Mihăiță Bamburic

Apple makes 2016 MacBook Pro harder to repair and upgrade


Apple is obsessed with making its products smaller and lighter -- and this shows with the latest-generation MacBook Pro. Both the 13-inch and 15-inch models are more portable than their predecessors, making the prosumer line a much better choice for road warriors. But, knowing that Apple does not always give without taking away, what is the catch?

Well, in the quest to improve the new MacBook Pro line, Apple has made them harder to repair and upgrade. The company is not renowned for making laptops that are easy to service, but with the 2016 MacBook Pro line it is taking things to the next level.

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OnePlus 3 will officially get Android 7.0 Nougat in November


OnePlus has been working on the Android 7.0 Nougat update for its latest flagship killer for a few months now, but it has not provided many details about what it will bring new to the table. However, it looks like OnePlus 3 users will not have to wait long to find out.

That is because the Community Build -- a preview branch of OxygenOS -- will make the move to an Android 7.0 Nougat base this month, leaving Marshmallow behind. Sure, this is basically a beta build that should not be used on daily drivers, but the company will follow up with a release ready for prime time shortly after.

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LG rolls out Android 7.0 Nougat for G5 flagship

LG G5 Android 7.0 Nougat

Just over two months after its release, Google reports that Nougat is running on 0.3 percent of Android devices. That is a far cry from the 24 percent share that Marshmallow enjoys, but it should not really surprise anyone considering that the most popular Android devices are rocking an older distribution.

Things will improve as more players release Android 7.0 updates, and the latest to make a move in the right direction is LG. The South Korean maker just announced that it is now rolling out Nougat for its G5 flagship.

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Apple makes 2016 MacBook Pro's dongle hell less expensive

Price cut

With the latest-generation MacBook Pro, Apple made a giant leap forward and fully-embraced USB Type-C. It went so far as to drop all other ports on its new prosumer-oriented laptops, even if the consumer market is not ready for it. The end result is that, if you want to use your existing peripherals and accessories, you will need (quite) a few dongles.

And this creates a problem. The new MacBook Pro does not come with any dongles in the box, so you will have to buy them yourself. This has angered quite a few prospective buyers, so, to make up for it, Apple has decided to do something it rarely does -- cut prices.

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Google: HTTPS usage is rising among Chrome users


Google is actively pushing websites to embrace HTTPS, going as far as to warn Chrome users when they visit a page that can transmit sensitive data over the unsecured HTTP protocol. The search giant hopes that this will speed up HTTPS adoption, and to help us keep track of how things evolve it has updated its Transparency Report to reveal how HTTPS usage is increasing among Chrome users.

Google says that the majority of pages that Chrome users access on desktops are now loaded via HTTPS, and two thirds of their time is spent on pages loading the secure communications protocol. The platform with the highest rate is Chrome OS, which is approaching the 75 percent mark.

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Microsoft's Windows is one of the 'other' smartphone platforms, says Strategy Analytics

Microsoft Lumia

Windows does not seem to have a future in the smartphone market, as the vast majority of consumers opt for either Android or iPhone. It is a sad state of affairs, but there is little that Microsoft and its partners can do now to turn things around. Judging by the software giant's most-recent press events, it seems that it has stopped trying to compete.

And this is reflected in the latest quarterly figures from Strategy Analytics. The report, which analyzes smartphone shipments in Q3 2016, puts Windows under the "Others" category, a place reserved for the least-popular platforms that only a handful of consumers are invested in.

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LastPass is now available for free on smartphones, tablets and PCs

LastPass free

If you have considered LastPass in the past and deemed it too expensive it is now time to take another look at the popular service, as the password manager is finally offered for free across all types of devices it supports -- PCs, tablets and smartphones. Gone are the annoying limitations of before.

Previously, users who wanted to take advantage of the LastPass free plan were limited to syncing passwords only between devices of the same type -- for instance, only PCs. This was not only impractical, as few of us use only smartphones or PCs, but also a serious reason to give up on LastPass -- or free password managers altogether, for that matter. The move to a completely free LastPass is a big change in the right direction, however.

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OWC's 13-port Thunderbolt 3 Dock expands 2016 Apple MacBook Pro's connectivity

USB 3.1, S/PDIF, FireWire 800, Gigabit Ethernet, Dual Thunderbolt 3, mini DisplayPort OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Apple's latest MacBook Pro is a connectivity nightmare. If you opt for the base 13-inch model you only get two USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports -- but when you charge it you can only use one. The pricier models do feature twice as many ports but, regardless, you still need to buy a bunch of dongles to use your existing devices with it -- or replace them with new ones.

