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Posts tagged with "macbook pro"

Logitech’s Casa Pop-Up Desk Elevates Your MacBook for More Comfortable Computing

When I’m sitting at home in my office, the ergonomics are perfect. I have a comfortable chair with plenty of back support, my keyboard is at the right height, and my Studio Display is at eye level. The trouble is, that’s not the only place I work or want to work. As a result, I spend time almost daily using a laptop in less-than-ideal conditions. That’s why I was eager to try the Logitech’s Casa Pop-Up Desk that debuted in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand last summer and is now available in North America, too.

Logitech sent me the Casa to test, and I’ve been using it on and off throughout the past 10 days as I work at home, away from my desk, and in various other locations. No portable desktop setup is going to rival the ergonomics of my home office, but despite a few downsides, I’ve been impressed with the Casa. By making it more comfortable to use my laptop anywhere, the Casa has enabled me to get away from my desk more often, which has been wonderful as the weather begins to warm up.

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Jason Snell’s Hands-On with the M3 MacBook Pros and iMac

Jason Snell of Six Colors got a sneak peek at the new Macs announced at yesterday’s Scary Fast Apple event. A lot of specs were thrown around by the company yesterday, but a software feature called Dynamic Caching really stood out because it’s clear that Apple is doing all it can to squeeze every bit of performance out of its GPUs. Jason’s explanation of how it works is excellent:

There’s also a big new feature Apple is calling Dynamic Caching. Put very simply, Apple’s chip engineers were extremely motivated to eke out even more performance from their graphics subsystem—and found that the way memory was traditionally allocated was inefficient. Memory is usually allocated to different threads at compile time, meaning that some threads allocate a larger amount of memory in order to handle peak need, while other threads might choose a smaller amount of memory but risk a bottleneck.

The M3’s graphics system dynamically allocates the memory per thread in a way that’s completely transparent to software developers. Apps don’t need to be rewritten to take advantage of the new system, which Apple says makes some huge gains by wringing a lot of memory efficiency out of the system. Memory that was previously reserved for a specific thread can be given to a different thread instead. A thread that’s in a bottleneck can be given more space. It’s all to the goal of increasing overall throughput.

The fact that these improvements come ‘for free,’ meaning developers don’t have to change their apps or games to take advantage of Dynamic Caching, is at least as important as the efficiency gains enabled by the technology. Especially when it comes to things like videogames, the more Apple can do to make it easy for developers to take advantage of Apple silicon Macs, the better.

Jason also got some hands-on time with the new MacBook Pros, including the new Space Black model:

I got my greasy monkey paws on a Space Black laptop and can report that Apple’s as good as its word in the sense that it seems generally more resistant to fingerprints and other smudges.

But I don’t want to exaggerate this feature: you can still see fingerprints. They just aren’t as prominent. This is a progressive improvement over something like the Midnight M2 MacBook Air, but it’s not a cure-all.

Despite its name, Jason reports that Space Black is more gray than black, but it’s still a noticeable shift from Space Gray.

With the details of the new Macs dissected, it’s going to be interesting to see how the M3 MacBook Pro’s latest CPU and GPU configurations perform relative to the M2 models that were released at the beginning of the year. As Jason also points out, the benchmarks we see from the new laptops and the M3 iMac should give us a good idea of how M3 MacBook Airs, Mac minis, and Mac Studios will perform when it’s their turn to be updated.

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Apple’s October 2023 Scary Fast Event: All The Small Things

Apple’s presentation moved fast this evening, and since the event concluded, more details have emerged about everything announced. We’ve been combing Apple’s product pages, social media, and other sources to learn more about everything announced, which we’ve collected below:

  • The 13” MacBook Pro with Touch Bar has been officially discontinued and is no longer available for sale, marking the end of the Touch Bar era at Apple.
  • None of the desktop accessories for the iMac – Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, and Magic Keyboard – were updated with a USB-C connector (or any other features).

  • The new ‘Space Black’ color of the 14” and 16” MacBook Pros with M3 Pro and M3 Max chips is apparently not so black, based on first impressions from people who saw it in person already.

  • Speaking of the color black, Apple now sells a 2-meter, black USB-C to MagSafe cable.

  • As it turns out, ‘Scary Fast’ was applicable not only to the new M3 series chips unveiled today but also the unusually short runtime of the event, which clocked in at 30:32, judging from the presentation’s YouTube video.

  • The event video was shot on an iPhone 15 Pro Max and edited on a Mac.

Not a very long list this time around, but at just over 30 minutes and no new accessories, there weren’t many tidbits surrounding this event I’m afraid.


You can follow all of our October 2023 Apple event coverage through our October 2023 Apple event hub or subscribe to the dedicated October 2023 Apple event RSS feed.


