Time flies when you’re working! It’s hard to believe that I just looked at my calendar and realized that I’ve had my iPad Pro now for 32 days. I figured it was time to give you guys an update now that I’ve had a full month to experience it, work on it, travel with it and use Apps that were designed to take advantage of the larger display size and more importantly Apple Pencil.
Earlier this year in May I did a post called “Photographers: iMac or Mac Pro?” It was a post that was meant to really ask the question that as a photographer would you benefit from the faster and more expensive Mac Pro over say a nicely equipped iMac (or in my case MacBook Pro)? There was only one problem with that post. I didn’t actually have an iMac to compare. I ran all my tests using my high-end Mid 2012 MacBook Pro Retina Display. I noted that although my MacBook Pro fared quite well against the Mac Pro for common “photography workflow” tasks, that an iMac would probably do even better! Well now I have a NEW iMac Retina 5k Mac to test/review and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. I was a little blown away!
The same game rules apply!
If you don’t like Macs/Apple or don’t want a Mac for whatever your reasons are, you can pretty much stop here and find something else to do with your time. I find it entertaining when people feel compelled to tell you/me how much they don’t want the thing you’re reviewing or writing about because they use something else. This is not a Mac vs. _______ post. If you’re happy with a Windows PC or Linux PC, or anything else, I’m happy for you. If you can build your own PC cheaper, that’s awesome!
If you’re reading the rest of this post then I’ll assume that you’re a Mac user or thinking of becoming one.
The next thing I’d like to get out of the way is that if you’re looking for a Mac Pro review that tells you this new Mac Pro is better than the previous Mac Pro with all the benchmarks to back it up, then you’d probably be better served by other reviewers who have targeted the performance of the new model vs. the older model. I’m doing this review/comparison simply to answer the question, “as a photographer would I be better off spending my money on the NEW iMac Retina 5K Display or a Mac Pro?” If you’re a videographer and you’re a Mac user then you probably already have the new Mac Pro because you demanded the fastest Mac you could get to render your videos on a daily basis.
When I saw the rumors that Apple was going to release a radically different design for the Mac Pro, to be quite honest I was only mildly interested. As I stated above, I realized with my last Mac Pro that I wasn’t really a Mac Pro customer. Sure I appreciate the faster performance, but I found myself only using my Mac Pro when I knew a process was going to take a long time to complete. Otherwise I was quite happy just using my MacBook Pro simply because I could use it in any room at any time. I could take it with me on the road. However, I said to myself perhaps if the performance (for what I do) is significantly better and the price point for an entry model was $2,500 or less, I’d consider getting one. Well we know the latter didn’t happen, so now it was time to test the performance. I got the opportunity to test a Mac Pro standard configuration in my studio for a few weeks. I loaded the latest version of my Adobe Creative Cloud applications on it as well as a few utilities that I use such as ScreenFlow. Next, I began running side-by-side tests of the things that I do daily that take more than a few seconds. My assumption was that the Mac Pro would certainly be at least twice as fast at everything I threw at it than my 2012 MacBook Pro Retina Display Mac. Actually I was wrong! Now fast forward to November and I have brand new iMac Retina 5k here to review and test. At the time I did the tests back in May, I really wasn’t expecting to run these tests again. Therefore I didn’t really hold on to the test files that I used. Luckily I was able to reassemble most of them with a couple minor exceptions that I will outline below:
When will a Mac Pro significantly outperform any other Mac?
As I said above, I was wrong in my assumption that the Mac Pro would be at least twice as fast at everything. Actually it is faster at (almost) everything! Just not by a margin of two. On every test I threw at it the Mac Pro outperformed my now two-year-old MacBook Pro, but in some cases it was only slightly faster. With the new iMac Retina 5k there was even less of a difference. This is when I realized that in order to see significant speed improvements the software you’re testing not only needs to be optimized for the faster processors, but also it would need to take advantage of the multiple cores. Even then, the iMac and MacBook Pro are no slouch. They’ve got multiple cores too. Where I saw the biggest differences was in (no surprise) video rendering and processes that take longer than a minute or so anyway. At this point I now have a new iMac Retina 5K Display to compare as well. The differences in speed were less dramatic as I expected. However, even doing video tasks the iMac held its own and really started bringing into question “when would I ever want a Mac Pro?” When I ran the tests in May the Mac Pro was significantly faster at video tasks than my two year old MacBook Pro. However, I not only now have a new Mid 2014 MacBook Pro Retina that is faster than my old one, but I also have a base model iMac Retina 5k to compare too.
