Update on MacBook Pro Review


Early last month my new MacBook Pro arrived - hurray!! It replaced my aging 2010 MacBook Pro and the timing was perfect. I love this new laptop. Apple has really thought out the design. While not massively different from earlier laptops at first glance, there are definitely major changes some of which are great, others not so much. I am not typically a fan of the 'first' generation or major revision of anything but I do think Apple has done a great job with this one. 

What I don't love

First let's get the "not liking so much" out of the way. Apple removed ALL the connector ports except the headphone jack and replaced them with USB C (Thunderbolt 3) ports. These ports are for everything from charging your laptop to connecting external devices (hard drives, monitors, projectors, etc.). This means that I had to buy all new adapters and of course add adapters where none were needed (i.e., to connect my Time Machine backup drive). Pretty much the pain in the neck it sounds like. But as more manufacturers begin to build USB C devices this will change.

My other big complaint is the price jump these devices took!!! Several hundred dollars - again, once we get past the first generation I'm sure we will see the price drop. 

What I love

What I love - the Touch Bar!!!! Wow!!! at first I was a bit skeptical that Apple was giving us a bar at the top of the keyboard instead of a touch screen but having used PC's with touch screens and now this Touch Bar, I'm in love. It makes so much sense to be able to type and simply reach a finger up to the Touch Bar to correct the spelling of a word, insert a smiley, adjust my volume up/down, send an email and so much more. I am still learning all the uses for the Touch Bar. Right now it is primarily only Apple Apps that use this technology but as more Apps are developed to take advantage of the Touch Bar, I believe it will become indispensable. Even better, it incorporates Touch ID so I can unlock my laptop or pay with Apple Pay using just my fingerprint. Slick! 

The keyboard is great but a tad noisy. I love the easy touch of the keys and find I am typing faster and with fewer errors (I am a very good typist). They do make a tapping sound as you type but it's not that bad. The trackpad is huge - I thought is would be real pain with errors caused by inadvertent touches but this is not happening at all. The extra "real estate" of the trackpad is great for using gestures when needed but honestly I'm using the Touch Bar more often. 

So to sum it up I think the new MacBook Pro is a great new laptop for Apple and definitely a buy IF you need one right now. However, if it is not critical that you replace or buy a laptop right now, I would wait for the next generation and hopefully lower prices. 


iOS 10 - Magnifier Short Cut

How often do you find yourself wishing that the text, numbers, or an item you are looking at was a bit larger? Especially the 'fine print' or customer service number on a card! This tip turns your iPhone into an easy-to-use magnifier. I love this and use it all the time.

Here's how:

  • On your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch open Settings > General > Accessibility. 
  • Scroll all the way to the bottom of Accessibility and tap on Accessibility Shortcut and choose Magnifier.
  • Now when you triple-click the Home button on your device, the Magnifier will appear.
  • Just point your camera at whatever you want to see better!


Mac OS Sierra - Searching Photos

In Mac OS Sierra, Photos got a substantial upgrade including a very robust method of searching by description, i.e., I can search my Photos library for beaches and almost all my photos of beaches show up - very impressive and somewhat scary in its accuracy.  You can try searching for pie, flowers, birds and so on. Whatever objects you think might be in your library. This expanded search is available due to what they are calling "Computer Vision" which is a fancy term for artificial intelligence or AI. 

The New MacBook Pro!!


macbook pro.png

Apple's hugely hyped product announcement on October 27th gave us a mixed bag of good and bad. The bad first: If you have been waiting for updates to iMacs, MacPro's, MacMini's and/or iPads you will be disappointed. Apple did not update any of these products. What doesn't disappoint however is the brand spanking new, cutting edge MacBook Pro's that Apple announced. 

Touch Bar
Apple has completely revamped their flagship laptops - removing the function keys and giving them a "Touch Bar" that interacts with the screen, allowing Touch ID and direct interaction with on screen software that can take advantage of the technology. It's Apple's belief that most folks don't use the function keys as designed anyway!

Hardware and Connectivity
These new laptops also sport a much lighter, thinner form factor, wider gamut retina display, and a substantial overall boost in the hardware that affects speed and performance. Apple once again leads the "let's change the connections" charge - they have removed all ports except 4 USB-C and one headphone jack. This will require the purchase of adapters IF you plug in current hardware such as an external mouse, hard drive, display or keyboard. But USB-C allows for charging, display output, fast data transfer of connected drives, and connecting just about anything else with the right adapter(s).

And one more thing... all this comes with a hefty price increase - the starting point for a 13" MacBook Pro is $1799 and $2399 for the 15" - Wow!! Since my current laptop is over 6 years old, I will most likely be ordering one of these laptops before the end of the year but for now here is a great article from CNET about the new machines.


It is currently a "hold off, please do not install" - why?? Sierra is shaping up to be a very good OS upgrade BUT as always until it has been out awhile, we recommend holding off on installing it so the third party peripheral and software manufacturers can catch up. Right now there are documented issues with ScanSnap products, some Quicken versions, Adobe CC, and so forth. This is normal and not unexpected. We fully expect to be giving a green light on Sierra before the end of the year. Apple's Photos 2.0 (only available in Sierra) is great and I too am anxious to get working with it. Patience will serve us well. 


iOS 10  
I am giving iOS 10.0.2 a 'GO' for installing. This update has some fun new features which John mentions below and a complete list is available here. As always be sure you backup your iPhone completely before you upgrade. 

ALSO - be sure your iOS device can run iOS 10 and remember IF your device is more than a year or two old, any new OS will run slower. Apple increases the hardware requirements every time they release a major update. 


iPhone / iPad - iOS

Did you know that every time you open an App on your iPhone/iPad it stays open and running in the background until you quit it? All these running programs take up battery life and processor time so quit them often!

Here's how:

  • Double-click the Home button. This will bring up the Multitasking Screen showing you all the applications that are currently running (see screen shot to the left).
  • Swipe Up on the page icon for any open App and slide it off the screen to close it completely. 
  • You can swipe across your screen to see all your open Apps or quickly switch to a different App by tapping its page icon.





macOS - Yosemite (10.10.5 and later)

If you have heard me speak about the Mac over the last few years, you will know I have an issue with Apple's interface redesign that hides buttons until you mouse over them.

When Apple released Yosemite, they removed the button that gave us access to the address book / contacts for emails... Grrrrrrr.... But lo and behold what I didn't discover until much later is that the access to your Contacts is still there - it's just hidden until you place your cursor on the To:, Cc:, or Bcc: line as if you were going to type. If you look to the far right of this line, you will see a tiny blue + sign (see screen shot to the right). When you click it, you will see your Contacts list like this - you can access your groups and contacts from here. Click on a name and the screen slides down slightly and you can click on the email address to add it as a recipient.