Buyers’ guide: Apple notebooks

Buyers’ guide: Apple notebooks

Not sure whether you need a lightweight 12″ MacBook, the versatile MacBook Air or the power of the MacBook Pro (with or without its shiny new Touch Bar and Touch ID)? Here’s a run down of the key specs – and some user comments – to help you decide one way or the other.

If you have any questions left at the end, you can always get in touch with our team on 03332 409 306 for more advice, or enjoy a live chat with one of them over on our website.

12″ MacBook

macbook_12

Apple’s entry-level notebook is the 12″ MacBook. The smallest, lightest and goldest of the Apple notebook range, the MacBook was introduced in 2015 and was the first of the Apple line to feature a range of innovations, including the USB-C standard, the Force Touch touchpad, and a lighter ‘butterfly’ keyboard. The USB-C standard incorporates power, VGA, HDMI and DisplayPort standards into a single, versatile port (you will need to buy an additional adaptor to ensure all your non-USB-C devices can still connect to your MacBook).

This versatility makes the MacBook a great notebook for anyone who has to wear multiple hats, or who is moving between locations and needs to be able to slot in to whatever working environment they find. Its silent, fanless design and light touch keyboard are ideal for anyone who does most of their typing on the train and would to keep things to a polite volume.

As it is the smallest notebook in the range, MacBook doesn’t quite have the power to handle big data or creative tasks, but if you’re mostly going to be doing admin and general office work, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Ideal for: Office and admin work, mobile workers who need functionality beyond that of an iOS device.

Width: 13.1mm.

Weight: 2lbs.

Display: 12″ Retina display with 2304 x 1440 resolution.

Processors: 6th generation Intel Core m3, m5 and m7 processors.

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515.

Storage: 512GB flash storage and 8GB RAM.

Battery life: Up to 10 hours.

Cost: From £1035 (£1242 inc VAT)

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MacBook Air

macbook_air

The MacBook Air has been with us since 2008 and, though it may no longer be the lightest in the lineup, it’s still got a lot to recommend it to your mobile workforce. With up to 12 hours’ battery life, it’s the most long-lived of all the Apple range, and with a 8GB RAM and Intel i7 processors, it meets the minimum requirements for most creative apps.

Granted, it might struggle to run more than one at once, or handle higher end work, but it’s ideal for managers or those who are more involved in the approvals process than actual creation, but may need to access and annotate native files.

But it’s not just for mobile workers – it’s more than a match for common office and productivity apps, and if you’re called into a meeting, you can just pick up your MacBook Air and head down, hooking up to the room’s display (either wirelessly over AirPlay and Apple TV, or through a wired Mini DisplayPort connection) to share with the group.

It’s worth noting that the MacBook Air is the last in the Apple notebook lineup to not feature any USB-C ports, so perhaps not the best if you want to futureproof your Mac estate. However, the Air’s reliability and lifespan make it a solid investment if having the latest ports isn’t a priority for you.

Ideal for: Anyone who needs to run applications on the move when a tablet just won’t cut it – so salespeople, client-facing consultants and other staff in the field, for example. Will also work for creatives in a pinch.

Width: 17mm.

Weight: 2.96lbs.

Display: 13″ widescreen display.

Processors: Fifth generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 5000.

Storage: Up to 512GB flash storage and 8GB RAM.

Battery life: Up to 12 hours.

Cost: From £785 (£942 inc VAT)

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MacBook Pro

The most recently reinvigorated of all the Apple notebooks, the MacBook Pro now comes in three flavours: a 13″ MacBook Pro with no Touch Bar, and 13″ and 15″ models with Apple’s Touch Bar and Touch ID technology built in.

While each model has different internal specifications, there have been a few improvements made across the board. The latest generation of Retina display has a 67% higher contrast ratio and can hit up to 500 nits brightness. It uses the P3 colourspace, which means it can display 25% more colours than standard RGB, giving you access to far more greens and reds.

To complement this, the MacBook Pro range boasts between 103 and 130% faster graphics performance than the previous generation, depending on which model you choose. You’ll also experience up to 76% faster 4K rendering, up to 130% faster realtime 3D graphics performance, and 103% faster performance when you’re gaming – all of which are ideal for creative users.

The MacBook Pro’s speakers have also been given a polish, and have twice as much dynamic range, more than twice as much bass and 58% more volume, so they’ll fit right into any audio workflow.

All models use the new Thunderbolt 3-enabled USB-C standard, which boasts all the benefits of the USB-C standard found on the 12″ MacBook, but also incorporates the high speed (40Gbps) Thunderbolt 3 connection. This means that you can plug your MacBook Pro into any of your Thunderbolt peripherals, including up to two 5K displays, and transform it from a lightweight, portable notebook to the centre of a creative workstation.

However, the most obvious addition to the MacBook Pro is the Touch Bar, a Retina quality touch strip that replaces the function keys. As well as offering a touch alternative to your function keys, the Touch Bar offers contextual shortcuts to make everything from sending email to adjusting settings in Photoshop easier and quicker. You can now keep one hand on the trackpad and the other on the Touch Bar and edit your image without having to break off and use keyboard shortcuts or a tablet.

There’s also added security thanks to the addition of Touch ID, Apple’s biometric authentication system. You can now use two factor authentication, sign in using your fingerprint, or switch users by tapping Touch ID.

13″ MacBook Pro without Touch Bar

macbook_pro_13

Ideal for: Anyone who’d like a MacBook Air but is worried that it’s not future-proof enough.

Width: 14.9mm.

Weight: 3lbs.

Display: 13″ Retina display.

