Archives For macbook

Talking about the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar on the MacJury podcast last week brought up battery life and how initially the new machines suffered from a problem where the discrete graphics processor (GPU) was running when it shouldn’t. A system update fixed that problem, but sometimes an application might be forcing the GPU into use, even in the background.

For TidBITS this week, I wrote a short article explaining how to determine which applications are using significant energy, and how to tell whether the discrete GPU is in use instead of the power-saving integrated graphics. This advice applies to any Mac laptop with a secondary GPU, not just the Touch Bar models.

Read it here: How to Identify High-Performance GPU Apps on the MacBook Pro

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I had great fun talking about the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar on Chuck Joiner’s MacJury podcast. Together with Jeff Gamet and Dr. Robert Carter, we discussed which aspects we liked about Apple’s latest laptop—more than I expected—and which things still warrant attention. One thing I learned was how great the Touch Bar can be for people with limited vision who use VoiceOver. Be sure to tune in at 36:30 to learn how Robert takes advantage of it!

MacVoices #17077: The MacJury Goes In Depth on the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

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Mbp touchbar

When I was working on ideas for my latest Practical Mac column for The Seattle Times, I wanted to talk about my new MacBook Pro, but felt as if I’d already beat the subject into the ground. Turns out I hadn’t actually written about it since I received mine. (Maybe the readers are tired of it anyway.) So this week, I share some observations about actually using the new Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro on a daily basis. I also reflect on a couple of utilities—TextExpander and SoundSource—that have served me well running older versions, but which I’ve finally updated for good reasons.

Of particular note with the MacBook Pro, I’ve seen vastly improved battery life since updating to macOS Sierra 10.12.3, which fixed a bug that wasn’t allowing the graphics processors to switch the way they were supposed to. (In short: most of the time, the machine uses the Integrated graphics that are part of the main Intel Core i7 processor, which is highly battery efficient. Some apps, like Photoshop, take advantage of the discrete GPU for better and faster graphics processing, which burns through battery power faster. Instead of kicking back to the Integrated graphics when no longer using one of those apps, Sierra would continue to use the GPU.) This change has almost doubled my battery life in some cases.

Read it here: A new MacBook Pro, and dragging old applications into the future

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Mbp touchbar top

Following Apple’s media event last week where the company introduced the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, I wrote up the news and some initial impressions for my Seattle Times column: Apple’s latest Mac upgrade news is intriguing and perplexing.

There’s been a lot of kvetching and hand-wringing about this new update from Apple, reaching similar levels of paranoia as during the Dark Years of being an Apple fan. Does this mean Apple is abandoning the Mac? Has Apple forgotten about its professional customers? Is the Touch Bar just a gimmick? And what about the iMac, Mac mini, and Mac Pro?

I sound dismissive, but I’m not. There are some things about the event that are perplexing, such as the 16 GB memory limit in all MacBook Pro configurations, and the lack of any news about the other Macs. I don’t fall on the Apple-is-doomed spectrum (hell, we’ve been through enough of that), but this does seem like an unusual move for the company.

I’ll have more to say soon. In the meantime, read the article and leave your feedback!

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I joined Michael T. Rose and Chuck Joiner to talk about Monday’s Apple event for the MacVoices podcast, covering the Apple TV, HBO Now, the new MacBook, and, of course, the Apple Watch.

Watch it here: MacVoices #15070: The MacJury Talks Apple Watch, MacBook, Apple TV and HBO Go

Mar9 gold pour

Today’s Apple media event wasn’t specifically about gold, but you couldn’t escape it. From the $10,000+ gold Apple Watch Edition to the new gold-colored, redesigned MacBook, Apple made a point of demonstrating just why these products should command your interest and your money.

Read the article I wrote about the event for Lynda.com here: Apple Unveils $10,000 Apple Watch and Thinner MacBook

Apple’s latest commercial is quick and fun, showing off a variety of lid stickers adorning the MacBook Air.

What caught my eye, aside from the glimpse of the old six-color Apple logo at the end, was the fact that each sticker is clearly on a different, real machine. It would have been easy for Apple to position one blank MacBook Air in front of the camera and then digitally add the stickers. But no: each sticker is affixed to a different MacBook Air. You can tell by watching the bottom edge, which shifts slightly, and also by the scratches and dings that appear on some models.

Stickers devil

(Looks like Matthew Panzarino had the same idea, posting this a few minutes before I posted my entry; we even chose the same sticker as example.)

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Does your MacBook or MacBook Pro spend most of its time plugged into a power outlet? If so, you’re not exercising the laptop’s battery enough and are reducing its lifespan. That’s even more important now that MacBook models built since 2009 include built-in batteries that are not swappable. In my latest Seattle Times column, I look at FruitJuice, a $9.99 utility that tells you how much time you should spend working from battery each day in order to get the best long-term performance.

Read it here: FruitJuice app keeps MacBook batteries in shape.

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