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Posts tagged with "macbook pro"

Apple Will Replace Faulty MacBook Keyboards Free of Charge

It wasn’t long after Apple changed the mechanisms of its MacBook keyboards that reports of sticky keys and other problems surfaced. Over time as anecdotal evidence mounted, it became apparent that the problem was widespread, but of course, only Apple knew exactly how common the issues were.

Now, in response to the keyboard problems, Apple has begun a keyboard service program to fix or replace keyboards with faulty butterfly switch mechanisms. From Apple’s support page about the program:

Apple has determined that a small percentage of the keyboards in certain MacBook and MacBook Pro models may exhibit one or more of the following behaviors:

  • Letters or characters repeat unexpectedly
  • Letters or characters do not appear
  • Key(s) feel “sticky” or do not respond in a consistent manner

The program covers MacBooks and MacBook Pro models from 2015 onward. Service is free of charge for four years after the first retail sale of the computer. To check if your model is covered, visit Apple’s support page for a complete list of eligible models.

My MacBook Pro’s keyboard hasn’t failed, but I know several people whose keyboard has, and I’ve had a few occasions where keys would become sticky for a short period. If my keyboard ever fails, I expect it will be at the most inopportune time, but at least that hassle and frustration won’t come with a big price tag too.


After Retesting, Consumer Reports Recommends the MacBook Pro

Two days ago, Apple issued a statement disputing battery life tests run on the new MacBook Pro by Consumer Reports. Based on those tests, Consumer Reports concluded it couldn’t recommend the laptop. After retesting, Consumer Reports now recommends the MacBook Pro. In a new article explaining the retesting, the publication says:

Consumer Reports has now finished retesting the battery life on Apple’s new MacBook Pro laptops, and our results show that a software update released by Apple on January 9 fixed problems we’d encountered in earlier testing.

With the updated software, the three MacBook Pros in our labs all performed well, with one model running 18.75 hours on a charge. We tested each model multiple times using the new software, following the same protocol we apply to hundreds of laptops every year.

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Apple Issues Statement Regarding Consumer Reports’ Battery Tests

Shortly before the winter holidays, Consumer Reports announced that the new MacBook Pro had failed to earn its ‘recommended’ rating due to poor battery life caused by Safari. Apple disputed the testing done by Consumer Reports and worked with it over the holidays to track down the discrepancy between its testing and Consumer Reports’ results. Today, Apple released the following statement to a handful of outlets, including iMore and The Loop:

“We appreciate the opportunity to work with Consumer Reports over the holidays to understand their battery test results,” Apple told iMore. “We learned that when testing battery life on Mac notebooks, Consumer Reports uses a hidden Safari setting for developing web sites which turns off the browser cache. This is not a setting used by customers and does not reflect real-world usage. Their use of this developer setting also triggered an obscure and intermittent bug reloading icons which created inconsistent results in their lab. After we asked Consumer Reports to run the same test using normal user settings, they told us their MacBook Pro systems consistently delivered the expected battery life. We have also fixed the bug uncovered in this test. This is the best pro notebook we’ve ever made, we respect Consumer Reports and we’re glad they decided to revisit their findings on the MacBook Pro.”

There have been reports of battery life issues with the MacBook Pro that are unrelated to Safari, but this should put the Safari issues raised by Consumer Reports to rest.


The New MacBook Pro Is Kind of Great for Hackers

Adam Geitgey:

A million hot takes have been posted about how the late-2016 MacBook Pro with USB-C is the undeniable proof that Apple doesn’t care about developers anymore. They took away all the ports! No Esc key! It’s just a more expensive MacBook Air!

But in some ways, the new MacBook Pro is the most techy and expandable laptop Apple has ever made. They are trusting their pro users to wade into murky USB-C waters in search of the holy grail of a universal, open standard for moving data and power between devices.

I’m not here to change your mind about the MacBook Pro. Yes, it’s probably too expensive and more RAM is better than less RAM. But everyone posting complaints without actually using a MBP for a few weeks is missing out on all the clever things you can do because it is built on USB-C. Over the past week or two with a new MacBook Pro (15in, 2.9ghz, TouchBar), I’ve been constantly surprised with how USB-C makes new things possible. It’s a kind of a hacker’s dream.

His examples make me wish the iPad Pro had a USB-C port to plug anything into it without having to buy adapters.

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Apple Releases ‘Bulbs’ Video

Apple posted a video on YouTube promoting the new Touch Bar MacBook Pros. The video cuts frenetically between a long line of Edison bulbs exploding down a darkened street and into the countryside, and scenes of human inventions from the discovery of fire to a robot walking down a street. The spot concludes with ‘Ideas push the world forward,’ echoing the line ‘They push the human race forward’ from Apple’s famous 1997 ‘Crazy Ones’ ad.

The ad then cuts to the line ‘Introducing a tool for all the ideas to come.’ A MacBook Pro comes into view with an Edison bulb on the screen. A hand scrubs back and forth across a slider on the Touch Bar making the video of the exploding bulb fast forward and rewind. The video does a nice job demonstrating the marquee feature of the new MacBook Pros, but an even better job, through its use of pacing, music, and editing, of giving a sense of the speed at which technology advances in what feels like an oblique response to critics of the changes made to Apple’s laptop line.

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Phil Schiller Explains Apple’s Motivation Behind the Touch Bar

The first reviews of the MacBook Pros with Touch Bars have begun to hit the web. In connection with his review of the new laptops on Backchannel, Steven Levy spoke to Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, about the motivation behind the Touch Bar and recent criticisms leveled against Apple’s new MacBook Pros.

