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Apple Refreshes the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a New Keyboard, More Storage, and Updated Processors and RAM

Apple has updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro with a redesigned keyboard, more storage, and updated processors and RAM. The new model replaces the existing 13-inch MacBook Pro and starts at $1299 like its predecessor and is available in the education market beginning at $1199.

In a press release, the company said:

Apple today updated the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the new Magic Keyboard for the best typing experience ever on a Mac notebook and doubled the storage across all standard configurations, delivering even more value to the most popular MacBook Pro. The new lineup also offers 10th-generation processors for up to 80 percent faster graphics performance1 and makes 16GB of faster 3733MHz memory standard on select configurations. With powerful quad-core processors, the brilliant 13-inch Retina display, Touch Bar and Touch ID, immersive stereo speakers, all-day battery life, and the power of macOS, all in an incredibly portable design, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is available to order today, starting at $1,299, and $1,199 for education.

The new MacBook Pro comes in new CPU configurations and improved graphics capabilities. According to Apple:

The 13-inch MacBook Pro lineup now offers up to 10th-generation quad-core Intel Core processors with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 4.1GHz. Customers who are upgrading from a 13-inch MacBook Pro with a dual-core processor will see up to 2.8 times faster performance. The integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics deliver up to 80 percent faster performance over the previous generation 13-inch MacBook Pro for 4K video editing, faster rendering, and smoother gameplay. The new graphics also enable users to connect to Pro Display XDR at full 6K resolution.

The MacBook Pros that today’s machines replace had base configurations with a 1.4GHz quad‑core Intel Core i5 and 2.4GHz quad‑core Intel Core i5, both of which supported Turbo Boost and had 128MB of eDRAM.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Like its predecessor, the new MacBook Pro has a 13.3-inch diagonal display that uses IPS technology that supports 2560‑by‑1600 native resolution at 227 pixels per inch. The display also supports P3 wide color, Apple True Tone technology, and 500 nits of brightness.

The new model follows in the footsteps of the 16-inch model with a new keyboard too. In addition to using a scissor mechanism like its 16-inch sibling, the new 13-inch model also includes an inverted-T arrow key layout and a physical Escape key.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Storage has been doubled across all configurations, starting at 256GB and offering up to a 4TB SSD. RAM is faster too. Some base-models of the updated laptop start at 16GB of 3733MHz memory, which can be upgraded to as much as 32GB.

As for ports, the new MacBook Pro hasn’t changed. The computer has two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports that also support USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 depending on which model you buy, plus a headphone jack. The speakers and microphone array appear to have been upgraded to something similar to the 16-inch model too.

Also, weight and battery life remain nearly identical. The new MacBook Pro weighs a slightly heavier 3.1 pounds compared to the model it replaces which was 3.01 pounds. Regarding the battery, Apple says users can expect similar performance compared to the models that the new laptops replace.

It’s nice to see the 13-inch MacBook Pro updated in line with what we saw when the larger model was updated last November. The keyboard update is especially welcome. I’ve been using a 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro and the keyboard has been a constant source of frustration. With this update, I expect Apple’s most portable pro laptop to serve users that need its power well.


Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro: A New Breed of Laptop

The Magic Keyboard and my iPad Pro, featuring the iVisor matte screen protector.

The Magic Keyboard and my iPad Pro, featuring the iVisor matte screen protector.

Following the surprise early release of the Magic Keyboard for iPad Pro, I’ve been waiting to get my hands on Apple’s highly anticipated accessory and evaluate it from the perspective of someone who uses the iPad Pro as a tablet, laptop, and desktop workstation.

I received the Magic Keyboard for my 12.9” iPad Pro yesterday afternoon; fortunately, I was able to order one in the US English keyboard layout from the Italian Apple Store last week, and the keyboard arrived three days ahead of its original scheduled delivery date. Obviously, less than a day of usage isn’t enough time to provide you with a comprehensive review; however, given that plenty of iPad users are still waiting for their Magic Keyboards to arrive, I thought it’d be useful to share some first impressions and thoughts based on my initial 24 hours with the keyboard.

Let’s dive in.

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Adapt, Episode 22: Cursors and Keyboards in iPadOS 13.4

On this week’s episode of Adapt:

It’s been a big two weeks for iPad news. Federico and Ryan discuss the new iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard, then go deep on mouse and trackpad support and full keyboard access in iPadOS 13.4.

You can listen below (and find the show notes here), and don’t forget to send us questions using #AskAdapt and by tagging our Twitter account.

