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Posts tagged with "macbook pro"

Ars Technica on the T1 Chip in the New MacBook Pro

Andrew Cunningham, writing for Ars Technica, got Apple on the record about the T1 chip and what it does for security and the Touch Bar:

At any rate, the T1 is an interesting chip that does much more than support Touch ID and Apple Pay. Apple tells us that it has a built-in image signal processor (ISP) related to the ones Apple uses in iPhone and iPad SoCs, something which Troughton-Smith suggests could protect the camera from malware hijacking. And its Secure Enclave handles the encryption and storage of fingerprint data and protects it from the rest of the operating system and its apps, much as it does in iOS.

When you interact with the Touch Bar, Apple tells us that the majority of the processing is being done by the Intel CPU, although the T1 also appears to do some processing in specific situations for security’s sake, as when Apple Pay is used. But to keep the Touch Bar from counting toward the number of external monitors you can use (Intel’s GPUs support a total of three separate displays, AMD’s support six), the T1 is used to drive the Touch Bar’s screen. From what Apple told me, it sounds like the image you’re seeing is actually being drawn by the main system GPU but is being output to the display by T1, not unlike the way other hybrid graphics implementations work.

Between A-series chips, the W1, and the T1, Apple's most fascinating work is happening in the custom silicon space. The whole T1-Touch Bar deal is extremely intriguing.

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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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The New MacBook Pro: Our Complete Overview

At yesterday morning's Hello Again keynote event, Apple announced the long-awaited update to their professional laptop line. The new MacBook Pro comes in two sizes and features a thinner body and upgraded internals. It also comes equipped with Apple's brand new Touch Bar, a Retina touchscreen display which replaces the row of function keys atop the keyboard, and a Touch ID sensor.

These new machines mark the first significant spec advancements for the MacBook Pro since they moved to Haswell processors in 2014, and the first notable hardware changes since going Retina in 2012. As such, it's no surprise that the new MacBook Pro is an improvement in nearly every way over previous models. This is truly the next generation of Apple's flagship laptops.

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CNET Asks: Does the Mac Still Matter?

Apple announced a new line of MacBook Pros today that replace the function keys with a Touch Bar, a touch sensitive strip that includes customizable software buttons and Touch ID functionality. CNET, in an exclusive 90-minute briefing with Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, and Jony Ive, discussed the new MacBook Pros and explored the relevancy of the Mac in a mobile era.

That the new MacBook Pros are thinner, lighter, faster, and brighter is not unexpected for a laptop that hasn’t been updated for a while. What’s special about the new MacBook Pros is the Touch Bar. In a typically understated fashion, a reticent Jony Ive described the Touch Bar to CNET as:

’the beginning of a very interesting direction’ that combines ‘touch and display-based inputs with a mechanical keyboard.’

Phil Schiller was a little more forthcoming about what Apple hopes its new laptops will mean to users:

’We didn’t want to just create a speed bump on the MacBook Pro,’ he says. ‘In our view this is a big, big step forward. It is a new system architecture, and it allows us to then create many things to come, things that we can’t envision yet.’

The Touch Bar is a fascinating blend of ideas from iOS, such as touch tools for straightening photos, and existing macOS toolbars moved to the keyboard. Regardless of how you feel about how long it’s taken Apple to refresh the MacBook Pro, I’m optimistic about this new approach to the MacBook Pro and the possibilities it opens up to third-party developers.

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iFixit Tears Down the new MacBook Pro with Force Touch

Some fascinating findings in iFixit's teardown of the new MacBook Pro with Force Touch:

Made of wire coils surrounding a ferromagnetic core, the electromagnet in the Force Touch Trackpad is used to create the vibrational feedback you feel.

And:

We're guessing that the four separate coils here are used to vary the feedback given to the user. Turning different sets of the four coils on and off varies the strength and direction of the vibration, and how it feels to your finger.

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Apple Updates 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros With Retina Displays With 4th-Generation Intel Processors

Having updated their lineup of MacBook Airs earlier this year, Apple has turned their attention to the MacBook Pro lineup, updating the 13-inch and 15-inch models with more powerful hardware while cutting prices for customers. These updates were announced by Phil Schiller at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, California, during today's Keynote.

13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display:

The biggest complaints with previous generation MacBook Pros is that their hardware couldn't keep up with the Retina display. Many reviewers found the initial 13-inch model to be somewhat lackluster in performance, with laggy scrolling noticeable throughout the OS X interface. With today's update, the 13-inch model is getting some notable improvements.

First up are design changes to the chassis, with the 13-inch model shedding size and weight. It's both lighter and smaller than before, weighing only 3.46 pounds and measuring at only 0.71 inches thin.

Next are the performance improvements. New buyers can expect greatly improved performance thanks to Intel's Haswell processor, and integrated Intel Iris graphics. As the new processor is much more power efficient than what's found in previous models, the 13-inch model now gets up to 9 hours of battery life when web browsing or watching iTunes movies. As Phil Schiller said on stage, you could watch Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy and still have battery life to spare. Just like the new MacBook Airs, the 13-inch MacBook Pro has received PCIe-based Flash storage, 802.11ac for wireless, and updated Thunderbolt 2 ports.

In terms of performance gains, the new processors are 90% faster than the previous generation, wireless throughput is 3x better at similar distances when compared to 802.11n, and flash speeds are 60% faster than before.

The base model 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has been reduced in price by one hundred dollars, starting at only $1299 with the following specifications:

  • 2.4 Ghz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor
  • 4 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3L memory
  • Intel Iris graphics
  • 128 GB PCIe-based flash storage

15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display:

Unlike it's smaller sibling, the 15-inch model hasn't received any design changes to its chassis. All of the base improvements found on the 13-inch model are found on the 15-model. 802.11 ac wireless, PCIe-based flash storage, and Thunderbolt 2 come equipped in addition to processor and graphics improvements.

Instead of opting for a dual-core processor, however, Apple is configuring their 15-inch models with a quad-core Crystalwell processor that also comes with integrated Iris Pro graphics from Intel. Optionally, customers can choose to add a discrete graphics solution, Nvidia's GeForce GT 750m, with 2 GB of video memory that's great for editing video or playing games. Despite having all this newfound power, the 15-inch model will get up to 8 hours of battery life when browsing the web or watching movies from iTunes.

The base model 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has been reduced in price by two hundred dollars, starting at only $1999 with the following specifications:

  • 2.0 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor
  • 8 GB of 1600 MHz DDR3L memory
  • Intel Iris Pro graphics
  • 256 GB PCIe-based flash storage

Both models start shipping today, and can be configured from Apple's Online Store. For more information, see Apple's updated MacBook Pro pages at Apple.com.

For more coverage, check out our October 22 news hub and follow @macstoriesnet on Twitter.


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.

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Retina MacBook Pro Runs Three External Displays, Downscales Apps Automatically

Retina MacBook Pro Runs Three External Displays, Downscales Apps Automatically

Other World Computing's Mike H. has posted a photo showing the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro running three external displays simultaneously (via MacRumors). Including the built-in Retina display set at "best for Retina" in System Preferences, the new MacBook Pro can run four displays at their native resolutions -- OWC tested two iMacs as external monitors via Thunderbolt, and an additional LG display connected via HDMI. In their tests, "moving images and media didn’t create any lag" and video playback was possible on all four displays.

As noted by Steve Streza in his extensive review of the device, the Retina MacBook Pro is also capable of automatically downscaling apps to non-Retina resolutions even if you move an application's window between two displays:

If you connect a second display, it's probably not going to be a Retina display (at least not yet). Luckily the OS seems to handle this all magically, and downscales the window appropriately and without any input. If you drop the window halfway between the two displays, the one half on the Retina display will be high-resolution, and the other half is downscaled. In other words, it just works.

The Retina MacBook Pro has been well-received among reviewers, albeit computer repair firm iFixit gave the device a low repairability score due to Apple's decision to not make it user-serviceable, causing a controversy that Richard Gaywood elegantly summarized at TUAW.

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iFixit’s MacBook Pro with Retina Display Teardown

iFixit's MacBook Pro with Retina Display Teardown

As expected, the guys at iFixit have posted their teardown of the new MacBook Pro with Retina display, announced by Apple earlier this week at WWDC. With an overall repairability score of 1 out of 10, iFixit notes how the latest iteration of the MacBook Pro makes it harder for repairers to replace internal components and disassemble the machine.

In particular, they note how Apple is using proprietary flash memory on the MacBook Pro now, and a fused display assembly without glass that, in case of anything falling inside the display, will need the user to replace the entire assembly. They also noticed a different battery layout:

The lithium-polymer battery is glued rather than screwed into the case, which increases the chances that it'll break during disassembly. The battery also covers the trackpad cable, which tremendously increases the chance that the user will shear the cable in the battery removal process.

Check out the full teardown (with photos and technical comments) here.

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