UPDATED TEST RESULTS
What I do as a photographer
As a photographer I spend most of my time in Adobe Lightroom 5 and Adobe Photoshop CC. Photoshop CC definitely takes advantage of multiple cores and now has Open CL support. So filters will run faster on the new Mac Pro. All of these applications are 64bit native and that means that they’ll take advantage of additional RAM.
My first test was one of the things I do after every shoot. I convert my RAW files into .DNG (Digital Negative) format. This is one of the few times that I see a progress bar in Lightroom because it does take time to do it. I converted 435 16MP Nikon .NEF RAW files into DNG format.
First on the MacBook Pro it took 14 minutes 35 seconds
On the Mac Pro the same conversion took 12 minutes 12 seconds.
OK, ready for this? On the NEW iMac Retina 5K a 435 16MP conversion took 11 minutes 39 seconds. Huh! What? Wait a minute! It was actually slightly (less than a second) faster than the Mac Pro. This of course left me scratching my head, but I have a couple of caveats to bring up. First off this is 6 months later and we’re on a newer operating system, Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, which in theory could be faster than Mavericks. The only caveat as I mentioned in the introduction was that I didn’t have all the same exact files from the May test. Yes I converted 435 16.2 MP files from my Nikon D4, but they weren’t the same exact images. I can’t see where that would make too big of a difference though. They are from the same camera and a similar portrait shoot, just not the same exact images as before. We can argue this one more, but just for kicks I ran the same test on my NEW Mid 2014 MacBook Pro Retina with a Core i7 Haswell processor and SSD drive (the iMac has a Fusion drive) and it was even faster at 9 minutes 56 seconds. This we can probably say is faster on the MacBook Pro over the iMac because it’s a faster processor and faster drive, but it doesn’t really explain why it would be faster than the Mac Pro. Since they aren’t the same exact images, let’s move on to the other test where the files ARE THE SAME!
The next test was a simple HDR (High Dynamic Range) conversion in Photoshop CC using three RAW files. This is a two-part process. The first part is simply combining the three (or more) images together and aligning them. Then the second part of the process is applying whatever settings you want to control how your HDR looks.
The first part on the 2012 MacBook Pro took 12.70 seconds and on the Mac Pro it took 9.10 seconds
The second part on the 2012 MacBook Pro took 13.00 seconds and on the Mac Pro it took 11.13 seconds.
What about the iMac Retina 5K?
Since I had the exact same RAW files for this test I ran it on the iMac:
The first part on the iMac took 10.75 seconds and the second part took 10.75 seconds. This makes it only 1.5 seconds slower than the Mac Pro for this test.
The next test was stitching a Panorama together using Photoshop CC and 10 RAW files
On the 2012 MacBook Pro this process took 1 minute 12 seconds
On the Mac Pro this process took 51 seconds.
On the iMac Retina 5K Display this process took 1 minute (9 seconds slower than the Mac Pro)
I could have gone on running other tests and other filters, but these are the things I do on a regular basis. If it was faster at something that I rarely do, then I really don’t care as much. As you can see from the results above, the Mac Pro wins on every test as you would expect it to, but the results (even if it was twice as fast in every case) may not justify the difference in cost. We’ll get to that at the end.
