Google+ 2018 ~ High Tech House Calls

Do Dogs Really Miss Us?

Friday, November 30, 2018

   Finding Parked Car by iPhoneLife on Scribd

Why You Shouldn’t Trust Free VPNs by Chris Hoffman

While using a VPN, you’re placing an immense amount of trust in the VPN operator. Sure, a VPN prevents your Internet service provider or Wi-Fi hotspot operator from snooping on your browsing. But it doesn’t stop the operator of the VPN server from snooping.

When your traffic leaves the VPN, the operator of the VPN server can see the websites you’re accessing. If you’re accessing unencrypted HTTP websites, the VPN operator can see the full content of the pages. The operator could keep logs on this data, or sell it for advertising purposes.

Let’s put it this way: When you use a VPN, you’re preventing the hotspot at the hotel or airport and your Internet service provider from spying on your traffic. But you’re letting the VPN provider spy on your traffic instead. Why would you trust a free VPN provider you’ve never heard of?

A recent investigation by Metric Labs spotted by The Register drew attention to this problem, discovering the majority of free VPN apps have links to China and 86% of them had unsatisfactory privacy policies. Some explicitly stated they transfer user data to China. Most of them had customer support emails pointing to generic personal email accounts on services like Gmail or Hotmail. These don’t sound like services worthy of your trust.

If you’re using a VPN for privacy or escaping Internet censorship, you probably don’t want to use a VPN based in China.

China aside, you wouldn’t want to use a shady VPN hosted in a country with a less repressive government either. The VPN company may just be capturing and selling your data. Or they may keep lots of logs—and, if you’re using a VPN for something like BitTorrent, you probably don’t want to choose a VPN that logs all your traffic.

What You Should Use Instead

Stay away from free VPNs. It costs a company money to host a VPN server and pay for traffic, so why would that company give you a free service without getting something out of it?

As a free VPN for occasional use, we recommend Tunnelbear. This service only gives you 500 MB of data every month, which isn’t much. But it’s well-regarded, and the company’s business model is selling you unlimited VPN data. It’s like a free sample every month, but it can do if you only occasionally need VPN service in a pinch.

If you’re serious about using a VPN for privacy, torrenting, bypassing censorship, or getting around geographical restrictions online, we recommend doing some research and paying for a service you feel is trustworthy. We have a guide for selecting a VPN service. You don’t have to use our top picks but do some research. Your VPN provider sits between you and all your online traffic, and they can see it. You should find a company with a solid privacy policy and reputation. You’ll have to pay for that.

For serious privacy and anonymity, you should check out Tor. Tor is free, but it’s nowhere near as speedy as a VPN. It’s not something you’d want to use for all your Internet traffic.

If you’re an advanced user, you should seriously consider setting up your own VPN. Pay for hosting on a server or cloud service somewhere, install a VPN server, and connect to it. You’re now your own VPN operator—although the hosting service could potentially spy on you. There’s no escaping it.
You’re always placing trust in someone, so choose your VPN service (or hosting company) carefully.

Monday, November 26, 2018

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Which of Apple’s small laptops is right for you? by Michael Simon

If you’re in the market for a Mac notebook, there are basically two options: the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which offers a range of options to satisfy the most demanding of users, and everything else. Apple offers no less than four MacBooks with 12- or 13.3-inch screens, and deciding between them can be enough to give up and buy a Dell XPS 13.

We’re here to help. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or someone else, we’ve considered every angle, color, spec, and port to help you cut through the confusion and make sure you make the right choice.

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Price

Apple’s pricing matrix for its smallest MacBooks isn’t much of a help when choosing which one to buy. While $300 separate the entry-level MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air is a 2017 model. Then there’s a cluster of three laptops with similar prices.

MacBook Air (2017): $999
MacBook Air (2018): $1,199
MacBook: $1,299
MacBook Pro (no Touch Bar): $1,299

If you want the Touch Bar MacBook Pro, you’ll need to spend at least $1,799, a significant increase over any of the prices here. But, you’re also getting a lot more computer, with twice as much storage as the non-Touch Bar Pro, an eighth-gen processor, True Tone display, and four USB-C ports. But for the sake of comparison, we’ll be comparing the non-Touch Bar model with the other models here.

