Review new Apple MacBook Pro 2016 (13-inch)


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My now venerable 15-inch MacBook pro of 2012, which has an SSD inside instead of a traditional hard drive, starts up in 21 seconds (when it was new, the startup time was 13 seconds, but there’s a lot more software on it now and it’s been through several major Mac OS updates in that time, all the way to macOS 10.12.1 Sierra).
The 13-inch MacBook Pro starts up in 12.6 seconds, pretty respectable. This is also running macOS 10.12.1 Sierra. Interestingly, there is no obvious startup button any more, you just hold down the rightmost end of the Touch Bar (it has a slight depression so you can find it with a finger tip) for a couple of seconds. You have to put in your passcode, starting up from off, but hereafter you can use a fingertip on this zone (you set this ability when you first set up your machine from new, like you do with an iPhone/iPad) to wake it.

Connections — OK, I have a fairly grungy setup. I need a laptop as I take it to my day job sometimes, and/or present to groups, and I travel … but at home, I want a desktop setup, so when home my MacBook Pro plugs into a Belkin Thunderbolt Dock, which joins it to wired Ethernet, an additional 24-inch monitor, a wired extended keyboard, a wireless mouse (needs a USB 3 port for its transmitter) plus an audio interface, a Thunderbolt external hard drive and 2x USB 3 external hard drives. And then I need to plug in my iPhone sometimes to get the images off (my preferred method: no cloud, no data, fast and reliable) and various other things. This may not be conventional usage for most MacBook owners, but it works a treat. And this is the setup I’d want to replicate, one way or another, once I buy a new MacBook Pro.
And it looks like it will work just as I wish. The multiport Belkin dock, luckily, works with the 13-inch when it’s plugged into Apple’s USB-C to Thunderbolt adapter. This even cheerfully drove the second monitor (plugged into the dock via a Thunderbolt-to-DVI video adapter). The 2016 MacBook Pro even accepted and drove my old Alesis io2 USB audio input via a USB 3 to USB-C adapter; I’ve had this for years and I really like it for recording guitar and vocals.

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So, no problems there, but this does all underscore the fact you’re going to need dongles and adapters for almost anything you want to do beyond quite basic use, until USB-C native devices start to turn up. Good news is, everything I had, I tried and it worked. The other good thing is, I can almost guarantee I’ll try and insert a USB upside-down into a Mac at least two times out of three. I know you can mostly tell the difference, if you look, but still, I do it. The new connectors go in either way up, and this, so far, is my favourite USB-C feature until some devices show up.
Apple’s Extended Keyboard works fine plugged into Apple’s USB-C to USB 3 dongle too, and so did my Logitech wireless mouse (the transponder is in the extended keyboard).
In conclusion, USB-C might be a pain in that, currently, you need adapters, but the fact it can handle almost anything thrown at it, is very fast, can be daisy-chained, supports video, charging and can be plugged in either way up is all very compelling evidence this was a very good decision by Apple, if you ask me. The one thing I did notice is that – at least while this unit is so new – you have to positively push plugs in. A couple of times I plugged cords in and, to my consternation, nothing showed up on the desktop. On closer inspection, I simply hadn’t pushed the USB-C plugs all the way home.

Input: keys, trackpad and Touch Bar — The biggest notable change to the 2016 MacBook Pro is, of course, the Touch Bar. Some people don’t get it, but if you have one of these Macs, you’ll get it pretty quickly, believe me. The Touch Bar allows for direct input, which I think most people will understand. But why? OK, about 75% of my clients still hunt through menus to get anything done. Any serious users learn at least a few commands so that the commonplace things are a super-quick key combo away. As I tell everyone, learning 3-10 commands will change your Mac life (Command P for Print, for example).

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A nice feature is that when you drag or tap the slider, the on-screen round GarageBand ‘pots’ rotate to reflect your settings. This really beats trying to twirl those knobs with a trackpad or mouse!

The Touch Bar is a sort of intermediate step between key-input and menu mining. Want to change the position of the playhead in GarageBand? It’s right there, just drag it – yet no smears on the monitor you’re looking at. Tap a control’s header in the Touch Bar – for example, in the Classic Electric Piano in GarageBand – and you get Level, Bell, Drive, Treble, Bass, Tremolo, Chorus, Ambience and Reverb (above). So many, the panel actually almost runs out, with the last setting half-hidden, but it’s swipeable: swipe it to the left to see the last setting.

