New MacBook Pro With M1 Pro and M1 Max Chips
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New MacBook Pro With M1 Pro and M1 Max Chips

Apple’s first MacBook Pro redesign in five years reverses course on some problematic design choices.

By Joanna Stern
Tue, Oct 19, 2021 11:54amGrey Clock 4 min

Apple in 2016: Laptops don’t need full-size ports or MagSafe chargers, but they do need a Touch Bar!

Apple in 2021: Oh, did we say that? So sorry. We actually think laptops do need full-size ports and MagSafe chargers. And what’s a Touch Bar?

Apple’s newest MacBook Pro, introduced along with new AirPods at an event on Monday, might be better called the MacBook Pro-gress. As in, Apple has finally made significant progress in fixing all of the frustrating design changes. It had already killed off the disastrous butterfly keyboard.

Yes, a full keyboard with real keys. Full-size function keys in place of a Touch Bar. An SD-card slot. An HDMI port. A magnetic MagSafe charging port. They’re all back!

And this isn’t just a return to Square One. The completely redesigned laptops—available next week at a starting price of $2,999, in both 14.2- and 16.2-inch screen sizes—promise big performance and battery-life improvements with new Apple M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. They have new high-contrast, high-resolution displays and an improved 1080p webcam.

I plan to review the new machines soon but in the meantime let’s run down the best new MacBook Pro features:

Ports and MagSafe

Should we forgive Apple for the bank loans we have had to take out to buy various SD-card, HDMI and USB-C dongles for the past few years? Absolutely not. But should we rejoice about the return of the SD-card and HDMI ports? Abso-freakin’-lutely. Many professionals still rely on those and many Windows PCs have kept these ports over the years, even while adding USB-C ports.

The new MacBook Pro models have three USB-C ports (with Thunderbolt 4) for connecting other peripherals. And while you can also continue to charge the laptops via those ports—handy when you’re tethered to an external monitor—chances are you’re going to want to carry the new MagSafe 3 charger that comes in the box. Like the original MacBook MagSafe charger, it clips magnetically to the laptop. If it gets knocked out, your laptop doesn’t go tumbling down, it just detaches. Apple also says the new charger is capable of faster charging, getting up to 50% in 30 minutes.

Keyboard

Apple hoped its Touch Bar—a touch-screen strip above the number row—would be a good substitute for traditional function keys and provide dynamic shortcuts based on whatever app you were in. Instead, it got in the way more than an aeroplane’s middle-seat armrest. No, Siri, you can’t help me! I just want to mute my volume!

On these new MacBook Pro models, the traditional function row is back, and at full size, with the volume, screen brightness and other controls you’re familiar with. A Touch ID fingerprint sensor remains in the upper right hand corner of the keyboard to quickly and securely unlock your machine without a password.

Webcam and Display

When I first saw the iPhone-like display notch at the top, surrounding the webcam, I hoped Apple also added Face ID facial recognition to its high-end laptops. But nope, that area is all for a new 1080p webcam, which Apple says doubles the resolution and improves lowlight performance. I look forward to testing that, because built-in laptop webcams haven’t been good.

The main event really is the laptops’ new Liquid Retina XDR displays, which are brighter and have refresh rates up to 120 hertz, to make everything from scrolling to videos seem smoother. Hertz so good, just like John Mellencamp said.

M1 Pro and M1 Max

Now, to be fair, during the past year I learned to live without the ports—and even coexist with the Touch Bar—because of the M1 chip inside of last year’s 13-inch MacBook Pro. By subbing in its own chip for Intel’s, Apple was able to create snappier, quieter and cooler machines. Plus, the battery lasts at least six to eight hours in my daily use.

With the new MacBook Pros, that performance has been revved up. The two machines are available with faster versions of the M1 chip—the better and faster M1 Pro and then the even better and even faster M1 Max. Apple presented more charts and graphs than a quarterly earnings report at its event, to show the leaps in raw processing and graphical performance. Plus, the M1 Pro chip can support up to 32 gigabytes of memory and the M1 Max can take 64GB. The current M1 chip maxes out at 16GB.

The battery-life claims are impressive, too. The company says the 14-inch model can play video for 17 hours, while the 16-inch model can go 21 hours. Apple says it’s the “longest battery life ever on a Mac notebook.”

Is it everything I’ve wanted for the past few years? Seems like it, but I’ll have to test it out myself, especially those webcam, battery and performance claims. Plus, now my dog can go bury my dongle collection in the backyard. He’ll be so happy.

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: October 18



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Is ‘Rizz’ the Secret to Getting Ahead at Work?

Whether you call it charisma, charm or magnetism, some people seem like naturals. Good news: It can be learned.

By Rachel Feintzeig
Mon, Jul 22, 2024 4 min

Great leaders have it. Gen Z has a new word for it. Can the rest of us learn it?

