WWDC 2017: All the news and releases recapped

WWDC 2017: All the news and releases recapped

Apple’s annual bash for developers usually delivers a few key software releases, but this year we have a bumper crop, with new iMac, a refreshed notebook lineup and updates to every OS Apple are currently running. Oh, and of course the new HomePod smart speaker system. Let’s start with the hardware…

iMac

With Mac Pro undergoing a complete overhaul after 2013’s redesign, creative professionals have been turning to top spec iMac models to support demanding work. Apple seem to officially acknowledge this with the 2017 iMac models, which boast all-new speedy Kaby Lake processors, boosted graphics (the entry level gets Iris Plus 640, up to 80% faster, the 21” models get Radeon Pro 555 and 560 with 4GB VRAM, up to 3x faster, and the 27” iMac gets Radeon Pro 570, 575 or 580, with 4GB VRAM).

Apple have said the display on the new iMacs is also the best ever on a Mac, 43% brighter with 500 nits and 10-bit dithering which basically boils down to them looking really, really good.

We also got a sneak peek at a brand new iMac Pro, due to ship in December. This new version is going to be a great prospect for video editing, as well as VR content creation, with workstation class performance, new fan architecture, 80% better cooling and quiet operation. Apple announced it would come with an 8 Core Xeon processor, upgradable all the way up to an insane 18 Cores, with Radeon Vega graphics, 16GB VRAM and 11 teraflops. iMac Pro will also come with up to 128GB ECC memory (more than twice that of current iMacs), up to 40TB storage, built-in 10Gb Ethernet and four Thunderbolt ports. Most importantly, it’ll be the first iMac to come in a fetching space grey.

Mac notebooks

In terms of notebooks, there wasn’t anything Earth-shattering to report – MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro all get a bump up to new Kaby Lake processors, as expected, and Apple announced they would also receive faster storage and graphics. They’re also dropping the price of the entry level models.

iPad Pro

iPad users will now have a third size option to choose from: the 10.5″ iPad Pro. Apple are putting that extra screen space to good use, giving you a full size onscreen keyboard with support for more than 30 languages. But don’t worry about it getting unwieldy – despite being 20% larger that the 9.7” iPad, it still only weighs a pound.

The new 10’5” iPad Pro and the updated 12.9” model both sport a speedy A10X Fusion chip powering a six-core CPU, which gives you 30% faster CPU performance and 40% faster graphics performance than the previous generation A9X chip. The two leading iPad models have also gotten new screens capable of a 120Hz refresh rate, which combines with a new Pencil to deliver the most responsive iPad Pro performance ever, with just 20 milliseconds latency.

To save you battery life (iPad Pro can still clock up to ten hours on a single charge), the refresh rate is intelligently adjusted based on what you’re doing. If you’re viewing stills, it’ll drop down to the standard 24Hz, play back movies at 48Hz, and then move in to high gear so you can deal with interactive content at 120Hz.

watchOS 4

Good news for anyone rocking an Apple Watch, as watchOS got an update to version 4. Apple showed off new Faces, powered by Siri, which are designed to use machine learning to always display the most relevant information to you and dynamically update the display. Activity and Workout get new features which will appeal to all sports and gym bunnies, but we were most excited by the colourful Kaleidoscope display feature and, oh yes, animated Toy Story characters. They’ve got a friend in us.

tvOS

Apple TV fans rejoice: Amazon Prime Video is coming to tvOS, making it much easier to binge boxsets of the Man In the High Castle and Transparent.

You can visit our Apple store here. If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

A day in the life of… Stuart Tolley from Transmission

A day in the life of… Stuart Tolley from Transmission

We caught up with typographical designer, art director and author Stuart Tolley to find out what he gets up to while plying his trade at Transmission, his Brighton-based studio. He’s got years of experience working on magazines, a passion for minimalism (he even wrote a book about it!) and prefers to do things the old fashioned way. So we asked him all about how he’s adapted to changes in the creative industry since beginning his career, his work, the technology he uses, what keeps him inspired, and his predictions for the future of design.

What have you been working on today?

Today I’ve been working on typographical experiments for the covers of a forthcoming book series. I’ve been picking apart the headline type using Adobe apps to typographically represent complex theories about psychology, sociology, economics and creativity. I mainly use InDesign, which I combine with Photoshop and Illustrator for other parts of the work.

You’ve authored some books of your own; what were they about?

The first one was called Collectors Edition: Innovative Packaging and Graphics, which is about the renaissance of vinyl records and limited edition publications. My second book, MIN: The New Simplicity in Graphic Design, is about the rebirth of minimalism in graphic design.

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Could you tell us a bit more about your work on minimalism?

Well, MIN has been out for about a year and is published by Thames & Hudson. There have previously been books about the history of minimalism, but no one has published an up to date book about it, particularly in the last 5 years.

