New MacBook Pros Sport Dynamic Touch Bar

New MacBook Pros Sport Dynamic Touch Bar

 

With the release of the new 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pros, Apple has rewarded those who have been waiting patiently for new models. They’re smaller, lighter, and faster than the previous MacBook Pros, but what really sets them apart is the new Touch Bar. What’s a Touch Bar, you ask?

It’s a thin, touch-sensitive screen above the keyboard, where the function keys used to be. The Touch Bar displays buttons, sliders, and other tools that change not only with what app you’re using, but also based on what you’re doing in that app. If you’re accustomed to using the function keys, you’ll be relieved to know that pressing the physical Fn key on the keyboard displays F1 through F12 on the Touch Bar. Most of the time, though, you’ll want to let apps customize the Touch Bar for you.

In Photos, for instance, the Touch Bar lets you scrub through your photo collection, mark photos you love, and edit photos. Once you select a photo for editing, the Touch Bar changes to provide editing tools, such as exposure and color sliders and rotation controls. In a video editing app like Final Cut Pro X, the Touch Bar can provide a timeline scrubber along with trimming tools. Plus, you’ll be able to customize the Touch Bar however you like in different apps.

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Integrated into the right edge of the Touch Bar is a Touch ID sensor, just like on an iPhone or iPad. Touch it with one finger to log in to the MacBook Pro, or with another to switch to a second account via fast user switching. Other people can use it to log in to their accounts too. The Touch ID sensor also communicates with a new Apple T1 chip in the MacBook Pro to store Apple Pay information for use in Safari when buying stuff on Web sites.

The new MacBook Pro models sport an industrial design that takes cues from the 12-inch MacBook to reduce size and weight. In fact, the new 13-inch MacBook Pro is now thinner, narrower, and less deep than the 13-inch MacBook Air and less than an ounce heavier at just over 3 pounds. The new 15-inch model weighs in at 4 pounds.

Those size and weight savings don’t come at the cost of reduced performance or battery life. Battery life is the same as the previous models at up to 10 hours, and performance is notably better, thanks to faster processors, improved graphics chips, and speedier solid-state storage. Speaking of storage, the new Macs generally start at 256 GB, with 512 GB or 1 TB SSD upgrades, and you can opt for 2 TB in the top-of-the-line 15-inch model. 8 GB of RAM is standard, but you can bump that to 16 GB.

You’ll notice that the Force Touch trackpad looks huge. That’s because it’s twice the size of the trackpad in the previous MacBook Pro models, making it easier to move around and use multi-touch gestures.

Both models feature improved screens. The resolutions remain the same as before—2560 by 1600 pixels for the 13-inch model and 2880 by 1800 for the 15-inch—but Apple says the displays are 67 percent brighter, have a 67 percent higher contrast ratio, and show 25 percent more colors, a boon to graphics professionals.

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For charging and expansion, Apple learned a lesson from the 12-inch MacBook, which has only a single USB-C port. These new machines feature four Thunderbolt 3 ports, two on each side, and you can use any port for charging, driving an external display (via an adapter for HDMI or VGA), or connecting to storage or other devices. Thunderbolt 3 uses the same physical connector as USB-C and supports older USB devices too. It boasts so much bandwidth—40 Gbps—that it can even drive two additional 5K displays or four 4K displays simultaneously!

Everything else is roughly as you might expect: 802.11ac Wi-Fi for connectivity, Bluetooth 4.2, a more responsive backlit keyboard, 3.5mm headphone jack, louder stereo speakers with greater dynamic range, three built-in microphones, and a 720p FaceTime HD camera.

Prices start at $1799 for the 13-inch model and $2399 for the 15-inch model, and you have a choice of silver or space gray colors. For those who are looking to save some money, Apple also introduced a cheaper version of the new 13-inch MacBook Pro that lacks the Touch Bar, has only two Thunderbolt ports, and uses a slower processor. The previous MacBook Pro models remain available, as do the 13-inch MacBook Air and 12-inch MacBook, so if you’re having trouble figuring out which of Apple’s laptops makes the most sense for your needs and budget, come talk to us!

 

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Raise to Wake with Recent iPhones in iOS 10

Wouldn’t it be nice if your iPhone woke up automatically when you pulled it out of your pocket? With iOS 10 running on an iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, SE, 7, or 7 Plus, it can do just that. If you have one of those iPhones, notice how the screen wakes up on its own when you lift it up. By default, Raise to Wake is enabled on these devices, but if you dislike this feature for some reason, you can turn it off in Settings > Display & Brightness. Older iPhones can’t wake up automatically like this, presumably because they lack the necessary hardware. Consider it another way that Apple gently encourages you to upgrade to a newer iPhone.

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The All-New MacBook Pro : Apple Has Done it Again

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If you watched today’s Apple Keynote, you know that Apple has not disappointed.

Updates to iPhone and iOS, the new TV app for Apple TV, and oh yes, the coolest laptop in the world. Let’s all welcome the new MacBook Pro.

It’s beautiful, innovative, and the most productive laptop we have ever set eyes on. If you missed the Keynote, don’t worry, we’ve got a full recap right here for you. Grab your coffee, get comfortable, and let’s dive into the all new MacBook Pro.

