New Mac Pro 2016 release date rumours: Issues surface regarding Late 2013 Mac Pro GPU, Apple offering free fix

The current Mac Pro was first unveiled just over two and a half years ago at WWDC in June 2013. It took another six months before Apple was able to start selling it (and a few more months for some customers to start to receive their units). Two years on, for a ‘top of the range Mac’ the Mac Pro is looking rather long in the tooth.

In this article we will be looking at rumours surrounding the new Mac Pro  release date, and features and specs we hope to see in the 2016 version of the Mac Pro.

The good news, for those hoping to upgrade to a new Mac Pro soon, is that code in El Capitan is hinting that a new Mac Pro with 10 USB 3 ports could arrive soon; new Intel Xeon Skylake chips have arrived.

On-the-other-hand, perhaps the Mac Pro should just be discontinued. A Mac Observer story suggests that it’s been a flop. It might just be time for Apple to go back to the drawing board if it is to save what appears to be an unpopular Mac.

Last updated to include information regarding faulty graphics cards in the current Mac Pro

New Mac Pro 2016 rumours: When is the new Mac Pro coming out?

Apple hasn’t announced a launch date for the next generation of Mac Pro systems, so we have to do a little detective work.

First up, code in OS X El Capitan is hinting that a new Mac Pro may be on its way soon. There is a reference to a new Mac that is code named “AAPLJ951” within El Capitan, according to Pike’s Universum.

The current Mac Pro is codenamed AAPLJ90 so there is some logic to this new reference being a new version of the professional-level workstation.

Another clue that this is the Mac Pro is the fact that the code hints that there are 10 USB 3.0 ports. Currently there are 4 USB ports and 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports on the Mac Pro. We think that adopting Thunderbolt 3 on the Mac Pro may make more sense as it brings Thunderbolt to USB-C at 40Gbps, for the best of both worlds, more on that below…

There are rumours that Apple wil hold an event in March 2016 at which it will unveil the new Apple Watch 2, an iPhone 6c, and possibly an updated MacBook Air. Although it is possible that Apple would also show off a new Mac Pro at that event, it seems unlikely, given the fact that the Mac Pro is a professional Mac and that event sounds very consumer focused.

Will Apple discontinue the Mac Pro?

Maybe the Mac Pro will never be updated. As The Mac Observer writes: “The ‘New’ Mac Pro is a Failure”. That site compares it to the ill fated Cube which was available for less than a year in 2000/2001.

Many professional Mac users are still using old Mac Pros from pre 2012 mainly because they are easily upgradable, with options for larger capacity drives (2TB or 4TB or more). You can even get a 12-core 3.46GHz processor in the older model that could give the newer, 2.7GHz 12-core processor in the 2013 Mac Pro a run for its money. As for video card options, the old Mac Pro has many more.

Those who did upgrade to the ‘new’ trashcan-like Mac Pro are also finding that the need for multiple expansion cards and external drives are cluttering up their desks, where previously these extras could be neatly concealed inside the Mac Pro chassis.

For all Apple’s claims about it being a powerful machine, it appears that the Mac Pro is just not considered a professional workstation by the intended market.

Incidentally, Apple has been granted a patent for the Mac Pro, specifically for the structure and organization of internal components and external interfaces for a compact computing system, according to a report on Patently Apple.

Possible delays with the new Mac Pro

If the new Mac Pro is delayed, it wouldn’t be the first time. Apple first unveiled the Intel Xeon (Ivy Bridge-E)-based Mac Pro at it’s WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) in June 2013, although the unit didn’t actually start shipping until December that year – in fact for most shoppers the supply of Mac Pro was so constrained that they didn’t receive their new Mac until 2014 – in come cases not until February or March.

One reason for the delays back in 2013 was thought to be the fact that Apple was building the new-look Mac Pro in the USA. It may well be that updates to the current model are also being plagued by the same issues that slowed the production lines back in 2013.

We had hoped to hear news about a new Mac Pro in the summer of 2015, so we’re growing impatient and are hoping for an update soon.

That said, the reason for the delays in updating this Mac could be lack of interest in this workstation-style Mac. Apple may be focusing attention on other projects such as the Retina iMac, which was updated in October. It’s possible that Apple doesn’t intend to update the Mac Pro at all. It has launched several other new Macs since the launch of the Mac Pro, including impressively powerful iMacs that can sometimes perform better than the current entry-level Mac Pro can. Video editor Max Yuryevtested Final Cut and Premiere Pro rendering on both the 5K Retina iMac and 6 Core Mac Pro and found that the iMac performed better in some cases, although did suffer from heating issues that the Mac Pro avoids thanks to its design.

But we don’t think Apple is trying to phase out the Mac Pro in favour of a more powerful iMac line-up. It’s more likely that it’s just spending a long time getting the new Mac Pro just right before it launches after the issues it experiences with the previous launch. There is still a market for the more powerful Mac Pro, which is upgradable and if you’ve got the budget for a high-end model can be incredibly powerful, fast and reliable.

 

New Mac Pro 2016: ports

The current Mac Pro sports six Thunderbolt 2 ports, which means this Mac can be connected to up to three 4K displays.

There’s also 4 USB 3 ports; Dual Gigabit Ethernet; and an HDMI 1.4 UltraHD, as well as a combined optical digital audio output/analog line out mini-jack; headphone mini-jack with headset support; HDMI port supports multi-channel audio output and a built-in speaker.

Code in the El Capitan beta actually suggests that the next generation Mac Pro will offer 10 USB 3.0 ports. Currently there are 4 USB 3 ports and 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports on the Mac Pro.

