O'Grady's PowerPage » MacBook

My MacBook runs a little toasty… 109 degrees to be exact

Posted by:
Date: Monday, May 4th, 2015, 20:19
Category: Hardware, MacBook

I was using my new 2015 MacBook (the 12-inch model) for about 30 minutes tonight when it got uncomfortably hot on my lap. Instead of reaching for a laptop riser/cooling stand I grabbed my favorite tool – an IR thermometer (a Fluke 561).

Here’s what I found:

My MacBook is a little toasty... 109 degrees - Jason O'Grady


My love-hate relationship with Apple’s new USB-C port

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015, 08:25
Category: Hardware, MacBook, Review, USB-C

My love-hate relationship with Apple's new USB-C port

Apple began shipping the new 12-inch Retina MacBook this week (more on it in a future post) and with it, a totally redesigned power adapter based on USB-C. (There are a lot of opinions about Apple’s roll in developing USB-C, which you can read here, here and here, but they’re outside the scope of this post.) As with most things in life, USB-C comes with a number of benefits and compromises which were undoubtedly debated ad nauseam in Cupertino for months. Here are my thoughts on USB-C after using it for a few days.

The positive

  1. The USB-C connector is small, which allows it to fit in small places (like the side of the MacBook 12-inch). It could conceivably end up on other Apple hardware in the future, but don’t recycle your Lightning cables just yet.
  2. The Apple 29 Watt USB-C Power Adapter is smaller than other MacBook power supplies, but it’s a one-trick pony. Apple also missed the opportunity to add a couple of female USB-A jacks on it which would have addressed the MacBook’s “one port” criticisms and earned Apple a ton of good will in the process.
  3. It’s a standard (part of the USB 3.1 specification) which means that third parties can make USB-C cables and dongles without having to worry about being sued by Apple. This should increase competition and lower prices. Eventually.
  4. When you plug in the MacBook’s USB-C power adapter it makes a satisfying “dong” sound – just like the iPhone does. While it’s a nice touch, it doesn’t respect the MacBook’s mute setting, which puts it dangerously close to the neutral category. The iPhone vibrates when connected to power while muted and I’ve heard that Apple could fix the MacBook behavior in a software update.

Read more about the things that drive me crazy about the new USB-C port…


Apple support article offers workaround for recent issues with Setup Assistant on 12-inch MacBook

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015, 07:21
Category: MacBook, News, Software


As nifty as the new 12-inch MacBook is, a number of users have encountered an issue using the Setup Assistant during the initial setup of the notebook. The bug apparently has the spinning beach ball appear during setup, putting the user in an endless cycle.

Apple recently shared a support article that offers users of the new 12-inch MacBook assistance getting around the issue.


iFixit posts teardown of 12-inch MacBook

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 15th, 2015, 08:07
Category: Hardware, MacBook, News


The teardown you’ve been waiting for has been completed.

And it shows off some really nifty stuff.

The coolest of cats at iFixit have published a teardown of the new 12-inch MacBook. The feature shows just how tiny the notebook’s logic board is, coming in at 67 percent smaller than that of the MacBook Air. The piece also shows a new terraced battery design for the MacBook, allowing more batteries to be efficiently fit into a small space.


Apple introduces NVMe support in OS X 10.10.3 update

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 13th, 2015, 08:36
Category: Hardware, MacBook, News, Software, Yosemite


It’s a subtle change, but it could be pretty neat in the long run.

Last week, Apple’s introduction of its OS X 10.10.3 update also quietly introduced support for the next generation NVM Express (NVMe) interface to SSD Flash drives. These drives can be found on the new Retina display MacBook as well as other units.

The cool cats at AnandTech offered a good description of the AHCI technology, which has resulted in the NVMe technology:

AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) dates back to 2004 and was designed with hard drives in mind. While that doesn’t rule out SSDs, AHCI is more optimized for high latency rotating media than low latency non-volatile storage. As a result AHCI can’t take full advantage of SSDs and since the future is in non-volatile storage (like NAND and MRAM), the industry had to develop a software interface that abolishes the limits of AHCI.

The result is NVMe, short for Non-Volatile Memory Express.


12-inch MacBook now available on Apple Store web site, most models shipping in 1-3 days

Posted by:
Date: Friday, April 10th, 2015, 08:04
Category: MacBook, News, retail


Amidst the mucho hoopla surrounding the Apple Watch, Apple added the new 12-inch Retina display MacBook to the Apple Store last night.

The new notebook is available with a ship time of one to three days for most models, although the 512GB Gold model currently has an estimated shipping time of three to four weeks.


First 12-inch MacBook unboxing video hits

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 1st, 2015, 16:59
Category: MacBook, News


If you’ve been hankering for an early unboxing video of Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook, you’ve got it.

It’s in Vietnamese.

Still, it’s an unboxing video, a bit early and it shows the new 29-watt power brick, 2-meter charging cable and brand new USB Type C connectors.

The company appears to have eschewed the longer power cord that it includes with its other notebook, though the power brick does feature interchangeable plugs. Also gone are the flip-up winding posts that have long adorned Apple’s power bricks.

12-inch MacBook logic board studied, proven smaller than Raspberry Pi

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 23rd, 2015, 06:53
Category: Hardware, MacBook, News


The 12-inch MacBook is being studied in depth.

And it is cool.

Perhaps one of the most striking features about the new machine is that the new logic board is actually smaller than the Raspberry Pi.

The cool cats at Digital Trends ran a comparison and noted that the logic board is 4.6 inches wide and 1.5 inches deep, rounding to the nearest tenth, and not counting a tiny sliver of circuit board that protrudes on one side.

Force Touch trackpad analyzed, first hands-on experiences posted

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 16th, 2015, 09:53
Category: Hardware, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News


The Force Touch trackpad is apparently the trackpad that clicks back at you.

That’s the way it’s being described, as the new trackpad isn’t the usual button that’s pressed during use, but a set of electromagnets that move enough to feel like there’s a click happening. The end result feels like a regular click, which Apple calls the “Taptic Engine”, the electromagnet essentially pushing back at you.


Apple launches USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter for 12-inch MacBook

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 13th, 2015, 08:46
Category: Accessory, MacBook, News


These are the first days of USB-C and we’re curious about it.

It’s sort of like having someone new in your life, except it’s a digital standard that Apple is applying for power, video, communications and almost everything else under the sun.

Which is pretty interesting, the raw facts stating that USB-C can apparently support 100W of power + HDMI 1080p + USB 3.x data rates at the same time. Even so, Apple is now offering its USB-C Digital AV Multipart Adapter, a US$79.00 device that offers a power, HDMI and USB bridge in one device.