Wednesday Morning News

New MacBook Airs and 13-inch MacBook Pros are the order of the day. The new MacBook Air gets a True Tone display and a lower price, now starting at $1,699. The 13-inch MacBook Pro, on the other hand, gets a price increase of $100, but at the same time gets the latest 8th-generation quad-core processors, Touch Bar with Touch ID as standard on all models, and a True Tone display, just like the MacBook Air. Apple’s Newsroom post highlights lower prices for college students, but the education discounts seem the same as they always have.

A teardown of both the new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro reveals that they both have the same third-generation Butterfly keyboard design introduced earlier this year with higher-end MacBook Pros. While Apple says this design is supposed to be quieter and more dust-resistant than any design that came before it, like other Apple laptops with this keyboard design, they’re still part of the same keyboard service program that other Mac laptops with Butterfly keyboards are a part of.

9to5Mac points out lower prices for SSD upgrades across the Mac lineup, with all upgrade options getting significant price drops for desktops and laptops. For today’s new 13-inch MacBook Pros, a 2TB SSD is still a $1,200 upgrade on top of the machine’s base price, but that’s sill a significant saving over whatever the previous price was. Meanwhile, the MacBook Air now comes with a 1TB upgrade option, which will set you back an additional $900.

Today’s new MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro mean the demise of two models. The 12-inch MacBook may have copped a lot of flak for being somewhat underpowered, its portability was second to perhaps only an iPad Pro, which is a very different kind of computer altogether. I can see why Apple killed it off — the Mac laptop lines were getting slightly blurry, which might explain why they also shelved the Touchless/13-inch MacBook Pro Escape, in favour of an all Touch Bar lineup of MacBook Pros. But the MacBook served its own little niche, and now it’s gone.

All of that means that Apple’s laptop lineup is now much simpler than it was before, although choosing which one to buy isn’t necessarily easier. Although there are now just two models to choose from — the MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro — which machine is the right one for you depends a lot on what you’re doing with it. And, perhaps, whether you like the Touch Bar. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the $1,999 MacBook Air for most people, especially seeing as you’re getting 256GB of storage for the same price on the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The internet is ablaze with commentary about a new zero-day vulnerability affecting popular video conferencing platform Zoom, as well as the rebranded copy called Ringcentral. The security hole allows anyone to join a video call, even if you’ve uninstalled those products from your Mac, thanks to Zoom’s easy reinstall "feature". A post on Medium explains the security issue and how it all works, and also includes steps to patch your Mac against Zoom’s poor response.

Digitimes claims 3D Touch has been removed from all iPhones that will be released this year. As much as I lament the removal of an interaction method that afforded instant feedback (as opposed to the wait-and-see of a long press/Haptic Touch), the writing has been on the wall for this one ever since the iPhone XR was introduced, and then again when iOS 13 removed most 3D Touch interactions.

The word on the street is that Apple will bring back the MacBook in one or two years, but with an ARM chip instead of an Intel CPU. While rumours of ARM Macs have been around for a while now, there have been serious concerns about ARM Macs, mostly from a compatibility standpoint. Now that we know a little more about what Apple has planned for its software platforms thanks to WWDC and the introduction of Project Catalyst, and SwiftUI, those fears have pretty much been put to bed, as explained by Macworld.

FaceTime Attention Correction may be a technological marvel (even if it is only available for the iPhone XS/XS Max, and XR), but there are people saying that this is just another example of tech pushing us towards a dystopian future where we can make eye contact with other people, via video calls, even when we don’t intend to. It’s funny, because this post explaining why FaceTime Attention Correction may not be the greatest thing ever also mentions Zoom’s "pretty" filter, which is exactly what they need right now.

TouchArcade gives us the heads up that Dr Mario World is now available on the App Store. It’s a classic colour-matching, block-removing game, now optimised for touch input by Nintendo and their partnership with Line.

Notable Replies

  1. The more Apple make product choices the more I find myself out of step with what they’re doing. I upgraded from an 11 inch MacBook Air to a 2nd gen 12 inch MacBook and I don’t regret it for a minute.

    I understand Apple discontinuing the non-retina MacBook Air and I could live with them discontinuing the MacBook 12 inch (sad as that makes me, it’s so light and just looks right, even 4 years later) but the thing is… they haven’t brought out a MacBook Air Retina 11 inch.

    And with the MacBook being canned there is now no thin, light and small option (just a thinnish and lightish 13 inch which is bigger than I want).

    At least I can buy a new iPad Mini… someone saw the light on light!

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