Apple Streamlines The MacBook Line

Apple has once more restored order to chaos in the MacBook line!

Ok, perhaps a bit too dramatic! But, Apple has streamlined the MacBook line once again. The previous generation MacBook Air (which also happens to be the last of the MacBooks where the Apple logo lights up), the 12-inch MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys have all been discontinued.

The new MacBook lineup includes the latest generation MacBook Air updated with True Tone Retina Display and a lower starting price of $1,099, a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro with the latest 8th generation quad-core processors, Touch Bar & Touch ID, True Tone Retina Display and the Apple T2 Security Chip with a starting price of $1,299 (Note: The new entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro has two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports. A 13-inch MacBook Pro with four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports starts at $1,799), and the current generation 15-inch MacBook Pro (refreshed earlier this year) with a starting price of $2,399.

I still very much enjoy working on my mid-2013 MacBook Air. It works fine with macOS Mojave and I still edit my Final Cut Pro X videos on it. I’ve also become fond of my 2016 12-inch MacBook. While I still feel the 12-inch MacBook was overpriced, underpowered and had some shortcomings, it was right on the money when it came to portability. It’s a great on-the-go laptop and a perfect travel companion.

As for the 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys, it met the needs of those consumers requiring entry-level Pro performance without the bells & whistles (ex: the Touch Bar) and the higher price tag. If you really don’t want the Touch Bar, the latest generation MacBook Air still features the traditional function keys though I do hope Apple will eventually offer consumers the option to configure a faster processor than the base version 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5.

If you’re looking for entry-level Pro performance, you can get the new entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro for the starting price of $1,299; but, realistically, you’ll probably want to step up to at least the $1,499 base model which offers 256GB SSD storage over the 128GB SSD storage on the entry-level model.

Looking for one of the recently discontinued MacBooks? You can probably find retailers carrying residual stock of the previous generation MacBook Air, 12-inch MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys and you may even be able to snag some good deals as retailers work to clear out their remaining inventory.

 

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Apple MacBook Air (Previous Generation)

Apple MacBook (12-inch)

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch with Function Keys)

“There’s more in the making” . . . Apple announces October 30th Special Event

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

A day before pre-orders began for Apple’s all-new iPhone XR, Apple announced a highly rumored and anticipated October Special Event last Thursday. The Special Event will take place in one week on Tuesday, October 30th at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, New York. The event will begin at 10am ET (not PT) and will also be live streamed on Apple’s website.

There have been quite a few rumors about what Apple might showcase at its event next week including new iPad Pros featuring a thinner bezel, Face ID support and the move from a lightning connector to USB-C, a new lower cost replacement for the MacBook Air, a possible refresh for the MacBook and a refresh of the Mac Mini and/or possibly a pro-level Mac Mini.

Will AirPower finally make an appearance or will we at least get an update on its status? Apple first announced AirPower last Fall; however, we have heard little about it since then. Apple also announced that a new wireless charging case for the AirPods was in the works, but it too has yet to make an appearance. A second generation of the AirPods is supposedly in the works as is a second generation Apple Pencil, both of which could be announced at next week’s event.

We’re just a week away from Apple’s October Special Event so stay tuned!

MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009 Series . . . in 2018

Apple MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009

Apple MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009

Last year, Apple added the last of the polycarbonate unibody series, the MacBook 13.3-inch Mid 2010 series, to their list of Vintage and obsolete products, officially bringing an end of support to this product line.

While official support has ended for the polycarbonate unibody series, I’ve managed to get some extra life out of my MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009 series with a couple of upgrades that have kept it running through 2018. When I purchased the MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009 series, it included a 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, 4GB DDR3 RAM (base version came with 2GB RAM and Apple’s official maximum is 4GB RAM, but more on this in a moment), a 250GB 5400 RPM hard drive (upgradeable to a 500GB 5400 RPM hard drive), Nvidia GeForce 9400M with 256GB RAM and OS X v.10.6 Snow Leopard.

About a year before the AppleCare warranty on the MacBook was up, I decided to upgrade the 250GB 5400 RPM hard drive to a new Sandisk 240GB SSD. This gave the MacBook a significant performance and speed boost over the 5400 RPM traditional hard drive. At the time, solid state drives were still quite pricey for limited amounts of storage, so the Sandisk 240GB SSD was at a price level that I was comfortable investing in.

As for RAM, I initially operated under the belief that Apple’s official 4GB RAM limit was indeed the maximum. However, a couple of years after the AppleCare warranty had expired, I did some research and learned that the MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009 series (MacBook 6,1) could support a maximum of 8GB of RAM. After some extensive research, I was able to confirm that the 8GB RAM maximum limit was indeed accurate and went ahead and purchased the compatible memory modules (I’ll include a link to the modules at the end of this post) to max out the MacBook’s RAM. It worked perfectly!

