Apple releases updated MacBook Pro lineup with slight speed boosts, lower prices on some models

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Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2014, 10:01
Category: MacBook Pro, News, retail

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You can’t argue with a speed bump and a lower price on the notebook you want.

Per Macworld, Apple on Tuesday released it’s upgraded line of professional MacBook Pro notebooks, the intro-level and mid-range 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros going from a 2.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with a Turbo Boost of up to 2.9GHz to a 2.6GHz dual-core i5 with a Turbo Boost of up to 3.1GHz; the high-end 13-inch meanwhile goes from a 2.6GHz dual-core i5 to a 2.8GHz dual-core i5 (its Turbo Boost, which previously reached 3.1GHz, now gets up to 3.3GHz). The entry-level 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro also now starts with 8GB of RAM, like the mid-range and high-range models, instead of 4GB. Storage remains the same for all three models at 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB of flash storage, respectively.

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Rumor: 12-inch Retina display MacBook Air could be delayed until 2015

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Date: Monday, July 21st, 2014, 09:22
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, Rumor

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You may have to wait a little longer for the 12-inch Retina display MacBook Air.

Per AppleInsider and Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, current rumors have it that Apple’s 12-inch Retina display MacBook Air could be delayed until 2015 given processor supply constraints, while the release of the next-generation 11-inch and 13-inch models will be on time as partner suppliers in East Asia are receiving parts for mass production.

The current stories claim a rumored 12-inch MacBook Air may see its release date pushed back to late 2014 or early 2015, while parts for Apple’s refreshed 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air models are now being shipped to partner supplier Quanta ahead of production next month.

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TSA to require closer look at cell phones, notebooks on U.S.-bound flights, targets Apple and Samsung models

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Date: Monday, July 7th, 2014, 12:42
Category: iPhone, MacBook Pro, News

iphone5s The TSA’s going to want to take a closer look at your iPhone and notebooks on U.S.-bound flights. Per NBC News, The Transportation Security Administration will not allow cellphones or other electronic devices on U.S.-bound planes at some overseas airports if the devices are not charged and functional. The new measure is part of the organization’s effort to boost security amid concerns that Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the Islamist Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, are plotting to blow up an airliner, U.S. officials said.

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Rumor: Apple to begin manufacturing 12-inch MacBook Air notebook in Q3

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Date: Tuesday, June 24th, 2014, 11:17
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, Rumor

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If there’s a rumor, there’s usually a kernel of truth to go along with it.

A new report via the sometimes-accurate DigiTimes claims that Apple’s supply partners will begin production of an anticipated 12-inch MacBook Air sometime in Q3 of this year. The current estimate points towards July and Apple is apparently planning to stick with the current MacBook Air design, with only minor unseen tweaks to rearrange certain internal structures and accommodate an adequately sized battery.

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Apple releases MacBook Air Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.1 to check for faulty SSDs in mid-2012 MacBook Air models

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Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 23:18
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

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It’s kind of a weird firmware update they sent out, but it might be useful.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday released an update for its MacBook Air lineup meant to test the thin-and-light laptop’s solid-state drive for a data loss issue and, if no fault is found, install a fresh firmware version.

Apple’s MacBook Air Flash Storage Firmware Update 1.1, a 2.3 megabyte download, specifically targets mid-2012 models, a “small percentage” of which was found to have flash drives containing an unspecified issue that erases data. As noted below, if a problem is discovered and the drive cannot be update, Apple will replace the affected SSD at no cost.

From the release notes:
“Apple has discovered that a small percentage of flash storage drives in these MacBook Air models have an issue that may result in data loss. This update tests your drive and, in the majority of cases, installs new firmware to resolve the issue. If your drive cannot be updated, Apple will replace it, free of charge.”

