Apple Quietly Offers Matte Screen Option for 15″ MacBook Pro Notebook

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 11th, 2009, 04:08
Category: MacBook Pro

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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 Working on Fix for Hard Drive Noise Issue in MacBook Pro Notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Monday, August 10th, 2009, 04:32
Category: hard drive, MacBook Pro

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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.

Some Users Reporting Hard Drive Lag with 17″ MacBook Pro Notebook

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 4th, 2009, 04:31
Category: News

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Over on the Apple Discussion Boards, multiple users are contributing to a thread discussing hard drive lag on Apple’s current 17″ MacBook Pro notebook. According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog, several users report hearing the hard drive park itself, but at inappropriate times, causing the rainbow spinning wheel to appear and bringing all tasks to a halt. This comes a short time after other users have reported a strange beep.

One user reported no red flags while running Activity Monitor while another went so far as to swap the hard drive to no avail. Still another user reportedly fixed the problem by creating a secondnd user account.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end or arrived at your own fix, please let us know in the comments.

Some MacBook Pro Owners Reporting Strange Noises, Errors with 7200 RPM Hard Drives

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, July 9th, 2009, 03:33
Category: hard drive, MacBook Pro

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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 Releases MacBook Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.7

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009, 05:23
Category: MacBook Pro, Software

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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.

Apple Opts for Slower SATA Spec for Hard Disk Drives in New 13″ MacBook Pro

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 16th, 2009, 08:12
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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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.

New 13″, 15″ MacBook Pro Notebooks Capable of Booting from SD Card Clot

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 12th, 2009, 17:23
Category: MacBook Pro

Apple’s newly-released 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pro notebooks now boast a feature in which users can boot from the SD card slot in a pinch.

According to a tech note published by Apple, users can install Mac OS X on an SD card and use it as a startup volume simply by changing the default partition table to GUID using Disk Utility, and then formating the card to use the Mac OS Extended file format.

This capability can be particularly useful in the event that you run into problems with a MacBook Pro’s built-in storage options, particularly those equipped with traditional hard disk drives, which include moving parts.

The company notes that the new MacBook Pros have a maximum speed of 240 Mbit/s for SD media using the SD card slot, which easily exceeds the transfer rate of most SD media. For example, Class 2 media has a maximum transfer rate of 4 Mbit/s; Class 4 media has a maximum transfer rate of 4.8 Mbit/s; and Class 6 media has a maximum transfer rate of 45 Mbit/s.

SD cards that conform to the SD 1.x and 2.x standards should work in the slots, though they also accept cards that are Standard SD (4 MB to 4 GB) and SDHC (4 GB to 32 GB).  MultiMediaCards (MMC) can also be used, as well as MiniSD, MicroSD, and higher density formats like MiniSDHC and MicroSDHC, assuming they’re first inserted into one of the “passive” adapters on the market that conform to the width and thickness specifications for the slot.

Although the SD card specification for a memory card is 32mm x 24mm x 2.1 mm, Apple says you can also use thinner cards, such as the aforementioned MMCs.  Cards that have a thickness greater than 2.1mm or that have surfaces that exceed 2.1mm, should not be used, the company warns, as they may damage the SD card slot if inserted.

The slots also accept cards that exceed 32 GB, but as Apple notes, most media manufactures preformat their media using common block-and-cluster sizes that do not approach the theoretical limits of a given file system.

Most SD cards use the FAT32 file format which is commonly available up to a capacity of 32 GB.  Some smaller capacity cards use the FAT16 file format, which is generally available in capacities of up to only 2 GB.

SD cards that use the exFAT file system are not supported, nor are SDIO (Secure Digital Input Output) cards.

Best Buy Customer Purchases MacBook Pro, Receives 5-Pound Paving Brick in Box

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, June 4th, 2009, 09:15
Category: Fun, retail

Per TechEBlog, a Best Buy customer identified only as “Ryan” recently purchased a MacBook Pro notebook for a U.S. Best Buy location only to discover a five pound paving stone in place of the US$2164.89 notebook.


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When he tried returning the item, the store’s manager stated the following: “Apple seals the boxes, not us. Take it up with Apple.”
Sometimes words fail me.
And this is one of them.

Apple Releases MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.3 for Unibody MacBook Pro Notebooks

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 29th, 2009, 07:10
Category: MacBook Pro

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Late Thursday, Apple Released SMC Firmware Update 1.3 for its 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pro notebooks. The update, an 833 kilobyte download, adjusts the fan behavior in the notebooks when running under high workload conditions.
The updater application will be installed in the /Applications/Utilities folder, will launch automatically and requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 on the Mac OS X 10.4 end and Mac OS X 10.5.7 on the Mac OS X 10.5 end to install and run. As always, the firmware update can be snagged via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

Speck Releases SeeThru, SeeThru Satin Cases for 17″ MacBook Pro Notebook

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 20th, 2009, 08:27
Category: Accessory, MacBook Pro

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Accessory manufacturer Speck has released two fitted cases for Apple’s 17″ MacBook Pro notebook via its SeeThru and SeeThru Satin designs.
According to MacNN, both models feature a fully-vented hard shell for protection against everyday bumps and scratches. Users can still access all ports and controls on the computer without removing the case.
The SeeThru case offers a clear shell that form-fits to the Macbook, while the SeeThru Satin features the protection but includes a soft-touch outer finish, offering more of a grip as well as a semi-translucent frosted appearance. Both cases can fully open or close, while rubberized feet help to prevent sliding on smooth surfaces.
The SeeThru and the SeeThru Satin are available from Apple stores or directly from the company for a retail price of US$50.