We’ve become accustomed to the stripped back designs of contemporary technology and this is really important to me, as I didn’t want the book to be a historical look at the style. I think people are really aware of minimalism now, particularly with the stripped back user experience and product design of Apple devices – this is all part of a decluttered lifestyle, which is something I wanted to tap into. The reductive nature of the book has informed a lot of my studio projects too, because I like working with quite abstract concepts and then stripping them down to their barest form.

What are the biggest challenges you face in keeping the studio up and running?

The main challenge is balancing all the [on-going] design projects we have coming through the studio. We’re a small studio and I take care of all the creative work – I like to do everything myself as well, which I suppose is a bit controlling.

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What technology were you using back in the 90s, at the start of your career? 

I graduated from university in 1999. There were a small amount of computers within the university, but at the time I was using the photographic dark rooms to enlarge my negatives and creating a lot of photographic work. We were on really basic versions of editing software back then – I think I might have used Photoshop a handful of times.

The thing is, I was right on that cusp. Magazines were produced using a cut and paste layout system, with lots of rulers and measuring grids. Of course, I missed all of that and started work when Quark was the main publishing tool. Before I left university, I was using the photocopier all the time to print stuff, cutting and pasting, using lots of tape to stick it all down – really hands-on work. Then as soon as I started work people were like “Right, now you need to use QuarkXpress”.

What technology has had the biggest impact on your studio?

I use a lot of Adobe programs. I really am a slave to Apple and Adobe at the minute. A big change was when InDesign overtook Quark, which was the industry standard. I think the biggest change for me personally is how social media and marketing have developed. The internet is now the mainstream form for viewing information, especially since the explosion of smartphones.

There was a period, maybe a decade ago, where I was working on print and magazine projects, but nobody was interested in print at all. Just a constant stream of “nos”; people were demanding apps and stuff for tablets instead. But magazine apps haven’t really taken over as much as people predicted, and instead we’re witnessing a golden era of independent magazine production that’s targeted at very specific audiences.

How did you adapt to the latest trends, whether it was online, video or animation? 

I didn’t. The rise of digital design and user experience has exploded really in the last four or five years, all while I was making my books. I was kind of blissfully unaware and then popped out the other side of it. That’s when I realised the design industry had changed quite a bit. But, for me, it’s quite important to just stick to your guns and say, “You know what, this is what I love to do and they’ll be an audience for it.” I think once I realised that, that’s when I decided I didn’t need to be making loads of apps or websites just to keep up, because there are so many people that are doing that anyway.

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When did you get your first Mac?

My first Mac was a big old [Power Mac] G4 desktop, which had a great big screen. It was all that was available at the time and I got it almost as soon as I left university and had enough money. I was working at Sleazenation magazine at the time and used it to create freelance work on the side. I now have an iMac with a Retina screen, the highest spec I could get, which I use as my main computer.

So how would you say the G4 you were using compares to the top-spec iMac you have now?

The new iMacs are much more streamlined. What you’ve got now is a screen on a stand, whereas before you’d have your [tower], hard drives and a massive monitor with a deep back to it, wires everywhere. Now it’s all part of the decluttering, minimalistic process. You know, the wireless keyboard and mouse, stuff like that – I just embraced it, it was fantastic. 

Do you use any design tablets, like Wacoms?

Some of my friends swear by [Wacoms] but it’s just not something that I’ve ever tried or embraced.

How do your friends use them?

One of them has a huge one; it’s basically just a screen that he draws into. It’s an incredible bit of kit – but as they’re illustrators, they need the ability to draw and work freehand. Whereas I would say my work is more typographical, which I can handle on a mouse.

What Adobe apps do you use the most? 

I use InDesign the most, but I do vector-based work in Illustrator too. I use Photoshop for colour correcting, retouching and things like that. I also use Bridge quite a bit for manipulating images in raw mode, but InDesign is definitely the one I use the most – all day, everyday basically.

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What upcoming trends are you thinking about for the future?

I’ve just created a book about minimalism, so I’m quite interested in the opposite of that. The whole point of the book was that there have been these very ornate designs around for a long time, then minimalism comes along and it refreshes everything. But there will always be a reaction against a current design trends and you’ll probably see a reaction against minimalism in the next few years.

So what will the reaction to minimalism be then?

I think there will be a point where everyone gets bored of things looking really clean, and minimalism just won’t be doing its job anymore, because everything just looks the same. You see it within the independent magazine industry, which are all currently being produced in a minimalist design style. They’ve all got a little logo, top centre, and they all look exactly the same. There are magazines coming out that are totally different, really energetic, and they’ll stand out because they don’t look like everything else. That will be the biggest change; a style will come along that’s more playful and experimental.

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How do you stay productive during busy, stressful times?

