Apple Unveils LG UltraFine 5K Display, Developed for the New MacBook Pro

Apple Unveils LG UltraFine 5K Display, Developed for the New MacBook ProOn Thursday, in one of the rare occurrences at Apple’s event, company’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller unveiled a 5K display made by LG, not by Apple, while showcasing the capabilities of company’s new MacBook Pro. Apple usually doesn’t advertise other company’s products at its launch events but Schiller explained the reason for this particular aberration. Schiller said that the 5K display by LG was designed in collaboration with Apple, and keeping the new MacBook Pro in mind. The company also revealed just how many 4K and 5K external displays the new MacBook Pro models could support simultaneously.

The 27-inch LG UltraFine 5K Display, as the name suggests, comes with a screen resolution of 2880×5120 pixels, sports an IPS panel, and has been priced by the company at $1,300 (roughly Rs. 86,900).
Apart from the impressive screen resolution, the LG UltraFine 5K Display comes with one Thunderbolt 3 port and three regular USB Type-C ports. The Thunderbolt 3 cable, which comes with the display, is capable of not just displaying the content from MacBook Pro to the screen, but also charging the laptop simultaneously with 85W of charging power. The display comes with inbuilt stereo speakers, camera, and microphone to provide extra utility options to the user.

People who are interested in a more affordable option can instead opt for LG UltraFine 4K Display, which has been priced at $700 (Rs. 46,800) and was launched by the company on Thursday. Both displays have been made available for purchase on Apple’s own website.

As for support for multiple displays, Apple revealed the number of simultaneous external displays the new MacBook Pro models can support. Due to the presence of Thunderbolt 3 ports with DisplayPort interface, the 15-inch new MacBook Pro supports up to four 4K external displays at the same time. Further, the laptop is capable of supporting up to two 5K displays simultaneously. Due to the hardware limitations, the 13-inch version of the MacBook will not be able to support the same number of displays as the 15-inch version of the laptop – it can support up to two 4K displays simultaneously, and one 5K display.

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with an Intel Iris GPU, compared with the Radeon Pro 400 Series Graphics present on the 15-inch version of the laptop.

Of course, one of the most crucial features when it comes to connection with multiple displays, is that in addition to the external displays, the MacBook Pro provides simultaneous support for the full native resolution of the inbuilt display.

Apple Discontinues 11-Inch MacBook Air, MacBook Pro With Non-Retina Display

Apple Discontinues 11-Inch MacBook Air, MacBook Pro With Non-Retina DisplayApple at its Thursday event refreshed its Mac lineup and unveiled the new MacBook Pro models. The company alongside stopped selling the 11-inch MacBook Air – which was one of the cheapest Macs in the company’s lineup. The 11-inch MacBook Air has been replaced by the 13-inch MacBook Air which has been priced at Rs. 80,900. The Cupertino-based giant also stopped selling the dated MacBook Pro that featured non-Retina display and SuperDrive optical.

(Also see: Could MacBook Pro Be the Laptop Everyone’s Been Waiting For?)

Apple is likely to sell its 13-inch MacBook Air laptops till stocks last, however there has been no indication from the company that the Air lineup will get a hardware refresh again. The company may very well discontinue the lineup in favour of the MacBook line.
The discontinuation of the old MacBook models makes sense for Apple as it refreshed the lineup on Thursday and unveiled the new 13-inch and 15-inch models of the MacBook Pro featuring an all-new Touch Bar and Touch ID priced starting at Rs. 1,55,900 for the 13-inch model and a starting price of Rs. 2,05,900 for the 15-inch model.

(Also see: MacBook Pro With ‘Touch Bar’ Controller, Touch ID, All-New Design Launched)
Some of the common specifications of the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro include sixth-generation Intel Core i5 and Core i7 coupled with 8GB or 16GB of RAM. They will come with storage options starting with 256GB SSD. The 13-inch features a screen resolution of 2560×1600 pixels and the 15-inch model features 2880×1800 pixels resolution.

Both the models come with Apple’s all-new Touch Bar feature which replaces the outdated function key capability. The models that come with Touch Bar sport four USB Type-C ports with support for Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 speeds. Notably, the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models that doesn’t sport Touch Bar come with just two ports.