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Tapping any one of those headers gives you a slider. Tap anywhere on the slider to set the position there, or drag the slider itself. On the more universal Touch Bar options, like screen brightness or volume, you can also tap the Plus or Minus ends to increment the setting up or down. The surface of the Touch Bar feels like the very lightly textured surface of the trackpad, to the touch.
While some might bemoan the lack of F-Keys, most people simply don’t use them any more. However, tap the ‘fn’ (for Function) button at bottom left of your keypad and they all appear on the Touch Bar, so all you F-Key mavens can rest in peace.
The Touch Bar also lets you wake your Mac, after the first time (on from off still needs your passcode), with a finger touch, which you set up when your first activate your new Mac. I like it, I can really get used to this (especially in Final Cut, being able to locate the playhead on timelines) and I look forward to a plug-in or wifi keyboard being issued with the Touch Bar.
As for the keyboard, as NZ tech blogger Bill Bennett noted in his review of this aspect of the new MacBook Pro, the new keypad on the 2016 models has bigger keys that stick out less and travel less than previous models.
The lower profile allowed a few more points of a millimetre to be shaved off the 2016 MacBook Pro’s thickness when it’s shut, of course, adding to its overall svelte appearance, thus fulfilling Apple’s mantra of ‘slimmer, lighter at any cost’. Despite that lower profile and travel, the keys are physically bigger than on my 2012 MBP. To my measure, they are 17mm across instead of 16mm on the 2012 MBP and just 15 on my extended keyboard. I thought that would be a bit awkward to type on but no, they’re great, apart from they’re a little disconcertingly clicky.
The keys are good and hardly bounce at all, rather they click, but it’s amazing how fast you can type on them without the slight catch you can get sometimes on the more raised keys of other keypads as your fingertips move between them. But I have to wonder how the lack of even the slightest sponginess might make your knuckles feel after extended key-bashing?

The new 2016 MacBook pro has a much larger trackpad than the outgoing model (my 2012 is the same case design as the laid 2016 that the new 2016 replaces)
The new 2016 MacBook Pro has a much larger trackpad than the outgoing model (my 2012 has the same case design as the outgoing mid-2016 that the late 2016 replaces)

The other big change is a very expansive trackpad, allowing more positive gestures and swipes since you don’t have to spend those odd split-seconds locating the ’pad by feel. You tend to just hit the right place, since it’s bigger, and do the right thing, whereas I have long noticed that when I’m concentrating on the screen of my 2012, I will swipe ineffectually and miss.

Speeds — As all pro Mac users know, all of the above is very nice, but what about grunt? Pro users want raw power; the rest is just icing. You may have heard there isn’t much of a speed bump as far as this Skylake series of processors goes – in fact, some models have chips clocked a bit slower than the premium 2015 versions of the MacBook Pro. But these new CPUs do have advantages, since they run colder and don’t get stressed the way previous CPUs do. That means you’ll find your fans spinning up less, resulting in quieter general running and more efficient handling of CPU-heavy tasks.
I managed to run some benchmarks, but note that my comparison machine is my fairly aged (by professional standards, at four years old) 2012 MacBook Pro, although I am still very happy with it as it has the SSD, a solid state chipboard, as main storage instead of a clunky, slow, heavy, hard-to-cool hard drive. (If you find this a baffling concept, SSD is more like the internal storage in an iPhone or iPad as against what is, in effect, a hard drive’s little encased record player with its quick-spinning disk and a read/write head like a tone arm.)
So here’s what my Mac has, internally: 2.6GHz (maxes out at 3.6GHz under load) Intel Core i7 CPU (Ivy Bridge series), 16GB RAM, plus it has internal Intel HD Graphics 4000 for running the screen while on battery power. It also has discrete graphics for running on mains power in the form of the powerful, for its day, NVIDIA GeForce 650M GPU with 1024MB RAM (i.e., 1GB) and internal 512GB SSD storage – I did spec this one up a bit when I ordered it, and I’ve always been a firm believe in more RAM over a slightly faster CPU, as the benefit is much more tangible and better use of your dollar.
By comparison, the 2016 is only a 13-inch so is not fitted with discrete graphics. Its CPU is ‘only’ an i5, but it’s the Skylake series – two series on from the one in my 2012. The late 2016 13-inch uses Intel Iris Graphics 550 which has allocated to it 1536MB RAM. The CPU is a 2.9GHz i5 (Skylake series) that maxes out to 3.3GHz under load – notice the 2012 goes up to 3.6GHz? This slight throttling back of the new series is partly why they run cooler and are more efficient under load. The i5 in this thing is one processor, 2 cores, 4 threads compared to the 4 cores, 8 threads of the i7 – which is the basic difference between the two grades of Intel CPU (5 vs 7). The 13-inch also only has 8GB RAM.
Anyway, how does it fare? Really pretty good, considering it’s not up to the class of CPU and GPU I am used to.

