Displaying items by tag: MacBook

Apple unveils first Macs powered by its own chips

Written on Wednesday, 11 November 2020 06:16

Apple has revealed its first Mac computers powered by chips of its own design. The California-based tech giant unveiled its M1 chip and the first computers that will run on it: a new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini.

However, the launch failed to excite investors. Apple’s value varied during the performance, with shares dropping and the big reveal failing to stall the decline. It would seem investors were unsurprised by the new product line, but this may change as we edge closer to Christmas and as global lockdowns are eased. Perhaps this can reverse Apple’s recent revenue stagnation.

In June, the company announced it would transition away from the Intel processors it had used since 2006. Putting a processor based on the ARM architecture in its desktop and laptop computers marks a big move for Apple away from Intel-designed chips and towards its own silicon, which has been used in the iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch for a number of years.

Apple said the advantages of using the M1 chip included better battery life, instant wake from sleep mode, and the ability to run iOS apps. It added it had optimized all of its own Mac apps, but now needs to convince other developers to do likewise.

This will be the first time in the 36-year history of the Mac that Apple-designed processors will power these machines. It has changed chips only two other times. In the early 1990s, Apple switched from Motorola processors to PowerPC. At WWDC in 2005, Steve Jobs announced a move from PowerPC to Intel, and Apple rolled out those first Intel-based Macs in January 2006.

According to Bloomberg, Apple’s chip-development group decided to make the switch after Intel’s annual chip performance gains slowed and engineers worried that sticking to Intel’s road map would delay or derail some future Macs.

Published in Devices

Apple embrace VR at WWDC17, including Vive Demo

Written on Sunday, 11 June 2017 08:16

At the highly-anticipated annual Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2017 (WWDC), Apple announced it is embracing virtual reality (VR) and demonstrated it on the HTC Vive by enabling the use of SteamVR on Macs with its new MacOS, High Sierra. 

Through a newly-announced external GPU, developers and content creators will be able to use a beta of SteamVR and the new MacOS to access the creative power of Vive with their MacBooks.

The combination of support for the Vive headset and an external graphics card option means that VR development is about to get a broader, more Apple-friendly footprint. Apple’s vision for high-end computing and empowering developers matches Vive’s vision of delivering the most advanced and immersive room-scale VR in the market.  The new MacOS Beta and the SteamVR for Mac beta is available now with a full release planned for later in the fall.

The announcement further positions Vive as a world leader in driving the VR industry forward. In just the last month alone, the company has partnered with the world’s most prominent and innovative tech giants including Google, Intel and Apple, who are aligning their VR efforts around Vive. On stage during WWDC, Apple demonstrated its commitment to VR using a Vive with ILM and Unreal running on a Mac in front of thousands of developers.

Vive was built to be an open and always growing platform for VR.  The Vive ecosystem is expanding through efforts including the more than 60 companies in the global Vive X accelerator program that are defining the future of VR technology, products like the Vive Tracker with new content and experiences for VR, and Viveport, a hardware agnostic content and distribution platform.

Published in Gadget

Apple opened its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 5 in San Jose, California, where major releases were dropped. WWDC is a conference held annually in California by Apple Inc. The event is used by Apple to showcase its new software and technologies for software developers.

At the event Apple unveiled a range of new hardware products and software including the HomePod, a Siri-powered speaker designed to rival Amazon's Echo and Google's Home. Other releases included the best features of the upcoming iOS 11 operating system, a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and enhanced MacBook and iMac computers.

HomePad

Apple announced HomePod, a breakthrough wireless speaker for the home that delivers amazing audio quality and uses spatial awareness to sense its location in a room and automatically adjust the audio. Designed to work with an Apple Music subscription for access to over 40 million songs, HomePod provides deep knowledge of personal music preferences and tastes and helps users discover new music.

HomePod features a large, Apple-designed woofer for deep, clean bass, a custom array of seven beam-forming tweeters that provide pure high frequency acoustics with incredible directional control and powerful technologies built right in to preserve the richness and intent of the original recordings. HomePod will be available starting in December, initially in Australia, the UK and the US.

