eXtensions - Wednesday 9 November 2016
Comments on MacBook Pro and the Apple Watch Series 2 (Bangkok Post, Life) - Updated: the MacBook Pro is now available in Thailand
By Graham K. Rogers
The New MacBook Pro - Image Courtesy of Apple
Some questioned the 16 GB maximum memory in these Macs. When asked why 32GB was not an option, Phil Schiller said that this was because it "wouldn't be power-efficient enough for a notebook". Many thought this was another example of Schiller-speak, until IT journalists did some research. When Intel releases suitable Kaby Lake processors, things will be different.
Although processor speeds are not much changed, components work faster: bus speeds are improved and sequential read speeds for the solid state drives read/write speeds are 3.1 and 2.1GB per second.
Many commented on the provision of USB-C ports only (plus the headphone connector) which means those with older devices will need new adapters or cables. Apple eased the pain a little at the end of last week by reducing prices in the USA of several adapters (Roman Loyola, MacWorld). There is no information about whether these lower prices will hold here. There are also reports that some older Thunderbolt 3 adapters with Texas Instruments controller chips do not work. Commentators expect this will be fixed with a firmware update
Apart from the higher prices (I will be mortgaged into the next century with the 13" model I want), a surprise for me was the lack of a startup chime. As these new Macs have instant-on capabilities, this was silenced in case anyone starts the Mac up in a meeting, although I have heard plenty of Macs and PCs being booted up here and no one seems to care. Fortunately, the reliable Christian Zibreg (iDownload Blog) outlined the process, to bring the chime back, using Terminal. This will be one of my first acts after configuration, when I am able to buy one.
If anyone in Thailand wants one of these new computers now, the Buy buttons on the Apple site are still greyed out. Orders in the USA are showing wait times of 4-5 weeks. I am sort of hoping for a late November release here, but I am not a betting man.
Apple Watch Series 2 - Image Courtesy of Apple
I am pleased with the improved battery life of the Watch. With the first version I would expect to see around 50-55% of life at the end of the day; but with the Series 2 this is rarely below 75%.
I am the wrong person to ask about battery life on the iPhone as this is in constant use all day, especially with messaging: as before the Apple Watch takes some of the slack there when I am travelling (bus, taxi, BTS) allowing me to filter out less important messages, or reply sometimes with an emoji.
There are now more apps that run on the Watch, like my Withings Health Mate app that is on the iPhone too that displays several items of health monitoring data. It takes this from Apple's Health app and from input such as from the blood pressure measurement device I have.
I have also added a new maths app, 6284 Calc, by Amit Kalra (@AMITNKALRA), a 16-year old student from San Francisco who fell behind in Math. He built the app to help him, which I think is a greater achievement than unsuitable classroom learning. This is still being developed and it is expected more features will be added. Indeed, on Tuesday this app was updated again.
Apple Watch screenshots - 6284 Calc
Apple Watch screenshots - Control Panel, Withings, Directions and Maps, Night Sky 4
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life. He can be followed on Twitter (@extensions_th)
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