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Screen

macbook air 2018 hero Jason Cross/IDG
The MacBook is the smallest notebook here, with a 12-inch screen rather than a 13.3-inch one. However, it has the same resolution as the larger retina models:
MacBook Air (2017): 13.3-inch, 1440x900, 128 ppi
MacBook Air (2018): 13.3-inch, 2560x1600, 227 ppi
MacBook: 12-inch, 2304x1440, 226 ppi
MacBook Pro: 13.3-inch, 13.3-inch, 2560x1600, 227 ppi

The 2017 Air is the only MacBook with a non-Retina display, and the difference is palpable. It only has 128 pixels per inch, so images and text will definitely appear aliased. It also uses a twisted nematic (TN) display, which suffers from poor viewing angles and lesser overall quality as compared to the IPS displays on the other Retina MacBooks. One more tidbit: The Touch Bar version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro includes a Wide Color (DCI-P3) True Tone display while the non-Touch Bar model does not.

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Size

If you’re buying one of these laptops, size is obviously a very important factor in your decision. Unsurprisingly, the four models are very similar in stature, with mere tenths of an inch separating three of the models:
MacBook Air (2017): 12.8 x 8.94 x 0.11-0.68 inches
MacBook Air (2018): 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.16-0.61 inches
MacBook: 11.04 x 7.74 x 0.14-0.52 inches
MacBook Pro: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.59

As you can see, the MacBook is the smallest of the three, but not by much. Just 0.83 x 0.62 inches separate it from the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, and it’s less than a tenth of an inch thinner than the MacBook Air. At its thickest point, the new MacBook Air is actually thicker than the MacBook Pro, but since the latter doesn’t have a wedge design, the Pro will feel a bit thicker when carrying it. Defying its surname, the 2017 MacBook Air is the thickest and largest of the bunch, clocking in at nearly two inches wider than the MacBook despite having the same-sized screen.

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Design

macbook air 2018 vs pro13 Jason Cross/IDG
The MacBook Pro, MacBook, and 2018 MacBook Air have a very similar aesthetic: Skinny black bezels flank the screen and a giant trackpad is centered below the black keys. As the MacBook is the smallest model, the keys abut the sides of the enclosure and the speakers are above the keyboard, while the 2018 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro have enough space alongside the keys for a pair of stereo speakers. They’re all instantly recognizable as modern Apple notebooks, even if they no longer have a glowing Apple logo.
The 2017 MacBook Air, however, is the last remaining Apple laptop that does have a logo that lights up, though it comes with a much older design. The bezels around the screen are silver and much bigger than on the other MacBooks, and the trackpad is significantly smaller, leaving quite a bit of dead space below the keyboard. It’s a nice design but feels a little dated.

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Colors

You can get any of these MacBooks in silver, as well as a few other colors:
MacBook Air (2017): Silver
MacBook Air (2018): Silver, Space Gray, Gold
MacBook: Silver, Space Gray, Gold
MacBook Pro: Silver, Space Gray
It basically boils down to a matter of preference, but if you have your heart set on gold, the MacBook Pro is out.

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Weight

All of Apple’s notebooks are light enough to toss in a bag without adding too much weight, but the MacBook is still significantly lighter than the others:
MacBook Air (2017): 2.96 lbs
MacBook Air (2018): 2.75 lbs
MacBook: 2.03 lbs
MacBook Pro: 3.02 lbs
There was a time when the 2017 MacBook Air was Apple’s lightest laptop. But now, compared to its modernized brethren, it’s fairly heavy, weighing nearly as much as the beefier MacBook Pro. The 2018 MacBook Air sheds about a quarter of a pound, but it’s still a good deal heavier than the non-Air MacBook. That’s just plain confusing.

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Processor

compiling / code / coding / programming / MacBook Air laptop Goran Ivos (CC0)
As with any PC, processor speed is where the MacBooks really set themselves apart from each other. First let’s check out the base processor for each model:
MacBook Air (2017): 1.8GHz dual-core fifth-gen Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 2.9GHz
MacBook Air (2018): 1.6GHz dual-core eighth-gen Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
MacBook: 1.2GHz dual-core seventh-gen Intel Core m3, Turbo Boost up to 3.0GHz
MacBook Pro: 2.3GHz dual-core seventh-gen Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz

To the untrained eye, the old MacBook Air might seem faster than the new one. That’s not the case. The 2017 Air uses a dusty fifth-generation Core i5 chip while the new model uses a current eighth-gen one. So it’s quite a bit faster. The MacBook Pro, meanwhile, uses a seventh-gen i5 with a much higher clock speed, so it’s the fastest of the lot, as it should be.