“Apple reinvented portable music with iPod and now HomePod will reinvent how we enjoy music wirelessly throughout our homes,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “HomePod packs powerful speaker technology, Siri intelligence and wireless access to the entire Apple Music library into a beautiful speaker that is less than 7 inches tall, can rock most any room with distortion free music and be a helpful assistant around your home.”

HomePod is designed for voice control with an array of six microphones, so users can interact with it from across the room, even while loud music is playing. By saying, “Hey Siri, I like this song,” HomePod and Apple Music become the perfect musicologist, learning preferences from hundreds of genres and moods, across tens of thousands of playlists, and these music tastes are shared across devices.

Siri can also handle advanced searches within the music library, so users can ask questions like “Hey Siri, who’s the drummer in this?” or create a shared Up Next queue with everyone in the home. HomePod, Apple Music and Siri deliver the best music experience in the home that streams ad-free directly to HomePod.

As a home assistant, HomePod is a great way to send messages, get updates on news, sports and weather, or control smart home devices by simply asking Siri to turn on the lights, close the shades or activate a scene. When away from home, HomePod is the perfect home hub, providing remote access and home automations through the Home app on iPhone or iPad.

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10.5-inch iPad Pro and 12.9-inch iPad Pro

Apple also introduced an all-new 10.5-inch iPad Pro and a new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, featuring the world’s most advanced display with ProMotion technology and incredible performance with the new A10X Fusion chip.

The new 10.5-inch model reduces the borders by nearly 40 percent to fit into an incredibly compact package that still weighs just one pound. Combined with powerful new iPad features in iOS 11 coming this fall, like the all-new Files app, customizable Dock, improved multitasking and deeper integration of Apple Pencil, iPad Pro gives users the ability to be even more productive and creative.

“These are by far the most powerful iPads we’ve ever created with the world’s most advanced displays featuring ProMotion, the powerful new A10X Fusion chip and the advanced camera system of iPhone 7,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of Product Marketing. “Together with iOS 11 these new iPad Pro models will radically change what users can do with iPad.”

The stunning, redesigned Retina display in iPad Pro features ProMotion, a new technology that delivers refresh rates of up to 120Hz for fluid scrolling, greater responsiveness and smoother motion content. With ProMotion, Apple Pencil is even more responsive with an industry-best, 20-millisecond latency for even more fluid and natural drawing. ProMotion also improves display quality and reduces power consumption by automatically adjusting the display refresh rate to match the movement of the content.

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iOS 11 preview

Apple also previewed iOS 11, a major update to the mobile operating system, bringing new experiences and hundreds of features to iPhone and iPad this fall. iOS 11 is the biggest software release ever for iPad, with powerful multitasking features, the Files app and more ways to use Apple Pencil. Augmented reality is coming to hundreds of millions of iOS devices with a new platform for developers to build apps that let users place virtual content on top of real-world scenes.

CoreML gives developers on-device machine learning capabilities so they can easily make apps that will predict, learn and become more intelligent. Additional features include the ability to pay friends using Apple Pay, Do Not Disturb while driving to help users stay more focused on the road, even more intelligence and a new voice for Siri and new professional capabilities to Photos and Camera. iOS 11 is available as a developer preview today and will be a free software update for iPhone and iPad this fall.

“With iOS 11, we’re delivering the biggest AR platform in the world, and it’s available today for developers to begin building AR experiences using ARKit for hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “iOS 11 gives iPad users the powerful app functionality they need to take advantage of everything iPad is capable of, and brings hundreds of new features and incredible updates to the iOS apps iPhone and iPad users enjoy every day.”

