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.
Apple’s first MacBook Pro redesign in five years reverses course on some problematic design choices.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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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Vacationers scratching their travel itch this season are sending prices through the roof. Here’s how some are making trade-offs.
Capri Coffer socks away $600 a month to help fund her travels. The Atlanta health-insurance account executive and her husband couldn’t justify a family vacation to the Dominican Republic this summer, though, given what she calls “astronomical” plane ticket prices of $800 each.
The price was too high for younger family members, even with Coffer defraying some of the costs.
Instead, the family of six will pile into a rented minivan come August and drive to Hilton Head Island, S.C., where Coffer booked a beach house for $650 a night. Her budget excluding food for the two-night trip is about $1,600, compared with the $6,000 price she was quoted for a three-night trip to Punta Cana.
“That way, everyone can still be together and we can still have that family time,” she says.
With hotel prices and airfares stubbornly high as the 2023 travel rush continues—and overall inflation squeezing household budgets—this summer is shaping up as the season of travel trade-offs for many of us.
Average daily hotel rates in the top 25 U.S. markets topped $180 year-to-date through April, increasing 9.9% from a year ago and 15.6% from 2019, according to hospitality-data firm STR.
Online travel sites report more steep increases for summer ticket prices, with Kayak pegging the increase at 35% based on traveler searches. (Perhaps there is no more solid evidence of higher ticket prices than airline executives’ repeated gushing about strong demand, which gives them pricing power.)
The high prices and economic concerns don’t mean we’ll all be bunking in hostels and flying Spirit Airlines with no luggage. Travellers who aren’t going all-out are compromising in a variety of ways to keep the summer vacation tradition alive, travel agents and analysts say.
“They’re still out there and traveling despite some pretty real economic headwinds,” says Mike Daher, Deloitte’s U.S. transportation, hospitality and services leader. “They’re just being more creative in how they spend their limited dollars.”
For some, that means a cheaper hotel. Hotels.com says global search interest in three-star hotels is up more than 20% globally. Booking app HotelTonight says nearly one in three bookings in the first quarter were for “basic” hotels, compared with 27% in the same period in 2019.
For other travellers, the trade-offs include a shorter trip, a different destination, passing on premium seat upgrades on full-service airlines or switching to no-frills airlines. Budget-airline executives have said on earnings calls that they see evidence of travellers trading down.
Deloitte’s 2023 summer travel survey, released Tuesday, found that average spending on “marquee” trips this year is expected to decline to $2,930 from $3,320 a year ago. Tighter budgets are a factor, he says.
Wendy Marley is no economics teacher, but says she’s spent a lot of time this year refreshing clients on the basics of supply and demand.
The AAA travel adviser, who works in the Boston area, says the lesson comes up every time a traveler with a set budget requests help planning a dreamy summer vacation in Europe.
“They’re just having complete sticker shock,” she says.
Marley has become a pro at Plan B destinations for this summer.
For one client celebrating a 25th wedding anniversary with a budget of $10,000 to $12,000 for a five-star June trip, she switched their attention from the pricey French Riviera or Amalfi Coast to a luxury resort on the Caribbean island of St. Barts.
To Yellowstone fans dismayed at ticket prices into Jackson, Wyo., and three-star lodges going for six-star prices, she recommends other national parks within driving distance of Massachusetts, including Acadia National Park in Maine.
For clients who love the all-inclusive nature of cruising but don’t want to shell out for plane tickets to Florida, she’s been booking cruises out of New York and New Jersey.
Not all of Marley’s clients are tweaking their plans this summer.
Michael McParland, a 78-year-old consultant in Needham, Mass., and his wife are treating their family to a luxury three-week Ireland getaway. They are flying business class on Aer Lingus and touring with Adventures by Disney. They initially booked the trip for 2020, so nothing was going to stand in the way this year.
McParland is most excited to take his teen grandsons up the mountain in Northern Ireland where his father tended sheep.
“We decided a number of years ago to give our grandsons memories,” he says. “Money is money. They don’t remember you for that.”
Chima Enwere, a 28-year old piano teacher in Fayetteville, N.C., is also headed to the U.K., but not by design.
Enwere, who fell in love with Europe on trips the past few years, let airline ticket prices dictate his destination this summer to save money.
He was having a hard time finding reasonable flights out of Raleigh-Durham, N.C., so he asked for ideas in a Facebook travel group. One traveler found a round-trip flight on Delta to Scotland for $900 in late July with reasonable connections.
He was budgeting $1,500 for the entire trip—he stays in hostels to save money—but says he will have to spend more given the pricier-than-expected plane ticket.
“I saw that it was less than four digits and I just immediately booked it without even asking questions,” he says.
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