Processors: Dual-core Intel Core i5 processors.

Graphics: Intel Iris graphics 540.

Storage: Up to 256GB flash storage and up to 8GB RAM.

Battery life: Up to 10 hours.

Cost: From £1199 (£1438.80 inc VAT).

 

13″ and 15″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID

macbook_pro_15

Ideal for: Creatives who don’t like to be tied down, heavy duty office and data work.

Width: 14.9mm (13″), 15.5mm (15″).

Weight: 3lb (13″), 4lb (15″).

Display: 13″ or 15″ Retina display with 2560 x 1600 resolution.

Processors: Dual-core or quad-core Intel i5 or i7 processors.

Graphics: Intel Iris 540 graphics (13″), Radeon Pro 450 with 2GB or memory (15″).

Storage: Up to 2TB flash storage and up to 16GB RAM.

Battery life: Up to 10 hours.

Cost: From £1947 (£2336.40 inc VAT).

Buy Now

 

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Our designers test drive Photoshop CC’s Touch Bar integration

Our designers test drive Photoshop CC’s Touch Bar integration

When Apple launched the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID, Adobe were one of the first software vendors to announce support for the new Touch Bar technology, demoing Photoshop integration live onstage at the launch event

Now that we have both the 13″ and 15″ models in stock, and Adobe have released a list of all the shortcuts that will be available on Touch Bar, we thought we’d set our designers loose on a Touch Bar MacBook Pro and see how they found using the new shortcuts.

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Liana, Graphic Designer and hand model

To begin with it does feel a bit strange forcing yourself to use the Touch Bar rather than keyboard shortcuts, but I imagine it’s like when you first start using a Wacom Cintiq – once you get used to using it, it’s really useful.

The shortcuts I used most were definitely the ones to change layer properties. The brush options are a lot more intuitive on Touch Bar, as they increase and decrease in much smaller increments than they do when you use the keyboard shortcuts, so there’s a nice gradual slide that allows you to get exactly the size you want. The bar is very good at sliding, generally; each slider expands when you click on it, so if you’re changing colour options you have a nice wide range to get the exact hue and brightness you need, and you have a lot more room to edit the opacity options than you do when you edit them directly on your Wacom.

touch_bar_photoshop_brush_size

The favourites bar has a nice range of common shortcuts that you can add to your Touch Bar. Having full screen mode just a tap away is useful if your art director is hovering over you and wants a clean preview of your work. From a non-design point of view, I really liked having tiny previews of all my open tabs in Safari, which made searching for images far easier.

touch_bar_internet_buttons

Jamie, Web Designer

I hadn’t used one of the new generation of keyboards before and the lack of key travel feels weird at first, but the larger key area certainly makes the keyboard easier to type on. The one complaint that I would have is that the keys are perhaps a bit too noisy for the amount of travel they have.  The light touch makes me a feel like a hacker, the loud noise makes it sound like I’m mashing buttons on Street Fighter.

Touch Bar looks nice; it’s vibrant and sharp, and the matte finish allows fingers to just slide over the surface, which is nice when there are a few apps that have tabs or slides that require you to interface this way.

In Photoshop, Touch Bar initially feels a little redundant, as keyboard shortcuts can be used for a lot of the same tasks, and don’t require me to move my hands from the keyboard or move my eyes away from the screen. As time goes on though, it does have its advantages. For example, controls for brush size and opacity are easily within reach. I could imagine using a Wacom with my hand hovering over the Touch Bar, drawing with my right hand and dynamically updating the size, flow etc along the way.

touch_bar_photoshop_menu

There are some features that are nice with Touch Bar too. In Photoshop again, having the blending modes and layer transparency readily available is nice. I haven’t learned the keyboard shortcuts for blending modes yet, so this feels pleasant. It’s easy to see that Touch Bar would be a hit with those who aren’t privy to the dark magic of keyboard shortcuts and those used to touch screens as a primary interface.

One nice touch I did like was dialogue boxes, and that their options are readily available on the touch bar. I don’t have to move my mouse to get to the buttons to quickly dismiss pop-ups.

Thierry, Graphic Designer

I can see Touch Bar being really useful for designers who don’t use a pen tablet as part of their normal workflow. The quick button options mean the left hand can be used to adjust Touch Bar controls while you use the touchpad with your right (or vice versa for lefties).

touch_bar_photoshop_colour_slider

The options that are usually stuck in Menu Options are the most useful to me. Having options like horizontal/vertical flip and new layer on the bar is a huge time saver as they’re now in easy reach and don’t require me to temporarily break my train of thought to navigate menu options. Hopefully as time goes on, the customisable options available on the bar will expand, and then it’ll be a great tool for tweaking your workspace to suit your preferences.

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Tried the new Touch Bar? Let us know what you think in the comments. You can browse the new MacBook Pro range here, or get in touch with our Adobe team to update your Creative Cloud subscription on 03332 409 251. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Apple launch new MacBook Pro lineup with Touch Bar and Touch ID

Apple launch new MacBook Pro lineup with Touch Bar and Touch ID

Apple special events are always a high point in the Jigsaw24 calendar, but last night’s was particularly rewarding, yielding up two new MacBook Pro 13″ models (one for function key fans, one with the aggressively cool new Touch Bar) and an all-singing, all-dancing 15″ model. 

Held at Town Hall, Cupertino, Apple’s latest set of announcements features demos from Adobe, Twitter, Algoriddim and the Final Cut Pro team, the launch of a new Apple Accessibility site and news of a new TV app that turns your Apple TV into a hub for all your digital content, but nothing could distract from the real stars of the night: the all-new MacBook Pro lineup.