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Adapt, Episode 22

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Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4 with iPad Cursor Support and Keyboard Improvements, iCloud Drive Shared Folders, and More

Today Apple released the latest updates for its suite of software platforms, most notable of which are iOS and iPadOS 13.4. Timed with the release of the latest iPad Pro models, the hallmark features include brand new systemwide support for mouse and trackpad on iPad, plus a handful of external keyboard enhancements. Shared folders for iCloud Drive is the other big addition – first announced at WWDC last June then delayed out of the initial 13.0 release, iCloud users may finally be able to consider reducing their Dropbox dependency. Beyond those highlights, Apple has also included smaller OS tweaks in a variety of areas.

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Logitech Introduces Combo Touch Keyboard Case, Bringing a Trackpad to the iPad, iPad Air, and 10.5-inch iPad Pro

Today following Apple’s debut of the new iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard, and cursor support coming to all iPad models that can run iPadOS 13.4, Logitech has announced a brand new accessory coming in May: the Combo Touch, which brings a keyboard case with trackpad to the iPad (7th generation), iPad Air, and 10.5-inch iPad Pro. From the product listing on Apple’s online store:

Logitech’s Combo Touch for iPad combines a precision trackpad with a full-size backlit keyboard…Enjoy comfortable typing on a full-size keyboard with backlit keys that are perfect for working in dark environments like on an airplane or late at night. And the flexible design supports four use modes for extra versatility.

Despite all modern iPads gaining full cursor support, Apple currently only offers a first-party keyboard with built-in trackpad for the iPad Pro, not any other iPad model. Filling that gap, Logitech’s Combo Touch will be available for $149.95 as a great solution for users of other modern iPads. The Combo Touch covers the front and back of the iPad, includes a full keyboard and trackpad, and even offers a dedicated holder for the Apple Pencil. Notably, the device’s trackpad will also support all the same multitouch gestures that Apple’s Magic Keyboard offers.

Between Apple’s Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro, and Logitech’s Combo Touch covering the iPad, iPad Air, and 10.5-inch iPad Pro, the only modern iPad where a keyboard case with trackpad isn’t being offered is the iPad mini.


The New iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard with Trackpad: The MacStories Overview

The new iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard.

The new iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard.

With a press release published earlier today, Apple officially announced the fourth generation of its iPad Pro line. The new iPad Pro models – available, as with the current generation, in 11-inch and 12.9-inch flavors – feature the all-new A12Z Bionic chip, a new camera system that includes an ultra-wide camera and LiDAR scanner for augmented reality, and integration with a long-awaited accessory, which will become available starting in May: the new Magic Keyboard with trackpad.

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Apple Releases Faster MacBook Air with New Keyboard and Increased Storage Starting at $999 and Doubles Storage on Base-Model Mac minis

Apple has released a new, faster MacBook Air with an updated keyboard and more storage at a lower price. The company also released a minor update to the storage of base-model Mac minis.

According to a press release from the company, the new Air features a 1.2GHz quad-core Core i7 that, with Turbo Boost, can achieve speeds up to 3.8GHz. This is the first time the Air has included a quad-core processor. The laptop also features Intel Iris Plus Graphics, which Apple says are 80% faster than previous models.

The Air’s keyboard has been updated too with a scissor switch-based Magic Keyboard that has 1 mm of key travel and an inverted-T layout of the arrow keys.

The Air's keyboard now uses scissor switches and an inverted-T layout for its arrow keys.

The Air’s keyboard now uses scissor switches and an inverted-T layout for its arrow keys.

The Air, which is available in gold, silver, and space gray, starts at $999, a $100 drop from prior models. Thankfully, Apple has also increased the base storage of the entry-level model from 128GB to 256GB SSD storage, a capacity that will make it easier for users to store photos and other media locally without resorting to external solutions. The new Air can also be configured with up to 2TB of storage, which is twice as much as could be previously configured, and is equipped with Apple’s T2 Security Chip, which ensures a secure boot process and handles Touch ID information.

Apple’s press release highlights the following features too:

  • A three-mic array for more clear voice capture for FaceTime calls with friends and family.
  • The industry-best Force Touch trackpad for precise cursor control and multi-touch navigation.
  • Thunderbolt 3 ports for data transfer, charging and video output in a single connector.
  • Support for up to a 6K external display, a first for the MacBook Air.
  • Advanced stereo speakers for immersive, wide stereo sound for activities like watching Apple TV+ content or playing games in Apple Arcade.

The new Airs can be ordered on apple.com starting today.

Finally, the base configurations of the Mac mini received a small update today. The $799 model now comes with 256GB of storage and the $1,099 configuration has a 512GB SSD.