We think that it would make more sense if Apple adopts Thunderbolt 3 on the Mac Pro – this standard of Thunderbolt supports USB Type-C and offers 40Gbps transfer speeds, so Mac PRo users would get the best of both worlds. Thunderbolt 3 offers double the speed of USB 3.1, which is only 10Gbps.

Another thing Apple could add is a Lightning port as seen on the iPhone. Yes really. There are rumours that the lightning port will be used on Macs for plugging in headphones which could allow for high-res audio.

However, many traditional Mac PRo users are still calling out for PCI slots whcih would allow users to add faster SSDs and better video cards. Some even ask for internal drive bays, with Mac Observer noting that a 3.5in hard drive bay would allow for archival space to be added.

New Mac Pro 2016: new Xeon E5 v3 ‘Grantley’ processor

The 2013 Mac Pro features Intel’s Xeon E5 V2 processors (code-named Romley) offering up to 12 cores (as a build-to-order option). Back in September 2014 new Xeon E5 V3 chips (code-named Grantley) started shipping – bringing the Haswell architecture to pro workstations. At the time we thought the processor would soon make their way to the Mac Pro, but no upgrade emerged.

Those Intel Xeon E5 V3 chips were being used in Dell’s new Xeon Precision Tower (5810, 7810 and 7910) – find out more on Dell’s website. These Dell workstations use the Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processor series featuring either 14 or 18 cores per processor.

The processors in the current Mac Pros are configurable up to 3.5GHz for a six-core option, 3.0GHz for an 8-core option, and 2.7GHz for a 12-core option. We may see a slight boost in these numbers, but we could equally see the same clock speeds, with the processors themselves being faster.

It is possible that the new Mac Pro will, like the Dell above, offer an option of 14 or 18 cores.

New Mac Pro 2016: new Xeon E5 v4 processor

It is likely that Apple has been waiting for the next generation of E5 chips. Intel’s Xeon E3-1200 V4 (Broadwell) launched this summer and these may be destined for the Mac Pro. Alternatively the equivalent E3-1200 V5 (Skylake) Xeon processors launched at the end of October and may be Apple’s processors of choice for the new model.

According to WCCFTECH, these future Xeons will offer a greatly improved micro architecture, better graphics, better DDR4 support and capactity for more RAM.

The Xeon E3-1200v4 launched at Computex 2015 at the beginning of June 2015, but Anandtech stated that: “It looks like the current Xeon E3-1200 v4 is somewhat a niche product”, emphasising that along with being a chip for workstations with moderate graphics power, it should be ideal for video transcoding.”

New Mac Pro 2016 specs

Currently there are two standard Mac Pro models available along with various build to order options:

Quad-Core and Dual GPU: 3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor; 12GB1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory; Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM each; and 256GB PCIe-based flash storage.

6-Core and Dual GPU: 3.5GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor; 16GB 1866MHz DDR3 ECC memory; Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM each; 256GB PCIe-based flash storage.

It seems likely that Apple will update the Mac Pro with the next generation Intel Xeon E5 processor described above, we may also see more RAM in the entry-level version, now that the 15-inch MacBook Pro range ship with 16GB as standard. We’ll go into more detail below.

New Mac Pro 2016: graphics

The 2013 Mac Pro features dual workstation-class GPUs. The Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM each in the Quad-Core version, and Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM each in the 6-Core model. There’s also a build-to-order option of the Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each (an extra £480).

AMD showcased new its new FirePro W-series at Siggraph in August 2014. The FirePro W7100, W5100 may find their way into the new Mac Pro.

Alternatively there are significantly faster graphics based on AMD’s Fury platform that may be destined for the new Mac Pro.

Update (08/03/2016): After a thread on the Apple Support Communities website amassed a huge response when complaining about faulty graphics cards in the Late 2013 Mac Pro, Apple admitted that a number of Mac Pro’s have faulty cards and that affected customers could have the issue fixed free of charge. To be legible for a free repair, you must have encountered “distorted video, no video, system instability, freezing, restarts, shutdowns” or system startup failure.

It’s not all Mac Pro’s though, only those manufactured between February 8 and April 11 2015, and the issue can be fixed by taking your damaged Mac Pro to an Apple Store. Interestingly, MacRumours notes that the issues are known to exist with the AMD FirePro D500 and D700 GPUs, with the AMD FirePro D300 being completely unaffected.

Will these issues force Apple into choosing another graphic card manufacturer for the next Mac Pro? While there are no rumours online that suggest so, we think a change could be on the cards for the Mac Pro GPU.

Currently you will find 256GB PCIe-based flash storage as standard in both standard Mac Pro models, with an option to add 512GB SSD for £240 or 1TB SSD for £640.

We’d like to see more storage as standard on the Mac Pro as the target audience do tend to be working with very large files. We’d like to see an option for 2TB flash storage.

New Mac Pro 2016: RAM

The new Xeon E5 V3 Grantley chips are said to have DDR4 memory controllers, so you can expect even faster memory in this year’s new Mac Pro.

The current models offer 12GB RAM in the Quad-Core model, and 16GB in the 6-Code model as standard. You can add 32GB Ram at point of purchase for £320, or a massive 64GB RAM for £960. As we mention above, the 15-inch MacBook Pro now comes with 16GB RAM as standard, so we would hope that the updated entry-level Mac Pro would match that.

64GB RAM might sound like a lot to you, but some of these Dell workstations can accommodate up to 1TB of DDR4 RAM. We hope that the next generation of Mac Pros will be configurable to more than 64GB (four slots of 16GB). Yosemite is apparently able to make good use of the extra RAM.

