This One’s for Apple : Make the MacBook Pro “Pro” Again

Although the latest MacBook Pro was a hit among some people, most of the Apple fan boys were quite upset with certain features of the flagship device, which was released last year. These include, removal of the legacy USB-A ports, including a graphics card that would not handle 1080p resolution in games and a heavy price tag. I’m going to share some of the possibilities for the 2017 model of the Apple MacBook Pro that the users would love to expect.

Processor

During CES (Consumer Electronics Show), Intel introduced the 7th generation processors for the future MacBooks.

7th-generaion-of-intel-core-processors

Figure 1 : 7th Generation of Intel Core Processors [1]

Although Apple rushed to release the new MacBook Pro last year, they should have waited for the new processors to be released by Intel, so that the users could feel that their product is truly revolutionary. Well, for the Mac lovers who have a bit of patience, it is quite possible that the 2017 models will feature the 7th generation processors (codenames Kaby Lake), which are said to be quite power efficient. Though Ryzen processors, which are manufactured by AMD (the main competitor of Intel), made some waves during this year’s CES, it is very much unlikely that these would be equipped in the new MacBook Pro.

RAM

The current models have 16 GB of RAM, which seems to be an ample amount, some users have complained that this amount is not sufficient for complex tasks. According to Apple, only 16 GB was used as the maximum possible amount of RAM because battery life could be reduced with greater amounts of RAM. According to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, there is a “high-end 15-inch model” with 32 GB of RAM which could be released later this year with desktop class RAM with “emerging memory technology like LPDDR4 or DDR4L” [2].

Graphics

The 2016 MacBook Pro comes with AMD Radeon Pro 450,455 or 460 dedicated graphics chip, the latter being a component for the custom built machine. If you recall, the high-end Mid 2013 15-inch model was equipped with a 2 GB nVidia Geforce GT 750M with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory. Radeon Pro 450 and 455 have 2 GB of VRAM and this is not sufficient for playing games on high definition with high quality today. However, Apple would argue that the MacBook Pro is meant for professionals but a “Pro” laptop should be targeted to the gaming community as well. Both 2012 and 2013 models were equipped with nVidia chips and then Apple moved to Radeon chips by AMD in 2014 and has been using them ever since. According to an article by Apple Insider, there is a possibility that the 2017 models could feature nVidia chips again [3]. I am not quite sure about the agreement between Apple and AMD to provide graphics chips for future Macs, so it is also possible that the 2017 model could feature Radeon Pro 500 series as the dedicated graphics chi. At CES 2017, a Radeon RX 570 graphics card had been spotted with 8 GB of VRAM [4]. Also, it would be better if the basic model consists of a graphics chip with 4 GB of VRAM rather than 2 GB.

Storage

The basic amounts of storage of the 2016 models are 256 GB and 512 GB. These days, people download movies with 1080p quality and hence 256 GB is clearly not an option for the modern world. Also, if Windows 8.1 or 10 is installed by creating a Bootcamp partition, there will be less space for the Macintosh HD partition. Of course there are external hard drives as a viable solution but who would like to spend money on another peripheral storage device after already spending enough money on a laptop that is quite expensive? Therefore, models with 1 TB of storage have to be made available without making the buyers to spend more for an upgraded storage option.

Ports

Since the 2016 model featured only four USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) ports (15-inch model) and one headphone port , it is very much likely  that Apple would stick to USB-C boasting  about the versatility of the port with the help of adapters.

usb-c-to-usb-adapter

Figure 2 : Apple USB-C to USB Adapter [5]

If that is the case, it would be nice if at least one USB-C to USB-A adapter is included in the box (like the lightning-to-3.5 mm adapter that comes with the iPhone 7), considering the fact that most flash drives, mice and Apple’s very own iOS devices have USB-A data cables, without making the users buy adapters separately as the laptop itself has a heavy price tag.

Price

The basic pre-configured 13-inch model, which features a dual core Intel Core i5 processor costs $1,499 while the 15-inch model, which features a quad core Intel Core i7 processor costs $2.399. These laptops are quite expensive when compared to the ones that are manufactured by competitors such as HP and Dell with outstanding specifications. Therefore, a drop in price is highly essential.