Apple’s October 2023 Scary Fast Event: By the Numbers

Today’s Scary Fast online Apple event was packed with facts, figures, and statistics throughout the presentation and elsewhere. We’ve pulled together the highlights.

M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max Chips

  • These are the first chips built on a 3-nanometer process.
  • This process can fit up to 2 million transistors in the cross-section of a human hair.
  • The M3 architecture grants up to 2.5x faster performance than the M1 generation.
  • The M3 CPU’s performance cores are 30% faster than M1 and 15% faster than M2; the efficiency cores are 50% faster than M1.
  • The Neural Engine is faster and more efficient in M3 as well. Specifically, it’s 60% faster than M1 and 15% faster than M2.
  • The M3 Max chip is up to 80% faster than the M1 Max.
  • The M3 has 25 billion transistors, while the M3 Pro has 37 billion, and the M3 Max has 92 billion.

MacBook Pro

  • The M3 Max MacBook Pro supports up to 128 GB of unified memory and 8 TB of storage, with a maximum 16-core CPU and 40-core GPU.
  • The M3 MacBook Pro can run for up to 22 hours on one charge, playing movies using the Apple TV app.
  • The new MacBook Pros are up to 11x faster than the last Intel-based models.

iMac

  • The M3 iMac is 2x faster than the M1 model, 2.5x faster than the 27-inch Intel model, and 4x faster than the 21.5-inch Intel-based iMac.
  • The M3 iMac has a 4.5K Retina display and features a 6-speaker sound system.
  • Apple offers up to 24 GB of unified memory and 2 TB of storage in the M3 iMac.

You can follow all of our October 2023 Apple event coverage through our October 2023 Apple event hub or subscribe to the dedicated October 2023 Apple event RSS feed.


Apple Introduces the New MacBook Pro in Three M3 Chip Configurations

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about the rollout of Apple silicon Macs is that the old rules don’t apply, and the new ones are still being written. The cadence of releases is still settling in, and today, in the face of speculation that Apple was struggling to release M3 Macs, Apple made it clear that not one, but three 3 nanometer process-based chips are ready to ship. Along with the M3 iMac, the company refreshed its entire lineup of MacBook Pros, computers that gained the M2 chip less than a year ago.

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The New M2 Mac mini and MacBook Pros

Source Apple

Source Apple

Reviews of the new M2-based Mac minis and MacBook Pros are out, and of the two computers, the mini is the one that I find the most interesting. With Apple silicon no longer limited to the entry-level mini, it’s now possible to spec the tiny desktop so it rivals some configurations of the M1 Mac Studio, leading The Verge’s Chris Welsh to dub the higher-end mini configuration the ‘Mac Studio junior.’

That’s a great way to look at that model, but it also fills many more roles than just the slot immediately beneath the Mac Studio. As Dan Moren of Six Colors explains:

It’s hard to argue that the mini’s versatility isn’t the biggest part of why the product is still going strong, nigh on two decades after its debut. If the iMac, the Mac Studio, and the still-waiting-in-the-wings Apple silicon Mac Pro are the bricks of Apple’s Mac lineup, the Mac mini is the mortar, with its various configurations filling the gaps in between.

Welch strikes a similar note:

But remember that there’s no such thing (yet) as an iMac with an M2 Pro inside. So for anyone who wants a Mac desktop but finds the Mac Studio to be overkill — and it’s exactly that for many use cases — this M2 Pro Mini could make a ton of sense. And it doesn’t cost anywhere near as much.

I’ve owned the 2009 and 2014 Mac minis, as well as a fully-spec’d 2018 Mac mini, which I’m still running as a home server. I’ve also tested the M1 version of the mini. It’s safe to say that I’m a big fan of Apple’s tiniest desktop machine, which started as a way to attract Windows users into the Mac universe with a modestly-powered and priced desktop. That original mini has morphed into a Mac that now fulfills a remarkably broad spectrum of use cases. I’m sure that if I weren’t using an M1 Max Mac Studio, I’d have an M1 Pro Mac mini with 32 GB of unified memory, a 4 TB SSD, and 10 Gigabit Ethernet on my desk instead.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

The M2 MacBook Pro is less interesting than the mini, not because it’s a less capable computer, but because the design is identical to the M1 version of the laptop and the speed gains are incremental over those models. Of course, as Jason Snell points out on Six Colors, most users won’t be upgrading from an M1 MacBook Pro to the M2 model, and for them, the jump will be significant and worthwhile:

The fact remains, though: If you want the very best laptop Apple has to offer, the MacBook Pro will not disappoint you. The M1 models were great in late 2021, and these new M2 models are even better—albeit incrementally so.