Availability of the Mac Pro – delays

When Apple launches the new updated Mac Pro there may well be delays in availability as there were in 2013-2014, as the company attempted to ramp up production in its new, US based, facility.

When the new look Mac Pro launched it was plagued by delays, with availability slipping initially to January, then February, March and eventually April in some cases, before Apple was able to meet demand.

Having previewed the Mac Pro at WWDC in June 2013, the company promised availability before the end of 2013, but it wasn’t until 19 December that the Mac Pro became available. Then, following the launch, stocks were so limited that only a lucky few, US based, customers were able to purchase the new professional Mac workstation before the end of 2013.

Customers in the UK who ordered their new Mac on 19 December 2014 found that they would have to wait until January 2015 for the new Mac Pro. Some lucky UK customers finally received their Mac Pro around 12 January. This was almost a year after the old version of the Mac Pro was banned over in Europe because it didn’t comply with EU electrical safety laws.

Luckily the wait for the current Mac Pro isn’t quite so long now, with shipping for the standard versions “within 24 hours” according to Apple’s website. If you want a build-to-order version the wait will be about 5-7 business days.

The fact that Apple is no longer struggling to meet demand would suggest that when it launches there will not be the significant delays in getting units out to customers that there were with the Mac Pro at the beginning of 2013. Apple had a new design which was being produced at an entirely new factory in the US, so the delays were understandable, although maybe not excusable.

Where can I buy a Mac Pro?

Other than directly from Apple, you will be able to buy the new Mac Pro from Apple Premium Resellers such as Stormfront, Square Group, Solutions Inc, iStore, Western Computer, MR Systems, KRCS, HardSoft, and PC World. You can find an Apple Premium Reseller near you by searching on Apple’s site.

UK pricing for the Mac Pro

Currently the Mac Pro starts at £2,499 (£2,082.50 ex VAT) in the UK for a quad-core 3.7GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon E5 processor with 10 MB L3 cache and Turbo Boost up to 3.9 GHz, 12GB RAM, Dual AMD FirePro D300 with 2GB of VRAM and 256GB of flash storage.

There is also a 6-core model with 3.5GHz Xeon E5, 16GB RAM, two AMD FirePro D500 cards with 3GB of VRAM, and 256GB flash storage for £3,299.

We expect that prices won’t change significantly when Apple updates the range for 2014, although we could see a price drop as Apple has been dropping UK pricesacross its range of Macs in recent months.

Current pricing for the Mac Pro build to order options

The build-to-order options that will push the price higher. The following specifications are available for the 2013 Mac Pro:

Build-to-order options on the 3.7GHz Quad-Core Mac Pro 2013:

3.5GHz 6-core option (add £400), 3.0GHz 8-core processor (add £1,600), or 2.7GHz 12-core processor (add £2,800); 16GB (add £80), 32GB (add £400) or 64GB- (add £1,040) RAM memory; dual AMD FirePro D500 (add £320), or or dual AMD FirePro D700 (add £800); 512GB (add £240) or 1TB flash storage (add £640)

Build-to-order options on the 3.5GHz 6-Core Mac Pro 2013:

3.0GHz 8-core processor (add £1,200), 2.7GHz 12-core processor (add £2,400); 32GB (add £320) or 64GB (£add £960) RAM memory; dual AMD FirePro D700 (add £480); 512GB (add £240) or 1TB flash storage (add £640).

A Mac Pro with the maximum 12-core 2.7GHz processors, with 30MB L3 cache, 64GB RAM, 1TB PCIe-based flash storage, Dual AMD FirePro D700 GPUs with 6GB of GDDR5 VRAM each currently costs £7,779 including VAT (£6,482.50 ex VAT).

[Source:- Macworld]

New Mac mini 2016 release date, specs & feature rumours: Mac mini update due soon

Apple has given nothing away about the new Mac mini yet, but based on past experience and the existing specs of other Macs, it is easy to surmise what to expect from the new Mac mini. We are also pretty sure that the Mac mini will be updated soon as it wasn’t touched at all in 2015. We’ve got all of the new Mac mini rumours and speculation for you right here, so read on for possible specs, features and release date.

If you’re still not certain which Mac is right for you, visit our Mac Buying Guide.

Mac mini 2016 release date: When is the new Mac mini coming out?

Apple last updated the Mac mini on 16 October 2014 after a two year wait, but Mac mini fans are now waiting for the next iteration of the smallest and cheapest Mac, hopefully coming this year. We had expected Apple to announce a new Mac mini in the autumn of 2015, possibly alongside the new iMac with 4K Retina display, or at the same time as the El Capitan launch, but those opportunities have been and gone.

We’re getting impatient, not least because Apple has added new processors to its laptops and desktops, and new Skylake processors have launched since then so even those updated Macs are outdated.

You might also like: Apple rumours and predictions for 2016

We had hoped that Apple’s 21 March event would see the launch of the new Mac mini, but Apple chose not to launch new Macs at all then. Instead, we saw the unveiling of the iPhone SE, the iPad Pro with 9.7in screen and new Apple Watch straps.

The next expected Apple event isn’t until June at WWDC 2016, but Apple could choose to sneak out an unexpected Mac mini before then without hosting a special event to do so. We’ll keep you updated with all of the Mac mini release date rumours right here.

Also read: Mac mini vs MacBook Air

Mac mini 2016 price: How much will the new Mac mini cost?

There are currently three models of the Mac mini available, depending on your budget and your specification needs. The cheapest model currently costs £399, the middle model is £569, and the priciest model is £799.