After years of incremental improvements, it’s great to see Apple really give some love to the pro end of their notebook line. The new lineup features a standard MacBook Pro 13″, which was explicitly positioned as ‘the MacBook Pro for people thinking of buying a MacBook Air’, a MacBook Pro 13″ with Touch Bar and Touch ID, and a 15″ model with Touch Bar and Touch ID, plus four Thunderbolt 3 ports with integrated USB-C.

What is Touch Bar?

See that row of function keys at the top of your keyboard that you only ever use to adjust the volume? Apple has taken them away and replaced them with a multi-touch Retina Display quality mini display that knows what programme you’re in and displays the appropriate controls automatically.

When you’re working in the finder, you’ll see the brightness and volume keys you’re used to. Open Mail, and they’ll instantly change to shortcuts for sending, forwarding and moving your emails, among other tasks. Go into Photoshop, and you’ll see common shortcuts and a scale for adjusting properties like brightness and contrast. You can even scrub your video timelines in Final Cut Pro and make edits to audio and video clips using multitouch gestures, right on the Touch Bar.

All this means that whether you’re working with images or in productivity apps, you don’t have to leave off typing to use a trackpad or mouse to find common shortcuts; they’re right there for you on the keyboard, and you can even customise what Touch Bar displays in each app to ensure maximum productivity gains. Rather than having to take a step back from your images to find menus and palettes, you can work full screen and use one hand on Touch Bar and another on the Force Touch trackpad to edit without pauses or distractions.

MacBook Pro gets a new keyboard, trackpad, screen and more…

The 12″ MacBook’s butterfly keyboard and Force Touch trackpad have both been moved to the MacBook Pro, although the butterfly keyboard has become more responsive on the way and “gives more sense of keyboard travel”, which we’re not fully sure we understand but which we are excited to experience.

The new trackpad is twice the size of that on the current MacBook Pro, giving you double the space to work with gesture controls. In combination with the new Touch Bar, Apple think this larger trackpad will allow creatives to develop a two-handed on-notebook workflow way of working, with one hand on the Touch Bar and another on the trackpad, without the need for mice or external pen tablets.

Other good news for creatives (and those of us who watch all their TV on our computers now) is that the MacBook Pro lineup now has a new and improved screen with 500 nit brightness, 67% higher contrast and a 25% wider colour gamut. If you’re more an audio type, you’ll like that speakers are now twice as loud and now have a much wider dynamic range.

Touch ID

Apple’s Touch ID security has made its way from iOS to macOS, powered by a new T1 chip that handles Touch ID and Secure Enclave. This means that not only can you lock your MacBook Pro geometrically, but you can also use Apple Pay to make purchases online. All you need to do is select ‘Pay with Apple Pay’ on the relevant listing, then tap Touch ID to authorise payment.

Most interesting for businesses, schools and other environments where machines may be shared is the fact that Touch ID can remember multiple fingerprints, and that if a user other than the one logged in taps the Touch ID button, the computer will automatically switch to their account, with all their apps and windows open as they last left that – a great productivity boost if you’re hot desking or use a shared pool of notebooks for any projects.

Thunderbolt 3 with integrated USB-C

You may remember USB-C as the somewhat controversial port that Apple added to their lineup with the 12″ MacBook. Combining multiple standards into a single port, USB-C can act as VGA, HDMI, DisplayPort or a power port with the right adapter – and now includes Thunderbolt connectivity as well.

These more versatile ports mean that you can connect your MacBook Pro to high-end displays, RAID storage, docks and third party creative hardware to transform a notebook into a full blown creative workstation.

The models

MacBook Pro 15″ with Touch Bar and Touch ID

The new MacBook Pro 15” is powered by a 2.6GHz (3.5GHz with Turbo Boost) Intel Core i7 quad core processor, configurable to 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 Quad Core processor. With a 2TB 3.1GBps SSD and 16GB of 2133MHz memory at its heart, performance on the new generation MacBook Pro 15” is up to 50% faster, while new thermal architecture ensures cool running. Despite this improved performance, it offers up to 10 hours battery life.

Graphics are powered by a Radeon Pro Polaris graphics card, which gives you up to 4GB VRAM and 2.3x faster graphics performance overall. This translates to a 130% performance boost with regard to 3D graphics work, 57% for video editing and 60% for gaming.

MacBook Pro 15” features 4x Thunderbolt 3 ports, with support for USB 3.1, Display Port connectivity and charging.

MacBook Pro 13″ with Touch Bar and Touch ID

The MacBook Pro 13” is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor (2.9GHz, up to 3.3GHz with Turbo Boost enabled), configurable to a 3.7GHz Intel Core i7 Dual Core processor. Fast response times come courtesy of a 265GB PCIe-based SSD and 8GB of 2133MHz memory. An Intel Iris 550 graphics card with 64MB of eDRAM provides twice the graphics performance of the previous generation, delivering 103% better performance when you’re gaming, and 76% better when you’re editing video or working with 3D graphics. MacBook Pro 13” features four Thunderbolt 3 ports, with support for USB 3.1, Display Port connectivity and charging.

MacBook Pro 13″ 

MacBook Pro is powered by a 2.0GHz Dual Core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost support that can reach speeds of up to 3.1GHz, configurable to a 2.4GHz Dual Core Intel Core i7 processor. A 256GB PCIe-based SSD and 8GB of 1866MHz memory ensure fast response times, while Intel Iris 540 graphics give you superior graphics performance. MacBook Pro 13” features two Thunderbolt 3 ports,with support for USB 3.1, Display Port connectivity and charging..