Next it was time to look at what I do as a Photographer when it comes to video
I use video in a couple of different ways. The first as a photographer is to tell my story. This means capturing video with my DLSR, GoPro, iPhone, etc. I use Adobe Premiere Pro CC to assemble those videos and then output them to share (usually on YouTube). The next way that I use video and probably the way that I use video the most often is to record my Creative Cloud TV video podcasts. These screen recordings are done with ScreenFlow and since the editing I do is pretty simple I can edit these right in ScreenFlow. Of course I need to export those videos out and this can take a while depending on the length of the video. I had no doubts that this is where the Mac Pro would really shine. After all these are the kind of processor and resource intensive tasks that the Mac Pro was built for. I was not disappointed.
The first test I ran was an export of an hour-long edited video out of ScreenFlow.
On the MacBook Pro this export took 60 minutes
On the Mac Pro this export took 33 minutes.
On the iMac Retina 5K this export took 35 minutes.
It gets better in Adobe Premiere Pro CC and the Adobe Media Encoder CC. I needed to convert this video into a different format using the Adobe Media Encoder CC.
On the MacBook Pro this conversion/export took 34 minutes 36 seconds
On the Mac Pro this conversion/export took only 12 minutes 36 seconds
On the iMac Retina 5K this conversion/export took 19 minutes 26 seconds
What about that beautiful 5K Retina Display?
One the biggest reasons I would recommend an iMac over a Mac Pro to a photographer beside the money saved, is the fact that you’re getting a 27″ 5K Hi-DPI (Retina) display! Your images are going to look amazing on this display. I was blown away by the sharpness and the detail. Besides the obvious sharpness and detail, the other benefit is being able to work at high resolutions in programs like Photoshop. If you set the display resolution higher (I use SwitchResX for complete control of this) you can actually see more of your images as you work. No more having to zoom in to 100%. You can actually see them at 100% if you want. As it stands today, you won’t find a better display to see your images on. If you do, it will likely cost more!
The Bottom Line
I’m sure if we just ran processor and benchmark test that The NEW Mac Pro is the fastest Mac that Apple has ever created. The question you have to ask yourself is, “Do I run benchmark tests or do I use applications on a day to day basis that I’m waiting for tasks to complete?” For me the answer is no. Sure if I spent my days rendering video all day every day, I’d already have the Mac Pro. There would be no question. However, as a photographer I can’t justify the difference in price. Now that the iMac has a Retina 5k display it’s even a more compelling choice for photographers.
The Mac Pro model and configuration that I tested above is here. (Now keep in mind that if I was going to buy one I’d start with this configuration and I’d go with a bigger internal drive and more RAM)
Believe it or not the iMac Retina 5k that I tested was this base model. The results above were achieved with only 8GB of RAM and a 1TB Fusion Drive. If I were to buy an iMac I would get this model and I would buy this 32GB RAM upgrade and put it in myself. This configuration would give me a faster processor, an internal 512GB SSD, 32GB of RAM a 5k Retina Display, Keyboard and Mouse for less than the price of the Mac Pro that I tested.
Why an iMac? Although I don’t use one (I’ll have to send this one back if I don’t want to buy it), an iMac makes sense because you’re getting a fast Mac with a nice big 27″ 5k display all in one. You can’t really get a better display for this price and it includes a computer 🙂
Why a MacBook Pro? For me the MacBook Pro makes the most sense because when I’m at my desk I have connected to a nice 24″ HD Wacom Cintiq display/tablet. When I get ready to go I disconnect it and go. I have a computer with a nice 15″ Retina display when I’m on the road. If I didn’t travel for a living then I would absolutely have an iMac. Since I travel a lot, a MacBook Pro makes more sense. With that said, if I had never used a Cintiq AND I had seen the iMac 5k with my work on it as I have with this test unit I would be hard pressed not to buy one and just use an Intuos Pro tablet instead.
If you want the fastest Mac and you don’t mind spending $3,000-$4,000 (or more) on it plus having to buy a display, keyboard and mouse, then definitely go with a Mac Pro. Almost everything you do will likely be faster than the Mac you’re currently using. At the end of the day I realize that computers have become “fast enough” and that I don’t spend a lot of time waiting these days. Even when a process such as a video render/export is going to take a few minutes I can toss it to the background and work on other things in the foreground. My last Mac Pro once configured set me back over $5,000 and while it was a beast, I found that I wasn’t really using it as much as I had hoped I would, so I sold it. The new Mac Pro is faster, but is it $4,000 + display, keyboard and mouse faster? For me it’s not. The NEW iMac Retina 5k and MacBook Pro Retina 15″ will definitely hold their own against a Mac Pro for the kinds of tasks that photographers do.
