The Apple iMac got an update announced todays “event” that improves the display, and storage options. The new display includes a special coating that reduces reflection along with updated NVIDIA graphics. They also updated the processor to include the new Intel chips and put it all in a thinner case. For storage they now include what they call Fusion Drive that is a combination of Flash memory, standard hard drives and special Mac OS software that makes the two drives look as one, along with manages what applications and information is stored on the Flash memory or hard drive based on use.
There was also a small update to the Mac mini that updates the processor with a Intel i5 chip. Both the iMac and Mac mini also have a reduced power usage. The Mac mini is available now, 21.5 inch iMac will be available in November, and the iMac 27 inch some time December. Prices start at $1,299 for the 21.6 inch iMac, $1,799 for the 27 inch iMac, and $799 for the Mac mini all at the base model.
At the Apple “event” today one of the first announcements was an update to the 13-inch MacBook Pro to include a high resolution Retina display. The 13.3 inch IPS display has a native resolution of 2560 x 1600 and the Mac OS is updated to take advantage of this display. There is also an update to the processor and reduction in how thick the laptop is. To get it only 0.75 inch thick body, they removed the DVD drive. You can get this laptop in a standard 2.4 Ghz Intel Core i5 processor 8GB RAM, Flash storage, Intel HD Graphics 4000, and up to 7 hours of battery while using wireless internet. You can upgrade the system to include a 2.9 GHz Intel Core i7 and up to 768GB of Flash storage.
Below is a table of the two stock laptops:
|Processor||2.5 GHz||2.5 GHz|
|Memory||8GB DDR3L||8GB DDR3L|
The popular Linux distribution Ubuntu has been updated to version 12.10 today. While most of the update is a roll up of most of the open source applications that are part of the distribution they had added some user interface additions. Users can now create Web Apps for things like Gmail and Facebook that don’t require you to open the web browser then go to the site it just shows up as an item on your launcher or desktop. You can also now search online files and stores for things such as music, photos, and video. This works with Flickr and Google Drive. Finally they have what they call Dash Previews; basically you can play music or apps from Ubuntu One before you buy or install them without having to open any additional applications.
I have the release preview installed on my laptop and all seemed to work good, still have a problem with the Intel graphics drivers not controlling the screen resolution right but that seems to be something that lots of people with different laptops and distributions are having for well over 3 years. But if you run Ubuntu its doesn’t cost anything to update, or if you want to try it out download the DVD image and boot a system without having to change anything and see if you can use it for your computer.
Google has updated the line of Chromebook laptops with a new Chromebook that will only cost $249. This is the point where these computers start to look like a good deal. They run Chrome OS, which is a Linux distribution that is focused on only running the Chrome Web Browser. It makes it secure and keeps the system always up-to-date because you are expected to be working online all the time with this system. Lots of people have said this is a great system for their parents so they can get online to check email, Facebook, and get info on the Internet but not have to worry about the system getting messed up. But by having a limited system they have made a lot of changes to the OS to make it more like a traditional OS. Also with the new price drop this makes the system seem like a good deal now.
The main difference with this new Chromebook is the change from an Intel processor to an ARM process that would account for the main reason why the price is so low now, along with reduced RAM down to 2GB from the 4GB of older devices. You also get 100GB of Google Drive storage along with the built in 16GB SSD that most of the storage would be used by the OS giving a smaller than expected storage area on the computer, Google expects you to be storing everything in the Cloud so you could just login on any Chrome OS device and it seems like you were always there.
The full specs are listed below, but this is only an 11.6 inch screen, gets 6.5 hours of battery, and runs on a Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Processor. Also check out the full gallery of what things look like.
|Processor||ARM Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Processor|
|Screen||11.6 inch (1366×768)|
|Size and Weight||0.8 inch thick, 2.5 lbs|
|Storage||16 GB SSD with 100GB Google Drive for 2 years|
|Wireless||Dual band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0|
|Ports||1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, HDMI|
Lenovo announced the pre-order of four new Windows 8 mobile systems, the IdeaPad Yoga 13, Yoga 11, Lynx, and Twist. The Yoga is a convertible laptop tablet that hinges to fold the keyboard flat with the display going backward, this gives it the ability to be used as a tablet or stand up in interesting ways. This was first seen at CES 2012 and got lots of attention. It will come two sizes at 11.6 inch and 13.3 inches. The big difference between the two is the 13 has an Intel 3rd Generation i7 processor running Windows 8 Pro and it earns being a Ultrabook. Where the 11 runs on a NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor with Windows RT with less battery life and won’t run any old Windows applications because it runs the ARM processor. Full tech specs of the four systems below.
