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New MacBook Pro Hands-on: Touch Bar Is NOT a Gimmick

MacBook Pro 13-inch (2016, with Touch Bar) reviewApple’s new MacBook Pro is here at last. Unveiled at a dedicated press event on 27 October, the new MacBook Pro comes in 13- and 15-inch screen sizes, features sixth-gen Intel Skylake processors, a slim new design and a cool customisable Touch Bar above the keyboard… and costs a bit of a fortune.

Our new MacBook Pro 2016 review evaluates the looks, design, features and value for money offered by Apple’s latest line of professional-focused laptops.

Broadly speaking there are three models of the new MacBook Pro: a comparatively budget-focused 13-inch model without the new Touch Bar, and a 13-inch and 15-inch model with it. This review looks at all three models together, but we will make it clear when comments apply only to certain models.

The MacBook Pros are thinner and lighter than the previous generation: the 13- and 15-inch models are 14.9mm and 15.5mm thick (or ‘thin’, as Apple irritatingly styles it in marketing materials) and 1.37kg and 1.83kg respectively. (Last year’s MBPs weighed 1.58kg and 2.04kg, and were both 18mm thick, so Apple has achieved reductions of 17 and 14 percent respectively in thickness, and 13 and 10 percent in terms of weight.)

New MacBook Pro 2016 review: Dimensions

  • 30.41cm x 21.24cm x 1.49cm; 1.37kg (13-inch models)
  • 34.93cm x 24.07cm x 1.55cm; 1.83kg (15-inch models)

 

Externally the design is similar to last year’s, albeit on a slimmer scale, but there are numerous physical changes under the lid. The most obvious, and the flagship feature that occupied much of the unveiling event, is a touchscreen bar above the keyboard that Apple calls the Touch Bar, which we discuss in the next section.

One more thing before we move on: as expected, Apple has removed the traditional USB ports on the MacBook Pro, and the MagSafe charging port, and replaced them all with USB-C/Thunderbolt ports: four of them on the Touch Bar models and two on the 13-inch model without a Touch Bar. And you get a 3.5mm headphone jack too: phew!

Common Fixes for Common Macbook Problems

Some 2011 MacBook Pros Experiencing GPU Glitches, System Crashes

Many early and late–2011 MacBook Pro owners with discrete graphics cards seem to be experiencing GPU failures and system crashes on their machines. In addition to several tips received by MacRumors, there’s a lengthy thread on the issue on the Apple Support Communities, a Facebook group, and many reports of trouble on our own forums.

It appears that the MacBooks, first released on February 28, 2011, are displaying screen glitches primarily during graphics-intensive work or games. MacBook owners have noted visible striations and image distortion or an entirely blank screen, which can often be temporarily fixed with a reboot.

Along with graphical issues, MacBook Pro owners are also seeing frequent reboots to a gray screen. Apple has several suggestions for customers seeing a gray screen, including booting into safe mode and reinstalling OS X, which has not managed to solve the problem for MacBook Pro owners experiencing issues.

Apple has done logic board replacements in some cases for affected users, but reports indicate that the issue has reoccurred after a logic board replacement as well. It is unclear why the MacBook Pros are experiencing problems, but Apple forum users have speculated that it could be heat related.

The issue appears to affect 15 and 17-inch MacBook Pros that have discrete graphics cards. All of the 2011 MacBooks use AMD cards, including the AMD Radeon HD 6490M, the AMD Radeon HD 6750M (both 512MB/1GB variants) and the AMD Radeon HD 6770M.

Mid–2011 iMacs with AMD Radeon HD 6970 graphics cards experienced similar failures and in August of 2013, Apple initiated a Graphics Card Replacement Program for the computers, replacing the graphics cards of affected iMacs at no cost.

Apple Introduces 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display

Apple has unveiled the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display, featuring the world’s highest-resolution display — with 14.7 million pixels. At this resolution, text appears sharper than ever, videos are more lifelike and you can see new levels of detail in photos. “Thirty years after the first Mac changed the world, the new iMac with Retina 5K display running OS X Yosemite is the most insanely great Mac we have ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With a breathtaking 14.7-million-pixel display, faster CPU and graphics, Fusion Drive and Thunderbolt 2, it’s the most beautiful and powerful iMac ever.” Read more: apple.com/nz/imac-with-retina

How to Upgrade the RAM in Your MacBook Pro

This tutorial will walk you through the complete process of installing new RAM in your MacBook Pro. From deciding which RAM to purchase to how to tell if the installation worked, we’ve got you covered.

What is RAM?

Random access memory, or RAM is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to upgrade your MacBook, and it can also be one of the most effective. Upgrading your RAM will not necessarily make your apps run faster, but what it does is increase the capacity for having apps open and switching between them.

Upgrading your RAM will not necessarily make your apps run faster, but what it does is increase the capacity for having apps open and switching between them.

So having more RAM means your Mac can juggle more apps at once without having to slow down, making opening and jumping between apps much faster – which in turn makes your Mac feel a whole lot faster. A lot of Mac’s come preinstalled with just 2 or 4GB of RAM which may not be enough for many.

You’re much more likely to notice the difference, or rather notice the need to upgrade your RAM if you use apps like Photoshop or GarageBand which require more memory to run, than if you are simply using Pages and Spotify. Nonetheless, whatever apps you are using, you should feel a decent boost in the overall speed of how your Mac operates if you upgrade.

Finding your New RAM

Before you go about buying new RAM, you should find out what RAM your Mac requires. To do this, simply select “About This Mac” in the Apple menu on the top left of the screen, and go to “More Info.” From there, navigate to “Memory” and you will be given information about your current RAM.


RAM information

As you can see, my Mac accepts 1333 MHz DDR3 RAM, I now know that will work with my setup. Prices vary depending on manufacturer but you can find RAM pretty cheap online if you search around. My advice would be stick to the large manufacturers because in my experience they are more reliable. A simple Amazon search brings up plenty of results or visit Crucial or high quality RAM. They also have a compatibility tool that can detect your system needs and recommend compatible RAM. Once you’ve got your new RAM you can move on to installing it in your machine.

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