Friday Morning News

A surprise spec bump of Apple’s MacBook Pro lineup sees the inclusion of 8th-generation Intel Core processors, and higher specs across the board, if you want (and are willing to pay for) them. Both the 13 and 15-inch models can be customised to have up to 2TB or 4TB of SSD storage, respectively, while both models get a True Tone display for the first time on a Mac, an Apple-designed T2 chip for better security and “Hey Siri” on the Mac, and what Apple says are quieter keyboards.

Wait, quieter keyboards? I don’t know anyone that was asking for quieter keyboards. Even though the upgraded specs put this update as more than your regular spec bump, the question on everyone’s minds given recent reports of MacBook Pro keyboard reliability issues is whether this new third-generation keyboard has undergone some kind of design revision that makes it a little less susceptible to dust and debris, and a little more reliable. The Verge says this iteration of the keyboard wasn’t designed to solve that particular problem, according to Apple, who insisted that those kinds of issues have only affected a small portion of its user base.

If you were planning to upgrade to 32GB of DDR4 RAM and have 4TB of SSD storage on-tap in your new shiny for cheap, you should prepare to be disappointed on that front. Entry-level pricing for the MacBook Pro hasn’t changed at all, even though you’re now getting a quad-core in the 13-inch and a hexa-core in the 15-inch model, and if you really want to future-proof yourself by buying all the upgrades, prepare to part with five figures. But it’s not even the most expensive Apple laptop in history, so I guess it’s got that going for it.

With the rumours claiming a design update to this year’s Apple Watch, it’ll be the first one since the wrist-worn wearables were introduced three years ago. A reduction in bezel size gives us an idea of what that could look like, and while the days of printing out cardboard cut-outs of iPhones to see how big they feel in your hand are well behind us, mockups give you a sense of how different those slimmer bezels will look on your wrist.

Now that external GPU support is a thing for Macs, Apple has worked with Blackmagic on creating an eGPU box based on a Radeon Pro 580. Apple says it’ll give you 2.8x faster graphics performance on the 15-inch MacBook Pro and 8x faster graphics performance on the 13, and the box also has a number of Thunderbolt 3 ports to make it a decent docking station. It’s not clear exactly what part of the process Apple were involved in when creating the thing, but if you want one, the Blackmagic eGPU is $1,149 and delivers Tuesday.

Apple is discontinuing its physical book printing service at the end of September this year, ending an era of self-made physical photo books. They were a pretty niche thing, to be sure, but some people liked the physicality of being able to print their digital photos into something that looked a little professional, and for those of you that still want to do that, Apple says third parties can fill the gap by publishing Photos Project Extensions on the Mac App Store.

For all of its advantages, it turns out USB Restricted Mode can be bypassed by connecting any Lightning device capable of transferring data. This workaround comes with the caveat that a compatible device must be attached before the one-hour window has elapsed, or before the device has entered USB Restricted Mode, but this will effectively prevent the device from shutting down data communications between its Lightning port and whatever is on the other end.

The Sweet Setup’s first look at Shortcuts gives us an idea of the potential of what it can do, even if you’re not technical enough to program your own Javascipt actions. They also suggest that a future version may allow you to dictate, instead of using the keyboard, when using a shortcut that includes the “ask for input” action.

MacStories covers ten years of App Store controversies, but their piece only seems to discuss controversial App Store rejections, not true App Store controversies regarding, say, the inconsistent application of App Store guidelines, apps that deliberately flaunt the rules and are accepted anyway, or any of the political correctness debate surrounding what is and what isn’t allowed on the App Store.

Wrapping up the week, Business Insider points to research that says owning an iPhone or iPad is one of the number-one indicators of having a high income, at least based on 2016 data. Just in case you needed something to bring up at the pub this weekend.

Notable Replies

  1. Apple is literally made of money, wouldn’t have really cost that much to run. They literally outsource the whole process.

  2. I’m sure we can convince Apple to start running soup kitchens too… after all, they’re literally made of money!

  3. 4 books, had planned 5 for Christmas.

    They’re printed in Japan as far as I know.

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