These prices ware significant because they marked a reduction of £100 compared to its price before the Mac mini came out, previously the cheapest Mac mini was £499, for example. Of course, you’ll need to factor in the price of a monitor, keyboard and mouse with the Mac mini, though.

However, we don’t anticipate Apple reducing the price further with the new model when it launches, so you can expect similar pricing, but hopefully better specs.

What is the Mac mini?

It’s understandable that you might not be aware the the Mac mini even exists – sometimes it looks like even Apple isn’t aware of its presence (if the long gap before the 2014 model was launched is anything to go by).

The Mac mini is Apple’s smallest desktop Mac and also its cheapest Mac, at £399. It’s a full-blown OS X desktop that fits into a self-contained chassis no bigger than a set-top box. An inexpensive living room Mac that lacks the power of even some MacBooks and comes with no keyboard, mouse or display, but one that works perfectly as the centre of your digital home – not least because it comes with HDMI sockets making plugging it into a modern TV a doddle.

There used to be a Mac mini with OS X server available for £849 but Apple removed that option from the line up in October 2014.

 
Don’t forget: when you buy a Mac mini you also need a screen, mouse, and keyboard…

New Mac mini 2016 specs and features: Processor & RAM

It seems likely that Apple had been waiting for Intel to ship the new Skylake chips before launching the new Mac mini, although it is still possible that Apple will opt for the Broadwell chips instead, which would still represent a power boost over the current Haswell processors.

Right now, the entry-level Mac mini features just 4GB RAM as standard, which we think should be ramped up to 8GB in the new entry-level model.

The other big change we hope to see in the new Mac mini is more flash drive options. Currently the 2.8GHz model comes with a Fusion Drive, or you can add 256GB flash storage to that model, or the 2.8GHz model.

While the 500GB hard drive in the current entry level model (and the 1TB hard drive as standard in the £569 model) might appear attractive to some flash, memory is so much faster that we believe it is well worth the compromise of storing additional files on an external hard drive.

However, it seems unlikely that Apple would do away with the hard drive storage option all together as many workgroups choose the Mac mini as a server and will need the extra capacity and lower prices that HD storage makes possible.

New Mac mini 2016 rumours: Design

It’s possible that the Mac mini will get a new design. We’re not expecting a major visual or build redesign, but it is certainly possible that it could get thinner and smaller, especially since it no longer has to accommodate a CD drive.

Right now the dimensions are 3.6cm high, 19.7cm wide, and it weighs 1.22kg. How about a Mac mini that has similar dimensions to an Apple TV (9.8cm wide, 2.3cm high, 0.27kg).

There was some speculation that the reason for the long delay prior to the Mac mini update in 2014 was that Apple was looking at redesiging the Mac mini along the lines of the Mac Pro.

This was probably intended as an April Fool’s Day prank, but we like this render of a flat Mac mini, as seen on Apple User.

Even better, how about a Mac mini that was also an Apple TV! Adding Apple TV functionality to a Mac mini would be a great way of getting the Mac mini into people’s living rooms as a home entertainment device.

 

[Source:- Macworld]

New MacBook Air release date, specs and rumours UK: 13in and 15in MacBook Air with thinner design rumoured for WWDC

When is the new MacBook Air for 2016 coming out? What new features will the new MacBook Air have?

Apple last updated its MacBook Air in March of 2015 with a spec boost, we had been convinced that Apple was about to give the laptop a Retina display. Instead, it launched a brand-new MacBook line that’s super-thin, super-light and does offer that high-resolution display, but does that mean Apple won’t enhance the MacBook Air with a Retina display in the future? In this article we investigate the hints and clues pointing to an imminent MacBook Air update: including release date, specs & rumoured new features.

New MacBook Air 2016 rumours: MacBook Air UK release date

Apple hosted a special event on 21 March 2016, so ahead of the event we had naturally expected new MacBook Air and MacBook models. After all, the Spring event represented one year since both were last updated (or one year since it was first launched in the MacBook’s case) and before that new Air models arrived in April of 2014. But instead, Apple used the event to show off the iPhone SE and the iPad Pro with 9.7in screen.

Despite the lack of MacBooks at Apple’s 21 March event, the MacBook rumours haven’t slowed down. If anything, they’re hotting up as anyone looking to buy a new MacBook soon is feeling frustrated by the lack of any new models with the latest processors. But according to a DigiTimes report published just a day after the March event, new 13 and 15in MacBooks are coming.

The confusing thing about it is that these new MacBooks are said to have a similar design to the current 12in MacBook, but will have 13 and 15in displays. And they’ll apparently be thinner than the 11in and 13in MacBook Air models that we have now, too. That makes it tricky to know what MacBook line this rumour is actually referring to, or whether we’re going to get a complete shakeup of the MacBook lineup.

Our current thinking is that the 11in MacBook Air is about to be retired, and in its place we’ll see a 13in and 15in MacBook Air with redesigned internals and a thinner design.

Of course, the rumour could be completely false. DigiTimes is sometimes accurate, but also sometimes less reliable so it’s tricky to know. But if it is true, we’d expect the new MacBooks to emerge at WWDC in June.

We originally expected the MacBook Air to be updated with a Retina display on 9 March 2015 at Apple’s Spring Forward event. And were quite surprised when we got something else: a Retina MacBook, yes, but one with a 12in display and a USB-C port (and very few other ports), a new strand of products for Apple’s MacBook laptop line-up.

Less glamorously, Apple’s MacBook Air did get an update at the same time, with new, faster processors, faster flash storage and better graphics, but the screen and overall design remained the same. Still no Retina display for the Air line.

