Before You Take Your 15-inch MacBook Pro In The Air

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

Back in June 2019, Apple issued a voluntary recall of some older generation 15-inch MacBook Pro models due to batteries which could potentially overheat and pose a risk to safety. Apple advised owners of potentially affected 15-inch MacBook Pros to stop using them immediately and to visit their 15-inch MacBook Pro Battery Recall Program page for information on product eligibility and how to get their battery replaced for free.

The affected models are identified as the MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015) which were sold between September 2015 and February 2017. Owners of a 15-inch MacBook Pro can check to see if their MacBook Pro is affected by going into the Apple menu then “About This Mac.” If the MacBook Pro is identified as a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), you should go to Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro Battery Recall Program page and enter the MacBook Pro’s serial number to confirm product eligibility and for details on how to get a free battery replacement. The serial number can be found by going to “About This Mac” and/or by checking the underside of the MacBook Pro. Battery replacements are estimated to take around 1-2 weeks.

Recently, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has reminded airlines that recalled products are banned from flight regardless of whether they are in carry-on or checked baggage. As such, the MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015) is essentially banned from flight. Other 15-inch MacBook Pros are not affected by the ban.

Of course, this is where things get complicated. So far, no specific information is available on how exactly airlines will screen for these affected 15-inch MacBook Pros and what the potential impact will be to travelers (ex: screening delays). Since the affected 15-inch MacBook Pros will look virtually identical to non-affected 15-inch MacBook Pros, the only option to identify these devices visually will be to either check every serial number against Apple’s recall page or have travelers boot up their 15-inch MacBook Pros so that screeners may review the “About This Mac” window to determine if the MacBook Pro is an affected model.

To further complicate the situation, travelers who have had the battery replaced in their affected 15-inch MacBook Pro will be permitted to take their MacBook Pros in flight BUT you’re going to have to prove that the battery has been replaced. That means you’ll need to carry and present documentation showing your affected 15-inch MacBook Pro’s battery was properly serviced and replaced. Even so, airlines and screeners will still have overall discretion in determining whether your 15-inch MacBook Pro will be permitted in the air.

If you own a 15-inch MacBook Pro, be sure to check and see if your MacBook Pro is part of the recall. Regardless of whether you intend to fly with your 15-inch MacBook Pro, if you own a MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2015), you’ll want to get your battery replaced as soon as possible.

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 Pro (15-inch, 2.6GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 256GB, Space Gray) - https://amzn.to/2KGNC6P

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2.3GHz 8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor, 512GB, Space Gray) - https://amzn.to/2KDRfdv

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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 Air (13.3-inch, 1.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Silver) - https://amzn.to/2Yu4x3V

Apple MacBook Air (13.3-inch, 1.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Silver) - https://amzn.to/2LKz081

Apple MacBook Air (13.3-inch, 2.2GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Silver) - https://amzn.to/2LOMrUz

Apple MacBook (12-inch)

Apple MacBook (12-inch, 1.2GHz Dual-Core Intel Core m3, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Rose Gold) - https://amzn.to/314QyiN

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch with Function Keys)

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2.3GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Space Gray) - https://amzn.to/30ZZLcf

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2.3GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD,  Space Gray) - https://amzn.to/2ype8KI

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Editing in Final Cut Pro X on a Mid-2013 MacBook Air

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

Editing in Final Cut Pro X on a Mid-2013 MacBook Air

I never imagined I would be editing Final Cut Pro X videos on a Mid-2013 MacBook Air. At the time, I was upgrading from a Late-2009 MacBook and was primarily looking for a MacBook to take with me when I travel but also one that would offer a balance between portability, performance and price. I elected to go with the Mid-2013 MacBook Air with a 1.7GHz Intel Core i7 Processor, a 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. Along with AppleCare and tax, the total cost came in under $2,000 which was within my budget and reasonable. It was well worth the investment given that I’ve gotten over five years from it and it still performs relatively well running on Apple’s latest operating system - macOS Mojave.

Over the past few years, I’ve been creating and producing more digital content including making videos and while I can certainly edit videos on the MacBook Air, it’s clear that my MacBook Air is under-powered and overtaxed for this purpose. Editing short videos isn’t too bad provided you’re taking a minimalistic approach in terms of transitions, effects, color grading, enhancements and so forth. The rendering times are somewhat bearable.

