Apple has announced the new MacBook, described as “a new line of notebooks reinvented in every way to deliver the thinnest and lightest Macs ever”.
The new notebook weighs just two pounds and is 13.1 mm thin, features a 12-inch Retina display that is the thinnest yet on a Mac, an Apple-designed full-size keyboard that is dramatically thinner and a new Force Touch trackpad. It also sports a compact USB-C port for data transfer, video out and charging in a single connector, and a new battery design that maximises every space to deliver all-day battery life. And, for the first time, MacBook is available in three aluminium finishes: gold, silver and space grey.
“Apple has reinvented the notebook with the new MacBook, and at just two pounds and 13.1 mm, it’s the thinnest and lightest Mac ever,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Every component of the MacBook reveals a new innovation. From its fanless design, ultra-thin Retina display and full-size keyboard that’s 34 percent thinner, to its all-new Force Touch trackpad, versatile USB-C port and breakthrough terraced battery design, the new MacBook is the future of the notebook.”
Measuring just 13.1 mm at its thickest point, the new MacBook design is 24 per cent thinner than the 11-inch MacBook Air. With a new precision-milled unibody enclosure featuring integrated Wi-Fi antennas and a top case with polished stainless steel Apple logo, it is the first MacBook with an all-metal enclosure.
The new MacBook is designed around a new full-size keyboard. Fitting the full-size keyboard into the thin MacBook meant completely re-engineering how a notebook keyboard works. The new keyboard is 34 percent thinner and uses an Apple-designed butterfly mechanism that is 40 percent thinner than a traditional keyboard scissor mechanism, yet four times more stable, providing greater precision no matter where a finger strikes the key. New stainless steel dome switches located beneath each key deliver a crisp and responsive feel when typing, and every key on the new keyboard is individually backlit with its own single LED to deliver precisely calibrated, uniform brightness behind each keycap.
The 12-inch Retina display, with a 16:10 aspect ratio, measures just 0.88 mm thin. With a larger aperture for each pixel, the new Retina display is also extremely efficient and uses 30 percent less energy than existing Mac notebook Retina displays, while delivering the same level of brightness. It offers a resolution of 2304 x 1440.
The new Force Touch trackpad features built-in force sensors that allow users to click anywhere and haptic feedback that provides a responsive and uniform feel. Users can customise the feel of the trackpad by changing the amount of pressure needed to register each click. The Force Touch trackpad also enables a new gesture called Force Click, a click followed by a deeper press, for tasks like pulling up the definition of a word, quickly seeing a map or glancing at a preview of a file.
Applying miniaturisation techniques used in iPhone and iPad, MacBook features the most compact logic board yet in a Mac, measuring 67 per cent smaller than the logic board of the 11-inch MacBook Air. With no moving parts or vents, the new MacBook was designed from the ground up to be the first fanless Mac notebook for silent, efficient performance. MacBook features the new fifth-generation Intel Core M processor that runs at just 5 watts and Intel HD Graphics 5300. The highly efficient processors work in conjunction with optimisations throughout OS X to make the new MacBook what is claimed by Apple to be the world’s most energy efficient notebook.
It features a breakthrough terraced battery design that is layered in individual sheets that are precisely contoured to fit the MacBook’s sleek, curved enclosure. As a result, the new MacBook has 35 per cent more battery capacity than would be possible with traditional battery cells and delivers up to 9 hours of wireless web browsing and up to 10 hours of iTunes movie playback.
MacBook is equipped with the latest wireless technologies, including built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 for fast wireless connectivity.
The new MacBook also features a next-generation USB-C port that is incredibly small, yet extremely versatile and user friendly. A new industry standard, USB-C supports higher wattage charging, USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps) data transfer and DisplayPort 1.2, all in a single connector that’s one-third the size of a traditional USB port.
Every new Mac comes with OS X Yosemite, a powerful new version of OS X, redesigned and refined with a fresh, modern look, powerful new apps and Continuity features that make working across Mac and iOS devices more fluid.
iMovie, GarageBand, iPhoto, and Pages, Numbers and Keynote come free with every new Mac.
The all-new MacBook will begin shipping on April 10 through select Apple Authorised Resellers. MacBook comes with a 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.4 GHz, 8GB of memory, 256GB of flash storage and Intel HD Graphics 5300; and with a 1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 2.6GHz, 8GB of memory, 512GB of flash storage and Intel HD Graphics 5300. Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at www.apple.com/macbook.
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Samsung clears the table with new monitor
For those who like minimalism and tidy desks, Samsung’s new Space Monitor may just do the trick, writes BRYAN TURNER.
The latest trends of narrow-bezels and minimalist designs have transcended smartphones, spilling into other designs, like laptops and monitors.
