Wednesday November 14, 2018 7:48 am PST by Eric Slivka
Following its October 30 media event, Apple quietly announced in its MacBook Air press release that new AMD Radeon Pro Vega graphics would be coming to the 15-inch MacBook Pro as of November 14, and the new options have just gone live in Apple's online store.
The high-end 15-inch MacBook Pro can now be custom configured with with Radeon Pro Vega 16 graphics for an additional $250 or Radeon Pro Vega 20 graphics for an additional $350.
Configuring a MacBook Pro with the new Vega graphics pushes delivery estimates to November 20 at the earliest, which is a fairly standard timeframe for custom orders.
Friday November 9, 2018 3:02 pm PST by Juli Clover
Apple today announced the launch of a new SSD service program for the 13-inch MacBook Pro sans Touch Bar after determining that the 128 and 256GB SSDs in a limited number of these machines have an issue that can result in data loss and failure of the drive.
Apple says that 13-inch MacBook Pro models with affected drives were sold between June 2017 and June 2018, and Apple will provide service for these drives free of charge.
MacBook Pro owners can submit their serial number on the page announcing the program to see if their machines are eligible for servicing. Apple recommends that affected machines be serviced as soon as possible to avoid loss of data.
13-inch MacBook Pro models with Touch Bar and older 13-inch MacBook Pro models are not affected.
Customers will need to visit an Apple retail location, an Apple Authorized Service Provider, or contact Apple Support for a mail-in repair. Apple says that all machines needing service should be backed up first, with the company outlining the repair steps:
Prior to service, it's important to do a full back up of your data because your drive will be erased as part of the service process.
- A technician will run a utility to update your drive firmware which will take approximately one hour or less.
- Your 13-inch MacBook Pro will be returned to you with macOS re-installed.
- After service, you will need to restore your data from a backup.
Apple also recommends having another device, such as an iPhone, available to view the Apple support article with details about restoring data from a backup since the Mac in question will not be able to access the internet until it is updated.
Apple says that files corrupted due to this issue will not be able to be restored, and any damage to the MacBook Pro that impairs the ability to service the drive will need to be addressed first, possibly at customer expense.
The program covers affected MacBook Pro models for three years after the first retail sale of the unit, but it doesn't extend the standard warranty coverage of the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Customers who already paid for a repair for a drive failure can contact Apple Support for a refund.
Tucked away in a press release, Apple revealed it is bringing AMD Radeon Pro Vega graphics to MacBook Pro for the first time. The company says these new graphic options deliver up to 60 percent faster graphics performance for the most demanding video editing, 3D design and rendering workloads.
The new configurations are set to be custom-order only from Apple's online and retail stores, with availability at Apple Authorized Resellers also expected, from Wednesday, November 14. Apple has yet to release pricing details.
Saturday October 20, 2018 8:13 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple has added 2018 models of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to its refurbished store in the U.S. for the first time. Prices are discounted by roughly 15 percent compared to the equivalent brand new models.
Quantities are limited, so we recommend acting fast or using Refurb Tracker to monitor when inventory is replenished.
Apple says refurbished MacBook Pro models are thoroughly inspected, tested, cleaned, and repackaged, with all manuals and cables included in the box. In our view, a refurbished MacBook Pro is virtually indistinguishable from a brand new model, so this represents a good opportunity for savings.
Note that third-party resellers sometimes offer better deals than Apple's refurbished prices, so be sure to monitor our deals roundup.
A refurbished MacBook Pro comes with Apple's standard one-year warranty effective on the date the notebook is delivered. The warranty can be extended to three years from the refurbished purchase date with AppleCare+ for Mac, which costs $379 for the the 15-inch MacBook Pro in the United States.
Apple has also added refurbished 2018 models of the 15-inch MacBook Pro to its Canadian store at a 15 percent discount.
Wednesday October 17, 2018 8:00 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple has added 2018 models of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar to its refurbished store in the U.S. for the first time. Prices are discounted by roughly 15 percent compared to the equivalent brand new models.
A refurbished base model with a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 256GB of flash storage, 8GB of RAM, and Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 is available for $1,529 in the United States, reflecting savings of $270 off Apple's regular price of $1,799. Available finishes include Silver and Space Gray.