Geekbench scores:

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The Multi-Core score is understandable considering the older MacBook Pro has an i7 CPU – this has more cores and supports hyper-threading, unlike the i5.
OpenCL takes the power of graphics processors and makes it available for general-purpose computing, so that OpenCL score is pretty impressive, especially considering the 2016 only has integrated graphics rather than a card to drive the monitor. OpenCL makes it possible for software to access and use the graphics processor and any dedicated video memory for purposes other than just graphics. It’s driving a beautiful built-in Retina display, too, albeit only a 13-inch. Notice also that the 2016 i5 beats the 2012 i7 in Single Core.
The model I got to look at only had 250GB internal storage – I barely cope with 512GB in my own machine, spinning off various large items into various other external hard drives when I’m at home. Take note, people: you can’t store much on these faster SSD drives. But while they typically cost an arm and a leg for a reasonable amount of storage space, the speed benefits of SSD make far more difference than these increasingly slight iterations of CPU boosts.
Cinebench refused to run on the latest macOS I had installed on both machines, unfortunately. That would be a more detailed test of video graphics.
But I could test the speed of the internal storage thanks to the BlackMagic utility. Gosh, SSDs have clearly come a long way in just four years.

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The model inside my 2012 doesn’t handle Cinema write speeds (above) or support DNG RAW at over 2160p30, or 10 Bit YUV 04 4.2.2 at resolutions over 2K DCI25 … but the 2016 does (below). And it does so at stonking speeds too, as it’s nearly 4 times faster on write speeds (1288.6 write speeds compared to just 340.1 on the 2012).

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Reading is fast too (above): 2000 MB/s (maybe faster actually, as my BlackMagic utility tops out at 2000) compared to 445.4MB/s on the 2012. And do note, the 2012 still feels really quick to me, especially compared to traditional hard drives, which feel like they’re extracting files through a straw sucking treacle.

In other features — The speakers in this thing are great, really surprisingly loud and with a definite improvement in bottom end, better mid-tone definition and more trebles. This is possibly the first Mac I’ve ever cranked up in sound and not winced at the tone of the built-in speakers – and this is really saying something, because it’s no mean feat to get decent-sounding speakers in a MacBook so slim and light.
The monitor is simply wonderful: Apple claims the Retina display on the new MacBook Pro throws 500 nits of brightness, which is 67% brighter than the previous generation, with 67% more contrast. It looks fantastic. It’s the first Mac notebook display to support ‘wide colour’ which, to the eye, means more detailed palettes of, especially, greens and blues – this is a designer and photographer’s delight. The screen also has more power-efficient LEDs, uses power-saving technologies including a larger pixel aperture and variable refresh rate. As a result, the display consumes 30% less energy than before, for around the same if not slightly better battery life than the outgoing model.
And boy, is this thing light! I put it in my bag the night before to take somewhere. Halfway there the next morning, I decided I’d forgotten it as my bag was so light. But I checked and I hadn’t.

Conclusion — I am impressed, and I need a new Mac myself, but I have decided to try and wait for a MacBook Pro with Kaby Lake CPUs as they do represent quite an important jump. I hope that won’t be too far into 2017 before that’s available, as my 2012 is starting to creak. It’s had a full and interesting life … but time to move on. I look forward to the larger trackpad and the Touch Bar, and the slightly less size and weight (for the 15-inch, in my case).