I go and sit on the beach. I’ll just take a sketchbook and go and make notes, draw and come up with ideas. It always works. Guaranteed.

What keeps you inspired everyday?

I often change career path and that keeps me inspired. I still work within editorial design, but I’ve shifted quite a lot. I think that’s something that I would like to continue doing, mixing formats and styles. I’ve just been commissioned to work on an exhibition in Brighton this September, so I’m already thinking of ideas for that in the back of my mind. It’s just about doing lots of side projects and changing direction every so often. It’s frightening, but it’s important to do it.

Transmission is a graphic design studio and editorial consultancy, working with clients in the cultural, commercial and charitable industries.

www.transmission.design

If you’d like to find out more about about any of the creative kit mentioned above, give us a call on 03332 400 888, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or pop your details in the form below. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook. 

 

Buyers’ guide: Apple desktops

Buyers’ guide: Apple desktops

While Mac has long been the go-to choice for creatives using resource-draining editing software or demanding design programs, Mac has also proven itself as a brilliant option for business and beyond. When it comes to Mac for desktop, there are three simple choices: the all-in-one iMac, the powerful, professional Mac Pro, and the compact and efficient Mac mini.

In the desktop arena, Mac faces fierce competition from a vast array of PCs all clamouring to sit atop your desk. And packing in a huge assortment of different processors, graphics cards and monitors, the desktop world can be a perplexing and intimidating place – particularly for first time buyers. With Apple’s Mac desktop range, you know what you’re getting – a familiar UI, trusty hardware and an assortment of essential creative software and applications at your fingertips.

Take a look at this essential buyers’ guide so you know exactly what you’re in for when you go with Apple and their Mac desktops.

iMac

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With its big, bright Retina display now available in 5K on the 27″ model and 4K on its 21.5″ sister, and powerful internals, the iMac really is the ultimate all-in-one desktop. It’s long been popular among image specialists and designers, and has caught the attention of videographers thanks to its built-in 4K editing capabilities. But outside of the creative world, it’s also found favour with business users, education institutions, and home users, thanks to its multi-purpose ethos.

The iMac is both sleek in design and space-efficient, with all the internals  built into its gorgeous, slim screen, meaning no cables and no mess. It even comes equipped with an Apple Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 or Magic Trackpad 2 to boot.

The specs:

21″ iMac

– 21″ widescreen display.

– Up to 2TB Fusion Drive.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Core i5 2.8GHz processor.

– Up to Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200. 

From £869 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

21″ iMac with 4K Retina display 

– 21″ 4K Retina display.

– Up to 2TB Fusion Drive.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Core i7 3.3GHz processor.

– Up to Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200. 

From £1199 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

27″ iMac with 5K Retina display

– 27″ 5K Retina display.

– Up to 3TB Fusion Drive.

– Up to 32GB (4x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Quad Core i7 4.0GHz processor.

– Up to AMD Radeon R9 M395X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory 

From £1449 ex VAT on Jigsaw24. 

Mac Pro

Mac Pro on Jigsaw24

The creative powerhouse and Apple’s workhorse, the Mac Pro is the only way to go if you’re looking for optimum performance, user-specific customisability and the ultimate editing hub. With the potential to house a colossal 64GB of RAM and up to 12 individual processors,  Mac Pro will deliver at every turn.

There’s a reason Mac Pro is considered the industry-standard – it’s fast and reliable, perfectly suited for editing audio and video in your favourite applications like Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro X and Da Vinci Resolve. The power of the Mac Pro is contained within its discreet yet stylish cylindrical casing and is only 25cm high and 5kg in weight – perfect for maintaining a clear, open workspace. Sporting all the ports you could ever need, Mac Pro allows you to connect all of your essential peripherals, right at home in a large creative suite complete with multiple monitors and lots of external storage. If you want to make use of Mac Pro’s customisability and design a desktop computer suited specifically to you, we recommend giving our Mac Pro Configurator a look.

The specs:

– Up to 2.7GHz 12-core processor.

– Up to 1TB PCIe-based flash storage.

– Up to 64GB (4x16GB) memory.

– Up to Dual AMD FirePro D700 with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM.

– Support for three 4K displays,

– Six Thunderbolt ports.

From £2485 ex VAT.

 

Mac mini

mac mini

The light and compact Mac mini offers an impressive amount of power for such a small computer. With 3GHz of muscle and up to 16GB of RAM, Mac mini coasts through those essential office tasks and performs well under processing pressure. While it may not match the sheer performance of the Mac Pro or iMac, it’s perfect for streaming your content around an office or in a meeting with AirPlay. For all of your admin, server, or streaming-based needs, look no further than the Mac mini.

The specs:

– Up to 1TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Dual Core i7 3GHz processor.

From £395 ex VAT.