A refurbished maxed-out model with a 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 2TB of flash storage, 16GB of RAM, and Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 is available for $3,139 in the United States, reflecting savings of $560 off Apple's regular price of $3,699. This configuration is currently limited to Space Gray.
A variety of other models, including built-to-order configurations, are currently available. Quantities are limited, however, so we recommend acting fast or using Refurb Tracker to monitor when inventory is replenished.
Apple says refurbished MacBook Pro models are thoroughly inspected, tested, cleaned, and repackaged, including the manuals and cables included in the box. In our view, a refurbished MacBook Pro is virtually indistinguishable from a brand new model, so this represents a good opportunity for savings.
Note that third-party resellers sometimes offer better deals than Apple's refurbished prices, so be sure to monitor our deals roundup.
A refurbished MacBook Pro comes with Apple's standard one-year warranty effective on the date the notebook is delivered. The warranty can be extended to three years from the original purchase date with AppleCare+ for Mac, which costs $269 for the the 13-inch MacBook Pro in the United States.
Apple has also added refurbished 2018 models of the 13-inch MacBook Pro to its Canadian store, also at a 15 percent discount.
Saturday October 6, 2018 2:35 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Earlier this week, MacRumors obtained an internal document from Apple stating that Macs with the Apple T2 chip, including the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro, must pass Apple diagnostics for certain repairs to be completed.
The document states:
For Macs with the Apple T2 chip, the repair process is not complete for certain parts replacements until the AST 2 System Configuration suite has been run. Failure to perform this step will result in an inoperative system and an incomplete repair.
• For notebooks: Display assembly, logic board, top case, and Touch ID board
• For desktops: Logic board and flash storage
Apple's diagnostic software is limited to internal use by Genius Bars at Apple Stores, Apple Authorized Service Providers, and qualifying institutions, suggesting that independent repair shops without Apple certification would be unable to repair certain parts on the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro going forward.
Moreover, the document reignited a debate about planned obsolescence, as there were concerns that when Apple stops servicing the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro, repairs through alternative channels might not be possible.
The news was quickly opposed by "Right to Repair" activists who believe that Apple and other device manufacturers should be legally required to make replacement parts, repair guides, and tools available to the public. Apple has and continues to actively oppose "Right to Repair" legislation in the United States.
Those activists will be delighted to hear that, for whatever reason, what Apple said in its document isn't actually the case right now.
iFixit is not an Apple Authorized Service Provider, so at this time, it appears that independent repair shops should remain able to repair the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro without issue. It's unclear why Apple's document suggests otherwise, but it's possible the requirement could kick in at a later date.
So why is Apple doing this? It could simply be a mechanism for tracking parts used by their authorized network, to check quality or replacement rates. It's possible that units with swapped parts may operate normally, but still report a failure in Apple diagnostic tests for having 'unauthorized' components installed—much like earlier units did on earlier versions of AST for third party HDD/SSD, RAM and batteries.
Thursday October 4, 2018 12:12 pm PDT by Joe Rossignol
Due to advanced security features of the Apple T2 chip, iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro models must pass Apple diagnostics for certain repairs to be completed, according to an internal document from Apple obtained by MacRumors.
For the 2018 MacBook Pro, the requirement applies to repairs involving the display, logic board, Touch ID, and top case, which includes the keyboard, battery, trackpad, and speakers, according to the document. For the iMac Pro, the requirement only applies to logic board and flash storage repairs.
If any of these parts are repaired in an iMac Pro or 2018 MacBook Pro, and the Apple diagnostics are not run, this will result in an inoperative system and an incomplete repair, according to Apple's directive to service providers.
Apple's diagnostic suite is limited to internal use by Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers, as part of what is called the Apple Service Toolkit. As a result, independent repair shops without Apple certification may be unable to repair certain parts on the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro.
Moreover, when the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro are eventually classified as vintage products, meaning they are no longer eligible for hardware service from Apple, repairs through alternative channels might not be possible.
MacRumors has reached out to Apple for comment.
This requirement is a result of the T2 chip, which integrates several previously separate components, including the system management controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller. It also features a Secure Enclave coprocessor for secure boot, encrypted storage, and authenticating Touch ID.