Want to order the latest MacBook Pro models? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

 

Introducing the Apple Watch Series 2

Introducing the Apple Watch Series 2

Apple have dug deep for the latest Apple Watch update, adding a white ceramic and Hermes model Watches to the lineup ,while making improvements to internals and functionality across the board. 

Nike have also scored an exclusive Apple Watch Nike Plus designed specifically for running, which we’re far more likely to start doing now that we know the Apple Watch Series 2 will support Pokemon GO.

Internal improvements

Apple Watch Series 2 features a faster processor than its predecessor (it’s dual core and 50% faster), a GPU that doubles your graphics performance, and a GPS chip (to help you use up all that extra battery, and/or track your workout more accurately).

If you don’t fancy getting the latest Apple Watch, the Apple Watch Series 1 will still be available. New models will get the same dual processor as the series 2, and continue to be available for $269.

The body

The display is Apple’s brightest ever at 1000 nits, which means it should be easily readable in sunlight – also useful on your run.

The nautically minded among you will be happy to hear that Apple Watch is now swimproof, which is excellent if you’re the sort of person who buys the Sport model and uses it for Sport, but is unlikely to impact the Jigsaw24 blog team directly.

It’s resistant to water up to 50m, and new workouts have been added to Health in celebration. Because counting calories burned during swimming is so imprecise, the app is actually designed to learn about your fitness based on your swim performance, and adjust the calories count it displays as it learns more about your metabolism.

Availability

Apple have confirmed that this will be winging its way to your wristwatch on September 13th, and be available for pre-order from September 9th. It’s priced at $369. It will, we repeat, have Pokemon GO on. We may never do anything productive again.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Apple launch iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Apple launch iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Apple’s annual autumn event has delivered two new iPhone models: iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. While vastly improving performance, they’ve somehow managed to give you two more hours battery life a day for your iPhone 7 Plus and an hour a day more for your iPhone 6 Plus.

A10 Fusion

iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus both rock an ultrafast A10 Fusion chip, the most advanced in Apple’s iOS lineup. It’s a 64 bit, four core CPU that’s 40% faster the the A9, and twice as fast as the A8 (that’s what’s in your iPhone 6 Plus and 6, respectively). A new performance controller puts key tasks on two ‘high efficiency’ cores, then relegates background tasks in order to conserve battery life. Graphics performance experienced a similar bump in power, so performance will be two times faster than it is on your iPhone 6. You can even use Adobe Lightroom for on-iPhone RAW image editing.

We say goodbye to the 16GB onboard storage option (presumably because of all the action the new cameras are going to get), with both models starting at 32GB and the iPhone 7 Plus going all the way up to 256GB (you’ll have to opt for a Jet Black model to get the largest size).

The camera and display

The Retina HD display now has a wider colour gamut and 25% brighter display, but the real improvements have been seen in the cameras.

Both cameras get with built-in image stabilisation and a larger sensor for better low light performance (our marketing team are extremely excited about what this means for the quality of their Instagram videos). The back camera on both models now uses a six-element lens and high speed sensor to give you sharper images, and incorporates a 50% brighter flash that can sense and compensate for the flickering of artificial light.

This is all powered by a new ISP chip (the thing that calculates focus, exposure and facial recognition, among other things), which  has three times the throughput of the previous version, and is now performing three million actions per photo in 25 milliseconds. Even the 7MP FaceTimeHD camera on the front of your phone is getting a wider colour gamut and better colour reproduction.

The iPhone 7 Plus has its own second camera

It’s really a very camera-heavy release. The iPhone 7 Plus has an additional camera on the back. While your standard camera has an optical lens with software zoom, but the new one has a telephoto lens. Combining the two different lens types creates far better zoom performance. 12MP pictures are possible via your optical zoom at 1x and 2x, and then software zoom all the way up to 10x.

A very welcome side effect of this? Your iPhone can now depth-map images in order to produce a shallow depth of field effect (it’s called the ‘portrait’ effect in your menu, and will appear as a free software update later this year), so you can enjoy sharp foreground images with excellent background bokeh.

Audio on iPhone

One feature that’s not present? The headphone jack. From now on, Apple’s headphones will connect via Lightning, rather than the traditional jack, and that space is being used to make space for stereo speakers that are 50% louder than your current speakers, and have a wider dynamic range.

While this may be seen as controversial (apparently some people very strongly about having to use proprietary headphones), there are big benefits – the quality of your audio will be better over a Lightning connection, and closing the jack is part of what has made the new model so water resistant.

If you’re still not convinced, don’t worry – you’ll get a free Lightning to headphone jack adaptor in the box, to ease you through your transitional phase.

AirPods

Apple also introduced Apple AirPods, wireless earbuds designed by Mr Ive himself. They use an Apple-designed chip called the W1 to maintain a consistent connection to your devices as you move from one to another. Sensors ensure that the AirPods only play once they’re in your ears, where, as well as playing back music, they can activate Siri when you double tap them. They will last for five hours per charge, and the carrying and charging case they come with will provide you with 24 hours of charge.

A haptic Home key

The Home key has been sacrificed in the name of sleekness and water resistance, replaced by a solid state button which provides haptic feedback when pressed, when you get a message or call, or when you perform quick actions. Some of our team are disappointed to lose a physical button; those who have dropped previous iPhone models in the toilet are not, as it now meets the IP67 protection standard for water and dust-proofness.

Availability

iPhone 7 is available to preorder now and will start shipping on September 16th. Your iPhone 7 is $649 and the 7 Plus is $749. We first saw this in action at June’s WWDC event, but iOS 10 now has an official release date: September 13th. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are available in Rose Gold, Gold, Silver, Space Grey and new matte Black and glossy Jet Black colours, which we find pleasingly sleek.