Apple just took the wraps of Mountain Lion – aka Mac OS X 10.8, which is due out later this year. The above video shows a nice walk through of how your Mac is about to become even more like an iPad. Personally I'm looking forward to the AirPlay feature and it's great having the Messages App (now in public beta). What are your thoughts on this direction of the Mac OS? Mac OS X 10.7 Lion left me feeling very underwhelmed, but Mountain Lion looks useful.
When the iPad arrived in April I had high hopes (I still do) for it to become a great tool for photographers and in many ways it has. More photographers showed their portfolios at Photoshop World this past September electronically than they did in print. Just recently I published my list of 8 Must Have iPad Apps for Photographers. Yes, progress is being made, but yesterday Apple released the long awaited update to the MacBook Air and the more I looked the specs the more it made me think about this new MacBook as a better choice for photographers in the field.
The iPad appeal
The iPad is/was appealing because it was small, lightweight, has a relatively long battery life, relatively large display and is capable of importing images via the Camera Connection Kit. It can do moderate photo editing on the go. Also the instant on and not having to manage a file system are pluses in many ways.
The NEW MacBook Air offers so much more for not much more money
The most fair comparison I can make is to compare the 64GB iPad Wi-Fi model ($699) with the new 64GB 11.6" MacBook Air ($999). Yes, the MacBook Air is $300 more and weighs 0.7 lbs. more. The MacBook Air is also a few inches bigger.
Size and weight
0.11-0.68 inch (0.3-1.7 cm)
11.8 inches (29.95 cm)
7.56 inches (19.2 cm)
2.3 pounds (1.06 kg)1
Size and weight1
9.56 inches (242.8 mm)
7.47 inches (189.7 mm)
0.5 inch (13.4 mm)
1.5 pounds (0.68 kg) Wi-Fi model;
Once you get past the slightly larger size and weight of the MacBook Air, you can then start to justify it for what it offers over the iPad. The MacBook Air (MBA) has the ability to run your standard Mac applications (or even Windows Applications using Parallels or other Virtualization apps). So instead of trying to find replacement Apps on the iPad, it can actually fun Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5. Instead of having to use the Camera Connection Kit with low power/speed CF Cards/Readers, you can plug in any standard USB Card Reader and Import photos from any memory cards. With the MBA you can also more easily offload your images onto another hard drive just by plugging it in to the USB port and doing a standard file copy. Also since many photographers publish their websites using Adobe Flash, you can view those sites on the MacBook Air by installing the latest Flash Player if you choose to. Lastly, and probably one the biggest reasons is that the you can shoot tethered to a MacBook Air and see your images on the nice big 11.6" display. Lightroom 3 already does native tethering and that means that the MBA can already do this. Yes, the MBA is $300 more, but you get a much more capable device for that $300.
What I would have liked to have seen
There are two things that I would have liked to have seen on the MacBook Air. The first is a built-in option for 3G connectivity. That's one of the things I love about my iPad is that I can take it out of my bag and get online pretty much anywhere. Sure I can use my MiFi or a 3G USB Stick, but a contract free 3G option built-in the MBA would have been killer. The next thing I would have loved to have seen is a TRUE HYBRID between these two devices. Imagine a MBA in the same form factor, but if you open the lid and flip it over it becomes an iPad and can run iOS Apps. While it's true that a touch screen on a vertical display would be a pain, there's no reason that the display has to stay vertical if it swiveled and reversed. That would have truly been the best of both worlds!
What will I do now?
