With August wrapping up and new students getting ready to head off to college, the Mac Observer’s John Martellaro has written an outstanding guide as to how to safely bring your MacBook, MacBook Air or MacBook Pro to campus, how to keep it safe and the various levels of security, backup and recovery to keep it safe.
Because, and take my word for it, if something happens to your laptop and you lose your data or the laptop itself, then nothing short of fifteen simultaneous miracles (including winning three separate multimillion dollar lotteries) is going to brighten your day.
The guide also features links as to bags, accessories and external hard drives worth considering to keep your notebook in good shape with its data safely backed up in an alternate location.
Take a gander and if you have any suggestions of your own, please let us know.
Following up on a rumor from a few weeks ago, Apple has quietly restored the antiglare upgrade option for its 15″ MacBook Pro notebook line. Per AppleInsider, the change is a slight reversal from two years ago when the company began transitioning its entire Mac product line away from matte displays to the highly-reflective option that was the only offering on the 15″ MacBook Pro lineup. The change is available as a US$50 add-on.
Previously, only the 17-inch MacBook Pro offered the US$50 antiglare option. Tuesday’s change brings the features to the 15″ line, though the 13″ Pro model remains glossy-only.
The transition towards glossy displays appears to have been sparked by the original iPhone, whose glass touchscreen and black border resonated well with customers. The reception was favorable enough that Apple, in a bid to push the envelope and standardize materials across its product families, gave similar treatment to its iMac line a few months later.
That October, Apple announced that its new line of unibody notebooks would also forgo matte displays for glossy ones, with the exception of a US$50 antiglare option on the pricey 17-inch MacBook Pro. These new displays “provide crisp images and vivid colors which are ideal for viewing photos and movies,” Apple said, “and the edge-to-edge cover glass creates a smooth, seamless surface.”
The move was met with indifference from some users while others threw their arms up in panic, horrified at the glare now present on their high-end notebooks.
Whatever the case, Apple seems to have appreciated the concern, as it did with the outrage over the brief absence of FireWire on its 13″ notebook offerings. Apple has apparently been following the numerous petitions and online threads dedicated to the display matter and quietly reversed itself where possible.
Apple may be working on a fix for a MacBook Pro issue in which owners have complained of annoying hard drive beeps and clicks from their notebooks.
According to AppleInsider, an Apple Discussions Board thread containing hundreds of posts features users complaining that their 7,200RPM hard drives will randomly click and beep, and some have experienced slower access times. The issue appears to have grown since it was first reported in January.
In recent days, numerous users have posted in the thread on the Apple Support forums, stating they were told on the phone by AppleCare representatives that the company is working on a fix. On Friday, user jgcamil wrote that he was told by Level 2 support that Apple is “highly” aware of the issue and it is one of the company’s “highest priorities.” But, he was also told he would have to “live with” the issue until an update is made available.
One AppleInsider reader whose MacBook Pro beeps occasionally said he’s frustrated that Apple has remained quiet on his costly investment. He said after researching the problem, he believes it’s caused by the original firmware for the hard drive.
“The crazy thing is that you can read comments about AppleCare Engineers stance on this issue: ‘Its normal behavior,’ (and) ‘Apple´s Working on a fix,'” he told AppleInsider. “Also, some of them are recommending doing a complete reinstall, when this issue is factory related.”
Users have also uploaded videos documenting the issue, including the one below:
If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.
Yesterday, accessory provider NewerTech announced the release of its Intelligent Battery Charging Station, a peripheral designed to charge and condition the batteries used by Apple’s 13″ and 15″ unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro notebooks.
The unit features two bays (one that charges while the other charges and conditions) and NewerTech claims that by conditioning the battery, you can get longer runtimes and better lifetimes from your laptop batteries. The charger retails for US$150 before shipping and handling.
When Apple began to slowly convert its notebook and iMacs displays to highly-reflective glass surfaces shortly after the release of the original iPhone in 2007, opinions were mixed as to the change. In short, Jason pretty much Hulked Out given the annoyance. And there may have been smashing.
The screen, which has been considered almost as reflective as a mirror, has drawn complaints from users using the notebooks in outdoor environments.