The MacBook uses Intel’s slower Core m3 processor, so it’s markedly slower than the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, but a bit faster than the 2017 Air. However, you can bump it up to 1.3GHz dual-core seventh-generation Intel Core i5 processor if you desire for an extra $300. The Pro can also be seriously souped up, with options up to a 2.3GHz quad‑core eighth‑generation Intel Core i7 processor in the Touch Bar model and going up from there.

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Graphics

With integrated graphics, none of the MacBooks here are going to get you very far if you’re looking to do high-end gaming or serious graphics-intensive work. Still, they all offer slightly different GPUs, with the Pro leading the pack once again:
MacBook Air (2017): Intel HD Graphics 6000
MacBook Air (2018): Intel UHD Graphics 617
MacBook: Intel HD Graphics 615
MacBook Pro: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
Despite having a higher number, the 2017 MacBook Air brings up the rear as usual, with an old, slow GPU. The others are far more capable, with the Iris Plus in the MacBook Pro edging out the UHD unit in the Air. And if you step up to the Touch Bar version, you get a slightly better Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 with 128GB of eDRAM (versus 64GB on the non-Touch Bar model).

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: RAM

mbp 13 Michael DeAgonia/IDG
The new 13-in. MacBook Pro sitting in top of a MacBook Air, showing the new model’s smaller footprint.
All of the models start at 8GB of RAM and offer up to 16GB, but there’s a slight difference in speeds between them:
MacBook Air (2017): 8GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 memory
MacBook Air (2018): 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
MacBook: 8GB 1866MHz LPDDR3 memory
MacBook Pro: 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory

RAM speed won’t make a noticeable difference in performance (even jumping from 1600MHz in the 2017 Air to 2133MHz in the 2018 model), but if you can afford it, more RAM is always better. On each of these models (except the 2017 Air), you can double the RAM to 16GB for an extra $200. That’s a steep price for 8GB of RAM, but since you can’t upgrade it after the fact, it’s something to consider, no matter which model you buy.

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Storage

All of Apple’s laptops offer SSD storage, so no matter which model you choose, you’re going to be getting a very fast drive. The only difference is the entry-level capacity:
MacBook Air (2017): 128GB
MacBook Air (2018): 128GB
MacBook: 256GB
MacBook Pro: 128GB

Like RAM, you’ll want to get the most you can afford at the time of purchase. Apple offers a slew of upgrade options for the MacBook Air and Pro, topping off at 1.5TB, and we definitely recommend upgrading from the 128GB offered in the base models. As a general rule, Apple charges $200 per extra 128GB, but strangely, there are no SSD BTO options on the MacBook. If you want more storage, you’ll have to buy the Core i5 model with 512GB of storage for an extra $300.

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Ports

macbook air 2018 vs mb12 tb Jason Cross/IDG
Here’s what separates the machines from the toys. On the MacBook you get just a single USB-C port and headphone jack, while you get several connectivity options on the Pro:
MacBook Air (2017): Two USB 3, one Thunderbolt 2, SDXC card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack
MacBook Air (2018): Two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack
MacBook: One USB-C (non-Thunderbolt), 3.5mm headphone jack
MacBook Pro: Two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack

Once again, the 2017 MacBook Air shows its age here, with USB-A ports and a previous-gen Thunderbolt port, as well as an old-school MagSafe magnetic connector for charging. The MacBook is also frustratingly weak with I/O, with just a single non-Thunderbolt USB-C port to handle charging and peripheral connections. So a dock and dongles are pretty much a requisite if you’re going to be doing anything resembling work.

The newer Air adds a second USB-C Thunderbolt port, which lets you do two things at once, but you’ll still probably want to pick up a hub to add some extra functionality. You’ll also get a pair of USB-C ports with the entry-level Pro, but the gold standard is the Touch Bar model, with four USB-C ports, enough to connect a charger, display, and two peripheral devices.

