Apple says units will starting shipping in February. If you’re a heavy gamer or a professional creative in the TV and movie industries, this cylindrical powerhouse is just what the doctor prescribed.

Microsoft pairs Windows 8 with new line of Surface tablets

With Microsoft’s next iteration of Windows on the horizon, the company has decided to go head-t0-head with its longtime industry competitor Apple by introducing its very own tablet. Though Microsoft is best known for its software, it has developed hardware over the years including innovative mice and keyboards. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made this case: “Much like Windows 1.0 needed the mouse to complete the experience, we wanted to give Windows 8 its own companion hardware innovation.” Meet Surface. And no, the company is not referring to its bulky, pricey multitouch Surface table; this is a brand new line of tablets running Windows 8.

Currently the new Surface family consists of two devices and two covers. Surface for Windows RT is powered by an NVIDIA-based ARM chip. It is 9.3mm thick and weighs 676 grams. It packs a 10.6-inch ClearType capacitive multitouch display, front and rear-facing cameras, a 31.5Wh battery,USB 2.0, microSD, and Micro HD Video ports, and 2×2 MIMO antennae for “the best WiFi performance possible” no matter how you hold it.

Surface for Windows Pro is powered by an Intel Core i5 Ivy Bridge processor. It is slightly thicker and heavier than the RT model measuring at 13.5mm thick and weighing 903 grams. It too packs a 10.6-inch optically-bonded ClearType capacitive multitouch widescreen 16:9 display, but this one outputs full 1080p HD. Front and rear-facing cameras are present, as is a larger 42Wh battery, speedier USB 3.0, microSDXC, Mini DisplayPort, and 2×2 MIMO antennae. Surface for Windows Pro supports digital inking and comes with a magnetic stylus that sticks to the side of the device when it’s not in use. Built into the display are sensors that detect when you’re using the pen versus your finger on the touch display. The display won’t trip out when you’re drawing with the stylus while your palm rests elsewhere on the screen; Microsoft calls it Palm Blocking.

What the two models share is an extremely durable design Microsoft calls VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag). Surface is the first PC with a full magnesium case. Described as “incredibly strong yet airy,” Surface boasts a permanent search and ware-resistant design and the display has a protective layer of Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2.0. Edges are beveled away at 22 degrees “so the PC itself fades into the background.” The design makes room for a built-in kickstand that morphs the tablet into a functional laptop. And every laptop needs a keyboard and trackpad… READ MORE Microsoft pairs Windows 8 with new line of Surface tablets

WWDC 2012: Apple refreshes MacBook lineup, intros iOS 6, talks Mountain Lion

At this year’s World Wide Developer’s Conference, Apple spent equal time talking about hardware and software updates. The annual event heated up when the MacBook lineup received a healthy dose of upgraded processors and graphics, among other spec bumps. Also, a brand new “next-generation” MacBook Pro was unveiled. Later, the mobile iOS that powers iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches was significantly enhanced with the introduction of iOS 6. For all the details, read on.


The MacBook Air was refreshed with the following spec bumps. The thin-and-light laptop now packs the 3rd-gen Intel Core processors, also known as Ivy Bridge; these dual-core i7s can reach speeds up to 2.0GHz (or up to 3.2GHz with Turbo Boost). Memory reaches 8GB 1600MHz, and graphics can perform up to sixty percent faster. Flash storage has been beefed up to 512 GB and is 2x speedier featuring a 500MBps read speed. The Air also includes a USB 3 port and a FaceTime HD camera (720p). There are two 11-inch and two 13-inch configurations, both shipping today and both starting at $100 cheaper than the previous generation. The 11-inch MacBook Air with 64GB starts at $999 and the 13-inch Air with128GB starts at $1,199.

The MacBook Pro was also refreshed and here are the note-worthy spec bumps. Just like the new Airs, the updated Pros now include the 3rd-gen “Ivy Bridge” Intel Core processors; these dual-core i7 processors reach speeds up to 2.7GHz (or up to 3.7GHz with Turbo Boost). Memory reachers 8GB 1600MHz. Graphics are upgraded to NVIDIA’s GeForce GT 650M (based on the graphics chip maker’s new Kepler architecture), with up to 1GB video memory that is up to sixty percent faster than before. USB 3 is on board. There are two 13-inch and two 15-inch MacBook Pro configurations, both shipping today and they start at the same price ranges as the previous generation Pros. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.5GHz processor speed starts at $1,199 and the 15-inch Pro with a 2.3GHz speed starts at $1,799.

