Tuesday March 6, 2018 7:10 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Twelve South today announced that its BookArc möd stand is now compatible with MacBook Pro models released in 2016 and later.
The stand now ships with two interchangeable silicone inserts that can hold 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models with Thunderbolt 3 ports, older 2012-2015 era MacBook Pro models, any 12-inch MacBook, and any MacBook Air.
BookArc is a popular stand for docking a MacBook vertically in closed-display mode. The aluminum version is already compatible with the 2016 and later MacBook Pro, and now the hardwood version is too after a much longer wait.
Monday February 12, 2018 7:32 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple's lineup of MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro models accounted for roughly one in ten notebooks shipped worldwide last year, according to data published today by research firm TrendForce.
TrendForce claims that Apple surpassed ASUS to become the world's fourth largest notebook vendor, with an estimated 9.6 percent market share in 2017, up from 8.3 percent in 2016. ASUS saw its market share drop to an estimated 9.5 percent last year, down from a reported 10.3 percent in 2016.
The research firm says Apple releasing updated MacBook Pro models in June 2017 helped the company expand its shipments by 18 percent for the whole year—supposedly the highest growth rate among all notebook brands.
TrendForce estimates notebook shipments from all brands totaled 164.7 million units worldwide, a year-on-year increase of 2.1 percent. Windows PC makers HP, Lenovo, and Dell led the industry with estimated 24.3 percent, 20.2 percent, and 15.2 percent market shares respectively in 2017.
It's important to note that Apple doesn't break down its Mac sales on a model-by-model basis in its earnings reports, so TrendForce's data is estimated, likely based in part on the average selling price of a Mac.
Another caveat is that PC makers like HP, Lenovo, and Dell sell a wide variety of notebooks at all different price points, while Apple primarily targets the high-end market, with its cheapest notebook being the outdated MacBook Air for $999 and up. Apple's profit margins are also significantly higher.
Apple routinely flip-flops between fourth and fifth place in the notebook market, so these results aren't overly surprising. The company is expected to remain the world's fourth most popular notebook vendor in 2018.
What's next for Apple's notebook lineup? We haven't heard much yet, but a recent report claimed that at least three new Mac models integrated with custom co-processors, including updated notebooks and a new desktop, are planned for release later this year. MacBook refreshes often occur between March and June.
Apple's desktop lineup has actually received more attention than MacBooks recently. In addition to the all-new iMac Pro, Apple continues to work on a Mac Pro with an upgradeable design. The portable Mac mini has also gone well over three years without an update, and could certainly use a refresh.
For a history of release dates and the latest rumors about the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, be sure to visit our Mac Buyer's Guide.
Monday January 29, 2018 5:40 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple is developing at at least three new Mac models integrated with custom co-processors, including updated notebooks and a new desktop, according to Mark Gurman, reporting for Bloomberg News.
The report claims the new models could be released as early as this year, but it doesn't specify which ones they'll be. Of course, Apple's notebook lineup includes the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro, while its desktop lineup includes the iMac and iMac Pro, Mac Pro, and aging Mac mini.
In terms of notebooks, the MacBook and MacBook Pro are the most likely candidates for a refresh this year, as the MacBook Air has not received any meaningful updates since March 2015, nearly three years ago, and it seems like Apple is only keeping it around for its $999 price tag at this point.
MacBook Pro with Touch Bar models released in 2016 and later are already equipped with Apple's custom T1 chip that authenticates and secures Touch ID and Apple Pay respectively, and it's possible the notebook could be updated with a newer chip that offloads even more tasks from the main Intel processor.
MacBook models do not feature a custom co-processor, but unless Apple is planning to extend the Touch Bar to the 12-inch notebooks, it remains to be seen if there would be much necessity for a T-series chip.
There's also a single rumor from DigiTimes, which doesn't have the most reliable track record, claiming Apple will release a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook in the second half of this year. It's unclear if this model would be a potential MacBook Air replacement, or where else it would slot in Apple's notebook lineup.
Shifting to desktops, the iMac Pro is already equipped with Apple's custom T2 chip for enhanced security and integration. The co-processor integrates several previously separate components, including the system management controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller.
The T2 chip has a Secure Enclave that makes the iMac Pro even more secure with new encrypted storage and secure boot capabilities. It's possible Apple could extend this co-processor to standard iMac models this year.