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Keyboard/Trackpad

While all the keyboards here are full-sized with ambient light sensors for backlighting, the 2017 MacBook Air is the only model that doesn’t use the much-maligned butterfly keyboard. The 2018 MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar use a newer third-generation version than protects against damaging dust and dirt and dampens the noise of the keys somewhat, but it’s still boils down to a matter of preference. The MacBook Air also uses Apple’s older trackpad, which supports gestures but not Force Touch commands.

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Touch ID, Touch Bar, and security

macbook pro 2016 touchbar IDG
The MacBook, MacBook Air, and entry-level MacBook Pro have a row of function keys at the top of the keyboard. If you select the13-inch 2.3GHz quad-core eighth-gen Intel Core i5 MacBook Pro, you’ll get the Touch Bar, which replaces the function keys row with a narrow screen of keys that change based on the app you’re using.

The MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar and the new MacBook Air come equipped with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor at the far right of top row of the keyboard. Like the iPhone and iPad, it can be used to unlock your Mac, authenticate secure apps such as password managers, and make purchases. The MacBook and 2017 MacBook Air don’t have a fingerprint sensor.

Along with Touch ID, the MacBook Pro and 2018 MacBook Air also have Apple’s T2 security chip, which “enables a new level of security by including a secure enclave coprocessor that provides the foundation for new encrypted storage and secure boot capabilities.” It’s responsible for storing and encrypting your fingerprint biometrics, protecting your MacBook’s microphone from potential hackers.

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Battery

All of Apple’s small laptops will get you through a full day of work, give or take a few tasks:
MacBook Air (2017): 54‑watt‑hour battery, up to 12 hours iTunes movie playback
MacBook Air (2018): 50.3‑watt‑hour battery, up to 13 hours iTunes movie playback
MacBook: 41.4-watt-hour battery, up to 12 hours iTunes movie playback
MacBook Pro: 54.5-watt-hour battery, up to 10 hours iTunes movie playback

The battery life of Apple’s MacBooks is largely dependent on the power and efficiency of processor, which is why the MacBook Pro, which has the largest battery of the group, is rated for the shortest amount of use. Of note, if you step up to the Touch Bar model, you’ll get a slightly larger 58-watt-hour battery, but it’s still rated for the same 10 hours of iTunes playback.

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Buying advice

Now that you know what’s different about Apple’s smallest laptops, which one should you buy? The choice isn’t as difficult as you might think.

MacBook Air (2017): Buying advice

13in macbook air 03 IDG
Unless you have exactly a thousand dollars to spend (plus tax) and you absolutely
have to have a MacBook, there isn’t any reason to buy the 2017 MacBook Air. (And even them we’d recommend getting a refurbished MacBook.) Even with the lowest entry price among Apple notebooks, it’s still overpriced, and the only things it has going for it are superficial: the non-butterfly keyboard, glowing Apple logo, and magnetic MagSafe connector. The list of things it doesn’t have is far longer: USB-C, Retina screen, Touch ID, Force Touch trackpad, respectable processor. And its design very much feels like it’s eight years old.
Recommendation: Only buy it if you can get it for $700 or less.

MacBook Air (2018): Buying advice

macbook air 2108 hero2 Jason Cross/IDG
Apple’s newest laptops are generally a safe purchase, and the 2018 MacBook Air is no
exception. While it doesn’t necessarily bring anything revolutionary to the table, it’s a fantastic upgrade over the previous generation and well worth the $1,199 price tag. It has a great design, comes in three excellent colors, and is the only non-Touch Bar MacBook to include a Touch ID sensor and T2 chip.

Unfortunately you can’t upgrade the processor, but the 1.6GHz dual-core eighth-generation Intel Core i5 should be plenty of power for anyone considering this machine. The battery, storage, and Retina display are all good, too, though if you can swing it, an extra 128GB storage will go a long way.

Recommendation: If you want the best 13-inch Mac laptop that’s not a Pro, this is it.

MacBook: Buying advice

macbook 2017 usbc port Roman Loyola
Unless an inch and three-quarters of a pound mean that much to you, we can’t see
any reason to recommend paying $100 more to get the MacBook over the new MacBook Air. The entry-level MacBook does have 256GB of storage versus 128GB on the MacBook Air, which makes the $100 price hike easier to swallow, but otherwise you get a slower processor, smaller screen, one fewer USB-C port (and a non-Thunderbolt one at that), and a smaller battery. And it doesn’t have Touch ID.