Levy raised the perennial question of why Apple didn’t just make a touchscreen MacBook Pro. In response, Schiller told Levy it’s not possible to design for a pointing device like a touchpad or mouse and a touchscreen without designing to the lowest common denominator:

“Our instincts were that it didn’t [make sense to do a touchscreen], but, what the heck, we could be wrong—so our teams worked on that for a number of times over the years,” says Schiller. “We’ve absolutely come away with the belief that it isn’t the right thing to do. Our instincts were correct.”

Schiller also bristled at the suggestion by Levy that the Touch Bar represents what Levy characterized as the ‘overall annexation of the Macintosh platform’ by iOS. Schiller responded that the Touch Bar:

“…is pure Mac,” he said. “The thought and vision from the very beginning was not at all, ‘How do we put iOS in the Mac?’ It was entirely, ‘How to you use the [iOS] technology to make a better Mac experience?’”

I look forward to trying the Touch Bar. With it only available on one line of laptops, it remains to be seen how widely it will be supported by third-party developers, but what I’ve seen planned for Adobe’s products, Sketch, 1Password, and other apps makes me optimistic.

There’s a fine line between whether bringing iOS technology to the Mac is in the service of creating a better Mac experience or amounts, as Levy characterizes it, to ‘the annexation of the Mac platform,’ but just as certain iOS gestures made sense to bring to the touchpad, the Touch Bar feels like a natural way to migrate Mac app toolbars to the keyboard and enhance the manipulation of linear content like audio and video.

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How Apple’s Apps Will Use the Touch Bar

Good overview by Benjamin Mayo of all the Apple apps that will have Touch Bar integration on the new MacBook Pros. Apple certainly had the time to build extensive support for the new API while waiting for the new Pros to ship.

That’s a total of 23 Apple apps that live in the /Applications root folder with Touch Bar support as of the current macOS 10.12.1 build. The following apps have no Touch Bar integration as far as I could tell; App Store, Automator, Chess, Dashboard, Dictionary, DVD Player, Font Book, Image Capture, Photo Booth and Stickies. I expect all of Apple’s apps to flesh out their Touch Bar integrations in future macOS update.

See also: Steve Troughton-Smith’s utility to grab a screenshot of the currently active app in the Touch Bar.

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Phil Schiller Discusses the MacBook Pro

Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing, Phil Schiller, sat down for an interview with The Independent after the October 27th Apple event to discuss the new MacBook Pro. Schiller and David Phelan of The Independent discussed a wide range of MacBook-related topics, including the evolution of Apple’s laptop lineup, why there is no touchscreen MacBook, and Siri on the Mac. What interested me most of all though, was Phelan’s two follow-up questions posed after the initial interview:

How would you describe the response to the new MacBook Pro?

There has certainly been a lot of passionate dialogue and debate about the new MacBook Pro! Many things have impressed people about it, and some have caused some controversy. I hope everyone gets a chance to try it for themselves and see how great the MacBook Pro is. It is a really big step forward and an example of how much we continue to invest in the Mac. We love the Mac and are as committed to it, in both desktops and notebooks, as we ever have been.

And we are proud to tell you that so far our online store has had more orders for the new MacBook Pro than any other pro notebook before. So there certainly are a lot of people as excited as we are about it.

Are you surprised by how vocal the critics have been?

To be fair it has been a bit of a surprise to me. But then, it shouldn’t be. I have never seen a great new Apple product that didn’t have its share of early criticism and debate — and that’s cool. We took a bold risk, and of course with every step forward there is also some change to deal with. Our customers are so passionate, which is amazing.

We care about what they love and what they are worried about. And it’s our job to help people through these changes. We know we made good decisions about what to build into the new MacBook Pro and that the result is the best notebook ever made, but it might not be right for everyone on day one. That’s okay, some people felt that way about the first iMac and that turned out pretty good.

Schiller’s message is clear. Apple took a risk with its new MacBook Pros, is confident in its decision, is committed to both desktops and laptops, and cares about its critics’ concerns. That said, by emphasizing that the MacBook Pro has had record online sales, Schiller is also suggesting that the MacBook Pro’s critics are a vocal minority.

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How the Touch Bar Works

Good overview of the Touch Bar and its developer API by Benjamin Mayo:

Developers can display pretty much whatever they want whilst their app is in the foreground; this includes swapping out views and buttons depending on the current window of their app (a compose window necessitates different Touch Bar accessory views than the inbox window). However, the Touch Bar does not allow persistent widgets, status items or similar features like always-visible news tickers. These constraints are unlikely to be lifted either; Apple is imposing the restriction so that the UI under the user’s finger isn’t constantly changing due to spurious notifications or text messages.

Apple wants the bar to display peaceful relatively-static UI based on the current task. Major changes to the Bar should only happen when the application state drastically changes, such as opening a new tab or beginning a new modal activity. To repeat: once an app’s window is not active, it loses its control to influence what is shown on the Bar. The system Control Strip sits to the right in a collapsed state by default, but can be disabled entirely in System Preferences if desired.

This makes sense to me: the Touch Bar is intended to be an extension of the keyboard that deals with input – it’s not a smaller Dashboard or a widget container. This means that apps like PCalc won’t be able to persistently display their controls in the Touch Bar unless they’re the frontmost (active) app.

The more I think about it, the more the Touch Bar feels like the natural evolution of QuickType and the Shortcut Bar from iOS – to the point where I wonder if we’ll ever get this kind of evolution on the iPad Pro as well (where the current app is always the frontmost one and system controls could use a faster way to be engaged than Control Center). Perhaps with a new external keyboard with its own embedded Touch Bar and T1 chip?

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