Tag Archives: mac

Review: 27″ Thunderbolt Display

15 Aug

Recently Apple revealed a new display called the ‘Thunderbolt Display” this of course reffering to the Thunderbolt port found on the  back of the monitor. There are a pluthora of features and to be quite frank at a glance the display is an iMac without some basic internals but in this article we take a more indef look into it’s purpose on our desk.

 The first feature of the Thunderbolt Display is of course the Thunderbolt I/O port itself. This is a great feature to have especially built into a monitor, it gives the monitor just soo much more purpose but sadly as we talked about in previous articles until some real incorporation of Thunderbolt I/O in consumer products comes, this is nothing more than an added but useless bonus.
 The next feature about the Thunderbolt Display is in my opinion the most exciting one. I’ve always been a fan of the iMac and frankly that’s because of how neat it is. With enough effort the iMac is almost cable free, the only cable that comes out of the iMac is the one cable that is required to power the iMac itself. Everything else is wireless and boy does it look stunning when there’s only one wire coming out of your desk. This exact feautre in the iMac is also the prime reason why I am not fond of Macbook setups. There are always too many wires, one for charging, one for the mouse, one for the keyboard and etc. Fortunately Apple is reducing the wire mess by releasing all of their peripherals as wireless models and now the wire mess is reducing but even then there are still way to many wires like charging etc. that come out of the Macbook but now if you have a Macbook you can both connect to your display and charge your Macbook using using only one wire, the Thunderbolt Display comes with a wire that has two ends, one that goes in the MagSafe Port and one that goes into the Display Port then these two connections join together and connect as one wire into your display and  then one wire comes out of your monitor to an outlet where the electricity from that outlet charges your laptop while powering the monitor. The fact that there is one less cable makes me so much happier. The rest of the input devices and peripherals are all wireless and the wire footprint is almost the same as the iMac which is to mine and I am sure many others pleasure! I really want to give Apple a pat on the back because these wireless peripherals and technologies that reduce wire mess are really making me happy. Another great thing about this is that when at work you can just leave your charger at home or in your bag and when leaving for home you don’t need to unplug it again just lift your Macbook slide into your bag and your done.
This display’s perhaps most noticable feature is the 27″ viewing area. This size is quite larger than many display’s on the market as other displays makers ususally stop manufacturing displays after 24″. The best thing about this display is that is powered by Light Emiting Diode technology (LED) and this time it’s true backlight LED not just side lit LED so the display is super bright and although you may not use it it brightness power to it’s full extent it is definitely a nice feature to have.
If you are big on sharing the screen then you maybe in luck, Apple quotes that the Thunderbolt Display has a 178° viewing angle. This is achieved by Apple’s well known display technology called IPS (in-plane-switching).
The Thunderbolt Display comes with it’s own pair of built-in speakers. This is great if you are looking to stay wire-free and but if you are looking for some serious sound you are probaly better off buying a separate set as these wont really do the job for you but if your casual music listener like I am then your probably okay with the speakers in the Display as they are actually not bad at all from what I was expecting.
I’ve switched to and from a couple displays in my lifetime and the one killer feautre I have always wanted was to have a built in Webcam and Microphone, fortunately the Thunderbolt Display delivers this and the quality is actually quite good, I was expecting something of laptop quality but, the sound from the microphone was crisp and without echos like on a laptop and although I felt the lighting could have been handeled better the Webcam was actually very nice and I was surprisingly impressed by how well it worked, I definitely think I would use it for more than just Facetime, perhaps to record a video or maybe even use it as the main camera in a live stream.
A helpful feature of the Thunderbolt Display is the built-in ambient lighting sensor, it measures the light in the room and adjusts the monitor’s brightness for the lighting condition. This is great because usually I have many different light sources in my room and I find myself often changing the settings to suit the lighting condition.
I have not too much of a need for this feature but in some of my situations it can still prove useful, this feature is the motion hinge. With the hinge you can easily change the  angle of the monitor from  -5 to 25 degrees. Although again I may not need it its definitely a feature I could very well see myself using.
Below are some advanced specifications of the display:

