Consumer Reports Recommends New MacBook Pro After Repeat Testing

Consumer Reports is out with an updated report on the 2016 MacBook Pro, and following retesting, the magazine is now recommending Apple’s latest notebooks.

In the new test, conducted running a beta version of macOS that fixes the Safari-related bug that caused erratic battery life in the original test, all three MacBook Pro models “performed well.”

The 13-inch model without a Touch Bar had an average battery life of 18.75 hours, the 13-inch model with a Touch Bar lasted for 15.25 hours on average, and the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar had an average battery life of 17.25 hours.

Now that we’ve factored in the new battery-life measurements, the laptops’ overall scores have risen, and all three machines now fall well within the recommended range in Consumer Reports ratings.

Consumer Reports originally denied the 2016 MacBook Pro a purchase recommendation in late December due to extreme battery life variance that didn’t match up with Apple’s 10 hour battery life claim.

Apple worked with Consumer Reports to figure out why the magazine encountered battery life issues, which led to the discovery of an obscure Safari caching bug. Consumer Reports used a developer setting to turn off Safari caching, triggering an “obscure and intermittent bug reloading icons” that drained excessive battery.

The bug, fixed by Apple in macOS Sierra 10.12.3 beta 3, is not one the average user will encounter as most people don’t turn off the Safari caching option, but it’s something done in all Consumer Reports tests to ensure uniform testing conditions. A fix for the issue will be available to the general public when macOS Sierra 10.12.3 is released, but users can get it now by signing up for Apple’s beta testing program.

Each of the three 2016 MacBook Pro models, including the 13-inch MacBook Pro without Touch Bar, and the 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro models with Touch Bars, are advertised as achieving 10 hours of battery life on a single charge when watching iTunes movies or browsing the web.

Real life Battery usage can vary significantly, however, based on factors like screen brightness and the applications being used.

 

iPhone is 10 years old!

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the day Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone at Macworld in San Francisco. In what has become one of the most iconic moments in Apple’s storied history, Jobs teased the device as if it were three separate products: a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and a breakthrough internet communications device.

Apple began selling the iPhone six months later, and nearly a decade later, the company has now sold well over 1 billion of them to customers around the world. iPhone sales continued to rise on an annual basis until 2016, when the smartphone experienced its first-ever year-over-year sales decline amid a down year for Apple. Nevertheless, the iPhone remains Apple’s most successful product ever, accounting for 60% of the company’s overall revenue last quarter.

“iPhone is an essential part of our customers’ lives, and today more than ever it is redefining the way we communicate, entertain, work and live,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “iPhone set the standard for mobile computing in its first decade and we are just getting started. The best is yet to come.”

Apple upended the mobile phone industry that was then dominated by earlier entrants such as Nokia and BlackBerry, two companies that are effectively out of the market today. Jobs poked fun at “smartphones” of the era, quipping they were “not so smart” and “not so easy to use,” while criticizing outdated hardware features such as physical keyboards and styli. In turn, he introduced revolutionary new features such as Multi-Touch to big rounds of applause.

Since then, Apple has improved the iPhone each year by adding several new features:

• 2008: App Store and 3G network support
• 2009: Video recording and Personal Hotspot
• 2010: Retina display
• 2011: Siri and iCloud
• 2012: Taller 4-inch screen, Lightning connector, and LTE
• 2013: Touch ID
• 2014: Larger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens
• 2015: 3D Touch, Live Photos, and 4K video recording
• 2016: Waterproofing and dual-lens camera on iPhone 7 Plus

“It is amazing that from the very first iPhone through to today’s newest iPhone 7 Plus, it has remained the gold standard by which all other smartphones are judged. For many of us, iPhone has become the most essential device in our lives and we love it,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of marketing.

Super Mario Run is here!

FROM: iMore

Super Mario Run is finally available in the App Store for the iPhone. It is Nintendo’s second mobile game in history (the first being Miitomo) and Mario’s first game on a mobile device. So, this is big news. Like any good Super Mario Bros. game, it has plenty of skill-based content. You’ll have to plan your strategy and learn how to time your moves just right if you want to get all of the goodies on any given level.

Super Mario Run is free to download. You can play The first three levels of World 1 and 20 seconds of the boss level for free. After that, you’ll have to unlock the rest of the game for $9.99. Believe me, you’ll want to buy this game once you’ve played 30 seconds of the first level. It’ll hook you in!