What’s Great — It may not be a world beater, but it’s a damn fine MacBook Pro if you need a new one. The Touch Bar is actually pretty nifty and I confidently predict everyone will grow to love it.
What’s Not — The newer generation of Intel Kaby Lake processors would have been cool.
Needs — Anyone who needs a great MacBook Pro right now.

13-inch MacBook Pro The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID starts at RRP NZD $2999 inc GST, and features a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz, 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage. Ship time is estimated to be two to three weeks.
Skip the Touch Bar and you can get a 2.0GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1GHz, 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage for NZ$2499 (shipping now).
The 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar starts at RRP NZD $3999. This features a 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5GHz, 16GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage (estimated ship time: two to three weeks).
• Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online.

iPhone 7 GPU, iPhone 6 shutdowns, bypassing the Lock Screen


(Image from ExtremeTech)
(Image from ExtremeTech)

The mysteries of the GPU in Apple’s iPhone 7 are unlocked — Apple’s GPU in the A10 Fusion chip used in the iPhone 7 is based on the same architecture used in the A9 chip, with tweaks for the speed boost.
Users have praised the performance of Apple’s A10 Fusion chip in the iPhone 7, but its underlying graphics architecture may not be so new after all. The GPU in the iPhone 7 uses a custom version of the PowerVR GT7600 GPU, which is based on the same graphics processor architecture as in last year’s iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, according to an analysis by The Linley Group, which specializes in semiconductors. Apple has claimed the A10 Fusion CPU is 2x faster than its predecessor, the A9, and the GPU about 50% faster.

Random iPhone 6s shutdowns due to faulty battery component, Apple says — On Friday, Apple explained on its Chinese site that the problem was found in iPhone 6s devices containing a faulty battery component. This component was “exposed to controlled ambient air longer than it should have” before it was assembled into the battery packs, Apple said.Apple has posted a site where you can check if your model is eligible for battery replacement. Apple is reportedly handling repairs differently based upon supply. If parts are available, employees are repairing devices if possible.

Researchers bypass iPad and iPhone Activation Lock — Vulnerability Lab has published a video to YouTube demonstrating a method for bypassing the Activation Lock on an iOS device. Researchers discovered a convoluted series of steps one can go through starting with a buffer overflow, and also using a Smart Cover…but it’s complicated.

MacBook Pro vs MacBook Pro, Mac inventory, Touch Bar Rocket, fashion exec gone


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Watch: Apple’s 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar vs. 2015 15-inch MacBook Pro in performance shootout — Apple recently released the first MacBook Pro redesign since 2012, and in typical Apple fashion, there’s been some controversy over the new machines. People are talking about are the lack of legacy ports, and the need for adapters to use current devices and accessories.
With so many Macbook Pro users waiting for this redesign, AppleInsider takes a closer look and compares the new 15-inch model to the old to see if you should upgrade to the 2016 model, or stick with 2015’s version in a video.

Network Inventory Advisor is a handy inventory solution for macOS — Network Inventory Advisor is a network inventory solution that was around for Windows systems for some time before coming to the Mac. But it is now available for macOS — and it’s free for up to 10 Macs that you wish to scan.

Use your MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar to switch between apps with Rocket — Macworld slideshow.

Apple removes fashion executive Paul Deneve from leadership site — Apple has removed Paul Deneve from its leadership website. Deneve came from the fashion world and was Vice President of Special Projects at Apple. Prior to his stint at Apple, Mr. Deneve’s resume included companies and brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Nina Ricci, Lanvin, Courreges, and oil-giant ExxonMobil. [Wonder if he catwalked out of there.]

Futurology ~ Space, Mars, old efficient engines, Bees and Trump, browser, poo and diamond power, survival apps, human insignificance


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Space and all that … supermassive — A stunning new image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope shows a galaxy that’s being strangled by tentacles of gas and dust. The strange and intricate shape of this celestial object is caused by a supermassive black hole (above) at its core — and it’s killing the host.
~ For myself, I’m quite relieved it’s 150 million light years away.

More Mars pictures — Two European Space Agency spacecrafts arrived at Mars on October 19th, right on schedule. One crash-landed on the red planet’s surface (ESA scientists are still trying to figure out what happened to poor ol’ Schiaparelli), but the other safely inserted itself into orbit and last week, the ExoMars orbiter sent home its first images.
~ CaSSIS is looking for gases.