27-inch (diagonal viewable image size) thin film transistor (TFT) active-matrix liquid crystal display (LCD) with in-plane switching (IPS)

  • Resolution:2560 by 1440 pixels
  • Colors (maximum):16.7 million
  • Aspect ratio:16:9
    • Viewing angle:178° horizontal; 178° vertical
    • Brightness:375 cd/m2
    • Contrast ratio:1000:1
    • Response time: 12 ms
  • Cables

    • Built-in Thunderbolt cable
    • Built-in Universal MagSafe cable (up to 85W)

    Peripheral connections

    • Three powered USB 2.0 ports
    • FireWire 800 port
    • Gigabit Ethernet port
    • Thunderbolt port
    • Kensington security slot
  • In the Box
    • Apple Thunderbolt Display
    • AC power cord
    • Printed documentation
After experiencing and evaluating all the features of the Thunderbolt Display I believe it is a feature packed, quality display. It has many upsides to it and this display is an improvement both price and feature wise over the last  Cinema display. The Thunderbolt Display is great for many but unfortunately the price may not suit the average user.  The Thunderbolt Display is $999 coming in at what I think most people wouldn’t shell out for a display, if the price was at least $599 or something similar I would consider the display but the price is far to expensive unless of course your job is to create and design applications or something. I also feel it may not suit PC users as there are no VGA, DVI or HDMI input’s found on the display. For $999 the display is very nice and is feature packed but without basics like VGA, DVI and HDMI it’s not worth the money and even if the display had those ports I would estimate the display has to be priced around $620 for me to justify the purchase. Unless of course like I mentioned before, your job requires you to have such a high quality display in order for accuracy in quality. I really believe that Apple should ramp up more basic inputs into the display and make it more Mac and PC friendly, I also think Apple should lower the price of the display because at $999 and I know I keep saying this but truly it’s almost impossible to justify the purchase. I can’t recommend it to the general consumer audience but if you need this display for quality and accuracy in your work then go for it, because it’s HUGE and chalk full of awesomeness.
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Apple charges Customer 122 times for Lion

14 Aug

Lion since having been announced has been another Apple success at least from a marketing perspective. Many users of the Mac platform have jumped to Lion because of gesture implimintation, software enhancements and the more than a 100 new features that make OS X a more friendly operating system to use. Unfortunately on every Apple release occassion something has to go terribly wrong and this time it costs not your security,  privacy or personal information infact this time it costs you a pretty penny, $3,878.40 to be exact. On July 23rd John Christman purchased OS X Lion and paid $31.79 after sales tax. Condescendingly his Paypal account was charged 122 times to a total cost of $3,878.40, and for what was an innocent purchase of a single copy of OS X Lion ended up to be an unwilling purchase of a  122  copies of OS X Lion. In a quote he stated that Apple and Paypal seem to be just arguing between each other and uptil now he has not recieved a refund.

I personally think that Paypal had nothing to do with this. Paypal acts as a payment system for millions if not billions of online stores and I find it extremely hard to believe Paypal is at fault and although Apple also has many orders coming in everyday they have been known to have a couple payment problems in their system. In anycase I urge Apple as the provider of the software and the owner of the actual store to refund Mr.Christman back as by not refunding him Apple is really showing poor customor support in this situation.

Although it’s nothing to exciting it a peice of news I though was worth sharing with the Scewre community.

Review: 2011 Mac Mini

28 Jul

Sleek aluminum design. Easy access to memory. A built-in power supply.
The new Mac mini makes the most of every square inch.

In sync with Apple’s release of OS X Lion comes a refresh of the Mac Mini line. The 2011 refresh had bold moves and powerful upgrades, read more to uncover additional details.

One of the biggest down fall’s with the previous Mac Mini is that although it wasnt meant to be a pro macine it didn’t   offer basic features, like being able to access the inside. Now with the new Mac Mini there is an easily removable  cover  that you can use to install new memory, perhaps a larger harddrive and there seems to be a way even to access  the Wifi chip if that is an important factor for you. May I add that even if its only the Mac Minis inside the inside of the machine still looks swell and just looks great. Unfortunatly other than basic access to parts there is no other real benefit to having the panel and although it would have been nice to had more acess to the inside it isnt really neccesary in the Mac Mini.