Want to know more about MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or just pop your details in the form below and we’ll be in touch. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

 

 

Buyers’ Guide: Mac for business

Buyers’ Guide: Mac for business

Looking to refresh your business’s computer deployment? These days, looking to Apple is probably your best option. As well as their power, flexibility and ease of use, they’re also incredibly durable and reliable, so you can count on a better TCO and ROI than with PC counterparts.

Your options are much simpler too – you have a choice of MacBook Air, MacBook Pro (with or without Touch Bar) and the 12″ MacBook, as well as desktop computers in the form of Mac Pro, iMac and Mac mini, which can come with differing internal features depending on your needs. When shopping for PC ‘ultrabooks’ and desktops, on the other hand, there simply isn’t one single contender to match Mac, but a whole universe of laptops and desktops sporting differing processors and screen sizes (not to mention vastly varying build quality), which can get rather confusing.

To make things even easier, we’ve broken down the range below, giving recommendations based on the team’s actual experience using Mac within the business, as well as links to buy. If you are wanting to deploy a raft of new notebooks and desktops, you’ll probably want to talk to us first, as experts in all things Apple, including integration, rollout, management and post-sales support. But let’s take a look at the actual products available first…

MacBook Air

Ideal for: Mobile workers who need long battery life

MacBook Air on Jigsaw24

MacBook Air has been around since 2008, and in that time, Apple have really worked on making its internals match its external form factor. One of the thinnest (just 1.7cm at its thickest point) and lightest (as little as 1.08kg) notebooks around, it is undoubtably good looking, but that stunning design also means it’s incredibly portable. That makes it a great choice 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.

Equally, if we are called in to a meeting, we can just pick up our 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. The 11″ model in particular, can easily be stowed away in your bag and carried around all day without putting your shoulder out.

Another feature that’s bound to be a boon for business is the battery life. Apple say the 11″ model will go nine hours without a recharge, while the 13″ model, which includes larger batteries, tops out at 12 hours. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on what apps you’re running, display settings and other factors, but that’s more than enough to get you through a full business day before you have to plug in again. The fact that they rely solely on solid state flash storage also means MacBook Air is speedy too – 17x faster than a traditional 5400-rpm notebook hard drive, in fact.

The latest versions feature:

11″ MacBook Air

– 11.6″ high-res glossy display.

– Up to 512GB flash storage.

– Up to 8GB RAM.

– Fifth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

– Intel HD Graphics 6000 processor.

– From £549 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

13″ MacBook Air

– 13.3″ high-res glossy display.

– Up to 512GB flash storage.

– Up to 8GB RAM.

– Fifth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors.

– Intel HD Graphics 6000 processor.

– From £702 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

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MacBook Pro

Ideal for: Those needing more power from a portable computer

MacBook Pro on Jigsaw24

MacBook Pro is Apple’s powerhouse portable (our designers use it on shoots, and it happily handles rendering and exporting compositions in processor-intensive apps like Adobe Creative Cloud’s Photoshop and InDesign, while they get on with the rest of their workload).

The latest generation of MacBook Pro comes in three flavours: MacBook Pro 13″, MacBook Pro 13″ with Touch Bar and Touch ID, and MacBook Pro 15″ with Touch Bar and Touch ID.

The no-frills 13″ model was described by Apple CEO Tim Cook as “a MacBook Pro for MacBook Air users” and is the lightest and slimmest of the bunch. It’s 12% thinner than the current MacBook Air (at the wide end of the taper, admittedly, but still), and is 13% smaller by volume. Despite this highly portable form factor, the MacBook Pro 13″ still boasts a Retina Display, a 2.4GHz dual core Intel Core i7 processor, 512GB of flash storage and 16GB RAM, to make it the clear winner if you need a combination of power and portability.

The other two MacBook Pro models features Apple’s Touch ID biometric sensor, allowing users to log in, switch accounts and even make purchases simply by scanning a fingerprint. It also means that these models will support biometric security measures and two-factor authentication, so if security is your top priority, these are the laptops for you.

These models are the first to feature Apple’s unique Touch Bar, a Retina-quality display that sits where the function keys used to and offers context-aware shortcuts to common tasks. For example, in Mail, you’ll see keys for sending and replying to mail, while in a video editing app you’ll see your timeline in miniature – great for helping your creatives work more quickly and intuitively.

All three models use the latest USB-C standard which, depending on which adaptor you’re using, can act as a power cable, DisplayPort connection, Thunderbolt 3 port, HDMI port or VGA port, meaning you can use the MacBook Pro as the basis of a much larger workstation with desktop storage and multiple monitors.

13″ MacBook Pro

– 13.3″ widescreen Retina display.

– Up to 512GB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB RAM.

– Dual-core Intel Core i7 processors.

– Intel Iris 540 graphics.