Car engines get ever more efficient, but a 70-year-old invention could make them 30% more efficient — Achates Power in San Diego believes it has a better way: Ditch the design that has dominated engine design for the past 130 years in favour of an idea abandoned in the 1940s and see a 30% bump in efficiency. Most modern engines use a four-stroke, reciprocating single-piston design while the old tech Achates wants to reintroduce is two pistons in each cylinder.
~ Swings, roundabouts and cycles. 

Bees and Trump’s election — Animal groups often make extraordinary collective decisions that go far beyond the abilities of any single individual. The idea that groups can make collective decisions more successfully than individuals is known as the “wisdom of the crowd” and is arguably why we vote, have juries, and fill boardrooms. Today, it’s not clear if social media is pushing humanity into a death spiral or pulling us out of one.
~ ‘Animal groups’ …

How to see all your browser knows about you — Point your browser towards this website experiment called Click to get started. A cascade of information will begin to stream down on the page, from the number of cores your computer has to the movements your mouse makes. But there’s hope – two Swedish developers have created a site offering a way to wipe your entire existence off the internet in a few clicks, although there are caveats.
~ Click. But …

Cures and more buried online — Last month, a company named Iris launched a first version of an online engine that can read the abstract of papers, map out their key concepts and find papers relevant to those concepts. It provides a quick way to get a sense of the scientific landscape for a given topic, something especially useful when you don’t know the exact keywords for the type of research you are looking for.
~ Fantastic!

Ravenous bacteria eats poo, makes power — Researchers at Ghent University in Belgium have hit on a method of harvesting energy from raw sewage that treats the wastewater without using external electricity. It’s all thanks to starving bacteria. This method is still in its lab testing stage, but industry leaders are already interested in utilising it.
~ Well, if it’s one thing any human can create …

Nuclear diamond power — Scientists at the University of Bristol have found a way to convert thousands of tons of nuclear waste into man-made diamond batteries that can generate a small electric current for thousands of years.

Survivalist apps — Here’s a list of apps to help you get through.
~ Wait, the battery is dying …

Humans very insignificant when history is laid out on a football field — Humanity gets served up a nice slice of humble pie in this NPR video that lays out the history of our planet on a football field.
~ Humans only show up about an eighth-of-an-inch from the end zone. But it’s what you do with that inch …

Five Tip Friday ~ Safari tabs on Mac, and Mail


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1/ Reopen closed tabs in Safari — One of the most straightforward ways of reopening a tab in Safari is to click on the History button in the top-level menu bar, hover over Recently Closed then click on one of the displayed links. But you can also right-click (or hold down the Control key and normal-click) on the ‘Plus’ icon at the extreme right of the tab bar. A Recently Closed Tabs menu pops out and you can select your link from there.

2/ A key combo for last-closed tab — Mac owners have another advantage over (most) iPad owners in the form of a keyboard shortcuts. Shift-Command-T reopens the last opened tab —not so handy if you closed multiple tabs, but it can at least undo immediate mistakes.

3/ Closing tabs with swipes — Most Mac users know they can close a tab in Safari by either clicking on the tab’s small ‘x’ icon that appears on the left of a tab when your cursor is over it, or by using the keyboard shortcut Command-W (the universal Close Window command). But here’s a relatively unknown method for closing a Safari tab for multitouch gesture fans.
Note that the method described here doesn’t work in all situations. This tip involves a swipe gesture, so you’ll need to be using a MacBook’s built-in trackpad or a Magic Trackpad, but it also works on a Magic Mouse. The second caveat is that this only works for new tabs which launch automatically, for example, if you left-click on a website link that’s configured to open in a new page or a new browser window. This method won’t work for tabs that are launched manually by holding the Command key while you click or by using the right-click menu to Open in a New Tab.
If you click a link in Safari that opens in a new tab, two-finger-swipe back with two fingers to close the tab.
This is the same gesture you would normally use to go back to the previous page, and you would think it wouldn’t work in this case because there’s no “previous page” on a freshly opened browser tab. But, behold, if you’re working with a tab that launched automatically (as described in the caveats above), then this gesture closes the new tab and takes you back to your previous tab.

