Posts in mac

Three Tiny Laptops

The 12-inch MacBook with Retina display is a marvel of engineering. It packs the power of macOS into a tiny chassis that weighs just two pounds. You can carry it and an iPad before you reach the weight of the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

There are, of course, trade-offs when it comes to such a small machine. The single USB-C port is a show-stopper for many, as is the under-powered — but fanless — Intel CPU.

The fact that compromises are needed to make notebooks thin and light is nothing new. Over the years, Apple has made several bold moves in this direction. Three really stand out.

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Tomates Time Management: Elegant Pomodoro Timer for Mac

If you're a fan of the Pomodoro Technique, you'll be interested in Tomates Time Manager. Version 4 is a great-looking menu bar app with detailed reporting, Touch Bar support, and a handy Today Extension.

If you're not familiar with it, the Pomodoro Technique is a timer-based way of getting work done in 25-minute sprints with short breaks between, and then a nice long break after a set of four. I first tried the Pomodoro Technique many years ago and it worked well for me, but I didn't stick with it. Over the years I went back to it a few times, but it still didn't stick. It was only last year when issues with my ADHD caused me to desperately need a system exactly like this.

There are a plethora of good timers available for Mac and iOS, including the elegant Zen Timer on Mac (which I've mentioned here before) and Focus Time on iOS. What sets Tomates apart is the combination of elegant design and powerful utility. It allows customizable work and break times, Work Series counts, alarm sounds, and handles task names and reporting.

Version 4 introduces a Today Extension, providing an overview of your progress right in the Today View of Notification Center, tracking your tasks and sessions along with trophies for reaching your goals.

Reporting is also enhanced, with both task and time-based reports. The time-based reports can show today, this week (or this workweek), this month, or a custom time period. The reports can also now be printed or saved as beautiful PDFs. I'll admit those reports aren't something I really need hard copies of, but they are nice looking.

Lastly, version 4 adds Touch Bar support so you can work with the timer from the Touch Bar on your MacBook Pro. Manage and reset timers, and reset the session and goal counters with a tap.

Head to the Mac App Store to check out Tomates Time Management. $2.99 US isn't a bad price to pay for something that could change the way you work.


The Clamshell iBook G3

Close your eyes and picture a Mac laptop. It has a small screen in a case unique among a sea of PC notebooks. It runs without a fan, and has impressive battery life. The trackpad is smooth and the keyboard is responsive.

Now open your eyes. Is this what you had in mind?

Let's talk about the original "Clamshell" iBook.

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The Mac mini Family Tree

Four members of the Mac mini family.

Four members of the Mac mini family.

"The Mac mini is BYODKM," Steve Jobs said, in front of a crowded and slightly confused audience at Macworld 2005.

"Bring your own display, keyboard and mouse," he continued. "We supply the computer, you supply the rest."

The Mac mini was designed to lure switchers to the platform. A new customer could simply unplug their desktop PC and hook a new Mac mini up to their existing peripherals.1

The original machine started at just $499, making the Mac mini the lowest-cost Mac Apple has ever sold.

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Switch Your AirPods Connection Easily with Tooth Fairy

It’s become no secret that I, along with countless others, am absolutely in love with my AirPods. I’ve only had them for a couple of weeks, but I’ve already built a habit of keeping them in my ears for hours on end, switching between my iPhone and Mac to catch up on podcasts, listen to music, and watch YouTube videos.

And while one of the best parts of AirPods is that they are already set up on all your iCloud devices after the first pairing, the need to dive into the Bluetooth menus to connect them on the Mac can waste a frustrating few seconds. For a much quicker and more convenient switching process, I’ve been using Tooth Fairy on the Mac.

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New MacBook Pro Touch Bar, T1 Chip Run on a Variant of watchOS

Interesting findings by Steve Troughton-Smith: the Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro appears to be running on a variant of watchOS under the hood, with the T1 SoC handling security (primarily) for Touch ID as well as the bridge between macOS and the Touch Bar (over a USB connection).

This lines up with what I heard ahead of the event – that Apple would embed a SoC reminiscent of the Apple Watch S1 in the new MacBook Pros – but the implications of what Apple did with the T1 chip and the Touch Bar run deeper than I expected.

For one, macOS can now leverage years of security that went into honing the Secure Enclave and Touch ID on iOS – all while working with an ARM architecture inside the MacBook Pro instead of x86. And it even seems like the T1 is driving the iSight camera (for security purposes) and that it may render certain UI elements on the Touch Bar directly instead of delegating that to macOS (again, for security). And when macOS isn't running, watchOS alone can render UI on the Touch Bar (likely for Boot Camp).

It's fascinating to think that part of watchOS (which has been optimized for low power consumption and lightweight touch UIs) is being used to power a marquee hardware feature of the new MacBook Pros. And even more intriguing is the idea of watchOS and years of investment in iOS security helping make Macs more secure – it's not too absurd to imagine that future T-series chips may drive security of other Mac input methods.

I collected some of the most interesting tweets about this below, so you can read the technical bits for yourself.

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Apple’s October 27 Keynote by the Numbers

At Apple's "Hello Again" keynote Thursday, the company continued its tradition of letting the public in on its most important figures. Whether it was a recap of user and sales numbers or figures regarding the new products, Apple gave us plenty of numbers to digest.

Here's a list of significant facts and figures from Apple.

13-Inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
- 14.9 mm thick
- 23% less volume than previous generation
- 3 pounds
- 2x faster graphics
- Up to 2x faster storage
- 103% faster gaming performance
- 76% faster video editing performance
- 76% faster 3D graphics performance
- Starts at $1799

13-Inch MacBook Pro
- 13% smaller in volume than the MacBook Air
- 12% thinner than the MacBook Air
- Starts at $1499

15-Inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
- 15.5 mm thick
- 20% less volume than previous generation
- 4 pounds
- 2.3x faster graphics
- 130% faster 3D graphics performance
- 60% faster gaming performance
- Can power 2 5K displays
- Starts at $2399

MacBook Pro Displays
- 67% brighter
- 67% higher contrast ratio
- 25% more colors

MacBook Pro Bodies
- 2x larger trackpad
- 2nd-generation butterfly switches
- 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports on the 13-inch and 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros
- 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports on the 13-inch MacBook Pro

Misc.
- 400 million have "viewed and enjoyed" Memories on iPhone
- 60% of iOS users are on iOS 10, with 32% on iOS 9
- Currently, there are over 1600 apps from video content providers on Apple TV
- There are over 8000 Apple TV apps in the App Store
- This is the 25th anniversary of Apple's first notebook, the PowerBook

You can also follow all of the MacStories coverage of today's Apple's keynote through our October 27 Keynote hub , or subscribe to the dedicated October 27 Keynote RSS feed.