– From £1347 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

13″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID

– 13.3″ ultra-thin Retina display.

– Up to 1TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB RAM.

– Dual core Intel Core i7 processors.

– Intel Iris 550 graphics.

– From £1449 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

15″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID

– 15.4″ ultra-thin Retina display.

– Up to 2TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB RAM.

– Quad-core Intel Core i7 processors.

– AMD Radeon Pro 460 graphics processor.

– From £1947 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

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MacBook

Ideal for: Mobile workers who need maximum energy efficiency

MacBook on Jigsaw24

The 12″ MacBook joined the Mac notebook lineup in 2015. It was the first non-pro Mac notebook to feature a Retina display and also the first to come in a range of colours. While it’s not as powerful as the MacBook Pro and Air, it’s still speedy, complete with the new Intel Core M processor, up to 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of flash storage.

Apple say it’s also their most energy efficient computer, using just five watts of power, and doing away with the fan for silent running. Like the MacBook Pro range, it takes advantage of the USB-C standard to combine power, video and ultrafast data transfer into a single cable, so you will want to invest in USB-C adaptors if your staff opt for this model.

12″ MacBook

– 12″ Retina display.

– Up to 512GB flash storage.

– 8GB RAM.

– Core m processor.

– Intel HD Graphics 5300.

– Gold, silver or space grey colour schemes.

– From £1035 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

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Mac Pro

Ideal for: Video and heavy creative work

Mac Pro on Jigsaw24

Moving on to desktop workstations, we have the Mac Pro – Apple’s workhorse. While you may not need 64GB RAM or 12 cores of processing power for everyday business tasks and systems, if you have an in-house creative team, they’ll thank you for investing in Mac Pro, the industry standard for design work, and video and audio editing.

This latest generation of Mac Pro, released in 2013, introduced a radical new design. Ditching the classic tower form factor in favour of a sleek cylindrical casing, Mac Pro manages to pack all its internals into a 25cm high, 5kg casing that will happily sit on a desk, and it comes with enough ports that you’re able to connect all the displays, storage and peripherals you require. And, if there’s a specific configuration you need, you can add your own RAM, processors and storage with our online Mac Pro Configurator.

Mac Pro

– Up to 2.7GHz 12-core processor.

– Up to 1TB PCIe-based flash storage.

– Up to 64GB (4x16GB) memory.

– Up to Dual AMD FirePro D700 with 6GB GDDR5 VRAM.

– Support for three 4K displays,

– Six Thunderbolt ports.

– From £1799 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

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iMac

Ideal for: Creative teams or those needing an all-in-one workstation

iMac on Jigsaw24

iMac has long been the choice of graphic designers and imaging specialists for its power and large display, but it’s perfect for the office too. An all-in-one workstation, all the internals and connectivity are neatly contained within its incredibly slim form factor, so there’s no desk clutter, and it comes with an Apple keyboard and Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad too. In 2014, Apple also launched a 27″ iMac with Retina 5K display, which is great for seeing content with an increased level of colour and detail, as well as being ideal if you want more screen real estate so you have a larger workspace to fit your toolbars, and work on the content itself.

21″ iMac

– 21″ widescreen display.

– Up to 1TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Core i7 3.1GHz processor.

– From £869 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

21.5″ iMac with 4K Retina display

– 21.5″ widescreen display.

– Up to 2TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Core i7 3.3GHz processor.

– From £1199 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

27″ 5K iMac with Retina display

– 27″ 5K Retina display.

– Up to 3TB Fusion storage.

– Up to 8GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Quad Core i7 4.0GHz processor.

– From £1449 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

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Mac mini

Ideal for: General office work

Mac mini on Jigsaw24

The smallest of Apple’s desktop options, Mac mini is ideal for the desk, but that doesn’t mean it’s lightweight. With up to 16GB RAM and 3GHz processing power, it’ll breeze through spreadsheets, as well as more processor-intesive tasks, while using up a tiny amount of power. All you need is to hook it up to a display, and add a keyboard and mouse.

Mac mini

– Up to 2TB flash storage.

– Up to 16GB (2x8GB) RAM.

– Up to Dual Core i7 3GHz processor.

– From £395 ex VAT on Jigsaw24.

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Want to know more about MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro? Give us a call on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24.com or just pop your details in the form below and we’ll be in touch. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

Or fill in the form below to find out about our b7 proof of concept trial for executives that lets you see the benefits of Mac – such as improved productivity and lower total cost of ownership – before you invest.

A designer’s thoughts on the new 5K iMac and OS X Yosemite

A designer’s thoughts on the new 5K iMac and OS X Yosemite

The latest launch from Apple saw them release a whole raft of new products including the iMac with 5K Retina display, Mac mini and a new iPad range, as well as the general release of OS X Yosemite.