I’m fascinated with Apple’s gaming narrative. Ever since WWDC, Apple has touted Metal 3 and the M1, and now, M2’s videogame performance. There aren’t a lot of games that take advantage of Metal 3 yet, so it’s still hard to judge how Apple’s computers stack up to their PC counterparts, so I was particularly intrigued by Monica Chin’s imperfect, but insightful take on how the MacBook Pro with M2 Max’s performance compares to gaming laptops that she’s tested for The Verge:

I think — put the pitchforks away, I know these are totally different things and there are all sorts of problems with this comparison — that the simplest way to think of the MacBook Pro with M2 Max is as the addition of an RTX 3070 GPU. It’s not quite providing the frame rates that we’ve seen from the biggest RTX 3070 computers out there (MSI’s GS76 gave us 114fps, for example) but it’s not too far off, and it’s well above what we’d expect to see from an RTX 3060 gaming machine. The M2 Pro Mac Mini, which only put up 62fps on Tomb Raider, is closer to RTX 3050 territory.

There are far more economical ways to achieve that sort of gaming performance than buying a MacBook Pro, but it’s still interesting to see where the laptop falls on the gaming spectrum because it speaks directly to the capabilities of its GPU. As with the M1-based MacBook Pros, the M2 models also distinguish themselves compared to the MacBook Air by their superior displays, higher memory configurations, the wider variety of ports, and ability to drive multiple external displays.

If there’s anything missing from Apple’s current laptop lineup, it’s the ability to configure a laptop with the horsepower of an Air but the memory and storage capacities and screen of the MacBook Pro. I think there are a lot of ‘pro’ uses for a laptop that would benefit from that sort of configuration but don’t require a lot of raw CPU or GPU performance. However, given the lines along which Apple distinguishes its ‘Pro’ laptops from the Air, I’m not holding my breath waiting for it.


Apple Updates the MacBook Pro and Mac mini with New Chipsets and Other Features

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Today, Apple announced new MacBook Pro 14” and 16” models and a new Mac mini via press releases and a video on its YouTube channel. The new laptops are available in M2 Pro and Max chip configurations and feature faster memory bandwidth, WiFi 6E, and the same design as the models they replace. The Mac mini has also been updated to add the M2 and M2 Pro options, as well as other features.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

In its press release, Apple had this to say about the new M2 Pro and M2 Max SoCs:

M2 Pro scales up the architecture of M2 to deliver an up to 12-core CPU and up to 19-core GPU, together with up to 32GB of fast unified memory. M2 Max builds on the capabilities of M2 Pro, including an up to 38-core GPU, double the unified memory bandwidth, and up to 96GB of unified memory. Its industry-leading performance per watt makes it the world’s most powerful and power-efficient chip for a pro laptop.

The 13” MacBook Pro and MacBook Air were upgraded to the base model M2 last year, but the laptops announced today are the first to include the Pro and Max versions of that SoC. Regarding the MacBook Pro, Apple says:

With M2 Pro and M2 Max — the world’s most powerful and efficient chip for a pro laptop — MacBook Pro tackles demanding tasks, like effects rendering, which is up to 6x faster than the fastest Intel-based MacBook Pro, and color grading, which is up to 2x faster. Building on the unprecedented power efficiency of Apple silicon, battery life on MacBook Pro is now up to 22 hours — the longest battery life ever in a Mac. For enhanced connectivity, the new MacBook Pro supports Wi-Fi 6E, which is up to twice as fast as the previous generation, as well as advanced HDMI, which supports 8K displays for the first time. With up to 96GB of unified memory in the M2 Max model, creators can work on scenes so large that PC laptops can’t even run them.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

The MacBook Pro with M2 Pro comes in 10 and 12-core CPU configurations that Apple says deliver up to 20% faster performance than the M1 Pro, about what you’d expect from an SoC with 20% more cores. The laptops can be configured with up to 32GB of unified memory that has 200GB/s of bandwidth, which is double the standard M2. The GPU has 19 cores and delivers 30% faster performance, according to Apple. The laptop also features Apple’s media engine that handles encoding and decoding video.

The M2 Max version of the MacBook Pro can be configured with up to 38 GPU cores for what Apple says is 30% better performance than the M1 Max, while the CPU has 12 cores. The MacBook Pro with M2 Max also supports up to 96GB of unified memory with 400GB/s of bandwidth.

Source: Apple.

Source: Apple.

Apple also updated the Mac mini today. Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said:

With incredible capabilities and a wide array of connectivity in its compact design, Mac mini is used in so many places, in so many different ways. Today, we’re excited to take it even further with M2 and M2 Pro. Bringing even more performance and a lower starting price, Mac mini with M2 is a tremendous value. And for users who need powerful pro performance, Mac mini with M2 Pro is unlike any other desktop in its class.

The Mac mini, which was among the first Macs to be updated to the M1, is gaining an M2 SoC, with an option to configure the desktop Mac with an M2 Pro. The M2 mini has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and the Pro version comes with a total of four. The M2 model can power two displays, and the Pro model three.