And now we move onto what Apple is branding the “next generation” MacBook Pro. The company says it’s “the best computer we’ve ever made.” In short, what makes this new breed of Pro so special is that it’s made thinner and lighter and it packs a gorgeous Retina Display. You want hard specs, so here they are. This new Pro measures at 0.71 inches thin (a quarter thinner than the standard Pro) and it weighs 4.4 pounds. The 15.4-inch screen is a Retina Display with an impressive resolution of 2880×1800, packing 4x the number of pixels than the previous-gen Pro. With 220 pixels per inch, Apple crowns this “the world’s highest-resolution notebook display.” Lion has been updated to take advantage of the higher resolution; Mac apps like Mail, Safari, iMovie and iPhoto will be compatible, along with others like Aperture, Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk Autocad, and the game Diablo 3. Just like they had to do when the Retina Display came to the iPhone, software developers will have to update their apps to make them Retina-ready. Jumping inside, the Pro runs on Intel’s fastest quad-core processors, that is Core i7s up to 2.7GHz (or up to 3.7GHz with Turbo Boost); memory goes up to 16GB 1600MHz; next-gen NVIDIA Kepler graphics GeForce GT 650M; up to 768GB fast flash storage; up to 7 hours of battery life with 30 days of standby time. Across the left-side of the powerful, noticeably thinner lappy you’ll find an SD card slot, HDMI, and USB 3 ports; along the right side there’s a MagSafe 2 port (the new port has been made thinner to fit the design), two Thunderbolt ports, USB 3, and a headphone jack. That’s right, this Pro has ditched an optical drive, FireWire, and Gigabit Ethernet. Apple sells adapters if you require these. Additionally, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display features a glass multitouch trackpad, backlit keyboard, 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, FaceTime HD camera, dual microphones, stereo speakers, and a new internal fan system that outputs nearly imperceptible sound. Two configurations of the next-gen Pro ship today starting at $2,199. READ MORE WWDC 2012: Apple refreshes MacBook lineup, intros iOS 6, talks Mountain Lion

Apple refreshes MacBook Air, Mac mini & 27-inch display

A couple months after updating the MacBook Pros, Apple has gone ahead and reinvigorated their MacBook Air and Mac mini products. The thin-and-light ultraportable notebook now boasts faster Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, the high-speed Thunderbolt I/O port, and a backlit keyboard. The 11-inch model is available in two customizable SKUs. The base $999 model packs a 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 2GB of memory, 64GB of flash storage, and Intel HD Graphics 3000. The $1,199 model upgrades the memory to 4GB and the flash storage to 128GB. Moving along to the 13-inch model, two additional SKUs are offered. The $1,299 model features a 1.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB memory,128GB flash storage, and Intel HD Graphics 3000. The $1,599 model upgrades the flash storage to 256GB. Certain models can be customized to feature Intel Core i7 processors (up to 1.8GHz) and upgraded flash memory (up to 256GB). The new incredibly thin MacBook Air measures 0.11-inches at its thinnest point and 0.68-inches at its thickest. Apple claims it is is up to twice as fast as the previous generation thanks to the upgraded Intel processors. The 11-inch model (at 2.38 pounds) provides up to 5 hours of battery life, while the 13-inch model  (2.96 pounds) offers up to 7 hours of battery life. It comes with a full size backlit keyboard and an improved glass Multi-Touch trackpad. Ports include MagSafe for power, 2 USB 2.0, headphone jack, Thunderbolt, and an SD Card slot (on the 11-inch model only). WiFi 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 are included; the USB Ethernet Adapter ($29) can be purchased separately. Note that the $999 MacBook Air is the base laptop Apple offers today; the white plastic MacBook has been discontinued.

Like the newly enhanced MacBook Air, the Mac mini is speedier and packs Intel Core i5 and  i7 processors and the Thunderbolt port. Additionally, graphics can be upgraded to AMD Radeon HD. Three SKUs are offered. The base $599 model comes with 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 2GB memory, 500GB hard drive, and Intel HD Graphics 3000. The $799 model upgrades the processor to 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5, the memory to 4GB, and the graphics to AMD Radeon HD 6630M. These two SKUs can be customized to feature upgraded memory (up to 8GB) and hard drive space (up to 750GB); the pricier SKU can be configured with a 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i7. The third and final SKU is the Mac mini with Lion Server and its specs include: 2.0GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 4GB memory, Dual 500GB 7200-rpm hard drives, and Intel HD Graphics 3000 for $999; memory and hard drive capacities can be upgraded. Ports include Gigabit Ethernet, Firewire 800, HDMI, Thunderbolt, 4 USB 2.0, SDXC card slot, and audio in/out. WiFi 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0 included. Notice that I haven’t mentioned anything about the Superdrive; that’s because Apple’s decided not to include a CD/DVD drive in the new Mac mini. A bold move if you ask me. BYO keyboard, mouse, and display.