Apple India lists the older MacBook models still, which include 13-inch MacBook Pro at a starting price of Rs. 1,06,900, and 15-inch MacBook Pro at a starting price of Rs. 1,62,900.

We discussed everything you need to know about the new MacBook Pro on Orbital: The Gadgets 360 Podcast. You can either subscribe via iTunes or RSS or just hit the play button below.

New MacBook Pro Sees Replacement of MagSafe 2 Port With USB Type-C

New MacBook Pro Sees Replacement of MagSafe 2 Port With USB Type-CBack in September, Apple took a bold step by removing the conventional 3.5mm headphone jack from its new iPhone models. Now, the company seems to have continued the trend of replacing the conventional connectivity options with the launch of its new MacBook Pro. However, in doing so, company has removed one of the things that helped the company develop its reputation in terms of design – the MagSafe connector.

The company announced on Thursday at its MacBook Pro launch event that MagSafe 2 charging port on the laptop has been replaced with a Thunderbolt 3 port. The most obvious advantage of this replacement is that the new MacBook Pro can be charged from any of its four Thunderbolt 3 ports. MagSafe charging port, due to its magnetic attachment, prevented the laptop from being yanked if the charging wire was pulled upon.
The new MacBook Pro models comes with four Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB Type-C ports that have replaced the functionality of most ports that were present on previous version of MacBook Pro. The USB Type-C ports act as replacements for the HDMI port, standard size USB port, SD Card slot, and Thunderbolt 2 ports. Surprisingly, the company did not decide to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack on the new version of MacBook Pro.
In order to make its devices slimmer, over the time, Apple has tried to experiment different connectivity options. Provided the compact size and faster transfer speeds on USB Type-C ports, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that company is aggressively pushing it into mainstream usage.

It seems highly unlikely that the company will ever consider bringing MagSafe port back as the USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports are more compact and utilitarian. However, its contribution to the company is likely to be remembered by more than just Mac vs PC advertisements, where it gave the edge to the Cupertino company.

AMD Radeon Pro 400 Series Formally Announced After Debut in MacBook Pro 2016

AMD Radeon Pro 400 Series Formally Announced After Debut in MacBook Pro 2016AMD has formally released details of its new Radeon Pro 400-series GPUs, which were unknown when Apple announced them as part of the specifications rundown for its newly refreshed MacBook Pro line. The new GPUs are targeted more at creative professional work than gaming, and are designed to be extremely power efficient, which is in line with Apple’s direction for its latest products.

There are three models in the lineup: the Radeon Pro 450, 455, and 460. The former two are offered with 2GB of VRAM as standard on the two base configurations of the 15-inch MacBook Pro model, although the Radeon Pro 460 can be configured as a custom option on either, with 4GB of VRAM.

AMD says that the new Radeon Pro GPUs are based on its current-generation Polaris architecture, with the same basic components seen in the desktop Radeon RX 480, 470 and 460. The GPUs also use the 14nm FinFET fabrication process, which delivers power and cost savings thanks to reduced transistor size compared to AMD’s previous generation products. More significantly, the company says it has employed an elaborate new technique called die thinning, which has resulted in the thickness of each silicon wafer coming down from 780nm to 380nm – roughly equivalent to the thickness of four sheets of paper.

The GPUs all operate at 35W, which allows for quiet and efficient cooling within a chassis as thin as that of the new MacBook Pro. Peak performance for the three models ranges from 1 Teraflop to 1.85 Teraflops, which is far below that of even the entry-level Radeon RX460. Combined with the relatively low amount of VRAM, it is unlikely that current-day games will run well at even medium quality settings.