That left us wondering what Apple’s plans are for the future of its MacBook line-up. We think the company intends to replace the MacBook Air with the new MacBook eventually, but the MacBook Air could remain part of the line-up for some time yet, and could still get an upgrade to the Retina display when it’s refreshed in 2016.

But when is it going to be refreshed? Now that the March event has been and gone we expect Apple to wait for WWDC 2016 in June, or possibly sneak in an update before then without going to the trouble of hosting an event.

In late November 2015, a report from the Economic Daily News suggests that the MacBook Air will see a significant update in 2016. The report suggests that the update to the MacBook Air may not arrive until WWDC in June, which will be more than a year after Apple last updated the MacBook Air. According to the report, the new MacBook Air models are expected to come out in the third quarter of next year, which suggests that there may be a wait after the June unveiling.

The Economic Daily News report notes that it’s been eight years since the MacBook Air launched and it’s not been redesigned in that time, suggesting that time is ripe for a makeover, or perhaps it’ll be discontinued completely in favour of the new MacBook.

We’ll update this article as soon as we know more.

New MacBook Air 2016 release date rumours

New MacBook Air 2016 rumours: Price

The last time that there was a Mac laptop that had more advanced specs than a more expensive model was the old MacBooks (aluminium, then white and black, and then eventually aluminum again). These older MacBook models were eventually discontinued and the price of the MacBook Air was reduced to make it the new entry level (when the MacBook Air initially launched it was quite overpriced for the specs, just like the current Retina MacBook).

It seems likely that the same will happen with the new MacBook models eventually replacing the MacBook Airs, at a lower price, but for now that seems a long way off.

The Economic Daily News report suggests the new MacBook Air will cost more than it does currently when it does launch. The 11in MacBook Air starts at £749, while the entry level 13in model costs £849.

If the 11in MacBook Air is removed from the line up perhaps the cost of entry of the 13in model will reduce to the level that the 11in model is currently, with a rumoured 15in model coming in at a higher price.

New MacBook Air 2016 rumours: Dimensions

If Apple does update the MacBook Air range, what dimensions should we expect?

New MacBook Air 2016 release date rumours

As mentioned above, rumours suggest that the 11in MacBook Air will be discontinued, after all, the 11in MacBook Air is both smaller than the MacBook and the new iPad Pro.

However, 9to5Mac points out that the new 13in and 15in MacBook Air models could be additional sizes to the MacBook range. That site predicts that some time in 2016 or 2017 we will have just two ranges of Mac laptops: the MacBook at the ultraportable level, and the more advanced MacBook Pro. Maybe the 17in MacBook Pro will make a comeback too, with a 4K display.

New MacBook Air 2016 rumours: Specs & new features

These new MacBook Air models are said to be thinner and lighter, with internal spec enhancements. Apparently, the new MacBook Air will feature new batteries, cooling modules, and chassis, according to the Economic Daily News.

We also expect to see USB Type-C across the range, especially now that Intel has integrated Thunderbolt 3 into USB-C.

The next-generation MacBook Air is also likely to feature Intel Skylake processors, as well as graphics and RAM upgrades.

New MacBook Air 2016 rumours: Retina display

The suggestion that the MacBook Air will feature a Retina display has been long running but those rumours were prior to the launch of the 12in Retina MacBook and the iPad Pro – suggesting the signtings of the Retina display some thought was destined for the MacBook Air was instead for these models.

Does this mean that there will be no Retina display on the new MacBook Air when (or if) it launches. If Apple wants to keep the price down maybe not. Or perhaps the newly rumoured 15in Macbook Air will feature a Retina display, while the 13in model will lack the high res display, but come in at a lower price, one similar to the current price of the 11in MacBook Air.

New MacBook Air 2016 rumours: Touch ID and Force Touch

New MacBook Air 2016 rumours: Force Touch

There are also reports to suggest that it’ll boast Touch ID within its Trackpad, which may also get the Force Touch upgrade that was given to the 13in MacBook Pro on 9 March, and comes with the new MacBook.

Touch ID is the fingerprint sensor that’s built-in to the Home button of the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. It’s also used to make Apple Pay more secure.

According to an Independent report, Touch ID for the Mac line would require a dedicated chip to be built in to the device.

The rumour started with Taiwanese blog AppleCorner, which cited sources in the supply chain. Apparently the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad may get a biometric update too, enabling users to make Apple Pay payments on the web, but both those accessories were updated alongside the launch of a new 4K iMac so that seems unlikely to happen any time soon.

New MacBook Air 2016 rumours: Will the MacBook Air be discontinued?

With the advent of the 12in MacBook and the new 12.9in iPad Pro, it’s no surprise that rumourmongers are starting to predict that the 11in MacBook Air, with a smaller screen than either of those devices, will be discontinued. The iPad Pro may indeed be viewed by Apple as a replacement for the 11in MacBook Air if Apple CEO Tim Cook’scomments to the Telegraph are taken into account (published on 1 December 2015).

Following the launch of the iPad Pro, Cook told the Telegraph: “I think if you’re looking at a PC, why would you buy a PC any more? No really, why would you buy one?

“Yes, the iPad Pro is a replacement for a notebook or a desktop for many, many people. They will start using it and conclude they no longer need to use anything else, other than their phones.”

However, should Apple discontinue the 11in MacBook Air, it does remove the lower price of entry from the line-up.

It may not just be the 11in MacBook Air that is discontinued. When the new MacBook launched on 9 March 2015, analysts began to suspect that the MacBook Air might not be around for much longer.