Touch Bar and Touch ID – Words cannot express our excitement

This is the best new feature! You know the function keys across the top of your keyboard? Well, it’s out with them and in with the new Touch Bar. It’s much more versatile and capable and even changes automatically based on what you’re currently doing on your Mac. The basics are all there – volume, brightness, sound – and new and innovative controls are now included – interactive ways to adjust or browse through content, intelligent typing features like emoji and predictive text and even the addition of Touch ID for Mac (for the first time ever!). You’ll find it useful when listening to music, editing photos, using graphic design programs, and even just when searching the internet. It’s completely customizable – you can add or remove the features you want to make the Touch bar your own. Answer calls, change the colors while designing a Keynote, and even access Touch Bar while using 3rd party apps.

Performance – The most capable laptop to date

If you watched the keynote, you probably noticed that it is the 25th anniversary of the laptop. We even got to see the first Mac laptop and how large, bulky, and awkward it was. Though it was revolutionary for it’s time, and it’s truly amazing to see how far Apple as come. The new MacBook Pro offers a whole new level of performance with cutting-edge graphics, high-performance processors, state-of-the-art storage, and more.

The portability factor is amazing – the new MacBook Pro offers up to 10 hours of battery life so you can ensure that you won’t lose power during class or work. And that’s on both the 13-inch and 15-inch models! Even with it’s new thinner design, Apple has found a way to eliminate heat so efficiently that airflow automatically increases during intensive tasks like video editing and other graphic-heavy work so you’re laptop won’t get hot.

The Display – It somehow got even better

We didn’t know that was possible either. Well, somehow Apple has made the display even brighter than before with it’s LED backlighting and increased contrast ratio. The pictures are so true to life and consist of realistic vivid details making it a designers dream.

MacBook Pro now features P3 color, which makes 25% more colors available than standard RGB – Your options are now truly endless.

Speakers – So loud you’ll WANT to watch movies on it

Totally redesigned speakers provide up to 58% percent more volume (!) on the new MacBook Pro with a 2.5 times louder bass for maximum sound. You’ve probably watched a movie or twelve on your laptop, but it may not have been you first choice. Now, you can kiss any doubt you had about watching a movie on your Mac goodbye – You’ll be reaching for your laptop when its movie time!

Thunderbolt 3 – Just wow

You can connect TWO 5K displays to your new MacBook Pro. I repeat – You can connect TWO 5K displays to your new MacBook Pro. Did I mention you can do it at the same time too? Thunderbolt 3 integrates data transfer charging and video output into a single connector that delivers up to 40 Gbps of throughput for twice the bandwidth of Thunderbolt 2. Pretty amazing, right? Well, with the new MacBook Pro you get FOUR ports – two on each side. You can now charge and provide power from any port.

The new MacBook Pro comes in 13-inch or 15-inch in Silver or Space Gray and is priced as follows:

13-inch MacBook Pro (without Touch Bar and Touch ID and 256GB Storage) – $1,499.00

13-inch MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar and Touch ID and 256GB Storage) – $1,799.00

13-inch MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar and Touch ID and 512GB storage) – $1,999.00

15-inch MacBook Pro (with Touch Bar and Touch ID and 512GB storage) – $2,799.00

Interested? Yes, yes, we know you are. You’ll be the first to know when we have these in stock so you can see them. Can’t wait? Give us a call or fill out this form to put in your order today to ensure fastest delivery.

 

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Sort Folders to the Top of File Listings

One of the tiny changes in Sierra is an option to change how items sort in Finder windows. If you find it frustrating to hunt for folders mixed in among files in a large file listing, you can now switch to the Finder, choose Finder > Preferences, click the Advanced button, and select “Keep folders on top when sorting by name.” From then on, in the list, column, and Cover Flow views, when you click the Name column, all the folders in that window appear above the files. Within the grouped folders and files, items still sort alphabetically by name.

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Reach Out and 3D Touch Something

Apple first unveiled 3D Touch in iOS 9 with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, giving users of those iPhones a new way of interacting with apps, but 3D Touch never really caught on. Now, with the release of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and broader support in iOS 10, 3D Touch is worth learning if you have one of the supported iPhones.

3D Touch works in two ways: “peek and pop” and “quick actions.” Apps use peek and pop to let you glance (peek) at an item by pressing down on it (not just a touch, but a press into the screen), and then jump to that item (pop) by pressing harder still. In Safari, for instance, you can preview a link by pressing it, and then either release to dismiss the preview or continue to load it in its own tab by pressing harder. Or move your finger up on the screen without letting go or pressing harder to get controls for opening the link, adding to your reading list, or copying the URL. This trick applies to links in other apps like Mail, Messages, and Notes, too.

You can also use peek and pop with email message summaries in Mail, headlines in News, thumbnails in Photos, people in Find My Friends, dates and events in Calendar, and even the previously taken photo box in Camera. Support for peek and pop in third-party apps isn’t as widespread as it is in Apple’s apps, but it’s still worth trying whenever you want to preview something.

