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How a new MacBook could reinvent the laptop
Today we’re taking a real Apple invention and hypothetically applying it to a real Apple product. What we’re doing is having a look at a patent made by Apple – a new sort of hinge design for the MacBook. This new hinge could change the way you and I use a notebook and, potentially, blow the rest of the industry away completely.
There’s a lot of engineering bits and pieces going on in the patent that revealed this tech to us – but that’s not what I’m going to relay to you. Instead I’m going to present this tech in a way that’s situated more like an OG Apple product presentation – slides and everything. This presentation is for the return of the iBook.
Today we’ve got a very rare sort of situation on our hands – and it has to do with the letter “i”. You’ll remember a while ago here at Apple we used the letter “i” a lot, in the front of words like iPhone, iPad, iCloud – and so on. After a while it seemed to get too predictable – everyone knew what our products were going to be named, even before we did.We’ve come a long way since the first iMac back in 1998. Before you get too excited – no, we’re not releasing a new wave of brightly colored all-in-one computers. Those designs have moved on to a more conveniently sized place – and the personal computer is a different experience entirely.Today we’re reintroducing a product which did for the laptop what the iPhone did for the mobile phone. Today we’re reintroducing the iBook.
You might be thinking – uh oh. They’re going to show some sort of monster of a clam-shell notebook with wings. Don’t worry, we’re just as much in a different universe with laptop design here in 2023 as we are with desktop design. This notebook is sleek, powerful, beautiful, and extremely chúng tôi might also be thinking – wait a second. Isn’t Apple already selling a MacBook Air? Doesn’t that already cover the consumer-aimed portable market? Yes, it does, and the MacBook Air has served us all quite well over its lifetime. But also no – no because we’re not satisfied with that.
We wanted to go a step further by making the already-great experience of the MacBook Air into an experience that is as simple to use as possible. To do this, we went back to engineering. We took the whole machine apart and started from chúng tôi asked our customers what was most important to them. Overwhelmingly we heard that users wanted something new. Something that’d make their experience feel like never before – but without the added cost of battery life. We heard this – and went right to the center of this machine.
The iBook features a new type of hinge we call Magic. This Magic Hinge allows the user to open, adjust, and close the iBook with ease. Instead of relying on traditional friction-based design to hold the display in place, the iBook senses when it’s being touched by your hand, and glides through space to the place where you wish it to go.
Using an extremely low-power processing unit inside the base of the machine, this iBook uses an sinpercievably small amount of battery life. At the same time, the iBook makes every notebook before it feel like an antique.
The iBook is more powerful than last year’s MacBook Air, and it has longer battery life. The iBook out-performs all similarly-sized Windows PCs and Chromebooks on the market today. The iBook is coming to the Apple Store for a price that’s no higher than the machine it chúng tôi iBook will be available starting today online, and will be available at Apple Stores around the world later this week. The iBook will be available in any color you like, just so long as it’s black or white. Thank you, and we look forward to you trying everything out!
Once again, everything above is a hypothetical presentation as done by Apple at a special event which has not happened. This presentation is meant to give users an idea of what it might be like to see Apple introduce the product shown in Apple’s own patent for a “Variable resistance electronic device brake clutch” – which allows a notebook the ability to move freely instead of relying on frictional resistance to stay in place.
SEE ALSO: Apple’s road to iPhone Pro
What Apple’s invention hopes to accomplish is allowing the user to adjust the display at any time – even if they have only one hand available. They’ll do this, according to this patent, by creating an improved clutch design with a touch activated clutch assembly.
If we take the basics of this patent and push them another step further, we can hypothesize that Apple could include a fingerprint scanner (Touch ID) in this design, allowing the laptop to stay locked shut until th touch panel (and Touch ID) is activated successfully. Such added levels of security are right up Apple’s alley, and do not seem too out-of-line with Apple’s most recent releases to dismiss.
On the other hand, if Apple were to take the approach I’ve envisioned above, they’d completely forget about the keyboard for the iPad Pro. That’s basically impossible at this point. So keep your fingers crossed, notebook lovers.
