Tag Archive for ‘Retina’

The Retina Divide ➝

Apple released their first Intel Macs in January 2006 — the MacBook Pro and iMac. The final Mac to transition from PowerPC to Intel was released in August of that same year. In just seven months, Apple was able to transition their entire lineup to x86 processors. Granted this isn’t a direct comparison, but Apple announced their first product with a Retina display in June 2010 — the iPhone 4 — and here we are nearly six-and-a-half years later and Apple is still selling products with low pixel density displays.

Based on the price differential between Retina and non-Retina Macs, it’s clear that the cost of including these high-density displays is the limiting factor. But why is that still the case? Why hasn’t Apple found other ways to shave manufacturing costs on their computers or come to terms with temporarily decreased margins?

At this point, I wouldn’t buy a new Mac without a Retina display and Apple should draw a similar line in the sand. Non-Retina displays are drastically inferior products and Apple should feel like fools for continuing to sell them.

Apple’s Thunderbolt Display Sold Out in Many Apple Stores ➝

Zac Hall, writing for 9 to 5 Mac:

It’s been true for way too long now that Apple’s Thunderbolt Display is due for a comprehensive upgrade. Apple’s $999 27-inch display has a dated design and has much lower resolution than the Retina 5K iMac for $800 more. For those reasons and more, it’s been on everyone’s Do Not Buy list for quite some time, but that may be about to change. […]

Thunderbolt Display can still be delivered overnight when bought through Apple’s online store, but a check at nearby Apple Stores showed that one out of every three locations had zero inventory. We’ve seen stock fluctuation in the past way before a product replacement — most recently the Apple TV — so it’s possible the inevitable Thunderbolt Display replacement could be planned for the fall and not Apple’s keynote in two weeks. But there are plenty of reasons to expect something new in Thunderbolt Display’s place at any point.

“Way too long” is an understatement — Apple hasn’t updated their standalone display offerings in nearly five years. It’s hard to believe that’s even true, there aren’t many Apple products that survive this long without being refreshed or discontinued. And I truly hope this is a sign that Apple will be shipping Retina-quality desktop displays in the next few months.

Apple’s Mac Product Announcements Detailed ➝

Graham Spencer published a great broad-strokes detailing of Apple’s announcements on MacStories yesterday — refreshed iMacs including 4K 21.5-inch models, Magic Trackpad 2, Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2.

Apple Reportedly Bringing 4K Screen to 21.5-inch iMac in October ➝

That sounds about right to me.

Apple Updates 15-inch MacBook Pro and 5K iMac ➝

The 15-inch MacBook Pro now sports the Force Touch trackpad, improved internals, and better battery life. The 5K iMac has a new introductory price of $1,999, but this lower-end configuration comes with a traditional hard drive rather than an SSD. If you’re in the market for a desktop Mac I’d suggest spending the extra $200 to get the 1TB Fusion Drive or the 256GB SSD.

The MacBook Air and iPad Buying Conundrum

Recently, the trackpad on my 2011 MacBook Air has been acting a bit wonky — right-clicking when I want to scroll, clicking buttons when I’m mousing around a webpage, and moving windows around when I’m trying to get to the menu bar. It’s become clear that it’ll need to be replaced soon.

So, I’ve been having an internal debate about whether I should take it in to get fixed — and have the battery replaced as well, since it’s rapidly approaching 1,000 recharge cycles — or stick it out and purchase one of the 12-inch retina models that have been rumored to be entering mass production early this year.

Richard Padilla, writing on MacRumors:

Apple’s 12-inch MacBook Air and the Apple Watch are expected to enter mass production in 2015 as the company’s supply partners have accelerated component production for both products, reports Digitimes. Supply chain sources note that the 12-inch MacBook Air will feature Intel’s Broadwell processors and a new ultra-thin design.

There’s also the option of replacing the battery and trackpad myself. It would save me some money, but also exponentially increase the risk factor. I’ve done some hardware tinkering in my day, so I know my way around a logic board. But, it’s been years and I’ve never done something this mission critical. If I mess up, I’m out a MacBook. This is something I use for hours a day, every day of my life. And, something that would cost me quite a bit to have replaced.

If I do decide to fix it myself, the repair guides on iFixit will be invaluable to me along the way. I’ll have to study them before I take the plunge and have printed copies on hand during the actual repair job.

All of this while I’m still contemplating the purchase of an iPad Air 2 — something I’ve been thinking about since they were announced in October. I’m still using my original iPad that I purchased on its release date over four-and-a-half years ago. (And, by “using” I mean occasionally getting out when I want to watch something on a second screen while I’m working in my office. “Rarely using” being a more apt description.)

The original iPad is slow and not very well suited for the kinds of tasks I want to do with it, writing being the most important one. It just can’t be used with my current workflow — writing in the WordPress admin area while frequently referencing other webpages. Safari flushes webpages from memory far too quickly on the original iPad and I often lose everything I’ve spent the past hour writing. It’s not good.

Not to mention the fact that the original iPad is still stuck on iOS 5 which precludes it from running most of the newer apps that I’d be interested in using.

Right now, I’m leaning towards the purchase of an iPad and having the Geniuses at Apple replace the trackpad and battery on my current MacBook Air. There’s nothing wrong with the Air aside from the trackpad and battery (which I would guess will cost around $350 to get fixed). It still runs fast enough for what I use it for and choosing this option will free up the necessary funds to get an iPad Air 2, while giving me peace of mind that the MacBook will still boot after the repair.

A Week With the Retina iMac ➝

Great review of the Retina iMac from Shawn Blanc. The review mentions one of the often-discussed struggles that many of us have dealt with — deciding between using a notebook as your primary computer or using a desktop as your primary and having a lower-powered notebook as a secondary computer for travel.

At least for the foreseeable future it seems that the Retina iMac has tipped the scales towards having a desktop as your primary computer. But, I wonder if having a notebook as your secondary computer is actually the way to go this time around. As Shawn notes in his aforelinked review:

Secondly, when I do travel to a conference or drive to a local coffee shop for the day, I mostly prefer to take my iPad. The work I do revolves around reading, writing, and communicating with my team. All of which are things I can do quite easily from my iPad thanks to apps such as Instapaper, Drafts, Poster, Unread, Editorial, Slack, Mail, Basecamp, OmniFocus, Safari, and Pushpin.

I wonder how many users could get away with using a desktop as their primary computer and having an iPad Air 2 as their portable machine. With all the power under the hood of the Air 2 it’s starting to feel like the power users are being held back by the software available on iOS and the mainstream users could easily use an iPad as their secondary machine.

I guess the debate between desktop and notebook computers is just another one of those tick-tock cycles in technology. They’re incredibly interesting to watch as time goes on, as they don’t always play out the same way as they did before. And, this time we could see tablets becoming the go-to secondary computer for many users (with a little help from Apple’s software development team).

Apple Replaces iPad 2 with iPad with Retina Display ➝

I’ve wanted a new iPad for a year or so, but haven’t been able to actually put the cash on the counter for one. Part of the reason for this is that spending another $500-600 on a tablet isn’t something I want to do right now. The iPad 2 was something I considered but ultimately decided against because of how much slower it is than other iPads available. The iPad 4, though, is much more intriguing.