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More interesting are quick actions, which present a menu of common actions when you press down on an app’s icon on the Home screen, or on various controls and other items throughout iOS. Home screen quick actions are great, since they let you kickstart an app into doing something with just a hard press on its icon. If the app has a widget, a 3D Touch press shows that as well.

For instance, using 3D Touch on the Phone app shows its widget, which gives you buttons to call people in your Favorites list, along with actions to view the most recent call, search for a contact, create a new contact, or view the most recent voicemail. The Clock app lets you start a timer or the stopwatch, or create an alarm. Messages quick actions can create a new message or open a recent conversation. Use 3D Touch on Safari’s icon and you can create a new tab or see your bookmarks or reading list. You can even press on a folder to rename it quickly.

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Quick actions and widgets are much more commonplace among third-party apps than peek and pop support, so be sure to try 3D Touch on all your favorite apps. If all you see is a Share item, the app has no quick actions or widget, but many apps provide both static actions that are always the same and dynamic actions that reflect your past usage.

iOS 10 brings 3D Touch to Control Center too. Press the Flashlight button to adjust the brightness of the light, the Timer button for some pre-canned times, the Calculator button to copy the last calculation result, or the Camera button to take a photo, slo-mo, video, or selfie.

On the Lock screen, press a Messages notification to expand it and reply directly from the notification. More notifications will become interactive in the future too. And in Notification Center, you can press a notification to expand it, or use 3D Touch on the X button for any day to reveal a Clear All Notifications option.

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It’s too bad that there’s no way to know in advance if an app supports quick actions or peek and pop, but as the number of iPhone users who can use 3D Touch increases, developers will incorporate 3D Touch capabilities into their apps more and more. So give it a try!

 

Understanding Desktop and Documents Folder Syncing

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to edit the same files on your iMac and your MacBook without having to copy things back and forth manually? Apple’s iCloud Drive has made that possible for some time, but it was clumsy to store files in iCloud Drive instead of in your Documents folder or on your Desktop. No longer!

New in macOS 10.12 Sierra is Desktop and Documents folder syncing, which works with iCloud Drive to give you unified Desktop and Documents folders across all your Macs. Plus, you can access their contents on your iPhone or iPad using the iCloud Drive app! It’s easy to enable this feature, but be aware of the ramifications.

Before you begin, think about how much space you’ll need on iCloud Drive—add up the size of those folders on each Mac you want to sync. (If you have any Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion virtual machines in your Documents folder, move them to another location because they’ll consume a ton of space.) If the total size is larger than the 5 GB of free space Apple gives all iCloud users, you’ll need to pay for more space: 50 GB ($0.99 per month), 200 GB ($2.99), 1 TB ($9.99), or 2 TB ($19.99).

Once you’re ready, navigate to System Preferences > iCloud > iCloud Drive > Options and select Desktop and Documents Folders. Make sure Optimize Mac Storage at the bottom of the dialog is not selected.

When you do this, Sierra moves your Desktop and Documents folders from your home folder to iCloud Drive, which could be disconcerting. They’re still accessible from a Finder window’s sidebar, from the Finder’s Go menu, and within iCloud Drive itself. It may take some time for iCloud to slurp up all your data, so be patient. For your other Macs, make sure they’re signed in to the same iCloud account, and repeat these steps.

From then on, when you create, edit, or delete a file on the Desktop or in the Documents folder on any of your Macs, Sierra syncs that change up to iCloud and then down to all your other Macs. It’s reasonably quick, depending on the speed of your Internet connection, but avoid working on the same file on different Macs without letting syncing complete first or you could end up with conflicted copies. If you’re offline, you can work as normal, but your changes won’t sync up until your Mac reconnects to the Internet.

If necessary, you can work with the contents of these folders on non-Sierra Macs directly in iCloud Drive—choose Go > iCloud Drive in the Finder to access them.

Some Sierra users have found that the contents of subsequent Macs’ Desktop and Documents folders end up in sub-folders named along the lines of “Desktop – name-of-Mac.” If you see this, make sure iCloud Drive has had time to upload and sync everything. If so, you can move the sub-folders’ files into the main Desktop and Documents folders manually.

Now, about that Optimize Mac Storage checkbox. When it’s selected, if your Mac runs low on drive space, Sierra may delete old, large files from the local drive to free up more space. The files remain in iCloud Drive, and you can click a cloud button next to their names in the Finder to download them. What’s unknown as yet is whether iCloud-only files will be backed up by Time Machine and other backup apps; you could end up with the iCloud Drive version of a file being the only extant copy. As a result, we don’t recommend selecting Optimize Mac Storage on your primary Mac, though it should be fine on a secondary MacBook with minimal storage.

Finally, if you decide to turn off this feature, Sierra creates new local Desktop and Documents folders in your home folder, but it doesn’t populate them with content from the previously shared folders in iCloud Drive. You may need to copy files from the iCloud Drive folders to the local Desktop and Documents folders to get everything back the way you want it.

Desktop and Documents folder syncing is designed to simplify the experience of using multiple Macs (and iOS devices!), but if you’re accustomed to each of your Macs containing different files, it may be more confusing than it’s worth.

 

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