Want to preorder your new iPhone 7? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

The 999 Apple Support Club: Solving tech crises and building community

The 999 Apple Support Club: Solving tech crises and building community

We’re a sociable lot here at Jigsaw24, so when we were thinking of ways to improve the support we offer primary schools we knew three things: it had to be more comprehensive, it had to be more affordable and there had to be more opportunities to get together. The result: the 999 Apple Support Club.

What is the 999 Apple Support Club? 

It’s a new support contract we’re offering to primary schools!

In slightly more detail? 

For £999 a year, 999 Apple Support Club membership obliges us to provide you with:

– Dedicated phone and remote support from our Apple experts.

– A free annual infrastructure review.

– Onsite Apple Surgery every half term to keep you up to date with new features.

– Support from a dedicated Education Manager to help you choose and implement the right creative IT.

– Support from certified Apple Education Trainers to help you integrate IT and mobile devices into the curriculum for maximum impact.

– Help planning your Apple technology refresh and recycling.

– Dedicated purchasing portal.

– Exclusive discounts on services and end of life hardware.

Plus

– Free product training days at our place.

– Quarterly meet ups with other schools in your area.

– Access to the Jigsaw24 partner network.

– Use of Jigsaw24 pro audio demo suites at our London centre.

– Updates from our team at your cluster meetings.

What makes it a club? 

We’ll also be running exclusive product training days and termly TeachMeets so you can keep up with the latest releases and see what other teachers in your area are up to, and can even drop in at cluster meetings to update you on what’s going on. We want to help schools share best practice and new ideas, and as we have a dedicated Education Manager in every region, we thought they’d be well placed to keep people in touch.

Don’t you only do iPad? 

Nope! We’re an Apple Solution Expert for education, which means we parley our Apple knowledge into developing all-round solutions for schools (we actually work with 4000 primary schools), digital classrooms and learning hubs. We can integrate your Apple and Windows kit and make sure all of your systems are backed by a robust IT network.

OK. What are the club benefits? 

Numerous! But chief among them in the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you have a dedicated point of contact for support just a phone call away. You’ll also get advice on strategy and best practice from our experienced Education Managers, who are on hand to assist with any challenges you face, roadmap the development of your school’s Apple technology, and help staff maximise the effectiveness of new devices in the classroom – so potential problems can be identified and dealt with before they even go wrong. We’re giving schools that take part a free infrastructure review, too, so you’ll have a top level knowledge of the health of all your IT systems.

Plus, you’ll get free and discounted training on new releases, and access to exclusive resources and events. Everybody loves an exclusive event.

£999 is pretty reasonable…

It is! Plus you get to bundle your support costs into one affordable yearly payment, then get discounts on training, engineering and key hardware through our exclusive education portal. And you’ll get a 30 day credit account for all those new purchases, too.

Let’s say I’m considering this. Who do I call?

If you’re already a customer, you can call your Education Manager and have them sign you up. If not, give the team a bell on 03332 409 290 or email education@Jigsaw24.com.

What if I want to read  more first?

Then we admire your commitment to literacy. There’s a website full of juicy details here.

For more information, call 03332 409 290 or email education@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and FAQs, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

 

Did you see us at RBTE?

Did you see us at RBTE?

We’ve been to our first Retail Business Technology Expo! We were exhibiting with physical security vendors TabLatch – we do the iPad and app, they make sure no one can nick it from your POS display with solutions like docking stations and table mounts. Along with their solutions, we were showing off our RetailEngage24 platform, which is designed to help sales assistants have more informed conversations with customers and streamline internal training. Plus, device management legends JAMF Software were on hand to help out with unruly devices. 

rtbe_3

What happened at RTBE…

Our retail team were on the ground for the combined Retail Business Technology Expo, Retail Digital Signage Expo and Retail Design Expo. We were over at the RBTE end, promoting our new RetailEngage24 platform. This is a dual purpose app that arms your sales assistants with the same information the public has.

What is RetailEngage24?

When a customer hits your sales assistant with a question, they can use the customer-facing side of the app to drill down into product information, pull reviews of products from the website, show the customer digital assets that may have originally been delivered on web or social channels and access information such as stock levels.

When the customer’s away, staff can… not play, exactly, but use the colleague side of the app to view and complete training materials, monitor the company’s internal news feeds and social media accounts, record sales tips and share them with colleagues via the app and more.

Our app development team are rightly proud of their work, and we encourage you to get in touch with them at appdevelopment@Jigsaw24.com to find out more about how they can modify RetailEngage24 to suit your organisation.

What else were we up to?

rbte_2

Of course, it wasn’t all about the one app. TabLatch and the retail team were there to promote their new eight step plan for implementing iPad in store. Together, we can cover:

1. iPad devices. Prior to delivery, we’ll enrol your devices in Apple’s DEP, so when you come to turn it on, it will auto-enrol in your MDM solution, with all the apps and settings you need to get up and running right out of the box.

2. Retail apps. Our RetailEngage24 app is an interactive catalogue and integrated learning and development platform, designed to support sales advisors in their engagement with customers, increasing sales conversion through informed conversation.

3. App development. Need a bespoke app? We’ve developed various apps for retail and other businesses, supporting sales assistant conversations, staff development, access to live product info/stock/pricing, quoting tools, integration with beacons, CRM, ERP, PIM, ePOS systems and more, right through to solving logistics issues and reducing costs associated to paper-based workflows.