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A simple fix for the new MacBook Pro’s big problem
Courage is a double-edged sword, and while consumers may have taken the death of the iPhone 7 headphone jack in their stride, professionals aren’t being so generous with the new MacBook Pro. Apple’s decision to ditch almost all the legacy ports on its flagship notebook was done in the name of ushering in widespread adoption of Thunderbolt 3 and enabling a thinner machine. However, while Thunderbolt 3 may undoubtedly be a better connector than the bevy of sockets along the edge of the old MacBook Pro, the Cupertino firm’s decision to go slim has frustrated many who have legacy devices to plug in, and who were hoping for a more significant power upgrade.
Listen to that cohort, and Apple has clearly lost its way. The MacBook Pro was once “a truck” they point out, a powerhouse that made performance – CPU, GPU, and memory, for the most part – its lodestar and left the aesthetic to shape itself around that. Now, in an age of 4K video processing and virtual reality rendering, the new MacBook Pro has been distracted with Touch Bar fripperies and forgotten its true purpose.
Perhaps, though, the truck just needs an optional trailer.
In the interests of transparency, I should say I’ve been asking for something along these lines since 2013. Back then, I was hoping for an upgrade to the original Thunderbolt Display, which even then was already a couple of years old. With the state of hardware at the time, I was envisaging a combination monitor, external drive, port hub, and graphics chip all hooked up over a Thunderbolt 2 cable – perfect for the Mac Pro which had just launched.
Apple never bothered updating the Thunderbolt Display and, earlier this year, axed it from the line-up altogether. Indeed, the latest suggestions are that the company has exited the standalone monitor space altogether, preferring to leave the segment to third-party manufacturers like LG. In fact, an LG Thunderbolt 3 display got an on-stage mention at the event last week.
It’s not such a bad idea. There’s no denying that LG Display, the company’s LCD arm, makes great panels: after all, Apple uses them on the iMac 5K. Monitor margins are traditionally low, though, so leaving third-party companies to fill the gap makes bottom-line sense for Apple too.
Problem is, while the LG UltraFine 5K Display – with its $1,299.95 price tag – has three USB-C downstream ports on the back, you’re still going to need dongles if you want USB Type-A, ethernet, a memory card reader, or other “legacy” connections. That’s still not ideal. So, if Apple isn’t going to replace the Thunderbolt Display, what could it have in mind?
More ports, and a broader range of ports, would be table stakes of course. The current Mac Mini has gigabit ethernet, HDMI, two Thunderbolt 2, four USB 3, an SDXC card slot, and audio in/out. Apple would only need to switch Thunderbolt 2 for 3 to bring it up to speed, though a second display output – since you can drive two 4K panels from a single Thunderbolt 3 connection – would be nice as well.
Onboard storage would, I suspect, be optional. Some people will be content with the high-speed SSD inside their shiny new MacBook Pro, or satisfied with a more mainstream external HDD for periodic backups. However, Apple’s markup on storage upgrades are notorious, and could be a neat little cash-cow for a Thunderbolt 3 dock.
What could really set such a hub aside, though, is an external GPU. Much has been made of Apple’s decision to use Radeon Pro 400 Series chips in the new 15-inch MacBook Pro; after all, there’s already faster silicon in AMD’s lineup. The argument is that it’s a performance/power/size matter: try to squeeze in anything more potent and you can no longer make the ten hour battery life promise, or slim the chassis down to 15.5 mm thick.
I’m not going to add to the argument about whether that’s a trade off decision the professional audience traditionally drawn to the MacBook Pro would have made, but I do think Apple could pitch an external GPU dock as an answer. By offloading graphics processing to meatier silicon in an external box with no real ambitions of portability, Apple wouldn’t have to think about power consumption, heat, or size. Indeed, it could eschew mobile GPUs altogether and drop in desktop-class graphics if it wanted.
It’s questionable how many power-users need the most potent graphics processing while on the move. Many of those voicing concerns about the Radeon Pro 400 Series I’ve seen have pitched their MacBook Pro as more like an all-in-one desktop that can be transported, rather than a machine they take from coffee shop to coffee shop, hot-desking while rendering VR in 4K. Their argument is that they use their notebook plugged in and so power consumption isn’t an issue.