Recommendation: Buy the MacBook if you absolutely have to have the smallest and lightest MacBook.

MacBook Pro: Buying advice

2018 macbook pro 13 Apple
The difference between the MacBook Pro and the other MacBooks comes down to
versatility. The $1,299 non-Touch Bar model has a better processor than the MacBook Air, but not overly so, and it has the same base storage, RAM, ports, and screen. The Air is lighter, feels thinner due to its wedge design, and has better battery life. And the Air’s Touch ID sensor is just a bonus that isn’t available on the entry-level MacBook Pro.

But the Pro offers tremendous upgrade options. Like the Air, you can double the RAM and add a terabyte of storage, and you can also upgrade the processor, something you can’t do on the Air. And of course, there’s no Touch Bar option on the Air either.

Recommendation: For the right price, the MacBook Pro can be the ultimate 13-inch Mac, but if you only have a budget of $1,300, we’d get an Air with 256GB of storage for just $100 more.

MacBook Air vs MacBook vs 13-inch MacBook Pro: Our overall pick

For $1,199, the 2018 MacBook Air is hard to pass up. It’s $100 cheaper than the MacBook and MacBook Pro, giving you room to upgrade the storage without breaking your budget, and has a fantastic design, Touch ID sensor, and T2 chip. The only other model we’d recommend is the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, which starts at $1,799. However, you get a lot more for your money, including a 2.3GHz quad-core eighth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655, 256GB of storage, True Tone display, and four USB-C Thunderbolt ports. Unless you can get a crazy deal on a MacBook or 2017 MacBook Air, those are basically your only two options.

What method should you use to make sure your iOS photos are backed up? by Glenn Fleishman

With iOS backups, it’s still a little confusing about what happens to photos taken on an iOS device. When you perform a backup (automatic or otherwise), do your photos and videos get copied too? It varies!
  • Do you have iCloud Photos enabled?
  • Do you back up via iCloud or via iTunes to a computer?
From answers to those questions, you can figure out whether your backup contains your images and movies, and if not, how to make settings changes to fix that.

iCloud Photos enabled: If your iOS device has this turned on, then neither iTunes nor iCloud makes backups of images or video. The photo/video backup is instead entirely handled as part of the iCloud sync. (Also note that Apple recently changed the name from iCloud Photo Library, if you’re used to seeing that anem.) iCloud Photos retains the full, high-resolution versions of all your photo and videos.

iCloud Photos disabled: In this case, iTunes will copy all photos and videos locally. You can also use the Photos (or iPhoto) app to import images into a library, and delete and manage what’s stored on your phone or tablet through those apps or Image Capture.

iCloud backup: An iCloud backup is a different matter. Apple notes on its support page only, “iCloud Backup may include photos and videos in your Photos or Camera Roll.”

That’s hardly reassuring, and I’ve never been able to get a more definitive answer from Apple nor in testing! (I don’t think it’s a plot to push people to iCloud Photos, but it could explain the circumstances better.)

If you’re using iCloud backup and not iCloud Photos, you should consider routinely downloading images to ensure you don’t lose any.

Apple iPad Pro review: Excessive in the best way by Daniel Howley

Apple’s (AAPL) iPad is the most popular tablet in the world. As of Q3 2018, the iPhone maker’s line of slates captured 27% of worldwide tablet sales, making it the market leader by a wide margin, market research firm IDC reports. But tablet sales have been slowing in recent years, and Apple isn’t immune to market trends. The company’s Q4 2018 tablet sales were down 6% years-over-year and 16% quarter-over-quarter.

Which is where the new iPad Pro 11-inch and iPad Pro 12.9-inch come in. Designed for use by artists, photographers, videographers and other professionals, hence the “Pro” monicker, Apple claims these big-screen iPads are powerful enough to rival many of the laptops on the market.

It doesn’t hurt that a more expensive iPad will also drive up Apple’s average selling price, and boy are these some seriously pricey iPads. The iPad Pro 11-inch starts at $799, while the iPad Pro 12.9-inch starts at $999.

These slates, which sport sleek new edge-to-edge screen designs, are the best of what Apple has to offer, and overkill in almost every sense of the word. And while I love a big screen as much as the next person, these slates aren’t meant for everyone.