Radeon Pro series products benefit from custom drivers with specific validations for professional software packages, as well as support for workflow tools including AMD ProRender which leverages the GPU to accelerate programs such as Maya, Cinema 4D,

AMD first used the Radeon Pro name for its desktop Radeon Pro Duo graphics card, which was announced in March this year and launched in April. It uses two of AMD’s Fiji GPUs, which are otherwise used in the company’s Radeon R9 Fury and Nano series cards. It was targeted at professional VR content creators. A version for mainstream gaming was rumoured at the time but has not since been launched. AMD also announced a Radeon Pro WX series of Polaris-based workstation GPUs, and the Radeon Pro SSG with an onboard SSD which can be used as giant, low-latency caches for massive workloads, which has not shipped yet.

We discussed everything you need to know about the new MacBook Pro on Orbital: The Gadgets 360 Podcast. You can either subscribe via iTunes or RSS or just hit the play button below.

MacBook Pro 2016’s Touch Bar Said to Be Controlled by a Secondary ARM Processor

MacBook Pro 2016's Touch Bar Said to Be Controlled by a Secondary ARM ProcessorWhen Apple launched its new 2016 MacBook Pro models last week, all attention was clearly on the Touch Bar, a new multi-touch controller surface which changes dynamically to offer context-relevant tools, and can be interacted with in a variety of ways. As more details of how it works emerge, TechCrunch has confirmed that it takes advantage of hardware and software derived from the Apple Watch, including a custom ARM-based processor and watchOS itself.

TechCrunch cites tweets by developer Steve Troughton-Smith as well as additional research that back up his findings. Apple announced that Touch ID on its new MacBook Pros is implemented using the same Secure Enclave architecture that it uses on iPhones, but now integrated into a new custom T1 processor, derived from the S2 which powers current Apple Watch models.

The primary OS and CPU are never involved when accessing secure data, such as when authenticating an Apple Pay transaction with a fingerprint – in the case of the iPhone, that means one of Apple’s own A-series SoCs and iOS, whereas now Intel x86 CPUs and macOS can also be bridged. Fingerprint patterns are stored only within the Secure Enclave, and it is paired to the parent device with a unique identifier at the time of manufacture, which means separating the two will cause Touch ID to stop working – and also means that replacing parts might result in a loss of functionality.
The Touch Bar essentially runs its own embedded OS, which is derived from watchOS. The main computer generates graphics for it and reacts to its touch inputs, which are sent and received over USB just as any input/output peripheral would. Troughton-Smith theorises that the Touch Bar could therefore work as an independent device even when the MacBook Pro is turned off.
Apple has long been rumoured to be working on more powerful versions of its iOS devices’ A-series chips to replace the Intel processors in some if not all of the Mac lineup. Apple has also famously resisted using touchscreens on its desktops and laptops, clearly delineating its Mac and iOS philosophies. This approach shows that Apple has brought the two together in ways that serve specific purposes.

Touch Bar debuted with the new MacBook Pro 2016. It is not currently available on any other models, but if Apple wants to establish common conventions across its product lines and keep developers motivated to support it, a standalone keyboard for at least the Mac Pro should launch soon. However, the feature has pushed the price of the MacBook Pro 2016 up considerably, compared to the non-Touch Bar model as well as the previous generation, which was introduced in 2012.

We discussed everything you need to know about the new MacBook Pro on Orbital: The Gadgets 360 Podcast. You can either subscribe via iTunes or RSS or just hit the play button below.

MacBook Pro 2016 Models Forego Classic Mac Startup Chime, Automatically Boot When the Lid Is Opened

MacBook Pro 2016 Models Forego Classic Mac Startup Chime, Automatically Boot When the Lid Is OpenedApple has made many changes with its new MacBook Pro models, which were launched last week, and the response has been mixed. While users were not amused by the removal of the glowing Apple logo at the back, they have largely been impressed by the new OLED ‘Touch Bar’ panel used as replacement of physical functional keys in the laptop. Now, reports indicate the new laptops don’t make the usual startup chime that has been present on Mac products since 1998.

The startup chime essentially indicated that the laptop has completed the initial diagnostics successfully and that the laptop is ready for use. The lack of the startup chime was first reported by Pingie, which said that while going through a tech note for resetting the NVRAM, it found that the usual instruction for waiting for two startup chimes was missing. The site has now got its hands on the new MacBook Pro, base 13-inch variant, confirmed that there is no startup chime on the new laptops.

