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Posts tagged with "macbook air"

Yep, Apple’s ‘Stickers’ Ad Gave MacBook Sticker Sellers a Huge Boost

When Apple published their new ‘Stickers’ ad for the MacBook Air last week, I presumed it would be a boon for sellers of MacBook stickers and decals. So earlier this week I decided to reach out to a few sellers of MacBook stickers and decals to see what kind of impact the ad from Apple has had on their store visits and sales.

Now this was not an in-depth investigation and the result is probably what you would have guessed: visits and sales rose dramatically last week when Apple’s ad was released. It was the universal reaction I got from the sellers I talked to.

One of the sellers that was willing to give me more detailed information was Benjamin Clark from The Decal Guru. They saw a quadrupling of orders for MacBook decals since the airing of Apple’s ad. In terms of unique visitors they saw an increase from a steady 500 per day (prior to the ad) to 4,500 at its highest last week.

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Stickers Are Front and Center in Apple’s New MacBook Air Ad

Apple today posted a new ad for the MacBook Air, and it has a very different style to what we’ve seen in recent MacBook ads. Titled ‘Stickers’, this short and simple ad, filmed mostly with stop-motion, focuses on the back of the MacBook Air’s display where it is covered in dozens of different stickers. The ad features music from Hudson Mohawke and ends with the slogan “The notebook people love”.

You can view the full advert below, on Apple’s website or on their YouTube channel.

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Apple Refreshes MacBook Air With Faster Processor, Cuts Prices In Some Countries

Apple this morning refreshed their MacBook Air models with the latest generation of Intel’s Haswell processors. The new processors give the MacBook Air a slight speed bump, taking them from 1.3GHz to 1.4GHz (and Turbo Boost from 2.6GHz to 2.7GHz). The refreshed models are otherwise the same, offering 128GB or 256GB storage, 4GB of RAM and Intel HD Graphics 5000. Built to order machine options are also unchanged, with upgrades of 8GB of RAM, 512GB storage and a 1.5GHz i7 Processor available.

“With MacBook Air starting at $899, there’s no reason to settle for anything less than a Mac,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Macs have never been more popular, and today we’ve boosted the performance and lowered the price of MacBook Air so even more people can experience the perfect everyday notebook.”

The four preconfigured models have all taken a $100 price cut in the United States - but those price cuts have not translated to every region, with Australia being one region where the prices of the models stay the same. But that can be explained by the recent weakness in the Australian dollar. The below graph illustrates the comparison between US prices and Australian prices, after converting the Australian prices to a 2014 average of the US Dollar and removing GST (which are included in the Australian prices).

The new MacBook Air models are available for purchase now. You can read Apple’s press release here.

Here’s to Another Five Years

Apple wasn’t a brand that my friends and I conversed about in high school, our infatuation being PCs that weren’t Dell and graphics cards and the latest processors and Counter Strike. Apple was a part of my life insofar that they were the guys who made the cool MP3 players. I had an iPod video, and later an iPod touch, but I knew nothing of Steve Jobs. Macs were also unknown to me, but later I would realize that I used an iMac G3 with the weird puck mouse a few times in middle school. In my junior and senior years one of my classmates had the first iPhone, but it was just an iPod with a phone[1].

It wasn’t until after I graduated that Apple became a thing. No one knew it at the time, but 2008 was the last year that Apple would offer the polycarbonate MacBook in black. I remember having this sort of sudden fascination with it: how simple[2] it was, how different it was. This would be my college laptop, despite being in a price range that was out of budget and running an operating system that I wasn’t familiar with.

When the sales tax holiday came around, I made the decision to go all-in. I purchased the fully loaded MacBook in black, complete with an incredible 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo processor[3], 4 GBs of memory, and 250 GBs of storage. Being my first laptop, I also purchased an AirPort Extreme so I could have Wi-Fi in the house. The Apple Store was accommodating between me and my overprotective bank, letting me use their phone behind the counter since my Nextel Motorola had no reception.

