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)

Buy now

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)

Buy now from Jigsaw24

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

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