Believe it or not I have no plans to get a MacBook Air pretty much for the same reasons that I didn't buy myself the first model. When I travel for business I need the most full featured and powerful MacBook Pro available and the MacBook Air just isn't enough muscle for what I do. Since it's not going to replace my current MacBook Pro I see no need to travel with TWO laptops. A MacBook Pro and iPad will continue to be my tools of choice. However, if you're a photographer that doesn't demo software for a living like I do, then the MacBook Air might be a GREAT tool for you! If I didn't need the power of a MacBook Pro, I would seriously consider the Air!
Parallels 6 above running Windows 7 64bit Ultimate Edition and Windows XP on a Mac Pro/Mac OS X 10.6.4 running Photoshop CS5 Extended – click the image to enlarge
Most of my day to day work is done in the Mac OS. However, there are times when I need to run Windows app/utility here and there. I can remember the days when I used to carry two laptops for work. I had a PowerBook for doing demos to Mac customers and an IBM (now Lenovo) Thinkpad for doing demos to Windows based customers. Once the the MacBook Pro hit the scene I was quick to jump on board because I could now use this one laptop to run both Mac and Windows Apps. Apple allows you to enable a feature called "Boot Camp" right in the Mac OS itself. With Boot Camp you setup a partition (size of your choosing) and natively install a copy of Windows (not included) on it. Then you can choose to boot up the computer in either OS and Windows running under Boot Camp is just as fast as running Windows on any other similarly spec'd PC. While you do get to run Windows as fast as your Mac hardware can, you have the disadvantage in that you can only run one OS at a time. In other words while you're booted in Windows in Boot Camp, you don't have access to your Mac apps. This is where virtualization Apps come in. The two top contenders are Parallels and VMWare's Fusion. I've had experience with both Apps in their latest versions and given the choice I'd go with Parallels.
When you have two apps that basically do the same thing, you have to look at "how" they do it?
Both Apps are great and both apps have very similar feature sets. Although I get to use VMWare's Fusion at NO COST TO ME because my company has a site license and offers it to any employee that needs it, I prefer to use Parallels (and buy it out of my own pocket). Both Parallels and Fusion allow you to use Windows on top of the Mac OS. This means that you are running both OSs at the same time and can launch apps in either. Both are going to run a bit slower than running natively in Boot Camp if for no other reason, they are sharing resources with the Mac OS running at the same time. However, being able to run the occasional Windows app without rebooting is worth the small performance hit. Both apps allow you to either run Windows from a "file' on any hard drive (including an external drive) or even use your Boot Camp Windows installation. So if they both seem to do the same thing, what makes one better? SPEED!!! Parallels with version 6 continues to have the advantage over the competition with SPEED! No other way to say it other than it just runs Windows FASTER. According to Parallels, version 6 is up to 80% faster than version 5. It's 64 bit and boots Windows more than two times faster than Fusion 3.1. Parallels 6 scores more than 2 times better on 3D graphics than Fusion 3.1.
It's running so fast as a matter of fact that I may never use Boot Camp again
My copy of Snow Leopard (Family Pack) arrived via FedEx Friday afternoon and since I had already done a clone backup using SuperDuper and of course I stay backed up with Time Machine too. I was ready to install the minute I opened the package. As with most Mac OS X installs the package contained the installation DVD and simple brochure that covered the basic installation steps and the top new features.
The Snow Leopard Installer was quite different than the Leopard installer. I expected to get to choose between an Upgrade and Archive and Install and the next thing I know, it was installing and I never saw the usual options. So I canceled it! Yep, I stopped the installation a few minutes after it got started because I wanted to verify some options. Good thing I did, because there are some defaults you need to be aware of. The first thing is that Rosetta is no longer installed by default. Rosetta is Apple’s technology to run non-intel native apps (apps built for PowerPC) on an intel Mac. While most people are probably OK here, I have a couple of apps that aren’t Intel native. Quicken comes to mind. Now the good news here is that reports say that if you didn’t install Rosetta and you try to run an app that needs it, Mac OS X will offer to install it right then and there via the Software Update utility. However, I just thought that since it only takes a few megabytes, why not at least alert the user and give them the option to install it without the user having to know to enable it it via the Customize feature?