As for the Lynx, it is a low powered Dual Core Intel Atom powered 11.6 inch tablet that runs Windows 8 but has a keyboard that can be attached to transform it into a laptop type computer. They claim that with the 16 hours of batter you can use it all day and also use it for applications like the included Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
The Twist is the only one specifically built for business users, it has an Intel Core i7 processor and is also a Ultrabook running Windows 8 Pro with the option to have 3G data and more storage options. They also make note that it will have a normal ThinkPad keyboard that so many people like to type on if they have a laptop. The display is also a high-definition IPS with multi-touch that twists around so you can use it like a tablet. This would be a good power user laptop if you are looking to get a Windows 8 Pro device.
|IdeaPad:||Yoga 13||Yoga 11||Lynx||Twist|
|Processor||Intel Core i7||NVIDIA Tegra 3||Intel Dual Core Atom||Intel Core i7|
|OS||Windows 8 Pro||Windows 8 RT||Windows 8||Windows 8 Pro|
|Battery||8 Hours||13 Hours||16 Hours w/ Dock||7 Hours|
|Storage||256GB SSD||64GB eMMC||64GB eMMC||500GB HDD / 128GB SSD|
|Price MSRP Starts At||$1,099||$799||$649||$849|
These specs are if you max out things such as getting the fastest processor or largest SSD, and they only gave prices for the lowest of the spec base systems so the prices will be way different. You can pre-order the Yoga 13 at Best Buy October 12 2012.
A few weeks ago Apple had an update to their Mac Book Pro line of laptops, and with most other computer venders focusing on building Ultra Books they had to do something that would be different than what most new laptops are going to have in them by the holidays. There trick was an updated 15-inch display using what they call Retina, that has 220 pixels-per-inch to give it one of the best looking displays out. This same technology was used in there iPhone 4s to make the screen look better. One problem with this display is that most applications and websites do not have high enough resolutions to have this be worth much at this time.
The rest of the laptop is about the same as any other high end laptop, Intel Core i7, NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M, up to 16GB of 1600MHz RAM and up to 768GB flash based storage. As for ports it has Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, HDMI and an updated MagSafe 2 power plug. They claim 7 hours of battery life, HD webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and a full size backlight keyboard.
For the base model the price starts at $2,199 USD and goes way up from there. For that price you can get a great Ultra Book or a Gaming class Windows 7 Laptop, but with Apple you always have the old Apple Tax for the name. If I had the extra money to drop I would get something else, maybe next year it would be great with the Retina Display. But if you’re in the market for an Apple laptop go ahead and get this it’s only more and comes with more memory in the base price.
Now that CES 2012 is over lets look over what came from the show. There were a lot of new products introduced over the week, but it wasn’t anything all that new.
Some of the most innovative things out were the OLED TV’s that were 55″ from LG and [OTHER NAME]. These were very thin screens with great colors, and they were looking as if they were going to be put into production not just showing that they could make it but will be selling it soon. But I would have to say hold off on getting one of these screens when they first come out and give it one to two years from when they come out so that the price will drop, sizes will increase, and more options on who makes them will increase.
Another big deal at this CES was the Ultrabooks being introduced. These were thin and light laptops that are built to exceed the Ultrabook spec by Intel in most cases. What makes these different from normal laptops is that they are thin, light, long battery, and fast. Most of the laptops that were thin and light were slow and didn’t get much in the way of battery, but most of the ones shown looked very nice. If you were looking at a nice portable system then these would be one to get, and the prices weren’t all that much more than a normal laptop with the same specs.
There were a lot of Android phone announcements most having big screens, LTE, and having fast processers. One thing to look past on these when hearing the hype matchean is that they will be running Android 2.3, while this sounds bad because Android 4 just came out, it has to do with the fact that Android 4 is only a few months old and these were developed when Android 3 was a tablet only version and Android 2.3 was all there was. I’m sure by the end of the year a new set of phones will come out in the summer and will be all build running Android 4 and also be faster. But for now these phones will be running faster processers, have more storage, and be able to run on LTE 4G networks for the carrers who are working on setting them up. But one thing to know about LTE is that it is only avalible in a select set of Major Cities and you would want to see if your city is on their list.
Android tablets were also a big item, but not as much as last year, most of these will run Android 3.2 and be able to update to Android 4 at some point. There are a few good looking ones, and also a bunch of cheep tablets that are also lacking in a lot of specs. The less expensive, but better tablets are contract locked with phone companies.
Windows 8 was a big thing for some of the tablet makers and PC makers, they were showing it running and talking about products that will have it when it is out, but Microsoft talked only a little on it and how it is part of their phone stratigy coming up. But from what I see it may be good on a tablet but not so good on a desktop.
Windows Phone 7 had some press and also a few new phones including Nokia making a comeback, but we will have to see if anyone will every buy these phones. I think all the hype seems a lot like the Palm Pree [FIX NAME]. Most people only know the iPhone and they want an Android Smartphone, but that may change because Microsoft will be paying the people at stores commissions to sell the phones so who knows marketing is what sells products, that’s why the iPhone is doing good.