DOWNLOAD SUPER MARIO RUN from App Store

There are three modes of gameplay; World Tour, Toad Rally, and kingdom building. Each one helps other modes. For example, completing worlds in World Tour unlocks new courses in Toad Rally, which unlock new Toad colors, which unlock new buildings in your kingdom. So, be sure to play everything every day.

Basic moves

Super Mario Run

Mario runs automatically. You don’t have to (or should I say, get to) manually move him. He also automatically jumps over small obstacles, like blocks, small gaps in the path, and low-height Warp Pipes.

Though Mario likes to automatically jump over things, that doesn’t mean he is invincible. You can be injured or die. If you are powered up thanks to a Mushroom, you’ll simply shrink back down in size. If you are not, Mario will be captured by a bubble and taken back to the beginning of the level. You’ll have to tap the screen to pop the bubble. You can tap the bubble anytime after Mario stops spinning. If you want to go back to the beginning of the level, you can float away. If you want to continue right where you left off, tap the bubble right away. You gets three lives before Game Over.

You do want to control when Mario jumps, though. A well-timed jump will provide some sweet rewards. For example, if you jump onto a Goomba’s head, you’ll earn some coins for crushing him. If you time your jump just right, you can kick a Koopa Troopa into a spin and send him into your enemy’s path. Proper jumps will also lead to areas with secret goodies, like Super Stars or Challenge Coins.

To jump normally, tap the screen. To get a high jump. Press and hold your finger on the screen. To spin in mid-air, touch and hold your finger on the screen, and then tap the screen while in mid-air. To stall in mid-air, touch the screen and swipe to the left.

While running the course, you’ll see little transparent arrows. When you run past one, it will project a row of coins for you to grab. Pay attention to these arrows because they give you insight into where you should run/jump next.

Levels have a time limit. You have to get through to the end before the clock runs out or you’ll lose and have to start over (when you die, your time does not start over).

Continue reading “Super Mario Run is here!”

MacBook Pro’s new Touch Bar with TouchID

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Apple has announced its newest line of MacBook Pro notebooks, and true to the leaks, it comes with an OLED strip instead of function keys. As the company’s Phil Schiller notes, function keys are a decades-old technology that shouldn’t really have a place in a laptop from 2016. In its place, the company is adding a retina display touchscreen (with multitouch) that it’s calling the Touch Bar. As well as contextual menus that change depending on what app you’re in, the power button on the far right now doubles as a TouchID sensor.

These contextual menus will change depending on what software you’re using, so when you’re inside Mail, you’ll get dedicated send buttons in the strip. In photo editing, you’ll be offered rotation sliders for making minor adjustments. Final Cut Pro, for instance, will let you scrub through your editing timeline and even push clips around.

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You’ll also get quick type suggestions, much like iOS’ predictive text keyboard and, should you require the function keys, you just have to hold down the Fn key to get ’em back. In the demo so far, it looks as if the Escape key will remain a permanent fixture on the top left, so you don’t have to mourn its passing just yet. It also reminds us of Art Lebedev’s old Optimus keyboards that came with customizable OLED keys all the way back in 2008.

Users will also be able to customize their Touch Bar with specific shortcut keys that relate to specific features. For instance, if you wanted to have a screenshot button right in the keyboard, you can click and drag to add that icon to the bar. In many ways, the Touch Bar’s buttons crib from iOS, showing you similar buttons for answering FaceTime calls that you’ll have found on the iPhone.

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Tesla shocks Wall St. with huge earnings !!

Tesla’s quarterly [ earnings report ]

Tesla just a few minutes ago posted its earnings report for the quarter gone by and investors will have a lot to cheer about. While analysts on Wall St. were expecting Tesla to post a loss, Tesla during its September quarter actually posted a profit, and an impressive profit at that. When the dust settled, Tesla posted a quarterly profit of $22 million and EPS of $0.71. Revenue for the quarter checked in at $2.3 billion.

Illustrating how impressive Tesla’s performance was this past quarter, Wall St. was anticipating Tesla to post a loss amid $1.9 billion in revenue for the quarter.

Tesla said its total revenue for the quarter was $2.3 billion. The company shipped 24,821 vehicles, over 300 more than it estimated it would deliver earlier this month. Tesla shipped 16,047 Model S sedans and 8,774 Model X SUVs. In addition, 5,065 vehicles were in transit to customers at the end of the quarter and will be received in the weeks to come.

As far as deliveries are concerned, Tesla during the quarter boasted that it achieved record vehicle production, deliveries and revenue. More importantly, Tesla reaffirmed via a shareholder letter that the Model 3 is still on track for a late 2017 release.

