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New MacBook Pro raises the bar

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Amid the hype of the new Apple laptop being the “most powerful MacBook Pro ever”, replacing function keys with a Touch Bar is a step forward.

Apple this week introduced its thinnest and lightest MacBook Pro yet, along with a breakthrough interface that replaces the traditional row of function keys with a multi-touch display called the Touch Bar.

The new MacBook Pro features a bright and colourful Retina display, the security of Touch ID, a more responsive keyboard, a larger Force Touch trackpad and an audio system with double the dynamic range. It’s also described as “the most powerful MacBook Pro ever”, featuring sixth-generation quad-core and dual-core processors, up to 2.3 times the graphics performance over the previous generation, super-fast SSDs and up to four Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The Touch Bar places controls at the user’s fingertips and adapts when using the system or apps like Mail, Finder, Calendar, Numbers, GarageBand and Final Cut Pro X, including third-party apps. For example, the Touch Bar can show Tabs and Favorites in Safari, enable access to emoji in Messages, provide a simple way to edit images or scrub through videos in Photos.

“This week marks the 25th anniversary of Apple’s first notebook; through the years each generation has introduced new innovations and capabilities, and it’s fitting that this all-new generation of MacBook Pro is the biggest leap forward yet,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With the groundbreaking new Touch Bar, the convenience of Touch ID, the best Mac display ever, powerful performance, improved audio, blazing fast storage and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity in our thinnest and lightest pro notebook yet, the new MacBook Pro is the most advanced notebook ever made.”

Apple provided the following adjectives:

Building on innovations pioneered in MacBook, the new MacBook Pro features an entirely new enclosure design and all-metal unibody construction that creates an incredibly rigid and dense notebook that is amazingly thin and light. At just 14.9 mm thin, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is 17 per cent thinner and 23 per cent less volume than the previous generation, and nearly half a pound lighter at just three pounds. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro, at just 15.5 mm thin, is 14 per cent thinner and 20 per cent less volume than before, and weighing just four pounds, is nearly half a pound lighter.

Touch ID Comes to the Mac

Integrated into the power button is the convenience and security of Touch ID, one of the great features customers have come to know and love from their iPhone and iPad. Once you enroll your fingerprint in Touch ID on your MacBook Pro, you can quickly unlock your Mac, switch user accounts and make secure purchases with Apple Pay on the web with a single touch. Touch ID enables a quick, accurate reading of your fingerprint and uses sophisticated algorithms to recognise and match it with the secure element in the new Apple T1 chip.

Apple’s Brightest, Most Colourful Notebook Display

The best Mac display ever delivers images that are more vivid, reveal even greater detail and appear more lifelike than ever. As thin as a MacBook display at .88 mm, the Retina display on the new MacBook Pro at 500 nits of brightness, is an amazing 67 per cent brighter than the previous generation, features 67 per cent more contrast and is the first Mac notebook display to support a wide colour gamut. And with power-saving technologies like a larger pixel aperture, a variable refresh rate and more power-efficient LEDs, the display consumes 30 per cent less energy than before.

The Most Powerful MacBook Pro Yet

Powerful processors, cutting-edge graphics, blazing-fast SSDs, high-speed memory and an advanced thermal architecture deliver amazing pro-level performance in a dramatically thinner enclosure. Sixth-generation dual-core Core i5 with eDRAM, dual-core Core i7 with eDRAM and quad-core Core i7 Intel processors deliver pro-level processing performance while conserving energy. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro features powerful Radeon Pro discrete graphics delivering up to 2.3 times more performance than the previous generation; while the 13-inch MacBook Pro comes with Intel Iris Graphics that are up to two times faster than before. All models feature SSDs with sequential read speeds over 3GBps and Thunderbolt 3 which consolidates data transfer, charging and twice the video bandwidth in a single port — allowing users to drive a 5K display and power their MacBook Pro with a single cable.

The New MacBook Pro Also Offers:

• Much larger Force Touch trackpads — 46 per cent larger on the 13-inch MacBook Pro and twice as large on the 15-inch MacBook Pro;

• More responsive and comfortable typing on the keyboard with a second-generation butterfly mechanism;

• Louder, more true-to-life sound through speakers with double the dynamic range and improved bass;

• macOS Sierra, the world’s most advanced desktop operating system, with new features like Siri integration, Universal Clipboard, Apple Pay on the web and Photos, which helps you rediscover your meaningful memories, organise your library and perfect shots like a pro.

Availability

• The 13-inch MacBook Pro features a 2.0 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.1 GHz, 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage, and ships today.

• The 13-inch MacBook Pro with the revolutionary Touch Bar and Touch ID, and features a 2.9 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.3 GHz, 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage, and ships in two to three weeks.

• The 15-inch MacBook Pro features the revolutionary Touch Bar and Touch ID, a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.5 GHz, 16GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage, and ships in two to three weeks.

• Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at apple.com/macbookpro.

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CES: And thanks for all the beer!

Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for making and enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER

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From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.

Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:

LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home

LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine,  debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules,  a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation. 

Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.

The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft beer, but also enhances the quality of beer it makes. The fermentation algorithm intelligently controls the fermenting process with precise temperature and pressure control. It automatically sanitises itself, using nothing more than hot water, ensuring everything is hygienically clean for the next batch.

Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now: 

  • Hoppy American IPA
  • Golden American Pale Ale
  • Full-bodied English Stout
  • Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
  • Dry Czech Pilsner

The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.

“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”

Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.

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CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary

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At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.

Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.

Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.

“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”

Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops

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