Like holding a piece of glass

From a design standpoint, the iPad Pro 12.9-inch, which is the version I reviewed, and 11-inch, are virtually mirror images of each other. And their most striking features are their displays. That’s right, like the iPhone XR, XS and XS Max, the new iPad Pros drop their Home buttons in favor of more screen real estate.

By doing so, Apple managed to reduce the volume of the 12.9-inch model by 25%. For the 11-inch, Apple simply stretched the screen of last year’s 10.5-inch model, leaving the 11-inch with the same roughly footprint as its predecessor.
View photos
The iPad Pro has a fantastic edge-to-edge screen.
 
Of course, the overall look of the slates are also completely different from last year’s versions. Apple has done away with the tapered edges of the prior generation of Pros and straightened them out. The result is a tablet that, if you squint hard enough, bears a surprising resemblance to the iPhone 4s.
The 11-inch Pro is more comfortable to hold than the larger 12.9-inch, though. If I were sketching or editing a photo, I’d rather have the bigger screen. Those screens, by the way, are absolutely stunning to look at.

Both models use the same Liquid Retina display LCD technology found on the iPhone XR, which allowed Apple to curve the screens at the tablets’ corners. The displays are nearly edge-to-edge because they do have a bit of a bezel around them. Before you jump down Apple’s throat, though, the bezel makes practical sense as a way to hold the tablet without interacting with the screen. It’s also where the LEDs that light up the screen are located.

The tablet’s top bezel is also where you’ll find the Pro’s new Face ID camera. Yes, like the iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, you can now unlock the iPad Pro with your face. And unlike the iPhone’s Face ID camera, the iPad Pro’s can be used in multiple orientations, so you can hold the slate in portrait or landscape mode and it will still work. It makes sense since you change the way you hold a tablet fairly often depending on what you’re doing.

The Pros also come with Apple’s ProMotion display technology, which means the screens’ refresh rates are set at 120Hz. That makes for a far smoother, more appealing experience whether you’re swiping across home screens or browsing the web. It really makes a big difference when you see it in action.

Raw power

Both iPad Pros come loaded with Apple’s all-new A12X Bionic. That’s one heck of a chip for a slate, and, frankly, a little overboard for what most people need.

Apple says that the Pro’s 8-core, 7-nanometer processor is 25% faster than last year’s chip in single-core performance and that GPU performance is up a whopping 1,000% versus the original iPad. The company even claims that the slate is more powerful than 92% of mobile computers on the market including those packing Intel’s high-powered Intel Core i7 chips.
View photos
The iPad Pro’s A12X Bionic processor is the most powerful chip Apple has put into a mobile device.
That’s one heck of a boast. And it holds up to a degree. Using the Geekbench 4 benchmarking tool, which is designed to give you a relative idea of a processor’s performance, the iPad Pro actually outscored my Core i7-powered MacBook Pro in both single-core and multi-core tests. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the iPad Pro will annihilate the MacBook Pro in every instance, but it gives you a good idea of how powerful the slate’s chip really is.

The thing is, is that there aren’t a hole lot of apps that will take advantage of that kind of power. Sure, it’s great for quick photo edits and some video editing, but for most people that power won’t be as useful as it would be on a Mac or PC. This is, after all, still an iPad. The slate’s processing power is incredibly impressive, but for now it’s more of a hedge against the tablet slowing down over time, rather than a means to use apps that are built for high-power iPads. That’s not to say those apps will come, though.

Those accessories

In addition to the iPad Pro, Apple has also rolled out a new Apple Pencil. The latest version of the stylus features one flat side that helps keep it from rolling off your desk, something that was a problem with the original Pencil.

More importantly, though, that flat edge is home to a wireless charger. To power up the Pencil, you magnetically connect it to the side of the iPad Pro, and you’re set. Only one side of the iPad works, though. Connecting the Pencil to the iPad also allows you to sync the stylus with your tablet, so you don’t have to go through any real setup process.

The lower portion of the Pencil is also now touch sensitive, which means you can double tap it to activate features and settings within specific apps. For instance you can switch between a pen or pencil and then double tap to quickly pull up your eraser.
View photos
The iPad Pro uses a new Apple Pencil with wireless charging and touch-sensitive edges.
Unfortunately, you can’t use your old Apple Pencil with the new Pro, and you can’t use the new Pencil with the old Pro, which is a serious bummer. 