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MacBook and MacBook Pro updated

Apple also updated its iMac line with up to three times more powerful graphics, faster processors, Thunderbolt 3, faster storage options and brighter Retina displays, and added a Retina 4K display and discrete graphics to the $1,299 (US) 21.5-inch iMac. With its incredibly thin and seamless enclosure, fast processors and storage and stunning Retina display, iMac sets the gold standard for desktops.

iMac delivers powerful performance for 3D graphics, video editing and gaming, and with macOS High Sierra coming this fall, iMac becomes a great platform for virtual reality content creation. Apple also today updated MacBook and MacBook Pro with faster processors, added faster SSDs to MacBook and introduced a new $1,299 (US) 13-inch MacBook Pro.

“With major updates to iMac, and a refresh of our MacBook and MacBook Pro lines, the Mac is stronger than ever,” said John Ternus, Apple’s vice president of Hardware Engineering. “Today iMac gets a huge graphics performance increase, faster CPU performance, Thunderbolt 3 and a brighter Retina display with support for 1 billion colors. We’re also increasing CPU and SSD speed on MacBook, adding faster processors and making faster graphics standard on our 15-inch MacBook Pro and introducing a new $1,299 (US) 13-inch MacBook Pro.”

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iMac Pro preview

Apple also gave a sneak peek of iMac Pro, an entirely new workstation-class product line designed for pro users with the most demanding workflows. The all-new iMac Pro, with its gorgeous 27-inch Retina 5K display, up to 18-core Xeon processors and up to 22 Teraflops of graphics computation, is the most powerful Mac ever made.

Featuring a stunning new space gray enclosure, iMac Pro packs incredible performance for advanced graphics editing, virtual reality content creation and real-time 3D rendering. iMac Pro is scheduled to ship in December starting at $4,999 (US).

In addition to the new iMac Pro, Apple is working on a completely redesigned, next-generation Mac Pro architected for pro customers who need the highest-end, high-throughput system in a modular design, as well as a new high-end pro display.

“We’re thrilled to give developers and customers a sneak peek at iMac Pro. This will be our fastest and most powerful Mac ever, which brings workstation-class computing to iMac for the first time,” said John Ternus, Apple’s vice president of Hardware Engineering. “We reengineered the whole system and designed an entirely new thermal architecture to pack extraordinary performance into the elegant, quiet iMac enclosure our customers love — iMac Pro is a huge step forward and there’s never been anything like it.”

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Published in Gadget

Microsoft recently unveiled its glossy new Surface Laptop and an updated version of Windows 10 intended to appeal to the education sector which Apple has strength in. The laptop, which is set to be released in June, will sell for $999.

The 13.5-inch Surface Laptop is capable of 14.5 hours of battery life and weights just 2.76 pounds. It has a fabric keyboard and comes in four colors including cobalt blue and burgundy. The model is different from Microsoft’s Surface Book unveiled in 2015 and sells for $1,499. The market for the Surface Laptop, according to Microsoft executive Panos Panay in charge of Surface products, is for students who would otherwise buy Apple MacBooks.

Speaking at a launch event in New York, Panay said: “A lot of students use MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros,” and stressed that Microsoft’s new laptop is thinner and lighter than these Apple devices and has a longer battery life, which is ideal for students.

Microsoft also announced Windows 10 S, which is a streamlined version of the operating system designed for classrooms. The operating system features a faster login experience ideal for students and only runs applications downloaded from the Windows Store to ensure security.

The Windows 10 S will be available in devices by Samsung, Toshiba, HP and Dell this summer, starting at $189. These affordable devices will place Microsoft at a competitive level with Google’s affordable Chromebook devices.

Microsoft has a mission to “democratize the educational opportunity for every student,” said chief executive Satya Nadella speaking about the product announcements. But ultimately, Microsoft wants to be a part of the lucrative education market. With its new products, Microsoft could lure a new generation of consumers to its brand.

Google’s Chromebook was launched six years ago which runs its own operating system of Windows. The device soon became a popular product in the broader PC market. Research firm IDC reported in April that the commercial PC marker “came out strong” in the first quarter of 2017 “mostly backed by Chromebooks.” 

Published in Gadget