One of the main features I love about Apple products are the clean simple and functional designs at without a doubt Apple has incorporated that in the new Mac Mini and although it’s small upgrade in time you’ll be thankful it was there to start with. This feature is the built in powersupply and because the Mac Mini has one you will only see one cord coming out of the Mac and this quite nice with all the Apple wireless peripherals the only wires you’ll see are the wires to the monitor and electricity outlet which in the world of a clean freak is a dream come true. Again Apple nails the small touches.

The Mac Mini has now been updated to be significantly more funtional with a plutora of new ports, including a new Thunderbolt port as well as an SD card reader in the back, the headphone port also doubles as a microphone and speaker port. There is also the much needed addition of an HDMI port which I though should have been standard a long time ago seing as how the Mac Mini is often used as a media center. There is also a vent that allow air to go through. One thing I have never been fond of in the design of the Mac Mini is the location of the power button being in the back it’s really inconvient and although it’s was placed in that specific spot because of design reasons I really do wish that Apple could find a way to incorporate an on button at the front perhaps the on button could be the light sensor in the front, when you put your hands in front of the light it could turn on, similar to the touch sensitive button’s on older PS3s.

 

Take a closer look at the front of the Mac Mini…. Notice anything different? That’s right, there’s no opticial disk drive. This is a blod move coming from Apple but I have a feeling it’s a good one. With software avaible online along with digital media access in seconds for heaps lower than physical discs, digital is the future. This move is a bold design statement but with no real use for the superdrive there’s no real reason to have it and with updated preformance the Mac Mini can download and install the drivers for your new printer faster than you can take the software disc out of its case.  In any case if having an CD drive is important to you then Apple does offer an optional external “Super Drive“.

The Mac Mini is and for a long time has been a very effecient machine and for a long time the packaging has been minimal and so has the computer’s power consumption it’s self and now with the new Mac Mini on idle it consumer 13 watts less then when it’s on so for those who work of the computer this is deffenately affecient enough to save you a couple bucks on the monthly bill.

The new Intel core i5 come standard in the Mac Mini the lower end is clocked at 2.3ghz and there is another option for a core i5 clocked at 2.5ghz. If you feel your require even more power Apple’s top end Mac Mini houses at 2.7ghz intel core i7. This is phenomanal the pricepoint of a Mac Mini and may I mention that there are computers much bigger than the Mac Mini that dont even come close to specing it. Below are some benchmarks that compare how much faster the Mac Mini really is in comparasion to it’s predeccors.  I think it is also important to mention that these benchmarks are those of the Baseline Mac Mini.

Mac Mini processor preformance

CiniBenchMultiprocessor render | 2.1x

Modo3D render | 2.0x
 
MathematicaMathematicaMark8 | 1.8x
 
ApertureCommon application tasks | 1.8x

The 2.5ghz Mac Mini offers the ATI Radeon HD graphics processor with 256mb GDDR5 memory. This while not being superb is quite decent for a computer with such small form factor. I should also mention that with higher models come even more acceptable specs for graphics but if your a mainstream user than the 2.3ghz baseline Mac Mini offers the Intel HD graphics processor which for regular tasks and light gaming is more than enough.  Below we have some results of the Mac Mini`s speed imporvement over it`s last generation.

Mac Mini Graphics Performance

Portal | 2.0x
 
Portal 2 | 1.9x
 
Half-Life 2: Episode Two | 1.8x
 
StarCraft II | 1.6x

Apple has a long history of keeping peripharls such the mouse and keyboard wireless saving the desk mess this is acomplished via bluetooth and in Apple history there has been a long use of bluetooth. With the new Mac Mini you are assured an even more powerful bluetooth receiever for all your bluetooth peripherals. Another addition is wireless internet and although this is expected from Apple it`s a nice feautre to have in a desktop machine.

For the better or for the worse Apple minimalises on extra`s. With the Mac Mini all you get is the computer itself. This can be as I mentioned a good or bad thing depending on your situation.