Apple has also confirmed it is working on an all-new modular Mac Pro, although it only revealed that its release date would come at some point after 2017. And the Mac mini has gone over 1,200 days without an update, according to the MacRumors Buyer's Guide, and the portable computer could sorely use a refresh.
Much of the Bloomberg News report is focused on Apple's shift towards in-house chip design, reducing its dependance on companies like Qualcomm and Imagination Tech, so further details about the new Macs are scant.
Monday January 15, 2018 1:49 am PST by Tim Hardwick
Apple currently has no plans to make any major upgrades to its MacBook Pro lineup in 2018, according to DigiTimes. Of course, if accurate, the report doesn't rule out a MacBook Pro refresh or update of any kind this year.
An excerpt from the report, citing sources within Apple's supply chain:
The sources revealed that Foxconn had been aggressively working to land more MacBook orders from Apple during the past few years by offering attractive quotes. Since Apple has not had a major upgrade to its MacBook product line since the releases of its new MacBook Pro devices at the end of 2016 and has no plan for one in 2018, the US-based vendor is planning to shift orders for models that are already in mass production to Foxconn to save costs and reduce risks.
Apple's manufacturing partner Foxconn could land a large number of additional MacBook orders this year, the report adds. The increase could come at the expense of Quanta Computer, which has been Apple's major MacBook supplier in recent years.
Taiwan-based Foxconn has reportedly been working to boost its chances of notebook orders from Apple by offering attractive quotes. Apple will therefore switch MacBook orders to Foxconn for models that are already in mass production as a way to save costs and reduce risks, according to the sources cited.
Foxconn is expected to begin mass shipments to fulfill the new orders in the second quarter of 2018, said the sources. Foxconn and Quanta both declined to comment on their clients or orders. The sources pointed out that Apple started outsourcing the assembly for some of MacBooks' components to Foxconn's plants in Shenzhen, China in the second half of 2017.
Despite the news, Quanta is expected to remain Apple's biggest supplier going into 2018. According to DigiTimes' research, out of 15 million MacBooks shipped to Apple a year, the shipment ratio between Quanta and Foxconn has been at around 8:2 for the past five years. Last year alone, Quanta had a 79.5 percent share and Foxconn took 20.5 percent.
Quanta is said to be looking to other brand vendors to offset the impact of the loss of orders, as it aims for similar growth to the market average in 2018. The Taiwan-based firm shipped 38.7 million notebooks last year, up five percent on year, and is currently the largest notebook supplier for HP, Apple, Acer, and Asus.
Quanta also maintains orders for the Apple Watch, and is said to be teaming up with Israeli-based augmented reality company Lumus to manufacture lenses for smart glasses. It's not clear if Quanta and Lumus are working with Apple on a future AR headset or smart glasses, but it is a possibility as rumors suggest Apple has a wearable augmented reality product in the works.
Friday January 12, 2018 5:37 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple rose to become the world's fourth-largest PC maker in 2017, as Mac sales increased to nearly 20 million during the year, according to the latest estimates shared by research firms IDC and Gartner.
The roughly 19.6 million total is based on Apple's reported Mac sales of 13.9 million units in the first three calendar quarters of the year, while IDC and Gartner estimate Apple sold another 5.4 million to 5.7 million Macs in the fourth quarter.
Apple officially reported sales of 18.5 million Macs in 2016, so the company is looking at year-over-year growth of around four to six percent based on the IDC and Gartner data. Apple sold over 20 million Macs in both 2014 and 2015, however, so 2017 was likely not a record-breaking year for the Mac.
Apple leapfrogged either Asus or Acer depending on which dataset you look at, as IDC and Gartner have slightly different estimates. Both research firms have Apple trailing behind HP, Lenovo, and Dell, which shipped an estimated 58.8 million, 54.8 million, and 41.8 million PCs respectively last year per IDC.
Apple's growth in 2017 is impressive given Gartner claims it was the sixth consecutive year of declining PC shipments. The year saw Apple refresh its MacBook Pro and iMac lineups with Kaby Lake processors, give the base MacBook Air a slight speed boost, and launch an all-new iMac Pro.
We'll know exactly how many Macs were sold in 2017 when Apple reports its next earnings results on February 1, but if these estimates prove to be accurate, it was a financially successful year for the Mac.
Friday December 29, 2017 11:13 am PST by Juli Clover
Like 2017, 2018 promises to be a major year for Apple, with many new products on the horizon. We'll get Apple's first smart speaker -- the HomePod -- this year, along with a second-generation version of the iPhone X accompanied by a larger-screened version for those who want to go even bigger.