Charisma—or rizz , as current teenage slang has anointed it—can feel like an ephemeral gift some are just born with. The chosen among us network and chitchat, exuding warmth as they effortlessly hold court. Then there’s everyone else, agonising over exclamation points in email drafts and internally replaying that joke they made in the meeting, wondering if it hit.

“Well, this is awkward,” Mike Rizzo, the head of a community for marketing operations professionals, says of rizz being crowned 2023 word of the year by the publisher of the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s so close to his last name, but so far from how he sees himself. He sometimes gets sweaty palms before hosting webinars.

Who could blame us for obsessing over charisma, or lack thereof? It can lubricate social interactions, win us friends, and score promotions . It’s also possible to cultivate, assures Charles Duhigg, the author of a book about people he dubs super communicators.

At its heart, charisma isn’t about some grand performance. It’s a state we elicit in other people, Duhigg says. It’s about fostering connection and making our conversation partners feel they’re the charming—or interesting or funny—ones.

The key is to ask deeper, though not prying, questions that invite meaningful and revealing responses, Duhigg says. And match the other person’s vibes. Maybe they want to talk about emotions, the joy they felt watching their kid graduate from high school last weekend. Or maybe they’re just after straight-up logistics and want you to quickly tell them exactly how the team is going to turn around that presentation by tomorrow.

You might be hired into a company for your skill set, Duhigg says, but your ability to communicate and earn people’s trust propels you up the ladder: “That is leadership.”

Approachable and relatable

In reporting this column, I was surprised to hear many executives and professionals I find breezily confident and pleasantly chatty confess it wasn’t something that came naturally. They had to work on it.

Dave MacLennan , who served as chief executive of agricultural giant Cargill for nearly a decade, started by leaning into a nickname: DMac, first bestowed upon him in a C-suite meeting where half the executives were named Dave.

He liked the informality of it. The further he ascended up the corporate hierarchy, the more he strove to be approachable and relatable.

Employees “need a reason to follow you,” he says. “One of the reasons they’re going to follow you is that they feel they know you.”

He makes a point to remember the details and dates of people’s lives, such as colleagues’ birthdays. After making his acquaintance, in a meeting years ago at The Wall Street Journal’s offices, I was shocked to receive an email from his address months later. Subject line: You , a heading so compelling I still recall it. He went on to say he remembered I was due with my first child any day now and just wanted to say good luck.

“So many people say, ‘Oh, I don’t have a good memory for that,’” he says. Prioritise remembering, making notes on your phone if you need, he says.

Now a board member and an executive coach, MacLennan sent hundreds of handwritten notes during his tenure. He’d reach out to midlevel managers who’d just gotten a promotion, or engineers who showed him around meat-processing plants. He’d pen words of thanks or congratulations. And he’d address the envelopes himself.

“Your handwriting is a very personal thing about you,” he says. “Think about it. Twenty seconds. It makes such an impact.”

Everyone’s important

Doling out your charm selectively will backfire, says Carla Harris , a Morgan Stanley executive. She chats up the woman cleaning the office, the receptionist at her doctor’s, the guy waiting alongside her for the elevator.

“Don’t be confused,” she tells young bankers. Executive assistants are often the most powerful people in the building, and you never know how someone can help—or hurt—you down the line.

Harris once spent a year mentoring a junior worker in another department, not expecting anything in return. One day, Harris randomly mentioned she faced an uphill battle in meeting with a new client. Oh!, the 24-year-old said. Turns out, the client was her friend. She made the call right there, setting up Harris for a work win.

In the office, stop staring at your phone, Harris advises, and notice the people around you. Ask for their names. Push yourself to start a conversation with three random people every day.

Charisma for introverts

You can’t will yourself to be a bubbly extrovert, but you can find your own brand of charisma, says Vanessa Van Edwards, a communications trainer and author of a book about charismatic communication.

For introverted clients, she recommends using nonverbal cues. A slow triple nod shows people you’re listening. Placing your hands in the steeple position, together and facing up, denotes that you’re calm and present.

Try coming up with one question you’re known for. Not a canned, hokey ice-breaker, but something casual and simple that reflects your actual interests. One of her clients, a bookish executive struggling with uncomfortable, halting starts to his meetings, began kicking things off by asking “Reading anything good?”

Embracing your stumbles

Charisma starts with confidence. It’s not that captivating people don’t occasionally mispronounce a word or spill their coffee, says Henna Pryor, who wrote a book about embracing awkwardness at work. They just have a faster comeback rate than the rest of us. They call out the stumble instead of trying to hide it, make a small joke, and move on.

Being perfectly polished all the time is not only exhausting, it’s impossible. We know this, which is why appearing flawless can come off as fake. We like people who seem human, Pryor says.

Our most admired colleagues are often the ones who are good at their jobs and can laugh at themselves too, who occasionally trip or flub just like us.

“It creates this little moment of warmth,” she says, “that we actually find almost like a relief.”

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