4. TabLatch security. Passcode-lockable physical security to dock, charge and secure iPad. Authorised members of staff can release the iPad from the dock with a PIN code, so it can be used as both a kiosk tool and a hand to hand sales assistant tool.

5. TabLatch unique benefits. An app and portal included in the price of the unit, whereby administrators can view which members of staff are using the device most, and the potential ROI based on usage of the device when released from the dock with PIN. This adds an additional level of security, as you always know who used the device last.

6. Mobile device management. We provide a hosted, fully managed mobile device management service for some of the UK’s largest businesses. Using JAMF Software’s Casper Suite, we help you control device settings, permissions, applications and managed iOS updates.

7. Deployment. Large-scale device rollout, including integration and training. We can handle rollouts from one to 15,000+ devices for customers nationwide, all integrated into your necessary systems. We’ll even provide onsite training and helpdesks during rollouts to get your staff up to speed.

8. Tech support. Our bespoke support contracts can be tailored to your requirements and in-house capabilities, including advance replacements for key components. They can cover: phone, email, remote and onsite support; SLAs; guaranteed response and break-fix times; emergency replacements and regular ‘health checks’ to spot problems before they arise.

What else was there?

rbte_1

As exciting as we are, we weren’t allowed to take over the entire expo (we’re as disappointed as you). Highlights include some great discussion about alternative payment methods and Apple Pay, led by Barclaycard and MasterCard; Vensecure’s vending machine-style dispensers for high-risk items; some particularly snazzy-looking holographic trainers and Brumark’s particularly wooden-looking magnetic floors.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email retail@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

What’s the verdict on iPad Pro?

What’s the verdict on iPad Pro?

iPad Pro has finally hit our shores (and in stock at our warehouse) so we’ve ventured into the dark heart of the internet – well, our favourite tech sites – to take the temperature and see how people are reacting to their new über-tablet.

ipad_proWhat’s with all the accessories?

Let’s start with a look at some standout features. Mashable are particularly ebullient about the Apple Pencil, the magically weighted stylus that you can purchase as an add-on for your iPad Pro. The iPad Pro scans for the tip of the pencil 240 times a second, meaning that it has an incredibly fast response time.

“My minor misgivings about losing it [aside], the Pencil is a marvel of engineering and once again highlights the iPad Pro’s excellent screen resolution and design,” gushes Lance Ulanoff.

“The responsiveness is exquisite and the Pencil tip material offers just the right balance between friction and smoothness on the iPad Pro’s touch screen. Pressure sensitivity is about as close as you’re going to get to actually drawing on real paper. It even supports shading, letting me hold the Pencil at an extreme angle to access a the virtual long-edge of a graphite pencil or wide magic marker. What’s more, there is almost no perceptible visual space between the Pencil tip and the digital line that appears on screen. All that combined with the iPad Pro’s impressively large canvas (I have room for a full drawing and reference material) make this a fantastic drawing experience.”

Ulanoff even filmed himself drawing on the iPad Pro versus the Surface Pro 4 – you can see the results here but as a spoiler, it’s game, set and match to iPad Pro.

While there has been some griping about the lack of a top row on the Apple Smart Keyboard, robbing you of the volume, brightness and function keys, but ARS Technica’s Andrew Cunningham notes that: “The keyboard and folded stand sections combine to form one continuous, flat surface that’s surprisingly stable on your lap, a complaint we still have about the Surface tablets despite improvements in recent generations”, and that missing top row is compensated for by “the best software keyboard ever” according to Macworld’s Susie Ochs:

“Like a good digital citizen, I use complex passwords full of letters, numbers, and symbols, even though that kind of password is harder to enter on my iPhone, requiring me to jump between the keyboards for letters, numbers, and symbols in a way I just don’t have to on my Mac. The iPad Pro’s software keyboard has a row of numbers and common symbols along the top of the letter layout, just like the Mac. Shortcuts even pop up per application—in Mail, the options to insert a photo or attach a file are handy to have right onscreen without any tap-and-hold tricks required to find them.”

The on-screen experience

Wired enthusiastically claim that iPad Pro is “the best tablet, and the best case for tablets, anyone’s ever made,” and are keen to emphasise the desktop-like experience you’ll be able to enjoy when using your apps on iOS 9:

“The extra space shows up in subtle but important ways. In iMovie, you can see your library, timeline, and a full-res 1080p view of your final product, all on a single screen. When you play FIFA, you can use the on-screen controls without obscuring any of the actual gameplay. You can comfortably see the entire week in the calendar, from 8am to 9pm. Slack has a new Jumbo Mode that shows you your messages, menus, and files all at once. Many of the first apps to be optimized are analytics tools—you can see so much stuff now! On the iPad Pro you spend less time moving—scrolling lists and thumbing through menus—and more time doing whatever you’re doing. Apps aren’t forced to feel like dumbed-down tablet versions.”

The iPad Pro is the size of two iPad Air 2 side by side, and it’s this that reviewers are finding makes sense of iOS 9’s multitasking mode, with picture-in-picture and side-by-side both making more sense once you have enough space to slide someone’s face into the corner of your Mail window, and now that Slide Over’s third-of-a-screen view is of a usable size. Mashable explain:

“Changing which app is running in the right-hand pane is easy; you just swipe down from the top edge of the screen (over the right-hand pane) and it converts it back into the list of available apps. To change which app is running on the left side, you can use a four-finger gesture which reveals the traditional app tab interface. Select one and it fills the left side of the screen, while maintaining the app running on the right.