A new iPad Pro with Face ID is said to be in the works, and this is also the year when Apple's AirPower wireless charging mat will debut. Beyond that, we can expect Mac refreshes, new software, a new Apple Watch, and maybe that new modular Mac Pro.
Below, we've rounded up all of the products we're expecting to see from Apple in 2018 based on both current rumors that we've heard so far and past release information.
HomePod - Early 2018
HomePod is Apple's first Wi-Fi connected smart speaker, designed to compete with existing smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and the Google Home. It was originally meant to debut in December, but Apple delayed its launch to an unspecified date in "early 2018."
With HomePod, Apple focused on sound quality, with a 7 tweeter array, each with its own driver, and a 4-inch upward-facing woofer for crisp, distortion free sound. An A8 chip powers spatial awareness features, allowing the HomePod to analyze a room and then adjust the sound accordingly.
Siri is built into HomePod, and there's integration with Apple Music for Apple Music subscribers. Using a six-microphone array, HomePod can detect Siri commands from anywhere in a room, so Siri can be used to play music, answer queries, and more.
We don't know exactly when HomePod will be released, but it should come out in the first few months of 2018. Apple plans to charge $349 for the speaker.
Apple introduced three iPhones in 2017 -- the iPhone X, the iPhone 8, and the iPhone 8 Plus -- and current rumors suggest we'll also see three new models in 2018.
The first iPhone we're expecting will be a followup to the iPhone X with the same 5.8-inch OLED display. Rumors suggest it will be accompanied by a second OLED iPhone, this one measuring in at 6.5 inches, which means it can be thought of as an "iPhone X Plus."
Alongside these two OLED iPhones, Apple is also said to be planning to introduce a 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD display, positioned as a more affordable device targeting the low-end and midrange markets with a starting price of $649 to $749 in the United States.
Apple's planned 2018 iPhone lineup, via Ming-Chi Kuo
According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, all three of these iPhones will feature edge-to-edge displays, Face ID, and TrueDepth camera systems, which means the end of both the Home button and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in new iPhone models for the time being.
Thursday December 28, 2017 7:05 am PST by Juli Clover
2017 was a big year for Apple, with the launch of the entirely revamped iPhone X, the iMac Pro, the first cellular-enabled Apple Watch, an iPad Pro with an amazing display, the Apple TV 4K, and new Macs, software, and other products.
In the video below, we highlighted some of the most well-received and notable Apple products of the year, and below that, you'll find a quick overview of every major product Apple debuted or announced in 2017.
March saw the launch of Apple's most affordable iPad to date, the 5th-generation iPad, which Apple refers to as "iPad." iPad is priced starting at $329 for the entry-level 32GB Wi-Fi only version, and despite its low price, the tablet is equipped with a speedy A9 processor, an 8-megapixel rear camera, Touch ID, and Apple Pay support.
It's thicker than the 9.7-inch iPad Pro that came before it, but not by much, and while it doesn't support Apple Pencil or have some of the impressive display features available in the iPad Pro, it's an incredibly capable tablet that's going hold up for years to come.
Following the launch of the new low-cost "iPad," Apple introduced two new iPad Pro models in June: an updated 12.9-inch model and an all-new 10.5-inch model that replaces the previous 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The 10.5-inch iPad Pro isn't much bigger than the 9.7-inch model, but it has a much larger display thanks to thinner side bezels.
Both the 10.5 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro are amazingly powerful and can serve as PC replacements with A10X Fusion chips and 4GB RAM. New displays offer ProMotion display technology with a 120Hz refresh rate, and these are without a doubt the nicest displays we've seen in an iPad.
Unlike the fifth-generation iPad, the iPad Pro models support the Smart Keyboard and the Apple Pencil, but all of these features don't come cheap - the 64GB 10.5-inch iPad Pro starts at $649, and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro starts at $799. Luckily, sales are common, so you can often get these two tablets at lower prices.
Apple introduced the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar in October of 2016, so we weren't expecting new MacBook Pro models until late 2017, but Apple surprised us with new MacBook Pro models equipped with Kaby Lake processors in June of 2017.
Wednesday December 13, 2017 6:27 am PST by Joe Rossignol
If you bought and own a Mac in Australia or New Zealand, your computer effectively now has warranty coverage for up to three years from its original date of purchase, even without purchasing optional AppleCare+ coverage.