For architects and designers, the updated iMac should be of particular interest, but is it enough to make them stand up and take notice, or even upgrade their previous trusty workstation? I’ve had chance to use both the 5K iMac with Retina display, as well as Yosemite, for a while now. Here are my initial thoughts…

New 5K iMac with Retina display

Firstly, with regards to the 5k iMac and that new screen – it’s a stunner. Images are much crisper, colours more vibrant, and there’s an increased level of detail to everything. Even text looks a damn sight better on it! Previously, when I was working on my MacBook Pro with Retina display, then came to the same composition on my non-Retina iMac, the difference was marked. Things didn’t look nearly as sharp, and it felt like the display was older than it was. But now, I can carry on editing with the same Retina clarity on both machines, which is a massive bonus for my workflow.

One of the obvious benefits is that, in a world where digital content is becoming a mobile-first medium, and with smartphones and tablets getting higher and higher resolution screens, it’s an advantage to work on a display that can natively see the content in a resolution similar to that of a smartphone. Very handy for making sure my digital work is optimised for mobile. Another thing to mention is the size – the 5k iMac’s 27″ screen is ideal if you want more screen real estate so you have a larger workspace to fit your toolbars, and work on the content itself.

Should I upgrade to the new 5K iMac?
For the kind of web design work I do day-in, day-out, the Retina display has seriously won me over. But, if your workflow relies on colour accuracy, you’ll still require a higher level colour critical display that has been designed specifically with this in mind.
OS X Yosemite

I’ve been using the new iOS 7-inspired Yosemite since beta days on my MacBook Pro with Retina display, and have also used it on my iMac for the past few weeks or so since its release.

Continuity is great on a day to day basis if your device supports it; starting work on my MacBook Pro and then throwing it over to my iMac when I get there has obvious workflow benefits. My iPad currently does not support Continuity, unfortunately. More importantly for my daily work, the Adobe Creative Cloud suite does not currently support Continuity either. As it has to be coded into each app, it may take time for this to be implemented, so at the moment it’s pretty much a moot point in terms of real digital creativity across devices.

Handoff in general is great. I love being able to answer calls and SMS messages on my Mac, and still be in reach to contact while my phone can be somewhere in the house. Toolbars have had a bit of an update too. In apps where the ‘traffic lights’ sit alongside the buttons opposed to above them (Safari, System Preferences, iTunes and App Store are the main ones off the top of my head), and the additional 30px or so is nice.

The real killer for me was going to be iCloud Drive. I use a Dropbox Pro account personally and was excited by the prospect of iCloud Drive’s size and cost, and the ability to sync settings and databases (for 1Password, etc) between devices. I’ve now upped my iCloud Drive storage, which I’ve primarily marked out for the iCloud Photo Library when it rolls around for OS X.

What I’ve been really impressed by is the new Spotlight, which is fantastic. Being able to search for definitions, conversions, calculations and pretty much anything on the web with just a keystroke is pretty awesome. To be fair, I pretty much launch all my apps through Spotlight, as I can get to them quicker than putting down my pen, reaching for my mouse, opening Finder and then the app, so this is a big deal in terms of efficiency for me.

OS X Yosemite also comes with new developer tools SpriteKit and SceneKit, and the new Swift programming language. These may not have been trumpeted to the same degree as some of the new features, but judging by our own dev team’s excited chatter these will be relevant for developers in creative teams.

Should I upgrade to OS X Yosemite?

Aside from the headline feature, the new look interface, the few major new features Yosemite brings to the table are great. Truth be told, it hasn’t had too much of a major effect on my actual design workflow in any respect, but what updates there have been have been refreshing, with some beneficial changes to how I go about certain tasks and processes.

If you’re worried about compatibility, that shouldn’t be a problem. Adobe have confirmed Creative Cloud is compatible with Yosemite, and I’ve been using it for weeks without a hitch. Extensis Suitcase Fusion 6 is also compatible, and Quark have just announced that next year’s QuarkXPress 2015 will be too, so no problem there. As a completely free update, I’d certainly suggest it to all Mac users. To read a more comprehensive list of apps compatible with Yosemite click here.

iMac with Retina display on Jigsaw24

Want to find out more about the new iMac with Retina display? Give our team a call on 03332 400 888, email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

 

Sassafras offers Ableton Live Networked License Server option

Sassafras offers Ableton Live Networked License Server option

Ableton have announced that the latest version of Live (that’s Ableton Live 9.1) can be used on networked computers using Sassafras KeyServer.

“With the release of Live 9.1, Ableton will introduce support for authorizing Live via Sassafras KeyServer in a networked environment,” said a post on their blog.

“Contrary to Live’s default ‘node-locked’ authorization system that fixes each installation to a specific computer, utilizing KeyServer allows for the ‘concurrent’ use of Live on networked computers. This is especially useful in institutional computer labs, for instance.”