“I did have to get used to the two different ways the two panes could interact. If I just dragged over my task pane and selected an app, the left pane would remain in what’s known as “slideover mode,” which means the left app will take over again if I tap to use it. To put the apps in multi-task mode, I have to grab the pane adjustment bar and drag it a bit left and then right to have both panes snap to multi-tasking attention. Apple explained that this is by design, since sometimes you just want to peek at some other bit of content or app information and then return to your main task.”

Power and speed

This is the first time we’ve ever known exactly how much RAM an iPad has had (4GB), and coupled with this A9X chip that is getting iPad Pro rave reviews for its dexterity, graphics performance and gaming and creative potential. Macworld note that:

“Gaming devs love to push the fastest available processors to the edge, and games that harness the Pro’s graphical power should be along before long. And creative users historically tend to favour more powerful machines – the Mac Pro’s main audience is among video editors and other creative-industry workers. But we can’t help feel that business users, who in other parts of the launch presentation appeared to be one of the main target markets, may feel that the Pro is overqualified – and consequently overpriced – for the primarily simple tasks they need it for.”

However, we’re yet to find a creative test that taxes the iPad Pro, so if you’re like our design team and want something that will help you stay genuinely productive away from your desk, it’s a safe bet. The Verge also want you to know that “the Pro’s build quality justifies the price” and that “The tablet’s processing power is even more notable than the display. Apple has rigged the iPad Pro with its latest chip, the A9X, which it claims has twice the CPU and twice the graphics performance of the previous processor. And it has four strategically placed, self-adjusting speakers that wowed me with their sound when I watched videos on it.”

If you want to check a few key benchmarks, ARS Technica have a helpful list here.

The verdict

While the general consensus seems to be that there’s room for refinement when it comes to multitasking and that the Smart Keyboard is likely to be threatened by third party rivals with function keys, general awe for the sound and picture quality, responsiveness and Apple Pencil are all making the iPad Pro a worthy investment, scoring eights and nines across the board.

We’re going to give the final word to the ever-delightful Macalope, though, who points out:

“No one, even Tim Cook, is saying an iPad can do everything a laptop or desktop can do right now. What people are saying is that, depending on your needs, the iPad might be able to do everything you need to do and, when you can pay less for it than a Mac or PC, why not ask yourself if it can?”

If you’re tempted, you can check out the full range here.

iPad Pro is in stock now. Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email business@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook. To find out more, head to our iPad Pro event in Soho on 10th February. You can see the agenda and get your name on the list here.

Buyers’ Guide: iPad for business

Buyers’ Guide: iPad for business

With nearly half of all iPad now being sold to corporations rather than consumers, the odds that you’re going to end up working with an iPad at one time or another are pretty steep. 

Luckily, they’re user-friendly, great for increasing mobile productivity and, increasingly, are capable of running the vast majority of apps you already use on your desktop or notebook. With that in mind, it’s time to arm yourself with some key specs that’ll help you work out which iPad is right for your line of work.

While the basics of iPad remain the same – Retina display, iSight camera for photo and video on one side, FaceTime HD camera for video calls (and conferences) on the other, industry-leading platform, device and app-level security – there are subtle differences between models, such as screen size, storage capacity and whether they are available in gold, that can make all the difference.

iPad Pro

ipad_pro

iPad Pro is the creative user’s tablet of choice thanks to its leading graphics performance, but with analysts predicting that large format tablets will be ruling the workplace by 2019, it’s well worth getting to grips with iPad Pro in enterprise environments too.

But whether to opt for the larger 12.9″ model, or the more recent 9.7″ one? Well, if you regularly have to use your iPad as a presentation device, the three inches of extra screen space can provide some much-needed breathing room for your pitch content, especially if you deal with incredibly detailed models or documents. And while that faster A9X processor is designed to give more power to your creative apps, it’ll work equally well as a way to speed up data-driven work, so if you want to fly through analytics analysis (and then have plenty of space to show off your results) iPad Pro is the way to go.

That larger screen also means you get a bigger keyboard, should typing on your regular screen leave you drowning in a sea of typos and humiliating autocorrect errors, or you can add a Smart Keyboard, a lightweight, full-size keyboard that is built into an iPad Pro cover, meaning it’s there whenever you need it. Just fold back the cover, lean back your iPad (the non-keyboard portion of the cover folds into a stand) and you can set your iPad Pro up like a desktop or notebook for easier multitasking.

You can also add an Apple Pencil if you want to do slightly more detailed drawing than your finger can manage, or take notes. The iPad Pro scans for Pencil activity 240 times a second, meaning there’s no lag between your hand moving and your drawing appearing on the screen, and we’ve yet to hear of any reviewer managing to defeat the palm rejection technology. It’s also pretty quick to charge – 15 seconds of charge via your iPad Pro’s Lightning port gives you enough power for 30 minutes of use.

Best for: Architects, designers, onsite contractors – anything where you need to deal with high-res, detail-heavy imagery.

iPad Pro 12.9″

– 32GB or 128GB capacity (WiFi only), 128GB (WiFi and cellular).

– 12.9″ 2732×2048 resolution display.

– A9X chip with 64-bit architecture (2.5x faster than A7 chip with 5x faster graphics).

– 12MP iSight camera with 4K video recording and 1.2MP FaceTime camera with 720p HD video.

– Touch ID.

– Apple Pay.

– Available in silver, gold and space grey from November.

Prices start from £585 ex VAT.

iPad Pro 9.7″

– 32GB,  128GB and 256GB capacity.

– 9.7″2048×1536 resolution display.

– A9X chip with 64-bit architecture and M9 motion co-processor.

– 12MP iSight camera with 4K video recording and 1.2MP FaceTime camera with 720p HD video.

– Touch ID.

– Apple Pay.