It is unknown how widespread the issue may be, though a quick search of Apple’s Support Communities forum reveals multiple threads pertaining to SSD failures and data loss.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to introduce all-new 12-inch MacBook, iPad with higher resolution in 2014

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Date: Monday, October 14th, 2013, 05:49
Category: iPad, MacBook, MacBook Pro, Rumor

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It’s the rumor mill that keeps things interesting, especially when it comes down to new hardware.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has an all-new-design 12-inch MacBook with a high-resolution display, and a new 9.7-inch sixth-generation iPad with an even higher pixel count than the current Retina display, both in the works for 2014, according to well-connected insider Ming-Chi Kuo.

Kuo, an analyst with KGI Securities, revealed on Saturday that Apple has a number of major new products in the works for next year. Most notably, the new 12-inch MacBook will feature what he said is an “ultra-slim clamshell form factor.”

He expects this new model to offer a marriage between the portability of the 11-inch MacBook Air and the greater productivity offered by the 13-inch model. The display is said to be on par with Apple’s high-resolution MacBook Pro Retina display.

According to Kuo, the new MacBook is expected to “redefine laptop computing once again following the milestone created by the MacBook Air.”

Despite speculation that Apple could introduce a notebook powered by its custom A-series chips found in the iPhone and iPad, Kuo does not expect that the new 12-inch MacBook will run on an A-series chip. Instead, he has predicted that the new MacBook will feature a traditional Intel CPU.

The analyst also revealed that Apple is working on a new sixth-generation iPad with a higher pixel-per-inch count than the existing 9.7-inch iPad with Retina display. Contrary to recent rumors, he doesn’t expect Apple to launch a 12-inch iPad next year.

The sixth-generation iPad is expected to launch in late 2014, and will pack in as much as 40 percent more pixels than the current iPad’s Retina display.

Kuo has a strong track record of accurately revealing Apple’s future product plans. He was the first to reveal that Apple would retire its 17-inch MacBook Pro, he correctly forecast Apple’s entire fall 2012 product lineup, and his predictions for Apple’s 2013 launch schedule made in January have thus far proven accurate.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases MacBook Air EFI Firmware 2.7 update for mid-2013 MacBook Air notebooks

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Date: Friday, October 11th, 2013, 20:49
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

This might come in handy.

On Friday, Apple released MacBook Air EFI Firmware 2.7, a 4.6 megabyte download that offers the following fixes and changes for the mid-2013 MacBook Air notebook:
- MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update addresses an issue which may cause a black screen to appear when installing Windows 7 or Windows 8 using Boot Camp Assistant if both an external optical drive and USB thumb drive are connected to the system. This update also ensures that the system will boot by default into OS X after installation of Windows 8.

The update requires a mid-2013 MacBook Air running OS X 10.8.5 or later to install and run and can also be downloaded and installed via OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the firmware update and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Assorted mid-2013 MacBook Air owners cite “blackout bug”, point out screen flicker issue

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Date: Tuesday, July 30th, 2013, 08:46
Category: Hardware, MacBook Air, News

This is what they created firmware updates for…

Per CNET, Apple’s mid-2013 MacBook Air appears to be suffering from a bug that results in intermittent loss of video output. When using an affected system, the screen may randomly blink to black for a brief second, or go to sleep and require a button be pressed for the system to wake again.

There is no indication on how widespread this bug is, but a number of affected users have noted the problem in a lengthy and growing Apple support discussion thread.

When the screen flashes intermittently, the system does not appear to shut down or sleep, since audio and other activity may continue; however, this does not occur at the times where the systems do go to sleep. This bug appears to affect both the 11-inch and 13-inch models, though the problem seems to happen more with the 13-inch MacBook Air. Additionally, it appears to happen more when on battery power than when plugged into its AC adapter; however, some have reported it happening on AC power as well.