“At the same time, we continue to lay the foundation for future growth,” the shareholder letter reads in part. “Gigafactory construction and Model 3 development both remain on plan to support volume Model 3 production and deliveries in the second half of 2017. Meanwhile, our efforts to transform the solar industry will be demonstrated at our joint product introduction with SolarCity on October 28th.

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“Last week, we announced that all newly produced Tesla vehicles have the hardware needed for full self-driving capability,” the letter continues. “This same capability will also be built into every Model 3.”

As to manufacturing progress on Tesla’s highly anticipated $35,000 EV, the company notes that production line layouts are completed that body welding and final assembly lines will soon be installed. Addressing any concerns about suppliers not being able to handle what is already immense demand for the Model 3, Tesla notes that they have “established a world class team of suppliers for Model 3 production equipment and components and critical long lead time
equipment and components have been sourced.”

Additionally, Tesla says that testing on the Model 3’s “chassis, the high voltage drive system,
and low voltage subsystems such as vehicle controllers, HVAC, infotainment and lighting” has already begun.

Not surprisingly, shares of Tesla are nearly up 5% in after hours trading.

Apple AirPod NOT coming in October 2016

Apple’s wireless future has been delayed.

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The iPhone-maker revealed today that it is still not ready to start shipping AirPods, even though customers were told they would launch by the end of October.

“The early response to AirPods has been incredible. We don’t believe in shipping a product before it’s ready, and we need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers,” an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Apple didn’t specify if its a hardware or software issue that is holding back the AirPods. The new buds are supposed to be a complimentary accessory for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Both new phones don’t have a headphone jack, requiring owners to use a dongle to charge and listen to wired headphones at the same time.

The new wireless earbuds were announced at the iPhone 7 event last month. To boost audio quality, Apple created its own W1 Bluetooth chip that is extremely energy efficient. AirPods are supposed to link seamlessly with iPhone and come with a built-in microphone so wearers can give Siri commands.

Early reviews for AirPods were fairly positive in terms of performance and battery life. Apple did not give a date for when fans can finally expect to buy a pair.

Microsoft Announces Surface Book i7, Desktop PC ‘Surface Studio,’ and Windows 10 Creators Update

At its media event today in New York City, Microsoft announced a new update coming to Windows 10 devices that’s focused on creativity and productivity tools, as well as two major new pieces of hardware: the Surface Book i7 and Surface Studio. The Surface Book is the second generation of last year’s original model, while the Surface Studio is the company’s all new, all-in-one desktop PC that’s aimed at the high-end, enterprise market with a starting price of $2,999.

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Surface Book i7

The first piece of hardware that Microsoft announced today was the Surface Book i7, which has doubled performance from last year’s model and an improved 16 hours of battery life, 30 percent more than the first generation. The laptop’s name comes from its included Intel Core i7 Processor, and Microsoft said the top-of-the-line version outperforms the high-end MacBook Pro three times over.

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Surface Studio

As a companion to Surface Book i7, Microsoft also announced an all-in-one PC called Surface Studio that has the “thinnest LCD monitor ever built” and a 12.5mm thin touch screen. The 28-inch PixelSense Display has 13.5 million pixels and a feature called “TrueColor” that displays colors as close to they are in real life. The company said that there’s “no monitor like this on the planet.”

The PC can also fold down and lay at an angle, enhancing the “studio” aspect of the title and aimed at artists and drawing programs. The computer can be pushed down to a 20 degree angle using a “zero gravity hinge,” making it easy to adjust the viewing angle of the Surface Studio with just one hand. To help with adding new creation tools, Microsoft also introduced the “Surface Dial,” which can work off the Studio’s screen with various scrolling and adjustment controls.

When placed on the screen, the Surface Studio recognizes Surface Dial’s location dynamically and offers up new prompts, buttons, and toolsets for artists in apps like Photoshop. This allows users to “more seamlessly move through their workflow,” according to Microsoft, without having to fiddle with other toolbar options or programs while they’re working.

The Surface Studio’s processing unit is housed in the small silver box at its base. The cheapest model of Surface Studio includes an Intel Core i5 processor, 1TB SSD, 8GB RAM, and a 2GB GPU for $2,999. That jumps up to $3,499 for an Intel Core i7 processor and 16GB RAM, with the top-of-the-line model running for $4,199 with a 2TB SSD, i7 processor, 32GB RAM, and 4GB GPU. Pre-orders are up now, but the Surface Studio ships slightly later in the year, on December 15.