TDO listeners have plenty to say about how Consumer Reports rates laptops, so today dive into their comments. Bryan Chaffin and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet to respond to listener comments, plus they share their thoughts on Apple Music becoming a pop culture nexus.
Apple periodically comes out with The Next Big Thing. Along the way, however, the company makes incremental changes that also make our lives better. How those many advancements accumulate to positively affect our lives depends on how often we upgrade. Meanwhile, the punctuation of big product events keeps us coming back for more. It’s all in a delicate balance, perceived in our flow of time.
Consumer Reports changed its tune and now recommends Apple’s new Touch Bar MacBook Pro. John Martellaro joins Jeff Gamet to debate whether or not we should trust Consumer Reports computer reviews, plus they share their thoughts on the big app size increase for Apple TV.
After spending a month with Apple’s 15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro I’ve found there are only four must-have Thunderbolt 3 adapters I need to attach everything I use with my computer. I don’t need all of them all the time, but they’re my go-to set for all of my wired connection needs.
Consumer Reports said in a blog post Tuesday that Apple has a fix for a bug uncovered in CR testing. According to statements from both CR and Apple, there was a bug in Safari that caused battery life issues on Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, and Apple has released a fix for that bug to its beta program, and said it will release it to the public in the coming weeks.
LAS VEGAS – Elgato’s new Thunderbolt 3 dock loads up your Touch Bar MacBook Pro with all the ports you need. Tim Böth highlights the features for Jeff Gamet at CES 2017.
Want to connect your old Apple Cinema Display or another mini DisplayPort monitor to your new 2016 MacBook Pro? It’s possible, but not via the method you might think. Before you rush to pick up an adapter, be sure to check out these compatibility restrictions.
LAS VEGAS – Speck announced a new case for MacBook Pro (13-inch) that features 4-feet drop protection. Considering the lack of a MagSafe connector for charging on Apple’s new MacBook Pro models, drop protection may be on the minds of lots of folks. Speck said the case is made from its Impactium Clear material originally used for iPhone cases. As the name suggests, Presidio CLEAR is see-through, and it has a “no-slip grip” feel to it. It ships in later in the first quarter of 2017 and is priced at US$99.95—it hasn’t yet been added to the Speck website. I’ve never been a fan of cases on MacBooks, but drop protection? Come on, that’s cool.
Do you find the 2016 MacBook Pro’s lack of ports a bit limiting? OWC may have the solution for you with the DEC, an upcoming accessory that attaches flush to the bottom of your MacBook Pro and adds external storage and a full array of ports including USB Type A, SD Card, and Ethernet.
In the wake of ongoing complaints about battery performance and reporting on MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, Apple is looking to beef up its battery-engineering team. 9to5Mac noted the company just added two positions related to batteries, Battery Algorithm Analysis Engineer and System Power and Control Architect.
From time to time, we’ve seem articles that explain Apple’s plight with its TV business. But John has found a splendidly complete diagnosis at The Verge for this week’s focus. It examines the deepest motivations of Apple, it’s clash with the entertainment industry, its successes and failures, and how that has, in turn, affected Apple TV software design and customer perceptions.
The Minix NEO C Mini is the little brother of the USB-C NEO C Multiport Adapter Dock previously reviewed. This smaller, less expensive model supports only pass-through power, HDMI (UHD) and two USB-A ports. It’s also half the price. John liked it a lot and highly recommends it for the Apple MacBook and new 2016 MacBook Pro.
The Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro may be functional, but it can be fun, too. Henry Franks makes that point perfectly with his Pac-Man clone, called Pac-Bar, for the Touch Bar. It’s just like the classic arcade game, complete with Pac-Man and his “wokka-wokka” munching sound, ghosts, and music. The maze is a little limited since you can only go left or right, although the intersections do jump you to either end of the Touch Bar. You’ll need to use your MacBook Pro’s arrow keys to play—sorry, no touch controls here. Click the Clone or download button on Henry’s Github page get Pac-Bar.
Turning your new MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar into a piano may not be practical but it is pretty cool, and that’s exactly what Touch Bar Piano does. The app lets you choose between 128 different instruments, and you can play chords, too. Touch Bar Piano is a free download, and while it isn’t the same as using an actual piano, it’s a cool example of the creative ideas developers are finding for the Touch Bar.
There’s a project on Kickstarter called HyperDrive that raised more than $341,000 in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. It’s a USB-C hub from Sanho for MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. It’s similar to the 5-in-1 HyperDrive from the same company we had a deal on a few days ago, but this new one in development has even more ports. All told, it has HDMI, USB 3.1 x 2, microSD/SD, Thunderbolt 3, and USB-C. It’s designed to plug into both your MacBook Pro USB-C ports and take the place of any dongles you might need. As of this writing, there are still a few pledge slots for $69 that will net you one, but those are going fast. Sanho has blown by its funding goal of $100,000 by 3X, and there’s still 39 days to go on the campaign. Clearly, there’s a demand for this product in the Mac community. Check out the promo video.
Smile’s PDFpen and PDFpen Pro gained Retina MacBook Pro Touch Bar support on Tuesday so users can edit documents with finger taps, and PDFpen Pro users can edit Table of Contents, too. PDFpen and PDFpen Pro are PDF document editing and creation apps. Users can add and remove pages from documents, edit text, and and remove images, create PDF forms, OCR scanned text, sync files via iCloud and Dropbox, and more. PDFpen 8.3 costs US$74.95 and PDFpen Pro 8.3 is priced at $124.95. The updates are free for version 8.x users.
Think the 2016 MacBook Pro is overpriced and underpowered? Check out this comparison video of Apple’s latest laptop with the company’s first portable computer, 1989’s Macintosh Portable. While far from an in-depth technical analysis, the video offers some nice HD shots of how design at Apple has changed over the past 27 years. Bonus points for the Jean-Louis Gassée archival footage.
Astonishingly, Apple creates unnecessary problems for itself. Locked in the old era, modern Apple executive thinking continues to focus on drama while excising important elements of its vision. That leads to pain, criticism, and disaffection with Apple. It wouldn’t be hard to avoid all that these days. John explains.
Device maker Plugable said Thursday that Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is incompatible with Thunderbolt 3 docks that use a particular Texas Instrument chip. If accurate, it means at least some early Thunderbolt 3 docks already on the market will not work with Apple’s newest Mac laptop.
It doesn’t take long after a new Apple product launch for iFixit to strip it down to its frame, and that’s exactly what happened with the late 2016 Retina MacBook Pro with function keys. Inside they found a smaller battery, removable custom SSD, and more.