Apple’s gift guide is up, collecting a few different accessories from the Apple online store as gifts for the holiday season. Along with iPhone cases, watch bands, and headphones, Apple is also suggesting that people buy iPhones, Apple Watches, and iPads to give as gifts. And if you can’t decide, there’s also a gift card — depending on how you feel about gift cards as gifts.
A few outlets are reporting that Apple are selling refurbished iPhones directly to customers via the online store, but it appears to be a US-only thing for now, as Apple Australia’s online refurbished store shows no sign of any iPhones. We do, however, get refurb models of the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, the one with the True Tone display and the same Apple Pencil support as its larger sibling.
Jason Snell’s post on travelling with the 13-inch MacBook Pro says that it’s a lot like the MacBook Air and the single-port Retina MacBook. You’ll have to use adapters for a little while until USB-C accessories start becoming more common, but other than that, it’s a fine machine that also lets you pack a single charging cube for your computer and your iOS devices, provided you have a USB-C to Lightning cable.
Apple has lowered pricing on USB-C adapters. Every USB-C cable and adapter has seen price drops, and Apple said in a statement that they want to help customers with the transition to the latest and greatest technology. After all, adapters are just a stop-gap until USB-C accessories start becoming as common as USB cables are today. Interestingly, Apple provided no explanation for similar price drops on the 4K and 5K LG displays, which also had their prices dropped by 25% for a limited time.
Testing has found that Apple’s latest MacBook Pros may be incompatible with some Thunderbolt 3 devices. Plugable learned that Thunderbolt 3 devices using a Texas Instruments-manufactured controller chip do not work with the 2016 MacBook Pros, due to currently unknown reasons. It’s possible that compatibility with other Thunderbolt 3 controllers will be enabled via a firmware update.
Before we get into Ars Technica’s review of the new MacBook Pro, can we decide on a name for the 13-inch model without the Touch Bar? The internet seems to have settled on MacBook Pro Escape, which makes a lot of sense given that it’s the model with an actual escape key, but the touch-less model also reflects the Touch Bar-less nature. Just so long as we’re not calling it Apple’s official name of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, Late 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports. I’ll probably use all three terms interchangeably.
Anyway, Ars Technica’s review of the MacBook Pro Escape says it’s mostly an expensive MacBook Air. There are minor differences besides the obvious lack of Touch Bar and Touch ID on the MacBook Pro Escape, but at the end of the day, the MacBook Pro Escape occupies a strange position in Apple’s lineup. Despite its lack of bells and whistles, it’s not the cheapest 13-inch MacBook Pro, but it’s also pricier than a MacBook Air to give some pause.
The teardown of the MacBook Pro Escape shows off the internals of the new machine, and that’s about it. The MacBook Pro with function keys (otherwise known as the touchless MacBook Pro, or more officially “MacBook Pro 13-inch, Late 2016, Two Thunderbolt 3 Ports”, for those playing at home) has had minor changes to the internal layout compared to previous machines, but there’s nothing that’s completely unfamiliar, earning it a repairability score of 2 out of 10.
The Verge says the new MacBook Pro looks and feels great. The Touch Bar shows the same kind of practical genius you’ve come to expect from Apple, you’ll either love or hate the keyboard depending on how you feel about the keyboard in the Retina MacBook, and although you’ll need a few dongles to connect your peripherals (at least to start off with), dongles are much less of a hassle for laptops than they are for, say, phones.