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.
If you are the sort of person who can't see the forest for the trees then Microsoft's new Surface Book is not for you. This much is clear after reading Brian Fagioli's article on why you shouldn't get the device. My colleague pays so much attention to certain details that he fails to see how Surface Book can be a great option for plenty of shoppers in the premium segment -- because those are the folks Microsoft is targeting, not the average Joe who takes issue with the $1,499 starting price.
Yes, Surface Book is a costly affair. But, it is also a unique proposition in today's market, which offers plenty of value for the money, something that cannot be said about most of its apparent rivals. So, without further ado, if you can afford Surface Book, here are five great reasons why you should get it.
Hybrid devices have started to gain traction in 2015, with IDC estimating that shipments will grow by 86.5 percent year-over-year to reach 14.7 million units. That is in no small part due to increased competition in this space, and it will only heat up thanks to Microsoft's new Surface Pro 4, which goes on sale in late-October. Vendors in the high-end segment will have to step up their game.
With the new XPS 12, Dell has come up with a hybrid device which may successfully compete with devices like Surface Pro 4. With a price-tag that starts at $999, however, it better be good.
Microsoft's Windows 10 hardware event has been an impressive tour de force, as we have seen the company reveal a significant number of exciting new products. The focus has been on Surface and Lumia devices, but we have also seen Band and HoloLens pushed into the spotlight. And we cannot forget about the news surrounding Windows 10.
Since it can be hard to keep track of everything that Microsoft has talked about, we have crammed everything you need to know about its Windows 10 hardware event into a single article.
If you want a high-end 15-inch Windows laptop that is light and visually attractive you will most certainly not be spoilt for choice. PC makers are focusing on the smaller segments, which usually means a display size of around 13-inches. Sure, you can always grab a 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display and slap Windows on it, but that is not the same thing.
Fortunately, ASUS continues to include a 15-inch high-end option in its ZenBook lineup, as it just introduced ZenBook Pro UX501. It packs all the right features a buyer in this segment is looking for: ultra-high resolution screen, fast processor, lots of RAM, insanely fast SSD, dedicated graphics and a big battery, all in a package that is not much bigger and heavier than Apple's offering. What is not to like?
So, you want to run Linux on a cutting-edge ultrabook. Chances are you want to get a laptop with Windows on it, format the entire drive, and then install your favorite distribution. But be ready to also waste lots of time trying to get everything working as it should. Even today, you have to be prepared for debugging, installing drivers, making configurations and other things before you pull the plug.
Or, if you want a great Linux-based ultrabook that just works out-of-the-box you should first take a look at Dell's new XPS 13 Developer Edition. It comes with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Long-Term Support), and dedicated support from a team of Linux enthusiasts, so if anything goes awry you'll get someone who knows their stuff at the other end of the line. And it's available now.
Lenovo seems to be hedging its bets in the exciting new world of tablet-Ultrabook hybrids. The company offers models where the screen is removable, like the ThinkPad Helix, and also where it rotates, like the ThinkPad Yoga. The Yoga 2 Pro is the latest non-corporate version of the latter. The basic concept is the same as the ThinkPad Yoga, but it moves the genre forward considerably in one key area.
The primary step forward is the screen, which has a whopping resolution of 3,200 x 1,800. This is even greater than the considerable 2,560 x 1,440 offered by Dell's XPS 11 2-in-1 Ultrabook, although the Yoga 2 Pro has a larger 13.3-inch display, like Toshiba's KIRA 101. It's an IPS screen, too, so doesn't suffer from the viewing angle issues of the cheaper TN variety, with the display clear from every position. Detail is superb, although colour is a little more muted than we would have expected.
Today, Apple launched a refreshed MacBook Air lineup featuring a higher-clocked Intel Core i5 processor. The minor update comes nearly one year after the company unveiled the previous generation, which toted impressive battery life.
The small bump in speed is a welcome improvement that will make Apple's ultrabooks perform slightly better in resource-intensive scenarios, while delivering comparable battery life to the 2013 lineup. It is, however, not enough to justify an upgrade from the 2013 MacBook Air, in case you are thinking about it, as this is virtually the only difference between the two generations.
Battery life has long been the Achilles' heel for Windows laptops, as manufacturers have mostly focused on other areas such as outright performance, portability or touchscreens. Consumers who have needed to use their device unplugged for a considerable amount of time have had to attach an external or extended capacity battery, turn to an Apple MacBook (Air) or even switch to a tablet.
Samsung, though, is looking to change the perception that Windows laptops and great battery life do not mix. The South Korean maker's latest ultrabook, the ATIV Book 9 2014 Edition that was just unveiled at CES, touts 14 hours of battery life. If the device can deliver on its promise, it will be a game changer.
Lenovo is making lots of announcements today, chief among them being the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon 14-inch Ultrabook. Designed using carbon fiber (which is lighter than magnesium and aluminum but stronger than both), the X1 Carbon weighs just 2.8 lbs, making it the lightest 14-inch Ultrabook in the world.
The X1 Carbon features the Adaptive Keyboard, which dynamically adjusts based on the software or application being used, and also integrates voice and gesture control. The PC comes with an improved ColorBurst Display which, according to Lenovo, "provides sharper, brighter images at higher resolutions with better viewing angles for a superior visual experience".
In what could very well be the funniest and most bizarre news of the week, a large number of Latitude 6430u owners have complained on Dell's Community forums that their shiny new business-grade ultrabooks smell like cat piss. As far as I know, the US company has not announced a new, peculiar scent that would differentiate the ultrabook from its competitors.
The lengthy thread, that dates back to mid-June 2013, is filled with posts from Dell customers complaining about the unusual smell. As you can imagine, this has lead to some embarrassing moments. One of the users has taken it so far as to allegedly kill his cat, after assuming the animal was to blame for the problem. Others have been less extreme in their actions, with most owners focusing on highlighting the issue and asking for a solution.
One of the biggest advantages to owning a Mac, and one of the main reasons why I purchased a 2013 Apple MacBook Air, is the option to run both OS X and Windows natively, without using virtualization software. Apple actively supports Microsoft's PC operating systems by releasing drivers, firmware and documentation, that Mac users can leverage to install Windows and make the best out of a different situation -- after all, Windows is not designed to work on Macs.
The portal to running Windows on Macs is Boot Camp. The OS X software is designed to simplify the process for users, by offering an easy to follow wizard that can be used to create bootable Windows USB drives (and DVDs for older Macs), download drivers, partition the internal drive to make room for the new OS and kick off the installation process. It is very, very user-friendly. Well, most of the time...
Let me preface this story by saying that, here at BetaNews, we have a policy against discussing rumors. Quite often some "leaked" information, provided by anonymous sources, turns out to be false, and we feel that it is best to report details that we know to be true, based on official sources that can be verified and our experience with various products. That said, I cannot help feeling surprised by what Nokia just revealed in one of its blog posts, after reading the rumor stories floating around the InterWebs.
Prior to any major press event Nokia usually posts a teaser showing a small part of an upcoming product, or a hint at what will be unveiled. This approach is designed to keep people interested, or to pique their interest at least, and add a shroud of mystery. But this time around the Finnish maker has released a full-blown poster which most likely features all the devices that the company will announce in Abu Dhabi, the place where its next big press event will be held.