Delivering the sort of graphics performance which will satisfy that crowd is a lot easier in an external form-factor. It also allows Apple to continue to pitch the 15-inch MacBook Pro as a mobile workhorse with lengthy battery life, in addition to offering 13-inch MacBook Pro owners a GPU option beyond the Intel Iris 540/550 graphics the smaller model tops out at. Clearly, there are some users who don’t want a full 15-inch notebook in their backpack, but who wouldn’t argue with an extra slice of GPU ability at times too.
Best of all – from Apple’s perspective, at least – it would be another income stream. The Thunderbolt Display cost $999; a Thunderbolt 3 dock with an onboard GPU could, theoretically, cost significantly more depending on the graphics chip included. Certainly there’d be complaints from some, but when you’re faced with spending $200 to switch the Radeon Pro 450 2GB to its 460/4GB sibling in the 15-inch notebook, splashing out on a potentially far more potent GPU in a hub with port flexibility and perhaps onboard storage might be easier to swallow, especially if it can be shared between two or more computers.
NOW READ: New MacBook Pro hands-on
Would such a distribution of power be accepted by the pro users traditionally most vocal in their praise of Apple’s hardware? It’s hard to imagine how the company could satisfy its own goals of thinner devices, maintaining battery longevity, and pushing wholeheartedly for new connectors, while simultaneously giving professionals the notebook they want, all in a single form-factor. Not without some vast improvement in battery technology, at least.
Arguably, splitting the hardware up makes a lot of sense, given the sort of work many MacBook Pro owners are doing. For those with a focus on 4K design – whether 2D or 3D – a large external display seems an inevitability. Why not split out the graphics processing too?
Apple launched a new MacBook Air earlier this year, bringing with it a 13-inch Retina display, and, perhaps most importantly, the scissor switch keyboard. So now you may need a case to protect it.
We’ve put together a list of some of the best case options for your new 13-inch MacBook Air, some with slim designs and others with more prominent, eye-catching aesthetics. All of them will help keep your MacBook Air protecting from day-to-day use. So let’s get right into it.The best MacBook Air cases Twelve South BookBook
This is the second version of Twelve South’s popular BookBook case for the MacBook Air. It retains the familiar design, boasting a look that’s reminiscent of a hardcover book. It features hand-crafted genuine leather, with both the front and back of the case hardback book covers. A rigid spine helps protect against drops. And the inside of the case is constructed from a plush, velvety interior to prevent any scratches with daily use.
There is a new proprietary hinge system within the BookBook case, making it easy to keep working with the MacBook even if you keep it within the BookBook. No straps will block the screen. There is a hidden pocket within the case that can store documents as well.
This BookBook case will also fit the 13-inch MacBook Pro as well.
The BookBook case for the MacBook Air is available now from Amazon.
Buy Twelve South BookBook for $89.99Spigen
The Spigen case for the new MacBook Air is designed to be minimal and low-impact, protecting your notebook without adding any major bulk for day-to-day use. It is constructed from a premium knit fabric, which will prevent scratches. The case also offers precise cutouts for the headphone jack and the pair of USB-C ports, so you won’t have any issues connecting accessories to your MacBook Air.
The case also features an elevated bottom, which will help prevent any overheating issues.
Spigen’s case for the MacBook Air is available now from Amazon in either black or rose gold color options.
Buy Spigen’s MacBook Air case for $24.99Twelve South SuitCase
The SuitCase from Twelve South is a brand new option, featuring full-body protection and a built-in carrying handle, too. It’s designed to protect your MacBook Air while you travel and while you use it, but it doesn’t attach directly to your laptop like the other cases.
The SuitCase features a proprietary bungee hinge design within the case, so when you open it your MacBook Air easily accessible without any straps blocking the display. But thanks to the design, it means you can easily remove the MacBook Air, too. The interior features micro-suede to help not only absorb shocks, but also prevent scratches. Meanwhile, outside, the case is a hardshell case with a unique tailored grey twill in a signature diamond pattern.
Inside, there is a single, relatively large pocket to hold cables, documents, and small notebooks. Some of the other nice touches with the SuitCase include water resistant zippers and the aforementioned carrying handle is full-grain leather. The whole case is made from water repellant material, too.