The MacBook Air has been difficult to recommend because of its previous-generation keyboard. With a new keyboard, increased storage, faster CPU and graphics, all at a lower price-point, the MacBook Air looks like the Mac that will meet most people’s needs.


FlickType Keyboard Review: Real Typing on an Apple Watch Display

The Apple Watch is steadily moving toward full independence from the iPhone. Making cellular an option, adding new apps at a healthy pace, and enabling apps to be downloaded and run independent of an iPhone are all crucial steps toward the device becoming entirely untethered. I have a cellular Apple Watch and go running with it each week without bringing my iPhone along, and it works great. I’ve even gone to a couple of doctor’s appointments with only my Watch, and the list of things I miss my phone for in those cases is now minimal.

One time the device still falls flat, however, is when I need to send a message. Scribble is too slow for more than a word or two, dictation is hit-or-miss, and canned responses aren’t good enough for most situations. FlickType Keyboard sets out to solve this problem, and entirely succeeds.

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Brydge Announces Pro+ Keyboard with Trackpad for the iPad Pro and a Standalone Trackpad

(Source: Brydge)

(Source: Brydge)

Today Brydge announced the Pro+ keyboard for the iPad Pro, which incorporates a trackpad. The keyboard was first revealed in connection with a lawsuit filed by Brydge against another keyboard maker that Brydge says violated a patent on the company’s keyboard hinge. Although Brydge’s official announcement doesn’t disclose when it will begin taking pre-orders, the company says it will be soon. Brydge also says that the first 500 pre-orders will be shipped in late February, with the remaining pre-orders shipping in late March.

With iPadOS 13, Apple added accessibility support for pointing devices like mice and trackpads. Pointing devices can be connected via USB or Bluetooth using iPadOS’s Assistive Touch Accessibility feature, which permits navigation of the OS’s UI. Although the experience of using a pointing device with an iPad Pro partly resembles using one with a Mac, it’s also different and more limited. As Federico explained in his iOS and iPadOS 13 review:

The first and most important difference between iPadOS and macOS is that UIKit is still designed and optimized for touch input. When you enable mouse support in iPadOS, you’ll notice that the system won’t react to the hover state of the pointer: if you hover over a button in a toolbar, you won’t see a tooltip; if you wait with the cursor over the edge of a document, you won’t see a scroll bar; in Safari, hovering over drop down menus of a webpage will not automatically expand and collapse them.

I’ve used iPadOS 13 with a Logitech MX Master Mouse 3S and agree with Federico’s assessment that if you go into mouse or trackpad use on iPadOS expecting precisely the same sort of experience as a Mac, you’re likely to be disappointed. Still, the feature opens up exciting possibilities beyond the accessibility needs it addresses, such as the ability to assign shortcuts to button presses.

(Source: Brydge)

(Source: Brydge)

Brydge’s new keyboard closely resembles past models but adds a trackpad to the center of the wrist rest. The keyboard comes in two sizes to accommodate the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, connects via Bluetooth 4.1, has three levels of backlighting, 3-month battery life, and is space gray. With the trackpad, Brydge says users will also be able to open the dock with a two-finger tap on the trackpad and trigger App Exposé with a three-finger tap. Users will also be able to tap the bottom left or right-hand corners of their iPad Pro’s screen to return to the Home screen.

The 11-inch model of the Pro+ will cost $199.99, and the 12.9-inch version will be $229.99. If you are interested in ordering the Pro+, Brydge encourages registering on its website to receive an alert by email when pre-orders begin.

The Brydge trackpad. (Source: Brydge)

The Brydge trackpad. (Source: Brydge)

Separately, Brydge announced a standalone trackpad, which should appeal to existing Brydge keyboard owners who want to add a complementary trackpad without purchasing the Pro+. Brydge hasn’t disclosed much about the standalone version of its trackpad, although the company says it is coming soon, will be glass with a ‘Multi-Touch Engine,’ connect using Bluetooth 4.1, and will have a 3-month per charge battery life.

It will be interesting to see how Brydge’s Pro+ keyboard and standalone trackpad do with users. Off-the-shelf pointing device support was an important addition to iPadOS 13 for people who need the feature for accessibility reasons. I’ve experimented with the feature on several occasions, but until it’s more refined, I have a hard time seeing myself using a pointing device with my iPad Pro regularly. As a result, I’m not that interested in the Brydge Pro+, but I’ll withhold my final judgment on that score until I’ve seen reviews by people who have used production models of the device and tried one myself. I also wouldn’t be surprised if iPadOS 14 strengthens mouse and trackpad support, making the Pro+ an even more attractive option later this year.