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The Retina MacBook Pro 15” [My Review]

I have spent a week with the 15” base model Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display, and I have to say I am impressed. Two things users will notice immediately upon using this laptop are how crisp and clear text and images appear on the display and how good the speakers sound on such a thin laptop. 

As an owner of an iPad and iPhone with Retina displays, I always found myself upset when I using my phone and laptop at the same time. I immediately notice all of the pixels on the screen of my old laptop display (1280x800) and on my external 22” IPS 1080p monitor. Yes, I know…”first world problems”, but having all Retina display products can have a positive impact on user experience. Apple has done a phenomenal job at reducing the glare of the display as compared with most laptops with glossy or glass displays (including their own regular MacBook Pro and MacBook Air). This really makes a difference when working in a well lit environment or outside. The viewing angles and brightness of the display are also superior to any display I have seen available to regular consumers. 

This laptop absolutely flies: the quad-core Intel i7 processor means business, the 8GB of ram really helps during multi-tasking, photoshop and running virtual machines, and the built in SSD is no slouch! I frequently run Windows 7 Ultimate using Virtual Box and the experience is often faster than most mid-range Windows PCs sold today. 

Build quality is on par with current generation MacBook Pros, which is a good thing. On CNET’s “Always-On” YouTube channel, you can find torture tests of the 13” version of the MacBook Pro with Retina display - the results of the test were quite impressive. One other design feature of the that impressed me are the two fans built into the system which feature blades that have been asymmetrically molded, reducing fan noise. I really don’t hear the fans till they go above 3500rpm, which rarely happens even when streaming full HD videos and running a Virtual Machine.

As with all products (yes, even Apple products), there are weak points and this laptop has a few that need to be called out. Apple has done a poor job of addressing screen ghosting and fan issues - neither of which I have experienced during the writing of this review. I have experienced major stuttering with YouTube videos played in all popular browsers (Chrome, FireFox, and Safari) when the system is under stress. I’m not sure what causes this, but I would not expect such a problem to happen with such a powerful system. I hope this will be resolved with a future software update for the OS X or the browsers. 

In conclusion, the 15” MacBook Pro with Retina display is a solid laptop for someone looking for a laptop with a gorgeous display, powerful processor and graphics card, and has high spending limit. This laptop is not for someone looking for a laptop with a small footprint, but it is worth noting that this laptop weighs less than the current regular 13” MacBook Pro and is significantly thinner. Apple is expected to update their laptops later this year (likely in Q3) with brand new chips from Intel and they may come out with a redesigned chasis too, so if you can stand to wait a few more months, it should be worthwhile. For the time being, I am very satisfied with this laptop and look forward to what Apple will release later this year. 

Filed under Apple retina display macbook pro

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iPad 4th Generation Review

It’s been about 7 month’s since the “new iPad” was released and now we have a new “new iPad” (4th generation). It’s actually much improved over the previous generation iPad and for owners of the original and iPad 2, this is the upgrade you’ve been waiting for. Just know that it comes with the lightning connector so if you have invested a lot of money in accessories with the old 30 pin connector, think twice before buying one. 

Filed under iPad 4 Apple

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thisistheverge:

Remembering Steve, Apple posts Jobs tribute video with a message from Tim Cook
A year ago today, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs died. Describing the time as “sad and difficult,” Apple CEO Tim Cook posted a fitting video tribute and message on the company’s homepage today. “One of the greatest gifts Steve gave to the world is Apple,” says Cook. “Our values originated from Steve and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

thisistheverge:

Remembering Steve, Apple posts Jobs tribute video with a message from Tim Cook

A year ago today, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs died. Describing the time as “sad and difficult,” Apple CEO Tim Cook posted a fitting video tribute and message on the company’s homepage today. “One of the greatest gifts Steve gave to the world is Apple,” says Cook. “Our values originated from Steve and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

Filed under Apple Steve Jobs

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Eliminating Carrier Usage on iPhone While on WiFi [Verizon]

In the beta versions of iOS 6, users were allowed to switch on an option that would enable the phone to automatically use your carrier’s data network if you WiFi network had no actual connectivity to the internet. But in the final version of iOS 6, Apple decided to get rid of that option. It seems that users on the Verizon network have that feature enabled by default, with no way of turning it off, causing some users to hit their data limits quickly. 

Check the source and make sure your iPhone is updated!

Filed under Apple iPhone iOS6 Verizon

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The iPhone 5 [My Review]

The iPhone 5 is out and over 5 million units were sold in just a few days. My unit arrived 1 day late and damaged. To be more specific, the box was dented, the phone’s bezel was chipped, and there was dust and debris under the camera lens which affected the photos I took. After a long complicated process that I won’t dive into, I exchanged my device, and I decided to go with the white unit instead. 

(Phone is wrapped in a Photive Hyrbid Bumper Case)

Although the black iPhone is probably one of the sleekest phones to look at in photos and in the store, I found it to be very bland in other settings and scratches easily catch someone’s eye (see photo above). The white iPhone, to me, looks more beautiful, especially its back plate. 

(The new lighting cable)

I was perfectly happy with this replacement until I returned home to charge it with the lighting cable. The first thing I noticed was how much play there was when the cable was plugged in, and then the dreaded charging indicator and chimes kept going off and on every time I moved the cable or phone. Without another cable on hand, there is no way of knowing if the problem is with the phone or the cable - back to the apple store, again. I really hope it is just a faulty cable because I did a really good job of laying down a screen protector.