The SuitCase is available now for your MacBook Air from Amazon.
Buy Twelve South’s SuitCase MacBook Air case for $69.99ProCase
The ProCase has a slim design, but it’s a hardshell which means it offers extra durability when compared to other thin cases out there for the MacBook Air. It has a wrap-around bumper to help protect against drops thanks to its built-in shock absorbency, and there is a foldable built-in stand as well.
Accessing ports is easy thanks to the cutouts, and the bottom of the heavy duty case is ventilated to help prevent any overheating issues, thanks to four rows of cooling holes. The back of the lid is protected by an anti-scratch layer as well.
The case is easy to snap on and off when needed, and it’s available now in grey from Amazon.
Buy the ProCase hardshell MacBook Air case for $28.99Incase
The Incase option is another thin shell, but it’s a hardshell design as well. The case is made from the reliable Bayer Makrolon polycarbonate material, which will help prevent any scratches from marking up your MacBook Air, but also protect it against minor drops as well. The case also features a Woolenex material overlay, which is abrasion-resistant.
That Woolenex is woven from both 300D and 600D polyester, and designed to help make the case weather-resistant. And it’s a form-fitting case, which means you can find precise cutouts for the headphone jack and two USB-C ports. It is also thoroughly ventilated, so MacBook Air owners shouldn’t run into any overheating issues.
The Incase MacBook Air case is available now from Amazon in Graphite, Heather Navy, and Blush Pink color options.
Buy the Incase MacBook Air case for $34.95 – $94.93Apple Leather Sleeve
This is a straightforward sleeve for the 13-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. However, it’s the same high-quality design that Apple has made for its other leather cases and sleeves. It’s crafted from European leather, and the inside has a soft microfiber lining. One of the benefits of this sleeve is that it will allow you to charge your MacBook Air while it’s inside, so you can keep it protected while you juice up.
The Leather Sleeve from Apple is available now from Amazon in Midnight Blue, Black, and Saddle Brown.
Buy Apple Leather Sleeve for $179.00
Microsoft’s idea for a new Surface Book leaves MacBook Pro looking dull
Microsoft’s new Surface could adopt a very different screen hinge design, with newly-spotted patents suggesting the company is flirting with an iPad Pro-style floating hinge. Currently, the Surface Book has a detachable screen – which pulls away from the keyboard to form a standalone tablet – while the Surface Laptop adopts a more traditional notebook form-factor.
Microsoft’s well-praised industrial design has avoided any major changes over the Surface range’s lifespan, from the earliest shock at the Surface Book’s trick detachable screen. Since then, we’ve seen processor and graphics updates, among other things, but no dramatic aesthetic modifications. According to a new patent, though, that time may be at hand.
The filing, “Computing Device Hinges,” was published by the World Intellectual Property Organization on July 22. Spotted by WindowsUnited, it details a more complex hinge mechanism that could elevate the display above the base section. It would also allow that display to be pulled forward, closer to the user, making touchscreen and stylus use more straightforward.
It’s reminiscent, certainly, of the iPad Pro’s Magic Keyboard. That has a keyboard and trackpad, but also lifts Apple’s tablet above it so that it’s at a more ergonomically comfortable position.
In Microsoft’s design, the tablet section does not look like it releases from the base – unlike how the iPad Pro and the Magic Keyboard work – but instead the whole thing is a single, more flexible laptop. It’s not, as Windows Central points out, the first time we’ve seen such a concept from PC-makers. HP’s Elite Folio offers such a layout, allowing the touchscreen to be pulled forward so that it covers the laptop’s keyboard though not its touchpad.
Last year, meanwhile, the Acer ConceptD 7 Ezel took a similar approach. It promised mobile artists a workstation which could be used as a traditional laptop or as an art studio, courtesy of a dual-hinged screen.
If Microsoft goes ahead with the idea – and that’s a big “if” given patents regularly fail to pan out into actual production devices – it’s unclear what the form-factor might replace in the existing Surface line-up. Or, indeed, if it would add to it rather than supplant an existing model. The Surface Book remains a popular device, with its extra GPU and battery grunt in the keyboard section, but it’s questionable as to just how many people actually regularly remove and use the tablet screen section independently. This new design might allow for a more tablet-like experience but without having to sacrifice the GPU boost in the process.