Speaking of displays, in addition to updating their computers Apple has also given their Cinema Display a minor refresh. The newly branded 27-inch Thunderbolt Display features the 16:9 edge-to-edge glass design, a 2560 x 1440 resolution with IPS technology (that is, an ultra wide 178 degree viewing angle), and it’s the world’s first display to include the Thunderbolt I/O port. The display also includes includes a built-in FaceTime HD video camera for video conferencing, a 2.1 speaker system for high quality audio, an integrated MagSafe charger to keep Mac notebooks charged, three USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, and one Gigabit Ethernet port. The cost is $999.

All three products–the MacBook Air, Mac mini, and Thunderbolt Display–are all available today. The new computers come preinstalled with Apple’s latest and greatest operating system Mac OS X Lion. Get a closer look at everything in the galleries below. Official PR sits after the break.

[Via Apple] READ MORE Apple refreshes MacBook Air, Mac mini & 27-inch display

Mac OS X Lion releases tomorrow [Update: out now]

Today Apple announced that their latest and greatest desktop OS will become available tomorrow, July 20. Mac OS X Lion (v10.7) will strictly be available for purchase in the Mac App Store; to reiterate, you will not be able to pick up a physical install disc in stores. The 4GB download costs $29.99. What a steal!

Read all about the new features baked into Lion HERE & HERE.

Update: Lion is out now. Offical PR is after the break. Some bits you should know: Lion requires an Intel-based Mac with a Core 2 Duo, i3, i5, i7 or Xeon processor and 2GB of RAM; Users who do not have broadband access can download Lion at Apple retail stores; and later this August, Lion will be made available on a USB thumb drive through the online Apple Store for $69. Also, Mac OS X Lion Server is now available for $69 through the Mac App Store. READ MORE Mac OS X Lion releases tomorrow [Update: out now]

Apple refreshes iMac with Intel quad-core processors, next-gen AMD graphics, and Thunderbolt

This week Apple temporarily shut down their online shop and when it came back it was freshly stocked with the brand new iMac. Just like the last product refresh, things look the same on the outside. On the inside, however, Apple has raised the bar for the all-in-one package. The new iMac features “Sandy Bridge” Intel quad-core processors across the line, next-gen AMD graphics, and it joins the MacBook Pro in sporting the speedy Thunderbolt port. Pricing starts at $1,199 for the base 21.5-incher and $1,699 for the 27-inch model.

Hop on after the break for the full rundown.

READ MORE Apple refreshes iMac with Intel quad-core processors, next-gen AMD graphics, and Thunderbolt

Apple rewards MacBook Pro line a deserved refresh

It has been close to a year since Apple rejuvenated its MacBook Pro line of laptops with fresh processors and graphics chips. This go around the engineering team decided not to change the lappy’s aesthetics but instead upgrade only the internals. Neatly hidden inside the aluminum unibody MBPs are Intel’s latest Core i5 and Core i7 “Sandy Bridge” dual/quad-core processors, Intel HD Graphics 3000, and AMD’s beefier Radeon HD graphics, depending on the screen size (13, 15, and 17 inches). Take note that Apple has ditched NVIDIA’s mobile graphics cards for AMD’s latest and greatest.

Another new addition to the MacBook Pro lineup is a port called Thunderbolt I/O. Apple teamed up with Intel to invent a rehashed version of the DisplayPort with dual copper wire-based Light Peak technology; it doubles as a video out port and a way to transfer data with speeds up to 10 gigabits per second. For comparison’s sake, Thunderbolt can move data to and from peripherals up to 20 times faster than with USB 2.0 (480 Mbps) and more than 12 times faster than with FireWire 800. It also happens to best Intel’s next-gen USB 3.0 which promises to reach speeds of up to 5 Gbps. With existing adapters Thunderbolt can support all kinds of throughput including DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, and VGA; Mini DisplayPort support is native. Thunderbolt can daisy-chain up to six peripherals; and speaking of which LaCie and Promise are currently developing Thunderbolt-ready RAID arrays and high capacity external hard drives. Though the MBPs are the first products to include the Thunderbolt port, Intel expects other manufacturers to build it into their computers by early 2012. It’ll be interesting to see if Apple can pioneer the adoption of yet another new display/transfer port. They did it with FireWire way back when, so we’ll see. With Intel on board, they’ve got a fighting chance.