What does that mean? Well, if you have five licences of Ableton and 15 computers in your lab, you’ll now be able to use Ableton on any of the 15, rather than just the five that they were originally installed on, as was previously the case. This means that students aren’t locked to one machine anymore – they can access their Ableton files from any machine in the lab at any time, which is great for anyone who wants to use the lab between lessons, or smaller schools where you may need to have two groups using the labs for different reasons at the same time.

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

Make the most of your iPad and Macs with Apple Professional Development training

Make the most of your iPad and Macs with Apple Professional Development training

Don’t let your school’s brand new Apple Mac and iPad equipment just sit there gathering dust – with one of our Apple Professional Development (APD) training courses, you can unlock the real potential of your hardware, and make sure your staff are all up to speed at the same time. We offer a huge range of courses from foundation iOS and OS X training, to curriculum-based sessions and even vision and planning for your Apple deployment. Find out more in the PDF guide below…

Make the most of your Macs and iPad with APD training

Apple APD catalogue

To find out more about Apple for education, call us on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. You can also  keep up to date with all our education news by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.


Video: Jigsaw24 Tech Support – How to configure RAM in a Mac

Video: Jigsaw24 Tech Support –  How to configure RAM in a Mac

In this step-by-step video tutorial, our Johanna (Jigsaw24 tech support specialist) runs through the ways to configure RAM in a Mac Pro, iMac, Mac mini and MacBook Pro.

For more help with your RAM, get in touch with us on 03332 400 999 or email AppleRepairs@Jigsaw24.com. Or if your problem is 140 characters of less, send us your queries on twitter @Jigsaw24tech.

What the new Apple releases and iPad mini mean for education

What the new Apple releases and iPad mini mean for education

Apple are really advancing technology for education at the moment, and their huge recent product launch helped back up their cause. Not only did they release the brand new iPad mini, which is ideal for the classroom, and new Mac hardware, they spent a good chunk of the presentation talking about how iBooks and iBooks Author were helping engage learners. Here are a few of the standout points.

iPad mini (and the updated iPad)

The release that’s got everyone talking, Apple’s iPad mini fills that niche between the regular-sized iPad and the iPod touch. At 7.9″, the tablet’s an ideal size for the classroom, as younger pupils who might have trouble holding the full size 9.7″ tablet will find the new design much more comfortable, and older students are able to hold iPad mini in one hand and use it as an e-reader (much like a Kindle). As Apple were keen to stress, the iPad mini will do everything the regular sized one will do – all apps work the same, as do all the configuration and management features. Of course, you still get access to some 275,000 apps in the App Store too.

Another problem the iPad mini addresses is in using the camera. We always find it a little awkward to shoot photos and videos using the rear-facing camera on the iPad, so the new slimmed down version should make the whole process much easier. There’s also a front-facing FaceTime HD camera so students can produce video diary-style reports. As usual, there’s a range of different storage capacities depending on how many documents, apps, songs and videos you want to load on, and a choice of black or white.

The regular iPad line-up also got a refresh, with 4th generation iPad Retina display models now sporting the new Lightning port recently launched on the iPhone 5, and a new chip which promises processing speeds of double that of iPad 2.

iBooks 3 and iBooks Author

The announcement of the new iBooks 3 and updated iBooks Author will see a huge improvement in the kinds of textbooks, both published and internal, that schools, colleges and universities will benefit from. In the US, iBooks now cover 80% of the curriculum, and the number of digital textbooks for the UK curriculum is on a significant rise too.

iBooks is Apple’s reader app, which has its own iBookstore and ability to create your own digital textbooks with iBooks Author. For an idea of what you can do with iBooks, check out our handy iBooks tutorials. Version 3 now lets you store books and save your place on iCloud to read on any device – pretty handy if students are reading a textbook on the iPad mini, then need to carry on from the same place on their iPhone or iPod for research and analysis around the text. With improved scrolling, sharing features and now 40 supported languages, this will be a real boost for education.

iBooks Author has also been updated, making it easier and faster to publish iBooks. There are new Apple templates, including a portrait template which wasn’t previously available, and better handling of custom fonts, widgets and mathematical functions which will help to close out the remainder of the school curriculum that hasn’t been covered by iBooks yet. They’re both available to download for free now.

The new Mac line-up

Apple don’t tend to just focus on one thing at their presentations, and took the opportunity to unveil a ton of new Macs that have some interesting points for education.

We’ve always recommended iMacs as the perfect desktop computer for the classroom – you get everything you need in one machine the size of a display, with no need for a tower. For the new version, Apple have slimmed the screen down to an incredible 5mm at its edges, and have got rid of the optical disc drive for this model (you can buy an additional SuperDrive to load DVDs, or wirelessly connect to another machine’s drive though).