Alternatively, the Surface Laptop – most recently the Surface Laptop 4, released earlier this year – could get a more user-friendly form factor. That might help emphasize Windows 11’s touch enhancements, and offer Microsoft a strong contender to the iPad Pro for those users who know they’re rarely going to want to be out of reach of a traditional keyboard.
Either way, it’s fair to say Microsoft has been imaginative when it comes to pushing back at the idea that only Apple innovates in portable computing right now. Not all of its projects have been entirely successful, mind. The Surface Neo, a clever dual-touchscreen device that was to bridge laptops and tablets, met with an unexpected hurdle earlier this month, when Intel announced the chipset it was meant to be using has been pushed into end-of-life status much earlier than anticipated.
Today at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco, the Cupertino computer maker announced a host of new products before an audience of developers and media. Among other announcements, the company has updated its MacBook Pro product line, launched a new version of its Safari Web browser, offered a preview of its upcoming Snow Leopard operating system, and readied iPhone 3.0 for market.
First up in its presentation, Apple showed off new MacBook Pro laptops, including a new version of the 15-inch MacBook Pro. With a longer-lasting battery (similar to that featured in the existing 17-inch model), the new machine will have a battery life of up to seven hours, two hours longer than its predecessor. It also features a nicer display, an SD card slot in place of the former Express Card slot, and support for up to 8GB of RAM. It will be available with processor speeds up to 3.06GHz abd 6MB L2 cache, making it the fastest notebook Apple has made to date.
The 17-inch MacBook Pro has also been refreshed with a 2.8GHz processor and a 500GB hard drive.
The 13-inch unibody aluminum MacBook has received a bump up in status, making it a MacBook Pro. Unlike its predecessors, it will now feature support for 8GB of RAM and 500GB of storage, with the option of a 256GB SSD drive.
Apple has dropped the prices of its notebook line as well. The 13-inch MacBook pro will range from $1,199 to $1,499, the 15-inch model will range from $1,699 to $2,299, and the 17-inch model will cost $2,499. All models begin shipping today.
Business users will be able to use Microsoft Exchange servers with Mail, iCal, and Address Book. In a demo of the new features, Apple Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Bertrand Serlet explained that the three built-in contact, scheduling, and e-mail apps will now feature Exchange configuration as a standard option. Users can simply enter their Exchange e-mail address and password, and Snow Leopard will automatically configure all three apps at once.
Come September, Snow Leopard will sell for $129, with an upgrade for existing Leopard users available for $29.
Apple’s Web browser, Safari, has also received a refresh, and ships today in version 4 for Leopard, Tiger, and Windows. Safari 4 includes better handling of browser plug-ins, which will allow the browser to continue functioning if a plug-in such as Flash crashes while viewing a page.
The most talked-about bunch of updates Apple unveiled at WWDC came from its iPhone 3.0 software upgrade, which purportedly adds 100 new features to the iPhone. Critics have long stressed the need for cut, copy, and paste features across the iPhone OS, and those features are now built in. Also, all key apps in the iPhone now feature landscape mode to maximize screen width. And in the U.S., iPhones on the AT&T network will finally feature MMS support later this summer.
Search features have also been enhanced in iPhone 3.0 with the addition of Spotlight. This will enable users to search not only their contacts, but also calendar entries, notes, e-mail, and even apps on the device.
iTunes will now allow iPhone users to purchase or rent movies directly from the device, and Apple has added parental controls that will restrict the kinds of movies, shows, and apps that children can run on the phone or iPod touch.
As promised in a previous iPhone announcement, iPhone 3.0 includes push notification for instant messaging and other applications.
Perhaps the most exciting update for iPhone 3.0 is the addition of tethering capabilities. At last, users who are away from their Wi-Fi network will be able to use the iPhone’s cellular broadband connections to connect their laptop to the Internet. This feature will work via USB or Bluetooth, and is supported by 22 carriers in 44 countries.Unfortunately, AT&T is not one of the carriers supporting this feature, which leaves U.S. iPhone customers wanting.