 

After reading this article, I would like to request my fellow readers, who are potential MacBook Pro upgraders, to hold their horses as the release of the 2017 variants is not far away and the devices will have best value for money, hopefully.

 

References:

[1] Redmond Pie. 2017. Intel Unveils New Kaby Lake 7th Gen Core Processors Destined For Future Macs | Redmond Pie. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.redmondpie.com/intel-unveils-new-kaby-lake-7th-gen-core-processors-destined-for-future-macs/. [Accessed 19 January 2017].

[2] AppleInsider. 2017. Apple to offer 32GB of desktop RAM in top-end 2017 MacBook Pro, 16GB for 12″ MacBook. [ONLINE] Available at: http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/01/16/apple-to-offer-32gb-of-desktop-ram-in-top-end-2017-macbook-pro-16gb-for-12-macbook. [Accessed 19 January 2017].

[3] AppleInsider. 2017. Nvidia working with Apple on graphics for ‘revolutionary’ new Mac products. [ONLINE] Available at: http://appleinsider.com/articles/16/09/26/nvidia-working-with-apple-on-graphics-for-revolutionary-new-mac-products. [Accessed 19 January 2017].

[4] Wccftech. 2017. AMD Radeon 500 Series Mobility is an OEM-Rebrand of 400 Series. [ONLINE] Available at: http://wccftech.com/amd-radeon-500-mobility-rebrand-rx-570/. [Accessed 21 January 2017].

[5] Apple. 2017. USB-C to USB Adapter – Apple. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MJ1M2AM/A/usb-c-to-usb-adapter. [Accessed 21 January 2017].

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AAC : A Format that is As Good As mp3

A few days ago after updating the firmware of my Apple iPhone to iOS 10.2, I noticed that the storage capacity has decreased to 11.82 GB. As a result, I was getting the “Storage Almost Full” pop-up on my phone. I had only 0 kb of available storage. This is one of the nightmares of an owner of a 16 GB iPhone but there is a workaround for this.

In the iTunes library of my computer, most music files are in MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3) format with a bit rate of 320 kbps. These consist of high quality audio and hence take up a lot of space if synced to an iPhone. For a compromise between file size and sound quality, all music files can be synced into the iPhone with AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) format. If you listen to an AAC audio file with a low bit rate (eg. 192 kbps), you can barely experience the difference in quality between that and an MP3 clip with 320 kbps bit rate, unlike an mp3 file with a low bit rate because the sound quality of an audio clip with a bit rate of 128 kbps will be very poor. However, I would not recommend AAC files with 128 kbps because the beats of certain songs cannot be heard the way they are meant to be heard.

screenshot

Figure 1 : iTunes Window indicating the position of the check box which has to be ticked for conversion of audio files

Here’s how you can sync all your music files in AAC format with a low bit rate while keeping the audio files as they are in your computer:

  1. Open iTunes and connect the iPhone to the PC / Mac.
  2. Click on “iOS device” button on iTunes
  3. In Summary page, check “Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbps AAC” and select “192 kbps” from the drop-down menu.
  4. Finally, click “Sync”.

Here is a handy tip : You can gain some extra free space if you perform a Backup and Restore after syncing the music files in AAC format. More information on how to do this can be found in the following link : Storage: “I’m Out” !

I managed to get about 2.5 GB of free space after performing these procedures, thus making more room to install apps. Hope this helps.

Uninstall and Reinstall Default Google Apps..Like a Boss !

Have you ever come across an error stating that there is insufficient storage available on your Android device such as a Samsung Galaxy smartphone when you try to update your stock apps (pre-installed Google apps such as Google Maps or Chrome Browser) from Google Play Store even though there is free space of over 500 MB in Internal Storage? Fear not because I certainly have and there is a solution for this.

First, try resolving the issue using the steps given in this link : Resolve app installation errors in Google Play Store

If the problem persists, perform the following procedure:

  1. Tap on Google Play Store
  2. On the Menu (on top-left corner), tap on “My Apps”.
  3. Tap on the Google app (eg. Google Maps) that does not get updated due to the insufficient storage error.
  4. Tap on Uninstall. A pop-up message will get displayed for confirmation. Tap on “OK”.
  5. Once the app has been uninstalled, tap on “Install”.

After following the steps mentioned above, you should see that the latest version of the pre-installed app getting installed without error message getting popped up.