While the purchase itself was an experience, it wasn’t until I got home that I fully began to appreciate what I had in my hands. Out of the box the laptop was charged and ready to use. There was a prompt to sign up for MobileMe, but otherwise the laptop had no stickers or bloatware. Everything about it was perfect[4].

My MacBook, which I would come to call the BlackBook, had an unbelievable impact on how I thought about computers. It didn’t have the most powerful guts, but it had a great keyboard and trackpad, and the display was pretty good. I thought the MagSafe Power Adapter was brilliant, the magnetic connector certainly saving my bacon plenty of times in the classroom as the cord was sometimes yanked by a wild knee. The sleep indicator light became a reassuring delightful detail. All of those little details really added up.

The BlackBook would be the computer that soldiered on. A hard drive died, a replacement solid state drive died[5], and I upgraded the memory to an unrecommended six gigabytes, keeping it current. I replaced the battery in its third year and I’m probably due for another replacement. The fan started making noises in its fourth year but it never ceased to function so I tolerated it. It didn’t run Mountain Lion, but it did run Lion and that was good enough until Mavericks[6] was announced.

Thinking back, the black model was a good choice. Unlike the white MacBooks, cracks that developed in the surrounding bezel didn’t show as well. The black never did end up looking dirty, although fingerprints were constantly a problem. The oils from my wrists have stained the plastic making the black appear blacker and slick. It stood out from the crowd and it continues to look impressively modern. The keyboard, the trackpad, and the quality of the laptop itself far exceeded my expectations. The keys still feel just as good as they did when I first bought it. The trackpad’s button no longer has that new-click-feel, but it still works just as it always has.

I’ve repaired a lot of laptops of all shapes and sizes for spare cash in college. In 2013, no one else does two finger scrolling well. Apple was getting it right in 2008.

It was because of the BlackBook that I would eventually find myself watching Apple Keynotes in the back of the classroom while the professor was lecturing, and it was because of the BlackBook that I started creating my own WordPress site which eventually led to this one. Little did I know that I would end up using the laptop for an extended four years in college, and it was the machine I would continue to use for a year afterwards. Needless to say that it has been a significant part of my young adult life.

As much as I don’t want to give it up it’s finally showing its age. I will open up the case and blow the dust out and replace the fan. I’ll reapply thermal compound to the processor and reassemble the heat sink so that the laptop runs cooler. It still has life in it.

But it’s time to say goodbye. Five years is a long time to own a computer, and it’s impressive how well the BlackBook withstood the test of time. Apple is moving forward and I’m ready to embrace the latest they have to offer. Needless to say that Apple has made me a fan for life.

Today I’m using a new Mac, the latest MacBook Air, and it’s even more wonderful than the first. It has backlit keys that adjust to ambient lighting and new function keys I’m not used to and an even better display. There’s no button on the trackpad and my headphones finally work with the combination headphone + microphone port. It has USB3 and Thunderbolt, significantly faster interfaces than USB2 and FireWire. And the battery life is amazing[7]; I can use my laptop for two or three days without having to charge it. It’s never gotten hot, and I haven’t heard the fan even after watching hours of streaming video from my favorite websites. Being my first aluminum Mac, I can’t help but appreciate what a marvel of engineering this is.

Here’s to another five years.

  1. But it was just an iPod with a phone. Oh my god how naive! ↩︎
  2. I dismissed the Powerbook because I thought the keyboard looked weird and because the lid wasn’t magnetic. Because latches were so passé in 2008. The other alternatives were PCs that were running Windows Vista and underpowered netbooks. ↩︎
  3. Apple then released the aluminum MacBook in October that had an Nvidia chipset instead of the basic Intel chipset. Thus I learned a hard lesson in Apple release cycles. ↩︎
  4. The computer I had throughout high school was a Compaq desktop that my uncle had picked out and my grandmother then purchased when she visited in the summer of 2004. It was also quite the beast, having a 2.5 GHz Celeron D processor, one gigabyte of memory, and 40 GBs of storage. This was when ribbon cables were still the norm. It’s fitting that a Compaq was my first computer as Tim Cook is now the CEO of Apple. What a coincidence. ↩︎
  5. The MacBook had a first revision Serial ATA interface for the hard drive, so I couldn’t take full advantage of a SSD. However, the read and write speeds are still so much faster than a mechanical drive that it was like breathing new life into the machine. And to think today’s MacBook Airs have PCIe-based flash storage. ↩︎
  6. OS X Mavericks fixes all of the things that didn’t work quite right in Lion. ↩︎
  7. I swear that the battery on this MacBook Air lasts longer than my iPad. I can’t wait for this to be the standard. ↩︎

Thoughts on the New AirPort Extreme

Thomas Brand of Egg Freckles thinking out loud about Apple’s latest AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule.