Update: Despite the specific wording of Apple's document, which says failure to run Apple diagnostics after certain parts are replaced in T2-equipped Macs "will result in an inoperative system," the repair experts at iFixit swapped out the display and logic board on a 2018 MacBook Pro, and it remained operational without passing diagnostics.
iFixit is not an Apple Authorized Service Provider, so at this time, it appears that independent repair shops should be able to repair the iMac Pro and 2018 MacBook Pro without issue. It's unclear why Apple's document suggests otherwise.
When contacted by MacRumors for clarification, Apple said the Supplemental Update improves system stability and reliability across a number of areas, and addresses several issues, including crackling audio and kernel panics. Apple said it recommends all users install the update on their MacBook Pros.
Apple Support Communities user takashiyoshida, for example, claimed his MacBook Pro "no longer outputs the crackling noise" after updating.
"This evening, I set the microphone and speaker's sampling format to 44100 Hz and began playing back music on iTunes," he explained. "Before the update, I would normally hear the noise in about an hour. I left my MacBook Pro to play music for about three hours and so far I am not hearing any noises."
Reddit user onceARMY, however, commented that he was "still getting audio crackling noise while playing YouTube content on Safari." He did note that there were "no issues with the Spotify app" after installing the update.
As far as kernel panics are concerned, a handful of users have reported experiencing at least one since installing the Supplemental Update.
"Installed today's update… and then it happened," wrote MacRumors forum member King724, referring to a kernel panic. He shared a log indicating a system crash related to bridgeOS, the device firmware on the logic board that controls many functions on the 2018 MacBook Pro, including the Apple T2 chip.
For context, the T2 chip integrates several previously separate components, including the system management controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller. It also features a Secure Enclave coprocessor for secure boot, encrypted storage, and authenticating Touch ID.
Prior to yesterday's Supplemental Update, Apple support representatives provided customers with a wide variety of potential solutions to mitigate these issues, ranging from disabling FileVault to turning off Power Nap, but none of the workarounds appeared to permanently fix the problems.
Apple also asked some customers if they would be willing to send in their MacBook Pros so that its engineers can look into the issues. Some customers were apparently told that fixes were in the works, and at least based on what Apple told us, they are included in the Supplemental Update.
This is the second macOS High Sierra Supplemental Update for the 2018 MacBook Pro in as many months, with the first addressing a bug that contributed to excessive throttling of clock speeds under heavy thermal loads.
The Supplemental Update is not available to macOS Mojave users, but the issues could be resolved in future beta versions.
Tuesday August 21, 2018 4:28 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple has added two China-based manufacturers to its list of MacBook chassis suppliers in an effort to push down prices quoted by Taiwan-based makers, according to a new report today by DigiTimes.
China-based Shenzhen Everwin Precision Technology and AAC Technologies are said to have obtained Apple certification in 2017, and this year they began small-volume shipments of the metal-alloy chassis for Apple's notebook line-up.
Previous years saw Taiwan-based Catcher Technology, Foxconn Technology and Casetek Holdings dominate the supply of MacBook chassis, and Apple reportedly intends to continue relying on them because of their excellent manufacturing capabilities, but not before it has capitalized on the Chinese makers' lower production costs.
DigiTimes' sources indicate that for Taiwan makers, competition from China rivals will have more impact on their gross margins than on order volumes. To offset the impact, Taiwan companies have increasingly sought orders from Chinese brand vendors of high-end devices like laptops. Responding to the rumored potential of Chinese competition for Apple's business, for example, Catcher said its outlook for 2018 remained unchanged.
Apple is expected to release a new low-cost MacBook Air later this year that will be similar in design to the current MacBook Air, but with slimmer bezels around the display. Based on the latest rumor, the new machine will be a straight MacBook Air upgrade aimed at students and schools, with a lower price tag than MacBooks in the MacBook family.
It remains unclear how a new 13-inch Retina MacBook Air fits in with Apple's existing 12-inch Retina MacBook lineup, so the company's plans for its upcoming notebook range could still throw up a surprise or two.
The crackling appears to occur spontaneously during audio playback on both 13-inch and 15-inch models, based on a handful of videos shared by customers. As with many crowdsourced issues, there are a lot of variables involved, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly what may be causing the problem.