For subjects where you need to see fine detail – video editing and production, and other graphics work – the new 13″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display is ideal. With 2560×1600 resolution, they have four times the number of pixels as the previous generation of MacBook Pros, and are powerful enough to run demanding editing software too. Apple’s smallest Mac also had an update – the Mac mini can now fit up to 16GB RAM and is still only 20cm x 20cm, which makes it perfect for the classroom or your desk.

For more information on the whole Apple iPad mini and new Mac range, get in touch with the team on 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. You can also keep up with all our classroom technology news and reviews by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

New ways to showcase student content at Vision West Notts

New ways to showcase student content at Vision West Notts

As part of their Vision West Notts rebranding exercise, West Nottinghamshire College launched a £5 million refurbishment of their Derby Road site. The new Create centre was designed to help students prepare for careers in broadcast, theatre, dance, radio and more. We set them up with Centrify management tools for their new Macs, and configured and installed a 12-screen software-driven video wall so that staff could showcase students’ work in a more dynamic way.

Managing Mac suites

The college had been a long-term user of Apple hardware, but was having trouble getting their iMacs to work with their state-of-the-art Isilon shared storage system. After discussing their options with our server and storage engineer Tom Holbrook, they decided to use a combination of GroupLogic’s ExtremeZ-IP to smooth out any integration issues and Centrify Suite to secure and manage their machines.

“We did a test with Centrify on about 20 Macs,” said Learning Advisor Tim Warrener, “just to see how easily we could integrate using the Macs on the network with a personal login.” Impressed with Centrify’s ease of use, the college then rolled out the solution across the entire Create building. “It was quite daunting, but the team from Jigsaw24 were fantastic.” Once a management solution had been decided, our engineers wrote custom scripts that would allow Vision West Notts’ team to mount their drives properly.

As well as delivering a smoother, more productive user experience for students and staff, the new management system allows Vision West Notts’ tech team to maintain tighter control over individual workstations, reducing the possibility of failure due to end user interference, and ensures students’ work is saved securely and backed up on the Isilon straight away. Some staff were wary of the new login system this required at first but, as Tim explained, “they’ve warmed up now that they’ve got their own space.”

Showcasing student work

From the beginning of the refurbishment, staff at the college had known they wanted to include a video wall in one of the building’s communal spaces. One of the college’s key aims was to foster links with industry, and they wanted the screen to act as a bold, eye-catching introduction to the building for any visitors, as well as a platform for talented students to share their work. The screen would act as a showcase for multimedia projects, especially those involving video or 3D elements, as the college’s existing display boards couldn’t show this content at its best.

Designing the video wall

After hearing several pitches, the college decided to work with Jigsaw24. The main advantages of the solution Vision West Notts chose were its cost-effectiveness, the flexibility the Scala software offered in terms of what could be displayed, and the fact that, rather than taking a single output and stretching it across all the screens, the system could output a separate 720p image to each screen. This increases the wall’s overall pixel count and reduces the risk of distorting or degrading the original image.

Expanding the solution

During the design process, Vision West Notts managed to free up some extra funding, and decided to expand the video wall from nine to twelve screens. “We weren’t sure what we wanted [from the video wall],” explained Curriculum Manager Steve Gathercole. “There was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, and one of the things that we were pleased about with Jigsaw24 was that we received a very fast response as we changed the criteria. Everything was put in a way that I could understand – I knew what I was paying for and how I could use it, and there was also an element of future proofing, so we could expand it, enlarge it, build on it, and that was what really made the difference.”

Our team headed over to the college and, despite having to swap out the DUI transmitters for
a newer model with better specs at the last minute, managed to get the whole setup up and running within a day. After a couple of weeks of smooth running, power to two of the screens cut out, but we were able to get them back on their feet in no time at all.

Jigsaw24’s Anthony Hammond also provided a quick training session for key users. “I picked it up quite quickly, due to the fact that I work in a multimedia environment,” said Tim. “It’s very similar to a lot of the software we use.” Our design department then put together an animation based on the Vision West Notts logo, which served as an eyecatching placeholder while the Vision West Notts team created their own content.

Looking forward…

“We’ve had amazing feedback on the video wall – we’re adding new content all the time,” Steve told us. Our design team have also given Vision West Notts some placeholder content based around an animated Vision West Notts logo, which Steve says “has elicited some brilliant responses.”

The next stage of the plan is to load up the screen with students’ creations in time for an upcoming open evening. “We wanted to showcase talent and show how great our students really are, and having this wall really does give that impact,” explained Tim. After opening night, he plans to look into giving other machines on the network the ability to edit content on the wall, so that staff can keep the wall up to date with the latest images and information wherever they are.

For more information about AV and digital signage solutions, get in touch with us on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com.