New Macbook Air heralds the death of the disc

Apple recovery drive.

Well, it looks like MG Siegler over at TechCrunch called it. Yesterday, Apple announced the new line of Macbook Air laptops and they’ll ship with the little number you see in the picture. That’s right, that’s your recovery drive.

It’s a miniature USB stick, packed with the data that would normally come on an Apple recovery disc. This isn’t a huge surprise – more like the natural evolution of data storage. DVDs replaced CDs a while back for their superior storage. Flash drives have long since surpassed DVD storage, but they’re still more expensive to make. By stripping away a lot of the plastic and limiting storage, I’d imagine the cost will come down enough that we’ll see this option more and more often.

Aside from the new recovery method, the new Air line is looking pretty good. It comes in 11-inch and 13-inch models and is ridiculously thin. Both models have the unibody design and now sport the multi-touch trackpad present on the Macbook line. For me, 11-inches is way too small, especially if it’s widescreen. My current 13-inch MB Pro often feels too small, if only because of resolution.


Macbook superdrive firmware update quiets things down

Macbook Pro superdrive.I’ve often wondered why my Macbook needs to growl every time I open the lid to wake it from sleep. Granted, I’m a little grumpy in the morning, but I don’t grind my superdrive like I’m trying to break it, now do I. Thankfully there’s a firmware update that will fix the problem without too much trouble.

The update includes some AirPort changes as well to help with connection issues. The update is simple enough. Just run your software update and follow the instructions. For this one you’ll definitely want the machine to be plugged in, just to ensure no interruption. Don’t worry too much about the intimidating warnings – the update’s not actually dangerous.

From there, your computer should be nice and quiet every time you open the lid.

Source: Apple


Cormac McCarthy’s typewriter dies at age 46

Olivetti Lettera 32Cormac McCarthy’s Olivetti Lettera 32 has finally died, after 46 years of service and an author-estimated 5 million words. For those who don’t know, McCarthy is the guy responsible for bringing us such classics as The Road and No Country for Old Men. The typewriter will be auctioned off with Christie’s, with an expected sell price of $15,000-$20,000.

It’s quite a testament to the machine that it was able to churn out 5,000,000 words before biting the big one. At an average of 275 words per page (some say 250, some say 300), that’s more than 18,000 pages. Apparently the only thing McCarthy did to take care of the typewriter was occasionally “blowing out the dust with a service station hose.”

So what’s next for one of America’s greatest authors? A new Macbook? An Acer netbook? Nah, he’s way too classy for that. McCarthy is sticking with the Olivetti. His friend John Miller managed to locate another one for $11.

Source: NYTimes


Apple gets ready for the holidays, Windows 7

Unibody white Macbook.Just two days before the Windows 7 launch, Apple made sweeping changes to its Mac lineup, adding a few new toys for holiday buyers along the way. Most notable among the update was the iMac overhaul and entry-level Macbook redesign. The Mac Mini also caught some upgrades, and Apple introduced the Magic Mouse, a touchpad and mouse blended into on sexy little device.

The first thing you’ll notice about the new iMac is size. It’s up to 21.5″ and 27″, both in a 16:9 aspect ratio. The computer also went from aluminum/polycarbonate to the unibody styling of the Macbook Pro line, adding an edge-to-edge glass display that looks really amazing. Apple also added the ability to use the 27″ iMac as a secondary display via an integrated Display Port.

As for internals, there are some nice upgrades but one big missing feature: Blu-ray support. Granted, the Display Port on the 27″ model gives you the option to watch your HD movies on a brilliant screen, but integrating Blu-ray would have been really nice. The iMac can now be purchased with Core i5/i7 chips, the newest chips from Intel.

The entry-level Macbook has been long overdue for a redesign and finally got one. Apple took it the Unibody route, though still in white polycarbonate. The touchpad now matches the Macbook Pro line and fully supports gestures, and the bottom has a non-slip finish added. Other than that things have remained essentially the same.

Magic Mouse
I’ve been looking for a mouse for my Macbook Pro for some time, but I never found anything I liked enough to give up on gestures. Apple’s Magic Mouse answers that problem by integrating a capacitive touchpad into the surface of the mouse. It’s a really fantastic design in my mind, giving you the control of a gliding mouse with the convenience of gestures for navigating webpages, zooming, and the like. The new mouse will run you $69.

The Rest
The rest of the updates were less interesting. You can now purchase a server version of the Mac Mini, which sort of killed the rumors that Apple would position it as an HTPC. Seems like there’s still some confusion about where that product will land in Apple’s lineup. There’s also a redesigned remote that now matches the iMac/Macbook Pro design aesthetic (instead of that glowing white plastic) for $16. Apple also announced upgrades for the Airport Extreme Base Station and the Time Capsule that are shipping now. There have been antenna redesigns and a couple software tweaks that supposedly reduce backup time and increase network range and reception.

All in all, Apple made some welcome changes to the Mac line, strengthening the all-in-one iMac and giving the Macbook a sorely need redesign. The Magic Mouse probably won’t be the runaway peripheral of the season, but it’s definitely cool and I really want one.


Leaked AdSense ads suggest new Macs

Apple's iMac.AppleInsider dug up some AdSense ads from this weekend that suggest the iMac/Macbook/Mac Mini refresh may be coming sooner rather than later. The ads are in Dutch, but the translations could be indications of the rumored upgrades. This is all assuming the ads are from Apple, of course. It seems odd to go to such lengths for a spoof, but I’ve seen dumber things.

I’ll leave the screenshots over at AI, but the text is as follows:

Apple’s Newest MacBook. Thinner, lighter and faster! Free delivery. Order today.

The Brand new iMac. Ultra Thin 20 & 24 inch models. From only € 1099. Apple Store

Apple’s New Mac Mini. Faster and more affordable than ever. From only € 499. Order immediately.

The ads also link back to the localized Apple Store, making things a bit more elaborate than is believable for a hoax. The most convincing ad is the iMac, since “ultra-thin” hasn’t really been part of the ad copy for that machine. The rest could arguably be the same device, just with new ads.

AI also got news that several Apple stores have received new signage in the past few days that is not to be opened until further notice. Trés Mysterieux!