Posts Tagged ‘MacBook Air’

Upgrade Update: Solid-State Drives Yea, or Nay?

Written by mcarberry. Posted in Gizmo Glorification, Tech Musings, Upgrade Update

In the world of computer storage, bigger used to be thought of as better. Recently however, that belief has changed. Not that people prefer less storage space, but they want their space to take up less… space. Although solid-state drives (SSDs) have been around since the 50′s, they’ve only been cost-effective enough to market at a consumer level for the past few years. In fact, many of these SSDs are being used in computers like the Macbook Air and in tablets as well. So what is an SSD anyway? Well, it’s basically a souped up version of that USB flash drive you carry around in your pocket. The technology is pretty similar, but it works on a drive that has a much larger capacity. Instead of carrying around a 2gb flash drive, you’re more likely to find SSDs in capacities up to 250 GBs. SSDs allow computers to retrieve information exponentially faster than a regular hard drive, and they aren’t prone to shock-based malfunctioning because they don’t have moving parts. In addition to stability and speed, SSDs also save space and reduce power consumption. One drawback to this technology is price. While the cost of the SSDs has been reduced significantly, most people still see it as a novelty. Typically SSDs are priced at around $0.90 – $2.00 per gb, whereas HDDs can be found for as low as $0.05 per gb. As the demand for smaller computers with larger storage capacities goes up, SSDs will inevitably settle into mainstream pricing. Eventually, the solid-state drive will become the preferred method of storage, but until then it seems a little superfluous. So why should you upgrade to an SSD? Well, there are people who would get more benefit for the extra cost. Gamers would appreciate the speed boost, as it would allow them to boot and load games faster, and save on power consumption. Speaking of the battery, laptop users can get a lot of good use out of these drives because it would greatly increase the battery life. Unless you’re one of these people, the only reason I can see for buying an SSD is to get faster PC boot times, but that reason alone was good enough for me. My OS runs incredibly fast on the drive, and with all the Adobe software I use, I’m grateful for the increased efficiency in loading programs. Whether you buy now or later, SSDs are here to stay. They will only get faster and smaller and less expensive. Get one if you want, but if it’s just not your thing, don’t worry about it. Now let’s say you do make the upgrade, and have now have an old hard drive. Well why not just use it as an external hard drive with one of these awesome Rosewill enclosures!

The WWDC Keynote – Here’s What Happened

Written by mcarberry. Posted in Tech Musings

WWDC 2012 Banner

A few days ago, the internet was buzzing with rumors about what Apple could possibly have in store for its customers at its 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference. The line to get in the door of the Moscone Center in San Francisco was as electric as it was long. It seemed as though the entire internet was live updating in hopes of getting the first glimpse at the newest Apple tech. Once everybody was seated, the show began. The lights dimmed and the audience was greeted by a familiar voice. Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant for the iPhone was the first to welcome everybody to the conference. In atypical fashion, Siri decided to warm up the crowd with a short, but sweet stand-up comedy routine complete with GarageBand rim shots on an iPad. Cook did a great job taking the reins with the keynote. He was excited, funny, and focused. After a brief presentation on the success of the App Store, Cook played a short video that showed, quite emotionally, the true power of iOS and the apps it runs lies with the people. After the video, Cook introduced three new upgrades to the Apple lineup. There would be new MacBook changes, OS X and iOS 6 presentations.

The Next-Gen MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Phil Schiller took the stage to present the latest MacBooks which will now tout upgraded 3rd-gen Core processors, up to 8GB of RAM, and graphics up to 60% faster. Additionally all MacBooks will utilize USB 3.0, and have an HD FaceTime camera. MacBook Air was the recipient of a price decrease as well. Three out of the four models dropped $100 in price. All the upgrades were impressive, but it wasn’t until Schiller unveiled the new MacBook Pro that the room really came alive. Schiller revealed the computer to be impossibly thin (just 0.71 inches thin and only 4.46 lbs). The display has been upgraded to a stunning, immersive Retina display with a 2880×1800 resolution. The computer will also feature new cooling technology to keep noise to a minimum.

Download OS X Mountain Lion from the App Store in July for only $19.99

Next Craig Federighi presented the new OS X. Mountain Lion has been long anticipated since the Vista-like uproar regarding OS X Lion. Mountain Lion brings over 200 new features and updates to OS X. Federighi went over improved iCloud integration, messages, Safari upgrades, social media sharing support, voice dictation, AirPlay mirroring, game center, and my personal favorite, power nap. Mountain Lion will be available for download from the App Store in July and will come with a modest $19.99 price tag.     Scott Forstall was up next for iOS 6. Yet another 200 new features were added to iOS 6 (it must be the magic number at Apple). These new features included enhancements to the oft-criticized Siri virtual assistant that allows users to get sports information, dinner reservations, movie tickets, and app launching. Additionally Siri will be available on the iPad. It would appear that Apple chose not to address Siri’s voice recognition problems that have been plaguing it recently.

New features in iOS

iOS 6 will feature thorough Facebook integration, phone enhancements, FaceTime over cellular, Safari and photo stream upgrades, and a great feature called Passbook that allows you to keep boarding passes, membership cards, and coupons on your phone. The biggest update to iOS 6 would have to be Apple Maps. As long rumored, Apple will no longer be using Google maps, and will have integrated its own mapping service that has 3D view, traffic reports, business info, and best of all turn-by-turn navigation with spoken directions and Siri integration. iOS 6 seems like a huge leap, but it won’t mean anything until the new iPhone is released as a majority of features will only be available on the 4S or newer. It’s been a long time since an Apple event has seen a one more thing slide, and Apple’s WWDC 2012 did not deliver. However, with radical gains made in MacBooks, OS X and iOS 6 Apple is paving the way for a bright future. If you would like to see the Keynote in its entirety, visit Apple’s site.
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