The Pro also gets a new folio keyboard case called … the Smart Keyboard Folio. The new cover wraps completely around the Pro protecting both its display and back panel, something the old Folio didn’t do.

Typing on it was also surprisingly comfortable. I wrote an article using just the iPad Pro and didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything thanks to the fact that the slate also supports multitasking.
Apple has also switched the Pro from the company’s proprietary Lightning connector to a universal USB C port. It makes a world of difference, as it opens up the iPad to even more accessories, such as a secondary display to mirror your work on the slate, or a camera. You can also charge your iPhone from the slate, which is a pretty nifty trick if you’re in a pinch.

Should you get it?

The iPad Pro is a high-powered slate with a fantastic design and almost extravagantly large near edge-to-edge display. The new Apple Pencil is a wonderful accessory for the more artistically inclined, while the Smart Keyboard Folio makes for a genuinely solid typing experience.

Above all, this is the perfect expression of the iPad: Powerful, stylish and capable. But for most people, that $799 or $999 price tag is likely too high. If you don’t need the power, or can get by without the new stylus or keyboard, and are more interested in a tablet for using basic apps, watching videos and playing games, then I’d suggest going with the 6th-generation iPad for $329.

But if you love excessive performance and screen real estate, the Pro is really the only tablet for you.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Apple announces iPhone X Display Module Replacement Program for phones with touch problems By Roman Loyola

Apple on Friday announced a new repair program for owners of the iPhone X. The iPhone X Display Module Replacement Program provides a fix for those having problems with the touchscreen.

According to Apple’s support document, the issue at hand is whether the iPhone X does not respond to touch, intermittently stops responding to touch, or the screen reacts without being touched. If your iPhone X is experiencing these issues, you may be able to have it fixed for free.

The fix involves replacing the display module and the service must be done by an Apple authorized service provider or at the Apple store.

If you paid for a prior fix for this problem, Apple says you may be eligible for a refund for the service.

Get more details about the iPhone X Display Module Replacement Program.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Bait and fix: Apple is basically forcing you to get AppleCare for your new MacBook Pro By Michael Simon

The new MacBook Pros aren’t cheap. The least expensive 13-inch model costs $1,800 and goes all the way up to $6,700 for the maxed-out 15-inch model with a 2.9GHz Intel Core i9 processor. And now there’s a hidden catch that might make them way more expensive.

Along with the high price tag and any dongles you may need to purchase to get your old USB-A devices up and running, you might be in for a rude awakening if you try to fix your new MacBook Pro.
As reported by Motherboard, Apple has introduced new software locks with its new laptops that “will render the computer ‘inoperative’ unless a proprietary Apple ‘system configuration’ software is run after parts of the system are replaced.”
The new policy, which is also being implemented on the $5,000 iMac Pro, only refer to major repairs, but it’s pretty much covers everything you’d need to get fixed: the display, logic board, top case (which includes the keyboard and trackpad), and Touch ID sensor. Once the locks kick in, the computer “will only begin functioning again after Apple or a member of one of Apple’s Authorized Service Provider repair program runs diagnostic software called Apple Service Toolkit 2.”

Why this matters: Apple hasn’t exactly been up-front about this new policy, and some purchasers may be in for a surprise when they try to fix their MacBook after their limited one-year warranty runs out. Apple has long been making its products unrepairable by soldering RAM and gluing screens, but this is different. Apple should be telling people at the point of sale that they will need to take their MacBook to an authorized repair shop if it breaks and giving them an option to buy Apple Care. AppleCare isn’t cheap, but it’s still better than paying for a new screen or motherboard.

This probably isn’t the last we’ll hear of this issue. Not only will it likely extend to the new Macs Apple is likely to release later this month, it’s also at the heart of a new Right to Repair bill currently being pushed in 19 states, including Apple’s home state of California. Motherboard reports that Apple is fighting the legislation, which will come as no surprise to anyone who has tried to repair an Apple product recently.

AppleCare or broke

The issue is with the T2 chip. It’s a separate chip responsible for things like the FaceTime camera and the Touch Bar, but it also validates the entire boot process when the power comes on, an extra security step to that verifies everything is trusted. If it’s not—in the case of a repair, for instance—your Mac won’t start. So you’ll need to take it to an Apple Store, where you will most certainly be charged, possibly for a whole new repair if the original one doesn’t meet Apple’s standards.