The updates bring WiFi 6E to all of the Macs announced today for the first time too. The only other devices Apple makes that support the faster wireless networking standard are the 11” and 12.9” iPad Pros.

These look like solid updates across the board, but I’m especially interested in the Mac mini, which seems to be the best value among the Macs announced today.

Both Macs can be preordered today, with deliveries starting January 24th.


M2 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro: The MacStories Overview

Yesterday during their WWDC keynote event, Apple unveiled the updated M2 Apple Silicon chip. While the M2 might not be quite as revolutionary of an upgrade as the M1 was over previous Intel chips, it’s still a very solid year-over-year improvement which continues to boost Apple ahead of the competition.

Debuting with the M2 inside are the all-new MacBook Air and the upgraded 13” MacBook Pro. While the MacBook Pro has very few changes other than the new processor, the MacBook Air sports a completely new industrial design. Let’s take a look at Apple’s latest entires into the Mac lineup.

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Rediscovering the Mac: An iPad User’s Journey into macOS with the M1 Max MacBook Pro

The 14" M1 Max MacBook Pro.

The 14” M1 Max MacBook Pro.

For the past few months, I’ve been living a double life.

Most of you probably know me as “the iPad guy”. And rightfully so: the iPad – more specifically, the iPad Pro – is my favorite computer Apple’s ever made; my coverage of iPad, iPad apps, and, later, iPadOS has far exceeded everything else on MacStories for the last 10 years. I’ve long considered myself primarily an iPad user and someone who strongly believes in the platform because there’s nothing else like it. I don’t think I need to tell that story again.

For these reasons, as you can imagine, when Apple got in touch with me last November asking if I wanted to try out one of the new MacBook Pros with the M1 Max chip, I welcomed their suggestion with a mix of surprise, trepidation, and, frankly, genuine curiosity. What could I, a longtime iPad user, even contribute to the discourse surrounding the comeback of the Mac lineup, the performance of Apple silicon, and the reality of modern Mac apps?

But I was intrigued by the proposal regardless, and I said yes. I was very skeptical of this experiment – and I told Apple as much – but there were a few factors that influenced my decision.

First and foremost, as many of you have probably noticed, I’ve grown increasingly concerned with the lack of pro software (both apps and OS features) in the iPad Pro lineup. As I wrote in my review last year, iPadOS 15 was, by and large, a quality-of-life update that made iPadOS more approchable without breaking any new ground for existing pro users of the platform. As much as I love the iPad, at some point I have to face its current reality: if Apple thinks iPadOS isn’t a good fit for the kind of functionalities people like me need, that’s fine, but perhaps it’s time to try something else. If my requirements are no longer aligned with Apple’s priorities for iPadOS, I can switch to a different computer. That’s why I believe 2022 – and the upcoming WWDC – will be a make-or-break year for iPad software. And I don’t think I’m the only iPad user who has felt this way.

Second, the arrival of Shortcuts on macOS Monterey gave me an opportunity to expand and rethink another major area of coverage for MacStories, which is automation. Along with iPad and iOS, I consider Shortcuts the third “pillar” of what I do at MacStories: with the Shortcuts Archive, Shortcuts Corner and Automation Academy on Club MacStories, and Automation April, I’m invested in the Shortcuts ecosystem and I know that our readers depend on us to push the boundaries of what’s possible with it. With Shortcuts on macOS, I felt a responsibility to start optimizing my shortcuts for Mac users. That meant learning the details of the Shortcuts app for Mac and, as a result, use macOS more. From that perspective, Apple’s review unit couldn’t have come at a better time.

Third, and perhaps most important to me and least helpful for you all, is one of my greatest fears: becoming irrelevant in what I do. As a writer, I guess I shouldn’t say this; I should say that I write for me, and that I would write regardless, even if nobody read my stuff. But as a business owner and someone who’s gotten used to having a medium-sized audience, that would be a lie. I love the fact that I can write for my readers and get feedback in return. I love that I can write something that is wrong and be corrected by someone. I don’t want to lose that. Do you know what’s a really easy way to make it happen? Grow into someone who’s stuck in their ways, only writes about a certain topic, and doesn’t think anything else is worth trying or even remotely considering. In my case, I don’t want to look back at MacStories in 10 years and regret I didn’t at least try macOS again because I was “the iPad guy” and I was “supposed to” only write about a specific topic. I make the rules. And the rule is that curiosity is my fuel and I was curious to use macOS again.

So that’s my context. For the past six months, I’ve been using my MacBook Pro instead of the iPad Pro to get my work done on a daily basis. I’ve kept using the iPad Pro to test my shortcuts, read articles, and write in places where I didn’t have enough room for a MacBook, but, by and large, I’ve lived the macOS lifestyle for half a year by now.

As we head into WWDC, here’s my story on how this experiment went.

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