However, the new laptops also carry a new feature, as pointed out by 9to5Mac, which allows users to turn on the laptop by just opening its lid. MacBooks earlier allowed users to wake from sleep by just opening the lid but the new feature allows users to turn the laptop on from being switched off completely. The feature is present on all new MacBook Pro models.

Users can switch the new laptops on by opening the lid of the laptop (even when it is not plugged in for charging), plugging it in for charging while keeping the lid open, or while being connected to an external display, the company says on its official website.

Apart from the glowing logo and the physical function keys, Apple also replaced its popular power port MagSafe 2 from its new MacBook Pro models with USB Type-C port. However, this change allows users to charge their laptop from any of the two/ four USB Type-C ports on the laptop.

We discussed everything you need to know about the new MacBook Pro on Orbital: The Gadgets 360 Podcast. You can either subscribe via iTunes or RSS or just hit the play button below.

Microsoft Abandoned Its Own MacBook Pro Touch Bar-Style Tech in 2009

Microsoft Abandoned Its Own MacBook Pro Touch Bar-Style Tech in 2009When the new version of MacBook Pro was unveiled by Apple last month, the Cupertino-based company ensured that it showcased how the introduction of its ‘Touch Bar’ makes the laptops more useful than before. The contextual nature of the Touch Bar means it adapts to the program currently being run by the user. It is not only visually impressive but one of the key factor distinguishes the new MacBook Pro from earlier versions. As it turns out, Microsoft was working on a similar technology since 1999 and decided to move away from it in 2009.

In 1999, Microsoft started working on the idea about a keyboard that displays the keys relevant and in context with the particular application being used by the user, as pointed out by Director of Research at Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group Steven Bathiche. The research team at the company explored the idea for almost a decade before putting it to rest in 2009, as per the company’s project page.

The project page for the adaptive keyboard depicts the various conceptual models for keys that Microsoft’s research team came up with before its end around seven years ago. In a demonstration video about a concept keyboard, a member of the research team showcases a touchscreen display above the keyboard that tries to extend the operating system’s experience to the keyboard.

About why this technology never transitioned into a real product, Bathiche reasoned that Microsoft “did not make computers back then,” in reply to Tom Warren from The Verge. Bathiche further pointed out that when Microsoft eventually did foray into this field, it decided to opt for touchscreen instead.

It would have been interesting to see how Microsoft would have performed if it launched a similar touch strip as Touch Bar on Surface Book but as we don’t live in a world of ifs and buts, Apple can take the credit for bringing the technology into mainstream spotlight.

Orange Pi PC2 Is a $20 Quad-Core Computer for Android, Linux

Orange Pi PC2 Is a $20 Quad-Core Computer for Android, LinuxOrange Pi might not be a big name in the computer industry but the company seems to be doing all things right to get noticed. The computer manufacturer has come up with a 64-bit quad-core computer that can easily find its utility in several projects. However, the most lucrative aspect about this compact-sized computer is its price, as it costs just $20 (roughly Rs. 1,300).

The new computer from the company, named Orange Pi PC2, has support for Android and Linux operating systems and packs 1GB of RAM. The compact computer board is powered by a H5 64-bit quad-core Cortex-A53 processor. It sports a Mali450 GPU and has support for OpenGL ES 2.0 and OpenVG1.1. The board has a support for camera input and provides video output support for HDMI. It has an IR blaster and audio output support for 3.5mm headphone jack and HDMI.

The Orange Pi PC2 supports video capture in resolutions up to 1080p at 30fps. It comes with an Ethernet port and measures 85x55mm. The computer board weighs 38 grams. This mini-computer can be used for playing games, watching movies, play music, and as a wireless server. It can also be used in other machines because of its open source nature.

The computer is already available for purchase and can be bought from sites such as Ali Express.