That means the days of getting a pentalobe screwdriver and trying to save your MacBook at home are over. And it also puts a severe dent in the third-party repair shops that aren’t authorized by Apple. You know, the ones you go to get a reasonable price on your MacBook repair. So Apple’s leaving us with two options:
  • Keep your fingers crossed that nothing goes wrong with your expensive new MacBook Pro for three-plus years.
  • Spend $269 (13-inch) or $379 (15-inch) on AppleCare+ for Mac and get two additional years of hardware repairs.
AppleCare will ensure that when something goes wrong with your new MacBook withing the first three years, you can bring it to the Apple Store and they’ll fix it properly and for free. And it applies to accidental damage too, though you’ll have to pay a deductible of $99 for “screen damage or external enclosure damage, “or $299 for “other damage.”

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Otherwise, you might fix your Mac but still find out that it’s an expensive paperweight.

What's the difference between your modem and router? By Shannon Drake

Whether you're calling your internet provider for help or talking to your kid, getting technical support can be frustrating. Between all the abbreviations (LTE! Mbps!) and the secret code language for all the computer stuff, you just want a translator to explain why the Wi-Fi is down. Sometimes even two little grey boxes that look the same do completely different things.

What's a modem? What's a router? Why does it matter when the Wi-Fi keeps going down?

Don't get your Ethernet cables in a tangle! America's digital goddess is here to help with some simple explanations for all that frustrating language.

Your home network

Before we talk about modems, we need to talk about networks. People used to just have a single family computer in the living room for internet access. That may still be the case, but everything wants out on the web these days. Everyone may have laptops and tablets, then smartphones all need an internet connection, even the TV needs a way to talk to the cable company if you want to watch your shows. You might even have a smart speaker like Alexa or Google Home that helps make life easier. Whether you know it or not, you have a network.

The network of networks

If your home network wants to connect to all the other networks out there -- be it your best friend across the country or your streaming provider so you can watch movies -- they all have to be speaking the same language, and those requests and information all have to get from place to place. The internet is just a network of networks talking to each other.

What does a modem do?


Your modem is the pathway for all your devices to speak with networks across the world. When you tell Netflix you want to start a movie, or your toddler wants to see the next YouTube video, that device sends out a request.

"Modem" means "modulator-demodulator." It sounds pretty Star Trek, but what it does isn't so space age. A modem takes that request to play a movie or watch a video and translates it into signals that can travel across the wires that connect your house to your internet provider, and from there into the wider world.

Once the answers or information comes back to your house -- "Okay, here’s the movie!" -- something has to translate it from signals that can cross a wire back into that romantic comedy you're finally getting to watch.

So what about routers?

However, the journey doesn't end there. Once the data arrives and your modem decodes it, it has to get where it's going. There are usually many different streams with lots of different information, so you want to watch Mamma Mia, but your son is trying to do homework and your daughter is playing Fortnite. If his Social Studies pops up where your Abba songs should be, things are going to get tense. That's where routers come in.

A router sends the incoming data where it needs to go and keeps track of which stream of data goes where. It's the traffic cop that keeps everyone from finding out about your secret love of musicals or keeps everyone from being subjected to a long lecture on the War of 1812.

Routers also handle a lot of the work of managing your home network. They do things like run the Wi-Fi connections, use a firewall to keep out hackers, and manage the quality of service, so your movie stays in high definition even when someone else is downloading more homework.

Many internet providers nowadays use a box that combines both functions. The wire from your wall might go to a combination modem and router, which decodes the traffic and sends it where it needs to go without you having to lift a finger. Sometimes, technology is amazing. At least until the Wi-Fi goes down.

Best routers to fix your Wi-Fi using the new mesh networks

Oh, the frustrating challenges of an inconsistent Wi-Fi connection. There are plenty of reasons your Wi-Fi keeps dropping at your home or office - signal congestion, physical location, firmware issues, hardware limitations or maybe your space is just too big for your router coverage. If the latter is the case, you can try setting up network extenders to cover dead spot rooms. Although cheap, the downside with network extenders is that they are slower than your main Wi-Fi connection. Tap or click here to learn more.