The iPhone 3.0 software is available to developers today, and ships to customers next Wednesday.
The iPhone 3GS will be faster than the iPhone 3G, and will include video capture, voice control, built-in support for Nike+ accessories, hardware encryption for Exchange users, and improved battery life. The phone will be available on June 19.
It’s clear that this is a fairly minor refresh from Microsoft with largely everything about the Surface Laptop staying the same. What you’re namely getting is a new Intel 8th-gen processor for a speed boost. This might not be enough for existing owners to upgrade, despite the gorgeous matt black model. But for anyone looking for a laptop now, this is an improved model at the same price.Best Prices Today: Microsoft Surface Laptop 2
Microsoft has announced a new version of its popular Ultrabook, but how does the Surface Laptop 2 compare to the first generation and what are the new features? We’ll answer those questions in this comparison.
It’s more than just a new black colour, just.Surface Laptop 2 vs Surface Laptop: Price
When the first Surface Laptop launched, it cost £979 and $999 in the US. The top spec models pushed the price to £2,699/$2,699.
Now the Surface Laptop 2 is here and it also starts at £979/$999 once again. It goes up to £2,079/$2,699 with a large difference there as the 1TB model is only available in the US as it stands.
The new model is available to order from Microsoft and Amazon with shipping on 16 October. You can also order from John Lewis, PC World and Argos.Surface Laptop 2 vs Surface Laptop: Design
There’s little to say in this section as Microsoft hasn’t tried to reinvent the stylish and sleek design of the Surface Laptop.
Really, the main thing to note is that the Surface Laptop 2 comes in a new matt black colour option – and it looks stunning.
Otherwise, you get the same Alcantara material cover around the keyboard and the aluminium case. The laptop still weighs 1.25kg and tapers to around 14.5mm.Surface Laptop 2 vs Surface Laptop: Specs and features
This refresh is a bit like Apple’s ‘S’ devices, where the design remains the same but the core specs get various upgrades.
So, the Surface Laptop 2 brings the benefit of an 8th-generation Intel Core processor – i5 or i7 once again. Microsoft says it’s an ‘astounding 85 percent faster than the original’ which had a 7th-gen Kaby Lake chip.
With the new chip also comes new graphics, so you get UHD Graphics 620 regardless of whether you opt for the i5 or i7.
This time around the device comes with at least 8GB of RAM and the option to double that to 16GB, when the original started at just 4GB. When it comes to storage, things are the same with 128-, 256, 512GB and 1TB options. The largest is only available in the US at the time of writing.
Other specs remain the same including all the ports and the 13.5in PixelSense screen which supports the Surface Pen (optional extra). Microsoft has also kept the same claim for battery life 14.5 hours.
Check out the table below for a keyspecs comparison:
Surface Laptop 2Surface LaptopProcessorIntel 8th-gen (i5 or i7)Intel 7th-gen (i5 or i7)GPUIntel UHD Graphics 620Intel HD 620/Iris Plus Graphics 640Memory8/16GB4/8/16GBStorage128/256/512GB/1TB128/256/512GB/1TBScreen13.5in PixelSense 2256 x 1504 (201ppi)
2256 x 1504 (201ppi)
PortsUSB 3.0, headphone jack, Mini DisplayPort, Surface ConnectUSB 3.0, headphone jack, Mini DisplayPort, Surface ConnectBattery life14.5 hours14.5 hoursDimensions
14.47 mm, 1.25kg
14.48 mm, 1.25kgSpecs Microsoft Surface Laptop 2: Specs
Windows 10 Home
Microsoft Office 365 30-day trial
13.5in PixelSense Display, 2256 x 1504 (201ppi), aspect ratio 3:2, 3.4 million pixels
Surface Pen enabled
Compatible with Surface Dial off-screen interaction
Corning Gorilla Glass
8th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7
Intel UHD Graphics 620
8GB or 16GB RAM
720p HD camera (front-facing)
Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
3.5mm headphone jack
Surface Connect port
802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless networking
Up to 14.5 hours video playback
308.02 x 223.20 x 14.47mm
12 months in-store support and technical assistance
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