Hope this helps.

Storage: “I’m Out” !

You connect your Apple iPhone or iPad to your computer and open iTunes to sync some new music or to update the iOS version. On the storage row, you find that there’s an awful amount of “Other” storage, maybe even a bit more than 1 GB or even worse !

Other storage

Figure 1 : “Other” storage on iPad or iPhone [1]

What is this “Other”? Other contains files that iTunes cannot categorise such as contacts, messages and emails. That’s not all. It can also contain corrupted files.

I am going to share how to reduce this “Other” storage and hopefully reclaim some of the lost storage in your iPhone or iPad. It is not necessary to restore your iOS device by downloading the most recent version of iOS. However, try it if the procedure given below fails.

  1. Connect your iOS device to the computer using the lightning connector (or USB cable for models before iPhone 5) and open iTunes
  2. Click on the “Device” icon (The one which looks like a phone) in iTunes.
  3. In order to avoid losing of your precious data that is stored in your iOS device, back it up to your computer by selecting “This computer” radio button under “Backups” and click on “Back Up Now”
  4. Disconnect your iOS device from the computer.
  5. In your iOS device, tap on Settings>General>Reset>Erase All Content and Settings and tap on “Erase iPhone” or “Erase iPad”. Wait for the iOS device to restart.
  6. When the Set Up screen gets displayed on your iOS device, connect your iOS device to the computer using the lightning connector (or USB cable) and open iTunes.
  7. Follow the steps given in this link to restore your iOS device : Restore your device from an iCloud or iTunes backup.

Notice that the “Other” storage has been significantly reduced and your lost free storage in your iOS device has been reclaimed.

Hope this helps.

 

References:

[1] Stack Exchange. 2015. Ask Different. [ONLINE] Available at: http://i.stack.imgur.com/9hEZT.jpg. [Accessed 19 May 2016].

 

 

 

Getting Rid of that Annoying Error Message in iTunes

You open iTunes in your Mac or PC and you see that there are some updates available for your apps in your iPhone and/or iPad and you download them. When you try to sync these new updates, an error message similar to the one given below pops up:

main-qimg-e047a827f6a0a3f66adad8ebd6578431

Figure 1 : Not enough free space error in iTunes [1]

That’s annoying, right? Let me show you how you could get rid of this error message.

First, when you connect your iPhone and open iTunes, you will see a window similar to the one shown below:

iTunes-Other-iPhone-storage-Mac-screenshot-002

Figure 2 : Summary window in iTunes [2]

Now, you might have noticed that the “Other” section in the storage bar is quite large. There is a simple trick to slightly reduce this amount:

  1. On your iPhone or iPad, tap on “Settings” and then on “Safari”.
  2. Then, tap on “Clear History and Website Data” and then tap on “Clear History and Data”.
  3. Reboot your iPhone.

clear-safari-history-website-data-ipad-ios8

Figure 3 : Clear Safari History and Website Data [3]

If this does not help much, you can restore your iPhone by clicking on “Restore iPhone” in iTunes. However, I would not recommend taking the second step if it is not crucial. Read this post further to find the explanation.

Try to sync your iPhone or iPad again using iTunes. If the error message shown in Figure 1 still pops up, try the following procedure:

el-capitan-itunes12-sync-device

Figure 3 : Sync Music in iTunes [4]

  1.  Click on “Music” in the device section (a small phone-like button) in iTunes.
  2. Uncheck “Sync Music”
  3. Click on “Apply” and then on “Sync”.
  4. Check “Sync Music” and repeat step 3.

Hooray ! That annoying error message given in Figure 1 does not appear. Now you see why restoring the iPhone will not be necessary as mentioned previously.

Please note that this issue may arise occasionally. Hence the procedure given above will have to be performed when the error message pops up. Hope this helps.

 

References:

[1] Why does iTunes say the nearly 3GB of free space on my iPad is not enough for the “1MB required” to sync? – Quora. 2016. Why does iTunes say the nearly 3GB of free space on my iPad is not enough for the “1MB required” to sync? – Quora. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.quora.com/Why-does-iTunes-say-the-nearly-3GB-of-free-space-on-my-iPad-is-not-enough-for-the-1MB-required-to-sync. [Accessed 24 February 2016].