Apple will now offer warranty coverage on most Mac parts for up to 24 months after its limited one-year warranty period, under consumer law in each country, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Stores and Apple Authorized Service Providers and later obtained by MacRumors.
Apple is complying with existing Australia and New Zealand laws giving consumers the right to ask for a repair or replacement free of charge if a product experiences failure within a "reasonable" amount of time after purchase.
Mac owners can inquire about service under Australian and New Zealand consumer law at an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider, but we can't guarantee that every employee will be knowledgable about this policy. The change in policy is effective from today—that's December 13, 2017.
Eligible parts include the display, battery, SSD or hard drive, RAM, logic boards, GPU, internal cables, power supply, and other electronic components, so virtually every aspect of a Mac is covered, according to the document.
Apple provides a summary of consumer law, its limited one-year warranty, and its optional AppleCare+ coverage on its website in Australia and New Zealand.
The new trade-in values in the United States are as follows:
• MacBook: up to $1,110
• MacBook Air: up to $430
• MacBook Pro: up to $2,500
• iMac: up to $2,500
• Mac Pro: up to $1,560
To determine how much credit you can receive, visit the Phobio website, enter your Mac's serial number, and answer a few questions about its current condition. Phobio will then provide an estimate based on the information provided.
If you accept the quote, you'll receive payment after your Mac has been inspected and its condition has been verified. The payment can be in the form of an emailed Apple Store gift card, PayPal deposit, or a virtual prepaid Visa card.
A maxed-out 2017 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar in good condition, for example, has a trade-in value of $2,510. A maxed-out 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar in good condition is eligible for $1,460 credit.
Apple's trade-up program is convenient, but customers can get better resale value by selling their Mac on eBay or listing it in classifieds such as Craigslist or the MacRumors Marketplace, so long as you adhere to our rules and requirements.
Apple also offers up to $500 for select PCs. Meanwhile, Macs released earlier than 2009 are eligible for Apple's free Renew and Recycling program only.
Apple has authorized coverage within four years from the original purchase date of affected models, according to an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers and later obtained by MacRumors.
Eligible models, listed below, qualify for a free display replacement within the four-year coverage period. Check your receipt to determine the exact purchase date of your MacBook or MacBook Pro.
• MacBook Pro (13-inch, Early 2013)
• MacBook Pro (15-inch, Early 2013)
• MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2013)
• MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2013)
• MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid 2014)
• MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2014)
• MacBook Pro (13-inch, Early 2015)
• MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2015)
• MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2016)
• MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016)
• MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017)
• MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2017)
• MacBook (12-inch, Early 2015)
• MacBook (12-inch, Early 2016)
• MacBook (12-inch, Early 2017)
Apple's document states that all 2012 MacBook Pro models are no longer eligible since they were discontinued over four years ago.
Apple previously confirmed to us that this repair program continues to be handled internally rather than being publicly announced.
Affected customers can schedule a Genius Bar appointment at an Apple Store using the Apple Support app. Or, on the Get Support page, click Mac → Mac Notebooks → Hardware Issues → Display Issue and options should be presented to initiate a repair or contact Apple via phone, email, or online chat.
Apple's support website will ask for your Mac's serial number, which can be found by clicking on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the screen and clicking on About This Mac in the dropdown menu.
We've learned that Apple has supposedly prohibited support advisors from mentioning details about the anti-reflective coating repair program in online chat sessions, so visiting an Apple Store may be required. If you contact Apple by phone, asking for your call to be escalated to a senior advisor may help.
Affected customers can also visit an Apple Authorized Service Provider to determine if their notebook is eligible for coverage. Apple's document states that these third-party repair shops can even replace displays with other damage free of charge so long as the anti-reflective coating issues are present.
Apple's internal document also states that customers who already incurred out-of-warranty costs related to this issue continue to be eligible for a refund, which can be initiated by contacting Apple support directly.
Apple first began this repair program in October 2015, and already extended it once, after some MacBook and MacBook Pro users experienced issues with the anti-reflective coating wearing off or delaminating on Retina displays.
The damage appears to be caused by a variety of factors, including the pressure of the keyboard and trackpad on the display when closed, and the use of incorrect third-party cleaning solutions with microfiber cloths.
Over 12,000 customers joined a Facebook group dedicated to the issue, and hundreds of others have claimed to be affected across the Apple Support Communities, MacRumors forums, Twitter, Reddit, and other discussion platforms. The website Staingate.org contains a gallery of damaged displays.