I still never got a chance to choose Archive and Install over Upgrade, but that OK since it appears that Snow Leopard (SL) now does an Archive and Install by default. This is good as I wanted to do this option to hopefully clear up a few weird issues I was having with Leopard (see "What got fixed" later). The installation took somewhere between 40-60 minutes on each of my Macs.
Installing it on my MacBook Air – When I bought the MacBook Air for home/family use, I also bought the external Super Drive. However, I purposely didn’t open it. I still have it in the original shrinkwrap. I wanted to see if Apple’s claims were true and that I could get by with a Mac with no optical drive. So far I have been doing just fine without it. However, this was the first major OS upgrade that I’ve had since getting the MacBook Air last year and I still wanted to see if I could do this without opening that Super Drive. So I put the Snow Leopard DVD in one of my iMacs and enabled CD/DVD sharing. I clicked on Remote Disc on the MacBook Air and within a few seconds I was installing Snow Leopard on the MacBook Air. It worked perfectly and the Super Drive is still in the shrinkwrap.
Apple has announced that Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard is shipping this Friday! As you might have guessed, I’ve already got my copy on order. While I’m sure I could go ahead and install a developer release GM copy right now. I kinda like to wait for the real deal disc. Also in this case I’m really not in any real hurry.
Snow Leopard is a different kind of upgrade
Each full version of Mac OS X is usually packed with hundreds of new features and enhancements. However, this time around Apple chose to basically make what was already good about Mac OS X, better with the much needed under the hood improvements to give us great 64 bit support and speed. This is also reflected in the upgrade price. If you’re a Leopard user the cost of upgrading (for the OS) is only $29 ($49 for the Family Pack) this time around. I am looking forward to one major new thing and that is the native support for MS Exchange 2007. We use Exchange servers at work for email, calendar, etc. and currently I have to use MS Entourage for work stuff. I’d love to be able to ditch Entourage and just use Mail, iCal and Address Book for everything. Looks like that day will come soon. So I’m very excited about that and of course who can complain about things working faster?
Apple has posted today’s Phil Schiller keynote from WWDC. See the video here.
A couple more interesting tidbits from today:
Upgrading to the iPhone 3GS may cost you more than you think. The $199 and $299 prices for the 16GB and 32GB models are the prices NEW customers or customers eligible for upgrades will pay. As you know, you signed a 2 year contract when you got your existing iPhone 3G (if you did it on AT&T). The policy for upgrading at a reduced rate is typically 18 months. So even if you bought your iPhone 3G on the day it was announced, that’s only 11 months ago. Most likely you won’t be able to upgrade for those prices. You can check your eligibility right on the Apple Store online or log onto your wireless.att.com account to see your upgrade eligibility. Those on the original iPhone should be all set as your two year contract is almost at an end (provided you bought on day one in 2007). Prices could be as high as $599 and $699 for early upgraders. Which, by the way at that point you’d be better off signing a NEW contract, canceling it, and paying the early cancellation fee of $175.
MobileMe get’s some much needed love. Every year many customers ask themselves, “why am I paying for this?” Each customer has his or her own reasons as to why they deem the service worth the price. For me, I like the syncing of info between all my computers. I like the syncing of data (except Contacts, maybe I’ll try it again after 3.0) with my iPhone. I also like the hosted web stuff and email. However, with iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3.0 you get new benefits. First of all Apple showed off “Find my iPhone”. This feature allows MobileMe customers to locate a missing iPhone on a map. If that iPhone happens to be in your house, you can even send a command to it to ring even if the ringer is on silent! You can also remote wipe a lost or stolen phone so that your info is no longer on the device. Although I wish this feature would actually password lock the phone so that it couldn’t be used or randomly wipe it so that the thief couldn’t really use it. Yes, I know about serial number blocks that the carriers can do, but this is much more fun. It also seems like iPhone users will FINALLY be able to access their iDisks and the data stored on them, with an upcoming iDisk iPhone App. Also in case you missed it, MobileMe now syncs your notes from Mail and soon from your iPhone running the 3.0 update.