According to AppleInsider and the Apple Core, in January 2009, Apple appeared to concede the point that glossy screens aren’t for everyone when they announced the new 17″ MacBook Pro with a matte screen option. The company included a US$50 upcharge for anti-glare but offered users a choice. Apple then went on to release the rest of the unibody MacBook Pro line with glossy-only displays.
Per the AppleInsider article, Apple may have realized the error of its glossy ways, as the company is “mulling the possibility of extending anti-glare display options to more of its Macs” and that “the 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros would be the most likely candidates.”
Accessory manufacturer Other World Computing announced the completion of its series of Do It Yourself videos for Apple’s entire MacBook and MacBook Pro product line on Tuesday. The videos cover all of the DIY options for these laptops, including memory, hard drive and/or optical drive components for all of Apple’s laptop line from the Titanium PowerBook G4 to the latest Unibody line as well as include warnings for the issues customers should be considering and other instructions needed to do the upgrade.
The installation videos are being offered for free, and OWC has made them available in low, medium, and high resolutions.
Some owners of Apple’s latest MacBook Pros with faster 7200RPM hard drives are reporting strange clicking and beeping noises along with performance issues. According to MacNN, though the cause of the problem is unclear, an Apple Support forum thread has many users suggesting that it is caused by an incompatibility between the Seagate hard drive’s G-Force protection system and MacBook hardware. Some users have called Apple Support or taken their computers to an Apple Genius Bar both of which have tried fixing the problem by running a “capture” or resetting the computer’s “PRAM” during start up — neither of these solutions seem to have resolved the issue fully according to users in Apple’s support forum.
The issue could possibly affect users editing video, or those whose computer use requires sequential reading and writing. Users are also disputing where the sound is coming from within the computer with each user suggesting the sound comes from opposite sides of the computer, thereby making the rumor all the more uncertain.
The problem seems to only affect users with 7200RPM drives as users with 5400RPM drives are not reporting any similar problems.
Apple has yet to acknowledge any factory defects and has not made any comment regarding the sound and performance issues.
Apple’s recently-released 13″ MacBook Pro notebook looks to be off to a good start, albeit the company may be having difficulty keeping some of the model stocked as it enters the back-to-school shopping season.
According to AppleInsider, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster pointed out that the Apple online store is currently reflecting lead times of 7 to 10 business days for the faster of the two 13″ MacBook Pros. He notes this is the most extensive delay affecting the company’s 13″ notebook models ever.
Munster, which regularly tracks and records lead times for products on the Mac maker’s online store, said he had to look back more than two years into his records to find similar delays, and even then they spanned just 5 to 7 business days.
With the entry-level 15″ MacBook Pro using the same 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo chip also reflecting such delays, Munster put in a call to 10 Apple retail stores and found that 7 of them were short at least one of the 13″ models, but not always the speedier model.
“We see this as a sign that demand is outpacing the company’s build expectations, and it may take several weeks to reach a supply demand equilibrium,” he told clients.
Shortages of Apple’s mainstream notebook offerings comes just weeks after the company kicked off its back-to-school promotion offering students a free iPod touch with each Mac purchase and then rebranded its 13″ unibody MacBooks as more premium offerings under the MacBook Pro moniker.
For Macs, the Piper Jaffray analyst said he’s increasingly confident Apple will report sales of 2.2 million systems for the June quarter when it announces results a bit later this month. That compares to the nearly 2.5 million Macs the company sold during the same quarter one year ago.
Apple released its MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7 patch on Tuesday, a 3.4 megabyte download which addresses an issue reported by a small number of customers using drives based on the SATA 3Gbps specification with the June 2009 MacBook Pro. While this update allows drives to use transfer rates greater than 1.5Gbps, Apple has not qualified or offered these drives for Mac notebooks and their use is unsupported.
The update is also available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.5.7 or later to install and run.
In spite of Apple’s introduction of the 13″ unibody MacBook Pro notebook at WWDC last week, it may have opted for a slower standard. According to Engadget, the new MacBook Pro notebooks that ship with conventional hard disks may only have a 1.5GBps SATA enabled, while SSD configs are apparently getting the full 3.0GBps SATA II experience that used to be standard.
Albeit most people this won’t make too much difference since traditional hard drives can’t move data that fast, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re hoping to buy an hard drive unit and swap in a speedier SSD, since your max performance will be bottlenecked.