MacBook Pro Can’t Connect to Your iPhone, iPad Without Additional Adapters

MacBook Pro Can't Connect to Your iPhone, iPad Without Additional AdaptersAt its ‘Hello Again’ event in California, Apple finally made the new Macbook Pro official. The laptop comes in 13-inch and 15-inch variants, and sports a Touch Bar and Touch ID on the keyboard. The laptop is touted to be lighter and thinner than the predecessor, not to mention much faster (up to 130 percent faster graphics). Furthermore, the Force Touch trackpad is significantly larger, and two speakers on the edges enable 58 percent more volume. While all of this sounds great, the MacBook Pro has no ports that enable seamless connectivity with its own products.

The MacBook Pro sports four Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports and one 3.5mm audio jack (phew), but no Lightning port to connect iPhone and iPad devices with the new MacBook Pro. This means that if iPhones and iPads need to be connected to the MacBook Pro, users will have to buy an additional adapter or cable for it. Same goes for SD cards as well.
This ‘adapter for connectivity’ school of thought that Apple has been adopting this year is quite strange, as one would think that Apple would at least consider the convenience factor for its own ecosystem of products and make it easy for them to interconnect. That clearly is not the case this time, and even the Lightning EarPods released with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have nowhere to connect on the MacBook Pro. Just to recall, Apple even bundled a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter with every iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus this year, to fill the standard audio void.
So now, to connect your iPhone or iPad to your MacBook, whether for charging, transfers, or updates, you’ll need a new cable or a new adapter. The USB Type-C to Lightning Cable costs an additional $25 (roughly Rs. 1,700) for 1 metre and $35 (roughly Rs. 2,400) for 2 metre. A USB Type-C to USB adapter costs $19 (roughly Rs. 1,300), and if you buy a MacBook Pro, these cables are an inevitable buy for all iPhone users, at least.

The MacBook Pro availability is not known yet in India, but the 13-inch MacBook Pro is priced starting at Rs. 1,29,900, the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID will be priced starting at Rs. 1,55,900 while the 15-inch model will start at Rs. 2,05,900.

Apple Unveils LG UltraFine 5K Display, Developed for the New MacBook Pro

Apple Unveils LG UltraFine 5K Display, Developed for the New MacBook ProOn Thursday, in one of the rare occurrences at Apple’s event, company’s Senior Vice President of Marketing Phil Schiller unveiled a 5K display made by LG, not by Apple, while showcasing the capabilities of company’s new MacBook Pro. Apple usually doesn’t advertise other company’s products at its launch events but Schiller explained the reason for this particular aberration. Schiller said that the 5K display by LG was designed in collaboration with Apple, and keeping the new MacBook Pro in mind. The company also revealed just how many 4K and 5K external displays the new MacBook Pro models could support simultaneously.

The 27-inch LG UltraFine 5K Display, as the name suggests, comes with a screen resolution of 2880×5120 pixels, sports an IPS panel, and has been priced by the company at $1,300 (roughly Rs. 86,900).
Apart from the impressive screen resolution, the LG UltraFine 5K Display comes with one Thunderbolt 3 port and three regular USB Type-C ports. The Thunderbolt 3 cable, which comes with the display, is capable of not just displaying the content from MacBook Pro to the screen, but also charging the laptop simultaneously with 85W of charging power. The display comes with inbuilt stereo speakers, camera, and microphone to provide extra utility options to the user.

People who are interested in a more affordable option can instead opt for LG UltraFine 4K Display, which has been priced at $700 (Rs. 46,800) and was launched by the company on Thursday. Both displays have been made available for purchase on Apple’s own website.

As for support for multiple displays, Apple revealed the number of simultaneous external displays the new MacBook Pro models can support. Due to the presence of Thunderbolt 3 ports with DisplayPort interface, the 15-inch new MacBook Pro supports up to four 4K external displays at the same time. Further, the laptop is capable of supporting up to two 5K displays simultaneously. Due to the hardware limitations, the 13-inch version of the MacBook will not be able to support the same number of displays as the 15-inch version of the laptop – it can support up to two 4K displays simultaneously, and one 5K display.

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with an Intel Iris GPU, compared with the Radeon Pro 400 Series Graphics present on the 15-inch version of the laptop.

Of course, one of the most crucial features when it comes to connection with multiple displays, is that in addition to the external displays, the MacBook Pro provides simultaneous support for the full native resolution of the inbuilt display.