The random nature of the problem suggests it is likely not software-based, so it may revolve around a physical sensor such as a magnetic switch in the lid or chassis, that could be contributing to the problem. Recently, the following YouTube video of the issue surfaced, showing an extreme condition of the bug, and its apparent tie to physical movement of the systems:



If you are experiencing this problem with your MacBook Air, then you can try some hardware resets to see if they can help the situation. The first is to perform a PRAM reset, by rebooting the system and immediately holding the Option-Command-P-R keys all at once. Continue to hold them until the system automatically resets and sounds the boot chimes again, and then release the keys to allow the system to boot normally.
The next reset you can do is for the system management controller (SMC), which governs how power and sensors are handled in the system. To reset this controller on the MacBook Air, first shut down the system and plug it into the AC adapter. Then press and hold the Shift-Control-Option keys on the left-hand side of the keyboard, followed by depressing the power button. Release all keys at the same time, and then press the power button to start the computer again.

If these reset routines do not fix the issue, then the next step would be to contact Apple and have the system replaced or serviced, especially since at this time the systems should still be under warranty. Since this issue came to light, Apple has swapped out a number of these for affected customers, likely with the intent of investigating the problem.

Depending on what Apple’s engineers find, we may see a firmware or software update to address the problem in the near future. Apple recently issued a software update for the Mid 2013 MacBook Air; however, this was to address a flickering display problem specific with use of Adobe software, and does not appear to address the issue at hand. Meanwhile, even though the issue may still happen, consider using the systems with the AC adapter attached, to at least reduce its prevalence.

This issue follows a similar, though unrelated, bug seen in the Mid-2010 MacBook Pro, where a faulty series of graphics cards has plagued those systems with regular crashes and black screens. In that case, Apple addressed the issue with a software update, though subsequent OS updates and upgrades have brought the issue back or exacerbated it for some systems.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this issue on your end with a mid-2013 MacBook Air, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Haswell-powered Retina Display MacBook Pro could be delayed until October

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Date: Friday, July 26th, 2013, 06:56
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, Rumor

That new Retina Display MacBook Pro with the Hasell processor you’re craving could be arriving a bit later than you’d like.

Per the China Times and Macotakara, the new MacBook Pros equipped with Retina displays won’t ship until October, well after the June debut of Haswell-powered MacBook Airs.

That rumored date is later than well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities expects the new MacBook Pros to be introduced. He said in a published note that he expects MacBook Pros with Haswell to debut in mid-September.

Apple is said to have experienced continued yield problems with the high-resolution Retina display in its notebooks. That’s led to apparent internal delays, despite the fact that benchmarks for both the 13-inch and 15-inch models have appeared online.

Prices for high-resolution LCD panels, as well as solid-state drives, have dropped in recent months. But the price of DRAM is also rising, which is why sources believe the new MacBook Pros will be sold at the same price point as the current models.

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro, in particular, is said to be even thinner than the current Retina display model. Kuo also expects the portable Macs to include 1080p “full HD” FaceTime cameras.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases MacBook Air Mid 2013 Software Update 1.0, homes in on reported bugs

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Date: Friday, July 19th, 2013, 05:28
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

If you bought a mid-2013 MacBook Air, the firmware update you’ve been waiting for has arrived.

Apple on Thursday released an update to its recently released MacBook Air models, addressing issues affecting Wi-Fi connectivity, screen flickering when using Adobe Photoshop and volume fluctuation during video playback.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s “MacBook Air (Mid 2013) Software Update 1.0″ is the first for the company’s thin-and-light lineup that was in June, and fixes a number of bugs users have complained about over the past few weeks.

Among the initial problems cited by users was intermittent loss of Wi-Fi signals, a problem Apple partially addressed in a separate AirPort Utility software update earlier this month.

Another problem cropped up last week when MacBook Air owners complained of uncontrollable volume fluctuations while playing video content in both first-party and third-party applications. This too has reportedly been solved with the latest Software Update 1.0.

Finally, the release fixes an issue that would occasionally cause screen flickering when using Adobe Photoshop.

The MacBook Air (Mid 2013) Software Update is available as a 3.55 megabyte download and can also be retrieved via the OS X Software Update feature on qualifying MacBook Air notebooks.

If you’ve tried the update and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.