– Available in silver, gold and space grey from November.

Prices start from £441 ex VAT

iPad Air 2

ipad_air_2

Keeping the screen size of the original iPad but squeezing the internals into a tiny 444 gram machined aluminium body, iPad Air 2 is an excellent compromise between screen size and portability. (We particularly like it for any roles where you need to combine typing and form-filling admin work with visual documentation, because it’s easier to handle than the Pro, but still retains the same pair of high quality cameras.)

While workers in some sectors are reporting that iPad is taking over from their desktop and notebook computers, there are plenty of tools available to help you use it as a second screen or presentation device – we highly recommend pairing it with Apple TV in your boardroom as a replacement for ageing projector setups.

iPad Air 2 has a greater internal memory than the original iPad Air, which tapped out at 32GB, which makes this form factor viable even if you’re toting larger apps or bigger files. This also allows you to work in Split Screen mode, which means you can use more than one app at once side-by-side – watch a video while reading something in Safari or dig information out of your email while typing into a document, for example.

iPad Air 2 also comes with Touch ID, Apple’s biometric security measure, to ensure no one can sneak onto your iPad without your index fingerprint. So if you’re saving ultra-important files locally or have business secrets in your email inbox, opt for the newer model.

Best for: Retail – a flexible solution for POS displays, kiosks, ePOS and face to face sales.

iPad Air 2

– 32GB and 128GB capacities (WiFi only or WiFi and cellular).

– 9.7″ 2048×1536 resolution display.

– A8X chip with 64-bit architecture (1.4x faster than A7 chip with 2.5x faster graphics).

– 8MP iSight camera and 1.2MP FaceTime camera with 720p HD video.

– Touch ID.

– Available in silver, gold and space grey.

Prices start from £304 ex VAT.

 

iPad mini

ipad_mini_4

If you need something even more portable, go for the ultra-light 7.9″ iPad mini. Despite not being much bigger than your phone, it still manages to be higher resolution than an HD TV, and iPad mini 4 even manages to fit in Touch ID for biometric security authentication and supports Split Screen view for working in multiple apps side-by-side.

We like iPad mini for fieldwork such as repairs or surveying, as it has all the document and data management capabilities of its larger counterparts, but is slim enough to hold in one hand, making collecting video and photographic evidence that much easier.

The slightly lower price tag also makes it a popular choice for workplace schemes, as it shaves a little off the upfront cost of investing in iPad without you losing any of the core benefits.

Best for: Field sales, on-site reporting.

iPad mini 4

– 32GB or 128GB capacity (WiFi only or WiFi and cellular).

– 7.9″ 2048×1536 resolution display.

– A8 chip.

– 8MP iSight camera and 1.2MP FaceTime camera with 720p HD video.

– Apple Pay.

– Touch ID.

– Available in silver, gold and space grey.

Prices start from £311 ex VAT.

iPad mini 2

– 32GB capacity (WiFi only or WiFi and cellular).

– 7.9″ 2048×1536 resolution display.

– A7 processor.

– 8MP iSight camera and 1.2MP FaceTime camera with 720p HD video.

– Available in silver and space grey.

Prices start from £196 ex VAT.

Want to know more about iPad? See the full range here or get in touch with our team by popping your details in the form below. Alternatively, you can call them on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com

7 things you need to know about DEP

7 things you need to know about DEP

Ready to start enrolling devices? Our reseller ID is 2287450. Need a little more information? Here are seven things you need to know about Apple’s latest initiative…

1. It stands for Device Enrolment Programme.

It is, not surprisingly, a new programme that enrols new devices onto your system automatically, without your IT team having to get their hands dirty.

2. Enrolment is not the same as management.

The technology behind DEP doesn’t replace a Mobile Device Management system (MDM). You need to have a separate MDM solution to decide which apps should be on devices and what content students who’ll be using them should be able to access.

Popular MDM systems among schools include Lightspeed and JAMF Software’s Casper Suite. Once you have your MDM system in place, DEP puts your new devices into it automatically. (There’s a more detailed explanation here, if you want the technical bits, or you can take a look at Apple’s official guide.)

3. It’s free to use.

There’s no charge for using DEP but you do have to have an MDM solution in place for it to work, and alas, the good ones are not free. If you don’t have a device management solution in place, give our team a call to go through your options.

4. It applies to any kind of Apple device.

Desktops, notebooks, iPad, iPod touch and iPhone can all be enrolled in DEP, as long as they were purchased after March 2011 and from an Apple Authorised Reseller (like us). To enrol devices you already own into DEP, you need to associate them with the reseller ID of the company you bought them from – if that’s us, our ID is 2287450.

5. You can create multiple profiles.

So different profiles can be installed on desktops and iPad, or on devices intended for students and teachers – and they’ll all be applied automatically as soon as the device is turned on.

6. You can’t have devices on this and in Apple Configurator.

If you’re already using Apple Configurator to set up your devices, you can transition to DEP by wiping the devices and re-enrolling them. However, once a device is registered on DEP, you can no longer supervise it using Apple Configurator, as Apple don’t allow one device to be registered in both systems. If it’s easier for you, you can enrol only new devices via DEP, but still manage them through MDM. Just drop us a line to find out how.

7. It should not affect your Volume Purchase Programme (VPP) purchases.

Apple added a new managed distribution option to their Volume Purchasing Programme a while ago. With MDM you can now push apps out wirelessly without ever needing to type in a password on the iPad. Ask us to explain managed app distribution – the best way by far to deploy your apps.

We’ve got a more detailed explanation of DEP here or you can download the official Apple guide here. For more information, call 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and FAQs, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook