Apple has announced the first MacBook refresh, a year after the introduction of its thinnest and lightest laptop. The device gets the latest Intel processors, better graphics performance, faster SSD storage and longer battery life. Also new is a rose gold finish, on top of the existing gold, silver and space gray.
The 2016 refresh for the 12-inch MacBook brings sixth-generation dual-core Intel Core M processors with speeds of up to 1.3 GHz and Turbo Boost of up to 3.1 GHz, 1866 MHz RAM and HD Graphics 515, which is said to be 25 percent faster than in the original model.
Combined shipments of PCs, tablets and phones reached 2.39 billion units in 2015, according to a new report from Gartner, with an increase to 2.54 billion units expected for 2018. As you might expect, phone shipments account for the vast majority of units, 1.91 billion of them to be exact.
The report says that PC vendors shipped a combined 246 million desktops and non-premium laptops in 2015. Things aren't looking good in the long term, as shipments are expected to drop to 219 million units in 2018 for these two categories. However, the PC market as a whole, which includes desktops, non-premium laptops as well as premium ultramobiles will see a rise in shipments until the end of 2018 to 312 million units from 290 million units in 2015.
Idiots will flame this post "clickbait". It's how they draw attention to themselves, to inflate their egos; others mistakenly will assign motivation to my writing—e.g., for pageviews, when I couldn't care less about them. But I do care about Apple, as a longstanding customer (starting in December 1998). As a journalist, I developed a reputation for hating the company (I don't) so long loved because my stories aren't kiss-ass fanboyism. What's that saying about being hardest on the ones you love most? Kind I am not.
Today's theme isn't new from me and repeats my analysis that Apple has strayed far from the path that brought truly, disruptive innovative products to market. In 2016, the company banks on past successes that are not long-term sustainable. We will get a glimpse after calendar fourth quarter 2015 earnings are announced on January 26th. You will want to watch iPhone and international sales, particularly emerging markets. For analysis about that and more jump to the second subhead; the next one is for idiot clickbait accusers.
Measured as sales through the U.S. consumer retail channel, Macs reached rather shocking milestone during first half 2015, according to data that NPD provided to me today. Yes, you can consider this a first, and from lower volume shipments. By operating system: OS X, 49.7 percent; Windows, 48.3 percent; Chrome OS, 1.9 percent. That compares to the same time period in 2014: OS X, 44.8 percent; Windows, 53.1 percent; Chrome OS, 2.1 percent. So there is no confusion, the data is for U.S. consumer laptops.
While data junkie journalists or analysts often focus on unit shipments, revenues, and subsequently profits, matter much more. Looked at another way, Mac laptop revenues rose by 10.9 percent during the first six months of 2015, year over year, while Windows PCs fell by 9 percent, and Chromebooks contracted by 9.5 percent.
It would take quite a laptop to bring me back to the Windows fold after using and enjoying a 13-inch Apple MacBook Air for nearly two years. I love the versatility Apple's device provides: it is light and portable, offers amazing battery life, has an awesome keyboard and trackpad, performs well, can run Windows and Linux alongside OS X and, on top of it all, looks quite nice as well. To be perfectly honest, there is nothing that I miss that could push me towards another laptop.
However, I am not exactly a normal person. I'll be the first to admit it. When I saw Lenovo's retro-inspired ThinkPad the first thing that crossed my mind was: "This ThinkPad is awesome. I have to have this". It just so happens that old-school-looking ThinkPads are like kryptonite to me. Imagine how I feel about this modern interpretation. There is only one problem -- this is a concept. But, Lenovo, if you make it and I can buy it, I will give up my MacBook Air to have it!
Staff at tech giant IBM are set to use Apple Mac machines following the company’s one-year partnership with Apple for the creation of business-centric apps for the iOS.
IBM employees will be given the option to choose between a MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or traditional PC for their new workstations and will be part of the company’s choose your own device policy, according to the company’s recent memo.
Across tech sites and forums there are rumbling complaints about Apple choosing to provide just one port on the 12-inch MacBook and the compromises the design presents. The flawed approach is much bigger, and the laptop line has been this way before—where thinning down means giving up something many users want, which is why I am so surprised that little of the discussion focuses on the original MacBook Air.
Stated simply before the long explanation: If you don't mind paying $1,299 or $1,599 for the performance equivalent of a souped-up tablet, running OS X but lacking touchscreen, Apple's tiny laptop is a good choice. Otherwise, stop whining and buy something else. There is no shortage of choices in the slim-and-portable category.
If the Apple Watch and new MacBook were not enough, Apple had more hardware to reveal at today's launch event. In addition to the 'regular' MacBook (if such a word is really applicable), there was also the updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display.