I’ll update this posting when that’s all sorted out… [see bottom]

So what about the SIM card? The new nano SIMs really are tiny, and I would venture a guess that people who frequently swap SIMs are going to lose it if they’re not extremely careful. Here’s a comparison between full-size SIM (top), nano SIM (middle), and micro SIM (bottom):

In terms of the rest of the device? It’s thinner, lighter, and noticeably faster than any previous iPhone and current iPad. The extra tall screen takes a little getting used to but I enjoy the extra real estate. Most of the popular and core apps have been updated to take advantage of that extra screen space, but there are some apps (as of today), such as Instagram that are still letter boxed, which makes using the app a little awkward because you instinctively want to tap the bottom of your screen to switch tabs or to take a photo, but the screen is black. Eventually you get used to it, and app makers will also update their apps in the coming days, weeks, and months. 

By now just about everyone whether they own a smartphone or not, has heard about Apples’ departure from Google Maps as well as YouTube. An official YouTube app has been made available for a few weeks and is much better than the native YouTube app that Apple has used for years. Google Maps is supposedly in the pipeline to be approved by Apple and released into the App store, but who knows how long that may take. Why are people complaining about Apple’s Map app? Simply put, it’s just not as detailed and as accurate as Google’s. Apple’s situation is not unique, Google faced the same issues when they first started getting into the mapping business, so it will take Apple at least 2 years to really have a great Maps app. The benefit of this new app is that you get turn by turn voice navigation - if it is able to find the address you’ve inputted. I have not had any problems with the maps or navigation in terms of accuracy but I do miss having integrated public transportation, which now relies on third party apps.

I don’t have much to say about the new Passbook app, I really don’t plan on using it in the near future, just like I really never planned on using NFC on a mobile phone for payments.

Overall this is a great device because Apple made improvements to everything on the iPhone 4s, which was already a great device. My only complaint is that I am having various physical problems with the iPhone 5, and I know I’m not alone. A lot of that has to do with how many phones they’re trying to manufacture in such a short amount of time.

Bottom line, I would recommend this phone to anyone looking to purchase a new smartphone. If you have an older iPhone (e.g. 3G, 3GS, or 4), this is definitely worth your 2 year upgrade (assuming you’re eligible). My only suggesting is to wait another month or two so they can get manufacturing defects worked out as well as have more new and/or replacement units on hand in case you run into any issues. 

Here are some more photos of the iPhone with the Photive Hybrid Bumper case:

Update 10/26: The issue is still not completely resolved and I’ve seen some more cases pop up online. I am on my third iPhone now and the poor charging connector on the bottom is still a problem. I am leaning towards the cable being more of an issue than the phone, but when tested in the store my cable seems fine. There will be at least one more trip to the Apple store. I’ve gotten some questions about battery life…it’s basically the same as the 4s. According to some more recent reviews, it seems like reception affects battery life a little bit more than previous models and that could be due to a new radio chip being used. 

Update 10/28: I am now on my 4th iPhone and it’s a keeper. My 3rd phone still had a loose lightning port which was verified at the Genius bar. My 4th phone is actually what I expect from apple, with no damage and everything is tight fitting. A few things I want to note are that I am with Sprint and it seems like their network is really being crushed by all of the iPhones and Galaxy S III’s on their network. I live and work all over San Francisco and the 3G reception is pretty good and voice calls seem fine, but the data transmissions are fairly slow [100ms ping | 60kB/s down | 40kB/s up]. Battery life is also not spectacular but also not worse than what people should be used to getting on their 4s. I would argue that if you had perfect reception all of the time, you could potentially get slightly more usage time out of the 5 compared with the 4s, but in low reception conditions, perhaps because of the new radio, the 5 drains battery much quicker when the phone struggles to keep or search for service. I highly recommend being connected to a WiFi network when in low reception areas. 

Filed under Apple iPhone 5

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Apple 'Blown Away' by iPhone 5 Pre-Orders

Despite the complaints about a changed dock connector and a ‘boring’ keynote, it seems like a ton of people want this device. It hasn’t even been 24 hours and shipments of the iPhone 5 may take 3 weeks to arrive if you place your order right now.

On Apple’s own online store, the phones sold out in about 1 hour. Sprint is the last carrier that might have the 64GB model available to be shipped on Sept. 21st. Time to wait for the real sales numbers to come out. So where’s this recession and bad economy that I keep hearing so much about? 

Filed under Apple iPhone 5

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thisistheverge:

Phil Schiller on the iPhone 5: Apple ‘started from scratch’

So ya’ll know that the new iPhone was announced today, right? 
It’s not crazy different and there’s nothing ground breaking about it, aside from the manufacturing process, but Apple does what it tends to do best…take the best of whats available in the market, tweak it a bit, and package it all together and sell it for a nice profit. On paper and video its a good device, in real world use, we’ll know shortly!

thisistheverge:

Phil Schiller on the iPhone 5: Apple ‘started from scratch’

So ya’ll know that the new iPhone was announced today, right? 

It’s not crazy different and there’s nothing ground breaking about it, aside from the manufacturing process, but Apple does what it tends to do best…take the best of whats available in the market, tweak it a bit, and package it all together and sell it for a nice profit. On paper and video its a good device, in real world use, we’ll know shortly!

Filed under Apple

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One Year as CEO: Tim Cook [Apple]

It is difficult to believe that 12 months has passed since the new CEO of Apple, Tim Cook started running the show. Although some people are uncertain about Apple’s future in the long term, today, Apple is the most valuable publicly-traded company in the world. 

Filed under Apple Tim Cook