In the era of Post-PC computing I would like to see an AirPort Extreme of Time Capsule that do more than just desktop backup and wireless networking. A central household cache for iTunes streaming, App Store downloads, and iCloud backups would be a great start. Maybe next year we will see another vertically oriented white box that does just that.

When iCloud Backups became a thing that we started seeing on rumor blogs, I remember quite a few of us positing that our AirPort devices would become an important piece in that equation. We were wrong, but it’s not hard to imagine an iPhone or iPad syncing to a Time Capsule in the same manner that our Macs do with scheduled Time Machine backups.

You can come close to a proposed solution like this today. Take any old USB hard drive, copy your iTunes data to it, plug it in your AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule, and you’re off to the races. Although loading an iTunes library over a network is so slow there’s really no benefit.

The big con in doing any of this of course is what happens when the hard drive in that Time Capsule dies. If all of your music and mobile backups are on this thing you’re suddenly hosed unless Apple has some cloud storage or RAID solution in mind. This is why I think our Macs and iTunes continues to be the gateway for syncing and backing up our iOS devices — data is at least redundantly stored on both your Mac and Time Capsule.

Although Apple claims the vertical departure from the previous AirPort Extreme’s six-year-old design was choosen for better reception, I tend to think it was a cost cutting measure. The new AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule share the same enclosure along designed around the same 3.5 inch hard drive. The added price of the Time Capsule gets you nothing more than said drive, and the cables needed to connect it. Saving Apple millions on duplicate parts.

I forgot who said it, but the theory I like the most is that the new AirPort Extreme design keeps people from stacking crap on top it.


So What’s New With Apple’s MacBook Air?


Image credit: iFixit

Apple’s new 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs now last 9 and 12 hours on battery respectively, a 4 and 5 hour improvement over the previous generation. Lots of sites have started poking and prodding at the new machines, including iFixit, known for their great do-it-yourself gadget repair manuals.

iFixit’s (mid 2013) 13-inch MacBook Air teardown

Last year’s 7.3V, 6700 mAh battery has been supplanted by a new 7.6V 7150 mAh battery. Apple noted that Flash storage was 45% faster in this revision, and that’s due to the move from a SATA based solid state drive to a PCI Express based SSD. The AirPort card has also been updated to support 802.11ac. It’s still a very proprietary machine: RAM is soldered onto the logic board and many components aren’t meant to be user replaceable or upgradeable, despite otherwise easy access to its insides.

 Wired on how Haswell saves so much power

The MacBook Air is packing a big battery, but those substantial energy savings are owned to Intel’s latest round of fourth-generation processors, known as Haswell. The new Haswell chips in today’s MBAs are part of a special low-voltage series of chips designed specifically for Ultrabooks, which Intel claims is twice as energy efficient as the previous generation.

AnandTech quick and dirty benchmarks

Something to keep in mind is that the new Haswell chips in Apple’s MacBook Airs are officially Intel HD 5000 based and not Iris.

Macworld puts the new MacBook Air through read and write paces

Macworld has the most comprehensive benchmarks at the moment, showing that the new MacBook Airs get substantially better read and write speeds with their new PCIe based SSDs. However, Haswell is pretty much in line performance-wise with the last generation of processors.

Apple Tweaks Prices and CPUs of MacBook Pro, MacBook Air Lines

Apple Tweaks Prices and CPUs of MacBook Pro, MacBook Air Lines

With a press release published this morning, Apple has announced they have updated the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lines with new prices and faster processors.