Harddrive cutomizability has always been a plus about Apple and with the release of the new Mac Mini come`s some new hardrive options. The Mac mini comes with a 500GB hard drive or an optional 750GB hard drive. This is perfect for you to pack in your photo libraries, movies, music, files, and more. Choose the 256GB solid-state drive for your 2.5GHz Mac mini, and it will be even more responsive, boot up even faster, and launch applications in no time.

The coolest part of all of this is the fact that the Mac Mini is ready for you to let the lion lose right out of the box and by this I mean that the new Mac Mini out of the box comes with OS X Lion, which is an added bonus.

The Mac Mini is a great machine and starting at only $599 it`s definately afforable and it is defienately comparable to the PC on the market becuase of the starting price alone. It offer`s bold design changes and great preformance upgrades. I should also mention that the clean design especially with the power cord is a great bonus for many users. Unfortunately despite it`s pricetag I cant really warrant an upgrade unless you are a regular computer user who works directly of the computer. On the contrary it`s still remains a vaible option if you are looking for a begginer Mac and it`s great for Mainstream users looking to do everyday tasks.

If you are looking for additonal information about the new Mac Mini look no further than Apple`s website.

iCloud: Why it’s free and thoughts

28 Jul

Recently Apple held their WWDC 2011 in San Fransisco and they managed to astound the audience with iCloud, IOS 5 and other miscellaneous annoucments. But in the end the big annoucment was iCloud Apple’s cloud networking service that was clearly aimed directly at it’s competitors and to a certain extent claimed the cloud networking market. But here’s the thing about iCloud it’s not exactly like it’s competitors, it basically more like a unanimous syncing system a prime example would be that if you had an iPad and a Macbook your on your flight you type something on your iPad in the Pages app what iCloud will do is download the document and then sync it with the other devices that can read the text and as changes are being  made to the document it constantly downloaded and updates the newest versions automatically so the newest versions are ready when your are going to access the document. This all happens in the background in an instant and the way it works is quite “awesome” and as this translate’s over to the music syncing and the photo’s and iCal it’s just what we’ve been waiting for and to close it of it’s all FREE.  Which is extremly again “awesome” although for the .me email service you can pay extra to get additional storage for your .me email account but that’s besides the point it’s still all free iCloud and the 5gb for email. But your probably wondering it’s great to hear that it is free but Apple a company known for compartively expensive products, it’s just highly unorthodox for a service to be of no charge and although this may be true this is extremly intelligent marketing on Apple’s part the reason why it’s free is because Apple want iCloud to be your number one impulse and reason for buying the iDevices and Mac’s. The created the service so it works seamlessly between ownly Apple software so when PC user’s see such a seamless interface it’s gives enough reason to buy a Mac an iPad and an iPhone so that you can have a unanimous experience between all the devices and when you offer it for free there’s no reason you shouldn’t switch to the Mac platform whhen everything works seamlesly and enexpensively where are PC cloud services are all over the place done in a unorthodox fashion and in some cases not enegineered too great. After long thinking I am willing to put my word on it that when Apple is off with iCloud, IOS 5 and OSX Lion Apple will see a spike in sales without a doubt and with careful marketing plus engineering Apple is guaranteed to again dominate another industry of godly particles. Cloud. You can find out more about iCloud at www.iCloud.com.

Lion Downloads Top One Million in 24hrs

27 Jul

OS X Lion is Apple’s latest operating system release and Apple nailed a couple things. The first is indefinitely pricing at only $29.99 the price is appealing to regular level consumers who otherwise if the operating system was normally priced at $120 would not upgrade. With small but much anticipated upgrades Lion has sparked like wild fire in the App Store and this is clear with the earnings that Apple has reported for the first day of sales. This has simultaneously also brought Apple’s stock price touching 400 a share. With a plethora of new features, affordable price and easy download from the Mac App Store, Lion has definitely paved it’s own way to success and quite honestly although these numbers are quite exciting I was ironically expecting most of these results. Of course with the release of Lion came new Mac Minis, Thunderbolt Displays and a new line of Macbook Airs that for the most part look towards appealing the Mac crowd that is growing at an exponential rate.