[2] 7 tips to get rid of junk files and recover storage space on iPhone. 2016. 7 tips to get rid of junk files and recover storage space on iPhone. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.idownloadblog.com/2015/11/17/how-to-iphone-storage-app-caches/. [Accessed 24 February 2016].

[3] How to clear Safari brower history on iPad?. 2016. How to clear Safari brower history on iPad?. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.softwarert.com/clear-safari-history-ipad/. [Accessed 24 February 2016].

[4] Sync your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iTunes using USB – Apple Support. 2016. Sync your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iTunes using USB – Apple Support. [ONLINE] Available at: https://support.apple.com/en-nz/HT201253. [Accessed 24 February 2016].

Discover the Next Galaxy

Today I had the opportunity to get a hands on experience with the latest Galaxy devices of the Samsung flagship, namely Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge and thought of sharing my experience with my readers. Design

Figure 1 : Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

Figure 1 : Samsung Galaxy S6 (left) and S6 Edge (right) [1]

The Galaxy S6 has a sleek design, which cannot be found any previous models. The four corners of the phone are curved (Figure 1). The front and rear consists of glass (Corning Gorilla Glass 4) while the rest of the body is made out of metal in both models, which give a premium feel.

Figure 2 : Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge [2]

Figure 2 : Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge [2]

As shown in Figure 2, the 3.5 mm headphone and charging ports can be found at the bottom of the phone. The grill at the bottom-right is the speaker, which could produce good (but not great) bass. Both S6 and S6 Edge have 5.1″ QHD AMOLED displays with a resolution of 1440 x 2560. Micro-SIMs cannot be used with these models as they use nano-SIMs. Performance Both Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge have Samsung Exynos 7420 Octa-core processors (Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2.1 GHz Cortex-A57) and 3 GB of RAM under the hood, which take multitasking to a whole new level [3].

Samsung Exynos 7 Octa processor

Figure 3 : Samsung Exynos 7 Octa Processor [4]

I checked the RAM usage via Applications Manager and found out that the system uses 1 GB of RAM. I am not quite sure whether the phone might run slow after a lot of apps and widgets have been installed though as the retail devices run quite smoothly without any lag. The software which runs in both models is Android 5.0.2 (Lollipop). The Li-Ion battery in S6 and S6 Edge is non-removable and has capacities of 2550 mAh and 2600 mAh, respectively.

Figure 4 : Samsung Galaxy S6 camera [5]

Figure 4 : Samsung Galaxy S6  rear camera [5]

The rear camera on both S6 and S6 Edge is 16 MP and has optical image stabilisation while the front camera is 5 MP, ideal for taking selfies. The camera application has a shortcut too; just press the Home button twice. The only negativity i found in the camera is the design : The camera protrudes from the back, making it difficult to keep the phone flat on a surface. However, this problem could be solved by using a case.

The least amount of storage in both of these devices is 32 GB, which is quite large (although approximately 15.3 GB of this will be used by the system). This is the reason for the elimination of the micro SD card slot. I do not know why fans keep on complaining about this though.

Another cool feature that I found in both devices is wireless charging. You don’t have to carry the charging cables and adapters always as wireless charging stations are going to be equipped at places such as restaurants.

Here’s what I feel about the latest flagship devices by Samsung. To be honest, the Galaxy S6 looks like an iPhone 6 by Apple. Don’t just take my word for it, give them a try. Also take care when handling these devices as they are not waterproof !

References :

[1] Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.samsung.com/uk/galaxys6/images/kv-phones.png. [Accessed 14 March 2015].

[2] Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. 2015. [ONLINE] Available at: http://cdn3.pcadvisor.co.uk/cmsdata/features/3596185/Samsung_Galaxy_S6_Edge_800.jpg. [Accessed 14 March 2015].

[3] Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge – Full phone specifications. 2015. Samsung Galaxy S6 edge – Full phone specifications. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s6_edge-7079.php. [Accessed 14 March 2015].

[4] Samsung Exynos 7 Octa processor. 2015 . [ONLINE] Available at: http://i-cdn.phonearena.com/images/articles/167183-thumb/samsung01148.jpg. [Accessed 14 March 2015].

[5] Samsung Galaxy S6 rear camera. 2015 . [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.samsung.com/uk/galaxys6/images/features-camera.png. [Accessed 14 March 2015].