4/ Mailbox behaviours — To know how each of your email accounts (Gmail, iCloud, Comcast, Yahoo, etc) handles trash in the first place, look under Mail > Preferences. If you choose that and then pick Accounts from the following window, you’ll see a list of all of the email addresses you’ve set up in Mail on the left. Click one, choose the Mailbox Behaviors [sic] tab and you’ll see how often that particular account gets rid of its trash. You can set some, for example, to delete trash permanently when it’s a month old, which stops your Mailbox (which is on your ISP’s server) from filling up.

5/ Get rid of all Mail trash in one go — Click on the Mailbox menu and choose Erase Deleted Items. You can then erase the trash from all your accounts, or pick just a single one to clear out. But whichever way you go, you’ll then be rid of your old stuff. Make sure it’s not anything you actually need to keep, but if you run Time Machine backups this will all be safe anyway.

Extra tip — If you do have Time Machine, just running it does not make your Mail magically reappear. Here’s the trick: Boot Mail. Then boot Time Machine. If you do it this way, Time Machine becomes a dedicated backup server for just Mail, and all those deleted emails become available again.

Apple Pay now in Spain, planned Nokia revival, Android virus spreads


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Apple Pay now available in Spain — Apple kicked off December by launching its Apple Pay secure mobile payment service in Spain. As first reported yesterday by Spanish website Applesfera, today’s rollout makes Spain the 13th country to support Apple Pay. Apple customers in Spain with Mastercard credit cards issued by Banco Santander, Carrefour, and Ticket Restaurant can use Apple’s popular service to quickly and securely pay for goods and services in person via their iPhone or Apple Watch, or quickly checkout online with their Mac or iPad. Apple Pay is available in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, Japan, Switzerland, Russia, Singapore, New Zealand [so far for ANZ iPhone users only], Hong Kong and China.

HMD Global aims to reclaim Nokia’s lost cellphone glories, will fight Apple and Samsung — After Microsoft’s throwing away of the Nokia brand name, a company called HMD Global has licensed the brand and is planning on tackling Samsung and Apple’s on the smartphone field of battle after an initial wave of feature phones.

Gooligan malware roots 1M Android phones in “largest Google account breach to date” — A new strain of Android malware called Gooligan, thought to be “the largest Google account breach to date,” is already in active circulation and three-fourths of the Android installed base is vulnerable. Once infected, devices give hackers access to the users’ Gmail, Google Photos, Docs, Drive and other Google services accounts. [Hey, Google, who cares about privacy anyway, right?]

External MBPro GPU, mapping drones, Plex player goes free, Calendar spam, Luminar supports Touch Bar


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Thunderbolt 3-equipped MacBook Pro can use external GPUs, but at a cost — One of the most frequent complaints about the new MacBook Pro [and the old one, and the iMac, and the Pro, for that matter] is the relatively weak GPU compared to some found on the Windows PC side. Some progress has been made very recently by independent developers, allowing the adventurous who aren’t afraid to spend a few dollars to build and connect an external GPU to a Thunderbolt 3 Mac.
But you have to start modifying macOS to make it work …

Apple to unleash a fleet of flying drones to improve Maps data — Apple ditched Google as the default provider of mapping services in iOS when the company unveiled its own Maps effort in 2012. Although Apple Maps got off to a controversial and rocky start, the service has improved significantly over the years, and is now available for macOS as well as iOS. But Google had a massive head start with maps, and despite its improvement, Apple’s efforts have never quite caught up in terms of features or accuracy.
Now it seems Apple is willing to do anything to top its Mountain View rival, including unleashing a fleet of flying drones.

Plex makes Media Player free to use for macOS, adds Kodi support for subscribers — A highly-regarded media browser and playback tool, Plex Media Player, has exited subscriber-only status, and is now free for Mac users.

Apple working to block Calendar spam — On Wednesday, Apple indicated that it was actively working to identify and block any further spam invites from hitting your iCloud Calendar. Last week, people started receiving suspicious spam invites on iOS and macOS alerting them of special sales for Ugg boots or Ray-Ban sunglasses.

Macphun has added Touch Bar support to their all-in-one photo editor, Luminar — MacBook Pro users now have fast access to key editing features to speed up their workflow.
The update to Luminar also includes improved performance, updated support for RAW files, speed improvement, and bug fixes.