The new Space Monitor line by Samsung follows in this new design “tradition”. The company has moved the monitor off the desk – by clipping it onto the edge of the desk.
It can be put into three configurations: completely upright, where it sits a bit high but completely off the desk; half-way to the desk, where it is a bit lower to put some papers or files underneath the display; and flat on the desk, where it is at its lowest.
The monitor sits on a weighted hinge at the edge of the desk, providing sturdy adjustment to its various height configurations. It also swivels on a hinge at the point where the arm connects to the display. This provides precise viewing angle adjustment, which is great for showing something on screen to someone who is standing.
Apart from form factor, there are some neat goodies packed into the box. It comes with a two-pin power adapter, with no adapter box on the midpoint between the plug and the monitor, and a single cable that carries HDMI-Y and power to prevent tangling.
However, it’s slightly disappointing that there isn’t a Mini Display Port and power cable “in one cable” option for Mac and newer graphics card users, who will have to run two cables down the back of the screen. Even worse, the display doesn’t have a USB Type-C display input; a missed opportunity to connect a Samsung device to the panel.
A redeeming point is the stunning, Samsung-quality panel, which features a 4K UHD resolution. The colours are sharp and the viewing angles are good. However, this display is missing something: Pantone or Adobe RGB colour certification, as well as IPS technology.
The display’s response rate comes in at 4ms, slightly below average for displays in this price range.
These negatives aside, this display has a very specific purpose. It’s for those who want to create desk space in a few seconds, while not having to rearrange the room.
Final verdict: This display is not for gamers nor for graphic designers. It is for those who need big displays but frequently
Can mobile fix education?
By Ernst Wittmann, global account director for MEA and country manager for Southern Africa, at TCL Communications
Mobile technology has transformed the way we live and work, and it can be expected to rapidly change the ways in which children learn as smartphones and tablets become more widely accepted at primary and high schools. By putting a powerful computer in every learner’s schoolbag or pocket, smartphones could play an important role in improving educational outcomes in a country where so many schools are under-resourced.
Here are some ways that mobile technology will reshape education in the years to come:
Organisation and productivity
For many adults, the real benefit of a smartphone comes from simple applications like messaging, calendaring and email. The same goes for schoolchildren, many of whom will get the most value from basic apps like sending a WhatApp message to friends to check on the homework for the day, keeping track of their extramural calendar, or photographing the teacher’s notes from the blackboard or whiteboard. One study of young people’s mobile phone use in Ghana, Malawi and South Africa confirmed that many of them got the most value from using their phones to complete mundane tasks.
One of the major benefits smartphones can bring to the classroom is boosting learners’ engagement with educational materials through rich media and interactivity. For example, apps like Mathletics use gamification to get children excited about doing mathematics—they turn learning into a game, with rewards for practicing and hitting milestones. Or teachers can set up a simple poll using an app like Poll Everywhere to ask the children in a class what they think about a character’s motivation in their English set-work book.
Mobile technology opens the doors to more
For example, teachers can provide recommended educational materials for children who are racing in ahead of their peers in some of their subjects. Or they can suggest relevant games for children who learn better through practical application of ideas than by listening to a teacher and taking notes.
In future, we can expect to see teachers, perhaps aided by algorithms and artificial intelligence, make use of analytics to track how students engage with educational content on their mobile devices and use these insights to create more powerful learning experiences.
South Africa has a shortage of teachers in key subjects such as mathematics and science, which disproportionately affects learners in poor and rural areas. According to a statement in 2017 from the Department of Basic Education, it has more than 5,000 underqualified or unqualified teachers working around the country. Though technology cannot substitute for a qualified teacher, it can supplement human teaching in remote or poor areas where teachers are not available or not qualified to teach certain subjects. Video learning and videoconferencing sessions offer the next best thing where a math or physical science teacher is not physically present in the classroom.
Knowledge is power and the Internet is the world’s biggest repository of knowledge. Schoolchildren can access information and expertise about every subject under the sun from their smartphones – whether they are reading the news on a portal, watching documentaries on YouTube, downloading electronic books, using apps to improve their language skills, or simply Googling facts and figures for a school project.
Take a mobile-first approach
Technology has a powerful role to play in the South African school of the future, but there are some key success factors schools must bear in mind as they bring mobile devices into the classroom:
- Use appropriate technology—in South Africa, that means taking a mobile-first approach and using the smartphones many children already know and use.
- Thinking about challenges such as security – put in place the cyber and physical security needed to keep phones and data safe and secure.
- Ensuring teachers and children alike are trained to make the most of the tech – teachers need to take an active role in curating content and guiding schoolchildren’s use of their devices. To get that right, they will need training and access to reliable tech support.