“This wasn’t the MacBook Air, but instead leaped past the Air,” said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research. “They kept the MacBook Air around just as they do with older iPhones, but the MacBook is now in the same position as the newest iPhone. That makes me wonder if the Air will go away over time.”

Carolina Milanesi, chief of research and head of US business for Kantar WorldPanel Comtech, also predicted a contraction of Apple’s line-up. “All [notebooks] need to be more mobile, so something like the Air doesn’t need to be branched out anymore,” she said of the differenciation Apple made for the line since its introduction more than eight years ago. “And it’s to Apple’s benefit not to have so many ‘families’ of Macs.”

Over time, it seems likely that the MacBook Air range could be discontinued and eventually replaced by a Retina MacBook range at a lower price.

We’ll be updating this article as more information about the rumoured Retina MacBook Air emerges so check back from time to time for the latest news.

 

[Source:- Macworld]

 

New Retina MacBook Pro 2016 release date, specs, rumours UK: Apple expected to launch new product line in June

When will the next MacBook Pro for 2016 come out? The Pro line-up is due for an update, isn’t it?

We think there could be new MacBook Pro models pretty soon. There are two sizes of MacBook Pro models available from Apple right now: a 13in model, which was last updated in March 2015, and a 15in model, last updated in May 2015. We had hoped for new MacBook Pro models on 21 March at Apple’s Spring event, but Apple didn’t mention Macs at all. You’ll find everything there is to know so far about new MacBook Pro 2016 models in this release date, specs and features rumour round-up.

Updated 7 April 2016 with general updates.

MacBook Pro 2016 UK release date: When is the new MacBook Pro coming out?

We had hoped for a new MacBook Pro at Apple’s 21 March launch event. Instead, we saw a new iPhone SE, iPad Pro with a smaller screen and new Apple Watch straps. Those things are all great, of course, but if you were after a new MacBook Pro then you’re out of luck.

Apple often launches new laptops at this time of year, and the 13in MacBook Pro model was last updated a year ago. (The 15in version is slightly younger.) Perhaps there will be a separate Mac event soon; perhaps we will have to wait until WWDC (Worldwide Developers’ Conference) on 13 June.

MacBook Pro 2016 UK price: How much will the new MacBook Pro cost?

Currently the cheapest Retina MacBook Pro costs £999. For the price you’ll get a 13in 2.7Ghz OS X machine that has 128GB of storage.

Prices go up in increments with £1199 and £1399 for the more feature rich 13in variants. The 15in model comes in two variants, a 2.2Ghz £1599 version and a 2.5Ghz £1999 variant.

We expect the new 2016 MacBook Pro to be launched in June at similar, if not identical prices of the current models.

MacBook Pro 2016 UK - Current Mac

MacBook Pro 2016 specs & hardware: What new features will the new MacBook Pro have?

The new MacBook Pro models are likely to feature Skylake processors, the new, sixth generation chips by Intel. Right now, none of Apple’s MacBooks offer Skylake so it’s highly likely that Apple plans to address this soon. Skylake will bring significant performance gains to the new MacBook Pro, too, making it an even faster machine.

Competitors including HP, Dell and Microsoft have already moved to Skylake, so Apple is beginning to look like it’s trailing behind.

Skylake could improve battery life, too, working with El Capitan to improve efficiency. The 13in Retina MacBook Pro already offers 10 hours of battery life and the 15in model offers 8 hours, but we’d like to see that improve to match the 12 and 9 hours offered by the MacBook Air.

The 15in models of the MacBook Pro currently offer quad-core i7 processors, which means they compare very favourably with the 27in iMacs. We hope that the 2016 model maintains these quad-core processors, but when the Mac mini was updated in October of 2014 it lost its quad-core processor options, which could spell the same fate for the MacBook Pro.

One MacBook Pro rumour doing the rounds goes as far as to say that the 2016 models will have a touchscreen, and that it might even be detachable from the screen a lot like the Surface Book. We’d be very surprised if this rumour is true, but anything’s possible.

In fact, we’re not expecting the design of the MacBook Pro to change much, if at all. It’s possible that a gold model will be launched, but Apple might reserve that for the12in MacBook, which could also see an update in March.

[Source:- Macworld]

Plex for iOS Review

Plex for iOS

If you want access to the media sitting on your PC or Mac, on your iPhone or iPad, then the Plex solution is a rather neat one you can use.

PLEX FOR IOS RATING 70100

Our Verdict

If you want access to the media sitting on your PC or Mac, on your iPhone or iPad, then the Plex solution is a rather neat one you can use. The client on the desktop is simple enough to configure, and once you point it to the media folders, you get all that on your iPad via Wi-Fi. Yes, it will work on 3G as well, once you have signed up for the MyPlex service. Streaming quality is very good, and it doesn’t throw any tantrums with regards to which video formats it handles. Encoding done on the fly, when needed, and even 1080p videos stream perfectly. Desktop client can act a bit weird at times though, when it comes to categorizing media. But that is just a small issue, because as a whole, things work well.

 

PROS

  • Simple to set up
  • iOS app immediately detects new content from PC
  • Smooth stutter free streaming
  • Handles wide variety of video formats
  • Music streaming via iTunes is a huge bonus

CONS

  • Desktop software (Windows) is a bit clunky
  • Streaming on 3G will result in a great data bill

Plex for iOS: Detailed Review

For all its positives, Apple’s iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad have frustrated users by equal measure, thanks to their insistence at only playing back limited video formats natively. For anyone who has a whole collection of videos in various formats that iDevices refuse to accept, it will be a major pain to convert them all first and then play back. But that is not the only reason why solutions like Plex are needed.

The App: How it works
Apart from the ability to play back almost every video format, Plex also gives you the convenience of accessing the entire video and music library that sits on your PC, on your iPhone or iPad, without having to bother with transferring the content to the device. Limited storage on the device, the effort of deleting old stuff to prevent memory overload or the effort of syncing new files won’t be of consideration anymore.

The app set up is two pronged. You need to download the desktop client, available for both Windows and Mac. Thus client is free to download. Then, you need to download the Plex app on the iOS device you want to configure. Both devices need to be on the same Wi-Fi network, needless to specify. Once you have installed and gone through the initial setup on the desktop, tap refresh on the iDevice app’s interface and the desktop client will be detected. Now, whatever changes you make – adding media, modifying media details etc. – will be immediately reflected on the iDevice.

How we tested: To the core!
To get the best possible experience, we are testing this app on an iPad, because the bigger screen makes it simpler to understand the UI and see how good the media streaming quality is. To see how good the streaming quality is, in the event the router isn’t the best, we were using the Beetel 450 TC1 wireless “G” router. This is a fairly limited in-between device, and usually, it can only handle SD content streaming from the PC to the WD Live or the PlayStation 3. The idea is to find how low the set up can go, till the service works. It is a given that streaming will work brilliantly on a good quality Wireless “N” router, but then again, not everyone has that kind of set up available.

The Interface: Neat, and it works
This application, as a package, has two aspects. One is the desktop client, either on your PC or Mac. The second is the app that sits on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad.

We will take a look at the desktop client first. We were using a Windows laptop for this review (mere mortals, you see!), and the one being pictured here is the Windows desktop client. The interface on the desktop version is very neat. You get to sign up the first time, and then proceed to add sections of content based on the genre you wish – Movies, TV, Music, Photos or videos that you may have recorded under the section “Home Videos”. Fairly well segregated content, and we appreciate the simplicity and convenience it potentially offers – particularly when the library becomes big over time. You can add more than one folder under a particular content genre, and that is again very useful if you happen to have content spread across partitions on your hard drive and an external drive.

Once you are done with pointing Plex to where your content sits, you head to the home screen of the app – this is the screen that you will start with from now on, since you are always signed in. At the beginning are big icons for the Library categories. Below that are the recently added videos, irrespective of the genre they may be falling in.

The movies are listed with their cover art, and clicking on them takes you to the details page, all of which have been automatically downloaded. The TV shows get listed by each episode, complete with a thumbnail image and the summary.

Now shifting to the app on the iPad, and the similarity of the interface is very similar. You have the similar sections as the desktop version, with the real addition being streaming channels that you can add. All the information that is visible, per piece of content, will also be visible on the iPad.

Performance
Getting content set up on the desktop is a fairly simple task. After pointing the client to all the folders that house the relevant media content, the app usually automatically refreshes the view to show the new stuff. This is very neat and helpful, particularly for if you are handling a lot of different TV series’ and their episodes. However, we did notice that a couple of times, that didn’t happen. Helpfully, there is that refresh option on the top right. While most content was segregated properly, we did notice that there was a consistency issue with the movies section. Of the four movies that we added, three showed up immediately under the correct genre cluster. However, the Last Passenger refused to be categorized under Movies. While Plex itself scraped all the movie data (plot summary, cover art and fan art), it still didn’t categorize that particular file in the movies section. That was a tad weird, and no matter that we removed that movie and added it again, it still refused to be categorized properly.

Apart from this niggle, setting this up and getting it to work was a breeze. The moment new content is added on the desktop version, the iDevice will immediately refresh as well. There are two ways of playing back stuff on the iPad – either you direct the desktop software to play the video on the connected Apple device, or you can select from the device itself. Both ways, the video starts after a 3 second wait. And the playback is very smooth. We tried a lot of different videos – SD content, 720p MKV, 720p MP4, 1080P MKV and 1080P MP4, and all played back without any issues. The Plex desktop software will recode the videos on the fly, so smoothly that you won’t even realize when that is being done.

As we had mentioned earlier, we were using a router with rather limited capability, and it was a surprise to see how well the streaming worked on that. Even skipping through the timeline of a traditionally big 1080p MKV video didn’t induce any stutter, only a 2 second wait before the video began without any skipping or audio video mismatch.

Incidentally, this is the same router that is hardly able to handle media streaming of any kind – between PC and PC to WD Live.

Bottom Line
This is a rather simple app that you can get for yourself, and enjoy all the media that sits on your PC, anywhere in your home, on your iPad, iPhone or the iPod Touch. No risk of running out of space on the device, or having to sync data to and from the iDevices every time you fancy watching something new. The desktop client is free, and we believe the money you spend on the iOS version is totally worth it.

Download: Link
Price: Rs. 270
Publisher: Plex Inc.
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

 

[Source:- Digit]

BBM for iPhone Review

BBM for iPhone

Probably the best thing for all users who wished to switch platforms, but the BBM friends list held them back. BBM is a great IM client for all iPhone users irrespective of whether they’ve used it before or not.

BBM FOR IPHONE RATING 90100

Our Verdict

Not a revolutionary messenger app by any means, but in an ecosystem filled with messenger clients, it comes across as one of the slickest options. This probably is the best thing that could happen to all users who wished to switch platforms, but the BBM friends list held them back. Equally, the friendships can be rekindled with those who stayed back, while you moved on to an Android smartphone or an iPhone. Initial issues remain, but the BBM client on the iPhone is very similar to what we saw on the BlackBerry Z10 – which means functionality and usability will be a breeze. You cannot download BBM right now on iOS and Android due to various issues, but the moment it becomes available again, we would urge you to give it a shot.

PROS

  • Slick interface
  • Messenger is no longer restricted to a BlackBerry smartphone
  • Message delivery over 3G is a tad quicker than on Whatsapp and iMessage
  • Feature set at par with Whatsapp

CONS

  • Stock iOS keyboard behaves differently when auto-correcting
  • Needs voice & video calls to get an advantage over rivals

BBM for iPhone: Detailed Review

The skeptics have said that the multi-platform version of the BlackBerry Messenger is arriving too late. However, the fact that 1.1 million Android users were ready and waiting, and in fact lapped up the leaked .apk that led to the series of unfortunate events, proved the “experts” wrong. In mobile ecosystems so full of IM clients anyway, the fact that BBM is getting so much attention on iOS and Android just proves – more is better! In this write-up, we specifically look at the iOS version of the BlackBerry Messenger.

Setting it up
While the going was good, I managed to download the BBM from the Apple App Store. Before this, I was using BBM on a BlackBerry 10 smartphone, and already had a BB ID and password ready, with an active BBM account. Post download and install, all I needed to do was sign-in with the same ID and password. The prompt informed me that the ID was already linked to another phone. The options available here were – Cancel (and register / sign in with another ID) or continue with the Switch BBM option from the existing device to the new device, the iPhone in this case. I selected the latter, and the sign in process took exactly a minute. All existing contacts were shifted over without any hassle, which is rather neat.

If you need to invite more people to try out BBM, you can do so via email and SMS, and more users can be added to your friend list by either punching in their messenger PIN or by scanning the barcode.

The User Interface
For anyone who hasn’t experienced BlackBerry 10 as an OS, or used BBM on it, this UI is something that you need to get used to. While it looks fairly standard for the most part, the side swipes throughout the app add a different realm of access and functionality. A tab on the bottom of the screen lets you navigate between chats, contacts and groups. Your BBM profiles can be accessed via the bar on the top of the screen, where the profile picture and the status update sit.

  

Throughout the app more options can be accessed from the left and right-hand side menus, that can be pulled out and pushed away. These offer fairly basic options at the moment, but with voice and video calls as well as screen sharing on the way, these options should show up here soon enough.

The app has enough visual elements to keep you interested, with the mix of black, sky blue and white contrasting well. The contacts list can either be a list with small contact images, or thumbnails with the highlight being the images your contacts have set as profile pictures. There’s no quick toggle to change this, and you need to go into the full settings menu to change that.

Chats – Individual and group
The text based chat experience is exactly as you would expect – same method of starting a chat, and individual chat windows for each contact. The on-screen keyboard on the iPhone is the conventional keyboard seen across all apps, including iMessage. The options bar above the keyboard and below the chat window offer stuff like adding more contacts to a particular chat, attaching a photo or a voice note and using the send key there rather than the one on the keyboard.

Like almost every other messenger app, BBM also offers the group chat option. Incidentally, the only way to add people to the group is via their PIN or barcode, but not by an invite via email or SMS. The groups I had on BBM on the BlackBerry smartphone were carried forward as is, but you need to manually reactivate your presence on each group on the new device.

There’s no video or voice call support at the moment, but that is slated to arrive in a future update. Message delivery, inside a chat, is almost realtime. BBM for iPhone utilizes the background data option, which Whatsapp cannot, for example.

Yes, the most important question – what about them smileys? Yes, they are very much there, just like on BBM as ever. Facebook Messenger users would probably miss the stickers option.

  

While the on-screen keyboard within BBM is the stock iOS one, there is a major behavioral difference. If the auto spell-check corrects a word, you need to tap the space key twice to get the desired result and proceed to typing another word. This is somewhat reminiscent of the BB10 keyboard, but fairly disconcerting for iPhone users. Maybe an update can solve this, and maybe also bring the word recommendations from BB10’s keyboard.

Download or not?
Absolutely, download the moment BBM reemerges on the Apple App Store (and the Google Play Store, depending on the device). Among the dozens of instant messaging apps, BBM does retain its sophistication, and offers one of the most non-intrusive chat experiences. On my phone, BBM, at the moment, sits side by side with Whatsapp. Let’s see if one can replace the other, or both can exist side by side.

 

[Source:- Digit]

WhatsApp for iOS adds bold, italics and strikethrough formatting

WhatsApp for iOS adds bold, italics and strikethrough formatting

iOS users with WhatsApp v2.12.17 can now send text in bold, italics, or strikethrough formats. However, Android users won’t be able to see the formatted text as yet, seeing that the feature has initially been rolled out only to iOS.

WhatsApp’s latest update for iOS users allow them to send formatted text. This will allow users to send text in bold, italics or strikethrough, and is only available for WhatsApp v2.12.17 on iOS. To sent text in bold, users will have to place the text within asterisks(*), for italics the text needs to be between underscores (_), and for strikethrough it needs to be between tildes (~). In order to have text two or all three formats, users will have to use the respective symbols. For example, in order to send text in bold and italics, the text needs to be between underscore and asterisks (_*text*_).

Android users will not be able to see the formatted text, as of now. However, the feature should be made available to them, soon. Earlier this month, users ofWhatsApp Beta for Android had received an update that allowed them to send formatted text. The update also allowed them to send PDF files from Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive accounts. In addition, users could also send Docs, Sheets, and Slides from Google Drive, which were automatically converted to PDF files before being sent.

 

[Source:- Digit]