New processors, graphics, Thunderbolt I/O, higher capacity hard drives, and an improved FaceTime 720p HD camera find their way into the refreshed MacBook Pros. Hop after the break to find a full rundown of the new 13, 15, and 17-inchers, including specifications and price. They are all available to customize and purchase today.

[Via Apple]

READ MORE Apple rewards MacBook Pro line a deserved refresh

In Q4 2010, smartphones outsold PCs for the very first time

Now isn’t this curious news? According to the IDC, a market research and analysis firm, smartphone manufacturers pushed out 100.9 million units during the final quarter of 2010. Compare to this number of PCs sold during that same quarter: 92.1 million. For the first time ever, smartphones outsold traditional computers. Think about that for a second. Pretty crazy, huh? Alarming, no. With innovators like Apple, RIM, and HTC churning out mobile devices left and right, we all knew this day (erm, quarter) would come when the inevitable would strike. And don’t forget–phones are steadily evolving into pocketable computers now aren’t they?

The IDC provides us with more fun facts, if you’re interested. Smartphones shipped during Q4 2010 were up 87.2 percent from the 53.9 million smartphones shipped during the Q4 2009. They say Google’s mobile OS Android “continues to gain by leaps and bounds” and they call Nokia’s Symbian the market leader, interestingly enough. They calculate the top 5 (Q4 2010) smartphone vendors to be Nokia, Apple, RIM, Samsung, and HTC. On the PC front, they name HP, Dell, Toshiba, Acer, and Apple to be the top 5 (Q4 2010) PC vendors. Computer shipments rose by a meager 2.7 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. They say Apple’s iPad managed to stifle demand and competition and thusly constrain PC shipments.

[Via IDC, here & here; Engadget]

Samsung Sliding PC 7 Series hides a full keyboard under a tablet

CES 2011 was host to a myriad of upcoming tablets running Android, Windows 7, custom skins, you name it.  Samsung’s Sliding PC 7 Series is certainly one of the most innovative and is a stand-out winner in my humble opinion. At first you might look at the slate and think it’s just a thicker iPad.  But that thickness is apparent for a reason; hiding underneath the tablet is a slide-out chiclet keyboard with a trackpad.  This hybrid machine doubles as a 10.1 inch tablet and a small notebook PC.  I’m really impressed with the design factor here, but specs are important too: 1366×768 multitouch display, Intel’s 1.66GHz (Oak Trail) processor, 2GB of RAM, 32GB or 64GB of storage, 4-in-1 memory card reader, webcam, 802.11n WiFi, 3G/WiMax & DLNA support, built-in accelerometer, USB, HDMI out, will last up to nine hours on a single charge.  Samsung’s Fast Start feature will boot up the machine in as little as 15 seconds, or restore it from Hibernate and Sleep modes in 3 seconds.  The hybrid will ship with Windows 7 Home Premium and Samsung’s custom skin called Touch Launch that “comes with preloaded applications that are optimized for the touch screen display.”  To launch Sammy’s skin you simply and elegantly swipe a blue strip located on the screen bezel.  The Sliding PC 7 Series will drop in March at $699.

I’m really digging the choice hardware manufacturers are giving consumers when it comes to tablet design.  Companies like Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung are creating such inventive, sleek hardware designs that give users the option to use a simplified OS in a tablet form factor and a more robust Windows experience with a touchpad/keyboard present.  I like the idea of having a tablet that can easily be converted into a more full-fledged computing device when a full-sized keyboard is needed.  At just 2.2 pounds, Samsung’s slider isn’t that hefty and I think I can sacrifice a couple pounds in weight and some inches in thickness to know that a reliable physical keyboard is just a hand gesture away from accessibility.

Jump after the break to see the notebook do its transformation thing.  Official PR’s there too.

[Via Engadget] READ MORE Samsung Sliding PC 7 Series hides a full keyboard under a tablet

Lenovo injects life back into the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid

Remember way back when (about one year ago)… Lenovo revealed a funky and intriguing laptop/tablet hybrid design called the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid.  Much like the Dell Inspiron Duo, it promised to double as a tablet running Lenovo’s custom Linux OS called Skylight and a standard notebook running Windows 7 when the tablet’s docked as a display.  Since then, Lenovo has dumped Skylight for Android and beefed up the processing power. The detachable tablet is now called LePad and it’s powered by a 1.3GHz Snapdragon processor and runs a custom Lenovo skin called LeOS that’s build on top of Android 2.2.  The LePad features a 10.1-inch (1280 x 800) capacitive multitouch display and it works in both landscape and portrait modes.  An eight hour battery life is promised.   Adobe Flash Player 10.1 is expected to play nice when the product ships.  The notebook, or U1 Base, packs a 1.2GHz Intel Core and runs Windows 7.  Switching from Android to Windows is a snap, literally.  Once the tablet is locked into place in the notebook base, a couples seconds later Windows is fully loaded.  When you detach the screen the switch to Android is instantaneous.