Apple is making the MacBook Pro with Retina display faster and more affordable with updated processors and lower starting prices. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display now starts at $1,499 for 128GB of flash, and $1,699 for a new 2.6 GHz processor and 256GB of flash. The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display now features a faster 2.4 GHz quad-core processor, and the top-of-the-line 15-inch notebook comes with a new 2.7 GHz quad-core processor and 16GB of memory. Apple today also announced that the 13-inch MacBook Air® with 256GB of flash has a new lower price of $1,399.

Thanks to @setteBIT, here’s a quick rundown of the changes: the 13” MacBook Pro with Retina Display is now $200 and $300 cheaper for the 128 GB and 256 GB (with SSD) models, respectively; the CPU has been bumped from 2.5 GHz to 2.6 GHz. The price difference in Euros is €250 and €350. The 13” MacBook Air with 256 GB SSD is now $100 cheaper (€150).

The 13” MacBook Pro with Retina Display was announced on October 23, 2012 – 113 days ago; the 15” MacBook Pro with Retina display was announced at WWDC ‘12 – 247 days ago.

In the first fiscal quarter of 2013, Apple sold 4.1 million Macs. It’s unclear whether Apple might have been able to lower the prices of Retina MacBook Pro (while offering faster performances) due to possible reductions of component prices (i.e. high-resolution displays), but the timing is interesting: just a few days ago, Apple and other tech companies (such as Adobe) were summoned to appear before the Federal Australian Parliamentary Committee that has been investigating IT pricing in Australia. In response to the inquiry, Adobe promptly dropped the price of its Creative Cloud service.


Apple Announces New MacBook Airs: Ivy Bridge, USB 3, and More

Today at Apple’s WWDC 2012 Keynote, Phil Schiller announced the updated MacBook Air, featuring Intel Ivy Bridge processors, more RAM, a pair of USB 3 ports, faster flash storage for high speed performance (500 MBps read speed), 60% faster graphics, and an updated FaceTime camera that can record up to 720p.

The 11-inch base model MacBook Air starts with a 1366x768 display, 1.7 GHz dual-core i5 processor, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB of flash storage, Intel HD Graphics 4000, and 5 hours of battery life, starting at $999.

The larger 13-inch base configuration features a 1440x900 display, 1.8 GHz dual-core i5 processor, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB of flash storage, Intel HD Graphics 4000, and 7 hours of battery life, starting at $1199.

The MacBook Airs can be updated with a 2 GHz core-i7 processor (with Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz), 8 GB of RAM, and 512 GBs of flash storage.

The updated MacBook Airs start shipping today. Customers who purchase a MacBook Air will be eligible for a free upgrade to Mountain Lion when it’s released. You’ll find the full press release after the break.

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The 15-inch MacBook Air Appears on the Horizon

MacBook Air

MacBook Air

Rumor has it that Apple’s current lineup is going to be refreshed early next year with a new addition to the Air family. Digitimes reports that panel suppliers are currently pumping out 11.6-inch, 13.3-inch, and 15-inch displays for inclusion in the next lineup of MacBook Airs.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple added a big brother to the MacBook Air family. Morgan Stanely and NPD figures are estimating that the MacBook Air now accounts for 28% of Apple’s notebook shipments as of October. MacBook Airs are selling in volumes.

The latest 15-inch rumor comes just two weeks after Digitimes reported a new 15-inch model was slated for March, as upstream suppliers started moving components.

Estimated by the product planning, mass shipments of the notebook device will start in March and could be cataloged in either the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro line and could be cataloged in either the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro line.

Apple’s 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs were last updated in July with Sandy Bridge processors and the inclusion of Thunderbolt.

It wasn’t known at the time if the 15-inch model was for a slimmer MacBook Pro or an updated MacBook Air. It looks like the rumors are pointing towards the latter, and it would make sense given the popularity of Apple’s ultralight laptops. It’s previously been suggest thated Apple’s line of MacBook Pros would get thinner sooner than later, but it’s possible Apple’s going to offer a bigger Air before the Pros are reinvented. [Digitimes via Macgasm]