Some customers appear to experience the issue while playing music in iTunes, while others are affected when using GarageBand, or playing a YouTube video. Some users also hear the crackling when running Windows via Boot Camp. It's unclear if the crackling is limited to specific volumes or frequencies.
MacRumors forum members have speculated about possible causes, including radio interference due to a lack of shielding, audio drivers, and the T2 chip.
A few years ago, some customers experienced similar crackling from the built-in speakers on the 2016 MacBook Pro, oftentimes when running Windows via Boot Camp. The crackling was so loud that it often permanently damaged the speakers, resulting in the MacBook Pro needing to be repaired or replaced.
If you installed Windows 10 using Boot Camp Assistant before November 25, 2016 on a MacBook Pro introduced in October 2016, it's important that you install the Audio Driver Update for Boot Camp using Apple Software Update for Windows to avoid issues with your speakers.
The speaker issues with the 2018 MacBook Pro don't appear to be as dire, or nearly as widespread, but enough complaints have surfaced that we wanted to bring some attention to the matter in the interest of those affected.
At least one user claims the issue may have been fixed in the latest macOS Mojave betas, which is unconfirmed. Another user claimed that Apple engineers are looking into the matter. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
Of course, in a production run of millions of new MacBook Pro units, a small percentage may have defective speakers, but this does appear to be an actual issue that hopefully can be or has been addressed in a future software update.
Available in Midnight Blue, Saddle Brown, and Black, the Leather Sleeves are similar to the previously available Leather Sleeves for the 12-inch MacBook lineup. The colors match some of the colors of Apple's Leather iPhone case options.
Apple's Leather Sleeves are simple and no-frills, made from a high-quality European leather with careful stitching around the outer edges and an Apple logo front and center. Inside, there's a soft microfiber lining.
Four circles at the bottom of the sleeve match the feet of the MacBook Pro, so this is a sleeve that's only going to work with the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models from 2016 and on.
When not in use, the Sleeve can be used as a little mat for your MacBook Pro, protecting it from the surface beneath. Unfortunately, there's no access to the USB-C port when the MacBook Pro is in the Sleeve, so it can't be used while charging.
All in all, the Leather Sleeve is going to offer up protection from scratches and bumps, but there's no drop protection here. Most people may want to go with a cheaper option, but at the $179 to $199 price point, Apple hasn't skimped on quality.
What do you think of Apple's Leather Sleeves for the MacBook Pro? Let us know in the comments.
It's also the first time Apple has sold fewer than four million Macs in a quarter since the third quarter of 2013, a span of five years.
Apple reported sales of 4.29 million Macs in the same quarter a year ago, so this is a pretty significant 13 percent decline on a year-over-year basis. Mac revenue also dropped five percent over the year-ago quarter.
There are a number of possible explanations for the decline, including consumers increasingly shifting towards the iPhone and iPad. Together, those devices accounted for 65 percent of Apple's revenue last quarter, compared to just 10 percent for the Mac. Apple even markets the iPad as a computer replacement.
Apple hasn't updated its 12-inch MacBook and iMac lines since June 2017, while the MacBook Air has gone unchanged since March 2015, except for a minor increase in clock speed on the base model last year. Worse, the Mac mini hasn't been refreshed since October 2014, and the Mac Pro has gone unchanged since December 2013 while Apple works on a new modular version for 2019.
While the MacBook Pro was recently updated, the new models didn't launch until 12 days after the third quarter ended. Last year, new MacBook Pro models launched at WWDC in early June, well within the third quarter.
Apple's financial chief Luca Maestri highlighted this "difficult launch comparison" in the company's earnings call on Tuesday:
Our year-over-year sales performance was impacted by the different timing of the MacBook Pro launch, which did not occur until early Q4 this year as opposed to June last year.
The month-later MacBook Pro refresh isn't enough to justify Apple's fewest Mac sales in any quarter since 2010, however, as the notebook has been updated at various times over the years. 2016 models were released in October of that year, for example, while 2013 models launched in February of that year.
Mac sales were the lowest in a quarter since 2010 - hard to blame the MacBook Pro coming out in July versus June. https://t.co/E6QDBJ9VYd
Apple said it still recorded double-digit year-over-year growth in its active installed base of Macs last quarter, reaching a new all-time high, with nearly 60 percent of purchases coming from customers who are new to the Mac.
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