AT&T is the weakest Link
I’m typically not one of those users who likes to bash the carrier. All of the carriers have issues! However, I’m becoming increasingly frustrated by AT&T’s apparent inability to keep up with their growth. The iPhone has been missing some key features like MMS messaging and data tethering since day one. These features are probably not hard to implement. As a matter of fact we’re getting them in iPhone OS 3.0 next week. The problem is that AT&T says that MMS messaging won’t be available until “summer” and tethering, well, um it will come to0 at some point, with additional fees. No wonder other countries laugh at us when it comes to our data networks. Oh and don’t get me started about the crippling of the SlingPlayer app to only work over Wi-Fi! If the iPhone was available on multiple US carriers, AT&T would be forced to compete for our business. However, with this exclusive multi-year deal, AT&T gets another free pass. AT&T do me a favor: stop advertising your network if you can’t actually do anything on it!
I thought I’d give a quick recap on today’s announcements since my friends are already ringing my phone off the hook anyway. 🙂 There certainly was no shortage of announcements from this morning’s Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote. Of course you can go to apple.com and get all the details of each and every item. This post is just serve as a quick recap for those that just want to know “what’s new?”
Updated MacBooks/MacBook Pros
Apple updated the specs on the 15″ MacBook Pro, 13″ MacBook (now Pro) and MacBook Air while at the same time reducing the prices!
The 15″ MacBook Pro now gets the same built-in battery as it’s 17″ sibling, boasting 7 hours of battery life. It can be configured with up to 8GB of RAM as well as a 500GB hard drive. Probably the most controversial move here is that they removed the ExpressCard Slot and replaced it with an SD card slot instead and they replaced the removable battery with one that’s built-in. The new prices are $1,599, $1,899 and $2,099.
The New 13″ MacBook Pro. The MacBook has been upgraded to MacBook Pro status. It now features an SD slot as well, configurable up to 8GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive, and it now has a FIREWIRE port! Apple has seen the error of its ways in this regard. Probably the most exciting feature of the 13″ MacBook Pro is the price. The 7 hour battery is also built-in on this model. They start at $1,199 which is cheaper than the older model which had less features.
Lastly the MacBook Air gets a price reduction as well. Now the MacBook Air starts at $1,499.
The Safari web browser had been in beta for the past couple of months and now it’s officially available in its release form. It was already available via the Software Updates when I ran it a few minutes ago. I’ll have to see if they fixed a couple of the bugs I was having in the beta. Namely, posting links on WordPress on this very blog. Apple bills it as the fastest web browser on any platform.
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
As you might expect, the spotlight was on Snow Leopard today. Apple showed off a miriad of enhancements and the one that got me most excited was the Microsoft Exchange support which means that I’ll finally be able to say goodbye to Microsoft Entourage for work email. There were all kinds of other neat UI enhancements to the Finder and the OS in general. The big focus was on 64bit as well it should be. Lastly, Snow Leopard will be available in September for only $29 for existing Leopard users. That has to be the lowest OS price that Apple has ever charged since they’ve been charging for OS upgrades. Snow Leopard is only for Intel Macs!
iPhone OS 3.0 Update
No surprises that Apple also showed more about the iPhone 3.0 update, which had already been previewed. It’s going to fill many of the gaps that the iPhone has had to date including MMS support, Tethering, Cut, Copy & Paste, background notification for 3rd party apps, Turn-by-Turn directions, peer-to-peer gaming, etc. This update will be FREE to existing iPhone users ($9.99 for iPod touch users) and available next week on June 17th! Yes, you know where I’ll be that day. 🙂
New iPhone 3GS
The most anticipated news of course was the new iPhone hardware. Today Apple introduced the iPhone 3GS. The main points are:
7.2 Mbps HSDPA
3MP Camera with better low light, auto focus and macro modes
Video Capture, trimming on the iPhone, share via email, MMS, YouTube, or MobileMe
Nike+ support built-in
Hardware Data Encryption
Better battery life
Available Friday, June 19th – 16GB model (black or white) $199, 32GB model (black or white) $299