Kaby Lake, Boot Camp audio, iTunes Connect shutdown, 5K wallpapers, wifi satisfaction, Final Cut Pro X, Wired guy


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Kaby Lake suitable for MacBook Pro said to debut at January’s Consumer Electronics Show — According to reports out of the Chinese supply chain, Intel is gearing up to announce and release the H-series Kaby Lake processor, suitable for use in laptops like the MacBook Pro.

Apple updates Boot Camp audio driver that was causing blown MacBook Pro speakers — Apple has issued an update to Boot Camp drivers within Windows, preventing the random, loud pops from over-ranging and damaging the new MacBook Pro’s speakers. However, the driver doesn’t fix speakers already damaged by the problem.

Apple schedules annual iTunes Connect holiday shutdown — Apple this week announced the schedule of its annual iTunes Connect holiday shutdown. The developer portal for Apple’s digital app platforms will be closed for the Christmas holiday from Friday, December 23 through Tuesday, December 27, US Pacific Time. During this period, no new apps or updates to existing apps will be approved for the iOS, Mac, or iBooks Stores.

Grab the new iOS-Inspired 5K Colour Burst Wallpapers for Mac — Members of Apple’s macOS beta program noticed something new in the latest build of macOS Sierra: a handful of new wallpapers derived from Apple’s iOS 10 and MacBook Pro marketing campaigns. Part of Apple’s “Color Burst” [sic] design theme, the wallpapers are already available in iOS 10, but macOS Sierra 10.12.2 Beta 4 marks the first time that these images are available in full-screen glory on the Mac. They’re on Imgur.

Oh the irony: Apple ranks highest in overall satisfaction among wireless router makers — Here’s some irony for you: now that Apple is apparently abandoning the AirPort Express, the AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule, Apple ranks highest in overall satisfaction among wireless router manufacturers in a new study by JP Power.

Apple updates Final Cut Pro X with minor bug fixes — Apple on Tuesday released a minor update for its premiere video editing tool Final Cut Pro X, addressing library and Paste Attributes issues, among other feature fixes.

Apple lures Wired’s creative director into its fold — Billy Sorrentino, Wired magazine’s creative director, has announced his departure. A Wired rep says Sorrentino will be joining Apple’s design team, but wouldn’t offer more detail.

 

(RED) and Aids, Netflix offline viewing, Hue gets iPad support


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Apple again turns (RED) to assist in the fight against AIDS — In honour of World AIDS Day, Apple is offering more ways for customers to join (RED) in its mission to create an AIDS-free generation. This is the company’s 10th year supporting the effort. This year Apple customers can join the fight while playing the games they love or shopping for loved ones ahead of the holiday season.
For the next week, a range of the most popular games across the App Store — spanning racing and sports titles to strategy, puzzle and action games — are offering limited-edition, custom (RED) content, exclusively available on the App Store. All proceeds from the associated in-app purchases go to the Global Fund. The 20 participating games include Angry Birds 2, Angry Birds POP!, Best Fiends, Best Fiends Forever, Boom Beach, Candy Crush Jelly Saga, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, CSR2, Episode, Farm Heroes Saga, FarmVille: Tropic Escape, FIFA Mobile, Hay Day, MARVEL Contest of Champions, PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator, Plants vs. Zombies Heroes, SimCity BuildIt, War Dragons and YAHTZEE With Buddies. In addition to the current (PRODUCT)RED lineup, which is available for customers to purchase year-round, Apple is adding four new (RED) products including an iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case, iPhone SE Case, Beats Solo 3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones and the Pill+ Portable Speaker, which are all available today (pictured above).

Netflix Finally Introduces Offline Viewing for iOS & — Netflix has long offered a huge library of movies and TV shows, but there’s always been one small problem: you needed an active Internet connection on your iPhone or iPad to actually watch the stuff. Well, today that finally changes. Netflix now supports offline viewing via its iOS (and Android) apps.
Only certain TV shows and movies currently support offline viewing, although Netflix promises to make more content available over time.

Philips Hue app adds iPad support, 3D Touch widgets for iPhone — Philips has pushed out an update for its Hue connected lightbulb and accessories controller app, adding iPad support and new home screen widgets for iPhone users running iOS 10.