However, if you are in the market for a new MacBook Pro your options are not as limited as they seem, as OWC just unveiled a 13-port hub -- called Thunderbolt 3 Dock -- that lets you use all of your peripherals and accessories with the new laptop. Let's take a look at what it includes.

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Microsoft launches Teams -- and Slack is worried

Microsoft Teams

It is no secret that Microsoft has been working on a Slack rival, but it is not until today that we get to take a proper look at the new collaboration tool. Called Microsoft Teams, it will officially launch in the first quarter of 2017, though the software giant is making it available as a public preview starting today. Should you give it a try?

The benefit to Microsoft Teams, as the software giant explains it, is the integration with some of its most important products and services, like Office 365 and Skype, to help users collaborate more easily on different projects. You also get support for services like GitHub and Twitter and different security features, but those are also available in other collaboration tools -- like Slack, for instance.

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AWS more popular than Microsoft, Google and IBM's clouds combined

Amazon AWS

Amazon Web Services is the undisputed leader in the public cloud market, with a market share larger than the next three competitors -- Microsoft, Google and IBM -- combined, according to a new report from Synergy Research Group.

In Q3 2016, AWS had a share of around 45 percent in the public IaaS (infrastructure as a service) market, while Microsoft's Azure, Google's Cloud and IBM's cloud did not even get past the 20 percent mark.

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Microsoft expands Surface Book lineup with new 512GB model


Available in a multitude of configurations, the Surface Book can meet the needs of many buyers in the premium segment. But, just in case you are looking for even more flexibility, Microsoft has introduced a new model in the range, which offers a higher storage capacity at a price that does not break the bank.

The Surface Book range is now comprised of seven models, four of which feature dedicated graphics. The other three -- the latest one included -- come with Intel's HD graphics, which is less powerful but not as costly an option. So, what does the new Surface Book model offer?

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Apple is out of touch

Apple special event October 2016 new MacBook Pro

I am not an Apple fanboy, but I have defended the company's decisions and philosophy more times than I can remember. And for good reason. But, looking at the new MacBook Pro line, I am finding it hard to see where that "touch of genius" is. What exactly makes its latest laptops anything more than glorified MacBooks?

Apple has never been afraid to take risks and innovate. But with the new MacBook Pros it has failed to improve upon their "Pro" status. It wrongfully applied the same approach it has used over and over again in the consumer space without considering that prosumers, the folks who MacBook Pros used to be designed for, have a different set of needs than the average Joe who buys a MacBook Air to go on Facebook at Starbucks. As a result, the new MacBook Pros, while different than before, are not evolved enough for this day and age. The so-called "touch of genius" tagline is proof that Apple has lost touch with the real world.

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Smartphone shipments rise despite Samsung Galaxy Note7 recall

Smartphone closeup

Smartphone shipments have increased in the third quarter of the year, even when Samsung's recalled Galaxy Note7 flagship is taken out of the equation. How much they rose depends on which analyst company you choose to believe. IDC is the most conservative, announcing a growth of one percent bump year-over-year, while Canalys is more optimistic, claiming a six percent bump.

Both Canalys and IDC exclude the Galaxy Note7 because Samsung stopped sales of its latest flagship and wants every unit it shipped to be returned by its customers. The smartphone performed well in the short time it was available, which is why the two companies specifically mention it in their reports -- though it did not dramatically affect Samsung's status as a market leader.

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Surface Dial accessory is all about productivity and control

Microsoft Surface Studio with Surface Dial

Alongside an updated Surface Book and the all-new Surface Studio, at its event today Microsoft also presented an interesting accessory for its Surface line that is designed to help users be more productive while using their device -- and make it easier to control.

It's called Surface Dial and what it does is enable Surface Studio, Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 adopters to handle content, access various and functions, and use various features on their device. But how does it work exactly?

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Microsoft's new Surface Studio is an impressive but pricey all-in-one PC

Microsoft Surface Studio

At its Surface event, Microsoft today introduced not only an updated Surface Book but also an all-new all in one PC called Surface Studio. With a 28-inch screen, impressive specs and clever design, it is probably the closest and most appealing rival to Apple's mighty 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display.

The Surface Studio is aimed at prosumers, featuring a hinged stand that enables users to adjust the angle of the display -- which can be used upright, tilted back or almost flat on the desk. That is, without a doubt, one of the most impressive things about it. And, of course, it is a touchscreen. The name of the hinge is pretty cool, as Microsoft refers to it as the Zero Gravity Hinge.

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