However, when you start editing longer videos, especially with high quality footage (ex: 1080p at 30 fps or better), it’s a different story. You’re dealing with large file sizes and the process of transcoding and rendering all the video footage that make up your final video takes an enormous amount of time. You need processing power (CPU), memory (RAM) and a good GPU to handle these tasks and unfortunately, a Mid-2013 MacBook Air with these specs just isn’t going to make the cut. I should also mention that the lack of a Retina Display makes quite a difference in the overall viewing experience.

While working on some recent videos, Final Cut crashed numerous times and the transcoding and rendering times for the videos were substantial. Fortunately, I’m not producing and releasing a large volume of videos right now because I would almost certainly be backlogged.

I have been looking into upgrading to the 15-inch MacBook Pro since the 2018 refresh but held off following last year’s issue with the throttling of the i9 processors (later resolved via a software update) and the ongoing issues with the butterfly keyboard. Apple recently announced updates to the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro lines with faster eighth and ninth-generation Intel processors; respectively, and improvements to the third-generation butterfly keyboard. The 15-inch MacBook Pro is also available with 8-core Intel Core i9 processors.

Investing in a new 15-inch MacBook Pro would certainly improve my workflow and the preliminary reviews on performance of the updated MacBook Pros are looking quite promising so it is something I am strongly considering. In the meantime, I’ll make do with my MacBook Air.

 

LINKS:

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Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch with AMD Radeon Pro Vega Graphics Now Available

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

If you’ve been holding off on buying a new Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch series in hopes of configuring it with one of the new AMD Radeon Pro Vega discrete mobile GPUs, the wait is over!

You can now configure a MacBook Pro 15-inch series with either a new AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16 with 4GB of High Bandwidth (HBM2) memory or the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 with 4GB of High Bandwidth (HBM2) memory in lieu of the base AMD Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory. The AMD Radeon Pro Vega discrete mobile GPUs will provide up to 60% faster graphics performance than the MacBook Pro 15-inch’s base AMD Radeon Pro 560X mobile GPU.

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

The AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16 and 20 discrete mobile GPUs do come at a premium with the Vega 16 adding an additional $250 and the Vega 20 adding an additional $350 to the overall cost of the MacBook Pro 15-inch.

When customizing the MacBook Pro 15-inch, be sure to select the MacBook Pro 15-inch model with Touch Bar and Touch ID, 2.6GHz 6-Core Processor, 512GB Storage model with the base AMD Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory (starting price of $2,799) to get the Vega Pro discrete mobile GPUs as a customizable graphics option. If you select the MacBook Pro 15-inch model with Touch Bar and Touch ID, 2.2GHz 6-Core Processor, 256GB Storage with the base AMD Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory (starting price of $2,399), the Vega Pro discrete mobile GPU options will not be available.

With the customization of GPU from the base AMD Radeon Pro 560X to the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16 or Vega 20 discrete mobile GPUs, you can expect the starting price of the MacBook Pro 15-inch model with Touch Bar and Touch ID, 2.6GHz 6-Core Processor, 512GB Storage model to increase from the base price of $2,799 to $3,049 or $3,149, respectively.

Apple’s MacBook Pro 15-inch To Get New Radeon Pro Vega Graphics in November

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

Apple’s MacBook Pro 15-inch models will come with new Radeon Pro Vega discrete mobile GPU offerings starting in late November. The MacBook Pro 15-inch models currently offer the AMD Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory and AMD Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory. The new GPU offerings will include the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 16 with 4GB of High Bandwidth (HBM2) memory and the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 20 with 4GB of High Bandwidth (HBM2) memory.

The Vega GPUs will provide up to 60% faster graphics performance than the MacBook Pro 15-inch’s current top mobile GPU offering, the Radeon Pro 560X. The new offerings bring the MacBook Pro 15-inch series GPUs better in line with the iMac Pro series, which currently offer the AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 and AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 GPUs.

Credit: Apple

Credit: Apple

The MacBook Pro 15-inch base model currently offers the AMD Radeon Pro 555X as the default GPU with the AMD Radeon Pro 560X available as a configurable upgrade for an additional $100. Pricing for the new Radeon Pro Vega GPU offerings have not been disclosed.

If you’re considering a new MacBook Pro 15-inch and want to take advantage of the new GPU offerings, hang tight until later this month!