Today, this MacBook is still running, albeit slower than newer computers, with a 240GB SSD, 8GB of RAM and macOS High Sierra. Newer MacBooks will certainly run circles around this nine year old MacBook and I do not use this MacBook for memory intensive or performance heavy loads; but, for e-mail, surfing the web, watching YouTube videos and general use, it still works.

This MacBook will not support Apple’s latest version of macOS - macOS Mojave which means this MacBook has reached its maximum upgrade potential. That said, I’m impressed with the extended life that I’ve gained from these upgrades and when the day comes to officially retire this MacBook from service, I’ll know that it had one heck of a run!

If you have a MacBook 13.3-inch Late 2009 series with a model identifier of “MacBook 6,1” and want to know which memory modules I used to upgrade my MacBook to 8GB of RAM, check out the link below.

To find the model identifier for your MacBook, go to the Apple menu then select “About This Mac.” In “About This Mac,” select “System Report.” In the “System Report,” select “Hardware” then look for “Model Identifier.”

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

OWC 8.0GB (2 x 4GB) PC8500 DDR3 1066 MHz Memory Upgrade Kit - https://amzn.to/2RdgCEb

The Apple MacBook 12-inch: I said I wouldn’t get one . . . then, I did!

MacBook_12-inch_2016.JPG

When Apple first released the MacBook 12-inch in 2015, I was adamant that I wouldn’t get one. I felt the MacBook 12-inch was overpriced, under-powered and just did not offer a good bang for the buck. While the MacBook 12-inch included some nice features like a smaller form factor, being lightweight (slightly over 2 lbs), having a Retina display and incorporating current technology, it was simply too difficult to justify spending $1,299 for the base model when you could get more bang for the buck from either a MacBook Air 13.3-inch (starting at $999) or MacBook Pro 13.3-inch with function keys (starting at $1,299).

That said, I did eventually get a 2016 MacBook 12-inch base model. I bought the MacBook 12-inch to take on a two-week trip. I needed to bring a laptop with me (a tablet just wouldn’t cut it) but it had to be smaller and lighter than a MacBook Air 13.3-inch as I simply had very limited space to pack it. Thinking about it carefully, if I was going to invest the money in something smaller and lighter, it would have to be something reliable. At the end of the day, while Apple products are more expensive, Apple does make good, reliable products with longevity, so it made sense.

I must say that I have grown to enjoy using the MacBook 12-inch when traveling, whenever I need to carry a laptop around or just need true portability. The lightweight and smaller form factor are a major plus. While I prefer the keyboard on the 2017 model more than the one on the 2016 model, it’s still better than the 2015. I’ve managed to get around the single USB-C port by using an adapter either from Apple or Satechi (I’ll include links to the adapters I use at the end of this post). The Retina display is quite impressive and the improved audio & speakers on the MacBook 12-inch give the MacBook Air and older MacBook Pros a run for the money in the audio/sound department. I am disappointed that the built-in camera is only 480p when the MacBook Air 11.6-inch model included a 720p camera. The quality is really pixelated and choppy, but I have managed to avoid using the 480p camera.

Performance-wise, the MacBook 12-inch base model with the Intel Core m3 1.1 GHz processor and 8GB RAM handles relatively well for normal, average use. I have edited some short videos in Final Cut Pro X using the MacBook 12-inch but transcoding and rendering does take quite some time to complete (it’s really, really slow!). I have experienced a few crashes while trying to work in Final Cut Pro X. I’ve also run into issues trying to connect two external SSD drives via an adapter to the MacBook 12-inch where one of the drives would randomly disconnect. I did test the two external SSD drives by connecting them to a MacBook Air 13.3-inch and there were no issues. I’m guessing it could be a power issue/limitation when connecting an adapter to the single USB-C port. Obviously, the MacBook 12-inch isn’t intended for processor intensive or performance heavy work like graphics & design (ex: Adobe Photoshop) and video editing (ex: Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere). However, if you are using it for general multi-tasking, music and video streaming, it should work perfectly fine.

Is it the best bang for your buck? No, but if you are looking for ultra-portability, current technology, you’re using it for non-processor and non-performance intensive applications and you’re willing to throw out the additional cash, then the MacBook 12-inch will do nicely. Apple is reportedly working on a less expensive replacement for the MacBook Air 13.3-inch, so if you are not in a rush to get a MacBook 12-inch, I would suggest holding off a bit to see what Apple has in store.

I’ve put together a list of accessories that I have/use with my MacBook 12-inch. If you’re interested, feel free to check them out below.

LINKS:

Note: The links below include Affiliate Links. Please review the section entitled "Affiliate Links" in the Terms of Use of this website for additional information.

Mosiso Laptop Sleeve/Case for MacBook 12-inch - https://amzn.to/2CCBb9X

Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter with USB-C Pass-Through, HDMI, Two USB 3.0 ports - https://amzn.to/2CDoUCa

Apple USB-C Digital AV Multi-Port Adapter - https://amzn.to/2wZTuQb

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD with 30W Power Delivery Charger - https://amzn.to/2oUatjl