Unfortunately for those living in the U.S. the LePad and U1 Base will not ship until Google releases Android 3.0 (aka Honeycomb).  The first market Lenovo will hit is China this quarter.  The IdeaPad U1 with LePad will go for $1300 and the LePad will be available as a standalone product with an asking price of $520.

With a refreshed look and Android integration the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid is leaps and bounds superior to its original incarnation unveiled one year ago.  Here’s to hoping that Gingerbread arrives sooner rather than later so that Lenovo can work on an updated tablet skin and ship this puppy Stateside stat!  Product images below, PR after the break.

[Via Engadget]

READ MORE Lenovo injects life back into the IdeaPad U1 Hybrid

Watch the Google Chrome notebook get destroyed in more ways than one

In this unorthodox demonstration video Chrome UX designer Glen Murphy destroys a Cr-48 Chrome OS notebook.  Since Chrome OS relies on the cloud to store data, it doesn’t matter what happens to your computer.  Get it?

More Google news: Chrome 8, Chrome Web Store, Chrome OS

If you couldn’t figure it out by reading the post title, Google’s web browser that could is being upgraded across the board.  And when I say across the board, I really mean across platforms.  In addition to bringing a slew of updates to the standard Chrome browser in version 8, Google also spilled more details about the Chrome Web Store and its forthcoming operating system based on the browser itself.  All of the juicy details were shared at a Chrome-themed press event on Tuesday, just one day after Google dropped the Android 2.3 with Nexus S bomb.  To say the G-Men dominated this week in tech would be a nasty understatement.  Ready, set, dive…

Chrome 8: Earlier this week Google pushed out the latest update for its desktop browser.  Chrome 8 includes many welcome additions such as a speedy built-in PDF reader and automatic updates.  At the press event, Google previewed some upcoming features that will become fully integrated into the browser in the near future.  First up  is an update to the URL bar, or what the company likes to call the “Omnibox.”  Following in the footsteps of the Google search bar, the Omnibox will handle Google Instant searches.  Chrome will show search results and loading web pages as you type in the box; this saves you the step of pointing the browser to Google.com and then making a search.  Search and Instant Search have become one in the Omnibox.  On top of this, the browser will pick up on your most frequently visited sites and will direct you instantly to them as you type.  For example, if you visit ESPN.com often, when you type the letter “e” in the Omnibox ESPN will start to load up; pretty neat, eh?  Google also boasted browser speed and performance improvements.  Chrome now runs complex JavaScript programs up to twice as fast as before (they say an impending speed enhancement called “Crankshaft” will make the browser 100x faster than what IE’s speed was two years ago, and that’s mighty impressive) and there’s full WebGL support.  If you have a copy of Chrome installed on your computer, an automatic update to version 8 should happen the next time you open it.  And again, expect the Instant Omnibox and crazy speed enhancement to hit the browser soon.

Chrome Web Store: Everyone knows about Apple’s App Store, and it’s about time word of Google’s Chrome Web Store got around.  The concept is simple.  The Web Store houses Chrome Extensions, Themes, and most importantly web apps.  What are web apps and how do they differ from plain ‘ol apps?  Google describes them as “advanced interactive websites”, but essentially they are apps built specifically for use inside a browser.  And that comes with perks–the best one being that you never have to worry about updating them.  Since they live on the web in your browser, updates can be automatically pushed out from the developer at any time without you ever having to think about it.  All web app purchases are tied to your Google Account.  Perk alert!  Since that’s the case, all your purchases app live in the cloud and not on your computer, meaning they can be accessed from any Internet-connected device with a browser (i.e. another computer, a smartphone, etc.).  Google is also making it so that apps can work offline, leaving it up to the developer’s discretion.  Many developers are already jumping on board to make web apps.  At the press event Amazon showcased Kindle for the Web, an app that allows ebook readers to read their purchased titles inside a browser.  And no surprise here; your reading library, last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights will be saved and seamlessly transported to any device you have the Kindle app installed on (said devices include the iOS lineup, Android phones, and obviously a Kindle reader).  The Store also hosts some games, but don’t expect to find anything mindblowing in that genre just yet.  It’s up and running today, so head over to the Chrome Web Store and check it out.  The layout will be familiar to you; app categories on the left, top paid and free on the right, featured apps in the middle.  Go wild. READ MORE More Google news: Chrome 8, Chrome Web Store, Chrome OS