Wednesday November 15, 2017 11:45 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Marco Arment, a developer best known for co-founding Tumblr and creating apps Instapaper and Overcast, believes the 2012 to 2015 era 15-inch MacBook Pro is "the best laptop that has ever existed."
2015 15-inch MacBook Pro
"Introduced in 2012, less than a year after Steve Jobs died, I see it as the peak of Jobs' vision for the Mac," said Arment in a blog post this week.
The 2012 model was the first MacBook Pro with a Retina display, and had a much slimmer design compared to previous models after Apple removed the built-in Ethernet port and optical disc drive for CDs/DVDs.
Apple refreshed the 2012 model in each of the following three years, but kept the external design largely the same.
Arment sees value in the 2012 to 2015 model's array of connectivity options, including a pair of Thunderbolt and USB-A ports, an HDMI port, a SD card slot, and a MagSafe power adapter that breaks away safely if it's tripped over.
2015 15-inch MacBook Pro
By comparison, the 2016 and later MacBook Pro has two or four Thunderbolt 3 ports that handle power, USB, DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA, resulting in Apple removing dedicated USB-A, HDMI, SD card, and MagSafe connectivity from the notebook.
He added that the 2012-2015 keyboard has a "crowd-pleasing design" and that the trackpad strikes a "great balance between size and usability."
2016 and later MacBook Pro models have a slimmer keyboard with a second-generation butterfly mechanism that has less key travel than 2012-2015 models, and a larger trackpad that is closer to the keyboard.
Apple packed a smaller 76 watt-hour battery pack into the latest MacBook Pro models, and while the notebooks are rated for up to 10 hours of battery life between charges, there were several early complaints in real-world usage.
All of these changes generated some controversy within the Apple community, particularly among professionals, so Arment's opinion is sure to resonate with some users, including among customers who refuse to upgrade.
Despite some early complaints, however, the MacBook Pro appears to be selling very well for Apple. In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the Mac set a new all-time revenue record of $25.8 billion in the 2017 fiscal year, with sales fueled primarily by "great demand" for the MacBook Pro in particular.
We sold 5.4 million Macs during the September quarter, up 10 percent over last year, and gained significant market share as the global market contracted by one percent, according to IDC's latest estimate. This performance was fueled primarily by great demand for MacBook Pro, and Mac revenue grew 25 percent to a new September quarter record.
For now, Apple continues to sell the 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD storage, and integrated Intel Iris Pro graphics for $1,999 in the United States.
Wednesday November 15, 2017 4:28 am PST by Tim Hardwick
Apple continued to see strong worldwide sales across its MacBook line-up in the third quarter of 2017, according to new market research conducted by TrendForce. Apple's laptop sales once again exceeded ASUS to rank fourth in global notebook shipments, which overall saw a "remarkable" quarterly increase of 6.8 percent and a year-on-year increase of 0.9 percent, reaching 42.69 million units.
Apple continued the strong shipments of 12-inch products in the second quarter, and focused on the new models of MacBook Pro in the third quarter, recording the third quarter shipments of 4.43 million units and an increase of 11.3%. It exceeded ASUS to rank the fourth in this third quarter.
HP recorded a new high in its quarterly shipments, which increased by 17.6 percent, reaching a single-season shipment of 11 million units for the first time. HP is expected to achieve the annual goal of 40 million units, which will secure its first place in 2017 global notebook shipments ranking.
Lenovo recovered somewhat from a poor first half of the year, recording 8.58 million units for third quarter shipments and a 6.5 percent quarterly growth. In the fourth quarter, it is estimated to have another 1 to 3 percent growth.
Dell shipped 665 million units in the third quarter with a quarter-on-quarter increase of 1.4 percent, maintaining its third place in the rankings. ASUS and Acer ranked fifth and sixth, shipping 3.82 million and 3.31 million units respectively.
During a recent earnings call, CEO Tim Cook revealed that Apple's Mac division set a new all-time revenue record of $25.8 billion for fiscal 2017. Apple sold 5.4 million Macs during the September quarter, up 10 percent over last year, and gained significant market share as the global market contracted by one percent, according to IDC's latest estimate. The performance was reportedly fueled by big demand for the MacBook Pro, said Cook, and Mac revenue grew 25 percent to a new September quarter record.
"We had outstanding results all around the world in each of our geographic segments, growing Mac revenue by 20 percent or more," said Cook. "We were also very happy with the success of Mac in the education market, where customer purchases grew double digits year over year."
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