Key changes include the addition of a fifth generation Intel Core processor, improved battery life, and double-speed flash storage as well as the Force Touch trackpad. Updated 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs were also unveiled, with the larger model gaining a fifth generation Intel Core processor, Intel HD Graphics 6000, Thunderbolt 2, and faster storage.
I'm not easily impressed. Lots of tech products see the light of day each year, but only a few I consider to be truly great. And by that I mean technology that I want to have in my life, that brings value, and, last but not least, that makes me feel good. The subjective factor is just as important, I believe, when it comes to the things that I have to look at and interact with on a daily basis. That's just the way it is, and I'm fine with it.
Because of this, a pretty long list can get really, really short in no time. My colleagues have already shared their favorite tech products of 2014 with you, and now the time has come for me to do the same. It's BetaNews tradition, after all. So, without further ado, here they are.
If you are a MacBook Air user, chances are you are pretty happy with your device. It may not be the fastest or the lightest laptop around, but it has a great keyboard, gets amazing battery life, is more affordable than ever, can run Windows, and, thanks to iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite, works great with iOS 8 devices. Even Microsoft is impressed, calling it "great" and "delightful".
Microsoft, however, believes you can do better. In a new video ad made for this holiday season, the software giant once again aims to make MacBook Air users finally see the light, and realize that the device they should be using is Surface Pro 3. But if MacBook Air is already "great" and "delightful", why would someone want to switch?
On May 15, 2001, while previewing the first Apple Store to analysts and journalists, then CEO Steve Jobs boasted: "Apple has about 5 percent market share today", but the remainder "don't even consider us". Jobs exaggerated, and not for the first time, seeing as how Mac global share was more like 2 percent. But the ambition, to use the retail shops to "double our market share", was achievable. Three years following his death, with 10-percent long ago reached in the United States, something more startling occurred: During calendar Q3 2014, Apple moved into fifth place for global PC shipments, according to IDC. The question is why?
I have wondered for weeks, and waited until Apple's quarterly earnings report before writing an analysis. By my math, the average selling price of Macs was about $1,200 -- that in a PC market where sales are sluggish, at best, except below $300 selling price. Yet, according to financial disclosures, Apple shipped a record 5.5 million Macs, with units up 21 percent annually and 25 percent sequentially and generating $6.625 billion revenue; that's an increase of 18 percent and 20 percent, respectively, for the same time periods. Who in the hell is buying these things, and for so much money? The answer may surprise you.
I understand that it's the dog days of summer, when news is light, readers vacation, and writers struggle to produce current content. So I'll forgive colleague Mihaita Bamburic, for his misguided attack against Surface Pro 3. He asserts that Microsoft markets the computer to the "wrong crowd". If that would be tech writers, he gets a nod. Otherwise, I shake my head and point a finger.
I've read this misguided diatribe before, from tech reviewers switching to the Microsoft PC from an Apple, but never expected it from him. As someone who has bought and paid for MacBook Air and Surface Pro 3, I say that Microsoft's marketing is spot on target. The problem isn't the potential consumer buyer but geek writers, particularly those already using Macs.
Microsoft will have a hard time convincing consumers who wish to buy Apple's MacBook Air to get Surface Pro 3 instead. That is not because the former is the better purchase, but because these devices aim to please two different crowds. You're either a Mac or a PC, as the old Apple commercials would say today.
I believe that Microsoft does not realize that it is pitching Surface Pro 3 to the wrong crowd. Swaying would-be MacBook Air owners in the hybrid's direction is not a simple matter of touting feature benefits, as in Surface Pro 3 can be more and do more than MacBook Air. People have to be convinced that those features are things they want; just because they are offered does not automatically mean that they will immediately gravitate towards the device that has them. Yes, some do not want more just because they can get more. And, would-be MacBook Air users do not want more. It's more likely that would-be Surface Pro 3 users do.
It is no secret Microsoft is marketing its new Surface Pro 3 Windows 8.1 hybrid as a direct rival to Apple's venerable MacBook Air ultrabook. As someone who owns the latter of the two I can see why. Both are premium devices that are similarly priced (Surface Pro 3 is more expensive, however, when purchased with Type Cover) and offered in near-identical configurations, power-wise, which yield comparable battery life (MacBook Air is better in this regard, even if only by mere hours). However, as I wrote in a past article, Surface Pro 3 offers extra features, like a touchscreen and tablet credentials, which can, arguably, make it more appealing.
As I said before, Microsoft's best chance of persuading MacBook Air users to switch to Surface Pro 3 is come upgrade time, as, right now at least, this upgrade, as appealing as it may be for those willing to dump OS X for Windows, is not worth the cost penalty. Microsoft appears to be aware of this, as it launched a new trade-in offer for MacBook Air owners. And, unexpectedly I might add, the Surface Pro 3 maker offers quite a bit in return.